Categories > Celebrities > My Chemical Romance > Rest Easily, in the Bed of Another Man's Tired Old Queen

Rest Easily, in the Bed of Another Man's Tired Old Queen

by australis 0 reviews

Written for BRBB 2012 on LJ. At a funeral in Chicago, two men meet. A love story. Eventually.

Category: My Chemical Romance - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Characters: Frank Iero,Gerard Way - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2012-04-13 - Updated: 2012-04-13 - 5555 words - Complete

The sky hung low over the city of Chicago, clouds heavy and purple with the promise of coming rain. The street lamps had been turned on for the ease and comfort of the few people driving today; despite the fact that it was noon, it was still as dark as early morning. Soft electric lights spilled from out of the chapel and onto the stairs and sidewalk. Little dark clothed people climbed out of their cars or darted from places further down the streets, men in suits and women in dresses and veils.

Frank swallowed, and felt the knot of his tie against the hollow of his throat. The suit felt as though it was poised to pin his arms and consume him in swathes of black cotton. Inside the chapel, the piano began to play a soft and somber tune. The sky rumbled in echo. Drops of water turned the gray of the sidewalk black.

He hurried inside.

It was a good day for a funeral.


Frank followed the crowd’s movements, walking with them to the coffin open below the altar. He watched with stony eyes as first a nobody-woman and then an anybody-man touched the dead girl’s cheek, said a few words of synthetic comfort, and walked to the grieving parents, clutching each other and rocking in the face of the storm. Frank felt a quiet rage build inside him.

Lindsey hadn’t even known half these people.

And then it was his turn.

He stood in front of the coffin with a dry mouth and shaking knees, eyes narrowed and hands clasped in concentration. Lindsey lay there, unmoving, a coroner’s smile painted onto her lips, dark hair curled in an unnatural way, eye makeup not dramatic enough. He swallowed, and cast his eyes up.

“Ah, dammit Lin,” he said softly, trying to smile. “You know I’m not religious. I don’t know what to say. So… I guess I hope it’s really great where you are now, because it’s crap here.” He cast his eyes back to the coffin and gave a two fingered salute. “Say hi to her if you can, please? Tell her I miss her.”

He stepped away, let another somebody take his place and say their goodbyes. Frank moved to the back of the chapel, taking a seat in a far off pew, watching the mourners with a quiet, distant eye.

“You don’t look too sad,” a voice said behind him. Frank turned; saw a man with a crooked grin and suit with no tie, his hands shoved deep into his pants pockets. Frank snorted, turned back to the front.

“Neither do you,” the man had no reply for that, and so Frank continued, quieter. “This is the fourth funeral I’ve been to this year. The shock factor has kind of lost its oomph.”

“Wow,” the man said, seating himself next to Frank. “Four, really? I don’t envy you.”

“Yeah, not many people do,” Frank said, tightening his jaw. He was saved from further conversation by a movement up at the altar. “I think it’s starting.”

“Probably,” the man said quietly, his artfully-made-up eyes trained on the priest taking to the altar. The wizened old man cleared his throat, leaning heavily on his forearms. He looked genuinely sad when he looked at the girl in the coffin below him, despite the fact that Lindsey was hardly a devout believer. Frank was pleased to see genuine grief in a crowd of strangers. It was a nice change of pace from the men and women here only to ease their own guilty minds. The priest cleared his throat again.

“We have gathered to mourn the death of a beloved friend, daughter, and lover. Lindsey Ballato was no stranger to the world, and many grieve at her passing. I can only hope for half the turnout at my own funeral,” the morbid joke fell flat with the crowd, but Frank saw that the mouth of the man next him quirked up in half a smile. “Well. Before we speak of death, let us speak of life. As I said, Lindsey was no stranger to the world, and places were blessed with her presence. The days she would join us for Mass, I could feel – I hesitate to call it divine, Lindsey was not known for her piousness, but regardless – I felt something radiating off of her. Something More. It was peaceful, for lack of a better word.”

Frank snorted, thinking of Lindsey at the clubs, Lindsey in the basement, holding her bass like a lifeline while she bent over backwards in her short skirt and shit-kicker boots. If the good Father were to see the woman Frank had known, compared to the woman he must have known: dressed up, nails trimmed and stripped of their color, and on her best behavior. Well. Best Case Scenario: the man would fall over, stunned for a moment. He’d recover, with nothing to show from it but a few awkward silences. Worst Case Scenario: he’d have a heart attack, but not before condemning the whore-woman to an eternity in Hell.

He almost wished Lindsey was alive, so they could elicit the reaction from the trembling old man in black.

But Lindsey, unfortunately, was dead. About to be worm food.

It wasn’t gonna happen.

Frank had to credit the man, though. He wasn’t all wrong about Lindsey.

“Lindsey saw the world in a different way from the rest of us pitiful creatures. She was exalted. Her life was governed, not by the mathematical formulas and primal fears and needs that govern most of us, but by something Else. I do not know what it was. I doubt I’ll ever know. But I feel, truly, blessed to have known her, however briefly or incompletely.”

He was right. Lindsey had been confusing as Hell: Catholic on Monday, Agnostic on Tuesday, atheist on Wednesday, Jewish on Thursday, Buddhist on Friday, Hindu on Saturday, and Muslim on Sunday… rinse, repeat. She had been a whirlwind of emotions, shifting from rage to glee to sorrow to peace nearly every hour, on the hour. She had sung, she’d danced, she’d played bass guitar, and she’d served coffee six days a week, five in the morning to five in the evening. She had been sister. She had been friend.

The old man was right. Frank had felt blessed to have known her, too.


The bells were ringing outside, and the rain had stopped, though the sky was far from clear.

Frank and the man had walked out side by side, in comfortable silence. On the steps, the man turned to him, flashing a grin. He held out a hand in formal greeting, and Frank shook it warily.

“Would you like to get coffee with me?” the man asked, his voice lilting hopefully. Frank snorted, ran a hand through his hair. Mourners slid around them like thick, black oil. They sped away like ants from a ruptured anthill, either on foot, in cab, or car. Frank thought of Lindsey, being moved back to the morgue, her grave dirt waiting patiently for tomorrow. He thought of three other skeletons, locked in caskets and concrete six feet under. He shrugged, lighting up the last cigarette in his pack. He took a long drag, and kept the smoke in his lungs until he the feeling of acid rising in is throat subsided. His lips pushed up in half a grin.

“Sure. Why the Hell not?”

The man grinned again.

“Sweet. Walk with me? I know a place; it’s about three blocks from here.”

Frank cast an eye to the sky, roiling and dark, ready to empty itself again. He nodded once, and they set off at a brisk pace down the street.


Frank had been in love exactly once. It had caught him, like these things generally do, completely by surprise.

He’d been eighteen years old in a brand new state and a brand new city, brand new haircut and piercings, fresh tattoo stinging his arm, wearing less-than-new jeans and shirt. He’d owned exactly two things: the first of which was the backpack slung over his shoulder that held a credit card, a wad of hundred dollar bills, underwear, a change of jeans, and an extra shirt. The second thing was a letter, clutched in his left hand that proclaimed him the lucky winner of a full-ride scholarship to the local university. His childhood home was only across the river but the feeling in him suggested he’d traveled as far as India.

She had been sitting on the wall that separated a pedestrian-dominated street from the cracking buildings, bright yellow sundress glowing in the sun and long chocolate hair braided over one shoulder. She’d been reading a book, legs swinging gently above the sidewalk.

He’d tripped over her, sending them both to the grimy concrete in a heap of limbs and books.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry,” he exclaimed, dragging himself to his feet and scrambling around to gather her things. He held them out to her, an embarrassed flush creeping up his neck. He still hadn’t looked at her.

“No, no, it’s fine,” her voice was soft and carried a dazed air. He looked up. It was something like getting punched in the gut.

The sun was framing her perfectly, turning flyaway strands of brown hair golden. Half of her cheekbone was highlighted, hazel eyes sparkling from deep, dramatic shadows. Her lips were parted slightly, and a look of breathless surprise was plain to see across her features.

He probably looked much the same.


The coffee shop the man led him to was a veritable hole in the wall, flickering electric lighting barely holding back the storm’s darkness. But it was, Frank had to admit, dry and warm. The man smiled and held open the door for him. Frank nodded at him and stepped inside; shaking himself of the few droplets of water that managed to fall before they’d arrived.

“So what’s your name?” Frank asked in a clipped tone, seating himself at a table in the back of the shop. The table was wooden, and had seen better days, polished finish going a bit sticky and graffiti carved into the varnish. Frank’s thumb traced an ‘A & H 4ever’ before his eyes returned to his companion, taking his seat across from him. During the walk over the man’s suit had become even more disheveled, water droplets turning the shoulders and collar of his shirt and jacket a shade darker than the rest of his outfit. His hair had become even more tangled, inky black tucked over one ear in an artful manner. The flakes of his eyeliner had smudged, and his eyes, which Frank had sworn were a muddy brown, had turned almost electric green in the storm.

He smirked.

“I was wondering when you’d ask,” he drawled, waving over a barista with a crooked finger. “Two coffees please, black with a sugar.”

The barista, an old woman with frown lines etched into her face, took the order on a notepad and nodded. “Be right out, doll.” The man smiled, and waved her off. He turned back to Frank with a roll of the head and shoulders. His smile, though no less genuine, returned to a smirk of sorts. He stuck his hand out over the table.

“My name is Gerard Way,” he said, his eyes crinkling. “And it is a pleasure to meet you.”

“Frank Iero,” Frank replied, shaking Gerard’s hand. “And the same.”

“Wonderful,” Gerard said, clapping his hands together in a delighted, if childish, manner. “Now, if I might ask, where on Earth was Lindsey hiding you? She never told me she’d made the acquaintance of a Frank Iero.”

Frank shrugged. “We’d known each other for nine years. We shared a musical theory class, and a mutual hatred for the professor. He was a tone-deaf, old fashioned hard-ass. We educated him. After a couple weeks, we started hanging out in the clubs. She helped me finally talk to-” his throat caught on his words. No, not time yet. He swallowed. “Never mind. We’d known each other for a while. How did you know her?”

The barista brought out the coffees. Gerard smiled and passed her a couple bills, sliding a mug to Frank while he pulled his own close, sipping on it delicately. Frank made no move to touch his. “The clubs, huh? Must have been why we never met before,” at Frank’s questioning look, Gerard heaved a great sigh, painted eyes casting their gaze up. “I’ve been sober for five years. Even in the early days, I wasn’t about to break that streak. It would have killed my brother. Anyway, I knew Lindsey from way back in middle school. We were the ‘art fags’ as people so liked to call us. Well,” he amended with a pleasant giggle. “Mostly me.”

“You don’t sound too bothered about that,” Frank noted, stirring his untouched coffee with his pinky. Gerard laughed again.

“Sugar, I was, and still am, very comfortable with my sexuality,” he was grinning now, none of the whole ‘mysterious smirk’ business, fully grinning. Frank closed his eyes, swallowed the lump in his throat. Gerard laid a hand on his forearm, and Frank tensed. “You haven’t touched your coffee.”

“Oh my God, are you trying to seduce me?” Frank blurted out, his voice cracking.

“Well, I’m not opposed to the possibility,” Gerard’s voice held an amused lilt, and Frank’s eyes snapped open, his arm wrenching away. He stood up quickly, nearly knocking over his untouched coffee. “Unless…”

“No!” Frank exclaimed. “No, no, it’s not – it’s just. No.”

The grave dirt was too fresh under his fingernails, too heavy on his lungs, and Gerard’s eyes were too much like someone he’d once known.

“I’ve got to go,” Frank said shortly, pulling his coat tighter around himself and plunging back into the storm.


Frank’s home was a room in a house that was owned by Ray Toro. The first level of the house consisted of two front rooms, in one of which a piano and collection of guitars were located, a kitchen, and three back rooms, two of which were bedrooms. The second level consisted of four rooms, one of which was a library, one of which was Frank’s, and one of which was Ray’s. The fourth room, which overlooked the backyard, was empty. Ray liked to describe the house as a halfway home for college graduates (and old friends who weren’t currently employed). The house was located in a quiet neighborhood in suburban Chicago, its front porch sagged dangerously, the sweet and bitter scent of rotting wood hanging around it, and the white wood paneling was stained. It was a patchwork home, easily the most run-down house in the neighborhood.

The house was quiet when Frank slipped inside, darkened hallways catching the echoes and shadows of the storm raging outside. His coat went on the old oak coat rack, his shoes set carefully over the vent in the hallway. His hands hovered there for a while, soaking in the humid, warm air that flowed from it. It was a relatively warm December for Chicago, but it would likely snow before the night was over.

Frank drew back from the vent with a soft breath, and padded his way into the kitchen. Ray took pride in this room, and had decked it out in the best appliances and décor. Pristine white curtains hung over the large window by the table, and they were, quite possibly, the only truly clean things in the house. Frank laid a hand on the stainless steel of the fridge, contemplating a dinner and letting the chill of the metal sink into his skin. Before he could open the fridge and reach in, a fluttering on the table caught his eye.

It was a newspaper, pinned open by an empty coffee mug, probably left by Brendon, or maybe Florence, though she preferred tea. Ray would have been appalled to see the state of his kitchen. Frank leaned over to pick up the mug, and froze when he saw the Lindsey smiling up at him, the ink of her picture smearing in the ring of liquid left behind by the mug. His fingers twitched, and he picked up the mug in one hand, the newspaper in the other, folding it gently and setting it in the trash bin. He set the mug in the sink, spraying in a bit of water.

He wasn’t hungry any more.

He left the kitchen and all but ran up the stairs, locking his bedroom door behind him.

He leaned against the door and breathed, his breath loud in the quiet room. The knot of the tie bobbed again his throat. He grimaced and took it off quickly, throwing it into the corner. He stood for a minute more, and then shuffled to his bed, sliding out of his trousers and shirt. He fell onto the sheets, and into a deep sleep.

While he slept, he dreamed.


He was in his room, and it was dark. Flashes of lightning would briefly illuminate a world drowning in a storm. The cold air bit at his bare chest, and the sheets pooled around his waist as he propped himself up. His breath seemed to fog the air, and the room carried the feeling of an overexposed photograph, edges blurred and contents not-quite-there.

“Hey, Frankie,” a voice said, and he nearly jumped out of his skin, a startled yelp tearing from his throat. Lightning struck outside, illuminated the world for a few seconds. Thunder crashed.

Lindsey was sitting in his chair, the white light running through her and bleeding out her colors. She was wearing a dark t-shirt and torn jeans. Her feet were bare, and her hair was pulled into a messy bun. Her electric blue eye shadow seemed to glow in the dark. She grinned. “How are you?”

Frank blinked. “I’m dreaming,” he breathed, and Lindsey pursed her lips.

“Yeah, probably,” she said, and giggled.

“You’re dead, you know,” she glared at him, and huffed.

“No fucking duh I know that. Dying at twenty seven isn’t something you easily forget, for future reference.”

“So what are you doing here?” Frank asked, rubbing at his eyes and swallowing past the dryness in his throat.

“I don’t know,” Lindsey stood, grinned wider, and started rifling through the contents of his desk. “It’s your dream, after all.”

Frank snorted and swung his legs off the bed, standing with a pop of protest from his spine and a creaking from his legs as he walked over to her. “Look, Lin. No offense, or anything, but I don’t think you’d be the ghost my mind would show me.”

She shrugged, and inclined her head. “I can’t argue with that logic, Frankie. But, like I said before, it’s your dream. Hey, this is mine,” she picked up something, and a flash of lightning showed it to be a guitar pick. She worried it between her teeth, grinning softly. “I’d been looking for this.”

“You can take it,” Frank said automatically, instinctively, and immediately winced. Lindsey just grinned.

“Reality is subjective, Frankie. Remember that,” she tucked the pick into a pocket. “And damn straight I can take this. It is fucking mine, after all.” She walked towards him, and pulled him into a tight embrace. Her skin, though cool, was soft and smelled like cardamom and something bitter. “God, I’m going to miss you.”

Frank swallowed again, feeling a dryness prickle at his eyes. He returned the embrace, clutching his best friend close. “Me too, Lin.”

“It didn’t hurt, you know. I didn’t even really know it had happened; it was just kind of like, oh shit, truck, and then there wasn’t anything. No pain,” she was whispering in his ear, leading him like a small child back to his bed. “She didn’t have any pain at the end either, sweetheart. And she told me to tell you she loves you.”

“Thank you,” Frankie said, or at least felt his mouth form the words, then his head hit the pillow and he knew no more.


In the morning the sun was shining in through his window, and there was a light dusting of snow outside that had drifted up into larger piles against objects like the porch and fence. Delicious smells were coming up from the kitchen, and Frank knew that Florence had returned and taken over the kitchen for the morning. Frank rolled over in his sheets, tangling himself further in them. The cold metal of the chain around his neck chilled him, centering on the weight around his sternum. He absently fingered the rings, and fought back the waves of grief that rose up. He swallowed the lump in his throat, and stumbled to his feet, pulling on a pair of jeans and tattered white V-neck that wasn’t actually his. Well.

It was now, by way of a type of inheritance.

He rifled briefly in the stuff on top of his desk, found the little blue pick sitting underneath an empty can of soda. He held it up briefly, blocking out the sun, and thought he could see flaked green nail polish in the cracks the wires of a bass guitar had made. He tucked it into his pocket, and moved away from the desk.

He rubbed at his eyes and dragged his hand through his hair and down his face, stretching out the skin and grimacing when he felt the slight stubble across his cheeks. He’d have to shave, later. He shuffled out of his room and down the stairs, holding on to the banister for support. There was a slight tightness in his lungs, and as soon as he made it into the kitchen he swallowed a glass of water to wash down two Ibuprofen.

Brendon sat propped against the window, eyes vacant and skin frosted to the glass. His hair stuck up at angles that possibly defied gravity, and his glasses were slipping down his nose. A cup of coffee was clutched religiously in his hand, giving off a steam. Florence was at the stove, and she didn’t look much better, bright red hair pulled into a high, messy ponytail. Makeup was smudged under her left eye, and she smiled at him, face crinkling in simple, early morning happiness.

“Look at you, all dressed so early,” she said, and stirred the eggs on the stove. “I’m making eggs.”

“And they look delicious,” Frank replied obediently, and with a satisfied grin she handed him a plate loaded with toast and spiced eggs. “Thanks, Florry.”

She tutted, and smacked at him lightly with the spoon. The corner of his mouth lifted, and he went to sit across from Brendon, who had somewhat roused from his stupor. “Coffee?” he asked, holding out the half full, still steaming mug. Frank shrugged and took a sip before passing it back to Brendon. He mumbled thanks, and Brendon continued. “Ray’s going to renting out the fourth room.”

“Heh?” Frank asked, with a mouthful of eggs. Brendon shoved his glasses back up his nose, and jerked his head to the window.

“They’re on the porch, talking rent. And utilities. And other circumstances,” Brendon’s eyes narrowed in consideration, and his face broke into a grin. “He seemed nice enough. He just moved here from New Jersey, to further his career as a tortured, starving artist. Florence found kin.”

“Oi!” Florence shouted from the counter, flicking a biscuit at Brendon’s head. He dodged it easily, and she returned to eating her food. Frank heard the front door creak open and slam shut, two muted voices filtering from the front hallway. Soon after, Ray’s smiling face popped around the wall, the rest of his body following. His hair bounced up and down, shifted with his every movement, no matter how miniscule. “Hey guys,” he said, his voice soft and not completely matching his outward appearance. “Hey Frank, glad to see you’re awake. I’d like you to meet the new tenant. I knew him back in high school. Gee, get your ass in here and meet the family!”

An unintelligible grumbling was all that Frank could hear in response to that, and then the new renter of the fourth room entered the kitchen, nose red and dark hair still tangled artfully.

Frank felt his stomach drop, and thought he could hear something like laughter coming from behind his shoulder. He thought he probably looked very much like a deer caught in the headlights, fork poised halfway from his plate to his mouth.

Gerard Way was in his kitchen.

Gerard Way was moving in. Frank nodded respectfully, the muscle in his jaw jumping slightly, and continued to eat his eggs with a stony expression. The man smiled and crossed the kitchen, sliding into the seat next to Brendon.

“Hi,” he said, leaning down and trying to catch Frank’s eyes, his own crinkling at the corners. “Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think we’ve met before.”

“Forgive me if my memory is a bit spotty,” Frank snapped back, shoving more eggs into his mouth and chewing pointedly. He could practically feel Ray’s, Florence’s, and Brendon’s confusion at his actions.

For his part, Gerard took it all in stride. “Well then, I’m Gerard Way, and it’s good to meet you, mister…”

“Iero,” Frank said, standing and taking his plate to the sink. “Look, I’d love to continue this conversation, but I’ve got business in town, and I’ve got to catch the bus. So goodbye.” He started pulling on his shoes and laughably thin jacket.

“Alright, we’ll just have to get to know each other later,” Gerard laughed, raising a hand in farewell. He winked at Frank, and Frank felt a flush creep up his cheeks as he all but sprinted for the door and threw himself into the chill, the soft, not quite there laughter following him.

He’d made it halfway down the street, his fingers just starting to go numb, when he heard the snow crunching behind him. He spun around; face twisting, hand clutching the rings hanging around his neck.

“What the fuck do you want?” he spat, throat closing up. Gerard smiled and ducked his head.

“A lot of things,” he said easily, falling into step next to Frank. “Right now? I need to pick up my stuff from my brother’s boyfriend’s friend’s house. In the long run?” he tilted his head, taking in Frank’s appearance before looking towards the sky. “Well.”

“Fuck you,” Frank said, turning on his heel and walking. Gerard followed quickly.

“Oh sure, sugar,” he drawled, pulling his scarf up to his nose and holding out a pair of gloves for Frank. Frank stared at them, mentally weighing the pros and cons of A) taking the gloves and letting Gerard win this one and B) not taking the gloves and freezing his fingers off in the snow. After a moment of hesitation, he took the gloves. “But in all honesty, Frank, you seem like a very interesting guy. Ray speaks very highly of you.”

Frank huffed. “Oh does he?”

“He does,” Gerard laughed, a high and lilting sound. “Frank Iero: talented, kind, and if you don’t mind me saying, breathtakingly beautiful,” Gerard’s face lost its smile, and he looked at Frank somberly. “Ray told me about your girlfriend. I know what it’s like.”

“Shut up,” Frank’s chest felt tight, and he clutched the cold metal of the rings tighter, willing some warmth into them. “Don’t. You don’t- you don’t know shit.”

They’d stopped walking, and were now stood still on the street corner, the occasional car speeding by and sending up fans of slush. Gerard’s cheeks were red, his eyes narrowed and considering. “Hey, I’m sorry if I struck a nerve-“

“Don’t say anything,” Frank said, and there was no emotion in his voice. His breath fanned out in front of him, and he let the chain slip back under his shirt. “Please- just don’t. Don’t talk to me. Please?”

Gerard slumped, but the fire didn’t leave his eyes. “Alright.”

Frank nodded, and turned right, walking down the street.

Gerard didn’t follow him.


He and Jamia bought an apartment together that first winter together. Their first night there, when their belongings were still in boxes and their couch had yet to arrive they curled up on a pile of blankets and watched the original Frankenstein on her little computer. It wasn’t anything special; they had a cup of hot chocolate to share between them and a box of half stale Redvines to tie it all together. It was quiet and warm and oozing not-quite-honeymoon bliss.

No, it wasn’t anything special. But it was happy. They were happy.

They stayed that way for nearly eight years.


Frank wandered around Chicago for the better part of the day, only coming home when the sun began to set at four. The house was almost empty, sans Gerard in the second front room watching a movie. He lingered in the doorway, watching the man sprawled on the couch with a wary eye. The flickering light of the television washed out his color, making him look paler than normal and casting deep shadows around his eyes and the hollow of his neck. Frank turned to leave for the kitchen, but Gerard’s voice stopped him.

“Hey, come watch the ship sink with me,” he nearly whined, pulling himself out of his sprawl and making room for Frank on the couch next to him. “Ray and the others left a while ago. I’m not going to be able to watch this alone without bawling.” After a moment of hesitation, worrying his lip in silence, he continued. “I’m sorry about earlier. It’s tough, losing someone you’re close to. I’d just kind of… forgotten, I guess.”

Frank sighed, and seated himself carefully, resting his head on his hand. “What movie?”

Gerard bit down on a knuckle and flashed wide eyes to Frank before they flicked back to the screen. “Titanic. I’m a sucker for the romance.”

Frank snorted at that, and the sound was mirrored by Gerard. “You’re a romantic?”

Gerard grinned. “You could say that. I’m a great believer in the spontaneous love.”

Frank made a sound of response, and traced his fingertips over the tattoo on his right hand. “So you’re a whore?”

He laughed, his nose crinkling. “Some people call me that, yes,” he turned to Frank, his expression set in mock seriousness. “Judging from your reaction, I’ll assume that there is no chance of me getting you in bed?”

“Not a chance,” he said, but couldn’t keep the slight smile off his face. Gerard fell back, clutching his chest in mock agony.

“You wound me,” he gasped through a grin, and winked. “No worries. You won’t be able to resist my charm for long.”

At this, Frank raised an eyebrow and shook his head in an amused manner. They watched the ship sink in silence.


The next morning Gerard was waiting for Frank in the kitchen, two mugs of steaming coffee in his hands and a hopeful expression on his face. Frank ran a hand over his eyes, and shook his head, moving for the kettle instead. Gerard sank to his seat, a dejected expression etched into his features.

“What’s the date?” Frank mumbled, leaning on the counter and waiting for the water in the kettle to boil.

“The twentieth,” Gerard replied, taking a deep drink of his coffee and fixing his gaze on the snow outside. Frank groaned, pulled the squealing kettle off the stove and poured the steaming water onto a teabag, inhaling the fumes greedily. “Why so serious?” Gerard asked, moving his gaze to Frank, and Frank set his head against the cool granite of the counter.

“I’ve got a job interview this afternoon,” he mumbled, and heard Gerard snort from the table, accompanied by more slurping sounds. Frank groaned again, and heaved himself up, cradling the mug of steaming liquid to his chest. “And then I’ve got to go buy presents for people.”

Gerard raised an eyebrow, and slurped noisily at his coffee. He smirked. “That doesn’t sound so bad. Well, expect for the presents. I expect something nice.” Frank’s lip curled into a soft sneer, a headache was building behind his eyes just at the thought of having to travel back into the city for more than a few hours at most.

You,” he pointed to emphasize and accuse the man sitting innocently at the table. “Have quite obviously never met Patrick.”
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