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It Came From Within

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“And then she asked if she could tie me up.”

“And?” Frank prompts when it seems like that’s where Mikey is ending his story. “What kind of bullshit ending is that? What did you say?”

Mikey’s slumped into the corner of the couch, his legs outstretched and crossed at the ankles, he gives Frank a look like he should know the answer already and then says, “I told her, ‘yes’.”

“Of course you told her yes.” Frank takes a long drink of his beer, holding the bottle in one hand as he points the neck toward Mikey. “What if she’d like, tied you up and killed you? It happens all the time. My mom’s friend’s cousin got their throat slit that way.”

Mikey’s eyes are half closed and he pulls up his feet, the springs of the couch protesting as he shifts, placing his legs over Frank’s lap. “It was only my hands, I could have kicked the knife away.”

“Well if it was only your hands....” Frank rubs his knuckles over one of Mikey’s skinny shins and curls up his legs so he’s jammed into his own side of the couch. “I’m hungry, you need to order pizza.”

“Fuck off,” Mikey says easily. “There’s Chinese in the fridge.”

“From five days ago.” Frank wedges his beer between his thighs and gropes for the remote, so he can turn over the TV. He scrolls through the channels, stopping on an infomercial for a steam cleaner. “We should buy one of those.”

Mikey yawns, says, “No point, we’ve already got you.”

~~~~~

That night Frank dreams of Mikey tied up.

Rope around his wrists and ankles, naked and spread-eagled on his bed.

When he wakes the next day Frank strips his sheets and tries not to blush when he hears Mikey move in the next room.

~~~~~~

It’s not that Frank thinks Mikey is unattractive. He’s got no hesitation in admitting that under the grease and dirt and questionable hygiene, Mikey is pretty hot. It’s just nothing that Frank thinks about often.

Mikey’s his room mate, his band mate, one of his best friends and while, sure, those factors don’t actually rule out sexual attraction, it’s never previously come into play. Which is why this is so weird now. Frank’s about out of his mind, and feels like he’s thirteen again, when unexpected boners were a staple of life.

It’s embarrassing is what it is, and what’s worse is Frank’s dealing alone. It’s not like he can tell anyone. Just the thought of opening his mouth and admitting these new feelings -- feelings about Mikey -- is enough to make him want to jam his head in a door.

It doesn’t help that Mikey’s apparently decided to embark on some kind of sexual journey of discovery and adventure, and is intent on sharing every detail with Frank. Details he gives while being so very Mikey, with his stupid hair and stupid clothes and no actual concept of personal space.

Like now, when Frank’s pouring out cereal and Mikey stands behind him, drapes himself against Frank’s back and grabs a handful of Fruit Loops from the bowl as he says, “I got fucked in the ass last night.”

“As opposed to being fucked in the ear?” Frank replies, his heart jumping under his level tone of mild interest mixed with sarcasm. Ineffectively batting at Mikey’s hand he adds, “You getting fucked isn’t new.”

“She used a dildo, a fucking huge one,” Mikey’s got his arm wrapped loose around Frank’s neck, and is eating the Fruit Loops individually, crunching in Frank’s ear. “She fucked me open with it and then added her fingers, just slid everything in together. It felt like I was taking a horse cock.”

“I’m disturbed that you even thought that,” Frank says, but he’s also fucking turned on. Not by the horse cock thing -- because really, no -- but the thought of Mikey being fucked open so wide, fingers and dildo sliding into his ass. It’s all too easy to imagine, and Frank bites at the inside of his mouth, his whole body hot as the weight of Mikey’s body presses Frank’s dick against the edge of the counter. “You’ll be feeling that when you next take a shit.”

“I think I could take more.” Mikey holds out his hand and makes a tight fist. “I’d need a fuck load of lube, but, yeah.”

Frank shrugs, his knees locked as he battles to stay upright and not groan. “It’s your asshole, just don’t come running to me if you get an anal prolapse.”

“I’ll add it to the roommate code,” Mikey says, and takes another handful of Fruit Loops, fitting little loops at the end of each finger. “We need to go, if we’re late they’ll eat all the pizza.”

“It’s you talking about ass fucking,” Frank points out, and sighs when he looks at his watch and sees that yeah, they are going to be late. Not that Frank’s about to take any blame, if it wasn’t for Mikey he’d have eaten by now and be ready to leave. “And I’m still eating my dinner.”

With no warning Mikey shoves two of his fingers into Frank’s mouth, scraping the Fruit Loops off onto his tongue. “So eat.”

Mikey’s fingers taste like hairspray and sugar, which is all kinds of gross.

Frank wants to suck them and never let go.

 

~*~*~*~

Frank knocks at Ray’s door and then kicks it for good measure, ensuring that the people inside know that they’re there. It’s fucking cold in this hallway and Frank’s huddled inside of his coat, hat pulled low over his ears and scarf up over his nose.

Hopefully Ray’s got the heat on, because Frank’s about frozen, and Mikey’s little more than a walking bundle of clothes.

“I told you, stop kicking to get in.” Ray’s talking as he opens the door, but Frank ignores his protests, pushing his way inside when he sees Ray’s t-shirt and bare arms.

“It’s fucking freezing out there,” Frank announces, and starts to peel off some outer layers. “You fucker’s should have come to us, it’s two against three.”

“Those aren’t odds in your favour,” Ray says, busy re-locking the door. “And last time you fed us dried up carrot sticks.”

Frank shrugs out of his coat, and hangs it up on the hook. “I offered you the leftover Chinese.” And it’s not like there’s ever much choice in Mikey and Frank’s fridge, not when their staple diet is take out, coffee and cereal. Really, it was a miracle that there were even any carrots to offer.

“Your place sucks.” Matt’s lying on the floor on his belly, game controller in his hands and attention solely on the TV where he’s taking out Mario with a well-timed firebomb.

“Fuck you,” Frank says, but takes no offense, because it’s not like what Matt’s saying is actually wrong. “Our apartment's awesome.”

“For a low rent shit-hole,” Matt counters, and Frank grins as he balls up his gloves and throws them at Matt’s head.

“My fingers have gone numb.”

Frank turns his attention to Mikey and sees that he’s fumbling with his scarf, revealing more of his face with each clumsy rotation. The cold has left Mikey’s nose bright red and Frank’s duty bound to make some joke, but any Rudolf comment fades on his tongue when Mikey holds up both hands and flexes his fingers.

“You’ve got zombie hand, awesome.” Gerard appears to the background noise of the toilet flushing, and the total absence of any tap being turned on. Crossing the room in a few steps he takes hold of Mikey’s hand, cradling it between both of his own. “Can you feel that?”

“Sort of.” Mikey stares at his hand and wiggles his fingers. “That’s fucking weird.”

“You’re weird,” Matt says, taking the insult when Frank lets it go, too transfixed by Mikey’s long fingers, how his knuckles are red and his nails bitten down. Which is okay, it’s fine that Frank notices those things, just his brain is some kind of bastard traitor and he’s imagining those fingers elsewhere -- shiny with lube and sliding into Frank’s ass.

Frank’s asshole clenches and his dick stands up and takes notice and he needs some kind of time out, where he doesn’t have to see Gerard rub Mikey’s hand or imagine what it’s like to be fingered by Mikey.

“I need. Bathroom.” Showing considerable restraint, Frank hurries into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him. Turning the lock he takes a moment to just breathe, jumping when Ray suddenly yells.

“There’s more paper in the vanity and use the fan after.”

“Whatever,” Frank yells back, and is about to sit on the toilet, when he recoils, seeing the piss on the seat and droplets darkening the mat. It’s yet more proof Gerard is disgusting, and Frank rips off a section of toilet paper, wiping the seat before he sits down.

From here he can hear the others talking, a low drone of sound that’s cut in four distinct layers, Frank’s easily able to distinguish every one of his friends, even without the actual words. It’s why he knows it’s Gerard that makes Mikey laugh, sudden and loud, and why Frank’s reminded of things he’s finally started to push back. Frustrated, Frank groans.

“Frank, you okay?”

It’s Gerard asking the question. It sounds like he’s right outside the door and Frank lets his head drop back so it thumps against the wall.

“Frank,” Gerard says again, and this time he rattles the door handle. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m okay.” Frank keeps his head back, his eyes closed as he thinks of a lie, because there’s no good way to say this is all about Mikey. That Frank’s groaning because he’s some kind of sexual deviant who is becoming obsessed with Gerard’s kid brother.

“You didn’t eat that fried rice in your fridge did you?” Gerard asks, sounding suspicious. “Because that shit was green last week.”

Frank screws up his face, because seriously, he’s not some kind of moron who eats sentient rice. “No, I didn’t eat it. I’m just taking a dump.”

“Good.” Gerard still sounds dubious and it’s no surprise when suddenly he’s talking to Mikey, the two of them whispering in some kind of Way shorthand that Frank has issues deciphering even when he can see and hear them both fully. Right now he’s got no chance, so he’s unprepared when there’s a rattling sound and then the door suddenly pushes open and Mikey appears.

“I brought you some water.” Mikey’s holding a glass which he hands over to Frank, then sits, balanced on the edge of the tub. “Ray said milk would be better but that shit curdles in your stomach.”

Frank grips the glass, and looks from Mikey to the door. “I locked that.”

“It’s got a trick lock,” Mikey says, frowning at Ray’s display of bath products. “It’s easy to open if you know what you’re doing.”

Frank files that away for later and says, “You broke in.”

“I was bringing you water.” Mikey says it as if it’s the most normal thing ever to break into a bathroom that someone is using. Hell, to Mikey it probably is, and when he looks at Frank there’s no guilt evident at all. “I was worried about you.”

“I’m fine,” Frank says, and hopes that Mikey believes him. “Probably trapped gas.”

Mikey gives Frank a long look and pushes himself up, says, “That’s the worst. I’ll save you a seat.”

He leaves then, the lock dropping into place behind him, and Frank groans again. Silently this time, as all sexual thoughts are pushed to one side to make room for the kind that have more meaning. For thoughts of someone who brings water when there’s cups in the bathroom and makes no comment when he finds Frank sitting on the toilet, his jeans pulled up and still fully fastened.

~*~*~*~

Frank’s fingered himself before.

Of course he has, he’s got a close and awesome relationship with his own body.

Knees bent, heels pushed into the covers, Frank slips his lube-slick finger into his ass.

And it’s good, it is, but he knows with someone else it has to be better.

~*~*~*~

Waking up is never easy. Frank hates the inevitable moment when he has to finally get up, leaving behind warm covers and soft blankets for an icy floor and rooms just that side of too cold.

Long practice lets him roll out of bed, a blanket still wrapped around his shoulders, slithering against the floor as Frank hurries toward the bathroom, needing to piss, and drink coffee and if there’s actually anything edible, grab something for breakfast.

Kicking at the door, Frank hitches his blanket up at the front and heads for the toilet, pushing his boxers to one side as he aims and pisses, only sprinkling his blanket a little. All the time Frank’s eyes are half closed, sticky at the corners, and he rubs them with the back of his hand.

Not risking a glance in the mirror, Frank rinses his hands, taking a moment to enjoy the warm water, then makes for the kitchen. Inevitably it’s a disaster zone, the counters cluttered and takeout cartons piled up on top of the trashcan. Grimacing as he walks through something sticky, Frank stands on one foot, rubbing the sole of the other against the blanket as he flips open the lid of the coffeemaker and removes the old grounds.

Carefully, he sets them inside an empty noodle carton and grabs a new filter, efficiently putting it into place before adding coffee and water. That done, Frank rests against the counter, yawning as he contemplates braving the fridge.

On one hand, he’s hungry, on the other, he has to be really hungry to face the furred something that lurks at the back. Frank knows it used to be rice, but at this point it resembles a ball of green fluff. Which is cool, but also fucking gross and Frank’s not sure if he’s up to risking looking inside.

Thankfully, it seems that he doesn’t have to. Frank watches the door when he hears someone fumbling with the locks from outside. It’s either the most inept burglar ever, or Mikey coming home late.

Another lock clicks open and then, finally, Mikey’s walking inside, bringing the cold in with him. It’s seeped into his coat and hat, waves of frosty air creating a freezing halo as he shuts the door and takes a moment to just shiver.

“I’m making coffee.” Wrapped in his blanket, Frank can afford to be magnanimous, especially when Mikey’s nose is bright red and his eyes watering, his shoulders and the bottom of his pants soaked through with snow. “It’ll be ready in a few minutes.”

“Good.” Mikey’s voice is muffled under the layers of his scarf. Starting to unwind it, he leaves wet footprints when he hangs up his coat and puts his mittens on one of radiators that never provide enough heat. Down to two layers, Mikey wipes under his nose with his hand, and eyes the coffeemaker as he heads toward Frank.

Frank watches him walk, taking in how Mikey’s movements are stiff and how he holds himself carefully as if weighing each step. It’s like he’s frozen beyond just the outside and Frank says, “Tell me you didn’t walk home?”

Mikey shakes his head, and stands next to Frank. “Got a ride. And I got spanked last night.”

“Well that explains it,” Frank says slowly, and stares at Mikey, trying to understand how he can so casually drop something like that into conversation. But of course as always the answer is because he’s Mikey, it’s just what he does. “So what, this is one of the things that you’re trying?”

Frank’s got no choice but to ask, even if he doesn’t he knows Mikey’s going to provide the details and at least this way Frank can keep charge of the conversation. Or that’s what he tells himself as Mikey arranges himself so he can look at both Frank and the dripping coffee.

“The pain thing, yeah,” Mikey says, like he’s discussing the change in the weather. “I mentioned liking it and they suggested starting with spanking.”

Instantly Frank’s got multiple questions. Who ‘they’ actually are, are they trustworthy, does Mikey know the fuck what he’s doing, and especially, the pain thing. But what Frank hears himself saying is, “They spanked you with their hand?”

“At first.” Mikey reaches past Frank, elbowing him out of the way. “There’s enough for one mug.”

One mug that by rights should be Frank’s, but he’s frozen in place, unable to stop picturing Mikey bent over some stranger’s knee, his pants down and their hand raised. It’s something Frank never thought he’d imagine, but now that he has he can’t seem to stop, and he pulls the blanket around himself more securely, needing more details. “Your stories suck, what do you mean at first?”

Frank’s trying not to sound too eager, like all he’s doing is showing interest like the awesome friend that he is. Which he seems to have achieved as Mikey fills his mug, coffee hissing as it hits the warming plate before Mikey slots back the jug. He takes a drink and then says, “They used their hand first, and after that a paddle.”

“A paddle,” Frank repeats. His face feels hot and his stomach clenches and he’s not sure if he’s turned on or wanting to punch someone for daring to hit Mikey. “Like a boat paddle?”

“ A smaller version, yeah.” Mikey’s cradling his mug in his hands and his mouth is screwed up to one side. “It was good, more intense than a hand.”

Now Frank knows he’s turned on, any anger draining as he takes in Mikey’s expression and how his cheeks have flushed red as he darts out his tongue, licking at his lower lip.

“I didn’t think I’d get to the end, but you settle into it.” Mikey ducks his head, as if caught in some memory, something that leaves him more at ease in himself than Frank’s seen for a while. Then he looks up and and says, “But next time I want something padded to bend over, the table was too hard.”

Frank knows he’s blushing, he can feel his face burning and turns to get his own mug, hiding the fact that he’s so obviously turned on. It’s like Mikey’s uncovered some hidden love of kink that Frank didn’t even know that he had, and the image of Mikey over someone’s knee is replaced with Mikey bent over their kitchen table, his ass bare and reddened. It’s like Frank’s own personal porno, but one that’s starring his best friend.

“You’re going to do it again?” Frank asks, relieved that at least he sounds normal.

“Fuck yeah.” There’s a brief pause and then Mikey adds, “Next time I’m going to try flogging, or a cane.”

Frank keeps his back to Mikey, taking refuge in forced humour. “You’ve always bitched when I tried to hit you with a stick.”

“Because it wasn’t the right kind,” Mikey says in reply.

~*~*~*~

Frank readily admits to both his turn-ons and fantasies.

He likes tits and asses and dark eyes, to imagine sex outdoors or being blown on the stage as the audience screams out his name. He likes to hold people down or settle in for make-out sessions that can go on for hours, or to jerk off to thoughts of blow jobs and being fucked and eating a girl out.

Frank also likes porn, from the most vanilla to stuff that he's watched by mistake -- and the extreme stuff that wasn't a mistake in the slightest.

What he doesn’t do is fantasise about Mikey. At least, Frank didn’t -- lately it’s been an everyday thing and yet again Frank’s escaped to the shower, one hand against the wall and his body angled away from the plastic curtain that’s spotted with mold.

Frank’s holding his dick, jerking himself off as he pictures Mikey bent over their table, Mikey’s body tense as Frank stands behind him ready to spank. Frank groans and fucks his own fist, imagining the slap of skin against skin, the sounds Mikey would make with each smack of Frank’s hand.

It’s a turn on Frank never expected, and that it’s focused on Mikey only gives it more edge. One where Frank’s never wanted to physically hurt him, but now he can’t help thinking of doing just that. Being the one who uses his hand, or is in charge of the paddle, making Mikey come apart with each hit. At least that’s what Frank imagines would happen, they haven’t talked enough to be sure, and he’s not about to ask.

Which is another reason Frank shouldn’t do this, he hasn’t got a clue about this kind of kink, and stumbling into it blindly would be wrong, but somehow he can’t stop thinking about it. It’s like Mikey’s words are seared into Frank’s brain, and as hard as Frank tries to push them away, it’s never enough.

“I’m coming in.”

It’s the only warning Frank gets, and he stills, clasping his dick as the bathroom door opens and Mikey walks into the room. It’s like he’s torturing Frank deliberately, only the thin curtain between them as Frank watches Mikey’s shadowy figure stand over the toilet and pull down his zipper.

“They’ll be here soon,” Mikey says, starting to piss. “You need to go out and buy more beer.”

“You need to get it.” Minutely, Frank moves his hips, so fucking hard and turned on that even that tiny movement leaves him weak-kneed. It doesn’t help that Mikey’s right there, his hand on his own dick and Frank’s the biggest pervert alive, and also lives with the most oblivious idiot ever as Mikey shakes off and gives his hands a perfunctory rinse at the sink.

It means he’s standing even closer, enough that all Frank has to do is reach out and touch. He moves his hips once again, so close that he’s sure he’s about to come with Mikey standing right there.

“You drank the last bottle.” Mikey’s leaning forward, peering at himself in the mirror and Frank’s mostly sure he can’t see how Frank’s rubbing his thumb over the head of his dick, or hear when Frank bites back a gasp, his hips jerking forward.

“We’d still need more than one bottle, asshole,” Frank manages to say, and he tightens his grip, fucking his hand in tiny, barely there thrusts. “And more chips.”

“You ate all of those too,” Mikey says, and turns to the side, his hand raised as if he’s about to pull back the curtain. “It’s fucking freezing out there.”

Frank’s heart is thundering and he keeps his head under the spray, water hitting his dick and sliding over his slick fingers. On an out breath he says, “Sucks to be you.”

“I hate you.” Mikey’s apparently adjusting his glasses, and the realisation hits hard. Relief and adrenalin combining with the images Frank keeps in his head and he’s trying his best to hang on, to not actually come when Mikey’s standing so close.

“I hate you too,” Frank says in reply, and he’s the biggest creep ever, barely able to stay still until, finally, Mikey leaves the room.

As soon as the door shuts behind him Frank’s gives up his control, teeth digging into his bottom lip as he speeds up his pace. His head down, mouth open, water dripping from the end of his nose, Frank reaches out with his free hand, his fingers slipping against the wall with its layer of soap scum.

Frank’s panting for breath, his hips and hand working together, the room filling with steam once again and making him sweat. And he’s close, so close, his balls tight and his whole body hot as he drags the heel of his hand of the head of his cock, the pressure enough to leave Frank feeling off-balance.

Another hard stroke and Frank groans, lost in the feel of his own hand and he’s going to slip and break his neck, be found naked and spent on the floor with come on his belly, but Frank doesn’t care. All he cares about is needing to end this, tightening his hand just that little bit more, pornographic images in his mind and saying Mikey’s name.

Frank snaps his hips forward and finally he’s coming, his eyes closed and water cascading over his back before swirling away down the drain as Frank slumps forward, glad of the support of the wall as his legs shake and he strokes his cock gently, shuddering at this last, almost too much, touch.

~~~~~~

Finding Gerard sprawled on their couch isn’t new, but it does feel awkward, especially when Frank’s only wrapped in his towel, his still sensitive dick a reminder of what he’s been doing.

It doesn’t help that Frank’s got no idea how long that Gerard’s been there. For all Frank knows he came in when Mikey was leaving, and has been there all the time while Frank was jerking off to the thought of spanking his brother.

At that thought Frank’s dick twitches again, and he tries to adopt a normal expression, one that conceals the fact he’s a wannabe brother spanking pervert.

“Are you okay?” Gerard’s sitting up, looking concerned. “If you’re still sick we don’t have to write.”

Which, great, obviously Frank’s inner pervert is shining through bright. Trying again, he thinks of something that’s safe. Puppies and good music and the feeling he gets when he walks onto stage -- anything that’s not Mikey’s ass.

“I’m fine.” Frank studies Gerard’s expression, and while he does seem uncertain it doesn’t look like he’s going to throttle Frank with his own towel, which surely he’d do if he’d heard what Frank had just said. “Just cold.”

“Then you should get dressed,” Gerard says, like Frank’s some kind of moron and it’s not Gerard’s fault that Frank’s standing freezing at all. “And I’ll pick the movie.”

“I thought we were writing.” Frank doesn’t make it a question, there’s no need, he knows that while officially this is a meet up to discuss songs for the new record, in reality it’s more touching base and friends hanging out.

Gerard drops to the floor, and knee walks to the stack of DVDs that teeter in a pile next to the TV. “I have been.”

Frank hesitates, wanting to ask questions about what Gerard’s been writing, but mostly Frank needs to get dressed. He takes a step toward his bedroom and warns, “No picking out shit.”

Gerard’s reading the backs of the DVDs, as if he didn’t know each blurb off by heart. At Frank’s words he looks up, making no attempt to hide his grin, “I won’t pick shit if you don’t jerk off again, hearing it once today is enough.”

Frank’s whole body is burning, and when Gerard says nothing else --- thank fuck -- he tries to school his expression. Because while getting heard jerking off isn’t new, the Mikey thing is a whole other matter.

Deciding to brazen it out, Frank starts to unfasten his towel, letting it drop so he’s showing most of his thigh and the top of his pubes. “There’s no need to front, I know you want some of this.”

“Yeah, no,” Gerard says, pretending to shield his eyes. “I don’t want to see that shit.”

“If I had self esteem issues you’d be fucking them up right now.” It’s a statement Frank’s using to distract, and also, to mess with Gerard. His smile hidden, Frank watches as Gerard’s eyes widen and he drops his hand and takes a breath, obviously about to launch into some kind of apology.

“You’ve got a very nice dick, a fucking awesome one I’m sure, it’s just....”

“You don’t trust yourself not to molest me, I know how it is.” Frank rests the flat of his hand over his dick, petting it as he says, “The Frankfurter gets them all.”

Gerard sits back on his heels, any concern wiped away. “Bastard, I know you don’t call your dick the Frankfurter.”

“I could.” Frank’s grinning now, enjoying the joke but also relieved that Gerard’s attention has been directed elsewhere.

Gerard goes back to looking through the DVDs, putting almost every second one aside. “Tell me how that works out for you.”

In reply Frank heads for his room.

~*~*~*~

Frank’s used to Mikey coming home late. Often he doesn’t come back at all and that’s fine. He’s a grown man who can look after himself, and it’s not like Frank ties himself to their apartment either. But when Mikey’s been gone overnight with no contact at all, Frank does start to worry.

Checking his phone once again, Frank’s considering contacting Gerard when there’s the sound of a key in the lock, and then finally, Mikey appears.

He looks fine, wearing the same clothes he went out in and is cradling a takeout cup of coffee in one hand, while keeping his other tucked deep in the pocket of his hoodie. He’s also shivering, snow melting into his hair and shoulders and the lenses of his glasses spotted with water.

“Told you to take your coat.” Frank’s all too aware he sounds like his mom, but what he said stands, Mikey should have taken his coat, even if he was getting a ride from some unknown-to-Frank person.

Mikey toes off his shoes and kicks them into the corner, “I only walked a few blocks, I wanted some coffee so I got dropped off at Coffee Bean.”

“As opposed to getting dropped off at home and not freezing to death.” Frank gives into impulse, rolling his eyes as he adds, “We’ve got coffee here, enough to bathe in the stuff.”

“That would be fucking awesome.” Mikey’s standing in place, lit up in a way that can only mean he’s working out some insane plan that’ll only lead to disaster. It’s a plan Frank’s putting a stop to right now, because he’s a fan of insane plans, he fucking loves insane plans, except when they involve his apartment, and no doubt Mikey being treated for first degree burns.

“You’re not filling the tub with coffee.” And that’s something Frank’s never imagined himself saying, but experience with the Way mindset means it does have to be said.

Mikey shrugs. “It would have got cold anyway.” Draining his coffee he throws the empty cup into the sink and then sits next to Frank, dropping down hard so the sofa creaks and dips at one end. “I’ve got something to show you.”

As statements go it’s ominous, and Frank turns a little to the side, preparing himself as he says, “What?”

“I tried something last night.” Mikey glances at Frank and then trails off, as if unsure what to say. “With someone I met at a club.”

Again Mikey stops talking, and Frank’s too impatient to wait, needing to know what’s got Mikey so unusually reticent. “So, what was it?”

Frank's expecting Mikey to say something out of the box, like he's tried sounding or sploshing or the thousand other things Frank's thought of in the last few weeks. What he doesn't expect is Mikey to simply say, "I had my picture taken."

"That's it?" As confessions go it's anti-climactic and Frank doesn't get how having your picture taken can be sexual at all. Unless.... "Tell me you didn't take pictures of your dick."

"No," Mikey says, and while Frank believes the denial, there's something else there, something that Mikey isn't saying. "At least, not really."

The ‘not really’ is worrying, and Frank’s already thinking damage control, even as he demands, “Just tell me already.”

Mikey pats the pocket of his hoodie and then takes out a slim envelope from inside. “No dick pictures, just erotic photography.”

“Erotic photography.” Frank feels like he’s turned into some kind of parrot, but it’s all he can say as he tries to reconcile the idea of erotic photography with Mikey, who barely suffers having his picture taken and has an aversion to showing much skin. “The fuck?”

“It’s sort of like voyeurism.” Mikey’s picking at a burn hole on the arm of the couch, thumb nail clicking over the melted material. “But being watched by a camera and not people.”

“So it’s voyeurism without being seen.” In Mikey logic it makes sense, but it still doesn’t explain why photos, something that doesn’t seem like Mikey at all.

“I wanted to know how it felt, to be in the spotlight alone,” Mikey says, and he picks up the envelope, opening the flap with a swipe of his fingers. “So I had a few drinks, and it was weird, in this super intense way.”

Frank’s measuring Mikey’s words, ensuring he’s okay with what actually went on and hasn’t been coerced in some way. When Frank’s sure that he sounds fine, that this actually was Mikey’s choice, Frank turns his attention to the photographs, trying his best not to appear too eager to see. “Are you going to show me or not?”

“Oh sure.” Mikey pulls out the photos, handing them over to Frank. “They’re not very good though, and you can’t tell that they’re me.”

Frank doesn’t agree. In fact, he disagrees strongly, enough that it’s taking him all his willpower to look calmly at each photograph and not visibly react. Simply put, the photographs are hot and even more so because of the subject. Swallowing, he takes in the top image, one that’s so blatantly Mikey, even if all you can see is the curve of his back as he sits forward, his head bowed and in shadow, his knees pulled up tight to his chest.

The next is simpler, Mikey’s hands and lower arms only, his wrists bound together with thick rope. Frank wants to take in every detail, but he’s wary of lingering too long, always aware that Mikey is watching.

Mikey leans in, cold still lingering as he points at the image. “That rope fucking tickled, it’s why I prefer cuffs”

“Cuffs are badass,” Frank says, and doesn’t think about Mikey in handcuffs, metal dull and hard and encircling each wrist. At least, that’s what Frank plans, the reality is it’s all he can imagine, until he sees the last picture.

“Fuck.” Frank can’t help the soft exclamation, his heart racing as he looks at Mikey stretched out on a bed, his fingers white where he’s gripping the headboard and one leg bent to the side. It’s a position that allows a glimpse of his dick, dark in shadow and only enough to be teasing, and a stark contrast to the rest of his body, his back an expanse of pale skin, and his ass turned bright red.

“That’s one of the last pictures.” Mikey’s still leaning in close, his head close to Frank’s. “Luc’s got fucking big hands.”

“You still do that?” Frank hopes he sounds normal, a casual question about spanking between two friends. “The spanking shit.”

“Sometimes.” Mikey sits upright, grimacing as he pushes his damp hair away from his neck. “”I’m going to get some sleep. Wake me up later.”

“Sure,” Frank says, distracted as he lines up the photographs, lingering and making sure they’re perfect as Mikey stands, the envelope fluttering to the floor as he yawns and heads for his room.

Frank looks up, watching how Mikey’s walking, matching the slight stiffness to the pictures Frank’s holding. Pictures Frank should have given back. And Frank will, later, when Mikey’s had the sleep that he needs.

~*~*~*~

Frank keeps the photographs tucked under his mattress.

Despite being careful within days they’re all curled at one corner, Frank’s finger and thumb leaving their mark. Pinching as Frank works his cock with one hand, and holds the photos with the other.

Mikey never asks where they’ve gone.

Frank never tells him.

~*~*~*~

The problem is, as much as Frank has this thing, it’s a thing that can go nowhere.

Frank likes Mikey -- a whole fucking lot -- and he’s hot in a way that Frank wishes wasn’t true. At least sometimes, when Frank’s burning his fingers on the stove because Mikey cracked his neck or is doing something that shouldn’t be hot and yet is.

It’s like Frank’s carrying a bomb of newly discovered sexual feelings, one that’s on a hair-trigger and keeps exploding. Which sucks, because right now Frank’s on a 5 frantic jerk offs a day habit, and it’s leaving him with a dick like an elephant’s trunk, all chafed and slightly swollen.

What Frank needs is to go cold turkey, remind himself that Mikey’s off limits and then go find himself someone more appropriate to ogle, like Orlando Bloom or the girl who works at the deli.

Of course knowing that is one thing, actually doing that is a different matter.

It doesn’t help that Mikey’s always there, zombie-like first thing in the morning and then sprawled out on the couch as they watch TV late through the night. They go to shows together and travel together and turn up at band meetings as one unit.

The only time they’re apart are the times Frank goes out with his own friends or visits his mom, and it’s driving Frank slowly insane. It’s why he focuses in on the bad parts. That Mikey’s managed to plug the shower drain with his hair yet again and that the dishes have been left for days and the rice fuzz in the fridge seems to be gaining in size hourly.

It’s better to think about that and not fixate on Mikey’s hands and how they’d look encircled with cuffs, or how he’d sound when Frank would spank him or how Mikey’s due in any moment and will no doubt tell Frank all about his night.

“Seriously, is it so hard to pick up a mug?” Frank mutters, rescuing an empty mug that’s half hidden under a pile of magazines. Taking it into the kitchen he adds it to the rows of other empty mugs and considers washing them up, or leaving them to fester, which would be a better option. But that comes along with the risk of Mikey actually using one of the fetid mugs, or a repeat of the day he actually drank from a jar.

Really, he’s all kinds of gross and Frank shudders as he uses a spoon to pick up some mouldy something> from inside one of the mugs.

“Fucking gross fucker,” Frank says, and catapults the mould so it hits the overflowing stack of garbage in the trash can. For a moment it looks like the whole pile is about to collapse, and Frank takes a wary step back, relieved when things settle.

Making a mental note to demand Mikey actually takes out the trash, Frank holds his breath and opens the fridge, snatching out a cold bottle of beer. Hitting it open on the scarred side of the counter he takes a drink, looking at his watch when he hears someone start to open the door.

Like some kind of deviant Pavlov’s cock Frank’s dick twitches and he palms it through his pants, a restraining touch only as he takes another drink and goes to claim the side of the couch that comes without exposed springs in the corner.

When Mikey comes inside he brings in a blast of cold and the sickly scent of alcohol and fast food. Shrugging out of his coat he hangs it on the nail in the wall and then pulls off his hat, resulting in a combination of flat hat hair and sticking up tufts that Frank’s mostly sure isn’t intentional.

Making no attempt to hide his amusement, Frank says, “Good night?”

“It got interesting,” Mikey says, swaying a little as he pulls a wrapped package out of his coat pocket. “I got you a burrito.”

“Give it here.” Suddenly starving, Frank catches the burrito that’s thrown his way, the foil wrapper unrolling as he does so. Looking at the beans on his lap and squished between his fingers, Frank says, “Have you been eating this?”

“Only the outside.” Mikey lowers himself down next to Frank and starts to take off his boots, his movements slow and deliberate. Instantly Frank’s attention is pulled to Mikey’s back, where his t-shirt has pulled up, exposing only pale skin where Frank expected to see at least touches of red. Surprised, Frank tears off a piece of the tortilla and waves his hand in Mikey’s direction.

“You didn’t.... You know.”

Thankfully it seems Mikey does know, and he keeps on unfastening his boots, working at the knotted laces as he says, “I hooked up with someone else.”

Frank scoops up a handful of beans, eating them off of his fingers as he waits, sure that Mikey will add more details. Because that’s just what he does, be an over-sharing, cock-teasing bastard.

“Two someone elses,” Mikey says casually, and pulls off his boot. Wiggling his toes he peels off his sock, throwing it to one side without looking. “One of them fucked me and I sucked the other one off.”

“At the same time?” Frank manages to ask, relieved he sounds normal despite the white-hot fireworks going off inside of his head.

Mikey nods, and he’s still leaning forward, curled so the back of his neck is exposed. “It was good, all I could do was relax and take it.”

Glad that Mikey’s not looking, Frank closes his mouth before he starts drooling. He also crosses his legs, hiding his boner that lately has been hard-wired to Mikey

“You’d better be using protection,” and god, Frank sounds like his mom, but it’s a worry that’s lurking behind the initial reaction of hot.

Mikey pulls off his second boot and sock, looking at Frank through his hair that’s fallen forward in wet clumps. “I’m not stupid.”

Frank meets Mikey’s look with one of his own, because yeah, Mikey’s not stupid, but Frank still had to ask.

“Yes, I used it,” Mikey says, sounding long-suffering. Sitting up straight, he cracks his knuckles and neck and then slumps so he’s listing against Frank. “It was good, like giving up control, you know?”

Frank does know, to an extent, and he thinks of how it feels when he’s playing on stage, his mind on nothing but music. It’s his step back from the real world and while he’s never achieved that with sex, he can see how the similarities would work.

“We went to their apartment, it was close to the club so we walked.” One handed, Mikey tears off a piece of tortilla, shaking off any filling. Chewing, he lies heavy against Frank and then says, “They shoved their tongues in my ass, both of them taking turns to open me up.”

It’s an abrupt jump from walking to ass licking and Frank’s got his mouth shut, clamping back the groan that’s trying to get out.

“They were good at it too, like they’d done it together before,” Mikey says, his head against Frank’s and mouth far too close to Frank’s neck. “One of them held my leg up and Jack started with the licking and it was weird at first because I’d been sweating and that had to taste fucking gross but he was super into it.”

Frank’s in hell. He knows that he is because Mikey’s breathing against his neck and he won’t stop fucking talking, saying stuff that should be filthy but all Frank can do is try to sit still and not give in to the urge to jerk himself off right now.

“Then they finger-fucked me together,” Mikey says, like he’s telling Frank they’d had chips followed by pizza. “I didn’t think I could take it at first but they went slow, the dildo I’ve been using probably helped too.”

“You’ve been using a dildo?” Frank’s voice cracks and he thinks this isn’t the detail he should be focusing in on, but it’s something he needs to know and now that he’s comfortable Mikey will be minutes from sleep.

“Hmmmm, yeah.” Mikey’s breathing is slowing and he tucks up one knee. “I’m tired.”

“Then go to bed, ass,” Frank says, and gives Mikey a push. “You don’t want to sleep on the couch.”

“I don’t,” Mikey agrees. Sluggish, he stands, stumbling as he makes for his bedroom, wiggling his fingers at Frank before going inside.

As soon as he’s gone Frank’s jumps to his feet, almost running to his bedroom as he opens his pants.

~*~*~*~

Searching Mikey’s room is approaching a level of crazy that should leave Frank feeling embarrassed.

Reaching under the mattress and opening drawers he keeps telling himself to back off, to go do something else before Mikey comes back and finds Frank rummaging through his underwear like some kind of stalker. Which Frank is, but it’s all Mikey’s fault. He knows Frank, and that means he knows he can’t casually mention using a dildo without Frank wanting to see.

Of course the right thing to do would be to ask. Mikey would have showed him, probably given too many details as always and Frank could have gone on with his life with nothing worse than cementing his reputation as a nosy best friend. Instead he’s given in to impulse and is kneeling on the floor, an avalanche of damp tissues falling onto his hand as he opens the bedside cabinet drawer.

Inside there’s Mikey’s spare glasses, strips of painkillers and yet more crumpled up tissues, and at the back, a dildo. It’s black and huge and Frank’s reaching out to touch before he pulls back his hand and slams the drawer shut.

“Jesus Christ,” Frank sits on the bed, his head in his hands because this really is going too far. Frank needs to get out of the apartment and get some fresh air, and he needs to do that now.

~~~~~

“I need to join creepy-over-sexed-anonymous,” Frank announces, pushing past Ray and into the warmth. “Or be chemically castrated.”

“I’d recommend the first.” Ray shuts the door and holds out his hands, taking Frank’s scarf, gloves and hat as Frank pulls each item off. Hanging them to dry on the back of a chair Ray says, “Any particular reason?”

“Fucking, Mikey,” Frank says, fumbling with his coat zip, his fingers frozen and numb.

“Ah,” Ray says, as if that explains everything and Frank yanks at the zipper, glad that Ray understands.

“He’s been telling you too?” Frank yanks at the zipper again, snow falling from his shoulders when finally his coat falls open. Slipping it off, Frank goes to hang it up on the hook by the door. “He keeps telling me shit, like describing how he’s been getting spanked and tied up, and fuck, last night he told me about getting his ass licked and then fucked by two guys. He’s like a fucking porno and I think my dick’s going to drop off.”

Ray’s not replying, and Frank stands perfectly still, his hand still clutching his wet coat, realisation setting in as he says slowly, “You didn’t mean his sex thing, did you?”

“I thought he’d blocked the drain again,” Ray says, and when Frank turns he sees the tail end of Ray’s pained expression before he adopts sympathy instead. “He’s telling you about his sex life?”

“All the fucking time.” There’s no point Frank hiding that fact, he’s already spewed out the details and even if Ray didn’t know he’ll still listen. That’s one of the things that make him so awesome and Frank kicks off his shoes and then drops onto Ray’s couch, needing somewhere comfortable to tell his sordid story. “He’s on this fucking sexual journey of adventure, and he keeps coming back and sharing all the details. Being fucked, some girl tying him up, he even got his picture taken, he never gets his picture taken but apparently it’s different when he’s tied up and naked.”

Frank can’t seem to stop himself talking, even when Ray’s sympathetic expression falters a moment and he obviously hesitates before sitting next to Frank. “So Mikey over-shares sometimes, that’s not new.”

“I know that.” Frustrated, Frank pulls out his wallet, opening it up and looking behind old receipts, cards and pictures of his family before finding one of the photographs he’s hidden of Mikey. “Look.”

It’s not Frank’s favourite, that one’s at home, in easy reach of Frank’s bed. But this one should get the message across and Frank shoves the picture toward Ray. “This is one of the tame ones.”

Ray takes the photograph, his brow furrowed. “I hope he’s being careful with those ropes, they could fuck up his wrists and his playing.”

Frank stares, because how’s it possible Ray can bypass the point so completely? “He’s being careful, but that’s not the point.”

“And should you even have it?” Ray goes on, ignoring Frank completely. “What if some fan sees it and knows that it’s Mikey?”

This isn’t how Frank saw it going at all and he’s seconds away from shaking Ray until he actually understands. “It’s Mikey’s hands, no one will recognise him from them, and even if they did Gerard would probably run with the aesthetic.”

“Oh fuck no, don’t even think that.” Ray’s frowning, his mouth turned down at the corners. “I’m not wearing a collar on stage, and leather chaps chafe when I’m playing.”

Frank grins, delighted Ray’s left himself so open for teasing. Except, thinking of Ray in a collar leads to thoughts of Gerard introducing some kind of band uniform and Frank’s left imagining Matt drumming in leather, Gerard in a harness and Mikey....

Fuck.” Frank curls up, hands over his boner and head full of images of Mikey wearing a cock cage, a dark leather collar snug to his neck, the ring glinting as he plays on stage. “I hate you.”

“I’m assuming that’s not caused by me.” Ray’s not smiling, but he does sound amused because he’s a traitorous, insensitive bastard and Frank really does hate him.

“I should go rub one out on your bed,” Frank says, and regrets it within seconds when his dick loves that idea -- a lot.

Ray does grin then. “Sorry, my bed has a no strange sperm policy, but if you want to go to the bathroom I’ll pretend I can’t hear.”

It’s tempting, in the way that Frank’s dick feels like it’s going to explode. But if he gives in now he’s on a slippery slope where he’ll end up jerking off behind stages and in gas station bathrooms and probably be one of those creepers who keep their hands down their pants when walking around.

Frank doesn’t want to be that creeper. He can’t be, and he gives his dick a soft stroke and then says, “I don’t know what to do.”

Ray’s smile fades and he pats Frank’s knee. “Start by telling me what your problem is.”

This.” Frank indicates his crotch, wondering when Ray became so clueless and blind. “I’ve got a hard on for Mikey. All I have to do is look at him and I pop a boner.”

Ray stares at Frank, seemingly gathering his thoughts. “Is it like the hard on you get for Legolas or for the things Mikey’s doing, or is it Mikey himself?”

As conversations go this has to be one of the most embarrassing ever. Not because of the boners, that kind of discussion is nothing unusual and Frank’s got no issues with mentioning morning wood, or even using it to poke the unsuspecting in the ear.

The same goes for turn-ons. But discussing fucking someone’s tits while crammed in the back of a van for countless boring hours is in no way comparable to sitting on Ray’s sofa and admitting how Frank wants to spank Mikey, or watch his face when Frank ties him up and fucks him with a dildo.

“What he’s doing,” Frank eventually says and considers leaving it at that, but Ray’s remaining quiet, waiting for more and Frank adds, “And Mikey himself.”

Ray doesn’t seem surprised, just nods slightly and says, “And you don’t want that?”

It’s a good question, but it’s one Frank’s not sure he can answer. Sexual activities aside, it’s Mikey who’s the focus of all Frank’s new feelings, but as far as Frank knows it’s an attraction that’s ruled by his dick.

Not that Frank’s ever going to find out. “”I want to stop almost creaming my pants every time that I see him.”

“I’d say avoid him for a while but considering you’re joined at the hip that won’t work.” Ray sits back, his legs crossed as he examines the photograph he’s still holding. “And you should get rid of this.”

It makes sense, getting rid of something that’s only helping with Frank’s obsession. It’s why he holds out his hand and says, “I’ll give it back to Mikey.”

And knows that he’s lying even as he says it.

~*~*~*~

As soon as he wakes Frank knows that he’s sick.

Long experience has made him a master of warning signs, recognising the tickle in the back of his throat and the hitch in his breathing as he rolls out of bed.

At first he tries to deny the inevitable, dressing in extra layers and starting to make himself breakfast, but every bite of toast tastes like sawdust and even his coffee looks unappealing. Mug clutched in his hands, Frank keeps it close to his mouth, not drinking but breathing in the warm heat.

“You should have stayed in bed.”

Frank startles and opens his eyes, surprised to see Mikey standing watching. He’s dressed in his sleep clothes, ratty sweat pants low on his hips, a blanket held around his shoulders and his glasses have slipped to the end of his nose. Mikey pushes them back with his finger, yawning as he takes shuffling steps closer.

In the short time he’s been awake Frank’s head has started to ache, and each breath is raspy as he sets down his coffee, knowing he’s not going to drink it. Frank rubs at his eyes and says, “I’m fine.”

“For a creature of the undead.” Mikey’s close but makes no attempt to actually touch, Instead he just looks, and then turns, grabbing Frank’s abandoned coffee before heading for the sofa. “It’s too early.”

“It’s after eleven,” Frank says, watching as Mikey takes the side with the exposed spring and grabs the control, switching on the TV. “And you shouldn’t drink that.”

“I thought you were fine.” Mikey tucks up his legs and starts to channel surf, stopping on an episode of Jerry Springer. Watching for a moment he announces, “It’s an episode about baby daddies, and I just used your toothbrush, I’m already exposed.”

“It was yours first.” Frank pushes himself up, his hand against the counter for balance. “Aren’t they all about baby daddies?”

Mikey points the remote at Frank and then back to the TV. “That and adultery, remember, we saw that one where the grandma cheated with her daughter’s husband and then married the dog.”

“I’d have married that dog, it was fucking awesome.” Frank drops down heavily next to Mikey, wheezing from walking the short distance. “I wouldn’t wear the dress, though.”

“Wasn’t it a boy dog?” Mikey’s opening and then tugging at his blanket, arranging it so it’s covering Frank too. “I suppose if you’re marrying a dog, gender clothing expectations are irrelevant.”

Cold, Frank shivers, pulling the blanket closer and tucking himself against Mikey’s side. It’s not the most comfortable of positions, Mikey too bony for actual easy lounging and the couch dips in the middle, throwing Frank off-balance. His eyes closing he rests his head against Mikey’s chest, knowing he needs to go out and get meds. But not yet, right now all Frank’s going to do is watch some TV, the arguments and screaming washing over him as he slips into sleep.

~~~~~

“Frank, you need to drink this.”

Frank groans, batting his hand toward Mikey.

“Open your mouth and then swallow.”

Mikey’s not going away, and there’s a feel of something against Frank’s lips, tablets and then a straw slipped into Frank’s mouth.

“Drink, Frank.”

Frank does, the water cool against the crushed glass that’s lining his throat.

Then he sleeps once again.

~~~~~~~

“Mikey?” Frank’s voice is little more than a rasp, painful to hear and feeling even worse when he actually speaks. His body aching and chest tight, Frank tries to wiggle out of the blanket, so hot that it feels like he’s burning.

“You’re awake.” Mikey kneels at the side of the couch, helping Frank get himself free. “You left me watching Jerry alone.”

Frank would say that he’s sorry, but he’s too busy trying to roll onto his side, stretching out as best as he can.

“I bought you your meds, Gerard came over and watched you so you didn’t die in your sleep.” Mikey throws the blanket over the back of the sofa and touches Frank’s face with the back of his hand. “You feel a bit cooler.”

Frank doesn’t feel cooler. He feels like he’s burning up from the inside, sweat-damp and miserable as he tries to sit up. “I’m sick.”

“No shit.” Mikey steadies Frank, ensuring he’s sitting upright “I got that cough medicine you like, and some tissues.”

Frank runs his tongue over his teeth, recognising the aftertaste of medicinal cherries. “You gave me cough medicine?”

“I poured some in your mouth,” Mikey says, perfectly blasé. “It was open so I took the opportunity.”

It’s all too easy to imagine what Frank would have looked like, his nose red and mouth open, and no doubt drooling. Wiping his nose on his hand, Frank watches as Mikey reaches for the remote and turns up the volume. “You’re dressed.”

“I am,” Mikey agrees. Still holding the remote he goes to the kitchen, coming back with two mugs held in one hand, his fingers through both of the handles. “I made you tea.”

Frank holds out his hand, beyond the point of caring if the mugs are dirty inside. “With honey and lemon.”

“Two squeezes of bear.” Mikey hands over the tea, and then sits next to Frank, perched on the edge of the couch. “If you’re hungry I bought soup.”

“Maybe later.” Frank takes a sip of his tea, enjoying the warmth and cloying sweetness

Getting himself comfortable, Mikey sits back, balancing his mug of coffee against one of his knees. “Your mom said to call if you’re dying, otherwise she’ll see you on Sunday.”

Frank’s eyes are heavy and he stifles a yawn, feeling sluggish and dry-eyed. “She called?”

Mikey nods. “This afternoon. I answered your phone.”

Frank inclines his head slightly, grimacing at the resulting dull ache. It feels like his brains are liquid inside of his head and he struggles to make sense of the time, sure last time he looked it was well before lunch. “It’s late?”

Mikey takes a drink of his coffee and then puts it down on the floor, taking Frank’s mug when he starts to let it list to the side. “Nearly ten.”

“You’re here.” That’s something else that doesn’t make sense, Frank vaguely remembering Mikey telling how he was meeting up with some guy. Not that Frank can remember who or where, just he knows Mikey shouldn’t be here now.

“I cancelled, told him something more important came up.”

Frank sniffs and wipes his nose on his hand. “You mean me, right?”

Mikey holds up his arm, letting Frank settle in close so they’re sitting in a clammy, over-heated, sweaty huddle on one side of the couch. “You and Jerry, and a fuckload of baby daddies.”

“No dogs?” Frank asks, watching the screen through his lashes, and then, “If I marry that dog you have to be bridesmaid.”

Mikey rests his hand on Frank’s arm, sounding serious as he says, “As long as there’s no butt bows.”

Frank smiles and closes his eyes.

~*~*~*~

Being sick means Frank’s been stuck indoors for too long. Even though he is feeling better it’s not enough that he’s ready to go out, not without his lungs wanting to explode from out of his chest. It means that Frank’s spending hours wrapped in a blanket and watching bad TV, and also thinking about Mikey.

Between Ray’s questions and Mikey playing nursemaid Frank’s got no idea what he’s feeling. Strike that, he knows what he’s feeling -- turned on, sexually frustrated, on the verge of humping the nearest warm object -- he just doesn’t know why. And that’s insane, the kind of insane like someone not knowing they’re pregnant until they’re in labour.

It’s all kinds of frustrating and Frank looks up when he hears a door slam and Mikey leaving his room.

“I’m going now.” Mikey’s dressed to go out, his hair styled and clothes tight, the studded belt that’s low on his hips catching the light as he pulls on his coat and starts to fasten the buttons. “I’ll text later, make sure you’re okay.”

“I’ll be here,” Frank says, settling more comfortably into the nest he’s made on the couch. By now he’s surrounded by two pillows and three blankets, the one close to his body stiffened with sweat. Frank’s also got the TV remote and his iPod and a pile of magazines and books, enough he could be reading for days, even if he didn’t keep falling asleep.

“I shouldn’t be too late.” Already wearing his hat, Mikey pulls on his gloves and under the layers of coat and impassive expression Frank can see how much Mikey needs to get out.

“Do you know where you’re going?” Frank’s not fishing, not really, except in the way he really fucking is.

“Not sure yet,” Mikey says, his hand on the door handle. “Somewhere, one of the clubs, and then I’ll see from there.”

“Have a beer for me,” Frank says, watching as Mikey waves and lets himself out.

When he’s gone Frank drinks in the silence, alone for the first time in days. The novelty makes him want to rip off his clothes and dance around naked, but the reality is even getting to the bathroom takes too much effort.

Frank sighs and leans back in his nest of pillows and blankets. But now they smell musty, from his sweat and Mikey’s and Frank should be swapping those out at least, or actually making that effort to get to the bathroom and a much needed shower.

Right now Frank feels all kinds of gross, deodorant only able to do so much against layers of dirt. Then there’s Frank’s hair which is lanky and greasy. He itches his head, digging in his fingers and pulls at his t-shirt, sniffing the pits.

Recoiling, Frank eases himself up, and slowly heads for the bathroom. Aware that standing up for a long shower is out of the question, Frank starts filling the tub, sitting on the toilet and trying not to see the hairs in the sink and the toothpaste that splatters the mirror. Which really, how the fuck does Mikey manages to do that each day?

What Frank wants it to sink into a tub full of scalding hot water and bubbles, but that’s not going to happen. Not when there’s no bubble bath to use and Frank’s wary of falling asleep and drowning. Improvising Frank squirts in a blast of shampoo, watching it bubble up in the water, and then starts to peel himself out of his clothes.

And peel is exactly the right word. Frank’s t-shirt feels like it’s starting to bond with his body and his sweat pants are stiff at the crotch. As for his boxers. Frank’s unsure if they’ll ever come clean and he throws them in the corner with the rest of the laundry, taking satisfaction when they land on one of Mikey’s t-shirts.

Almost naked, Frank lifts up each foot and breathes through his mouth as he rolls off his socks and drops them onto the floor, where they lie like two grey, toxic mounds. Frank’s sure if he looks closely he’ll see green stench lines radiating out from each one, so he kicks them both under the sink before climbing into the tub.

Immersing himself in the water, Frank sighs as he slips down. His head tucked between the bottles of shampoo and body wash and dried up bars of soap that never get used. Frank closes his eyes, reveling in feeling so warm and relaxed.

Not that it’s a state that lasts long. Waves lap against Frank’s chest as he pulls his hand through the water, groping for the sponge that seems determined to slip out of his grip. Corralling it close to his shoulder, Frank adds a squirt of body wash and starts to wipe over his stomach.

Instantly he shivers, his whole body tingling as he wipes away sweat and follows the crease of his groin. Using his thumbnail, Frank scrapes over his pubes and then draws the sponge gently over his dick and balls, wiping away days worth of sweat.

It feels like he hasn’t been touched like this in forever and within seconds Frank’s hard, the lethargy of sickness stripped back as Frank strokes his fingers over his dick. It’s a touch that’s more teasing at first, an intent of purpose and Frank’s not thinking of anything or anyone specific. Pulling up his knees, he lets them drop to the side, so they’re sticking out of the bubbled surface like two pale and scarred islands.

Frank makes a loose fist around his dick, lazily stroking, the water lapping against his arm. And it’s good, easy with a low level thrum that’s filling his whole body, cutting through the aches that still linger.

Frank moves his head when his neck starts to crick. A bottle of body wash that’s close to his ear topples, hitting his shoulder and dropping into the water. It’s some bottle that Mikey brought home after Christmas, a generic gift given by distant family and Frank’s heard about smell being linked to actual people, but that’s not happening here. Mikey hasn’t got a smell that can be tied down to anything artificial and kept in a bottle. In fact, Frank doesn’t think he’s got an actual consistent smell at all, and isn’t this just pathetic, Frank lying in the bath with his hand on his dick and thinking about how his best friend smells.

“Fucking rank,” Frank mutters, but that’s not actually true. Because as much as Mikey does smell of sweat and coffee and sometimes the sugary cereal he likes eating for breakfast, it’s a combination Frank likes.

“Fuck.” Frank tightens his hand and the lazy feeling of before is overlain with a sudden sheer wave of need. Everything is pulling in tight and Frank’s wrist slaps against the water as he increases the pace of his strokes, and all he can think about is Mikey.

Mikey tied to a bed, his wrists bound with rope and legs spread.

Mikey bent over their kitchen table, pants and underwear crumpled at his ankles and his head turned to the side as he takes in a ragged breath.

Mikey under Frank’s body, pliant and eager, urging Frank on as he thrusts in hard and deep.

The images blur together, and Frank’s panting, bracing himself with his knees as he drags his thumb over the head of his dick, more bottles falling as he jerks his head in response. Sliding his hand down, Frank palms his balls and keeps going, curling his fingers so only one’s pressing up close to his ass. It means Frank’s straining forward, his spine arched and he wishes he had more hands, or was out of the tub so he could use both without drowning. But Frank isn’t and he has to contend with just one, drawing in a sharp breath when he pushes inside and finger fucks himself slow and shallow, just enough that Frank’s legs are shaking, his whole body tense.

Sometimes, Frank can come from finger fucking himself only, but that always takes time and tonight he can’t wait, too needy for slow and steady. Frank needs hard and fast and he slips out his finger and brings his hand back to his dick.

It doesn’t take long after that. Frank’s grip is tight and he thrusts up with his hips, fucking his fist, water slopping over the side of the tub as he gasps and shudders, come spilling over his hand.

Spent, he lies back and looks over his body, where come is pooled on the water and sticking to Frank’s pubes. Lazily, Frank brushes it away, lying still as the bottles float around him.

~~~~~~

Frank falls asleep on the couch with a clean body, mostly clean clothes, and wrapped in the least dirty blanket.

When he wakes up it’s to find Mikey sitting beside him, crammed in to the small space where Frank isn’t lying. Mikey’s watching the TV without sound, light from the screen flickering over his face and reflecting over his glasses. When Frank moves, Mikey looks over and says, “Hi.”

“You’re home.” It’s a stupid statement because obviously Mikey is home, but Frank’s still sleep-soggy, yawning as he says, “It’s late.”

“Or it’s early.” Mikey looks at his watch and Frank’s eyes are pulled to the bruise half hidden under the strap, a match to the one that encircles Mikey’s other wrist. In the low light they look stark, dark circles with blurred edges. There’s no way to disguise what they are and Frank reaches out, compelled to touch.

“Cuffs?” Frank full-body shivers as he traces the bruises, imaging burst blood vessels just under the skin. “You played hard tonight.”

“I needed it,” Mikey says, and Frank takes note of his language, how it’s need and not want. “I ended up at some guy’s house. He paid for the cab.”

“Some guy?” Frank’s waking up fast, putting things together he isn’t sure that he likes. “Tell me you knew where you were going and what he was called.”

“There was a subway close by,” Mikey says, sounding unconcerned that he went home with a stranger. “I went with him, had a good time and then came back.”

“Are you crazy?” The question bursts out, Frank unable to understand what Mikey was thinking. “You don’t go off with strangers.”

“I’ve gone off with strangers before,” Mikey says. “I haven’t been killed yet, and I sent you a text.”

Frank reaches for his phone, where he left it sitting on the stack of his books. Going to messages he reads through his texts. “You think saying you’re okay and are going to some guy’s house is keeping yourself safe?”

“I’m here, aren’t I?” Seemingly unconcerned, Mikey sits back, watching as on the TV an old woman starts plucking a chicken. Frank pretends to watch too, the silence stretching out until Mikey says, “I’m always careful.”

Frank isn’t so sure. He’s seen Mikey going off with girls and boys, having fun in ways where he’s always the centre of attention. That’s just what he does, and this sex thing is just another element of that, one that Frank should be mocking. Instead he’s obsessing, thinking about the things Mikey is doing and who he’s doing them with. Strangers and casual pick-ups, people who’re not good enough for Mikey but still get to have him.

It’s frustrating and Frank has to admit to himself that deep down he’s jealous, wanting what Mikey’s been so freely giving away.

“Are you feeling sick again?” Mikey’s watching Frank closely, one hand wrapped around his wrist, hiding the bruising. “Do you want a drink?”

Frank needs to go to bed and get some sleep. That way he’ll wake in the morning feeling refreshed and clear-headed, unlike now when he looks at Mikey and just wants what he can’t have.

“Frank?” Mikey says, and he shuffles closer, looking concerned. “Are you okay?”

Mikey’s only inches away, his meticulous created casual look of earlier swapped out for bleary eyes and concern. It’s Mikey, but not the sexualised Mikey of Frank’s obsession, but that doesn’t matter. This is Mikey, and Frank still doesn’t know what he’s feeling, except right now, Mikey’s right there, and Frank makes an impulse decision. Grabbing hold of Mikey’s shoulders, Frank pulls him in close, hesitating a moment before moving in for a kiss. It’s not the first time, dares and stupid games have often resulted in Frank and Mikey locking lips, but not like this. This time Frank’s doing it with intent and he holds on, relaxing when Mikey opens his mouth in response.

Frank touches his tongue against Mikey’s, and they’ve done this before too, but always surrounded by people, most of them drunk and cheering them on. Now, in this quiet, dark room, Frank’s whole body is tingling and he feels unsteady when Mikey starts to kiss harder, his tongue in Frank’s mouth and hands on his back.

And it’s good, really fucking good and Frank doesn’t want it to stop. Except, every second that passes he’s regretting his impulse and it feels like he’s thrown himself off of a cliff. One where the inevitable ending is a painful crash at the bottom, unless Frank can grab hold of a branch and stop his descent.

Frank makes himself pull back, breaking the kiss and looking past Mikey, trying not to see his dawning confusion. “I’m tired. I’m going to bed.”

“Okay,” Mikey says, and is making no attempt to stop Frank from leaving.

Which is good. It’s just how Frank needs it to be.

Really.

~*~*~*~

Frank loves his band, and has for years.

It’s why this thing with Mikey can’t happen, because if it goes wrong Frank loses it all. His band, his friends, his dreams of going out and making a difference.

It’s what Frank tells himself as he lies in bed, on top of the covers and staring into space.

It’s too much of a risk - isn’t it?

~*~*~*~

In total Frank’s slept for at most a few hours. His eyes feel scratchy and his headache is constant as he crawls out of bed and stumbles to the bathroom. Inside he tries to ignore the laundry pile in one corner, and stares blankly into the toilet bowl as he pisses.

Making a mental notes that he needs to drink more liquids, Frank washes his hands and brushes his teeth, foam dripping out of his mouth as he scrubs. Minutes later – and he rinses his toothbrush and drops it back in the beaker with Mikey’s.

The two brushes are lying together, yellow against blue and Frank doesn’t know what he was thinking last night. He knows it’s going to be weird, but despite that, Frank can’t regret the kiss itself, which was too short but still awesome. It’s the repercussions that are the issue, and the fact that Frank’s allowed himself a taste of something he knows he can’t have.

Even thinking about it now makes Frank’s dick sit up and take notice, his morning wood back at full force. Not that Frank’s about to give it attention. His dick needs to learn that it’s Frank in charge, and that means no more jerking off while thinking about Mikey.

To show that, Frank heads for the kitchen, his hands in fists and nowhere near his crotch, and then stops dead when he sees that Mikey’s asleep on the couch.

It’s nothing unusual, they’ve both slept there often, especially at the end of nights out when the beds seem too far to walk. Normally Frank would leave him sleeping or take a flying jump onto Mikey’s stomach and tell him to fuck off to bed already so Frank can watch TV. Now, Frank just stands there watching.

It makes him feel like some kind of creeper, standing there staring and taking in how Mikey’s taken off his glasses, his face resting on his tucked up arms and his mouth slightly open. It means that he’s drooling, a patch of wet on his wrist and over the bruising.

Frank uncurls his hands and drops his arms as he takes a step closer. It’s a maddening compulsion, to see and to touch and Frank’s seconds away from rubbing one out right here while staring at Mikey as he sleeps. Which is wrong, so fucking wrong, and something Frank won’t let happen.

Frank looks away, and goes to the kitchen, knowing he needs to make a tactical retreat. Taking a breath before opening the fridge, and careful that his hand doesn’t touch the green mold that’s expanding over half of a shelf, Frank grabs a soda and the last slice of old pizza.

Supplies in hand he goes to his room, to eat and read and hope he hasn’t fucked everything up completely.

~~~~~~

Frank’s reading his book when his bedroom door opens and Mikey appears, looking more asleep than awake as he announces bleakly, “There’s nothing to eat.”

Frank touches the slice of pizza he’s got balancing on his knee, untouched except for one bite. “There’s pizza.”

“You’re a fucking prince.” Mikey leaves Frank’s door open and drops onto the bed, taking the slice from Frank. About to tear it in half, he stops when Frank shakes his head.

“You can have it.” Frank’s not hungry at all, especially now that Mikey’s here and all Frank can do is sit and wait for him to mention the kiss. Already it feels like some elephant in the room, and Frank’s reading the same line over and over as Mikey eats, his teeth crunching through the dried up crust.

“We should go to Matt’s later,” Mikey swallows, wiping his fingers on Frank’s sheet. “Or Ray’s, if you can go out without dying.” Mikey sits to the side, staring at Frank. “You don’t sound like Darth Vader.”

“The force is strong in this one,” Frank says, and takes a deep breath, feeling the slight crackle that remains deep in his chest. “We need to go to the store first.”

Mikey frowns and flops back onto the bed, one leg on the floor to keep him him place. “It’s freezing out there.”

“We need food, and toilet paper,” and countless other things that they always seem to forget. Frank closes his book over his fingers, using them to keep his page. “We should get gloves and clean out the fridge.”

“We’d need a hazmat suit to do that,” Mikey says, and he’s holding his hands in the air, peering at his wrists where the bruising has darkened. “They look badass.”

Frank agrees, but it’s not something he wants to discuss, especially when Mikey’s not mentioning the kiss. It’s like it didn’t happen and Frank hates the uncertainty, becoming even tenser the longer he waits for Mikey to actually bring it up. Except it seems he’s not going to, and Frank’s telling himself he needs to let it go already, that Mikey ignoring it is the best thing to do. But Frank’s not made that way, he needs to know and manages to wait for all of a few minutes then blurts out, “I kissed you last night.”

“I know,” Mikey says, and then, “I was there.”

One of the worst things about Mikey is deciphering his silences. Frank’s known him for years now and still has trouble at times, and right now Mikey’s so impassive that Frank wants to grab him and demand to know what he’s feeling. “That’s it?”

“What else do you want?” Mikey looks puzzled at that, his brows pulling together as he stares up and over at Frank. “It was only a kiss.”

Frank’s sure that Mikey doesn’t mean to sound so dismissive, but the fact is, he really fucking does. It’s feels like Frank’s been kicked in the gut, which is stupid as it’s not like he even wanted anything to happen between them. At the same time, he wants Mikey to feel something, no matter how small.

Frank looks at his watch, needing to get out of this room and distracted from his own tangled thoughts. “If we go now, we’ll catch Ray making dinner.”

“Okay,” Mikey says, and he’s watching Frank, as if he’s aware that there’s something he’s not saying. “The kiss, I...”

If Mikey says he liked it Frank’s going to lose it right here. Tacked-on reassurances are the last thing he wants and Frank stands, dropping his book onto his pillow. “I need to piss.”

Mikey sits, and watches Frank go.

~*~*~*~

One of the best things about meeting at Ray’s is he tends to have actual food. He’s also got heat, comfortable furniture and multiple gaming systems that circle the TV.

After his own apartment and his mom’s, it’s one of Frank’s favourite places to go to relax, and he starts to peel off his layers, shedding his coat and top hoodie. Already his hat, gloves and scarf are draped on a radiator, crowded against the ones that are lying there drying.

“Should you even be out yet?” Ray asks, hovering and watching Frank as if he expects him to collapse any moment. “Mikey said you were dying.”

“I said he looked like he was already dead,” Mikey corrects and right now he looks twice as bulky as normal, his arms barely bending as he starts to unfasten his coat. “He could have been an extra on Six Feet Under.”

“I didn’t look that bad.” Frank has to protest, because really, a corpse? “I’m the master of sick chic.”

“You’re the master of snot, puke and green gunk.” Mikey pulls at the sleeve of his coat, tugging it over his layers of hoodies, “I woke up one night and had a green tissue stuck to my cheek. It was fucking gross.”

“He threw it at you?” Ray asks, and really, Frank’s working himself up to be insulted, like he’d take the time to go throw snotty tissues at Mikey when he was feeling so sick. Not that it’s a bad idea and Frank makes a note to check for still-slimy specimens that lurk in his room.

Finally out of his coat, Mikey says, “I rolled onto it when I was sleeping.”

“You slept with him?” Ray gives Frank a significant look, while trying to conceal that from Mikey. As efforts go it’s worthy, but still, all it manages to do is make Ray look insane, and Frank’s stifling his laughter when Mikey replies.

“I was keeping him company, he gets lonely when he’s sick.”

Ray gives Mikey a dubious look. “You spent time with this diseased freak so he wouldn’t get lonely?”

“Yeah.” Down to his hoodies, Mikey holds his hands over the radiator, his palms held over the tiny gaps between gloves, hat and scarves. “I read and listened to him snore.”

“You’re a brave man,” Ray says, and heads for the small kitchen, “I was just about to start making dinner, but I guess you knew that already.”

“Really?” Frank says, his mouth twitching. Unlike Mikey. Whose expression never flickers, like they hadn’t spent the journey over discussing what Ray might be making.

“Want any help?” Frank figures he should offer. It’s not as if he minds cooking, especially when he’s not in danger of a mold monster exploding from out of the fridge. “I can chop vegetables.”

Hand on a cupboard door, Ray looks over his shoulder. “Are you going to try juggling with knives again? Because if so, no, I don’t need any help.”

“It looked easy on TV.” Frank examines the scar on one of his fingers and then takes a knife from out of a drawer. Brandishing it he says, “Bring it on.”

It turns out Ray was planning to make chili. Gathering ingredients he throws a bagful of onions at Frank and then takes a packet of soya mince from out of the freezer.

Frank grins and starts to peel the first onion. “You keep food for me.”

“I keep food for me, you just happen to be able to eat it,” Ray says, and puts two pans on his small stove. “So, how’s the situation with Mikey?”

Ray’s pitched his voice low, but still, Frank looks behind him seeing that Mikey’s claimed the easy chair and is reading something on his phone. Digging his thumb nail into the papery onion skin, Frank says, “I kissed him last night.”

“And....” Ray prompts, and Frank loves him right now, that he’s so obviously schooling his reaction until he knows how it went.

“And he said it meant nothing.” Which okay, isn’t what Mikey said exactly but it is what he meant and Frank blinks as the air is filled with onion fumes.

Ray moves to stand next to Frank. “That doesn’t sound like him. Was he drunk?”

Frank shakes his head and brings the knife down the middle of the onion. Separating the two halves he starts to cut one into slices. “He’d been drinking, but no. He just doesn’t want me.”

“He could have had you?” Ray sounds confused, and he glances back at Mikey and then brings his attention solely to Frank. “I thought this was a sex thing, you know, you getting off to what he’s been doing.”

“It is.” The knife clatters against the chopping board and more than anything Frank wishes they weren’t having this conversation. Especially here when Mikey could so easily overhear. “I thought it was, and then he was there and I wanted to kiss him. So I did.”

“The kiss that he said meant nothing,” Ray says, and then, “Did he know it was supposed to mean something? It’s not like you haven’t kissed before and you didn’t want him then.”

“He should have known.” Frank starts chopping, hating how Ray sounds so reasonable and keeps asking questions that Frank can’t answer. And yet he still isn’t getting the most important issues. “I need to get the fuck over it, nothing could happen even if he did want me.”

Ray opens his mouth, and Frank just knows he’s going to ask meaningless questions. It’s why he’s relieved when there’s a knock at the door and Frank takes the opportunity to leave and go answer.

~~~~~~

“I handcuffed Mikey to the bed once,” Gerard says, grinning as he looks over at Mikey. “We were playing space rangers and bandits. His bed was my home base.”

“So, last week then,” Matt says, and holds up his hand for a hi-five.

Frank obliges, leaning forward so he can slap Matt’s outstretched hand. It’s also a position that allows him to hide his face for a moment, taking time before he has to deal with Mikey talking about handcuffs yet again. And he will, that’s inevitable.

Not that Gerard is helping. Frank hasn’t got any brothers, but he’s sure they’re not supposed to be so interested in their sibling’s sex life. Except, it seems, if your name is Gerard, who has no issues in grilling Mikey on what he’s been doing.

Not that it’s any kind of surprise that he’s doing so. It’s just, normally Frank isn’t sitting dreading each detail, the worry of popping a boner ever present, even with the kissing disaster.

Mikey’s sitting on the couch next to Gerard, leaning against him so together they’re taking up all of the space. “He lost the key, Elena had to hacksaw me free.”

“It fell out of my pocket,” Gerard says, and he touches Mikey’s right wrist, fingertips at the edge of the bruising. “You’re being careful, right?”

It’s a sideways step to the conversation, Gerard going from nostalgia to serious in seconds and as far as Frank’s concerned neither is right to talk about now. Not that it’s stopping the Ways, who as always exist inside their own personal bubble, always aware of the people around them but their attention focused on each other.

There’s only one place this can go and Frank’s about to slide from the easy chair and claim the spare game controller when Ray makes like a ninja and gets there first. Sitting on the floor next to Matt he throws Frank an apologetic look and starts playing, leaving Frank to sit and pretend not to listen.

Mikey keeps his hand still as Gerard traces a line over his wrist. “I’m careful.”

Gerard seems to take that at face value, unlike Frank, who wants to protest that Mikey’s version of careful isn’t as good as it could be. Not that it would make any difference, when on occasion both Gerard and Mikey have the same issues with self care.

“Good.” Gerard takes hold of Mikey’s hands, putting them together and then wraps his fingers over both of his wrists, touching as much as he’s able. “You planning any more pictures?”

Mikey holds up his hands, says, “I don’t think so. It’s not really for me. Once was enough.”

Frank wants to sink into the cushions of his chair and never emerge, or go hide in the bathroom, or go eat the toxic rice and put himself out of his misery. Anything but sit here and have to listen to Gerard discuss Mikey’s photographs, which have to be the ones that Frank has in his room and still hidden in the back of his wallet.

Deciding on a tactical retreat, Frank pushes himself up and steps over Matt’s and Ray’s legs and then into the kitchen. Right now it looks nothing like the clean space of before, and Frank starts stacking dirty bowls, doing anything so he doesn’t have to listen to Gerard and Mikey.

It helps -- to an extent. Gerard’s voice tends to carry and Ray’s apartment is small so Frank can’t help hearing details, even when he’s trying to focus elsewhere. Like now, when Gerard says, “It makes sense, remember when you put that plastic bag over your head? I about had a fucking heart attack.”

Frank doesn’t want to know the context -- he doesn’t -- and grabs a soda from out of the fridge, rolling the cold can over his inner wrist. It helps cool him down, a little, and Frank concentrates on the roll and not the fact that Mikey and Gerard are still talking.

“I forgot about that,” Mikey says, and then, “I researched and it said someone’s hand was good, as long as you trust them.”

“That’s a fucking big but, Mikey,” Gerard says, and Frank thinks that finally Gerard’s reacting in the way that he should, even if he is apparently happy to discuss fisting with his brother. Though how the bag ties in Frank doesn’t know, and he’s puzzling over that when he looks over, and sees that Mikey has his hand wrapped around his throat.

It means he’s got his head tilted back, his fingers digging in at the sides of his neck and Frank lets the can go. It hits the ground with a thud, but Frank can’t look away from Mikey, who’s still squeezing his fingers as Gerard looks on.

“Move your hand to the left a little, it’ll be more effective,” Gerard says, as if he’s supervising some project and not Mikey sitting on Ray’s couch and apparently demonstrating auto erotic asphyxiation.

Mikey moves his hand, squeezes once and then says, “Yeah, that’s good.”

And all Frank can think of is Mikey’s been researching this shit. Probably on his computer while Frank was so sick. He could have been lying on the foot of Frank’s bed or at his side on the couch, reading up and practicing. It’s all too easy to imagine, Mikey’s fingers tight around his throat, his pants undone and jerking himself off.

At that mental image Frank’s almost instantly hard. Thankful he’s standing behind the counter, he tries to will his hard-on away, thinking about disgusting things like their laundry pile or the toe nail clippings Frank found on the floor. It doesn’t work, every disgusting thing Frank thinks about leading back to Mikey, and Frank feels all kinds of pathetic as he gives in and goes to the bathroom.

Initially he tells himself it’s only to hide. Just a few minutes for Frank to regain his composure and hopefully for Gerard and Mikey’s conversation to finish. Instead Frank’s barely through the door when he’s scrabbling with the button of his pants and belt buckle. As soon as they’re open Frank pushes them down to his ankles, and spits into his palms before grabbing hold of his dick, stifling a groan at that first touch.

Frank can see himself in the mirror that’s over the sink. His eyes wild and cheeks flushed, his mouth slightly parted as he starts to fist his own cock. Hyper aware of the sound of skin against skin, Frank increases his pace. He imagines fitting his hand over Mikey’s throat, fucking him hard while pushing down, cutting off his air.

It’s all too easy to imagine, but more than the sex, the way Mikey would feel beneath him, what Frank wants the most is that feeling of trust. He wants what Mikey’s giving so freely to strangers, and Frank takes stumbling, hobbled steps to the sink, needing support. His hand braced, he tightens his grip on his dick, working his hand and hips together, and with each shallow thrust the side of his ass impacts against the bowl of the sink.

Frank turns his head slightly, looking at himself in the mirror once more, and he’s should be embarrassed about how wrecked he looks, how desperate as he thinks of nothing but Mikey.

Mikey who’s on the other side of this wall. His wrists bruised and hair ridiculous, old stains on his t-shirt and a zit on his chin.

Frank wants him so much that it hurts, his chest tight as he looks away from the mirror and then down, watching as he fucks his own hand -- his dick red and hard, pre-come smearing Frank’s fingers.

Close, Frank lets go off the sink and brings his hand to his face, pressing the heel of his thumb against his mouth. His breathing ragged, he lists to the side, unsteady as climax pushes close, and then hits.

Frank bites down, his knees threatening to buckle as climax hits hard. Wet heat coating his fingers as Frank fights to stay upright and most important of all, silent, his whole body trembling as Frank takes a moment to just breathe.

~*~*~*~

Frank decides the only thing he can do is avoid Mikey. Not always, it’s not possible to do that, but as much as he can. It’s the only thing Frank can do and at first he thinks that it’s working. Almost a week and Frank’s down to two jerks off a day, and his dick’s feeling better, like it’s not attached to a Mikey-hair-trigger.

Of course, avoiding Mikey comes along with its own problems. Namely, Frank misses him like crazy. He’s used to them starting the day together and watching TV and putting the world to rights over coffee and takeout. Now they’re down to the basics, talking when it’s essential, but mostly Frank’s hiding inside of his room, or going out to see friends, thankful that it seems Mikey hasn’t noticed.

Until Frank realises how wrong that he is.

Sure that Mikey’s still sleeping, Frank slips from his room and heads for the kitchen. This early he expects it to be empty, but Mikey’s sitting at their small table, full mug in his hands and eating Fruit Loops from out of the box. When he sees Frank he says, “The coffee’s still fresh.”

“Okay,” Frank pours himself a mug, his back to Mikey, and all he wants to do is sit down and eat breakfast, the cereal box between them and taking turns to rummage inside it. It’s what they used to do before Frank turned into a raving sex maniac, and Frank misses that - a lot.

“If you tell me what I did I’ll try to fix it.” About to go back to his room, Frank freezes in place, gripping his mug hard when Mikey goes on, “If it’s the drain I’ll unclog it.”

Mikey’s voice is low and even but Frank can hear his confusion, and more than anything he wants to lie and say that it is the drain, or the fact the rice in the fridge seems to be reproducing tiny mold babies. They’re things that are minor irritations only, and Frank thinks Mikey will accept what he’s saying. Except, Frank’s tired of hiding away, and more than that, that he’s the cause of Mikey sounding so sad.

“It’s not the drain,” Frank’s still not looking at Mikey. He doesn’t think that he can, not now when he’s realising that he’s reached a point where the only thing he can do is spill all. “I kissed you.”

“And?” Mikey says, and just when Frank thinks that’s it, he adds, “We’ve kissed before. You didn’t ignore me afterwards then.”

“Those were different.” In multiple ways even, but Frank concentrates on the two most important. “Those were dares or kisses that just happened, this one wasn’t.”

Finally Frank turns around, and sees that Mikey’s staring right at him, as if trying to understand what Frank’s actually saying. “You planned it?”

“No,” Frank says immediately, then amends that to, “Sort of. I didn’t plan it but there was a reason.” And this is the big moment, when Frank has to reveal he’s been obsessed with what Mikey’s been doing. It’s jumping from kissing to sex and Frank’s stomach churns as he changes something that can never go back. “All that kinky shit you’ve been doing, I liked listening to it. A lot.”

Mikey makes some complicated gesture with his hand which is either stands for sex or the dance of a dying swan. “And by like it you mean....”

“I mean it fucking turns me on,” Frank blurts out, and then hesitates a moment, waiting for a reaction. But Mikey’s a master of the non-reaction, and all the words Frank’s been pushing back spill out in a gush. “Like, a lot. My dick about fell off these last weeks, and I’ve used so much fucking lube I should have shares in the company, and it’s all your fault with your stories and your pictures and I didn’t even know I liked that shit so much.”

“That’s all?” Mikey says, his expression never changing and sounding as if Frank telling him he finds Mikey sexually attractive means nothing. “You should have said something.”

Most of the time Frank loves that Mikey’s so calm and hard to rile up. It’s one of the reasons they get on so well, but sometimes it’s all kinds of frustrating. Like now, when Frank’s dropped his big reveal and Mikey’s sitting there looking like Frank’s told him they’re getting a different brand of cereal.

It’s obvious he’s not getting how big a deal this actually is, and Frank starts pacing, the soles of his feet peeling from the sticky floor with each step. When he’s paced the small space five times he stops next to Mikey and demands, “What was I supposed to say? ‘Hi Mikey, the thought of you getting spanked turns me the fuck on.’ Or that those pictures you showed me were some of the hottest things that I’ve seen.”

Frank’s expecting Mikey to ask why. Probably along with an eye roll that suggests that Frank not declaring sexual attraction was dumb. What he doesn’t expect is Mikey to say, “Those turned you on?”

Mikey sounds thoughtful, like Frank finding them hot wasn’t something he’d considered. And of course it wouldn’t be, because sometimes Mikey just doesn’t think. He decides to try new things and just goes out and does it, and then tells Frank the details. From a new bass that he’s thinking of buying or the friends he seems to make always and especially every part of his sex life, including things Frank never wanted to know.

Telling Frank is just part of the process, and it’s not Mikey’s fault that Frank latched onto these details. Needing more and building up his own fantasies like the creeper he is. Frank nods, and simply says, “Yes.”

Mikey puts his hand in the cereal box, pulling out a handful of O’s. Eating them individually, he crunches through two while looking at Frank. “You should come with me.”

“To your kinky sex club?” Frank makes it a question even though he’s already sure of the answer. Pulling out a chair he sits and takes an O from Mikey’s hand. “They’d let me in?”

Mikey curls up his fingers, hiding the rest of the O’s. “It’s not an official thing, just knowing the right people to talk to. So yeah you’d get in.”

Frank isn’t sure what to say. On the one hand, his traitorous dick is already showing that attending would be awesome, but on the other, it’s yet another jump, and Frank doesn’t know if he’s ready.

“It wouldn’t be weird me seeing you have sex?”

Mikey shrugs, looking unconcerned. “I don’t always have sex, and you’ve seen that before.”

“By mistake,” Frank says, remembering catching Mikey eating out some girl, his face wet as he looked up from between her spread legs and caught Frank watching. “This isn’t the same.”

“No it’s not,” Mikey agrees, and opens his hand, presenting the O’s to Frank. “But I think you’d like it, and it would stop you being all repressed and shit.”

Frank picks up an O and flicks it at Mikey, pleased when it lands in his hair. “I’m not repressed.”

“Whatever,” Mikey leans back in his chair, his legs outstretched and feet against Frank’s. “You’ve been avoiding me because of a kiss.”

That’s not exactly true, and Frank would protest that, but the facts are, he has missed Mikey this week, and now he knows how Frank feels, there’s no reason they shouldn’t go out.

It’s why Frank says, “Okay. I’ll go.”

~*~*~*~

It turns out that Mikey’s kinky sex club is an ordinary house on the outskirts of the city. It’s like every house party Frank’s attended before, people spilling out onto the street while inside the rooms are packed, the music just that little too loud and the air hazy with smoke.

Easing his way inside, Mikey waves and says hello to a fuckload of people, telling Frank names that he forgets in an instant.

“That’s Becka.” Mikey indicates a woman who’s sitting at the foot of the stairs, talking to the group who’re clustered around her. When she sees Mikey she blows him a kiss and Mikey grins in reply. “She’s the one that used her fingers and dildo.”

It’s the first reminder that this isn’t actually a normal house party, and Frank tries to get a good look at Becka, seeing if there’s anything about her that screams dildo-wielding-expert. Of course there’s not, and Frank’s being pulled forward by Mikey, his hand wrapped around Frank’s arm, keeping him close.

When they reach a patch of open space in the hallway, Mikey leans in close, says, “You thinking of trying it?”

Frank can feel his asshole tighten at the thought of anyone coming at it with something so big. Not that it means he’s not interested, just it’s something he’d watch and not take part in.

“Frank,” Mikey prompts, and Frank realises he hasn’t answered his question.

“Not that. I’d watch though.”

Mikey grins and keeps pulling Frank forward, somehow magically finding a way through the crowd in the doorway of the kitchen. When they’re through, Mikey grabs two beers from a cooler and hands one to Frank. “If you want to try voyeurism I know who to ask.”

“Fuck, no.” Frank doesn’t want that at all, and the thought of watching strangers have sex is leaving him cold. Spotting an opener, he takes the top off his bottle and swaps it for Mikey’s, doing the same for his.

“Thanks,” Mikey says, and takes a long drink, standing so close that they’re touching at arm and hip. “Whatever you want to try I can probably hook you up.”

Frank can’t think of a thing that he wants. The reality of this situation is nothing like his fantasies, and it’s concreting the fact that while Frank loved hearing the stories and found the details hot, the common element was always Mikey.

“Or if you want to watch me that’s good too.” Mikey takes another drink, scanning the room. “I usually play it by ear, see what I’m in the mood for.”

The thought of watching Mikey provokes some reaction. Not much, more the start of a slow burn of desire than any hot rush of fire. It’s enough that Frank scans the room, trying to work out how people actually hook up at all.

“How do you even know?” Frank asks, watching as a group of people head for outside. “About, you know?”

Mikey takes a drink of his beer, his head tilted back and his throat exposed as he swallows. “Word of mouth mainly,”

“It’s that easy?” Truthfully Frank’s been expecting the hanky code or walking into a place with people on leashes or steel rings attached to the walls. Not this kind of party he’s attended multiple times before. “I’m not going to see someone in a gimp suit or wearing a tail?”

“Not unless you go looking.” Mikey pushes himself up on tiptoes, looking into the hallway. “And it depends what kind of tail. I know where to go for a pony.”

Frank picks through the words, trying to work out just what Mikey is saying. “You’ve tried pony play?” It doesn’t sound like something Mikey would do, but then again, until recently Frank wouldn’t have said Mikey would do erotic photography or get off on being spanked.

Mikey shakes his head. “Not my thing, but I’d stick around if you wanted to try.”

“What?” Frank knows his mouth is still open, but he can’t seem to shut it as he stares at Mikey, wondering how they got from Frank mentioning tails to him becoming a pony. “I don’t want a tail shoved in my ass or to play being a pony.”

“You’d make an awesome Shetland pony,” Mikey says, his mouth curled up at one side. “I’d ride you.”

And that’s something that does get a reaction. Not the Shetland pony thing, which is just wrong and never going to happen. But the thought of Mikey riding Frank’s dick. It’s a mental image that hits hard and Frank takes a drink, hoping that Mikey hasn’t seen just how much Frank loves that idea.

“Huh?” Mikey says, and he’s blatantly staring at Frank’s crotch. “You really do like the pony thing. Want me to hook you up?”

“Fuck. No.” This is going too far too fast and Frank’s being reminded of the disadvantages that come along with having a best friend who’s accepting always, and apparently thinks there’s no kink too weird. “No ponies, no nothing like that. I’m just here to watch.”

“Okay, no ponies,” Mikey agrees, and for a moment he’s still, taking in the people who’re walking past and grabbing drinks from the coolers and ice-filled sink. “I know what you’ll like!” Frank’s heart jumps and he almost spills his beer when Mikey suddenly jumps into life, nearly hitting Frank in the face with his hand. “I saw Bean out there.”

His heart still racing, Frank stares at Mikey. “If you tell me that someone role plays as a coffee bean.....”

“No,” Mikey cuts in, and he’s grinning as he says, “Though that would be fucking awesome. He’s the guy who took those photos. Remember?”

Of course Frank remembers, but he’s not about to tell Mikey that each one is seared into Frank’s mind. “I thought you said you didn’t want to do that any more?”

Mikey pushes himself up from the counter and sets down his bottle, pushed back so it’s against a bright yellow toaster. “It’s nothing I need but I think you’d like it, and Gerard wanted more to keep.”

“You know that’s weird, right?” Frank has to make that point, even though by now he’s immune to any and all weird Way behaviour. “What’s he going to do, put them in the family album?”

“Mom wouldn’t care.” Already Mikey’s making his way out of the kitchen, and Frank’s got no option but to follow. “You’ll like Bean. He’s fun.”

Frank’s sure that he is. All of Mikey’s friends tend to be fun, but right now Frank can’t help wondering what he’s getting himself in to. Still, he keeps moving forward, weaving through the crowd after Mikey, who’s heading toward a man who’s claimed almost half of the couch.

“Bean, hey.” Mikey leans over the back of the couch, his head close to Bean’s. “You up to some photos tonight?”

Bean reaches up, his hand against Mikey’s cheek and kisses him square on the mouth. “You know I’m always ready for you, baby.”

Frank wants to throw up in his mouth, or punch Bean square in the face, especially when Mikey smiles, in the way that normally he keeps for close friends.

Mikey indicates Frank with a tilt of his head. “It’s okay if Frank comes and hangs? He wants to watch.”

For a long moment Bean studies Frank, then turns his attention to Mikey. “The Frank? He can even join in if he wants.”

“Frankie’s just watching tonight,” Mikey says, flashing a grin at Frank. “The usual place?”

Bean nods. “I’ll be there in ten, get yourself comfortable.”

Mikey stands and grabs hold of Frank’s wrist, holding on and heading toward the front of the house. At first Frank thinks that they’re going outside, but Mikey stops at a door and pushes it open. Stepping through, he flips a light-switch, revealing a steep set of stairs that creak when he puts his weight on the first step. “Bean’s studio is in the basement.”

Unsure what he’s walking into, Frank carefully heads down the stairs, gripping on hard to the banister. Half excepting red painted walls and shag carpet, Frank’s surprised when getting to the bottom shows nothing but an ordinary basement, one that’s set up with camera equipment and screens and a bed pushed into one corner. It’s the only thing that hints at anything sexual at all and Frank says, “So much for bow chica wow wow.”

“You were expecting horny plumbers coming to inspect leaks?” Mikey says, sounding amused. “Bean’s a professional, just he specialises in erotica and plays with that too.”

“And by plays you mean?” Frank asks, needing to prepare himself if he’s going to end up watching Mikey have sex with someone Frank’s seen for all of a few minutes.

Mikey walks further into the room, and more lights switch on further into the basement, including ones set up over a small kitchen and a series of blown-up black and white pictures, all featuring naked people, their faces hidden and bodies presented to the camera.

“This is what he does for fun.” Mikey’s stepped in front of one of the pictures that’s hanging behind one of the giant white screens. In it a woman is down on her knees, her head forward and hands tied behind her back, vulnerable except for the tilt of her jaw, something that suggests that she’s fully in control of the pose. “This is one of my favourites.”

Frank can understand why, and he stares at the picture, taking in details. Except, in his head Frank’s looking at Mikey. Imagining him mimicking the pose, the slope of his back and muscles pulled tight.

“Could you do that?” Frank asks, rushing out the words before embarrassment sets in. “For your picture.”

“I can try,” Mikey says, not hesitating at all. “It won’t look as good though.”

Frank can’t believe that at all, in fact, already he knows it’ll be better. “It’ll look amazing.”

“Every picture I take is amazing.” Bean’s voice comes from the stairs, and then Bean himself appears, striding across the studio and standing behind Frank and Mikey. Draping his arms over their shoulders he says, “What will look amazing?”

It’s Mikey who answers, saying, “Frank wants me to try and copy this pose.”

“Then Frank has exquisite taste.” Unexpectedly Bean presses a kiss against Frank’s cheek. “The camera loves Mikey, he just doesn’t understand that yet, but I suspect you do, yes?”

Thrown, Frank isn’t sure what to say, then goes for a version of truth, flashing a grin as he says, “He’s okay, not as hot as me though.”

“Narcissistic bastard,” Mikey says fondly, and Bean’s smiling as he claps them both on the shoulder and then straightens, heading for a series of shelves, each one holding a camera.

“Mikey, the robe’s in the same place, Frank, you can sit over there.”

Bean’s pointing to a chair that’s close to the bed, and for the first time since they came down here Frank’s feeling uneasy, suddenly reminded that he’s actually going to see Mikey naked, and in a situation that’s new and suddenly feels awkward.

Slowly, Frank walks to the chair, wondering what he’s supposed to actually do. Like, is he expected to sit here and jerk off while watching and what happens if he can’t even get a boner? Which would be ironic in the Alanis Morissette way when Frank’s spent the last few weeks getting hard at the touch of a breeze.

Not that Frank has much time to worry. It feels like only seconds have passed when Mikey wanders over in a short robe, and this Frank knows. Mikey with his weird knees and in-turned feet and the sleeves of the robe too short so his bony wrists are exposed, the bruising around them still dark but starting to yellow.

Frank concentrates on Mikey, who outwardly looks confident, but beneath that there’re hints of uncertainty. It reminds Frank of before their shows, where Mikey battles with his fear of the crowd, except here it’s just Frank, Bean and the camera who’ll be watching, so Mikey’s fear is dampened, but still apparent to anyone who knows him.

And Frank does, it’s why he says, “We can still go.”

“It’s okay, I want to do it,” Mikey says, and despite his nerves he sounds sure. “It just takes a while to get into the right mindset.”

Reassured, Frank looks past Mikey, to where Bean’s pulling a plain grey screen forward, so it’s hiding the bed. “You’re doing it there?”

“He looks good against a darker background.” It’s Bean who answers, each movement assured as he adjusts the screen, positions lights and lines up his cameras on a table. “If you want we can swap it up later, Mikey’s very accommodating to requests.”

Frank frowns, not liking the reminder that Mikey’s done this before, which is stupid because Frank knows all too well that he has. He has the jizz splattered evidence to show that hidden in his bedroom.

Mikey rests his hand on Frank’s shoulder. “If you want me to do something specific just say.”

Frank nods but he knows he won’t be asking. This has gone back to being too weird, and nothing like he was expecting at all. It’s too clinical and too structured and Frank’s wishing he’d refused to come here at all.

“Mikey, I’m ready.”

But of course it’s too late to run now. Frank sits frozen, unable to look away as Mikey slips off the robe and his glasses, putting them both on the chair next to Frank. And it’s not that Frank hasn’t seen Mikey naked before, he has, many times, but it feels different now. It feels strange and wrong and Frank wants to gather up the robe and cover Mikey up, hiding him from Bean who’s indicating a spot on the floor.

“Stand there, I’ll take some test shots.” Bean holds up his camera, and when he’s satisfied with Mikey’s position he starts to take a series of pictures, close-ups and longer shots as Mikey stands still, his hands clenched at his sides and back ramrod straight.

It’s a position that screams tension, and Frank’s on the edge of his seat, about to end this when Bean stops shooting and puts down the camera and says, “You look fucking beautiful as always.”

As a statement it sounds sincere, and Mikey relaxes, his shoulders dropping and hands uncurling. “And you’re a charmer as always.”

Bean grins, blowing Mikey a kiss. “Never said that I wasn’t,” then he turns to Frank and says, “Doesn’t your boy look pretty?”

Protective impulses dying down, Frank takes a moment to just look, taking in how Mikey’s standing and staring back at Frank, as if waiting for his answer. Which is one Frank’s unsure about giving, because even if Mikey does look good -- looks pretty even -- it’s not something Frank goes around saying, or admits to thinking.

In Frank’s world insults are a sign of deep friendship, but instinctively he knows that right now isn’t a moment for insults, and Frank opens his mouth and says, “Yeah, he looks pretty,” pleased when Mikey smiles in response.

“Okay people, I need to break up this moment.” Bean steps up to Mikey, fluffing up his hair at one side and then looks over to Frank. “You want him on his knees, yeah?”

Frank’s stomach clenches and his dick twitches and in his head he’s flipping off Alanis as he says, “Yeah.”

Without prompting, Mikey drops to his knees, always looking at Frank as if he’s checking for his reaction. Which isn’t how it’s supposed to be, this is Bean’s shoot, all Frank is supposed to be doing is watching.

“Well go on, he obviously wants your direction,” Bean sounds amused, his camera held at his side and somehow Frank finds himself standing, walking to Mikey.

A last look at Bean, checking he really is okay with Frank getting involved, and Frank rests his hand on Mikey’s back, gently urging him down. “Can you go lower? So your chin’s close to your knees.”

“Yeah,” Mikey says, and moves under Frank’s hand, folding himself forward until his back arcs, and his face is close to the floor.

It has to be an uncomfortable position, but it also presents Frank with the expanse of Mikey’s back, and he can’t resist touching pale skin, running his hand along the curve of Mikey’s spine, feeling the bumps. Stilling his hand, his fingertips over Mikey’s tailbone, Frank reminds himself he’s supposed to be duplicating the picture and says, “Your hands, clasp them behind your back.”

Instantly Mikey reaches behind himself, gripping his hands together, and Frank can see the strain on his joints, his shoulders pulled back and his whole body taut as Mikey tries to keep himself balanced.

“Yeah. Yeah, that’s it,” Frank says under his breath, and he drops to his knees, needing more access. Wrapping his hand around Mikey’s wrists, Frank pulls slightly, adding to the strain. “That okay?”

“Fine,” Mikey says, and he turns his head to the side slightly. “You can pull harder if you want.”

At first Frank isn’t sure why he’d want to, or even if he should be doing this at all as momentarily doubts push in, that this is Mikey, naked and down on his knees. It’s something Frank’s been imagining, and the reality is breath-taking, almost surreal as Frank starts to think how Mikey would look under his control, his hands held tight and unable to struggle. It’s not something Frank ever imagined wanting, but right now it seems right, and he pulls, watching Mikey’s reaction as Frank eases him up so Mikey’s kneeling upright and then tugged back so he’s leaning against Frank.

“Mikey,” Frank says, and Mikey’s body is heavy against Frank’s, his back arched and wrists held tight. Using his free hand, Frank drags his thumb over Mikey’s spine, going down and then stops, flattening out his hand so he can rest the flat of his palm over Mikey’s hip, and then over his stomach, holding him in place so he’s trapped between Frank’s hands and unable to move.

It’s control that could easily be broken, but Mikey’s making no attempt. Frank can feel him breathing, can hear the soft sounds that he makes as Frank slides his hand down, his fingertips brushing against coarse hair.

“Mikey,” Frank says again, and he’s so fucking hard, his dick aching where it’s trapped against his pants as Mikey turns his head from where he’s got it resting on Frank’s shoulder, and moves in for a kiss.

Responding eagerly, Frank pushes his tongue into Mikey’s mouth and Frank feels hot, his skin too tight and itching and all he wants to do is grind against Mikey. But all he can do is stay still, their position too precarious for much movement.

Taking what Mikey is offering, Frank deepens the kiss. He licks into his mouth and it’s like the control of their bodies is offset by this kiss which feels raw and untamed. Frank wants to taste, Mikey’s spit in his mouth and their lips jammed together, Frank tightening his grip on Mikey’s wrists, knowing his fingers have to be digging into the bruises, making Mikey gasp, his whole body shuddering and Frank takes the sound into his own mouth.

“Jesus Christ.” Bean’s voice cuts in and Frank’s reminded that they’re not alone. It’s something that should make him pull back, but all Frank does is open his eyes, looking challengingly at the camera. Bean keeps taking pictures as Frank slides his hand down and wraps his hand around Mikey’s cock.

And this is new, the feel of Mikey’s dick in his hand, hard and hot, and Frank loves the way Mikey’s breathing is ragged, groaning as Frank releases his hold and brings his hand close to his face, and spits into his palm.

Making a fist, Frank rubs his fingers together, coating his hand and then takes hold once again. And this is good, this is fucking good. Frank’s able to slide his hand over Mikey’s dick, jacking him slowly at first, and then faster when Mikey makes a sound deep in his throat, his breath hot against Frank’s cheek.

It’s encouragement to speed up, and Frank tucks his head against Mikey’s shoulder, bracing himself as he strokes harder, feeling strung out, his whole body trembling as he feels Mikey tense, and Frank knows that he’s close, and it’s Frank that’s going to push him over.

Relentless, Frank keeps up his pace as he pulls on Mikey’s wrists, timing perfect so when Mikey cries out, Frank bites, sinking his teeth into the join of his neck and shoulder. Mikey spilling over his hand, and pulling Frank right after.

~*~*~*~*~

In the time they’ve been roommates Mikey and Frank have arrived home together multiple times.

They’ve come home drunk and spent far too long trying to get their keys in the locks. Sober and carrying paper bags full of groceries that get left on the counter for days. Frank’s bodily hauled Mikey inside when he’s drank to excess and been bodily hauled back inside himself.

It’s what they do, have been doing for months now, except they’ve never come home like this. When Frank’s got a packet of photographs in his hand and enough mental images to fuel his fantasies for years.

He’s also got a problem, in that Frank doesn’t know where he stands. There’s no readily available etiquette for what to do when you’ve just had sort-of kinky sex with one of your best friends. It’s a gap in the market Frank thinks has to be filled, because right now he needs some guidance, a 101 of ‘So you’ve just jerked someone off on camera, what now?’ type of thing.

Frank suspects they should be having some kind of talk, because what they just did was big -- huge even -- but the idea of a talk is freaking him out. Inevitably he’ll end up admitting what he’s been doing, which will lead to how that’s evolved into actual feelings for Mikey, and Frank’s not sure he’s ready for that. Especially when Mikey is acting like nothing has changed, like Frank didn’t have hold of his dick only a few hours before.

Mikey takes his keys out of his pocket, unlocks the door, and pushes it open. Going inside he turns on the lights and takes off his coat, hanging it up on the nail as he says, “You need to stop thinking so hard.”

“You don’t know what I’m thinking,” Frank says, and pushes his way past Mikey, kicking the door shut with his foot. If he does so a little too hard then that’s all Mikey’s fault, for being some kind of mind-reading Professor X, just his thing is kinky sex and not championing mutant rights.

“You’re thinking of what we just did.” Mikey tugs off his hat and gloves, throwing them onto the radiator in a wet, messy pile. Leaving his scarf draped over his neck, Mikey takes hold of one end and nonchalantly wraps it around his wrist. “I know you liked it.”

“Of course I liked it.” That’s something that was never in doubt. Frank’s a young guy, even before this whole situation he enjoyed having sex, and that included the kind with his own hand. So having sex with Mikey was awesome, fucking awesome, and now that Frank’s tasted the reality he wants even more.

Much more in fact, hand jobs and blow jobs and frantic fucking, but also mornings spent in bed, with long, drawn out make-outs followed by hours making love.

Which, the fuck? Frank’s turning into some kind of sappy romantic, if he’s not careful he’s going to end up buying candy and flowers and that can’t happen. It’s not going to happen because Mikey’s gross, he cuts his nails in front of the TV and pops zits at the breakfast table and spends whole nights watching gory movies.

So yeah, no candy or flowers, but maybe a packet of gummy worms before lounging in bed for hours, or at most, a mug of coffee in bed in the mornings.

“I knew you’d like it.” Mikey starts unwinding the scarf, and itches at his wrist, nails scratching over the bruises. “You’re a natural at directing.”

His thoughts of lazy mornings in bed interrupted, Frank puts down the packet of photographs and takes off his coat, hanging it up next to Mikey’s. “It can be my back up career if the band doesn’t work out.”

“It’ll work out,” Mikey says instantly, and then, “You’d make a good porn director, you’ve got the right eye.”

Frank isn’t sure if having the right eye for porn is necessarily a compliment, but he takes it as one anyway. Considering, he takes off his own gloves and hat, spreading them out to dry and then does the same to Mikey’s. “We could make it a band thing, I’d direct, Gerard could be set dresser, Ray could film and Matt do sound.”

Mikey blows onto his cupped hands, mist from his breath flowing through his fingers as he asks, “And what would I be doing?”

“You’d be a fluffer.” Frank grins, pleased with his choices. “You’d be playing with dicks and not bass strings.”

“We could call ourselves, My Coitus Romance,” Mikey says, as if he’s giving the idea serious thought. “We should do tentacle porn, or something with robots. Or even....”

“Robots with tentacles,” Frank finishes Mikey’s sentence, knowing exactly where he was going. “A robotic tentacle or some kind of hybrid?”

Both sound amazing to Frank, and he’s picturing some kind of transformer complete with writhing metallic tentacles when Mikey says, “Hybrid I think, it would feel better going in, and could organically grow inside of you.”

Instantly Frank’s thrown from thoughts of My Coitus Romance to something much more immediate and personal. Wanting to groan, he curses his traitorous dick and picks up the packet of photographs, needing the privacy of his own room. “I need more layers, it’s fucking freezing in here.”

It’s an abrupt end to the conversation but Frank needs to make a tactical retreat, and a few steps later he’s safe in his room and preparing to regroup. Closing the door he stands still, listening to Mikey. His footsteps as he walks to the kitchen where he opens the fridge, no doubt drinking out of the juice carton, and then back to his room.

“This is fucking ridiculous,” Frank says softly, because really, now he’s getting turned on by robot tentacle porn? Or more specifically, the thought of Mikey being fucked by a tentacle, one that expands inside and fills him up until he’s groaning and clenching around it. It’s Mikey added to hard-core yaoi and Frank’s including his own details, a giant robotic hand holding Mikey down while thin tentacles encircle his neck, wrists, ankles and dick, his legs spread wide as the main tentacle works its way inside him.

The impulse to touch himself is immense, Frank wants to shove down his pants and jack off, fast and furious as he imagines Mikey being fucked by that robot. “Seriously, a sexual deviant,” Frank says to himself, and he wants to bang his head against the nearest hard object even as he’s rubbing his palm over his pants, creating just enough friction to stave off the need to fuck his own hand.

Not that Frank’s hard-on is going. He’s all too aware that Mikey’s only a room away, and Frank brings up his hand, sniffing his palm. By now any scent of Mikey has worn away, but the sense memory remains, enough that Frank’s heart is speeding up even more, thumping rapidly as he takes stumbling steps back and sits on the bed.

Landing heavily, Frank stares at the wall that separates his room from Mikey’s, and tries to work out his next step. The most important one being, to ask Mikey what just actually happened, and more than that, if it means something, because finally Frank’s admitting to himself he wants it to, very much so.

Telling himself to stop being a pussy and ask Mikey soon, Frank jumps when his door is suddenly pushed open, and Mikey appears, announcing, “It’s cold.”

“No shit,” Frank says. Reminded how cold it actually is he grabs a hoodie from off of the floor and pulls it on, glad that it falls over his lap.

In the few minutes he’s been gone Mikey’s changed, wearing old, frayed sleep pants and a hoodie that once was Gerard’s. Sitting next to Frank, Mikey picks up the packet of photographs and opens it up. “You looked at these yet?”

Frank shakes his head. While he caught glimpses when Bean emerged from his darkroom, grinning as he flicked through the photos, Frank hasn’t examined them himself. There was no time to at the tail end of the party and he wasn’t about to look on the way home.

“We should look.” Still holding the packet, Mikey moves to the head of the bed, sitting so he’s resting against the wall, a pillow at the small of his back. Wiggling in place, he shoves his feet under the covers, pulling Frank’s blanket up over his legs.

“Comfortable?” Frank asks pointedly, but already he’s rolling over the bed, planning to sit next to Mikey. It’s not something they do often, the couch perfectly adequate for watching TV, but sometimes it’s too cold and even the space heaters struggle to cope. When that happens it’s cost efficient to stay in bed and save on the heating. It’s just something they do, something that feels natural as Frank elbows Mikey, making him shuffle over and give more room.

“How much room do you need?” Mikey grumbles, sliding over as Frank gets under the covers. “You’re a fucking space hog.”

Unrepentant, Frank spreads his legs as much as he can. “Suck it up, it’s my bed.”

Mikey rests his legs over Frank’s, so his calf is crossed over Frank’s ankle. “Your bed’s more comfortable.”

“That’s because my sheets don’t feel like cardboard. If you washed yours.....” Frank trails off, any thoughts about laundry gone when he sees the photographs that Mikey’s started to spread out. “Holy shit.”

Frank can hardly believe what he’s seeing. Apparently Bean didn’t stop taking pictures when Frank got involved, and now the bed’s covered in a series of pictures that start with Mikey but end with them both. It’s erotica spread out and there to be examined and Frank looks at himself, moments frozen in time where Frank’s every emotion has been captured and shared.

“I like this one.” Mikey’s finished spreading out the photos and he touches one that’s positioned close to his foot. It shows Mikey on his knees, and Frank crouched beside him, his hand resting against Mikey’s back. It’s a picture that’s all lines, shadows and contrasts, Mikey a compelling mixture of both strong and vulnerable where he’s positioned next to Frank, who remains fully clothed.

“This one is fucking awesome, too.” Mikey touches a new photo, and this one is closer, enough that Frank can easily see every detail. The look on Mikey’s face, his eyes squeezed shut and mouth open, caught in a gasp for breath, The sharp angles of his shoulders where they’re pulled back and then down to Frank’s hand, the head of Mikey’s dick peeking through the curl of Frank’s fingers. Compared to some of the photos it’s not that explicit, but what it does have is trust.

It’s rare that Frank sees Mikey so unguarded, his every shield pulled down and his trust in Frank implicit. It’s dizzying to see and as much as Frank’s turned on -- and he is, enough that one of the photos on his lap is tilted onto its side -- that’s secondary to the feeling of love. Not the bone deep romantic kind, but something that means just as much.

“You look amazing,” Mikey says, and his shoulder brushes against Frank’s as he adds, “I’m glad you joined in.”

“Me too,” Frank replies instantly, but doesn’t look up, still fixated on the photos. When he gets to one of the last, where Mikey’s grinning and Frank’s holding up his hand, come dripping from his fingers as he threatens to scrub them in Mikey’s face, Frank says, “You still showing these to Gerard?”

For a long time Mikey doesn’t reply, and finally Frank looks up, and finds Mikey’s staring directly at him. “Maybe the test shots, but not the others.”

Frank can’t help feeling relieved. These photographs are special, and he wants to keep them that way, “Probably for the best, I don’t want the fucker critiquing my hand job skills.”

Mikey leans back, laughing as he says, “You need to let that go, he was only trying to share tips.”

“I didn’t need tips,” Frank says, and settles so he’s leaning against Mikey. “Especially from Gerard.”

His laughter fading, Mikey’s mouth remains curled into a smile. “He’s a good kisser.”

“I don’t want to know,” Frank says, stopping this before it descends into yet more Way insanity. “Your family is fucking weird.”

“You’re weird,” Mikey counters, and then unexpectedly, “You really liked tonight?”

“Yeah.” It’s something Frank can say for sure. “I loved it.”

“Good,” Mikey says, and doesn’t smile at all.

~*~*~*~

When Frank wakes up his hoodie has worked its way up, bunched under his arms. He’s also still wearing his jeans and they seem to have shrunk overnight, digging in at the crotch. Groaning, he wipes sweat from his forehead and rolls out of bed.

His eyes still closed he unfastens his belt and peels off his pants and hoodie, throwing them to one side. Scratching at his balls and ass, he pulls his boxers out of his crack and then crawls back under the covers.

Where Mikey’s still sleeping, unmoving as Frank fits himself around him.

~~~~~

The second time Frank wakes he’s plastered against Mikey’s back, Frank’s face pressed against one of Mikey’s shoulders. Realising he’s been drooling, Frank rubs his mouth on a dry patch of hoodie and then lies still, basking within the warm blankets.

As mornings go it’s already a good one and Frank yawns, minutely moving his hips. It’s enough to drag his dick over skin, Frank’s boxers gaping open and Mikey’s hoodie and t-shirt hitched up.

Abruptly, Frank’s completely awake, his heart speeding up and his dick wanting attention, which it’s not going to get. As much as Frank wants to, he’s not about to rub one out against Mikey’s bare back, that would be all kinds of skeevy and even if Frank is a sex maniac, he does have some lines.

Not that those lines are helping right now. Hating his morning wood and his torturous brain that seems to think grinding against Mikey would be the best thing ever, Frank eases himself back. The plan being, Frank gets out of this bed and goes for a cold shower, or to tackle the mold monster, or anything that doesn’t involve lying here like a huge creeper.

Of course, planning and doing are two different things, and Frank can’t seem to make himself move. Hoping for sleep, or some kind of divine intervention, like Gerard unexpectedly calling or the roof falling in, Frank closes his eyes, and seconds later has hold of his dick.

It’s a compulsion Frank can’t seem to resist, and he gives an experimental rub, hissing in a breath at the resulting jolt of sensation.

Momentarily Frank examines his options, wondering if jerking off would be okay if he doesn’t actually touch Mikey at all. But Frank knows it isn’t, not really. It’s not like in the van, when privacy is unknown and rubbing one out a matter of stealth and pretending no one can hear, even if they’re mere inches away.

This would be Frank masturbating thinking about Mikey, when he’s right there sleeping, and that’s a huge difference. Enough that Frank’s about to roll out of bed when Mikey says, “I’m awake.”

Or at least, mutters it, the actual words barely distinguishable, enough that Frank’s not sure if Mikey’s awake at all. For all Frank knows he’s talking in his sleep and having some kind of dream conversation about waking. Which would make sense because Mikey doesn’t willingly wake this early, especially when they’ve got nothing planned to do.

Frank moves in closer, angling his body so he’s not spearing Mikey’s back but is able to look at his face. “Your eyes are closed.”

“Still awake,” Mikey says, and while his words remain unclear, his action says everything when he rolls so his ass is nestled against Frank’s crotch. “I don’t mind.”

Frank can barely believe what’s just happened. His dick nestled against Mikey’s ass is like the perfect combination. If he were a better person Frank would be asking if Mikey’s sure of what he’s offering, but Frank’s only human, and Mikey’s ass is just there.

Not that Frank’s about to fuck him, that would be going too fast, but some dry humping sounds awesome right now. But first, Frank needs less sweat pants and more skin, though actually stating that feels awkward, like Frank’s fifteen again and asking Amanda Kirkwood if it’s okay if he touches her tits.

“Can I?” Frank hooks his fingers over Mikey’s waistband and pulls, hoping to ask what he wants without words.

“Yeah,” Mikey says, and he sounds sleepy, pliant as Frank tugs and arranges until he’s got his dick just where he wants it. And this is new, different to the night before which was all about impulse and show. This is Frank pushing up close to Mikey, intimate in ways that are leaving him shaky, sweat beading at his forehead and at the nape of his neck. Frank places his hand on Mikey’s sharp hipbone, using it for balance as he slides his hips forward, his dick dragging against skin.

A drag that’s almost too much at first, but Frank’s too turned on to stop, being careful until pre-come and sweat smear together and he curls his fingers, digging them in as he holds on. He needs the contact, because this should be ridiculous with Mikey mostly dressed, and Frank rucking against him, but it’s not at all. Frank’s so turned on he knows he’s not going to last and that makes his thrusts awkward, his dick slipping and Frank’s better than this, except when he isn’t and it feels like he’s over-heating, his boxers clinging as he presses his forehead against Mikey’s back, breathing him in.

Which is all Frank needs to push him over the edge, any thoughts about giving a warning washed away when he comes, abruptly and hard.

Panting, Frank lets his body drop forward, his dick trapped between his body and Mikey’s. He can feel wet heat against his stomach and Frank’s whole body is tingling, his breath hitching as he reaches over Mikey, reaching for his cock.

“Let me help,” Frank says, realising that Mikey’s been jerking himself off. Frank wraps his hand over Mikey’s, their fingers fitting together easily, Mikey’s strokes languid in counterpart to Frank’s frantic rutting of before.

It feels good to do this together and Frank loves the breathy sounds Mikey’s is making, the way his breathing stutters as he starts to get close. Frank keeps up the pace, matching any change easily as they work together, Frank tucking his head against Mikey’s neck, feeling the throb of his pulse, the hitch in his breathing as Mikey comes without making a sound.

For a long moment they keep their fingers linked together, until Mikey rolls back slightly and grabs a handful of sheet, rubbing it over his stomach and hand.

“I’d have gone for a towel,” Frank says, but can’t bring himself to actually care, not when he’s feeling so relaxed and right with the world.

“Now you don’t need to.” Mikey keeps moving, spooning against Frank and apparently unconcerned that his back is still covered in Frank’s come. “It’s too fucking early.”

Frank drapes an arm over Mikey, holding him close as he closes his eyes and says, “Yeah, it is.”

~~~~~

As after-sex naps go this one was perfect, even though Frank has to peel himself away from Mikey when he finally wakes up. It’s not exactly pleasant, even if they haven’t stuck together Frank’s been left with a belly and dick that feels slimy, and he’s covered in sweat, both his own and Mikey’s.

As much as he’s tempted to stay lying in bed, Frank needs to get up, his bladder on the verge of bursting and his stomach growling. Giving into impulse, because apparently he is a sappy romantic, Frank presses a kiss against Mikey’s shoulder and then crawls out of bed.

A few minutes and he’s standing over the toilet, directing his stream of piss at the disinfecting rim block that’s been empty as long as they’ve lived there. When he’s finally done -- which takes a fucking long time -- Frank washes his hands and heads for the kitchen.

It’s the usual disaster. Dirty dishes stacked on the counter and for some reason, a plastic Batman standing holding a spork. Eyeing Batman, Frank debates trying to fit more dishes into the sink, but quickly realises it’s not going to happen. Already it’s full, scummy water close to the edge and Frank grimaces as he plunges his hand into the water, feeling for the plug.

Finally finding the chain, Frank pulls, watching as the water slowly drains away and exposes greasy plates and what looks like the contents of their cutlery drawer. It leaves Frank with two choices, he can either leave this for Mikey and it’ll never get done, or Frank can make the effort and wash things up now. Neither are appealing options, but Frank’s too cheerful this morning to focus on the small things, and he dries his hands before turning on the space heaters, sets the coffeemaker going and slowly approaches the sink.

It’s Frank versus the dishes and he makes the first move by squeezing on a blast of detergent. Leaving the hot water running, he fishes out the sponge from the slime in the bottom and rinses it under the tap. As hygiene practices go it’s not ideal, and Frank would hate to see what germs are breeding inside of this sponge, but it’s all that he’s got, and, dressed only in boxers and his t-shirt he goes into battle.

Ultimately, it’s a battle Frank wins, but not without casualties. He’s got a scratch on his knuckle from the tine of a fork and his hands are all gross and puffy, feeling waterlogged as he stacks the last plate. As stacks go it’s impressive, and Frank knows he should dry and put them away but already the front of his t-shirt is soaked and he smells like stagnant water with a top tone of lemon.

All Frank wants is to go and get showered, and at least the kitchen looks better, if not actually clean. Throwing the sponge into the sink, he makes for the bathroom, looking in the mirror while waiting for the shower to heat up.

Frank doesn’t know what he’s expecting to see, some sign that he got laid or that things are coming together. What he does see is someone who, despite the smell and puffy hands and matted pubes that keep catching, looks happy.

As opposed to Mikey, who’s appeared in the doorway, and looks more dead than alive.

“Hey,” Frank says, but makes no other attempt at conversation. There’s no point when Mikey’s still operating on a non-verbal level and is making his way to the toilet on what has to be instinct alone.

Frank steps to the side, not wanting to be caught in a miss aim and hesitates a moment before starting to take off his clothes. He has to admit, it still feels a little weird, but he’s got dried spunk on his belly and has had his hand on Mikey’s dick twice in the last day, that has to mean Frank’s allowed to get naked while they’re both in close quarters.

Boxers kicked onto the clothes pile, Frank’s half hard as he sticks his hand in the spray and checks the temperature. It’s tempting to pay attention to his dick, a short stroke to say good morning, but Frank suspects that’s too forward. Mikey could think that Frank’s hinting, and even though he wouldn’t say no to more sex, he doesn’t actually need it right now. Especially when Mikey’s got his eyes closed and is so still and morning-pale it would be more like necrophilia.

So no, hand jobs or blow jobs aren’t going to happen just yet, but that doesn’t mean they won’t later.

With that awesome thought in his head, Frank waits for Mikey to flush then steps into the shower.

~~~~~~

“It needs to go, I think it’s grown again.” Frank peers into the fridge, the door held in one hand in case he needs to slam it shut fast. Inside the mold has gained in size, Frank’s sure of it, and he suspects the tomatoes he has in there are doomed.

“We should ask Ray.” Mikey’s sitting at the kitchen table and eating cereal from the box. Putting an O on the end of his finger he flicks it toward Frank, missing him completely. “He’s good at that shit.”

It’s not a bad idea, Ray’s proved handy at unblocking drains and helping Frank put up curtains, but he suspects Ray will draw the line at actual cleaning. Still, they could offer a bribe, Frank’s got a packet of gummy worms stashed in his room, and he’s sure Mikey’s got chocolate in his.

“Gee wants to meet up anyway,” Mikey says, cereal crunching as he scoops out another handful. “We could tell them to come here.”

“A sneak attack, I like it.” Frank slams the door shut and considers the plan. “Ray’s badass, he’ll take it down.”

Mikey nods, his faith in Ray immediate as always. “Fucking badass, and Otter can provide extra muscle.”

Frank holds up his hand and slaps at Mikey’s, catapulting little Os all over the table. “It’s a plan. You should call them and tell them to come here.”

“Already have.” Mikey holds up his phone and Frank sees that somehow he’s been eating while texting with his left hand. Which should be impossible and Frank plucks the phone from Mikey, checking to see if he actually has been sending a message.

It seems that he has, and Frank gives the phone back and says, “What if I’d said no?”

“You wouldn’t have.” Mikey sounds completely confident of that and holds the cereal box toward Frank. “You should eat breakfast, Jerry’s coming on soon.”

“Or I could eat while watching Jerry.” Frank grabs hold of the box and heads for the couch. “We’re rock stars, I can eat watching TV.”

“You’re rock and roll,” Mikey says, and brings up his hands in the shape of two horns. “You should throw the TV out of the window.”

Frank considers, but says, “I’d have to check outside first, I don’t want to hit anyone on the head.”

“And you’d have to wait until after Jerry,” Mikey says, staring at the TV. “And there’s a monster marathon on tonight. Maybe do it after that.”

Frank throws himself down on the couch, taking the side without spring. “So I’m doing it tomorrow.”

“As long as there’s no-one walking by at the time,” Mikey says. Sitting, he brings up his legs and pushes his feet next to Frank’s thigh. Frank reaches down, nipping at Mikey’s toes that show through his holed socks.

“These are disgusting.” It’s something Frank says often and he fits his fingers into the hole, tugging at the few hairs he can feel. “Hairy-toed freak.”

“It’s you that’s the hobbit,” Mikey says easily, and grabs the remote, turning on the TV. “Short, hairy feet, eating a second breakfast.”

“I don’t have hairy feet,” Frank protests. Taking an O out of the cereal box he holds it in the air and says, long and drawn out, “My precious.”

A moment and then Mikey’s laughing, falling against Frank who can only maintains his serious hobbity expression for only a few seconds before he’s laughing too.

~~~~~~

As days go they’ve done nothing special. They’ve watched TV and eaten take out and wandered down to the store to buy some essentials. Now there’s food in the cupboards, beer in the fridge and Frank’s back on the couch, his belly full and feeling content with the world as he listens to Mikey move around in his room.

Frank isn’t sure what he’s actually doing, but when he’s finished Frank’s thinking some making out would be good. It seems like the perfect thing to do right now, while they’re still figuring out what they’re doing and Frank’s working out how to breach that gap of going from friends to something more. So yeah, some watching TV alongside some kissing will be an awesome end to this day.

Hearing Mikey come out of his room, Frank shuffles over, then stops moving when Mikey says, “I’ll see you later.”

Frank stares, trying to understand what he’s seeing, where Mikey’s obviously dressed to go out. “You’re going out?”

Mikey takes his coat off the nail and starts to wrap up, covering his tight t-shirt and carefully pulling a hat over his styled hair. “I’m meeting up with Jenna, she’s the one that likes to use cuffs.”

“You’re going to another party? I thought.....” Frank trails off, because he obviously thought wrong, and this is already bad enough, the last thing he wants is to prove how much of an idiot he actually is.

“It’s not a party, I’m going to her house.” Mikey picks up his scarf and starts to wind it around his neck. When it’s positioned just right, he pulls on his glove, taking a moment to run his fingers over the bruising that still circles his wrist. Suddenly, he looks over at Frank, as if struck by some thought. “Do you want to come? I’d have to ask but I’m sure she won’t mind. You’ll like what she does, she’s good to watch.”

Frank wants to sink into the cushions, unable to believe that he’s got things so wrong. It feels like there’s something lodged deep in his chest and the last thing he wants is to watch Mikey get it on with someone else. Frank shakes his head and holds up the remote and uses it to point at the huge bowl of popcorn that he’s put on the floor. “I’ve a date with the TV tonight.”

Mikey pulls on his second glove and grins. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

“Yeah, like that leaves a lot,” Frank says, and can do nothing but watch as Mikey leaves the apartment.

~*~*~*~

Frank tries not to sleep on the couch too often. While it’s possible to do so it’s just a little too short to stretch out, but last night it was just easier to stay there, to fall asleep to the sound of the TV. It feels like he’s only been sleeping for all of a few hours when Frank hears something crash close by, he wakes abruptly and groans, his legs aching and heart thumping as he starts to get up.

“Mikey?” Frank shivers as he stands, the heating barely touching the plunging temperature of early morning. Scrubbing his hands against his eyes, Frank steps over the still full bowl of popcorn and walks into the kitchen, and sees Mikey filling a glass of water, the stack of clean dishes filling the sink.

Drinking the water down in one gulp, Mikey looks over at Frank, smiling as he says, “I’ve had the best night.”

Frank doesn’t want to know. He can tell by the way Mikey’s standing that he’s been drinking and the last thing Frank wants is a rambling tale of how Mikey’s been tied up or fisted, or one of the many other things he’s been trying without thinking.

But it’s not like Frank can ignore him completely either, and he says, “good,” hoping to get out of here before Mikey starts talking. Of course Frank isn’t that lucky. As always Mikey’s in the mood to tell all and when he fills another glass Frank sees that his neck is covered in love bites, the hickies dark and clustered together.

One part of Frank wants to tell him it looks cheap, the mean part that’s still smarting from Mikey leaving to go out, but Frank says nothing, just tells himself to stand still and listen.

“Jenna asked if I wanted different restraints, and she took me into this room and there was this swing....”

“Do you even know what you're doing?” Frank didn’t mean to cut in, but he doesn’t want to hear about Mikey giving himself away when Frank’s back with nothing. No matter how much he tells himself to shut up, Frank can’t, and the words keep coming. “She could have done anything to you back there.”

“That’s kind of the point,” Mikey says, his grin fading as he takes in Frank’s reaction. “I told you before, I can look after yourself.”

Frustrated, Frank tries to separate out genuine concern from his lingering anger that Mikey’s so blind. “Not if you’re tied up in a sex swing you can’t. She could have hurt you, and if you say that’s the point again I’ll fucking punch you myself.”

Mikey’s quiet, the silence stretching until he eventually says, “I don’t know what you want me to say.”

And that’s the whole problem, because Frank doesn’t either. Mikey’s not about to break out any declarations of love, and Frank wouldn’t want them, and he’s obviously not about to stop what he’s been doing. All Frank can do is try for a reset, before this whole fucked up attraction kicked in.

For that he needs distance. Thankful that he’s still dressed, Frank abruptly walks away and pulls on his coat and sneakers. He doesn’t look back as he says, “I’m going out for a while, see you later.”

Mikey makes no attempt to stop him.

~*~*~*~

“I bought you some muffins,” Frank says, and shoves the bag into Ray’s hands while pushing past him into the apartment.

Wordlessly, Ray shuts the door, clutching the bag against his chest and watching as Frank takes off his wet coat and hangs it up on the hook. Frank toes off his shoes, then rubs his hands and then stands over the radiator, trying to warm up. It feels like a losing battle right now, Frank’s fingers are numb and he can barely feel his toes, while the tips of his ears are aching.

“Not that I’m not grateful for breakfast, but what the fuck are you doing here so early?” Ray’s gone into the kitchen, bare feet padding on the floor as he fills the machine for coffee and then takes off his bath robe, wrapping it around Frank. “Are you locked out of your place again? Did you call Mikey?”

Frank pulls the robe shut at the front, his hands up inside the sleeve as he relaxes into the warmth left behind by Ray’s body. “I’m not locked out.”

Ray seems to get that it’s all Frank wants to say, and busies himself making coffee and putting muffins onto the plate. Filling two large mugs he balances the plates on top, carrying everything over to the sofa where he sits and waits.

This early Ray still looks sleepy, his hair a tangled mess and face stubbled. He’s also wearing striped yellow pajama bottoms Frank would mock if he was feeling more cheerful. As it is all he feels is stupid for seeing something that never existed.

“These are good.” Ray’s taken a bite of muffin, swallowing as he peels back more of the paper case. “Did you get them from the bakery on Willow Avenue?”

“Yeah,” Frank says, and the scent of coffee and Ray’s casual conversation draws him away from the radiator and toward the couch. Sitting at the opposite end from Ray, Frank pulls at the robe so he’s still fully covered and then picks up a mug. “They’re fresh from the oven. I got there before they went in.”

“Late night?” Ray asks.

It’s not an unfounded question. Frank’s often stayed out overnight, coming home and eating breakfast as the sun is rising and then sleeping the day away. It’s something they’ve all done, individually and together. Just the week before Frank had shared breakfast with Mikey at their favourite diner before walking home together.

It’s one memory out of countless times and Frank says, “I did something stupid.”

“Did you swap Mikey’s hairspray for spray tan again? You know he hates that shit.” Ray’s staring at Frank, and when he doesn’t reply his tone changes, becoming more serious. “So not that kind of stupid.”

Frank isn’t even sure how to start this, and in the end all he can manage is, “It is about Mikey.”

“I figured.” To his credit Ray doesn’t sigh, but he does look resigned as he takes a long drink of his coffee and then says, “Tell me everything.”

‘Everything’ is a big ask, and Frank’s sure Ray doesn’t want a rehash of the whole addicted to jerking off situation. In the end he settles on saying, “What you said before. About liking Mikey or what he was doing. I found out my answer.”

“So it was Mikey all along,” Ray says, looking amused at Frank’s surprise that he’s guessed in an instant. “It’s not a big leap to get there, you’ve been all but dating for a while.”

Frank frowns, because what Ray’s saying is bullshit. “I think I’d have known if we were dating and if we were dating he wouldn’t let me jerk him off twice then go and get laid by some woman who likes to tie him up.”

“You need to back up a few steps,” Ray says, calmly, seemingly unsurprised at what Frank has just said. “You’ve had sex with Mikey?”

“No,” and that’s the frustrating thing because Frank didn’t even get that. He got hand jobs and some grinding, which was fucking awesome, and pictures that are going to keep his fantasies fueled for years, but no actual sex. “I didn’t even get to fuck him.”

“Jesus.” Ray rubs at his face. “Can we agree to talk about this without any actual details?”

For the first time in hours Frank wants to smile. “So you don’t want to know that I want my dick in his ass?”

Ray peers past his fingers at Frank. “I try not to think of your dick.”

“Your loss,” Frank says, glad of this moment of levity that’s allowed him the emotional detachment to tell more. “I jerked him off, on camera and in bed, the pictures are fucking amazing.”

“I’m assuming you’re both smart enough to get copies and negatives,” Ray says. “And that you both had a good time. So I don’t get the problem. Why the dramatic banging on my door in the middle of the night?”

Pointedly, Frank looks at his watch. “It’s nearly six, and it wasn’t dramatic. I was bringing you muffins.”

“While it was still dark and sub zero out there,” Ray says, and then, “Did Mikey do something?”

“Mikey’s a cock teasing bastard,” Frank yells, and immediately feels bad, because even if that’s how it feels right now it’s not actually true. Mikey never promised anything, or ever hinted he wanted something more serious. Frank pulls in a deep breath and then lets it out slowly. “I didn’t mean that.”

“I know,” Ray says. Breaking off a piece of muffin, he eats it, lost in some thought. It’s one that’s lasting a while, and Frank feels uncomfortable, as if Ray’s judging him somehow and finding him wanting. “It’s really him and not what he’s been doing?”

It’s not what Frank was expecting Ray to say, but Frank can honestly reply, “Yeah, it’s him.”

“And somehow you ended up jerking him off twice and taking sex pictures,” Ray says, stating the facts that he’s been told. “What happened then, did Mikey not want to be with you for more than that?”

Frank waits to reply, even though he knows exactly what he has to say. Eventually, when it’s obvious that Frank’s stalling he says quietly, “I don’t know. I never asked him.”

“You never asked him?” Ray puts his muffin on the coffee table, next to his half drunk mug of coffee. Turning in his seat, he stares directly at Frank. “You’re not some teen on their first date, if you’re old enough to have your hand on his dick you’re old enough to talk about what you actually want.”

Which is fantastic in theory, but what Ray doesn’t seem to get is that it isn’t so easy. “I can’t just tell him I’ve been jerking off thinking about him, or that I want to bring him gummy worms in bed and spend hours making out.”

“Why not?” Ray says simply. “You know he likes you, enough that you had sex. Twice.”

Frank could protest and repeat it wasn’t actual sex, but he suspects Ray won’t appreciate the distinction. Plus, there’s another point that Ray’s overlooking. “Mikey likes sex. He’d probably sleep with you if you asked.”

For the first time since Frank arrived Ray looks annoyed. “No he wouldn’t, and if you think that you are stupid.”

It’s a chastisement Frank deserves, especially as all he’s doing is lashing out still, the memory of Mikey grinning as he talked about Jenna all too clear in his mind. “I didn’t mean that either,” Frank says, and waits a moment, thinking of things he can’t have. “She bit his neck, a lot. It looks like he made out with Dracula.”

“This is last night?” Ray asks, and Frank nods, his stomach aching as suddenly he’s propelled back in time.

“We’d spent all day together and we watched shitty TV and argued over what groceries to get. The same fucking things as always, except it felt different because he slept in my bed and we woke up together.” His hands clenched, Frank admits, “I thought it was the start of something.”

Again it seems like Ray’s working that through, carefully considering what Frank has just said. “And Mikey thought it was just sex?”

“I think he thought he was helping me out.” Frank thinks back over everything that’s happened over the last few days, and keeps coming back to the same thing. “I think he thinks that I’ve got some kind of voyeurism fetish. He was going to help me out with that, and the shit with him just happened.”

“That’s a lot of thinks,” Ray says, and this time he doesn’t need any thinking time of his own. “You need to man up and actually talk to him, and stop with this assuming bullshit.”

As statements go it’s fair. They do have to talk, but Frank would rather stick a hot needle in his eye than start any conversation about his feelings with Mikey.

“I think you’ll be surprised what he says.” Pushing himself up off the couch, Ray picks up the muffin paper and his mug. Draining his coffee he says, “Mikey may like sex, but he comes home to you.”

Frank scowls at Ray, unable to understand how being reminded Mikey gives away sex is any help in the slightest. “Is that supposed to help?”

“It’s supposed to remind you who’s important to him,” Ray says, and then, “I’m going to shower. You know where everything is.”

“Yeah,” Frank says, and turns on the TV.

~~~~~~

Frank always enjoys hanging at Ray’s. Not just for the warmth and entertainment options, but for Ray himself. Showered and dressed now, he’s happy to talk about anything from guitar parts to the merits of time travel in a DeLorean with added bursts of tech geekery that Frank tries to keep up with.

Ray doesn’t mention Mikey, which is something Frank appreciates, because he’s still working things out in his head, and that means he’s ignoring all his texts, his phone shoved under a cushion.

It’s a system that’s working, until Gerard arrives.

When Ray lets him in Gerard’s coated in snow. It’s melting into his hair and the shoulders of his coat are covered. His nose bright red and face wet he looks miserable, standing still as Ray grabs a towel and scrubs it over Gerard’s hair.

“Seriously, what is it with visitors today?” Ray says, his question holding no heat. He dries Gerard’s face, then throws the towel to one side before taking his coat, hanging it up to dry next to Frank’s. “Have you got muffins too?”

“Was I supposed to bring some?” Gerard looks confused, his hands held out as if to show the lack of muffins. “I can go buy some if you want them.”

“How about you stay in where it’s warm?” Ray says, ushering Gerard not-so-subtly toward the couch where Frank’s busy kicking Ray’s ass at Donkey Kong. “I’ll get drinks, and there’s left over pizza.”

If Frank wasn’t suspicious before he is now. Ray never abandons a video game in progress, especially when he’s the one getting beat. Which means only one thing. Ray’s a backstabbing bastard traitor and Frank glares, unrelenting even as Ray says, “I only said you were here.”

“Mikey called,” Gerard says, and of course he did because it’s not possible that Frank has issues that don’t involve the whole band. Frank’s expecting Otter to turn up any moment, and won’t that be just awesome?

Eyes on the TV Frank keeps jumping barrels, not dignifying the comment with a reply. It’s not as if Mikey doesn’t call Gerard daily anyway, and as far as Frank knows he could have been to complain about the price of soda or to tell Gerard what he was having for breakfast. There’s no reason it has to have been about Frank, except, Frank already knows that it is.

“He’s an idiot sometimes.”

This time Frank does look up, pausing the game because he didn’t expect that at all. Gerard saying anything negative about Mikey feels all kinds of wrong, and Frank’s waiting for Gerard to laugh or to say that he’s joking.

He does neither, just sits and says, “Mikey’s looking for what he wants in the wrong places.”

Frank can’t agree. “He’s getting exactly what he wants.”

“He’s getting the sex, yeah. And the other shit,” Gerard says, and he’s leaning forward, encroaching on Frank’s space. “But it’s not all about the pain thing or wanting to be tied up, Those are just extras.”

“The fact that you’re even having this conversation is weird,” Frank says, making the point even though pointing out the Ways weirdness is like commenting on how water is wet. “And we don’t need to talk about it, it’s got nothing to do with me.”

“We talk about shit, and I was making sure he was safe,” Gerard says and runs his fingers through his hair, slicking it back from his forehead. “And it’s got everything to do with you.”

“No. It really doesn’t.” It’s not often that Frank gets angry with Gerard, but he’s getting that way now, when Gerard’s suggesting things he knows nothing about. “Mikey can go out and do what the hell he wants. I’m not his keeper.”

“I know you’re not,” Gerard says, not reacting to Frank’s irritation at all. “But you want more than you’ve got now, have-done for a while.”

Frustrated and operating on too little sleep, Frank grips hold of the controller and tries to keep control of his temper. “You can’t know that. I didn’t even know that. This isn’t some shitty movie where I’ve been repressing my feelings for Mikey. I didn’t even have any feelings for him until lately.”

“Doesn’t mean they weren’t there,” Gerard says, and before Frank can protest he adds, “For both of you.”

One of the things Frank loves most about Gerard is his mind, the way he looks at things and sees the big picture, but along with that comes a downside. That sometimes Frank just wants Gerard to come out and say what he means. “Are you telling me that Mikey has feelings for me, too?”

Said like that it sounds ridiculous, and Frank feels like he actually has been dropped into some chick flick, or else should be dotting his I’s with a heart. A feeling Gerard helps maintain when he says, “I’m saying that sometimes he thinks he can’t get what he wants, and that you two need to talk.”

“Seems to be the advice of the day,” Frank says, thinking over what Gerard has just said.

“Because it’s the right advice,” Ray says, making no attempt to hide that he’s been listening in. “Especially if it means I get to sleep.”

Frank frowns in Ray’s direction. “I’ve woken you up once, and I brought you muffins.”

“You never bring me muffins,” Gerard says, his mouth turned down at the corners. “I like muffins.”

“You’re Mikey’s brother, I wasn’t going to discuss sex stuff with you.” Before Gerard even opens his mouth, Frank holds up his hand and keeps talking. “And I know you don’t care, but I do. Dealing with Mikey is enough, I don’t want your sex stories, too.”

“And yet you tell me.” Ray sighs, long and tragic. “I should add it to my skill set.”

“You could have it on your business cards,” Gerard says, smiling in the way that means he’s imaging something artistic. “Ray Toro, rock God and sex therapist.”

“I’d take one,” Frank says, and then, “Okay, fine. I’ll talk. But later.”

Ray smiles, and says, “Good.”

~~~~~

A few hours later and Frank leaves to go home.

By now he’s had multiple texts from Mikey, and Frank knows he can’t put off the talk any longer. Not when both Gerard and Ray look at him with each ignored text.

It’s why Frank eventually stands up and says, “Fine. I’m going.”

 

~*~*~*~

Unlocking the front door of their apartment, Frank goes inside, and immediately smells bleach. It’s almost overpowering, Frank’s eyes watering as he takes off the hat and gloves Ray insisted he borrow. Balling them up, Frank shoves them into his pocket then takes off his coat, hanging it on the empty nail by the door.

The only thing Frank can think of is Mikey’s dying his hair, which would be typical if Mikey’s been primping while Frank’s off having his own mini crisis. Still, Frank heads for the bathroom, knowing they need to talk before Frank loses his nerve, even if that does mean a conversation where Mikey’s stinking of bleach. Not that it’s something he’s looking forward to, and Frank’s steps slow, until he suddenly stops dead when he sees that Mikey’s not in the bathroom at all.

In fact, Mikey’s in the kitchen, where he’s wearing a pair of bright yellow rubber gloves and holding a mop in both hands. Staring into the open fridge, Mikey’s stance is defensive, like he’s looking into some inter-dimensional space portal where aliens are about to burst free.

It’s the first time Frank’s actually seen Mikey with a mop in his hand, and that’s enough that Frank gets closer, blinking against bleach fumes as he stands in the doorway. “What the hell are you doing?”

“I’m trying to clean the fridge.” Mikey turns, and behind his glasses his eyes look red and watery. “I think I used too much bleach.”

There’s a bucket at Mikey’s feet, and when Frank looks inside the contents are milky. “Did you even dilute that?”

“There’s water in it,” Mikey says, and dips the mop into the bucket, swirling it around. “And a full bottle of bleach.”

Which explains Frank’s immediate headache, and he forces open the small window over the sink, letting in fresh air. “You need ventilation, what the fuck were you thinking?”

“That I needed to clean the fridge.” Mikey lets the mop drop, the handle swinging around in the bucket before coming to a rest against a cupboard. “I opened the door and the mold fucking moved. I needed to kill it.”

“You nearly killed yourself instead,” Frank says, and it would be all too easy to use this for a distraction. If Frank’s disposing of bleach or battling the mold monster there’ll be no time for serious talking. It’s a thought that’s appealing right now, but Frank knows he can’t do it. Gathering courage, he looks directly at Mikey. “We need to talk.”

“I know.” Mikey takes a step closer, and he looks ridiculous in his yellow gloves, like some kind of scene king come cleaner, but also one that looks serious, like he’s got things to say too. “I thought you wanted to hear my stories.”

“Not here.” This is a talk Frank doesn’t want to have anyway, to have it in this kitchen that’s stinking of bleach just adds another element of no. Not that the rest of the apartment will be much better, but at least they won’t be standing here and staring at one another, like they’re two strangers and not best friends. Frank turns and goes to the couch, unsurprised to see his bowl of popcorn is still there.

Frank takes the side without a spring, about to start talking when Mikey sits down beside him and says, “You should have told me you didn’t want to hear what I was doing.”

“I liked hearing your stories.” That’s a truth that Frank’s not about to deny, but there’s more truths that go alongside that. The problem is, those are the ones that come complete with an admission of feelings. It’s like Frank’s about to take yet another jump, but this time he knows there’s no stopping. “At least, I did at first. At the end I got jealous.”

Mikey blinks, seemingly thrown. “Of what?”

Often, Frank’s aware of what Mikey is thinking, but right now it feels like he doesn’t know him at all, because apparently Mikey really can be that clueless, “Of them, for having you.”

“They never had me,” Mikey says, sounding surprised, like that thought had never crossed his mind. “It was only sex.”

“Maybe,” Frank allows, but the fact is, Frank was still jealous, even if it took him a while to understand that. It’s why, now he’s had time to think his initial anger has faded, because how can Mikey be expected to know what Frank wanted when Frank didn’t even know himself? “What we did, I thought it was the start of something.”

For a long time Mikey remains silent, looking away and worrying at a hangnail on his thumb. It’s enough that it’s awkward and that’s something that’s never happened before. Even from the first meeting they’ve talked about everything, and even when they didn’t the quiet was companionable. Not like this, when everything feels brittle, like Frank’s walking on egg shells.

All it’s doing is showing that Frank’s said the wrong thing, and should never have admitted wanting more than he was offered.

“I thought you wanted into the scene,” Mikey says suddenly, like he’s making his own admissions. “You sounded interested, so I thought I’d help you out, introduce you to some people.”

It’s a reply that’s classically Mikey, because that’s just what he does, use his network of contacts to help if he can. Frank just wishes he’d tried in some other way, like getting Frank into the audience of some TV show and not deciding that Frank was some voyeur who wanted to watch people having sex.

Not that Frank can blame him completely for that, and really, if you think about it the whole situation is insane. Enough that Frank would laugh, if he didn’t know that once he started he’d never stop. “I’m not into voyeurism, at least, not in a big way. I don’t want to watch strangers have sex.”

“Did you even want to do anything?” Mikey asks, but before Frank gets a chance to reply he goes on, “Oh my god, I non-con sex partied you.”

“Yeah, you really didn’t.” That’s one thing Frank knows for sure, because out of this whole mixed up situation one thing remains clear, anything that Frank did was his choice. “I enjoyed the party, I’d even do it again.”

“You mean with me, right?” Mikey says, his brows pulled together. “Because if you mean Bean....”

“Fuck Bean, and because we’ve been so stellar at communication lately, I don’t mean literally.” Frank sits forward, and this whole conversation is frustrating, like they’re both circling the same point. “I’d do it again with you. I’d do it with you at something like that or somewhere else. Hell, at this point I’d do it in the middle of a band meeting with them all looking on.”

Mikey’s mouth curls up at one corner. “I don’t think Ray and Otter would like that. Gee probably wouldn’t mind.”

Mikey’s not wrong, but still, Frank has to say, “You realise that talking about your brother isn’t the best thing to do when I’m trying to make a move.”

“That’s what’s happening here?” Mikey raises one eyebrow, his expression neutral. “You need to step up your game, you’re shooting at fifty percent right now. Maybe less.”

“Fuck off, I’m the seduction master,” Frank says, and this is more familiar ground, the push and pull between them that feels right. “I don’t even know why I want you.”

“Because I’m awesome,” Mikey says instantly. “And I make good coffee and let you share my cereal.”

“Well the last one is true.” Frank grins, enjoying the teasing and that familiarity lets him lead into a much more serious comment. “I don’t know what I’m doing. You’re not some casual pick-up, I shouldn’t even want this.”

“I didn’t even know that you did,” Mikey says, and then, “What we had at the party, that wasn’t just you enjoying that scene?”

“No.” That’s something Frank can say for sure, that what they had then was Frank enjoying being with Mikey, where what they were doing was awesome, but was nothing but trappings. “That was me wanting you.”

“That’s... good,” Mikey says, and he turns, so his foot is against Frank’s. “How long?.”

“Truthfully?” Frank asks, and at Mikey’s nod says, “A few weeks.”

“Okay.” Mikey considers a moment, staring down at his stupid yellow gloves. “That’s not long, it could be a crush.”

It’s a fair point, but Frank still has to protest. “I’m not a thirteen year old girl, and before you even say it, I know boys can get crushes too.”

Mikey peels off one of the gloves, turning it inside out and dropping it onto the floor, then does the same to the other. “You don’t know I was going to say that, I’m not Gerard.”

“But you were still thinking it.” And that’s something Frank knows for sure, the same way he knows countless other things about Mikey. What he likes and thinks and all the other details Frank holds onto. It’s part of their friendship, and also why Frank can admit to himself that while some of his feelings for Mikey are new, they’re built on others that have been there since the start. “It’s not a crush.”

“Good,” Mikey says, and seems genuinely relieved, even as he says, “I really thought you wanted in on the kink scene.”

“You thought that I kissed you, that I got you off on camera, because I was exploring being kinky?” It’s what Frank had expected, but still, hearing it out loud is a shock. “You’d let me use you like that?”

Mikey shrugs and says, “I liked it, it’s not like I’d have got nothing from it.”

“That’s not the point,” Frank says, and he needs to put an end to this right now. “Yet again, because apparently you’re stupid about things like this. I’ve got no interest in kink, not unless it involves you. I don’t want to make like a pony or get fucked by someone’s hand. I do like watching, but not strangers, and spanking sounds awesome, but again, only with you.”

“I could go for that,” Mikey says, and then, “To clarify, when you say you want me, you mean what?”

“That I don’t want you sleeping with anyone else, or doing stuff with anyone else,” Frank says instantly, and he knows for Mikey they could be a deal breaker, but Frank can’t share, not even for Mikey. “I want to have sex with you, but also share breakfast and watch shitty TV and argue over doing the dishes.”

“Apart from the sex we do that anyway,” Mikey points out, and for a long moment Frank thinks despite his previous signals, Mikey’s going to say no, and that friendship is all they can have. Until Mikey says, “Okay.”

“Okay? That’s all you’re saying?” After all the miscommunication and secrecy, Frank can’t believe it’s this easy. Yet at the same time, what’s between them should be easy, it’s how it’s always been.

“What do you want me to say?” Mikey waits a moment, and then suddenly grins before schooling his expression. He takes hold of Frank’s hand, says, “You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life.”

Frank bites back a grin, because if he needed reassurance, he’s getting it right now. That Mikey’s Mikey, someone who remains a huge geek, no matter what happens. It’s something Frank loves about him, and he continues the scene, saying, “I happen to like nice men.”

Mikey moves in even closer, looking directly at Frank, “I’m a nice man.”

“No you’re not,” Frank says, and they’re inches apart, moments away from kissing for real. “You’re Mikey.”

It’s not the right end to the scene, but Frank doesn’t care. It’s the right ending for them, and he cups his hand around the back of Mikey’s head, pulling him close.

It’s not their first kiss, not even close, but it’s the first that feels special. Frank keeps his fingers tangled in Mikey’s hair, holding him still and it feels like he’s sealing a deal as he licks into Mikey’s mouth, their tongues touching for a brief moment.

“Just so you know,” Frank says, when he pulls back a little and strokes his thumb over the nape of Mikey’s neck. “I’m not always going to be Leia.”

“Wouldn’t want you to be.” Mikey’s got one of his hands on Frank’s side, like he needs to keep touching as he says, “We’re really doing this?”

“I hope so,” Frank says, even as it occurs to him that through everything, he’s never heard Mikey say that he wants this too. “You do want it, right? You never actually said, and you’re on your big sexual journey of adventure.”

Mikey gives Frank a look, like he’s the biggest moron alive. “I didn’t think I had to say, but yes. Yes I do.”

Frank grabs hold of Mikey’s hair and tugs, his own form of emphasis. “Because we’ve been so amazing at communication before this. I nearly rubbed my dick off and you inhaled a bottle of bleach.”

“I told you, the mold moved,” Mikey says, his eyes gleaming and mouth quirked into a smile. “You nearly rubbed your dick off?”

Dignity pulled around him, Frank says, “I was sexually frustrated and you’re a cock teasing bastard.”

Mikey grins, wide and sly. “Not always.”

“Yeah?” Frank’s grinning too, and he knows there’s still things to work out, but for now all he says is, “Prove it.”

Masterpost