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Blood & Pencils

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Gerard is absent-mindedly adding shading to the drawing of his art partner for the day (whose name he, tragically, still doesn't know, because she's fierce and hot and already has a whole sleeve of brightly colored tattoos and he's maybe kind of too intimidated to ask) when the professor calls, "Alright guys, wrap it up! Put your name on the back of the paper and put it on the desk."

Gerard sighs and quickly scribbles in the top edge of the tattoos and scrawls his signature across the arm in lieu of the rest of them. He gathers up all his pencils, decidedly does not blush when his partner grins at him, and grabs his bag, heading for the door

"Your homework, which is due on Monday," the professor adds, "is to apply what you've learned about portraiture this week and do a self-portrait."

Well, shit. All thoughts of the merits of 3B versus HB pencils and way-out-of-his-league art student girls grind to a halt. How the hell is he supposed to draw a self-portrait? he hasn't seen his own face in three years, ever since he and Mikey got mugged by that fucking vampire on their way home from a concert they hadn't even been allowed to go to. Mostly it's been okay, after the first terrible week where they were lost and confused and all but feral from bloodlust. Once the local vampires showed up and got them under control, explained what had happened and told them where to get clean, uncontaminated blood if you didn't have enough donors, it was fine. Sometimes even awesome - Gerard loves that he doesn't need much sleep anymore, he can survive totally comfortably on only two hours of deathsleep per day, and turning into a bat is still as fucking rad as it was the first time.

This though? This freaking sucks. He'd really rather not be outed as a mythical, blood-sucking creature because of a fucking art class assignment.

He flips his collar up and buries his hands in his pockets before heading outside, skirting around the edge of the buildings for the protection their sparse shade provides him from the glaring sunlight. It's not gonna kill him, but prolonged exposure (where "prolonged" means "anything longer than five minutes") to direct sunlight gives him really nasty burns that take far too much blood and sleep to heal, especially with blood being as fucking expensive as it is.

The first thing he does, when he gets to his dorm room, is call Mikey.

"Mikey!" he hisses into the phone. "I need to do a self-portrait for class!"

Mikey laughs at him. "Dude, you're screwed."

"But Mikey!" Gerard whines. "What am I supposed to do?" His stomach growls, reminding him that it's been dangerously long since he last fed. He really needs to call the blood delivery as soon as possible.

"Just don't do the assignment, what's the big deal?"

"The big deal is that this is fucking Shechter's class, and if you don't hand in your assignment he makes you come in on Saturday and do it under his supervision."

"Oh. Well, shit," Mikey says after a pause.

"Exactly!" Gerard exclaims. "So what the hell am I supposed to do?" He paces around the room agitatedly as he digs out his wallet and starts counting how much cash he has left. It will barely be enough to cover one meal. He's gonna have to mooch off his mom again.

"Could you get someone else to draw it for you?" Mikey asks.

"Can't, Shechter knows my style," Gerard answers. "He'll totally notice that it's not my work, and I'll be in so much shit for plagiarizing. Fuck, I wish cameras at least still worked!" Gerard whines.

"That's not what you normally say," Mikey reminds him. It's true, Gerard was pretty happy that no-one could capture his stupid expressions on film anymore. But right now it just sucks. Gerard sighs heavily and slumps down on his bed.

"Hey," Mikey says, "maybe someone can draw you and then you can draw your portrait based on that?"

"That... could work," Gerard says, "but I don't know anyone who'd do it without asking what the hell I need a drawing of myself for."

"You - you're coming home for the weekend, right?" Mikey asks.

"Yes, why?" Gerard responds warily.

"I think Frank would do it," Mikey starts hesitantly. "He's my - a friend. He's fairly good at drawing. Not as good as you, of course, but good enough."

Gerard grins. Mikey's hero-worship of him will never not be awesome.

"He's not going to ask questions?" Gerard asks.

"Well, he... he knows about us already, so." Mikey answers, sounding guilty as fuck.

"You told him?!" Gerard shrieks. "Mikey, are you insane? Do you know what would happen if the wrong people found out? You could be - "

"Gerard, calm the fuck down, nothing happened," Mikey interrupts. "I didn't tell him, he found out himself. And before you start freaking out again, no, I was not being careless, he simply doesn't understand the concept of announcing himself before just barging into my room in the middle of the night. And then freaking out because I'm not moving."

"Wow," Gerard says, "did he freak out again when you told him why you weren't moving?"

"If by 'freaking out' you mean 'ranting about how cool that is and how come he can't be a vampire, he's the one who was born on Halloween', then yeah, he did."

Gerard snorts. "Alright, hopefully that's gonna work out."

"So see you later, then?" Mikey asks.

"Yeah, I'm leaving as soon as I've had food," Gerard says, then adds, quietly, "thanks, Mikes."

***

Gerard slips into the house quietly at around 3 AM. He didn't mean to arrive so late, but by the time the blood delivery got there, and with public transport as shitty as it is - well. He was tempted to just give up waiting for the train and fly here, but he kind of really needs his mom to do his laundry.

He opens the door to his and Mikey's room and stops short. Mikey's lying flat on his back, literally dead to the world, but there's a smaller figure sprawled half on top of him, clinging to him with arms and legs like some kind of monkey, face buried in Mikey's neck. Gerard can't be sure, but something tells him this is Frank.

"So that's how it is," he mutters quietly. Maybe-Frank stirs restlessly, mumbling in his sleep, but doesn't wake.

Gerard dumps his duffel bag at the foot of his bed and lies down. He might as well sleep now, since he is pretty tired. Before he closes his eyes he glances over at the other bed one more time. Probably-Frank has his mouth open and is drooling on Mikey's collarbone.

Gerard grins. Looks like it's gonna be an interesting weekend.