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Mondays were Candy Bar Days. That is, every Monday, Frank would bring Mikey a candy bar. It was a different candy bar each time: Butterfinger, Snickers, Skor, Take Five, Almond Joy, and so on. The first few weeks Mikey hoarded them, keeping them just in case. He couldn't have said what the "in case" was, exactly. In case someone took Frank out, or Frank just tired of his seeming intent to spoil Mikey, or, well, honestly, there were a lot of "in cases." It was exhausting to think about, so Mikey just didn't, for the most part. He hid the candy bars, and went on with things.

After a month or so, he would eat one every once in a while. He ate them slowly, could drag one bar out for an entire week, if he so desired. It didn't really make much of a dent in his stores and Mikey liked taking it slow, knowing that one piece a day was waiting for him. He especially liked eating the piece right before lights out, right before Frank would find him in the dark, kiss him.

The first time he'd just taken a bite, let the chocolate and caramel and nougat melt over his tongue, down his throat, Frank laughed softly in the dark. "Like a Hershey's Kiss, Mikeyway."


Every Sunday afternoon, Frank's mom visited. He wasn't secretive about it, although he didn't much talk about it, either. She tended to bring him things like books and sometimes shirts with the names of bands he liked. He would share the books with Mikey, just leave them on Mikey's bunk; the shirts too, pulling them over Mikey's head in the morning, saying, "She still thinks I'm gonna grow."

As far as Mikey knew, Frank's mom was his only visitor. Not that that was a small thing, Mikey would have loved to have the kind of mother who would visit him in this place, a sister, a friend, anyone. But she was his only visitor and she came Sunday afternoons, after church, like clockwork. So the Saturday that one of the hacks came to get Frank, said, "Iero, you have a visitor," Mikey could feel the panic, the uncertainty course through Frank. It was weird that he could, because he could tell that none of it showed on Frank's features, in his stance. Mikey just. . .knew.

He ignored his discomfort at this evidence of familiarity and went to go see if Gerard was up for a game of checkers, war, whatever. A game.


Frank was quiet in the pod that night, even before lights out, when he would usually try and find things to say to Mikey that were worth a laugh, or at least a smile. Mikey didn’t know how to ask if things were okay, wasn't sure he was allowed. It was weird that he even cared, he hadn't, really, in so long. Not about anything that wasn't Gerard.

When he couldn’t handle the silence any longer, he unearthed his saved candy bars, one by one and crawled up quietly onto Frank's bunk. He tapped softly at Frank's shoulder, whispered, "Um, I don't know what you like," and laid out the assortment.

Frank looked at the offering and asked, after a long moment, "Do you not like candy?"

Mikey was confused for a moment and then thought about how this must look. "No, I like-- It's habit."

Frank was silent for a long second. When he spoke all he asked was, "Which is your favorite?"

Mikey looked at what was available and plucked out a Mr. Goodbar. Frank said, "Like things simple?"

Mikey said, "Maybe," thinking that Frank wasn't simple at all.

Frank opened and split the candy bar. "Halfsies." He sounded tired. Mikey thought about getting down, letting him sleep, but Frank was handing him his half of the bar, so he took it and stayed.

Frank said, "Thanks."

Mikey said, "Um, you're welcome."


Frank had a visitor on Sunday, too. He returned from that visit with a copy of "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio," which was exactly the sort of thing Frank's mom was always bringing him. Frank asked, "You want to read it first?" and Mikey said, "No, that's okay, it's yours."


Frank left the book on Mikey's bunk four nights later--he was a fast reader. Mikey opened it to the front page and found a note. The note said, "It was the daughter of the man I killed."

For a second, Mikey didn't understand, thought maybe the note wasn't for him. Then he remembered the surprise Saturday visit, Frank's silence, his tenseness in the wake of the visit. Mikey turned the note over and wrote, "I don't know which one you like," and left three different kinds of candy bars--along with the note--under Frank's pillow.

He woke up in the morning clutching a new piece of paper. This one said, "100 Grand."


Mikey climbed into Frank's bunk that evening and Frank whispered, "What'd you bring me now, Mikeyway?"

Mikey kissed him. "I, uh--"

Frank kissed him back. "That's a nice present."

It was nothing Frank hadn’t had before. And Mikey wasn't stupid. He'd watched as power wars had erupted in the ward, one right after another, neatly eliminating the worst of the threats to his person, as Frank slyly made friends with those who came into power. It was more subtle than burning someone to death, but Mikey was sort of glad for that. Subtle kept a person safe, or as safe as anyone was in this shithole. But Frank just kept doing what he would to keep Mikey from harm's way, just kept bringing him candy, and not asking for anything other than kisses. It was sort of a lame present, just offering them up without being asked. Mikey said, "I could--"

"She didn't say awful things, if that's what you're thinking. She-- She thanked me for probably saving her and her mom's life. It was fine."

Mikey said, "Okay," because there didn’t seem to be much else to say. Frank's definition of "fine" was clearly the same as Mikey and Gerard's.

"I-- I've got the best mom in the world."

Mikey suspected this was actually the truth. He didn't know anyone in this place whose mom was a regular visitor.

"But I still wanted a dad growing up."

Yeah, Mikey knew that feeling.

"I took that from her. And I know, I know he wasn't-- She's probably right, I probably did save her life, maybe her mom's, I know. But I also smashed his head into the floor until he stopped moving right in front of her. It's not-- That's not-- I fucking deserve to be in this place."

Mikey didn't say anything, because Frank had barricaded a man in a room and burnt him to death for Mikey's sake, and Mikey was pretty sure that was a sign that he didn't belong in this place, wasn't at all meant to be here. Instead Mikey just made a noise that wasn't precisely agreement and nudged Frank further against the wall. Frank went easily and Mikey slipped his boxers down over his hips.

Frank said, "Mikey--"

Mikey said, "I want to," and for the first time ever in his life, certainly the first time since the Latinos had turned him prag that first week inside, had threatened Gerard if they so much as sensed his teeth, Mikey really did. Until now he'd always imagined himself to be straight, but Frank made him feel pretty fucking bent without causing stress fractures.

Frank said, "I'm fine, Mikey, I'm--"

Mikey said, "You have to be quiet for this," and swallowed his cock with all the skill he'd learned at hands considerably less patient. Frank gasped, whispered, "Mikey, oh, Mikeyway."

Mikey touched at Frank's hip and Frank squeezed Mikey's hand in his. Mikey took his time, a little bit, but Frank probably hadn't done this in a while, at least not since being on the inside, and it had been over six months at this point. Frank said, "Mikey, I'm going--"

Mikey just sucked a little harder, squeezed Frank's hand a little tighter, made him give up, give up to Mikey. When he'd pulled the last of Frank's pleasure from him, he took his hand back, put Frank back in his boxers, kissed at the skin right above the elastic waist and said, "Night," starting to get down to his bunk.

Frank wrapped a hand around his wrist. "Wait, wait, Mikey."

Mikey waited. Frank said, "I want-- I want to try that, but, um. On the outside, I was--"

"Straight?" Mikey asked.

"Well, obviously not, but I sort of thought I was."

"Yeah, me too," Mikey admitted. Really, he'd sort of thought that until about ten minutes ago, when he'd realized that it wasn't just because Frank was nice to him that he wanted to drag his tongue over the underside of Frank's cock. Frank was sort of. . .beautiful. Not like any of Mikey's girlfriends had been, not in that soft and yet striking way, but beautiful all the same.

"Got any pointers?"

"Try to avoid teeth," Mikey said.

"Yeah, I got that one from experience on the wrong side of the teeth," Frank said. Mikey winced. He'd had girlfriends who were bad at that sort of thing, too, but for the most part, he'd avoided actual pain during blowjobs.

"I'm maybe not--" the person to ask about this. All of Mikey's pointers had come with threats attached, with hands pulling at his hair, with the experience of choking and gagging and praying that there weren't tears in his eyes. "Just do what feels okay."

Frank kissed at Mikey's shoulder, and then peppered small kisses down his chest. Mikey helped Frank push down Mikey's boxers. He was ready, had been since his lips had closed over Frank, since Frank's breath became short and desperate. Frank said, "Okay, um, you should tell me if I fuck up."

At the touch of Frank's lips to the crown of Mikey's dick--it was just a kiss, just a fucking kiss--Mikey had to stuff as much of his hand as he could manage in his mouth, just to insure he wouldn't make a sound. Frank licked a bit. Mikey imagined he was trying to get used to the taste, the texture. Mikey was pretty sure he would have done the same thing, given the chance. Maybe he would next time. That thought itself was pretty arousing, and the fact that Frank chose that moment to slip his whole mouth over the head of Mikey's cock meant that Mikey had to concentrate pretty hard on not coming then and there. It had been nearly three years since he'd had a mouth on his cock, over two since he'd so much as touched it, so much as wanted to touch it.

Frank couldn't take very much of him, and his grip at the base of Mikey's dick was a little more hesitant than Mikey would have preferred and Mikey really didn't give a fuck, held on as long as he could anyway. It wasn't very long. He said, "Frank, Frank, pull off," but Frank just glared up at him, all determination.

Frank managed some of it, most of it spilling over his lips, and really, that shouldn't have been the hottest thing Mikey had ever seen, but it made him want to get hard again for the second time in, oh, ten minutes, after two years of never wanting to orgasm, ever. Mikey pulled him up the bunk and licked him, kissed him clean. Frank said, "Yeah, sorry 'bout that."

Mikey said, "Shut up," and Frank grinned. Mikey said, "I have to go now."

Frank said, "You can't--"

"Not unless you know a way to wake up before they wake us up."

Frank grumbled. Mikey laughed a little and moved to sit up, hop down. Frank said, "Just-- Another minute, okay? Just one."

Mikey had minutes aplenty. He couldn't really think of anything better to do with them than give them to Frank.

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile