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You were the song stuck in my head (You're my Favorite Record)

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"Mikey please."

"Gerard."

"Pleeeease".

"No."

Gerard groans and drops on the couch, right next to Mikey who tries to do his homework but fails miserably due to his brother's whining. 

"I'll even buy you a CD", Gerard offers. Mikey thinks about it for the split of a second, but shakes his head.

"Dude no."

Gerard rolls over and hides half of his face in a pillow, listening to his brother's pen scribbling and also totally acknowledging the point that he gives zero shits about Gerard's crisis. It's not like he isn't embarrassed enough already.

"I'll buy you two CD's."

Mikey turns around and gives him the face that is just so typical Mikey, all droopy eyes and general tiredness radiating from him.

"Gerard, even if I came with you, what am I supposed to do? It's not like I can help it that you can't get out a straight sentence when you're 5 meters apart from this guy's dick."

At this point Gerard simply asks himself why out of all people he told his little brother about his small crush on the cute record store employee. It's not like Mikey ever really cares about anything, he nods it off just like everything else and continues with whatever is keeping his mind busy. Mikey rolls his eyes and sighs when Gerard pouts at him.

"Just come with me for support or so, help me figure something out. You don't have to do anything else", Gerard pleads.

"Can't I just mentally support you from here?"

"You can't even mentally support a microwaving bowl of Mac n' cheese."

Mikey's lips twitches into a smile and Gerard grins back at him when Mikey throws a pillow that lands right in his face with a dull thud. He quickly grabs for Mikey's elbow and yanks him further into the sofa, which leads him to yelp loudly and barely knocks over one of their mother's plant. They look at each other for a moment before Mikey flashes one of those rare smiles that makes his eyes slightly crinkly.

"Did mom ever tell you you're adopted?"

"Yes, right after she told me she dropped you at birth", Gerard counters and sticks his tongue out at Mikey's scrunchy face.

His brother is still strongly avoiding the fact that Gerard will probably make him join him in some way, after all he's extremely determined. The problem isn't even that Mikey in particular isn't willing to come; the problem is that he can't go alone into that record store. 

He has been going to the same store for 2 weeks now, buying albums from bands he's never listened to, or never even heard of. By now he has Dookie by Green Day three times, and he's pretty sure the cute guy behind the desk already realized that too. Other than that he now owns a CD's of a band he only knows because that guy once wore a shirt of that band, and several catalogues he would have never gotten if it didn't mean they'd cross path. Needless to say, he probably thinks Gerard is insane. When he even thinks about that guy who is the reason why he has merely 10 dollars left this month he could sob.

The thing is, at first he thought that the boy was just a cute stranger who could beam smiles to save his life. But after a week of coming by almost daily to buy albums he and Mikey actually desired, he maybe ended up staying a little longer than usual. Every time he caught a glimpse of him in between the racks, those green eyes caught his attention and he found himself fascinated by the scorpion tattoo on the side of his neck and the way his lip ring moved when he talked. Gerard knows it is creepy, really. He does. And he just can't bring himself to talk to him whatsoever.

"What do I have to do to make you come with me?", Gerard whines and tugs at the hem of Mikey's washed out band shirt that is probably his own. Gerard's shirts are a little too big for Mikey's scrawny body, but that never keeps him from stealing them anyway.

"Are you that desperate?", Mikey asks.

"Don't be a bitch Mikes. He seems nice, I just want to talk to him. Maybe we even get some discounts or free shit if we make friends."

"But you realize he could be a total douche after all, right?", Mikey considers and pokes his pencil into Gerard's side.

"I mean you never know if anyone is a douche. What could go wrong?"

Mikey sighs heavily, running his slim fingers through Gerard's greasy hair after dropping his pen on to the paper. "He could think you're a total loser who stalks him and only tries to get into his pants because he is pierced and has a tattoo."

Gerard slaps his brother’s hand away and rolls his eyes. "Very funny Mikey. And I don't only want to get into his pants, also-"

"Yeah whatever, I don't think I wanna know."

Gerard huffs out a laugh and ruffles his brother's crazily straightened hair that only a mother could love. Sometimes Gerard is fascinated that Mikey really takes care to look that weird. People sometimes comment on it, but Mikey only ever shrugs it off and apparently really doesn't care. Gerard sometimes wishes he was that confident, but he isn't.

The only downside to Mikey's appearance is the danger of getting bullied in school, he's still a junior and people change their minds quickly of who they adore, tolerate and despise. So far, Mikey is on the safe side, at least Gerard thinks he is. Even if Mikey's getting bullied, he doesn't talk about it. Gerard deeply prays they let Mikey alone, high school can be cruel. People can be assholes, and he loves his brother way too much to carry the mental image of him getting pushed into lockers.

Mikey looks at Gerard and pushes his white framed glasses back on his nose after flattening his hair back to normal, putting the pen he's been doing homework with aside. "Okay Gee, I come with you. But don't blame me if whatever you try to archive doesn't work. And you have to buy me coffee and a CD."

Gerard grins, but there is also an increasing giddiness inside of him now that he knows he'll encounter that cute guy again. But then again, he is desperate enough to talk to that guy even though he feels like he'll fail miserably. But he'd never admit it to Mikey.

"A fair price I'm willing to pay my dear brother, you shall receive your desired items", Gerard says in the cheesiest way he can.

"Please don't talk like that in front of that dude or else I go straight home."

Mikey seems to already regret on willing in, so before he could change his mind Gerard jumps up from the sofa in order to get his keys and wallet. "You know I won't Mikey, even though I wish I could. At least that'd be more than the hey, goodbye and thank you I usually manage to get out."

"How are you such a social failure."

"Says the one who reads comic books."

"Says the one who draws them."

"Fair enough", Gerard admits and shrugs.

Mikey packs his unfinished homework away while Gerard tries to fix his hair in the dirty and grease stained mirror down the hallway, earning a hysterical eye role from his younger brother. He normally doesn't give two shits about his looks, and Mikey knows that so he flashes him the finger in the mirror before Mikey can make a stupid comment about it.

"What even is your plan?", Mikey suddenly asks instead of using the moment to make a joke on Gerard trying to look fairly acceptable. Gerard blinks perplex as he still fiddles with his hair.

"Uhm I don't actually have one I guess?"

"Why am I not surprised? Well, anyway, I know something that'll catch the guy's interest so that he'll start talking to you."

Gerard turns around to face his brother suspiciously. "Keep talking."

"You buy a Britney Spears CD."

"Mikey I will not buy a Britney Spears CD", Gerard immediately says and watches Mikey's expression going from very serious to a full on smug.

"Come on Gerard, it'll work. If he saw you buying all those hardcore albums then he'll wonder why you want a Britney Spears album now", Mikey assures even though he still looks like he's about to burst out into a grin.

"Are you sure this not just for your personal entertainment?", Gerard questions and Mikey giggles a little.

"A little, maybe. I admit that", Mikey snickers. "But for real, if something goes wrong I can help you out and play it cool."

"Mikey I love you but you've had better ideas."

"Trust me, this will work."

 

As soon as they enter the record store with their cups of coffee, Mikey drags Gerard along one of the aisles past the hot guy behind the desk, who didn't really seem to have noticed them. Mikey gives him with a quirky face and seems to double check something before turning back towards Gerard.

"Dude, you have a crush on Frank Iero?"

"Who?"

"The guy that works here. His name is Frank, he's a senior at my school."

Gerard frowns and peeks in between the racks, catching sight of the guy who apparently is called Frank. He looks as gorgeous as ever, with those big green eyes that are glued to the computer and his swoopy brown hair that falls around one side of his face perfectly. He's wearing a Smashing Pumpkins shirt today, and just the thought about going there and having to buy a Britney Spears album is terrifying enough. There is no way he'll buy a Britney Spears album.

Gerard frowns and tries to recognize Frank from when he still went to school, but as hard as he tries to remember, he has no clue who he is. And Gerard is certain he would've noticed Frank immediately if he had seen him in the hallway back when he was still in school. There is no way Gerard would've missed that.

"I don't think I've ever seen him outside of the store."

"He changed schools after you graduated, I guess", Mikey shrugs and takes a promising gulp of his coffee. God, sometimes Mikey is a worse coffee addict than Gerard. "Anyway, Gee, I'll get you some Britney now."

Mikey kneels down and starts to flip through some albums of some kind of genre that Gerard think he doesn't want to know about. "Mikey please, I don't think I want to buy a Britney Spears album." He starts clinging to his coffee more anxious now and feels a rush of nervousness. There is no way on earth he has the balls to buy a CD like this when he can't even start a conversation about Iron Maiden. This is a bad idea.

His brother glances at him through his glasses with some kind of amusement, flipping through the albums like a maniac. "Don't be a pussy now. What do you think, do you want In the zone or rather Baby one more time? You're right it's a dumb question, we should obviously get-"

"Mikey!"

"What? I'm pondering", Mikey says and it's obvious that he isn't even taking it serious anymore.

"I won't buy you a CD if this doesn't work", Gerard mumbles and drops on the floor next to Mikey, looking at the albums in some kind of horror. His brother side eyes him and shoves one of the albums in his hands before patting his back.

"Go get it bro", Mikey mocks and Gerard elbows him hard enough to make his brother squeal. He doesn't even feel sorry.

"I swear to god, this better work. Those are my last ten dollars", Gerard murmurs and feels his head getting hot, clutching at the Britney track that appears to have Toxic on it and staring at it intensely. He can do this, Gerard thinks to himself. He'll just go there and play it easy.

"It sure will, just tell him it's for your sister or something. Easy sailing from then."

Gerard flashes Mikey a death stare and gets up from the floor, but before he can take all of his courage together, Mikey gives him a heavy shove and Gerard stumbles forward. Right out of the aisle, seeing Frank staring right at him with a raised eyebrow. If Gerard already hadn't died a little inside, he definitely did now. There aren't many steps to the desk and every single one he'll take from now on means a step closer to dying of embarrassment. Fucking Mikey.

With his tightly clutched album in one hand and a lukewarm take away coffee in the other one, he slowly but surely approaches the desk. He is certain that his face is bright red by now, but there is nothing he could really do about it.

Gerard awkwardly stands behind the table and slams the CD down way too loudly, which causes to Frank look up from some kind of hardcore magazine he was reading. The boy's expression immediately turns smug and his pretty mouth curls into a smile. His bottle green eyes shoot up to meet Gerard's, and if Gerard already didn't feel exposed enough, the boy starts giggling a bit.

"This isn't for you, is it?"

 

 

Mikey still kneels behind one of the racks and laughs to him at how awkward his older brother is looking. But after a moment, Frank seriously seems to be talking to Gerard, which is not really surprising when you buy a fucking Britney Spears album. As soon as Gerard seems to have loosened up and it looked like smooth sailing, he gets up from his place and pats away the dust on his pants before making his way to a different music section in order to choose an album Gerard promised to buy for him.

He can't really hear what they are talking about anymore; there is some laughter every now and then, something that seems like awkward silence and some more mumbling. Anyway, Mikey counts it as an accomplished mission. His fingers fly over the different CD's and some vinyls in the meanwhile, even though they don't own a vinyl player. Not yet at least, he and Gerard are still putting money aside for it. It's not that much until they can afford one, so why not already look at a vinyl he might want to get.

Gerard and Frank are still talking, and Mikey finds himself looking at four albums in his hands he has to chose from, even though none of them is something he's extremely hyped about. There are two new albums he had in mind but just can't find in this store, maybe he'll just ask Frank if they have them in stock when Gerard is done flirting with him. Or rather embarrassing himself.

He eventually gives up and puts all four of them back into place, peeking between the racks to check what Gerard was doing, but before he could comprehend what was happening he full on runs into a guy right in front of him and, of course, manages to knock over a gigantic pile of CD's as well. There is a loud clattering sound throughout the whole store, which causes Frank and Gerard to look at him quizzically.

"I'll clean that up", Mikey weirdly shouts towards nobody in particular, he just hopes that Frank or some other employee (if there are others) heard him. And as if that wasn't embarrassing enough already, the guy he's just run over looks at him with a smile that has too many teeth in it.

"Uhm, sorry for running you over", Mikey apologizes quickly before getting down on the floor to clean up the mess and trying to ignore the fact that the guy is still looking at him.

"Don't worry about it", the guy says with a smirk and gets down on his knees, starting to pick up the CD's Mikey's just knocked over. Mikey expected him to be a little more pissed and maybe yell at him instead of helping him out. He doesn't question it though.

"You don't have to help me, I'll do that. It's my fault after all", Mikey assures and clumsily stacks the CD's back on top of where the guy has started piling them.

The guy doesn't seem to care though, so they keep collecting everything in a rather weird silence. Mikey looks up and sees black hair covering the guys face, but there is unmistakably a little bit of eyeliner going on. He feels like he has seen him before, but he can't quite put his hands on it. Before he could ask any questions the guy looks up, directly eyeing Mikey.

"You're Mikey, right?", they guy says and it's rather a statement than a question. Mikey blinks several times and stops his actions.

"How do you know?", Mikey asks, obviously perplex. 

"Uhm, we kinda go to the same school", the guy explains and flashes him another toothy smile. Mikey tries to remember if he has seen him before when it eventually clicks.

"Wait you're Pete right? Like, the one on the soccer team Pete?", Mikey asks, and Pete nods enthusiastically.

"Yeah that's me", Pete says and laughs a little, maybe a little too proud considering it's just a school sport. Mikey didn't recognize him at first because he usually wears jersey instead of eyeliner and band shirts. Despite his appearance, he's a senior and it's not like they have any classes together. Admittedly, he only recognized him because he's the captain of their school's soccer team and is basically in every single article of their stupid school newspaper. Not that he reads it, but his friend Ray does. And for whatever reason Ray always talks about it to Mikey. It's not like he even cares.

"Sorry for running you over again", Mikey apologizes again, just in case Pete will tell his soccer friends and they'll decide to team up on him or something. He doesn't want to go through the same hell as Gerard did; the lockers don’t seem to be very comfortable.

"I told you not to worry, its fine. Seriously", Pete assures and beams him a lopsided smile again. Mikey has probably never ever seen that a mouth could stretch that far over ones face. But it fit him. They finally finish cleaning the mess Mikey created and slowly get up, when Pete reaches for something he's put aside and is apparently going to buy, which is- oh.

"Oh, where did you find that new Radiohead album?", Mikey asks curiously. It's exactly the one he wanted to get but couldn't find, and he desperately needs to have it. Gerard actually wanted to get it too, so he doesn't have to spend more money on something he really didn't need again, like the Britney album. Mikey is still internally laughing and also amazed that the plan worked.

Pete glances at the CD and back to Mikey. "I found it back there, but it was the only one left. You can have mine though", Pete shrugs and hands over the CD, which Mikey doesn't take but instead just dumbly stares at.

"Dude, this is yours. Well, I mean you're going to buy this, I can't take it. That'd be such a dick move."

"Its fine, I can wait. You look like you want it more than I do, so just take it, it's cool", Pete laughs and puts the CD right in Mikey's hands. He still looks at Pete completely dumbfounded. Mikey always assumed that Pete was rather a douche, but he actually seems pretty nice. After all, he just helped him clean up and gave him the last copy after literally running him over. Mikey feels bad. 

"Thank you again. I mean, not just for giving me the last copy but also for cleaning up all of this. You didn't have to do that", Mikey says gratefully, but Pete just waves it off like it's nothing.

"I wanted to though“, he shrugs and hesitates before going on. „It could take a while until they‘ll restock it though, maybe I can listen to yours in the meantime?", Pete suddenly asks and scratches his neck. Mikey seems to look a little paralyzed since Pete's eyebrows immediately shoot up embarrassingly.

"I mean, you have an IPod or something, right?"

"Uhm, yeah."

"You could download the album on it, and- I don't know. We could listen to it in school. Lunch break? Or I'll just borrow it, I don't know- uhm", Pete suggests, and it sounds rather awkward because Pete is indirectly asking for them to meet again and neither Mikey nor Pete seem to be too sure about it. Pete probably only wants to listen to the album, so there shouldn't actually be a problem if he just hands over his IPod for a day. 

"It's okay if you don't want to though. I'll just wait until I get mine and you keep this one", Pete quickly adds.

"Oh no, that's cool I guess. I'll download it and I just, uhm, see you in school?", Mikey suggests. It's still awkward as hell, and he doesn't think it will actually happen. Pete will forget about Mikey as soon as he leaves the store and Mikey will continue not giving a shit about him or the soccer team just like any other day. He's willing in anyway, it's easier than finding a reason not to right now.

Pete smiles a little more confident and picks up what looks like an extremely heavy bag pack, almost knocking over the pile of CD’s again. Mikey is sure if they keep knocking things over they'll be thrown out, which reminds him that Gerard and Frank are probably still talking, which is great though. After all they managed to kill 10 minutes without Gerard running out of the store and forever escaping into the basement.

"Awesome, I'm looking forward to it."

"Yeah, me too", Mikey says, even though he’s not too sure if he is all that excited.

"Cool, see you around then Mikey Way." With that Pete turns around and leaves the store, leaving behind an extremely confused Mikey. He's pretty damn sure that Mikey didn't tell Pete his last name.

 

 

"This isn't for you, is it?", Frank laughs and straightens up behind the desk, immediately neglecting what seemed to be some intense computer work.

"Uhm, no", Gerard stutters. He nervously shoots a glance in Mikey's direction who is kneeling behind the rack and grinning like a maniac, giving him an ironic thumbs up. This little fucker.

"Oh good, you usually tend to have a way better taste in music", Frank laughs and takes the album, turning it in his hands. "There doesn't seem to be a barcode on it, let me check the system for the price quickly."

Gerard nods and nervously shifts from one foot to another as watches Frank's attention going back to the monitor. He tries hard not to stare too long at his face, which is fucking hard when he starts playing with his lip ring absently. He almost gets completely distracted, but then Frank huffs.

"Fucking Britney, am I right?", Frank mutters amused as he keeps scrolling. Gerard isn't even sure if it's a question, but he decides to answer it anyway. Hell, this purchase better be worth it.

"Yeah I mean, who would voluntary listen to that?", Gerard agrees hesitantly and watches Frank's face lighten up.

"Too many people, sadly", Frank smirks. "So, who is the lucky person that's going to get that killer album?" Gerard smiles a bit too bright at Frank's ironic question.

"Oh uhm, it is for- my sister Mi- uhm, Maia", Gerard stutters, taking the advice from Mikey about lying who this is for. Frank turns to look at him, raising a perfectly arched eyebrow suspiciously. Gerard wants to slap himself.

"So apparently the good taste music doesn't run in the family", Frank snickers and Gerard realizes how lucky he is that Mikey listens to such killer music.

"Sadly, no", Gerard mumbles, trying to think of a way to keep this conversation going without embarrassing himself even more. He fails, so instead his eyes keep wandering from Frank's jaw line to his tattoo, and the longer he does, the more difficult he finds it to make a clever comment about some more music or the band on Frank's shirt. He's glad Frank is still combing through the system, because if he'd turn his head just the slightest bit towards him he'd see Gerard staring intensely at him, which would be even more embarrassing than buying the Britney album.

They remain quiet for a short amount time in which Gerard considers to just tell Frank he’s changed his mind about buying it and put it back, but then he catches glimpse of a flyer right next to the cash register with a familiar face on it. He reaches out and gets a closer look at the band on the edge of the flyer, and Gerard's face lightens when he realizes, that it is indeed Frank amongst four other dudes.

"Is this your band?", Gerard asks and sees Frank turning to him and giving him one of those smiles that makes his knees weak.

"Yeah that is my band", Frank beams proudly. "We're headlining the local show on Friday, it's gonna be fucking awesome!"

Gerard grins about his giddiness and is about to ask more about the band, but Frank just gives him a warm smile and Gerard is having a moment there. Before he can actually say something, Frank does.

"You should like- totally come and see us", Frank grins and Gerard isn't sure if his own grin can get any wider than this. But his cheeks hurt, and Frank looks fucking cute right now.

Before he can say anything else there is a loud clutter in the back of the store, which causes both boys to startle and peak in between the shelves to make out the cause. And- Jesus Christ Mikey. "I'll clean that up", Mikey shouts from somewhere in the back, and Gerard puts his face in his hand rather embarrassed.

"Fucking Mikey", Gerard mumbles to himself, and looks at Frank apologizing who looks like he's about to go and check what just happened. Frank's eyebrows shoot up and his green eyes look even bigger.

"You know him?"

"Oh, yeah he is my brother, sorry about that. I'm sure he'll clean that up", Gerard apologizes and shrugs. Mikey is one clumsy motherfucker.

"So you have two siblings then?", Frank asks and Gerard nods a little too frantically for it to seem like the truth. Frank seems to be a little irritated, which is understandable.

"Yeah, uhm. His name is Mikey. He's the one with the better taste in music", Gerard confirms truthfully. Frank laughs a little at that and draws his attention away from Mikey and back to Gerard.

"Glad to hear not everyone listens to Britney Spears", Frank mocks, and speaking of it, the CD lying long forgotten on the side next to Frank. Gerard smiles a little and pictures Mikey blasting Britney through their speakers in the living room. It'd be absolutely hilarious.

"Yeah, he- well, we actually- listen to probably something more hardcore than that."

"You should come to our gig then", Frank suggests again.

"So you're hardcore?"

"Come and find out", Frank says with a bit more of a teasing voice that gets Gerard way more worked up than it is considered appropriate. Gerard grins and takes one of the flyers in his hands, flipping his way through the page that contains all the information, feeling Frank's eyes following his movements.

"You're band is called Pencey Prep?"

"Yup, just five dudes and some instruments. You can bring your siblings if you want to, even though I'm not so sure your sister will enjoy the music particularly", Frank mocks, and Gerard immediately agrees since he doesn't even have one to bring along anyway.

"Just make it Mikey and me", Gerard says excitedly, preferably not wanting to talk about the non existing sister anymore.

"Great! I'll put you on the guest list then. So it's Mikey and- wait, I don't know your name, do I?", Frank realizes, and Gerard kind of blushes since he knows his, thanks to Mikey.

"Oh, it's Gerard."

"So Mikey and Gerard", Frank smirks, and Gerard loves the way Frank says his name too clumsily and with too much "r".  "Just tell the security guard you’re with Frank from Pencey Prep and you should be able to get in." Gerard grins wider, and for some reason, Frank grins back. He officially knows his name now, which he considers a big win.

Just when Gerard is about to excuse himself to turn around and find his long gone brother in the few aisles, Frank's eyes widen and he clutches his forehead. "I'm such a fucking idiot. Fuck, sorry, I forgot about your CD", Frank says hastily and grabs for the album, but Gerard just waves it off. "I don't even know if I can sell it, it's not in the system and there is no barcode. Man, I'm sorry, I completely wasted your time."

"Oh its fine, Maia can buy her own fucking CD's", Gerard grins and Frank seems to be extremely relieved that Gerard isn't all that bothered. He receives and apologetic smile though.

"Well, since it's not even in the fucking computer you can might as well just take it, it's not like anyone will notice", Frank shrugs and slides over the CD with a wink which makes Gerard's cheeks burn.

Gerard debates whether or not he should take it since he'd throw it away anyway, when suddenly a dark haired boy rushes out of the door behind him. The boy hastily says goodbye to Frank, followed by his confused brother making his way towards the desk with a frowning expression. He watches his brother approaching with a rather disturbed expression, which makes Gerard giggle and Frank raise his eyebrow.

"Got attacked by Pete Wentz?", Gerard snickers, recognizing the jock from his time in school. Pete Wentz was really something else.

"You could say that", Mikey confirms and Frank laughs like it's no news.

When Mikey puts the Radiohead album on the desk, Gerard assures Frank that it's the only one he wants to purchase, so Frank shrugs puts the Britney album in some drawer where it will hopefully never see the daylight ever again. Gerard thinks that Mikey's album is well deserved, after all, he's the reason Gerard will see Frank again. And it's a fucking Radiohead album, so how on earth could you not buy that? Sometimes Mikey turns out to be a genius. Just sometimes.

"So, see you on Friday Gerard?", Frank asks with what Gerard hopes was a hopeful undertone. "And Mikey of course", Frank quickly adds.

Gerard laughs and Mikey gives him a confused look, but Gerard just waves it off and tells Mikey he'll explain later. Mikey shrugs and shoves his new album into his jacket happily.

"Yeah, I see you on Friday Frank."

 

 

It seems like years until it's finally Friday, and needless to say, Gerard is fucking excited. Convincing Mikey to join him again took like ten seconds since he loves good live music, but trying to contain his own giddiness was a whole different story. He's currently on vacation so there's nothing much he can do besides laying around, listening to the new Radiohead album and some Green Day, reading comics and waiting for Mikey to get home from school. This day was no different. So he's extremely glad when the evening approaches, because it meant he could finally go to Frank's and his band's gig. He hasn't even been to the record store ever since last time, there wasn't really a reason to go anymore. It's not like he could afford something anyway.

It's a breezy evening and a little colder than usually Gerard notices when they walk down the street, trying to keep his exhaustingly made hair in place. Which, needless to say, Mikey thinks is hilarious. So Gerard occasionally shoves Mikey when he catches him eyeing him in a way that only Mikey could.

"Shut up."

"'M not saying anything", Mikey claims.

"But you think about it", Gerard persists.

"Maybe", Mikey snickers, and Gerard shoves him again so that Mikey crashes into the brick wall next to him. It's funnier than it should be.

When they arrive it's dark already and the bar is visible in the dim light of the street lamps. It seems fairly small which means it will probably very stuffy and cramped, but it's nothing Gerard and Mikey are already used to. There is some heavy bass coming through from the inside, which appears to be the opening band, so Gerard lights himself a cigarette and takes a long drag before they will be going inside. Mikey had excused himself to the bathroom and was already inside, so Gerard takes the chance to check his appearance once more in one of the yellow stained, cracked windows of the bar he's somehow never been to. His heart beats a little too fast and his trousers feel too tight around his legs to be particularly comfortable, and there is nothing he can do about his foot tapping back and forth on the pavement.

Then he lights another cigarette, and another one, and after that another one, but Mikey still isn't back and the heavy music from inside has stopped long ago. So he crushes the butt of what he claims to be his last cigarette for today and heads inside. After passing the security dude he squeezes in between the sweaty people and types Mikey in the meanwhile since he still hasn't reappeared yet, telling him to meet him at the bar's counter. The only problem would still be that he has almost no money, so he orders himself a beer with what seriously has to be his last five dollars and downs half of it in one go. He keeps glancing around and spies above the heads from the crowd in order to find Mikey, but its way too dark to see anything besides raised drinks and tangled limbs.

"You looking for someone?", the women who handed him the beer kindly asks him.

"Uhm yeah, I kind of lost my brother in here and he won't text me back. Taller than me, weird haircut, white framed glasses, probably a black band shirt, skinny fucker. Have you seen him around here by any chance?", Gerard describes as he tilts his beer inside the bottle absently.

"I think I have actually. He went off with one of the guys from the opening band several minutes ago", she confirms and gestures wildly towards the area they probably went.

Gerard blinks a little perplex and furrows his brows. It'd not be very alike for Mikey to do so, the women probably meant someone else. Mikey doesn't even know anyone who is in a band.

"Do you maybe know the band's name?"

"I think they are called Fall Out Boy."

Gerard has never ever heard of a band called Fall Out Boy, but he thanks her anyway and gets up from his place to make his way through the crowd. It's not the first time Mikey mysteriously disappears, so he decides to take on the mass by himself and holds his drink high as he navigates his way through it. He decides to stay in the far back though, its way safer for him to watch Frank play and also, wild, sweaty crowds are not exactly something pleasant. He feels his phone vibrating in his pocket, and when he fishes it out it's a message from Mikey saying: m bck in 2h.

Gerard rolls his eyes and texts him back be safe, before shoving the phone back into the depths of his leather jacket, right before the lights go out and the crowd starts cheering. The band starts storming on to the stage, and if Frank didn't already look hot in the store, fucking hell, he definitely did now. He is completely dressed in black, and the tightness of his clothes couldn't be more comfortable than what Gerard was wearing. His hair is going wild and curling crazily around his jaw and his guitar swings with him with every single move he makes. It'd be funny how small he appears when he wouldn't look like an extraction of Gerard's wet dreams.

"I'm Frank, and this is motherfucking Pencey Prep", he growls into the microphone, voice getting louder at the end, followed by insanely loud cheers and clapping. Gerard could definitely see why, he would too if he wasn't busy drooling about his raspy voice and the heavily smudged eyeliner. Fuck, he wishes Mikey was here, this fucking traitor. There is no way he can remotely talk to Frank if he looks like that. Well, chances are he won't talk to him at all tonight, so he tries to think less and takes another sip of his lukewarm beer.

Frank bounces and jumps around like a maniac on stage, throwing himself around and playing like it's thousands of people instead of barely hundred. Gerard wonders if he will have any bruises after this, but he also couldn't care less when he clutches his guitar like his life depends on it and lets his jaw fall slack. Gerard bets his skin his sweaty and damp and feels hot and heavy beneath his clothes. Gerard adjusts his pants and tries to think of unsexy things.

 

He still doesn't have any money, so when the show is finished and the people are dancing to the music coming from the DJ, he finds himself going back to the bar and the spot he's been at earlier. Frank has disappeared backstage, and there actually isn't any point in staying here any longer, to his disappointment. Mikey should already be back, but he isn't so Gerard quickly sends him a message and patiently waits for him to arrive. He isn't anywhere near drunk enough to put up with the other people's shit, so he just sits down and scrolls through his phone like he hasn't anything else to do. The pictures of Frank are still very sharp in his head, which is a little distracting and unsettling, so he groans to himself and puts his face in his hands, neglecting his phone on the counter.

"Gerard?", a voice behind him suddenly says, and Gerard's head snaps up to see Frank climbing on to the bar stool right next to him with a smug grin. He is a little less drenched in sweat but just as gorgeous looking as before. He seems to have wiped the eyeliner away, but his eyes are still stained in black which makes them look huge even in the dim light.

"Frank", Gerard responds a little off guard, not expecting to see him again today whatsoever. 

"Hey! I was looking for you. Where's Mikey?"

"Oh, he went off somewhere after the opening band apparently. I don't know, it happens sometimes", Gerard explains hastily, totally going nuts about the fact that Frank was actually looking for him. All of his friends are probably with him, and yet here they are.

"Fucking Mikey", Frank huffs. "But you were here, right?"

Frank's eyes are glistening with excitement and it makes Gerard think that Frank is just a three year old trapped in an older body, there is no way that guy can literally look so damn adorable and happy all the time.

"Of course I did, you guys fucking rock", Gerard says with more ease than he thought he could, and Frank grins at him like Gerard is god or some shit.

"You think so?"

"Hell yes", Gerard beams and Frank keeps grinning and shifting around in his seat, what seems like the leftover adrenaline flooding through his body.

"Well, thank you. I'm glad you were able to make it. Even if you lost Mikey along the way", Frank snickers.

"That guy needs a damn leash sometimes", Gerard agrees and earns loud laughter from Frank that sounds like a mixture in between a giggle and something he can't describe, but it does weird things to his stomach.

"You just have to bring him along next time", Frank insist and calls over the barkeeper, whereas Gerard's mind is going crazy because it means there will be a next time. Whatever that next time includes, he wants that.

"What do you want to drink?", Frank asks when he's about to order. Gerard blushes a little at that, because explaining not to have enough money for a beer is not exactly the coolest thing to do. It's not like he has a choice though.

"Uhm, I didn't bring enough money, so yeah I-", Gerard starts his excuse, but Frank immediately interrupts him.

"Do you like beer?"

"Uhm, yes?"

"Make it two beers then", Frank nods towards the women that Gerard talked to earlier in the night, before turning around to face him again with a smile.

"It's on me dude, don't worry", Frank winks and Gerard's cheeks are burning again. He spends the next few seconds pondering if that counts as flirting already. But Frank keeps talking and talking and flashing him pretty smiles so that Gerard forgets about everything else anyway.

 

To his surprise, Frank doesn't leave after one beer. Gerard thought he'd maybe just stay a little longer out of niceness and would then politely excuse himself to disappear backstage, but he doesn't. After that one beer follows another one, and after that one another until Gerard loses count of the beers he's had and the time that has passed. Frank pays every single one of his, and Gerard feels pretty bad, even though Frank tells him not to worry.

"Sorry dude, seriously I'll make up for it", Gerard manages to say in a way more tipsy state than two hours ago. He feels the alcohol in his fingertips and also by the way he talks a little faster and less thoughtful than usually. But Frank doesn't seem to mind, he's probably even worse than himself. Mikey still isn't back and Gerard has no fucking idea if his brother texted him in the meanwhile or if he is maybe waiting in front of the bar, but it's Mikey, he could be anywhere having the time of his life.

"I told you its fucking fine", Frank assures sloppily, and Gerard wonders if his own voice sounds the same. "Just- I don't know, dance with me?"

Gerard blinks and watches Frank sliding down the stool, holding out a hand for Gerard, beer in the other one. Gerard beams and takes his hand clumsily, way past the point of giving a shit that his face his bright red from smiling and blushing from Frank's comments and actions. They make their way to the dance floor, trying to keep their conversation going about a band that Gerard has already forgotten the name of. God, they talked so insanely much this evening that he can barely remember half of it.

They shove their way inside the crowd and Frank still hasn't let go of Gerard's hand, which is probably the outcome of too many beers and the nighttime but Gerard gives no shit whatsoever. The only thing he cares about is the way Frank's and his own body move to the music but not quite with each other yet.

"Won't your band members miss you back there?", Gerard asks and leans down so that Frank could hear him probably. Frank just smirks and presses his mouth right against Gerard's ear so that he can feel his hot breath against his skin amongst with some saliva and a persistent coldness that could only be his lip ring. Gerard is glad his trousers are tight enough.

"I don't give a shit."

Gerard grins and watches Frank taking a long gulp of his beer, abandoning the empty bottle by putting it on the floor carelessly. It gets knocked over in less a second.

He feels his hair hanging against his forehead wetly as a result of the stuffy mass of people and tries to shove it aside with beer still in his hand, since the other one is still kind of intertwined with Frank's. He doesn't even know if it counts as holding hands, their fingers are just kind of entangled in each others. There is no way on earth Gerard is the first to pull away though.

"Dude how do you live, your hair is so long", Frank giggles and shoves his hand messily through Gerard's hair and out of his face, apparently not giving a shit that it's sweat drenched and also kind of disgusting. Frank wipes off his hand on Gerard's shirt and Gerard smiles. Hell, as if he did anything else but smile tonight.

Frank leans forward again, resting his other hand loosely on Gerard's hip where his shirt had ridden up a bit so that their sweaty skins were touching. It sends a shiver down his spine, which Frank luckily doesn't notice. There is that persistent coldness of his lip ring against Gerard's ear again as Frank speaks lowly into his ear and over the noisy crowd.

"I think you should like- totally come to the store more often", Frank pulls away and grins, taking a swig from Gerard's beer.

"I think you're totally right", Gerard agrees. And if he didn't already sound desperate before, he definitely did now. Frank doesn't seem to mind. Gerard's cheeks hurt from all the smiling, which doesn't mean that his pants got any more comfortable throughout the night.

 

 

Mikey quickly excuses himself to the bathroom and makes his way inside, leaving Gerard outside of the bar. He notices him lightening a cigarette before disappearing into the stuffy bar, and Mikey frowns even though it's not surprising anymore. Gerard knows that Mikey dislikes his smoking habit, so he always does it when Gerard thinks Mikey won't notice. Of course Mikey does, cigarettes reek like shit and so do Gerard's clothes sometimes, but he doesn't comment on it anymore. It's not like it's really his business.

To Mikey's surprise, Frank really put Gerard's and his name on the guest list so he slips past the scary looking security guard without having to pay something. When he gets inside he is immediately overwhelmed by the deafening music of the opening band that he has never heard of before. He couldn't care less though, so he makes his way towards the bathroom quickly where you could still hear the music pretty loudly. There is suddenly a familiar voice coming through extremely clearly as Mikey washes his hands in the rusty, old sink. So he quickly dries his hands and steps outside, catching a glimpse of the stage where the voice is coming from.

His eyes need a moment to adjust to the light when he recognizes a strawberry blonde guy with glasses, a guy hidden behind drums and a guitarist with a fro that could conquer Ray's, and there is- Pete? Mikey squeezes his eyes and wonders if he sees it correctly, but that is unmistakably Pete. There is no other dude around who is that short and has such crazily straightened, black hair.

"Thank you for coming, we're Fall Out Boy. I'm Pete, this is Patrick, Joe and Andy, see you around next time", Pete howls into the microphone that is probably for his backing vocals, since he has a huge bass hanging down his tiny body. Mikey would've never thought that Pete plays bass, not to mention is interested in music in all. That makes him the like- least jockish jock on earth.

Mikey laughs a little to himself, but also really doesn't want to get involved in any weird situation having to do with Pete, so he stays in the background. The lights slowly go back to normal and the bands begins to pack away their instruments hastily so that Frank's band could probably prepare their own set. Pete looks just like he did the last time he saw him, band shirt and a little too heavily applied eyeliner, just sweatier this time. Mikey wonders if Pete's soccer friends know about this, it's not like he really cares though.

The familiar blonde guy who's apparently called Patrick goes over to Pete and whispers something in his ear, and in the split of a second Pete's eyes are on Mikey. Mikey freezes for a moment and sees Pete's mouth turning in this typical toothy grin, which makes Mikey ponder what Patrick just said to him. He internally face palms himself, he should've just gone but now Pete is waving him over and he's kind of trapped. Sure, he could just walk out and mind his own business again but after Pete was really nice a few days ago Mikey thinks he probably doesn't deserve that. He sighs and decides to go over, trying to make it through the crowd without dying.

"Record store Mikey", Pete slurs happily when Mikey approaches, and yeah, Pete definitely had more than one beer. "What are you doing here?"

Mikey stops in front of the stage and helps Pete down who is a little too clumsy to do so on his own, clutching on Mikey's shirt as he comes to stand on both of his feet.

"I'm here with Gerard", Mikey says, and then remembers that Pete probably has no clue who Gerard is. "My brother."

"Awesome, did you see me play?"

"Uhm, a little", Mikey lies.

"Cool", Pete says and almost trips over one of the barriers, but Mikey catches his arm in time and shoves him back in place.

"Dude, how much did you drink?", Mikey laughs and Pete huffs.

"Not so much, three beers maybe. It's more adrenaline than alcohol, dude, I could run a marathon", Pete beams and looks as if he's about to jump around or climb up the walls. Mikey raises and eyebrow but Pete just grins at him. When he looks up to Patrick he just gives Mikey a face that confirms Pete's explanation, so Mikey just lets it go.

"Dude, Mikey, I wish I could hang out with you, but I gotta go home. Soccer game 'n shit tomorrow, you know?", Pete says and Patrick rolls his eyes which Mikey finds funnier than it probably is. So Patrick seems to be the one who looks after Pete's dumbass.

"Oh, uhm. That's a bummer."

"I think you should come with me."

"Uhm."

"I could drop my bass on the way, you know", Pete insists. Mikey isn't sure if that's the reason.

Mikey looks up to Patrick again since he's a little more trustworthy, but the guy just shrugs as if that's something not so far off. Mikey sighs desperately, there is no way he'll go home with Pete Wentz.

"Sorry, I gotta go back to my brother", Mikey tries to sound urgent.

"But Patrick and the others will stay here. Don't you want to be my company? I could die on my way home", Pete frowns and Mikey snorts.

"Well, actually, that is true", Patrick brings himself into this conversation instead of side eyeing them weirdly. "Me and the others stay here so Pete goes home alone. I usually walk his drunk ass home, well, except for today." Patrick shrugs. "Don't feel obligated to though, he can be very dramatic and a whiny-"

"Hey", Pete pouts. "I'm not dramatic or a whiny- whatever you wanted to say. I'm very responsible."

Patrick starts laughing and Pete shoots him a death glare that looks more like an angry puppy than anything else. Mikey thinks it's hilarious that Patrick is able to talk like that to Pete.

"Sure you are Pete, that's why you're asking that boy to walk you home", Patrick mocks, pointing at Mikey.

"No, I think it's a safety precaution. Remember when I got undressed and started swimming in the fountain in front of some rich dude's house and then he called the cops and-"

"How the hell on earth am I supposed to ever forget that", Patrick interrupts and shakes his head as if he couldn't believe they are still friends. "And you just called yourself responsible."

"Whatever Patrick", Pete waves him off and turns back to Mikey who enjoys the conversation between Patrick and Pete a little too much. "So, will you come with me? I promise not to swim in someone's fountain."

"You should promise the kid not to undress", Patrick murmurs, but Pete doesn't listen and instead grins at Mikey like it's something he can't promise. Admittedly, it unsettles Mikey just a little.

"So, will you Mikey?"

Mikey is sure this isn't only about walking home anymore. But he doesn't see a way to escape this encounter either, so he just sighs. He can't believe he's going to put up with a person's shit he's talked to twice in his life.

"Okay I will, but please behave", Mikey asks and Pete's face lightens up immediately.

"I will!"

"He won't", Patrick mumbles.

 

They make their way to Pete's house which turns out not to be too far away, which makes Mikey wonder even more why the hell Pete wants Mikey to walk him home. Pete carries his bass and Mikey occasionally checks if he has dropped it along the way or if he has completely died. Instead Pete behaves though; he just rants a hella fucking lot about things Mikey doesn't understand which includes a lot of soccer and names of people he's never heard in his life. In the meanwhile Mikey sends his brother a quick message about being back soon, since Gerard wasn't outside anymore when Mikey checked.

"We're here", Pete grins and makes a dramatic gesture towards a house that looks way too expensive. It's fucking huge, with flowers and a well kempt garden that is big enough to build another house on top of. Mikey bites down a sarcastic comment about Pete's wealth.

"Finally", Pete huffs as if he just ran the marathon he was talking about in the bar.

"And you didn't even die", Mikey says almost as if it's something to be proud of.

"Yup", Pete says in that proud way, dragging out the word longer than necessary. "Told you I'm responsible."

"Sure Pete", Mikey mocks and Pete grins at him.

After opening the door to Pete's house and helping him up the stairs, trying extremely hard not to wake up his parents, they stumble inside Pete's room a little clumsily and Pete immediately drops off his bass and lies down on the floor with his head pressed against the carpet.

"Is the floor comfortable?", Mikey whispers, because he has no fucking idea if his parents are next door. He actually just wants to leave, but it's not exactly the right moment so he waits.

"Very. You should sit down", Pete whispers back and gently pats the floor. Needless to be said, it didn't look very comfortable. Pete's room on the other hand wasn't too bad. The walls are clean besides one poster with a theme that Mikey can't make out in the dark. There seem to be some piles of clothes and school supplies all over the floor along many, many CD's and cables that lead nowhere.

Mikey sighs and drops on the floor next to Pete, maybe he'll just fall asleep so that Mikey can eventually leave. Hopefully.

"You have your IPod with you?", Pete curiously asks out of nowhere.

"Uhm", Mikey says from where his legs are awkwardly sprawled next to the half asleep boy. "Yeah, in my jacket."

"We should listen to Radiohead, you downloaded the album already?", Pete asks and Mikey remembers what happened in the store. So he didn't forget. It makes Mikey smile for some reason, he didn't think Pete would remember. "I didn't see you in school last week, so I couldn't ask."

The first thing that comes to Mikey's mind is that the reason why Pete wanted him to come along is to listen to the new Radiohead album, which he thinks is kind of funny. If he just wanted the album he could've simply asked earlier.

"Yeah sure, uhm-", Mikey says and fumbles in his jacket for the square shaped object along with his headphones. He feels like he kinda owes Pete one because of the store incident, so he just goes along with it and calls it a night. Whatever, Gerard will be fine. "But you gotta stay quiet, you'll wake up your family."

"Sure, just give me one headphone, you take the other", Pete says and sits upright too quickly and against his bed so that Mikey could sit next to him.

They put in the headphones, and there is something kind of surreal about sitting in a dark room with Pete Wentz to listen to Radiohead. On his list of unlikely events, this one is on the far top. But he doesn't question it any further and puts his thumb on the wheel of his IPod to select the Radiohead album. Several minutes pass by and Pete starts humming along like Gerard always does when he doesn't know the lyrics yet. Pete seems to really like the album, it's reasonable though, because it's a good fucking album.

"So", Mikey starts. "You could've just asked me to lend you the album. Or my IPod. It's okay if you don't want to- uhm, you know, hang out."

"And what if I wanted to listen to it with you?"

"Uhm, you'd be the first person besides my brother I think."

Pete laughs openly and a little too loud, so he quickly claps his hand over his mouth. Mikey guesses it's the adrenaline that keeps Pete awake, the alcohol would've knocked him out already.

"I can't see why people wouldn't want to hang out with you Mikey Way."

Mikey shrugs against Pete's shoulder and decides to avoid that type of conversation. Mikey sighs and Pete nudges his shoulder gently from where they are pressed together. Radiohead is still playing in his right ear and the moon shines beautifully through Pete's huge window and the sheer curtains that probably his mother picked out for him. It's when Mikey realizes how tired he is and how comforting it can be to sit next to Pete.

"I think you're cute."

"Oh."

"Is that weird?", Pete barely whispers.

"No", Mikey answers truthfully and feels Pete relax against his side. He is glad that Pete can't see him blushing.

"You should stay over."

"You have a game tomorrow, and I have to work. Also, I've met you literally two times in my entire life", Mikey answers and it makes Pete chuckle.

"True. Can I see you after work?"

Mikey thinks about it for a moment, but it's not like he has anything to do besides reading comic books and playing video games with his, by now- probably hung over brother. That reminds him that he should maybe send Gerard a text after leaving him behind, he hopes he doesn't mind too much. Maybe he's with Frank.

"Uhm sure. Just come by the only fucking bookstore within 10 kilometers, it's easy to find", Mikey says and Pete chuckles even more.

"I will."

It doesn't take too long for Pete to finally fall asleep, head resting against Mikey's bony shoulder, snoring softly and steady with the music still playing. It's kind of cute, Mikey has to admit. But he can't stay any longer, he really has to pick up Gerard now. So he gently pulls out the other headphone out of Pete's ear and shoves his IPod back into his jacket before lifting up Pete's head, who instantly leans sideways and continues sleeping peacefully on the floor.

Mikey laughs to himself and gets up as silent as possible, after quickly sending Gerard a message that he'll be on his way. Before he closes the door to Pete's room he catches glimpse at the snoring boy again. The eyeliner is still heavily smudged and his shirt is sweat stained, but he looks calm and happy and it reminds Mikey of all the times Gerard has passed out on their couch before. It's quite hilarious, and also somewhat familiar.

"Bye Pete", Mikey barely whispers, before sneaking out of the door and onto the dark street, where it's so silent that the only thing he's able to hear is the ringing in his ears.

Chapter Text

Mikey's eyes keep falling shut and he kind of has a hard time staying awake. The only thing that keeps him from falling asleep is the bright sun that floods right through the huge shop window and directly into his face. But there isn't much he can do about that except staying behind the desk and protecting his beloved eye sight by holding a hand against his forehead like a peaked cap.

After he left Pete's place yesterday he had returned to pick up drunk-to-the-gods Gerard who had sweated his heart out on the dance floor amongst Frank, which wasn't really surprising. The only problematic thing was to take him home without getting either of them killed, and after he finally managed to put his brother to sleep it was way past 3am. Mikey wonders what he did do deserve having to take care of over attached Pete and his idiot older brother yesterday, but it was definitely an adventure. Especially because today is a work day, and he barely got three hours of sleep.

He puts down his glasses on to the desk and shoves his chair a bit more into the shadow where the sun was less extreme and he could lean against the cool wall. There isn't much to do for him in the store, there never really is. The customers usually just browse around in the far back of the store for like 2 minutes before leaving again. It’s pretty boring most of the time.

He'd usually call Gerard to ask him if he wants to keep him company, maybe bring some coffee, food and comics, but Gerard is probably deep asleep and drooling on to his sheets this moment, and he doesn't want to disturb his sweet dreams. So besides listening to the music he gets from the small radio on the window sill and staring at the wooden floor intensely, there is not much he can do. He can't even use his phone because it has barely 5% battery since he forgot to charge it after coming home last night, and he doesn't want to kill it in case Gerard or his mother calls. He should really consider about bringing his own stuff more often, at least a fucking game boy or something.

He sighs and eventually gets up from his chair and starts roaming through the aisles, shoving books back in to place and restocking some, which is not necessary either but it keeps him busy and more importantly awake. If he wasn't half asleep, he'd maybe even grab a book and read a bit, but today seems to be the big exception for everything. As soon as he opens the first page of something that sounds remotely interesting his head starts whirling the letters around and Mikey squeezes his eyes several times in order the properly read one sentence.

"Mikey?"

The voice is familiar but it makes him jump anyway, which causes him to drop the heavy books in his hands and directly crash on to the floor. Mikey groans as the books splatter everywhere and under the racks where he already knows his arm will barely fit in.

"Fuck", he mutters.

It'd be a lie if he said he didn't suspect this to happen. Last night, Pete told him that he'd come over to see him at work, and Mikey had wondered if he was serious about it the second he left Pete's house. After all, he had been a little more than tipsy after their gig. Needless to be said, Mikey didn't really expect him to show up. But then again he did kind of expect it, because it's Pete fucking Wentz and he should have known better. Mikey makes a mental note to never give anyone his working address again until he really means it.

He gets down on the floor to collect the books, and yeah, he kind of has a déjà vu.

"Is this a Mikey thing I don't know about yet or is it my presence that repeatedly makes you destroy store property? I'm kind of having a flashback moment here", Pete mocks and Mikey looks up from his spot on the floor, where a very wide grinning, dark haired boy looks down at him. He rolls his eyes and goes back to piling the books.

"Yeah, I really love cleaning up. But it's just way more fun when you're looking", Mikey says sarcastically.

Pete laughs and sits on the floor to help him out, just like the time when they first met at the record store. He occasionally glances at Mikey, which he tries to ignore because that just makes it way worse, he's already feeling a little off. Mikey wonders how much about last night he remembers. After all, Pete seemed to perfectly know where to find him, so he probably remembers all of it.

Mikey looks up now that he gathered most of the books he dropped back and looks at Pete who has an arm stuck deep down under the shelve. Now that Pete's bend down Mikey realizes that his dark hair is soaked wet and dripping on the carpet, leaving some wet spots. Not only that, but there are a few wet patches on his shirt too. Mikey furrows his brows and his eyes meet Pete's.

"Why is your hair dripping wet? Did you sprint here?"

"I had a soccer match earlier", Pete says blatantly and sits upright, and Mikey remembers that this is the reason why Pete had to leave early last night. Pete huffs when he sees Mikey scrunching his nose in disgust.

"Don't worry, it's just water. I showered at the locker room but I had no time to dry my hair properly 'cause I want here straight away. Did you really think I'd come here drenched in sweat?", Pete teases.

"I didn't think you'd come here at all."

"Told you I would", Pete says and shrugs with a grin.

"Yeah, but I didn't think you really would", Mikey emphasizes. "I just didn't expect you to remember."

Pete's his eyes shift away, and Mikey lets his mind wander to last night in Pete's room. Not about one thing in particular, just generally about how the hell he ended up with Pete in his house at 1 am. He usually hangs out with Ray or his brother, and it always tends to be the same: video games, comics, maybe a concert, but mostly just hanging out in one of their stuffy rooms while listening to Gerard or Ray complaining about how they aren't getting laid. Mikey feels like Pete is a little more adventurous but also a lot simpler than that, and it sends sparks through Mikey's finger tips because he doesn't know if he wants to find out more or avoid him and never think about it again.

"Why wouldn't I remember?"

"Dunno", Mikey shrugs. "You drank a little."

"Yeah but not that much, Patrick never lets me have more than a few beers. He claims that I'll otherwise fuck up the bass lines or just fall into the crowd and won't be able to get up again."

"Fair enough", Mikey chuckles, because he knows it's not so far off. He's learned pretty quickly that wild assumptions about Pete mostly aren't too far off. And by the grin and the flicker in his eyes, Mikey can tell he's correct.

"Well, yeah", Pete says and scratches his neck. "But it's like, okay that I came here, right?", he asks hesitantly as if he seriously concerned whether Mikey approves his presence or not. And to be honest, Mikey doesn't know.

"Uhm, sure", Mikey assures with the same hesitation and hopes isn't too obvious. It's not like he hates Pete, but he doesn't know what Pete wants from him either. He's listened to the new album already, so there shouldn't be any point of befriending Mikey anymore. They could simply continue their lives without talking to each other ever again, but here they are as Pete sits next to Mikey on the dirty carpet of a book store and talks to him like he's the only thing Pete's got on his mind.

"Cool", Pete says a bit absently. "You know- I, uhm, I get truthful when I drink. I meant it when I told you I'd come by today, so if you really don't want that you should can tell me."

Pete fumbles with his shoelace and Mikey just sits there and stares at Pete while he does so. They finished piling the books already, but neither of them makes a move to get up. Mikey thinks about how Pete called him cute last night right after assuring him that he actually wants to spend time with him, and wonders if the drunken truth telling thing applies to that kinda stuff as well. Hell, he'd love to know if Pete is thinking about it right now. But judging by Pete's shifting, he must be. Maybe. Mikey's face feels a little too warm and Pete bites his lower lip.

"Oh, uhm, no it's cool, seriously", Mikey plays it off. "It's not like I have anything to do in here anyway. Gerard usually comes by, but he kinda knocked himself out yesterday."

"So that means I'm your only company for now?", Pete smiles.

"Only if you want to I guess."

"You bet."

 

They finally manage to get up from the floor and Mikey finishes putting all the books back in the shelve. Pete offers to help him, of course he does. Mikey assures him that he can do it alone since Pete doesn't even work here, but that doesn't stop him from doing it anyway. He should probably just accept that Pete is just a very purposeful person, that's why he probably always gets himself into trouble. But he's only assuming from what Patrick had said and what Pete was willing to reveal himself. Mikey can't wrap his head around it.

He rubs his fingers against his temples and pushes his glasses back onto his nose, going straight to his desk, closely followed by Pete. He shoves the spare chair that is usually squeezed in the corner for Gerard, next to his own. Pete immediately flops down and makes himself comfortable by laying his big, clunky sneakers down on the table and leaning back. Mikey is glad that there are no costumers.

"It's pretty fucking boring most of the time, I told you. No one comes in here, like, ever", Mikey explains poorly.

"Oh its fine, I'm sure we'll find something to keep us busy", Pete says and pulls out a bag of candy out of his bag pack. Mikey purposefully ignores the ambiguity and takes some gummy worms when Pete offers them as he watches the boy shoving some in to his mouth as well.

"Yeah, sure. But I mean, you probably have better things to do than to waste your time in here", Mikey claims and rolls his eyes when Pete shoves another handful into his mouth. For real, that guy is a literal 5 year old.

"Not really", Pete says thoughtfully. "And it's not called wasting time when you actually get up to something."

"Like what?"

"I've heard the employee is cute."

"But I'm the only one- oh", Mikey says before realizing and immediately feels the urge to slam his head down and preferably through the table. Pete seems to notice and gives him a quirky side glance with a raised brow and a way too amused expression. Mikey avoids his eyes and grabs some gummy worms way too intensely. He knows there is no way to play this cool anymore, especially with a bright red face and Pete's gaze still on him.

"Oh", Mikey mumbles again.

"Yeah."

Mikey isn't sure if he should speak up about it or just let it go and put it down as a whim of his, after all it’s Pete. From what he knows Pete gives zero shits about everything anyway, so maybe he calls Mikey all those things for personal entertainment. But then again he kind of confessed that he wasn't lying when calling Mikey cute last night. And it's not like he seriously gives a shit about it, but what the fuck does Pete want from him? Out of all people, why Mikey?

"Why did you say that?", Mikey carefully asks.

"What do you mean?"

"You know what I mean."

Pete shrugs and flashes him an easy lopsided smile like it's the only thing he ever does. "I like you. I mean, I really like you, you seem cool", he shrugs. "Is that weird?"

He remembers when Pete asked him the same question last night, and it makes him smile a little. It's like Pete is seeking confirmation in something that Mikey can't tell anyway. But it's also a huge contrast to his usual confidence, because when he asks is that weird it sounds more like an is that okay. And how the hell is Mikey supposed to know.

"Well, considering we've seen each other three times in total, a little", Mikey explains a little mocking and earns a huff from Pete.

"Hey, speak for yourself. I've seen you at school Mikey Way."

"I haven't seen you."

"You weren't looking."

"Does that mean you were?", Mikey asks with more confidence than he thought he could bring up.

"Where is the fun if I told you?", Pete answers and raises his eyebrow at Mikey playfully. He is aware of the fact that Pete is most possibly flirting with him, and he'd lie if he said it doesn't affect him just the tiniest bit. He has to admit that Pete is kind of cute, just a little. The way he wears his too confident grin and with a gummy worm hanging out of his mouth shouldn't look good on him, but it does.

"You're cute."

"I'm really not", Mikey says and watches Pete's eyes turn crinkly from smiling. But Pete doesn't argue with him, he just keeps beaming like sitting in a stuffy bookstore on a cheap chair is the one thing he always wanted to accomplish in life.

"You really are though."

"You're insane."

"But you love it", Pete jokes and Mikey snorts, causing the both of them to laugh.

"So, uhm, but do you maybe want to-", Pete starts but gets interrupted by his phone that goes off several times somewhere in his pocket. Pete shoots him an apologizing look, but Mikey just shrugs as Pete pulls out his phone from somewhere deep in his pockets. His expression slowly goes from a full on smile to a frown. He lets it buzz while staring at the screen. 

"Who's texting you?"

"Uhm, this is my mom, I gotta-"

"Sure, go ahead", Mikey says unbothered and watches Pete frantically pressing the buttons on the tiny surface. He mutters something under his breath that Mikey doesn't understand, but he supposes that it's not nice anyway.

"Well, what does she say?", Mikey asks.

Pete grumbles as he shoves the phone back into his pocket."My mom bitches again, I have to go home, because apparently I can't have some time off after I spent the whole morning kicking around a ball with twenty other sweaty dudes."

"Wow, that sounds like you hate playing soccer."

"I love playing soccer, I just hate the people. But don't tell on me, otherwise they'll beat me up and I'll spend the rest of my life in hospital. Or the school nurse's office, sike", Pete shudders and Mikey feels kind of sorry for him. He tries to hide the fact that he is kind of surprised to hear that coming out of Pete's mouth; he's the captain and apparently one of the best players at school after all. Shouldn't he be the kind of guy that celebrates every win by drinking canned beer with those sweaty dudes?

"Your secret is safe", Mikey reassures, and Pete gives him a small smile that gives away the fact that Mikey was indeed let in on something that not many people know about. Mikey wonders who else knows, Patrick does for sure, maybe his other two band dudes.

"Sorry that I already gotta go."

"Oh, it's fine. It was nice anyway", Mikey assures and Pete beams at him, which makes what he just said much more worth it.

"Awesome", Pete cheers. "So, what I actually wanted to ask you before my mom started bitching is that, uhm- so do you maybe want to hang out tonight?"

"Oh."

Mikey thinks about it for a moment and tries to let the small voice in the back of his mind not influence his decision. He knows that he should probably take care of Gerard, especially after his little dance off with Frank last night. Mikey never thought he'd be bummed about cancelling on Pete Wentz, but his brother is his priority, and it will always stay like that. He can already hear Gerard sobbing from his basement about how much he embarrassed himself last night, and Mikey will be there to roll his eyes and tell him to get his shit together in the most loving way possible.

"Pete, I-, I can't tonight, I'm sorry."

"That's a bummer, already got plans?", Pete asks and presses his lips together.

"If babysitting your older brother counts as a plan, then yes", Mikey shrugs and Pete's face lightens the slightest bit.

"Your brother can come too", Pete suggests.

"I don't think he'd want that in his state", Mikey truthfully explains.

"Some other time then?"

"Sure."

"When are you free?", Pete immediately asks.

"I- I don't know I'm-."

"Tomorrow?"

Mikey giggles and Pete looks at him with a mixture between amusement and confusion. He doesn't even realize how much he's ranting.

"Are you that desperate?" Mikey jokes, and Pete grins.

"Only for you", Pete says in the kind of way that leaves Mikey pondering if it's a joke or completely serious once again. He could be completely serious. But maybe he isn't. Maybe he is.

"Can I at least get your phone number?"

"Very subtle Wentz."

"I hate you."

"You don't."

"Well, yeah", Pete admits which causes Mikey to laugh.

"I'm just joking", Mikey says and rips out a piece of paper from back of a notebook that he uses to keep track of his working shifts. Pete nudges his shoulder playfully as Mikey scribbles down his phone number on to the far corner of the page, right after signing the page with Mikey fucking Way. 

"Mikey fucking Way?", Pete asks with a raised eyebrow and a hint of amusement.

"Exactly", Mikey says and Pete chuckles under his breath, folding the piece of paper together neatly and shoving it in one of his endlessly deep pockets.

"Cool, Mikey fucking Way, I'll give you a call", Pete beams.

"Can't wait."

 

After Pete leaves the store, Mikey continues sorting out some books which is still completely unnecessary, but it will hopefully keep him busy for the next couple of hours. His mind is still racing, mostly questions and rethinking certain situations that Mikey would certainly call flirting, but also can't because it's Pete. Mikey should really ask Gerard, even though that probably won't change a thing because his brother is just as incompetent as himself when it comes to such things.

And because it's Pete, less than five minutes pass until he reaches for his phone vibrating in his pocket. He looks down at the message and can't help but grin.

mikey fkn way? btw this is how ur sved in my phone now, u hve no choice !! this is peterpan, u miss me already i know it, x

Mikey rolls his eyes, but his phone is still on the edge of dying so he has to text back quickly.

See u around peterpan, x mikeyfknwy

Before he shoves his phone back into his pocket, he quickly saves the number under the name peterpan and laughs to himself. This guy is really something else, but he tries to shove the thought of him aside and concentrate on sorting the books properly. So he doesn't think about him and he doesn't think about him and he doesn't think about him and he doesn't think about him...

 

 

 

Several days pass, and Gerard finds himself sitting in his car as he taps the wheel with his fingers absently. The side road he parked in is a little questionable and more dubious than comfortable, but there is a cat with ginger fur sneaking around between the bushes and fences from some people's front garden, so it's all worth it. Gerard fucking loves cats.

He chuckles to himself and lights a cigarette as he opens the window to prevent his car from stinking like an ash tray. His car is already way too dirty, he doesn't want a bad smell on top of that, even though he's sure that the Happy Meal box that Mikey tossed in the back a week ago does a decent job anyway. He hopes Frank doesn't mind too much.

Gerard takes a long drag and looks at his phone again which he's been hyper aware of for the past ten minutes he's already waiting in here. Frank told him to meet him here, which was a little weird considering the store is around the corner, so he figures that the side entrance must be somewhere near. Anyway, Gerard doesn't really care; he just really, really wants to see Frank again.

The day after Frank had invited him to his concert was probably the worst Gerard has felt in a while, his head had been about to explode and he had apologized to Mikey so often that at some point Mikey had just walked out on him with an hysterical eye roll. Yeah, the hangover had been pretty bad and his legs had hurt from all the dancing, but it was totally worth it.

But when Gerard came to the store earlier today to see Frank again, he was super busy preparing some shit for an upcoming event that Gerard has never heard of. He was pretty bummed that Frank was too busy to hang out, but then he spotted Gerard at the entrance and beamed at him which instantly made up for it. Frank quickly gave him his phone number which made Gerard way happier than it should have, and told him to give him a text after apologizing for having such a tight schedule. So Gerard immediately texted Frank after he left, and because Frank is a very sneaky shit he replied almost instantly as if he was just waiting for it.

tday is rly busy. but pick me up lter aftr work? ;) x

So that's exactly what Gerard does, which leads him to parking in that same exact alley for the second time today and trying to find the same courage that he needed to enter the store earlier. But he fails, because this isn't just visiting him at his work place. Frank will eventually enter his car and they will possibly hang out together somewhere that is not a public place. Gerard has no fucking clue what will happen. Was he supposed to figure something out? Hell, if so, he's screwed.

All of a sudden, the passenger seats door opens swiftly and a very stressed looking Frank drops down next to him in his car, which makes Gerard jump and choke on his smoke. 

"Motherfucker, you scared me", Gerard shrieks and keeps choking which makes Frank giggle.

"Sorry not sorry", Frank snickers and pulls out a cigarette himself, lightning it and sinking further back into the seat with an exhausting sight. His hair is a little messy and his shirt a little dirty, and according to Frank's loud yawn Gerard assumes that knocked out is an understatement.

"How did you even find me? You don't know what my car looks like", Gerard asks and sees Frank lips curl around upwards.

"Well, you came to the store almost daily for a week and you parked right in front of the building earlier today", Frank mocks, and it sounds like it's not a big deal but Gerard blushes because he didn't think Frank would've realized he's been at the store a little bit too regularly.

"Oh right", Gerard blinks and deeply refuses to explain the reason why he's done so.

"Sorry if it's creepy, it's not like I was hardcore trying to find out", Frank says and huffs out a breath.

"It's alright, it's not like I was being subtle either", Gerard admits and Frank grins at that, which makes him like a million cuter than he already is. God, he's nervous as fuck, especially when Frank's eyes are constantly on him and his shirt is pretty and tight around his chest.

"So, what do you wanna do?", Frank asks and looks outside where it's already starting to get darker. Gerard presses his lips together and seriously hopes that Frank has some awesome plan figured out that he's going to inform him about in a second.

"I don't know? Maybe, uhm-", Gerard mumbles, and it sounds more like a question than anything else.

"We could hang out at my place", Frank offers and Gerard feels his lips twitching. The suggestion includes that they'd have a whole lot of privacy which gives Gerard a lot of mixed feelings.

"Yeah, if that's okay I guess", Gerard smiles and Frank nods enthusiastically.

He starts the engine and pulls out of the parking lot, letting Frank navigate the way, which turns out to be not that far away. And then it really hits him, cause he's about to go to Frank's place to hang out together; just the two of them, no Mikey, no stuffy crowds, no one. Gerard grabs the wheel tighter and swallows, praying that he won't do anything embarrassing.

But so far so good. They chat a little and Frank tells him all about how "fucking annoying and unnecessary" this whole event is and how "no one will attend this anyway", which causes Gerard to chuckle and Frank to flail his arms because he doesn't understand how his boss makes him to all of this "shitty work". Gerard makes some comments then and there, but he mostly listens to Frank talking animatedly because it's the cutest fucking thing that Gerard has ever heard, even when it's mostly complaining. He really hopes that his pining isn't too obvious, but his eyes are mostly glued on the street and his face straight. There shouldn't be a problem.

"Hey, this is fucking awesome, did you make this?", Frank suddenly says and pulls out a piece of paper that is stuck somewhere in the side of his car.

Gerard shifts his eyes to the side quickly and realizes that it's the jack o'lantern he drew for Mikey's art project one time. Mikey probably forgot to take it with him.

"Yeah, I drew this for my little brother", Gerard confirms and sees Frank smiling brightly in the corner of his eyes.

"This looks so good, seriously, I wish I could draw like that", Frank beams and Gerard doesn't even try to hide how happy he feels about that.

"Lots of practice. It's not even that great though", Gerard shrugs with a small smile, and Frank whirls around to face him. But it's the truth, there is no way he puts that much effort into his little brother's stupid school project.

"Not that great? Dude, if I had siblings who could draw like that I would constantly force them to draw me cool zombie stuff", Frank says in disbelief and insanely much excitement.

"I have zombie stuff in my sketch book", Gerard proudly says and doesn't even have to look next to him to know that Frank's jaw falls open.

"Dude. You totally have to show me your sketches one day."

"Sure", Gerard agrees and watches Frank's eyes glistering. It takes all of his willpower not to put a hand on the boy's knee for the rest of the drive.

 

 

They finally arrive at Frank's house, which is pretty ordinary looking with a huge front garden that Gerard assumes his mother takes care of. There is no chance Frank is doing all of the dirty work. Not to mention planting flowers.

"Tadaa", Frank sarcastically cheers as they enter his room.

It's a pretty average teenage room, Gerard would say. Way darker and clustered with posters, but still nice. It's not that huge, but there's enough space for the usual interior, a giant fucking music box and his electric guitar that Gerard recognizes from the gig. Band posters like Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day and Anthrax hang all over the place, which leads to Gerard having to fight a grin, because Mikey would fucking love it in here.

"Nice room", Gerard comments and purposefully ignores his dirty laundry on the floor, not to mention the unopened condom package that is peaking out of his dresser. Gerard decides not to comment on it, such things always end up against his favor.

"Thanks. I didn't clean though."

"Wow, haven't noticed, thanks for pointing out", Gerard mocks so Frank sticks his tongue out and takes one of his pillows and throws it in his direction. But Gerard dodges it so it bounces off the wall.

Frank connects his iPod to his speakers instantly, which is nice because it fills the silence comfortably. They sit on the floor and without saying anything, Frank starts rambling about all of the albums he has saved on his device and how expensive it was to collect everything. Judging by the crammed CD rack that stands next to his door, Gerard can only imagine.

"And this is like, one of the most savage songs of all time", Frank says and let's his thumb glide over the wheel, leaning towards Gerard more so that he is barely pressed into his side.

"I have never heard that song", Gerard chuckles which then turns into a full on laugh because Frank gives him a funny look that makes his green eyes even bigger and his eyebrows sharper.

"Dude", Frank says in disbelief.

"I know."

"No, I mean dude."

"Now you sound like my brother", Gerard states and Frank grins.

"Mikey knows what's up", Frank says with an eye roll, and Gerard grins back stupidly because he remembers Mikey name. "How don't you know this song?"

"Dunno, I just don't? You should seriously talk to Mikey about that. That kid listens to every single fucking band out there", Gerard shrugs.

"Well, but I want to talk to Gerard", Frank says and gives him a shy smile that makes his heart beat faster and his cheeks hot. He will never get sick of how Frank pronounces his name, and there is no way in hell that Frank will ever know about this.

"Mikey will be so sad when he hears about this", Gerard jokes and pretends to wipe a tear off his face. Frank tackles his side playfully and Gerard almost falls over, but gladly doesn't.

"You know how I meant this", Frank mumbles and Gerard really has no clue how Frank means it. But he doesn't question it and decides to live with the unanswered statement. That is, if Frank doesn't decide to start making out with him as if by a miracle, because then he would for sure know how Frank meant that. And Gerard's life wouldn't suck for once in his life, which would be a huge miracle by itself.

"Yeah", Gerard says stupidly and Frank clears his throat.

"Hey look", Frank shortly says as the next song comes on. "There is a pumpkin on the cover. But it doesn't come close to your drawing."

Gerard looks over and indeed, there is a pumpkin on the display. It looks way cooler than his jack o'lantern, but he doesn't tell Frank because he just wanted to be nice. "That's pretty cool actually."

"Yeah, you gotta show me how you drew that, by the way. I will not let go off this topic, this is important", Frank explains meaningful.

"How come?", Gerard grins at Frank's enthusiasm.

"My birthday is on Halloween, and I wanna get a tattoo of a pumpkin, but I can't draw to save my life. It'd be pretty cool if I could draw my own tattoo, right?"

Gerard really has to fight more smiling, Frank makes everything look so easy, and he wonders if Frank is unbothered like that all the time. It's fascinating, honestly. Also, having birthday on Halloween is pretty fucking badass, and he'd lie if he'd say he wasn't just a little jealous. His own birthday is plain boring.

"If there is one thing that I learned in art college, it's that you don't want your own art on your body for the rest of your life", Gerard explains truthfully, but it's apparently not what Frank wants to hear.

Frank frowns, so he jokingly pats Frank's leg several times in order to reassure him. The boy flinches and Gerard wonders if he just made a mistake, but then he seems to relax under his touch and he has this weird moment in which he doesn't know whether to pull away or not.

"Yeah", Gerard murmurs and decides keeps going. "You draw so much stuff in a short period of time and move on from old sketches and works that you can't look at that shit twice. I assure you that you'll think the first pumpkin you're going to draw looks awesome as fuck, but then you keep drawing more pumpkins than you can count and you'll reach that point where you think, man, this first one is absolute shit."

Frank's eyes are glued to Gerard's mouth the whole time as if he's the greatest painter to ever exist or some shit, but then his eyes shift back up and they just look at each other for a moment. Gerard presses his lips together hardly.

"Oh."

"Yeah."

"That's a bummer."

"Well yeah, but I mean, you can always get someone else to draw it for you though", Gerard says, obviously intending who that someone could be, but Frank just tilts his head. "I could draw it for you."

"You'd do that?", he asks in disbelief and his eyes go big just like they did before.

"Sure", Gerard chuckles, and Frank rushes forward from where they are still sitting on the floor and pulls him in a bone crushing hug that makes Gerard huff. He smells salty, but not sweaty and so much like Frank that it sends a warm shiver down his spine. So he brings his arms up to hug back awkwardly, feeling his muscles shift under Frank's shirt.

"Can you show me where you want it?", Gerard asks and Frank pulls back, nodding happily.

He turns around swiftly, facing Gerard with his back, and to his surprise he pulls his shirt all the way up, revealing a lot of smooth, pale skin and firm muscles. Gerard swallows, because there was no need to do so, but if he tells Frank to put his shirt back on it sounds weird. He decides to just roll with, because there is no way he'll complain about a shirtless Frank sitting right in front of him. He pays extra much attention not to accidentally reach out and trace over his bare back.

"Like, somewhere over here", Frank shows, bending his hand behind his back to a spot where his hand can't quite reach.

"Here?", Gerard asks and decides to put his finger down on the skin. For demonstration purposes only, of course.

Frank shivers underneath him. "Yeah."

"How big is it supposed be?", he asks and traces a circle against Frank's bare back. "Like that?"

"Yeah", Frank says in more of a whisper. "Something like that."

Gerard still has a finger on Frank's skin when he realizes that he's is shifting underneath Gerard's touch, so he puts his hand away and is about to open his mouth when an idea starts to form in his mind. His eyes shift away and spot something that he should've noticed earlier, so he quietly bends forward and grabs a pen that lies on the floor next to what appears to be Frank's homework. He pulls off the cab and carefully leans forward, putting the tip against his back with a grin.

The black ink is a nice contrast to Frank's pale, white skin and Frank immediately flinches away when it comes into contact with his back.

"Oh my god that feels fucking disgusting, what the hell is that? Is that wet?", Frank shrieks, causing Gerard to laugh.

"Your black sharpie", Gerard giggles as he starts tracing a pumpkin on to Frank's back. After all, Frank wants a pumpkin on his back, even if this one is not as permanent as Frank would prefer it.

"That feels kinda nice actually now that I'm not freaking out anymore. Man, give a guy a warning", Frank huffs. "And like, please don't draw a dick or something."

Gerard snorts. "Don't worry I'm just drawing a pumpkin. Until I come up with the real drawing, this'll do. Well, even if it'll last like two days."

"Thanks", Frank murmurs and Gerard doesn't know if he's thanking him for the sharpie drawing or for the real tattoo. Both maybe.

They spend some time in silence as Gerard is busy outlining the motive onto Frank's back. The boy hums every now and then, which makes Gerard smile and lets his eyes drift down now that Frank can't see him anyway. The way his body curves and his muscles jump when Gerard has to use his second hand to keep him in place is slowly driving him insane. If he could only let his fingers map out his body a little more, go a slightly further than just the upper part.

"How is it?", Frank interrupts his day dreams.

"Looks kinda nice I guess?"

"No, I mean how is art school?", Frank asks a sudden and with a hint of fascination.

"Oh", Gerard breathes out and starts tracing the second eye of the pumpkin. "It's cool actually, the people there are really funny and quirky, but that's probably because some of them are stoned half of the time. So y'know, college is still college."

Frank hums in approval. "I can only imagine. So it's better than high school?"

"Way better", Gerard confirms in a heartbeat, causing the both of them to laugh.

"I'm so glad when I'm done after this year, seriously, everyone pisses me off so much. Except for Pete I guess, well, add your brother to that list too."

"Wait, Wentz?"

"Yeah, Pete Wentz."

Gerard thinks about it for a moment, because Pete is a very hyperactive and loud person, whereas Frank seems way quieter even though he still really out there. But not in the "Pete Wentz out there" kinda way.

"I'm pretty sure he hit on your little brother", Frank suddenly states and Gerard can only imagine him smiling.

"Yeah, Mikey gets hit on way too often", Gerard shrugs because it's no news, and continues coloring in one eye with the sharpie, adding some finishing touches as well.

"And Pete hits on people too often", Frank adds to that, causing the both of them to laugh again. Gerard only hopes that Mikey can handle someone like Pete Wentz, but if Mikey handles this one like he handles every other situation, there should be no problem. 

"Okay, I think you're good to go", Gerard says after a moment and puts the cap back on to the pen. Frank jumps up happily and rushes towards what Gerard assumes is the bathroom, so he gets up as well and slowly follows him into the small room.

Frank stands in front of the bathroom mirror with his back turned around so that he is actually able to see the pumpkin in his reflection, amongst some smiley’s and other stuff that Gerard added just because he can. As soon as Frank spots them, he grins.

"It's not that great, but-"

"Gerard", Frank rolls his eyes. "I think I've heard that sentence already today. This looks so cool, and now imagine how it'll look when you actually make a stencil and put more effort into it, dude, I will walk around shirtless for the rest of my life."

God, Gerard wishes that was true.

"Well, I'm glad you like it anyway", Gerard snickers and watches Frank's mouth curling into a grin.

"For real, you're such a great artist, there is no way you I'll let anyone else design my tattoos anymore, like ever", Frank states and it's the biggest compliment someone has Gerard ever made, but he doesn't tell Frank cause it's kind of lame. So he just smiles and thanks him.

They just look at each other for a moment, because Frank's face isn't twisted towards the mirror anymore, and Gerard squeezed behind Frank at some point to have a look at him admiring his back piece, but now they just look at each other and Gerard is well aware of the lack of space in this room and between their bodies. He feels too hot all of sudden, but he doesn't dare to itch his throat because Frank's eyes wander around his face as his licks his lips. Gerard doesn't dare to do fucking anything but watch how Frank is taking him in.

"You know, Gerard-", Frank begins thoughtfully. "One thing you should know about me is that I have a very short temper."

And within seconds Gerard feels Frank's lips crushing against his own firmly. He startles for a moment before he realizes what the fuck is happening, but Frank continues moving his lips against his own softly and secure that he feels a hot tingle creeping all over his body and down into his toes.

Gerard almost immediately starts kissing back, which causes Frank hum sweetly in the back of his throat and pull Gerard closer by the back of his shirt. Gerard has nothing to hold on to but Frank's naked back, so he lets his cold fingers carefully rest against Frank's pale skin, where he's pretty sure he just smudged some ink that hasn't fully dried yet. It's not like he gives a shit anyway, because Frank is clinging on to him and kissing him so passionately that Gerard's mind is a big blank space.

"Frank", Gerard huffs in between the kisses which causes Frank to hum again and pause for a moment. He watches him between half lidded eyes, before Frank dives in once more, less rushed this time but with the same intensity. Gerard parts his lips slightly and feels Frank's hot breath ghosting all over his mouth before kissing him deeply and needily. There is definitely a cold press against his lip, which can only be caused by Frank‘s lip ring and it makes Gerard's knees weak. 

Frank's hand comes up to cup his chin whereas his other hand pulls against his shirt to bring him down and deepen the kiss even more. Gerard lets his hand wander down his lower back, which sends a shiver down all over his body and makes Frank groan into his mouth. Frank shoves a little against him and Gerard stumbles back, feeling the hollows of his knees being pressed against the bath tub as Frank traces his face with his thumb, firmly capturing his lips in his own over and over again. Gerard starts to run out of breath, so their mouth's chase each other's as they pant against each other’s lips.

Frank trails some fingers down his cheek bones and down his neck, coming close to his collar bone and mapping out his face, which leaves a trail of hot skin everywhere that Frank's fingers have been. His hair is hanging in his face and tickles him, so Frank grins into the kiss and pecks him on the lips once more before brushing the hair out of the way.

"You're so fucking cute", Frank mumbles and presses another hot kiss against his mouth, then another one at the corner of his mouth. Gerard is sure his face is already flaming hot, but the comment made his skin hotter and his cheeks burn anyway. Gerard sighs against his lips and feels Frank's finger twisting in the long hair at the nape of his neck, tilting his head slightly so that he could kiss Frank deeply one last time before pulling away and putting his forehead against his.

"Am I that good of an artist?", Gerard breaths against Frank's mouth, trying to catch his breath. Frank hums and looks him in the eyes for the first time. Gerard's heart stops for a second.

"The best, in my opinion", Frank chuckles and Gerard just keeps grinning because he can't believe this just happened. "Sorry if, I- uhm- kinda shocked you, but I literally couldn't think about anything else the whole time."

Gerard grins at Frank's confession as they slowly disconnect their foreheads, even though their hands are still all over each other. Frank continues playing with Gerard's hair, and it feels fucking awesome.

"Well, same here", Gerard says and Frank presses his lips against his once more.

"I kinda guessed", Frank admits cheekily which makes Gerard's eyebrows shoot up and Frank laugh.

"What? How?", Gerard bursts out in disbelief and Frank lets his fingers trail down Gerard's neck, giggling at his shocked expression.

"Well, Mikey talked to me at school last week and vaguely indicated that you kinda like me, so this was kind of a big or go home situation for me. I'm glad you do seem to like me though", Frank explains and watches Gerard's funny expression lessen.

"Well, duh", Gerard rolls his eyes and Frank pecks his lips again, because there is no way in hell this will get boring.

"Good for you I like you too", Frank whispers against Gerard's lips, but the only thing that Gerard mumbles over and over again is how he's going to strangle Mikey, which Frank finds oddly amusing.

There is a loud noise coming from downstairs all of sudden, and Frank frowns. His lips are still wet and red from kissing, and he's still shirtless with a smudged sharpie pumpkin on his back. It makes Gerard want to dig his hands into Frank's hair and kiss him all over again, but he can't because Frank lets go of him and quietly peeks out of the bathroom and down the stairs. Gerard follows him and frowns when Frank whirls around and indicates Gerard to join him into his room by waving his hand hectically.

Frank shoves Gerard into his room and closes his door carefully. He still has no clue what's going on, he only knows that he wants to spend the whole night with Frank, but that doesn't seem to be an option according to Frank's expression.

"What's going on?", Gerard frowns.

"My mom just came home, shit, what's the time?", Frank asks, still leaning against the door as if that would prevent his mother from coming in.

"It was around 9pm when we entered the bathroom I think, but I don't know", Gerard answers and watches Frank's eyebrows shoot up in surprise.

"Already? Shit, fuck, uhm-she usually comes home later from work, but- fuck", Frank curses.

"What's the matter? Doesn't she like your friends?"

"Well, that too. But she doesn't allow me to see my friends directly after school 'cause she thinks I don't do my homework and skip school. Which is completely unjustified, 'cause I don't do my homework and skip school either way", Frank explains and Gerard huffs out a laugh. "If she sees you're with me I'll get grounded for sure."

"I can leave", Gerard suggests. "It's fine."

"That makes me look like an asshole", Frank wails.

"I told you its fine, I wouldn't have offered it otherwise", Gerard rolls his eyes. "At least I can come and see you again when you're not grounded."

Frank sighs in relief and leans in to kiss Gerard long and sweetly, both of them smiling into it. Gerard wishes this would never stop, but he knows he's gotta go if he wants to see Frank soon again, so he pulls away and gives him a tight hug instead. It doesn't last long though, because Frank quickly detaches himself from Gerard and presses his lips together.

"So", Frank begins. "I think you have to leave through to window."

"Well, okay then", Gerard shrugs and Frank fumbles with the handle of the window for a second before shoving it all the way up so that Gerard can climb through it and on to the ledge. It's a little tight, but he manages to bend down low enough to not hit his head. Also, it's dark as fuck outside so he has no idea how he will be able to climb down.

"Try to jump on to the roof and then step on the fence", Frank whispers in the nightly silence, and Gerard nods frantically.

"Okay", he whispers back and feels the cold breeze mixing in with his own breath. "I'll see you."

"Yeah, I'll see you", Frank smiles and cups his face to kiss him one last time. Gerard smiles back and tries to figure out where to exactly land on the roof, but Frank lays a hand on Gerard's shoulder, so he turns back around.

"Gerard", Frank whispers and pulls him in to kiss him again, this time more forcefully. "Meet me after school at Friday?"

"Yeah okay."

Frank smiles and closes the window slowly and disappears back in his room where he can hear a female voice talking to him, so Gerard wastes no time and slides down the roof, landing on his feet eventually. He looks back one last time, there is still light in Frank's room, but no voices. For several seconds he just stands in Frank's front garden; dumbfounded and confused. His hands come up to touch his lips that still taste like Frank, and he laughs a little to himself. He turns around and starts walking down the street. There is no way that Mikey will believe this happened, not in a million years.

 

 

"Mikey?", Gerard asks in confusion and looks at his brother, who sits on the steps of their home, shivering a little.

"Hey Gerard."

"What the hell are you doing out here?", he asks, and Mikey huffs. "It's freezing, you're gonna catch a cold Mikes."

"Well, obviously", Mikey says in that duh voice. "I forgot my keys at home and you didn't answer your phone. Mom is still on that work trip."

"Don't tell me you're sitting here since noon", Gerard pleads, feeling a little guilty.

"No, just for an hour or so."

"You hung out with Ray?"

"No, I was at Pete's house", Mikey shrugs like it's nothing, but it surprises Gerard. It's not like Mikey is the guy to hang out with Pete Wentz, but then again, no one is the guy to hang with Pete Wentz.

"How come?", Gerard asks and gestures for Mikey to make space for him, which he does, so Gerard drops down next to his little brother.

"He asked me to come over Gee, just like every other person would too", Mikey explains and Gerard rolls his eyes at his brothers stubbornness. But that's how Mikey has always been. If he wants to talk about it, he will eventually, so Gerard decides to let it go. He knows something is up because Mikey shoves it aside like it's not a big deal, whereas the twitching in his lips and his slightly off face give away that he's thinking about something that bothers him. Mikey has always dealt things with himself first before sharing it with other people.

Its silent asides from several cars passing, so Gerard clears his throat and ignores his cravings for a cigarette. "So", he starts. "You told Frank that I like him?"

Mikey snorts and breaks his poker face, so Gerard grins back at him and for the split of a second feels an overwhelmingly amount of joy overcoming him. Not only because of his incredible day with Frank, but also the fact that him and Mikey share this weird, brotherly moment together. It's funny, actually.

So Gerard tells Mikey everything about what has happened with Frank today, and the whole time Mikey just nods and says that he's told him that Britney would work out perfectly fine. Gerard had to give it to him. Maybe he should listen to Mikey's advice more. But then again, he probably shouldn't. When he starts telling the kissing part of his story Mikey looks mostly grossed out and only partly amused. As soon as the word "tongue" falls Mikey clutches his hands over his ears and yells LA LA LA as loud as the night allows. But Gerard tells the whole story anyway, not to Mikey (who can't hear him anyway), but to himself. He wants to remember every bit of it as long as he can.

"So", Mikey begins all of sudden. "Pete visited me at work at couple of days ago."

"Oh, uhm- cool?"

"Yeah, he said he wanted to hang out. And then he picked me up from school and I got to see his room and everything", Mikey says with that slightly off smile that Gerard was talking about.

"So, you want something from him or-?", Gerard asks hesitantly, but instead of Mikey's usual duh answer he encounters silence and the famous Mikey Way poker face.

"Maybe. I don't know", Mikey whispers, and Gerard realizes that this is something Mikey just answered for himself, not for Gerard. He smiles regardless and pats his little brother's back.

"Don't rush into this Mikes, especially not with Pete Wentz."

Mikey huffs and shakes his head. "He's a good guy Gerard."

"I bet he is Mikey, everyone is a good person in some way. And every person shall have the opportunity to prove it; to himself as well as to others. If Pete can prove to you that he's worth it, he will, if he doesn't, he maybe has to prove it to himself first."

Needless to be said, it takes a long time for them to head inside.

 

 

 

Mikey is rolling around in bed and thinking about Gerard's advice over and over again. And even though he doesn't come to a remotely satisfying solution, he tries to tell himself that there will be one eventually. It's better to think about it than to forget it, he can't sleep anyway so he lets his mind take him places.

His phone buzzes, and Mikey rolls his eyes because at this point he doesn't even have to think twice about who would want to talk to him at 1am. So Mikey fumbles for the glasses on his nightstand and shoves them on to his face and smiles when he sees the name peterpan flashing up on the screen.

hey mikeyfknway, tday was fun, u should cme ovr soon 2 my plce again. now i cnnot sleep, missin u right next 2 me ;(

Mikey grins and reads the next message.

ur still adrble mikey mouse, u btter sleep rhgt now!! i try 2 sleep now 2, thinkn bout u x peterpan

It's that moment that Mikey decides Pete's a good guy. The chance that things will fuck up eventually is still pretty high, but if that's the risk Mikey has to take, he will. If Pete is willing to prove, Mikey is willing to listen. 

not sleepin either, thinking bout u 2 x mikey

He falls asleep with his phone clutched in his hand before he can send another message.