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Who Needs Cupid Anyway?

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Mikey was tired of this.

He was fairly sure he wasn’t the one supposed to be helping Gerard get laid. Gerard was the older brother, and therefore should be the more capable one, and should not need Mikey to pull a million strings in order to realize that someone liked him. Nevertheless, it was a cycle that repeated over, and over, and over again. There was that girl who would always hit on him in high school while Gee was utterly oblivious, that guy who would make every excuse to hang out with him in art school and Gee thought was just friendly, and every time, Mikey was forced to either let his brother be sad or involve himself in his brother’s sex life. It sucked.

And now it was happening again with their new guitarist.

Mikey liked Frank. He was a talented guitarist, a generally cool guy, and Mikey could objectively admit that he was hot. Even with his at times questionable hairdos. Mikey had even gotten over Frank totally rejecting him from his old band, if only because karma did its thing and now it was Frank wanting to join Mikey’s band. The point was, Frank was cool, and Mikey was glad he joined My Chemical Romance.

Gerard, evidently, was also happy with this arrangement, judging by his occasional giddy smiles and general good mood whenever Frank was around. This subsequently made Mikey happy, because Gerard’s relationship with happiness wasn’t always the best, and a depressed Gerard was something Mikey saw far too often for how he never wanted to see it ever. And Frank seemed to like Gerard back, though it took Mikey a little longer to figure that out, between his utter admiration for him and periodic drawn-out stares. That was also fine, because as Mikey had already established, Frank was cool.

Mikey was fairly certain he’d noticed both of their feelings both either of them had even realized their own. By the time the first show was over, Mikey was already making bets with himself to try and figure out how long it would be until he had to get involved. The consequences of not doing so could be disastrous, with a sad Gerard at best and a completely destroyed band at worst. But hopefully (dear god, hopefully) they would work it out between themselves before it came to that point.

Mikey didn’t believe it either.

Right after the first show Frank played with them was the first time Mikey thought the two of them might notice. They were all still buzzing from the show, residual electrictricity from the audience sticking to them as they scoured the mini-mart for snacks. Gerard seemed genuinely happy, which put Mikey in a good mood, and maybe his temporary break from self-hatred would be enough for him to notice the way Frank was looking at him. However, that would make sense, and Gerard had never been one to follow the rules of logic, so Mikey wasn’t getting his hopes up.

When he reached the van, Mikey took a few seconds to pretend to listen to Matt bitching about having to drive, before turning to Gerard to tell him, well, something. Mikey wasn’t particularly picky about what he talked to Gerard about, as long as it didn’t involve either of their sex lives. But the point was, when he turned, Gerard wasn’t there. It only took Mikey a few seconds to figure out where his brother had gone, looking through the glass doors of the convenience store to see that he was talking to Frank, both of them looking slightly too earnest for a discussion in a mini-mart.

“I call shotgun!” Mikey heard Ray call, because apparently that had been what the other two had been deciding while he was busy trying to figure out where Gerard was. Mikey rolled his eyes to himself, not saying anything to his bandmates before climbing into the middle seat of the van, squishing himself in among the clusters of gear and merch. He managed to find an angle where his legs weren’t folded up too uncomfortably, and had just pulled out his phone where Gerard and Frank clambered in, climbing over the boxes to settle into the back. Mikey acknowledged them with a nod, which neither of them returned, before curling further into his seat and beginning to check his phone for texts.

Mikey wondered a couple minutes in if Gerard and Frank realized how loud they were being. He doubted Ray or Matt could hear them too well over the radio, probably just enough to know they were talking without being able to hear specific words. Mikey tried to just ignore it for a while, but after a few minutes, he fished his headphones out of his bag and forced them over his ears, turning his music up as loud as it would go. He did not need to hear about the kinds of things Frank had choked on in his life, Christ. And he definitely did not need to hear what Gerard thought about that.

Maybe he took a little too much satisfaction out of slapping Frank awake the next morning.

Part of Mikey hoped that however their conversation back there ended, it would be enough to end this weird game of mutual pining the two were playing. It didn’t seem likely though, seeing as Gerard continuously found it impossible to believe that anyone could ever genuinely like him. It was one of the parts of Gerard that Mikey always wished he could just fix, wanting to be able to shake his brother by the shoulders and insist that he was loved and completely deserving of it, without being dismissed as lying to make him feel better. It killed Mikey how his efforts always seemed to be futile.

The thing was that this time, Frank seemed just as clueless as Gerard. Usually, whoever it was usually just got pissed that Gerard wasn’t picking up on all of the hints they dropped, but now, Frank seemed to not even register that Gerard liking him was a possibility, and all of the hints he dropped seemed purely accidental. Mikey half wanted to bash his head against the wall, because their literal parade around the shopping mall was clearly a date, and how did literally neither of them see that?

Mikey tried a little to help them out, first by making them sit in the front seat of the van together, then by teasing them for the whole piggy-back thing, but he soon gave it up as a hopeless cause. If winning prizes for each other and buying each other food, all while making those obnoxious googly eyes, wasn’t enough to make them realize that this was a date, then Mikey wasn’t sure that there was anything he could do short of slapping on of them in the face (again) and quite literally spelling it out for them. But he’d promised himself that he was going to try to stop interfering with Gerard’s sex life, and he was sticking to that. Gerard was an adult, as much as Mikey sometimes forgot that, and he needed to learn how to get laid all on his own, without his little brother’s help.

Mikey wished his resolve was better, because it was almost second nature to be Gerard’s wingman at this point. He gave Gerard probably the best possible opportunity of showing off in front of Frank at the mall arcade, literally pointing him at some arrogant douchebag he knew Gerard could beat and telling him to go wild. And it kind of worked, in the way that Mikey got to see some dickhead have his ass handed to him, but also not, in the way that Gerard and Frank kind of just awkwardly grinned at each other instead of confessing their love and running off to go make out. Or something, Mikey didn’t really want to think about the details. The point was, it didn’t happen.

Mikey didn’t mean to glare at Frank for the entirety of dinner, but he’s fairly sure that he did. Art supplies were one hundred percent the way to Gerard’s heart, and Gerard sharing his coffee was only something he did when he was head over heels for someone, and the fact that he seemed to be the only one seeing this was infuriating. Oh god, was Gerard literally feeding Frank now? Yes, that was exactly what was happening. Apparently being all up in each other’s space in a booth was not enough, because now Gerard was feeding Frank forkfuls of pancake while Frank made the most ridiculous happy face that Mikey never wanted to see again.

Fuck staying out of this, Mikey had to do something. This was getting out of hand.

He took his chance that night at the playground. He’d been watching Gerard and Frank run around the playground, doing what Mikey could only describe as their best impersonation of a kindergarten romance. Mikey himself was just sitting on the bench, half listening to Ray talking about plans for the next few days, mostly watching Frank spin Gerard around the merry-go-round and wondering how that had come to have happened. Eventually, he settled on the conclusion that the two of them were idiots.

“Wow, aren’t you guys the life of the party? Gerard and I can’t be the only ones who like the merry-go-round.” Mikey took a second to just stare at Frank after he said that, watching him pick out two beers as he smiled giddily. This was probably as good a time as any to start dropping hints.

“You’re half right,” Mikey shrugged. “...You’re the only one who likes it.”

“But Gerard-” Frank just looked perplexed, and Mikey couldn’t help but pity him in that moment. There was something just so sad about someone being that much of an idiot.

“Despises the merry-go-round,” Mikey finished Frank’s sentence for him, watching as the younger man’s eyes went wide. “He always has.”

“That can’t be true,” Frank protested, glancing back to where Gerard was lying on the roundabout, evidently recovering the amount of spinning he’d undertaken. “We’ve been on it for like half an hour. He’s having fun.”

“Why would I make that up?” Mikey sighed, rolling his eyes. Frank really had to start picking up all the signs that were put down for him. “He’s terrified of those things. --He used to babysit our little cousin. One day she kept begging to go on the merry-go-round, so he drove all the way back home to get me and paid me $20 to go on with her instead.” That was a fond memory, and was almost enough to make Mikey smile. He’d teased Gee for weeks about that, and he wasn’t sure he was going to ever let him live it down.

“What? Why the fuck is he on it then?” Frank‘s mouth was open, and Mikey couldn’t tell if he was pissed off or just confused.

“Why indeed,” Mikey returned, and because some of the wires in Frank’s brain appeared to be crossed, instead of having realization dawn on him, he instead became defensive. Oh god.

“He never said he didn’t want to,” Frank insisted. “I’d never pressure him.”

“I know that,” Mikey assured him, nodding. He was really going to have to spell this one out for him, wasn’t he? “He pressures himself.”

“Yeah. I’ve noticed.” As he spoke, Frank threw another glance in Gerard’s direction, his gaze saying everything that Mikey had already known.

“You’re good for him, though.” It wasn’t a lie, not by a longshot. Gerard seemed happier whenever Frank was around, more full of life and willing to see past his own insecurities. That was all Mikey really wanted, in all honesty.

“Not good enough,” Frank muttered, looking down at the ground. There were multiple ways Mikey could take that, and he figured that most of them would still apply. Frank and Gerard had a lot in common, Mikey was realizing, all the way down to the low self-esteem where it was needed the most.

“He’d disagree,” Mikey argued flatly, taking a sip from his beer and looking at Frank seriously. This was where Frank was supposed to figure it all out, to gasp with realization and run back to Gerard so that Mikey wouldn’t have to keep doing this. Instead, because the universe obviously hated him, Frank just looked confused.

“I better get back,” Frank said after a few moments, his words coming out a bit too quickly. He took a step back, and Mikey hoped that maybe he had gotten the message after all.

“Yeah, Gee’s waiting,” Mikey agreed with a nod, then hesitated, calling out just as Frank was turning to leave. He wanted to do one more thing to try and solve this. “Frank! He likes the swings.”

“Thanks.” Frank smiled a little, then turned to walk back over to Gerard. Mikey sighed, deflating against the park bench. He hated this.

Mikey leaves it alone for a while, doing his best to just ignore the pitiful display of lovesick idiots they were putting on. He’d done what he could, and it was their responsibility to grow a brain cell or two and actually talk to each other like responsible adults. Which, now that Mikey thought about it, isn’t exactly what came to mind when he thought of Frank, so maybe this did all make sense. He almost got used to it, the puppy eyes his brother and his guitarist passed becoming like background static while he focused on the much louder excitement of the band’s steadily growing success.

That plan was made completely impossible, however, a few weeks later, when Gerard approached him after a set they’d played. It had been their first time playing a festival, and it had been amazing, and Mikey had been taking time to get a few moments alone with his Sidekick when Gerard came up to him, his eyes wide in the expression Mikey had come to know meant he needed to talk. Mikey sighed, leading them out to a more secluded part of the venue and turning to look at his brother expectantly.

“What is it?” Mikey asked, and Gerard let out a long, heavy breath, wringing his hands anxiously and looking down at his feet before meeting Mikey’s gaze. Mikey knew what it was going to be before he even spoke.

“I think I’m in love with Frank,” Gerard blurted out after a moment, biting his lip anxiously. Mikey just looked at him, expecting there to be more, but after a few seconds it became clear that there was nothing more he was going to say.

“I know,” Mikey replied slowly, and rolled his eyes when Gerard appeared taken aback by this. Sometimes Mikey was convinced that his brother was never going to learn. “Is that it, Gee, or is there something you want to tell me that you haven’t already made obvious?”

“How did you know?” Gerard gasped, as if Mikey hadn’t been able to tell these kinds of things since they were teenagers. Hell, Gerard could do the same for Mikey whenever he found himself attracted to someone. It wouldn’t be at all a stretch to assume it worked both ways.

“You look at him like he’s your Holy Grail or some shit, you spoon in the back of the van, and you always choose to room with him on motel nights,” Mikey listed, deciding not to go any further than that. He most definitely could, as there were countless small gestures Gerard had made that caused his feelings to be obvious, but Mikey didn’t want to be too mean.

“I guess I am pretty obvious,” Gerard sighed, all dramatic, like this was somehow equivalent to the end of the world. It irked Mikey how there were some things about his brother that he just didn’t understand, such as how he managed to always make himself the bad guy in every situation.

“Yes,” Mikey agreed, because it wasn’t like he was going to lie. That would just be useless. “I think everyone except for Frank has noticed, and that’s only because he’s just as oblivious as you.” That might not be entirely true, because he was pretty sure Matt still thought they were just overly affectionate friends, but his point still stood. Gerard furrowed his eyebrows.

“What do you mean, I’m oblivious?” Gerard protested, and really, that was an entire matter of discussion that Mikey didn’t even know where to start with. Opting to put that off a bit longer, he sighed, looking Gerard head-on with very slightly raised eyebrows.

“Whatever. What’s the problem here, Gee?” Gerard rolled his eyes this time, as if Mikey were the one who was being an idiot. Mikey had half a mind to slap him, maybe to knock the self-loathing out of him, but was too curious about what his answer would be to do so quite yet.

“I can’t stop loving him, Mikey! I thought I could, for like, the band, at first, but I really can’t! This has been going on since the first few shows, and it just keeps getting fucking worse! And he’s not helping, ‘cause he’s all-” Gerard waved his hand in a vaguely all-encompassing gesture “-Frank, you know? Like, back in June, I was out of cigarettes this one time, and he offered to help by breathing the smoke in my face. Do you not know how attractive that is? And then we’ve started this postcard drawing thing, and last night-”

“What postcard drawing thing?” Mikey asked, because he wasn’t going to give advice based on only half-information here. Gerard shrugged.

“Frank thought it would be cool to buy postcards at the cities we play at, to remember each of the shows by, and I started getting them for him and putting little drawings on the back? I know, I know, it’s stupid, but they make him smile, and...” Gerard trailed off a bit dreamily, before regaining his senses and clearing his throat, blushing crimson as he continued. “Sorry. So anyway, last night, we kind of slept in the same bed because we were used to the cramped space in the van, so I thought I’d make the drawing a little reference to that, you know? To say thank you or something, I don’t know. And then he hugged me and seemed so, I don’t know the word, happy about it, and I know I’m reading into it too much, but-”

“Oh my fucking god,” Mikey stated, bringing a hand up to rub at his temples. There was no way this was actually happening. This was just too much to handle, and he had no idea where to even start. Taking a deep breath, he decided to just say it as simply as possible, and hope that it didn’t break Gerard’s brain. “You’re not reading into it too much, because he likes you, Gee.”

“What?” Gerard just seemed confused for a moment, then outright offended, crossing his arms and staring at Mikey petulantly. “Can you take this seriously, Mikey? This isn’t like the other times I’ve had feelings for people, this time he’s in the band, which I know has potential, and I need to not fuck it up. You can’t lie to me about this one, it's too big of a deal. I could ruin everything.”

“Gerard,” Mikey nearly shouted, his voice firm and louder than he had intended. Gerard froze, looking up at him almost nervously. “I’m not lying to you, and you have to stop doing this. You’ve always assumed that you were unlovable and the source of all the world’s problems, and it’s always been up to me to talk you down from that. I love you, Gee, I know you know that, so why is it so crazy to you that someone else could as well? Frank fucking loves you, Gee, and don’t you dare suggest I’m fucking around about this. You have to stop hating yourself enough to see reason some day.”

“Mikey, I’m sorry, I-” Mikey wanted to scream. He hadn’t meant to say as much as he had, but honestly, he was glad he did. Gerard needed to hear it, even if it was clear now from his expression that he hadn’t. At least not entirely. “I don’t mean to make you feel like you're responsible for me, but you don’t have to help me if you don’t want to. And I know Frank, he’s fucking smart, he would never-”

“Of course I have to help you, I’m your brother. I want to help you, Gee, that’s not the problem. Just listen to me, okay?” Mikey’s voice tended to seize up when he got emotional, flattening out as a defensive mechanism he’d been using since he was a preteen. Still, he was certain Gerard could hear the begging undertone.

“Okay, yeah, I know, I am listening to you. But there are just plain facts here too, Mikey, and I can’t just ignore them. You know I’m not pretty, and there’s nothing attractive about me, so why would Frank like me? It doesn’t make any fucking sense, and I just want help getting my feelings for him to stop-”

“Shut up,” Mikey said quietly, but Gerard listened, curling in on himself a little as Mikey stared at him. “You’re smart too, and anyone would be lucky to have you, and it fucking kills me that you believe any of what you just said. But I’m not sure that I can help you to see that if you’re too stubborn to help yourself.” Mikey turned then, not waiting to see how Gerard reacted before beginning to walk away.

“Wait, Mikey!” Gerard called after him, but Mikey ignored it. If Gee had internalized enough of that to have any sort of change of heart, he’d make it clear. However, the way that he made no more effort than those two words proved that he hadn’t.

They didn’t fight after that, exactly. Mikey acted the same way around Gerard as he usually did, and maybe Gerard was a bit quieter for the rest of the day, but that was all. For the most part, they just pretended like the discussion had never happened. Mikey supposed that it was easier for both of them, and felt a bit guilty that he wasn’t making more of an effort to help, but what could he do? He’d been trying for years to get Gerard to stop hating himself, and he had to stop feeling bad whenever Gerard wouldn’t let him.

Mikey left the topic of Gerard and Frank alone for a while again. He’d resigned himself to the idea that there wasn’t really anything he could do even if he wanted to, with Frank oblivious and Gerard unable to see past the walls he’d put up around himself. It was easier to ignore it, to just play shows and fuck around with the guys, and generally not worry about if his brother and guitarist were fucking or not. Honestly, it shouldn’t be something he was ever involved in anyway. This was better for anyone.

Mikey tried not to pay attention to how sad either of them got sometimes, when they thought nobody else was noticing.

The van broke down the day before Frank’s birthday, which wouldn’t have been too noteworthy if it weren’t for how upset Gerard was getting about it. Mikey was sitting inside the van as Gerard paced back and forth outside, pretending to be on his phone while he watched his brother through the window. He was starting to get worried about him again, not sure how many cigarettes in a row was too many, and how strained Gerard’s mind could be before he was just as broken down as the van was. Frank was also outside, watching Gerard and looking just as helpless as Mikey felt.

Mikey’s heart sank when Gerard walked closer to the road, having a brief and completely irrational moment of panic that he was going to do something horrible before Gerard stuck his thumb out for a ride. That was still not exactly a good thing, and Mikey felt a flash of irritation that Gerard was going to up and bail on them without saying anything when Frank intervened. He couldn’t see what they were saying, but their words seemed fairly intense, both of them appearing moments away from tears. Mikey had to look away for a few moments, staring blankly at his Sidekick for a multiple long seconds before the curiosity ate away at him, and he peered back out.

And of course they were kissing now, because why wouldn’t they choose the least convenient time possible to realize they were in love? Mikey smiled, looking back down at his phone with his worries eased. There were still problems that were far from solved, but this was one less thing for him to worry about.

About twenty minutes later, Gerard and Frank piled back into the van, evidently having accepted that they were going to have to stay there for a while. The two were giggly now, something Mikey would call giddy if it were anyone besides Gerard. As it was, he put his phone down and stared at his brother, who only needed to make eye contact with him for a second to start spluttering.

“Shut up,” Gerard groaned, even though Mikey hadn’t said anything. He hadn’t really had to. As Gerard was blushing and trying to hide his face in his hands, Mikey could see the exact moment that Frank realized the van had windows, and consequently how his face reddened as well.

“Are you gonna make fun of us forever now?” Frank asked meekly, and Mikey smiled a bit crookedly. They would have to do a lot to make him get over this one.

“Yes,” Mikey answered simply, laughing quietly when Gerard flipped him off, not even taking his other hand off his face to do so. “Just be glad I’m too polite to say I told you so, you fuckers.”

“Polite my ass,” Gerard grumbled, but Mikey could see that he was smiling. He took Frank’s hand, pulling him along into the back. Frank didn’t seem to resist at all, just smiling a bit stupidly as he let himself be pulled. A moment later, Mikey heard what he took to be the sound of them falling on top of each other, followed by barely hushed giggling. He kind of loved and despised it in equal measure.

Frank was a cool dude, Mikey had long since decided, and if he made it so this was the last time Mikey had to think about this, he was just that much cooler.