"Anything," Frank tells him. It's not the first time his earnestness has gotten him into trouble.
On the surface, it's a big request, but not an insurmountable one. Big enough that Frank asks, "Why not Gee?" and manageable enough that he accepts Mikey's answer, "Because we've taken turns playing keeper rather than brother for long enough."
He doesn't have to ask why Bob and Ray get a pass. It's bad enough, he knows, that Mikey has to look him in the eye and say, "In the hospital, everything's laid out, you do as you're told,"--bad enough Mikey has to say that to someone who can't personally vouch for it--without him having to say it to two guys who have never even peered over the edge of the abyss. Frank has spent days looking into said abyss. He's just always known when to pull back. The difference between Mikey and him isn't so very wide.
When Mikey says, "I just-- I need that, right now. Need to be told. Need to just obey."
"Give me a command."
"Hop on one foot," Frank says. It's lame, but he's under pressure, and it's the first thing that comes to him. Mikey hops. Frank says, "Stop, stop," but Mikey has stopped before he even gets to the repetition. Frank blinks. Mikey stands before him, shoulders squared, eyes terrified.
Frank nods once. "C'mon, in that case, you're gonna eat some breakfast."
Mikey makes a face, but when Frank puts a bowl of cereal in front of him, he eats it up and then drinks the leftover milk right down.
It takes less than two days for Gerard to catch on. He ups his chain-smoking habits by about a pack every couple of days which unsettles Mikey and Frank can't have that, so he goes and takes a smoke break with Gerard, says, "You should maybe freak out, or something."
Gerard holds up the packet of cigarettes illustratively. Frank nods and says, "Verbally. Or, I mean, I guess we could fight. Might suck later on, and Ray and Bob'd probably be pretty pissed, but--"
"I'm not pissed," Gerard tells him in between drags.
Gerard glances at Frank. "Should I be?"
Frank considers. It sort of sucks that Mikey feels like he needs Frank to tell him when to take a nap, what to eat, that he should call his friends, but at the moment it's not harming anyone. Stressing Frank out, maybe, but not actively harming him. And Mikey's fine, Mikey's calm and cared for and even happy from time to time. Frank shakes his head.
"Didn't think so."
"He came to you, Frankie," Gerard says, the nickname slipping off his tongue like an acknowledgment of their ties and a condemnation of those all at once.
"It sounds lame, but he didn't want to burden you."
"Sometimes he is, for you. Not one you don't want, but just because you love a pet spider doesn't make it any less venomous."
"Bad metaphor, but you understood it, so let's just deal with the inherent lesson, not the imagery."
After a long moment, Gerard nods. He asks, "And it's okay? For you? It's okay?"
Frank ignores all the ways in which it's anything but okay and says, "Yeah, yeah. We're good."
Gerard nods again, and lights up another cigarette.
Sure, there are ways Frank takes advantage of the situation. He makes Mikey shower after every show, instead of the every two or so that Frank knows is his preference. He tells Mikey to buy himself a treat when they stop at gas stations and then mandates that he actually eat the candy or drink the gas station "cappuccino". When Mikey spends a long while fingering a merch t-shirt for another band, Frank says, "Get it if you want it, Mikey." Things like that. Frank can't say he feels that guilty.
He doesn't take advantage in the ways that matter. He doesn't say, "Hey, go grab me a water, wouldja?" or at least, he doesn't after the first time Mikey gets up from where he was sitting, reading about a new line of basses, and Frank realizes what he's done. Even that time, he shares the bottle with Mikey. He can tell Mikey's laughing at him, but that's okay, Mikey can laugh. Mikey's laughter is a sign Frank's doing all right by him.
Frank doesn't take advantage in the ways that he thinks he could, the ways that wake him up at night and drive him to the shower, to turn the water on cold and painful as possible. It's not his fault Mikey's lines are softening ever so slightly with the extra pounds he's needed for years, that the shadows around Mikey's eyes are more of a faint dark blush. Well, except for how a lot of that is his fault, but Mikey asked. He can't be blamed for taking care of Mikey. Everything and anything else, maybe, but not that.
Repeated cold showers and a noted lack of sleep start to take their toll, though, and Frank can feel the oncoming of a chill, a cold, something more insiduous if he's not careful. He's not sure what to do. Taking care of himself and Mikey are, at times, mutually exclusive actions, such as when Frank is passed out from a fever and pure misery. He means to talk to Mikey, suss out if it's okay to let one of the others sub, just temporarily, until Frank can get himself back on his feet.
The sickness comes on faster than he sees it heading for him, though, and Mikey is left to fend for himself until Frank can at least regain his grip on consciousness.
Frank wakes up every few hours, his mind driving him to check on Mikey even if his body is adamantly opposed. The third time, when he tells Mikey to get some sleep, Mikey hesitates. The reaction throws Frank. Mikey has never, ever hesitated up until now. Frank's head hurts and his chest feels like someone has it clenched in his very, very tiny fist, but he says, "Mikey?"
Mikey bites the inside of his cheek. Frank's eyes are burning with the need to shut, but he forces himself to keep them open, to watch, to take care. Mikey asks, "Can I stay with you? I'll sleep, promise."
Frank needs sleep, not the long lines and hard planes of Mikey, not the temptation to do as he should not. He doesn't say no. He says, "I don't want to get you sick."
Mikey, though, Mikey is clever, he has figured out exactly what an order is and what it is not. He smiles, shy and relieved. "'Kay."
When Frank gets back from the bathroom, Mikey is in his bunk, asleep and somehow, Mikey has made it so that there is still plenty of room. He doesn't think he'll be able to, but Frank falls asleep to the body heat at his back, the soft almost-snores that Mikey makes when he's content in his sleep.
Okay, there is the time when Frank accidentally says, "You need a haircut, Mikeyway," laughing and pushing at him as they walk back to the bus. Mikey'd had to blow his hair out of his eyes the whole show.
When Mikey shows up to the venue all neatly trimmed up the next day, Frank locks himself in the nearest bathroom for thirty minutes and quietly, energetically freaks the hell out.
Mikey brings him coffee a couple of days later and Frank stares at it for a bit, confused. He knows he didn't ask for it. Mikey takes a sip of his own coffee and says, "I had this great speech planned about how I didn't choose you for your moral and ethical sensibilities, but then I realized that was kinda bullshit, y'know?"
"Uh." No. Frank doesn't.
"I just mean, if you weren't you, with like, your code, and stuff, then I wouldn't have been able to trust you to do this, so I can't say that it had nothing to do with that."
"Okay," Frank says slowly.
"But I guess-- I guess I thought that if I told you you could have me do anything that you'd understand I wouldn't just-- I mean, I love Ray and Bob, but I wouldn't tell them that because they can't. And I'm fucked up, sure, but I'm not that fucked up. I can think for myself, it's just easier if I don't have to on the small stuff because, well, you and the guys generally make better decisions for me anyway, and then when I really need to figure my own shit out, I've stored up. I dunno, it's hard to explain--"
"I get it," Frank says. All he needs is a little guidance, really. "I get it, Mikey."
Mikey looks at him for a long moment and then shakes his head. "I don't think you do."
Frank sees it coming, literally in the sense that his eyes process what's happening in front of him, but he doesn't understand, not really, until Mikey's lips are on his, soft but insistent, teasing but determined. Even then, it takes a couple of seconds to think it through, to understand. When he does, he lets himself kiss back, lets himself curve around Mikey, despite Mikey outweighing him, towering over him. He curls his fingers in Mikey's hair--shorter, but still long enough. Mikey rasps, "Tell me, tell me what to do."
And for the first time since this all started, Frank tests the waters, makes a decision that is possibly as much for himself as it is for Mikey. "Tell me what to do."
Mikey stills. Frank doesn't panic, just keeps soothing his hand over Mikey's back. After a long, long moment, Mikey asks, "What are my limits?"
Frank shakes his head. Mikey won't take him past them, he knows. He doubts Mikey will even test them. To make Mikey feel more reassured he says, "Jersey. I say 'Jersey', you stop."
Mikey whispers, "Anything."
Mikey's commands are shaky at first, unsure, but they are commands. "Take my shirt off," and, "suck at my neck, mark me," and "get on your knees." They are easy things, child's play, the sort of thing Frank was trying out back in high school, when he was confused about what being in the scene meant, about what scene went where and what the requirements of belonging to each were. Mikey says, "Undo my pants," and Frank can't suppress a smile. Finally. Mikey cuffs him gently on the head, but Frank can hear him snickering. Mikey lifts his legs, doesn't even make it hard on Frank and Frank wants to say, "Test me, let me show you, let me-- I can be good too," but he doesn't because he gave the order in the first place for a reason and he won't undermine that.
Frank waits for the command he wants, waits to be able to take Mikey in his mouth, show him how amazing he can make him feel, but instead Mikey says, "Stand up."
Frank listens, if with a sense of regret. He climbs to his feet and Mikey says, "Bring your arms up."
Mikey undresses him then, slowly, curiously, like a naked Frank isn't something he's seen every few days for the past seven or so years of his life. It's amateur, Mikey's slow perusal of his skin, his wide-eyed consideration. Frank is so hard he feels lightheaded from the diversion of blood. When he's had his fill, Mikey says, "Go lay on the bed on your back, feet toward the pillows, head tipped over the edge."
Frank scrambles, even knowing what Mikey's going to do, that Mikey's not going to let Frank show him his skills, show him all the ways he knows to be hot for Mikey. Instead he's going to take what he wants of Frank, and that, that might be even hotter. Sure enough, Mikey straddles the upper half of Frank's chest, traces a finger over the elongated shape of Frank's neck and says, "Open your mouth, slut."
The word crests over Frank and he considers how he feels about it. He's never let anyone else do that, never wanted to be that for another person. Mikey isn't assertive with the term, which is maybe what makes all the difference. He says it like maybe he can wish it into being, that Frank will be that for him. Frank will be whatever the fuck Mikey asks of him. Silently, he opens his mouth.
Mikey's cock is long and thin, bent just slightly, perfect in its very imperfection, like the rest of him. Frank's at a bad angle to take him all in, but that doesn't mean he doesn't try, doesn't open his throat as much as he can, breathe through his nose, let Mikey fuck his mouth. Mikey starts out slow, like he's taking care, but Frank does his best to make sure he can't, to force him to speed up, choke Frank, take what Frank will give. When Mikey makes a surprised sound above him, comes, Frank swallows, despite the near impossibility of it. Mikey pulls out, collapsing on the bed, heaving with the intensity of it. When he has enough breath, enough sense he says, "I think that deserves punishment, don't you?"
Frank grins and doesn't ask what he did wrong. He knows.
Mikey says, "Go kneel in the tub," which, okay, Frank wasn't expecting. He blinks, but then moves, does as he's told. It hurts, kneeling against the porcelain, the bones of his knees unprotected, his legs cramping up. He doesn't stretch, doesn't move. When Mikey comes--and he's waited, Frank can tell, maybe watched some television, read, something--Frank is where he's supposed to be.
Mikey draws the curtain closed despite the two of them being the only people in the room. He says, "I want to mark you," and the intent, the desire, is very clear. Then, less clear, "Um, you know--"
Frank knows exactly what he plans to do, hates the shame in Mikey's eyes at the mere suggestion. "Mark me," he says, low and husky, and more like pleading than asking. "Please, Mikey, mark me."
Mikey can't at first, can't get the stream to start, but he manages. It's warm, almost hot against Frank's chest, his neck, his cheek, in his hair. The smell is acrid, too-sweet and Frank closes his eyes, tilts his face into it, listens with pride when Mikey says, wonderingly, "Fucking dirty boy."
When it's safe, Frank opens his eyes, looks up at Mikey, refusing shame for himself every bit as much as he does for Mikey. Mikey grips him by the hair, pulls him up and it hurts, hurts like hell and it's perfect, even when Mikey turns the water on too hot, when they both yelp and have to wait for him to get it a little more right, when he pushes Frank under the stream and kisses him and they both get water up their noses and have to stop at the same time to cough and choke. Even then, it's exactly what Frank meant when he said, "Tell me what to do."
Mikey growls, "Think you're done being punished, bitch?" The namecalling is becoming more fluid, more certain.
Frank whimpers, but doesn't come, because he's not new to this game: stated or no, that's not allowed. Mikey laughs a little, giggles, really. It should break the build up, but it doesn't. "Put your hands to the wall, back to the spray."
Frank hears the popping of the top of the conditioner, so it isn't a huge surprise when Mikey slides a finger into him. Mikey says, unnecessarily, "Don't come."
Frank takes a deep breath and holds to the wall for all he's worth as Mikey works a second finger in him, and then, without much prep, a third. Frank makes a small sound at that and Mikey says, "Bet you could take more, if I wanted it, bet you could take whatever I told you to."
Frank's, "Please, please," is high, desperate. With the hand that isn't fingering him, Mikey squeezes at the base of Frank's cock, hard. "No."
"Dry me off," Mikey says, standing in the middle of the bathroom. It would be imperious, only he's cold, Frank can see him shaking. Frank's cold, too, but he attends to Mikey first, careful to dry every last inch, even his hair, as much as he can. Mikey runs the towel cursorily over Frank and says, "Hands and knees, on the bed."
Mikey doesn't make him wait this time, just follows him in, runs a finger over his spine and asks, "Cold?"
Frank shudders in response. Mikey says, "Yeah, I think you are. I should warm you up."
Even though Frank is pretty sure he knows what's coming, the first smack of Mikey's hand is bracing. It's not even all that hard a hit. Frank can't tell if Mikey is unsure, or if this is his way of starting slowly. The second one comes at the same pace, and then a third, and then a fourth. The fifth one is harder, and Frank thinks, yeah, he's just gaining confidence. He'll get there, he will, and Frank can let go, can concentrate on the sharp-sweet heat of the hits, the low murmur of Mikey appreciating his ass, the way he'll do "fucking anything" for Mikey. Yes, he thinks, yes in time with the smacks.
Mikey has large hands, strong, bass-playing arms and the pain crescendos fairly quickly, but even that is kind of novel, letting it take him over the edge, not in a way he's opposed to, in a way that makes him feel closer to Mikey, makes him feel like he had the right to be marked.
When Mikey stops, Frank doesn't even realize, not for a bit, not until Mikey's sliding into him, no build up whatsoever. It's exquisite, Frank still just stretched enough from the shower for it not to hurt, not stretched enough that any of the intensity is lacking. He drives in deeper, deeper than Frank has had it in quite some time, and Frank pushes back, uncertain if that's allowed, but unable to stop himself. Mikey's hips hitting against the skin of his ass is absolute agony, brilliant, spot on counterpoint to every stroke of his prostate and Frank begs, "Please, Mikey, please let me come, please, please, please--"
"Shh," Mikey commands, and Frank whimpers, but he silences himself. Mikey says, simply, "No."
So Frank closes his eyes and makes himself nothing but an instrument of pleasure for Mikey, nothing but a vessel. Mikey is slow in taking his pleasure, there being no edge for him, no urgency, and Frank is sobbing by the time Mikey comes, utterly wrecked. Mikey is saying something, but Frank can't concentrate, can't think beyond, "Don'tdon'tdon'tdon--"
"Frank," Mikey's voice is sharp.
Frank says, "Mikey?"
Mikey rolls Frank onto his back and it takes Frank a second to let go of the position he's been in, to lay flat. Mikey brushes the hair out of Frank's eyes. "Frank. Any time, okay?"
Mikey can barely close his lips around Frank before Frank is coming, pouring out of himself so quickly and completely, there's nothing left to hold him where he is.
Of course, Mikey is there, so he comes back just as soon as he can. Mikey is already cleaning them up, the washcloth soft and warm on his front, others soft and cold, draped over his ass. Frank makes an incoherent, but nonetheless supremely happy noise. Mikey says, "Hey, hey," and shades of the worry, the shame are back. Frank can't have that, he won't. He says, "If you tell me that wasn't the best sex of your life, Mikeyway, I might have to burn myself in effigy and shame."
"No burning. One band member was enough."
Frank smiles. Mikey drops his gaze. "Frank, um. Does this-- Does this mean you won't--"
"Mikey," Frank says it softly. "Mikey, go put the washcloths in the bathroom, come back and get in bed." The notches in Mikey's shoulders relax and he goes to do as told. Frank makes himself get up and put on some pajama pants. He winces as he pulls them over the worst of the damage, but he can't regret it, not at all. He calls, "I'll be right back, Mikey."
When he returns with orange juice from the nearest vending machine, Mikey is in bed, as he should be. Frank gives him one bottle and says, "Drink up."
They share the OJ nightcap in silence and when Mikey has drained the last drop, Frank puts the empty bottle on the nightstand, pulls Mikey to him, shifts until he's sure they're both comfortable and says, "Sleep, Mikeyway."