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Can't Say No

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David’s never been able to say ‘no’ to Gerard. It’s not that Gerard’s pushy and demanding, like some people think. It’s not that he’s whiny and pleading, either. Most of the time, Gerard doesn’t even need to ask and, David suspects, doesn’t realizing he’s asking for anything until it’s given to him. David’s just never been able to tell him no.

He couldn’t turn Gerard away, when Gerard first talked to him — way back when David’s skin was mostly naked, and they were both chubby and a little greasy. He hadn’t been able to say ‘no’ when Gerard had stretched up — up, up, up, because Gerard is a tiny guy and David is not — and kissed him. He hadn’t been able to say ‘no’ when Gerard had pressed a phone number, scrawled on a slip of paper, into his palm.

Six months later, David hadn’t been able to say ‘no’ when Gerard had implied they should move in together. He hadn’t said ‘no’ to the hideous lime-green and rust-red paisley print arm chair that was big enough to hold them both comfortably and soft enough to sleep a full night in without cramping the next day. He hadn’t said ‘no’ when Gerard had talked about getting a dog. That’s how they’d ended up with Zissou, and David won’t trade that little beast for the world.

He hadn’t been able to say ‘no’ when Gerard had spiraled and demanded space. He’d watched as Gerard got worse, started sleeping around with skeevy people that were no good for him, poisoned himself with the drugs that had started all of this, and he didn’t say ‘no,’ because Gerard had said that this was what he needed. It had killed David inside to watch it, and he’d hated every minute, but he’d given Gerard what he needed.

When Gerard came back two months later, clean and sober and pleading for a second chance, David could see the change in his eyes, so he still hadn’t said ‘no.’ He’d welcomed Gerard back into his arms and into his home, and slowly, so slowly, back into his heart.

Mikey had thanked David, but David knows that that ‘thank you’ hadn’t been forgiveness. Mikey had half-damned David for not trying harder to keep Gerard close and safe, but Mikey didn’t live with them. He hadn’t seen the way things had been getting worse, even despite David’s best efforts.

“You should’ve been there for him,” Mikey murmured.

The family Christmas party, the first after Gerard had gotten clean, was a horrible time to talk about it, but Mikey had a way of worming a conversation into being without anyone else realizing it until it was too late. It was chilly out, but nevertheless they were on the porch, getting away from Donna’s smoking and taking in the crisp smell of snow — the only scent that buried the smell of Jersey that David hated (but he hadn’t been able to say no to Gerard about that, either).

“I was there for him,” David replied softly. He had a can of Coke Zero that he thought maybe was burning his fingers from the cold. “I was exactly where he needed me to be. I was here, waiting for him.”

“You need to be able to say ‘no’ to him, David,” Mikey pressed. He had Coke, too, but he was smarter than David and had poured it into a red Solo cup. He was also wearing gloves.

“Can you, Mikes?” David asked. Mikey made a mournful sound, and David leaned against him for a moment before looking down at his can.

“One of these days, he’s going to ask you something you can’t say ‘yes’ to,” Mikey predicted. “If you can’t say ‘no’ either, you’re fucked.”

David knew then and knows now that Mikey had experience in this sort of thing. Mikey had taught himself how to say ‘no’ to his brother. Mikey has poor survival instincts, but he’s smart, and had realized what he needed to do. David isn’t as smart as Mikey (he isn’t as smart as a lot of people he knows, Gerard included), but he has pretty damned good survival instincts. His have always told him he could say ‘yes’ to Gerard. Until they suddenly stopped, that was what he’d do.

Things had been awkward and strange between David and Gerard for awhile after that, but they tried. They did familial things, went on dates, went to movies. Gerard clung to David like a barnacle to a whale. The mental image wasn’t that far off from the reality, even if David had lost his pudge and gained his lean muscle. The sex, which had always been amazing, had become only subpar. Which David thought sort of sucked, since sex was usually pretty awesome as a rule. They’d become boring.

It’s Frank who suggests a threesome to spice things up. He’s joking: David knows he’s joking because he says it coupled with that obnoxious laugh of his. But Gerard is easily inspired. He doesn’t need to take Frank’s suggestion seriously for it to plant the seeds in his mind.

Mike Pedicone is a friend of Gerard’s through Mikey and Alicia. David had met him a few times. He likes the guy. He’s funny and he knows how to have fun, and he’s pretty solid. David has always sensed a sort of kindred spirit in him, the way Mike carries a steadiness deep inside, below that fun-loving, tough-looking surface.

And David has seen the way Gerard looks at him. It’s the same way he looks at all beautiful things: It’s the same way he’d looked at David when they’d first met. It’s the way he still looks at him, every day.

Gerard doesn’t even need to ask for David to agree, but it takes Gerard almost four weeks to get to that point.

David and Gerard were still, technically, together when Gerard was high and sleeping with other people. David had agreed to give Gerard his space, but it had still hurt — of course it had. Gerard had known that then, and he knows it now. David’s seen the guilt in his eyes, has heard the ‘never again’ promise a thousand times. That promise is partly why he agrees. He was hurt, but he’s forgiven Gerard and gotten over it.

They invite Mike over for a late lunch that turns into a movie night. David does the dishes during a doggie break film interlude. Over the hissing tap as he rinses the sink out, he can hear Gerard murmuring softly. He can’t make out the words, but he knows the tone. He dries his hands and joins them in the living room.

Gerard is sitting curled up on their horrible, ugly, amazing chair. Mike has the couch, and he’s adopted the same position he’s had the entire evening during the films. He’s back-to the arm, legs stretched out along the cushions and crossed at the ankles, his arms crossed over his stomach in a relaxed pose. But David can see the tension in his jaw and brow. He can see the way Mike’s waiting for the other shoe to drop — waiting for the punch line. When Gerard is silent and looks up at David, Mike smoothes a hand over his head. David isn’t as smart as a lot of the people he knows, but he knows a nervous gesture when he sees one.

Gerard’s nervous, too. David can see it in his expressive eyes, in the way his lips pinch just so. David knows it’s what his mouth does when he’s itching for a cigarette. David steps up to the back of the couch and rests his hands on it. Mike looks up at him, and David offers him a smile. It’s the one his best friend Tom calls ‘dopey,’ but Gerard calls ‘disarming.’ (“No one can feel nervous around you when you smile like that,” he’d said. “You’re too fucking beautiful.”)

It works now. Mike swallows, but he reaches up and grips David’s wrist. David doesn’t move, except to raise his eyebrows a fraction of an inch. Mike glances at Gerard, but Gerard is still curled up, silent. David’s focus is mainly on Gerard, but his eyes are on Mike when Mike pushes up onto his knees. His fingers slide up David’s arm, tracing the dragon and the swirls of smoke up to his shoulder. When he reaches clouds at the ball of David’s shoulder, just above the dragon’s tufted tail, Gerard makes a tiny sound. It shoots straight to David’s dick, and he’s not quite able to swallow the little groan in response.

Mike huffs out a little laugh.

“If this is supposed to be a threesome, what the fuck’re you doing over there, Gerard?” he asks.

He’s trying to sound teasing, but David can hear the slight tremor in his voice. It’s deep in his throat, like maybe he’s been swallowing it down but that’s only as far as it’ll go. Gerard shifts in the chair. One leg drops, splaying his thighs wide, and his hand slides almost demurely over the inside of his thigh. He’s wearing a pair of David’s track pants, and they’re loose enough that he could hide his erection with some artful fabric-folding. But he doesn’t. He just swallows as his thumb frames the shape of his dick through the thin fabric.

“I want to watch,” he murmurs. “Just. For a minute.”

Mike blushes, but David only grins. “He likes watching,” he murmurs. Mike tips his head enough to look up at him.

“Well, let’s give him something to watch, then.”

David nods. The tremor is gone from Mike’s voice, now. He’s slowly finding his feet in this situation, determining the lines that Gerard has silently drawn in and around them. Mike finds his own confidence, and this in turn gives David confidence. He cups his hand around the nape of Mike’s neck and hauls him close for a kiss. He can feel the stubble of Mike’s shaved scalp against the pad of his thumb, echoing the feel of Mike’s carefully maintained facial stubble. David glances at Gerard and slides his thumb in a slow up-an-down against Mike’s skin. Gerard makes another tiny sound. He always did like the more subtle gestures. David grins against Mike’s lips. Mike growls a little and nips David’s bottom lip.

“ ‘S fucking hard kissing you when you smile,” he complains.

David responds by thrusting his tongue into Mike’s mouth. It’s a messy, noisy kiss — the kind of kiss David knows Gerard likes to watch. He continually glances at him, sitting on that ugly, ugly chair. Gerard’s eased further down against it, slumping back in it with one foot on the floor now. His hand is rubbing at himself slowly through the track pants. The fabric makes a faint ‘swish’ sound as his hand moves, and David knows it’s as much that as the contact that’s teasing him. Gerard’s fingers are curled around himself, and David idly remembers that he’s not wearing underwear under those pants. He turns his head to watch more intently, and Mike bites little bruises into the skin of David’s throat.

Gerard’s eyes are blown wide, pupils dark, as he watches. David groans softly when Mike tugs the collar of David’s shirt down, and his teeth latch onto David’s red naval star, then the bird right above it. Precome darkens the front of Gerard’s pants, and David groans again.

“Gee,” he whispers.

That’s all Gerard needs. He clambers out of the chair and takes the four steps to the couch. Mike leans back from David to look at him, but Gerard’s eyes are trained on the marks he’d left on David’s neck. He rests his hand on Mike’s arm to keep him close, then presses light kisses to every spot Mike’s mouth had touched. The kisses are chaste at first, but David knows how possessive Gerard can get. He bites his lip, and watches Mike watch intently when Gerard begins to lick and suck on David’s skin. As if he can remove all traces of Mike from him.

David knows without needing to ask that Gerard won’t let David fuck Mike. And he’s right. When they reach the bedroom, Gerard sits on the edge of the mattress and watches Mike and David undress each other. But the moment they’re naked, Gerard takes over.

The only thing he’s taken off is his shirt, and the track pants hang low on his hips. His erection is obvious in them, and it bumps against David’s when he slides between them. For a moment, David can see him hesitate with uncertainty, and he laughs. Gerard shoots him a glare that lacks all conviction. David kisses it off his face anyway. Gerard sighs and catches his lips in a sharp kiss. Mike chuckles, and steps back.

“You guys don’t even need me,” he declares softly. He doesn’t seem insulted — just amused.

Gerard breaks the kiss to look up at David. His fingers trace over the lines of the dagger on David’s stomach, feather-light, as though the blade could cut him. David meets his eyes, and it only takes him a moment to realize what Gerard needs.

“Yeah, we do, Buddy,” he murmurs. He’s speaking to Mike, but his eyes are still locked to Gerard’s. Gerard bites his lip. He looks nervous, worried. David kisses him gently, then lifts his head to look at Mike. “Tell us what to do,” he adds.

Mike’s eyes darken as he watches them. He reaches down and palms his erection, licks his lips, then nods.

“Alright,” he says. “Gerard, turn around. Stand with your back against David’s chest.”

His tone is directional, but not demanding. Mike knows this has nothing to do with dominance or submission. They want his guidance — Gerard wants his guidance. He presses another kiss to David’s lips, then obeys. David groans out a little laugh when Gerard intentionally shimmies his hips against David’s, teasing friction against his dick.

“Fucking tease,” he scolds, but he’s smiling, and Gerard does that dorky little giggle he does when he’s nervous. David slides his hand over the flat of Gerard’s stomach. Mike nods.

“That,” he says. “Keep touching him, David. Tease him back.”

David hooks his chin over Gerard’s shoulder, curling against his back. Mike backs up to lean against the wall. His eyes follow the trail of David’s fingers over Gerard’s slightly soft stomach. David’s skin is tanned. He’s unafraid of the sun, revels in it when he can. His hand stands out in stark contrast against Gerard’s paler skin, and it’s obvious that Mike likes the look. He swallows hard.

“Gerard, what do you like?” Mike asks. His voice is a little huskier already.

“Ngh,” Gerard tries. Both David and Gerard both know what Gerard likes, but they’re waiting on Mike’s direction. Gerard swallows hard, with his whole body. “Nipples,” he grinds out. “I, um. I like having my.” His cheeks flush brightly, as if embarrassed (and for once David can’t tell if it’s for show or if it’s genuine), but he finishes, “My nipples p-played with.” Mike nods, satisfied with this.

“David?” Mike prompts.

David’s right hand frames Gerard’s right hip and holds him tight against him. He teases Gerard’s nipples with his free hand, alternating between the left and the right and pinching gently, the way he knows Gerard likes. It doesn’t take long for Gerard to start writhing and whimpering. David kisses a hot line over his shoulder and the side of his neck. Gerard’s mouth is hanging open, and one arm is lifted to tangle his fingers into the hair at the back of David’s head.

“Gerard, kiss him.”

Gerard’s breath hitches, like he’d forgotten Mike was there. Then he turns his head and nudges his nose against David’s cheek and jaw. He coaxes David’s head up, then tips his head to find his lips. David changes the angle to make it a bit easier for Gerard. Their tongues tangle against each other and slick over each other’s lips. Gerard moans against David’s lips.

As they kiss, Gerard grinds his ass back against David’s hips. He’s getting into it, now, tuning out the world with the same single-mindedness that he uses on his art. It sends a sharp thrill through David. He slides his right hand across Gerard’s stomach and hooks his arm around him. He moves his left hand to Gerard’s crotch, and palms at his dick through his pants. Gerard whines, and his hips roll up against the contact. David can feel Gerard’s stomach muscles flexing against his arm. He breaks the kiss to breathe.

Mike doesn’t need to tell them what to do next. David backs them to the bed and blindly climbs onto it backwards. It’s big enough for the three of them, if Mike chooses to join them. David doesn’t think it really matters anymore if he does. Mike really doesn’t seem to mind getting a show, anyway.

Gerard shoves the pants down his legs before climbing onto the bed. It’s easy enough: David’s waist has trimmed down since he lost weight, but he’s still wider than Gerard, and the waistband is elastic, anyway. His back is still to David’s chest, and David’s dick slides into the cleft of his ass when they press together. David growls softly, and Gerard moans loudly.

“Fuck,” Mike whispers. “Jesus, you two.”

Gerard whines. “David,” he whimpers. “Fuck, David.” David mouths another line up his neck.

“Get the lube, Gee,” he murmurs against his pulse.

Gerard nearly falls off the bed in his haste to obey. David’s arm around his waist is the only thing that catches him. He slides off feet-first instead, and as he’s reaching into the nightstand, Mike speaks.

“You guys don’t use condoms?”

David can’t help a little smile. He shakes his head. “We’ve been together way too long for that,” he explains. “We both got tested.” Both before and after Gerard’s sex-and-drug binge (and for everything they could think of). He doesn’t say that part, because Mike was on the sidelines for it. Everyone who saw it knows Gerard’s lucky to be alive, never mind still clean. David counts his blessings every day.

Gerard’s biting his lip when David looks at him. Even this brief conversation has broken the sex spell that always settles on him mid-coitus. David pulls him in for a kiss. The bed dips next to them, and when they part to look, Mike’s settled on the edge of the mattress.

“Stop fucking thinking, you guys. Jesus.”

He sounds exasperated, and even though he’s smiling, David can see a sad little lift to his eyebrows. He shifts around to kneel behind David. Gerard’s eyes grow intent as they watch Mike trail a hand down the unmarked skin of his sides. A possessive glint lights up in them, and David feels his dick twitch. Mike’s palm curls over the cut of his hipbone. Gerard licks his lips, and Mike grins against the tiger’s tail on David’s right shoulder.

“He’s all yours, Gee,” Mike says — reminds.

His tone is teasing, amused, but Gerard hears only the words themselves. He covers Mike’s hand with his own, then gently tugs it away. David catches the brief moment where Gerard curls his fingers around the outside of Mike’s hand, pressing against his palm gently. Gerard’s always been a man of words in ways David has never mastered, but when words finally do fail him, he resorts to physical contact. David knows that this brief handhold is as much a thanks as a reassurance. He’s not sending Mike away — just taking the reins back.

Mike eases back, resting one hand on the mattress, and watches as Gerard pulls David against him again. Most of David’s body hides Gerard’s hand from Mike’s view when Gerard reaches between them, but what he’s doing is plain enough. David’s gasp, the motion of Gerard’s arm, and the smug little curl of Gerard’s smile, all tell the story.

Gerard’s free hand loops around David’s lower back. His fingers blindly but expertly trace the splashing water, dance up the mask, then hook around David’s shoulder. He bends back and pulls David with him, and only once his back is fully on the mattress does he allow his legs slid out from under his body. His thighs settle to frame David’s hips. Mike can’t help a little groan.

“Right?” David agrees with a little laugh. Gerard blushes, but he’s smiling; he knows exactly what he does to David.

David takes the lube from Gerard and thumbs open the cap. He gets him ready slowly and thoroughly, like it’s the first time. Mike can joke about David’s size all he wants (and it seems he wants to a lot right now), but the simple fact is, David and Gerard haven’t had a ton of sex in the last few months, and David knows Gerard needs it. He thinks, distantly, that prep-less sex with Gerard might be the one thing David couldn’t say ‘yes’ to.

“Jesus, those sounds,” Mike breathes.

David looks back at him over his shoulder, and he grins. Mike’s slicked his hand up with the discarded lube and is slowly jacking himself. The moon on Mike’s right side expands and contracts with every breath he takes. Mike grins back at David, a quick flash of teeth before he tucks his lips in and returns his eyes to the shadowy place where David’s hips meet Gerard’s, where David’s hand disappears.

Gerard is gripping tightly to David’s upper arms, fingers curled hard into his triceps. Mike’s hand speeds up on his dick at the visual contrast against the saturated colors of David’s tattoos.

Gerard whimpers David’s name, and David nods. His hand slides out and reaches blindly. Mike helpfully presses the lube into David’s palm. David’s quicker about slicking himself up than he was about prepping Gerard, but he’s much slower about pressing into him.

Gerard’s back arches up off the bed, and his eyebrows pinch up in the middle. A long whine squeezes past his parted lips, and David huffs out a little gasp. His head drops between his shoulders, and Gerard tangles his fingers into his hair again.

“Fuck, David,” he gasps raggedly.

David murmurs nonsense to him until their hips are flush, then he has to drop his forehead to Gerard’s collarbone and hold still. A fine tremor chases through him. Gerard whimpers and shifts slightly, and David grunts.

“Yeah,” he breathes. He shifts onto his elbows, bites his lip, and rolls his hips.

Gerard tips his head back, and he groans softly. Mike’s quiet next to them, quiet enough that they get lost in each other as David finds a rhythm. David nudges his nose against Gerard’s, and their breaths mingle through their panting and Gerard’s quiet whimpering.

“Wait,” Mike says suddenly. His voice is harsh and loud in the quiet of the room, and David freezes. Gerard whines. Mike chuckles. “Just. Wait. You guys should—”

He breaks off as suddenly as he began, and David and Gerard both look at him. His hand is stilled on his erection. He’s watching them back, biting his lip. He looks nervous all over again.

“We should—” Gerard stops, licks his lips, and tries again. “Should what?”

“Get on your knees,” Mike suggests softly. “Up against the headboard. David should fuck you from behind.”

They both swallow hard, and David looks at Gerard. He doesn’t need to double-check to know that Gerard is behind this one hundred percent. He pushes up onto his hands and slowly slides out. (Gerard moans at the feeling, and David gets a glance of his eyebrows forming a brief, tragic arc.) Gerard rolls onto his stomach and pushes onto his knees, then knee-walks up to the headboard. His hands hook around the top, shoulder-width apart. David presses up against his back. He braces his knees between Gerard’s legs.

“Oh, yes,” Mike murmurs from somewhere behind them. “Yeah, Guys, just like that.”

Gerard leans his head back against David’s clavicle, and David kisses him gently before pressing back in. Gerard tears his mouth away to groan. He grinds back against David with a gasp, and David swallows and curses.

“David, fuck him,” Mike says.

David does. He starts slow, but the angle, the slide, is just right, and it’s not long before he’s thrusting hard and deep. Gerard gasps and cries out as he moves, arching against him until his chest is pressed against the headboard. David crowds close against him. He buries his face into Gerard’s neck and covers Gerard’s hands with his own. Gerard’s back is slick with sweat when David’s chest meets it again, and they both groan at the slide.

“Fuck,” Mike gasps. “You guys need to see yourselves.”

David can imagine how they look, slick and shining with sweat, moving together in a rhythm that’s only been perfected by experience. Gerard’s head is still lax against David’s shoulder, and when David nuzzles his jaw, he turns for a sloppy kiss. Gerard is making noises into David’s mouth that make David shiver and make Mike curse. The sound of his voice reminds them both that he’s there, keeps them grounded to the moment and the situation. It keeps them on edge and aware that they’re being watched. For David, it serves the same purpose as a blindfold: It heightens his senses, making him hyper-aware of his surroundings, and of every point of contact with Gerard’s body, even down to the brush of fine hairs against his knees and calves, where he’s pressed, tight and sweaty, to Gerard’s legs. He’s more aware of Gerard’s smell, where his nose is pressed against the warm, damp curve of shoulder. It’s familiar in the way that he’s known it for years, but somehow seems fresh and new, like the first time. The tight heat of Gerard around him, made wet and easy with lube, seems tighter and hotter. He can’t hear the sound of Mike’s jerking off only because he’s so close to each mewl and cry Gerard releases with David’s thrusts. If David were a smarter man, he would contemplate on the mind-over-matter aspect of all of this. But he’s not, and he knows, anyway, that Gerard will probably wake him up in the middle of the night to whisper about it. Gerard would happily talk for hours about anything and nothing, and David would happily listen.

He feels Gerard’s hands tighten on the headboard, and Gerard releases a long ‘haaaah’ of a sound. His hips jerk erratically, interrupting their rhythm. David gasps when Gerard clenches tight around him.

“Fuck,” Gerard hisses. “Fuck, David, David, David—”

He breaks off with a harsh cry. His back arches sharply and then he curls forward as he comes. David releases one of his hands to brace his arm against the headboard. Gerard’s cheek presses, hot and sweaty, right over the tiger’s paw.

David pumps into him through his orgasm, and Gerard mouths kisses into David’s skin when David comes with a long groan. David curls over him, cheek against Gerard’s. They both just breathe for several long moments. It’s heavy and loud in the sudden silence. Even Mike’s quiet, and when David remembers him, he looks over his shoulder.

Mike’s stretched back, resting on his elbows. His chest is rising and falling as heavily as David’s and Gerard’s chests, and his stomach is striped with come. David chuckles a little, and Gerard grunts and stirs beneath him. Their thighs are trembling, and David’s arm is starting to hurt where the hard edge of the headboard bears into his skin. He eases back slowly, then pulls out. Gerard mewls again, softly, and together they sprawl on the bed next to Mike. Mike’s smiling smugly.

“Told you: you guys didn’t need me.”

David noses into Gerard’s neck. Gerard hums softly, then shakes his head.

“We did,” he argues. His voice is rough, but soft. Mike shakes his head.

“Nah,” he insists with a little laugh. “You just needed to remember why you guys are good together. I helped with that, but you didn’t need me for it.” He shrugs one shoulder, still smiling a little crookedly. “Whatever, though. I’m glad I could be the feather to your Dumbo.”

David wrinkles his nose. “Is that a fat joke?”

Gerard barks out a laugh and rolls his eyes. “Oh my god, David!”

Mike laughs again and shakes his head. “I’ll clean up, then get outta your—”

“Stay.”

Gerard and David say it at the same time. Mike pauses, half-off the bed already, and looks at them. David watches his eyes flick between them before settling on Gerard. They hold each other’s gazes for a moment, then Mike nods and settles down again.

“Just for the night,” Gerard adds.

“Okay.” Mike nods, and David smiles a little, because he knows he’s not the only one who gives Gerard what he wants — even if nobody else realizes they’re doing it.