mrsronweasley: (MCR - Gerard and Frank laughing)
mrsronweasley ([personal profile] mrsronweasley) wrote2010-11-09 10:32 pm
Entry tags:

"Run" - Frank/Gerard, My Chemical Romance (bandom), NC-17, Part VIII


(Part VII)

Frank wakes up coughing. He's face down in the straw and when he moves, it scratches and pokes him all over – in his eyes and over his raw skin, the bruises waking up to pain one by one. His arms tremble when he tries to lift himself up, but don't do much good. He flops uselessly down and watches the grey light turn a little brighter through the slats in the window. His mouth tastes like death, and he can feel where a couple cuts have opened up, blood trickling warmly down his legs and arms. He'd moan in pain, but that would take too much energy. Instead, he lies and waits.

*

He wakes up again to hushed voices. Everything aches, and his throat's so dry, he can barely swallow the bile that's built up in his mouth. He curls up tighter into himself and really wants to die.

Sudden thumps down the stairs rattle all the demons in Frank's brain into an Irish jig of some kind. He keeps his eyes shut tight, not wanting to see their reactions to seeing him like this.

"Shit, Frankie…" Gerard. "Bob, help me –"

"I got it, Gee. Here, hang on."

Gentle hands slide over Frank's skin and he hisses through it, because gentle right now is not gentle enough. His mom usually brings a blanket down, but he hadn't even warned the guys he'd be naked. Fuck, he hadn't exactly warned them of much of anything. He's shivering harder now, as if knowing there's no warmth coming sends his body into a panic, and there's no relief.

Somebody's lifting him awkwardly up, and he finally forces himself to unclench, open his eyes, and stop being a pussy.

"Frank, wait –"

"Mgh…m'fine," he croaks and stumbles to his feet, glancing at his shredded clothes thrown into a corner. Fuck, Mom's going to kill him.

It's Gerard who catches him around the ribs, and Bob is already at his back, Frank can feel him hovering. But he's fine. He does this with his mom, he can do it now. He concentrates on not making any noise as he lets them herd him up the stairs, past the door, and through the hallway. He catches sight of Ray and Mikey's socked feet, and he wonders where they'd all slept. He hadn't even…

He hadn't…

The hot terror of the memory hits him like a freight train. He hadn't even made up their beds, because he almost turned right in front of them. He stops short and then doubles over as his stomach cramps and his head dizzies, but all that he brings up is more gut-wrenching coughing.

"Frank?"

Out of nowhere a glass of water appears, held up by Gerard's pale fingers, and he wants to knock it away, scream at them to get the fuck away from him, he isn't safe, but he reaches for the glass almost by instinct, and gulps the water down like he's dying. It feels like it, anyway, and he's so goddamn tired.

He's just so tired of keeping his shit together, of having to negotiate everything from simple movement to how to avoid killing his fucking friends. He wants to sleep and not wake up for days, maybe months, or years.

He milks the water until the very last drop, then wordlessly hands the glass back. He glimpses Gerard's worried face for the first time, and the rest of the guys come into focus behind him, with Ray's hair hovering in Frank's periphery.

Gerard's eyebrows are drawn into a sad arc, his eyes beneath them bright and huge. He's even paler in the shadow of the hallway, and focused so completely on Frank that Frank has to look away. He just. He needs to not think for a while.

"Thanks, guys, I can, like. Take it from here."

He carefully shrugs off Ray's hand, passes between the slumped guard figures of Mikey and Bob, and tries not to even touch Gerard as he trudges forward, but Gerard catches his hand. He doesn't say anything, and Frank thinks that maybe if he just ignores it and keeps walking, Gerard will drop it and leave him alone, but instead, Gerard leaves the guys behind and walks into his room behind Frank, hand still gripping his.

"Gee, I'm –"

"You need rest, I know," Gerard interrupts easily. "Your mom left a note. I'm putting you to bed," he explains.

Frank turns around, wincing at the pinch of pain around his ribs, and looks at Gerard in surprise. Gerard just watches him back, eyes still earnest as ever, not a trace of irony anywhere. Frank huffs out a laugh and presses the heels of his hands into his eyes. He has no idea how he's even standing right now, much less how he could fight off a stubborn Gerard.

"'Kay. Fine." He becomes intensely aware of just how naked he is when Gerard's eyes slide a little downward, and then he remembers the caked blood all over his body, fuck. "I, uh. I probably need to get cleaned up before I can get in bed, though." The idea of even turning on the shower makes his hands ache.

Gerard just shrugs. "Nah, we'll wash the sheets afterwards, if you want. You're fine."

Frank deflates in relief. For the first time in his life, he doesn't care that he'll get blood all over the sheets. He allows himself to be turned around and walked the two steps it takes to get him into bed, and then Gerard is pulling back the blankets and gently pushing Frank down onto them.

Frank gets ready for the moment when the blankets will settle around him, but instead, more cold air hits him and then Gerard is right behind him, chest and knees and feet all tucked up at his back.

"What –"

"Shut up, I'm tired, too," Gerard mumbles into his neck, and Frank burrows deeper into his pillow, feeling all the places where he hurts, and all the places where he's almost uncomfortably hot, and he knows that it's his own fault he can't kick Gerard out of his bed. He can vaguely hear the other guys mumbling on the other side of the wall, and Gerard's moving around a bit behind him, getting comfortable maybe, the mattress dipping and pulling beneath them both. Frank feels something warm and buzzing seep its way into his gut. It's stupid, really, the security he feels just now, it's just his exhaustion talking, but it's better than focusing on the pain, he guesses, and anyway, he's so not up to analyzing anything right now. He strains to hear what the guys might be saying when their voices rise, and then he's hearing nothing at all.

*

When Frank wakes up, Gerard is already gone, but the bed is still kind of warm where he used to be. Frank stretches all of his joints and winces. He's sore and his head is fuzzy as shit, like he's stoned, but without the fun part. He's also sweating like crazy, but as soon as he drops the covers, the cold hits him. He fights through the pain and rolls himself slowly off the bed. The sheets really are fucking gross, he realizes when he looks down, but he wraps himself up in a blanket, anyway, because there's no way he's up for laundry right now.

When he opens his bedroom door, he can immediately smell pop tarts and slightly burnt toast, and the guys aren't actually trying to be quiet at all, judging by the noises streaming in from the living room. He follows his nose and stumbles through the hallway, his eyes barely open slits.

They're all lounging around his house like they own it. Bob and Mikey are duking it out on World of Warcraft, hooked up to Mom's TV, Ray's found Frank's old acoustic and he's strumming something that's pretty at odds with the WoW background music, but he looks so lost in it, Frank doesn't think he's noticed. Gerard's curled up on the couch with his sketchbook. His back is to Frank, but maybe something crucially werewolf-like's rubbed off on him, because he swivels around as soon as Frank comes into the room, before anybody else has even noticed him enter.

"Frankie!" he beams and sits up on his knees, sketchbook falling to the floor. He's got dark rings under his eyes. "How are you?"

The guys all casually echo Gerard's greeting, barely even looking up, and Frank can't actually speak for a long moment. He almost clawed them all to death last night, could have killed or turned any one or even more of them, and it's like they don't even care. Like this is a normal Saturday morning for them, no biggie.

"Hey," he nods, and then he stumbles back out, drops the blanket in the hallway and runs like a little kid, locking himself in the bathroom. He can't think about it. He won't.

He stands under the punishing spray of the shower while his skin tingles and nearly burns, and tries to maybe get his breath back. He can't have this. He can't. He isn't supposed to, not after all this fucking time. He's not that lucky.

He scrubs himself raw, poking at every bruise and scar. His ribs ache with each move, too, too tender and soft somehow. His back pinches every time he takes a deep breath.

By the time he's dried and dressed in his bedroom, he's a lot more awake. A sudden vibration reaches his ears and he looks over at his bedside table. He can't remember getting his phone out, but it's right there, next to his alarm clock.

He grabs it and scrolls through.

hi honey please call when you're up to it

She sent that one at five am. The next three are an hour apart each, all cool and calm on the surface, but Frank knows better. He should have called Mom as soon he was back to human.

He plops down onto the bed to hit the speed dial. She picks up on the second ring.

"Baby?"

"Hey, Mom," he smiles and his face feels kind of brittle. "I'm fine."

"Oh, thank God. It wasn't – you managed?"

He nods, then clears his throat. "Yeah, Gerard and – yeah, he was great. Locked me up, no problem. It's over, you know…"

"Good," she says, then adds, quieter, "That's good."

Frank nods and doesn't say anything.

"Have you had anything to eat or drink yet?" she asks.

"Nah, not yet."

She sighs. "I did leave Gerard a note. You better have something now, Frankie. And stay in bed, okay?"

He cracks another smile. "Sure, okay, Mom. I'm gonna go and, uh, sleep, all right?"

She makes a noise like she wants to protest, but immediately covers it up. "Of course. And I'm coming home tomorrow night."

"Oh, yeah, how – uh."

Mom sighs longer this time. "She went very peacefully, in the end. Tomorrow morning is the funeral."

Frank closes his eyes and hangs his head. "I'm sorry, Mom," he says and means it.

"I know, honey. Thank you. Say hello to Gerard for me, and I'll see you tomorrow."

Frank's about to hang up, when he hears her voice rise, and when he puts the phone back to his ear, she's already mid-sentence. "- him home, right?"

"What?"

"Gerard," she says. "He can go home now, and you rest. Yes?"

"Uh." Frank wipes a sweaty palm on his thigh and looks around like she's maybe watching him from somewhere. "Totally. He's totally going home now."

Mom breathes through the receiver for a little while, then says, "Okay, baby. I'll see you soon."

Frank sits with the phone in his hands for a while feeling guilty before making himself stand back up. Then he hides behind his bedroom door and counts to twenty.

When he finally mans up and comes back into the living room, they all stop what they're doing and look up at him. He takes a deep breath. He can do this.

"So, uh. Thanks, you know?" he starts, feeling like a complete tool, standing in the doorway, making a fucking speech. All eyes are on him, except for Gerard's. He's bent half over his sketchbook, pretending to draw, but his hand isn't moving. Through the curtain of hair, Frank can see that the tips of his ears are bright red. He looks away and watches the wall while he talks. "But, uh. That'll never happen again, okay? Like. I'll – I'm never asking again, it was fucking stupid, and – and I'm really fucking sorry, okay?" He wants to run away and never look back, but he forces himself to stand still, gripping the doorway till he's white-knuckled. "Don't, like – I mean, I will totally get it if you never want, you know –"

"Frank, shut the fuck up," Ray sighs and shakes his head.

Frank almost bites his tongue by accident. "What?"

"We managed it, dude," Bob pipes up, dropping his gaze down to the magazine in his lap. "It was fine. Kind of boring, actually. For the rest of us."

"Yeah," Mikey agrees. "I was totally expecting, like, blood and guts and shit. But your claws were pretty sweet, I guess."

"And we cleaned up the puke," Ray tells him, all teeth on display.

Frank stares at the pack of morons in front of him. "What the fuck -"

"Dude, chill, seriously. We're fine, you're fine, sit the fuck down and quit hovering," Bob snaps, then looks Frank in the eye. "Okay?"

Frank nods mutely and moves fully into the room. On shaky legs he slides down to the floor and catches Gerard's eye by accident. Gerard gives him a tiny secretive grin.

*

Frank wakes up drooling on the living room couch, completely disoriented. His Nintendo controller falls onto the floor when he shifts, and the sound wakes him up fully. The windows are completely dark, and when he moves his head, wincing at the crick in his neck, he notices a sudden flurry of activity.

"Uh." He wipes the drool off on the pillow and croaks, "What's up?"

Mikey announces that he's got a party to get to.

"Oh, is that a party in Alicia's pants?" Gerard asks primly and Frank cranes his neck look at the rest of the guys. Mikey ignores Gerard's remark, but he does give Frank a wave.

"See you, dude," he says, then kicks at something on the floor. "Gee, you're in charge of taking this shit back."

Bob and Ray exchange a couple of glances in Gerard's direction that Frank's pretty sure he's not supposed to notice, and then start to pack up their shit. He wants to move or protest, but the couch feels good, plus his arms are asleep underneath him. He calls out a vague "Bye!" at them all as they troop out.

Gerard locks the door after them. Then he comes back in and shuffles up to the couch, sinking down onto the floor in front of Frank.

"Hey. You hungry?" he asks. "Your mom left some stuff for you in the fridge, I guess, if you wanted it." His voice is quiet, weirdly soothing in the darkened room. Frank hums and closes his eyes again. He's exhausted, but weirdly not hungry.

"I'm good, maybe I'll get some water, though," he thinks out loud, trying to find the strength to leave the couch and walk to the kitchen. Before he can even try, though, Gerard is on his feet and out the door.

Frank listens to him opening every cupboard, then to the clanking of glasses and the running water. He watches the curtains that he should probably close now that it's dark and doesn't move. It's weird to have Gerard in their space like this, moving around like it's not a huge deal, like it's normal. When he appears by Frank's side again with the water, all Frank can do is take it from him and drink. He watches Gerard's face over the rim of the glass.

Gerard sets the glass on the floor when Frank's done, and Frank thinks he should remember to get it later, before Mom sees it.

"What time is it?" he asks and yawns. He's been asleep so long, he has no idea what the fuck the guys even did all day in his house.

"After eight, I think. You were pretty out of it, huh?" He gives Frank a careful, sidelong look, then grunts as he gets up. "Here, I'll take you to, uh. Here." He's extending his hand for Frank to grab, and it takes Frank an embarrassingly long time to roll himself up and off the couch.

Gerard leads them both into Frank's dark room. He doesn't let Frank do much, and he doesn't turn on the light. Frank is too tired to fight being prodded into stripping off his shirt, or to help Gerard unzip his jeans for him. He struggles out of them and plops onto the bed, scooting all the way down until his back is to the cold wall. He sniffs. The sheets smell a hell of a lot better than they had in the morning.

"Gee, did you wash these?" he asks, disbelieving, running his hands all over them.

Gerard just shrugs, stepping out of his shoes.

"Holy shit," Frank breathes. "Where was I?"

Gerard throws him a quicksilver smile. "Out. Mikey helped me put them back on, I fucking hate fitted sheets, man."

Frank laughs and watches Gerard shed his pants, then strip off his own shirt, which leaves his hair a mess. Frank knows he's being a horrible son, but no way is he passing this up. Someday, Mom will forgive him.

He opens up the covers and Gerard wordlessly gets in.

It's not late, and Gerard's probably not tired, but it feels like the middle of a very long and confusing night to Frank.

They lie carefully facing each other for what feels like hours. Frank is really glad they never turned on the light, because even in the dark, Gerard watching him like this could blind him. Then Gerard moves closer between the sheets and leans in to kiss Frank carefully on the mouth.

Frank's chest aches from keeping his breath in. Gerard's lips are a little chapped, but sweet, soft to the touch. Frank feels like his entire body has been uncapped, upending him onto the sheets. He melts against Gerard's hand on his shoulder, and whimpers when Gerard pulls away.

"I'm sorry I didn't get it," Gerard whispers, and at first Frank can't even get his mind to work enough to figure out what he's even talking about.

"Sorry about what?" he asks and his voice breaks a bit from disuse.

Gerard screws his eyes shut and flaps his hand around. "I didn't get how bad it was, you know, with the – changing into the wolf and… I just – I thought it was so cool, you know? But you were – screaming and shaking and… And it was just – I'm sorry for thinking it was nothing, it's not, it's awful." His voice gets hoarse, like it's being wrenched out of his throat, and Frank watches him, barely blinking. Jesus, here it comes. Gerard has finally gotten it, he's figured it out. Frank isn't human; he's a fucking mutant. Frank doesn't realize he's inched away until the cold wall startles him at his back again.

"Gerard," he whispers without a plan, "I'm – I'm sorry –"

Gerard pinches his mouth, like he's holding himself back, and then he's lunging forward and pinning Frank between his chest and the wall. Frank barely holds his gasp in check. Gerard's hands are hot on his hips, and his breath is scorching against Frank's face. "Why are you – no, Frank, it's - I'm sorry, okay? I'm so fucking – I think you were trying to tell me, and I just – and you're so fucking strong, you know? You've been – it's been years, since you were a fucking kid, and you're just going through it, and - and when we first met, I thought you were so different and I didn't get why, you know, I just – I wanted –"

Frank's skin feels like it's on fire and turning to ice at the same time. His body revolts at being pinned down, but he doesn't want to move away from Gerard, not ever. Gerard's hot and soft against him, gaze flickering between Frank's eyes and mouth and Frank's breath is coming in short now, he can't think. "Gee –"

"No, wait," Gerard interrupts him, hands squeezing Frank's sides. "I'm– I'm sorry I told the guys. It wasn't – it wasn't my thing to tell, and I'm really sorry, okay?" He watches Frank expectantly, eyes darting back and forth between Frank's. Frank's throat squeezes around air. Gerard means it. He means every fucking word. "I'll never tell again, nobody will know, okay?"

When Frank can make his mouth work, he only manages to whisper, "Okay."

"Thank you," Gerard breathes. Then he closes his eyes and bites his lip, pressing a little bit closer, his fingers squeezing hard around Frank's body. Their knees bump under the covers. "And I've been – I've been thinking about this, you know, while you've been, like, sleeping and stuff, and I spent the whole night thinking about it, too, like, trying to wrap my mind around this shit. ‘Cause it's crazy, I mean, I know you know, but it is, so I had to, like, put it all in perspective and whatever. And it's really hard to be sane about it when you're just down in the basement, ripping at yourself and being hurt, you know, it's not normal -"

Frank's brain's buzzing a mile a minute, he has no idea where Gerard is going with this. He's just whispering against Frank in the dark, and they're pressed so close together, his every word echoes and rumbles right against Frank's bare chest, vibrating skin on skin.

"But, like, I was thinking – you're not – you haven't said anything about, like – well, and I'm not – I'm not asking for anything, really, I just – kind of have a question. Is that okay?"

Frank nods mutely, his skull buzzing with fear. Gerard's barely making sense.

"The sex thing. Do you only do it, like, with me, just because you…need it?" Gerard whispers, and when he stops, a huge silence falls on the already quiet room, trapping them both. Frank can feel it, the pounding wait that comes off Gerard in waves, and his throat dries up. He bites his lip and tries to catch hold of a single thought out of a thousand that are swirling around his brain.

"Do you – do you think that's what it is?" he asks finally, knowing he's a chicken-shit, but he has no idea which answer is worse right now.

Gerard retreats from him, eyebrows drawing in, and Frank feels the cold air hit him in the chest where the space has formed. "I don't know, I just. I guess I wanted to know if it's the werewolf thing, or – or –"

"No," Frank says and it rings out way too loud. He closes his eyes and sags down. "No, it's not – I mean." He owes Gerard. "At first, that – first time? You know… In the bathroom?" He wonders if there's a chance either one of them will ever forget it, even fifty years from now. When Gerard nods jerkily, Frank continues. "That was because I needed it, and you were there. But, like. It's not – it hasn't been like that." Not for months. "It's not like that anymore, okay?" he mutters and wants to bury his hot face in the pillow, but forces himself to keep watching Gerard's face.

"Yeah?" Gerard asks after a minute, a tiny grin already tugging up at his mouth. "So, it's not just ‘cause you need it?"

Frank shakes his head, hair rustling against the pillow. "No."

Gerard's tiny grin transforms into a huge, beaming smile and he slides his hands until he's gripping Frank's sweaty hand under the covers. "That's really fucking good. ‘Cause I have to tell you something else I've been thinking about and trying to figure out, okay?" Gerard asks and the smile drops off his now-serious face. Frank nods, tensing up all over again. Gerard's been thinking a lot. Frank suddenly feels very much behind.

"So, I think I'm really fucking in love with you," Gerard whispers, looking at him through messy bangs, and squeezes their sweaty palms together.

Frank's stomach kicks and transforms into a writhing mess and he can't find his voice or even a single brain cell for the next eternity of a moment. He searches for the fear and the panic, because they've got to be there somewhere, then digs deep for the knowledge that he won't be able to reciprocate, because isn't that hidden somewhere, too? But instead, what he finds is that he wants to kiss Gerard until they're both out of breath and his bed and his room and the entire goddamn world falls away, because he's never felt anything like this in his whole life.

He does try to tell Gerard this, his heart pounding a staccato between his tender ribs, but by then, Gerard has probably already realized it anyway, because he doesn't even wait for Frank to finish the sentence before he's on him, breath and body and trembling hands.

*

When Frank wakes up, Gerard's arm is heavy around his hips. They're both buried under the covers, and it stinks to high heaven. Frank gently slides the blankets down until he can feel the cool air hit his face, then pauses and looks at Gerard.

He's got lines all over his face from Frank's pillow, and he's drooling like a puppy. His chest is flushed, uneven pink splotches covering his skin, and when Frank slides his gaze down, he sees that Gerard's completely naked, even though when they passed out, he still had his briefs on. Frank's hand twitches from keeping himself to himself. Gerard looks absurdly more beautiful than he should.

Frank replays last night in his mind, his brain stuck like a broken record on what Gerard had said. Frank wonders if he'll still feel that way when the room is bright and Frank isn't hidden by the dark anymore. He's on his fourth replay of the word that sent his brain reeling, giddiness welling up in his belly, when Gerard shivers, stirs, and cracks open his eyes.

"Hey, Frankie," he mumbles and smiles, and Frank can't wait anymore. He leans in and kisses Gerard's stinky morning mouth, then pushes forward, rolls them over, and climbs on top of him. They've been naked together before, but it's never felt like a luxury he didn't have to worry about affording before. He ignores Gerard's laughter and kisses him until Gerard stops laughing, then lets his hands wander all down Gerard's sides, squeezing the softness around his hips, then sliding down around to his smooth ass.

Gerard hums against him and moves his legs until Frank's lying between them, their hard dicks lined up in a way that sends tiny electric currents down Frank's spine. He can feel the shape of Gerard's grin with his own lips.

He thrusts once, an experimental roll of his hips, and Gerard throws his head back and arches beneath him. "Fuck, yeah," he pants against Frank's ear, and Frank grins, thrusting forward again. Fuck, yeah.

He drops his head down to nose at the crook of Gerard's neck, and shoves his hips forward again and again. The spot where his nose is buried smells like his bed and Gerard's sweat, and without any conscious decision, he licks the spot over and over again, feeling goose bumps rising all along Gerard's skin. Fuck.

"Gee, Gerard," he mumbles, still thrusting against him, unable to stop now that they've started, "Gee, you're so hot, you're so fucking hot."

"Frankie," Gerard whimpers and claws at his back, making all the hair stand up on Frank's body.

Frank wants to hear what Gerard's got to say, he does, but now that his mouth is open, the words won't stop, and he turns his head just enough to let them tumble right into Gerard's ear, where he will be sure to hear them. "So hot, you feel so fucking good, Gee, I wanna see you come again – you're beautiful when you come – I love it when you do, love making you come –"

Gerard makes a strangled sound against him and bucks, spilling out between them.

Frank whimpers and shoves up harder, faster, through the mess. "Gee – fucking love you, God, fuck –"

He holds onto Gerard so tightly when he comes, shaking frantically like a leaf, that for one wild moment, he thinks they'll actually get glued together – a two-headed, eight-limbed beast that will slowly solidify into a graying fossil while the rest of the world – this house, this town, this life, will crumble all around them, and one day, centuries later, they'll be discovered and put on display in some futuristic museum in space, and for that one moment, Frank can't think of there being anything wrong with it, anything wrong at all.

*

On the pike, be there in under an hour!

Frank curses and bites his lip. That is a warning, he thinks, and looks over at Gerard, who's watching him curiously from the foot of the bed.

"Mom's almost home," he explains and drops the phone on the floor. "You should – you should go," he breathes, heart sinking. They spent the entire afternoon naked, kissing and talking in the quiet peaceful house. A squeal of tires reaches Frank's ears and he jumps. "Shit –"

"Yeah, okay," Gerard agrees quickly and scrambles off the bed. Frank helps him find his pants and shoes, then watches while Gerard gets dressed, his skin disappearing from view bit by bit. Frank fights every urge to reach out and touch and get something started until Gerard's all tucked away and zipped up. Frank just slips on his briefs.

Slowly, he helps Gerard gather all of his and Mikey's crap from the living room and the den, then walks him just as slowly to the front door. He doesn't let go of Gerard's hand.

"Shit," Gerard says in a low voice and squeezes Frank's fingers, eyes cast down. "I kind of –"

"I know," Frank breathes and looks up from their linked hands. "Thanks," he says a moment later, feeling like a tool now, standing basically naked in his front hall with Gerard wearing every article of warm clothing known to man. He shivers but forces himself not to look away. "For, you know. Everything."

Gerard gives him a small pleased smile and nods. "Totally." He leans in. Frank closes his eyes, anticipating his kiss, but all he feels is Gerard's breath for a long moment. "Love you," Gerard murmurs and Frank's eyes fly open. He swallows. There's almost no air between them, they're so close, and Gerard's face is a blur in front of him, eyes crossed into one, eyebrows a single smudged line.

"Love you, too," Frank whispers and goes hot all over. He gets to do this now. It's weird, saying it to someone who isn't his mom or dad; hearing it from Gerard's mouth sends a shiver down his spine. He wonders if people ever get used to hearing it. He can't imagine that he ever will.

Gerard just smiles at him again and when they kiss, Frank feels the smooth swishy material of Gerard's coat all down his front. The cold zipper zaps at his skin but he can't make himself pull away. He presses closer, instead, until the zipper is a warm line down his skin and against his hard cock.

"Fuck, seriously, you should go," he pants into Gerard's neck, grabbing onto Gerard's hands around his ass and pulling them apart. "I'm so totally dead if she busts us, no joke."

Gerard makes a noise of protest, but steps back and grabs the bags at his feet. Once his messenger bag is slung over one shoulder and Mikey's backpack over the other, they hold each other's gaze for a while, both grinning like idiots. Then Gerard flicks his gaze down to Frank's obvious boner and Frank watches as his cheeks flush red. He rolls his eyes, blushing back. "I'm sorry, okay?"

Gerard bites his lip. "See you in school tomorrow?"

Frank's chest bubbles up with something bright that he can't quite pinpoint. "Yeah. Lunch." His mom might let him hang out at Gerard's after school, even. Maybe. If Gerard wanted to.

On impulse, he surges up, grabs Gerard's face, and kisses him, just a press of their mouths. Gerard makes a tiny noise, making their lips buzz lightly. Frank smiles.

"Okay," he breathes, once he manages to pull away. "You should go now."

Gerard looks slightly dazed, and knocks all of his crap into the door when he goes to unlock and open it. Frank sniggers and steps back so no neighbors spy him in basically his birthday suit. "Good luck getting home and shit."

"Yeah, fuck you very much," Gerard grumbles, but when he turns his head to look at Frank, he's smiling. "See ya."

Frank stares at the door for a long time after Gerard leaves, then finally shakes himself out of it and goes to put on some pants. When he climbs back into bed and buries his nose in his pillow, he gets a full-on Technicolor flashback of Gerard gasping beneath him. It takes him a while to leave his bed.

*

Frank's phone buzzes and he almost throws it against the wall in exasperation. What now?

He thumbs through the million texts from Gerard and Mikey and Ray and Bob and his dad and Jesus –

seriously im fine, Christ, leave me alone!

He mass-texts this to everyone, then gets back to practicing "Mother." He's not even four chords in when the phone springs back to life.

"Mom!" he yells loud enough to wake up the neighbors. "Tell Dad to quit worrying, Jesus Christ, it's not the end of the world!"

It's just a check-up. He's had those before. He's pretty sure they won't detect "werewolf" in him now.

"I have, sweetie, but he doesn't think we know what we're doing!" she yells back. He knows that's not true, so he just laughs and gives up, picking up the phone.

we're kind of around, can we come & c u?

Who the hell is "we," he wonders, but texts back "sure" immediately. Probably just Gerard and Mikey, which is cool. He hopes his mom will be okay with that, it's a school night. But he knows that despite all of her assurances, she's nervous about tomorrow, too. He gets a check-up regularly like all people, but his old pediatrician still gets suspicious when he sees that Frank's as healthy as an ox.

The little scrawny kid who'd get sick when anyone said ‘boo' is running a mile in seven minutes? What god-forsaken horse pills are you giving him, Linda?

Frank goes through a few more chord progressions until he can't sit still anymore and goes to annoy Mom in the kitchen.

"You know," she says kind of thoughtfully, "you could help me cut up peppers instead of eating all of my chili ingredients."

He makes a stupid scrunched-up face at her, complete with a stuck-out tongue, and pops another bit of pepper in his mouth.

"Get the hell out of here, Frankie," she laughs, swatting at him with a towel. "Weren't you doing homework?"

He shrugs, trying not to feel too guilty. "Guitar practice. Sorry."

She sighs and shakes her head. "Baby, have you thought more about the brochures I got you? If you're going to go to school, you'll have to start visiting some, you know." She sounds almost resigned, and Frank takes that as a good sign. Maybe he'll wear her down eventually. At least she knows he's not ready.

From somewhere in the rubble of his brain, he excavates a phrase he's heard his guidance counselor use. "I'm still, you know. Considering all my options."

Her laugh is quick and unexpected. "Oh, honey. You do that, then." Before he can even protest, she pulls his face in with a damp hand and kisses him messily on the cheek.

"Ugh, Mom! You've got pepper hands," he squirms.

"As long as you're considering what's best for you," she says, ignoring his protests. Her eyes are suspiciously shiny and bright. He flushes and looks away.

"Yeah, yeah, fine… Oh! So, uh –"

He's interrupted by the doorbell ringing out. She raises her eyebrow, all the pseudo tears gone in a flash. "And who is the unexpected guest?"

"Yeah, like, so Gerard and Mikey are stopping by? I think they're, like, you know… Uhm." He has no idea what their damage is, but he thinks he can guess.

"Concerned?"

He nods, biting the inside of his cheek.

"Well, then I guess you better let them in, then. Oh, but Frank!" she calls after him once he's halfway to the door, his heart already hammering, knowing it's Gerard on the other side. "They can only stay for an hour, tops, and then you're doing your math homework if I have to chain you to the chair, you hear me?"

"Got it!" he yells and throws open the door, letting in the frigid air. "Whoa."

"Hey, Frankie," Gerard beams and Frank's heart flutters stupidly. Assembled behind him are Mikey and Ray and Bob, all sporting damp hoodies and really red ears and noses.

"Uh – what's up, guys?" He steps away from the door and lets them all shuffle in one by one, until they're crowding the tiny hallway. Gerard's got snow stuck to his eyelashes, making him look kind of crazy and really, really pretty. Frank has to really hold himself in check not to lick the snow off his face right then and there.

"So, guess what!" Gerard says with no preamble, then stops, kind of panicked, when Frank's mom appears in the hall, wearing her apron and wielding a chopping knife. She didn't have that one when Frank was in the kitchen. He almost bursts into laughter. "Hi, Mrs. Iero!" Gerard says way too loudly.

The rest of the guys echo some of the syllables while she waves at them with the knife hand. "Hi, Gerard. Boys. Would you like some snacks?"

Frank rolls his eyes. "Mom, it's fine, Jesus. We're going to my room, okay?"

She narrows her eyes, but nods and turns back into the kitchen. He can hear her putting the knife away and giggles.

"All right, what's up?" he asks once he's closed his bedroom door.

"Hey, what were you playing?" Ray asks, instead, lifting Frank's guitar onto his lap and stroking it gently like it's a girl.

"Ray, wait, we gotta tell him first!" Gerard interrupts, bouncing on his feet, while Mikey and Bob pile on the bed behind Ray.

"Fine, Gee, go ahead. I'll be over here, you know, doing the actual stuff," Ray answers, rolling his eyes even as he slides one hand over the strings, plucking them into life.

"Tell me what? What stuff?" Frank demands and looks between all four of them before turning his gaze back onto Gerard's over-excited, pink face. The snow has melted now and his eyelashes are wet and even more girly-looking than ever.

"Mikey bought a bass!"

Frank turns to Mikey. "What, seriously?"

Mikey breaks into the biggest grin Frank has ever seen on him. "I saved up my Christmas money, and I borrowed some from this dude I know, and there was a sale at that one store downtown today?"

Frank knows his eyes are huge and stupid, but that is so cool. "Where is it, dude?"

Bob rolls his eyes. "He had us drive him home first so he could store it in safety or whatever. Under his bed. Wrapped in ten sheets."

"Fuck you, it's new, okay?" Mikey elbows him in the ribs. "I mean, well, it's not new, but it's new to me, you know? And it's blue, Frank." He's almost losing words, he's so excited, and Frank knows exactly how he feels. When he got his guitar, a huge part of him wanted to store it somewhere safe and never let it see the light of day, because the light of day was cruel, and he wanted his baby to stay as perfect as the day she had come into being. He got over it in about four hours, but the feeling stayed brand new for years.

"Whatever, whatever," Gerard interrupts, dropping down onto the bed beside Ray and upsetting whatever chord he had been strumming. "This means we can finally do it!"

"Do what?" Frank asks dumbly.

"Start our band! Think about it – you and Ray on guitars, because I fucking love guitar-heavy shit, and Bob's been taking drum lessons since, like, birth, right, Bob? And my grandma will be totally stoked I'm singing again, and with Mikey on bass – "

"Wait, wait – what? Band?"

Frank's looking at Gerard, trying to parse out the joke. Maybe he's lost his mind. He can remember a vague conversation a few months ago where Gerard was three sheets to the wind and running off at the mouth, all "wouldn't it be awesome, if…", but Frank doesn't remember being a part of that plan. He doesn't remember even thinking about being a part of that plan.

"Dude, have you been paying attention to Gerard for the last few months?" Bob asks. "He's barely talked about anything else."

Frank has been paying attention to Gerard. He's been paying a lot of attention to the developing comic Gerard's been working on about a vampire who falls in love with his own creation, and he's been paying attention to the way Gerard kisses him in the dark when they first close the door behind them during lunch. He's been paying attention to the fact that Gerard has started an obvious tendency to stick really close to Frank a few days before each full moon, talking and fucking Frank through it. He's also been paying attention to the way Gerard has been whispering Frank's name in the dark, when it's just the two of them and nobody else exists in the world.

But maybe, he admits, he hasn't been paying as much attention as he should have.

"You guys are fucking nuts. When are we even gonna practice?" he asks, suddenly realizing that he's going to get an answer. And he's right.

"Mikey knows a dude with studio space he'd let us use, it's in his dad's basement –"

"And we'll have time in the summer, especially Gee and Ray, they'll be out of school, and they won't be that far in the city –"

"Bob's getting a full kit for his birthday, dude, it's solid –"

"And then I've got a guy who can probably hook us up with a few local gigs, to get it started?" Ray rattles off. "You know, eventually, once we get better. Also, West High has Battle of the Bands in the fall, we could probably get in on that. I mean, you three are still in school."

"So, what do you think?"

All eyes are on Frank as he stands stupidly in the middle of his room, watching all of them back. It's like they don't give a shit about the number of times he's bailed on them because he's been too busy slobbering and chewing the walls up in his basement. Like it doesn't matter that he's a crazy-assed inhuman kid who's liable to try and climb you like a tree when the moon is right, or beat the shit out of you if you look at him wrong.

They're all watching and waiting for him to answer, and when Frank turns to look at Gerard, who's busy chewing on his thumb nail and watching Frank back, he pauses his swirling thoughts-in-progress to mentally apologize to Mom and just take a long, deep breath.

"What kind of sound are you thinking for it? And if you say T-Rex, I am out of here."

"Actually, I was thinking we'd start with Abba and go from there," Bob pipes up after a moment of silence.

Frank's face breaks into a huge grin and his heart feels like it might flutter away like a moth. "All right, Fernando. Then I think I'm in."

Epilogue.

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