Things were tense between Gerard and Ray again, and Mikey turned his iPod up. The argument had been going on a slow boil for a couple hours, but just then Ray yelled, "We can't have a fuller sound without a rhythm guitar. There's no way to fake that, Gerard."
Gerard huffed and said, "Then we should have a rhythm guitar. Bob agrees with me."
Bob did agree with Gerard, but that was typical. Mikey usually agreed with Gerard as well, but he was with Ray on this one. He didn't want some stranger up on stage with them.
Ray said, "And how are we going to find someone to be part of the band? It's like not picking someone off the street for the night; we're talking about playing with them forever."
Mikey hated it when things within the band got like this. The endless arguments about whether they should find a second guitarist were draining and were beginning to get sharp. He didn't know if the argument was still about a second guitarist or whether it was a mask for all their other problems. They loved each other; they just didn't seem to be able to find the right balance within the group.
Mikey retreated to the back lounge, away from the strident tones of Ray and Gerard's voices. He stared listlessly out at the rolling highway. He knew he should be happy. Hell, all his dreams had come true. He was in a successful band with Gerard; Ray and Bob were like brothers to him; they had toured the world; everything was just how he had fantasized. Except for how Gerard and Ray fought all the time, Bob was a silent shadow, and Mikey still yearned.
He had never been a sap. He took the opportunities that presented themselves (and opportunities always presented themselves), and enjoyed being single to the fullest. So he didn't understand why he had this continuous, insistent feeling of incompleteness. He just knew a second guitarist wouldn't fill it. It wasn't about the band; it was about him.
Frank was having the best dream ever. He was lying on his back, making out with Mikey Way from My Chemical Romance. Each slide of tongue into his mouth felt deliciously real and intense, and he distantly heard himself moan. The body above him hitched closer and rubbed almost frantically against Frank. All Frank could do was thrust up and moan again.
A loud voice saying, "What the fuck?" suddenly broke Frank's sleep fugue and Frank's eyes popped open and he stared up into the wide eyes above him. Before he could react, the body blanketing him was wrenched away. Frank blinked and tried to make sense of the scene. His hard-on withered quickly.
First off, he wasn't at home in bed.
Secondly, there were four guys standing in a half-circle glaring at him. Well, three were glaring, and one was staring in blushing confusion. Frank knew just how he felt. Frank looked wildly around, but didn't see anything familiar. He was lying on a couch in a small, rectangular room with large windows.
The tall, blond guy said, "Who the fuck are you and how the hell did you get on the bus?" The shaggy, dark-haired one put his arm comfortingly around the sheepish one and glared harder. They were dead ringers for the Way brothers.
His glare was the most effective, and Frank almost cringed. Instead he toughened his own glare and said, "Who the fuck are you and where the fuck am I?"
"Nice try, asshole. Again, how did you get on the bus?"
What the guy was saying finally sank in, and Frank looked wildly around again. He was on a bus? He could see a parking lot outside the windows and another bus parked a couple spots over. There were mountains in the distance, like nothing Frank had ever seen in New Jersey.
More slowly, and with dawning horror, Frank said, "No, really, where the fuck am I?"
The one with all the hair, who looked suspiciously like Ray Toro, said, "Enough of this." Then towards the front of the bus, he shouted, "Security!"
Before Frank could react, he was bodily picked up and hustled off the bus by a new, muscular guy. His feet never touched the ground as he was carried towards a chain-link fence and deposited on the other side. He tried to say something, anything, to explain that he didn't know what was going on, but before he could speak, the guy gripped his arm tightly and gave it a rough shake. "I don't know how you got passed us last night, but if I ever catch you near the guys again, you'll be charged with stalking, understand?"
The guy then turned around and stomped back towards the buses. Frank stared with anger and bewilderment at his back. Frank's mind was a blur. He didn't understand what was going on, and although the last couple of minutes had been like a bucket of cold water in waking him up, he still couldn't believe what had happened. Because, really. Where the fuck was he? How did he get here? He should be passed out sleeping it off at home. And did he really just make out with Mikey Way from My Chemical Romance?
Out of the corner of his eye, Frank saw a gaggle of giggling girls looking at him. One of them started approaching him, and he ducked his head and started walking away from them. He walked a block at a half jog and then stopped to look around. Nothing looked familiar. The mountains were still in the distance and the sun was rising on the other side of the horizon. There were empty single story storefronts all around him. He murmured, "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto." There was a newspaper dispenser about a half a block down the sidewalk, so Frank jogged to it and peered at the paper inside. The Albuquerque Journal stared back at him. At least the date was right.
Frank started hyperventilating.
He stumbled to the curb and sat down heavily, putting his head between his knees.
Mikey wanted to say something as the guy was picked and carried off the bus, but words seemed lost to him. He just stared in bewilderment towards the front of the bus, until Gerard's softly spoken words pierced his bubble. "He didn't hurt you, did he, Mikey?"
He nodded his head and contrarily said, "No, no." Hurt was the farthest thing from his mind. It had been like every dream Mikey had ever had coming to life beneath him.
Gerard continued rubbing his back. "What happened?"
Mikey shook himself and then wrapped his arms around his middle. He was suddenly cold in the air-conditioned bus and just his sleep clothes. He didn't know how to explain his jumbled thoughts and dreams. One minute he was asleep on the couch, dreaming of someone, of Frank, touching him, stroking him, and the next it was all real. "I was sleeping. Dreaming. And then I heard Bob and there he was."
Mikey could feel the looks passing between the others. He knew he wasn't making any sense. The situation didn't make any sense.
Gerard said, "Bob?"
Bob always fell in line with Gerard. "I was heading forward for some coffee, and I came out to see this guy all over Mikey. I pulled Mikey away and that's when you guys showed up."
Ray said, "But where did he come from? Has anyone seen him before?"
Mikey could feel his face grow hotter. He had no way of explaining how his secret masturbation fantasy for the last couple of years had become live, hard flesh beneath him. Still, he did know who it was. He coughed. Everyone looked at him. He ducked his head and shrugged. Finally, he said, "I think his name is Frank or something. He's the lead singer of Pencey Prep. You remember them, Gerard? We saw them once at The Loop Lounge?"
Putting his hands on his hips, Gerard said, "He's in a band? What the fuck? Do you know this guy, Mikey?"
Shaking his head, Mikey truthfully said, "I've never even talked to him." The regret washed over him. Frank was right here, and Mikey hadn't even gotten the nerve to say a word. He bit his thumbnail. He hoped Frank was all right. Getting thrown off the bus in what just might be a strange city had to be disorienting. Mikey knew he was still discombobulated, and he was in the safety of his bus with his bandmates. He looked up and noticed that Gerard was looking at him sharply. His face grew hotter.
"There's something you aren't telling us. Spill, Mikeyway."
"Honestly, I don't know him, I just. Well, I just remember him. A lot. Kind of."
Huffing disgruntledly, Mikey crossed his arms. He said, "I remember him from when we saw Pencey Prep's shows back in the day. I thought he was hot. I sometimes, well, I sometimes jerk off to him, all right." He could feel the looks all his bandmates were giving him or not giving him. Ray was turned away in embarrassment, and Gerard looked sorry to have asked. Bob just looked flabbergasted.
Bob coughed and crossed his arms, but defensively. "So you wanted this guy all over you?"
"I don't think it was what it looked like. I was having a dream and then there he was. It doesn't make any sense."
Ray turned back towards Mikey and waved his hand. He said, "Wait, are you saying you were dreaming of this guy before he showed up?"
Mikey nodded and bit his lip. Everyone else looked stunned and exchanged confused looks.
"Shit, shit, shit, shit."
Frank was so screwed. Searching his pockets, he realized he didn't have his phone with him. Since it was later on the east coast (he couldn't remember whether Albuquerque was two hours or three hours behind Eastern Standard Time), he was already late for work. Spying a payphone down the block, Frank closed his eyes tightly, and then picked up the handle and dialed the operator to call his Mom collect.
After the whole "do you accept the charges" spiel from the operator, Frank's mom, sounding worried, said, "Frank, where are you? I didn't even hear you leave."
Gritting his teeth, Frank said, "I can't explain now, I'll explain later, when I get home. Can you just call Hank and tell him I won't be in today?"
"Why aren't you at work, Frankie? What's going on?"
Frank tried to avoid telling his Mom anything, but he'd always found it impossible to lie to her. So the story, as impossible as it sounded, spilled out of him. By the time she got done reaming him out for being untrustworthy and irresponsible, he was ready to beat his head against the wall.
His mom began to cry and he really felt like a heel. Ever since his dad had died and his mom had hurt her back, he'd been supporting the family and trying to take care of his mom. She didn't need this kind of trouble and he hated putting her through it. He'd tried so hard to lead a safe and secure life- getting a solid union job as an electrician, giving up his dreams of playing in a band, and now look at him.
He finally said, "I have to go and try and catch a plane."
"I don't understand this, but I love you. Come home safely."
Frank sniffled. "Love you too, Mom."
He did have his wallet with him, thank god. Now to just hope he had enough credit to cover airfare back home. And that he could find the airport. Frank looked around the still deserted storefronts and wanted to cry.
He straightened his shoulders and began walking east. About twenty minutes later, he came across an open convenience store and he wanted to kiss the parking lot, he was so happy. He went inside and bought a bottle of water, some cigarettes, and a map. He chatted up the clerk to find out where the hell he was in the city and the best way to get to the airport.
Afterwards, he walked another mile, took two buses, and waited what felt like forever for each one, but he was finally at the Albuquerque airport. It really brought it home to him that he was in another state in another city that he never thought he would visit. Un-fucking-believable. He bought a t-shirt just to remind himself it was all real. Plus, his old clothes were more than a little rumpled and smelled of sleep.
Using up all his available credit, he bought a plane ticket home and was lucky that the flight was leaving right then. He ran through the concourse to catch the plane, which was waiting for him.
Arriving into New Jersey in the late afternoon, he called his Mom to pick him up and wordlessly showed her his plane ticket. She said, "I don't know what is going on, but we can't afford things like this, Frankie."
"I know, Mom. It won't happen again." Except for the small part of Frank that remembered the way Mikey Way kissed, Frank hoped it was true. He hated disappointing his Mom, especially since she'd had such a tough time of it the last couple of years. She had had a long fight to get disability, even as her back got worse.
Mikey was having the best dream ever. He was lying on his side, and Frank was lying next to him, nibbling on his collarbone. Mikey ran his hand down Frank's side, over his hip, and back up again. Mikey could feel the roughness of the fabric and the smoothness of the skin beneath his hand and it all felt so real. There was some niggling thought in the back of his mind, but he felt too relaxed and comfortable to tease it out. It probably wasn't important anyway.
Frank's hand drifted down Mikey's belly and cupped his cock through his sleep pants. Mikey thrust and pulled Frank's face up into a hard, demanding kiss. Mikey rocked himself into orgasm against Frank's hand, licking and biting at Frank's mouth all the while.
As he came down from his orgasm, Mikey blinked his eyes open. Frank's face was inches from his and he thought, "Oh, shit." That niggling in the back of his mind finally crystallized and he remembered why he wasn't supposed to dream about Frank anymore.
Frank's eyes were closed, and he seemed to still be asleep, rhythmically rocking against Mikey and making little noises. Mikey bit his lip. He didn't know whether to wake him up or not. He had gotten off; it seemed only fair that Frank get off as well. Of course, they had both been asleep when Mikey had gotten off. Maybe it was different now that he was awake. He just didn't know.
But he did know that he wanted Frank to get off and he wanted to watch. Seeing Frank orgasm and having that to add to his fantasies was a near irresistible draw.
Before he could act (or not act, as the case might be), Frank made an inquisitive noise and scrunched up his face. It was adorable. Mikey bit his lip again; he had to stop thinking that.
Frank's eyes opened, and he stared at Mikey in incomprehension for a long moment. He blinked a couple times, awareness entering his eyes, the situation seeming to hit him all at once. He scrambled backwards with a loud yell and fell off the other side of the bed with a hard thump and a soft, "Ow."
Mikey peered over the edge and said, "Are you all right?"
Frank was rubbing the back of his head and looking around in horror. He looked at Mikey hard and grimaced. "Not fucking again. Tell me this isn't happening again."
At a loss for words, Mikey shrugged.
Falling back with another loud thump, Frank said, "Shit. Do you know how much it cost me to get home last time? Never mind how pissed off my boss was and that my Mom now thinks I'm doing drugs."
Mikey said, "I'm sorry," but it came out like a question. Firming his tone, he continued. "I'll pay your airfare back this time." It was the least he could do since it seemed to be his fault.
Frank snorted. "Before or after I'm thrown out on my ass?"
"You won't get thrown out again. I'll talk to Gerard first."
A curious, yet embarrassed, look passed over Frank's face. "Shit. Gerard Way. And you're Mikey Way. I don't fucking believe this. Why do I keep waking up making out with you, Mikey Way? And why aren't you more freaked out by it?"
As the memory of his orgasm rushed over him, Mikey blushed hard and stuttered. Finally, he just rolled back onto the bed, drawing the sheets up. He covered his face with his hand and frantically tried to find a reasonable explanation. It was one thing telling his bandmates that he masturbated to Frank's face; it was entirely different saying it to Frank. There was just no way.
Frank watched as Mikey Way disappeared from sight. What an odd guy. He climbed back onto the bed and was treated to the sight of Mikey huddled under the sheets and covering his red face with his hand. He didn't believe this. "Are you telling me you know what's going on?"
Mikey hedged. "Not exactly." He still didn't look at Frank.
"So what do you know?"
As Mikey remained silent, Frank slapped the bed. "I deserve to know. I'm the one tele-fucking-porting thousands of miles from home."
Finally finding something neutral to say, Mikey lowered his hand and said, "I remember you."
Confused, Frank said, "Remember me? We haven't met, have we? I'd remember that."
"I saw you play. In Pencey Prep."
"That was ages ago. We broke up in 2002." Frank watched as Mikey shrugged again and picked at the sheet covering him. "And just remembering seeing my old band doesn't explain how you know what's going on, because I'm obviously familiar with your band, and I have no fucking clue."
As Frank waited for an answer, he could see on Mikey's face that he was searching for a lie to tell him. Frank wanted to slap the bed again or slap some sense into Mikey. Just then a knock sounded on Mikey's door, and they looked frantically at each other. Frank perched on his knees as if he were going to run somewhere, and Mikey sat up, the sheet pooling at his waist.
Before they could move or say anything, the handle turned and the door swung open. Gerard came through saying, "You're late, Mikey. We have that interview this- Shit!" Gerard's mouth hung open for a couple moments, and then he glared at Mikey. "What did we say about dreaming about this guy again?"
Turning back to Mikey, in an incredulous voice, Frank asked, "You dream about me?" Mikey blushed hard. "And that's what's bringing me here? That still doesn't make any sense."
Gerard said, "We figured out that through the magnitude of his want, Mikey has tapped into the collective unconscious in his dreams, causing ripples in the intra-dimensional time-space continuum that allow the teleportation of you here when you are in a weakened state, such as when you're sleeping. It's pretty cool when you think about it."
Frank stared in incomprehension.
Gerard waited a couple more seconds, but finally continued with, "So while it's cool in a metaphysical sense, you really have to be going now. We have a tour to get back to and an interview in ten minutes. We'll try to keep Mikey from dreaming about you, and if you could keep to an irregular sleeping schedule, that would help immensely."
Incredulously, Frank said, "What?" He didn't know what kind of answer he was looking for to explain the crazy situation, but that wasn't it. It sounded like something out of Star Trek. And Mikey Way dreaming about him after seeing him play years and years ago? What was that about?
But Gerard was already on the move, calling in the other members of the band and pretty soon the room was in total chaos. Before Frank knew it, he again found himself being manhandled out by security. The guy was a little nicer this time, after being instructed by Gerard that Frank wasn't a stalker. The last glimpse of Mikey showed him looking back at Frank with a small frown, and giving him a little wave.
As he was hustled along by the security guard, Frank said, "Wait. Wait. I don't have any shoes." After the first time, he had taken to sleeping with his wallet and phone, but he hadn't thought about shoes.
The security guy said, "Where are your shoes?"
"No, I didn't lose my shoes, I don't have any shoes."
The guard gave him a perplexed and frustrated look, but when they reached the lobby, let Frank buy flip-flops in the gift shop.
This time around it was a much easier trip as the guy drove Frank directly to the airport. Frank didn't want to look like a complete loon, so he didn't ask where he was, just waited until the airport came into sight and read, "Denver International Airport." Another place he thought he would never visit.
There was a ticket waiting for Frank, thankfully, and as he settled in to wait, Frank braced himself for calling his boss and his Mom. It was going to be another long day.
On the way back to the venue after the interview, Gerard sat next to Mikey and leaned against his shoulder. "How you holding up?"
Mikey didn't look up from his sidekick. "I'm fine."
"We just threw your virtual boyfriend back on a plane. I wouldn't be fine."
Gritting his teeth, Mikey tightened his grip on his sidekick, but stopped texting. He hated having such a private part of his life out there for the entire world and his band to see. They'd been remarkably cool about it, but there were still jokes like calling Frank his virtual boyfriend or breaking out into renditions of Dream Lover. "He's not my-. You know, never mind."
"Come on, Mikey, talk to me."
"There's nothing to talk about. I promise not to dream about him again. Problem solved."
"It doesn't solve why he gets pulled towards you in the first place. Ever think there is a reason for it?" Ray looked up curiously at Gerard. Mikey tried to look nonchalant, but he suspected he had the same look on his face that Ray had. Gerard shrugged. "Well, there has to be some reason it's this guy and not some other fantasy of Mikey's."
Mikey didn't want to explain that his fantasies were pretty focused on Frank. That would definitely make him look like a tool. He said, "I guess."
Ray said, "Maybe this guy is special. He's been pretty cool so far about teleporting thousands of miles just to get escorted out by security. He hasn't made a scene yet. Maybe you should give him a chance, Mikey."
Knowing that it was really Frank that would have to give Mikey a chance after the reveals of this morning, Mikey just lowered his eyes and shrugged again.
After the longest week in existence, Frank just wanted to curl up in a ball. His boss, still upset about his two missed days for flimsy excuses, had ridden him hard all week, and it was all Frank could do not to snarl in his face and stomp off, quitting on the spot. Just the look in his mom's eyes kept him working with his head down and his lips shut.
His Mom gave him sympathetic looks over dinner, but kept her comments to some news about the neighbors and a few stories about old classmates of his. He appreciated her discretion, but he still really needed to blow off steam. His fingers were drumming on the table, and his knee was shaking a mile a minute. At the end of dinner, his Mom said, "Don't worry about the dishes, honey, I'll get them tonight. Why don't you go downstairs."
His mom was giving him an understanding look, and Frank smiled as best he could at her. He said, "Thanks, Mom," and hurried to the basement where all his music equipment was kept.
He might not be in a band, and his dreams of making it big might have been shattered, but music was still his salvation. After a hard week, he could still crank up his amp (in the security of his soundproofed basement) and jam to his heart's content. He got Pansy out of her case, and closed his eyes and began playing. Music filled the room and his body, making everything vibrate. His worries and troubles drained out of him, and he was filled instead with pure sound.
Pretty soon he was in that space where all that existed was him and his guitar. It was transcendental.
Winding down a particularly long chord, Frank opened his eyes and shook the hair out of his face. Across the basement, lying on the couch with a look of wonder on his face was Mikey Way. Frank's fingers screeched to a halt.
Frank knew he was gaping, but he couldn't make his body respond. He felt frozen. Mikey seemed to be in the same boat. He was curled on the couch, as if waking from a nap, and his eyes were like saucers.
Finally giving a little shake, Mikey sat up and smiled. "You were fantastic. I didn't realize you could play like that. Your new band must be awesome."
Snapped out of his shock, to keep his head, Frank kneeled to put Pansy away. He said, "I don't have a new band."
"I don't understand."
Snapping the case shut, Frank sighed. He dropped his head before finally looking up at the confused look on Mikey's face. "I have to take care of my mom. I'm an electrician now."
Mikey bit his lip, but continued to look Frank in the eye. "That sucks. You should be playing guitar always. You were amazing."
Frank shrugged in embarrassment. No one saw him play nowadays, and he had gotten used to the privacy. He didn't know how to react to having someone see him play now.
Changing the subject, Frank said, "I guess this teleportation thing doesn't only go one way."
Mikey nodded and finally looked worried. "Yeah. I need to call Gerard. He's probably frantic." Mikey bit his lip again, and Frank's eyes were drawn to his perfect bow mouth. He remembered kissing that mouth and flushed. Mikey continued, "I wasn't dreaming of you, I promise. I was having some cracked out dream about Gerard and Ray arguing again. I don't know how I ended up here."
Frank said, "I don't understand anything about this situation, so I guess I can't be surprised that the rules have changed. As you can see I was just playing the guitar, and my mind was totally filled with that, I wasn't even thinking of you, just the music."
Mikey nodded. "Maybe Gerard and Ray will have another explanation at the ready. They're the ones who came up with the last one."
Frank stood up and offered his hand to Mikey. He said, "The phone is upstairs in the kitchen. I'm afraid there's no way to avoid my Mom."
Mikey grimaced, but then shrugged. He was barefoot and nervously straightened out his t-shirt which said, "Mikey Fuckin Way." He said, "I don't know if this is all right for meeting your mom…"
Frank laughed. He said, "Come here. I'm sure I have a t-shirt in the clean laundry." Mikey followed him to the washer and dryer as Frank pawed through the basket on top of the dryer, finally pulling out a Thursday t-shirt with an, "A-ha!"
Frank tried not to stare as Mikey crossed his arms and took off his shirt, but he felt like his eyes were drawn to the line of Mikey's throat and the curve of his ribs. Finally, he realized Mikey had been standing there with no shirt on for a minute or so, and his gaze flew to Mikey's. Mikey was staring at him with hunger in his eyes and was panting slightly.
Frank coughed and hoarsely said, "Put the shirt on. You have to call your brother."
This seemed to snap both of them out of it, and Mikey dropped his old t-shirt onto the washing machine and struggled into the new one.
"Where are you? What were you thinking, disappearing like that?"
Mikey again said, "Gerard-," but Gerard didn't even pause in his tirade of questions. Mikey looked over at Frank and his mom, who was small and dark-haired just like him, and made a face at them, and Frank nodded understandingly. He whispered to his mom, and she left the room, followed shortly by Frank.
Heaving a sigh of relief, Mikey rubbed his temples. Finally Gerard wound down and Mikey said, "So, hey, apparently this teleportation thing works both ways. Except Frank doesn't even have to be asleep to pull me here."
"Wait! Where the hell are you?"
"New Jersey." Mikey waited for the shit to hit the fan with that pronouncement.
Gerard didn't disappoint. He practically screeched into the phone. "Shit! We're going to have to cancel the show! This is unbelievable!"
"I know, I know." Mikey covered his face. He hated missing shows, and he hated disappointing Gerard and the others. This wasn't even something he could fix like before.
Calming down slightly, Gerard sternly said, "We can't go on like this, Mikey. We can't be wondering if you're going to be here from show to show."
"I don't know what you expect me to do about it. I can't control this, you know."
Mikey could hear Gerard drumming his fingers from thousands of miles away. He suddenly realized the magnitude of his problem. He'd have to figure out a flight back to the band. They'd need to reschedule not just the performance, but interviews as well, all while trying not to tip off the press that anything funky was going on. What a clusterfuck.
"We can't have you and this guy Frank thousands of miles apart. If he was here, then you would just be teleporting a little bit. You might teleport, but you'd still be here." Mikey could hear how excited Gerard was to have thought of the idea.
"He has a life of his own, Gerard."
"We can make it worth his while, Mikey."
Mikey looked around the drab kitchen. Maybe they could make it worth his while. Still. "I can't promise anything. Besides what would we say he was doing on tour with us?"
"We'll think of something. Anyway, you said he was in a band? He could be a tech or a roadie."
Mikey said, "He's a killer guitar player. That's what he was doing when I teleported here. It was amazing watching him play, you have no idea."
Gerard hummed into the phone. "See, it's perfect."
As Mikey thought, silence overtook the line. Finally Gerard said, "We have to try, Mikey. It's the only way."
Mikey knew he was right.
Hanging up the phone, Mikey went looking for Frank.
Frank was in the living room watching Wheel of Fortune with his mom. His leg was jittering, and his hands were clasped in front of him. Both of them looked up when Mikey walked into the room, and Mikey's mouth went dry from nervousness.
Finally Frank's mom said, 'Have you had dinner yet? You look hungry. I'll just heat up some leftovers while you and Frankie talk." She then got up from her recliner and with a squeeze to his arm, went back to the kitchen.
Standing up, Frank watched her go and said, "You don't have to eat anything. I bet you're anxious to go."
Mikey, who had called the airlines after calling Gerard, said, "Actually, dinner would be nice. I couldn't get a flight out until eleven p.m. It's a red-eye to San Francisco." He'd actually bought two tickets, but he didn't mention that yet.
Frank nodded. "I'll drive you to the airport after dinner, then. We'll pick you up some shoes on the way."
Mikey looked towards the kitchen where the sounds of Frank Sinatra were drifting out from, and then leaned in towards Frank. "Look, I know you said you're an electrician now, but we can't go on like this. Neither of us can afford to be traveling thousands of miles every other day."
Crossing his arms, Frank said, "What the hell are we going to do about it? It's getting worse, not better."
Mikey looked at the floor and hoped Frank would see reason. Would see this as an opportunity and not a gibe at his lifestyle. He said, "Come out on tour with us."
Frank gaped at him. It took him a couple seconds to recover his voice. "What? I can't do that. I'd lose my job, my health insurance. And what about my mom?" Frank's voice rose until it cracked. He looked worriedly towards the kitchen and then quietly continued, "I can't just leave my mom alone. She's not well."
Mikey pleaded. "Can't someone in your family come and stay with her? Or a friend? Just until the tour is over. Come on, you know we can't continue like this."
Sitting down, Frank put his head in his hands. "No, I know. Something's gotta give. I just can't believe it's my life."
Mikey felt like the biggest asshole in existence.
In any other reality, Frank would be excited beyond belief. Even if he was just doing roadie work, he was going on tour with My Chemical Romance, one of his favorite bands. In this reality, he was slumped down and devastated. His boss had thrown a fit when he quit, had yelled at Frank and raged so hard that Frank was glad he had quit over the phone. His mom's sister was coming to stay with her. Frank knew they loved each other, but often fought over the best way to handle things. He knew he would owe his mom a big one for agreeing to this, even if she didn't think so.
Mikey Way was in the seat next to him, biting his nail. Frank wanted to pull Mikey's hand away from his mouth and hold it. He didn't. He had to keep reminding himself that they weren't friends, weren't close, despite the way they kept waking up together. He didn't know what to make of Mikey; he wasn't what Frank expected of a rock star. He would have expected more demands and tirades, rather than coaxing and pleading. But Mikey was quiet with shy smiles and respectful silences.
They were met at the airport by Gerard, and Mikey and Gerard hugged long and tight before they collected Frank's bag and got squared away in the SUV. Gerard seemed nervous, which was making Frank jittery. Finally, after they rode in silence for five minutes, Frank said, "What? I'm here. This should solve all your problems."
Mikey blushed, and Gerard looked down at his hands, which were twisted in his lap. Gerard finally looked up with a bright smile and in a big rush said, "There really was no roadie or tech position open, and we wouldn't want Mikey teleporting in front of people anyway, not in the circumstances that it happens anyway, so I told everyone that you were coming out to see if you would fit in as our rhythm guitarist."
Frank noticed Mikey's jaw dropping and knew he had a similar look on his face. Finally, he closed his mouth with a click, and said, "What?"
Gerard leaned forward earnestly. "It's perfect! It gives you an excuse to stay with the band so Mikey will only be teleporting within the safe confines of us, and after the tour, we just say it didn't work out."
Frank had visions of sitting around doing nothing, and he was pissed he gave up his life for this. "But what will I be doing? I came out here to work."
Gerard beamed at him. "That's why it's perfect! You can practice with us, and we'll get a feeling for having a fuller sound. We'll finally know whether we need someone or not, for real." Gerard looked closely at Frank's face and seemed to see that he wasn't convincing Frank of how perfect this was going to be. Cautiously, he said, "We'll still pay you to practice with us. It'll actually be a lot of work. We'll have to rearrange the songs and practice a lot to get it down right."
Mikey asked, "Did you okay this with Ray?"
Gerard nodded and said, "We agreed it's the best way. There really was no position for Frank unless we let someone else go. Plus, he likes that it's just a trial basis."
Mikey nodded and snuck a glance at Frank before saying, "If you think it's the best way, I guess it should be okay."
Frank felt uneasy. It was like being offered the best cake imaginable and being told to hold it for someone else. It sucked. All he said was, "As long as I'm working, it should be all right, I guess."
Mikey gave him a small smile. "Hey, you'll even be playing. That's gotta be better than doing roadie work."
Frank nodded but kept his jumbled thoughts to himself.
After they got Frank settled into his bunk on the bus and he stumbled into it to sleep, they had a band meeting. As they sat down, Mikey couldn't look Ray or Bob in the face. He didn't know if they believed him that he hadn't been the cause of his teleportation to New Jersey. They all sat in silence for five minutes or so before Gerard finally said, "So. We shouldn't have to cancel any more shows."
Mikey winced. "I'm sorry about that, guys. I really don't know what happened." Risking a quick glance at the group, he saw that neither Ray nor Bob looked angry, thankfully. He guessed they understood that he couldn't control this thing and that he had to sleep sometime.
Gerard said, "Water under the bridge."
Ray said, "Let's discuss using this guy to practice with. You say he's pretty good, Mikey?"
"He's awesome. I heard him jam and I was blown away. He'll be great in the band." And Mikey meant that, he was surprised to find. Although he knew intellectually that he didn't really know Frank, he felt like he knew him intimately; that he knew him almost as well as he knew Gerard or Ray or Bob. This weird teleportation thing was playing with his head, but it felt like a good thing. That didn't mean that Ray had changed his mind, though. "But are you sure you're all right playing with him?"
Ray nodded. "Gerard convinced me. I'm okay seeing if a rhythm guitar really does improve the sound enough to find someone else."
Gerard smiled big and rubbed his hands together. He always did love it when a plan came together. He said, "Excellent! So since tomorrow is a travel day, we'll work on arrangements, and then practice the day after."
They split up, Mikey asked Ray if he wanted any help preparing for the next day, but Ray waved him off. Actually Ray said, "Go moon over your dream lover," but Mikey just nonchalantly gave him the finger.
He was just beginning to realize it himself, but he was excited that Frank would be there for the rest of the tour. Just thinking about it made his heart beat faster. He had dreamed of Frank for so long, and now he would get to see him every day and jam with him. And now it wouldn't matter if they woke up together, their limbs entwined, their lips fused. They would both be where they were supposed to be. Kind of.
Ray Toro was a harsh task master. He had set ideas about how the songs should go, and by god he was going to get the best out of Frank to get these songs right. It was frustrating and challenging, and Frank was having the time of his life. He hadn't felt so alive in years.
Sweat was dampening his t-shirt, his fingers were cramped, his legs were shaking from standing for hours, but he wasn't in any worse condition than the others. Ray's hair was a poofy mess, Mikey was slumped in exhaustion, Gerard was hoarse, and Bob, well, Bob acted like he could go on for hours, but Frank could see the minute tremors in his hands.
"Are you even paying any attention to what I'm saying?" Ray asked, frustration dripping from his voice.
Frank nodded tiredly. He had been paying attention, just with his eyes closed. "You want me to play faster leading up to the bridge."
Gerard said, "Hey, maybe we should call it a day."
Frank slit his eyes open just as both Mikey and Bob abandoned their spots and exhaustedly slumped to the floor. Ray was standing there with his hands on his hips and his guitar hanging like a weird appendage. "This was your idea, you know."
"Yeah, but we don't have to perfect it on the first day. He's going to be here for three weeks."
Frank remained silent. He'd play when they said play, and not play when they said stop. It wasn't his place to say otherwise. He wasn't exactly here on sufferance, but he didn't want to blow the chance to jam with the band, even if it was only for three weeks. He'd cherish every moment. The situation was bizarre and weird, but now that he was playing, he could see that it was the chance of a lifetime.
Mikey said, "Besides, we have to play tonight, don't forget. I'd like to be able to play without having my fingers fall off."
Frank looked at Mikey. He was curled on the ground, resting his head on his hands. His bass was lying next to him. Frank hadn't had the time to think about it beforehand, but he'd finally begun to piece together what Mikey's band knew. Mikey wanted him. Badly. How fucking amazing was that? Frank was still working on separating Mikey with the soft lips and dorky exterior, from Mikey Way from My Chemical Romance and exactly who he was attracted to. Because he was attracted. Wildly.
Frank blinked and Mikey was looking straight at him. Mikey blushed and turned away first.
Mikey woke from wicked dreams about Frank's tongue to the solid weight of Frank against his left side. Frank was already awake and watching him.
Pressing close, Frank whispered, "So you want me." His tone wasn't mocking, but knowing and matter-of-fact.
Mikey couldn't contain his shudder at the feel of Frank's body so close, but he still said, "Shut the fuck up." He then made the mistake of looking into Frank's eyes and his breath caught. Frank was staring intently at him, and when Frank pulled him into a wet kiss, Mikey went eagerly. He never was very good at hiding his feelings, although he tried.
The space was tight, but with Mikey's encouragement, Frank climbed on top of him and their bodies settled into a rhythm, just this side of perfect, as they kissed.
Mikey curled one hand around the back of Frank's head, holding him close. He did want Frank, desperately, even more so now that he saw Frank every day. The reality beat his tired, old memories any day. Previously, he had told himself that he liked jerking off to his memories of Frank because it was safe, that Frank was just a face in the crowd from long ago, but now he had to admit it had always been more. There had always been deeper reasons why it was Frank's face and body that stood out in his memory, and not anyone else's.
The kinetic, almost frantic energy Frank exuded all the time spoke to him, captivated him even now. Oddly, it invoked a feeling of peace and calm in Mikey. The more rambunctious Frank got, the calmer Mikey felt. And the way Frank seemed to track everyone around him, cataloguing their reactions, adjusting instantaneously to them, mesmerized Mikey. Everything about Frank was a cipher and a key to Mikey. Mikey tried to fathom everything there was to know about him, while at the same time, he tried to ignore his own feelings of completeness around him. It couldn't be real.
Frank broke the kiss to bite at Mikey's neck, and Mikey couldn't contain his small sounds of desire. His neck was a hot spot, and Frank, now seeming to realize it, smiled into Mikey's neck before nibbling along his tendon. Mikey arched his neck to bring the tendon into stark relief, and pulled Frank's mouth close and tight. He was rewarded with a sharp suck, and his hips arched and one leg thumped against the wall of the bunk.
They froze in consternation as Ray, who had the bunk above Mikey, thumped on top of Mikey's bunk and shouted, "No sex in the bunks!"
Mikey heard shuffling and curtains rattling and then Gerard saying, "Who's having sex in the bunks? Mikey, what are you doing?"
Bob snorted. "It's more like who is he doing, and I think we all know the answer to that one."
Mikey felt Frank stiffen at Bob's words, and he rubbed Frank's back to sooth him. Loudly he said, "My fault. I was dreaming again."
Harshly, Frank whispered into Mikey's ear, "You don't have to fight my battles for me."
Mikey tilted his head so he could whisper back. "I'm not. This isn't a battle. This is my band making fun of me, not you."
Ray loudly said, "And no whispering either! Can't we all just go to sleep now?" He sounded exasperated, and Mikey squeezed Frank to show that it proved his point.
In a carrying voice, Mikey said, "We're shutting up now," and then whispered just for Frank, "Stay?"
Frank remained motionless for a long moment, and then nodded against Mikey's face. Mikey couldn't contain his grin, but he consoled himself that no one could see it. He put both arms back around Frank, and they shifted and adjusted until they were both comfortable. Frank rolled against the interior wall and was laying half on Mikey, while Mikey was still on his back with one leg bent.
Mikey drifted off to sleep easily.
Frank couldn't believe how much Mikey was fucking beaming the next day. They had gotten interrupted, what was there to be so happy about? And maybe beaming wasn't quite the right word, but Frank was getting used to Mikey's minute expressions, and the slight smile that constantly graced his lips, and his dancing eyes were new.
Frank, on the other hand, was a grouch. He had a crick in his neck from being jammed into the corner of Mikey's bunk all night, and now that he figured out that Mikey Way could be his, he could barely concentrate on the guitar parts they were practicing again. Which wasn't good since that made Ray yell at him more, which gave him a headache.
But Mikey was beaming at him, and that made it all seem inconsequential. Maybe playing with the band was bittersweet, but in the moment, with Mikey looking at him like he was the best thing since sliced bread, it rocked.
Finally practice was done, and Frank began packing up his guitar. Turning around, he almost fell right into Mikey's arms. Tugging on Frank's bottom lip, Mikey said, "Come up to my room with me after the show." And, okay, maybe Frank wasn't so much of a grouch as just pouting.
"It's a hotel night?"
Mikey's smile grew fractionally larger. "Sweet, sweet privacy." Frank knew the others were still around, packing up their gear and joking around, but he couldn't take his eyes off Mikey, who was blushing slightly and grinning softly. He looked delectable. Despite the audience, Frank reached up and wrapped a hand around Mikey's neck, bringing his face down into a kiss.
Frank could hear catcalls from the other band members, but he didn't care. Mikey didn't seem to care either. His hands were gripping Frank's shoulders tight, drawing him closer and his tongue was insistent in Frank's mouth.
After Ray called Frank away to discuss his guitar part again, Gerard cornered Mikey in the green room. Mikey wasn't surprised. Gerard liked to call it being a caring older brother, while Mikey liked to call it being a nosy parker. Gerard sat down next to Mikey and bumped his shoulder against Mikey's. Mikey fell over with an exaggerated scowl and pretended to continue texting. "So it looks like your virtual boyfriend is really your boyfriend now."
Gerard tugged Mikey back into an upright position, and Mikey let his shoulder lean against Gerard's. "Yeah, I guess." He still didn't look at Gerard. His heart did a little dance of joy, though. Every time he thought of Frank it did this flipping, stuttering thing that made him want to smile and clap his hands. Not that he would, of course.
"Frank seems like a nice enough guy. A little hyper. He really likes getting a rise out of Bob."
Mikey snorted. Frank certainly got a rise out of him, too.
Flustered, Gerard said, "Shut up! That's not how I meant it!"
Mikey snickered, and Gerard punched his arm. Mikey finally stopped pretending to text and hit Gerard's arm in retaliation. After a few minutes tussle, they were back to sitting side by side, Mikey panting a little bit. Gerard coughed. "So, do you think this will end the weird teleportation thing? I mean, you got what you wanted, right?"
He'd never understood the teleportation thing in the first place; trying to decipher it now seemed like large leap of faith. Shrugging, he said, "I don't know. Could it really be that simple?"
"I don't see why not. You dreamt about making sweet, sweet-" Mikey hit Gerard and Gerard giggled before continuing, "-sweet love to him and now you get to do it. What more could there be?"
"I don't know. Teleportation just seems a little extreme for hooking up, you know?"
With a serious look on his face, Gerard said, "Hey. Never underestimate the power of true love."
Mikey had to hit him again.
Frank pushed Mikey onto the bed and climbed on top of him. He held himself over Mikey, placing his hands to either side of Mikey's head. "So, where were we?" Part of him still couldn't believe he had the nerve to push Mikey Way of My Chemical Romance around, but the majority of him was too busy noticing how Mikey's breath caught and reveling in getting that reaction from him.
Mikey pulled Frank's ass towards him and slid his other hand through Frank's hair. "Right here." Frank kissed him and let Mikey pull him down until their bodies were touching. Frank let his hips roll in a lazy rhythm, Mikey's legs spreading to the sides and his knees snugging in tight against Frank's moving hips. They made out like this for long minutes, Mikey making mewling sounds every time Frank pressed down hard enough.
Finally, turned on beyond belief, Frank broke the kiss and went to his knees. Looking down at Mikey's sex-drugged face, it was all he could do to keep his wits. He tugged at Mikey's shirt and in a sharp, husky voice said, "Clothes. Off. Now."
For a second, Mikey remained laying there, his hips shifting up as if looking for Frank's warmth, but then he was scrambling up, pulling on his shirt. Frank hastily moved off him and began taking off his own clothes. They rolled around the bed like some French comedy, stripping and struggling with shoes and tight pants.
Frank was lying on his back after tossing his pants over the side when he felt tentative fingers caressing his stomach. His belly quivered. He looked over at Mikey, but he was concentrating on touching Frank. Mikey said, "I like these."
Frank looked down at the birds tattooed on either side of his stomach. "Thanks. I'd have more, but I can't afford to get as many as I'd like."
"I'd totally be one of those tattooed freaks. I have all these ideas, but no cash." Not wanting to dampen the mood, Frank took Mikey's hand and brought it up to his mouth, sucking two fingers in. Mikey moaned and Frank sucked harder as he let his gaze drift over Mikey's exposed skin. Pale with a light dusting of hair, Mikey was gorgeous.
Feeling confident again at the look of rapture on Mikey's face, Frank pulled Mikey's fingers out of his mouth and pushed Mikey onto his back. He crawled between Mikey's legs again and said, "No, really, where were we?"
"Oh, man," Mikey said as he put one of his hands back on Frank's ass. "Right here."
Mikey slipped out of Frank's bunk, where he had not gone to sleep the night before, and went in search of coffee. Gerard was already watching the coffee maker drip with a mug held ready. Mikey grabbed his own mug and went to stand next to Gerard to watch the coffee percolate.
After a couple minutes of silent communion, Gerard looked at him and said, "You look like shit. I thought you went to bed early?"
"I woke up in Frank's bunk, squashed in the corner."
Gerard shook his head. "I really thought this teleportation thing would have resolved itself. The tour's almost over. Are you sure you're doing it right?"
Mikey gave him an incredulous look. At Gerard's patient stare, he said, "I know how to have sex, Gerard."
Gerard looked thoughtful. "But do you know how to make love?"
Mikey snorted and while Gerard was distracted, poured himself the first cup of coffee. "Don't be a dick."
"No, I'm serious."
"That's what I'm afraid of."
"If you and Frank are just messing around, maybe you're not fulfilling the necessary terms to break the curse or spell or whatever it is. You're not truly acknowledging your desire the way it needs to be acknowledged."
Blowing on his coffee, Mikey downed a hot gulp of it and said, "It's too early for this, Gerard."
Looking mulish, Gerard said, "I'm serious. This is a serious matter. What happens when the tour ends at the end of the week, Mikey? You can't spend your days teleporting around New Jersey. Frank can't afford to do it either."
Feeling a chill go down his spine at the thought of messing up Frank's life more and making Frank hate him, Mikey said, "We'll figure it out."
The next night was also a hotel night, so Frank again shared Mikey's room. When they had sex, Mikey was looking weirdly into Frank's eyes and thrusting his hips softly, barely there, into Frank's ass.
Frank, ever the gentleman, said, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" Mikey blushed, dropped his eyes, and mumbled something about Gerard. Feeling even more weirded out, Frank said, "Please tell me you are not thinking about Gerard while we're fucking."
Looking horrified, Mikey said, "No!" And then biting his lip, his hips stopping altogether, Mikey said, "Are we just fucking?"
"Not anymore." Frank helpfully tilted his ass up, but Mikey remained stubbornly still. Frank sighed. He hated relationship talks in general, but having one while he was splayed out with one leg up around Mikey's ear took the cake. "What did Gerard say?"
"He said the teleportation thing would have stopped if we were making love."
Frank wanted to roll his eyes, but he refrained. He'd learned that much about relationship talks over the years. Plus, he had never understood the teleportation thing to begin with, so who was he to judge what would make it stop? "I don't think we've just been fucking, but if you want to do something different, I guess I'm game. I trust you." He even gave Mikey a little smile. He hoped that was the right answer. Having Mikey stop now would suck.
Mikey smiled at him and leaned down for a kiss. This pushed his cock deeper into Frank, and Frank couldn't hold back his moan. Mikey didn't lift up again, but pulled Frank closer to him until they could barely move against each other. He then started grinding his hips against Frank's ass in careful little circles. Frank groaned again, half in arousal and half in frustration. His cock was rubbing against Mikey's stomach, but not enough to really get off, just enough to arouse him further.
It went on like that for longer than Frank thought was possible, both of them on the edge, but not catapulting over. Mikey apparently had awesome control. Every time Frank tried to speed things up, Mikey would stop and hold him down until he subsided and then he would start with those maddening, circling hips again. Frank was moaning near continuously now and begging shamelessly.
Finally, with no warning, Frank's orgasm overtook him, washing over him in wave after wave of bliss. Distantly, he could hear Mikey cursing and finally feel Mikey slam his hips into him as Mikey lost control, but he felt barely conscious.
He woke briefly to Mikey wiping him down and tucking him under the covers, but only grunted his thanks, not even opening his eyes. Frank then felt Mikey fit himself along his back and the light finally got turned off. His last thoughts before sleep overtook him were that he hoped this really did stop the teleportation madness.
When Frank woke up, he was looking into Bob's astounded blue eyes.
Mikey's heart sank when he woke up alone. He knew he had gone too far last night. He never should have listened to Gerard and all his true love crap.
Then he heard shouting down the hallway and frowned. It sounded like Bob, who really wasn't one to be making a ruckus at eight in the morning. Then there was a frantic pounding on his door and Mikey shot straight up in bed.
Scrambling to the door while wrapping the comforter around himself, he flung it open. A naked Frank came shooting into the room, and Mikey just stood there gaping. He then looked down the hallway, seeing an upset Bob down the hallway, and Ray just sticking his head out of his door.
"What the fuck?"
Now with a sheet wrapped around him, Frank joined him at the door and peered down the hallway towards Bob's room too. "I have no fucking clue. I woke up and I was in Bob's bed. I don't know how I got there! But, man, was he pissed."
"Bob? You were in Bob's bed? After last night?"
Frank looked guilty. "Last night was fan-fucking-tastic, Mikey. I don't think the teleportation thing can have anything to do with sex, not after that."
Ray, who was still sticking his head outside of his room said, "Yeah, last night was so fantastic, I had to wear my headphones all night. You're fucking loud, Iero. Next time, Gee can have the room next to you two." He scowled and then shut his door firmly. Bob also retreated to his room, but that probably had to do with him being naked, too.
Mikey blushed, but then grinned. Frank smiled back. "Seriously. The two things can't be related."
"I don't want Bob. You're the only one I want."
Mikey hadn't known, but that was what he was waiting for. He just needed Frank to say it out loud to make it real. The tightness in his chest eased, and his grin grew more confident. "It's early yet. We can annoy Ray some more."
Frank grinned and said, "I like the way you think, Mikey Way."
Frank shifted uncomfortably as Gerard clapped his hands and said, "This band meeting is called to order." He felt like all eyes were on him, accusingly. In the last three days, he'd woken up in Bob's bed, Ray's bed, and then Bob's bunk. He was just glad that he'd taken to wearing pajamas so that a repeat of the first morning didn't happen. He didn't need to be streaking around hotels and getting his ass thrown in jail. He wasn't a rockstar, after all. He couldn't get away with that shit.
Mikey put his hand on Frank's knee and squeezed, and Frank looked up at him. Mikey gave him a small smile, and Frank shrugged back. He still felt like a little shit for causing the band to have a meeting about him and his teleporting ass.
When he had everyone's attention, Gerard intoned seriously, "Mikey swears he's done everything in his power to end the teleporting thing, so apparently deeper forces are at work."
Bob snorted and Gerard glowered at him. Bob crossed his arms defiantly, though, and Frank couldn't blame him. He'd taken the brunt of the teleportation the last couple of days and the first day was still a burning memory of embarrassment in his mind. Waking up naked snuggled up to a naked Bob was traumatic for the both of them. Frank couldn't even tease Bob the way he used to without stuttering.
Bob said, "I'm not having sex with Frank."
In outrage, Mikey and Frank both said, "Hey!"
Bob pointed at Mikey and continued, "You've infected all of us with this teleportation thing, and I don't care if sex solves it, I'm not doing it."
Frank said, "I'm not Ebola! I'm not something you catch from spit!"
Gerard started waving his hands and sputtering, as Ray said, "I have to agree with Bob here. Krista won't be happy if I have sex with Frank. And I certainly won't be happy if I have to have sex with Frank, either." He gave Frank a grimace. "No offense."
Finally finding his voice, Gerard squeaked, "No one is having sex with anyone else! We were obviously wrong about that."
Bob resettled in his seat and said, "Damn straight."
Giving everyone a glare, Gerard said, "Which brings us to the question of what is causing the teleportation thing and how to solve it. The tour is ending tomorrow. We're going to have to resort to science."
Mikey groaned, and at the gleeful look on Gerard's face, Frank's stomach tightened.
Mikey shifted uncomfortably as Gerard said, "Now that Frank is gone, the real band meeting is called to order." It had been obvious when Gerard sent Frank out for coffee that he was trying to get him off the bus, but Frank went willingly enough. He just gave a speaking glance to Mikey and had nodded agreeably to all their complicated coffee orders. Mikey suspected they were all getting black, regular coffee when Frank got back, but he wasn't saying anything. He was too worried about this meeting.
Gerard said, "So, a rhythm guitarist, yay or nay?" Mikey ducked his head and remained silent. There was no way he could be impartial about this, not when it was Frank that was in the mix.
Ray said, "It's too early to tell. We've barely made it through Three Cheers. Besides, it's different with Frank. He's Mikey's boyfriend."
Crossing his arms, Gerard huffed. "It's entirely relevant. We now know what a fuller sound sounds like and I, for one, like it."
Bob said, "I agree with Ray. It's different with Frank. He's becoming like family. It'll be different if we bring someone else aboard."
Mikey's head shot up, and he stared at Bob. Bob took the brunt of Frank's mischievousness and to have him speak up for Frank, and go against Gerard in the process, was big. Bob just looked placidly back at him, but Mikey could see the calculation in his eyes and wondered what Bob was up to.
Gerard huffed again and threw himself down onto the couch as Ray said, "That's not quite what I meant."
Interrupting him, Gerard said, "So we keep Frank. It's not that big of a stretch." He said it in a tone of enlightenment as if the idea had just occurred to him. Mikey and Bob exchanged looks, and Mikey grinned. Who knew Bob was on his side? Because, of course, Mikey wanted Frank to remain part of the band. He couldn't imagine playing with anyone else now.
Ray said, "I'm still not convinced we need a rhythm guitarist. No offense, Mikey. I like Frank; I'm just not sure we need him in the band. That's a big step."
Ray did look sorry. Mikey understood how he felt. If it was anyone but Frank, he would be on Ray's side of the argument, after all. Mikey said, "No apologies necessary. We don't have to decide now. We can work our way through Bullets after the tour ends. I'm sure Frank will agree to it. And then we can decide."
Gerard peered at Mikey through his hair, which was a tangled mess. "Are you sure Frank will be all right with that? On the plus side, it'll also give us more time to solve the teleportation thing."
With hope blossoming in his heart, Mikey said, "I'll talk to Frank." If all they had to do was take the time to convince Ray so Frank could be in the band, Mikey would make sure Frank was on board.
By the time Gerard woke up in Mikey and Frank's bed, they had tried changing Frank's diet, changing Frank's sleeping patterns, washing Frank's lucky socks (twice), and making Frank tell each of them that he loved them. The last one was what finally broke Frank's resolve.
"I'm not telling Bob that I love him. And I'm certainly not telling Ray that. Bob might mock me forever, but Ray would kill me."
Gerard stood firm. "You've been teleporting away from Mikey only after you guys made love. It stands to reason that intense emotions are part of the deal."
Frank could feel his face heat up, but steadfastly ignored it. Gerard was certainly ignoring his own pink face. "You can't assume the two have anything to do with each other."
Gerard waved his hands and simply said, "Science!"
At first stymied, Frank, from somewhere in the recesses of his brain managed to pull out, "Correlation is not causation!" He couldn't believe he remembered anything from the science classes he slept through, but the oddest things stuck with him.
Looking delighted, Gerard said, "Oh, that's good. But just because they aren't always the same, doesn't mean that sometimes they are." He then nodded sagely.
"I hate you."
"Now, now. You're supposed to be saying the opposite." Gerard looked entirely too delighted at the prospect.
"Mikey and I haven't even-" Frank stopped in frustration.
Realization dawned on Gerard's features and he said, "Well, all right. I'll let you fix that oversight first, but I'm serious about this. It may be the only way to stop this thing. It's growing in power; we need some way to contain it."
Frank knew there was no way he would ever win the battle. Gerard had a way about him that had everyone agreeing before they knew it, and considering this slight reprieve the best he could hope for, Frank went to find Mikey.
Mikey was downstairs making them all coffee. He'd become used to disappearing Frank, but appearing people seemed to have thrown him off. He had taken off as soon as he'd woken up and seen Gerard. Frank could commiserate. He wished he'd run off as quickly as well.
Nodding at him, Mikey then turned back to watching the dripping coffee. Frank sidled up next to him and leaned his head on Mikey's shoulder. Thankfully Mikey didn't stiffen or pull away, and Frank considered himself ahead of the game. Mikey said, "Did Gerard leave?"
"Without his coffee? Not likely. He's just giving us some time alone."
Mikey gave him a wary look and then said, "What's he up to now?"
Leaning into Mikey harder, Frank let his gaze drift down. "He wants me to, ah. You know how I feel abut you, right?"
Now Mikey did stiffen, and Frank cursed Gerard mentally. In a monotone, Mikey asked, "You're telling me this because of my brother?"
Flustered, Frank searched for the right words to make this better. "Yes. No. Not really?" He risked looking at Mikey's face and knew he was making a hash of it. "Just telling you now because of Gerard. He wants me to, well, tell all the guys that I, well, you know."
"No, Frank, I don't know. Why don't you tell me."
Mikey tried to pull away, but Frank wrapped his arms around his waist and held on tight. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, he said, "I love you. Only you. Gerard's got some bug in his brain about how I have to tell everyone that I love them, but while I do like everyone in the band, it doesn't compare to the way I feel about you."
Mikey didn't relax. "Are we sure it's enough? I thought the teleportation thing made us special, but then it spread and it wasn't just us anymore. You left me behind." Frank held him tighter as Mikey breathed heavily. Finally, he continued, "I love you, too, but I don't know how much longer I can do this."
Frank's heart stopped and then pounded back to life. "You can't leave me. You're the only thing making this all worthwhile." He could feel the panic rising.
Mikey's arms wrapped around him and finally returned his hug, but Mikey made no promises. The only sounds were the hissing coffee and the birds outside the window.
Knowing he was withdrawing from Frank, Mikey couldn't stop himself from doing it. The teleportation was getting worse. Frank couldn't sleep a minute without waking up somewhere else or having someone else wake up with him. Once both Bob and Ray were teleported to Frank at the same time. It felt like it was building to a crescendo, but Mikey had no idea what that would be.
Mikey still loved Frank and couldn't imagine anyone else joining the band, but he felt left behind, left out. Ever since their talk, Frank had been trying extra hard with Mikey. Telling him he loved him and doing special things for him. It felt right in the moment, but Mikey couldn't stop the cold wash of dread when Frank teleported away again.
Looking over at Frank sitting on the other side of the couch, Mikey scrutinized him. He looked haggard. He was avoiding sleep, staying up for days on end in order to avoid the teleporting. He refused to go home to his mom so he wouldn't worry her. He just called every day and checked in. Luckily, his mom and her sister were getting along better than they ever had in the past, so he didn't feel too guilty. Mikey said, "You should go to sleep. You can't avoid it forever."
"I can try."
"Frank. Just get it over with."
Frank glared at him and then exploded into motion. "But it doesn't just get it over with, does it? It fuels it further, making it happen more and more. I hate it. It was all right when it was just you and me. Maybe I had to give up my job, but it was a crappy job to begin with and the benefits of having you were worth it, in the end. But this. What is the purpose of all this crap? Just to drive me insane and make the band hate me?"
Snapped out of his own depression by Frank's rant, Mikey stood also. Soothingly, he said, "The band doesn't hate you. They know it's not your fault."
"How can you say that? It's obviously my fault. I'm at the center of all it."
"Remember when this started, it was about me and my fantasies, not about you. Something changed, and we just haven't figured out what." And as Mikey said it, the truth hit him. Something had changed, but not him or Frank. So what if the teleportation thing no longer made them unique? They didn't need it. They had each other. If Mikey didn't fuck it up, that is. Resolved, Mikey sat down again and started thinking. "It obviously has something to do with the band, because the teleportation only happens between members of the band and you."
Frank put his hands on his hips and said, "Yeah, so?"
Still thinking about his revelation, suddenly a couple of pieces fell into place. "Wait a minute. The teleportation only happens between other members of the band and you. It stopped happening between you and me after we made love."
"Oh, no, Mikey! Again, I am not having sex with your band!"
"No, you're missing the point. It stopped happening between you and me when we reached a certain level of commitment. When we were comfortable enough with each other to make love." Mikey looked at Frank. Frank waved his arms at Mikey in a "so what" gesture. "You need a similar commitment from the band. The teleportation thing is waiting for us to make you our rhythm guitarist!"
Frank folded down onto the floor as if he were a puppet whose strings had been cut.
It took awhile, but Frank convinced Mikey not to share his wild theory with the rest of the band. Frank didn't want to force the band into making him their rhythm guitarist, especially when it was mere conjecture that it would stop this teleportation business.
That didn't mean he didn't dream about it in the nether reaches of his brain. Talk about his wildest fantasies coming true. It was especially hard not to fantasize when they were practicing and rearranging Bullets. Frank had finally loosened up enough to offer suggestions, which Ray treated seriously. Sometimes too seriously, and they got into furious, but good-natured arguments, while the rest of the band heckled them.
Things had changed between the band members, enough so that even Frank noticed. He would have thought there would be more tension, what with the teleportation thing, but that's not the way it went. There was less tension and sharpness between them now than when they had been rearranging Three Cheers.
The heckling was good-natured, and the guys hung out with each other more, even though they could now go home to their separate houses. Compromises were also easier to arrive at as people fought for their ideas, but not bitterly.
Frank rolled over. He was in Ray's bed, but he had been there enough times that he no longer freaked out and in the process woke Ray and Krista. He'd learned to wake up carefully and with little movement over the span of the last three weeks of this crazy band teleportation business. He looked over at Ray and found Ray staring back at him. Ray always was a stealthy waker.
Frank whispered, "Good morning."
Ray whispered back, "I've been thinking about that progression in "Venom." I think you might be right."
Frank grinned. "I was going to say I thought you were right."
Ray grinned back, and they shared a moment. Frank whispered, "Want me to make you and Krista coffee?"
Ray's grin softened to a smile, and he nodded. Frank smiled back and slipped out of the bed.
As the coffee percolated, Frank gathered the sugar and milk. Ray liked his coffee with three spoonfuls of sugar, while Krista liked hers light and with two spoonfuls. By this point, Frank knew how everyone liked their morning coffee. He figured the least he could do for involving everyone in this teleportation imbroglio was make them coffee in the morning.
Just as he was finishing up the coffees, Ray came down the stairs. Frank said, "I was totally going to bring you coffee in bed, dude."
Ray grinned and said, "You're the best. But I had to get up to pee, and I figured I would get the coffee while I was up. No sense you delaying your return to Mikey. I know how worried he gets."
"It's cool. I already called him. He was relieved to hear I was here. I think he gets jealous when I teleport to Gerard's. I think he's afraid Gerard is going to steal me away." They shared a grin at Mikey's expense.
Taking a sip of his coffee, Ray studied Frank. Frank raised an eyebrow.
Ray looked down and then seemed to square his shoulders. "You know it hasn't been personal, me taking my time to decide whether to have you in the band or not. It's just that things haven't always been easy between the rest of us, and I wanted to be sure. We lucked out with Bob, and I didn't think that luck would happen twice."
Frank had not known that Ray was a holdout, but he should have guessed. Ray was the hardest nut to crack. Bob looked like a tough guy, but he was really a softie under it all, and Gerard had been gung ho about the idea since the beginning. Frank said, "It's cool. It's your band. I totally understand you not wanting just anybody coming in as if they belonged there."
Shaking his head, Ray said, "No, I'm trying to say, I've been wrong. You fit in so well from the beginning, taking all our teasing about Mikey in stride and making Mikey happy again. And Gerard's been over the moon, and even Bob has been different, more willing to take a stand. It just all seemed too good to be true. But I was wrong. It was just the way it should have been from the start."
With a sinking heart Frank said, "What did Mikey say to you?"
Ray furrowed his eyebrows. "Mikey? He hasn't said anything. Not since he told me that if I didn't let you get some sleep when you teleported here, he was going to cut off all my hair." Suspicious now, Ray continued, "Why? What does Mikey know?"
Caught out, Frank lied like a lying thing.
Mikey woke to a thumping sound and a loud yell. He was hot and bodies were pressed in all around him. Opening his eyes, he looked around. There was another thump and exclamation as Bob rolled off the bed. Luckily, it was on the opposite side from where Gerard was staggering up. Frank was still in Mikey's arms, which left Ray as the body that was snuggled in along his other side and whose hair was tickling his throat.
Shaking Frank awake, who had miraculously slept through all the thumping and yelling, Mikey said, "Frank, wake up. You've brought guests."
Groggily Frank opened bleary eyes and blinked back his confusion. He was so tired these days; he tended to crash when he did fall asleep. Gerard was climbing back into the bed, but Bob was standing there with his hands on his hips looking disgruntled. Frank said, "What's going on? What is everyone doing here?"
Sounding thrilled, Gerard said, "I can't believe Frank teleported the whole band here. That's amazing!"
Ray, finally waking up, shifted away from Mikey with an apologetic face, but this caused Gerard to roll off the bed again, with a squeak this time. Ray peered over the edge after Gerard. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, I'm fine." Gerard staggered back up, rubbing his hip, and mirrored Bob's pose.
Looking across at Gerard, Bob said, "I can't believe you're happy we all teleported here. This means it's getting worse, not better."
Gerard deflated. "Well, yes, there is that."
Mikey and Frank exchanged looks. Shaking his head negatively, Frank tried to look resolute, but Mikey could see the cracks there. Mikey tried his firmest frown, and Frank hunched in on himself. Knowing he had won, but seeing Frank's point, Mikey snuggled closer to him and rubbed his back soothingly.
Bob said, "No hanky-panky while we're all here!"
Ray sniggered. "Hanky-panky? What are we, eighty-year-old women?"
Growling, Bob crossed his arms and stalked to the end of the bed. "I'm going to make some coffee."
Before he could leave, Mikey said, "Bring enough back for everyone. We need to talk. Frank and I may have solved the teleportation thing."
Everyone exploded into words, and Mikey waved his free arm to get everyone to shut up. "Not until we have coffee. There are decisions to be made. And we could be wrong."
With a frown, Bob went out to make the coffee while Gerard began pestering Mikey for answers. Refusing to answer Gerard, Mikey exchanged more wordless communication with Frank. Frank kept trying to break free of Mikey's embrace, and Mikey knew he wanted to skip the coming confrontation. He pinned Frank down with a glare and tightened his hold. Frank scowled, but stopped resisting and went limp in Mikey's embrace.
It might not be appropriate for Frank to be there for all of the discussion, but he should at least be there for the beginning so that he could see that people were on his side.
When Bob finally yelled for someone to help him carry the coffee upstairs, Frank was on pins and needles. Gerard went to help Bob, because Mikey hadn't let Frank move an inch since they had woken up. Frank understood. He would have definitely run home to his mom if given the opportunity.
Ray had stayed on the other side of Mikey chatting about guitar riffs. Ray had remained calm and collected throughout this whole teleportation thing, but he had eagerly gone along with all of the suggestions for how to fix it. Frank suspected his composure was all a front. He just didn't know Ray well enough to see it.
Finally everyone was grouped back together and had coffee. Mikey was downing his like a man dying of thirst. Frank suspected that his demand for coffee had more to do with his addiction than any concern over the topic of discussion.
Twitching, Bob broke first and said, "Well?"
Mikey looked nervous, but squared his shoulders and began talking. "The teleportation thing stopped happening between Frank and I when we committed to each other, when we trusted each other."
Gerard crowed. "I told you! I told you, you had to make love to him!" He waved his arms upward into a vee splashing coffee onto the floor.
Bob rolled his eyes, and Frank slunk lower into the bed, hiding behind his coffee cup. He knew his face was red, and he cursed Mikey for listening to Gerard. He knew it was silly, but this would be so much simpler if it was just him and Mikey teleporting to each other.
"What does that have to do with the band?" Bob asked.
"Well, it stands to reason that the band and Frank need to commit now."
Ray said, "So what you are saying is that you think we should make Frank our rhythm guitarist."
Mikey nodded. Frank watched as everyone looked at Ray. He looked at Ray too.
Ray said, "What? I've already spoken to Frank and apologized for dragging my heels." He looked pointedly over Mikey's head at Frank. "I don't know why he didn't bring it up then."
Everyone looked at Frank now. Frank sputtered. "I didn't know Ray was the only holdout. I thought maybe Bob-"
Bob shook his head and grinned. Mikey and Gerard were already smiling at Frank. Pulling Frank into a kiss, Mikey was smiling too much for it to be anything other than a smushing of lips.
Gerard started whooping.
Mikey almost didn't expect it to work, making Frank a part of the band, but it did. For the first couple of nights, both he and Frank would wake up at the slightest thing to make sure they were both still alone in bed together, but they always were. Tonight was no exception. Mikey looked at Frank's smiling face, shining in the moonlight and his heart flipped.
He whispered, "Still alone."
Frank whispered, "Still here."
Smiling, Mikey kissed Frank and slid on top of him. "So here."
"You going to make love to me to celebrate, Mikeyway?"
Not answering, Mikey simply kissed Frank harder. Frank wrapped one foot around Mikey's hip and pulled him closer, splaying his other knee out. Mikey's cock nestled behind Frank's balls, getting wonderful friction. Groaning, Mikey began thrusting and grinding against Frank, while Frank encouraged Mikey with his hands on Mikey's hips.
Finally, panting, Frank said, "Condom, Mikey."
They fumbled around for lube and a condom, Frank giggling all the while. Mikey couldn't help smiling too. Being with Frank was like being with his lover and his best friend at the same time. Best of both worlds.
Best of three worlds, really, because now he got to play onstage with Frank for the rest of his life as well. Mikey grinned and tickled Frank.
Frank's giggle filled his ears and his smile grew wider. Frank squirmed and laughed until he finally got Mikey underneath him. "Now I've got you where I want you."
"What are you going to do to me?"
"Ride your cock until you're seeing stars."
Moaning, Mikey helped position Frank and as Frank sank down onto him, Mikey closed his eyes so he could savor the sensation. He said, "Make it slow. I want it slow, Frankie."
Frank rode him slow and sinuously, driving Mikey mad. It was just what he wanted. He reached up and stroked Frank's face, Frank leaning into the touch. Sliding his hand down Frank's torso, he tweaked a nipple before gripping Frank's cock and stroking it in a counter-rhythm.
Speeding up, Frank panted and sweated above him. Mikey thrust up in counterpoint, and they were in perfect tune for long, wondrous moments.
Frank peaked first, coming over Mikey's hand, shuddering and moaning through his orgasm. After milking him through the after shocks, Mikey gripped his hips and slammed up into him until his own orgasm overcame him. Frank collapsed on top of Mikey and they snuggled for a moment until Frank's need to be clean made him struggle up to get a washcloth and get rid of the condom.
Snuggled back in bed with Frank in his arms, Mikey was completely happy. He didn't need teleportation to tell him how special that made him and Frank, or him and his band. He still sent off a thank you to the cosmos anyway. Kissing Frank's brow, Mikey closed his eyes and drifted off.