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The fucker is still there, in the doorway, staring straight at him, eyes unwavering. His name is Frank, Gerard knows, and he hasn’t left, not ever, since two weeks ago, when he let himself in while Gerard was doing the shopping. Just walked in—Gerard doesn’t like keys, so he keeps the door unlocked, which pisses Mikey off something awful. He’s always going on about thieves, but there’s nothing here anyone would want to steal, and everyone just avoids their house like the plague—sat down and waited, until Gerard had gotten home. Gerard’s been Followed before, he doesn’t mind it, but Frank is different. He follows Gerard into other rooms. He stands in hallways, always gone when Gerard gets out of the shower, when he’s dressing, but right on his feet when he emerges again, silent. Gerard hasn’t even heard his voice; Frank just doesn’t speak. But he stares.

He’s staring at Gerard’s feet now, then switches to his own, then to Gerard’s face. He nods, his own silent ‘good morning.’

“Good morning to you too, cocksucker,” Gerard says, and takes another gulp of whiskey, shoves pass him to Mikey’s room.

Mikey’s the only one who has a job, only one who gives a damn about working. Gerard doesn’t care much for it—bills, interest, who gives a fuck? You pay bills and they come back again, it’s useless—but Mikey is the practical one, Mikey is the one with the banking job and the fancy suits and the girlfriend who visits every Friday and Saturday. Gerard doesn’t care, he loves Mikey, but it’ll be hell freezing over before Gerard feels threatened by him.

Mikey doesn’t respond when Gerard comes barging into his room. Two ties hang limply in each hand, and Gerard bounces hard on Mikey’s bed, already anticipating his question, “The blue one.”

“Seriously?” Mikey tosses the red on onto the bed. Gerard picks at it. “Yeah, the red one makes you look like a pimp.”

Mikey gives him a look, but decides against response and shakes his head, slides the tie in tight. “How do I look?”

Gerard shrugs, takes the largest gulp of all. Mikey edges and blurs in his vision and the whiskey sticks, attacks his throat, makes him cough and hack and sigh. Mikey doesn’t even move to help him, disappears into his closet for his shoes. When he comes back out, his jacket is in hand, glasses in place, neat and perfect and Gerard swallows the whiskey in his mouth before the resentment can leak from between his lips.

Frank is in the doorway. He nods at Mikey.

Mikey slides his gaze from him to Gerard and back again. Even now, Gerard knows Mikey fights with himself about leaving Gerard alone with him; he understands Following, understands why Gerard is being Followed, but that doesn’t mean he likes Frank, or understands him. Gerard can handle himself, isn’t afraid of Frank, so he tugs on one of Mikey’s arms and shakes his head.

“Have a good day, sweetie.

*

Gerard bakes a lot when Mikey’s gone.

It’s his own little secret, something he learned on his own almost a year ago when Mikey started his job. It’s nothing much, just cakes and pies, and the occasional homemade donut when he wants to treat himself. He never gets drunk while doing it, though, because the one time he did—when Alicia came to stay actually, and Gerard could hear, could hear them doing things in Mikey’s room and his heart swelled with so much rage that he could think was gin and whiskey and beer and peach schnapps that he’d forgotten he had a cherry pie in the oven and it burnt over, tasted disgusting, crusted—he had never really forgave himself for the smell that lingered for weeks.

He saunters past Frank, swings his hips, hums a song he doesn’t remember. Everything is from scratch, so he loads the counter with the usual suspects: baking power, flour, sugar, eggs. He feels like cookies, he scrabbles for the remaining chocolate chips in the back of the pantry, semi-sweet.

(“What’s the difference?” Mikey had asked him when he’d brought home the wrong kind and Gerard had made a fuss. “Semi-sweet, sweet, you’re just going to eat them.”

“It’s the principal of the matter,” Gerard had replied. It really wasn’t, sweet chocolate chips just always tasted off to him, and he didn’t need to sound any weirder that he did at the moment, so he took them back before Mikey could ask further questions.)

With a swish of his hand he sets the oven to three-fifty, pulls out a large bowl and sets it on the counter.

Frank is two steps into the kitchen, eyes never wavering from Gerard, serious and perfect. There’s a different sort of intensity this time, one that stops Gerard in his tracks, “What?”

Like any other time, like all of the rare moments when Gerard cares enough to talk to him, there’s a hint of excitement in his voice, like this will be the moment, this time Frank will say something so spectacular, so significant that it’ll change every notion, every opinion Gerard has of him and they’ll become such great friends or something. It’s a far reach, and Gerard feels silly every single time, because every single time Frank shakes his head, lips pursed in some silent joke—probably at Gerard’s expense, probably not – and it’ll become silent again, like the interaction never happened.

(I'm sorry, guys, I don't mean to be a tease. But. This just might be the peak of my bandom writings. I am excited.)

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