The fucked-up part about the whole thing is not that Frank's boyfriend wears women's underwear, now and again. No, the fucked-up part is that Frank learns about it when said boyfriend's brother gives Gerard a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret for Christmas. Frank laughs and asks, "Uh, you need a new nightie?"
Gerard looks like he's considering it, and Mikey's frowning at Gerard. "You haven't-- You guys-- It's never come up?"
"What?" Frank asks.
"I like to ease people into it," Gerard says, like, a) they're all on the same page, and b) he and Frank are some new thing.
Mikey picks up on the second issue with, "Gee, you guys have been together for the better part of two years."
Three, really, but Mikey refuses to acknowledge whatever it was they had going on before Gerard got sober, and Frank's never seen fit to challenge him on the issue. Frank reframes his earlier question: "What the fuck?"
Gerard turns to Frank, eyes wide and serious and asks, "What, you thought it was just feather boas?"
And, well, yeah. Frank had.
If Gerard had thought about it--oh, who's he kidding, he's fucking thought about it--he wouldn't have expected Frank knowing to make any difference. Or, well, that's what he's always told himself, but then again, he never told Frank, so maybe he had thought it would change things.
Regardless of what Gerard had or hadn't thought, Frank is clearly wigging a bit. He's pretending not to, but Gerard's kind of been in love with Frank forever, long before they actually started dating, so he notices these kinds of things. He's trying to think up a strategy for discussing the situation. Communication is key in relationships. (Gerard's pretty sure Bert told him that while they were both high, but it seems like the sort of thing that's probably true.) Finally, though, Mikey rolls his eyes in the middle of a Very Serious bout of Guitar Hero and asks Frank, "Do you think it's hot?"
Frank looks sideways at Mikey and loses the round. He accuses, "Cheater."
Mikey turns off the game. "Do you?"
"Well, yeah," Frank says, like he's just told Mikey that clocks tell time or coffee is tasty.
"You do?" Gerard asks, because, to be perfectly honest, the signs hadn't really been forthcoming.
Frank runs a hand through his hair and looks at Gerard. "Jesus. Did you think I was like, having some kind of gender-notions-based freak out?"
Gerard shrugs. When Frank says it it sounds so farfetched, but it's not, not really. Frank admits, "Okay, it was a little weird that I found out from Mikey." He turns to Mikey. "You guys are weird."
Mikey looks unimpressed. Gerard feels for Frank--it's hard to impress Mikey. Mikey just says, "Yeah, okay. You guys are gonna talk now, right? Like, if I leave the room, this'll get taken care of?"
Gerard has the good grace to look chastised, as that is clearly what Mikey's looking for. Frank just flips him off. Mikey seems to take that as confirmation, and he wanders off.
Frank turns back to Gerard and says, "No, really, weird."
"Yeah." Gerard knows.
Frank sighs. "I just had to think, is all. I had to figure out why the hell you hadn't told me."
"Because I'm a jerk," Gerard tells him earnestly.
"Because you were worried I'd think less of you," Frank says. "And that--"
"It's. No, that makes it simple, like I thought, 'oh, if Frank finds out, he'll do this,' and it wasn't at all like that."
Frank crosses his arms over his chest. "How was it, then?"
"It was-- The only person who's ever known has been Mikey. Ever since we were kids and I would steal my mom's clothes and it wasn't wrong because we were too young for 'wrong' to apply. And by the time it was something else, Mikey just figured that was me and that was that. I've never had to deal with a reaction from someone else, never had to see that aspect of myself through anyone's eyes but Mikey's. And it was safe, okay?"
After a long, long moment, Frank says, "Yeah, uh, my reaction's gonna be a little different than Mikey's."
Gerard knows that tone. It makes him think of the backseat of vans and closets in dirty, crowded venues. He laughs. "Well, that's probably, um. Healthy."
Frank smiles a little. "Probably."
So, evidently Gerard's been foregoing a lot of things for the past few years. The first time Gerard hooks smoothly-shaved legs around Frank in bed, Frank comes in record time. And the guyliner was kind of a compromise, because Gerard loves lipstick and rouge. Frank starts buying colors he thinks he'll like on Gerard during regular runs to the drugstore. The cashier probably thinks he's totally pussy-whipped, but Frank can handle that, so long as Gerard will let him watch the slow, careful process of dressing up, of transformation.
Gerard isn't any different when he's in drag, but he's...looser, Frank thinks, more pliant. It's hot as hell, every bit of it, the way it's a secret, and something that's theirs. (Well, okay, Mikey knows, but he doesn't watch. Also, Mikey doesn't count when it comes to Gerard. He's like an additional arm, or something.)
Only, Frank thinks it could get hotter. He's thought about it a lot, watching Gerard, day after day--not every day, but enough days--turn himself into something of his own creation, something he wants himself to be and Frank is just curious about what that would feel like. He doesn't know that it's really his thing, but Frank hasn't gotten what he's wanted in life by ignoring opportunities to try new things.
He can't say why, but he wants it to be a surprise. He isn't worried (well, not deeply) that Gerard won't want to share, or anything, he just needs to try it out on his own first.
The sales' clerks at Victoria's Secret are super helpful when he tells them he needs a birthday present for his girlfriend, who's, "Kinda my size, actually."
Shaving is a fucking pain in the ass, even more so than shaving his face, which he didn't think was possible, but fuck, it so is. He loves the way his legs feel afterward, though, spends an indecently long time just running his hands over them.
Everything is smooth: the stockings, the panties, the cami, even the garters, it all feels cool, whisper-thin against his skin. He puts the makeup on nice and neat, like he never did when they were performing, and when he stands back, a completed piece, he looks at himself in the mirror and says, "Oh."
It's not that he doesn't recognize himself. It's more like he recognizes a place in himself that only he's ever seen. It's weird, he didn't know that place had a visual representation. He turns from side to side, checking himself out. Now that he's seen it, he doesn't think he can go without seeing it again. In any case, he doesn't want to.
Two weeks later
Frank says he has a surprise, but whatever Gerard was thinking it might be, this isn't it. It takes him a minute to remember how to say Frank's name. Then he says it. "Frank." He says it a few more times after that, for emphasis, or something. "Frankfrankfrank."
Frank tells him, solemnly, "I have better fashion sense than you."
Generally, Gerard does not think this holds true. Gerard has seen some of the things Frank is willing to walk out of the house in, and just, yeah, no. In this case, though? Gerard considers the plaid-skirt, oxford top, thigh-highs combo and says, "Okay."
Frank laughs. Gerard says, "Um, I'd like to kiss you," and immediately feels like a moron, because this is Frank, and they've been kissing for longer than they've been together. Only, sometimes Frank is a little more considerate, in subtle ways, when Gerard is dressed up, and Gerard likes it, likes being treated special.
Frank hops up on the counter and spreads his legs. Beneath the short skirt, he's got on plain cotton panties, the kind Gerard is never excited by on himself. He nearly swallows his tongue at the view. Frank holds out a hand. "Well?"
Gerard bends down, though, and kisses his knee. Frank breathes out. "Oh."
Gerard kisses just a little further up.
Frank says, "Okay, feel free to throw this idea out," because they've had a lot of hot sex, but they haven't really talked about anything. He knows they're guys and all, but he figures at some point he should get a feel for, say, if Gerard's a little ticked that Frank's kind of stolen his kink, or if part of the kink is being with a man in man's clothes or any one of a million other possibilities Frank has considered. "But I was thinking about how you get called a lesbian on the internets all the time."
Gerard blinks. "Uh. Oka-ay."
"And we like sex where both of us are dressed as guys and sex where one or the other of us is dressed as girls, so I was thinking, y'know, we could try, like lesbian sex."
Gerard tilts his head. "We don't have the right equipment."
Frank rolls his eyes. "Role-play, Gee."
"Oh." Gerard tilts his head a little further, clearly considering the idea. Frank sees the exact moment when Gerard's eyes goes just a little rounder. "Oh."
Gerard looks at him with a fervor that Frank knows he's going to regret kindling and says, "I have nothing to wear."
Mikey tells Gerard, "I was going to get you a toaster, but Ray tells me I'm not allowed to purchase anything toaster-related anymore."
Gerard asks, "I need a toaster?"
Mikey rolls his eyes. "It's a-- Because you converted Frank."
Gerard looks a little perplexed. "Frank told you?"
"Gee, you haven't worn a women's size nine heel since you were, like, in sixth grade."
Mikey laughs a little, but it's not mean, just knowing. He lets his head drop, so he's looking at his knees and asks, "And it's...it's what you want? You're okay?"
Gerard chews at his lip for a moment. "Why wouldn't it be?"
Mikey shrugs. "Because it was always your thing. Because Frank in jeans turns you on. Because."
Gerard tilts his head. "Frank turns me on."
Mikey leans over far enough that he can rest his head on Gerard's shoulder. "Yeah."
Frank had this whole plan to go super fancy, like, night-on-the-town, prom-queen kind of fancy, but finds himself in Hello Kitty pajamas instead. It's weird, because it's not as though Frank wouldn't not wear Hello Kitty pajamas, but somehow, between the lipgloss and painting his toenails and waxing, it's enough, it's just right.
Gerard shows up in something that reminds Frank vaguely of Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, which, if he knows Gerard--and really, he kinda does--was probably intentional, and says, "Oh, that's clever," with a huge smile.
Frank doesn't feel clever, he feels...new. It's almost like innocence, but better. Frank doesn't remember innocence being all that fun. He says, "My heart's fucking beating, man."
Gerard puts his hand to Frank's chest. He has his lips open slightly and Frank can see him breathing faster than usual. Gerard looks down and says, "Your nail polish is pretty."
"Fbomb. Urban decay."
"I want to kiss them. Um. Your toes."
Frank tugs at Gerard's pinafore (no, for real) and says, "Good a place to start as any."