Ferard One-shot. "There's a million ways to show my love for you, but none is greater than giving you my heart." Gerard said softly, placing his fingers along the bottom of Frank's jaw, raising Fra...
The sun was setting just beyond the horizon, painting the sky in an array of vivid hues ranging from the boldest of oranges to the deepest of reds; streams of soft pink and honey yellow accenting the edges of the fluffy clouds turning a soothing shade of lavender. A small breeze ran over the earth, rustling through trees and moving fallen autumn leaves across the ground; sometimes blowing them up into the air then letting them gently float back down. The winds carried the laughter and excitement of children dressed in their extravagant costumes emerging from their houses, bags and buckets in their hands as they go door to door, chanting the ever familiar phrase 'Trick-or-Treat' and getting rewarded in sugary delights.
Gerard walked along the vacant dirt road, hands crammed tightly in the pockets of his black jeans, the tails of his scarf dancing on the chilly breeze behind him. The long black strands of his shoulder length hair flew across his pale face and sometimes slipped between his slim cracked lips when his mouth opened too much as it pulled in right oxygen in exchange for the carbon dioxide waste. In Gerard's eyes, Halloween was the best and the worst day of the year; something he looked forward to yet dreaded at the same time.
The thin dirt road beneath his worn black converse shoes led Gerard on a winding and familiar journey out of town, away from the boring houses all perfectly aligned with their porch lights on to welcome the evening's trick-or-treaters. A smile dared to pull at the corner of Gerard's mouth as he drew closer to the black iron gates of the local cemetery, his heart starting to beat a little faster with adrenaline. Gerard removed his left hand and raised it to the level of his chest where the zipper of his black leather jacket was left half done, looking at the little silver hands of his watch. 6:57 pm. Right on time.
Dead leaves of bright orange, yellow, red, and sometimes green crunched below Gerard's feet as he veered off the dirt path. He removed his right hand from his pocket now and gently pushed aside the cemetery gate, a loud and rusty squeaking noise rippling through the almost silent air as he cracked it just enough to slip his thin frame inside, leaving the gate slightly ajar. Gerard slowly made his way through the dying grass, weaving his way through the various tombstones and statues, heading towards a single leaf-less tree in the far right corner of the fenced in cemetery to wait. The bench beside the tree, chained around its thick trunk, provided a resting spot for Gerard as he slid the cigarettes from his pocket for a quick smoke.
Gerard opened the pack, sliding a little white stick out then set the pack on the wooden bench beneath him, digging around in his pocket for the lighter that always seemed to hide from him. Once located, Gerard placed the end of the cigarette between his lips, letting it point slightly towards the ground as he held the purple lighter up to the opposite end, cupping his hand around the lighter and the cigarette so the breeze wouldn't extinguish the flame as soon as it came to life. With a quick push of the little wheel with his pointer finger, the lighter fluid produced a small flickering flame which Gerard moved to consume the tip of the cigarette, waiting a moment for the white paper to start to burn before letting the lighter die and sliding it back into the dark leather pocket once again.
Bringing his right hand back up, Gerard put the middle of the cancerous stick between his middle and pointer fingers, taking a deep drag and closing his eyes before pulling the cigarette from his mouth and slowly exhaling wispy gray streams of smoke into the chilly air. Gerard knew smoking was a nasty habit but it was his only vice for calming his nerves and relaxing so he makes no attempt to quit. After using his thumb to gently tap the cigarette, the ashes falling to the ground, Gerard brought the stick back to his lips, repeating the routine process over again.
"You know, smoking is going to be the death of you." A gentle voice ran into Gerard's ears, causing cracked, dry lips to tug up tightly at the corners.
"We all go one day." He said, taking a final, deep drag from the cigarette then opening his eyes as he exhaled, looking at the man standing before him with a dorky smile. Gerard leaned forward and dropped the cigarette to the ground, using the ball of his foot to put it out with a few good twists before leaning back against the bench again and looking at his watch. 7:01. "You're late."
"Had a few things to take care of." The man answered simply, hands in the pocket of the oversized black Misfits hoodie Gerard had given him for his birthday a few years back; the short man all but drowning inside its warm shell. "But I'm here now." He said softly, taking small steps towards Gerard from the stationary position he had held moments before.
"And that's all that matters." Gerard answered, standing up and sticking his hands out, taking the other mans into his and pulling him close. "Happy birthday Frankie." He said, pushing Frank's hood back to reveal un-brushed brown hair which was just shy of being the same length as Gerard's; the semi-wavy strands ending around his defined jaw line. Gerard laced his hands gingerly on the side of Frank's face, placing a tending kiss on his forehead before sliding his hands to the back of Frank's head and pulling it towards his chest, just over Gerard's heart, and resting his chin on top of Frank's head.
"Thanks Gee." Frank answered, putting his arms around Gerard's waist and crossing his wrists in a small x on the lower part of Gerard's back; taking a deep inhale of the older man. "Another year gone by."
"Time goes too fast." Gerard said, his warm breath blowing a few strands of Frank's hair aside. "Here;" Pulling away from Frank, Gerard reached into the pocket of his coat and extracted a small box, maneuvering it behind his back before Frank could see it. "Close your eyes."
"Gee!" Frank whined, grinning widely like an excited child.
"Shut 'em Frankie." Gerard repeated so with a slightly annoyed sigh, Frank shut his eyes then raised his hands up to hold his fingers over them, resisting temptation to peak so he wouldn't ruin the surprise his boyfriend had for him. Satisfied, Gerard brought the box back to the front of his body and opened the lid, holding it in front of Frank's face while Frank rocked his shiny green lip ring back and forth with his teeth. "Ok; open 'em."
Without a moment's hesitation, Frank dropped his hands and opened his eyes, the large hazel orbs glimmering brightly as he looked into the box held up before his face. Eyes widening and jaw dropping, Frank reached his hands forward and took the box from Gerard into his own calloused hands, staring down in awe. A silver chain bearing a matching silver heart locket engraved Frankie in neat calligraphy rested in the middle of the supportive white cardboard inside the little black box. "Oh Gee...it's beautiful..." He said, the words choking up in his throat as joyful tears blurred his vision.
"I thought you would like it." Gerard smiled, taking the box again and carefully removing the necklace then opening the clasp, reaching his arms around Frank's neck and sliding the claps into one of the small silver rings. "There;" Gerard said, bring his arms back to his own body. "Beautiful;" Frank looked down at the locket, hesitantly bringing his fingers up and touching it, almost afraid that the oil on his hands would ruin its perfect shine.
"It's perfect Gee..." Frank whispered, doing all he could not to cry.
"As are you." Gerard responded, gently running the back of his knuckles along Frank's smooth face.
"I love you." Frank said, throwing his arms around Gerard's neck and pulling himself up some to press his luscious lips against Gerard's, sharing a passionate exchange of tenderness between the two.
"Love you too Frankie." Gerard said when the kiss was broken. "Always and forever." Reaching into the collar of his shirt, Gerard pulled out a matching necklace containing a small skeleton key, grabbing Frank's locket and sticking the key into the hole. Giving it a little turn, Gerard popped the locket open and removed his key. Frank lifted the little heart, turning it around and parting the two sides apart to see what it held.
Inside the silver locket was a picture of Gerard and Frank when they first started dating; the two smiling brightly with happiness. Frank sat on Gerard's lap with Gerard's arms securely around his waist, celebrating the birthday Gerard gave Frank the hoodie he was currently wearing. Their friend Bob happened to have his camera and saw it as the perfect moment to document their relationship forever; the picture becoming a favorite of both.
The opposite side read an inscription of the sweetest words Frank had ever seen. You'll always hold my heart. I love you. xoxo G Frank was no longer able to contain his tears and let the salted liquid run from the corners of his eyes and down his cheeks; the breeze sending chills through his skin from the wet trail the tears left behind as they fell from his face down the to earth. "There's a million ways to show my love for you, but none is greater than giving you my heart." Gerard said softly, placing his fingers along the bottom of Frank's jaw, raising Frank's head up then swiping his thumbs over Frank's cheeks to brush away the tears.
"As I gave you mine." Frank answered, Gerard nodding and smiling warmly, tenderly kissing Frank's eyes as though he knew it would stop the tears from escaping. Frank closed the locket and tucked it into both his shirt and hoodie, wanting to protect the precious treasure for all eternity.
The sun was nearly gone now, pulling its vivid colors with it and leaving behind the midnight sky which became gradually speckled with bright white stars. The full moon replaced the sun for the night shift and provided ample amounts of bluish light on the cemetery where Frank and Gerard stood. All around, crickets began to chirp, creating a soothing orchestra as porch lights died, the last of the candy-collecting children obtaining those final pieces that kept dentist offices in business before returning home to count, sort, trade, and eat. The breeze was dying as the air got colder and the sky darker.
After a few minutes of sharing a loving, much needed embrace, Gerard let go of his boyfriend again and reached into another of the many hidden pockets of his favorite leather jacket to produce a small pocket knife whose once sharp blade was worn down and nearly useless. "Shall we?" Gerard asked and Frank's eyes moved towards the blade in Gerard's hands, a smile coming back over his pale lips as he nodded.
Gerard took his free hand and grabbed one of Frank's, lacing their fingers together before walking away from the bench and towards the tree. The thick, twisted trunk was a grayish sort of color with long, dead looking branches that jetted out towards the sky as the tree reached for the stars. Not once has Gerard seen any form of greenery on it; not even mold. Insects, animals, and all sorts of potentially destructive organisms avoided the tree completely as though it was diseases ridden or the plague. Yet in both Gerard and Frank's eyes, they had never seen a more beautiful creation in the entire world which was why they declared it as their own.
In the middle of the trunk was a large carved heart with the letters F+G 4EVA sprawled across its center. That was done seven years ago, right after 9/11 when the world realized just how important each minute with the people you love really is. Six years ago, having already claimed the tree, Gerard had carved Just take my hand and we'll run away. We'll live to die another day. 2002. In 2003 when they returned, Gerard had started to carve away the gray bark when he slid and cut himself so it reads Paint the world in red with a giant spot that was red blood from Gerard's long since healed wound. It was supposed to read 'Paint the world in red with the love deep in your heart' but Frank made Gerard stop and go to the hospital since his hand wouldn't stop bleeding.
The back of the tree held a long engraving from 2004 when Gerard experienced more heartache than he knew was possible. He was close to killing himself that year and had developed a big drinking as well as drug problem that lasted a little over a year. That night, Gerard spent hours with a flashlight in his mouth, not pausing for a moment, not even when he continued to cut himself, making sure he got his entire message sprawled out on the tree before leaving. When Frank read it, he cried for a few hours, sitting in front of the tree just staring at the carving and blood stains.
It read A thousand strands of barbed wire twists around my mangled heart and shreds it all to bloody pieces. My throat constricts and I suffocate, fingers trying futilely to remove the invisible noose I'm hanging from while invisible tears water the cracked soil beneath me. I look around and no one sees me. Like a blind man, my vision's black and all I can do is reach uncertainly before me, trying to find you again. Can you hear me? Can you see me? Are you still beside me?
No pain has ever been this strong before; trying to strip my soul away from my body and peel my flesh right off my bones. Every day becomes the last and the night goes on forever, the rising sun is never coming. If you find me, take my hand and guide me towards the shining stars because in your arms I'll never be afraid again.
2005 was still hard but it was also a lot easier. Frank stood beside Gerard to make sure he didn't cut himself more, thin scars still visible on his ghostly flesh, as he marked yet another year gone by. He didn't do anything as extravagant as the previous year but it was just as important and heartfelt. That year, Gerard carved Our hearts forever intertwined and our love burns on forever. Frank had added two little hearts, one slightly over the other and Gerard laughed at him, Frank's art skills nowhere near as developed as his artist boyfriends but it was beautiful nonetheless.
For 2006, Gerard who was now clean and sober, had brought a bunch of candles that he surrounded the tree with but had to remove them when they fell asleep and almost set their love tree on fire. Only a few had flipped over, most laying in the grayish black soil but a few managed to reach the thin, short blades of prickly grass which increased the area of green-less soil in their corner. After stopping the mini fire, Gerard and Frank laughed the night away, leaving a remembrance on the tree reading, Burning passion, spreading like wild fire. My love for you is like a blazing candle. They both had signed the little message, meaning it directly for each other.
The seventh and youngest message scratched across the tree was a drawing of two shooting stars crossing paths over a little heart with two hands holding tightly. The accompanying message read, Like the brightest star, I shine for you. When you're lost, just look for me. Call my name, and I'll be there. Gerard, more crafty with the knife, scratched the message out but they were all Frank's words, coming directly from the younger man's heart.
"What shall we do this year?" Gerard asked, finding a clear patch on the trunk to leave the message of 2008. Frank's eyes scanned the bark, re-reading over all the other special carvings, his lip ring being subconsciously pulled in and out of his mouth. It wasn't just a tradition that the two would meet at the tree each Halloween; it was a way for both of them to leave a visible declaration of their love for every passing soul to stop and see.
"Something original and sweet." Frank said, taking his other hand and folding it over Gerard's hand, holding it in front of his body and resting his head on Gerard's shoulder. "Something just for us."
"As always." Gerard answered quietly, smiling and kissing Frank's head before taking a step towards the tree, flicking his wrist to get the blade out and pressing the tip against the tree. He applied pressure to the knife as he pulled it slowly along the bark, trying not to slip and cut himself more. Frank watched silently and curiously, gently rubbing his fingers along Gerard's hand as he held it captive, humming a tune to accompany the crickets around them. Gerard recognized the tune instantly, pain coming to his heart as the lyrics began to run through his mind, still carving away the tree.
The moon was high overhead, the bright light almost as luminous as the golden sun. The large white circle reflected in Frank's eyes, giving light for Gerard to see while he finished his carving, stepping back and smiling as he folded the knife and put it back into his pocket. "There;" He said happily, Frank lifting Gerard's hand and kissing the cold knuckles.
"Perfect;" Frank said as he read over the engraving. "It's getting late." He said a little while later, looking up to the sky and pressing his body farther into Gerard's. "And cold." Gerard released Frank's hand, bringing his own up to his neck and unraveling the red scarf he wore, wrapping it securely around Frank to keep him warmer and pulling the shorter man close, resting his cheek on Frank's head.
Gerard yawned, his jaw quietly cracking as his mouth opened widely and his eyes shut. "Come on." Gerard said as his mouth relaxed again, sitting down and leaning against the tree, pulling Frank down with him. "I don't want to go to work tomorrow..." Gerard said with a frown, putting his arms around Frank and holding him close. Frank rested his head against Gerard's chest, sliding his arms around Gerard's body and curling into him.
"I don't want to either." Frank agreed, closing his eyes and concentration on the muffled beat of Gerard's heart. "Wanna switch jobs for a day?"
"I would if I could." Gerard answered, placing his cheek on Frank's head again and shutting his eyes, sighing and calmly moving his hand up and down Frank's arm in a soothing motion. "Please tell me?"
"No Gerard." Frank said firmly, matching his breathing with his lovers. "Stop asking me." Gerard sighed again and cuddled Frank close. "I have to go soon Gee." Frank said quietly, not wanting to lose the intimacy but knowing time was dwindling.
"I know." Gerard whispered, his stomach clenching and heart twisting some, holding Frank as tight as he could without crushing him. "Time goes way to fast."
"Hey;" Frank lifted his head and looked into Gerard's eyes, smiling warmly. "It's not the end babe." He said encouragingly, raising his body to softly kiss Gerard in a tender, loving joining of their lips. "You know I'm always right beside you and I'm always listening when you talk to me. You're never alone Gee; I love you."
"I love you too Frankie." Gerard answered, a few tears rolling down his cheeks. "I love you so much."
"No tears." Frank said, wiping away the little drops and tendering kissing Gerard again. "No more tears ever again." Gerard nodded and managed a weak smile. "Remember? Take my hand and never be afraid again?"
"Yeah." Gerard laughed with a bit of a cough, pushing aside Frank's bangs to have a full view of his gorgeous loving eyes. Frank turned around so his back was against Gerard's body, bending his legs and bringing his knees towards his chest with his feet on either side of Gerard's knees. Gerard put his arms around Frank's waist, using his head as a pillow again as Frank played with Gerard's fingers, quietly humming some more and eventually lulling Gerard to sleep.
When Gerard awoke, the morning sun was just peeking over the horizon, the sky a blend of coral and pink around the golden star whose rays chased away the night. He yawned widely and dug fisted hands into his eyes before shifting a little and discovering his whole body ached with stiffness. A groan escaped Gerard's throat as he placed his hands on the ground beside his butt for support, feeling the dew freshly painted across the earth.
It took him a moment to get up, stretching some more by standing on the balls of his feet and reaching his arms as far over his head as he could get to wake his body and remove the stiffness. His body was warm and nasty feeling from staying in his clothes for so long; making Gerard shift around the uncomfortable cloth before glancing at his watch. 6:39 am. He had to get home, take a shower, and get ready for work.
Gerard walked to the bench and smiled softly, reaching down to the wooden seat and grabbing the end of his soft scarf which had been folded neatly and placed beneath the cigarettes. He put the cigarettes in his pocket and tied the scarf around his neck, noticing a single long stem red rose blooming heavily against the bench. "I love you too Frankie." Gerard said as he grabbed the thorn-less rose which was a universal declaration of one's love towards another.
He brought the rose to his nose and took a deep whiff, the little drops of dew on the petals dampening his nose. The petals were the deepest of reds, curled perfectly in the center and burning out around the edges. The freshly cut green stem was the length of Gerard's forearm, firm and strong to support the flower. Gerard walked to the marble tombstone in front of the tree and sat down on his knees, sitting back on his ankles and running a hand along the smooth surface. "Thanks babe." He said as he used his pointer finger to slowly trace Frank Anthony Iero; October 31, 1981-February 14, 2004 before his hand rested in his lap again. "You've always been il mio angelo."
Raising the rose up, Gerard kissed the silky petals and gently started plucking them off, letting them go one by one to be carried by the light breeze; none straying too far from the tree. Gerard laid the stem over the grave and smiled, shutting his eyes and seeing Frank's smile, feeling the gentle touch of his boyfriend against him. "See you next year love." He smiled, opening his eyes and standing up, cramming his hands into his pockets and humming the tune Frank had lulled Gerard to sleep with, the same tune Gerard sang to Frank his final moments on earth, before leaving the cemetery to live another year on earth as his love waited for him in the stars.
Take my hand my angel,
lead me towards the sky.
Spread your wings my angel,
and teach me how to fly.