Thirteen: Big Boys Don't Cry
Frank faces his demons. Plus, a special appearance brought to you by Ryan Ross!
He was almost happy to fight. It kept his mind off of certain things, the adrenaline kept him somehow over the top, far from the dangerous and plummeting fall of depression.
The scent of fresh blood clawed at his nose, attacked his brain. It filled him, filled him with a cold, rusty taste.
But they were tired, so damn tired.
Frank recharged his rifle.
They aren't humans. You're not killing humans.
Think about what they're doing to the Jews. The stories you heard.
Think about what they did to Mikey.
Mostly guilt. Pain, but mostly guilt. And regret. That was what Toro felt.
Nothing more, nothing less.
You're a medic and you weren't even able to save your best friend.
Gerard delicately placed his hand against Frank's. The other man recoiled, surprised.
“Shit. I didn't see it was you.”
Frank was too scared to look at him. He was afraid of seeing the pain. The emptiness.
Gerard smiled, weakly.
Iero clutched his rifle, swallowed.
“He died courageously.”
Way sighed and shook his head.
“I'm sorry. I should've shut up.”
The wounds are still fresh.
Of course they are, you idiot.
“Yeah. You should've.”
New pang of pain. It made swallowing hard.
“I'm going to miss him.”
Gerard looked up at him and smirked joylessly.
“Me too, y'know? My bro--”
My God I'm an idiot. Frank Iero, you are dumb.
“--My little bro.”
He paused a moment. Sighed once more.
“My brother. My brother, and he's dead - he started sobbing again – he's dead and he's never coming back.”
He covered his mouth with his hand, tried to muffle the sobs.
“He's fucking gone. Michael's gone. Frank.”
Frank lowered his gaze.
He needs you.
Without thinking, he leaned forward, kissed him quietly as his arms circled him. Gerard cupped his face between his hands, drew him closer. Lips pressed together.
They were feeding on each other's breathing. Drawing strength.
Frank could taste Gerard's tears.
Way delicately combed Frank's hair with his fingers. They needed to feel their skin touching. They needed to feel their breaths mingle, desperately needed to know the other one was still alive.
Ray couldn't move. He lied, perfectly still, and let pain swallow him completely.
Because Michael was dead. Because one of his best friends was gone. Forever.
And it was that forever, something so desperately final, that made him want to scream the most.
If only I'd reached you in time.
If only my hands hadn't trembled so hard. If only I'd kept my calm.
You'd still be here.
They came up for air.
Nobody was looking. Nobody was there, except for a few dead bodies.
Still. Cold. Empty.
Way pressed his lips against Iero's ear.
“I need you.”
Make me feel alive. Tell me that I'm still real.
Frank kissed him again. Gerard couldn't bring himself to talk, he couldn't risk thinking, because thinking meant remembering Michael.
Ray sat up, hugged himself.
Shit. It's going to be a long night.
Gerard's hands almost instinctively creeped up against Frank's chest. The kiss was harder now, more passionate. Breathing was quicker, hair was being tugged at.
They knew it was wrong. They knew it was insane. They knew it, they knew it so well.
He shifted his weight, pushed himself on top of Frank, let emotions flow.
But Frank couldn't. Not now. Not yet.
Because the blood's still so fresh.
There was a body lying a few feet away.
He can hear them laugh. Laugh. Laughing. They always did that. They always will.
Maybe you imagined it.
He feels tiny and vulnerable and naive. The youngest. The smallest.
Suddenly, the idea of fucking Gerard while his brother's body lied a few feet away from them was nauseating.
Billie Poe clicks his tongue. This isn't gonna end well.
He grabbed his wrists, squeezed them, pushed him off of him violently.
You feel your skin crawl.
Way recoiled, as if he'd been stabbed.
But now Frank was remembering, like every night, and maybe they both needed to lose themselves. But not like that. No. Their love was pure, their love didn't need sex.
There you go. Acting all crazy again.
He knew he was sweating. A cold sweat. Nightmares and sleepless nights.
How many times has this happened?
Billie Poe clicks his tongue again and draws closer to you. Your back's pressed against the wall.
Should you move? You don't know. You don't care. Do you care?
You're scared. You're terrified.
He smirks and you know it sends your heart beating so fast you're sure they'll hear.
But they mustn't hear.
“Bill. Let him go.”
Jamia. She's standing a few feet away, hugging herself. She knows something's wrong.
She's seen it in his eyes.
“C'mon. The kid's scared. Bill?”
“Relaaaaax, baby. I just want to play.”
His friends laugh. But she doesn't.
“He's sixteen. He's a fucking kid. Please?”
“He'll do fine!”
He smacks her. She yelps and recoils and now Frank's heart is beating faster. But it's fear.
There's something in Poe's eyes.
“Do you wanna have fun, kiddo?”
Billie howls with laughter and grabs Frank's shirt and shakes him, ramming him against the wall. It hurts.
“I said, do you wanna have fun?”
Frank opened his eyes.
He's shaking. His hands are shaking.
Gerard was looking at him.
He knows they'll need each other, tonight.
The pain is too much to bear alone.
Ray stood up, stretched his back.
Pain. Sharp jab, uncomfortable.
He cursed between his teeth as he felt the cartilage tissue between his vertebrae move.
“Stay down!” one of his comrades hissed at him.
“I don't give a shit, Ross.”
He shrugged and shook his head as the other soldier glared at him.
Your heart explodes in your ears. Fast. Too fast.
Billie Poe trails his thumb against Frank's cheek, wet with tears.
Little baby's crying. Little baby's frail.
Don't cry. Big boys don't cry.
“It's going to be fun, kiddo.”
His friends howl with laughter. They know what's going on, and some of them might feel guilty, but it's fun fun fun, too. Fun in a morbid, dark and twisted way.
They know what's gonna happen.
“'Cause you know what they say about you, Frankie?”
His thumb creeps inside his mouth, brushes against his lips.
Your skin begins to crawl. In the years to come, how many times will you feel his hands creep up against you?
“They say you're a little, tiny faggot.”
The words sting and burn and hurt.
“A little faggot who likes dick.”
His hands run down Frank's chest, press against his stomach.
And despite it all, despite the fear and the humiliation, his sixteen year old body reacts the only way it knows.
And Billie notices this. And it makes him smirk.
And he presses up against you. And you feel tiny.
You feel even smaller. You just want to go.
Let me go.
“You got a hard on for me?”
His voice trickles, and it feels like poison.
“Little faggot here's got a hard on for me!”
You want to die.
“Bill! BILL! PLEASE!”
She's hysterical again.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Billie Poe, the highschool jock, the boy everybody loves touches Frank Iero between the legs.
And the kid can't help but pathetically try to muffle a moan.
Because it scares him but it intrigues him.
Wrong move. Wrong fucking move.
This is the part where you want to rip your skin off. This is the part where remembering it all becomes physically painful.
Billie and his friends circle you.
Wolf pack's found its pray.
And you can't run. You're cornered against a wall and nobody will look because nobody wants to have anything to do with this.
That's the first thought that crosses your mind.
I'm gonna die.
Billie's lips so close to yours.
“Well...do you know how faggots fuck?”
Your breaths mingle. And that's the first time you learn the trick.
Disconnect your mind. Slip away. Detach.
But maybe he won't let you. Maybe all he wants to do tonight is see you squirm.
They're both crying for complete different reasons, and they're both holding each other and they're both shaking. And it burns so much. It burns so fucking much.
Frank realizes a minute too late what's going on, because Billie's already undid his pants, he's already pushed them down.
He's already thrown him to the ground.
And then time disappears. There's just the panic.
There's just the sound of their laughing.
Of her screaming.
And it takes a moment for you to realize that his friends are holding you down as the innocent, church-going, God-loving William Poe shoves the neck of an empty beer bottle up your ass.
And the pain is unimaginable. And the burning is screeching inside your nerves.
And your entire being is nothing but shame.
But first comes the pain.
Deep waves of red-hot, blistering pain.
There's no use in begging. No use in crying.
You shut your eyes, and you pray for everything to stop.
You pray that the sound of music conjured inside your mind will drown the big bad world outside your skull.
Ray walked a few feet. It was dangerous, he knew that. He could get killed in an instant.
In the blink of an eye.
But he needed to move. Moving around always calmed him.
He saw them almost immediately, recognized them instantly.
But he just looked. Didn't move. Didn't say a word.
His heart ached.
We're all broken.
But then you do open your eyes.
And you see a gun.