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Buy Handmade

Title: Buy Handmade
Fandom: MCR, Frank/Gerard AU
Rating: Adult
Author’s notes: Thanks to phineasjones for a fantastic beta, as always.
Disclaimer: This is fiction.

Summary: He knows something else is going to happen; his life isn't always going to be this. He just doesn't know what has to happen for that change to come, for him to wake up and become an artist with an Etsy page and a home studio, and to never have to see a cubicle again.

Frank sees it at the tattoo shop, a bumper sticker on the back of an old barber shop chair: Buy Handmade. It's yellow, and there are two little monsters in the corner, like from a children's book but all grown up, friendly and a little odd. Next to their paw-like feet is written, Find the unique, support the independent. Go handmade. Go

The tattoo artist starts telling him all about the site, how his girlfriend knits and what she sells on it, how it’s this network of crafters who help each other out, how it’s about supporting artists and rejecting junk from the malls.

"Buy handmade," Frank says, in between the buzzing of the needle. "I’ll have to check that out."

Frank explores the site the next time he's bored at work, which is almost immediately when he gets in the next day. His tattoo hurts but he's already taken too many sick days this month, and so he takes a bunch of Tylenol, rolls up his long-sleeved shirt over the bandage, browses through Etsy and tries to ignore his job as much as possible when he's sitting in a cubicle and the list of calls to return marked "emergency" is only getting longer.

Frank has worked tech support for two years, and he’s come to realize that more people in the world have computers than ever should. It’s like giving matches to a child, and it means Frank spends as much time talking people down from ledges as he does actually working with software. He got all cleaned up for the interview, wearing a dark-colored dress shirt so his tattoos wouldn’t show through the material, but then he saw two guys with ear gauges in the cubicles he walked past, and it didn’t take long for Frank to realize that, while the management encouraged them to at least try to fake the appearance of being white collar professionals, it was ok if they came in with platinum blond hair, knuckle tattoos, and lip rings. Frank did his part to contribute to the conflicting office image by always wearing a tie.

He looks at ties on Etsy. He looks at screen-printed t-shirts, hand-carved rubber stamps, knitted everything - scarves, gloves, hats, tea cozies, apple cozies. He looks at embroidered canvas grocery bags, wall-hanging quilts, ceramic cookie jars, hand-stitched advent calendars. There's no end to the things people make. Oil paintings, charcoal drawings, painted rocks, photographs of sunsets and mountains, tiny close-ups of icicles. So many styles and so many kinds of art that Frank doesn’t even have names for. Frank finds three hundred kinds of candy dispensers, personalized door mats, every animal, vegetable, or insect you've ever thought of in stained glass. There’s a stained glass asparagus that makes Frank laugh so hard the guy in the next cubicle leans over to check on him.

He starts thinking about handmade things everywhere he goes. Wondering who actually made his gloves, who took the stark black and white photos of brick buildings that line the hallway of his office, what he’s going to get his mother for her birthday, even though she says she doesn’t need anything. Frank wonders if there are even any galleries nearby where you can go and buy art, not just look at it hanging on the wall.

Most of the guys in the office are the type who could do anything as long as you paid them to sit and do it. While the thought of that purposelessness itches at Frank constantly, he eats his sandwich at his desk and nods to his fellow smokers and shares customer bitch stories for two years until the itch turns into something stronger, a snake under his skin, which finally coils around his throat and squeezes until he knows he has to make something change.

Frank spends a really long time imagining what he'd do if he were an artist, how he'd post things on Etsy, what his shop would look like, designing his own banner, what his business cards would look like. Frank even thinks that maybe he could learn to make some of the things on there - how hard could it be to embroider, really? - but then he sees a new item that just blows him away, the detail, the vision, the way so much of the art is just so damn original, so special. Frank knows he doesn't have that sort of vision, that eye for making something someone else will want to touch, to look at, something that will move them.

Still, Frank thinks about doing something with his life that involves making something tangible, something where he isn't in an office, where he'd be excited to tell people what he did, what he made, show them his work. He dreams unformed dreams of taking pictures of his creation (usually it's clay, though Frank has not touched clay since junior high art class), getting orders and sending out his work to people, feeling sad to let it go, pleased to give it to someone else. It's a rich, detailed fantasy that Frank indulges all the time.

Frank isn't sure what he does with the rest of his day in this fantasy, since he figures he can't make art all day, and his fantasy usually just involves admiring end product, not really how much work goes into it. He figures he'd probably do normal house things, things you do on the weekends, things you do when the time is yours. Rake leaves in the fall, paint the house in the summer. Sit on the couch in his underwear and watch TV.

Frank realizes what he wants even more than work he feels good about is routine, predictability, and, dare he say it, security. Years back, he wanted none of those things, wanted to wander like a rolling stone, but now, something holds him to the idea of home, as strong as a storm wind, as strong as his belief that what he's doing now won't last. He knows something else is going to happen; his life isn't always going to be this. He just doesn't know what has to happen for that change to come, for him to wake up and become an artist with an Etsy page and a home studio, and to never have to see a cubicle again.

His mother pushes him in the right direction, one Sunday morning when Frank is complaining about work and he’s cooking pancakes for her in her own kitchen.

"Look at what you’re doing, Frankie." His mother is arranging plates, syrup, and butter on the table, wiping invisible crumbs into her hand and brushing them off into the sink.

Frank flips the blueberry pancake in the pan. "I’m making you breakfast. Aren’t I a good son?"

"Yes, dear, of course you are. But you’re cooking."

Frank suddenly understands what she is trying to say with her hands on her hips and her eyebrows arched. "I’m not going to cooking school," he says, too quickly. His mother gives him her "oh, honey, you’re still my little boy" look. "And I’m not working at a restaurant again."

"I know better than to talk about you and school," she says. "And don’t think I don’t remember how unhappy you were at the restaurant. Honey, I just want you to think about what you’d like to do when you wake up. If your day was yours to control, what would you do? That’s how you find what you’re meant to do. It’s not about calling or career paths. It’s about what gets you out of bed."

It finally takes Frank calling in sick in the middle of the week because he can't possibly face another excruciating phone call, getting totally restless watching the weather get greyer and greyer, and finally turning on the oven and opening up his cabinets to see what in the world that he could make that would be warm, smell good, and satisfy his urge to eat something huge and hearty to understand what his Mom was talking about. He calls her when he pulls the loaf of three-seed bread from the oven and tries to sound casual about it

Doesn't working at a bakery sound like a good job? He’s sure it’s hard work, but it’s not in an office, it’s making things for people instead of fixing their mistakes. Frank liked to work with his hands, and he could always try it, right, he could always see how it worked out. People did that for work, right?

His mother mentions that she thinks one of the Toros is a baker. Frank makes a few phone calls and Frank’s mother talks to Mrs. Toro at church and Frank doesn’t even get an interview but this is so unlike anything he’s done before that he’s not sure if he’s supposed to or not. He just gets a call from Ray that says, sure, they need help, and Ray’s boss is a good teacher and if Frank thinks this is what he wants to do, then they can help him learn.

Ray doesn’t talk about careers or callings when he gives Frank a quick tour of the kitchen, pointing out the on/off switch of the machines, where not to touch so you don’t burn your hand. Frank meets Bob, who shakes his hand, looks him up and down, and says, "Triple this recipe in your head," and rattles off what Frank thinks might be a cupcake recipe. He messes up the baking powder. "Gotta work on your fractions," Bob says, "You’ve just made six dozen cupcake-shaped rocks." But otherwise he’s done okay, or so he thinks, because Bob just nods and waves him away.

"Bob will teach you everything you need to know," Ray says with confidence.

"Bob the Baker?"

"Don't call him that," Ray says immediately.

"Don't call who what?" Bob shouts from the back. "Did that little asshole just call me Bob the Baker?"

Frank is ready to bolt for the door because Bob is so much bigger than he is, but Ray just grins and says, "Don't worry Bob, I won't let anyone call you a baker."

"That's not - " Bob emerges from the back room with a sack of flour on his shoulder, looking as though he might hoist it at both Ray and Frank at any moment. "I'm a baker. I'm just not Bob the Baker."

"Uh huh," Ray answers, completely agreeable.

"Got it," Frank adds, just in case.

"See?" Ray says as soon as Bob’s back is through the door. "Everything you needed to know."

It turns out that Bob the Baker is a workaholic. He wants Frank there every morning, and Frank feels like he's worked a whole day by the time he actually gets to work. But he finally feels like he’s doing something, like he has a purpose, that it’s worth learning to wake up four hours before sunrise every single day.

It takes Frank a while to get used to moving around in the small space without elbowing Bob in the ribs or having to duck to avoid Ray taking bread out of the oven. Frank’s small, but his movements are always a little wider, a little wilder, something his mother insisted was an old habit from when he was a kid, trying to overcompensate for his size and seem like he was taking up more space than he actually did.

Frank learns to read Bob and Ray’s non-verbal cues, learns to know which way Ray’s going to turn, just how fast Bob can toss several pounds of butter his way. And they learn to read Frank’s body language, too, Bob ducking out of the way just in time before Frank tries to slip between him and the fridge, Ray evading a rogue elbow when Frank pours cornmeal into the mixer.

Frank gets incredibly dirty, and not just his hands, but his neck, his hair, his arms, his ankles. Bob looks him up and down one day when Frank feel like he’s so covered in flour that he’s ghost-like, and says to Ray, "He’ll be great when we clean out the ovens."

"Are you saying that because I’m small?" Frank asks, trying to brush flour from his face and obviously making it worse because Bob is grinning.

"Not at all, Frank," Bob says. "Not at all."

Frank has just barely enough time to get home, clean up, and then speed to work. He’s cut it too close a couple of times, and had to call in once and say he was having car trouble, and so he starts keeping a change of clothes in his car because there’s no way he’s going into his cubicle covered in white dust, though he’s pretty sure half the office wouldn’t notice.

But Frank loves every minute of it. After a morning at the bakery, talking to customers who can’t print from their email doesn’t seem like such a soul-sucking experience. No matter what kind of day Frank has dealing with annoying customers, he still has the bakery the next morning, and if something can make him get out of bed at 3 in the morning and blast the defrost in his car for ten minutes before he can see out his windshield, it has to be good. Frank tries to take it for what it is, just something new he’s doing, but he can’t help factoring mornings at the bakery into his becoming-an-Etsy-artist fantasy, sometimes mailing packs of dinner rolls with his mysterious clay sculptures.

Ray asks what the hell he’s daydreaming about, one Monday morning when Frank is thinking about what it would be like to never have to walk anyone through rebooting their computer or power-cycling their modem, instead kneading dough forever and ever, baking hundreds of loaves of bread a week. Frank startles and sloshes some of the yeasty milk in the mixer down his pants.

"I wasn’t daydreaming," Frank says, trying to wipe away as much of the mix as he can.

"Sure," Ray says, laughing.

"If the bread doesn’t rise because you spilled too much of the yeast, you’re going to stay and make the whole batch again." Bob calls out.

The bread is perfectly fine, just as Ray’s whispered assurance said it would be, but Frank stays late anyway, until the bakery opens and the first customers come in, because Frank gets to sell them their breakfast, their before-work snacks, bread for their families, for lunch and dinner and an afternoon snack with peanut butter and it’s just like his day dreams, until he’s so late for work that he knows he’s going to have to try to wash up in the office bathroom instead of going home for the shower and new clothes he really needs. The change of clothes in his car is both incredibly wrinkled and cold.

Frank sticks his head under the sink in the overly elegant office bathroom filled with rich maroon tile, brass light fixtures and scallop-edged mirrors, all signs that this office was made for bigger things than tech support. Frank always feels like he ought to stand up straighter, be extra polite when he's in here, tuck his hands in his pockets to hide his tattoos that are reflected everywhere in the highly polished surfaces.

Frank splashes the warm water on his face and towels off with what he thinks is the cleanest corner of his t-shirt and when he opens his eyes, he sees someone else wandering into the bathroom with the same idea, half-asleep, dirty and definitely not dressed for work. He'd think it was someone lost if he didn't see the ID card, and then, once the guy pushes his hair back from his face, Frank realizes he looks vaguely familiar.

"Hey," Frank says, bunching up his t-shirt and throwing it into his bag.

"Hey," the kid says, automatically, and then he looks at Frank, taking in that he is shirtless, and says, "Party? I’m Mikey."

"Frank," Frank answers, and then Mikey's eyes fall on Frank's jeans, the whole left side covered with the remnants of the bowl of yeasty milk that he clumsily spilled.

"Some party," Mikey says dryly, and fishes in his bag for his own crumpled but work-appropriate shirt.

"I work at a bakery," Frank says, suddenly shy, and Mikey turns to him and gives him a nod, encouraging. "I'm a baker's assistant, I guess. In training, really," Frank says, slicking his hair back nervously.

"Cool," Mikey says. "I fell asleep on my friend's couch after a really intense game of Scrabble."

Frank isn't sure if Mikey’s for real, but he laughs, and Mikey gives him this half smile, then takes of his glasses and rubs his eyes.

Frank buttons his shirt, knots his tie and rolls his shoulders and says, once Mikey has his work shirt on, too, "We're almost early. Want a coffee?"

"Fuck," Mikey says in agreement, and as easy as that, Frank has a friend at work.

Frank hasn't really bonded with anyone at work before, but he hasn’t had anyone he really likes from the very first instant, the way he feels about Mikey. Frank likes him even more when Mikey talks about work and Frank finds out not only is he dissatisfied – everyone here is – but that Mikey dreams of doing something different. Mikey has a fantasy world, too, one where he disappears to when he’s half-asleep walking to work, when he’s zoning out on a customer, and it involves vague ideas about writing databases and being a consultant and when Mikey shrugs and tells him he just knows he’s meant to be doing something else, Frank understands.

Frank and Mikey meet outside for coffee and cigarette breaks and sometimes in the bathroom where Frank’s trying to scrub off crusted things he can’t identify and Mikey’s trying to make himself appear more awake than actually is. Frank can talk to Mikey about caring about how centered the swirl in the raisin bread is and Mikey considers this a valid point and does not think Frank’s a total wacko, and Mikey can tell Frank about the architecture of a really complicated query or the back end of levels in a video game and Frank thinks it’s cool and knows that Mikey is really excited about it, not trying to show-off.

Frank looks at Etsy, and sometimes the Weather Channel website, but mostly Etsy, every single hour he is at his cubicle. He sits there and stares at the Recently Posted Items, the cascading list, updated nearly every minute. Sometimes the list updates so fast that Frank hardly has time to click on the picture before it slips down the list and out of sight.

He stops paying attention to his first phone call of the day as a tiny thumbnail picture of a birch tree appears and Frank clicks on it. It’s not a photograph, as he’d first thought, but an oil painting, realistic and not at the same time. Frank reads the description, "4x4 original painting, not a print. The word "birch" is thought to have derived from the Sanskrit word bhurga meaning a 'tree whose bark is used to write upon'."

Frank looks closer at the picture, and he notices that several of the leaves aren’t actually leaves at all, but hands, holding feather quills, attached to the tree braches at the wrist.

"Hello? Hello?" The customer shouts his ear.

Frank startles, and then stutters back into helping the customer, idly prompting him with words like, "server" and "network" and "power supply," but as soon as he hangs up, Frank clicks on the link that takes him to the artist’s Etsy home page. He’s called Grey Award, and there’s a huge illustration of a tattered, grey ribbon with a masked pair of eyes across the banner of the page, like its won first place in an eerie contest. The seller has over 60 listings, and Frank looks through them all – more paintings, all beautiful and all unsettling, like there’s something lurking in the background in the world of the painting. But it’s not all paintings. There are some felt creatures, hand sewn, out of some fairytale land, a couple of scarves with little bone tassels that say, "Back by popular demand," some customizable stationary with various complicated borders, two acrylic painted wood blocks. Frank can’t figure it out, there’s just so much, and it’s all awesome, all bizarre, all unlike anything Frank’s seen.

He wants to buy something but he doesn’t even know what, it’s all too awesome, and some of the larger paintings are more than he can really afford, and when Frank is finally off the phone, he feels a rush of boldness and decides to write to the seller, just to tell him that he’d buy something if he could decide, but that he couldn’t not say anything, you know, just had to say how awesome he thinks it all the art is. He clicks send and goes out for a smoke break and then realizes the word for what he’s written is gushing and the artist is totally going to think he's a psycho.

There’s a reply when Frank comes in after finishing his cigarette. It’s a thank you twice as long as Frank’s message and it’s not bizarre at all, not like the art at all. Frank isn’t sure what he was expecting, metaphors about skeletons and hands on birch trees, but it’s a genuine, earnest thank you, for appreciating the art, and for taking the time to say something.

There’s another shorter message that follows, and it asks if Frank has, like, you know, a favorite plant, or tree, or flower or something, and if he feels okay about it, to send his address and the artist will make him something, don’t worry about paying.

Frank doesn’t know if he has a favorite plant, but he’ll find one if this guy is asking. There’s a tree with bright red berries outside the parking lot to the bakery and Frank asks Bob the next morning what it’s called. Bob answers, "Winterberry," like it’s obvious, then stops dead and asks Frank if he ate them, and only goes back to his cinnamon rolls when Frank assures him he’s just curious and has no interest in eating the berries.

Frank stays late the bakery again, through the start of the season’s first snow flurries, and changes in the elegant bathroom. Mikey - who has taken to just meeting Frank in there, Frank’s lateness has become such a habit - sticks his glasses under the faucet and dries them on his t-shirt while Frank ties his tie in the mirror. Mikey puts his glasses back on, nods as Frank straightens his tie and says, "There’s a party. My house, tonight."

"Cool," Frank says and means it, because it’s been too long since he was at anything resembling a party, and because Mikey’s a neat guy, sharp and soft around the edges at the same time.

"Here," Mikey says, handing Frank a scrap of paper with his address on it. Frank tucks it into the front pocket of his dress shirt and for some reason this makes Mikey crack up. "Come whenever," Mikey says.

Frank still isn't sure what kind of party Mikey would have, drinking or board games or both, and so he shows up with two baguettes under his arm and a six-pack of beer and figures he's covered.

There are a few guys from work, a few guys Mikey introduces as friends, and "Gee, my brother," Mikey waves cheerily to a guy dressed all in black on the couch who Frank thinks is knitting. "He lives here," Mikey says, like it explains everything.

Frank finds out later that it really does.

"I just do it to piss my brother off," Gee says, when Frank runs into him in the kitchen and has to ask if he really is knitting what looks like might be a scarf, which he is test-measuring around his own neck.

"You knit to piss him off?"

"I knit at his parties to piss him off. Pink yarn especially. I could stay in my room, but then I'd miss all the fun. And I wouldn't have known there was bread. Did you bring the bread? Mikey said he worked with a guy who was a baker."

"Doesn't pay the bills."

"I know!" Gee says, like he tried to make it as a baker once, too. "It's amazing the shit you come up with to make money when you really just want to get paid for making things, you know, with your heart and your hands and, man, I don't know, sometimes I get so angry that people don't care about creativity and creation and the things we can just make out of things other people make, like the old way, the way people used to have to do it, trading things that they made for things other people made."

Gee is totally into it, his eyes shining, his hands waving around, and he takes a bite of the bread and says, "Fucking fantastic man. You made this, and you brought it to our house and that's fucking awesome." He takes another bite and chews thoughtfully, and then reaches out for Frank's hand, to squeeze his fingers, and it's an odd, intimate gesture, but Frank understands. Gee is not only thanking him for the bread, but thanking his very fingers, and Frank grins and squeezes back.

"I'm Gerard, by the way," he says, opening up the fridge and lighting up in the dark kitchen with bright yellow light and letting out a big draft of chilly, celery-scented air.

"Frank," he says, although Gerard's half inside the fridge, now, and Frank isn't sure he hears.

"Want a Coke?" Gerard says, emerging with two soda cans. Frank's got a beer open somewhere, but he nods and takes the soda, because he wants to keep talking with Gerard, wants to watch him be comfortable in his own home even when it's full of strangers.

And then there's a commotion which Frank thinks might be a game of tag and Mikey runs around Gerard in a tight circle like he's playing ring around the rosies but then Frank realizes Gerard is now wrapped up in pink yarn, and Mikey runs off, practically cackling and once Gerard extracts himself from the temporary binding he tears off after his brother, shouting furious insults about Mikey's clothing choices but he's got a smile on his face and Frank thinks maybe he's walked into an all-out brotherly war.

A bunch more people show up and then someone hauls out an Atari 2600 and Frank loses sight of Gerard and he still hasn't seen him when it's time to leave and so he asks someone, who points upstairs. Frank gets halfway up the flight of stairs and sees a huge painting on the wall and then two doors and an open bathroom, and Frank turns around and walks back down because this is someone's house, and he doesn't think it's right to chase down a guy he just met when he's in his own bedroom.

So instead Frank looks at the painting, rich thick veins of orange and red, like a pile of leaves a kid just leapt into, and the longer he looks, the more he becomes convinced that the wild, expressive, talkative man he met in the kitchen had to have made this. There’s just no question, and he stands there until someone rushes up past him to the bathroom and then Frank finds Mikey, says thanks and tells him he has to get up early, which he does, and sneaks out into the night.

Frank lies in bed, eyes heavy, having checked his alarm twice - every time he had to set his clock for 3 AM he thought he might reconsider this career move - the sheet so high over his chin that every time he breathes out, it flutters. Frank likes this time, because when his shoulders relax and his jaw unclenches and he traces his newest tattoo with his fingers under the cuff of his t-shirt, he doesn't feel alone. He knows there are artists out there, making things, and that maybe, just maybe, he's one of them, and he falls asleep thinking of Mikey and Gerard's refrigerator, the ketchup bottle on the door, the butter slot, because it seemed to him the clearest picture of what home meant that he'd seen in a long time.

It’s freezing when he gets up, and he pulls his hoodie over his head, tucks his hands inside his sleeves and starts up the car. The best thing about getting up and driving this early is the quiet on the streets, quieter than Frank has ever seen New Jersey, like the times when he was a little kid and he’d go outside on the porch and look out, trying to imagine the neighbors asleep, like the whole world was paused, and then a car would scream by and the feeling would be broken. But Frank feels it now, every morning, half-awake, drinking his coffee, rolling his shoulders, rubbing the inside of his hands, warm up exercises for what’s coming next.

The thing about Ray is that he had been one of those people Frank knew without really knowing, one of those kids who was always at summer BBQs and cousin’s birthday parties and who he’d famously gotten into a water gun fight with one February when they were in high school right before Frank got pneumonia. But if you’d asked Frank before he started at the bakery, he wouldn’t have been able to tell you where Ray lives, if he has a girlfriend, what he likes to do.

Bob doesn’t talk while he is working, except to show Frank something new or scold him for doing something wrong, but Ray talks, the same way Frank remembers when they’d seen each other in their backyards during some church get-together, catching up with a shrug, sneaking cigarettes. Ray doesn’t go for small talk, which is a relief for Frank, who is terrible at it. Ray just launches into a story, whatever he is thinking. And that’s how Frank learns things he never would have thought to ask about, how Ray met Bob ("The baker’s world is a fucking small one, Iero.") what happened when Ray moved out of New Jersey for a year ("Let’s just say that it involved a Christmas tree fire, a month of making every flavor of crème brulee you can imagine, and a girl whose name rhymed with Fairfax.") and what his vision for the bakery is, ("I thought someday we could have sandwiches, but I don’t want to smell deli meat all day.")

Ray tells stories about Bob, too; the time he chased the firefighters out with the burned loaf of bread because they’d taken so long to respond that he insisted his bakery could have burned down if there was a real fire. Who Bob’s favorite customers are. How they’d only ever had one other person who worked here and she was a pastry chef from the city who, as Ray put it, "wasn’t ever going to work out though she gave it a damn good try."

The first hour goes by without much thought, all apron ties and lights and following Bob’s instructions, trying not to trip over anything, or trip Ray in the small space. The next hour, when the ovens are really going, when it’s time to make donut frosting and pastry cream, sift enormous bags of powdered sugar, Frank feels like he finally wakes up, feels his morning really begin, feels like the sun has risen even though it’s still too early. And that’s when Frank remembers, every day, how much he loves what he’s doing, how much he was missing this in his life. How it feels like he is accomplishing something, for real, every morning, before his real workday starts. He isn’t even getting paid for this, except in bread, but that makes sense, too. Until he learns, Bob says. Never anything specific. Just that. Until he learns it all.

When the package from Grey Award arrives, the return address is in the same state. A Jersey kid, he thinks. Fucking of course. It’s a palm-sized piece of copper wire around iron maybe, and all these red berries, with tiny little faces, some angry, some grinning, some looking shifty or bored or lost. It’s amazing, and Frank will never look at the winterberry tree the same way again.

There's a business card in the package with his logo, grey card stock, a miniature grey ribbon, with a skull and uneven stitching that says "First Place." Frank thinks the whole damn thing is fucking unbelievable.

He feels exhilarated, connected. A real artist, and who sent Frank real art. He sends another note to Grey Award, thanking him, raving about how awesome the winterberry faces are, and Grey award writes back almost immediately, going on and on about how much it means that Frank likes it. It's the most awesome exchange Frank has had in years, and it’s entirely over the computer.

Frank finds himself talking to Ray nearly as much as Ray talks, about whatever he’d seen on Etsy the night before, about Grey Award, how he likes mornings a whole lot more than he used to, about Mikey’s party, about meeting Gerard.

"He’s got this way about him," Frank says, making a gesture rendered useless by the fact that he is elbow-deep in French bread dough.

"He’s probably an artist," Ray says, and Frank grins at him across the counter.

"You’re an artist, Toro," Bob says, "Look at those fucking Napoleons. That’s art right there, Frank, you paying attention?"

Frank always is.

"Thanks for the bread," Mikey says on Monday, as they’re standing in line for coffee. The woman in front of them appears to be ordering for her whole office. "Gerard made French toast. I forget he can cook. He’s home enough he should be able to make his brother dinner."

"Where does he work?"

Mikey shrugs. "He does art."

Frank knew it, even before he saw the painting in the hall, even before Ray said it, just from hearing Gerard talk.

"It's pretty cool," Mikey says, and since Mikey's the kind of guy who gets bored turning his Windows Media PC into an X-Box gaming station, Frank knows it's high praise.

Frank gets more packages from Grey Award. The first that comes is a stuffed animal. Or a felted, hand-sewn giraffe-like creature the size of his hand with zebra – or prison? - stripes and vampire fangs. It’s the ugliest, most adorable thing Frank has ever seen. There’s a note around the giraffe-zebra-vampire’s neck, tied with the same grey ribbon on the Grey Award card. It reads, "Thanks again for the nice things you said. You’re the opposite of a vampire."

Frank puzzles over that for the rest of the night. In the morning, he asks Ray.

"What do you think the opposite of a vampire is?"

"Someone very alive?" Ray says, and then after a minute, he says, "Someone who gives back instead of takes?"

And that’s the answer. Frank thinks about the creature, about Grey Award, and feels something new bubbling inside, like a surprise, but one that’s been long in coming.

Later the same week, he gets a pair of socks from Grey Award, knit with a design across the toe that is unmistakably blood spatter. There’s no note this time, only a scrap of paper that says, "Everyone needs socks."

"So listen," Mikey says, a week after the party, when they're standing in the cold, holding their coffees and smoking cigarettes.

"Yeah?" Frank is adjusting his new pair of fingerless gloves that he just bought from Etsy. He thinks that afternoon he might write to Grey Award and ask if he’s ever made fingerless gloves before.

"I think my brother likes you."

Frank stops playing with his gloves and stares at Mikey. "What?" he says, and then they both wince as a police car, sirens blaring, zooms past. "What?" Frank says again, even though there's no question how Mikey means it.

"So you want to come over for dinner?" Frank stares at Mikey.

Frank nods, and he’s not really sure if he’s agreeing to dinner or if he’s just shaking his head clear, but Mikey takes it as a yes and tells him to come over around 7: 00. ""Maybe bring some bread. He won't stop talking about the bread."

When Frank thinks about being back in the kitchen, thinks about Gerard exclaiming about bread and handmade things, thinks about Gerard’s bedroom at the top of the stairs and the way Gerard touched his fingers. Frank realizes Mikey never expected him to say no, because Mikey’s a whole lot more observant than he seems, more observant than Frank, for sure, at least about himself.

Frank stops at the bakery before going over to the Way brothers’ for dinner, knocking on the back door because it’s after 6:00 and the front shop is closed.

"Did you lose your key?" Bob asks when he opens the door, and then, immediately, his eyes brightening, "You here to work?"

"Nah," Frank says, "Just here to pick up some bread." Bob looks disappointed, then proceeds to ignore him.

"Tell your Mom hello," Ray says. Ray’s hair is falling from the ponytail in frizzy curls.

"I will, but I’m not going to see her. I’m going to dinner"

"A man who brings his own bread to dinner," Ray says, mock impressed.

"I’m going over to Mikey’s. Gerard liked the bread I brought to the party."

"Gerard," Ray says in the same mocking tone as before.

"Shut up," Frank says and Ray just nods and says, "Huh," like that explains everything, which it probably does. Ray just looks at him, waiting.

"Okay, maybe Mikey said Gerard couldn’t stop talking about the bread."

"Couldn’t stop talking about you?’ Ray says. Frank shrugs. "Huh," Ray says again.

"If you’re here, you can at least frost these cupcakes," Bob says and shoves a pastry tube into Frank’s hands.

"This man’s going on a date," Ray says, and Frank swears at him.

"Frost fast so you won’t be late, then," Bob says, and Frank finishes the tray in half an hour and then escapes, with a loaf of raisin bread.

It appears that Gerard can cook, as Mikey claimed, but dinner is breakfast, and so Frank begins to suspect that this is Gerard's area of expertise. There are pancakes, that's the first thing Frank smells, and as soon as Frank is in the door, Gerard is handing him a tiny silver dollar pancake, shoving it into his mouth, really, saying, "Taste test. Is it ready? Do you think it's ready?" Frank gets a taste of Gerard's finger, tongue and teeth scraping over the tip. Frank can hardly think about the pancake, but he manages to nod, and Gerard smiles hugely, and then looks away, rushing back to the stove. "Sit, sit," Gerard says, "Mikey, get the man some coffee. Do you drink coffee, Frankie?"

"I do drink coffee," Frank says, and Mikey waves slightly to point out the coffee maker, and then the cabinet with the cups, while Gerard's completely focused on the griddle.

Frank fills his cup, then asks Gerard if the cup nearest him is his. Frank has to say his name twice, Gerard is so intent on the pancakes, but when he responds, and Frank fills his cup, the smile Gerard gives him is bigger even than when Frank approved of a mouthful of pancake and finger. Frank files that away - coffee higher priority than sucking fingers. And then he shakes his head, trying to clear away the thoughts that are piling up faster and faster. He never knew that kitchens were such a turn-on for him.

Gerard finally notices that Frank has brought a loaf of bread, and he descends on it. "You made this!" he says, slicing into it. "That's fucking awesome." And then he gets this very serious expression on his face and Frank is worried that maybe Gerard is allergic to raisins, or maybe there's a fingertip inside the bread. He stupidly looks down at his hands. Gerard comes over, very close, standing nearly over Frank. "Do I toast it?" Gerard asks with utmost seriousness. From the corner of his eye, Frank sees Mikey cover his eyes and shake his head.

Frank laughs and says, "Whatever you want, Gee." Gerard immediately takes a huge bite out of the piece he's just sliced off. He closes his eyes and chews.

Mikey reaches across the table and smacks Frank's elbow. "He likes you," Mikey mouths, and Frank tries to keep a straight face as he sips his coffee.

"So I think I'm gonna quit," Mikey says, and Gerard looks down at his plate, stirring the last piece of pancake through the puddle of sauce in a spiral.

"What are you gonna do?" Frank asks.

Mikey just shrugs. Gerard has clearly held his tongue as long as possible, because he lets his fork clatter onto his plate and says, "You're great at computers, Mikey, you're fucking great. You don't have to work at this job, but you shouldn't give up computers. You should be a developer, you could build databases, you could build things, the inside stuff, the everything and, and..." Gerard is clearly not as gifted with computers as Mikey, and finishes off with a gesture roughly the shape of information traveling from one place to another. "You shouldn't give up what you're good at."

Mikey just shrugs again at Gerard's impassioned speech. "I mean, you've got your bakery," Mikey says to Frank, and Frank's about to say that being a baker in training isn't exactly the same thing as following your dreams, but Mikey says, "I don't know, I just want to do something that makes sense." But it seems that's the end of the conversation, because Mikey says, "He who didn't cook does the dishes," and starts gathering up the plates. "Guests excluded," he says to Frank, and Gerard grabs Frank's coffee cup and retreats up the stairs, turning halfway to make sure Frank is following him.

Gerard's room is not covered in art, although having seen Gerard cook, Frank hadn't expected it. Frank's found you can learn a lot about someone from how they cook - not their personality, so much, as how they keep the rest of their lives. If they make a mess in the kitchen, they'll have a messy house, that sort of thing, but more subtle. Like Gerard is meticulous with the pancakes, focused - they didn't have to be perfect, he just wanted his full attention on them. And so Frank sees a shirt on the floor, a stack of plain canvases, cluttered but not messy, the full actualization of his mother's rule, "Everything has a place and everything in its place."

"So, Mikey told you I did art? I mean, I'm an artist. I need to learn to say that, Mikey says. I'm always giving him advice about work and vision and that sort of thing but I can't say that I'm an artist. It's just that it's pretentious you know, has all these associations with it. It's not really about who I am, anyway, it's about what I make. Photography's a pretty good way to make money, and I'm not bad at it, but I don't really, like, see all of my art that way. I make all sorts of things, and - I've been talking this whole time, huh?" Gerard stops and rolls his shoulders back. "I do that when I'm nervous."

Frank steps forward into the room, watching Gerard, who seems to be getting more nervous the longer Frank doesn't say anything. Frank is nervous, too, but the good kind of nervous, the wild thrumming in his heart and in his hands. The excitement. The attraction. Standing in Gerard's bedroom, wanting to step closer, and closer, wanting to feel Gerard's nervous smile up close, against his own mouth.

"Show me something," Frank says, and it’s the right thing to say, because Gerard's nervousness, his run-for-the-door look is gone, immediately replaced with the same light in his eyes, the distracted, excited look he’d seen on Gerard’s face the night of the party.

Gerard sits on the floor and so Frank sits down next to him, cross-legged, their knees touching, like this is a séance, but Gerard has seated himself within arms reach of a box of knit animals with strange faces and weird eyes, like they were half-through a mirror; art cards, of abandoned houses and bleak winter sunsets and Mikey's glasses; charcoal drawings that look like they are centuries old. Gerard really does seem to make everything – painted wood blocks, blood-red silk scarves, stitched paper dolls made out of dot matrix printer paper.

Frank is mesmerized by Gerard's descriptions, what he feels when he starts something, how it's different when he finishes, how he gets ideas, how he started making art, how much he really cares for Mikey - it's so much at once, and Frank loves it, but he's also relieved when Mikey calls them down to see Karate Kid on the Disney Channel.

On the couch, though, Mikey’s knee is tucked slightly over Frank’s thigh, and Gerard’s shoulder pressed up against his, and Frank wants to sink into the two of them. He wants to close his eyes, to wake up later, still here, pressed between these two - Mikey, who always makes him laugh and seems so at ease in everything he does, and Gerard, who isn’t actually watching the movie anymore, but drawing in a sketchbook. It’s full of sharp lines Frank can’t quite make out. He’s watching the concentration on Gerard’s face, the way his eyes dart across the paper while Mister Miyagi orders Daniel to paint the fence. Gerard’s eyes dart up to Frank’s face and he breathes in fast through his nose when he sees that Frank is looking, but then Frank smiles and Gerard’s face lights up and he shoves aside the sketchbook, turns back to the movie, and if Frank’s not mistaken, Gerard actually presses closer to him.

At the bakery the next morning, Bob announces to Ray and Frank, as though there’s a bigger audience, that Frank has been with them a whole month, and therefore, Bob insists that Frank start learning how to bake everything they sell.

"I don't want to make fucking cream horns," Frank grumbles

"Well there's the door," Bob says, without even looking up at Frank. He is filling a pastry tube artfully.


"I mean it. You learn everything I decide to teach you or you leave."

"Fine," Frank says, picking up a pastry tube next to Bob.

"That's the kind of enthusiasm I like to hear in a trainee," Ray says, coming through the door with his arms full of a stack of baking sheets. "I take it we're teaching you pastries first?"

"Cream horns." Bob says

"Get ready for excitement," Ray says.

"You're not leaving until you make forty perfect ones in a row. Perfect!" Bob shouts and Ray only laughs.

Frank makes forty perfect cream horns in a row by 9 AM, which means he has barely enough time to straighten his tie in the reflection of the glass door and it isn't until Mikey appears at his cubicle, ready for a smoke break, that he notices he still has frosting under his fingernails.

"That’s awesome," Mikey says, when Frank tries to scrub the frosting away with a tissue. "Your double life.""

Frank eventually learns to like making pastries, or at least to feel satisfied when the flaky dough turns into perfect rectangles, which he fills one after another with red jelly and cream. Bob looks over his shoulder for a whole row before Frank notices, and then, when he turns to see Bob's expression, Bob's turning and walking away, but he's nodding, so Frank knows he's done right. Frank really likes his double life, or at least half of it.

He also likes the part of his life where it’s become routine to show up at Gerard and Mikey’s house after work.

Frank finds out that Gerard is not all about rambles and frenzy. Gerard, it turns out, is a fantastic storyteller. He holds court, Frank thinks, as Gerard gestures with small circles, grabs Frank's knee to emphasize a point, doesn't stutter or redirect mid-sentence. Even Mikey stops whatever he’s doing to listen to these stories he lived or has heard a million times before, about growing up, the time Mikey ate a whole can of Manwich sauce with a straw, about their grandmother, who Gerard says gave him whatever talent he has.

Frank also finds out that when Gerard and Mikey fight, it’s like a wind storm, like the roof coming off, slow creaks and cracks until everything just rips apart. They don’t shout, that’s the worst thing, and Frank had a girlfriend who fought like that, all nasty looks and barbs and never the satisfaction of a big blow-up.

One night he shows up in the middle of an argument, but he doesn’t realize until he’s been there an hour, because it’s nothing they’re saying, there’s just something wrong in the air between them.

Mikey gets a phone call, and he looks relieved to escape.

Frank just looks at Gerard, who says, "Sorry, that’s probably my fault," and starts to make a pot of coffee. "I’m just worried about him. His future. Older brother shit."

"Is he into something bad?" Frank asks. "I can talk to him…"

"Nah, it’s my own issue," Gerard says. "Mikey’s a good kid, don’t worry about him."

And that’s the end of it. Frank decides he’ll ask Mikey tomorrow, though he wonders if he won’t get the same response from Mikey - the brushed aside, let’s change the subject reaction. He wonders if he and Gerard won’t even have identical expressions.

Mikey’s still on the phone when Frank follows Gerard up to his room. Gerard has this new paint he’s really excited about and he wants to show Frank how well it mixes and Frank really has no idea why you’d mix paint or what mixing well means, but Gerard’s excited and it’s catching. It’s exhilarating to watch his face light up when he gets excited like this and Frank can’t help but go along.

Gerard gets his hands all full of paint by the end of the mixing demonstration, and it’s only when Mikey walks by, still on the phone, comes back with a box of cereal, and disappears into his room that Gerard’s paint exhilaration fades. Gerard doesn’t say anything, only wipes his hands on an already dirty-looking towel hung on the back of the door, and Frank thinks better of bringing it up again. So he asks Gerard what he’s going to do with the paint and that starts Gerard off rambling again.

They're sitting on the floor of Gerard's bedroom, Gerard's feet bare, rubbing his heels back and forth on the carpet, and Gerard sets down his coffee under his knee. Frank thinks one wild Gerard-like move and the coffee's going to spill right over, and then he thinks the carpet has probably seen so much spilled coffee it doesn't matter. Gerard is talking about wearable art when he stops suddenly, springs forward, onto his hands and knees and gets all serious as he looks at Frank's arms.

"There's art all over you," Gerard says, low, and his hair is falling in his eyes. Frank knows that if you have tattoos, people ask to see them. It’s not so much an invasion of privacy, Frank thinks, just the assumption that people make that if it’s on the outside, they can see it, that it’s ok for them to ask. And Frank's got a lot of tattoos, a lot where people can see them, so he's used to it. But Gerard doesn't ask to see them. "Tell me," Gerard says, sitting down again, but much closer to Frank, Gerard's knees almost touching Frank's thigh.

Not "show me" but "tell me," like Frank has a story he's been keeping from Gerard and Gerard can't bear not knowing anymore. "Tell me about your arm. This one," Gerard says, touching Frank's left arm, his blunt fingernails against Frank's skin right where the ink of a spiral ends and the normal color of his skin shows through the designs.

Gerard's fingers are gone a second later, but Frank can still feel the spot tingling where Gerard’s fingers had been, his heart suddenly pounding. Gerard is crab-walking backward to reach for his coffee, taking a long sip. Frank catches his breath, swallows and tries to figure out where to start, how to explain some of the things he usually doesn't have to find words for, how to stop thinking about Gerard so close, Gerard’s eyes all over his body, Gerard’s fingers and nails and mouth and everything. Gerard is looking at him, though, expectant, and then suddenly his face falls.

"You don't have to Frankie, I'm sorry, it's really personal isn't it? I didn't mean to ask, it's just so gorgeous and I'm always looking at it and wondering what’s going up your arm and...."

And Frank catches his fingers under the hem of his t-shirt and lifts it over his head. Gerard falls silent instantly. Frank drops his shirt at his side, runs a hand through his hair, and shrugs at Gerard, whose eyes are wide. Frank's not sure what made him do it, and he feels suddenly foolish, shirtless, awkward, intensely aware of the bedroom door still open, the yellow hallway light, and the thing Gerard had said a moment before, about wondering what’s going up Frank’s arm.

"You're beautiful, Frankie," Gerard says, his voice very quiet and Frank can't breathe, because Gerard is looking at him like he's art. Frank holds his arms out in front of him, out then in, puts them down at his side so Gerard can see his chest, and then gets to his knees to show Gerard his back.

He thinks that if Gerard touches him, he might lose control, might just throw himself at Gerard and embarrass himself completely.

Gerard scrambles closer, looking at him, at every inch of his skin, tilting his head to get different angles, making impressed sounds and thoughtful hums and taking his goddamn time. Gerard gets up close when Frank's back is to him, Gerard tilting forward to see the curve of Frank's shoulder, and when his hair brushes across Frank's back , Frank shivers, because it's so much, Gerard that close. Frank’s fingers trembling, his eyes squeezed shut, and he can’t stop shivering.

"Oh my god, you must be cold," Gerard says, and grabs Frank's shirt and hands it to him, looking completely apologetic. "Here, have my coffee," Gerard says, and hands Frank that, too. Frank takes a sip, because Gerard looks like he's afraid Frank is going to die of exposure, and because he doesn’t know how to say he isn’t shivering because he’s cold.

Frank pulls his shirt on, and realizes he hasn't even said a word about the tattoos like Gerard asked, hasn’t told a story, hasn’t said a single thing since he’s taken his shirt off in Gerard’s bedroom and now he thinks Gerard feels awkward for asking, more awkward for staring. Frank takes another sip of the coffee, hands it to Gerard, and says, "Thanks," and then, "Listen, I've been meaning to tell you," and he launches into the story of Grey Award, and Etsy, and what it’s come to mean to him, what he’s wanted to tell Gerard about since they first met, how much he loves this guy’s shit, this guy’s mind, the things he thinks about, the way he sees things.

Gerard is enraptured, interrupting to ask what Frank thought of each painting he mentions, what they reminded him of, what he remembered with his eyes closed, and Frank can tell he really understands.

And the thing is, by the time Frank gets a hold of himself, he realizes he's been talking about art and love and meaning and things too big for Frank to even express to himself for twenty minutes. His mouth is dry and his skin is flushed and he’s half-hard and shivering again.

And Gerard looks worse – better, Frank thinks - his mouth open, his eyes wide, his pupils dilated, his legs spread open and his hands tight fists in his lap. He looks like he's been thoroughly kissed, and as soon as Frank thinks that, he can't get the picture out of his head, being on top of Gerard, spreading his legs wide open, shoving his tongue down his throat.

"You should try and meet him," Gerard says, a little breathy.

"Fuck, no," Frank says, 'What would I say?"

"What you just did," Gerard says, and Frank ducks his head and laughs.

"No, no way. The guy would think I'm some fucking nut."

Gerard doesn’t say anything, only shrugs, but then Frank notices Gerard’s eyes are on the blood-spatter socks, and Frank wiggles his toes. Gerard stands up so quickly he would have spilled his coffee if the cup wasn’t empty. ""Want more coffee?" Gerard asks, and Frank follows him downstairs.

Part 2


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 14th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
Oh, yay, you posted it!! \0/ !!

*prints out for bedtime reading*
Feb. 15th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
Feb. 14th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
EEEE! Bookmarked!
Feb. 15th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
Feb. 14th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
you posted you posted!

i'm going to dance around in excitement for a few minutes and then i'm going to read it all over again.

Feb. 15th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC)
You are the most awesome beta ever. SRSLY.
Feb. 14th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, so good! You capture the boys' characters so well. Off to read more!
Feb. 15th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC)
Thanks! Yay!
Feb. 15th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
ack, ack, first time reading lj in days! Can't wait to read this omg ilu *happy flaily dance* ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Feb. 15th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC)
Feb. 17th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
renne recommended this sorry and I am so glad she did.

I loved how the story slowly unfolded itself with people finding love and also finding their way, with the jobs they have.

This story left me with a smile on my face. Thank you, for writing it.
Feb. 17th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it!
Feb. 18th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
really amazing
ok, this was one of the most brilliant stories I've ever read in my many years of slash fanfiction addiction. beautiful. i'm also a reference librarian by trade, and I love to bake for a hobby, and frank/gerard are my OTP, and this story was so good I didn't want it to end. thank you for making me smile.
Dec. 31st, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
Re: really amazing
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that.
Mar. 1st, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
This story is so utterly charming!

"Thanks again for the nice things you said. You’re the opposite of a vampire."

This just did me in.

The details on the art are outstanding. Are you yourself a visual artist or just a visionary writer? Just writer to writer, I'm extremely impressed by the depth of emotion combined with the details of this story. It's rare in any fiction to find that combo (fan produced or pro).

Gerard's beautiful erraticness and flighty fluttering and Deepness is so superlative. I am trying to leave you the leave of fb you deserve for this quirky piece of art, but I'm not up to c&p every line I like as I would normally do as I'm exhausted and I feel very bad about that since you deserve it. "Do I toast it?" that moment is pure YES!

Holy shit. You should file the names off and submit this as a gay romance novel--I am not kidding, email me if you want to.
Dec. 31st, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. What a wonderful comment, I really appreciate it.
Jun. 16th, 2008 11:19 am (UTC)
I saw this on a rec list and just so you know, it was a brillant. read. Thank you.
Dec. 31st, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Jul. 8th, 2008 08:28 am (UTC)
Oh my I love it. It's a story that's so much bigger then itself, and it really makes you think about everything in general. You get a good feel for the characters, and I really think that everyone who reads it can sympathise with them for wanting to do somthing more meaningful with their lives, for searching for somthing that makes them feel more alive.

Dec. 31st, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!
Dec. 15th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
What a super comment. Thanks for saying what I didn't have the words for.
Jul. 30th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
Hi i know the post is late but I just read your story and thought I was magnificant. After a really crappy crappy day, it made me smile. The characters were beautifully developed. I felt part of the story.
Dec. 31st, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Nov. 9th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
I've read this story three times now, without commenting (because I'm a bitch like that) and it occured to me on the latest read through that you would probably enjoy knowing how much I totally loved this story (if only because I'm a loyal ETSY person as well). Thank you for writing this.

Confession time: this is actually the very first MCR story I read, when I didn't know who they were. I'd clicked here because I read your BDen coming out story and I liked it (and didn't comment) and found this gem and yeah. Now I've got it favourited and everything!

So thank you.
Dec. 31st, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you for commenting and telling me! I really enjoyed writing about etsy and art and love.
Feb. 25th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
wow. someone just asked for the story on a finder and i didn't know it, so of course i had to read it and... wow... your writing style is awesome

i don't know why i liked this line so much, but i just did:
"Frank’s small, but his movements are always a little wider, a little wilder, something his mother insisted was an old habit from when he was a kid, trying to overcompensate for his size and seem like he was taking up more space than he actually did."
May. 30th, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
Oh holy shamoly! This was awesome. Your Bpb Bryar is THE BEST EVER. I love the way you draw everyone together, like destiny drawing all the strands of his life together ffor him. So satisfying. Fantastic stuff.
Dec. 15th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
story came recommended and I can see why
This is incredible. I've never read a story quite like this before, and I'm totally hooked. This is very courageous writing which takes its time and builds atmosphere and never goes for the cheap and easy thrill.

OMG who are you?

*goes on to next ch*
Oct. 22nd, 2011 12:23 am (UTC)
I really like this...and you :D

* runs to next chapter giggling*
Aug. 11th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
I love this. My heart hurts a little. Can't wait to finish!
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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