Title: Hey Mr. DJ
Word Count: 6000
Summary: The late night DJ AU!
Disclaimer: Even more not real than usual.
Notes: Thanks a million to my betas M, for making it more awesome as always and K for not letting me embarrass myself. Happy Holidays, MissP!
Despite the fact that he's been holding a nine-to five job for over two years now, Gerard rarely goes to bed before three or four in the morning. He isn't an insomniac - he's just a night owl, and it's the quietest time of day, the time when he can pretend he isn't selling his soul to Cartoon Network, can pretend he's still an artist. And just because he has an entire wall of records and CDs doesn't mean he doesn't like to listen to the radio in the middle of the night. It's better than shuffle in iTunes, really.
Plus, there's this really awesome guy who DJs from one am til five. Gerard doesn't always last through the whole shift, but he likes the sound of the guy's voice and his laugh when he tells a joke that he finds hilarious. Gerard tries to imagine what face goes with the voice and the name, sometimes. All the Franks he knows have mustaches, except for his eight year-old cousin, but somehow that doesn't really fit with what he hears every night as he draws.
Then there's that weird thing when he does fall asleep with the radio on, and right at that point before he's really asleep, whatever Frank is talking about seems to work its way into his head and he'll drift for a while, thinking about stomping spiders or climbing a mountain and putting a giant black flag at the top. More often than not, Frank himself is in the dreams, but Gerard never actually sees him. He's always standing just behind Gerard's shoulder, or else he's up ahead of him, blurry and indistinct.
The morning after one of those dreams - Gerard was in a rowboat, trying to rescue Frank from a lake that turned out to be made of grape jelly - he's driving around with Mikey. They always do Ma's errands, even though Mikey moved out two years ago, and Mikey always drags Gerard along. It's the wrong time of day and it isn't even the right station, but Gerard leans back in his seat as Mikey cruises down the street, listening to the radio hosts talk about the weather and the traffic.
"Do you ever try to picture what these people look like? Is she blonde, is he tall, are they both secretly forty?"
Mikey just shrugs. "Well I didn't before, but now I'm gonna have to check the radio's website when I get home."
"Oh." It's such a simple solution, but it feels like cheating, it's so easy. He changes the subject to keep from thinking about it. "Are you bringing Alicia to Thanksgiving?"
Gerard is up late a couple of nights later, despite the fact that his ferry leaves in four hours, when Frank's voice cuts in on the narration of the comic book he's reading.
"-on the off chance that any of you are actually awake out there, I'm opening the board up to requests, so give us a call at 1-888-955-WSJX. Talk to me, people. Person. Somnambulists."
Gerard doesn't know what he's thinking when he picks up his cell phone and punches in the number. Hell, he doesn't even know what he's going to request.
It's too late for him to hang up though, because whoever answers the phone takes his info and patches him straight through to Frank.
"We've got a live one ladies and gentlemen! Hey there, loyal listener, it's Frank, what the hell are you doing up this late?" He actually sounds excited, although it's probably just at the chance to have someone new to talk to.
"Reading comic books," Gerard says. He immediately wishes he hadn't. He could've said something cooler, like 'masturbating'. Which, okay, isn't actually cool, but is possibly less pathetic.
"Oh yeah? Which ones? Don't tell me it's Superman, that guy is a goody two shoes loser. You always know what's going to happen." It sounds like an old argument, an opinion he's been sharing for years, but it's still enthused, even if it is ass o'clock in the morning.
Gerard stares at the phone for a second, "Uh, Doom Patrol."
"That's by, oh what's his name-"
"Grant Morrison," Gerard supplies automatically.
"Yeah! I've heard of that one, but I usually stick with the more traditional stuff. I like Batman, he's way more interesting than Superman, and- Oh. Bob's telling me I should let you just ask for a song, never mind the awesome conversation we're having here." His voice goes up at the end of that, obviously directed at whoever is sitting in the booth and not at Gerard. "So, what's your pleasure?"
"Catalina by the Descendants," Gerard says before any of the other responses to that particular question can beat it out of his mouth.
"You know that's a song about fishing, right?" Frank asks. It sounds like he's smiling.
"I know, but it's cool."
"Okay, this one is for Gerard in Belleville, Catalina by the Descendants. Thanks for calling, Gerard."
"Thanks," Gerard says before hanging up and turning his radio back up. Relatively painless, actually - plus, it really is a cool song.
There's a string of songs after that, for "Jane in Hoboken" and "Tom in Newark", but Gerard is still riding high on Frank's voice and the sound of his laugh when he finally drops off to sleep.
It's probably kind of sad that a two minute conversation with a DJ made his week, but he's still in a good mood on Saturday afternoon when he hits the comic store. He nods to James, who's sitting behind the counter with a phone wedged under his ear, and wanders toward the heart of the store. There's someone Gerard doesn't recognize standing in the aisle across from his - it's not like all the comics geeks know each other, but there are familiar faces and this isn't one of them. He's prettier than any of the other guys Gerard has seen in here, for one, and Gerard can make out the outline of two tattoos that don't look like they're in Elvish or in any way gaming related.
That's all cool, but the best thing is what cool guy is holding.
"Hey! Doom Patrol!"
The guy looks up and grins, "Uh, yeah, someone recommended it to me, so I figured I'd finally get around to reading it."
"Dude, it's the best – the characters are just – they're so much better than the usual super hero types."
"Do they whine less?" He rolls his eyes. "Because eighty percent of the time I want to punch Peter Parker in the throat. So what if he got bitten by a radioactive spider, he's got powers, get over it already." He's gesturing as he talks, waving the comic around, and Gerard grins in total agreement.
"Seriously, whiny bitch shouldn't be the hero's flaw-"
"Exactly!" He's got a lip ring, and it catches the light while he talks. "The movies weren't bad though."
Gerard shrugs. "Yeah, once they caught up everyone who'd been sleeping through pop culture for the past thirty years. How can they not know Spiderman?"
"I know, man, but Superman is worse." He's leaning in, tilting his head towards Gerard, and Gerard's leaning right back. "I mean, really," he says, "is there anyone who'd go see a Superman movie who doesn't know the green rock is bad?"
"Seriously," Gerard agrees. "Not to mention that - "
"Hey, Gerard," James calls from the front counter, "I got your order here."
"I should go get that," Gerard says, and the guy rocks back a step, nodding. "Enjoy Doom Patrol - I wish I could read it for the first time again."
"Thanks," he says and smiles in a way that makes Gerard duck his head as he turns toward the counter.
By the time the weekend ends, Gerard is staying up way too late and sleeping well into the afternoon just because he can. It fucks him over come Monday, it always does, and by Wednesday he's passed out at his desk by eleven o'clock, his 4HB rolling from his fingers.
His dreams start out loose and disconnected, but then somehow he's in a dark club, surrounded by heat and sweat and noise. There's someone yelling on stage and a different someone pressed up against him, chest to chest, breathing against his neck. Gerard can't see the guy in front of him - can't see anything, really, except for vague impressions of people - but it's pretty obvious that it's a guy pushing closer, slipping his hands under Gerard's shirt. He slides a knee between Gerard's legs, grinding against him, inviting Gerard to do the same. It's not like anything Gerard would actually do, but in this dark club there doesn't seem to be any reason not to.
In the back of his mind, he knows it's a dream - especially when he leans forward looking for the other guy's mouth and finds it instantly. If he ever tried that in a real club like this, he'd probably end up licking the guy's eye or something similarly ridiculous, but here - here it's easy, obvious, completely natural. It's lips sliding together, slow and bizarrely sweet, and it's Gerard licking his way into this guy's mouth without a second thought. He can feel the bare skin of their stomachs pressed slick together where their shirts have ridden up - Gerard can just imagine what that stomach looks like, what they might look like in places that aren't crowded clubs. The guy pulls back, then bites at Gerard's bottom lip, sending a spike of pleasure straight to his cock.
Then he leans up and says loudly in Gerard's ear, "You're listening to WSJX. I'm Frank, playing anything I want."
Gerard blinks, and his eyes open to his bedroom ceiling. The radio is on and he's got one hand wrapped around his cock, listening to Frank talk without even understanding the words. It only takes a few strokes before he's breathing heavily and coming in his hand, squeezing his eyes shut.
As he cleans up and turns off the light, he does an excellent job of not thinking about how he's just had a sex dream about someone he's never even seen. He rolls over to bury his face in the pillow and reaches over to turn off the radio.
He's conserving electricity.
The whole "not listening to the radio in an attempt not to turn into a creepy stalker" thing lasts almost a whole two days, and then it's back to the usual routine. Frank's funny, is the thing, and he has reliably good taste in music.
On Monday, Frank asks for call ins again, this time on the hot button issue of "lighters or cell phones at concerts." Gerard's phone stays in his messenger bag, even when Frank's producer reportedly says that "cell phones are brighter." (They are, sure - but lighters are traditional.) Tuesday night, he asks, "What's your dream band?" and Gerard's known his answer to that since high school, but he keeps drawing and waits for the music to come back on.
Wednesday, Mikey calls and says, "We're still on for tomorrow, right?"
"Huh?" Gerard asks, a forkful of his mom's lasagna half way to his mouth.
"You bought tickets for the gig a month ago." Gerard doesn't know how Mikey manages to roll his eyes over the phone; it's one of the miracles of the modern world.
"Oh, right. Yeah. Totally." It's a showcase of local bands at one of the new bars - Gerard had heard about it on the radio.
Mikey rolls his eyes again. "Good thing you've got me to remind you of this shit."
"You're the best brother I could ever have," Gerard agrees.
"I'm the only brother you'll ever have, dork." The weak insult doesn't stop him from sounding pleased. "It starts at 8:30, yeah?"
"Uh, yeah," Gerard sees the tickets stuck to the fridge now, in between out-of-date grocery lists and various notes to himself. "Do you want me to pick you up?"
"Sure, see you tomorrow."
The bands aren't bad, and they've been getting progressively better as the night goes on. Gerard lost Mikey to the crowd a set ago, so he's hanging back near the bar, in case Mikey comes looking for him, doing his best to remain visible. Apparently he's not doing that great a job, though, because some guy comes crashing into him, arms flying.
He's short, at least, so Gerard could maybe take him if he starts shit.
"Fuck, sorry!" The guy apologizes quickly, which is good, since Gerard isn't actually interested in testing his theory on who would win in a fight.
"Uh, it's okay. Nothing's broken," Gerard says, wiggling his toes just to check. The guy is hot and familiar looking, but he can't quite place it.
Fortunately, he's not wrong, because the guy narrows his eyes and then grins at him. "Hey! You're the guy from the comic store, right? Doom Patrol?"
"Yeah!" Gerard grins because, hey, it's nice to be memorable sometimes. "I thought I recognized you, but the hair-"
"Yeah, all one color again." He runs one hand over his scalp as he says it, then grins and shakes his head at himself.
"It looks good," Gerard says before he can stop himself.
"Thanks," the guy says with a smile, and hey, maybe they've got a flirting thing going on now.
"So did you like Doom Patrol?" Gerard asks, because this is important information if he's going to make an idiot out of himself trying to flirt back.
"Fuck! yeah!" It's a good sign, and what he says next is even better: "I'll probably be heading back to the shop this weekend to get the next volume."
The guy narrows his eyes at Gerard, folding his arms across his chest. "You were totally judging me on that, weren't you?"
Gerard opens his mouth to deny, and then closes it. "Maybe a little." There's no sense in starting with a lie, and Doom Patrol is important.
He laughs, high and sharp. "I'm Frank, you're Gerard, right?"
Gerard's face twists into a confused grin and he rubs his nose. "Uh, yeah? How did you-" he glances down at his shirt, he hasn't worn a name tag for work - let alone forgotten to take it off before going out - in four years. "How did you know?"
Frank scratches at his arm, "I heard the guy in the comic store, and it's a cool name. I like it."
Gerard doesn't think he's ever liked his name as much as he does right now.
There's something vaguely familiar about Frank, but Gerard is distracted from trying to place what it is when someone steps away from the bar suddenly, backing straight into Frank. He loses his balance a bit and falls against Gerard, arms flailing; Gerard catches him without thinking, bringing his arms up around Frank's ribcage. He's warm and slightly sweaty, and it's like someone cranked up Gerard's awareness of everything, because he can feel each spot that they're touching and every other part of his body is jealous of those that are.
"You're not, like, here with anyone, are you?" There's a hopeful tone to the question and Gerard has to bite his lip to keep from smiling too much.
"Just my brother-"
"Good," he says, leaning in further. He tilts his head up and their lips are an inch apart. "For the record, I don't normally do stuff like this," and Gerard can barely hear him over the blood pounding in his ears, because then Frank is closing the gap and the pressure of his lips against Gerard's make Gerard's pulse pound. He's glad he's got his arms wrapped around Frank already - this way he can focus on kissing back and sucking Frank's lower lip into his mouth. Frank is apparently on board with this, judging by the way his hands are squeezing at Gerard's shoulders, digging in through the denim of his jacket. He slides around to the back of Gerard's neck and tugs slightly at the hair there, and Gerard shivers, pulling Frank closer.
"Get a room, fags," a voice says behind Gerard, which is just predictable - the one time when he is really seriously not in the mood for dealing with homophobic dickheads -
"Fuck off, asshole," Frank says, barely moving his mouth away from Gerard's.
The guy grunts but moves away, and Frank goes back to sucking on Gerard's tongue in a way that makes Gerard think about him sucking on other things. That, of course, makes it even harder for Gerard to shuffle back away from the bar as Frank steers them towards an empty patch of wall. Once they get there, though, he can lean in and press Frank up against the wall, kissing him slow and dirty in the shadows of the club.
Gerard is vaguely aware of the band on stage wrapping up and the lights going up, but none of that is really incentive for him to stop what he's doing. Eventually, Frank pulls back a little, but Gerard follows.
Frank laughs and turns his head. "They're closing up."
Gerard licks the outer shell of Frank's ear. "Did you want to go somewhere else?" He really hopes the answer is 'Yes, my place.'
"I can't, I have work," Frank says, inhaling sharply.
"Oh." Gerard steps back, defeated - no one actually cares how early they have to be at work the next morning if there's an opportunity to get laid now.
Frank reaches for one of Gerard's belt loops and tugs him back. "No, I actually have work in like, an hour...which means I should have been there five minutes ago."
"Oh," Gerard says again. "Wait, isn't it like, midnight?"
Frank is digging through the pockets of his jeans, but he's still holding on to Gerard, so it's not going very well. "Yeah, I'm the graveyard shift." He finds what he was looking for - a scrap of paper - and pulls a pen from his back pocket. "This is my number. You should call me."
Gerard takes the burrito receipt like it's plated gold and tucks it into his jacket pocket. "I will."
"Good," Frank says. "I should get going or Bob is going to kick my ass."
"Yeah, I should go find Mikey."
Neither of them move.
"Seriously," Frank says again a minute later. "Okay, I'm going. I'll talk to you this weekend?"
"Yeah, definitely." Gerard has to step back when Frank does to keep from following him out the door and getting him fired.
He's a little caught up in watching Frank make his way through the rapidly-dispersing crowd, and he jumps when Mikey appears next to him.
"You have a good night?"
Gerard flushes even though he doesn't actually know if Mikey saw him with Frank - there's nothing in his tone, but sometimes even Gerard isn't sure what Mikey's tone means. "Yeah, did you?"
"Not bad, but some asshole spilled both of his beers down my coat." Mikey holds up the soggy gray mess. He's only wearing a thin shirt underneath, so Gerard is already slipping out of his jacket and handing it to Mikey. "Gee, I'll be fine," Mikey says, rolling his eyes, but Gerard just grabs Mikey's wrist and shoves it into the sleeve.
"It's like, twenty degrees outside and we parked six blocks away. Just take it."
Gerard is half a block from home when he realizes that he left Frank's number in his jacket pocket, which Mikey still has. He debates going back for it - but he's only half a block from home, and it's fucking cold out, and it's not like he was going to call tonight. It's probably better to wait until tomorrow to start staring at his phone with half the numbers punched in, or accidentally call him freakishly soon.
He's still optimistic about the whole thing as he flicks on the light and kicks off his shoes, doing all of the usual coming-home things without even really thinking about them. He turns on the radio, confident in his non-stalkery nature - he went out tonight and didn't think about his weird crush at all, and so what if his really hot guy happened to be named Frank? It's a common name, and it's not like Gerard knew that when they started, which would be - wow, seriously very creepy.
The song ends, and Frank-the-DJ's voice starts up. "Hey there, everyone out in radio land, this is Frank with WSJX and you're listening to the night shift. That was Iron Maiden with Run to the Hills." He's talking just slightly too fast, hurried and excited, and it makes Gerard grin to hear him. "I hope some of you guys made it out to the showcase at JJ's tonight, the bands were out of this world and the crowd was excellent."
Gerard freezes with one leg out of his jeans. It can't actually be. The odds of -
He's ready to write it off as a coincidence - there could totally have been more than one Frank in that club; the place was packed - but Frank-the-DJ keeps talking.
"I didn't really want to leave, but Bob here doesn't need another reason to want to cause me bodily harm. You guys know the drill: if I disappear during a broadcast or ever vanish mysteriously, call the cops and tell them to search Bob's car, his apartment, the works." There's a brief pause. "And now that I've greatly increased the odds of that happening, it's time for some of Jersey's best."
The Misfits fade quickly into the background as Gerard's brain starts flashing the stalker sign, all neon lights and blaring sirens. He can just imagine how well calling Frank would go - Gerard doesn't really trust himself not to say something like "I've gotten off to the sound of your voice," for one, and even if he did manage not to, how is he supposed to pretend that he doesn't know all the random stuff about Frank that he does? Should he act surprised when Frank mentions being afraid of spiders? being a vegetarian? going to Catholic school?
Gerard kicks off his jeans and doesn't bother grabbing his sweatpants, just pulls the blankets up from the foot of the bed. Just his fucking luck that he meets an awesome guy and manages to screw it up before their first date. He doesn't usually like going the 'woe is me' route, but tonight he's going to revel in it, so he turns off the lamp and the radio and spends the next hour lying in the dark and staring at the ceiling. If only he could've met Frank without knowing a damn thing about the radio, but if he hadn't been listening to the radio, he probably wouldn't have seen him at the comic store, and Gerard definitely wouldn't have been at the show last night.
The universe is twisted.
He spends Friday moping, grateful, for once, that he's essentially a picture-copying robot at work and doesn't actually have to be creative. He can just lose himself in Billy and Mandy and the same repetitive motions. If the lines are a little darker today than usual, no one will notice. They should just be glad that that's Gerard's only method of venting; the cartoon deaths he could come up with probably wouldn't be Cartoon Network appropriate.
He watches TV with his mom that night, and goes to bed after Monk. When he wakes up at ten the next morning he doesn't know who's more surprised, him or his mom.
"Well, you can come with me to visit your grandfather then," she says as he finishes off his bowl of Frosted Flakes.
It's not like he has anything better to do, and she's giving him concerned looks, so Gerard says, "Sure," and rinses his bowl out in the sink. It'll keep him busy, at least - visits to Grandpa usually take most of the day.
Sunday he's up early again and slips out to the comic store. He hesitates before parking on the street, because Frank could be in there; he said he might be. But it'd be fucking stupid of him not to get his new issues just because the hot guy who likes him also likes comic books. It's not like he can avoid the store forever, anyway.
James looks surprised to see Gerard in before noon. "I didn't know you knew these hours existed," he says reaching for the stack of books he has behind the counter.
"Fuck you, I have a job," Gerard replies.
"Yeah, but this is a weekend. Oh hey, have you been referring people to us or something?"
Gerard looks up from the Hellboy statue displayed next to the register. "Uh, no?"
"Huh, we've got a new regular or something, he asked about you yesterday."
"Really?" Gerard hopes James doesn't pick up on how pathetically eager he is.
"Yeah. If you don't know him you might have a stalker on your hands, dude."
Gerard laughs hollowly, "Short? Lots of tattoos?"
"So you do know him," James says, ringing up the last book.
"You could say that. Sorry, man, but I've got to go and see Mikey, I'll see you next week." Gerard throws his money on the counter and grabs the books before sprinting out the door.
He probably should have called Mikey ahead of time, but Gerard just shows up at his apartment and starts banging on the door.
"Dude, what the hell?" Mikey asks, eyes bleary behind crooked glasses once he finally lets Gerard in.
"I need my jacket. From Thursday. I need it."
"Chill, I've got it right here," Mikey nods towards the laundry basket on the couch. "I even washed it for you."
"You washed it?" Gerard's tone is slightly hysterical.
"Yeah, for probably the first time in three months. You can thank me later."
Gerard digs through the pockets, trying to remember which one he put Frank's number in. "Shit, fuck, fuck, shit, god dammit," he swears when he finds the faded scrap of paper with exactly two numbers left.
"Gee? What's wrong?" Mikey asks, sitting next to him on the floor.
"The universe hates me," he answers simply, because it's obviously the truth.
Mikey makes a sympathetic noise, but he's known Gerard for a long time. "Do you want some coffee?"
"Yes, please," Gerard says, clenching the paper in his fist. Maybe he can try some of that CSI shit and see if the ink came off in his pocket. It actually isn't a bad idea, but even the pocket liner is black so Gerard can't tell if the number is there or not.
Gerard spends the rest of the afternoon at Mikey's, drinking his coffee and explaining his saga. At least Mikey doesn't think he's creepy, even if the rest of the world apparently does.
He doesn't listen to Frank's show that night - no reason to salt the wound - and Monday sucks even worse than usual; he misses his usual ferry and the later one is packed and he's pretty sure Starbucks gave him decaf instead of real coffee when he went for his fourth cup at eleven. He had to go back for another two after lunch to make up for it.
It's after midnight now, though, so it's technically Tuesday - which means that it has to get better from here. That's what Gerard hopes as he draws, music playing from the crappy speakers of his clock radio.
"Welcome back, guys. Dana's blown the popsicle stand and has passed the reigns on to me for the night. I hope your Monday wasn't too terrible-" Gerard snorts at that, trying to remain focused on an old issue of Batman, "-mine wasn't bad, but the weekend was kind of a let down, so the sooner we get done with this week the sooner we get another one."
Gerard isn't too sure how to take that bit, and eyes the very clean, if crumpled, piece of paper on the table. He keeps reading, stopping to listen every time Frank starts talking.
It's nearly two thirty, and Gerard's just thinking about maybe calling it a night, when he hears Frank say, "This is a song about fish."
Suddenly it's painfully obvious that Gerard does have Frank's number - maybe not his personal number, but a way of contacting him, at least. He rolls out of bed and goes scrambling on the floor, trying to figure out which pair of pants he wore that day, and which pocket has his cell phone. He dials the station having absolutely no idea what he's going to say, hoping he'll be inspired.
"WSJX," a voice Gerard vaguely remembers from his previous call says. "Name, city and why are you calling?"
"Gerard, Belleville and uh. I wanted to ask Frank something but you don't actually need to put me on the -" Gerard is cut off by the sound of muzak - which, really, you'd think a radio station would have better stuff to play. It's catchy, though, in its own way, and Gerard's almost starting to hum along when it cuts off with a click.
"Hey there, Gerard from Belleville, I hear you have a question for me?" Frank asks. His voice is cheerful, but Gerard might be imagining that something sounds a little off.
"Uh, yeah, I was wondering if you could help me out?"
"That depends on what you need, but I'll see what I can do." Frank sounds a little confused now, and Gerard takes a deep breath, praying that Frank doesn't hang up on him for being a creepy asshole.
"I was at the showcase last week, and I met someone awesome there," Gerard begins slowly, "and they gave me their number but like an idiot, I sent it through the wash, and all I have left is 8, 4, 2 on the back of a receipt for a burrito with black beans and rice."
"I see," and maybe Gerard's imagining it, but he thinks he can hear Frank smiling.
"I was thinking that, since your station sponsored the event, there was a chance that they might be listening right now."
"There's always a chance, right?" Frank says. "Why don't you stay on the line, and we'll get some contact details from you, just in case your mystery date is out there listening."
"Okay," Gerard says, really hoping that he was obvious enough that Frank knows he's talking about him. Otherwise, he's going to have to tell whoever asks him for his info that if anyone calls, they're not the right guy.
There's a pause, and then a click, and then Frank is back on the line. "Gerard?"
"You really washed it, didn't you? This isn't just some kind of joke?"
"No, yes, wait." He shakes his head, trying to clear it. "My brother put it through the wash - and then James told me you'd been at the store -"
"Oh god," Frank sounds kind of mortified.
"- and I'd missed seeing you there, but I wasn't sure if you'd ever go back, and I realized the guy on the radio was the one I'd met but I didn't remember that I could call the station until like, two minutes ago, and are you going to have to go back on the air soon?"
"It's In A Gadda Da Vida - we have like, another fifteen minutes," Frank assures him quickly. "So did I just miss you at the comic store, because I swear I was there for like two hours on Saturday."
"I was busy Saturday, I didn't get in until Sunday."
"I feel better then," Frank said. "So are you going to give me your number or what? I promise I won't put it through the wash."
"Oh! Right," Gerard says, quickly rattling off the digits. "Could I get yours, uh, again?"
When Frank says the number Gerard can kind of make out how the piece of paper next to his bed still says that, but writes it down again anyway. Twice.
"So what are you doing this morning?" Frank asks.
"Huh?" Gerard says brilliantly. "Uh, sleeping a bit, I guess, and then going to work?"
Frank hmms. "If you wanted, we could maybe get coffee before you go -"
"Yes," Gerard agrees quickly.
Frank laughs. "Awesome. I'm usually out of here by 5:30, and the Starbucks on Broad Street opens at 6, if that's not too early for you?"
"So long as there's coffee," Gerard says. "But uh, I should probably get to sleep then. I'll see you in a few hours?"
"Yeah, definitely," Frank says, "See you then."
"Okay, um, bye."
It takes Gerard another second or so before he hangs up. He can't believe that actually worked, or that he has a date in three and a half hours.
It takes a while for Gerard to calm down enough to sleep, and then he has to get up early to pick something that looks kind of cool - or at least kind of clean - and that he can wear to work, after. In the end, he only gets about two hours asleep, and he's running a little late by the time he gets out the door. Luckily, there's hardly anyone on the road at this hour, so he manages to get there and find a parking space with five minutes to spare.
There's someone leaning on the glass window next to the door, a hat pulled down over his hair and hands shoved in the pockets of his coat. Gerard grabs his own scarf off the passenger's seat - it has pink fringe, but it's warm, and New Jersey at six am in December is not.
"Hey," he says stopping a few feet away.
Frank looks up and grins, then hunches back into his coat. "They should let us inside any second." He takes one hand out of his pocket to gesture, and Gerard catches a glimpse of bones. He grabs Frank's wrist before Frank can stuff his hands back in his pockets, and pulls it closer for a better look.
"Cool gloves!" Gerard says, because they are, and he is absolutely not at all feeling awkward about standing in front of a Starbucks, holding a guy's wrist.
Frank grins and wraps his skeleton fingers around Gerard's. "Yeah, they're my favorites."
Gerard is feeling warm all over, even though it has to be ten degrees out. "How could there be anything better?" He pauses, but, fuck, he might as well get this over with. "You probably figured out that I'm a fan of your show - kind of a big one - but I don't want you to think this is anything weird or creepy related to that. I mean, I didn't even know you were you, you know?" He laughs, awkward and tense, shifting his weight. "It kind of threw me at first, when I found out." And Frank's not saying anything, and, fuck - "I just, I don't want you to be weirded out or anything." The words fall out of his mouth in a messy tumble, so Gerard hopes they make sense. "If you are - I mean, that's fine, I'll just get a cup of coffee and go, but I figured you should know-"
"Gerard," Frank cuts him off.
"It's cool." He grins, squeezing Gerard's hand. "I'm glad you like the show, and to be honest, I had a feeling you were when we ran into each other at the showcase-"
"How?" Gerard asks, more than a little confused.
"You were really into Doom Patrol, and then that guy, James? Called you Gerard." Frank shrugs - it's hard to be sure, with the cold, but Gerard thinks he's blushing. "There can't be that many Gerard's in the area, I mean - and then you were at the club and I figured maybe," Frank shrugs. "You aren't weirded out, right?"
"No," Gerard assures him. It's awesome, it's totally awesome, and the only thing that would be awesomer would be if - "Wait, did you play Catalina on purpose?"
Gerard's heart does a weird flippy thing when Frank blushes, definitely a blush, over and beyond anything the weather could do. "Maybe?"
That's kind of hot. "That's kind of hot."
Frank laughs and Gerard can't help leaning closer; it's like Frank's magnetic, like they're magnets together, pulled irresistibly closer. Frank's laughter stutters out when he looks up from their joined hands and sees how close Gerard is. Gerard is a little disappointed - but only a little, because then they're kissing and it's soft and warm. The rest of Gerard's face feels even colder compared to the heat coming from Frank's mouth, but he's not going to complain or anything.
The bells on the door next to them jingle as a short barista pokes her head out. "Were you guys going to come in?"
It's a horrible choice she's asking Gerard to make: coffee or Frank? So he doesn't answer immediately.
Frank doesn't have that problem. "Yeah," he says, resting his forehead against Gerard's. "Come on, let's go inside."
Coffee and Frank, then. Gerard can handle that.