[Sorry I've been M.I.A! School took over my life, more or less. Enjoy the latest chapter!] After the tension dissipates, Mikey is alone with Gerard.
He pressed two knuckles against it, trying to squeeze the pain away.
"Does it hurt?"
His brother didn't look away from the ocean unfolded before them as he spoke.
"They told me it was you who started it."
Mikey felt something inside of him twitch. Rage or guilt, he didn't know.
"I'm scared, Gerard."
"I know. For Chrissake, we're all fucking scared. But this doesn't mean you can go around clawing people's eyes out!"
Mikey swallowed, cleared his throat.
"Did I hurt him bad?"
"He isn't talking. So I have no idea."
They didn't speak for a while: the waves filled the silence.
The rain had finally stopped, and what looked like pale, tentative, yellowish sunlight would from time to time peak between the clouds.
Gerard's cheeks suddenly burned red and he looked down, uneasy.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"I don't know - Mikey shrugged - we haven't talked since this morning. Have you?"
"No. No. Of course not."
The thought of Iero brought a smile to his lips.
Michael didn't notice, or pretended not to.
His brother sighed and leaned against the edge.
"You should apologize to Ray before it gets any darker."
"Does Lyn know?"
"Quit changing the subject."
"I'm serious. Does she know?"
"Of...of course not. She must never ever know. Ever. If by any chance she finds out and it's you who told her, I swear to God I'll kill you. Because if she...if she knows - he swallowed -about what I do, about what might or might not be going on, it would destroy her. Her and Jamia and my life and Frankie's."
Way shook his head.
"How can I trust you? How can I know you don't secretly think I'm a disgusting little freak?"
Michael clenched his jaw.
And they said that he was the emotionally screwed up one.
"I'm your brother."
Oh for fuck's sake. Not again.
"Michael, don't scream. Whatever I said, I'm sorry, OK? But calm down. Please."
His brother looked at him, hurt and mad.
"Mikey, I didn't do anything wrong."
"Will you ever learn to trust somebody?"
"The day that person gives me enough security, I will."
Sigh. But it sounded more like a moan.
A low, raspy, rage-fueled moan.
"I've known you for my entire life!"
"Isn't that ENOUGH?"
Gerard was suddenly at loss. His brother looked away.
"You're acting childish, Michael."
Oh not the I'M FUCKING OLDER THAN YOU crap!
He raced away, cursing in between his teeth.
Frank saw him go.
He walked towards Gerard, hating the fact that his knees grew weak every time he saw him.
Way lighted a cigarette.
"Is everything OK?"
"He's tired, scared. Hurt."
"I was talking about you."
"Me? I--I don't know."
"I really don't know. - Sigh. - I guess I'm scared."
"Aren't we all?"
His shoulders slumped.
Frank hesitantly placed a hand on the back of his neck.
The fear of ruining such a perfect, although slightly painful, moment was lurking and freezing his bones.
"You're shaking, Iero."
Frank lowered his gaze, unable to speak.
Fear and pain and happiness. All mixed.
It made him tingle in ways he never thought possible.
Not if it involved a man, at least.
"You strike me still, Gerard."
A smile. Kind.
"My God, yes...you...you're perf--"
Gerard delicately placed a finger on Frank's lips, made him gasp.
"Hush, Frank. There's no need for compliments. Don't say a word. Just...just hold me."
The setting sun, timid through the cloudy grey sky, made Frank's eyes shine golden.
"I need it."
Frank hugged Gerard, held him tight. His heart beat so fast he was sure someone would've heard.
He closed his eyes, savored that one moment.
It filled him up, made him feel alive despite everything and everyone.
They stood there. Silent, still, unseen, until morning came, until a fresh breeze blew, until a new day began.