AN: My first fic for a live-action show! (Not including that Twilight hatefic.) 'Course, it may be a bit hampered by the fact that the only two things I know about Britain is that chips are fries and you can't trust anything you read in the Daily Mail. Also, this being a British show, it's logical to assume that at least some of the readers of this will be British, so in case you're not used to it: those aren't spelling mistakes—that's just how Americans write English.

One more thing: as of writing this, I've watched the first five and a half episodes. Why the half? I'm watching it on youtube with my library's crappy wifi (also how I'm posting this), they're closed over the holidays, and I'm not standing outside in foot-high snow while it loads for two hours. The point is, if this story gets something wrong that happened beyond more-or-less halfway through the sixth episode, well, you know why. (Hopefully, no one died, because that would suck.)

Misery Loves Company

S-Michael

Frankie sort of half-sat, half-collapsed at the bar. "I need a drink."

"It shows," Ed said dryly. "Still upset about Sam moving in with Cat?" It wasn't really a question.

"It's happening so fast. Don't you think it's happening a bit fast?"

Ed shrugged; truthfully, he did think it was just a bit early for Sam to be moving in, but wild horses couldn't drag it out of him while Frankie was within earshot. Nothing good would come of it, ever. "You say you love her—why can't you just be happy for her?"

"Because unlike with you and Tess, I actually stand a chance," Frankie shot back. "Sorry. It's just…well, are you really happy when Tess finds someone?"

"Sure. Like you said, I don't actually stand a chance, what with not having the right plumbing and all." A faraway look came to Ed's eye. "I want Tess to be happy. Every smile, every laugh, these things are precious to me. I live to see them; I live to see her." He sighed. "Anyhow, just drop it with my sister."

"Hey, I stand a chance."

"You had a chance. And, for the record, you'd have made an awesome sister-in-law, but that bridge is burned."

"Heh," Frankie dry-chuckled. "So you really think there's nothing there anymore, no spark that can be kindled into a relationship?"

"No," Ed said. Don't give her hope, Ed, she'll latch onto the flimsiest excuse; I know I would, if it were Tess. Of course Cat still has feelings for you, Frankie, or at least the ghosts of them, but how do we know you're not going to run off again, like you did last time? No, it's best you don't pick at the scab. Let Cat have a chance to be happy with someone who's actually good for her.

"So, no chance whatsoever?"

"None at all. You might as well just move on."

"Sort of like you and Tess, then," Frankie said.

"A bit, I suppose," Ed agreed, taking a swig of his drink.

"So why don't you move on?"

"Idiocy, mostly."

"Yeah, well, maybe I'm an idiot, too," Frankie said defiantly.

Ed snorted. "You want to know the real truth of it, though?" What are you doing, Ed? He continued to confide in her: "I know, on an intellectual level at any rate, that it's all chemicals and whatnot, that there's no such thing as a soul mate, a one and only other, whatever, and that…ugh…I'll feel like this again, about someone more appropriate, if only I let myself. Here's the crux of it, though: I don't care." That would have been a properly dissuasive statement, if not for the last bit. "I really don't. I love Tess: period. Maybe it's not sane, and maybe it's not precisely a 'healthy' relationship, but I like feeling this way about Tess, and I'm prepared to spend the rest of my life…"

"…The rest of your life, what? Never dating, never shagging, just hanging out with Tess all the time?" Frankie asked incredulously.

Ed shrugged. "Something like that. Sure, it's stupid, but it's my life, and I can waste it however I like."

"It could be worse, Ed," Frankie stared into her drink. "You could have completely blown it with the only woman you've ever loved. I beat myself up over it every day. God, how could I have been so stupid!" She punctuated the statement by slamming the glass into the bar. "That's the thing that really hurts about it all—it's all my fault. 'It's all my fault'—that statement has made rounds on the inside of my skull. Rounds and rounds."

"Hm," Ed grunted sympathetically.

"It drove Sadie away."

"I rather liked her, aside from the whole stealing our stuff thing." Rather, Ed had liked what she represented: Frankie moving on. Of course, that was an illusion… Ed chuckled.

"What?"

"I just realized something—she was your beard," Ed said.

Frankie snorted; gallows humor. "I dunno, in a sense. The thing is, I did like her, it's just…Cat, you know?"

Ed raised his glass. "Unrequited love. It stings so sweetly, such a truly exquisite form of pain, don't you think?"

Frankie toasted with him, "Here, here." She tossed her head. "That was a nice line, by the way."

Ed shrugged. "Yeah, well, I could wax poetic about Tess and my feelings for her all day. And all night, and all of the next day. I don't, though, because I'm not delusional enough to think anyone wants to hear it."

"Say, I wonder if you could—?"

"No, I'm not going to give you lines so you can try to win Cat back. God, woman."

"Alright, alright, alright," Frankie was quick to assure him. "So, what do you do to relieve the pressure of it all?"

"Nothing, really," Ed confessed.

"Oh really? Because I know something that works quite a bit better than 'nothing.'"

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"Hey, what're you doing?" Frankie asked a couple hours later.

"Cuddling," Ed said.

"Well, stop it," Frankie ordered, using her arm to create a partition in the blankets.

"So, what, I'm good enough for a fucking shag, but nothing else?" Ed asked.

"That was kind of the idea, yeah," Frankie said.

Ed sighed through his nose. "Whatever." He did his best to make it noisy when he settled into "his" side of the bed, crossing his arms and legs; about as close as he could get to slamming the door without leaving the bed.

Whatever, Frankie thought. Seriously, what was his problem?

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Ed was hanging out with Jay and Tess when his phone rang. "Ugh, it's my wanker agent," Ed said.

"No, Ed, seriously, tell us how you really feel," Jay said dryly. "Seriously, though, don't you want to be rich and famous?"

"Sure—I just wish he'd stop talking about how much 'snatch' I'll be getting as rich, famous sci-fi writer," Ed said. "I mean, I get it already."

"Well, to be fair, when was the last time you got laid?" Jay asked.

Last night. "None of your business."

"No need to get defensive."

"I'm not—it's seriously not your business," Ed said. "Well, I'd better go see what my agent wants." He got up and left.

"I'm serious about the whole him getting laid thing," Jay said.

"I try not to think about Ed and sex at the same time, it just leads me back to the fact that he's been lusting after me."

"Falling for your best mate seems to run in the family," Jay said. "Also, he's a guy. I believe I've mentioned it before."

"I really don't want to think about you having sexual thoughts about me," Tess said.

"Aw, don't worry about it, Jay has sexual thoughts about every female he's ever met, ever," Frankie said, showing up.

"Yeah, that's pretty much true. And it's pretty much constant, as well," said Jay, who was even as he spoke thinking about both of them, together.

"You've never said anything," Tess said.

"'Course not. I'm not some douchebag wanker, to go around saying 'Hey, baby, nice tits!' 'I wanna eat off of that ass!' or whatever," Jay said. "I mean, come on, what kind of jerkoff does that?"

"So, now that we've all got that image in our heads, what were you guys talking about before?" Frankie asked.

"Ed," Jay said. "When do you figure was the last time he got laid?"

"Last night," Frankie stated baldly.

"Did he tell you? He didn't tell us," Tess said.

"No, I was sort of there," Frankie said.

"You and Ed?" Tess asked.

"Don't tell me you were using him as some sort of proxy for his sister, because that's a bit sick," Jay said.

"He seriously didn't say anything?" Frankie asked.

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"Just because we slept together doesn't mean you don't have to knock," Ed said as Franke barged in.

"Speaking of which, are you embarrassed or something?"

"What makes you say that?"

"You didn't tell Tess and Jay—and you tell Tess everything," Frankie accused.

"I don't tell Tess everything." Frankie crossed her arms and glared at him. "Oh, alright, maybe I do, but there was nothing to tell."

"Nice, Ed."

"Am I wrong?" Ed demanded. "This isn't a relationship. Hell, it's barely even a fling—you didn't even want to cuddle last night. So what's there to say? I got laid? Big whoop. You're using me because you can't have Cat, and I'm using you because I can't have Tess."

"It is when you haven't been laid in, like, two years."

"Who says I haven't?"

"Okay, before last night, when was the last time you got laid?"

"None of your business."

"Ex—"—actlty. Frankie realized that that was the exact thing he'd said to Jay and Tess this morning. "Exactly how often do you get laid that we know nothing about?"

"None. Of. Your. Business," Ed said patiently. "I don't kiss and tell."

"Well, that's just dandy," Frankie said.

"Most women would think so, yes," Ed said.

"I kind of thought I was tossing you a mercy fuck, but apparently you don't need it!"

"Never said I did—however long I've been without. You're the one who thinks a good shag is the solution to all of life's problems."

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"How did that even happen?" Frankie asked a couple hours later, in Ed's bed. Ed grunted noncommittally and snuggled against her. "Hey, I told you not to do that."

"Last time. Learn to compromise."

"It's not really my thing."

"Which is why you don't have a girlfriend."

"Neither do you."

"I've made my choices."

"So have I."

"Which led us here, so learn to compromise."

"Fine, you can snuggle against me if you really want."

"Thank you so much," Ed said dryly, but he took the invitation.

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The next morning, Frankie had to disentangle herself from Ed as she awoke. Ugh; he is such a dyke. She quickly dressed, left the room, and checked the fridge for food. After pondering for a moment, she poured herself a bowl of cereal.

There came a knock on the door; checking the peephole, Frankie saw that it was Tess, and opened the door. "Hey, Ed—oh, hi, Frankie," Tess said. "Is this turning into a thing?"

"Not a thing, thing," Frankie said. "So, how's things?"

"Well, I got the part I auditioned for."

"Good for you."

"Hey, Tess," Ed said, vacating the bedroom. "What's up?"

"I got the part I auditioned for!"

"Oh my God, good for you!" They hugged, and jabbered on about it; Frankie ate her cereal.

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"Hey, Cat."

"Frankie," Cat acknowledged.

"So, what are you doing tonight?"

"Sam and I are going to go see a movie."

Sam. "Well, that's…nice. I was wondering, if sometime, we couldn't…hang."

"We do hang," Cat said. She focused on her computer. "Look, I've got stuff to do for work."

"Yeah, cool, I'll go. It's just, I'd really like to do something together some time. Like we used to."

"Before you broke my heart, you mean?" Cat asked sharply. Frankie flinched. "Sorry, that was uncalled for. But it's not going to happen. We're mates, sure, but it's going no further than that."

"What can I do to convince you that I've changed?" Frankie asked.

Cat snorted. "You know, I was starting to kind of believe that you had, until you hopped into bed with my brother. How many times has it been this week? How about last? What is that? You can't have me, so he'll do? That's kind of sick, Frankie."

"I—but—"

"Look, I've really got to do this, Frankie. See you later."

"Oh. Yeah, sure, whatever. See you later."

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"Ed, open up!" Frankie shouted, banging on his door.

"Yeah, what?"

Frankie entered and slammed the door. "Tell me that the only reason you're sleeping with me isn't to sabotage my chances with Cat."

"Not the only reason," Ed said.

"Damn it, Ed, I thought you were my mate."

"I am your mate, but she's my sister. You weren't here, Frankie. You didn't see Cat fall apart after you left. You didn't hold her as she cried over you. And, just as she's finally getting back on her feet again, you reappear! I'm not going to make her go through that again. Not when she has a chance with Sam."

Frankie moved past him and collapsed on his couch, holding her face in her hands. "Why does nobody believe that I can change?"

"Look, I didn't pursue you. I didn't make any moves. I didn't even tell anybody that we were shagging. All I was looking for that first night was a drinking buddy; all I did was allow you to have your way with me," Ed said. He sat next to her and patted her on the back.

"Of course it's all my fault; everything always is," Frankie whispered, tears streaming down her face.

"There, there," Ed said softly, holding her (somewhat awkwardly, as they were both seated).

"I've made many mistakes in my life, but running away from Cat was by far the worst. I wish so, so badly that I could go back and undo it."

"I know, I know," Ed whispered, and kissed her neck.

"No, don't do that," Frankie said, pushing him away. "Damn it, you wanted this, didn't you? You want me alone so we can keep shacking up!"

Ed looked at her. "That is a truly vile thing to say; take it back, now. I don't know what you've heard about men having needs and whatnot, but I'm telling you that it's pure, grade-A propaganda bullshit, and I haven't drank the cool-aid. Sex is fun, but it's not that important. Hell, it's not even in the top ten. You once asked me, aside from you, when was the last time I had sex? Well, it was a year and a half ago, and I was prepared to go on indefinitely. It took me six months to even realize, 'Hey, wait a second—I haven't had a date in four months.' Analyzing the reasons why led me to conclude that I was crushing on Tess and the rest is history, but the point is, I don't need you. Certainly not to the point of making you miserable on purpose, at any rate."

"Sorry. It's just…"

"Yeah, I know. For what it's worth, I'm sorry, too."

"Ever stop to think that you might be a bit asexual?"

"I like my theory better."

"What, that all guys are really like you, only they're programmed by society to be lecherous jerks, and you're just smart and special enough to break the programming?"

"Yes."

"Can't imagine why."

Ed laughed.

"I'm seriously breaking it off, though," Frankie said. "Cat'll never take me back if I'm shagging her fucking brother."

"Alright," Ed said. "It's not the me, though, that bothers Cat. Certainly that puts a whole 'nother level of squick on the whole thing, but the problem is that you're sleeping around while you're trying to persuade her that you love her in the first place."

"I know. I can stop; I will stop."

"Can you? I've noticed a couple of the times you came to me, your lips tasted of twat."

"Well, there's certainly only one way to find out," Frankie said. Who knows? Maybe after being with no one for a while, being with one person will seem like a bounty.

Ed looked at her, studying her for a minute, then nodded. "Alright. I still don't trust you with my sister, and if she asks me anything I'll tell her exactly that, but if you need anything—a drinking partner, a shoulder to cry on, a good shagging—you can count on me."

Frankie nodded. "I suppose that that's the best I can ask for." She wiped her face off, and headed to the door. "See ya 'round, Ed; it's been…"

"Yeah: it's been," Ed said. They nodded, and Frankie left. "It's been," Ed repeated to himself. Sex: it was a bit like having chocolate again after abstaining from it for a while. And, let's face it, Frankie was fucking fine. A fun couple weeks, all told.

There was a knock on the door, and Frankie came back in. "How about one last go at it for the road, what do you say?"

"Sure thing," Ed said.

FIN

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Author's Commentary:

You know, I really identify with Ed. Certainly, I can sympathize; I've been there (of course, it was high school, my friend was raised by religious fanatics, and ended up shooting herself—the last two I'm certain aren't unrelated—so that story doesn't have a happy ending; but let's not dwell on that). I also happen to be a writer (no, really?) (fan fiction, yes, but I've also got original fiction that I'd publish, if only I could, well, finish something before my ADD kicks in).

As for Frankie—a bisexual Shane with a sexy accent? Did this show's creators, like, read my diary or something? (I'm sure there are English people here who don't think their accents are all that sexy, and while I respect your opinions, you're wrong. Okay? (The third (and final, honest!) thing I know about Britain: Glasgow is in Scotland—but you don't see me complaining that the accents are all wrong, do you? Exactly.)) So of course I had to make them hop into bed together. I just wish that I'd been able to point out how much more butch she is than he within the context of the story. (I have a love of all things defiant of the heteronormative that borders on the unnatural, though that's far more likely to be because I like my women to be butcher than I than the inverse causal relationship.)

As for everything else…it just sort of flowed naturally from there. I didn't get everything I wanted into this fic, but I never do. ADD plus faulty memory equals I don't even remember everything I want to get in.

One more piece of useless trivia: I wrote this whole thing listening to two Tegan and Sara CDs on an infinite loop. So yeah.

R&R, please. If you think I'm awesome, tell your friends.