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All Frank wants is a fucking shower and the opportunity to jerk off in peace. The shower is a long shot, but half an hour—twenty minutes, even—just a little time alone on the bus. Enough time to take his time, really get into it—


"What, fuck?" Frank grabs another towel and blots uselessly at his neck. It is fucking boiling in Omaha or Cleveland or wherever the fuck they are today. He lost track after the first week.

"Do you want to come to the merch tent with us?" Ray asks again.

Frank does not want to go to the merch tent with Ray and Gerard. Frank wants to go back to the bus, by himself, and then he wants to jerk off, and then he wants to find Cortez and make him set up the Slip 'N Slide, because they don't have a hotel night for another four days. "Do I have to?"

Gerard shrugs. "Whatever. Mikey and Bob disappeared, already."

"Fall Out Boy isn't on until five," Ray points out, but Gerard just shrugs again and says, "Make up your mind, Frank, I want to get over there." He's weirdly enigmatic behind his sunglasses, but Frank can't really blame him for trying to ignore the Fall Out Boy clusterfuck.

"I'm kind of beat," Frank says, "I think I'm just gonna go back to the bus. I'll do it tomorrow, give you guys a break."

"Sure thing." Ray smiles affectionately and makes an abortive little gesture, like he would pat Frank on the shoulder if it weren't a hundred million degrees outside.

"Great." Frank waves them off and then cuts around the fences the other way, detouring through the parking lot. From the outside, their bus seems blessedly quiet. Inside, Mikey and Pete are making out on the couch.

"Fuck," Frank says wearily, "Why is it always our bus? Don't you have a bus of your own, Wentz?"

"Hey Frank," Pete says, waggling the fingers he has tangled in Mikey's hair.

"Joe had a headache," Mikey explains, not very apologetically. He still has his hand up Pete's shirt. "Oh, and Bob and Patrick are fucking on the studio bus, so you might not want to go in there. Weren't you going to the merch tent, anyway?"

Frank sighs, and, when that doesn't make him feel any better, bangs his head against the wall. "All I want," he says, "is to jerk off in fucking peace, for once. Jesus wept."

Mikey raises both eyebrows at Pete, and Pete shrugs one shoulder and quirks his lips. They've been mind-melding like that all summer, finishing each other's sentences and communicating without words. It drives everybody crazy, but they all have their ways of coping. Gerard signs more t-shirts and gives more lectures. Patrick fucks Bob. "Don't stop on our account," Pete says to Frank, and then he leers, which Frank totally does not fucking need. "You can even do it in here, if you want."

"Don't perv on my band mates," Mikey says coolly. "Whatever, Frank, just be quiet. Worm's taking a nap."

"Fuck," Frank yells, totally uselessly, and slams through the bunks into the back lounge. "My band sucks," he says into the smooth leather of the couch, and then he digs his phone out of his pocket and calls Brian.

"This band sucks," he says when Brian answers. There's a long pause, during which Frank can hear Brian sigh, and then get up from his desk and walk into the kitchen to pour himself a cup of coffee.

Frank picks at the knees of his jeans until Brian says, "What the fuck, Iero."

"I want a shower, Brian," Frank says mournfully, "I want a shower, and I want my band to stop making out with half of Fall Out Boy, and I want Gerard to stop preaching and Ray to stop being nice to people and I want it to not be 112 degrees in the middle of fucking nowhere with five thousand irritating teenagers who want autographs."

"On the plus side," Brian says dryly, "The shows are looking great on YouTube."

"Fuck that." Frank sinks further into the couch. "I hate Warped Tour."

"You hate all tours at four weeks in," Brian says unsympathetically, "I've been expecting this call for days, Frank, where have you been?"

Frank groans and rubs his hand over his eyes. "Watching Mikey make out with Pete fucking Wentz. It's scarring, Brian, seriously, I want to stab my eyes out with a fork."

There's a rustling sound which Frank recognizes—Brian sitting down on his living room couch and putting his feet up on the coffee table—and then he says, "Well, let me know if you do. I like to plan in advance for shit like blind guitarists."

"You are not taking this very seriously, Schechter," Frank snaps, suddenly irritated.

Brian is silent for a long moment. "Tell me what's really bothering you, then," he says at last, deceptively mild.

Frank sighs, shifts his hips and cups his cock through his jeans. He's halfway hard and entirely frustrated. "I can't fucking get off," he says into the phone. "Everybody is fucking getting laid all the fucking time—well, not Gerard, but it's Gerard, and Ray just spends a lot of time on the phone with his girlfriend—but everybody else. And there's not—there is not a fucking second of fucking privacy, Brian, not a second, which I knew, but usually I'm not this—" Bite the fucking bullet, Frankie. "In the past I've been—drunk. Or worried, or—I've been thinking about other things, and now all anyone is thinking about is sex." Brian doesn't say anything, so Frank just keeps talking, "And I really want to get laid, or at the very least have a little fucking alone time with my dick, but Pete and Mikey are making out in the kitchen and Worm is taking a nap in the bunks and it just isn't working." He's fucking whining, now, because he always gets whiny when he's sexually frustrated. Brian still hasn't said anything, but in a second he'll come in with a dry, exasperated, too much fucking information, Iero, get over it, and turn the conversation to something else.

He doesn't, though. Instead he says, "Hmm," and, "Well, what about now? You're alone in the lounge, right?"

Frank frowns, even though nobody can see him. "Yeah, but—I don't know if I can, now." Fucking pathetic.

There's another soft sound and a clink—Brian setting his mug down on the coffee table—and then he says, "Unzip your pants." His voice doesn't change at all: just Brian, steady and firm and clear, annoyed and affectionate and a little amused, and inexplicably, devastatingly hot. Frank unzips his pants.

"Okay," he says, and holds the phone a little tighter, his palm sweating against the plastic. "Okay, what next?"

Brian snorts, "I think you know how to jerk off, Frank." His voice is dry, but there's an undercurrent of something else, something that Frank wants to chase after and pin down.

"Talk me through it," he says, shoving his jeans and boxers down to his knees and wrapping a hand around the base of his cock.

"Why should I?" Brian asks pointedly, "It's your problem, get yourself out it." Frank has heard him say those exact words a hundred times. He always means them—the Brian Schechter school of tough love—but this time, they sound like talk me into it.

"I need your help," Frank tries, tightening his hand. Brian doesn't say anything, so maybe that isn't enough. "I won't until you tell me to," he adds, and is surprised to find that he actually means it.

Brian sucks in a sharp, shocked breath. Frank can picture him, on the couch in his living room in Brooklyn, his tattooed arms and spiky hair and intent, focused gaze, and maybe—maybe—a hand down his pants, and seriously, Frank thinks, fuck, because he's jerking off on the phone with Brian fucking Schechter.

"Okay," Brian fucking Schechter says steadily, and Frank shivers, "Do you have your cock out?"


"Okay," Brian says again, "Fuck your hand." Frank does as he says, fists his dick and shoves his hips up until Brian says, "Stop."

Frank stops. "Fuck, Brian." His voice is rough, dry and desperate, but he can't bring himself to care what he sounds like when he's this hot, aching and almost painfully hard.

"Take it slow." For the first time, Brian sounds a little uneven. "Don't waste this time, Frank, you don't know when you'll have it again."

Frank loosens his grip and slides his thumb up to stroke over the head of his dick, whispers his fingers down to cup his balls. "Good idea," he says into the phone.

Brian's laugh is harsh. "If you say so."

Frank frowns, momentarily distracted. "No, really." He rubs his thumb down the side of his cock. "Schechter, you are all about fucking great ideas."

"This is not a fucking great idea," Brian says. He might be right about that—he's usually right—but Frank can't really bring himself to care, right now.

"Worry about it later," he says, "Come on, Brian, please."

Brian takes a shaky breath, "Shit, Frank, okay, fuck, go faster."

Frank tightens his fingers again and fucks up into his hand, fast and rough until he's almost fucking there, and then he says, "Brian, I'm gonna come."

"Do it," Brian says breathlessly, and Frank comes all over his hand.

It takes a few minutes before his brain switches back on, and when it does, the first thing he notices—after he wipes his sticky hand on his shirt and stretches luxuriously on the couch—is the dead silence on the other end of the phone line. "Brian?" He asks quietly, his voice still sex-raspy, "Schechter? Are you still there?"

"Yeah," Brian says, "Yeah, Frank, I'm still here." There's something in his voice that Frank recognizes, and not at all in the way he wants to.

"Shit, Brian," Frank tries, feeling suddenly useless, "Shit, okay, look, fuck." He sits up. "Brian. I'm not Gerard, and it's not last summer."

Brian is silent. Frank shoves his jeans the rest of the way off and pulls his boxers back on. It's too hot for real clothes, anyway. "Brian," he says again, when Brian still hasn't said anything, "I don't need you like that."

"You just—" Brian says furiously, "You can't just—Frank, fuck, seriously, what the fuck was that?"

Frank snorts. "Oh, fuck that, Schechter, you were right there with me and it was fucking awesome, so don't pull that shit." He's maybe being a little bit of an asshole, but sometimes even Brian needs to get his ass kicked into gear. "Tell me it wasn't awesome."

"I don't know, Frank," Brian says dryly, ordinary exasperation displacing the painful memories, and Frank relaxes. "It hasn't been that awesome for me, yet."

Frank laughs, high and relieved. Mikey and Pete are all caught up in each other, and he has at least another twenty minutes before Ray and Gerard get back from the merch tent. "Take off your fucking pants, Schechter," he says, "and don't even think about hanging up the phone."

"Okay." Brian still sounds a little reluctant, but Frank can work on that. "Okay, hang on. I'm putting the phone down, but I won't hang up."

"Put me on speaker," Frank suggests, but there's no answer, which hopefully means that Brian is taking off his clothes. Frank kicks his jeans into the corner and settles back on the couch, knees spread. It's cooler back here, with all the shades down and the fans on, and quieter than usual. Seems like he got what he wanted, after all.

"Frank?" Brian says in his ear, "are you paying attention?"

"Fuck yes," Frank says emphatically, and Brian laughs—just a little, but it makes Frank grin dangerously into the empty room. "Are you naked?"

"Are you?" Brian counters, which is completely unfair because this is supposed to be about Brian, now, not about Frank.

"Yes," Frank lies, tugging on the hem of his t-shirt.

Brian snorts, "I don't believe you."

Frank takes off his shirt and tosses it into the corner with his jeans. "I took off my shirt," he tells Brian.

"Don't take off anything else," Brian says, "in case anybody comes in." His voice is still too dry and too even, and Frank wants to shake his composure, wants to provoke him into something different, something new—wants Brian to fucking want.

"There's only one thing I want coming anywhere," he grumbles, low and rough, "and that's you. Are you fucking naked or not?"

Brian exhales. "Okay," he says quietly, "Yes, I'm naked." Frank shudders and slides his hand up his chest. His skin prickles, over-sensitized and post-orgasmic. "I'm in my bedroom," Brian adds, and since Frank has actually been in Brian's bedroom in his apartment in Brooklyn, it's not hard to picture him spread out on the dark sheets, all skin and ink. "And yeah," Brian's voice is dark, "I'm jerking off."

Frank twists a nipple between his fingers and listens for the soft, slick sound of skin on skin. "Lube?" he asks, curious.

"Not gonna be half-assed about this," Brian growls. Frank can hear him speed up, wetter and faster, and he imagines Brian's hand around Brian's dick, hot as fucking hell and—runs into a roadblock.

"Shit, Brian," he says, because it is not fucking fair that he's seen Pete fucking Wentz's dick and he's never seen Brian's. "Brian, I have no idea what your dick even looks like."

There is a moment of total silence on the other end of the line, and then Brian says, very precisely, "It's a dick, Frank, what do you think it fucking looks like?"

Frank winces. "Shit, I'm sorry. Just—forget I said that."

"I don't know if I can, now," Brian says bitterly, in a perfect imitation of Frank at his whiniest. "You ruined the fucking mood, Iero."

"I—" He really did, is the thing. "Fuck." He sits up, switches the sweaty phone to his other hand, and says, as low and dark and hot as he can, "I'll make it up to you."

"How?" Brian scoffs, but Frank can hear noises in the background, again: rustling sheets and a click like the cap of a bottle of lube.

"If I was there right now," Frank says slowly, licking his fingers, "I'd take my time on your cock, jack you really fucking slow, use my mouth to tease you, but never take you all the way in." Brian is breathing hard in his ear, and Frank shoves his hand under the waistband of his boxers.

"Tease," Brian grits out, rough and almost angry.

Frank laughs, "Do you know why I'm teasing you, though? Why I'm taking my time, getting you hot and hard and absolutely fucking desperate?" He nudges behind his cock, strokes two fingers down past his balls and pushes a fingertip into his ass. "It's because I really, really—" Brian moans, muffled like he's biting it back, and Frank finishes, "—want you to fuck me."

"Oh fuck," Brian says, and after that it's all wordless, half-finished sounds as Brian comes.

Frank listens, alone in the back lounge with his hand over his cock and his finger in his ass, not even hard because it's still too soon—and maybe that's the last straw, because fuck. "Brian," he says, "Fuck, Brian, you're fucking amazing." His voice is husky and dry, too hot, too emotional—but it's Brian, and Brian's part of his band, and none of them have ever run from emotional overload.

"Brian," he says again, "Do you have any idea how much we fucking love you?" On the other end of the line, Brian's breathing slows. "You're just—we couldn't do any of this without you, we wouldn't fucking get through a week." He's babbling, now, but it doesn't matter when it's shit that Brian needs to hear. Brian's still beating himself up about Gerard, still worrying and aching and fighting things that could be so fucking good. "We wouldn't be here, without you, wouldn't be anywhere, I wouldn't, and I want to do this for real."

"Frank." Brian's voice is tired, sated and worn. "Don't—"

"Don't what?" Frank demands, "Don't tell you how wonderful you are? Don't come on to you? Because we're fucking past that."

"Fuck off," Brian snaps, but it lacks his usual bite.

"I'll see you when we get to New York," Frank says, clear and resolute. "Three more weeks."

"Yeah." There's a pause, so quick it almost isn't there, and then Brian says levelly, "Call me if you need anything," and hangs up before Frank can think of a response.

"Holy shit," Frank says aloud into the empty room. His phone is sticky and damp with sweat, and he stares at it, sitting innocuously in his hand, seemingly meaningless and suddenly—huge.

There's a crash and a yell from the front of the bus, and then the sound of footsteps through the bunks. He tugs his hand out of his boxers just as Gerard pushes open the door. "Frank," Gerard says wildly, "I hate Pete Wentz. I hate him and I want him to die a painful fucking death involving motherfucking werewolves or demons or something really gruesome like banshees and water torture and shit, because there are some things a brother should not fucking have to see, oh my fucking god." He shoves his hands into his hair, which dislodges his sunglasses so that they hang crookedly over one ear before falling to the floor. "Fucking motherfucking fuck, are you even listening to me?"

"Yeah," Frank says, still a little dazed, "Yeah, fucking Mikey, I know."

"Fucking Wentz," Gerard says, "Taking fucking advantage of my little brother with his fucking songs and movies and waterparks—also he's a shitty fucking bass player."

Gerard is starting to look a little crazed, so Frank says, "I think Mikey's kind of an equal participant, though, Gee," which is true, but maybe not the smartest thing to say if Gerard is set on an all-out war with Mikey as the Helen of Troy of Warped Tour.

Gerard glares at him, "Fuck you, I'm going to call Brian." Which is—really not a good idea, right now.

"Um," Frank says, "I—actually just got off the phone with him! He has a meeting, I guess, so, maybe you should try him later." Frank is a really shitty liar, but Gerard just narrows his eyes, and then sighs and flops down next to Frank on the couch.

"Sorry," he says, "you're right, I'm just—"

"Yeah," Frank nods, "I know." He's not quite sure how he feels about his own coping mechanisms, right now, but he's certainly in no position to judge Gerard's.

Gerard lets out another long sigh, and then smiles at Frank, wide and insane and utterly gorgeous. "Want to watch me draw, for a while?" he asks, "I need to make a comic in which Wentz gets devoured by rampaging mammoths."

Frank snickers. "Can I do the blood?"

"Hmm," Gerard leans over the back of the couch to grab his sketchbook off the floor, "Maybe." He smiles at Frank, again, and tucks his hair behind his ears. Frank shivers—sweat drying on his skin, probably. He should put his shirt back on.

"I was gonna make Cortez set up the Slip 'N Slide," he says, and maybe he will, in a while—he needs a shower even more, now—but leaving the lounge means passing by Pete and Mikey, and Gerard is right here, smiling and sober and drawing hate comics. "I think it can wait, though." He yawns, more tired than he realized, and curls sideways to rest his head on Gerard's thigh. "I might fall asleep on you."

"Okay," Gerard says absently, stroking his fingers through Frank's hair. Frank closes his eyes and thinks about New York.