what is love but a landlocked dove (silver_etoile) wrote,
what is love but a landlocked dove
silver_etoile

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Handtools and Hellos [frerard, r, standalone]

Title: Handtools And Hellos
Author: silver_etoile
Rating: R
Pairing: Frank/Gerard (Mikey/Alicia)
POV: Third
Disclaimer: This is not true.
Summary: Gerard just needs someone to finish building his house. Enter Frank, the young, handsome contractor that Gerard certainly doesn't mind keeping an eye on as plumbing goes in and carpets are installed.
A/N: It's been a while since I posted anything, and this has been sitting on my hard drive for over a year.


*

It was a mess. A complete mess. And Gerard had no fucking clue as to how to fix it.

His house, which was supposed to have been finished over a month ago, was now just a pile of wood and nails rusting away in the spring rain. He decided right then that all contractors could go to hell. He didn’t need them doing half the job then breaking the contract to move out to California for some stupid ‘dream job’.

There was nothing he could do, though, and he was left with half a house and no one to finish building it. Cursing all contractors to hell, he started his search for a new one.

His brother, Mikey, was little help as he mainly just bounced around the empty house, stumbling over loose nails and remaining ropes and wire chords. Gerard spent his time at Mikey’s house, invading on his life with his new wife and feeling like a burden as he pored through phone books and called every contracting company in town.

It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. His house was supposed to be done and he was supposed to be picking out furniture to match the carpet or some other useless shit like that. He wasn’t supposed to be freaking out that he wouldn’t have a place to live when the rent on his storage unit ran out and he had to find somewhere to put his piano.

It felt as though he’d been through every name in the book, seen every one of the seedy contractors and been given estimates from four months to a year for the completion of his house. Most hemmed and hawed at the project, giving overly expensive estimates.

Gerard knew what it cost, he was an accountant for fuck’s sake, and he knew they were all overcharging. He wanted it done, and he wanted it done now.

So, closing his eyes and taking a stab, he picked out a name from the book and set up an appointment early the next day. He knew it would be the same. Some overweight fifty-year old guy would amble up to the house, look things over, make noises under his breath and then give him a worthless number.

Gerard wasn’t stupid. That house should have been finished already. It could be done in two months at the most with a good contractor.

The next morning, then, Gerard woke up at the ungodly hour of seven AM to meet the contractor at his unfinished house, Mikey tagging along.

“So is this the one?” Mikey asked as he walked beside Gerard towards his house a few blocks away.

“It better be,” Gerard grumbled, rubbing his face and running his hands through his hair that stuck up as he did so. He didn’t bother to fix it, though, knowing it was useless. And besides, what did a contractor care what he looked like?

They reached the house before the contractor and Gerard sighed at the sorry state of it. It was merely a shell of a house, a floor and erected, see-through walls. The hole to the front door stared Gerard in the face and he just wished there was a door there.

He turned when he heard the low rumble of a car on the road behind them. An old, yet very well-taken care of, red Mustang convertible was rolling towards them and stopped with only a slight squeak at the curb.

Gerard watched as a short man climbed out of the front seat, tugging down his jacket sleeves and glancing up at the house for a second before turning to Gerard.

“You must be Mr. Way,” he said, his smile friendly as he came forward. He held out his hand to shake Gerard’s and Gerard’s gaze was immediately drawn to the tattoos across his knuckles, although he couldn’t read it.

“Uh, yeah, you’re Frank Iero?”

“That’s me.” Frank smiled again.

Gerard was surprised and a little taken-aback. This contractor was much younger than the others he’d met so far. Glancing up the man’s body, he caught sight of a scorpion tattoo just barely half-covered by the jacket collar.

“I’m Mikey,” Mikey piped up when Gerard failed to introduce him.

Frank nodded politely and turned to Gerard. “So this is the house?”

“Yep, that’s it.” Gerard sighed, glancing back at his poor house. “It was supposed to be done a month ago.”

“What happened?” Frank asked as he strolled forward, tapping the foundation and checking boards.

“Contractor skipped out,” Gerard muttered.

Frank glanced back at him. “You know, you could take him to court for breaking the contract.”

Gerard laughed bitterly. “I’m an accountant. I know how much that would cost.”

Frank just gave him a curious glance for a second before continuing his inspection of the house as Gerard and Mikey trailed behind him. Gerard had done this enough times to know that much hmm-ing and oh-ing, maybe even an uh-oh if he was really lucky, would come before the price bomb.

Frank didn’t make any of these noises, though, wandering around the foundation first and making notes on his pad of paper. He went inside next and Gerard hovered by the front door as he poked his way through what should have been the kitchen, the dining room, the bedrooms. He made more notes and rubbed the scorpion tattoo on his neck a few times.

Gerard found himself watching Frank carefully, his eyes following his movements as he bent over the water pipes and inspected them. He snapped back at the nudge in his side from Mikey and scowled at his smirk.

Finally, Frank returned to them, writing more things down on his pad before looking up at them.

“Well?” Gerard asked, bracing himself for another million-dollar quote.

“Well, most of it’s done,” Frank replied simply. “I mean, aside from the obvious things like drywall and lighting and interior stuff.”

“Yeah.” Gerard already knew this. He’d known since the day Bert had walked away from the job.

Frank looked around thoughtfully, tapping the pen against his lip and the lip ring Gerard hadn’t noticed before. “I could have it done in… maybe a three months, two if I’ve got enough crew.”

Gerard was surprised. That was the shortest anyone had offered so far. There had to be a catch.

“How much?”

Frank paused, scribbling out some numbers on his pad and doing quick math. “It’d probably end up being around $90,000 if you want it done fast and good.”

Gerard paused. He’d been doing his own calculations (he couldn’t resist being an accountant and all) and it hadn’t come up too much off from what Frank was suggesting. He was shocked to find a contractor who gave him an honest price.

Mikey was watching him, glancing back at Frank every few seconds and smirking. Gerard ignored him.

“When can you start?”

Frank’s smile widened. “I can have my crew in here on Monday.”

“That sounds great,” Gerard said, feeling incredibly relieved. Just the thought of maybe having a completed house by the middle of summer sounded amazing.

Frank headed back to his car and leaned over the back while Gerard tried hard not to stare at his ass in his tight jeans and purposefully looked away, only to find himself staring at Mikey’s knowing smirk.

Scowling, he looked back, thankful that Frank had found whatever he was looking for.

Frank came back, flipping back a piece of paper on a clipboard. “The contract stipulates that you’ll pay for the building materials as well as the worker’s compensation. And the contracting fee is 20% on top of that as well.”

Gerard nodded. He knew this well, and signed where Frank pointed.

Mikey lingered in the background, bored already. He wasn’t much for contracts or legal stuff.

Finally, Frank flipped the papers closed and grinned at Mikey, holding out his hand. “It’ll be a pleasure to build your house, Mr. Way.”

“Thanks,” Gerard said awkwardly as he shook Frank’s hand again, trying to read the word on his knuckles but failing again. “And you can call me Gerard.”

Frank’s smile widened if possible. “Will do.”

Gerard blinked, feeling a dull flush rise on the back of his neck and he tugged his black jacket tighter. “Great.”

“Great,” Frank echoed, throwing the contract carelessly in the back seat of his car. “See you Monday, bright and early.”

Gerard just nodded, hating the bright and early part. He really wasn’t an early morning kind of person. He could swear Frank winked at him as he slid into his car, but was sure he imagined it as he peeled out seconds later.

Gerard was left staring after and jumped slightly as Mikey slapped a hand down on his shoulder.

“Looks like you’ve got a fun two months coming up.”

Gerard merely scowled, shaking off his hand. “He’s just a contractor, Mikey.”

“With a cool red hot rod,” Mikey added. “I bet you’d like to take a ride in that.”

“Should I tell Alicia you’re making bad sexual references again or do you want to?”

Mikey just shrugged. “Can’t get mad if it’s true.”

Gerard begged to differ and his scoff was enough to say that. Mikey merely ignored him, plucking a dandelion from the grass and blowing off the seeds.

“Damn it, Mikey,” Gerard complained as the seeds spread. “Now they’ll be everywhere.”

Mikey just smiled. “We’ll just call back your contractor and see if he does gardening too.”

Grumbling, Gerard rolled his eyes and started walking away from the house, Mikey trailing after, plucking another dandelion as he went.

“I bet he’s real handy around the house.”

Gerard could hear the smug drawl in his brother’s voice and rued the day he’d ever told him he was gay all those years back in high school. He could have pretended to be straight, right? Yeah, right.

“I bet he’ll fix the house right up and then move on to other important things.”

“That’s it!” Gerard exclaimed, turning around and tearing the dandelion from Mikey’s hand and throwing it on the ground. “You aren’t allowed to come along anymore.”

Mikey just smiled. “But what would you do without me? You need me to help you woo your contractor.”

Gerard glared. “No, I don’t. I mean, I’m not going to!” He scowled at Mikey’s grin and hit his shoulder.

“All right,” Mikey said simply, picking another dandelion as they walked. “But you’re totally lying.”

Gerard vowed never to let Mikey come back to the house when Frank was there ever again.

*

Bright and early it turned out really meant bright and early with Frank. Gerard found this out when he received a call at six AM Monday morning. Groggy, he reached for his phone on the guest bedroom’s side table and flipped it open without looking at the caller I.D.

“’Lo?” he drawled into the phone, blinking blurrily and realizing where he was. He didn’t like staying in a guest bedroom where there were flowers on the tables and butterflies on the curtains.

“Mr. Way?” came an unfamiliar voice and Gerard groaned. If it was telemarketers, he was going to kill them.

“Yes?” he replied, a slight growl to his voice as he caught sight of the clock flashing a giant red six.

“It’s Frank Iero,” said the voice and Gerard paused. “We’re at the house. I wasn’t sure if you wanted us to just get started or if you’d like to be here. We can do either way.”

Gerard was silent for a minute as his brain tried to process what was going on. Finally, he scrambled up in bed, running a hand through his messy hair.

“No, yeah, uh, go ahead and start. I’ll be over in a minute. I was just… yeah.” He stopped, sighing slightly and swinging his legs off the bed, stumbling over to the dresser.

“Great.” Frank’s voice was cheery and Gerard wondered how long he’d been up for. “See in a little while then.”

“Uh huh,” Gerard mumbled as he hung up and tossed the phone on the messy bed. Not bothering to make it, he rummaged through the drawers and pulled on a pair of jeans and an old tee shirt. His hair was still messy as he left the guest room and crept down to the kitchen.

Alicia was already there, a pot of coffee brewing on the counter. She smiled at Gerard as he entered. “Morning. You’re up early.”

“Er, yeah,” Gerard muttered, heading over and grabbing a mug from the cupboard and filling it with coffee.

Alicia watched him for a minute as he added sugar to the coffee. “Going somewhere?”

“Contractor,” he muttered. “He’s at the house, I guess.”

Alicia nodded as Gerard rubbed at his eyes, still not completely awake. Running a hand through his still-messy hair, he sighed.

“I have to go meet him,” he continued. “Then I guess I’ll come back before work.”

Alicia nodded again. “Okay. Good luck. See you later.”

Gerard grunted and left with his coffee firmly in his hands.

He walked the few blocks to his sadly unfinished house. He could hear the sounds of saws and hammers a block away and as he neared the house, he saw what looked like a small swarm of ants all over. One figure stood apart from the rest, looking up at the house and pointing sporadically at different things.

Bracing himself, Gerard sidled up next to Frank, who stood back on the sidewalk.

“Brendon, be careful with that level! Remember the Smith house.” Frank had his eyes on a brown-haired boy far away and didn’t notice as Gerard approached.

“Hey,” Gerard greeted him and was surprised when Frank’s return greeting was a wide smile.

“Hey yourself,” he said. “We’re going to be finishing up the outside walls mostly today and hopefully get started on the electricity. It seems to be running through the bottom story but not the top story.”

“Yeah,” Gerard muttered, clutching his warm coffee cup and gazing at his unfinished house.

Frank looked at him curiously. “You look tired. I didn’t wake you, did I?”

Gerard blinked. “No,” he lied quickly, taking a drink and hoping it woke him up soon. “I was up.”

“Really?” Frank’s tone was curious and amused, his eyes shining behind his dark hair.

“Yeah, well, you said bright and early,” Gerard mumbled, feeling stupid, so he hid his mouth behind his mug and looked back at the house.

Frank hesitated, his eyes still shining. “No offense, but you don’t seem like a bright and early kind of guy.”

Gerard frowned. “I could be. You don’t know.”

Frank laughed. “I’ve met a lot of people, and in my experience, the ones who clutch their coffees like you are have never seen the sun before nine in the morning.”

Gerard frowned but didn’t refute the statement. Instead, he focused on the house, watching the same brown-haired boy stumble over a chord as he crossed to the other side.

“Careful, Brendon!” Frank called and the boy just waved happily and continued on his way.

“Is he okay to be working on this?” Gerard asked uneasily, watching as Brendon tripped up the stairs to the inside.

“Oh yeah,” Frank assured him. “He’s clumsy sometimes. Sometimes he doesn’t pay attention.”

“You have insurance, right?” Gerard asked nervously, glancing at Frank, who grinned.

“Of course. But don’t worry. I have a good crew.” He paused as his eyes followed the progress of a sheet of plywood. “Make sure that’s level, guys! We don’t want a Johnson repeat.”

Gerard raised an eyebrow, wondering what he was referring to, but Frank didn’t elaborate. Instead, Frank glanced at him.

“How long are you planning on staying? You don’t have to. Most people don’t.”

“Well, I’m up,” Gerard said, grumbling slightly to himself at the early hour. “And I don’t have to be at work until nine-thirty.”

“You said you were an accountant?” Frank asked, his gaze flickering from Gerard back to his workers.

“Yeah,” Gerard muttered. “Lots of numbers.”

Frank nodded thoughtfully. “Well, you’re welcome to stay and watch, but I’m afraid it’s not really that interesting.”

Gerard paused. He didn’t really have anything else to do and now he had three hours to kill. He pushed his hair back again, knowing it must look a mess, but he didn’t really care as he drank more coffee.

“It’s fine,” he said finally, sniffing in the cool air and blinking again. He still felt unbearably tired but knew he’d never get back to sleep after this.

Frank’s smile was smaller this time but he didn’t say anything as he turned back to his workers.

“Pete, get those planes up higher! Where’s the level?” Then Frank strode off, leaving Gerard standing on the sidewalk.

He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know why he was staying to watch people make all sorts of noise and annoy the hell out of neighbors he didn’t even technically have yet. Oh, they were going to love him when he finally moved in.

Mikey’s voice floated through his head at that moment, saying something about contractors fixing things and what could Frank fix? Scowling, Gerard shook his heard sharply, glaring at the sidewalk.

There was nothing he needed Frank to fix other than his house, and he was doing a fine job of that already. No, Gerard needed nothing more from his contractor.

It was as if Mikey could read his thoughts from blocks away because at that moment, he was jolted from them by a loud ringing coming from his pocket.

Fumbling for his cell phone, Gerard answered it quickly.

“Yeah?”

“Hey, Gee,” came Mikey’s muffled voice through the receiver, far too perky for so early in the morning.

“Hey, Mikey.”

“Alicia said you left really early this morning,” Mikey said, and Gerard shuffled his feet.

“Yeah, Frank called.”

“Your contractor?” Mikey’s voice was interested and made Gerard scowl at the sound of it.

“They just wanted to get started early.”

“And you have to be there for that? I thought you didn’t have to.”

“Yeah, well,” Gerard muttered. “I just thought I should check it out, make sure he’s not another Bert.”

“Oh, I don’t think he is,” Mikey chirped cheerfully. “He’s much better than Bert at—”

“Mikey!”

“Contracting,” Mikey finished simply yet Gerard could hear the smirk in his voice.

“Uh huh,” Gerard muttered, rolling his eyes darkly and glancing to where Frank was standing by one of the walls and looking up at a man on a ladder. “Let’s just hope.”

“Have you asked him to take you for a ride in his car yet?”

“Mikey!” Gerard hissed, turning away when a few of the workers glanced at him.

“What? It’s a nice car.”

“Well, I don’t want to ride in it,” Gerard snapped.

“Sure you do. You could pretend to be back in high school riding with the cool guy.”

“I hated high school.”

Mikey wasn’t discouraged. “Come on, Gee, you know you like him.”

“I do not,” Gerard growled into the phone, checking over his shoulder to make sure Frank wasn’t anywhere nearby. “He’s just the contractor.”

“Who’s building your house, I know, I know.” Mikey sighed.

Gerard scowled. “I have to go, Mikey. I’ll be back soon. Stop talking about this.”

“Well, can I think about it?”

Sighing, Gerard’s shoulders dropped in defeat. “Fine, but don’t say anything.”

“Okay! I won’t.” Then Mikey hung up and Gerard just rubbed his face again.

“Say anything about what?”

Gerard whipped around, staring at Frank, who’d come up silently behind him. Frank was smiling and chewing on his lip ring as he waited for Gerard’s response.

“Uh, nothing,” Gerard stuttered, taking a breath. “So, I should get back. Have to get ready for work.”

“Okay,” Frank agreed, glancing back at the house. “What time do you get off?”

Gerard stared for a second before shaking his head. “Around five.”

“We’ll probably be out of here before then,” Frank said, “but if you want to come by, just call me and I can come out.”

“Uh, yeah,” Gerard answered quickly. “Sure, that’s fine.”

“Great,” Frank said again, smiling at Gerard.

“Yeah, so, work,” Gerard mumbled, taking a step backwards as he stuffed his phone in his pocket. “I’ll see you later.”

“Yeah, later,” Frank echoed quietly as Gerard turned and headed down the street.

Pausing at the corner, Gerard turned to see that Frank had already vanished from his spot on the sidewalk and Gerard thought he could hear him shouting a name that sounded suspiciously like “Brendon!”

*

When Gerard got off work that afternoon, he drove straight to his unfinished house. The work crew was gone, but the yard was littered with saws and more chords that he had to stumble over to get to the front door.

All the outside walls were up and covered in plastic, ready for siding, but Gerard knew that came later. It actually looked like an almost-decent house. There was still no door or windows, but it looked better than the shell it had been that morning.

Gerard was mildly impressed, but then, he thought, if they could build an entire house in seven days on TV, a crew could do it in a couple months.

Entering the house carefully, Gerard looked around at the empty space. The inside walls weren’t covered and tiny wires ran through all of them, down to the plugs and up to the sockets.

He wandered through the living room and into the kitchen that smelled strongly of wood and sawdust. Red and green drawings covered the floor where the sink and appliances would go. Gerard inspected the areas, actually happy with the work Frank had done that day.

Wandering back out to where the stairs led the way to the second floor, Gerard paused. He poked his nose in the first floor bathroom, noting more red circles on the plywood. Pausing, he wondered how long it would be until they got all the pipes routed in for the water.

He shook his head and backed out, turning around only to jump. “Shit,” he cursed, catching sight of Frank standing behind him.

Frank just smiled, his hands on his hips. He wasn’t wearing his jacket and Gerard could see more tattoos peeking out from under his sleeves.

“I thought you might want to take a look,” Frank said knowledgeably.

“Yeah,” Gerard agreed, “but I can do it alone. You don’t need to be here.”

“Just want to make sure everything’s to your liking,” Frank answered easily. His smile was still there and he took a step forward, squeezing in between Gerard and the wall to look in the bathroom.

Gerard stilled, feeling Frank’s hips slide against his as he pressed forward.

“Is it?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah,” Gerard muttered, quickly backing out of the way.

Frank turned to him. “You want to see the upstairs? The stairs are braced now and can hold more than ten pounds.”

Gerard laughed nervously and followed Frank up, determinedly not looking at his ass as they climbed.

The upstairs looked much better than Gerard remembered it. Leaving Frank talking about electric wiring, he headed for the master bedroom, running his hand over the vague door frame and happy to see that the room actually had a shape. He could see the window looking to the east, where his bed would go once he got it out of storage and bought new sheets. The doorway to the master bathroom was on the right hand side of the room and Gerard smiled at the space.

Standing at the window, he looked out, seeing his soon-to-be neighbor’s guest bedroom. It was plain, painted light green, with a twin bed. Below, he could see into the kitchen where his neighbor, a young brown-haired man, was cooking something for dinner.

“You like it?” Frank’s voice was behind him and Gerard turned to find him a few feet away, smiling at Gerard.

“Yeah.” Gerard nodded quickly. “This is the master bedroom.”

Frank nodded. He had the blueprints, he knew. “Are you already decorating it in your mind?”

Gerard smiled for a second. “The bed’s going to go there,” he said, pointing to the opposite wall. “And I have this sort of couch thing that will go in the nook over there. It was my grandmother’s. I guess it’s more of a bench thing with cushions. I don’t know.” He shrugged, glancing around.

“No television?” Frank asked, taking a step closer.

“I don’t really watch TV.” Gerard shrugged again. Glancing at Frank, he hesitated. “So do you always work that early in the morning?”

Frank grinned. “I knew you weren’t an early riser.”

“No, well,” Gerard tried to protest, but it was useless. “Why do you have to start so early?”

“Morning is the best time to work,” Frank replied simply, sidling up to Gerard’s side, his arm nearly touching Gerard’s. “People are more awake and it’s nicer out. Less wind. Plus the earlier we start, the earlier we get out.”

“Doesn’t that make you tired?”

Frank shrugged. “Yeah, but it’s my job, and I like my job.”

Gerard just shrugged.

Frank paused, then moved in front of him. “Okay, so tell me about the rest of the layout for this room. What’s going to go in that corner?”

Gerard glanced where he was pointing. “Nothing. The bed goes there, and then a nightstand on either side. The couch thing is in the nook and a desk with my laptop. And I have this chest that goes at the end of the bed.”

“Very nice,” Frank commented, his eyes sparkling. “So two nightstands? Your girlfriend likes to have her own space, eh?”

Gerard paused. “Well, people can be possessive.”

Frank nodded, glancing away, chewing on his lip ring and not responding.

Gerard hesitated another second. “And actually, I don’t have a girlfriend. I just like having two, you know, just in case.”

“In case what?” The smile was back in Frank’s eyes as he turned to Gerard.

Gerard shrugged awkwardly, unsure why he was even bothering to explain himself to his contractor.

“In case people stay over. It’s just easier.”

Frank nodded, though this time, it was happier.

“You have a lot of people that stay over?”

Gerard frowned. “That’s kind of personal.”

“Oh, sorry,” Frank apologized quickly. “I ask a lot of questions sometimes. You can just stop me at any time. Sometimes I think I’m worse than Brendon.”

Gerard didn’t bother to question what that meant. He just shook his head quietly and glanced at Frank from the corner of his eye.

His eyes swept down to Frank’s hands, trying to read the tattoo across his knuckles, but failing. He jerked his gaze up when Frank moved his hands. Moving up, he found Frank watching him carefully.

“Gerard,” he said after a moment.

“Yeah?”

Frank hesitated. “Is this what you wanted?”

Gerard nodded. “Yeah, it’s good.” He didn’t look around, but kept his eyes on Frank, who stepped closer. “Um, it was faster than I thought today.”

“I have a good crew,” Frank said dismissively. “They work fast.”

“That’s a good thing to have,” Gerard mumbled, watching Frank stop just a foot away. He hated that his heart had sped up with his approach and he cursed Mikey’s voice that floated through his head.

“Some people like to take it slow,” Frank murmured, “but I get the feeling you’re not like that.”

“Well,” Gerard tried to say, but the words died on his tongue as Frank stared at him, his tongue flicking out to play with his lip ring nervously.

“I don’t mean to be forward,” Frank muttered, releasing the ring and hesitating. “But you’re one of the most attractive home-owners I’ve ever worked with.”

“I, uh, th-thanks,” Gerard stuttered.

Frank nodded, shaking only slightly as he leaned close to Gerard, his mouth inches away.

“And I don’t mean to cross any professional line,” he mumbled, his nose bumping slightly against Gerard’s as he spoke, “but I think that maybe you wouldn’t be against it.”

Gerard wasn’t listening anymore when Frank pressed forward, their mouths fitting together.

Gerard let his eyes close as Frank kissed him, his mouth opening and his tongue sliding against Gerard’s lips carefully. After a moment, Gerard parted his lips and allowed Frank to deepen the kiss.

Frank’s hands came to Gerard’s waist, sliding under his jacket to rest on his hips as he kissed him harder. Their lips slid together, Frank’s lip ring cool against Gerard’s skin, and his teeth pulling at his lip. Frank gave a soft moan as Gerard responded to the kiss, pushing his tongue against Frank’s.

Frank’s hands tightened on Gerard’s hips as he tugged them forward, still kissing him hard, sucking on Gerard’s lower lip and not parting until Gerard finally pulled back, breathing heavily and staring at him.

Swallowing, Frank glanced up. “What?”

Gerard paused a second, still regaining his breath. “You’re a contractor.”

Frank frowned, confused. “And you’re an accountant.”

Gerard sighed. “Oh, God, Mikey’s never gonna let me live this one down,” he muttered, trying to break away from Frank, but Frank kept his grip anchored on Gerard’s hips.

“There’s a problem?” Frank asked. “Is it just because I’m working for you? Or is it something else? You’re not gay? You have a boyfriend?”

“No, I already said I didn’t.”

“You said girlfriend,” Frank corrected. “You never said boyfriend.”

“Well, it encompassed everything,” Gerard snapped, hating himself for doing exactly what Mikey had predicted. Mikey always knew everything and he hated it.

Frank’s hands dropped and he frowned again. “Then I don’t understand.”

Gerard sighed. He wasn’t angry at Frank. He was angry at himself for falling into these traps so easily. Maybe it was the romantic in him.

“I just don’t think we should be involved is all,” he said finally. “It’s a business thing.”

Frank paused. “I’m not going to be your contractor forever.”

“Yeah, but if something happens in the next two months, you could choose to completely fuck over my house.”

“I wouldn’t do that,” Frank assured him. “I signed a contract.”

“Didn’t stop Bert,” Gerard replied snappishly. He crossed his arms across his chest and turned to stare out the window.

“The last contractor?” Frank asked slowly and Gerard jerked his shoulders in agreement. There was a pause and then Frank took a step back. “Okay then, if you want our relationship to be strictly professional, I’ll respect that.”

“Really?” Gerard was surprised but caught himself quickly. “I mean, good, yes, that’s what I want.”

Frank nodded seriously. “I’ll see you later then, Mr. Way.”

He was gone before Gerard could tell him not to call him that.

*

“You fucked it up, didn’t you?”

Gerard glared at Mikey, hugging the pillow to his chest and grabbing a handful of popcorn to prevent him answering.

Mikey flopped down on the couch with a soda and ignored the girl screaming on screen. Alicia was upstairs watching Soap Operas, saying she’d leave the horror movies to the boys.

“I didn’t do anything,” Gerard muttered through his mouthful of popcorn and cursed himself from spoiling his own plan.

“Last time you said that, your contractor walked out on you with an unfinished house.”

“That was Bert’s fault,” Gerard grumbled. “I haven’t done anything to anyone.”

“Okay, fine,” Mikey agreed. “You didn’t do anything.”

Gerard huffed and sunk further into the couch, hugging the pillow tighter. Mikey turned to the television and took a handful of popcorn from the bowl.

“I mean, it’s not like I know Frank very well,” Gerard burst out, his hands abandoning the pillow to flap animatedly in front of him. “He’s just a contractor that I’ve known for two days. But he totally ambushed me, in my own bedroom, and what was I supposed to do? I don’t want him to be another Bert who packs his things and his crew and leaves in the middle of the night. I want my house done!”

Mikey watched him with a knowing smirk on his face. When Gerard finished, he glanced at him and immediately scowled.

“So you did do something.”

Gerard scowled darkly. “No, he did something.”

“Something what?” Mikey pushed.

Gerard fell stubbornly silent even as Mikey watched him closely, waiting for the beans to spill.

“Gerard,” he said slowly, drawing it out until Gerard’s scowl was so deep his eye twitched and he glared.

“He kissed me, okay?” he said loudly and Mikey’s face lit up.

“I knew it!” he yelled triumphantly. “And you liked it, didn’t you?”

Gerard grumbled under his breath.

“You liked it and then…” Mikey paused, staring at him. “And then you did something stupid.”

“I did not!”

Mikey sighed. “Oh, Gee, whatever will I do with you?”

“Let me die in peace?” Gerard snapped, knowing it was useless.

“No, too late for that,” Mikey muttered, more to himself than anything. “I know. We’ll just have to fix this.”

“I don’t want to fix it,” Gerard said, and the words came out whineier than he meant.

Mikey gave him a look and shook his head. “Someone has to.”

“Then we’ll just let God take care of it,” Gerard retorted, sinking into the couch again and grabbing the pillow tightly. He really didn’t want to talk about this anymore.

“No, this is much too screwed up for God. I’ll do it.”

“Mikey!” Gerard stared, silently pleading him not to.

“Don’t worry,” Mikey assured him. “He’ll never know.”

Gerard buried his face in his hands and groaned just as the girl on screen screamed and died.

*

Gerard didn’t go back to his unfinished house for several days after. He let Frank’s calls go to voicemail and they all sounded the same anyway.

Hello, Mr. Way, it’s Frank Iero. We finished the wiring today and tomorrow we’ll be working on plumbing. The house is working with us so everything’s pretty much on schedule. With luck, you might have actual siding on the house by next week. I’ll let you know how everything goes.

Gerard had four other messages saved on his phone that he secretly replayed on his lunch breaks. He was pathetic, he knew, but he didn’t want things to turn out badly now that he’d finally found a contractor who wasn’t an idiot and who was actually working on his house at a reasonable rate and speed.

He’d forbid Mikey from talking to Frank for all the good that would do. He only hoped that Mikey wouldn’t do anything crazy before the job was up and Frank would really leave.

By the time Gerard worked up the courage to go see his house, three days had passed, and he didn’t even dare venture to see it when he knew Frank would be there. He went after he got off work when the sun was already setting and he knew the crew would be gone.

As he rounded the corner from Mikey’s house, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It almost looked like a house! There were walls and enclosed spaces and a real roof.

He crept inside carefully, hearing a creak of an unsecured board under his feet. The interior was dark without any light and Gerard wandered around for a while until most of the light had gone.

Climbing the stairs, he went up to the master bedroom. It looked much the same as before except the window was actually framed and sat on the floor next to the open space. Peering out, Gerard tried to visualize the house completed, with a nice landscaped yard and no saws lying scattered all around.

Sighing, he turned from the window back to the room at large and took it in. Someday soon he might actually have his own house and stop having to sleep in Mikey and Alicia’s guest bedroom with its creepy butterfly curtains.

It was going to take a while, though, and Gerard would have to wait it out. He only hoped that he would survive without throwing himself at Frank or having Mikey do it for him.

*

The next few weeks passed and Gerard watched his house take shape before his eyes. Before he knew it, there was siding on, a real door that he could lock and unlock, even windows in the empty spaces. Gerard snuck in every night after nightfall to stare at his house and imagine it completely finished.

He tried his best to avoid Frank but couldn’t always when he had to sign papers or pick out sinks.

Frank was oddly professional during all of this and Gerard just felt all the worse for it.

“Well, Mr. Way,” he said one day, standing in the middle of Gerard’s unfinished kitchen while Brendon stumbled over a board and nearly dropped the box of tiles he had in his hands. “Once we get in the floors down here, the kitchen will be practically done. You should think about selecting a sink, fridge, the other appliances.”

Gerard frowned as Frank spoke simply as though nothing that had happened in the past month affected him. It was the first time Gerard had forced himself to see Frank directly instead of communicating through missed phone messages.

“Mr. Way?” Frank asked as Gerard just stared at him.

Gerard blinked quickly. “Um, yeah, appliances, right.”

Frank gave him a funny look but didn’t say anything. “Right. So just let me know when that’s done and we’ll get them in and move on to other things.”

Gerard nodded slowly. The house was practically done, earlier than Gerard had even expected. All that was left was appliances and interior things such as carpeting and tiles. He had yet to buy any of it, though, and was going to have a hell of a time picking it out.

Frank wasn’t looking at him, but watching as a few of the workers – one was Pete, Gerard thought – paint the opposite drywall. The one thing he had picked out was the wall color.

“Hey, Frank,” he said finally and Frank glanced at him. His hands were on his hips and Gerard still couldn’t read the tattoo across his knuckles. “Er, how long do you think it’ll be, um, until you’re done, I mean?” Gerard sounded awkward again and stuffed his hands in his pockets to stop them from gesturing wildly as he was apt to.

“Another couple weeks.” Frank shrugged. “Depending on installation times.”

“Oh, good.” Gerard nodded and looked away.

Frank paused, sneaking a glance at him. “So how’s Mikey? Haven’t seen him in a while.”

“Oh, he’s good,” Gerard said quickly. “He and Alicia just bought a, um, a cat. Well, kitten. It’s really small and I stepped on it twice already.”

Frank looked as though he was trying not to laugh and Gerard frowned.

“That’s nice,” he said instead. “You like cats?”

“They’re okay.” Gerard shrugged. “I’d rather just have fish, though.”

“Low upkeep?”

“Yeah,” Gerard muttered, watching as Brendon ran into the paint can and tipped it all over the floor.

“Brendon!” Frank called, leaving Gerard immediately and Gerard just sighed, kicking the floor.

*

“Still intent on fucking it up, huh?”

“Shut up, Mikey,” Gerard grumbled, kicking the ground as they walked the few blocks to his house. Frank had called earlier to say that the tile was in downstairs along with all the kitchen appliances.

“I won’t stop you,” Mikey just replied, jumping over the cracks in the cement. “But it’s your own happiness you’re messing with.”

Gerard scowled and kept his eyes down as they rounded the corner and came to the house.

When they arrived, most of the crew was gone except Brendon and Frank. Frank appeared to be giving him a mini-lecture, to which Brendon was nodding along and only bounced away when Frank let him go, sighing.

“Hi, Gerard!” Brendon called loudly as he bounced past.

Gerard didn’t even have the chance to reply as Brendon stumbled over the flowers that separated his house from the neighbors. Brendon fell on the lawn, and the neighbor, who happened to be getting his mail, frowned at him.

“Hi!” Brendon said excitedly to the man, who gave him a strange look and glanced at Gerard. Gerard hadn’t actually met his neighbors yet but he hoped he wouldn’t be judged off his clumsy workmen.

Leaving Brendon to struggle up and accost the nice young man, Gerard crossed his own bland front yard, mostly just dirt with a few nails scattered around.

“Got my message?” Frank asked right off the bat and Gerard felt a twinge of sadness at the clipped greeting.

“Um, yeah,” he replied and Mikey poked his head in between them.

“Hey, Frank.”

“Mikey.” Frank’s smile was big and Gerard hadn’t realized that he’d missed it until it spread across his face at Mikey. “What’s up?”

“Not much,” Mikey said conversationally. “Gerard said there’s tile in now?”

“Yeah, put it in this morning. Wanna take a look?”

“Sure.” Mikey grinned and followed Frank inside, leaving Gerard to frown after them.

“I guess I’ll just wait out here,” he grumbled to himself and followed after.

Frank and Mikey were already in the kitchen and Mikey was leaving fingerprints all over Gerard’s shiny new stainless steel fridge.

“Fingerprints, Mike,” Gerard complained and Mikey raised an eyebrow.

“Relax, Gee. You’re so uptight.”

“Am not,” Gerard muttered but Mikey wasn’t listening, already inspecting the tiles under his feet.

“These are nice,” he said and Frank grinned.

“Mr. Way picked them out. But I think they work well in the space.”

Gerard frowned as they continued talking as though he wasn’t there. Crossing his arms, he sat back huffily against the counter and waited.

He followed them reluctantly as they moved into the living room where there still wasn’t carpet in. Gerard had been to the store and taken hours to select the perfect color for all his rooms. Anyone who said he didn’t have good design taste wouldn’t say that after seeing his choices.

The carpet was supposed to be in the next few days and Gerard hoped after it was done, all this would go away. He didn’t like the way Frank spoke to him, as though he was any other person, someone he hadn’t cornered upstairs and kissed.

Mikey finally finished admiring the house and Frank’s craftsmanship and came to Gerard, who was slumped against the doorway, picking at his nails.

“Done fangirling?” he asked when Mikey appeared, Frank somewhere behind in the kitchen.

“Shouldn’t be a hypocrite,” Mikey just replied loftily and Gerard scowled. “But yeah, I’m done.”

Gerard huffed and straightened up. “Good, let’s go.”

“Oh, hey, Mr. Way,” came Frank’s voice before he could get the front door open completely. Gerard stopped and turned back. “Carpet guys are coming by tomorrow if you want to oversee.”

“No, you can do it. It’s fine,” Gerard said quickly. He didn’t really want to spend any more time with Frank than he had to when Frank practically ignored him.

Frank’s face fell just slightly before he nodded. “All right. I’ll see you later. Bye, Mikey.”

“Bye, Frank,” Mikey said as Gerard practically shoved him out the door. As they set out for Mikey’s house, they passed Brendon still talking earnestly with the next-door neighbor.

Gerard just sighed and glanced up at the gathering clouds above his head, threatening to rain down on them all.

*

It was pouring rain when Gerard got off work and decided to stop by the house. He was very glad there was a roof on it and everything was enclosed. The lock was new and stuck a little as he jiggled the key in it.

The crew was gone for the day and night was falling quickly with the dark clouds obscuring the sun. Inside, Gerard managed to find a light and flip it on. The round light in the entrance way lit a warm yellow glow over the tile and the brand new carpet. Gerard bent down, running a hand over it and couldn’t help smiling.

He hadn’t meant to come by, but he was just too curious not to see his house, practically finished and almost ready to move things in. This was good considering he was running out of time on his storage unit and didn’t want to pay for another month of letting his things sit in a dusty space.

He slipped off his shoes near the door and ventured inside. Climbing the stairs, Gerard was pleased to find they didn’t squeak and the carpet was soft underfoot.

On the landing upstairs, he peered around. The three bedroom doors were open and Gerard could see the shadows of walls. One was to be his office and another guest bedroom. His own master bedroom was large and seemed even bigger when he stepped inside and saw the sky blue carpet spreading to every corner.

Gerard looked around and couldn’t help the grin on his face. It was almost done.

Glancing around to make sure he was completely alone, he went over to where his bed was going to be and lay down on the carpet, spreading out his arms and legs. He let out a contented sigh as he stared at the ceiling, painted white and sparklingly clean.

In just a few short weeks, everything would be done and he would finally have his house.

Gerard closed his eyes and imagined how it would feel, to unlock his front door and find his furniture there, to go into his kitchen and pull a soda from his fridge. The thought brought a smile to his face and he wished everything could go just a little faster.

“You like it?”

Gerard’s eyes snapped open and he caught sight of Frank leaning against his doorway casually.

“Isn’t this breaking and entering?” Gerard asked, feeling his heart pumping faster when Frank shrugged and pushed off the door, coming inside and stopping by his side.

“I have a key and the house isn’t done yet. Besides, you left the door unlocked.”

Gerard frowned.

Frank glanced around and then sank down next to Gerard, sitting cross-legged and looking around at the room.

“It’s almost done,” he said and Gerard looked away when Frank moved back to him. “Just a few things to put in; the fan downstairs, the lights in the kitchen, some touch-ups, and we’ll be out of your hair.”

Gerard’s hand moved to his messy hair and he paused. Casting a carefully glance at Frank, he bit the inside of his cheek.

“Uh, Frank?” he asked finally and Frank looked back.

“Yeah, Mr. Way?”

“Can you stop calling me ‘Mr. Way’?”

Frank looked surprised. “I thought you wanted this all to be professional.”

Gerard frowned. “Well, I did, but. I don’t know. Doesn’t it feel weird?”

Frank’s eyebrows came down slightly. “What do you mean?”

Sighing, Gerard glanced at him from where he was still lying on his back on his brand new carpet.

“It’s like you forgot.” Gerard didn’t mean to sound so girly but it was what came out and he watched Frank’s expression change slowly.

“I didn’t forget,” he said finally. “You wanted me to.”

“No, well, yes, but.” Gerard stopped, unsure what he was trying to say. He watched Frank chew on his lip ring for a minute and sighed. “Maybe we should just forget it.”

“Gerard,” Frank said after a minute and Gerard glanced over at his name, “I don’t want to forget it.”

Gerard watched with wide eyes as Frank crawled over, leaning down on top of him and kissing him slowly.

“Um,” he said when Frank pulled away, but Frank shook his head.

“Mikey said you think too much.”

“Mikey said—” Gerard started to ask indignantly but Frank’s mouth was back, kissing him harder.

Gerard decided, after Frank climbed on top of him and had his hands under his shirt, that he would forgive Mikey, just this once.

Moaning against Frank’s lips, Gerard slid his tongue against Frank’s. His heart was fluttering nervously, and he jumped when Frank’s hands pushed under his shirt, tracing circles over his torso.

“Frank,” he mumbled against Frank’s lips, feeling Frank settle over his hips and press down into his growing erection. He blushed when Frank shifted and his predicament was obvious.

Frank just smirked and rocked down a little until Gerard gasped and grit his teeth against the flare of heat in his cock.

“Knew you liked me,” Frank just muttered, grinding his hips down again and smirking at Gerard’s gasp and how his hands clenched over Frank’s tee shirt.

“Yeah, yeah,” Gerard breathed, arching his back when Frank swiveled his hips sharply and he breathed out a “fuck” against Frank’s collar bone.

Frank laughed, leaning down and planting a kiss on Gerard’s neck, sucking his way down to the neckline of his shirt.

“This should come off,” he whispered, his hands already bunching up the hem and pushing it up.

Gerard struggled out of it, tossing it away in the empty room. Frank’s mouth was already back, though, sucking on his collar bone, nipping at the skin with his teeth. Gerard was biting his lip and whining against the movement of Frank’s hips that rocked down, dragging their mutual erections together.

“You, uh,” Frank panted when he slid back up to Gerard’s face, pressing a biting kiss under his jaw. “You have anything?”

Gerard frowned, his hands stilling from where they’d been sliding down to Frank’s thighs.

“Does it look like I do?” he asked, staring around at the empty room and Frank pulled away.

His eyes were dilated and his hair was almost as messy as Gerard’s. He panted through his reddened lips and Gerard really wanted to just say it was okay, but he couldn’t.

“Frank,” he said after a minute but Frank shook his head, moving back to his lips and brushing a kiss against them.

“Doesn’t matter,” Frank just muttered and Gerard opened his mouth to protest, but Frank’s hand was on the waist of his jeans, tugging down the zipper and sliding a hand inside.

Gerard’s hips arched up and he bit back a gasp, staring at Frank, who smirked and pressed a lingering kiss to his lips before sliding down.

Frank’s hands worked the jeans down past Gerard’s hips, exposing his erection. Swallowing hard, Gerard struggled to look down, watching as Frank slid a hand up his cock slowly, stroking it once before his tongue was there.

“Fuck.” Gerard’s head fell back with a curse and he gasped as he felt Frank’s tongue on the head of his cock, licking around the edge.

Frank moved in, opening his mouth and sliding Gerard inside, tonguing the underside of his prick until he felt Gerard tense and curse under his breath.

Bobbing back and forth, Frank moved easily, lips sliding over the erection. His hands rested on the inside of Gerard’s thighs as he moved quickly.

Gerard was panting above him and his hands moved to Frank’s hair, tugging lightly when he moved in farther and Gerard’s cock slid down his throat. He choked on his own moan, his eyes shut tightly and his bare back moving against the new carpet.

“Shi-Frank,” he panted when he was almost there and Frank’s mouth was warm and wet, tight around his cock and he could feel heat pooling in his stomach.

When Frank’s hand slipped from Gerard’s thigh, moving back to his ass, Gerard arched up and was surprised to feel Frank’s finger slip inside.

That was too much and he came with mumbled warnings and indecipherable words panted from his mouth. His fingers tightened in Frank’s hair and he bit his lip hard, feeling the hard burn of the carpet against his back.

Frank pulled away not too soon after, wiping his mouth and crawling back up, smiling at Gerard.

“Interesting way to christen a new house.”

Gerard laughed once and sighed, staring up at the ceiling. Frank moved next to him, shifting almost uncomfortably in his jeans. It was a second before Gerard realized.

“Oh,” he said quickly, rolling over to face Frank. “You want me to—” His hand was already reaching for Frank’s jeans and Frank just smiled at him.

“You don’t have to.”

“No, I-I want to,” Gerard insisted, scooting closer and ignoring how his fingers fumbled with the zipper and slipped inside.

Frank was hard against his fingers and let out a muffle groan when Gerard’s hand wrapped around his cock. His mouth was pressed against Gerard’s neck and he gasped sharply when Gerard’s hand twisted slowly.

“Do that again,” he breathed, his hips angling into Gerard’s touch.

Gerard moved his hand again, getting a rush in his stomach whenever Frank groaned and muttered encouraging words against his skin.

“Oh, fuck, Gerard,” he mumbled, Gerard’s thumb brushing over the head and smearing pre-come on his fingers.

Gerard bit his lip as he stroked harder and felt Frank’s breath becoming ragged against his neck.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Frank cursed, arching into Gerard’s hand and Gerard felt him come, warm and wet on his hand. He didn’t pull his hand away immediately and felt Frank let out a hot breath against his neck, blinking slowly, his eyelashes brushing against the skin.

Finally, Gerard pulled his hand away, careful not to wipe it on his new carpet. Frank smiled when he saw him pause and glance around for something to clean up, but there was nothing in the empty room.

“Water works in the bathroom now,” he said instead and Gerard nodded, struggling up and heading into the bathroom, washing his hands and cleaning himself up. By the time he got back, Frank’s jeans were buttoned and he was standing at the window, looking out at the pouring rain.

Hesitating, Gerard came up behind him and Frank turned.

“You have a nice view.”

Gerard nodded, glancing out the window at the mountains in the distance. “Mikey helped pick out the location.”

Frank nodded too and smiled. “So… I won’t be your contractor in about a week.”

Gerard was silent and bit his cheek again. Frank was watching him carefully, almost hopefully.

“I was thinking,” he continued when Gerard didn’t speak. “You’ll have furniture in here pretty soon, that bed you were talking about.” He trailed away, still watching Gerard.

“It’s a nice bed,” Gerard said after a second, feeling his heart starting to pound at the thought of what he might be about to do. “And I have this awesome quilt that’s really soft.”

Frank nodded slowly. “Soft is good.”

Gerard hesitated. “Well, you know, if you’re not busy with some other contracting job, you might be able to come see it.”

“See it,” Frank repeated slowly and Gerard swallowed nervously.

“Or stay over, you know,” he said, his voice quiet and nervous.

Frank’s face split into a grin. “Can I bring Brendon?”

“Uh…” Gerard stared at Frank’s grin.

“He’s kind of in love with your neighbor, Ryan.”

“Oh,” Gerard said stupidly. “Oh, yeah, sure.”

Frank grinned again and stepped forward. “Why? Interested in a threesome?”

“Not really,” Gerard muttered and Frank laughed.

“That’s good. I was never very good with sharing.” He leaned in, pressing a kiss to Gerard’s lips and Gerard let his eyes close.

“So, um, I’ll see you tomorrow?” he murmured against Frank’s lips when Frank pulled back a little.

“Tomorrow.”

Gerard smiled and kissed Frank again as the rain poured down outside.

*

Gerard didn’t mind ‘bright and early’ it turned out, as he sat at Mikey’s kitchen table at six thirty in the morning. He had his cup of coffee and was smiling despite the dark clouds outside. Alicia was giving him a curious look from behind her newspaper but didn’t say anything as Mikey entered.

“Morning,” Mikey greeted them all, kissing Alicia’s cheek and getting coffee. As he passed behind Gerard, who hadn’t responded, he paused. “Uh, Gee?”

“Hm?” Gerard asked, looking at him quickly.

“What’s that mark on your arm?”

“Mark?” Gerard twisted to see but couldn’t.

“Yeah, it looks like…” Mikey paused and then a grin spread over his face. “Like rugburn.”

Gerard’s eyes widened and he stood up from the table quickly. “I, uh, I have to go,” he said hastily, taking a last drink of his coffee.

Mikey followed him into the living room where he tossed on his jacket.

“Where are you going so early?” he asked as Gerard struggled with the sleeve.

“Work.”

Mikey chuckled and Gerard scowled, finally getting the jacket on. He was halfway out the door when Mikey called, “Tell Frank hi for me!”

Gerard didn’t justify him with a response and just shrugged on his jacket completely and hurried off down the street to Mikey’s maniacal laughter behind him. Gerard could only scowl as he walked but knew he would never live this down.

*

FIN.

Tags: fanfiction, mcr, slash
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