Pairing: Frank/Gerard (Pete/Mikey)
Disclaimer: Never happened.
Summary: The bright side, Gerard told himself as he painted canvas after canvas of scorpions and Frank’s smile, was that he never had to go back to that coffee house again. He wasn’t even sure he could find it again, let alone go inside and be a creepy stalker. Well, the stalker part he was sure he could do, it was the finding the coffee house that he couldn’t.
A/N: because I like to write things other than Panic at times. P.S. you can still ask me questions.
The thing Gerard hated most about living in a dorm was the complete and utter lack of privacy, mostly the fact that he couldn’t escape and hide from the world. But that was what he got for bunking his parents’ offer to go to college closer to home and live in the basement. Instead, he was hours away at state college and sharing a room with a guy whose hair could take up a whole bed on its own.
Not that it was all bad. Ray was a nice enough guy when Gerard bothered to actually talk to him. Mostly, Gerard stuck to his little corner of the dorm that was scattered with bits of paper, painting supplies, pens, pencils, the carpet stained with charcoal and flecks of red paint. He just put on his headphones and tried to ignore the rest of the world.
That was pretty much how the better part of his junior year had gone. Gerard saw Ray once in a great while, and probably more, but he tended to get lost in his art and probably ignored Ray more than he knew.
Ray asked once why he didn’t do his work in the great big, newly-built art studio on the other side of campus, but Gerard had been concentrating particularly hard on getting the slash wound on the girl’s neck just right and never replied.
Gerard’s life at college wasn’t much different from what it had ever been before. He supposed, when he actually took the time to think about it, that there might have been something wrong with that statement, but he preferred to stay in the dark about how sad or not sad his life was.
Instead, he sat cloistered in his darkened corner surrounded by canvas and paints. It was a good existence. Sure, it was no basement, but it had its moments.
The only time Gerard ever wandered out was either when he got so hungry that cold coffees just wouldn’t satisfy or when Mikey came by to drag him out of the ‘bat cave’ as he put it.
Gerard was not cool enough to have a bat cave.
“When was the last time you saw sun?” Mikey asked as he pushed Gerard out his dorm room door and into the hallway.
They got a few curious looks as they walked down the hall. Most people had never even seen Gerard, so having Mikey enter a room alone and come out with someone else was slightly shocking.
Gerard winced away from the sun as Mikey led him outside.
“I don’t like sun,” Gerard tried to complain, but Mikey had his arm and was tugging him away from the dorms, away from the cool darkness of his corner.
“You’re not a vampire,” Mikey replied. “You’re not cool enough.”
And yeah. He was not cool enough to be a vampire either.
So Gerard sighed and let Mikey lead the way across campus and all the way to the outskirts. Gerard kicked the ground as they went, walking on his own now that Mikey was sure he wouldn’t run back to his dorm. He didn’t like leaving his dorm.
“Where are we going?” he asked finally when Mikey took a turn he didn’t recognize; this wasn’t saying much since the only things Gerard knew in town were the gas station on the corner of campus and the art supply store right next to it.
“To see Pete.” Mikey took another turn and Gerard slunk after.
“Pete?” he repeated balefully.
Pete was Mikey’s boyfriend – wait, no. Mikey would neither confirm nor deny that statement whenever Gerard made it (usually as an annoyed aside whenever Mikey mentioned him). Pete was the guy Mikey frequently made out with and then stuck like glue to whenever they were in the same room, but no, they weren’t boyfriends. And if you asked Pete, you’d most likely get a long, poetic, confusing ramble about the sky, unicorns, and arm chairs. Gerard really didn’t want to know.
“Pete,” Mikey only replied, turning another corner further and further away from campus. Gerard was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to find his way back – and he was almost sure that that had been Mikey’s plan all along. Pete was just a happy addition to it all.
They walked for quite a bit and Gerard was just beginning to wish he’d brought his jacket (there hadn’t been time what with Mikey basically shoving him out the door) when Mikey stopped.
Gerard ran into him, bumping back a few steps and stumbling on the uneven concrete.
“Mikey, what,” he asked with a sigh, running a hand through his hair. It felt a little gritty and he tried to remember the last time he washed it. It was after Friday but before he’d painted his blue ocean scene, with the ship cascading into violent waves. He could tell from the flecks of blue paint that came off when he lowered his hand. It wasn’t important, though. What was important was that they had stopped and Mikey was just standing now.
Mikey didn’t reply to Gerard’s question, though, sticking his hands in his own – warm-looking – jacket.
They were standing outside of a run-down building, the exposed bricks crumbling in wind and rain from winter’s past. It didn’t look like anything special to Gerard, but then, there were no windows and the sign that hung down, slightly crooked, read Foreclosed.
Gerard was about to ask (whine) about why he’d had to be dragged to some closed building when someone small and wearing impossibly tight jeans came bouncing down the sidewalk.
“Mikeyway!” Pete cried when he was only five feet away, enveloping Mikey in a hug which Mikey barely returned, a pat on the back before Pete backed off. But Mikey’s finger curled into Pete’s belt loop anyway. “And Gerardway!” Pete continued, looking surprised and delighted at the sight of him kicking the sidewalk and hunching his shoulders in the cold wind that blew down the alley.
Gerard didn’t respond, shaking his hair in front of his eyes and wondering when he would be allowed to leave. It didn’t seem to be anytime soon, though, as Pete slipped his arm around Mikey’s waist.
“Shall we?” he asked with a grin only Pete Wentz could pull off – all teeth and leering but still genuine and happy.
Shall we what? Gerard wanted to ask, but he knew Mikey wouldn’t answer him and Pete’s answer would just be lost in a sea of metaphors about sex and life.
To his surprise, Pete led them straight for the door wedged in between the crumbling bricks. He seemed to be ignoring the foreclosed sign as he twisted the knob and pulled it open.
Mikey went along easily without question and Gerard was forced to follow, mostly because he honestly couldn’t find his way back from there if he tried.
Inside, it was dark and cool, a slight improvement at the very least. Pete was walking ahead with Mikey, talking non-stop about something or other that Gerard didn’t quite catch, too busy checking the corners for spiders – he may have liked the dark but spiders were something he didn’t do, not in real life anyway.
“And Patrick wrote some pretty sweet music,” Pete was saying, voice echoing as they walked through a strange sort-of tunnel, words splashed across the dark bricks in white paint.
Gerard caught flashes of words like, life, breathe into the sky, and flying like falling. Confused, he edged through the rest of the tunnel until it finally opened up to a big room, still dark, but lit with low sconces and flickering candles on the many little round tables clustered inside.
Gerard’s first thought was that it was a cult, and fuck, how did Mikey always get him into these things? Then he took another look and wait, that was coffee steaming in that cup and he could swear he saw scones in a case behind what looked a counter.
And yep, that was a stage with a set of… bongos?
“Shit, Mikey,” Gerard hissed as he snuck up behind him. Pete had headed for the counter to obviously order some pretentious coffee-bar/poetry reading drink. “We’re at a coffee house.”
Gerard did not do coffee houses. He liked his coffee quick, to-go, and with no names or faces involved. People at coffee houses remembered you. It was like a freak of nature or something, but they always remembered you and your drink no matter if you just went once or if you went every day.
Mikey just shrugged, obviously oblivious to Gerard’s issues with coffee houses.
“Pete writes poetry.”
“So do I but I don’t parade it in front of stupid, think-they’re-better-than-you coffee house people.” Gerard crowded closer as some girl wearing a dark purple off-the-shoulder shirt and black fingerless gloves slid by behind him.
Mikey’s rolled eyes said more than he needed to as he moved away from Gerard to where Pete was waving at them from a table, three drinks in front of him.
“Mikeyway,” Pete said, handing him what looked like Mikey’s favorite drink; black coffee with one cream and a dash of sugar (not boyfriends my ass, Gerard thought darkly). Mikey took it quietly, not muttering a thanks, just taking a sip. Pete turned to Gerard. “I wasn’t sure what you liked, so I got you their special coffee of the month. It’s hazelnut with vanilla and chai.”
Coffee was coffee to Gerard, so he just took it and slid resolutely into the chair next to Mikey. Mikey gave him another look but Gerard turned away, hunching over his cup and taking in the shop with disapproving eyes.
Aside from the clustered tables and the windowless walls, there was the stage, a stool in the middle and the bongos behind. Two couches were smushed into the front row and lamps draped with red scarves were perched on either side.
The whole place made Gerard feel claustrophobic and like he’d fallen into a creepy universe of feelings and too many similes. At least no one was on stage, he thought resignedly.
The counter was wedged in the back, situated over almost the whole back wall. There were more lights here, but they were still dull and Gerard felt like he was in Count Dracula’s underground lair.
He tried to tell Mikey this, but Mikey was listening to Pete, and Gerard was resigned to grumble under his breath about stupid little brothers and being dragged against his will to coffee houses.
His coffee was gone all too soon and Mikey still wasn’t paying him any attention, and he didn’t really have the energy to attempt to find his way back home, so he left Mikey and Pete at the table and waded through the tables and chairs to the counter.
There were only two people behind the counter, a girl who was twining a piece of dark hair around her finger and humming something to herself, completely opposite of what was playing on the sound system. The other was a guy with a Mohawk, the tips dyed red and green, and he was standing with his back turned to Gerard, stretching on his toes to reach something on the top shelf. As he reached, he couldn’t quite get it, fingertips brushing just shy.
“Fuck, Jamia, help me get this sugar.”
The girl glanced up from where she’d been inspecting her nails. The red fingernail paint was chipped.
“I’m the same height as you, Frank,” the girl replied simply, like this was some sort of routine they went through daily. But she moved over anyway. She bent down and must have dragged over a step-stool because she stepped up and was suddenly at least six inches taller than the guy on the floor. “Here.” She handed him the bag simply and Gerard couldn’t see exactly, but he was sure the guy frowned.
“I could have done that.”
“But you didn’t.” Jamia slid the stool back and turned around, catching sight of Gerard for the first time. “Hey, you want something?”
It wasn’t like Gerard’s usual coffee shops. Normally it was completely professional; quick, easy, painless.
“Uh, I’ll have…” he started to say, but then the guy with the Mohawk, Frank, turned and Gerard caught sight of him fully, from his shiny lip ring to the scorpion poised to strike on his neck.
“Yeah?” Jamia asked, jerking him out his staring contest with Frank, who just tilted his head to the side slightly and didn’t say anything.
“Coffee, black,” Gerard muttered instead, feeling the flush rising on his neck as he tore his eyes from Frank’s mouth, the slight quirk as he did so.
He slid the money over without looking as Frank grabbed a porcelain cup, words tattooed on his knuckles grazing across Gerard’s vision. Jamia was smiling, either at Gerard or at Frank, Gerard couldn’t tell, as she handed back his change and Frank pushed over the cup.
Gerard didn’t mutter his thanks, just clutched the handle and tried not to watch the way Frank’s tongue darted over his lip ring and he tipped his head up.
“Refills are free,” Frank said, a smile curling his lips softly as Gerard nodded quickly and hurried back to his table.
There, he slunk into his chair, glad his chair was facing the stage and not the counter. His fingers were already itching to trace Frank’s tattoos onto paper, to brush his image onto paper with dark, messy charcoal swipes that stained his fingers and left spots on the already-damaged carpet.
Instead, he curled them around his warm cup to stop them from shaking and counted the minutes until Mikey would let him go home.
It didn’t appear to be happening anytime soon, though, since almost as soon as he got back, Pete got up and went over to the counter, talking to the girl there, and not long after, the music stopped and the lights on the wall dimmed even more.
A light switched on on stage and Jamia climbed up the small steps and flipped on the mic easily. A sort of quiet fell in the shop as she waited and leaned forward.
“Good evening everyone,” she spoke into the mic, voice low and quiet. “Welcome to Foreclosed, our lovely little house of fuckery and mischief. It’s that time again, so if you have something you want to share, feel free to let it out. You know the deal. Sign the list and follow the rules. And buy coffee so we can keep doing this little show.”
She stepped down and Gerard wondered if he was supposed to applaud, but no one else did, so he sunk lower in his chair and didn’t sneak a glance over his shoulder to see if Frank was still there, although he was sure he was.
He couldn’t say he was really surprised when Pete bounded on stage and settled onto the stool, pulling the mic down to his height. Grinning, he leaned forward.
“This is dedicated to the coolest guy I know.”
Gerard frowned as he glanced at Mikey, but Mikey just sipped his coffee and didn’t react.
“With skies of blue and clouded grey, a once-clothed lie shrouds the heavens above, smears the soul with smoke-drenched blood. The white slash explodes in a haze of sun pushing through the emptiness of the one who comes with swords to cut down more than what we see in this world. To protect the lie and all we are, bright lights shine entranced and follow blindly too far into the way we feel we see it unfurl.”
Gerard stared as Pete finished with a flourish and the spotlight vanished. Quiet applause filled the room but Gerard didn’t join in.
Leaning over to Mikey, he huffed. “What the fuck was that?”
Mikey shrugged. “Pete.”
That was still not a valid answer, Gerard decided.
Pete reappeared at the table not two seconds later, grinning and sliding into his seat.
“What did you think?” he asked Mikey, arm already securely around his waist.
“I liked it,” Mikey replied simply, and Pete beamed. He looked at Gerard next.
“Uh…” Gerard flailed a little for words. He glanced down at his empty cup. “I think I need more coffee.”
He escaped before Pete could put on a confused face, but he was sure Mikey could smooth it over. If nothing else, he would be distracted as the girl with the purple shirt from before stepped on stage.
As soon as he reached the counter, he knew it had been a bad idea. Frank was there alone now since Jamia was manning the sign-ups. When he caught sight of Gerard, he grinned, the light catching on his lip ring with a flash of light that Gerard wanted to catch so badly in a drawing it was killing him.
“Back already?” Frank asked cheerfully, hand already going for the pot of black coffee.
See, Gerard thought fervently, already remembering his order. But he couldn’t even focus on that when Frank poured more coffee into his cup and he craned to read the words on his knuckles. Frank caught him looking, though, and Gerard jerked back. Blinking, he felt stupid at being caught.
“Um…” He was halfway towards making up what would inevitably be a bad excuse when Frank brushed a hand through his hair, tugging at a red spike.
“Coffee, black,” Frank said instead, pushing the cup over with a smile, and Gerard took it slowly, secretly grateful that Frank wasn’t going to call him out on the weird staring.
“Thanks,” he mumbled, wondering how much worse this could get in the course of the evening, especially when Frank rubbed his hand over his neck and Gerard’s eyes were drawn to the scorpion again.
“No problem,” Frank replied, and Gerard swallowed nervously when Frank smiled again, teeth curling over the lip ring and tugging it into his mouth.
“Yeah,” Gerard muttered quickly. “I should.” He jerked his head back to where Pete had his tongue down Mikey’s throat and escaped before Frank could smile at him again.
As he slid into his seat, Mikey only broke away from Pete to arch an eyebrow at him.
“Stop sulking,” was all he said as Gerard considered drowning himself in his coffee. He was so fucked.
The bright side, Gerard told himself as he painted canvas after canvas of scorpions and Frank’s smile, was that he never had to go back to that coffee house again. He wasn’t even sure he could find it again, let alone go inside and be a creepy stalker. Well, the stalker part he was sure he could do, it was the finding the coffee house that he couldn’t. And he would be damned before he asked Mikey where it was.
Mikey had yet to cotton on about Gerard’s slightly unhealthy obsession with Frank the barista, and Gerard could be nothing but glad about that. He knew that as soon as Mikey knew he liked watching Frank and retracing his tattoos (or at least the scorpion. He didn’t know what the other one on his knuckles had been), it would all be over.
“Who’s the dude?” Ray asked one Saturday night when he got ready to go out and Gerard got ready to stay in.
“What?” Gerard asked sharply from where he was curled up on his bed, cross-legged with his sketchbook in his lap. Frank’s face was staring up at him – in charcoal this time, as opposed to the pen, pencil, crayon, and finger paint versions of him that scattered Gerard’s desk and even a few fluttered under his bed.
“The guy you keep drawing,” Ray pointed out in that voice he always used when he wasn’t sure if Gerard had heard him or if he was really asking why, not what. “Is he, like, your boyfriend or something?”
Gerard hadn’t really discussed his sexuality with anyone since coming to school so it surprised him a little that Ray automatically assumed he was gay.
“I, um,” he just said ineloquently, staring down at Frank’s face and the glint on his lip ring that he just couldn’t get right in any medium.
“I just kind of guessed.” Ray shrugged. “I mean, whenever you draw girls, they’re always dead or dying.”
Gerard had never really noticed that.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” he muttered instead, not really having an answer for Ray. Closing his sketchbook, he sighed, glancing at Ray and how he rummaged in his drawers for a different shirt. He hesitated for a second. “Where are you going?”
Ray looked surprised that Gerard was asking a question, but then he smiled. “I’m meeting a friend for a few drinks.” He paused. “You wanna come?”
Gerard wasn’t really sure it was a good idea, but if he went out at least he wouldn’t be thinking about Frank, right?
“Yeah,” he said finally, sliding off his bed and rummaging for his jacket. It smelled clean enough.
“It’s kind of a live-music bar,” Ray offered as he did up his shoes and Gerard hovered awkwardly. He couldn’t help it as he grabbed his sketchbook at the last minute and shoved it inside his jacket, zipping it up tight.
Ray glanced up from his shoes and smiled at Gerard, his hair flopping in every direction.
As he would ever be, Gerard thought as he closed the door behind them.
Ray’s friend was a big, looming guy who looked kind of scary to Gerard at first glance, but he was quiet and didn’t crack his knuckles when Ray introduced them. His name was Bob, Ray said, which Gerard didn’t think really fit, but when Bob took the chair across from Gerard and gave him a look to sit down, Gerard decided not to question it.
The bar wasn’t somewhere Gerard had been before, not surprising since he barely surfaced for air and food, and occasionally to go to class.
It was just like any bar Gerard had ever pictured, though, with people taking shots at the bar and others sitting at tall tables with beer bottles set in front of them. The stage was still being set up by the band and a few of the bar workers.
Gerard ordered a coke (he really didn’t want a repeat of Freshman year) and settled in at the table, content to listen to Ray and Bob’s conversation instead of joining. He wasn’t exactly sure why’d he come but at the time it had seemed a better alternative to thinking about Frank and how ridiculous it all was considering they’d only met once and Frank probably didn’t even remember him.
“Bob!” The band was just filtering on stage to start when a voice cut through Gerard’s thoughts of Frank. It wasn’t Ray who’d yelled, but a flying blur of black and red throwing itself on Bob.
Bob grumbled as he stumbled backwards at the force of whoever it was trying to clamber on his back. Gerard frowned and craned to see. Ray just sipped his beer calmly.
“Frank, get the fuck off!” Bob complained, pushing at the arms over his shoulders.
“But you’re built like a wilderness man,” came the voice again and Gerard froze as he recognized it. That and the red-tipped Mohawk set it off. Fuck. “I should be able to climb you like a mountain climber.”
Bob rolled his eyes tiredly and shoved. Frank toppled off but bounced right back, darting around now to face the table. Gerard attempted to melt into the floor.
“Ray!” Frank called delightedly, tugging at his hair. “You have not been around. We’ve missed your hair. It’s great for performance nights.”
Ray shrugged in his Ray-like way, calm and cool. “Busy.”
Frank’s eyes narrowed suspiciously, but he bounced up on his toes anyway. He tipped his head in a slight nod. “Still. Come by on Thursday. We need more human-interest.”
Ray just laughed and sipped his beer.
Gerard was internally cussing himself out as he shrunk on his seat, hoping that somehow Frank wouldn’t see him, but it was a naïve hope when Frank’s eyes swept the table and fell on him.
“Coffee, black,” he recited with a grin, and fuck. Gerard was in trouble. He was already an order in Frank’s mind.
Ray was giving him a strange look. “What?”
“Uh…” Gerard cursed his luck. Why did he have to go out tonight? Of all the nights to finally go somewhere, he had to pick tonight, to go to the bar where Frank just happened to be, Frank who knew Ray and Bob and, for all Gerard knew, Pete and Mikey too.
“You didn’t come back.”
Gerard stared as Frank spoke, unsure what to say, but Ray interrupted.
“To the House,” Frank said simply, and Ray stared.
“You went outside?”
Gerard paled under two sets of eyes now fixed on him. Bob was peeling the label off his bottle and rolling it into a tight scroll. He tapped it against the table to the rhythm now coming from the drummer on stage.
Gerard felt like a cornered rat, fingers clutching his glass, feeling it sweat against his skin, and he could swear he was starting to do the same. Ray was watching him with mixed curiosity and incredulity. Frank was just waiting expectantly, chewing on his lip ring. He was wearing short sleeves this time and Gerard’s eyes were drawn to more tattoos there. He couldn’t look too hard, though, as Frank tilted his head to the side and raised an eyebrow.
Eyes darting anywhere but at Frank, Gerard cleared his throat unnecessarily. “I… I don’t know where it is,” he said finally, feeling stupid for staring at Frank again. He must have thought he was a complete stalker.
Frank blinked and then laughed. “You don’t know where it is?”
Gerard shook his head, and Frank stopped laughing.
“I can give you directions,” he offered, and Gerard really didn’t want directions. He wanted to go home and crawl under his sheets and pretend this night never happened.
“Uh.” Gerard flailed for words, words that would somehow indicate that he didn’t want to go back to the coffee house because he would only stare like a creeper and ask Frank to model his tattoos so he could stare more. That sounded a little too creepy even for him.
Ray must have sensed his panic because he stepped in. “I know where it is,” he said. “I can tell him.”
Frank gave them both suspicious looks, but in the end, shrugged and took the seat next to Gerard. Gerard really wished he wouldn’t since now he had a clear shot of Frank’s scorpion and the lady of sorrows on his arm. He could almost smell Frank – apple like a shampoo – and cursed his luck.
Frank had a beer in front of him and he tapped it lightly for a second before turning to Gerard. Gerard was startled and nearly fell off his stool. He would not admit that he’d been studying Frank’s tattoos again, or the curve of his nose.
“What’s your name?” he asked abruptly and Gerard blinked.
“Uh, Gerard,” he said finally, brushing a hand through his hair nervously. When he brought it down, he noticed there were still smears of charcoal on the tips of his fingers. Rubbing them carefully, he tucked his hands under the table. When he looked up, he caught Frank watching him and felt sort of weirdly uneasy.
“I’m Frank,” Frank replied, smiling easily. His tongue flicked out over his lip ring again and Gerard looked away. “You’ve got paint in your hair.”
Reaching up, Gerard could feel a little hardened part. Breaking it off, he came back with green paint and frowned. There was always something in his hair.
“Thanks,” Gerard muttered, hiding behind his glass as the band started another song.
Frank gave him a curious look but didn’t say anything as Gerard hunched down in his jacket. Instead, he tugged Ray’s hair again and said something about the band while Gerard secretly memorized the line of his jaw for later.
If there was one thing that Gerard knew, it was that he was never going back to that coffee house, and nothing Ray or Mikey did would get him there. The problem with that was that Gerard had very little control over what Mikey did and he didn’t really know Ray well enough to know his capabilities.
He tried his hardest, though, shut away in his dorm, painting until well into the night when Ray would roll over with a groan and mumble something about sleep and midterms and Gerard would finally turn off the light and go to bed.
He tried not to draw Frank anymore, but it was becoming a bad obsession. He just needed to get the lines right. Just the lines.
As he sat there in the dark one night, staring at his latest drawing of Frank using the light from his cell phone and listening to Ray snuffle one bed over, he realized something. Looking over sharply at Ray’s sleeping form, he had a suddenly suspicious thought. Ray had known.
Ray had known all along who the drawings were of. That sneaky bastard. Maybe Gerard ought to have paid more attention to him after all.
It was too late now, though. Ray knew all about the drawing obsession, and he’d probably told Frank, which meant that Frank knew, which meant that Gerard was screwed.
Groaning, Gerard let the drawing flutter to the floor and collapsed in bed, tugging the sheets up over his head. He should never have left the dorm. Never.
“No.” Gerard flat-out refused to go one more step as soon as he realized where they were.
Mikey was giving him that look, one eyebrow raised, his cell phone still clutched in one hand from where he’d probably been texting Pete who would probably show up in the next two minutes. Gerard was not giving in, though.
The Foreclosed sign swung in the wind, a loud clack every time it hit the brick wall.
“It’s just coffee,” Mikey said as though it were the simplest argument in the world.
“It’s a coffee house,” Gerard argued, knowing that wouldn’t have any effect on Mikey. He was right when Mikey just raised the other eyebrow. “They have stupid decorations and always remember your order and have theme nights and I just don’t want to go!”
“You’re being stupid,” Mikey said instead of heeding him.
“You’re just going because of Pete,” Gerard pointed out but even that didn’t help his argument.
Mikey shrugged. “And now you are too.”
“No, Mikey!” Gerard tried to escape, but Mikey was opening the door and shoving him inside.
The tunnel was still as dim as ever as Mikey pushed him down it. Sulking, Gerard shuffled along, determined that as soon as Mikey was distracted, he was going to leave and fuck not knowing the way back. He’d wander until he found it.
Mikey was right behind him the whole time, though, and pushed him over to a table where Pete was already sitting, waving enthusiastically at them. Gerard stubbornly didn’t look at the counter to see if Frank was there, although he was sure he wouldn’t be able to hide.
“Mikey!” Pete greeted him, pulling Mikey practically into his lap. Rolling his eyes, Gerard put his head down on the table and tried to ignore them. “What’s wrong, Gerard?”
“Nothing,” Gerard mumbled into the table, determinedly not looking up.
“He’s sulking,” Mikey supplied, and Gerard would have glared, but that would have meant lifting his head, so he didn’t.
Instead, he lifted his hand and flipped them both off. They must have ignored him because Pete started talking about Patrick and something about compositions.
Gerard could hear the sounds of the coffee house around him, the quiet talking and laughter of the other customers. The music playing on the sound system was a little harder than Gerard would expect for a coffee house where they recited poetry and played bongos.
He kept his head down, though, all the way through the invitation to get up on stage by someone he couldn’t see, a girl but not the same one. He heard Pete go up there and his strange recitation of a poem about unicorns and sea witches, sparkly moons and orange goldfishes.
Mikey didn’t say anything about how he didn’t move the whole time, just sipped a coffee Pete had gotten for him (Gerard had not responded when he asked).
At some point, Gerard had to use the bathroom, and he wondered if he could somehow escape in the process, but the door was the opposite way from the bathroom, which was off past the counter somewhere according to the sign. Mikey would definitely notice that, so Gerard did his best to at least slip past the counter unnoticed.
As he skirted past, he caught sight of Frank chatting with a customer and making a drink, turned away from Gerard luckily.
In the bathroom, he used it quickly and stared at his reflection as he washed his hands. His dark hair fell floppily over his eyes and he didn’t bother to push it away, trying to hide behind it. He threw away the paper towel and pushed open the door slowly, creeping back to the main room. The counter was to his right and he was at least partially blocked from view by a stack of to-go cups as he crept out.
A guy was on stage now, talking about snakes, waxing poetic about purple cobras. Gerard only ignored him, eyeing the table where Mikey and Pete were. It wasn’t too far away and he could probably make it if he kept his head down.
He was just contemplating making a run for it when someone appeared in front of him, blocking his way.
“Hey, wondered when you were going to say hi.”
Gerard’s eyes widened as he found Frank before him, smiling at him, eyes bright.
“Frank,” he said for lack of anything better. “H-hi?”
Frank’s smile widened and he put a hand up against the counter with the cups, blocking Gerard’s way around.
“Hi,” he repeated again. “What are you doing?”
“I was…” Gerard paused, thinking quickly, but it was harder to think when Frank was tugging on his lip ring and blinking up at him. He wasn’t sure it was normal to want to jump someone after only seeing them three times and hardly talking to them at all. “I, um, the bathroom.” He pointed unnecessarily behind him and Frank laughed.
“I meant here,” he said, licking his lips and brushing his hair into place.
“Oh. Uh.” Gerard felt stupid now, the flush creeping up the back of his neck as he smiled almost convulsively. “My brother, he made me come. I mean, I wanted to come – well, his, uh, friend, Pete, likes to come here I guess.” It sounded even worse when he said it, and Gerard cringed slightly.
But Frank was still smiling, eyes flickering over his face slowly. “Right.”
“Right,” Gerard echoed, letting out a breath and rubbing his neck awkwardly. “I should, um, they’re waiting.”
Actually, they were kind of sitting really close together and Gerard was pretty sure Pete’s hand was on Mikey’s thigh, but that was better than being here with Frank, who didn’t appear to be moving, and only smiled (or was that a smirk?) at him.
Frank shifted a little. “Yeah,” he said finally. “You should come back sometime.”
“I should?” Gerard asked carefully while his mind wondered how many more tattoos Frank had and if he could draw them all.
“Yeah,” Frank repeated, smiling now.
“Okay,” Gerard agreed although he didn’t know why. The best course of action would be to run away and stop being such a stalker. He should never come back no matter how many times Frank smiled at him or met his eyes easily.
Frank beamed almost as bright as Pete then, and Gerard was slightly taken aback.
“Great,” he said, his hand falling from the counter. “I’ll see you later then.”
Gerard couldn’t respond as Frank left back to the counter and he stood there, confused as fuck and unsure what promise he’d just made.
Still shaking his head, he walked back to the table and slid down in his seat. Mikey glanced over once, arching an eyebrow.
“What happened to you?”
Gerard shook his head, turning away from the counter where he knew Frank was. “Nothing. Can we go now?”
Mikey sighed, but in the end, he tugged on Pete’s sleeve and whispered something in his ear. All Gerard felt was relief as they rose from the table, but when he glanced at the counter on his way past and Frank smiled at him, he felt a flop in his stomach and hurried through the door after Mikey.
“So are you and Frank something?”
Gerard’s neck almost snapped at the force he brought it up with. The floor around him was covered with open paint tubes and tins and the canvas was spread out before him, half-covered in red and black slashes, the curve of a neck, pale ivory against the angry background.
“What? No!” he said, too loudly and too quickly.
Ray raised an eyebrow as he tugged on a pair of jeans. It was morning and Gerard had been up pretty much all night working on the painting. He’d had to open the window for the fumes and consequentially, it was freezing inside. Ray added a sweater and jacket to his outfit. He was used to it by now.
“Does Frank know you’ve got a whole portfolio of just his mouth?”
“Not his mouth,” Gerard argued before he could stop himself. Scowling, he added a swipe of orange to the red on the painting. His fingers were covered in paint and leaving the room without getting paint on anything was going to be a challenge.
“Okay, his piercing,” Ray allowed. “And his tattoos. Does he know?”
“Of course not,” Gerard spat, mortified. He looked up, panicked. “Don’t tell him.”
Ray paused, giving Gerard a pitying look. “I won’t tell him about the drawings. But you should.”
“Right, right,” Gerard muttered, tracing in the shadow on the neck. “So he can know how creepy I am. Don’t even need a basement for that.”
Ray gave him a funny look, but he wasn’t looking, thinking about how much Frank might freak out if he knew about the drawings and the weird obsession.
“You should at least go talk to him.”
“Why?” Gerard asked. He saw no reason he needed to talk to Frank. Nothing good could possibly come from being alone with him for any prolonged period of time. Most likely, Gerard would make a fool of himself and Frank would think he was weirder than he already did.
Ray hesitated, but in the end, just shrugged. “If you like him.”
“I didn’t say that,” Gerard said sharply, glancing up, but Ray shook his head.
“You kinda didn’t have to.” His glance at the scattered pictures of Frank was too obvious for Gerard’s liking, and he vowed to get rid of them the moment the paint dried on his fingers and he could leave the room.
Ray left and Gerard frowned at the pictures, glancing between them and his paint-covered fingers. Maybe he’d just finish the painting first.
A week passed without Gerard running into Frank, which he mostly attributed to the fact that he only left his dorm for classes. Apparently he had to take midterms or something. So he went and took tests on subjects he knew nothing about and then disappeared to the art building because Ray said the paint fumes made him lightheaded.
This was where Mikey found him on Friday afternoon, in one of the back studios with the stereo blasting the Misfits as loud as it could go. Gerard was mostly throwing paint at the canvas on the wall, sometimes taking the time to curve down a line, add a smudge here and there. He was covered in paint from head to toe and it was already drying.
He jumped when Mikey turned down the stereo, tripping backwards over a can of blue paint and drenching his shoe.
“Fuck!” he cursed, shaking his foot and splattering the paint on the canvas. Pausing, he nodded. Then, sighing, he turned to Mikey. “What are you doing?”
“Making sure you didn’t drown in paint,” Mikey replied. “Ray said you were here.”
Gerard just turned back to his painting and sighed. “It’s not really working.”
Gerard knew that Mikey knew absolutely nothing about art, but he did feel at least a little better when he said, “I like it.”
Frowning, Gerard didn’t know what was wrong. It was supposed to be abstract, but it was just turning into a mess.
“Who’s that in the middle?”
“What?” Gerard tilted his head the same way Mikey was and frowned, squinting. With his head almost 90 degrees, he could see the outline of a person. Somehow, the lines had formed a body, shoulders hunched inside a jacket and a gleam near the mouth, barely there, but now that he saw it, it was almost too obvious. “Shit.”
“What?” Mikey asked, tilting back. “Pete’s gonna do another reading tomorrow, if you want to come.”
Frowning at the painting, Gerard shook his head. “No, I don’t.”
Mikey only shrugged and nudged a paint can with his foot.
Everything would have been fine, if the dreams hadn’t started.
They started like his artwork, sort of abstract and not really anything clear. The picture was muddy, just sort of feelings swirling around, a tug on his gut, a rush of heat, desire, and he would wake up confused and disoriented. They cemented quickly, though.
When he woke up hard for the third day in a row, Gerard was ready to throw in the towel. He didn’t know why this was happening. He barely knew Frank, had only talked to him a handful of times, had only looked at him through quick glances and a few prolonged stares, lingering gazes on his tattoos, the curve of his lips, the smooth line of his back.
In the shower that morning, Gerard bit his lip to stop the noises when he came. Communal showers were not a great place to jerk off but there wasn’t much he could do. No privacy, remember? Leaning back, he let the hot water steam over his skin. At the very least, it was a reason to use the shower. Most of the time he avoided it as best he could.
Either way, he blamed Frank – for waking up with a hard on and having to take a shower. It was stupid and irrational but he couldn’t stop thinking about Frank, what he might look like naked, if the rest of his body was covered in tattoos that Gerard could trace with his fingers and maybe his tongue.
But Frank wouldn’t want him. Gerard was sure of it. He was nothing particularly special and he spent most of his time drawing in his dorm. He was a creative arts major which basically meant when he graduated, he’d be living on the street or working in a copy place.
So Gerard didn’t go to see Frank or do anything other than doodle scorpions in his notebook when he bothered to show up to class.
Gerard wasn’t used to being kidnapped by anyone but Mikey, so when Ray invited him out to lunch and they ended up in a strange part of town with no restaurants in sight, he became slightly suspicious.
“Ray?” he asked cautiously as they took a turn that looked scarily familiar, if Gerard would admit it to himself.
Ray didn’t reply, grabbing Gerard’s arm and forcing him through a familiar-looking door before he could even glance up at the sign.
“I just need to get something first before lunch,” was all he said as they walked through the dark tunnel-like hallway.
Gerard groaned aloud as they emerged into Foreclosed’s main room. It looked exactly the same as it always did as Gerard stood awkwardly in the doorway and Ray went off to find whatever it was.
He didn’t want to be there. He knew Frank had to be there somewhere, probably wondering why he hadn’t come back when he said he would. He didn’t want to face him with his only answer being that he was too creepy and stalkerish.
Ray was across the room talking to someone who looked suspiciously like Bob, and Gerard only had a second to wonder if this was a set-up when Frank appeared at his elbow, fresh from behind the counter. He smelled like muffins.
“Gerard,” he greeted him easily.
Startled, but trying to pull himself together, Gerard blinked and licked his lips quickly. “Uh, Frank, hi.”
“Hi,” Frank echoed, not glancing across the room at Ray and Bob like Gerard was. There was a pause, and Gerard scuffed the ground with his shoe. “So I hear you’re avoiding me.”
A tiny alarm ran through Gerard’s body but his gaze didn’t snap back to Frank. “What?” he asked instead, body going still, heart thrumming in his throat.
“Avoiding me,” Frank repeated, arching an eyebrow, ducking to meet Gerard’s eyes, but Gerard kept his gaze determinedly down. “Not coming by even though you promised. Holing up in your dorm.”
Ray was gonna die.
“I always do that,” Gerard replied, clearing his throat slightly.
Frank paused, and then he surprised Gerard by grabbing his arm and pulling him away from the doorway, more towards the bathroom. The shadow fell over them as Frank pulled him back from the main room.
“Okay, I’ll give you that one since you look like you’ve never seen sun, but come on, Gerard.”
“Come on what?” Gerard asked, avoiding looking at Frank, although Frank’s hand was still on his arm, warmth seeping through his jacket.
Frank was half-smiling and he tugged on his lip ring for a second. “Coffee, black. Scorpion. Paint. Charcoal.”
Gerard didn’t understand. Frank was just smiling at him, though, almost knowing and half-exasperated.
Frank took a step closer and Gerard wanted to back up, to apologize for being such a stalker.
“Blue birds,” Frank said quietly and took another step. Gerard didn’t move, but his heart was beating faster, nervously. Frank’s hand was still on his arm, tightening slightly so he almost couldn’t move away. “Halloween.” He was too close now and Gerard swallowed nervously, licking his lips and glancing away for Ray, but he was nowhere to be seen. “Pumpkin.”
It didn’t make any sense to Gerard, but Frank was so close that his mind wasn’t working anyway. He opened his mouth to tell Frank that he’d somehow gotten it wrong, but Frank’s hand moved away from his arm, hooking around his neck before Gerard could stop him.
Frank’s lips were warm against Gerard’s, and his arm was tight around Gerard’s neck. Gerard flailed a little, arms flapping and generally looking like an idiot until Frank pulled him closer and opened his mouth, licking at Gerard’s lips.
It wasn’t exactly how Gerard had pictured his next encounter with Frank. In fact, he hadn’t even pictured one. There wasn’t supposed to be one, but this was definitely different.
He opened his mouth to Frank, though, after a few moments of indecision. He’d been dreaming about it for weeks after all.
Frank made a soft noise then, pushing Gerard back against the wall, boxing him in as he kissed him harder, tongue licking into his mouth, lips gliding over lips, noses pressed together almost awkwardly until Frank shifted up and Gerard caught his lip ring between his teeth.
“Gerard,” Frank breathed, eyes closed and pressing closer against him.
Gerard could feel the slow drag of Frank’s body against his, how he fit in against his hips, pushing up slightly. Frank’s hands were on the back of his neck, one sliding into his hair and curling into the strands as he pushed in closer.
Gerard decided it was now or never as he pushed back against Frank, letting all his dreams flood back. Careful, he slid his hand down Frank’s back, over the curve of his spine to the hem of his shirt.
Frank’s groan was soft when Gerard’s hand slid underneath, fingers grazing over soft skin. He bit Gerard’s bottom lip lightly, licking the spot seconds later as he let out a breathless moan.
“Why didn’t you come back?” he asked, breath dragging across Gerard’s lip, words mumbled into his mouth as Frank still kissed him, wet and deep.
“’Cause I’m a c-creepy stalker,” Gerard managed to breathe out, breath hitching when Frank’s free hand slid down his front and pressed the heel into his crotch. He was most definitely turned on by Frank and all the ideas swirling in his mind. He still wasn’t sure why this was happening, but he wasn’t going to complain, not right now. Not when Frank’s fingers were fumbling with the button on his jeans.
He heard the slow slide of the zipper and was all too aware that they weren’t feet away from other people.
“Frank,” he whispered, pushing at his shoulders gently. “Frank.”
Frank pulled away from where he’d been licking down Gerard’s neck. He got up close, licking Gerard’s jaw before kissing him deeply and muttering, “Yeah?” into his mouth before Gerard could protest.
Frank’s hand was slipping down, thumb dragging down Gerard’s stomach torturously slow, then his palm was pressed flat and sliding under his underwear, creeping closer to where Gerard’s cock twitched in anticipation. He didn’t know how much he’d wanted this until right this moment with Frank pressed up against him, mouthing behind his ear, nibbling down his neck as his hand grazed down his cock.
His throat was dry, but he swallowed slowly and gasped a little. He pushed at Frank again, almost losing it when Frank’s hand wrapped around him, warm and tight.
“F-Frank,” he choked, hiding his face in Frank’s shoulder. “We shouldn’t, not here.”
He wasn’t sure if Frank heard him or not. He could feel Frank’s breathing, heavy and slow, his heart beating against his where they were pressed together. Gerard wanted to feel skin. He wanted to feel Frank under his fingers, to suck a bruise onto the scorpion on his neck. The thought made his prick throb and he stifled a moan, stretching his head back as Frank sucked on his neck.
“Come on,” Frank mumbled a second later, and Gerard was confused for a minute when Frank pulled out his hand and tugged him towards the bathroom.
Inside the bathroom, Frank pushed him into the first stall, locking the door behind them. He didn’t waste any time pushing Gerard’s jeans down over his thighs.
“You smell like paint,” he murmured when he slid back up to Gerard’s mouth, kissing him slowly while his thumb brushed over Gerard’s jaw.
“You smell like muffins,” Gerard mumbled into his mouth, and Frank smiled, pulling away and glancing down.
Frank licked his lips. “I’ve been waiting for you,” he only said, slipping his hand down to wrap around Gerard’s prick, giving a slow stroke that had Gerard hissing, his head falling back against the stall wall. He didn’t even bother to ask what Frank meant by that. Instead, he just let himself go, thrusting into Frank’s hand and making stupid, embarrassing noises when Frank twisted his wrist.
“Fuck, yeah, Frank,” he mumbled, swallowing a whine and pushing up, needing more friction, more heat as Frank jerked him faster, rough and dirty in the bathroom stall.
“Yeah,” Frank breathed close to Gerard’s ear, hot breath washing over it, and Gerard groaned. “Come on, Gerard. Come on.”
Biting his lip, Gerard cursed, neck arching back as he grunted and pushed into Frank’s hand.
“Faster,” he gasped, hands scrabbling for Frank’s back, pressing into the smooth skin as he thrust up harder, faster. “Fucking fuck fuck.”
Frank never let up, jerking rougher as Gerard dissolved into a mess of curses, eyes shut tightly and licking his lips. Frank caught his mouth in a kiss just as Gerard gave a last gasp and came on his hand. He tried to breathe through the kiss, but he had to break it, panting for air.
“Frank,” he whispered, feeling sort of embarrassed, but Frank’s hand was still wrapped around him and he just brushed his hair back.
“Okay?” Frank asked after a second, and Gerard let out a shaky breath.
“Yeah,” he replied finally, shifting and pulling Frank’s hand out. Frank just pulled off some toilet paper and wiped up the mess.
A moment of silence passed and Gerard bit his lip awkwardly, pressed against the stall wall and wondering exactly what he should say.
“I, um, I’m sorry I didn’t come back,” he said finally, wondering if he should edge out, but then Frank was back, smiling at him.
“You’re back now.” He paused, eyes flicking up to Gerard’s. “Want to see the rest of my tattoos?”
Gerard nearly choked on his answer. The idea was just too amazing. Instead of actually answering, he just nodded his head like a fish out of water. He wasn’t expecting Frank to step back in the cramped space and pull his shirt off.
Gerard’s eyes widened as he took in every inch of inked skin, skidding over the birds – blue birds – on his stomach, the words etched in between, to the others on his shoulders. As his eyes traveled down, he realized with a jolt that Frank was hard. It shouldn’t have been such a surprise considering what just happened, but it wasn’t something Gerard was really used to.
After a second’s hesitation, he took a step forward, nudging Frank back against the opposite wall of the stall.
“I like your tattoos,” he breathed, and Frank smiled as he hit the wall and Gerard reached forward tentatively, light fingers tracing the birds almost as if he wasn’t sure it would be okay.
“Am I ever gonna get to see any of those drawings?” Frank asked, and Gerard stopped almost immediately, looking up. Frank was smiling. “Ray told me.”
Gerard frowned, his hands still motionless over Frank’s hips. “I don’t think so,” he said after a second, not meeting Frank’s eyes as his fingers trailed down, moving to the waist of his jeans slowly. The clink of the belt was too loud in the empty bathroom.
Frank was watching him with dark eyes as the zipper came down. “Why not?”
Gerard frowned at the waist of Frank’s jeans as he peeled it down, revealing the bottom of the birds and the curve of Frank’s pelvis.
“Because they’re creepy,” he muttered in response, now pushing the jeans over Frank’s thighs, shoving them down. His own pants were still around his ankles and he felt slightly awkward as he slid to his knees.
Frank was hard in front of him, and he heard the way Frank’s breathing changed when he slid down, a little shallower, faster.
“I like creepy,” Frank offered, but he didn’t speak much more after that when Gerard leaned in, licking a stripe up his cock and he went suddenly quiet.
It had been a while, but Gerard still remembered how it went. He used his hand, wrapping around the base as he sucked on the head and Frank moaned softly. Frank’s hand found its way into his hair and he didn’t mind when Frank tugged lightly.
“Yeah, Gerard,” Frank breathed above him, eyes falling shut as Gerard moved in, taking more down his throat.
He used his tongue, sliding it over the prick, swirling over the head while Frank squirmed above him and mumbled nonsense, gasping and glancing down to watch Gerard slide over the skin, mouth stretched wide.
“Fuck yeah,” he muttered, trying not to thrust up, but Gerard loosened his throat and took more, sliding down until he couldn’t anymore. He let Frank thrust, tight and controlled, sucking hard and watching him come undone.
Frank was muttering curses, fingers tightening over his hair, and that was the only warning Gerard got before Frank came, cursing and apologizing.
“Fuck, sorry, Gerard, shit, shit.” He gasped for air as Gerard pulled off, licking his lips and not missing the way Frank stared. Then Frank dragged him up into a breathless kiss, licking into his mouth, biting his lower lip, pulling him close. Their hips pressed together and everything was still a little slick, a little hot, a little messy, but Gerard honestly didn’t care.
Frank broke the kiss finally, dragging a breath against Gerard’s cheek.
“I still want to see those drawings.”
“But they’re creepy,” Gerard muttered against Frank’s chin, and he knew they’d have to leave the bathroom soon. Ray was probably wondering where he was, if he didn’t know already.
“I like creepy,” Frank repeated firmly, kissing Gerard’s cheek and pulling back. “I like you.”
“Really?” Gerard asked doubtfully and Frank laughed.
Gerard wasn’t sure what to say, but Frank was pulling up his pants so he did the same, buttoning them slowly. Before he made to open the stall door, he paused.
“What?” Frank asked as he stopped.
“I don’t know,” Gerard said slowly. “You really like me?”
Frank stared for a second before smiling. “Yeah, I’ll give you my number and everything if you’ll just let me go get a pen and paper. And anyway, I know all your friends, so you can’t hide from me.”
Gerard smiled almost reluctantly as Frank came back, leaning in and kissing him slowly.
“You can’t hide,” he repeated, pulling away and opening the stall door.
Gerard followed after a minute, trailing Frank to the counter. He determinedly didn’t look to see if Ray and Bob were still there, although he would need directions back home later.
Jamia was behind the counter today and she just smirked as Frank stretched over for a pad of paper and the pen by the register. Gerard waited as Frank scribbled out a phone number and pressed it into his hand.
“Now it’s official.”
Gerard smiled and tucked it away in his pocket. “Okay. It’s official.”
Frank grinned as they stood in front of the counter. “And I still want to see those drawings.”
Gerard ducked his head a little but nodded. “Okay. Fine.”
“Good,” Frank replied. “Well, I do actually have to work. But you should, you know, call me.”
“Yeah.” Gerard nodded, feeling stupidly happy this time. “I will.”
“Really?” Frank asked suspiciously, and Gerard smiled.
“Okay then.” Frank bounced a little. “I’ll see you later.”
“Okay,” Gerard agreed, turning away slowly and stealing a glance back as he reached the door. Frank was behind the counter talking to Jamia, but he grinned as he caught Gerard watching. Pulling his gaze away, Gerard couldn’t wait to get home and start sketching out Frank’s other tattoos.
A/N: Yes, there is a coda/sequel of sorts to this to be posted in the near future...