FIC: Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room 2/2 (Frank/Mikey, Frank/Bob, Frank/Gerard, Pete/Mikey)

Title: Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room 2/2
Pairing: Frank/Mikey, Frank/Bob, Frank/Gerard, Pete/Mikey
Fandom: MCR
Rating: NC-17
Word count: approx. 14,700
Summary: Frank wants to touch Mikey, to slide his fingers across the sharp angle of his cheek just below his glasses, to drag his thumb along the curve of his bottom lip, to smooth his palm down Mikey's long throat.
Disclaimer: All the boys belong to themselves and this never happened.
Warnings: Semi-canon AU (based on canon events, but some elements--such as the lack of girlfriends--may have been tweaked for story purposes)
Author Notes: Many thanks to [info]supergrover24 and [info]ze_dragon for their betas. And much, much love to [info]luciamad. Thank you so much for everything. *hugs* Title stolen shamelessly from Dwight Yoakam.

Part One can be found here.

"I thought you weren't gay," Frank says quietly behind Mikey.

Mikey's fingers clench on the edges of his paper plate. The catering line is slow. Left Alone, this year's BBQ Band, burned the first batch of burgers tonight and the guys in front of them are giving Elvis Cortez a hard time. Mikey doesn't look back at Frank. He reaches for a hamburger bun. "I'm not."

"You were sucking his dick." Frank can't stop himself. All he can think of is Mikey's head bobbing between Wentz's thighs. "Seems pretty gay to me."

He meets Mikey's angry eyes. Frank wants to punch him, wants to feel Mikey's blood smear across his knuckles. He's furious. Bitter. He wants Mikey to hurt and that knowledge makes his stomach twist.

Mikey looks away. "I don't know what I am," he says after a moment, voice catching, and his hair falls over his eyes. He looks young and frightened. Confused. Frank remembers feeling that way too.

Frank's anger ebbs. "Mikey," he begins, and then Wentz is there, bouncing up between them.

"Hey, little dude," he says brightly, draping his arm over Mikey's shoulder. "Save me a place?"

With a laugh, Mikey relaxes into Pete's side. "Told you I would."

Frank's not hungry any more. He hands his empty plate to Wentz. "Here. I've got to..." He trails off, then just turns away, walking as fast as he can. His one relief is that he doesn't break into a run.

He hears Pete say is he okay?; when he glances back, Mikey's just watching him, his eyes hidden behind white-framed glasses.

Frank looks away, swallowing hard. He pushes through a group in his rush to get out of the tent.

"Iero?" Patrick Stump is peering at him, his hat pulled down low over his eyes. "You okay?"

"Just hot," Frank says, but Patrick's already looking past him at Pete and Mikey leaning against each other. Frank doesn't want the pity he's sure he'll see when Patrick turns back to him. He ducks past Trohman and heads for the bus.

He just wants to be alone.

***


Bob finds him in his bunk. He hands Frank a beer, then slips in beside him. It's almost too tight with the two of them; Frank settles on his side, his back pressed to the wall.

Neither of them says anything. Frank drains the bottle, wipes the back of his hand across his mouth.

He doesn't realize he's shaking until Bob catches his wrists. "I just," he starts and then he breaks off. Bob's fingers are soft and heavy on his skin.

"Shut up, Frank," Bob says quietly.

Frank closes his eyes and kisses him.

***


It takes four days before Frank finds Wentz alone finally, tugging at the zipper of his jeans as he ducks out from one of the battered portajohns backstage. Frank grabs him by the stretched-out neck of his ratty t-shirt and pulls him behind the shitter. It reeks of piss.

"What the fuck," Pete says, but falls silent when Frank shoves him against the blue plastic side of the john.

"Hurt him," Frank says softly, letting Jersey slide into his voice, his fingers pressing just enough against Wentz's collarbone, "and I swear to God I will rip your fucking nuts off with my bare hands. Understand?"

Pete pales slightly, but to his credit, just lifts his chin. "From what I hear you'd enjoy that."

Frank raises an eyebrow; Pete looks away, hunching his shoulders and shoving his fists in his jeans pockets. His belt dips dangerously low. "I like him, okay," Pete says finally, and when he meets Frank's gaze his eyes are open and honest. "I don't want to hurt him, man."

"Okay then." Frank's stomach twists, but he pulls away. "Just so we're clear."

Pete hesitates. "He doesn't have any idea how you feel, does he?"

Thunder rumbles overhead; they're in Portland today and it's just about time for the usual afternoon shower. Frank pushes his sweaty hair out of his eyes. "No," he says, and his throat tightens at the look of pity Pete gives him. "And he fucking won't if your goddamn balls know what's good for them."

He brushes past Pete roughly just as the fat drops of rain splatter and steam against the hot asphalt.

***


Mikey's playing to Pete, Frank can see. It's barely noticeable, but he's entirely aware of the way Mikey's turned just enough to be able to look over to stage left where Pete's standing behind an amp, bouncing on the balls of his feet.

It's an open secret, the two of them, and even Worm and Charlie have taken to watching after them, making sure that when Mikey comes out of the Fall Out Boy bus just before dawn no one's around to see.

They never stay in the My Chem bus. Frank's grateful Pete has that much decency.

Or self-preservation.

Frank tells himself he doesn't care. He doesn't give a shit. He knows it's a lie.

Instead he crawls into Bob's bunk at night, silently, and Bob slips an arm around his waist without asking what's wrong because he knows the words will get caught in Frank's throat. Some nights they sleep. Some nights Frank draws Bob's hand down, presses Bob's fingers against the swell in his briefs, and turns to kiss him.

Bob understands. He always has.

They don't fuck. Frank doesn't think he'd stop Bob if he pushed for it, but Bob doesn't and he's glad. Instead it's stolen kisses in the bunk, fingers wrapped around each other's cocks, moans and breathy gasps not quite muffled by the heavy curtain.

"Just be careful, goddamn it," Gerard says in the mornings to him over a pot of coffee and a shared cigarette and Frank just shrugs. He doesn't know if he gives a fuck about caution.

For now, though, he throws himself into Headfirst for Halos, his fingers slamming against his guitar. He bends back, drops to his knees before popping up again, and when he whirls around, Gerard's there, mic in hand, half-screaming, half-singing into it. He grabs Frank, his fingers tight on Frank's nape and he kisses him.

They've done this a hundred times—a thousand even—and Frank expects it, but this time, today, for some reason he leans into the kiss, opening his mouth, swiping his tongue against Gerard's teeth before he pulls away, spins across stage.

He barely notices that Gerard stumbles across the next phrase or two.

He does notice the sharp glance Mikey sends his way, and he smiles.

***


The shit of it is that Mikey's happy.

Really fucking happy.

Frank watches him across the catering tent, leaning into Pete, laughing, his face open and bright. It's been too fucking long since Mikey's been this relaxed. This easy. Frank twists his coffee between his hands, the warm styrofoam scraping over his palms. He sighs and sucks at his lip ring.

"Be easier for you if you let him go." Ray sets a plate piled high with eggs and sausage on the wobbly folding table and sits down next to Frank.

"Probably." Frank snags a triangle of wheat toast hanging haphazardly from the rim of the plate and takes a bite. He chews slowly, sips his cooling coffee. "Too bad life doesn't work that way."

Ray just shrugs and cuts into a sausage. Frank rubs the back of his hand over his mouth. He's tired and lonely, which is fucking ridiculous since he's surrounded not only by his band but twenty others.

It's just that Mikey's never around.

He can hear him laughing at something Wentz has said, hear his Jesus, Pete and Frank shivers in the steaming Utah heat and pulls his hoodie tighter. "I should go find Bob," he says, and it's the hardest thing in the world for him to pull his gaze away from Mikey.

"Frank—"

"It's cool, man." Frank tosses his coffee cup into an overflowing garbage can. A stack of paper plates slips and knocks against the side, sending the remnants of scrambled eggs across the dirty asphalt. "I'm done here anyway."

Ray watches him as he walks out of the tent and Frank knows what he's thinking. Knows how fucking stupid this all is. Knows how much he has to lose—how much they all have to lose.

He shoves his hands into his pockets and walks in the opposite direction from the bus.

***


Frank's never wanted a tour to end so badly.

Usually he likes being on the road, likes hanging out with his boys—even when Gerard skips a shower for almost a week, causing Brian to break out the Febreze. This tour's different. Mikey's almost always with Pete, and Gerard's always in the corner, buried in his sketchbook. Drawing's filled the place of the beer and the drugs this time, and Gerard avoids the party buses like the plague. Frank's just glad Bert's not around.

He's taken to spending his days with Gerard and his nights in Bob's bunk. Bob doesn't complain.

Neither does Gerard.

"What are you drawing?" Frank asks, pushing himself up from the trunks he's sprawled across backstage.

Gerard's frowning down at the sketchbook, his 2B pencil flying across the paper. "You."

"Let me see?"

"Fuck off, Iero." Gerard smiles and shakes his head. "A man's sketchbook is sacred—"

Frank pulls it from his hands.

The page is filled with pictures of Frank—rough sketches, quick studies, carefully detailed drawings. Smiling. Laughing. Frowning. Distant. Frank's hands shake as he turns the page back. More of the same, and Frank's caught by one in particular, his hair in his eyes and an almost haunted look on his face.

Gerard takes the sketchbook back, silently. He meets Frank's eyes, and his only reaction is the almost imperceptible twitch of his jaw. "Sacred," he says after a moment, his voice soft.

Frank doesn't stop him when he walks away.

***


It's not mentioned again, not even when Gerard pulls out his sketchbook with a steady look at Frank and starts drawing.

Frank wonders if he should feel self-conscious. He doesn't. He's not certain what he does feel.

"Be careful," Bob says, late at night, into the curve of Frank's throat. His breath is warm and wet against Frank's skin. They're lying in Bob's bunk, legs twined, Frank's cock still softening outside of his rumpled boxers. Bob rubs sticky-slick fingers over Frank's stomach. "Gee's a lot more fragile than he likes to let on."

"I know," Frank says and he turns, kissing Bob as he slides over him. He lays his head on Bob's chest. "You put up with a lot of shit, you know."

There's a shrug of wide shoulders beneath his cheek. "I know where I stand," Bob says quietly. "I can live with that."

It's moments like these Frank wishes he could love Bob the way he should. Things would be so much less complicated. So much easier. Instead he presses his mouth to Bob's chest in a silent thank you. Life doesn't always work the way it's supposed to, he's found. Neither do hearts.

Bob smoothes his hand over Frank's hair, heavy and soft, and Frank just sighs.

***


"It's not easy, is it?"

Patrick settles in the lawn chair next to Frank's. He's looking in the same direction, at Pete and Mikey sitting thigh to thigh on the back of a pickup, their heads bent together. Sometimes Frank's not certain where one begins and the other ends. He sighs and he sets his book down on the patchy grass of the set-up area. It's not as hot as it's been the past couple of days. Thank God for Canada.

"Could be worse, I suppose," Frank says after a moment. He shifts a quick glance towards Patrick. "You and Wentz..."




The shrug is casual, but Frank knows the expression too well. He's seen it on his own face enough this summer. Resignation. Acceptance. "Thought it was about as obvious as you and Mikey."

Frank doesn't say anything and Patrick sighs. The sun's setting, orange-red-pink over the treetops and the fireflies have just started to dart about, sparking brightly in the lengthening shadows. It's a perfect summer evening.

"Fuck, I'm ready to go home," Patrick says finally, quietly, watching as Pete presses his forehead to Mikey's.

"Yeah," Frank agrees.

***


They're in Camden when Gerard kisses him.

Frank expects it, and he doesn't, and he knows that makes no sense. But he's been aware of Gerard watching him, of the way the stage kisses have increased, have gone longer, of Gerard's tongue flicking lightly at Frank's. He hasn't objected; he knows it annoys Mikey. Not enough for Mikey to say anything, but enough that Frank's encouraged Gerard, stepping closer, letting his mouth linger perhaps a bit more than he should.

He's a shit, and he knows it. He doesn't even need the reproachful looks he gets from Ray afterwards or the even stares from Bob. Gerard's had it rough lately, and he's still raw over Bert--even though that was his own damn fault, Frank thinks, but he'll never actually tell Gerard that. Instead he calls Quinn from time to time to check on how Bert's taking the breakup.

About as well as Gerard, Quinn tells him icily before hanging up, and Frank knows what that means.

Still, he doesn't stop this, doesn't tell Gerard no, like he should. Instead he tells himself it's just on stage. It doesn't mean anything. They're just fucking with people's heads.

He's in the shower at the Tweeter Center before the show when it happens. The water's hot and steamy and nothing's felt better on Frank's skin in days. He's waited until last to hop in; the others have gone back out to hang in the green rooms. At least that's what he'd thought.

The squeak of a shoe on tile makes him turn, and Gerard's there, his wet hair dark against his pale cheeks, his shirt only half-buttoned.

They're both silent.

And then Gerard's against him, pushing him into the wall, and his mouth's hard on Frank's. His hands cup Frank's face; his thumbs smooth across Frank's cheeks.

"Frank," Gerard whispers. Frank can feel the soft scrape of chapped lips against his.

Water sprays over them, rolls down Frank's throat, over his shoulder and his chest, and Frank puts his palms on Gerard's arms to push him away but instead his fingers twist in the wet cotton, pulling Gerard closer, kissing him eagerly.

Frank's eyes are closed and he can almost imagine Gerard's mouth is Mikey's, his hands, his hips. And when Gerard groans, Frank shudders, remembering the way Mikey felt beneath him so long ago. The way he sounded. The way he tasted. "Christ," he whispers. Gerard's fingers dig into Frank's hips, lifting him up and against the cold tile. He fumbles between them, still kissing Frank hard and rough, and Frank feels the hot press of Gerard's cock against his.

"Oh, fuck," he chokes out, eyes flying open, and Frank knows this is wrong, knows what an absolute shit this makes him, but he doesn't care when Gerard rocks forward.

His head hits the wall with a crack.

"I want—" Gerard scrapes his teeth along Frank's neck and Frank arches beneath him.

"Yeah." Frank's hands slide under Gerard's wet shirt, slipping over his damp skin. The water pounds down over them, long rivulets streaming down Gerard's face like tears.

They move together, quick and fast, their cocks sliding, pressing, aching. Frank wraps his legs tighter around Gerard's hips, grunts and presses his shoulders against the wall as he arches into Gerard's thrusts. Gerard throws his head back. Frank drags his mouth along the long stretch of pale throat, tasting the hot watery salt of Gerard's skin.

Gerard comes first, slumping against Frank, his gasps echoing off the tile. Frank reaches between them. His fingers slip in the slick come on his stomach, then curl around his own dick, sticky and wet.

It only takes a couple of quick tugs to get him off, and he twists beneath Gerard with a sharp cry. "Mikey," Frank whispers as his fingers slip away from his cock.

They slump to the floor, water swirling around them, into the drain in the middle of the room.

"I..." Gerard says and then he stops. He doesn't look at Frank. Instead he pulls his soaked jeans back together, shoving his cock back inside as he raises his hips up to zip the fly.

"Gerard--"

"I have to go."

His sneakers slosh through the puddled water on the floor. Frank knows he should stop him. Call him back.

He doesn't.

The water pouring over him is ice cold before he gets up.

***


Mikey finds him in the bus two hours before they're scheduled to go on. Frank doesn't bother to look up when he comes in; instead he curls himself deeper into the couch, pressing his face against the back cushions. It smells musty and stale and the threads of the upholstery are rough against his cheek.

"I know you're awake," Mikey says tightly, and Frank just pushes his nose further into the dip. His hair catches on one of the cushion buttons. If he lies still enough, he thinks, maybe Mikey will just go away.

He's wrong.

Frank finds himself on the floor, Mikey's fingers still twisted in his shirt. He's been drinking, Frank can tell. Probably with the crew, since they're careful to keep hootch out of the bus now, what with Gerard. Mikey reeks of the stale beer Chris likes—pisswater, Frank calls it—and his glasses are smudged. He lets go of Frank's shirt.

"You fucking shit," Mikey says. His fists clench at his sides. Frank wishes he'd use them. Hit him. At least then Mikey'd be paying attention to him.

Somewhere inside of him, Frank knows this is really fucked up. He's really fucked up.

"Jesus. Gerard? After what he's been through—" Mikey lurches forward. Frank catches him before he falls, and Mikey grabs his shoulder. His eyes are too bright. "Why him?" he whispers. "Bob was bad enough. Why my brother, Frankie?"

Frank's silent and Mikey just shakes his head and pushes himself up.

At the door, he looks back. His face is shadowed and his glasses have slid to the tip of his nose. "I don't really like you much right now," he says. Frank winces and curls into himself. His knee sticks out, pale and bony, through a frayed hole in his black jeans.

The door snicks shut behind Mikey. Frank closes his eyes and just breathes.

***


It's the worst concert they've ever played.

Frank has no idea how they make it off the stage. He's numb and empty. Neither Mikey nor Gerard would come near him. They wouldn't even look at each other, for that matter.

"I'm going home," he tells Bob on the way back to the bus, and Bob nods. There are only three days left in Warped; they can play without him. Frank just can't get back on that bus tonight.

"It's for the best," Bob says. Frank rubs his thumb along the chrome pole on the back of the golf cart. He thought Bob would have at least tried to talk him out of it.

He calls his mom from his cell. She agrees to drive the hour and a half down I-95 to pick him up.

Bob waits with him at the edge of the parking lot. Despite the humid heat both of them are hunched into their hoodies. They share a cigarette as thunder rumbles in the distance. Frank pushes his damp hair back off his forehead; his skin prickles with sweat.

"I can't keep doing this," Bob says after a while. He takes a long drag off the cigarette and leans against some college kid's car. It's covered in peeling decals--anarchy symbols, Ramones logos, the Darwin fish. A Rutgers-Camden parking sticker from last semester is still in the back window.

Frank stares down at the ground. The white painted parking line has faded into the asphalt halfway down. "You don't have to wait--"

Bob just shakes his head. His mouth thins. "I'm tired of fucking around with you when you're in love with someone else." At Frank's protest, he holds up his hand. "Come on, man, anyone with eyes sees it. It's been a year now. I'm not an idiot."

"I'm not using you," Frank says quietly. He drags his toe along the painted line. A tiny rock skitters across the asphalt.

"No," Bob agrees. He hands the cigarette to Frank. "Not me. I knew what I was signing up for. But you and Gerard—man, that's just too fucked up even for me." He meets Frank's eyes. "Either tell Mikey how you feel or walk away from it. Using his brother to make him jealous—that's just shitty."

Frank exhales a puff of smoke with a sigh. "I know." He feels nauseous. The heat, he thinks, even though he knows it's not true.

Headlights sweep over them as Frank's mom pulls up. Bob takes the cigarette from his hand. "Just do some thinking, okay?"

"Yeah." Frank slides into the front seat of his mom's Monte Carlo. She won't get a smaller car; she says she feels safer in this boat. He looks back up at Bob. "I'm sorry."

Bob shrugs. "It is what it is, man." He slams the door closed on Frank.

"You all right, baby?" his mother asks.

Frank just watches Bob walk away.

Fat droplets of rain splash against the windshield.

***


He goes back to the apartment to pick up some clothes. It's dark inside, the only light the headlights from his mom's car filtering through the blinds. Frank shoves some t-shirts and jeans into a bag. He'll need to pick up a new toothbrush.

It's crazy to feel like this is the end of something, he knows. This is his apartment, after all. He'll be back. He just needs some time away. Needs to be somewhere Mikey isn't. Needs to get his head settled.

Needs to get over him, Jesus.

Frank stops in the living room on his way out. Mikey's dog-eared copy of In Cold Blood is lying on the couch where he'd tossed it before they left for Warped. Frank can't stop himself. He picks it up and tucks it into his bag, telling himself he's a total idiot.

On an impulse he drops his key ring on the coffeetable. He doesn't ask himself why.

***


It feels weird being back at his mom's. Frank misses his bed and his Playstation and his box of Bouncing Souls vinyls.

But a break is good, he tells himself, three days at home in his old room that his mom's turned into a sewing room, three days to wake up every morning to the smell of his favorite potato and leek frittata in the skillet.

Brian waits a full day before he calls. Frank figures it's taken him that long to get the full story from the other four.

"What the fuck, Iero?" he asks when Frank picks up his cell finally. "Why's your scrawny ass not on that bus right now?"

Frank shifts the phone to his other ear and moves a box of fabric to the floor. He drops down on the futon his mom had put in place of his bed. "I needed—"

Brian cuts him off in a string of curses that would put Gerard to shame. Frank holds the phone away from his ear and winces. "Brian—"

"There are fucking kids out there," Brian says and his voice drops low which is never a good sign. "Kids who want to see all of My fucking Chemical Romance. Whatever the fuck is going on with you asswipes—and no, I don't need to know, don't want to know and for fuck's sake don't tell me, I've already made Ray shut the fuck up about it—but whatever's going on, those kids don't deserve you fucking off on them so you're going to get your fucking ass back up to fucking Northampton for the last fucking show, you got that, Iero?"

Frank just stares at the box of fabric between his feet. His mom's bought a pale blue plaid; he hopes to fuck she's not going to sew anything for him.

It takes him a moment to realize Brian's shouting his name.

"Look, man," he says, "I can't. Just tell them I'm sick or something. Cortez's burgers did me in."

"Frank—"

"Please, Brian," Frank says, and desperation makes his throat close. He's always the responsible one, and it takes everything he has not to give in to Brian. But he knows—he's certain—that he can't get back on that stage with Mikey. Not right now. "I can't," he says softly. He feels like a shit. He's getting used to it.

Brian just sighs. "Okay. But Europe's in a week and you better be at that fucking airport or I will kill you, Iero." Static crackles over the phone. Frank can hear the scream of the crowd in the background as Midtown finishes their set. He aches a bit inside. "You owe me," Brian says after a moment. "Big."

"I know."

Frank clicks off the phone. He runs his hands over his face; his throat is tight and dry. He looks blankly at the crucifix his mom's hung on the wall over her sewing machine.

Christ, he fucking hates this.

He hears his mom call from the kitchen door, her keys rattling as she tosses them on the table. It's after five already, and he stands up, swallowing hard. The last thing in the world he wants is to worry her more than she already is.

He has to pull himself together.

***


Frank gets the text at five-twelve on Sunday morning. His cell trills and, out of force of habit, he rolls over in bed with a Jesus fuck to grab it. The bluish light of the LCD screen gleams in the darkness and he rubs his eyes, blinking to focus.

i know when ive lost, dude. you win. It's signed Peter Pan and it takes Frank a moment to realize it's not a prank. His cell trills again and new message flashes up. in other wrds--talk 2 him, fuckwad, hes pretty fucked up.

Frank flips his phone closed and drops it back onto the mattress next to him. The Jesus hanging limply from the crucifix watches him, his eyes sad and dark in the early morning gloom.

"Oh, shut up," Frank mutters. "You're not even supposed like faggots." Jesus just looks at him, and Frank rolls over onto his other side.

He spends the next two hours staring up at the spiderweb in the corner of his ceiling.

***


It takes almost a full four days before Frank works up the nerve to go over.

He tells himself it's because of the rain. It's been a fucking monsoon outside for days. But he knows it's because he's too much of a coward to face up to what he's done.

Frank hates being thought of as a coward. Even by himself.

So on Wednesday afternoon he decides it'd be a good idea to pick up some more clothes before Europe, and he drives over in the middle of the heaviest downpour of the week. His windshield wipers squeak across the wet-slick glass in perfect rhythm to the sick thud of his heart and by the time he turns down Winthrop Street he's gone through three cigarettes.

Frank stubs the last one out in his overflowing ashtray. An old butt falls into the nest of old Aquarian Weekly issues and Starbucks cups. He leans back against the seat and rubs his hands over the steering wheel. The Band rumbles from the radio speakers, the tinkling of piano keys echoing brightly against the steady thrum of the bassline.

His stomach twinges—from too much cigarette smoke or sheer fucking nerves he doesn't know—and he's not entirely certain he doesn't want to roll down the window and retch on the street. Instead he takes a deep breath and pushes the car door open.

Rain drenches him immediately, plastering his hair to his forehead and his inside-out t-shirt to his thin chest. Slick letters advertising last year's Belleville Oktoberfest stick to his skin. Frank runs up the walk, arms wrapped tight around himself, shoulders hunched. His sneakers slap through the puddles, sending mud and drops of grey-tinged rainwater arcing through the air. He thuds up the porch steps. Wet rivulets run down his cheeks; he pushes his soaked hair back from his forehead.

The front door's unlocked like usual, and he's halfway up the steps, his Chucks squishing against the worn wooden treads, when a towel comes flying down at him. Frank catches it, surprised.

Gerard glares at him over the railing. "Dry yourself off," he says shortly, and Frank runs the towel over his wet hair. It's already slightly damp and smells like beer.

When he gets to the top of the steps, Gerard's standing, arms crossed, in front of the half-open apartment door. He looks like shit; his eyes are shadowed, his mouth tight. Frank drapes the towel over one shoulder and shifts from foot to foot. "Hey," he says after a moment.


Frank can hear Billy Bragg singing from the apartment. Mermaid Avenue, Volume II, he thinks, one of Mikey's favorites, one of the ones with Wilco, and he realizes what a fucking stupid thing that is to drift through his mind right now. Gerard still hasn't said anything to him, and that makes Frank nervous.

He licks his lip. "I just came over to get some clothes—"

"Oh, shut the goddamn fuck up," Gerard says bitterly, and Frank closes his mouth with a snap. "Tell the truth for once, Frankie."

Frank feels his cheeks burn. He looks away. Through the small round window at the top of the stairs he can see the wind whip through the trees outside. The clouds are a dark, angry gray above them.

"I fucked up," he says quietly and he meets Gerard's angry gaze.

After a moment, Gerard nods. "Yeah."

A drop of rain slides down the back of Frank's neck. It's cold. "I didn't mean to hurt—"

"I know. Doesn't make you less of a fucking shit."

They look at each other for a long moment, then Gerard sighs. "You should go talk to Mikey."

Frank glances towards the door. His stomach twists again. "I don't know if that's a good idea."

"Don't be a pussy, Iero." Gerard brushes past him.

Chewing on his bottom lip, Frank grabs Gerard's arm. "I'm sorry."

Gerard hesitates, and Frank can see the flash of hurt in his eyes for a moment before Gee smiles ruefully. "I knew I was the Way you settled for," he says quietly. "But that's not really what I want."

Frank nods. He looks back at the door. "Is he pissed?"

Gerard snorts and Frank's stomach twists again. He's never liked to be on the bad side of Mikey's temper. "Talk to him." Gerard says, pulling away. "Whether or not he thinks he does, he needs you to." He stops at the top of the steps, and his eyes are hard. "But hurt him again like that, Frank, and I'll fucking rip your goddamn dick off and shove it up your ass. Got it?"

"Yeah," Frank says faintly. He doesn't think Gerard's joking.

Bragg's just started into the chorus of Meanest Man when Frank pushes the apartment door open. Clothes are strewn across the floor; Mikey's bags from tour are on the couch, half-open and dirty t-shirts hanging out. The cushion beneath the duffle bag sags slightly.

Frank's key is still on the coffeetable.

"Mikey," he calls out, shutting the door behind him. A moment later Bragg is shut off. Frank follows the silence into the kitchen.

The shade over the table is up; shadows filter wetly across the floor. Mikey's at the refrigerator in a pair of faded jeans and nothing else, his feet bare on the yellow-gray linoleum. A square beneath the sink is peeling up. They'd meant to call the landlord about that before they'd left.

"Asshole," Mikey says without looking up. He pulls a carton of orange juice off the top shelf and takes a long drink. Frank hates it when he does that. Mikey wipes the back of his hand across his mouth as he sets the carton back down. "What the fuck do you want?"

Frank tosses the towel on the counter. His jeans are heavy and wet, his t-shirt cold and clammy, but he feels strangely clean as he pushes his hair back off his forehead again. "I wanted to talk—"

"And maybe I don't." Mikey slams the fridge door shut. A Tupperware pitcher on top rocks forward, then tumbles on its side with a sharp thump. When he looks at Frank, his eyes are dark. Bitter. "You left your key."

Frank stares down at his feet. Water's pooled beneath his Chucks, dripping from the frayed hem of his jeans. "I thought..." He trails off. He doesn't know what he thought.

Mikey's jaw tightens, a quick, barely noticeable twitch of muscle. "Fuck you, Frank."

Something snaps inside of Frank. It's too much, all of this. He's tired of them dancing around the fucking elephant in the fucking room. "What the hell do you want from me, Mikey?" He waves his hand wildly. "You've already had me on my fucking knees for you and every time I think I've gotten up, you shove me back—"

"That's bullshit," Mikey snaps, cutting him off.

"Fuck you," Frank shouts, his voice cracking as he steps forward. Mikey falls back, his mouth tight. "You fucking knew I wanted you and you told me you weren't fucking interested and then the next thing I know you're sucking Pete Wentz's fucking goddamn cock—" Frank's sneakers slip on the water and he lurches forward, shoving Mikey against the refrigerator.

They freeze, staring at each other, their breaths coming in short, quick gasps. Frank can smell the faint scent of Mikey's sweat, salty and earthy, and he wants to lick it from his skin, Jesus. Mikey's hands are tight on Frank's elbows. Frank's palms are hot against Mikey's bare arms.

And then Mikey's hand moves, his thumb brushes over Frank's mouth, coaxing his lips apart. Frank closes his eyes, taking a ragged breath, and when Mikey's thumb slides against his tongue, he sucks gently, carefully, tasting the sweet-sourness of Mikey's skin.

"Shit," Mikey whispers, and he presses Frank's bottom lip down, opens Frank's mouth just enough. "Open your goddamn eyes," he says in that rough, needy voice, and Frank does.

Mikey's so fucking close and Frank's breath catches at the look in his eyes. Mikey's going to kiss him, Frank knows. His heart thuds against his chest and his fingers dig into Mikey's skin, pulling him closer. Please, he wants to say, but he can't get the word out. Instead he licks his bottom lip, his eyes wide. Please. Mikey leans forward, his other hand moving up to tangle in Frank's hair, and then he's spitting into Frank's open mouth, and Frank's cock jerks because, Jesus fucking Christ nothing should be that goddamn hot, but Mikey's mouth closes on his and his tongue slides over Frank's, slicking their saliva together over teeth and lip ring.

Frank groans and rocks up against Mikey.

"Fuck you," Mikey says again, against Frank's mouth, his hands pulling at Frank's t-shirt, tugging it over his head. It drops to the floor with a wet smack, and Mikey's hands are on Frank's cold skin, hot and heavy. Mikey bites Frank's lip and twists his hips, turning to push Frank up against the cool door of the refrigerator. The pitcher tumbles to the floor, clattering across the linoleum. Frank twists his fingers in Mikey's dirty hair and kisses him roughly. The rims of Mikey's glasses dig into his cheek; he doesn't fucking care. He just pushes his hips forward, his cock hard against the zipper of his Levi's.

He's wanted this for so fucking long. Needed it. Mikey's touch makes Frank breathless, makes him want, goddamn it and there's nothing he can do to stop it. He drags his mouth along the sharp curve of Mikey's jaw, his teeth sliding against unshaven skin. He sucks and bites, needing to mark Mikey. To make him his.

"You're such a fucking shit." Mikey presses his face into Frank's neck, his breath hot on Frank's skin. His thumbnail scrapes roughly across Frank's nipple, sending a burst of pain and want shuddering through Frank. His hip rubs against Frank's cock.

"I know," Frank chokes out. His hand slaps against the wall, holding him up as Mikey ruts up against him, his fingers working at Frank's zipper. He's so close already. "Mikey," he whispers, the word disappearing in a shaky gasp. Mikey's hand slips into Frank's jeans, shoving his briefs aside as he pulls Frank's cock out. Frank groans and his shoulders press into the refrigerator.

Mikey's glasses are askew; his breath comes in a sharp pant as he looks down, watching his fingers slide across Frank's dick. "Say it," he says, and his palm slips over the head. "Say you're a shit."

"I am." Frank pushes his hips forward, arching into Mikey's touch. "I'm a shit." He gasps and his head thuds against the refrigerator as Mikey's thumb rubs at the slit of his dick. "Oh, Jesus!"

Mikey kisses him, angrily, roughly, all teeth and tongue, before he pulls back and spits on his hand. He grabs Frank's dick again, his fingers slick and hot, and Frank cries out.

He presses his face against Mikey's jaw, breathing him in, his body rocking into every stroke. His fingers slip through the ends of Mikey's hair, twisting it around his thumb. "Oh, God, Mikey," he whispers, his body shaking. "Please. Fuck, Mikey, please, I want to come—" He breaks off with a groan as Mikey's hand tightens around his cock, stroking him quickly, jerking him towards Mikey. His hips snap forward; he feels that familiar tenseness. "Yes, please—" Frank swallows, gasping. His mouth brushes Mikey's ear. "God," he murmurs, "I love you—"

Mikey stills.

Frank groans, pushing up against his hand. "Come on, baby," he whines and then his stomach twists, realization settling in. Shit. Shit. "Shit."

Mikey doesn't say anything, but when Frank tries to pull away, he holds him tight. Frank breathes out, closes his eyes. He's such a fucking idiot.

And then, after a moment that feels like a fucking eternity to Frank, Mikey's hand slides down between them, pulling at the zipper of his jeans. His cock slaps against Frank's stomach. "Open your eyes," Mikey whispers, and this time it's a gentle, careful huff against Frank's cheek.

He's looking at Frank, eyes dark and unreadable. But his fingers slide through Frank's, pulling his hand down to their cocks.

"Please," Mikey says, and Frank can breathe again.

They move together, fingers twined, cocks rubbing against their stomachs, and Frank can't stop looking down, watching them. Mikey's cock slides against his and he groans, tightening his fingers over the slick head. "I can't—I'm going to—"

Mikey kisses him, sucks on his lip ring. "Do it."

Frank presses against him, rocks up, his cock slipping against Mikey's, and he needs this, Jesus, more than anything. He pulls his hand away, grabbing both of Mikey's shoulders and digging his fingers into soft skin. "Come on," he says roughly. "Fuck me. Get me off. Mikey, Christ. Come on..."

He cries out as Mikey slams him back against the refrigerator, his hips circling against Frank's, their cocks thrusting against each other. It's too much, and when Mikey bites down into the curve of Frank's neck, Frank comes with a frantic jerk and a moan, spurting hotly over their pricks and stomachs. Mikey groans, grabs Frank's hips and ruts up against him. His breath is a warm huff against Frank's ear, and the head of his dick slides through come, hard and fast across Frank's hip until with a shout, Mikey lurches forward, grinding into Frank's hips.

They sink to the floor, breathless and legs tangled. The linoleum is cool beneath Frank's skin.

Mikey trails his fingers through the come on his stomach, lifting them to Frank's mouth. Frank licks them, pulls each one into his mouth, sucking gently. He loves the way they taste together, loves the feel of Mikey's finger against his tongue, loves the way Mikey's looking at him with hooded, sleepy eyes. His glasses are foggy. Frank reaches over and pulls them off, folding them and setting them aside before he leans his head against Mikey's shoulder. He presses a kiss to Mikey's collarbone.

"Don't ever fuck my brother again," Mikey says after a moment, curling himself around Frank. "Or Bob. Or—" He raises his head and looks at Frank with narrowed eyes. "You didn't fuck Ray, did you?"

"Are you kidding?" Frank gives him an incredulous look.

"Well, you're a slut." Mikey settles back down next to him. "I was pretty sure he had better taste though."

"Fuck you." Frank swats Mikey's arm; Mikey pulls him closer.

"Just don't fuck anyone," he whispers into Frank's shoulder. "I don't think my nerves can take it."

Frank smiles faintly. "As long as you stay the hell away from Wentz."

Mikey gives him a sober look. "I didn't want to hurt the band. That's why..." He trails off and his arm tightens around Frank. "He was good for me."

"I know." Frank stares up at the ceiling. There's a bulb burned out of the light fixture. "Doesn't mean I like it."

"Not asking you to." Mikey rolls on top of him. "Look, I can think of at least twenty better ways to spend this afternoon than talking." He rolls his hips forward, and Frank's breath catches.

He slides his hands down the back of Mikey's jeans. "Only twenty?"

Mikey flashes him a wide grin. "I'm new at this." At Frank's snort, he leans down and brushes his mouth across Frank's. "Oh, and I want my fucking Capote back."

Frank shuts him up with a kiss.

***


"Seriously, that's the kitchen table," Bob says from behind them, and Mikey reluctantly pulls away with a grin at Frank. "Keep that up and Gee's going to be pissed again."

They're doing press in San Francisco and the record company's put them up in a tiny Arts and Crafts cottage that's a bit too small for comfort. Gerard's already shouted at them twice when he walked in on them having sex. There are some things no man should have to see, he'd said, sunglasses pulled down over his eyes and a cigarette clutched tight in one hand, including his brother's ass pumping in the air. Ray'd pointed out that he might be right.

Mikey pulls his t-shirt back down from where Frank's rucked it up in back. "I probably should go wake him up or we'll be late." It's still dark outside, but they've got an eight o'clock interview for their Green Day tribute later that night. Mikey kisses Frank again, quick and hard and then he's gone, leaving Frank breathless and flushed. The kitchen door thuds shut behind him.

Frank slides off the table and smoothes his t-shirt down. "Hey," he says after a moment, and Bob looks up from the coffeepot, his phone in his hand.

"You and Mikey are still okay," he says, and it's a statement rather than a question, but Frank nods anyway. Bob leans against the counter, arms folded over his chest. "Good." His phone rings; he glances at it and smiles faintly before setting it on the counter, unanswered.

Frank runs a hand through his hair. He flushes a bit. "I'm sorry about last summer," he starts off, but Bob holds up his hand. It's been seven months now, and he's seen Bob plenty of times since, but Frank still feels guilty.

"It was just fucking," Bob says and Frank flinches. Bob's face softens. "I already told you I knew where I stood, man."

"Yeah." Frank rubs the back of his neck. "Just..."

Bob laughs and takes a sip of coffee. "You didn't break my heart, Frank." He looks a bit wistful. "I'm not that stupid."

"I didn't think you were." Frank falls silent. Bob's phone rings again. He jumps and grabs it, switching it off. Frank frowns. "Shouldn't you get that?"

"It'll wait."

Frank studies him for a long moment, then glances at the phone. "You're seeing someone," he says finally, his eyes narrowing.

Bob raises his eyebrow and lifts his chin. "So?"

"So." Frank grabs the phone and flips it open before Bob can stop him. "Jeph? You're seeing Jeph?"

"Shut up." Bob jerks the phone out of his hand. "Maybe." His cheeks are red. Frank laughs.

"Gerard will kill you."

Bob glares at him. "Not if he doesn't find out."

"Not if he doesn't find what out?" Gerard pushes the kitchen door open, still dressed in his skeleton pajamas, his hair standing on end. He looks between them, yawning; Mikey peers over his shoulder. Gerard's wearing sunglasses again—his only defense against his brother's pasty ass blinding him again, he claims. Frank plucks them off and Gerard blinks at him. "Ow," he says, squinting into the overhead light. "What should I not find out?"

Bob and Frank exchange a glance. "Nothing," they say together, and they laugh as a crinkle appears between Gerard's eyebrows. He never is his most functional before ten in the morning. Bob hands Gerard a cup of coffee.

"Drink, then go have a cigarette," he says in that Bob way of his that no one can object to. "You need to be semi-coherent."

Gerard sniffs, but he takes the coffee gratefully and mumbles something about idiot band members as he slumps into a chair at the table.

Mikey slips behind Frank, wrapping his arms around his waist. He rests his chin on Frank's shoulder. "Everything okay?" he murmurs and Frank nods.

Life, he thinks, is pretty damn good.

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