The Letter

The letter was the beginning.

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7. Sealed

“Gee?” Frank let the whisper fall from his lips, even though he could see the bed was now empty.

Frank let his body pull him across the room, pulling back the covers more than they already were as if Gerard could be curled up in a ball at the other end. But the bed remained empty, no matter how much he stared at the old Star Trek sheets, he couldn’t make Gerard reappear. His brightly tattooed hand contrasted oddly with the sheets as he felt the space which had a moment ago been occupied. Still warm. He stroked the warmth and closed his eyes. Maybe the guy who’d taken him last night had come back? With him and Mikey downstairs? And the front door locked? Okay, maybe not. But how else-

His eyes fell on the open window, looking at the gap and thinking how easily Gerard could have slipped onto the ledge outside. He moved quickly to look outside, a horrible splattered image of Gee with blood dripping and staining his immaculately pale skin, his eyes no longer seeing. But the sidewalk was empty, except for the usual concoction of leaves, cigarette butts and take away boxes which could be found all over New Jersey. Could he have made that jump? He supposed, it wasn’t that high. Where would he go? To find a bar? A bridge? Frank suddenly had to hug himself to stop the cold shivers he felt running down his arms from shaking his body.

“Mikey!” Frank moved quickly to the staircase, taking them two at a time. He didn’t want to hurt Mikey any more than he already was (hurting the people around him seemed to be like a pastime for him at the minute) but he’d now run out of ideas and the sooner they found Gerard the better.

“Mikey, he’s gone. Gerard’s-“

Frank made himself breathe as he let himself fall against the kitchen wall. Gerard watched him nervously from his position at the coffee machine, Mikey clutching three mugs as he let his eyes flick uncomfortably between the two of them, wondering who would speak first.

“I-“ Frank tried but realised how ridiculous he must have looked, the panic still gripping his shoulders as he watched Gerard play with his hands, head ducked and cheeks flushed.

“I-uh-I went to the bathroom.” Gerard spoke flatly and swallowed so as to get rid of the lump he felt forming in his throat. This was stupid. It was just Frank, just Frank. Frank that was so scared of losing him that he’d nearly fallen down the stairs to find him. So why was he so nervous?

“How are you?” Frank asked, though Gerard’s slightly sweaty and pale face told him the answer he needed.

“Fine.” The answer was final and Frank didn’t try to push it.

“He was sick.” Mikey said simply, making the tension worse without meaning to.

“Oh, shut up!” Gerard bit his lip, realising quickly that the harshness in his voice had been too much.

Mikey just dismissed the look of apology he was getting and stepped towards the door.

“I’ll go get that milk now?” Mikey spoke, drawing Frank’s eyes to him as he asked the question but Mikey didn’t look at Frank, just carefully studied Gerard.

“Okay, I’ll just be in here then,” Mikey gave his brother a reassuring smile before shutting the door behind him.

Frank glanced unsure at the closed door before turning to catch Gerard’s eye. It was clear why Mikey had decided to say close, Gerard looked at the verge of blacking out again. He seemed to think so too because a pale hand moved to grasp the table and Gerard’s eyes closed tightly, trying to stop the room spinning. Was this all because he was alone with Frank again? Frank tried to pretend it wasn’t and silently side stepped the table, standing close to the man in case his arms were needed.

He realised instantly what a bad idea it was not to clear his throat, stamp his feet, something because as soon as Gerard looked up, the whites of his eyes shone surprised and his knees became unsteady.

“S’kay. I’ve got you.” Frank let his hands grip Gerard’s waist tightly, sliding out a chair with his foot so that he could sit.

Gerard muttered something before moving away from Frank’s touch. After removing his hands, Frank took a small step to the other side of the table before thinking ‘fuck it’ and collapsing into the chair nearer Gee. Gerard flinched, leaving Frank feeling unsure again, neither knowing what to say next.

Frank gave up first, mainly because he couldn’t take it anymore.

“I’m so sorry. For everything.” It seemed so pathetic to say but it was a start, at least.

“It’s okay.” Gerard let the ghost of a smile touch his lips before falling silent again.

“This is in no way okay, Gee!” Frank let his hand illustrate what he was saying, gesturing to Gerard who moved quickly away from the movement, his eyes widening.

“Look what I’ve done to you.” Frank whispered, trying to keep his voice even but finding that it dipped as he watched Gerard move as far away from him as the table allowed. Gee froze as if realising what he was doing and tried to relax but something kept stopping him.

“You didn’t do this to me.” Gerard seemed to also be having trouble keeping his voice steady and cleared his throat a little as if meaning to carry on talking but the quiet fell into place once again. Frank nervously chewed his lip ring then mentally hit himself and stopped, watching Gerard instead, watching the way he deliberately kept his eyes on the table, his head down and forcing out quiet breaths so as not to disturb the air around him; like a living statue, like he didn’t want to exist.

“You never used to be like this. I mean you had your moments … But you were never this-” Frank struggled for a word, not wanting to say something wrong and cause any more hurt.

“Nervous. Awkward. Twitchy.” Gerard sighed at his own words and shook his head sadly.

“That’s just who I am, Frank. I am that bright, outspoken person sometimes. I love being that person. But when I’m-“Gerard cut himself off, not daring to finish.

“When you’re what?” Frank shifted a little closer just to see what would happen. Gerard froze though he had to force himself to stay perfectly still.

“When I’m with you. And recently when I’m without you too, I become this other person. Who can’t keep still, can’t be around large groups of people. Doesn’t like being looked at. Can’t look others in the eye. Doesn’t like physical contact. Can’t talk without stuttering or hold a proper conversation without drifting off into my head.” Frank watched as Gerard’s spilt his soul to him with big eyes and shaking lips that Frank needed to still with a kiss, his face broken and crumpled that Frank needed to smooth with his fingers, his trembling body that Frank desperately needed to hold close to him. But he couldn’t do any of things, not without pushing Gerard further away.

“Why?” Frank spoke the small word, afraid of the answer but needing one, needing to know what exactly he’d done to Gerard so he could try to fix it.

“Because I love you.” Frank let his mouth fall open as Gerard’s eyes found his, only for a second though, before slipping back down to his lap.

“And I’m scared I’ve lost you. That I’ve pushed you away.” His voice sounded on the edge of cracking again and Frank just had to sit there, feeling completely helpless.

“Hey!” Gerard’s eyes met his again before drifting away, not daring to properly see the emotions there in case they didn’t show him what he wanted them see.

“You could never push me away.” Frank let a silence fall so that Gerard could take in the words but the only movement was a small slump of Gerard’s shoulder, almost like he was tired. Tired of being lied to.

“Then why did you leave me?”

“Because I was stupid and scared. I thought it was too good to last and I ran away so that I didn’t have to lose the memories. So that I didn’t have to lose you.”

“But you did lose me, Frank. The me you fell in love with,” Frank noticed how hesitant Gerard was to say these last words like it was just another lie he’d been fed, “That me is gone.”

Frank tried to think of something to say but he was just glad that Gerard was actually speaking properly now. Even if the words he was speaking were words of self-loathing.

“You will always be that geeky kid with the crazily good vocals that I saw play in that basement.” A trace of a smile flickered across Gerard’s face but it wasn’t enough. Frank moved closer and Gerard hung his head, trying desperately not to move and ruin the moment.

“You will always be the guy I know who needs to shower more.” Gerard gave a grunt and watched Frank through a gap in his hair, satisfied with the curtain of black he was hidden behind.

“And you will always be that kid who collects comic books, watches Nightmare before Christmas every single Christmas, can do his eyeliner better than the majority of the female population and has an opinion on anything and everything!”

Gerard tilted his head, just a little so that Frank could see his eyes. Though he kept having to break the contact, he always brought back his eyes to find Frank’s, watching the mixture of emotions in them. He hoped he saw love there but he couldn’t be sure.

“And you will always be the guy I love.” Gerard let his mouth fall open a little and took the time to breathe in and out deeply, his eyes trying to memorise every little detail of Frank’s face; just in case.

“Is it worth the risk?” He let his sliver of self-doubt slip from his lips, hating the way it made Frank frown and wishing he’d said nothing.

“Sorry.”

“No. Don’t apologise!” Frank’s voice was sharp but his eyes kept Gerard’s gaze locked, almost daring him to look away.

“Never apologise to me, okay?” Frank seemed to want an answer so Gerard nodded slowly, not altogether sure what he was agreeing too.

You’re worth the risk!” Frank leant forwards slowly, feeling Gerard’s breath pick up but not stopping until he was an inch from Gerard’s face. He cautiously pressed a kiss to the smooth skin on his cheek and clasped their hands together. He pulled back a little but still close enough so that Frank had to choose one of Gerard’s eyes to focus on at a time.

“I love you, Gerard.”

“I love you too.” Frank moved back, giving Gerard’s hands one last squeeze before withdrawing. But it was enough. Enough for now.

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