The Letter

The letter was the beginning.

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2. A Broken Seal

When Gerard woke up, it was with a pair of tattooed hands wrapped around his throat. He only had enough time to gasp for breath before Frank was roughly shoved off of him and kicked into a corner by the hard toe of Bob’s trainer. Frank let out a yelp as Bob’s foot met his leg but smoothed his face out quickly, hiding any pain he felt. Gerard panicked and tried to move to his feet and scramble into the far corner but the room spun around him. Mikey quickly gripped his shoulders but could do little more than throw Gerard back onto the sofa; his limp arms struggling under his brother’s weight.

“You just fainted, dude! Don’t be so fucking stupid!” Mikey couldn’t hide the annoyance he felt and when Ray tried to pat Mikey’s arm, he threw his friend off and stalked across the room, into the corner that Gerard so greatly desired to hide in.

Gerard let himself take a few shallow breaths before opening his eyes again to see Frank readying himself for another lunge at the sofa. Bob caught Frank by the scruff of his shirt just in time and Gerard suddenly realised how big Bob really was.

“You were let in here because you said you could behave! Now, can you behave, Frank?”

Frank frowned furiously at being treated like a child but nodded his head and felt himself being released from the larger man’s tight hold. He tried to regain what dignity he had left by smoothing his shirt and covering his arms firmly over his chest, while giving Gerard a horrible look.

“It’s no wonder Gee’s been having panic attacks…” Mikey muttered to himself in the corner, causing all eyes to fall on where Gerard was slumped unattractively on the sofa.

“Have not!” Gerard spoke from behind his hands as they massaged away what was going to be one hell of a headache. He supposed the lump he felt was from when he’d hit the floor.

Once he was sure that he wasn’t about to faint again, Gerard removed his hands and looked around the room taking everything in. Mikey watched him anxiously, trying to remain looking cross but still ready to run should Gerard collapse again. Ray stood close to Bob, mirroring Mikey’s anxious expression except turning to watch Frank who leaned uneasily against a wall, ready to fight any who told him on, or didn’t, in Gerard’s case. Bob looked like he was pretending not to look at Frank but his shoulders revealed that he was tensed to stop Frank should he once again try to attack. The items that had previously been laid all over the floor where now moved into piles and the plates had disappeared, Gerard assumed, into the kitchen. He knew it would have been Frank that had the obsessive need to tidy things away. How long had he been out for?

It was then that Gerard’s eyes fell on the letter, its white backing highlighting the words clearly for all to see. It lay on the other end of the sofa and Gerard tried to silently move the letter towards him, shielding it from their eyes.

“We’ve already read it.” Ray’s sharp eyes caught him before he could even lay a hand on the crumpled paper.

Gerard slumped back into the cushions and pulled his legs up to his chest, trying to still his rapid breathing as he felt four pairs of eyes on him, burning into his skin.

“No.” Frank spoke quietly and this caused the distraction he needed to leap around Bob and Ray and grab hold of Gerard’s legs.

Bob instantly moved towards him, hand looming but Frank gave a ‘trust me’ look which made Bob pause slightly. He stepped back but refused to move back towards Ray. Instead Ray shuffled towards him, intertwining their hands and burying his face into Bob’s shoulder. Bob stroked Ray’s hair lovingly. Ray was as much of a pacifist as Gerard. Gerard turned back to Frank to see that Frank’s eyes were glaring into him. He tried to move away from Frank’s touch but his grip just tightened on Gerard’s legs, fingernails digging in through the black denim.

“No.” Frank repeated silkily, the light behind his eyes still displaying anger but now he seemed to be in control of his emotions, at least for the meanwhile.

“You can’t just curl up into a ball and pretend it’s all okay.” Frank’s eyes glazed over as he carefully tucked a black strand of hair behind Gerard’s ear, cupping his face as he did so.

This wasn’t fair. Gerard tried to move away again but Frank just placed both hands to his face so that their eyes connected. Gerard held back a gasp as he took in the beauty that was Frank. He watched the brown orbs of light flicker across his face and tried not to stare as Frank ran his tongue along his top lip before speaking.

“Do you really want me out the band, Gee?” Gerard sighed exasperatedly and Frank wrinkled his nose against the tidal wave of coffee scented breath that hit him. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the smell; it just held too many memories. Frank closed his eyes, not wanting to look too closely at Gerard, scared at what his body would make him do.

He felt, rather than saw, Gerard shake his head, slowly at first but then faster as if he had just realised the answer himself. Frank’s eyes opened cautiously and he was met with Gerard’s soft stare. He watched a small, delicate tear trace Gerard’s cheek bone and thought nothing of brushing it away, caressing the soft skin under his callused thumb.

“Then why?”

Frank watched as the head of black hair slumped forwards and Gerard shrank in on himself, trying to close himself off completely. His shoulders shook in an effort to hold himself together. Gerard held his breath as he felt a gush of hot breath on the back of his neck and a pair of lips lightly brush against his ear.

“You know this is why I broke up with you, right?” The whisper was quiet so only he could hear and Gerard began to feel his lungs burn with the need for air, wishing he wasn’t going to break down like he always did. Except now there were people to see, people to know how weak he was. Frank would know that Gerard had never deserved him.

“Sometimes, Gee. Sometimes you’re so strong. Like on stage, that’s another side of you. You’re brave for them, brave for us. You look so happy.” Frank smiled into Gerard’s hair, needing to hold him closer to his body, to feel his heartbeat against his skin but knowing that it would only make Gerard more scared. Gerard exhaled quietly, silently wishing that Frank would crush their bodies together, needing his touch so as to believe that the words were true.

 “And other times… It’s like you’re in another place. You’re not here. You’re in your own world and that’s okay; you’re cute when you’re out of it.” Gerard began to shiver uncontrollably and Frank hoped that it wasn’t through fear. He chanced moving closer and gently parted the other’s legs so that their bodies could fit together, like two pieces of the same puzzle.

“But you need to come back to reality. For the band. For Mikey…” Frank swallowed the ‘for me’ that he badly wanted to say, feeling Gerard inhale in anticipation for it but knowing that after all he’d done to someone so fragile, it wasn’t fair to just assume they could begin where they’ve left off. He’d broken Gerard and he wasn’t sure how easy to fix their relationship would be.

“I just thought …” Gerard’s voice shook with emotion and  Frank stopped trying to hold back the tears, letting them roll down his face and soak the beautifully  shiny hair that he was almost trying to bury himself in, “I thought it’d be easier this way.”

Soft sobs started to shake Gerard’s body and Frank felt movement behind him, like the others were unsure whether to try and comfort Gee or to pull Frank off or leave them alone. No one moved any closer though and Frank pulled away from the sobbing wreck of the man he loved, looking deep into the pools of brown, lighter than his own so that the emotion bled more easily through. His fingers rubbed away the many tears and he inhaled, taking in all of Gerard’s smell with him, needing to remember the time when he’d been so close to fixing everything; just in case this was really the end.

“Easier on who? On the others?”

For the first time, Gerard seemed to remember that everyone was watching him and he blushed, his pale cheeks hinting a light rose as he met each of their eyes. Bob gripped onto Ray who looked on the verge of breaking himself but the man who had previously protected him now refused to meet his gaze. Mikey gave him a weak smile but he knew how much looking after him over the past few weeks, since Frank had ended it, had taken out of him. No, he realised, it wasn’t easier on them.

“On you?” Gerard let the weight of Frank’s words slowly crush him and found he was scared to look into his eyes, knowing that he would see pity in them and not wanting that. He wanted to see love there, pure love and lust and adoration not someone who felt sorry for him but someone who wanted to be with him, just as he wanted to be with Frank.

“On me?” That’s when Gerard broke. He shoved Frank’s loving hands away with ease and bolted as fast as he could for the back door. He wanted someone to catch him, someone to stop him. But there was only silence as his feet stumbled clumsily, unable to see through a curtain of tears, outside where no one could hear his cries of heart wrenching pain. There was only one way to numb this kind of pain. And he remembered it well.

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