Log in

No account? Create an account
09 April 2008 @ 09:03 am
Bandom Fic: Crossing the Rubicon  

part i

Frank didn't really intend to do Gabe's bidding. He didn't intend to keep Gabe's money, either. He just liked the feeling of it in his pocket, not to mention the idea that he could get some new Vans now, if he wanted.

It was the name that did it: Shooting Gallery. It was a cool name, although Frank sat on the bus and thought maybe Gabe was sending him to a shooting range to be mauled by men in check jackets. He justified the trip by deciding Gabe could spare the five dollars Frank used out of his 'wages'. Everything else ... wasn't going to work, that was all. It wasn't like he had any sway over the kid. He'd never even spoken to Gerard, which wasn't something any other student in his class could boast. Gerard elevated reticence to an art form.

Frank hesitated at the door to the gallery. It was one of the ones where you paid for things, not just an entrance fee, and he suddenly wasn't sure if he was allowed. Which was stupid, because he had a hundred dollars in his back pocket. He could probably afford, like, half of something. At least.

The gallery itself was a series of octagonal rooms leading into and off each other. The walls and floor were white, the better to offset the artwork. One room had a fireplace full of shattered glass. Another held a video screen showing a man running down a tunnel over and over, all in shades of green. It wasn't anything Frank would like to stick on his wall, but it was still pretty cool.

He found Gerard sitting on a (white) bench in the next room, staring at a painting. He looked rapt. Frank felt awkward, like he was intruding.

Gerard noticed him first; or so Frank assumed, because he spoke. "It's like drowning in color," he said.

Frank looked at the painting. It reminded him of the inside of his head, when he woke up hung-over and with lights blaring behind his eyelids.

"What's it of?" he asked.

"Who cares?" said Gerard. "It's called Fortitude in F Major. Just feel it."

Frank wasn't sure how to go about 'feeling' a painting, but Gerard grabbed his hand. Frank's first thought was 'whoa, fast mover' but Gerard just pressed Frank's hand over his own chest.

"Can you feel your heartbeat?" he asked.

Actually, Frank could. Up close, Gerard was even prettier, and he smelled of acorns or syrup or something that was just nice. All right, so his hair could have done with a wash - or five - but Frank wasn't used to being solicited as a pimp or having his hand grabbed by strange boys. So what if his heart was beating a little fast.

After a bit Gerard apparently got sick of feeling the painting and slumped back on the bench. Frank followed suit. He'd had a chance to check the discreet price tag under the painting. It cost quite a lot for something that looked like a paint fight gone wrong.

"Paintings like this can save your life," said Gerard quietly. He glanced over at Frank and smiled. Frank felt that more than any painting.

"I'll take your word for it," said Frank.

"You should," said Gerard, dead serious. "Frank. You're Frank, aren't you?"

"Yeah," said Frank.

"You look more like a Frankie," said Gerard. Frank looked at him sharply, but Gerard's eyes were back on the painting. All Frank's friends in Jersey called him Frankie. "I'm Gerard Way. Did you really blow up your last school?"

"What? No!" exclaimed Frank. Gerard laughed. "Well, okay, there was an incident with a couple firecrackers and the caretaker's shed. But it only caught fire a little bit and we put it out. My eyebrows were the main casualties," he added, remembering. "Do people really think I'm like that?"

"They think lots of things about you," said Gerard. "You've given them plenty of room. Compared to you, my brother Mikey talks non-stop."

"Oh, well." Frank frowned down at his knuckles. He'd inked in 'Halloween' again during history, adding a lot of cobwebby embellishments. He didn't like history much. It was full of bad stuff happening over and over, and who wanted to remember that?

"This is sweet." Gerard took his hand again. His fingers were cool and dry, and he had paint flakes under his nails. "I like the little orange bits."

"Yeah, I had some time."

"How'd you manage to get the tattoo?" asked Gerard. He reached up and for a second Frank thought he might touch his neck. But Gerard stopped at the last minute, swishing Frank's hair aside instead. "It's really well done."

"My dad owed me a favor," said Frank. "Plus, he knows some good places. He's got a few himself."

"I'm terrified of needles," said Gerard, "but I'd love to get a tattoo." He pushed up his sleeve, exposing a fantastically detailed dragon winding around his forearm. He'd used green and blue ink. The dragon was asleep, head resting on the bump of Gerard's wrist bone, but one jewel eye was half-open under a heavy lid.

"That's it," said Frank, "you're designing my next one."

"I have to warn you, I charge high."

"It'd be worth it," said Frank fervently.

Gerard laughed again and smoothed down his sleeve. "What brings you here? I haven't seen you around before."

"Oh, I ... heard about this place from a friend," said Frank. "Listen, I was wondering. Do you want to, like, come to a party with me? On Saturday?"

"The Stars thing?" Gerard scrunched up his nose in a kind of adorable way. "I'm not really a big party-goer. All parties are the same, you know? Getting drunk, getting off."

Frank privately thought that was the point, okay, but he said, "This would be different. I mean, we'd be there, for starters."

He only meant it in the most literal sense. Frank had only gone to one party all year, a beach barbeque with lots of bikinis and burnt sausages. He'd been utterly miserable and drank enough to pass out. Waking up on a pre-dawn beach with his pants full of sand wasn't an experience that Frank was keen to repeat.

But Gerard's face had gone all glowy and he was sucking in his lower lip. "Do you mean ... like. A date?"

"I. Um." Frank thought about Gerard's smile and the hundred bucks in his back pocket. "Yes?"

"Okay?" Gerard cleared his throat, and his second answer came out less querulous. "Okay. Thanks. I mean, I will."

"Right." Frank jumped up. "I'll pick you up, eight o'clock?"

Gerard nodded and told Frank his address. Frank recognized it: it was a few blocks over from his own house. He thought he might even know the house, if it was the white-shingled one with the blue door and all the shell wind chimes.

He was glad Gerard didn't ask for his number, though. That would have been going too far. That would have been making this almost real.


Mrs. Way wasn't too happy when she heard about the party. Gerard couldn't blame her: ever since the Incident in ninth grade, they'd conspired to keep Mikey out of Gabe Saporta's clutches. It helped that Mikey was straight. He'd even dated a few times, gone out with a really nice girl called Alicia for over a year. Minor details like that never mattered to Gabe, though, and Gerard knew he'd happily take Mikey's obliviousness for encouragement. All of it made Gerard's sudden decision to go to a party hosted by Gabe all the more suspicious.

But Gerard didn't get asked on dates often. Or ever. Especially by people he secretly thought were cool. He'd never believed the delinquent rumors - which probably originated with Gabe - but they did make him notice Frank. Specifically, notice his sad, angry face and realize how much he wanted to draw it. He wasn't into Frank, no matter what Greta implied with her teasing. He thought he'd like to get to know him, but that was it. And contrary to Bob's belief, one date did not equal three-act sex.

Mikey was downstairs getting the 'your brain on drugs' lecture from Mrs. Way when Frank's car pulled up. Gerard was fixing his hair in the mirror, one eye on the window. He accidentally flattened the piece of hair he'd been trying to style excitingly for the last ten minutes and bounded down the stairs.

"- just hold it for a second," commanded Mrs. Way. Mikey's expression changed from bored to horrified in ten seconds flat.

"Mom, no," he complained, but it was too late. Mrs. Way plopped the replica of a 'Brain Destroyed By Cannabis' into his hands, where it squelched forlornly.

Gerard paused by the door for Frank's knock, then waited ten long seconds before opening so as not to seem lame and enthusiastic. Frank was dressed in a stripy black-and-white shirt that covered his hands and a newsboy cap. Gerard even thought he saw a hint of eyeliner.

"Hi," said Gerard, feeling stupid and nervous.

"Hi," said Frank, sounding stupid and nervous. His eyes shifted. "Hey, wow, brains. Is your brother a zombie?"


Patrick sat on Pete's bed, eating chocolate cake while Pete painstakingly rimmed his eyes in kohl. He'd politely but firmly turned down Pete's offer to do him as well.

"I like to let my natural beauty shine through unenhanced," he'd said.

"So Mikey's definitely coming tonight?" Pete asked for the third time. His hand shook slightly. If he wasn't careful he'd end up looking like a raccoon.

"Yesh," said Patrick, though a mouthful of cream filling. "I overheard Gabe telling Bill that tonight would be his chance to nail Mikey."


"I didn't tell you that part before?" said Patrick innocently.

"No!" Pete stared forlornly at his reflection. He'd have to redo his left eye entirely. He scrabbled around for baby wipes to get the eyeliner off his cheek.

"Did I mention Bill braided my hair?" said Patrick. "Now you can share some of my mental anguish."

"Hey, at least they were nice braids," said Pete. "Bill's pretty talented."

"He also gave me a head massage," said Patrick. "I feel violated."

"It worked, didn't it?" said Pete. "Though, I kind of underestimated Gabe's interest in Mikey. God."

"You're both heading for a fall," said Patrick. "I know Mikey's ex-girlfriend. Ex-girlfriend. And he's hooked up with half the girls in our class."

Pete let Patrick's voice fade into the background. His Mikey headspace was kind of messed up. Originally it had been one of his chaste crushes, that either faltered and died or played out as a few cinema nights full of (on Pete's part) languid, desperate looks and a lot of angsting on his blog. His crushes usually turned into friends, while he hooked up with their sisters or cousins or, in non-Mormon states, their brothers. Actually trying for the object of his affections seemed too dangerous, somehow.

But he really liked Mikey. Pete was man enough to admit it was mainly because, a, he couldn't have him and b, some other guy wanted him. It wasn't a scenario Pete had much experience with, so the novelty was probably the main attraction. But Mikey was cute, and Pete liked his hands, and he would not say no to making out with him once. Or twice. Or lots. Gabe was just...

"Gabe's wrong for him," said Pete. "He's too self-centered. Mikey needs someone to laugh at his jokes. In case he ever makes one. Plus, our names rhyme."

"What?" Patrick put down his fork. "Mikey rhymes with Pete? Since when?"

"Well, it rhymes with Petey," amended Pete. "Sort of. Not in iambic pentameter or anything."

Patrick stared at him. Then he picked up a pillow and flung it at Pete's head.

After they finished laughing, Pete had to do both eyes all over again.


Pete thought it was a pretty good party. He'd been to some wild ones in his time, and this wasn't wild, but it wasn't a day at the museum either. Mostly people were dancing with more enthusiasm than skill, so Pete felt okay about joining them for a while. He even thought he spotted Frank and Gerard in the crowd.

Patrick drifted off to the snack table. The next Pete saw of him, he was sharing Twizzlers with a curly-headed blonde girl. Patrick looked kind of red in the face. Pete grinned to himself and wished Patrick luck - silently. He didn't think Patrick would appreciate any verbal encouragement.

He decided now was the time to find Mikey. Gabe's band was taking a break and the sound levels were down a little, although not for long, if the guys at the decks had anything to do with it. So it was in almost perfect silence that Pete walked in on Mikey and Gabe in a heated, grinding embrace.

It felt like they were the only three people in the universe, although the room - it looked like a laundry - was filled to capacity. Bill was folded up on a washing machine, giggling, and Ray was carefully tuning a guitar. Pete was aware of them, could see them, even, but his mind was filled with Gabe's hand, huge on Mikey's back, and the way they slotted together so perfectly.

Gabe noticed Pete first, and seemed to take it as a reason to clutch Mikey tighter. "It's the Petemeister!" he yelled. "Brendon's been looking for you, says you owe him some tips?"

"Right," said Pete. His lips felt numb. Mikey's head peeked over Gabe's broad, violet-clad shoulder. He might have said, 'Hey Pete', but his voice was low and lost in the buzz of Pete's head. A second later the music started up.

"Fucking Christ," yelled Gabe, dropping Mikey, "is that Evanescence?"

Bill leapt lightly off the washing machine and grabbed a sweeping brush. "To honor!" he yelled, and led the charge. A second later Pete, Mikey, Ray and Ray's guitar were the only people left in the room.

Ray looked up, blinking hair out of his eyes. "Oh, are we back on?" he asked. Without waiting for an answer, he ambled out.

And then there were two.

Pete stared very hard at the floor, taking in every aspect of the hideous linoleum. He reminded himself fiercely that most of his crushes ended this way. It didn't do much good. And Mikey wasn't saying anything and wasn't saying anything.

"I guess I should find Brendon," mumbled Pete at last. He shuffled for the door and nearly collided with it, because he still hadn't looked up.

"Pete," said Mikey, and Pete's heart jumped. "Be careful. Brendon had, like, fourteen bowls of Froot Loops before he came here."

"Right," said Pete, "I'll keep that in mind."

His heart fell, and broke.


Gerard liked corners, Frank discovered. He moved around with the sole intention of keeping his back to one.

After the initial rush of nervousness, it was turning into a pretty boring party. Gabe was up on a little platform, licking a microphone, too far away to do more than leer suggestively at Frank. Frank wasn't anything but grateful for that. The liquor wasn't plentiful and the chips were stale. Ordinarily Frank liked dancing, but not when there was no one to dance with. Gerard flinched when people brushed past him. His friend Greta was there, which would have been an option but for the way Patrick Stumph was macking on her.

"Do you ever dance?" Frank asked, after an hour.

"Yeah, but," Gerard paused, "I hate people watching me."

"You mean on a dance floor? Why would they watch you?"

"Because I'm bad at it?" Gerard shrugged. "I haven't really analyzed my social phobias all that much, okay."

"Come with me," said Frank. He thrust out an arm to herd Gerard along, and Gerard put his hand in Frank's.

Frank wasn't sure about that, but Gerard's hand wasn't overly sweaty or anything. He let it slide.

Frank threaded his way through the press of people. He and Gerard were pretty small - nearly of a height, actually - and they ducked and weaved like ninjas. Well, Frank did. Gerard mostly bumped into people.

The backyard was huge and empty, apart from some dude getting sick in a bush. He didn't count. The music was loud enough to be heard even out here, and Frank wondered if Gabe had paid off the neighbors. More likely he had a telescope and blackmail. The lyrics were muffled, but the bass beat was strong.

Gerard's hand was still in his. Frank used it to spin Gerard around, get him started. "No one to watch now," said Frank, "unless you're scared of me, which is stupid."

"True," agreed Gerard. "You're not hiding a firework under your shirt, are you?"

Frank swatted him; Gerard ducked away, laughing. Just like that, they were dancing. Even Frank was a little self-conscious at first, but he made like he had a guitar and got into it. He even closed his eyes and threw his head around at one point. He thought Gerard might laugh at that. He was staring when Frank opened his eyes, but not in a bad way.

Frank could see why Gerard didn't like dancing in front of people, because he basically danced like he had tetanus: all reined-in jerks and facial spasms. But at least they were doing something. Parties weren't designed for spectators.

The song ended. It was followed by a long stretch of silence. When it became clear that no new music was forthcoming, Gerard wandered over to the gazebo. Frank followed. The gazebo twinkled with blue fairy lights; two statues of ferocious, scowling bulldogs guarded the entrance. Frank would have put money on Gabe's hand being in the decoration.

Gerard patted the dogs' heads as he passed. Frank thought that was goofy-cute, unlike Gerard's ass when he bent over, which was just hot. Frank blamed the tight jeans Gerard was wearing, if wearing was the right word. They looked almost painted-on. No way did Frank routinely think that about other guys' asses.

The jeans must have had some weird effect on Gerard, too, because Frank had only just sat down on the bench beside him when Gerard leaned over and kissed him.

Frank said, "Huh," and Gerard pulled back. It had been a really quick kiss, more of a lip-swipe. Frank had had sex that didn't leave him this breathless.

Gerard looked uncertain. He was knotting his hands together, so Frank took one and held it. They'd held hands while they were dancing, too. Frank was getting kind of used to it.

"I -" said Gerard, at the same time as Frank said, "You know -"

"Go on," said Frank, but Gerard just ducked his head, all bashful. His fingers tightened on Frank's, and Frank just had to kiss him.

He aimed for Gerard's cheek, which was slowly turning pink, but at the last minute Gerard turned and opened his mouth to speak. That made the kiss a whole lot wetter and a world more intense. Frank slipped him the tongue after just two seconds. He usually had more restraint - he'd had practice - but Gerard's mouth was slippery and pliant under his. Frank wrapped his arm around Gerard's neck and kissed him deeper.

And it was all good until Gerard shuddered, as if he'd just come to life. He turned in Frank's arms and moaned, hands coming up to clutch at Frank's waist and getting skin. His tongue brushed Frank's, and Frank freaked the fuck out.

He didn't realize he'd jumped away until he was standing, hands behind his head like he was getting arrested. Gerard sprawled on the floor, halfway between well-kissed dazed and hurt-and-confused dazed. He must have fallen backwards. Or maybe Frank had pushed him, accidentally too hard.

"Frank," said Gerard, and Frank couldn't do this. He couldn't do this. Not even for a hundred dollars and the new pair of Vans he was wearing and Gerard's heart-melting smile.

He turned and ran.


Pete wanted to think the next hour was the worst of his life, but even his innate sense of melodrama failed at that. Moving away from places he liked trumped it easily. Besides, he was actually having a good time, apart from the fact that he felt like the little mermaid (walking on swords, no good with words).

Patrick was adorably hilarious running between the snack table and Greta. If she ate half of what he gave her Pete would shave his head. He spotted her tipping something into a potted plant at one point, but she kept agreeing to more. Greta wasn't Pete's type in girls, she was all roses and sunshine hair, but it was clear how much Patrick rated her. In fact, Pete was affronted that Patrick had never mentioned it before. Then again, he'd known the guy what, two months? Pete had to constantly remind himself that not everyone wore their heart and most other vital organs on their sleeves, like he did.

And there was Brendon. Brendon who found Pete five seconds after he'd slouched away from Mikey and zoned in on him. Pete did get a split-second ominous feeling that he was being watched - or aimed at - before Brendon dive-bombed him from a coffee table and climbed him like a tree.

"That's my windpipe," gasped Pete. Brendon didn't seem to care.

"This way, horsey!" he said. "There's someone you need to meet."

It was clearly with his shield or Brendon on it: Pete obeyed. Brendon guided him to the kitchen by pulling his hair, which had taken an hour to flat-iron straight, thank you. Brendon yelled, "Hey Spencer!" at a kid in white jeans and a purple t-shirt. Pete had to admire him: not everyone could pull off white jeans.

Pete recognized Ryan, the scarf-guy. He was standing beside Spencer in the tightest pants Pete had ever seen, teamed with gold high-top sneakers. He could see why Brendon, who was wearing lime-green heart-shaped glasses, wanted to hang out with them. Obviously this kind of thing was catching.

"Lemme down, lemme down," said Brendon, as if Pete had begged him for the honor of lugging him around. "Spencer, my love, it has been too long."

"Fuck off, Urie," said Spencer, amiably. He let Brendon squeeze him sideways, though, so Pete relaxed. And realized Ryan was checking him out.

He wasn't exactly being subtle, either, cocking his hip out and curling his gaze around Pete from hips to mouth. He didn't say anything, though. His hair fell in his face and he looked up at Pete through it. God, those were Pete's exact moves.

"Hi," said Pete, wittily.

"Hi," said Ryan.

Brendon scowled and swung away from Spencer. "Careful there, Tarzan," said Spencer, knocking a cabinet closed before Brendon cracked his head on it.

"Pete, don't talk to Ryan," said Brendon. "He's a Star, you're not allowed."

"Be more obvious, please," said Spencer. "Anyway, I'm a Star, remember?"

"And also an honorary Smoo," said Brendon. "Ryan is not an honorary Smoo."

"Cry," said Ryan, pretending to rub his eyes.

Brendon poked Spencer. "Make your friend stop mocking me."

"Yeah, like I can make Ryan do anything," said Spencer. "I'm going to go get chips."

"You can't leave me! Ryan might glare me to death!"

"I'll bury you cheap," said Spencer.

He sauntered away, and Pete didn't think he was the only one checking out that ass.

Brendon ducked around behind Pete, who exchanged a glance with Ryan. The tempting glaze was gone out of his eyes; he now looked merely exasperated. "You guys know each other, then?" said Pete.

Brendon mumbled something about 'Ryan's little black book.' Ryan rolled his eyes. "Only since forever. I hit him on the head with a plastic spade when we were three and he's never forgotten it."

"It was a really hard spade!" said Brendon indignantly. Pete would have liked to explore this interesting topic, he really would, but at that moment Mikey slipped into the kitchen and said, "Pete? I kinda need a ride."


Pete's hands clenched too hard on the steering wheel. He hadn't used the two o'clock position since getting his permit, and his elbows told on him now.

"So Gerard took my car - our car, I mean," said Mikey. "We both have keys."

"Okay," said Pete, carefully light.

"He came with Frank," said Mikey. "I assumed he was gonna leave with Frank too, but he just took off."


"And I have an eleven-thirty curfew."


"You can maybe go back to the party afterwards?"


"Jesusfuck," Mikey burst out, "will you say something other than okay?"

"Um," said Pete, "okay?"

"You could stop acting like your dog died," muttered Mikey. "If you didn't want to give me a ride -"

"It’s fine, Mikes, I'm sorry." Pete took a corner sharply, riding up over the curb. "Shit."

"Actually, if I'd known I was taking my life into my hands..." said Mikey. Pete snuffled a laugh. It cracked the tension, but didn't break it.

Pete pulled up outside the Ways' house and killed the engine. "Okay," he said, not entirely by accident. "See you Monday, I guess."

"We have a lesson, right?"

"Sure, if you want."

"Pete." A universe of frustration was compressed into that one word. "Why are you mad at me?"

"I'm not mad at you!" said Pete, overly vehement. "I'm not."

Mikey sent him a long, cool look. He'd hardly ever looked Pete in the eye before. It made him shudder, warm sparks soaking his spine.

His next words took Pete completely by surprise. "I don't like homophobes," he said.

"What the fuck?" spluttered Pete. "What? Homophobes? Where did that come from?"

"You saw me hugging Gabe and now you're all weird with me," said Mikey.

"That's not - it's -" jealousy, I wanted it to be me. Pete couldn't say that. He stared at Mikey in mute appeal.

"Gabe likes to fool around," said Mikey. "He goes overboard, sometimes, and it makes people uncomfortable. But you looked ... horrified."

"Yeah, well," said Pete weakly, "I thought you were straight."

There was a silence so long that Pete got impatient, and snuck a glance at Mikey. Who was staring at him, a little smile playing across his lips.

"What?" snapped Pete. He hunched in his shoulders. All this looking - between the hair and the caps and the glasses, Mikey hid it well, but his eyes were white-hot laser beams currently charring Pete's soul.

"I think you should kiss me now," said Mikey. His voice had a growl to it.

"Oh. Oh. Okay," said Pete.

And he did.


Frank's attempts to mediate through Gerard's friends went a little something like this:

Frank: "Hey, you're Bob, right?"

Bob: "Fuck off and die, Iero."

Frank: "Greta, I was wondering if I could talk to you -"

Greta: "Then you can stop wondering. No."

Frank saw Gerard only from a distance, hemmed in by the glowering Nordic faces of his two best friends. He looked disconsolate. Frank could relate. If some bastard kissed him under the fairy lights then ran away like he'd got a faceful of herpes, Frank would be pissed too. The problem lay in actually being the bastard.

Frank decided it was all Gabe's fault.

He ran into Gabe at the close of the day. Gabe held a mammoth coffee cup, which looked very much like two super-sized coffee cups stuck together with the bottom of one busted through. Jon was fairly easy going, especially for a barista who got as much free coffee was he wanted. He'd probably have let Gabe drink from the machine if it wasn't bolted down.

"Yo, brother," said Gabe. Frank just stared at him until Gabe lowered his arm and reeled in his fingers. "I wanted to thank you for getting Gee to the party on Saturday. Massive props, hats with feathers, et cetera."

Frank wondered if even Gabe understood half of what Gabe said, but he had more pressing matters to discuss. "I think I blew it," he said.

"You sure did," agreed Gabe. Frank stared. Gabe sipped his coffee owlishly. "Hey, man, don't expect to make out with boys in my gazebo and dump them without me knowing about it. I have a basement, you know."

"Uh. Okay," said Frank. "I didn't. I mean, I did. It was."

"A disaster, a tsunami of failed passion," said Gabe. Warming to the theme, he continued, "A tunnel of love with no light at the end. A match made in the eighth circle of hell."

"One of those, yeah," said Frank.

"Regardless, you'd better make up and kiss," said Gabe. "I need Gee at the Battle of the Bands next week. I have the cash, you have the pretty mouth, between us we will rule the world."

"Why do you want Gee at the Battle of the Bands?" asked Frank suspiciously.

"Well," said Gabe, putting his arm around Frank's neck. "Walk with me. You may not know this, but Gee's brother Mikey is a bassist of no mean skill. I want him to play in my band so we'll win and people will worship me as their god. But he can't play if he's not there, and he won't be there if Gee isn't, because their mom has some crazy rule about boys in bands. Or mosh pits. Or flea pits. Some fucking thing, anyway. Are you picking up what I'm putting down?"

"I think so," said Frank. "It still doesn't mean -"

Gabe slipped a wad of cash into Frank's jeans pocket and patted it familiarly. "I've heard a fat bundle of cash can be inspirational. Just ask Kurt Vonnegut."

"Is he in my class?" yelled Frank, but Gabe was already walking away. Well, shuffling; his pants puddled around his feet and hobbled him.

Frank went around the corner to a quiet shady place. He counted the money and nearly fell over.

No one was worth that much money. Except Gerard. Gerard kind of was.


Gerard was staring at Fortitude in F Major and wondering for the seventh time if he should just kick his own ass and buy it. The usual arguments sailed through his head: it cost almost all his savings, he had nowhere to hang it, he was (hopefully) moving to England in a few months and the last thing he needed was a six-foot square painting as a carry-on. It still sang out to him, begging to be owned. Gerard only hoped his own creations would do that to someone one day.

He was only peripherally aware of his surroundings, which was why Frank had probably been standing behind him for twenty minutes before Gerard noticed.

Gerard was mentally prepared for seeing Frank at school. He knew when their paths were most likely to cross and steeled himself not to look, while Greta and Bob ran interference. Right now, though, he was raw and exposed. Frank's very hair looked miserable. Gerard tried his best not to care.

Frank remained steadfastly mute as he sat down beside Gerard and began bouncing his leg.

"If you've come to apologize -" began Gerard.

"I'm not sorry," said Frank.

The blow hit Gerard right in the heart. He scrabbled for his bag, a geyser of hurt threatening to spill behind his eyes.

"Hey, Gee, stop." Frank curled his hand around Gerard's wrist. "I'm not sorry I kissed you. I shouldn't have left, though. I was a jerk."

"No kidding," sniffed Gerard. He didn't relax his hold on his bag, but he didn't pull out of Frank's grip, either.

Frank seemed to take this as permission to slide his palm across Gerard's. "This is pretty new for me, you know? You could cut me some slack."

"I'm not the gay slut of the year myself," Gerard pointed out. "You want to freak out, fine. But do it on your own time. I've had enough of guys who turn on and off like light switches."

"Bad experiences, huh?" Frank's stroking fingers were mindlessly soothing, with an edge of 'oh my god, he's holding my hand.'

"Yeah." Gerard sucked in a breath. "I fell in love in ninth grade - hey, don't laugh! You're laughing!" He poked Frank in the side. "This is serious, okay. I thought we were meant to be, written in the stars. I wrote his name on every notebook I owned, which was totally embarrassing when he dumped me after I blew him."

Frank's eyes got round and wanting at the last bit. Gerard blushed.

"Tell me he at least returned the favor," said Frank. He sounded breathless.

Gerard shook his head. "Ga - I mean, he doesn't do some things. Most things. Gay with caveats."

"It was Gabe, wasn't it? That's why your mom doesn't want Mikey near him!" Frank winced. "Dude, I can't believe you told your mom."

"I didn't," said Gerard, closing his eyes in terrible recollection. "She ... walked in on us..."

"Motherfuck. C'mere." Frank pulled him into a hug, tucking Gerard's head into his neck. Apart from the bit where he couldn't breathe, it was really sweet. "Just, don't think about it. God. I feel for you, man."

"She was madder about the fact that he used me than the rest," said Gerard. "She's pretty cool. But our dad was in a band, too, and he ran off after Mikey was born, so she hasn't got the greatest opinion of musicians."

"I guess there's no hope you'll be my date to Battle of the Bands, then?"

Gerard's breath fluttered. "Are you asking me out again?"

"Trying." Frank let Gerard pull away. Their knuckles bumped as Frank's fingers twisted nervously. "This time I promise not to abandon you because you're such a great kisser -"

"I am?"

"- and I want to make it up to you, so. Tell me how I can make it up to you."

Gerard looked into Frank's eyes. The pupils were big and black, and Gerard could tell the exact point when Frank thought he was going to kiss him, because Frank's breathing came faster and his cheeks flushed.

Smirking, Gerard pulled Frank to his feet. Frank stumbled a little, surprised, but that was fine; Gerard caught his weight, warm and heavy against his side.

"Where are we going?" asked Frank.

"To make it up to me," said Gerard.


Apparently Gerard's notion of penance was paintballing.

"Mikey won't go with me, he's too afraid of the pain," explained Gerard as they suited up. "And Bob is anti-guns and Greta just doesn't like it, or something, and she heard about how someone tore a ligament and never walked properly again -"

"Sell it to me, why don't you," muttered Frank. Gerard just laughed.

It was the middle of the week and an off-peak season. The lone ticket attendant fell over herself to serve them, but Frank put that down to Gerard's winning smile. A little snake of jealousy awoke and uncoiled in his belly. He wasn't morally allowed to get jealous over the guy he was being paid to date, but it was happening just the same. And getting worse all the time.

Paintballing, if not exactly what Frank wanted to do to Gerard, was still fun. Frank could duck and dive better than Gerard, who ran like a penguin, but Gerard had the superior aim. One shot got Frank right in the face. He stopped to wipe off his dripping goggles and Gerard fly-tackled him from behind.

Happily for Frank's back and his affection for Gerard, they fell backwards into a decorative haystack. It cushioned the fall, but Gerard's weight knocked all the breath out of Frank's chest. It wasn't an entirely unpleasant feeling.

"Hey," said Gerard, grinning down at him.

"Hey," said Frank. It started out as a pant, and ended in a whine, as Gerard shifted on top of him. "Gee, I -"

"You have paint all over your face," Gerard informed him. Frank stared at him blankly. Gerard's legs were hot and heavy, Frank couldn't control the restless heaving of his hips and Gerard wanted to talk about paint?

Gerard extricated a hand from the tangle of hay and bodies and touched a finger to Frank's cheek. The tip of his tongue stuck out as he carefully finger-painted Frank's face, dragging the drips on his cheekbone in swirls up to his forehead and down to the soft hollow beneath his jaw. Frank's breathing got more audible and more embarrassing with every passing second, but Gerard was either deep in concentration or a ruthless tease.

Gerard's head dropped closer and as his mouth hovered over Frank's he thought finally. But Gerard just frowned and dabbed paint on Frank's fluttering eyelids. His touch was delicate, precise, and unbearable. Frank was thirteen again, unable to stop wanting.

"There!" Gerard rolled away. "All done. You look real pretty now."

"What, I didn't before?" grumbled Frank. He sat up in a hurry, in case Gerard might see what he couldn't have missed in the last five minutes.

"Of course," said Gerard. He grabbed Frank and kissed his ear. "Get up, I'm kicking your sorry ass here."

Gerard won by a huge margin, and despite Frank's best efforts, there was no further kissing of any kind whatsoever. Later - after he'd rushed upstairs without stopping to say hi to his mom, or eat dinner, or wash the paint off - Frank realized that might have been Gerard's plan all along.


Pete learned a couple of things about Mikey Way very quickly.

The first, and most important, of these, was that Mikey Way was not gay above the waist. He was gay all over with Pete and not so much with anyone else - 'not Gabe, ever. I swear.' Which was great. In theory.

The first few makeout sessions were everything Pete hadn't dared to hope for: long, and slow, mouths moving in a wet-smooth slide until Pete ached from it. He got hard from it, too, but he kept his hands on Mikey's shoulders or in his hair and made sure there was an inch between them at all times.

That was all well and good until they finished watching The Blair Witch Project ('what? It's a date movie,' said Mikey, and cuddled into Pete during the 'scary' parts - it was a date movie). With a seriously stealth move Mikey got from lying on Pete's chest with Pete's arms around him, to straddling Pete's hips and pinning him to the bed, in about five seconds flat.

Pete didn't even have time to speak before Mikey's tongue flicked past his parted lips. He shoved Pete's t-shirt up and started stroking his skin, which felt fucking awesome but did bad, bad things to his dick. Mikey pulled another stealth move so he was kneeling between Pete's legs, pushing them open.

The kissing then became sloppier and greedier than anything Pete had ever experienced. Mikey was making needy little noises in the back of his throat, and his thumbs were rubbing heavy circles into Pete's hipbones.

"Mikey," gasped Pete, when Mikey abandoned his mouth to suck on his jaw.

"Yeah," Mikey moaned in reply, hips slamming down against Pete's.

Which was when Pete learned another important thing about Mikey: he was a fucking priss at times.

"Oh, gross," said Mikey, sitting up. Pete was desperately glad for the respite, despite his dick's complaints to the contrary. He noticed that the front of Mikey's jeans were kind of - fuck - Pete blushed. Mikey scowled, but his eyes were gleaming.

"Next time, we take the clothes off first," he said, and stalked off to the bathroom.

"Next time?" squeaked Pete. He was already trying to think of corpses and the usual suspects to cure an erection, but Mikey's growly voice and ohshit Mikey with no clothes on were fucking with his mojo. Among other things.

The third, fourth and fifth things Pete learned -

Were nothing he'd want to share.


When Gabe said it, he was half-grinning, and Gerard was totally calm. That was how Frank knew he knew.

Battle of the Bands raged unabated after Gabe yelled - loud enough to be heard in Kentucky - about how he hadn't paid Frank to get the Way brothers here only for Mikey to dick around with Pete Wentz instead of playing. He'd said it differently, put it in such a way as to make his point completely unambiguous. Gabe might have been a jerk to Gerard in the past but whatever side he was on now, it wasn't Frank's. Modnab folks stuck together, and up until a few weeks ago, Frank had done his level best to stay out of their glue.

Gerard looked at Frank for a long time, mouth wound up in a sort of half-smile. It was the same one he wore when Frank made him watch South Park, which he didn't really get but understood was supposed to be funny.

"I was waiting for you to tell me," he said. He didn't raise his voice so Frank had to practically read his lips. Gerard walked away after that, dodging awkwardly through the crowd.

He was waiting by Frank's car when Frank finally got out. It was pathetically hilarious: Mikey came with Pete, so Gerard had no option but to let Frank drive him home.

He got in quietly and sat with his hands folded. Frank put the key in the ignition but didn't turn it. "Glovebox," he said, hoarsely.

Gerard pulled out the white envelope. Frank stared out the window. He'd managed to convince the salesgirl to take back his Vans, even though they were clearly worn. She must have hated her job or God or the world, because he talked her around in the end.

He heard Gerard release a shaky sigh.

"I'm glad I trusted you," he said.

"You maybe shouldn't be," said Frank. "I was really tempted to trade up my car, for a while. For five minutes."

Really, if he was honest, he'd bought the painting for Gerard in his mind the first time he saw Gerard look at it. He must have known - even then - that he'd do anything to keep that look on Gerard's face.

"Hell, no," said Gerard. He took Frank's hand, brought it to his mouth, and kissed it. "We haven't even broken in the backseat yet."


Brendon stared into his drink. He'd broken a shoelace and hit his elbow off the bar top really hard, and in spite of his sufferings hadn't managed to procure a single alcoholic substance. Life sucked. Everything sucked. He wanted a hug.

He twirled idly on the spinning chair - that was one thing that didn't suck, actually - and watched Gabe whisper sweet nothings in Ryan Ross' ear. Just because Gabe and Ryan were both Stars was no reason for Gabe to chat up Ryan. Ryan was evil and hit people with shovels and no matter what Brendon said it never sunk in for people.

Ryan rolled his eyes, which meant he was laughing in his head. Ryan rarely laughed aloud. Brendon should know. He'd only been watching Ryan for fourteen years, just in case he should decide to extend his career of violence.

Ryan - Ryan was stalking towards Brendon, rolling his hips in that way. The way that was seriously sexy, only Brendon couldn't think that about Ryan Ross, ever, in case Ryan Ross really could read minds. Brendon was too pretty to die this young.

"Hey, B'den." Ryan leaned forward and hugged Brendon really hard. As in, their collarbones crashed together and Brendon got an elbow to the ribs. As quick as that, Ryan pulled back. "Bye, B'den."

"Hey, wait! You can't just -" Brendon flailed and got a handful of Ryan's scarf. "You can't just hug me and leave."

"Isn't that what you wanted?" asked Ryan. He looked world-weary and put-upon.

"Kind of," said Brendon. He wrapped Ryan's scarf around his hands. It was really soft. Brendon bet Ryan's mouth was really soft, too. "I think I might be in love with you, okay."

"Jesus, I know," said Ryan. "Buy me a 7-Up and I'll give you a handjob in my car, okay?"

"Okay!" said Brendon happily. "Do you love me too, Ryan Ross?"

"Shut up," said Ryan, but he let Brendon tie their hands together with his scarf, anyway.


"I am magnificent," said Gabe, beating his chest.

"This is true," said Bill. "Too magnificent to buy your own amps."

"Do you know how many couples I have thwarted destiny for tonight?" demanded Gabe. "Take a guesstimate, I dare you."

"I can't, I'm scared," said Bill dryly. "Most of them will have broken up by the end of summer."

"They'll still have it, though," said Gabe. "Their summer of love."

There was a lull in the conversation as Bill pulled down the door of his garage. Gabe was much too important for such demeaning labor.

"Shall we have a summer of love?" asked Gabe. He'd been in love with Bill since forever, but he didn't think Bill quite got it. Gabe understood: he was kind of trashy and told most people he met that he loved them. He'd never told Bill, but Bill never noticed.

Bill gave the suggestion the consideration it deserved: five seconds. "Nah," he said. "Let's get abducted by aliens instead."


so i'm in bandom now? let the shunning begin?
and the shooting gallery is a real place! thanks pir8fancier
Current Mood: enthralledlolarious
Current Music: keep an open mind (captain)
Liblibgirl on April 9th, 2008 09:21 am (UTC)
I laughed so hard I cried and everyone stared at me. 10 Things I Hate About You is one of my favorite movies this was an inspired take on it.

I've officially read three bandom fics now and two of them have been in the last 24 hours and were both amazing in their own ways, s oI think I'm ripe for the stoning as well.

Your portrayal of the high school and the social classes nearly killed me. I loved the "gay from the waist up" line and also the way you progressed the relationships.

I have to admit I liked the way you modified Gabe's character and I hope he and Ben get their happy ending ;).

Lovely, fun, funny job!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: FOB: Dumbledorescoradh on April 9th, 2008 11:18 am (UTC)
I'll admit something BAD now: I actually really like this myself. Especially the bit with Brendon and Ryan and Brendon's scarf. Best thing I've ever written Y/N?

Join me in the stoning pit! It are shiny.

I can't claim credit for the 'gay from the waist up' line, though. That's all Pete's very own. Which is why we love him.

Gackette for the win! er.

Thank you. :D
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: I'd tap that ♥scoradh on April 9th, 2008 11:19 am (UTC)
I LOVE YOUR ICON! Haven't seen that one before but it is totes the best yet!

also thank you :DDDDD
Ciaran: WentzRoss: innocent/deviousbouncy on April 9th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
...asdhgjfghkh;kj';j;luio'k'l/jmlnh.jgjlh there will be no shunning. Only embracing with very colourful gay ojects. ♥_♥ This? This is utter brilliant. Allow me to worship you. *____*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: PATD: Ryroscoradh on April 9th, 2008 11:22 am (UTC)
Objets d'art? I read a fic called 'I slept with someone in FOB and all I got was this purple dildo', which, yeah, if you're going in that direction: >:D

Worship is always allowed. So is lettuce.
(no subject) - bouncy on April 9th, 2008 11:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 9th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bouncy on April 9th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 9th, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
wildestranger on April 9th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
Modnab High School! This is brilliant, so many wonderful things in this - Andy Hurley the counsellor, Stars and Smoos, Gerard's Viking protectors...Love this a lot. A most enjoyable read. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Black Booksscoradh on April 9th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think you figured out what that meant, right? It's not quite as clever as Djelibebeh or Llamedos, but hey. I am but an egg.

Thank you! Was hoping you'd read it. :D
(no subject) - wildestranger on April 9th, 2008 01:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 9th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
mrsquizzical: boyhandsmrsquizzical on April 9th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)

i love that film. (rip heath baby) and it makes a really charming and funny template.

hahah for modnab high. and all the chameos.

and now the rubicon is crossed... what next, hmmmmm?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Audrey Hepburnscoradh on April 9th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC)
I love it too! Not enough to remember the characters' names when I wrote this ... but still, lots of love.

I think what Bill said: they all break up! and marry girls
Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on April 9th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
It's okay, so am I. We can wallow in shame together.

I love that Gerard knew already!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: MCR: sparkly Gerardscoradh on April 9th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
Lovely, lovely wallowing!

Yeah; it was that or write another gazebo-type scene. I just didn't have it in me!
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: MCR: blue Gerardscoradh on April 9th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)

I like to think my certain brand of madness is accepted in most places, like Visa.
jessi watsonbowiscute145 on April 9th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: In ur bedscoradh on April 9th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Medal or small plastic radio?
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Oh noes pandascoradh on April 10th, 2008 08:10 am (UTC)
It's got some great throwaway lines that I still laugh at, years after the event. I can think of no film that better deserves ... um, this. >.>
You're no rock n roll fun: Frank!saturnalia on April 11th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
Love it! Haha, best closing line ever.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Goldy booksscoradh on April 11th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
Which apparently actually happened? At least inside Gabe's head...

mivsi: he means itmivsi on April 11th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)
Oh, my God. I love this so much. I laughed and my heart did weird... things, and I wanted to smack some sense into some certain faces at times. And it was amazing.

This was one of the first times I paid attention to the Pete/Mikey as much as the Frank/Gerard. And it was sweet and amazing and hot. And oh Frank and Gerard. And Brendon. Brendon made me smile. Gabe is such a sneaky bastard.

Thanks so much for writing this! It was very very awesome.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: FOB: Summer of likescoradh on April 11th, 2008 08:55 am (UTC)
Dude, I love Pete/Mikey. With an all-abiding and slightly terrifying love. They're just so goddamn cute, I don't care if they're both married to girlies. The angst is ... not so fun, which is why this is AU.

Slightly spazzy Brendon makes this fandom, seriously.

Thank you!
the creature from the blog lagoon: *beam*ishyface on April 11th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)

(Seriously, though, A+++.)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: PoT: party weaselscoradh on April 11th, 2008 08:53 am (UTC)
The truth is that beauty is capslock. I know these things. ♥
Jas Masson: lap sitting and fish facesjasmasson on April 11th, 2008 09:36 am (UTC)
Loved it!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: MCR: Frankieeeescoradh on April 11th, 2008 09:46 am (UTC)
Merci buckets!
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: CS+TAI: heart handsscoradh on April 11th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
Brendon is the most fun to write. ♥

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
(Anonymous) on April 12th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)