"Do you think they're okay up there?" Bob asked.
"Well, I haven't heard anything break, so," Ray said quietly, "Let's assume so."
Frank choked back a burst of laughter but still glanced toward the ceiling nervously.
Upstairs the Way brothers sat together, their eyes starting to dry in the silence. Finally, the elder let out a shaky laugh.
"God," he whispered in a trembling voice. "I'm such an idiot."
"No you aren't," Mikey immediately stated in a soft tone.
Gerard pulled out of the embrace and wiped at his eyes, letting out another laugh as he nodded.
"Yeah, I am," He said in a voice just as low as the first.
The younger shook his head and placed a hand on his brother's shoulder, forcing him to turn and look at him.
"No you aren't, Gerard," He spoke, his gaze diving into his brothers, "I've known you my whole life. And you are not an idiot." He took a deep breath and them continued. "You aren't. I understand, you weren't angry at me, Frank, Ray, or Bob. You're mad at Elena," he whispered, his voice trembling on his Grandmother's voice.
Gerard's gaze dropped from his brothers' as he spoke but he couldn't drown out his voice.
"I know you are," He said with a shaky voice. "I know exactly why too. Gerard," he said and his brother looked up at his voice. "I didn't want her to go either. I wish I could have told her goodbye too."
Gerard shut his eyes as his brother spoke. Tears slid past his eyelids but he didn't bother wiping at them, knowing more would just flood forward.
"I just wanted to see her one last time."
It was a broken whisper that penatrated the air. Still, they rung through the brothers' ears. And then Mikey could see it, he could see the change in his brother's expression. As if a weight had been pulled away from him, he had finally let his feeling out. The stony expression that had seemingly been printed on his face was gone now.
It was replaced by a face he recognized.
A face he had grown up around, and a face he knew well.
It was the face of his brother.
"So...." Bob said, shifting around awkwardly.
"Do you think we should clean the kitchen?" Frank asked, looking towards the door with a slightly hateful expression.
"Frank!" Ray muttered in an exasperated voice, "Can't you live with a mess for one day?"
"No! Not when its..." He stopped as low thuds sounded on the stairs.
They glanced at each other for a moment before glancing towards the staircase.
The Way brothers stepped down carefully. Their eyes were red-rimmed from the tears that still stained their cheeks. And their arms were looped together as Mikey led Gerard down the stairs, the older who kept his eyes on the carpet. He refused to lift his gaze as his brother pulled to a stop and gave him an encouraging nudge with his elbow.
Gerard lifted his eyes and met each of his friend's gazes in turn before speaking in a soft voice.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to be so rude before," he spoke, his voice shaking ever so slightly. "I just, I don't know what happened. I'm so."
He finally stopped when his voice broke and Mikey gently patted his shoulder in a comforting way.
"It's okay, Gerard," Bob said, with a soft smile that quickly widened when Gerard shot him a grateful expression.
"There's nothing to forgive, it's already forgotten," Ray put in and finally Gerard smiled, ever so slightly.
He lifted his gaze to Frank who looked at him curiously. Gerard felt his heart stutter at that thought that his friend might not forgive him but it was quickly broken when he felt two arms wrap around him.
"We're always here for you Gerard," the younger man spoke.
The elder let out a trembling sigh as he saw Mikey wrap his arms around them and soon Ray and Bob stepped forward as well.
And so the five stood, holding each other in a tight embrace.
It was only a whisper, but with it was so much emotion, that no one could hold their tears from spilling forward.