i see the girls are out, a lot of freaks in the house, pt. 1/2
bandom AU, Lyn-z/Gerard Way, Alicia Simmons/Mikey Way, Lyn-z/Jamia, Gerard Way/Frank Iero
Title from Le Tigre’s “TGIF,” thanks to secrethappiness and idyll for the betas. I fudged some ages (Lyn-z is actually older than Frank), but whatever, it's an AU. This part ~3700 words.
Part 2 is written, I swear, and will be posted tomorrow, once it’s back from the betas and I’m done with finishing touches.
Posted as a part of 14valentines. [Day 3] Health
Lyn-z loves everything about college. Before she moved out west, she’d always kind of felt like an alien. An alien trapped in New Jersey.
It’s maybe a little strange that she finds her place in a Jesuit school in bumfuck Washington.
But she does. She finds a place, a name, a whole person. A life.
In hindsight, she’s not even sure why she applied to Gonzaga – she vaguely remembers something about Mrs. Montano putting applications for schools in front of her with a gleam in her eye. Steve was supportive, as always, and loved that Lindsey was making his mom so damn happy by filling out a couple of applications to Catholic schools. And really, she was applying everywhere that would waive the application fee because of economic status or something and Gonzaga waived the application fee because Mrs. Montano’s older brother was an alumni.
Whatever. It didn’t really matter. Lindsey figured that she and Steve would both end up in New York or L.A. or something, someplace with a good liberal arts school for her and a good art school for Steve. She never had a firm plan, and she definitely wasn’t stupid enough to have started planning their apartment together (a fourth-floor walkup in Brooklyn because their parents would never let them live together in their homes, just barely big enough, that would slowly fill with her family’s castoffs and his charcoals on the wall) or thinking about the day Steve would come home with a contract for his first comic.
She’s not stupid. It’s just that she’d kind of figured that they’d end up in the same place or close enough to the same place that they’d still be able to be together.
So when Steve got into the School of Visual Arts, which was by far the best school he’d applied to, Lindsey had a certain feeling of assurance when she opened her NYU letter.
And her CUNY letter. And Barnard. And Columbia.
Okay, so she’d known that she could have tried a little harder in high school, right? And, in hindsight, she can see that a 2.8 GPA and a transcript almost entirely lacking extracurricular activities maybe weren’t the strongest application ever. But she had extracurriculars! She was extra-ing all over the place, but it wasn’t anything that fit on a transcript, nothing that wasn’t the garage band that she’d started with her neighbor Jimmy, the mixed media paintings in her basement that even her art teacher didn’t know about, and hanging out with Steve.
It’s not like anyone had even told her how to apply to college. Nobody in her family had ever been to college. The guidance counselors at her school were a fucking joke – if they’d known anything about career planning, would they really be guidance counselors?
Maybe she’d been a little embarrassed to ask, yeah. Mrs. Montano obviously knew stuff about college applications, but … Lindsey didn’t like reminding anyone that her family wasn’t perfect. Because they were perfect, for her. They just weren’t perfect for college applications.
Still, when Lindsey opened the last rejection letter from her East Coast schools, she was more than a little shocked. But by the end of the days of having her heart in her throat while she opened another letter from another fucking school, she had choices. She’d gotten into Gonzaga University, the University of Colorado, and University of California Riverside.
It doesn’t really matter. They're all really far from New York. Lindsey is pretty sure that she doesn’t like the desert and crazy high altitudes, so she looks up the Gonzaga website.
Spokane, Washington. It’s not a desert. It’s not a mountaintop. It’s ridiculously far from everything that Lindsey knows.
“Babe, we’ll stick together,” Steve promised, his eyes wide and his face sincere.
Lindsey was in love, not stupid.
“No,” she said. “We won’t.”
Lindsey comes to Gonzaga with some expectations. She finally has a Plan, see. She’s going to major in art and psychology. She chooses art because she loves it and psychology because she can’t ask her mom to help her pay for even a part of school if she’s not going to major in something that’s plausibly the basis of a career. This is why art school wasn’t an option, not for her. She isn’t Steve with his supportive parents and middle-class family.
She’s going to live in the dorms for the first two mandatory years, and then hopefully she'll have some really cool friends to move in with. She’s going to do a semester abroad if she can figure out how to swing it financially and she is not going to get into a relationship that keeps her anywhere.
Later, Lindsey will think that it was cute that she thought she had any control over any of it.
But on the first day, Lindsey has smaller, more limited expectations. Lindsey’s seen movies. She figures that her first day in the dorms will be a little crazy and kind of cool. She expects to be invited to a party.
It is crazy. It’s not (for the most part) cool. She is, however, invited to parties. While she’s outside smoking and taking a break from setting up her room with her very perky new roommate (“Julie!”), Lindsey is invited to six house parties.
“Bad idea,” a girl warns, taking a pull on her cigarette. They’re standing outside of the freshman dorms in the part of the grass that seems to be unofficially designated for smokers.
“What? Why?” Lindsey asks.
“Seniors,” the other girl says, her thin face settling into a scowl. She is wearing a tank top and a short skirt with clunky boots and looks, in short, much cooler than Julie or most of the girls on Lindsey’s floor. “My cousin went to school here. It’s a thing, I guess, for creepy seniors to try to get freshman girls to go to their parties the first weekend. We’re supposed to be easy drunks.”
“What difference would that …” Lindsey gets it. Finally. “Oh, fucking GROSS.” She looks down at the piece of paper in her hand with ‘Todd, 218-5555’ scrawled across it and crumples it up, throwing it at a random group of guys in disgust. They don’t even notice
“Yup,” the girl nods. “Fucked up, huh? Functionally school-sanctioned sexual predators.” She puts her right hand out as her cigarette rests in her mouth. “I’m Alicia.”
It’s Alicia who changes everything for Lindsey. It’s Alicia who convinces her to go along to Lady Luck Tattoo while Alicia has Angel tattoo her collarbone.
“What doesn’t kill you …” Lindsey says as she runs her fingers along the scabbed tattoo later.
She makes the appointment for her first tattoo the next day.
It’s also Alicia who starts leaving notes for “Lyn-z” on her dorm room door (and who leaves notes for “Juile!” too, which always makes Lyn-z snicker). Lyn-z likes it, likes that it marks the woman she might manage to become as different from the girl she was. She even starts handing in papers that way. Professors don’t say anything – she figures they’ve seen the fluid identities of thousands of students pass by at this point.
It’s Alicia who hands Lyn-z her first joint, who talks about her bands and her ex-girlfriends and her ex-boyfriends with the same nonchalance, who takes her to the school’s stupidly-named Gay/Straight Alliance (HERO? Helping Educate Regarding Orientation? What kind of shit is that?). It’s Alicia who kisses her quickly on the lips while running out the door and who mentions that Dr. Rineheart’s “Sex, Gender, and Society” is pretty awesome for a diversity credit.
Lyn-z walks into the class the first day figuring that she’d be the only freshman (she is), that the class will be hard as hell (it is), and that it will be a class full of women (it isn’t).
Sure, the class is mostly women, which is unusual for Gonzaga, but there are five guys in the class. Three of them are sitting in the back row, half-dozing in their seats with baseball hats turned around on their heads (Lyn-z finds out later that they’re Econ majors who need the social sciences credit and thought Women’s Studies would be a skate. They don’t make it three weeks). The other two guys are sitting in the second row on the far side of the room, pulling notebooks out of their bags and laughing with each other. They both look pointedly at the dudes in the last row and snicker a little.
Raising an eyebrow, Lyn-z sits down in the row behind them. At least they’re snickering at the sleeping dudes. And they look relaxed. Must be nice to be so comfortable here.
The guys also look like … well, they don’t look like the walking Abercrombie and Fitch ad that Lyn-z has come to expect from most GU students. The smaller one is wearing a button up shirt, but the sleeves are rolled up to his elbows, exposing a wrist tattoo on the left arm and what looks like the beginnings of a full sleeve on his right. His hair is choppy, with a long strip that hangs in his eyes. He’s really only kind of cute, until he smiles at the other guy. “… You have to meet him! Bob, you have to, he’s amazing.”
Oh. Woah. That smile. That could cut glass.
The guy he’s talking to, Bob apparently, is tall and broad-shouldered and big and blonde. He looks like he could be a football player, but Lyn-z knows that they haven’t had a football team since World War II. He actually looks kind of scary at first, but he reaches over and ruffles the hair of the smaller guy with a grin. “Okay, Frankie. I’ll do it.”
Frankie flashes another smile and catches Lyn-z looking out of the corner of his eye.
“Hey!” he says, turning around in his seat to look fully at her. “Joining us over in the Feminazi Corner?”
Lyn-z’s hackles go up. Fuck that shit. She doesn’t know a lot about feminism, but she’s been reading a couple of books that she picked up in the library because they looked cool (and, okay, she doesn’t want to look like an idiot in Women’s Studies). She may not know a lot, but her family is Jewish and she’s liking these books and she knows that she’s not fucking down with that “feminazi” stuff. Her eyes narrow.
Frankie must notice, because he puts his hands in front of his body in surrender. “No, no! Dude, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it like that!”
“Exactly how else could you mean it?” she asks, her voice cold.
“Sorry. He forgets that not everybody in the world knows him already,” Bob says with a grin. He sounds … fond? “I’m Bob. He’s Frank. We’re in the Women’s Studies program.”
Lyn-z raises an eyebrow, not fully convinced.
“Yeah,” Frank breaks in, obviously trying to make up for a bad first impression. “It’s like a little bit of an in-joke because there’s so much hostility to the program in the school and the teachers are all embattled and people totally call us ‘feminazis.’” Frank stops, presumably to take a breath, but also clearly to consider his words. “Well, they don’t call me and Bob feminazis so much. Mostly, they call us fags.”
Lyn-z can’t help it. She laughs a little.
Frank grins like he’s won a prize. “Sorry. I can be awesome at bad first impressions. So, you’re new, right? Haven’t seen you before.”
“Yeah.” She blushes a little. She hates being a freshman. “First-year. A friend suggested the class.”
“A first-year? Really?” Bob looks down at her bag as she shoves Feminist Theory from Margin to Center and Heartbreak: The Political Memior of a Militant Feminist back into her bag and puts a notebook on her desk. He raises an eyebrow. “For a class?”
“No,” she says, staring defiantly.
He darts a quick look at Frank, something she can’t decipher.
“I think your friend gives good advice.” Frank smiles a little softer.
A small woman who kind of looks the way Lyn-z imagines nuns look walks into the room, with a long dress, comfortable shoes, and short unstyled brown hair. “Hi, everyone.” She smiles as she puts her bag down on the desk at the front of the room. “I’m Jane Rinehart.”
“Hey, Jane!” a few voices say, Frank and Bob’s among them. Really? Lyn-z thinks. All of the other professors have insisted on Dr. Whatever.
“Frank!” Jane says, her smile widening. “Back to terrorize me with postmodernism again?”
“Always!” Frank grins and shoves his backpack under his desk.
“You’ve taken this class before?” Lyn-z asks, looking at Frank, confused.
“Nah, I skipped this and went directly to Jane’s Feminist Theory class,” he says. “Me and Bob both need this to fulfill our graduation requirements for Women’s Studies. Figured we’d come back and take it before we did too much that was specialized.”
“So,” she says, casually. “You like it?”
Frank looks at her, his face weirdly serious. “There is no better department in this school. You lucked out, too. Jane’s the best of the best.”
“All right, everyone,” Dr. … Jane is saying. “Circle the desks up!”
Circle the what up?
Bob catches the look on her face and laughs. “Feminist pedagogy – teaching theory – thing. We move our desks into a circle to equalize power structures, to make sure that everyone is talking to everyone else and not just to Jane.”
“Seriously?” she asks.
“Totally.” He grins. “C’mon, grab your desk.”
Bob is right. Lyn-z loves the class, loves Jane, loves that when people ask a question, they’re asking it like they really want to know the answer. She’s never done this before, never talked about gender and sex and sexuality in public, never heard of shit like “postmodernism” and definitely never heard people her age talking about “intersections of oppressions.”
It’s all totally new, but it’s awesome.
Toward the end of class, as they’re straightening the desks back into rows, Lyn-z finds herself talking to Bob again.
“Doesn’t that bother you?” she asks as Frank jogs up to talk to Jane. She doesn’t mean to be abrupt, but something he said has been pricking at the back of her head and he seems nice enough. He probably won’t freak out. Probably.
“What?” Bob asks, understandably confused. They’d been talking about bell hooks.
“The fag thing?”
“Why should it?” Bob shrugs, his face impassive. “It’s not like it’s not true.”
Lyn-z blinks. “Oh.”
Lyn-z has never had a lot of friends. She had boyfriends and a handful of girls who she mostly hung out with because they were dating guys who hung out together. But she’s never really had a crowd of people to watch Buffy with or to argue about politics with or to round up to go to David’s Pizza for a slice of their da vinci pizza or to share a stromboli.
She didn’t know she was missing it, but now she can’t imagine not having it. It’s only been a few weeks since the semester started, she’s just barely met Frank and Bob and she’s really only known Alicia for a few months. But no matter how much she misses Steve sometimes (and she does, sort of), she wouldn’t give this up for anything.
“He’s totally going to eat your food,” Bob’s voice breaks her out of her … whatever it was she was just doing there.
Looking at the table, she sees a flash of newly-tattooed knuckle pull back from her plate. She stares at Frank for a second and then starts laughing.
“Are you fucking serious? You were going to steal my food?”
Frank shrugs, his face unrepentant. “You weren’t eating it.”
“Well, not at that exact moment, no.” Alicia rolls her eyes. She had seemed a little restrained when she first met up with Lyn-z at the coffeeshop in the student center and Bob and Frank were trailing behind. She’s chilled since then, seems to like both of them a little more. Lyn-z could hope that Alicia recognized how awesome they are, but she actually suspects that it’s the new boyfriend that’s calming Alicia down.
Apparently, Alicia’s a little friendlier when she’s having orgasms with another person. And this Mikey guy is reportedly very good.
Bob is smirking at Alicia, which is a good look for him. The dude he brought with him, Ray, seems to agree. He’s barely stopped staring at Bob since he sat down.
Ray is apparently Frank’s “you gotta meet him” guy. Lyn-z approves. Anyone who looks at Bob like he could be the best thing to happen in life is a guy that Lyn-z can get behind. Or let Bob get behind. Whatever, she likes him.
Of course, Bob hasn’t noticed yet. So it could be a while before anyone is getting behind Ray.
“Hey,” Alicia’s voice shifts barely-perceptively, but Lyn-z turns her head around to see who Alicia is calling out to. A tall, thin guy with mousey, messy hair and glasses is standing at the counter, taking a cap for his soda. “Mikeyway!”
Lyn-z grins a little. Awesome. She hasn’t had an opportunity to meet this Mikey guy yet. And now he can run the gauntlet.
Mikey waves a little. Lyn-z examines him closer and can kind of see what the draw would be. Sort of. He has sharp angles and his hair is insane, but the grin he directs at Alicia lights up his face.
He walks over to their table, a shorter dude with even messier hair trailing behind him.
“Alicia,” Mikey says. “What’s up?”
“Join us?” she asks as people scoot around until a space is cleared next to Alicia and at the other end of the table, near Lyn-z. Mikey sits down and the guy with him hovers a little near Lyn-z, his face unsure.
“This is Mikey,” Alicia says. “Mikey–Frank, Bob, Ray, and Lyn-z.”
“And that’s Gerard.” Mikey waves a hand in the direction of the guy who still hasn’t taken a seat. Gerard looks through the hair hanging in his face, smiling a small smile.
The smile, the hazel eyes, the nervousness …
Lyn-z grabs Gerard’s hand, pulling him down into the seat. “Gerard. Sit.”
His eyes widen perceptively, but he listens, settling into the booth next to Lyn-z.
They don’t kiss forever. For, like, weeks. It’s getting to the edge of ridiculous. Lyn-z knows from that first awkward lunch that she wants to make out with this guy and, after something Bob said got Gerard going on political statements in installation art, she also knew that she wanted to hear him talk.
So they hang out a lot, Alicia and Mikey playing at being fucked-up yentas and dragging both Lyn-z and Gerard along to the movies, to hear Alicia’s band play at the new Sonic Burrito, and to coffee instead of out for beers (“I don’t drink anymore,” he says simply, his voice firm).
They hang out a lot but either Gerard is more clueless than Bob or he’s not interested. And fuck, even Bob finally noticed the whole Ray thing. Eventually. Maybe after Lyn-z told him about it explicitly and had to use visual aids, but still.
Lyn-z is about done with the waiting.
They’re sharing a pesto melt and fries at the greasy-spoon diner downtown that Ray’s roommate loves. It reminds Lyn-z of home, of Jersey and dirty days and hazy nights. It’s awesome.
“… ridiculous not to recognize graphic novels as an art form!” Gerard has been ranting for a little while about one of the art professors who refuses to acknowledge Stan Lee as a foundational art figure of the 20th century. Lyn-z agrees with him and everything, but she’s also heard this speech a handful of times and has settled for looking attentive and quietly daydreaming about making out with someone.
Sure, it would be great if that someone was Gerard, but at this point, Lyn-z is open to suggestions.
Gerard is looking at her expectantly, which means she’s been daydreaming too hard and not listening enough, so she’s missed what she’s supposed to respond to. She considers faking it, but she can’t be bothered and, really, Gerard probably wouldn’t buy it anyway.
“Sorry, I was spacing,” she says, smiling a little ruefully and pushing the remaining fries across the booth to Gerard.
“Shit, I’m sorry. This has to be so boring for you …” Gerard’s apologetic babble is just-barely- different than his interested babble, but the difference is there.
“No, it’s not boring,” she breaks in. “I’m just preoccupied. I’m sorry.”
“What’s up?” Gerard asks, his eyes wide and so fucking earnest and he’s leaning across the booth so that she doesn’t have to talk too loud if she doesn’t want to.
“So, are you ever going to kiss me?” Lyn-z asks. Her mouth sometimes moves ahead of her head, but not usually like that. Fuck.
“Um.” Gerard blinks, his usually-stupid-open face hard to read. “Did you want me to?”
God, he’s as clueless as Bob.
Lyn-z shakes her head and laughs a little as she closes the space between them, leaning a little more than is strictly comfortable against the table. She grabs Gerard’s hair – it looks greasy, but is surprisingly soft, which is good to know – and pulls his head closer. She looks him directly in the eye, so that there is no confusion.
“Yes. I want you to,” she says. Then, she leans in just slightly closer. “But apparently, I’m going to have to do it.”
It’s a few minutes later, when they’ve been kissing in a booth in the middle of a diner, that it occurs to Lyn-z that this is maybe not the most romantic setting ever.
Whatever, she’ll take Gerard up to the park and make out in the rose gardens later or something. He’d like that.
She bets that he’s kind of a romantic.