And so the tale ends...
So this is it, the final chapter –cries-. I loved writing this story but I never intended it to have many chapters, and I feel it’s a good time to end it. I hope you guys enjoyed reading it and this chapter is quite a lot shorter than all the others but I hope it’s the bittersweet finale that you wanted :]
R&R one last time people, you know I’d love it xo
Frank clamped his teeth over his thumbnail and gave a deep sigh, staring off into space as the priest laughed over one of his own jokes, the majority of the congregation laughing with him if only out of politeness. Linda smiled widely, turning to look at Frank and instantly looking away again as her face fell, Frank seemingly unaware of the happiness around him.
Spring time was upon them and the majority of the people in the town were in high spirits, spring being the most popular season amongst them. It was a mostly catholic community and Easter was as much a joyous occasion to them all as Christmas, the kids at school would start making Easter bonnets and decorating eggs, and the flowers in the parks would begin to blossom around them. Linda loved Spring, and usually Frank did too – the winter blues would banish away and a smile would seem like it was permanently etched on his face. But for the past three springs, no smile had been present.
In fact... Linda couldn’t remember the last time she had seen Frank smile in the past three years at all.
Things were hard for Frank, and they simply weren’t getting any easier. There were some days when he felt like maybe he would be okay, that everything really would work out in the end, but those days were few and far between and most the time he just felt numb. Not sad, or angry, or hurt. Just completely and utterly emotionless like an animated corpse, a marionette walking around and talking with someone tugging on their strings, their life nothing but an illusion created by the puppeteers hand. He just wasn’t the same anymore.
“If you will join me now in prayer...” The priest clasped his hands and bowed his head, the congregation following suit and Frank obediently lowered his head, pressing his hands together as the priest spoke the lord’s prayer in loud, ringing tones, some of the congregation whispering it along with him and saying ‘amen’ as one when it came to an end.
Frank was the last to raise his head once the prayer was finished, the priest inviting people to stay like he usually did even as everyone stood up to leave, Linda fussing with her handbag as Frank slowly unclasped his hands and got to his feet, tugging gently on his lip ring with his teeth as Linda sidled out of the pew and into the aisle, looking at Frank expectantly. “Ready?” She smiled and Frank nodded, sighing as he went to follow her to the door before pausing, hesitating a moment and biting his lip when Linda turned round to look at him.
“Actually mom, I’m just gonna erm... say a prayer if that’s okay.” He said softly and Linda looked at him in surprise, nodding after a moment and faltering as she took another step towards the door.
“Oh, well... yes. Of course, I’ll wait for you in the car.” She said softly, staring at Frank for a moment longer before disappearing out of the church, guessing he probably didn’t want her around while he prayed. She gave a small smile as she walked across to her car, feeling a little spark of hope in her heart as she wondered whether Frank was finally going to start getting better. The only thing she could think of him wanting to pray about was the strange sadness that seemed to be gripping him, and she felt a little pride knowing that he still loved his God, that he still turned to Him in times of need. Even if it had taken him three years to do it.
Frank waited until the priest wasn’t around before kneeling at the front of the church, lighting a little candle – something he had done every week as a child, easily pleased by being allowed to ignite the tiny flame – and taking off the rosary beads around his neck to thread them through his fingers. He clasped the cross on the end between his palms and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as he bowed his head and tried to open himself up to God like he had used to find so easy when he was a child. “Father... I...” Frank paused, not really knowing how to begin. He bit his lip and thought for a moment, taking a deep breath to recompose himself before trying again. “Father I... I need you. I need your help. I miss him Father, I miss him so much... Please... Please bring him back to me.” He whispered, his voice straining a little as the pain he managed to keep back so well began to creep forward. Thinking about Red as little as possible was becoming quite the task for the now twenty two year old man, and he didn’t want to try anymore. He knew praying to God for help was probably not a good idea, after all, not only was it a man he was praying for but a Satanic man at that, but Frank was fed up of waiting for things to get better. He missed Red, he couldn’t deny it – had never even tried to deny it. He had thought that in time he would just forget about the mysterious man, time was supposed to heal all wounds after all, but his wounds were just as fresh as they had been three years ago.
“Please Father... Please...” Frank felt tears dripping down his cheeks and he struggled to fight them back. He had told himself what must have been a million times that he wouldn’t cry over that man. He wasn’t worth it. He had just used Frank, used him and then threw him away like Frank had always known he would, but now he was finally allowing himself to admit how badly he missed Red he couldn’t help but let some tears fall. “Please Father, I need him. I know I shouldn’t and I’ve tried Father... I’ve tried so hard I swear... I just can’t try anymore, I don’t want to try anymore.” Frank sobbed, shaking his head as he clutched the rosary so tight the angles of the cross began to dig into his palms. “I love him Father... I love him, and I want him back...Please...I’ll do anything...”
“Please Bri... please, I’ll do anything.” Gerard whined, hooking his arms around his constants neck as Brian sighed and crossed his arms, rolling his eyes.
“But Bri –“
“Brian don’t be such a –“
“No Gerard. The answer is no. No no no no no. A million times no. I’m not doing it and that’s final.” Brian said as firmly as he could, trying to pry Gerard off him but the younger man only clung tighter, nuzzling his face into Brian’s hair and whining softly.
“But Brian the cult needs an Elder.” He whimpered, Brian rolling his eyes in response, hearing the pain in Gerard’s voice and softening a little. The Elder had died a little over a month ago, and he knew Gerard was still mourning slightly. The Morning Stars were not as affected by death as the rest of society, they accepted it with ease and saw it as just another beautiful thing that was misunderstood. The Elder had passed peacefully in his sleep and they had held a grand ceremony for his funeral, knowing he would be still a part of them for as long as they thought of him. Of course they had all been hurt, and had mourned, but within a couple of weeks the pain was minimal and the cult was relatively back to normal – although the Elders position was yet to be filled.
“I know it does, and it has one. If you would stop being ridiculous and accept it already.” Brian answered softly but firmly, stroking a hand through Gerard’s hair as he stopped trying to push him away and hugged him close instead. “The Elder was very clear in his will Gerard – he wanted you to be the next Elder. I thought that was what you wanted?” Brian sighed and rested his cheek against Gerard’s silky hair, frowning to himself. When it had been revealed that Gerard had been named as the Elders heir the Stars were thrilled, ever since he had completed the ritual three years previously he had been a favourite amongst the cult and was just the man they needed to continue guiding them. Brian had thought that Gerard would be eager to accept his new responsibility and would take it without question. He had never been so wrong.
“I did Bri... I did want it I just... Not anymore. Please babe, he named you as back up – he wouldn’t have done that if he had been certain I would take it.” Gerard mewled, trying to convince Brian to take the position of Elder – something he had been trying to do for the past week. The Stars were getting restless, confused as to why Gerard hadn’t taken the position yet and wanting to just be told that someone was going to be Elder, even if it wasnt Gerard himself. “I know you’ve always wanted to be Elder, why won’t you do this for me Bri?” He whimpered, pulling back to look at him with pained eyes.
“Because this was something you wanted.” Brian insisted, biting his lip. He couldn’t remember the last time Gerard had been like this, if he had ever seemed so vulnerable other than when he had first been brought to the cult all those years ago. “Gee... why don’t you want this? Just be honest with me.” Brian whispered softly, resting a hand on Gerard’s cheek and locking his gaze.
“I just... I don’t want to. That’s all. And I know being Elder will mean so much to you.” Gerard whispered, forcing a soft smile but he couldn’t fool Brian, he could never fool Brian. He had been able to see right through him from day one and it was no different now. “Bri?” Gerard bit his lip and bowed his head as Brian gave a soft ‘ah’ of realisation, nodding softly.
“You’re leaving.” He whispered, closing his eyes as he felt tears threatening to surface and managing to swallow them back. “That’s why you won’t take the job. That’s why the Elder named a back up. Because you’re not staying.” He nodded and took a deep breath, opening his eyes to see Gerard biting his lip, guilt clear in his face.
“I... I’m still not sure. I mean... I love this place, everyone here helped me so much. This is my home... and Bri, Bri you mean so much to me.” He whispered, Brian smiling and cupping his face. He knew what was making Gerard want to leave, knew that for the past three years there had been an invisible rope tied around his heart, tugging and tugging, begging for him to come outside. And he knew why, he knew that rope was tied to the Catholic.
“Gerard... You listen to me.” Brian gave a soft smile and searched the other mans eyes for a moment, stroking his thumbs across his cheeks. He loved Gerard, he would always love him, but both of them had always been honest and neither was in love with the other. Brian could have happily spent his life with Gerard but he knew there was another man, or maybe even a woman, out there for him somewhere. A person he could love just as much as his constant clearly loved that Catholic of his. It wouldn’t be easy letting him go, but Brian knew that he had to do the right thing. The fair thing, and the cult would miss him dearly but this wasn’t Gerard’s home anymore. Home is where the heart is... and his heart was being cradled in the hands of a young, catholic man. “Gee... I know what you want right now, what you need. And it’s not here...” Brian took a deep breath and tipped Gerard’s face up to his, pecking his lips and letting them linger for a moment. A kiss goodbye. “Go to the collector Stars and get that boys address, then you leave and you go find him and you tell him that your madly, painfully in love with him. Okay?” He smirked and Gerard looked at him in surprise, his lips parting and tears filling his eyes as a smile slowly, shyly spread across his face.
“Bri... you... Really? I mean... I... I don’t have to, I could –“
“Yes you do.” Brian cut across him, Gerard smiling wider, his eyes sparkling with something Brian hadn’t seen in them for three years. Life. “You have to go find that Catholic and make out with him all fucking day okay?” Brian laughed, feeling more alive himself, just thrilled to see happiness spreading in his constants eyes, it made it all worth it. “And as you’re new Elder you can consider that an order bitch.” He laughed, gasping as Gerard squealed, laughing as he flung his arms around Brian’s neck and hugged him so tight he was in danger of completely suffocating him.
“Oh God Brian! You’re the best!” He beamed, clinging to him as new life just exploded inside him like a million fireworks. He was going to see Frank again. He was going to stop wallowing in self pity, trying to forget about him and just go out there and find him at last, be honest and be the man the Catholic never knew. The man behind the mask. He was going to find him and he was going to show him Gerard, not Red. “I love you Bri, you have no idea how much this means to me...” Gerard whispered, Brian smiling softly and pressing a kiss to his hair.
“Alright alright, don’t get soppy on me now.” He chuckled, pulling away to smirk at Gerard and squeeze his hands. “Now fuck off already.” He laughed and Gerard beamed, pressing a tender kiss to the older man’s cheek.
“I’ll come back and visit, I promise.” He smiled, half of him hurting to know that never again would he lie in bed with Brian and talk over a cigarette, never again would they be secretly mauling each other under the table during feasts. But that pain was extremely numbed by the knowledge that he now had the chance to lie in bed with Frank, had the chance to hold that boy in his arms and finally cure the permanent, yearning ache in his chest. It was something he had been craving for three years, and now he knew it was a possibility he only wanted it more.
Frank loosened his tie as he walked home from church, having told his mom to just go on ahead without him once she’d received a call from a friend asking if she wanted to come out for the day. Frank had been able to tell that she was going to decline, despite the fact he was twenty two and had his own place she babied him more than ever, clearly worried about him and Frank detested it. He didn’t want anyone to worry. He didn’t want anyone to care. There was only one person he had wanted to care about him but that was simply impossible, and it taunted him every night in his dreams.
Frank shook his head to clear it of that thought instantly, the nightmares were enough – he was not going to allow himself to think of Red during the day too. He had tried in vain for a year to find the Satanic man, but no one knew where the Satanists were based and though Frank knew it must be caves somewhere he just couldn’t find even a clue. It had frustrated him to no end and there had been many a night when he would feel as if he had no other choice but to drink himself stupid just to block out his own thoughts. A dangerous game really, he didn’t want to end up an alcoholic like his good old uncle... His good old uncle who happened to be dead from liver failure. Even so, he could tell it was going to be ‘one of them days’ and so he made a quick detour into the local store near his house to stock up on Vodka. He didn’t want to think about Red, he refused to think about Red, and if getting completely obliterated was the only way to shut down his mind then he was prepared to face the consequences. It was clear things weren’t going to get any better no matter how many years went by so what was the point in even fighting it? In fact, the more he drank, the more the thought of dying an alcoholic became appealing.
“See you again Frankie.” Tom, the store clerk called as Frank left with the bag of Vodka held close to his chest. Tom was a year younger than Frank, a nice guy. Frank was his favourite customer not just because he spent so much on alcohol, but because he was also the nicest looking guy Tom had ever seen in this damn town. Plus, he got the feeling maybe he was gay, which was just great for him.
“Uhuh...” Frank grunted in response, wandering out the door without a backward glance, Tom used to the non-chalant treatment and contenting himself in watching Franks ass he walked out, licking his lips and squeaking when a hand gripped his throat, loose enough to be nothing more than uncomfortable but it was a clear threat.
“If I were you, I’d find another guy to look at.” A voice snarled and Tom stared at a tall, pale man with black hair falling into deep chocolate eyes, his teeth bared in anger and despite the fear trickling up Tom’s spine he couldn’t help but notice he was insanely attractive.
“O – Okay...” He squeaked, sighing in relief when the man released him and nodded once, satisfied before striding out the door.
Gerard smirked a little to himself, looking about for Frank and seeing the back of him as he wandered down the street, taking a swig of the vodka he had bought straight out the bottle. Gerard had to admit threatening the store guy had been fun, especially because he felt instantly protective over the catholic. It was almost like fate that Frank had been in there at all. Gerard hadn’t been into the town for years and couldn’t find Franks address for the life of him, so he had entered the shop to ask for directions only to see exactly who he was looking for already in there. His stomach had given a tremendous lurch and he had actually hidden behind some of the shelves out of a strange panic, mentally preparing himself to face the catholic after all this time only to see him leave before he had chance. No matter, he had a game plan now.
“Not a drinker, are we Frankie?” Gerard smirked, catching up with Frank with ease and pressing a hand over his eyes from behind, wrapping his other arm tight around his waist and securing him to his body. Frank gasped and jolted in surprise, his body seeming to go into automatic shut down at the sound of that familiar, teasing voice.
“N – No...” He breathed, taking a long moment until his body kick started back into life with a vengeance, his heart hammering so fast inside his chest it was like one continuous hum. “Well... O – Only sometimes... w – when I think too much...” He added honestly, his mind still in total meltdown and making it difficult to think before he spoke. That familiar laugh he had missed so much sounded in his ear as soft lips pressed to the lobe, nipping gently.
“You think too much? What about?” Gerard whispered delicately into the shell of Frank’s ear, slipping into his cocky facade before his nerves got the better of him. Having his arms around the catholic once more was almost too good, and it was taking all of his strength not to push him to the floor and kiss him until the world ended, his heart pounding erratically.
“Y –You... I think too much about you...” Frank breathed, closing his eyes even though he couldn’t see anything anyway, passing his tongue over his lips. The fact that Red was here, actually here seemed too much like a dream for him to be shy about telling the truth. He felt slightly dazed but all he knew was that if this was a dream then he prayed he would never wake up.
“I think about you too much too Frankie... that’s why I’m here...” Gerard whispered seductively, the street blessedly deserted as he pressed even closer to Frank, closing the gaps between them and trailing soft, open mouthed kisses down the younger mans neck, unable to keep his lips off him for even a second. “Frankie, I love you. I love you and I miss you, and I want to be with you.” He whispered, the nerves building higher and higher inside him until finally disappearing into relief once he managed to get the truth out, hesitating a little in his kissing as he waited for Frank to reply, the catholic having tensed in his arms.
“I... I love you too.” He whispered eventually and Gerard felt hot teardrops on the palm over Frank’s eyes. “I want to see you.” Frank added, more firmly this time as he took a deep breath to steady himself. Gerard chuckled softly and grinned, pulling the hand away from Frank’s eyes.
“Look at me then.” He whispered and Frank gasped, biting his lip and staring straight ahead for a long moment, taking some time to compose himself before ever so slowly turning, tilting his face up and feeling all the pain inside him burst wide open at long last, his heart aching even as a smile graced his features as he came face to face with Red at last. Seeing the whole of his face for the first time and feeling dazzled by his beauty.
“Red...” He breathed, feeling stunned, amazed, and alive for the first time in three years. The tears slid down his cheeks without him even noticing and Red grinned, wrapping one arm tight around his waist and tugging him until their body were crushed together, his lips tantalizingly close as he pushed a hand into Franks hair and tipped his head back.
“Please... call me Gerard.” He drawled and Frank whimpered, his heart swelling to the point when he thought it would burst, a sob of delight tearing out of his throat as Red – no, Gerard – pressed his lips hungrily to Franks and kissed him like he had never kissed anyone before.
And so light and dark collided, two opposing forces coming together in the form of two men kissing each other in the middle of the street. Gerard finally felt that empty space deep inside of him get filled, and emotions of love, lust and ownership took over him completely.
And you know something? Frank never did remove that piercing.