glasspaperclip: (Frank // Playin' & comin')
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Pocket-size Dreams
(1,566) // (PG-13)
Bob Bryar/Frank Iero
Frank doesn’t know his neighbor’s name. There’s only a new, shiny plaque on the door with what he presumes to be his initials (‘R.C.B.’, he checked early that morning), but he prefers to refer to him as 4C Tenant. 4C.
The guys aren't mine, it never happened.
Inspired by this post at [livejournal.com profile] we_are_cities + #1 Strangers at [livejournal.com profile] slashfic25
This is a gift to [livejournal.com profile] ky_betty, with all my love and heart-shaped birthday balloons. ♥ :) Also, [livejournal.com profile] anne_elliot held my hand through it all, made cooing noises, and did the beta duties. Thank you so much. ♥


*


Thursday - 05:24 pm.

Frank doesn’t catch much the very first time. Better, he doesn’t catch anything at all but the soft thud of a French window being closed and the vague, fleeting smell of burned tobacco. The third floor apartment has been rented, then.

Out of curiosity (and a good share of boredom, too), Frank leans against the railing and studies the other balcony: it’s on the opposite row, right next to his own and pretty much identical. Same chipped paint, same rusty bars on each side, same old laundry rope. There’s a couple of pegs hanging from it, still swinging slowly, and the blue and red plastic is the only bright spot of color that seems to capture Frank’s attention. All the rest has that grey, dull shade of town, even the pink shirt that Ms. Asian Lady of the Second Floor (Frank gave up deciphering her name months ago) is wearing while she waters her plants.

The new neighbor has put one out too. Frank has no idea of what kind of plant he’s looking at, exactly, but he’s pretty sure that it isn’t supposed to look like it has been run over by a truck. Snickering, he takes a last drag from his cigarette before throwing the butt in the courtyard. It’s better if he gets back inside soon, the air is still too chilly for his taste.


Sunday – 10:51 am.

Sunday is Frank’s least favorite day. In his opinion it’s even worse than Monday, ‘because yeah, we have shifts on Monday, and it sucks because the whole working week is ahead of us, but at least we’re already knee-deep in it, uh? On Sunday instead we only wait for hours to pass, knowing that our free time is running out, and that kills me, you know?

At that point, usually Mikey answers with a neutral ‘sure thing, dude’, which means that he’s tuned him out after the second word, and Frank has lavished yet another pearl of wisdom to the dog sleeping next to the coffee table. If there was someone else in Mikey’s place, he’d already be flipping the bird at them. As general rule, being ignored is something Frank doesn’t appreciate, but he’s also aware of his housemate’s tendency to live on a different level of existence. That’s the definition Gerard – Mikey’s brother – gives of him, and Frank wholeheartedly agrees.

It doesn’t really upset Frank, though. If he has to point out a defect of Mikey that he hates, then it’d be the fact that he freaks out when someone lights up a cigarette inside. It makes no sense, since he smokes just as much as Frank, but that’s it, Mikey’s little paranoia, and Frank has to comply, trudging outside whenever he feels like having one.

It ‘s nice in the summer, yeah, but right now, in March? It sucks ass, period.

If Frank doesn’t complain about it (not loudly, at least. There’s nothing subtle in the way he groans and scowls while he looks for the lighter), it’s just because he leaves his dirty clothes everywhere, he borrows Mikey’s things and often forgets to give them back, and – um – he might have had something to do with the contacts accident of some months ago and still feel guilty about it. Might.

Not my fault if he left them too close to the cake, thinks Frank as he tries to blow off a smoke ring. That’s an art he never quite mastered, and – oh hey. The new neighbor is coming out for a cigarette too. Perhaps he (with the corner of an eye Frank has caught a glimpse of a bearded chin) shares the apartment with a weirdo too.

Faking nonchalance, Frank leans over and turns his head a bit. Hm. Nothing out of the ordinary, except for the fashion sense, maybe. Frank is no stylist, he can barely tell the difference between pants and socks, but he seldom saw someone dressed up like… that. Oh well, none of his business. Still, he keeps on watching him, taking in details: that strand of hair curling around his ear, the missing cord of his hoodie, the lipring (Frank silently approves), and the way he’s propping his chin on his hand.


Monday – 02:05 pm.

Frank doesn’t know his neighbor’s name. There’s only a new, shiny plaque on the door with what he presumes to be his initials (‘R.C.B.’, he checked early that morning), but he prefers to refer to him as 4C Tenant. 4C.

Right now, 4C is outside, picking up the laundry. Socks, pants, sweaters, everything ends in a plastic basket that has definitely seen better days, together with some pegs. He’s smoking while he does that chore, the cigarette pinched between his lips because he needs to have both hands free. Frank tries his best to ignore him, he’s just having a last smoke before heading to work, but sometimes his gaze slips to the left and when he notices it, it’s already too late.

Shrugging, he starts scratching a dry drop of paint from the sill. It must be there from when they repainted the whole building, and as he works his nail under it, he thinks that they could have picked a better color. That shade of yellow reminds him of pigeons puke.

It’s the muffled ring of a cellphone that prompts Frank to raise his head. It comes from 4C’s apartment, interrupting him: he drops a worn out shirt in the basket and goes inside, leaving Frank to stare at the small pile of clean clothes he already collected. He’ll probably come out again once he’s done with his call, since there are three or four socks still hanging from the laundry rope (stripy socks, a sight that made Frank chuckle and then maybe beam a little), but it’s late, Frank’s cigarette is over already and he needs to rush if he doesn’t want to miss the bus.

Damn.


Wednesday – 10:12 pm.

Frank hasn’t seen 4C in two days. He must be home, since music comes from his apartment from time to time (jazz? Now, Frank has a lot of respect for other people’s tastes, but he’d love to give 4C some advice in the music department, because seriously. Urgh), and there are other pairs of socks left out to dry. The zombie plant has even been moved to a window box (in Frank’s opinion it still looks like an atomic bomb survivor. An atomic bomb survivor in a… hm, fancy suit?), while a new case of Red Bull (good choice of beverage, Frank agrees) has been parked right under it.

So, 4C is home but Frank hasn’t caught him anymore, and… well, it sucks. Because Frank might have spent a good share of time outside, chainsmoking and hoping to see him; he might have wondered about his job, about his hobbies, about which brand of shampoo 4C buys at the store and the sound of his voice. He might have wondered if 4C has a significant other and if he likes apples.

He might have wondered about how the left side of his face looks like.

Frustrated, Frank tries to blow off a smoke ring – and fails.


Thursday – 07:49 am.

Frank slept eight hours – he went to bed as soon as he got home from work, too tired to care about dinner – and to be honest, he’d love to sleep for another eight. Or twenty. Or forever. If it wasn’t for the fact that he really needed to take a piss, he wouldn’t have got up until noon. Actually, Frank’s grand plan consisted in pissing (check), having a cigarette (in progress), and going back to bed.

Shivering, he inhales some smoke. Fuck if it’s cold outside. He should have grabbed a sweater on his way out, but he was too sleepy to care before, and now he doesn’t feel like going in. Too lazy. His bare arms are sporting goosebumps though, and he scratches them idly while he watches how the sunrays light up the roof of the factory at the end of the street. Nice sight. It reminds Frank of a postcard, ‘Urban scenario at ass o’clock in the morning.’

He’s still contemplating the view – and trying once again to blow a smoke ring – when 4C shows up. Frank doesn’t notice him at first, and that’s weird, since the French window of 4C’s apartment emits that rusty squeak whenever he opens it.

Morning, dude. Fancy seeing you again, thinks Frank, peeking at him with the corner of an eye. 4C looks like he just got up, all tousled hair, wrinkled clothes (hey, does he sleep in shirt and sweatpants too?), and yawns. The first cigarette of the day is between his fingers though, still unlit, and Frank has to hide a smile: surely 4C is going through his personal round of piss-nicotine-bed.

4C coughs then, and Frank turns – instinct, pure instinct – just to find himself staring right into 4C’s eyes. He’s taking in the very first drag, inhaling smoke and then blowing off a perfect circle.

“You,” begins Frank, but 4C nods and hey, is that a smile?

A couple of seconds later his cigarette is falling in the courtyard, almost untouched, and he’s gone already, leaving Frank alone and dumbfounded.

“The asshole.

Frank is still laughing when the doorbell rings. Who knows, perhaps it’s the new neighbor asking for a cigarette to spare.
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