This town is colder now, I think it's sick of us
It's time to make our move, I'm shaking off the rust
I've got my heart set on anywhere but here
I'm staring down myself, counting up the years
Steady hands, just take the wheel...
And every glance is killing me
Time to make one last appeal... for the life I lead
Stop and Stare - OneRepublic
The room was silent. Darkness surrounded me. I welcomed it, cherished its simplicity and comfort. It seemed familiar to me; lately I was always enveloped in darkness, one way or another. This time it was probably due to the fact that my eyes were closed. I didn't want to open them for now, however. I simply continued to lie wherever I was, and take in slow, deep breaths. The air filled my lungs, making my chest rise and then fall as I let it out. My body relaxed.
Curiosity filled my head, suddenly. I wanted to know where I was. From my position I knew I was lying on a bed, face up, but why? My questions were answered abruptly: images of my life flashed through my head like a blinding light. I cringed at the pain and ferocity of it all. The images stopped. My eyes shot open as I gasped for breath. Memories... all of them were memories of the past. Even memories of my childhood came back to me. I remembered riding my first bike - and then crashing into a parked car, how I got shoved into my locker numerous times, helping my mother make dinner... I also remembered more recent events: meeting Gerard and the gang, seeing their powers, getting my own, when Gerard kissed me for the first time... the Ruin world; Mauritius, and how he had tried to trick me... and how I had been stupid enough to almost go through with it. The last image was glued in my head, though: me trying to strangle Gerard. My heart tightened as that horrible moment passed through my head. I had wanted to hurt him, strangle him... more than that, I had wanted to kill him. Iremembered falling to the ground and blacking out after a bright red light blinded us both. But where was Gerard? Was he alright?
The questions that screamed inside my head made me shot up in bed. I looked around gasping and found familiar faces; sleeping familiar faces. Bob and Kat were sitting in different chairs but positioned in a way so that they were both leaning on each other, fast asleep. Bob's head leaned softly on Kat's mat of white blond hair, which blew slightly with his every breath. I smiled in spite of my worries and wondered if they had finally faced their feelings for each other. In the next instant I knew they hadn't. My sudden movement woke Kat up. Her eyes blinked lazily as she tried to take the room into focus. Bob woke up then, also. He yawned loudly. Both of them realized how they had been sleeping and awkwardly moved away from each other. They hadn't changed a bit.
I was thrilled to see them but still needed to know where Gee was. I had to know if he was alright, if I had hurt him...
Kat's face lit up as she saw me smile at her, knowing that I had indeed recuperated my memories. "Frank!" She jumped up from her chair and ran over to me. Grinning, Ithrew my arms around her as she practically tackled me. Bob also seemed happy to see me. He got up from his seat with more calm than Kat, but the hearty hug and pats on the back he gave me were far from cold. I looked at Kat questiongly; she understood at once.
With a knowing smile, she gave me another hug and whispered in my ear, "He's alright. He's out with Ray and Aileen; they should be back any minute now." I nodded gratefully at her as she backed away.
"How is Aileen?And Ray? Are they both okay? You two are fine, right? And Mikey? Is he-"
"Whoa whoa whoa, little guy, take it easy. Everyone is fine. We're all fine," Bob said with a chuckle. "Just glad you got your memory back."
I smiled at him and then looked back at Kat who was getting teary eyed. "Yeah, we're- glad to have you back!" she exclaimed while trying to fight back tears. "For awhile there, I thought we had lost you for good."
I reached out ahand to wipe away a tear that had managed to escape her eye. "I'm not that easy to get rid of."
My corny joke worked and she cracked a smile. Bob put an arm around her in a comforting way. I knew he wanted to do so much more than that as he looked down at her painfully and almost helplessly.
I turned and swung around so my legs were on the floor. I wanted to see the others. Kat blocked my way out.
"Oh no, you don't! You're not going to go running around now after all that's happened... you need to rest!"
"I need to see the others, Kat, to see for myself that they're okay," I stated, staring at her squarely yet appreciating her concern. "I need to find Gerard." Kat looked at Bob for help who simply shook his hands, not wanting to get in the way. "Thanks for worrying about me, Kat, but I'm fine." After a reassuring smile, she nodded hesitantly and stepped aside, allowing me to stand up. With a peck on her cheek I was out the door. As I ran down the hallway towards the main entrance Irealized I had been in Gerard's room. I smiled to myself; I was sure it had been his idea to put me in there to rest. This thought made me pick up even more speed.
I stopped in my tracks as I exited the building. I looked around excitedly; no one was in sight. Just as I was about to jog to the end of the lane, I saw it. A dark figure was walking slowly towards me with its head down. A black hoodie was covering its head and I got an eerie feeling that I had lived that same situation before. The figure seemed to mope towards me, not knowing I was there. Shiny black hair stuck out from under the hood in every direction. Itook in a sharp breath of air as I realized who it was. The gloomy person in front of me stopped walking at the sudden sound of my breathing. He raised his head cautiously. Even through the distance, I could see a flash of piercing green eyes. My heart raced with every passing second and yet I was frozen in place. My breathing became heavy with anticipation. /It was him/. The person in front of me continued frozen in place, as was his gaze on me. He seemed to be waiting for a signal, not trusting his own eyes.
Finally, asound escaped his dry lips. And although it was his voice, his beautiful voice that I always craved to hear say my name, it was a voice full of pain and suffering. In a hushed whisper, he barely managed to get out a single hopeful word: "Fran-kie?"
Filled with emotion, I instantly croaked out, "Gee."
Gerard let out a puff of air in disbelief and amazement. After all he had been through, he could take no more. The power of his emotions made him fall to his knees.
I finally came to life. I ran to him as fast as my short legs could take me. Tears of happiness threatened to overflow my eyes but I couldn't care less. I lunged at Gerard, almost knocking him down as I threw my arms around him. The hood that had been hanging over his head fell back from the impact. Holding his face with both hands, Ipressed my lips against his in a moment of desperate wanting. All the suffering we had gone through, all the agony we had felt seemed to dissolve as our tongues began the dance that only lovers knew. Passion flowed through our mouths and hands as we held on to each other, afraid the other would somehow be taken away from our grasp. Breathing heavily, we broke apart. I threw my arms around him once more. I wrapped him up in another tight hug, not wanting to let go, and swearing to myself that I would never lose him again. His hands snaked around my back, where they firmly gripped my shirt; it was a matter of seconds before his salty tears seeped through the thin fabric of my shirt and touched my skin. I pulled away from him enough to be able to see the face I had been longing to bless my eyes with. My heart ached as I saw his terribly worn out expression. The dark circles under his eyes revealed he hadn't slept in a long time, and the unhealed cuts along his pale face were sure signs of an awful battle. I caught a glimpse of a nasty looking scare along his neck and gasped. My thumb touched it cautiously as Gerard watched my every movement with extreme interest.
I bit my lip ring subconsciously and looked into his eyes desolately. "Why didn't it heal?"
Gerard shook his head, looking away from me. "The blade- it was pressed against my neck too long... it couldn't heal. And even afterwards- I can only heal myself when my mind is good state, and after what happened t-to you... I was a total wreck."
Still biting my lip ring, my hand traced a way up his neck to the other small cuts and wounds around his beautiful face. They were still fresh and would probably heal once he felt better mentally. With a shake of my head I threw my arms around him once more. "I'm so sorry for what- for what I almost did to you," I finished painfully, choking on the words.
Gerard shook his head. "It's not your fault, Frankie; don't say that. That person back there wasn't you. This is you. And I'm so happy to have you back..."
Tears flooded my eyes. I thought about how hard it must have been for him, to have seen my soul ripped out of me and then seeing my lifeless body drop to the floor. It was still amazing to me that I had survived the brutality with which the Ruin had shoved his fist inside me. I had had it easy though; sure, it hurt like hell when I died (because without my soul, I was as good as dead), but after I woke up I was as good as new. No sad memories, no one to mourn over, just empty thoughts. Gerard, on the other hand, had to continue fighting, for his sake, for the sake of his friends, the entire human race, and, in a way, for my sake. As I felt his grip on my shirt and heard his soft sniffling I realized just how hard it must have been... to just keep on living.
"I love you, Frankie..."
"I love you too, Gee... you have no idea how much."
We sat there for I don't know how long, cradling each other and comforting ourselves the only way we could. With time, I knew, our wounds would heal, but never would the scars made by the pain we felt completely go away. Never would I forget the expressions on Gerard's face that showed his emotions in a way words never could- when I died, when I tried to strangle him, in our reencounter... I only wished for him to heal as best possible, and for us to be able to forget all of this once the war was over- /if it ever ended/.
As I had my face buried in the raven locks I loved, I heard a rustling of feet coming from the end of the lane. I turned my head up slightly to have a look; two dark figures were making their way towards us. They seemed to slow their pace as they saw Gerard and I on the floor, still huddled together.
Gerard stole aglance backwards, towards them. "Aileen... Ray," he whispered to me.
A smile crept on my face. I looked again at Gerard; his green eyes sparkled back at me. Ileaned in and gave him a soft kiss. I smiled into his mouth as the familiar tingle passed through my body.
I stood up with great difficulty due to the position we had been sitting in. I helped Gerard up with one hand. He smiled at me, already looking happier.
"Frank?" called Aileen as she and Ray neared. They were probably still wondering whether I was an evil Ruin or not.
I grinned, showing the two I was back to normal; the real Frank had - miraculously -returned.
With a thrilled screech, Aileen came running towards me. She threw her arms around me; I picked her up in a twirling hug. Ray ran up to us shortly afterwards and joined the hug. The three of us started laughing as we found it difficult to maintain our balance.
"Glad to have you back, man," Ray exclaimed after we broke apart. "We weren't sure if you were going to wake up being the innocent kid that we knew or the killing machine Ruin!"
"Yeah, well, it's good to be home," I answered softly, smiling at Gerard, who stood a few feet away.
Aside from afew scratches on their faces and a long one down Ray's arm, I was pleased to see they were in good shape. "Where's Mikey?"
Aileen answered as Gerard narrowed his eyes curiously at me. "He's meeting with the Unknown. They're trying to figure out a plan and receive any visions they can to help us out."
"Taken a sudden interest in my little brother's welfare, have you?"
"He loves you, Gerard, and I really don't think this is the time to question that..." I trailed off as a group of people made its way down the lane towards us. I instantly turned so I was facing them, ready to attack if necessary.
"Whoa, Frank!They're with us," Ray exclaimed jumping in front of me and waving his arms.
I eyed them suspiciously. "What do you mean 'with us'? I've never seen them before; where'd they come from?"
"From all around the world; people with special gifts that the rest of the world can't understand. They've come to help us win this battle. It's not a simple battle of good guys versus bad guys anymore, Frank. If Mauritius really steals the Stone somehow, we're all doomed; the entire world could be destroyed, including everyone on it."
I watched the group of about 20 people walk towards us. It was obvious by their confident strides and expressions that they weren't the least bit afraid; no newbies in the group, that was for sure.
"It's time,"Gerard breathed. Just then, Kat and Bob walked out the door to join us.
"For war."After a moment of silence he added, "You'll have to stay here."
"You're too weak, Frank. I don't want anything happening to you because you didn't rest enough, so just go inside and relax-"
"We need him, Gerard," Ray cut in quietly.
"Stay out of this, Ray."
I rushed over to Gerard, unable to believe he would suggest I had to lie around waiting while they were risking their lives to save the world. "There's no way in hell I'm just going to lie in bed while you guys-"
"This isn't up for discussion, Frank, just-" Gerard had his eyes closed and was trying to maintain his calm.
"That's right, because I'm going with you!"
In and outburst, he grabbed both of my arms and yelled, "I don't want to lose you again!"
His voice echoed around the walls as I stared at him in shock. He let go of me to cover his face with a hand. A memory of me yelling those exact words at Gerard flashed through my brain. It had been back when Mikey had told me Gerard and Icouldn't be together - 'his life depended on it', he had exclaimed. It was amazing what an impact such a simple sentence caused.
"If I lost you again- I wouldn't be able to take it..." he finished, looking away from me sadly.
Aileen and the others eyed each other awkwardly not knowing what to do or say. I lifted Gerard's chin gently so he was looking at me. "You won't lose me, Gerard, but Ihave to make sure I don't lose you either. We can make it through this together." Holding his face with both hands, I looked resolutely into his eyes trying to transmit the faith I had. He hesitantly nodded. He leaned in to kiss me firmly and almost desperately, as if it were the last time he would do so. He then placed his forehead against mine, letting out a heavy sigh. "Everything will be alright, baby, you'll see," I told him. He nodded slightly and half smiled.
We turned towards the newcomers. I threw a reassuring smile at Ray, Aileen, Bob and Kat, who seemed relieved. As the group of strangers neared us and with Gerard and the others by my side, I had a renewed sense of hope. I only prayed that this time it would last.
First of all, I'd like to say that I'm really sorry for the long wait. I've never had you guys hanging for so long before, and I'll try not to do so again. I was just tied up with exams and crap and then had a bit of a writer's block from not writing in so long. I can't say I'm particularly proud of this chapter, but hopefully future ones will be much better.
If any of you are wondering how this story is going to end - with a happy ending or sad ending - I can tell you without regretting it that this story - and probably all of my future stories, and I think all my past ones too - will have a happy ending. I believe in what Gerard said in an interview with Emily the Strange once (yes, this is what I've been meaning to tell you all for some time now):"Everything deserves a happy ending. Even if it's a story about the end of the world, you should find some way to end it with a dozen roses. Just throw alittle sparkle all over it." Indeed I will, Gee.
So, rate and review and tell me what you think about the interview, the lyrics at the beginning (which are from a beautiful song you all should hear), the chapter, the story in general, your new puppy named Scout... anything that you want to, I'd like to hear it ;)
Thanks for reading... and for being so damned patient!
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