Gerard shows Frank a corner of paradise amongst the madness.
This is the bitter, ugly truth.
This is the blood, the guts, the gore.
The pain. The fear. The sweat.
He swallowed and spat on the ground before coughing. They'd been marching for days now.
He was tired. And he was in pain. But especially tired. So damn tired.
They all were.
They were nervous and scared. Terrified, because they'd seen Death, and they'd finally gotten so close to it they could've touched it. Because the whole “glory” thing seemed less and less inviting.
Hell, they just wanted to go back home.
“Light up, boys.”
God...God, finally. The long awaited break. The chance to calm down and suppress what they'd seen and done – or at least try to.
Keep the monsters hidden under your bed, or at least until the sun goes down.
He slumped to the ground, lighted his cigarette. The ashy sweet taste of tobacco filled his mouth, and he shut his eyes, waiting for the familiar feeling of Gerard's back pressed up against his.
It was their little ritual: Frank would light up – putting himself somewhere somehow private – Gerard would sit next to him, and they'd just stay there, back to back, until the order was given to start marching again. Talking about everything and nothing. Enjoying each other's company.
That and cigarettes had become their only solace. Even Ray, who'd never smoked, had picked up the habit. It kept his nerves in check. Gave him something to do.
Frank bended his head back and leaned against Gerard as soon as he felt Way's shoulders against him.
Gerard smiled, shifted his position so that he could push sweaty hair out of Frank's eyes.
“Hey, little one.”
Frank slightly opened his eyes, inhaled and blew smoke into Way's face.
It made Gerard cough, made his eyes water.
“Remember that talk we had, Iero?”
“We've had many.”
“You should quit the cancer sticks, buddy.”
“As I've already said, I'll quit if you quit too.”
“That means you're never going to quit.”
“Who says that?”
“I sure as hell know that I'm not quitting. Why should I, anyway? - He bended his head back, lighting his second cigarette – And it's not that we'll ever see the US again.”
Frank kissed his neck.
“Don't you dare get yourself killed, Way.”
“This war is suicide, Anthony.”
“Call. Me. Anthony. I know you hate it, baby. - Gerard smirked at Frank – But you're so damn cute when you're pissed off.”
Frank's cheeks went ablaze. He still wasn't used to the fact that Gerard was completely his, it still hadn't sunk in yet. There were still times when he was tentative, certain that Gerard would've sooner or later realized how crazy everything they were doing was.
And Gerard had decided to hide the pain of losing Michael in a love towards Frank so strong and so burning it made Iero sure it would've consumed them both (their lives and everything important) painfully, and then there would've been nothing but ash, nothing but cold.
But, for now, he decided to brush the bad thoughts away. Keep them for later, for when you're lying awake in the dark and you can feel him breathe right next to you, so close you could touch him if you wanted to.
So he rolled his eyes and hid behind control's icy facade, a facade which had so easily and painfully come crumbling down in the last couple of days, and leaned once again against Way.
“If you die, I'm coming with you.”
“Don't bullshit, Frank.”
Gerard glared at him.
“I'm seriously not bullshitting you. I'm coming with you - he swallowed, chose his words carefully - I can't live without you.”
Gerard shook his head.
“You have a life. A family.”
“So do you.”
“But I hate mine.”.
“Then you have me, Gerard.”
Gerard didn't look up, nor did he answer.
I know I have you. And I'm so fucking grateful that I do. But for how long?
I don't want to scream your name and see you ridden by bullets. I don't want to hold your body, cold and stiff and lifeless.
I don't want to see the light leave your eyes.
I never want to see something like that. Ever again.
Without realizing it, he squeezed Frank a little tighter.
“It's weird, though.”
“The way Ray doesn't talk to either of us anymore. The way he just fucking stares.”
“Gerard, he knows.”
Way's gaze went blank for a moment, as he lost himself in remembering. Or trying to forget.
“Michael knew too.”
“I know. I was there, remember?”
The fact that Gerard seemed to have completely erased those few days before Operation Overlord puzzled him. He was afraid that, together with all memories of Michael and whatever had happened between them, Gerard would've erased him too. And even the thought of that was too much to bear.
He smiled at him, suddenly uneasy. But his coldness didn't go unnoticed.
“Hey – Gerard squeezed his shoulder – hey, is everything OK?”
Frank suddenly felt stupid and naïve for having doubted Gerard.
“I—uh—yeah. Yeah, I'm OK.”
“Good. - Way smiled and delicately brushed his fingers along Frank's jaw – God, you're beautiful, Iero.”
Frank pushed his hand away.
“I'm not kidding – he lowered his voice, suddenly aware of where they were – the way your jaw clenches when you're mad – he pressed his lips against Frank's ear – the way you lick your lips, and the way you smile and laugh. And how your hips jitter when--”
Frank briskly moved away from him, smiling, half disgusted, half intrigued.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“There's nothing wrong with me, Iero. It's not my fault you're perfect.”
Frank stood up, brushed the ash off of his uniform.
“And you're sick.”
Gerard stretched, chuckled.
“I'm not sick, just...sad.”
“Yeah. And lonely.”
“So you're fucking me because you miss her?”
Frank. Frank, what are you saying?
Gerard's hurt gaze snapped him back to reality. A stupid little remark.
I should learn to shut up.
You'd sworn yourself never to hurt him again.
“Wha—what? No. No, no, no, Frank. - He stood up. - I love you.”
You know you don't deserve him, Iero.
I never really left you, darling.
I won't let you take him away from me.
Remember, I'm just part of you.
Frank lowered his gaze.
Gerard hugged himself.
“I love you. I really do.”
“I know you do. I'm sorry, I said so much shit these last days and I'm sorry, I'm sorry I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so--”
Gerard's lips suddenly pressed against his and Frank widened his eyes, taken by surprise.
“Shut. The fuck. Up, Iero. You're giving me a headache.”
“It's just that--”
They both laughed. Like kids, on their first date. In love, and nothing else. In love, despite all of the madness.
And the pain.
Despite everything, and everybody.
Gerard kissed him again.
Night fell. Quietly, unnoticed.
They stopped a few miles from a town.
Frank's back hurt. So did his head.
And he felt empty, and naked, and fragile because Gerard was sleeping further than usual, and he couldn't reach out, he couldn't touch him whenever he wanted to.
He shifted his position, brought his knees up against his chest, hugged himself tight.
Sleep. Fall asleep. Brain, shut up. Quit churning, quit running. Quit screaming.
His eyes snapped open.
“I hate you.”
He rolled to his side. Gerard was crouched next to him, fully clothed.
“I wanna show you something.” Way smiled as he spoke, stood up.
“C'mon, get dressed.”
“It's beautiful. I want to share it with – deep breath – the person I love.”
Since I can't share it with my brother anymore.
“I'm tired, Gee.”
“C'mon, Franklin. Get up.”
He grabbed his arm, tugged it.
“I hate you.”, he repeated.
“I know. Now get dressed.”
Frank moaned, pulled himself up, put some pants on.
“That's fine. You don't need a shirt.”
He ran off, Frank followed him reluctantly.
“We're going to get killed. I'm sure about it.”
“Can you climb?”
“I refuse to climb up a fucking hill at night in the middle of enemy territory.”
They were standing in front of each other.
“Frank, you won't regret this. I promise. I swear.”
Frank sighed, looked away, looked back at Gerard.
His eyes were shining in the darkness.
“You only live once, as they say.”
“That's the man I fell in love with!”
He giggled and started climbing, Frank closely behind him.
“Watch your step.”
“And what if the lieutenant finds out? We're going to get kicked out, or the Nazis'll shoot us, or--”
“Didn't you say you were OK with this?”
“I—I'm not. But I guess I want to make you happy.”
And maybe I kind of want to do this, too.
“Oh, shut up.”
They'd reached the top.
“They're going to kill us, or they're going to capture us and torture us and deport us and—wow. Oh. Wow.”
The hill sloped down, delicately, and ended in a small, perfectly clear lake. It was surrounded by trees and two other hills.
It was perfect, so perfect Frank was almost afraid to speak, because you could see the moon in the water, and it was quiet. Deadly quiet.
He turned towards Gerard.
It was all too beautiful.
“Pretty, isn't it?”
“My God. Oh God. Yes.”
Gerard didn't answer, kissed Frank instead.
“You're out of your mind.”
“How did you find this—this place?”
“Yesterday. Me and a couple of the other boys were looking for water to drink.”
He kissed him again, pressed himself against him.
Gerard grabbed Frank's arm and ran down, laughing. They arrived at the very edge of the water.
They kissed again, and Frank surprised himself unbuttoning Gerard's shirt. They undressed each other and Frank ran his fingers across Way's chest. Their skin touched, and it sent shivers down Iero's spine. He kissed Gerard's neck.
He wanted this, he wanted it so bad.
Love, not just sex. Feeling him move against him, not just acknowledging his presence. Not a simple body under his, the body of the person he loved. Sex as something natural, not as something forced onto him.
Sex with Jamia, love with Gerard.
Simple. Still terryfiying. The truth.
Gerard winked at him, and then dived in.
He emerged after a few moments.
“Fuck. It's cold.”
Frank was a bit more cautious. He knew Gerard was staring at him, voracious.
“You like what you see?”
“Get your fucking ass in the water.”
He grabbed Frank's arm, pulled him in.
Iero yelped, surprised.
Gerard smiled, and Frank's knees went weak seeing the way his eyes shone, and how his lips curled and made his entire being glimmer.
“You're beautiful, Gerard.”
His heart beat faster once more. So fast. So damn fast.
Gerard pressed his hand against Frank's chest. He could feel his heart pounding against his ribcage.
They smiled at each other.
“Is everything OK?”
“Everything's fine. Yeah. Everything's OK.”
Gerard brushed his lips against Frank's, as his hand creeped down towards Iero's stomach.
The thought of Billie Poe was there, and dangerous, but Frank grabbed it and choked it back down inside the deep recesses his mind.
Not this time.
He moaned, slightly, as Way's finger brushed against the lower part of his belly.
“God, I love it when you do that.”
He knew his voice was starting to shake.
“This.” And Gerard had touched him between the legs for a moment, teasing him. Frank had moaned again, loudly this time.
He was shaking. And he was completely, totally and utterly in Gerard's power. And Way knew it.
He brushed his fingers against the inside of Iero's thigh, slowly creeping up.
His fingers danced for a moment between Frank's legs. He could feel his warmth, the throb that was starting to build.
He touched him there, and Frank yelped. He started moving his hand, and Frank bended his head back.
His breathing became quicker. He was moaning, trying to catch his breath.
Frank couldn't breathe, and he couldn't think: his body had disintegrated in a feeling he thought he'd forgotten.
The last time he'd felt it - hushing the moans and the screams in Michael's pillow, convulsively clutching the covers - seemed decades before. A lifetime.
But it was there, and it filled him completely to the brim, made him live. He felt the feeling pound in his head, in his chest, between his legs. Pounding and glowing and creeping up along his skin.
Every inch of him was on fire. He could feel Gerard's breath inside his lungs, he could feel every inch of his skin, every pore. Gerard kissed him, and he prayed for the kiss to never end, and the beautiful, swirling feeling of pleasure building up inside of him with every stroke, and knowing that Gerard could feel it too, feel him throb harder and harder.
The way your hips jitter.
He knew Frank was almost there. Gerard could feel his own body react to Frank's excitement, react to the hardness and the wetness between Iero's legs. He could hear his own breathing slowly become a constant, low moan and he knew he needed to feel him inside him. He needed to feel Frank fill him to the brim. Pain and pleasure.
Frank dug his nails inside of Gerard's shoulders. He couldn't think, thoughts were nothing but bright flashes of color, a heartbeat against the glimmering dark fabric of what he was feeling.
The moon and the water and knowing that Gerard was there,was right next to him, and seeing the eery beauty of Way's naked, wet skin shining silver magnified and made everything hundreds of times better, sweeter, more subtle.
Iero was almost shaking. And Gerard seized the moment, pressed his lips against his ear.
'Fuck me, Frank.”
Blunt. Straightforward. But he was going to go insane unless it happened.
Iero nodded – he couldn't bring himself to talk – and pushed him onto the shore. He rested a hand on Gerard's hip, kissed him once, twice, ran his other hand through his hair before lifting his hips and making so that Gerard's legs were resting on his shoulders.
Their gaze met - a moment to catch their breath - and then Frank pushed himself inside of Gerard.
Bright flashes of color against the dark fabric of pleasure.