My heart goes out to you.
Brace yoselves for some fluff here.
NOTE BENE: Neither Gerard nor Frank die in the story. That's spoiling it, but there ya go.
First of the Gang to Die
“And so I said to him, no fuckin way, man and then BANG BANG BANG! Dead before he hit tha goddamn ground.”
“Bob, that’s not true and you know it.”
“Is so! Don’t you try’n and beat me down, Toro-“
“I was fucking there, Bob, I saw-“
Gerard smiled to himself as his henchmen bickered in front of him, enjoying the comforting relaxation of Ray and Bob’s continuous fighting as he ate. He was today enjoying red wine and steak, and sitting amongst his men at the huge twenty-six seater in the leaving room. He was also slightly aware of the smaller person next to him who was ghostly white.
It wasn’t the death of his mother-that much Gerard knew. The boy had been faring well after a few days, back to his normal self, and had ever promised Way that he would go on a raid with them whenever they were ready. But for some reason again tonight he was quiet; withdrawn; pale. He wasn’t eating anything-and had been losing weight recently. He never slept-Gerard knew because he could hear him at night; hear the tossing of the sheets as he lay. This was worrying him extremely, thinking he had gone back to old ways of nervosa. And so the older man decided to intervene.
“Sweetheart,” he murmured into Frank’s ear, leaving Bryar and Toro to clash among themselves, “are you alright? You’re not eating.”
The younger pushed his plate away and looked at his husband with smouldering, sad eyes. He was wheezing slightly.
“I feel sick,” he lisped, taking Gerard’s hand under the table-grasping it, clinging to him for dear assurance. “Can I leave please?”
“Of course, sugar,” he replied, the boy leaving his seat and nearly falling over in the process. Way became more concerned. “Would you like me to come?”
Iero nodded and leant against a chair. The gangster turned to his associates.
“Please excuse myself and Frank,” he said quietly to Ray, “I will be in my bedchambers for the next few hours.”
“Of course, sir,” Toro returned, stamping on Bob’s foot under the table. That should shut him up good. “Goodnight, sir.”
Gerard stood up and slipped his arm around the waist of his lover, aiding him in support of his sickness. It wasn’t long before they reached the bedroom, and the boy nearly collapsed when they did. The stronger caught him by the arm and steered him upright.
“Baby, baby,” he said softly as he let him ease onto the bed. “Oh, sugar, you’re so weak.” He placed a hand on Frank’s forehead. “And you’re burning up beyond belief.” His hands slipped down to his hips and spread his legs a little subconsciously before remembering his place. “Is it your stomach that hurts, honey?”
“No,” the other said in a mixture between a groan and a whimper. “No-my chest.” Tears made themselves known as he felt the full effect of the pain. “It hurts so much. Like it’s gonna burst or something.” He inhaled sharply and clutched around his middle. “Please help me, Gee, it hurts so bad.”
“I’ll try, bunny rabbit, I promise I’ll make the pain go away,” he soothed as his husband gasped and whimpered. “Will you show me exactly where the pain is, sweetie?”
Frank shut his eyes and took Gerard’s hand, lifting it underneath his shirt and letting the tips of his fingers brush the septum in between his ribs. Way brushed against it with a little more force and the boy cried out.
“Don’t do that,” he gasped, “don’t do that, please, that hurts.”
“Oh, sugar pop, I’m so sorry,” he whispered, withdrawing his hand again and rubbing his leg. “Will you lay back for me, please, sweetie?”
Frank eased himself back and relaxed back on the dark sheets.
“Will you take off my shirt for me?” He panted, chest pumping frantically. “I can’t, I don’t wanna-“he arched his back and squealed in agony-“oh my God it HURTS.”
“Oh honey, I know, I know,” he murmured, undoing the buttons of his shirt with nimble fingers and pushing the folds of fabric away, and sitting up to straddle the boy. “I’m sorry, babe, I just want to know where you’re hurting.”
He passed his hands over the expanse of his ribs and felt the rabbit tremble beneath him.
“Does that feel painful, sugar?”
“Mmmhmm,” he bleated, tears streaming down his cheeks.
He touched the particularly sensitive area again, lightly this time, and the boy whimpered again.
“Is that the worst?”
“Yes,” he squeaked, grabbing fistfuls of the sheets below him. “Please, please stop, everywhere hurts so much. Please, just-“he flinched involuntarily-“help me, Gerard, make it go away, it’s hurting me.”
Way nodded and slipped off of him, murmuring sweet words of comfort and relief to his lover as he did, promising he’d make him better and that the ache would be over soon. He got off the bed and made his way to the en suite, taking two plain white pills and dropping them in water, watching as the trails of drug seeped into the liquid and settled at the bottom.
He returned to Frank, now sitting up, and pushed the glass into his brittle grip, and stroked his hair.
“Baby, these are just painkillers, but I’m gonna get the doctor soon, okay, and then you’ll be feeling good.” He gazed into the hazel eyes and wiped the tears away with his index finger. “I wanna make you better, bunny rabbit, okay?” He lightly pressed their lips together. “I need you to be happy and healthy and my beautiful boy.”
“How is he?” Gerard demanded the minute the man in the white coat emerged from the room. “Is he alright? How is he?”
The doctor removed his glassed and wiped them with his handkerchief. His name was Charles Calverasi, and he was the private expert of the Way family. He, of course, knew of their dealings and killings, but had been a friend of Donald’s throughout childhood and now extended his medical knowledge to them. He had been examining Frank for the last half hour, asking him questions and knocking gingerly on his rib cage. The results had been conclusive, and fatal.
“I’m afraid the news is not good,” he said quietly, a little scared himself. He thought the boss would kill him if he delivered the wrong outcome. “He’s very ill, Mister Way.”
“Very ill?” Gerard repeated slowly, dreading what was coming next. “In which way?”
“He has tuberculosis,” the doctor murmured. “You are aware of the condition?”
Way’s mouth fell open as he heard. He couldn’t believe it-would refuse to believe it-and the informant that his rabbit had one of the most vicious and lethal diseases of the entire twentieth century would not lodge in his cerebral cortex. It all made sense; the squeaking, the weakness, the fatigue, the weight loss. He wasn’t even paying attention when Bob entered the hall and made his way toward the physician and the killer. When Gerard did not answer the question, Calverasi assumed ignorance.
“Tuberculosis bacillus is a common and in many cases lethal infectious disease that usually attacks the lungs but may spread to other parts of the body. If left untreated well over half of all diseased die.”
The Don still couldn’t process anything. He was just standing, staring at the man who had delivered the news. He was in shock, in traumatic aftermath, and he had simply shut down to the outside world.
“Sir?” It was Bryar. He was worried-the doc could see it plain and simple, lain out on his features. “Sir, is everything alright? Is Frankie okay?”
“That’s not everything, Mister Way.” The sullenness, the dull droll grief in his tone gave Gerard no hope. “I regret to inform you that tuberculosis is extremely contagious. I am probably too late.”
Bob’s mouth also fell open.
“TB?!” He shook his bosses, and friends, arm. “He got TB?!”
“Is there anything that can be done?” Gerard rasped quickly, not even hearing anything but the horrible news that his lover was infected and sick, but still not even thinking of thinking the ultimate result; death. “Anything?”
“At this late stage...I’m not sure. The symptoms of TB only present themselves when the disease is fully developed. There are two options in this case, Mister Way.”
“What are they?” His mind was running wild-he wasn’t functioning normally, but was on some high level of adrenaline drive.
“One is collapsing the lung and breaking the ribs,” he said softly. “It would be under anaesthesia and during procedure, it would be painless-“
“What’s the other one?”He demanded, ignoring the fact that two more defenders were now lounging in the halls. “He’s already broken his ribs; I don’t want him to go through that again.”
“The other is antibiotics for a prolonged period of time, up to two years, as well as assisted breathing from time to time. You know, an oxygen mask.” He sighed and tucked a pen into his pocket. “It does not promise anything, and is very expensive, but could cure him.” Another grim sigh. “He will never be free of the disease, and the chronic blood-tinged cough will be ripe throughout his lifespan. He will, no matter the initial outcome, die younger than the average individual.”
“But-“ he couldn’t understand this. He knew he was crying openly in front of three of his men, but he didn’t give a shit. “I mean-how much younger?”
“Time will tell,” he delivered. “But I would guess he will not live beyond his late thirties.”
Gerard swore and buried his head in his hands, brain not functioning into accepting that he would lose his husband so young, and he would also be susceptible to the disease, and that Frank would never be well enough to live with fulfilment. Bob grasped his shoulder and bowed his head.
“Antibiotics,” he muttered when he was done. “I want to start him on the antibiotics immediately.”
“I must alert you, Mister Way, the medicine costs up to and over five thousand-“
“I don’t care!” He snapped, and an arm was draped around his shoulder. Any other time he would have told him to get the fuck off of him, but this...this was just...so mind numbingly bad. “Do you think I honestly care about money when my husband is being fucking killed by his own goddamn lungs?”
The doctor nodded and scribbled something down.
“I didn’t tell him,” he murmured. “I thought you might want to.”
How Gerard was going to deliver the news of tuberculosis bacillus to the boy who made his life worth living was beyond him. His tears-seldom seen by the other men in the room-slid down his cheeks and seemed to vanish by his jaw.
“You might also ask him some questions for me. I think they are too personal for him to tell me of them.” He looked a little confused. “Perhaps he will tell you.”
“Fine. What are they?”
“If he has ever done recreational drugs, if he smokes and if he has ever had promiscuous sex with other men.” Gerard coughed and closed his eyes. “And may I suggest that you yourself get tested for the disease, Mister Way.”
The older nodded and passed his hand by his brow.
“And I...I am very sorry, Mister Way. This must be awful for you.”
He waved-nearly a salute-and left the hall. Gerard let his head thump against the wall.
“Sir?” It was Bob. “Sir?”
“Just leave me alone,” he instructed. “Please just...leave me alone.”
“Will we be commencing the raid tomorrow, s-“
“Jesus, Dutto, you fuckin deaf? Get the fuck on out of here,c’mon.”
The three other men left, leaving Gerard to fight with his conscience, to pick a war with his mind. He was fucked now-ten minutes ago he was fine, Frank was fine, and they were both going to live beyond their thirties. And now he was going to tell the boy he loved with every fibre in his soul that he was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
He pushed the door open and walked in, trying to keep himself together as he faced Frank. The boy was putting his shirt back on, and for a brief moment Gerard thought he looked a little better. He hoped it wasn’t just his mind playing tricks on him.
“Hi Gee,” he greeted feebly, doing up the buttons of the black shirt, as Way knelt before him, hands on his knees.
“Hey sweetheart,” he murmured back, frowning when he saw that he was struggling to redress himself. “Are you feeling faint, sugar?”
“Um...not really,” he answered. “Why?”
“You’re just doing it wrong, that’s all,” he tried to remain upbeat as he informed him, his heart shattering as he watched him deteriorate right before his eyes. “Here; let me.”
His fingers went to the buttons and let them fall from mismatching holes, doing them up again as he went, hooking them through with his thumb. When he was finished his hands slid down the hips of the boy he cherished so much.
“Did you talk to the doctor?” Frank asked quietly, slipping his hand into Gerard’s, not understanding when the other looked so pained, and grasped his fingers tighter.
“Yeah, I did,” he replied, beckoning the boy down to kiss him briefly. “I talked to him.”
“Am I sick?” He said in his weak lisp, his mouth still being assaulted by the older’s, slowly being dragged into a deep, passionate kiss that made his chest hurt. He began to gasp for air when Gerard got a little carried away, slipping a hand up his shirt and tugging on his piercing. “Mmm-Gee-can’t breathe-hurts-please-“
“Oh baby, I’m so sorry-“he pulled away as fast as he could, jerking his hand from the boy like it was on a hot oven. “I didn’t mean to hurt you, bunny rabbit, I’m so sorry, that was all my fault.” This was killing him; he was hurting him whatever he did, and couldn’t even kiss him with putting the kid through pain. “Are you okay now, sugar pop?”
“Mmmm,” he mumbled in reply, and his decreasingly inept manner of speaking was worrying the other. He frowned and shuddered uncomfortably. “I’m so cold,” he whimpered, despite being fine moments before.
“Aw, baby, I know, you’ve got a fever,” he cooed, taking off his jacket and wrapping it around him. “Is that better?”
The smaller nodded.
“Do you want to sit in my lap?” He offered, giving the boy his hand. Seeing him hesitate, he affirmed: “I’ll be so careful, bunny rabbit, I promise. If your ribs hurt again you can get off, honey.”
Frank clambered off the bed and sat gingerly in his lap, making sure his abdomen was away from the others, as far away as possible. He leant against him warily, and relaxed into his shoulder.
“What’s wrong with me, Gerard?” He questioned, trying to remain calm.
Way took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
“You have TB, babe,” he said softly, and he could feel himself breaking down. “You know what that is?”
“Tuberculosis,” the boy answered quietly, snuffling. “I...have...tuberculosis?”
Gerard couldn’t respond. This was one of the most painful conversations he had ever had.
“But don’t...”his voice was cracking. Fuck that, he was cracking. “Don’t people die from that?”
Don’t you dare lie to him, his brain scolded sternly. You have done your fair share of shitty things in your life time, Gerard Way, but lying to him about this might just take the fucking icing on the tuberculosis cake.
“Yes,” he choked, clutching to the sickened boy in his arms, but still minding not to crush him. “Sometimes they do, honey.”
“Am I gonna die?” He was looking him in the eye now; looking him in the eye and Way couldn’t take it. “Am I gonna die, Gee?”
The gangster kissed him on the forehead and thought he was going to start crying again, his face crumpled and contorted. He waited a moment and then sobered himself up.
“I am getting you the best treatment possible,” he whispered in the shell of the ear of the now shivering other, “and I will make sure everything is done to make you better. I can’t tell you that it’s going to be painless, because it won’t be, but I will be with you through anything and everything that happens. If there is something you want to talk about, or something you need, or any pain you’re feeling, then I want you to know you can come to me at any time, okay?” He caught his breath and rested his chin in the black tufts. “I’ll stay home from work, I’ll do whatever you want me to, I’ll pay ten million dollars if I have to, I don’t care what it is, I want you to get better.” Another quick kiss. “Once you get started on the medication you’ll feel okay, sweetheart, I promise.”
He heard sniffing and squeaking from under him.
“I’m scared,” he whimpered, and coughed, spluttered suddenly, into his hand. When he turned up his palm spots of blood were spattered on the skin. “Oh,” he croaked, staring at the scarlet drops, and even turning a little pink. Way pressed a handkerchief into his hand.
“The doctor said that might happen,” he told him gently, “you’re gonna have a very bad cough, darling.”
“Oh,” Frank said softly again, looking downward, and utterly destroyed.
“I’ll stop smoking,” the older promised, “I don’t want your lungs getting even more clogged with my fumes.”
“Really? You’ll stop smoking for me?”
“Yes. You’re going to need aid to breathe,” he murmured, “and me puffing on a cigar isn’t going to help you.”
“Thanks,” he said, coughing again, horrible, painful wracks of wheezes deep from within his rib cage. There was no blood this time-he just felt exhausted, leaning into Gerard again.
Way remembered something.
“Honey, I know this isn’t the time, but the MD wants me to ask you some questions.” He felt a bit awkward, asking him annoying and personal things that were bound to upset him. “Is that alright?”
“Then can I go to sleep?” He yawned, voice cracked and whipped. “I’m getting tired.”
“Of course.” He wondered momentarily on how he should phrase the question. “Have you ever...ah...done...illegal narcotics?”
The boy coughed weakly and shrugged.
“I don’t know what that means.”
Gerard sighed and pressed his lips to Frank’s ear and whispered right into the drum.
“Have you ever done drugs, sweetheart?”
He looked a little taken aback; Frank did, as Way withdrew and faced him. Black circles had miraculously appeared around his hazel eyes, and he was somewhat disorientated.
“Once,” he murmured barely audibly, slinking back around Gerard’s neck. “I sniffed cocaine when I was really young but it broke a bone in my nose and I started bleeding and stuff.” He rubbed his nose at the memory. “James said I oh-deed.”
“You over-dosed?” He was a little shocked-he himself had tried drugs in the past, but he was the head of the Mafia; that seemed to forge as an excuse. “And...uh...there was something else, baby, and then I promise you can go to bed.” He coughed-with less strain than Frank-and continued. “You had promiscuous sex with other men, didn’t you?”
“Pro-miss-que-us?” He sounded out, eyebrow raised. “What does that mean?”
“You made love to a lot of other people, rather carelessly and often,” he explained, not without a little bit of involuntary grit. “Didn’t you?”
The rabbit stalled a little, clearly uncomfortable.
“Well...yeah.” He nearly started crying when Gerard frowned-please, please, please don’t hate me.”But I didn’t want to,” he stammered quickly, so fast that his voice got caught and he started to squeak. “I only love you, Gee, and you’re the only person I've ever wanted, and I-“
His lungs gave and he cried out, the pain sharp and overbearing.
“Shh, shh, baby,” he cooed, “I know that, don’t hurt yourself like that. You want to go to sleep now?”
Frank nodded, but it was no use-he wouldn’t be able to sleep properly for the rest of his life.