mrsronweasley: (MCR - smokin' in the boys' room)
mrsronweasley ([personal profile] mrsronweasley) wrote2011-01-18 03:36 pm
Entry tags:

Fic: "Life As a Symptom" (Frank/Gerard, NC-17, ~11,000 words)

Title: Life As a Symptom
Pairing: Frank/Gerard
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: ~11,000
Summary: Office AU.
Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] no_tags 2011. With INCREDIBLE thanks to my two awesome betas, [livejournal.com profile] brooklinegirl and [livejournal.com profile] shiningartifact for making this WAY better than how they first found it. ♥ (Contains the email addresses that Microsoft Word decided to get rid of in the first draft. :/ Awesome. :/)

*

"I think it's broken."

"I think you're probably right."

Gerard looked down at where water pooled on the rug at his and Mikey's feet. Maybe it was the fact that he hadn't even had coffee yet and his brain felt mushy and sluggish, but he was pretty sure that wasn't where the water was meant to come out of the cooler.

"Gee."

"Huh?" Gerard's head finally snapped up and he turned to Mikey, blinking sleep from his eyes.

"We should, like, tell someone." Gerard watched Mikey chew the inside of his cheek for a while. "Right?"

"I guess?" Gerard looked back down at the darkening carpet. It was even uglier with the water staining it, but looked kind of cool. Kind of like Gerard's soul, every time he came in through the front door of the building. Like it was bleeding all of its intestines out into the world.

"Gross."

"Huh?"

Mikey snorted and patted him on the shoulder. "Nothing. Let's go tell someone about this."

*

"Wait. There's no water?"

Gerard swiveled around in his chair. Frank, the new intern, was standing by the broken water cooler, blinking at it like he was a wind-up toy. The only reason Gerard knew his name was that his boss had introduced them on Monday. This is Frank, the new intern.

"Yeah, sorry," Gerard said now, even though it wasn't his fault the cooler broke. But he'd been present for it, and apparently proximity made him feel responsible, or something.

"Shit," Frank swore, then visibly winced. "I mean, I, like. I don't have time to run downstairs and get tea –"

"You drink tea?" Gerard asked, without even meaning to, and Frank turned fully around to face him.

His head was tilted in a and what are you gonna do about it? kind of way, hip popped out to the side. Huh. Dude was kind of a punk under the tie, and, like, the tea. "Yeah. And now I can't have any," Frank said, eyes slitting kind of dangerously.

Gerard wasn't looking for a rumble. He hadn’t even had his coffee yet. "Sorry," he shrugged, feeling uncomfortably tight in his collar. He slid the sharp point of the pencil in his hand across his desk until it made an obnoxious squeaking noise, then threw a look over to where Mikey was staring at his screen with his eyebrows drawn.

"No one's gonna be out of that meeting before ten, anyway,” he said, turning back to Frank. “I need to get coffee downstairs if you wanna come get your tea?"

Frank looked down at his empty mug, then slipped his hand out of his pocket. He was clutching a dry tea bag that crumpled in his hand and rained leaves down onto the carpet. He seemed to assess the situation for a while before giving Gerard a suspicious sideways look and shrugged. "Sure. You got a five? I left my wallet at my desk."

*

"So, you're still in school, then?"

"Ugh, yeah." Frank’s walk was different from the way he stood, all defiant and prickly. He walked like Gerard felt, shuffling his feet, back bent a little dejectedly. Gerard had barely exchanged a word with him before today, but he was bored out of his skull with the day already, so he might as well engage the new kid. "My mom wants me to get more credits so I can maybe do the school thing part-time in the fall, but, like. Whatever, I'm still paying for it."

"Yourself?" Gerard hadn't had to do that when he was in school. Well, he took out loans, and he hadn't lived on campus or anything, but his parents had picked up a lot of the slack. They were still doing it for Mikey, too.

Frank shrugged, then did this sweet sliding move down the stair railing that immediately had Gerard's gaze traveling to his ass. It looked pretty good from here. "Yeah, I mean, my parents can't really afford it, but I have to go, so – loans."

"Yeah." Gerard knew about those, at least. That was why he was here in the first place. "Do they pay you if you're an intern?" He had no idea. He was getting paid enough money to survive and even do his monthly loan payments on time, but God knew, they were all the corporation's butt-monkeys around here.

"Only in credits," Frank said, throwing Gerard a quicksilver grin. "Blood-sucking assholes."

Gerard grinned back. "Totally."

*

"Can I have the English Breakfast, two sugars, no milk?"

The breakfast cart lady silently pointed at the side servery.

"Ah!" Gerard watched Frank smile wide and bright at her over the counter. "Then I'll have one English Breakfast tea bag, a cup, and hot water, please."

The breakfast lady shook her head in exasperation, but gave him a small smile as she handed over the goods. Frank smoothed out Gerard's crumpled five and thrust it at her. "Keep the change for this gentleman here, he wants a – what are you getting?"

Gerard felt like he'd been snapped out of a haze. "A – coffee? With, like – uhm. Coffee. Large. Is that enough money for a large? Wait, I've got, like, a – I've got a quarter, and –"

"Keep it," the lady interrupted, thrusting a steaming cup of coffee at him. Gerard stammered his thanks, slipping the change back into his pocket, before noticing that Frank was laughing at him – a wheezing, rumbly giggle that echoed off the marble. He threw Frank a tiny smile. It was a nice laugh.

They got out of the next person's way and silently attended to their drinks. Well, Frank attended to his tea while Gerard watched his slow, methodical process.

"You drink it black?" Frank nodded at Gerard's cup once he'd snapped the lid onto his.

"Hmm? Oh! Right, no. I've got, like, powdered creamer and Splenda in my drawer, I'll just add it when we get back."

"That's kind of gross, dude," Frank remarked, grabbing a fistful of Splenda from its plastic container. "Here, have more. You got stirrers up there?"

Gerard opened his mouth, feeling a bit like a fish in a bowl, and accepted the Splenda into his empty hand.

"Here." Frank grabbed a bunch of stirrers from their resting place, and thrust them at Gerard. "You'll need those."

"Thanks?" Gerard shoved the Splenda and the stirrers into his pockets, feeling the uncomfortable slip and slide of them against his thigh, and nodded towards the staircase. "Guess we should get back before they realize we're gone, huh?"

"Ugh," Frank replied.

Gerard found himself walking slowly, like he was thinking out every step he had to take. He noticed Frank doing the same. They didn't really talk much on the way back, but it felt nice, being out for a walk with someone that he liked. Who wasn't related to him, of course. Or, like, paying him to be there.

*

They didn't pay him much (nor did he get any benefits) but they did comply with the law. Gerard used every smoke break allotted to him, and he did it with much care and diligence.

The first one he always drew out until eleven. That way, he could take his lunch at twelve thirty, which left him with only three hours and fifteen minutes to the end of day. The afternoon was broken up with another smoke, and before you knew it, the day was nearly over.

Not yet, though. He leaned into Mikey's lighter and inhaled. "You ever talk to Frank?" he asked after pulling back.

"That new kid?" Mikey snicked the lighter closed. It always made a really satisfying noise when he did it. Gerard nodded.

"Yeah, once, I think," Mikey shrugged. "He's pretty cool. Why?"

Gerard shrugged back and leaned against the grainy wall. The sun felt good on his eyelids, burning bright and orange through the skin. "I went to get coffee with him this morning. He's still in college."

"I know." Gerard heard Mikey inhale. They stood there, quiet, a bead of sweat slowly rolling down Gerard's back. It slid into his ass-crack and he wiggled, trying to scratch an impossible to reach spot. His shirt felt plastered around the pattern of the wall.

"Ugh, summer."

"You fucking love summer," Mikey said matter-of-factly. "You just hate wearing those shirts."

"Well, who doesn't?"

He heard the swish of Mikey's shoulder lifting in a shrug against the brick.

"Hey, you guys got a light?"

Gerard eyes flew open. He hadn’t noticed until that moment how short Frank was, standing in front of him, holding out an unlit cigarette. His head was cocked again, like he couldn't keep it upright, or something. Gerard watched as Mikey extended his hand silently towards Frank and Frank leaned in, cupping his hand around Mikey's, even though there was no wind. He had a thin tattoo around one of his wrists. It was red.

"Thanks," Frank mumbled around the cigarette. "So, this place blows, right? Or is that just me?"

"I think it's the bee's knees," Mikey replied, sinking lower against the wall. Gerard couldn't help laughing, hiding his smile behind his cigarette. Frank watched them both with a curious grin on his face. He ashed onto the ground absent-mindedly.

"At least you guys get to leave," Gerard said, then sighed, tearing his gaze away from Frank's hand. It was true. Summer would be over, Mikey would go back to college, and Frank would, too. And Gerard would stay here, and he wouldn't even have anyone to talk to, or smoke with. Shit, he hadn't even thought of that until now. "This place blows," he sighed.

"So, how come you're here?" Frank asked and Gerard threw him a look he hoped was sharp and silencing, but in reality was probably just pathetic.

"I'm paying off loans. It was the first job that took me, so." He meant for it to sound adult and like Frank shouldn't have asked such a childish question, but he'd been asking himself the same thing for months now. The answer never got better. Frank just nodded, looking down at his shoes.

"Gee's an artist," Mikey piped up suddenly, and Gerard flushed with the feeling behind it. "He's working on his art at the same time."

Gerard felt his belly churning. "Mikey –"

"It's true," Mikey said in a tone that implied he didn't really care – he was just there to deliver the truth.

"Wow, really? That's cool." Frank was watching Gerard with an earnest face, open, like a kid's. "What do you draw? Or, like, make or whatever?"

Gerard found himself watching Frank back as he took a drag. He tried to blow the smoke out in a way he pictured beleaguered artists doing, camped out in their studios, hair and fingernails a horrible mess. "I draw mostly comic books. I'm working on a new concept right now." It wasn't until he said it that he realized that probably didn't sound as cool to Frank as it did to him and Mikey. He had an urge to either take it back, change it to something different, or draw his head into his collar like a turtle. Instead, he leaned back against the wall, pretending it made him look more imposing.

"Seriously? Do you write them, too, or just draw? How does that work, anyway? Do you ink and color, or are you working with somebody else for that stuff?"

Gerard could feel the entire weight of Mikey's silence beside him. He wasn't sure where to even start. "All three?"

"Shit," Frank said, mouth pursing into an impressed line. Gerard bit the inside of his cheek. "That's hardcore. Did you study art in school?"

Gerard glanced over at Mikey, like, are you hearing this? but Mikey was focused on a spot between them, seemingly not paying attention, don't mind me, I'm not even here. Gerard felt overwhelmed with the urge to hug him right now, or give him a stupid noogie, something.

"Yeah," he answered, dragging his gaze back to Frank. "I went to art school."

"Fuck, that's cool." Something about the way Frank said it felt off to Gerard. Not like Gerard was being judged, just. Something. He watched Frank twirl his cigarette between his fingers, getting mesmerized with the pattern of the cherry switching back and forth, and didn't know what to say.

What did normal people do in these situations?

He realized that the pattern of Frank's cherry was now glowing tightly between Frank's lips. Shit. He groped for a question.

"Uh, so – what do you, like, study? You an econ major?"

"Oh, fuck, no," Frank answered vehemently. His foot was tapping the ground, tap-tap-tap. "I'm doing Poli Sci, but, like. Well. Whatever," he finished, shrugging, looking somewhere in the vicinity of Gerard's belly. Gerard fought the urge to look down and see if he had a sweat spot anywhere on his shirt. He hoped that if he did, his tie would cover it.

"Whatever?" he asked, just to keep the talking going. He could deal with silences from Mikey and his friends. Frank was new. Maybe Frank hated silences.

Frank scrunched up his nose and shrugged again. The movement kept exposing his throat a little more each time, where his tie was getting looser. His neck had a sheen to it. "Not really into it. It's kind of like this, you know?"

"Do it because you have to?"

Frank nodded.

"Sucks."

Frank shrugged.

"Time's up," Mikey said, so sudden, Gerard jumped a little. When he glanced over at Frank, he caught his gaze. He held it for a second longer than he should have, then threw his cigarette on the ground and tapped it out with his toe.

"Fuck," he sighed.

"Fucking preach it," Frank agreed grimly.

Mikey led the way back.

*

"Wanna drive?" Gerard asked, throwing the keys up in the air and hoping Mikey would catch them.

"Sure," Mikey mumbled, bending down to where the whole set had predictably clattered to the ground. Gerard felt a little bad, but it would’ve been cool if Mikey had caught them. "Ice cream?"

"Always." Gerard tugged on his tie until it loosened, then undid the top three buttons of his shirt. It was still kind of hard to breathe in the thick air of the parking lot, with the heat cracking the cement and seeping out of the endless rows of tires and metal, but it was a start. Gerard squinted and turned three times on his heel.

"It's the second to last row," Mikey said. "Over by that yellow Bug, I think?"

"Oh, right." Gerard never remembered where he parked. He was lucky he could even get to work – mostly on time – on morning autopilot. His brain didn't really come online until after lunch, anyway.

The car was hot when he leaned against it, squinting at the figure a couple of rows ahead of them. "Hey, is that –"

As he kept looking, the figure waved. "Hey!" Frank called out, one eye closed tight. He'd rolled up his sleeves, and it took Gerard a second to identify that the splotches on his forearms weren’t shadows, but ink. "See you tomorrow?"

Gerard nodded, slapping the top of the car like he was his uncle, or something, what the fuck. "Yep, same time, same place."

"Wanna get ice cream?" Mikey yelled, like he could just –

"Mikey!" Gerard hissed.

"What?" Mikey hissed back, not even looking in his direction.

"Sweet! Where?" Frank hollered, louder than was necessary.

Gerard sighed. His belly rumbled in unison.

*

Frank was singing along to something in his car. Gerard could see his mouth moving under the shifting reflections of the trees on his windshield. Not that Gerard was spying on him, but Frank had followed them the entire way to Dairy Queen and Gerard kept catching sight of him in the passenger side mirror, and in the visor mirror, too, once he'd lowered it.

"He's weird," he told Mikey.

"Sure. You and I are totally normal," Mikey said, putting the left blinker on.

Point. Gerard nodded, looking behind him to make sure Frank had followed.

"Yeah, but, like. Look at him, what's he got to be so happy about back there?"

Frank looked like he was enjoying the shit out of himself, in fact, hand beating a rhythm against the door, where his window was rolled all the way down, sleeves rolled all the way up. When he noticed Gerard looking, he raised a hand over the wheel in greeting. Gerard fell back awkwardly in his seat.

"Maybe he's having a good time just because," Mikey shrugged. "Also, we're getting ice cream."

"Ice cream is worth singing over," Gerard agreed. Mikey parked halfway into the spot beside the dumpster, and Frank pulled up immediately beside them. His car made a loud shuddering noise before he turned the off the ignition.

"That's a beast," Gerard remarked, once again sounding like his uncle. He scrambled out of the seat, fanning his shirt where it'd stuck to his back.

"She's a beauty," Frank corrected him, and patted the dull blue surface of the door before it creaked open and he got out. Gerard knew his face was kind of transparent, because Frank got a really defensive look on his face. He'd lost his tie somewhere between work and the parking lot. "My dad and I fixed her up, man, she's good as new. Maybe, like, not entirely new, but."

"Is your dad a mechanic?" Gerard asked curiously.

"Nope, drummer," Frank shrugged. "But he knows his cars."

"Okay, that's pretty cool," Gerard had to admit. Mikey walked around the car, his shadow elongating along the side of Frank's car and across Frank's hips. "Our dad is an accountant."

Frank grinned at him, shrugging. "That's cool, too, man." It really, really wasn’t, but it’d been a nice thing to say.

There was a pause in which Gerard and Mikey wore vague impressions of Frank's grin, like he'd cast shadows with his.

"So, ice cream? It's hot as balls out here." Frank reached for the buttons at his throat, and in a few moments had his whole shirt balled up in his hands, a white t-shirt clinging to his shoulders and belly, a tiny wet imprint between his pecs.

"Fuck yes," Gerard agreed, staring.

*

"Wait, I thought you were, like, a comic book guy. You've never read Kavalier & Clay?" Frank had a tiny drop of gelato trapped in the corner of his mouth, and he was staring at Gerard with huge eyes.

"No?" Gerard was into comic books, but maybe not, like, books about comic books. He was always busy making or reading the real thing.

"Dude," Frank said with a lot of feeling for somebody who'd only known Gerard a few hours. "You can borrow my copy. It's so fucking good."

Gerard stuck another spoonful of Cherry Chocolate in his mouth and let the spoon slide out from between his lips slowly, enjoying the sweet spread of melting goodness across his tongue. Frank watched him kind of carefully, waiting for a reply, and Gerard made sure his teeth weren't coated in ice cream before smiling at him and saying, "Sure, thanks."

"Can I read it, too?" Mikey piped up, and it was on the tip of Gerard's tongue to say he could read it first, but he caught himself. He didn't want to hurt Frank's feelings.

"You should," Frank nodded emphatically. "Just don't lose it, seriously, I'm on my third copy, 'cause I keep lending it to deadbeats." He dug back into his gelato, concentrating on digging out the perfect spoonful, which gave Gerard a chance to watch the way his tattoos – all kind of random, but cool-looking – played over his arm musculature. He loved that bone over the wrist, and Frank's was, like, picture-perfect. Mikey jabbed him in the rib when he zoned out on it for a minute.

"Hmm?"

Mikey just shook his head in his direction, but when Gerard looked over at Frank, he hadn't seemed to notice. He was talking again, too, asking Mikey if he was into art like Gerard.

"I like art, but I'm not, like, an artist," Mikey answered, kind of slowly, like he'd never been asked that question before and had to really think about it. Gerard watched him carefully, waiting. When Mikey didn't say anything else, he turned to Frank.

"He's a musician, so that's art, right?"

Frank's eyes, like, lit up. Not that he hadn't been engaged before, but now he turned to Mikey and asked, excitedly, "What do you play, dude?"

Gerard spent the next five minutes listening to Mikey do what he did best – enthuse about music. Frank matched him word for word. Frank, apparently, played guitar. And, like, some drums, mostly 'cause of his dad, but, you know. His mom had wanted him to play the piano, so he picked up some of that, too, but he wasn't that great. What kind of bass did Mikey have? Where did he get it?

Gerard zoned out on most of it, watching the way Frank twirled his plastic spoon when he was excited about something, and how easily Mikey was smiling, which didn't happen all that often right after work. He picked at a crusty blob on the surface of the table that looked like Mickey Mouse got put through a shredder, ate his ice cream, and tried not to get caught staring at Frank too much.

*

Gerard and Mikey drove home in silence, just because. Sometimes it was nice to not have to talk. Mikey'd popped in Morrissey, because he loved Gerard, and Gerard hummed along, watching the passing trees and the kids playing on the sidewalks. He wondered if Mikey resented having to be cooped up inside an over-air-conditioned marble coffin on his break. He was getting paid now, 'cause it wasn't his first summer at Banker's Trust and they weren't total jackoffs, but it had to suck, anyway.

He kept glancing at his rear-view mirror, but all he saw were small cars or trucks, and none of them blue.

*

"It's still broken."

"You'd think with all the money in this place, they'd be on this shit." Gerard sighed and walked the two steps necessary to flop back into his chair. The carpet was no longer covered in grimy water, but there was a sign on the cooler warning people not to use it.

"Maintenance will so not be here today to fix it," a voice piped up behind him.

"Hey, Frank," Mikey said without looking and lifted his cup in a half-hearted greeting. Gerard watched Frank shuffle up to the cooler. His didn't have his mug with him this time.

"They're such assholes."

"Hey, Way? Way! Where is that kid?"

Mikey swiveled on his heel and slouched off to where Jackson was waving a stack of papers over his desk. "Sorry, sorry – just trying to get water," Gerard heard him mumble after he'd rounded the cubicle bend.

He sighed, then turned back to Frank. "Will they be looking for you?"

Frank was wearing a dark shirt today, kind of snug in the shoulders, like he was growing out of it without realizing. It created a really cool effect in this lighting, like he could be Superman under that tie. A really short and young Superman in a grey tie and black Dickies. He could probably get away with them 'cause he was an intern. Gerard had had to buy actual, like, work slacks. It blew.

Frank craned his neck to look behind Gerard and shrugged. "Probably. I should get back. I can't believe they haven't fixed this shit yet."

Gerard looked at the clock and then clicked open his boss's calendar, obscuring The Team from view. Without looking at Frank, he said, "I was gonna go down and buy coffee. I can get you that tea, if you want." He swept the mouse across the screen, corner to corner and then top to bottom, before Frank replied.

"You sure? You can just get me a cup with hot water – I've got the tea bags here, anyway."

Gerard shrugged and turned around, Frank's face kind of catching him by surprise. He was just really fucking pretty. "Nah, I don't mind. Where's your desk?"

"All the way by the corner in the back." Frank grinned at him. "See you there in a few?"

When he got back upstairs and wove his way through the low-sitting cubes, he just barely picked the back of Frank's head out among the sea of grey canvas walls and Dell desktops. He paused for a minute, spying on what Frank’s computer screen, but it looked like he was actually doing work.

"Here," he said, setting the cup down carefully between two stacks of paper.

Frank grinned at him, punching the enter key, then reaching for his tea bag. "Dude, thank you! What do I owe you?"

Gerard smiled and leaned against the desk. "For a cup of hot water? Nothing, man. And you're welcome." He couldn't drink his coffee yet, but he kind of didn't want to get back to his desk to add the Splenda and creamer, either. His boss was less of a prick than Mikey's supervisor, so it wasn't like he was going to get in trouble for not being nailed to his desk at all times. "So what kind of crap do they have you doing?"

Frank didn’t have his own desk, he shared his desk with another intern, but Gerard ignored the other dude and the annoyed looks he kept sending his way. Frank seemed to be ignoring him, too, turning to face Gerard fully, his back to the guy. "Oh, just, like, double-checking everybody's work. I get to sift through this –" He hefted a stack of papers off his desk. "- and make sure it jives with that." He nodded at the computer. "It's fascinating."

Gerard grinned, hiding his smile behind his cup, then nearly gagging. "Shit, I forgot. It's so fucking gross when it's black."

Frank just giggled at him.

*

From: Frank A. Iero [faiero@bankerstrust.egs.com]
To: Gerard A. Way [gaway@bankerstrust.egs.com]
Subject: found you!

So hey, that's a sweet directory theyve got going on here, think I can find the pope?


Gerard immediately jumped up to see if he could spot Frank across the floor, but he just barely caught the back of his dark head and Mikey's blank face out of the corner of his eye.

He plopped back down, bit his lip, and hit "Reply".

To: Frank A. Iero [faiero@bankerstrust.egs.com]
Subject: Re: found you!

That's creepy. But you could give it a shot. Hey, you ever notice how this s#!+ autocorrects your capitalization? Its kind of infringing on my right to be flippant and uncaring.

Also, your name all spelled out without breaks like that looks like a lord of the rings character. Sweet.


It was stupid, but then again, he wasn't the one who'd gone looking for Frank in the global directory. He went back to reading the latest IO9 posts while waiting for the client trades to come through, or maybe another email. It was always like that – most work in the morning, downtime in the middle of the day, which lasted for weeks on end sometimes, and then more get-up-and-scramble at the end. Days like that left him empty-headed yet exhausted every time. Even on Fridays, when the buzz was clearly livelier, and everybody kind of walked with a spring in their step, it all seemed to last forever.

Frank's response came through a minute later, right after Gerard had sent Mikey a link to a WoW article he thought was pretty cool.

To: Gerard A. Way [gaway@bankerstrust.egs.com]
Subject: Re: found you!

Yeah well you sound like a knight or something. Btw, I am totally not taking the flippant or uncaring part to heart, just so you know. In case you were worried or anything.


Gerard snorted into his hand and rolled his eyes. Then he hit reply.

To: Frank A. Iero [faiero@bankerstrust.egs.com]
Subject: Re: found you!

Im sorry, princess, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. If it makes you feel better, the flippant and uncaring was referring to the general state of malaise that comes over me whenever I enter this mausoleum they call a bank. But the gods of Microsoft (note how fast it got capitalized) are determined to keep me down.


Frank's response was almost instantaneous.

To: Gerard A. Way [gaway@bankerstrust.egs.com]
Subject: Re: found you!

Oh, good well as long as were not being overdramatic. Whew.

Here read this, this is up your alley, right?


Frank had sent him a link to the latest Gaiman blog. Gerard stared at his screen for a while. Who was this guy?

Frank came over to his desk again mid-day and wheedled Gerard out for another coffee. Their arms brushed a little as they walked, and Gerard couldn't stop being aware of it, of how close Frank was.

Afterwards, even with the steaming cup of coffee in front of him, the day seemed never-ending. He was so over it. He needed to be home, somewhere he could deal with this with some sort of dignity, or at least without a tie.

*

His room was stifling, despite actually being cooler than the rest of the house by about ten degrees. He stared at the blank pages in front of him, the ruler in his hand. His pencils were arranged in a way that usually helped him work, but now, they were teasing him with how much his fingers had no idea what they were doing.

Maybe not his fingers, those had sense memory or whatever. His brain was just not in it. The silence was getting to him, like it was seeping into his mind and making it just as white as the noise.

Gerard swore and climbed up on the chair until he could push the window open. It didn't exactly air the place out, but it did let in a lot of much-needed noise. Cars swished by on the darkened street, he could hear laughter from somebody's back yard. It smelled like they were having a cook-out.

He cranked up The Damned and waited. Mikey stomped down the stairs in a few minutes.

"Wanna go out?" he asked as soon as he was through the door. "Gabe's having a party of some kind."

A Gabe Saporta party was kind of exactly what Gerard fucking needed in his life at that moment. "Fuck yes."

He left his window open. His room always needed a good airing out.

*

Gerard stuffed a twenty in Gabe's freezer (because he always showed up empty-handed, and now that he had an adult job, he kind of felt bad about it) and snuck out into the yard. Gabe had this squeaky, cheap-ass Wal-mart standalone swing out there, the kind Gerard's grandma had when he was a kid - wide enough for four people, if they liked each other, with an overhanging canopy. Helena's had been a lurid flower-pattern, and Gabe's was a rusty-looking green. Shockingly, it was still empty.

Gerard had already lost Mikey to the party, but it was nice not being cooped up in his room, frustrated out of his gourd. He sat down and started swinging lightly and swigging his beer, trying to parse out why he couldn't just fucking do what he'd wanted tonight.

He had ideas. He knew what he wanted to do, and say, and – and draw. Why the fuck wasn't it happening?

Did it mean he just couldn't do it? And if he couldn't, what the fucking hell did it mean? Did it mean he was a hack? Did it mean that he would have stay at Banker's Trust for the rest of his life, because he'd never make it as an artist?

"Maybe you're just having a bad day?"

Gerard almost fell off the swing. He did flail hard enough to spill some beer down his front, and when he looked up, he had to blink several times to make sure he hadn't made it up. He really wasn't drunk enough to start hallucinating, though.

"Frank?" His voice sounded high and stupid. "How –"

"Sorry," Frank grinned. He was holding a bottle of Stella, another sticking out of his back pocket. "Didn't mean to interrupt your, uh, conversation, there."

Gerard rubbed at his eyes and sighed. "Was I actually saying that shit out loud?"

"Yep," Frank grinned, and Gerard got stuck watching him again. It wasn't until that moment that he realized he was actually seeing Frank out of his office gear. He was wearing a threadbare red t-shirt, the kind that Gerard could tell was probably a favorite and washed a thousand times, and tight jeans, with rips over his bony knees. He had on Chucks and what looked like small gauges in his ears. He looked really good out in the fresh air, relaxed in Gabe's back yard.

Gerard smiled ruefully and looked away, taking the last swig of his beer and grimacing. He threw the can into the bag Gabe had left out there. "Sorry," he finally managed. "Wanna, uh. Have a seat? What - what are you doing here?"

Frank took out the spare beer from his back pocket and flopped down onto the swing, making it creak and wobble. "Here," he said instead of answering and thrust the extra Stella at Gerard.

"Aw, man, you sure?" Gerard asked even as he checked to see if it was a twist-off. It wasn't.

Frank swiped the bottle from his hands and popped the lid off with his keychain. Gerard wasn't drunk – this he knew – but his head was kind of swimmy and weird and everything felt slow.

"Totally sure," Frank grinned.

Gerard accepted the beer back with a noise of gratitude and took a sip. It was kind of warm from Frank's ass. Which was a weird fucking thought.

"So, that was some bullshit, huh?" Frank said, taking a swig of his own. Gerard watched him wipe his mouth with the back of his hand, then finally caught up with what Frank had said.

"Huh?"

"You know, your conversation with yourself there," Frank said, waving a hand around. "About how you're a hack or whatever?"

Gerard felt the tips of ears growing warm and itchy. He couldn't fucking believe he'd done that. He shrugged and slipped a nail under the very edge of the label where it had come loose, peeling the tip. That was the advantage that bottled beer had over cans, if you were a fidgeter. Which he was. "Maybe it wasn't bullshit at all, how would you know?"

Frank tipped his head against the back of the swing and pushed off the ground, giving them momentum. "Because that kind of crap is usually bullshit," he said matter-of-factly. "You're an artist, aren't you?"

Gerard looked away and tried to settle the queasiness in his belly. "I guess."

"You have a degree in art?" Frank continued, like he was refusing to pick up on Gerard's mood. Gerard frowned and took another sip of his beer.

"Yeah."

"All right, then. Somebody out there, and probably more than one somebody, thinks you're good at it," he said. "Therefore, that was bullshit."

Gerard felt his weird and unfocused testiness growing into something more pointed, something sharper. "Look, how would you even –"

"I get it," Frank interrupted him and when Gerard snapped his gaze back to Frank, Frank wasn't looking at him, but at his bottle, twisting the thin part between his fingers like he had with the cigarette. "Everybody has bad days," he added, finally turning his head to look Gerard in the eye. "If you go assuming it's 'cause you're no good, you'll drive yourself right off the edge of, like, sanity."

Gerard shut his mouth. He hadn't realized he'd even opened it. Then he did open it, to say, "Look, that's not – I mean." He shut it again and ground his teeth a little, then had more beer. He'd been simmering with some kind of useless energy all day, all week, maybe – maybe longer. Now if he thought about it even a little, it threatened to bubble over.

But he knew better than to expect that he could let it go. He didn’t want whatever it was to spill over onto this guy who hadn’t, like, done anything to him, but Frank just – he didn’t seem to get it.

Gerard started to push off the seat to get up and maybe go somewhere where others weren’t, when Frank swayed the seat back – and back, and back - and they swung in a wide arc over the grass.

For a second, Gerard was completely suspended in the warm air – breath held, damp fingers clutching his beer and the canvas seat – and then it all whooshed past him, a breeze through his hair and across his skin, cold where he'd spilled the beer on his shirt. The dark sky swayed back and forth in front of him – close one second, then gravity would tilt it back. He saw the tops of trees, then Gabe's pink dog house, then his own feet. Then everything would tilt again and reverse.

"Why are you –" He couldn't finish that sentence, either.

Gerard felt completely empty of answers or logic or anything that would ground him. Right behind them, he heard animated voices, thumping music, shit falling over – the basic soundtrack to getting royally trashed at the start of a weekend.

Out here, everything was muted, and, like they were in a book or a movie or something, cicadas and crickets chirped in the dark as the two of them swayed on the creaky swing.

"I just think Friday nights are wasted on navel-gazing or feeling shitty about yourself," Frank finally said, and out of the corner of his eye, Gerard saw him reaching into his pocket. They were still swaying high in the air, Gerard's feet kicking them off like they'd agreed to something Gerard hadn't. "Plus, work fucking sucked this week. You can relax for a night, can't you?"

When Gerard looked over, Frank had his beer gripped between his thighs, and was lighting a cigarette, hands cupped over the lighter, feet still kicking up their momentum. It was pretty impressive.

"I guess," he mumbled, not looking away. The muscles on Frank's neck stood out like cords, taut and a little shiny. Smoke curled out through his fingers, and then he was stuffing the lighter back in his pocket, mouth pursed.

Gerard couldn't believe he'd been too preoccupied to even get out his own smoke. He finished his beer in one pull, then tossed the bottle over in the general direction of the bag, one hand already rooting around in his pocket for a cigarette. "How the fuck do you know Gabe, anyway?" he asked, getting it lit.

"Who's Gabe?" Frank asked, looking earnestly confused. "I just followed you here."

Gerard snicked his Zippo closed, his mouth falling open. Wait. Oh. After a moment, he took a drag and exhaled the smoke directly into Frank's face. "Fucker."

Frank giggled, high and light. "I almost had you, though," he said and gave them another mighty push, sending the swing wobbling. "But seriously, I know Gabe through a dude I go to school with, James? He introduced us a few months ago."

Gerard nudged him in the side. "How come we've never met, then?"

He thought about Frank and Mikey bonding over local bands and never knowing each other. For a crazy moment, he wondered if they'd both hallucinated Frank, like, for real. Like maybe Frank had been sent to Gerard as a secret fantasy to torture and enlighten him and, like, bring him beer.

Frank just shrugged. "Dunno what to tell you, dude. I'm not at, like, every party… Plus, when school's going on, I've got either work most nights or band practice." He took another drag, blowing the smoke out slowly.

Not a hallucination, then. It was almost disappointing. Gerard had always wanted his own version of a guardian angel. "Band practice?"

"Not, like, marching band," Frank answered. "Just a couple of friends messing around, but it's a good time. You should come see us sometime," he added, quirking his head in Gerard's direction. He was smiling, too. Open. It was nice.

"Sure," Gerard heard himself say, then took another drag of his smoke. "So that's what feeds your soul?" He'd meant it as a joke, but Frank nodded seriously.

"Pretty much," he answered, sticking one foot under a bent knee, turning in the swing until they really were face to face. "Poli Sci isn't exactly setting my heart on fire."

"Heart?"

He watched Frank's cheeks darken. It was absurdly cute. "Well, I mean." For the first time since he'd met him, Frank seemed flustered. He blushed and stammered and started picking at the loose threads around his knee. "Isn't – isn't that what art does for you?"

Gerard smiled and bit his lip. "Yeah. Sure."

Frank shrugged, still not looking at Gerard. "Well, there you go."

"Yeah," Gerard murmured. The swing creaked to a stop, and the very air between them got quiet. Gerard closed his eyes and, per Depeche Mode's orders, enjoyed the silence. He could feel a slight breeze pick up at their feet and rustle the leaves overhead. A neighbor's dog barked, and another answered from further away. Inside, the song changed, the rhythm switching to half-time, the bass relentless. Gerard felt it reverberate through his bones.

When he opened his eyes, Frank was watching him. He looked down immediately, but Gerard felt like he'd been scalded, a hot shiver running all up and down his skin. His fingers twitched with wanting to reach out and just fucking grab this kid. But that's what he was, a kid, he was still in fucking college. Gerard didn't even know how old he was, for fuck's sake. He clenched his fingers into a tight enough fist to hurt and took a deep drag of his smoke, letting the smoke fill his mouth and nostrils and make his eyes itch and water.

"D'you think you'll quit the job sometime?" Frank asked quietly. It was such an unexpected question, Gerard didn't even know what to say. He hadn't even been thinking about work on any level.

"Jesus, I hope so," he answered after a moment's pause. "I only got it so I'd have money for once, but if it gets unbearable, I'm quitting. Or, like, if I – well. Basically, yeah."

"If you make it?"

Gerard grimaced, but nodded in answer. "Yeah. That's the plan, anyway."

Frank nodded, looking weirdly satisfied. "See, it was total bullshit."

Gerard leaned over and kicked Frank in the shin. "Jesus Christ, will you let it go already?"

"Only if you do," Frank laughed and kicked him back. Gerard rolled his eyes and moved to try and punch him on the arm, but his foot slipped on the grass and he wound up tilting the swing at an angle that sent him sprawling forward and almost overturning the entire set.

"Oh shit –"

"Fuck!"

Gerard caught sight of Frank's huge eyes before momentum swung him forward and smushed him face-first into Frank's shoulder. He had time to notice that Frank actually smelled really fucking nice – detergent and a touch of boy sweat under the smoke – before he scrambled back to get some balance on the precarious swing.

"Holy crap, that was close," Frank laughed as he braced himself on the steel bars, and Gerard couldn't stop his own giggles, face scratchy against the canvas cover, the ground still kind of unsteady beneath his feet. "We're not even fucking drunk. At least I'm not," Frank amended. "Are you?"

Gerard hummed happily. "Nope, not even close." Frank looked at him a little skeptically, then hid his face behind a cloud of expelling smoke. Another silence descended, and Gerard enjoyed this one, too. He'd finished his own smoke, but Frank was making it look so damn good that, before he knew what he was doing, he scooted a little closer, reached out, and grabbed Frank's right out of his mouth.

"Hey!" Frank sputtered, but Gerard ignored him and just slipped it between his own lips, inhaling. It was warm and damp from Frank's mouth, and kind of brutal.

"You smoke shitty cigarettes," he remarked after exhaling.

"You're an asshole who shouldn't be stealing other people's cigarettes," Frank countered and leaned in to grab it back. Gerard moved sideways to fake him out, just to see what he'd do, and the next thing he knew, Frank was on him, toppling them both back with the force of his entire body. Gerard almost choked, then blinked. Above him, Frank's face loomed, with the dark green canopy swaying behind him. Stars winked in the background. They were swinging sideways.

"Huh."

"You gonna give it back?" Frank asked, face close and voice quiet. His breath was beery, kind of hot.

Gerard tried to pry himself loose, but wound up grunting with the wasted effort. "You're heavier than you look, motherfucker," he wheezed. Then he grunted again when Frank ground down against him. His own hands flew up to grab Frank's thighs, hard and tense and.

And.

"Oh, yeah? Gonna give it back?" Frank's voice sounded just this side of pissy, but there was laughter in there somewhere, Gerard thought, and warmth. Gerard's hands were damp with sweat around Frank's flank.

"Make me," he choked out, still kind of half-laughing, half-asphyxiating from Frank crushing the shit out of his lungs. Then his brain caught up with his mouth, and his eyes locked with Frank's. The change between them became a tangible thing; Gerard's neck prickled. His mouth went dry.

"Yeah?" Frank breathed and when he ground down again, Gerard forgot any objections to Frank's undetermined age. When Frank's hand came up to pluck the cigarette free, Gerard's lips slipped loose on their own, letting him.

Gerard would have been the first to admit it had been a while since he'd gotten much action at all, but even with that, he recognized the look on Frank's face. Frank's gaze fluttered between Gerard's mouth and eyes; his lips were parted. Gerard's belly churned in anticipation, and he could feel his skin shivering in the humid air.

They were still swinging when Frank kissed him, eyelashes fluttering closed the moment before their lips touched. That was all Gerard saw because the next second, he was too busy sliding his hands up to wrap around Frank's neck and crushing their mouths together.

It had been so fucking long; Frank tasted so fucking good. The kiss went from zero to filthy in no time at all – tongues sliding against each other, dicks grinding, oh. Frank's body was hot and restless on top of him, constantly moving and shifting. The swing was too fucking narrow for this kind of action, but Gerard wasn't about to stop them to get comfortable – he wasn't risking Frank coming to his senses and running the fuck away.

Oh man, oh man. Frank's mouth was hot, his tongue smooth, fucking perfect. Gerard kept trying to grind up against him harder, slipping his hands over Frank's ass, and pushing up, harder, harder. It just wasn't fucking enough, Frank's dick was like a tease against his hip.

Frank wound a hand in Gerard's hair and clutched it hard. Gerard broke off the kiss to gasp and saw fucking stars in his eyes. "Ah – oh, fuck."

Frank's face was close, hot breath sliding over Gerard's skin. "You're an awesome kisser," Frank whispered, and Gerard just barely caught the tip of his grin. He could feel the flush of Frank's words all the way down to his toes.

"Yeah?" he whispered back and squeezed Frank's ass again, pulling him closer. "Uh, same to you, dude."

Frank gave a quick moan and dove back in. Gerard moaned right back and his hand clenched around Frank’s ass, fingernails digging into the thick denim. It felt so fucking good to just be making out, even with one leg hanging off the swing, the other practically numb under Frank's weight. He couldn't move his left arm much, but whatever, Frank's restless body on top of his was fucking hot as hell.

It had been a really long time. And Frank was really hot.

Then Frank broke the kiss off again and went immediately for Gerard's neck, instead, which was a fucking awesome spot for Gerard, and he almost came in his pants when Frank bit and licked and sucked over the tendon in the crook of his shoulder. "Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck."

Frank bit his earlobe. "You wanna get naked? 'Cause I wanna get you naked," he whispered.

"We're kind of at a party," Gerard managed in a strangled voice, pretty much ready to rip Frank's clothes right off of his body. "And, like, people might be watching –"

One of Frank's hands traveled down his neck and chest and slid right over his hard dick and gave him a squeeze. Gerard's breath caught in his throat.

"Eh, let 'em," Frank whispered, voice teasing. "Or maybe no one will notice."

"Oh God, I fucking – wish - stop it," Gerard hissed, trying to bat his hands away. He wasn't – they shouldn't. There were no windows directly behind them, but if someone were to look outside the kitchen, they’d be getting an eyeful.

"I could blow you," Frank whispered, bringing Gerard right back to him, relentless, spoken directly into his ear. The sound traveled directly to his dick, and Gerard bucked so hard that the foot keeping them both more or less steady on the ground, slipped.

The next moment, his arms flailed out in a completely unsuccessful attempt to keep them both balanced on the seat. Before he knew what the fuck was happening, he went tumbling out of the swing, tipping Frank off of him, and out onto the grass below them.

Except he didn't land on the grass. He landed on Frank, who – was shaking under him with silent giggles, eyes screwed up, actual tears starting to leak out on either side of his face.

"Oh fuck!" Gerard made a move to get the off of him, mortified and pretty dizzy, when Frank caught him awkwardly around the shoulders and held him in place.

"Oh fuck, oh fuuuuck," Frank wheezed, laughing hard enough for Gerard to feel it in his own chest. "Oh my God, that was – that was - oh God, my head – oh, oh, oh –"

Frank broke off in another bout of giggles, arms looped around Gerard's neck, mashing Gerard's face into his neck. Frank's giggles were contagious. Gerard couldn't help cracking the fuck up, deep belly laughs that hurt his abs and tickled his ribs.

"Fuck," he wheezed, trying to extricate himself enough from Frank's grasp to take a good look at him, at least. "Did that – shit, did that hurt?"

Still chuckling, Frank nodded, finally meeting Gerard's gaze and wiping his eyes with the heels of his palms. "Oh my fucking God, my head, shit -"

Gerard scrambled up enough to run his hand over Frank's chest and thighs and ass. "You don't, like, have a concussion, do you? How many fingers am I holding up?" He tried to remember everything he'd ever heard about head injuries, but really, really couldn't.

"None, oh my God, you're not holding up any fingers, and I don't have a fucking concussion. And it's not the first time I've fallen on my head, okay?" Frank gasped out between dying bouts of giggles, his chest rising and falling with each breath.

Gerard looked down to where his hands were gripping Frank's waist, suddenly incredibly aware of how warm he felt underneath his thin red t-shirt. "So, you're fine, then?" he asked after a moment, scooting down until he was watching Frank's face from the vicinity of his belly button.

Frank's laughter had somehow dissipated, and now he nodded at Gerard, lip caught between his white teeth. Gerard watched as it slipped it out. "Yeah, I…think I'll live," Frank whispered and his mouth spread in a dirty slow grin. Gerard answered it with one of his own.

He carefully undid Frank's fly and shoved at his jeans and briefs enough to get at Frank's dick. It was pretty and flushed hard, and Gerard gave himself a moment to admire it.

"Quick and dirty, huh?" Frank whispered, his breath audibly catching.

"That's me," Gerard whispered back and guided the head into his mouth, eyes slipping closed.

Oh, yeah. Oh fuck.

Frank tasted fucking good – salty and smooth, just the way dick should always taste. All kinds of crazy shit swirled through Gerard's brain as he began to suck him in bit by bit – like hoping that wasn't teenage dick he was sucking; and how fucking hot it was that Frank was trying to keep quiet, but couldn't seem to do it for the life of him, gasping and groaning in the dark; how nice the breeze felt where his pants had slid down, exposing him to the air.

Frank was leaking in his mouth, tight little spasms driving him deeper and deeper in, until Gerard could relax his jaw and throat and let Frank fuck the shit out of his mouth. The tight spasms sped up into harder and harder thrusts, Frank's hands wrapped tight around Gerard's skull, controlling the hard-set pace, until Gerard felt like his mouth was stretched too wide to take, so turned on from it all, he wondered if he was crazy.

"Jesus, you kiss your mother with that – oh, fuck yeah, yeah - oh my God – you gotta – I'm gonna – fuck, Gerard -"

Frank released his grip on Gerard's head just in time for Gerard to pull up and let Frank spill all over his tongue, bitter and messy and so goddamn hot. Gerard almost got kneed in the nuts with how hard Frank thrashed and kicked as he came, his body arching up and up and up, and then releasing all at once.

"Holy fuck," Frank breathed after lying still for a few seconds.

Gerard wiped his chin with the back of his hand. He couldn't stop the smug smile from spreading. Yeah, he still had it. "Call it my hidden talent," he said, shuffling up over Frank until they were face to face. "And, by the way?" he added in a whisper. "Please don't mention my mother while your dick is in my mouth. That's not fucking nice."

Frank snorted and grabbed Gerard's junk through his pants. Gerard had to keep himself from yelping. "Whatever, you fucking loved it, you pervert," Frank said, looking pretty fucking smug himself.

"Fuck you," Gerard laughed, trying to wriggle out of his grasp. "What're you gonna do about it?"

"About your mommy complex?" Frank whispered, hand still wrapped around Gerard's dick. He shrugged, pretending to think. "I'm not a shrink, so I wouldn't know."

"Fuck you," Gerard laughed, his balls throbbing, and pushed himself down, landing right on top of Frank.

"Okay," Frank gasped and grabbed Gerard's ass. "Maybe next time. And, like, not at Gabe Saporta's house," he whispered against Gerard's neck, forcing a deep gasp out of Gerard's throat.

"Fucking tease," he ground out, and then they were both scrambling for his pants, undoing the fly four-handed and shoving at his underwear until his dick was finally, finally fucking free.

He jerked himself off over Frank, propped up by a hand in the grass. Frank tried to help, but Gerard was too far gone, and wound up batting Frank’s hands away, speeding up his own strokes, just watching Frank beneath him. Frank ran his hands all over Gerard’s hips and back and belly, and babbled at Gerard, whispering shit like, "not a tease if I mean it, fucker," and "yeah, you look so fucking hot, man," and "rain check for when I blow you, Jesus."

Gerard's throat hurt from trying not to laugh and moan at the same time and failing; his mind was a kaleidoscope of Frank's face and rucked-up t-shirt, warm belly and hot hands splayed over his skin. His chest ached from losing all breath.

"You're like goddamn porn, holy shit," Frank whispered, and everything tightened all at once, Gerard’s balls drawing up, his toes tingling. He shook through his orgasm, gasping and almost losing his balance, his hand slipping on the grass.

"Oh, fuck," he moaned, his head drooping low enough to brush Frank's chest with his forehead. "Mmm. Damn." He never wanted to move again.

"Yeah, that's – that's awesome," Frank grunted tightly under him. "Didn't think about that part." He nudged Gerard off of him.

"Huh?" Gerard landed on the grass, wincing at the cold feel of it on his bare hips.

"You came on my shirt," Frank explained, tugging at the material and displaying the evidence. Gerard glanced over at the white stain on Frank's dark t-shirt and buried his head in the grass, exploding with laughter.

"Are you fucking laughing at me?" Frank demanded. "'Cause I'm gonna make you eat that shit off."

Gerard giggled and rolled over onto his back to pull up his pants. "Not a chance, motherfucker. That's what you get on giving me that rain check. I should, like, be making you eat it off, 'cause –"

Frank smothered the rest of his sentence with his tongue, Gerard's come smearing between them. Gerard couldn't even bring himself to care. He rolled them over and pinned Frank back into the grass, giggling the entire time.

*

After they had gotten themselves more or less straightened up, they stumbled up the steps to the house and snuck off into the kitchen for reinforcements. There were just a couple of guys in there, smoking out the open window, and the beer supply had been radically lowered. They settled for a can of PBR each, giggling and shushing each other for no reason other than it gave Gerard the chance to lean into Frank some more, touch the small of his back, or pat his arm.

"I can't believe we fucking got away with it," Frank whispered in his ear as they wound their way to the living room, and Gerard gave his hand a quick squeeze, like, I know!

When they fell through the living room doorway, Gabe met them with a slow clap, his cigarette hanging precariously from the corner of his mouth. Everybody else who’d followed his gaze catcalled and cheered.

They both froze.

Gerard could feel his entire face growing utterly red. When he snuck a peek at Frank, he saw Frank throwing an arm over his eyes dramatically and giving a great big sigh. Gerard slapped a hand over his own face.

“Oh, God," he moaned.

"Blessings, my children," Gabe called out over the noise of the room. "Hope you were safe!"

*

Frank drove Gerard home at one in the morning. Mikey had finally texted him from somewhere inside Gabe's house at midnight, expressing no remorse at all in telling Gerard to find his own ride, and it just so happened that Gerard's own ride was willing to come home with him.

In fact, Frank simply cranked the car into park, got out at the same time as Gerard, and followed him inside. (Gerard didn't question this. He did, however, drop his house keys twice before finally cramming them into the lock.)

Once inside his room, Frank backed Gerard up against the wall and sank to his knees, a flash of white in his grin in the dark.

"Raincheck," Frank whispered, before ripping at Gerard's fly.

Gerard laughed himself breathless, face upturned towards the breeze coming through his window. He didn't stop himself from crying out when he came, and couldn't stop himself from clutching Frank's hair while he sucked him through it.

They hit his bed and rolled around, making out like it was going out of style, hands sliding everywhere, mouths getting hungrier with every fucking kiss. Then they stripped each other down and fucked all over his sheets.

He pinned Frank down and fingered him, slow and wet, until Frank was begging Gerard to fuck him, please, Jesus, and it'd been even longer since he'd done that, but it came back to Gerard with every thrust, every sweet slide of Frank clenching around him as he came, shuddering. Gerard pushed his damp face in the crook of Frank’s neck and shook through his orgasm.

Frank passed out before him, drooling all over Gerard's pillows and taking up almost the entire bed with his knees. Gerard simply enjoyed the view for a while, mentally tracing all the tattoos Frank's body had to offer.

*

When he cracked his eyes open in the morning, the first thing his gaze landed on was Frank. He was sitting in the middle of Gerard's floor, stark naked, with one of Gerard's sketch pads in his lap.

The room was bright with the afternoon sun, and Frank just – sat there, eyebrows drawn in concentration, slowly, quietly flipping through the pages.

Gerard had no idea what to do or say. What was the etiquette in this case? He couldn't really jump out of bed and snatch his stuff from Frank, because that would probably be considered inhospitable, not to mention vaguely unattractive. He could hide under the covers, but that wouldn't change the fact that Frank was already seeing it all.

He settled for clearing his throat.

Frank looked up immediately, and grinned. "Hey!"

Gerard slipped a hand from under the covers and waved in Frank's direction. "That's, uh, that's my –"

"Art! Dude, this is awesome," Frank said, turning back to the sketch pad.

"Your junk's on my art," Gerard noted, raising an eyebrow, playing it like his gut wasn't churning from pride.

Frank glanced up at him, looking sheepish. "Sorry," he grinned and slid the sketchpad further up his knees, bestowing upon Gerard a pretty awesome view.

Gerard contemplated his existence for a moment. There was a cute naked boy in his bedroom the morning after they'd fucked, and the boy was admiring Gerard's art. Gerard gave a mighty stretch and when he settled back down, Frank was no longer looking at his art.

They held each other's gazes for a moment before Frank carefully set Gerard's sketches on the floor, got up, and made his way towards him. Gerard just lay on his side, watching him move. There was nothing awkward about Frank's walk now. He looked fucking gorgeous, his skin lightly tanned, his tattoos sprawled leisurely his skin, wrapping it in ink, his dick half-hard.

"So, what've you got planned for the weekend?" Frank asked, kneeing his way up onto the bed and then, after a somewhat revealing maneuver, over Gerard.

Gerard smiled, chewing the inside of his lip, and brought his hands up to grab onto Frank's waist, squeezing a little, enjoying the act of just touching him. "I don't know. I was planning on working on those story boards.” He nodded in the vague direction of his drafting desk. "Got anything in mind?"

Frank gave him a sideways grin. "We should fuck," he informed him. "And then you should show me more of those story boards."

It was a pretty great weekend.

*

"I don't believe it."

"That shit can't still be broken, they've had, like, four da–"

"It's gone."

"What?" Gerard clamped his mouth shut, 'cause, okay, that might have been kind of loud for a Monday morning. He hissed, instead. "How could they have just…"

He walked around Mikey and, sure enough. The carpet not only showed the brown-edged stain from where water had seeped out, but also a bright red square – the kind of red that carpet hadn't been in possibly a decade. What it didn't have, was the water cooler.

"No shit, that's just not right," Frank remarked, coming up on Gerard's other side. "What the fuck are they gonna take away now, our staplers? The phones?"

"No," Gerard shook his head, thinking. "They need those." He did feel like the rug had been pulled out from under their feet. They'd already lost casual Fridays, and now this.

Mikey's eyelids were drooping. Gerard nudged him in the shoulder with his own in solidarity. "Want us to grab you coffee downstairs?"

Mikey gave a gusty sigh and nodded. "Yeah. Just hurry up, I'm about to start napping standing up."

Frank giggled and shoved at Gerard to turn him around. "We'll be quick as a flash, I swear," he promised, then grabbed onto Gerard's tie and tugged. "Before Mikey turns into a pumpkin," he explained, his nose so close, he was nearly touching Gerard's own. Gerard nodded dumbly. At least they probably wouldn't take Frank away from him. Yet.

"If you stop for a fuck, I will beat you," Mikey monotoned, pushing past them and heading dejectedly back to his desk.

"Fair enough," Gerard sighed and stepped back, still watching Frank. "Coffee?"

Frank let go of his tie and straightened out his own, looking suddenly serious. "Lead the way, boss."

"Kinky," Gerard remarked.

"Only if you want it to be."

Oh, Gerard thought. Oh, I want it to be.

The only thing he forgot to grab was Mikey’s sugar. And Frank had extra. Because he was awesome.

*

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