Mikey's nervousness escalates in a fight that leaves Ray battered and bruised, physically and emotionally.
It was raining. Ray swallowed.
He'd found himself in line with Mikey. The youngest of the Ways was ghastly, pale, tired, almost shaking.
The boy smiled at him.
"It's gonna be OK."
The other man laughed, bitter.
"Why is everybody telling me it's gonna be OK? It won't, Ray. It fucking won't!"
Toro fell silent, suddenly taken aback.
He sighed. He was sure Mikey was crying, but in the rain, you couldn't really tell.
"Don't say a word."
Ray tried to touch his shoulder. Michael shrunk away, out of his grasp, squeezing his rifle.
Frustration built up.
Where the fuck was Gerard when he needed him? He hated it when Mikey became antisocial, almost autistic and the only person able to talk to him - the only person he would let in - was his brother.
Michael shrugged and didn't say a word, so Ray decided not to pressure him. It was damp and nobody was in the mood to argue, let alone fight.
Toro shuffled his feet, hoping for warmth.
Frank hugged himself. It would've been hours until they would've gotten on those damn boats.
He longed for his body, and the taste of Gerard's lips, and the feeling of his tongue against his skin and -- No.
Think of them.
Think of them.
But what he felt for Gerard. What he felt for Gerard.
He squeezed his eyes shut.
Michael's knees gave out, he bended over, vomited.
Ray crouched next to him, moved his hair out of his face.
"Get it all out, little guy."
Michael's nails dug deep inside of Ray's cheek.
The older man's head snapped back and the tension of the days and nights before exploded in Toro's knuckles smashing into Way's jaw.
Everything and everyone fell silent as Michael toppled back and the realization of what he had done hit Ray full force.
"Jesus fucking Christ...Mikey...Mikey I'm sorry..."
"Get your hands off of my brother."
Gerard was standing over a wailing Mikey, his hand on his gun, his teeth bared.
"You come one step closer and I'll rip your head off."
Not his Mikey. Hit anybody else except for his Mikey.
Mikey was sacred. Mikey had to be protected.
Frank helped Gerard pull Michael back up.
Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
Mikey spat blood.
Ray felt everybody's eyes on him, their silent accusations.
Gerard moved his outstretched hand away.
"Shut up, Ray."
"Order! Soldiers, get back in line!"
A lieutenant grabbed Toro by the shoulders and pushed him out of the circle which had formed around them.
Mikey moaned in pain and terror.
Gerard felt panic and rage fill him.
Frank squeezed his shoulder. An unseen gesture. Unseen to everybody except for Way.
He smiled at him.
Frank closed his eyes one last time, and as Gerard helped a limping Michael walk, he kissed the ring Jamia had given him so many years before, along with the promise of undying and eternal love.
Undying and eternal love.
He leaned close to Gerard's ear.
"I love you."
A whisper, but it meant the world.
And may the all-mighty God look over us all in this time of peril.