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Gerard was trying his hardest to keep it together. He didn't have Mikey to fall apart to, which was really the whole problem, what with Mikey having been homeless and almost dying and that sort of thing. And Gerard never once having noticed that maybe Mikey was lying to him, trying to keep him happy. Gerard never once having asked the right questions, the questions that might have let him have some insight into what was actually going on with his baby brother.

If there were an Olympic category for Worst Older Brother, Gerard was sure he would have had gold at least four years running now. He thought he could have been a dark horse for a couple of the earlier years, as well.

Sometimes it was hard, sitting next to Bob, being in the cell with him and wanting to say, "Tell me I'm good, tell me I help, tell me I don't hurt," or even just, "Hold me, hold me so I know I can't leave. Hold me so it's not so bad, being here."

He didn't, of course, because Bob was good, Bob was great, but Gerard sensed that mostly Bob was in prison, and Gerard, with his re-softening hips and big eyes was the closest thing to a woman Bob had been able to find. It was just that Bob, unlike the majority of the fuckwads in this place, liked his partners willing. Gerard had to work extra hard to remember that when Bob would press a hand to Gerard's lower back while Gerard was brushing his teeth, hidden from the rest of the populace by the bed, let it rest there for a few moments. Or on the nights when there was dessert and Bob would give Gerard his, because, "You have a sweet tooth."

In general, Bob was his own worst enemy, always making it very hard for Gerard to remember these things, which wasn't fair of him, not at all. It was hardest, absolute murder to remember on the nights when Gerard had nightmares about Mikey, about the first time, when they had already had their fun with Gerard and threatened to have more if Mikey wasn't a "good girl", Mikey didn't "suck sweet like a fucking lollipop." When they decided to fuck Mikey while he was still working to keep his teeth sheathed, working to breathe, he'd accidentally unleashed his teeth, not even much, just enough for a scrape. They'd punched Gerard in the stomach, twice. Mikey had been apologizing frantically around the cock in his mouth. Gerard kept trying to tell Mikey it was all right, it was all right just let it happen. It would have been easier than watching them do that to Mikey. Easier than watching him try, try so hard, scared and hurting and so, so sure he was going to fuck things up.

There were new nightmares, too. Nightmares where he could hear Mikey calling to him in between coughs, his voice weak and breathless, desperate. It was snowing, a real blizzard, and Gerard couldn't reach him through the snow. Sooner or later, Mikey always stopped calling. Gerard reflected that for someone who was considered pretty creative in his waking hours, his dreams were pretty mundane. He hated them.

It was hardest on those nights because Bob would pull him carefully down, settle him in the lower bunk, wrap him in Bob and the blanket so that he couldn't possibly be cold. Bob would curl his hands over Gerard's wrists and rub at his pulse points until the beating of his heart calmed, would stay like that until Gerard fell asleep. In the mornings, Gerard always gave Bob a blowjob, both to make it look good for Bob, and by way of thanks. He wasn't sure how else to say it.

Bob was never letting him get away with it, generally found a way to repay the favor pretty thoroughly. Gerard was left to wonder if that's what the whole shower thing was about. He didn't know how else to read it, how else to understand it. Taking it at face value seemed kind of dangerous.


The shower thing happened on a morning after a particularly bad nightmare, one where the events of their first week inside were replayed but got completely out of hand--even more so than they actually had. Gerard had woken fully expecting to be covered in Mikey's blood. It had taken Bob the better part of an hour to get him to calm down, longer to get him back to sleep. Gerard had tried sucking him off the next morning, still feeling somewhat shaky and disconnected and wanting nothing more than to hear Mikey's voice, just know he was okay. Bob pulled away and said, "Shower."

Gerard wasn't a huge fan of showering in prison, the room itself housed too many memories, but if that was what Bob wanted, that was what they were going to do. When they got there, there were a couple of the Italians already there, a few of the Homeboys. One of the Italians snickered when Gerard hung his towel up. Gerard did his best not to flinch. He should have been used to it by now, but he had never quite managed to get all the way there.

He didn't miss the glare Bob sent the guy, or the way he went back to minding his own business, real fast. Gerard restrained himself from smiling nastily, but only just. Bob herded him into the shower and turned the water on hot and some of the worst of the nightmare washed away in those first few seconds of heat. Bob pushed Gerard to the wall, not so that he hit it hard, but so that he certainly wasn't going anywhere. Gerard did his best not to struggle. Bob had never hurt him, never, never, but it had been easier to do this, easier to just go with the possible degradation, the certain pain, when he hadn't so much known what was happening, when it was all just a blur.

Bob asked, softly, "You listening?" It was a real question.

Gerard said, "Yes," because he did listen to Bob. He wasn't sure why Bob had to ask.

"They can watch. They can watch and want, but they can't have. You're mine," he said, and punctuated the point by driving into Gerard, quick and smooth. Gerard would have thought it would hurt, even after everything, but Bob had lubed himself with something, maybe lotion, Gerard had no idea, and really it just felt better, safer, being between the wall and Bob. He could feel the others watching, laughing a little, but it wasn't sure laughter, it was the kind of laughter that covers something else, jealousy or anger or simply the awareness that you're being made to understand how inferior you are. Gerard thought, yes, yours and knew Bob didn't mean it, not like that. Being someone's property somehow wasn't the same as belonging to someone.

It was hard and fast and it should have hurt--probably looked like it did, with Gerard making tiny, broken noises that he couldn't help, not at all. When he was getting close, Bob whispered, "Don't come," and it was all Gerard could do not to whimper, not to beg. He might have, if they'd been alone. Instead, he held himself back. Bob finished, and Gerard could feel the others leaving, show over. Bob said, "Hold it for me."

Gerard held it until that night, when Bob gave him the best blowjob of his life, including the first one Bob had ever bestowed and the one he lost his virginity over. For the first time that day, all day, he had something to think about other than his worry for Mikey, and how fucking much he missed his brother.


In the morning after the night where the dreams hit so hard Gerard actually vomited, Gerard woke up exhausted and still a little scared despite Bob's warmth. He tried slipping down to perform a little good morning fellatio but Bob held him right where he was. He said, "Gee, you were sick."

"Kinda grossed you out, huh?" Gerard asked, feeling worn straight through to his cells, to the particles that made them up.

Bob frowned, shook his head. "Just-- Why would you--"

Bob was clearly at a loss for words, which was a little funny, because Gerard was pretty certain Bob knew all the terms he knew for "blowjob," and--if you figured Russian into the picture--quite a few Gerard had never heard of. Russian, as it turned out, had the potential to be a brilliantly filthy language. Gerard considered all the things he could say, about trying to be appreciative, that sort of thing, but in the end there really was only one answer, only one thing between them that probably really mattered. "Yours."

Gerard tried to say it without any inflection, without giving away any of the longing behind the statement. He wasn't so stupid that just because he had fallen in love with the first person in this place to treat him gently he expected said person to love him back. It was just a fact. Gerard was Bob's. Bob had said so himself, on numerous occasions.

Bob's frown didn't soften as much as Gerard thought it should have. He said, "Yes. Mine," and coaxed Gerard back to sleep for the few minutes they had left.


"Bob said to tell you he's fine and he'll see you in your cell," Frank said, sitting down at the table where Gerard was experimenting with drawing cat people. So far, it wasn't going as well as he might have hoped, but Gerard was an optimist, at least in this arena. He could see it in his head and it was pretty cool. Mikey'd love it. Gerard planned to have a whole collection of drawings for Mikey by the time he came back. He already had a really good one of Frank playing basketball and a jaguar stalking through their grandmother's house. Those were both awesome.

"Where is he?" Gerard asked.

"Yeah, that I'm not allowed to tell you."

Gerard looked up. "Um. What?"

Frank shrugged. "It's a secret. Bob's a very secretive guy."

Frank didn't know the half of it, Gerard was sure. "Um, okay."

"He's fine, Gee. Just doin' his own thing."

Gerard shrugged, and paid attention to the paper, rather than the way he wished he could be included in Bob's things.


Bob showed up that night with linens wrapped around his neck. Gerard asked, "Um, are you-- Did you get hurt?"

Bob shook his head, slightly. "You can look, if you want."

Gerard was careful, oh so careful, in his unwrapping. When he was done he blinked at what he'd revealed: the word Jaguar, written in black script across the front of Bob's neck. Gerard stared. The font was beautiful, surprisingly soft compared to Bob's other work, all his perfect ink. Gerard said, "Ow."

Bob smiled a little. "Not too bad."

"Is this-- I mean, I know you like the cars--"

Bob shook his head.

"Is it-- I don't even realize what my cat thing is about, you know?"

"Gee," Bob said softly.

"Bob," Gerard answered him.

"It's about you. You."

Gerard looked at the tattoo again, and then a time after that, and pretty soon he was just staring. Finally he said, "I don't understand."

Bob shifted, for the first time since Gerard had met him looking uncomfortable in his skin. After a long while he started, "It's like-- Um, it's like how you draw. How you understand that better. I understand cars."

Gerard had to think about it, but after a second, he nodded. Bob said, "I think in cars."

Gerard nodded again. "But the tatt--"

Bob pressed a hand to Gerard's chest. "Metaphor."

Gerard's breathing picked up, his chest swelling into the press of Bob's palm. "Metaphor. For me? I'm-- Jags are sleek. Expensive."

Bob smiled a little. "Beautiful. Quirky."

Gerard touched his fingers to slightly below where the skin was reddened, not even begun in the healing process. Bob said. "Yours."

"Bob," Gerard whispered.

"If you want me," Bob whispered back.

"Mine," Gerard told him, and didn't bother hiding a fucking thread of what he wanted from his tone.

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile