Gerard said, "I don't have a fucking clue what you're talking about."
"You think I wanna fuck with Mikey, which, okay, I would probably think too if I were you, but I haven't yet figured out a good way of proving myself, so test me."
Gerard narrowed his eyes at Frank and considered him for several moments. Then he said, "His birthday is next week."
"Mikey's?" Frank asked, and then waved his hand, "Don't answer, stupid question. When?"
"How old will he be?"
Gerard hesitated, then said softly, "Twenty-two."
Frank nodded and didn't mention being younger than Mikey. "Okay, okay. What's his favorite treat?"
"You want me to make this easy?" Gerard looked unamused.
Frank smiled anyway. "It was worth a try."
Frank thought up a few terribly cunning and clever plans but in the end he hung his head down over his bunk one night, peering at Mikey in the dark and said, "You know what I really miss? I really miss apple tarts. You?"
Mikey's answer was immediate and wistful: "Lemon bars."
"Frank, I don't-- Going back there is--"
"I know," Frank said, "I know." He did, too, and if he could have thought of anywhere better to do this than back in the kitchens, he would have. But the kitchens were the Italian's turf and nobody would bother Frank there. "I know, Mikey, but I have something to show you."
Mikey tucked his hands in his armpits. "You can't bring it out here?"
"Mikey," Frank said softly.
Mikey wavered for a few minutes and then said, "Go, I'll follow."
Frank lead them into the back, where the utensils were kept. Bob and Gerard were already waiting back there. Mikey said, "Um, hi?"
Frank pulled the tray of lemon bars from behind Bob and Gerard and said, "Happy birthday!"
Mikey blinked once, then again. Gerard said, "Happy birthday, Mikey." Bob nodded a little.
Frank said, "You wouldn't believe the kind of shit I had to trade for real lemons. Seriously, you would have thought I wanted porn. Or a real live prostitute."
Mikey asked, "Real lemons?"
Frank shrugged. "Seemed like cheating, going from a box." He forked out one of the slices he'd gotten ready for Mikey and handed it to him. "I couldn't get candles, and you have that thing about fire anyway, so--"
Mikey said, "'S'okay," while chewing. "Oh," he said.
"Oh good, oh bad?" Frank asked.
"Oh good," Gerard said quietly, and helped himself and Bob to lemon bars. Frank took a small piece for himself, but mostly he just wanted to watch Mikey eat. Mikey always ate with caution and appreciation for his food, but there was often very little to actually celebrate in the prison's meals, so it was new, watching Mikey close his eyes so that there was nothing but the taste, watching him take his time, savor.
Some of the powdered sugar collected at the corner of Mikey's mouth and Frank whispered, "You've got--" before leaning in, licking the spot clean.
Mikey's eyes flew open. "Are you fucking insane?"
But the only people there were Gerard and Bob, and Gerard was looking at Frank like he might be slightly more worthwhile than the dirt caked in Gerard's soles. His eyes were a little wide, softer than Frank was used to seeing them, hurt, maybe, Frank thought, or jealous, only that seemed odd. But then Bob put his hand to Gerard's back and used his eyes to growl at Frank and oh, Frank realized, setting a bad example. Gerard settled a little at the touch, though, so Frank thought it would be all right. Frank asked, "Have another?"
Mikey's gaze slipped to the pan. "Real fucking lemons." He shook his head.
Gerard took one from the pan and handed it to Mikey. "Yup, eat up, that shit goes bad."
Frank was listening to Mikey's breathing. It hadn't evened out yet, there was still time. Just because Frank had seemingly passed Gerard's test didn't mean he could stop trying, not when he clearly hadn't passed Mikey's test, the one Frank was pretty sure Mikey didn't even know he kept throwing out. Frank had seen it though, seen it again in his eyes when they'd flown open, the taste of sugar and Mikey still on Frank's tongue. Frank had seen the fear, like Frank might have taken the chance of doing that where it could be seen, where Mikey could be hurt by it. Like Frank might be careless with Mikey. Frank took a deep breath and slipped from his bunk down into Mikey's. Mikey asked, "Wanna blowjob?" He sounded tired, but not all that put upon.
Frank pressed his lips to Mikey's ear and made himself ask, "Wanna fuck me?"
Mikey stopped breathing. Frank felt it, was about to say, "Breathe," when Mikey managed enough air to ask, "What?"
Now that he had asked though, now that the idea was out there, the rest seemed easier. "I got condoms and lube."
"Was that as hard as the lemons?"
Frank laughed into Mikey's shoulder. "Not nearly."
Mikey laughed a little, too. He said, "No, no--"
"I don't want to hurt you. I'm not-- I don't want that."
"No, Mikey I looked into it. Um, researched, the internet--"
"Jesus, you are insane."
"I cleared the history, and paid attention to my surroundings, relax."
"Oh, relax, sure."
"Mikey," Frank said, "you'll make it good for me."
"I don't know, I--"
"You will, I want it. I want it."
Mikey's breaths had quickened. "Okay. I'll try. But if it starts to hurt--"
"Yeah," Frank said, "yeah, I promise." He crept out of the bunk to unearth the condoms and lube from their hiding place. When he got back, Mikey had divested himself of his boxers, was wholly naked. Frank followed suit. This wasn't new, this being-naked together thing, and even if it had been, it wasn't like Frank hadn't had girlfriends before prison, girls who were considerably softer, with smoother skin. There was something about the package that was Mikey, though, that made Frank have to concentrate on not coming before their cocks even touched. Once that had happened--or Mikey got his mouth on Frank--all bets were off.
But Frank held on this evening at the first touch of his cock to Mikey's, because it was Mikey's birthday and he had already announced his bigger and better plans. He kissed Mikey a little because even though Mikey never asked for anything, Frank had caught on to the fact that Mikey liked kissing. Frank wondered if that was the one part they'd never forced on him. He hoped there was something. "Okay," Frank whispered, "I'm going to-- They say it's best, the first time, face down with a pillow under my hips."
Mikey's fingers shook where they were resting against Frank's chest. Frank pressed a hand over them briefly and then asked, "Um, maybe I should-- Would my pillow be better?"
Mikey snorted quietly at that and just grabbed his pillow. "Shut up."
"No, you're the one who knows what he's doing."
Frank felt that was something of an overstatement, but he didn't want to shake Mikey's confidence. He settled onto the pillow and said, "Okay, um, one finger first, with lube."
He didn't hear the cap to the lube pop open and after a minute understood, when Mikey soothed a hand over his back, once, then twice, then a third time. Frank sort of wished he'd start, because the unknown was a little bit scary, but this was something he didn't plan on rushing Mikey into. After a bit Mikey did as told. Frank bit his lip against a gasp of surprise. The lube was fucking cold.
"Good, I'm good. More, Mikey." The feeling of Mikey's finger sliding in was just sort of odd. But Frank knew that it was supposed to get better. "Bend your finger a little. Okay, okay, twist a bit." It took a couple of minutes, but Mikey found the right spot and Frank very nearly choked on his own tongue. "Like that, oh like that."
Mikey twisted again and Frank made himself not ask for more, say instead, "'Nother finger, Mikey."
Mikey repeated the exercise with two fingers, and then, when Frank told him, three. Three was a little harder, burned a little more, but there was still the sensation of Mikey being in him, Mikey causing him to buzz straight through with pleasure. It outweighed everything else. Frank tried to find the words to tell Mikey, oh, right, "Put the condom on."
Frank listened to the sound of foil and paper tearing. It really shouldn't have been as sexy as it was. Mikey said, "Okay, um--"
"Just take it slow, Mikey. It'll be good." For the first time since offering, Frank was really pretty sure that was true.
At first it wasn't. At first it stretched unpleasantly and stung and Frank had to hold to the sheets and bite his lip not to ask Mikey to stop. He tried not to think what it must have been like for Mikey, without the stretching, the care. If he thought about that, he'd lose his will to do this altogether. Mikey's cock dragged across Frank's prostate and Frank's mind went wholly blank, like a sheet of typing paper fresh from the ream or a roll of film exposed to the sun. Mikey asked, "Frank?" his whisper sharp and shaky all at once.
Frank tried to remember words, how they fit together, how they reassured another person--Mikey--but all he could do was scrabble to get his hands behind him, to hold Mikey to him. Then, after a few minutes, "Don't-- Don't stop."
Mikey reached out and touched Frank's hair. "Won't, promise."
The rhythm Mikey found was gentle and slow, a little too slow, really, but Frank didn't mind, Mikey took things slowly, especially when he was unsure of them, or wanted to really feel them, and Frank suspected both rules applied to this situation. Frank said, "Mikey, would you, um--"
Mikey's lips moved against the skin right next to Frank's ear, "Tell me what you want, tell me."
"Just-- just touch me, please." Frank angled both of them up a little so that Mikey could have access.
Mikey's hand was long and warm and as careful as everything else about Mikey, and Frank was able to hold on only by sheer dint of will. As soon as Mikey pressed his mouth into the skin of Frank's shoulder, screamed soundlessly into his skin, his bones, tightened his fingers without any evident ability to stop himself, as soon as he was given unspoken permission, Frank came, biting almost straight through his tongue with the effort of keeping silent. When he could talk again and know that it wouldn't come out as some sort of ridiculous squawk, Frank murmured, "Happy birthday, Mikey."
Mikey said, "Utterly fucking insane," but it sounded like he might be starting to see patterns in that insanity--to trust it.