The good thing about playing bars is the beer is usually on the house once you're off stage. Tonight they've even got a booth. Gerard's squished by Mikey and Ray into the corner of one side, wondering how he always ends up being the squished one, and Otter's slumped across from him, but Frank's wired as fuck, up on his knees on the seat, elbows on the table, talking about fucking slow dancing and boners and hooking up in the back of some chick's hatchback.
"I still fucking love that," he says, and Gerard's gonna ask loves what, but Frank goes on. "When you get so worked up kissing that you can come in literally three seconds."
"You can come in three seconds?" Otter says.
"Fuck yeah." Frank pushes himself up high enough so they can all watch him grab his junk through his jeans. "I'm awesome."
It takes a minute for Gerard to follow what Frank's saying, and by the time he gets there, Frank's junk is back under the edge of the table. "I'm pretty sure that's not something to brag about," Gerard says, trying to focus enough to get a hand on his beer. Though maybe if he can't grab it, he shouldn't have any more. "Isn't that a thing, Mikey? You should stop drinking when you can't see your hand?"
"You have two hands, Gee. Right there." Mikey pats Gerard's hands and turns to Frank. "He's right, though. You don't want to be a punchline in a movie about a dude who fucks a pie."
"You can all fuck off," Frank says. He hasn't let go of his beer at all, so he's allowed to keep drinking. "I can last all night if I want to. I'm just saying—"
"Your mom lasts all night," Otter interrupts.
Frank punches him in the side of the head, and they scuffle until Frank drags Otter onto the floor, and beer sprays everywhere, and Ray makes him trade seats. Frank never gets a chance to finish his sentence.
Between being folded to fit around the box of merch, and Frank's head heavy with sleep at the top of his thigh, Gerard's leg is completely dead. He's poking the patch of skin between his sock and the cuff of his jeans with a plastic fork he found wedged into the loose seal at the bottom of the window, and he can't feel it at all. It's like a super-slo-mo zombie transformation, and he gets lost for a while thinking about being up on stage with his limbs rotting and falling off, and then Ray slams on the brakes, making Gerard stab Frank in the shoulder with his fork.
"Th'fuck?" Frank grumbles, and Gerard throws the fork aside so he can use both hands to check for blood.
"Deer," Ray says from the driver's seat. "Buck. The laws of physics were not on our side."
"Why're we talkin' about physics?" Mikey complains from the middle seat, voice fuzzy with sleep.
"But what bit me?" Frank says, waking up now. "Did you bite me, Gee?"
"If you guys are fucking around I don't want to know about it," Mikey says.
"No fucking around in the van," Ray says.
"We fucking live in the van," Frank says. "Where else are we supposed to fuck around?"
"Wait," Gerard says. Because, wait. "We're not fucking around. Who said we're fucking around?" He would remember if he and Frank were fucking around.
"Biting, fucking, whatever," Ray says. "Don't do it."
"I stabbed him with a fork," Gerard corrects. "But I don't think it broke the skin." His leg is tingling and burning now like he got out of a hot tub and jumped into a snow bank, except not fun.
"Kinky," Mikey says. "Still don't want to know about it."
"Shut the fuck up, I'm sleeping," Otter cuts in.
"Nope," Ray says. "I've been driving for four hours. Someone else's tu—"
"NOT IT," Gerard and Mikey say in perfect unison.
"Fuck off. Not me," Otter says.
"Fine," Frank says. "Stab me and then make me drive. I see how it is."
Ray pulls onto the shoulder and they all get out and stumble around until Gerard gets enough feeling back in his leg so he can join the others pissing into the trees, then they climb back in. Gerard makes Mikey take the seat with boxes in the footwell with Otter, Ray takes Mikey's bench, and Gerard takes shotgun. Even though he hasn't slept in like twenty-two hours, he ends up staying awake, listening to Frank talk about how opening acts can change the whole character of a show and how people don't seem to think about that enough anymore.
Trying to make it from one day to the next, Gerard forgets sometimes how fucking lucky they are that Frank said he'd join the band. When Frank runs out of steam, Gerard does his part to hold up the conversation. It's the least he can do after stabbing him with a fork of mystery origins and giving Ray an excuse to demand a change in drivers.
The truck stop is too bright and too loud for the ratio of booze to caffeine to Doritos orange cheese in Gerard's blood stream, and there is no way Mikey or Ray is going to step away from the trivia jackpot game they found until they beat it, so Gerard heads back out to the van. He's trying to figure out if he's got the keys in his pocket when someone bumps him hard from behind.
"Y'need these," Frank says, hot and a little breathless, reaching over Gerard's shoulder to dangle the keys in Gerard's face.
"Thought I had 'em."
"You haven't driven in two days. I took 'em off Otter before he got called for his shower."
"Otter's taking a shower?" Gerard didn't even know they had showers at truck stops.
"He said it was on his bucket list. I don't fucking know."
Gerard gets the key to turn the right way, and climbs through the side door, holding it for Frank even though it sticks in the track and has never once slid shut on its own.
Frank stumbles getting in and falls half in Gerard's lap, barely missing hitting Gerard with a knee to the nuts, and catching his ribs with an elbow.
"Ow," Gerard says, even though it doesn't really hurt.
Frank flops and wiggles until he's got his ass on the seat and his legs across Gerard's lap. Gerard had his arm in the air to keep it out of the way while Frank got situated, and it ends up half on the seat back, half around Frank's shoulder. He's about to shift Frank a little so they're both more comfortable when Frank says, "Do you think Ray or Mikes would be more pissed if I blew you?"
"If you—?" Gerard pulls back far enough to see Frank's face as his thought train tries to find a station where Frank didn't just offer him oral sex. Because he's pretty sure Frank didn't just offer him oral sex. Then Frank pokes his tongue suggestively into his cheek and raises an eyebrow, and okay. Maybe he did. "Fuck, really?" Gerard asks.
"Not that we have to tell them," Frank adds, and Gerard can't tell if the wink that goes with that is flirty or not.
"You—" Gerard has been drinking, and sometimes it's hard for him to tell when people are kidding when he's drinking, and Frank can be a master of deadpan when he wants to be, but his jokes tend to be more about how he ate the last granola bar when there's a whole other box, or telling you that you slept through the rest stop and there's not another one for an hour, not let's have sex.
"Don't tell me you weren't thinking about it when you stabbed me with a fork."
It's not that Gerard's never thought about Frank like that, because he doesn't believe in trying to police his libido or anything, but he definitely was just thinking about his dead leg when the fork incident happened. "I was thinking about turning into a zombie," Gerard says.
Frank laughs and shoves him. "Zombies don't use silverware," he says, because Frank is awesome.
"I mean," Gerard says, grabbing Frank's arms in case he decides he should get off Gerard's lap or something. "Yes. No. They don't. But I totally would. Blow you. Or let you. And Ray, probably."
"You'd blow Ray?" Now Frank looks confused.
"I mean Ray'd be madder. Mikey probably wouldn't actually care. I don't think Ray wants me to blow him."
"I think you should stop talking," Frank says, leaning in, "and I'm thinking kissing you might be a good way to shut you up, if that's cool with you."
Gerard agrees that he should shut the fuck up, so he lifts his chin and pulls Frank even closer. Their lips are almost touching when the door opens. Frank reacts more quickly than Gerard, grabbing his face and licking him from chin to hairline.
"Aagh!" Gerard says, getting with the program when he sees Ray's and Otter's narrowed eyes over Frank's shoulder.
"Wear a condom," Mikey says, shoving between the other guys to take his favorite spot on the center bench.
"My turn to drive," Frank says, climbing off Gerard's lap, over the seat onto Mikey's back on his way to the driver's seat.
Gerard tugs his hoodie down, hoping Ray won't notice his boner.
They drive all night and half the next day, taking turns behind the wheel, and get to the converted movie theater where they're playing in time to do a sound check. Frank is all caught up in some problem with his pedal, but it's okay, because Mikey listens to Gerard sing, and tells him he sounds good. And then Frank's talking to the dudes from the band they're opening for, leaning shoulder-to-shoulder against the wall with a guy clutching drumsticks and a tambourine in one huge hand.
Gerard gets a quirked smile when he catches Frank's eye, and nothing's different than any other night before a gig. Frank was totally kidding at the truck stop, which makes sense. And it's nothing to be disappointed about, because the possibility had only been there for half a minute, and it was probably a pretty bad idea anyway.
It isn't until after the show that Gerard finds out Frank had been more than chatting with the other band. He'd been negotiating a place for them to crash. The guys're local, and the drummer's parents are out of town so they're having a party; everyone's invited. And that means everyone. Gerard hasn't been to a party with this many people since Mikey was still in high school.
The drummer has a practice room in the basement, and Gerard ends up there with Frank, Ray, and Taboo Zoo's guitar player, whose name Gerard still hasn't caught. There's a plastic Easter egg filled with weed, and a fridge in the corner stocked with beer, and Gerard has no desire to mingle. They smoke through the egg, making the room hazy in that way where Gerard can't really tell if it's smoky or just his buzz, making his beer extra cold and extra fizzy, sour and sharp and dank all at once. The wood paneling is painted gray to match the single wall of cheap foam acoustic tiles. Gerard wants to fit his fingers into the divots between the foam fingery things—it would be almost like he was holding hands with the wall—but inertia has struck him down. Frank's hand is right there on the sofa cushion next to him though, so Gerard slots their fingers together instead.
Taboo-boy talks a lot. He's gotten Ray into a conversation about writing styles, and the words come in waves. Gerard holds tight to Frank's hand so he doesn't get washed away with them. He wonders where Taboo gets their weed, because this is some seriously good shit.
"We're lucky to have Ray," a voice says in Gerard's ear, and he opens his eyes to find Taboo-boy and Ray have gotten out guitars and are playing around with fingering. Frank's moved closer so he's pressed all along Gerard's left side, chin on Gerard's shoulder. "Anton's not bad, but I don't think he's ever going to be Ray Toro."
"Who's Anton?" Gerard asks.
"The dude whose weed you just smoked." Frank uses their clasped hands to gesture toward the corner where Ray and (apparently) Anton are playing, then wraps the fingers of his free hand around Gerard's wrist, stroking lightly up under Gerard's cuff. "And clearly you took more than your share."
"I didn't," Gerard says, but fuck if he knows. He just inhaled when the pipe came to him. "I didn't," he says again, in case Frank doesn't believe him.
Frank bumps Gerard's cheek with his forehead and gives him a smile. "No one took too much, Gee."
Gerard isn't sure Frank's right about that. He's having trouble breathing the way that sometimes happens when he's been smoking up and then someone tries to hurry him somewhere. Except he's just sitting. Maybe it's that Frank's breathing in his ear now, quick, short breaths that Gerard's trying to match.
"You breathe so fast," Gerard says, which gets him a sharp nip on his earlobe. "Hey!"
"Maybe you breathe too slow," Frank counters.
Gerard's gonna tell him that he doesn't think that's true, but before he can say anything Frank bites the corner of his jaw. And what the fuck? Frank pinches and hits and bites sometimes just because he's Frank, but this doesn't feel like that. There's intent, or intensity, or something, behind it that's nothing like Frank's boredom attacks. Whatever it is makes Gerard's dick kick with interest.
Frank can fucking tell somehow, because he whispers, "Yeah. Yeah?"
The other guys are playing guitar, not watching them, but they're still only like five feet away. "Frank?" Gerard asks, quiet as he can.
"Van?" Frank whispers, lips a damp press against Gerard's ear. And jesus. Gerard's fucking squirming in his seat. What if Frank wasn't kidding before? What if he thought the others' timing sucked just as much as Gerard did? What if they're actually going to fucking do this?
Gerard scrambles to his feet, Frank clutching his arm, look on his face like Gerard told him the van's full of presents, all for Frank. They don't bother to say goodbye.
The van's parked up the street, in front of a house with dark windows and a couple of newspapers in the driveway, and that probably shouldn't seem like a luxurious level of privacy, but it does. Gerard pats his pockets for the keys, but that would be way too much luck, and whoever had them last, it wasn't him. He's about to tell Frank they need to go back for them, but Frank's unlocking the door, sliding it open.
"How do you always have the keys, Frankie?" Gerard asks.
"Because I fucking plan ahead. C'mon. C'mon." He grabs Gerard's wrist again and tugs him into the van.
"You're a fucking--" ninja Gerard was going to say, or maybe genius, but Frank's tongue is in his mouth and he's tipping them so Gerard's falling on his chest, and whatever, words. Because kissing. Kissing Frank. And not just a bet-you-won't-kiss-a-dude dare, either. Private, no-one's-watching kissing.
Except it's not so much like kissing anymore. Frank's jumping around under him like he's being goosed, and Gerard's a little afraid he's gonna lose a lip or something. "What're you—" he says, and then Frank goes stiff and what the fuck, is he coming already? But the sound of the door scraping along its track breaks through, and oh, Gerard didn't have a chance to close it.
"Fucking door," Frank grunts and kicks out again, and fucking hell he's gonna knock Gerard on the floor at this rate.
"I got it," Gerard says, and who the hell tries to close a door with their feet anyway? He kneels up and grabs for it, missing the handle, but catching the edge of the window and shutting it the rest of the way, and when he turns back, Frank has unzipped his hoodie and settled more securely on the seat. His teeth are glinting in the streetlight, and his lipring looks like a scar. Gerard can't actually believe they're doing this.
"Take a picture, it lasts longer," Frank says, grin getting bigger.
"I fucking would." Gerard means it, too. He'd love to draw Frank like this, loose-limbed and open instead of coiled like a spring.
"Or just fucking get over here," Frank says, kicking Gerard in the ass with one heel, making Gerard fall back on top of him.
"Pushy," Gerard answers, and it is not a complaint.
Frank's still moving, but it's a steady grind now, and Gerard settles in, gets a thigh between his legs, rides Frank's hip while they kiss, and it's really fucking good. The pot makes it feel like Gerard's melting into Frank, like he's kissing with his toes and the tips of his hair, like if he pushed a little harder, his fingertips could sink right through and leave prints on Frank's bones. He wants to tell Frank all about it, opens his mouth to explain, but Frank twists fingers in his hair, yanks him closer, groans deeply as he sucks hard on Gerard's tongue.
The leg resting on Gerard's hip tightens, hooks farther over his thigh, and the lazy roll of Frank's hips gets shorter, tighter, faster. He drops a hand to Gerard's ass and pushes, like maybe welded together isn't close enough.
"Gonna," he gasps. "Gee, Gee, gonna." And Gerard remembers him saying he can come in three seconds just from making out. Except he'd thought maybe Frank meant with a hand on his dick, not just humping a guy's leg through his jeans.
"Okay," he says, because he's not gonna argue, and there's no way to get a hand between them right now anyway. "Okay, Frankie."
Frank's grip on Gerard gets impossibly tighter, his hips stutter, and he makes a rough, breathy sound that Gerard wants to hear a lot more of. His eyes are squeezed shut, and Gerard can't help kissing them, kissing his forehead and his nose and his cheeks until Frank bats weakly at him, protesting, "Tickles."
"Can't help it. You're cute when you come," Gerard says, because Frank is.
But Frank bats at him again, totally ineffectually, and says, "Not cute. Hot."
Gerard figured that part went without saying.
"Take it back or I won't blow you," Frank says, a little slurred, when Gerard just grins at him.
"You were gonna blow me?" Gerard says, because okay, clearly Frank wasn't totally kidding at the truck stop, but you can want to make out with a guy and still not want his dick in your mouth.
"Don't think you're the only one who can give head," Frank says, poking him in the chest. "Other guys do that too."
Which, obviously; Gerard totally didn't think he was special, and it's not even like he's done it that many times—he's pretty sure Mikey's gone down on more guys than he has. "I just— You never talk about guys like that."
"You never asked. You askin'?"
"Do I have to say you aren't cute?" Gerard knows he's pushing it, but he doesn't get to tease Frank that often, and he can't help it.
"I'll show you cute," Frank grumbles, shoving Gerard off, though there's so much shit between the seats that Gerard doesn't go very far.
And maybe that was Frank's intention, because next thing Gerard knows, Frank's shoving a hand down Gerard's pants, fishing around for a good grip on his dick. Fuck teasing, fuck being half on the seat and half on something hard and kinda sharp— blowjobs are great and all, but Frank is a man with a mission, and it's one that has Gerard's one-hundred-percent approval.
"Oh," Gerard says weakly, thrusting into Frank's grip. "Fuck. Yeah."
"Shu'p," Frank says, and Gerard probably wouldn't obey him, except Frank's hauled him in and is kissing him again, and it turns out Gerard would rather kiss Frank than talk. Frank is an awesome kisser. He's also fucking great at giving handjobs, even hampered by their position and Gerard's still-done-up jeans, and this shouldn't be a surprise, because Gerard's seen Frank do things with a guitar he didn't even know were possible, and he knows for a fact that Frank has had lots and lots of practice jerking off. Also, he might as well admit it, Gerard's pretty easy when it comes to other people touching his dick.
"Gnngh," Gerard says into Frank's mouth, which means, like that, like that, I'm gonna come, and Frank clearly gets it, because he speeds up just right, catches Gerard's lip between his teeth, and makes a noise of his own which Gerard hears as come on, then, do it.
It's not the best orgasm he's ever had, mostly because the corner of something stabs him in the kidney in the middle of it, but it ends with Frank dragging Gerard back on top of him, kissing him like he's planning on going for round two, and who needs two kidneys anyway?
It's Mikey who finds them sometime after dawn, sound asleep with Gerard's face stuffed between Frank's neck and the seat, Frank's hand half-way down the back of Gerard's pants. "Don't want to know," Mikey says. "Gee, it's your turn to drive."
"He can drive, alright," Frank says, peering over Gerard's shoulder, squeezing Gerard's ass before taking his hand back so Gerard can sit up.
"I will sit on your face, Iero, and I just had a breakfast burrito," Mikey says.
"Where's my breakfast?" Gerard asks. Now that he's awake, he's starving.
"If you skip out to sleep in the van you don't get breakfast," Mikey says, getting out of the way so Gerard can get to the driver's seat. Gerard's about to protest, but Ray and Otter appear on the porch, both of them double-fisting something wrapped in paper towels, so Mikey's just being a dick.
"Don't be a dick," Frank says.
"You know I will fart on you," Mikey says, aiming his ass in Frank's direction. Gerard and Frank have both been victims of this brand of punishment, and it's no joke.
"Okay, okay," Frank says, scrambling up, classic trying-not-to-laugh look on his face. "You're a prince among men, and I absolutely didn't spend all night making out with your brother."
Mikey clearly doesn't believe him, but before he can make good on his threat, Otter and Ray are at the van, passing out food and asking if everyone slept well. Gerard catches Frank's eye in the rearview, and they both grin.
"Slept great," Frank says before stuffing his burrito in his mouth.
"Never better," Gerard agrees, and takes a bite of his own.