On the Road 1
by Synchronik

He's younger than everybody else, but Frank doesn't feel younger than any of them, these guys he's just gotten in the van with. Maybe it's the fact that he's done all this before, the tours, the first album, the sense of antipation and possibility, and he knows that all of this excitement and energy can just get pissed away. Vanish. Dissolve. It makes him feel old.

The rest of them are thrumming with electricity. Matt, who is driving, drums on the steering wheel, beats to secret songs. Mikey, the other youngest one besides Frank, is hunched on the first bench seat, rocking back and forth and looking out the window. He's not a nervous kid in fact, Mikey's probably the calmest person Frank's ever met who was actually in a band but he's still rocking, as if he can urge the car along with his body.

Gerard, who sits next to him on the back bench seat, doesn't drum or rock or otherwise move, but his eyes when he turns to Frank are wide and charged. "I just can't," he says when he catches Frank looking at him. "I just can't believe this is fucking happening." He makes a face, bugging his eyes out, then laughs, slapping Frank on the knee. "This is just too incredible, you know?"

"I know," Frank says.

Gerard slaps him again out of excitement, his hands beating one-two-three on Frank's knee, then laughs, then falls back against the seat.

He's beautiful.

He doesn't know it, Gerard, but he's maybe the most beautiful person that Frank's ever seen up close. He has pale flawless skin and a mouth curved like the cutout on a violin and his eyes change color depending on his mood and eye makeup. His hair falls over his forehead and into his eyes. He has long fingers, like a guitarist, although Gerard doesn't play guitar. He's got shoulders, great broad shoulders that seem at odds with his soft hands but not with his personality, shoulders that make Frank want to lean against them. He has, once or twice, while they were playing. He's stepped into the curve of Gerard's arm and leaned back against his shoulder, tipped his head back and played, feeling Gerard bracing him up.

Gerard used to be chubby, which might be why, Frank thinks, he doesn't know how beautiful he is now. What Gerard doesn't seem to get is that everybody used to be something. Some people used to be fat and some people used to be nerds and some people used to be poor and some people, like Frank, used to be short skinny kids who were teased about their haircuts and their ripped up clothes.

Some people still are.

But people change. People become other things. People become get thin, get rich, get just plain older. People become beautiful, even if their outsides don't change at all. Frank used to be the guitarist for a punk band with a record deal and a promising future and all that went away but he's still here, in a van with a band about to go on a tour.

"Hey," he says.

Gerard turns his head away from the window. "Hmm?"

"Thanks."

Gerard blinks. "What?" he says.

Frank leans in and kisses Gerard on the cheek. He stays there for a minute, up close to Gerard's skin, until Gerard puts an arm around his shoulders. Then Frank smiles. "I said thanks," he says.

Gerard, whose mouth is so close that if they go over a speed bump Frank will kiss it, smiles back. "You're welcome," he says.

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