Gerard has a revelation.
Gerard walked the streets aimlessly. He could tell it must have been around midnight by now. It had been hours since he left Mikey and Frank. He was lost, he knew. Still, even if he did know where he was, he did not know if he would go back.
The tears had stopped coming. Now he just felt drained. Dead. Tired. That feeling of defeat you get after you've just sobbed your heart out. More than ever, more than anything, he wanted to go home. Home as in where he was Frank was just Frank, Ray was alive, and his wife and daughter visited him once a day through Skype.
He felt slightly guilty. He knew Frank and Mikey must be worried. In his old reality, Mikey and Frank always did fuss over him a lot. The Mikey and Frank in this one, however, seemed to fuss over him even more that they did -- to the point where it had become suffocating.
A horn blew behind him. Gerard spun around to see a car pulling up. Their car. Frank parked it and motioned for him to get in. Well, it would be rude for him to keep on walking. Especially since he guessed Frank must have been looking for him for some time now. Gerard walked over and got into the passenger's seat.
Immediately, he felt Frank lunge himself at him. Embracing him tightly. Gerard tried to return the hug, although the positioning was a bit awkward as they were in the car, divided by the cup holders.
"Jesus Gerard..." Frank muttered into his shoulder, "Don't ever walk off like that again... you have no idea how scared I was..."
"I'm sorry...I just..." Gerard did not know how to explain himself.
The truth was that he really just did not want to be here anymore. In this reality. Most of the changes he could have dealt with, at least for now. Some though, like not having Bandit around, and now discovering that he may never see Ray again, was too much for him to comprehend. It was truly one of those moments where you only realize just how much something meant to you, once you no longer have it.
Still he had grown to love this Frank as well, and Gerard feared that going back would only leave him with the same feeling. Trying any of the things he did with this Frank with the Frank in his other life, would only result in that Frank laughing in his face. Not that he blamed him, of course. Different experiences made them different people. Still Gerard often saw similarities here and there. Like passion. And love. When he really thought about it, this Frank was just the other Frank --- just without the tough exterior.
"...I just can't believe it." Gerard continued on finally, "How can Ray be dead, Frankie?"
"I know sweetie, I know." Frank soothed him. "Ray just never left that old lifestyle ya know? His bandmates, they were all into drugs. Ray was careful, but in the end, the cocaine still got him..."
Gerard was beginning to cry again, so Frank got out of the driver's seat. He went over to the passenger's side, took Gerard out and he placed them both in the backseat where he could coddle Gerard properly. Then more relaxed, Gerard wept openly.
It hurt. It hurt like it was real, even though he knew somewhere, Ray was alive. All he had to do was wake up from this place.
But how could he leave the man who was gently stroking him, whispering warming words into his ear? The man who had shown him more love than Lindsey ever had? Then anyone ever had? It also hurt to think he might break Frank's heart.
Frank blessed his forehead with a soft kiss, and Gerard gripped him tightly. Eventually, Gerard's sobs died down and Frank was able to let him go.
He looked out of the windows. There were shady looking people wandering about the sidewalk.
"We should go home now Gee. It's getting late." Frank told him. Gerard agreed. They both got back into their original seats, and Frank started the car and pulled away.
As they drove home, Frank began to scold Gerard about having walked off. This annoyed Gerard slightly. He did not enjoy being treated like a child.
"I know how to take care of myself Frankie. You didn't have to come chasing after me." Gerard crossed his arms huffily.
"I know, Gerard. It's just you were so devastated when Ray had died. I didn't expect your reaction to be much better this time around." Frank explained as he made a right turn, "I just didn't want a repeat of... Well anyway, I want you to take your meds when we get home."
"A repeat of what?" Gerard turned to Frank, suddenly extremely attentive.
Frank mentally smacked himself. Damn boy doesn't miss a thing.
"It's nothing. Really, Gerard."
"No, tell me."
"Gerard, it's nothing."
Frank sighed. If he knew Gerard at all, he knew how stubborn he was. He would not give this up. He bit his lip and began to explain.
An angry Frank hounded Gerard after they had come home from a night out at the bar. Gerard retreated to their bedroom quickly, but Frank just stomped in, slamming the door loudly behind them.
"Babe, it meant nothing!" Gerard tried to explain to Frank the billionth time that night.
"Then why the fuck were you touching him at all Gerard?!?" Frank screamed at him.
"We were just dancing! He asked me to!" Gerard pleaded.
"That didn't fucking mean you had to fucking say yes!" Frank scolded him.
"I'm sorry! You dance with Steven all the time and I don't say anything!"
"Th-- that's different!" Frank crossed his arms defensively.
"How the fuck is that different?" Gerard inquired.
"DON'T FUCKING LIE TO ME GERARD!" Frank roared, "I fucking know you like Adam! You've liked him ever since you two fucking met! Every fucking time you slut yourself out to him like a desperate whore!"
Gerard's jaw was on the floor. Finally he burst into tears, becoming very desperate indeed.
"PLEASE FRANKIE! It meant nothing! I love you! Only you! You know that!" Gerard cried.
Frank's chest was heaving. The fury he felt was intense. Part of him was screaming for this to stop. He knew he was taking it too far. Gerard hadn't really done much wrong. At the bar, Adam had been touching Gerard more than Gerard had been touching him. Even then, it was just a little flirting. Still Frank was always both a very jealous and angry man, and he had not much self control. He had secretly hated Adam and Gerard's friendship for a long time now, and all that pent up loathing was unleashing itself full force.
"I don't fucking care what you fucking say Gerard! Just keep your fucking legs closed next time, yeah?!?"
"Frankie... please... don't be mad at me..." Gerard pouted and walked over to Frank, ready to try to pull him into a hug. Frank pushed him down roughly. Gerard screamed.
"You wanna act like a whore, be ready to be treated like one." Frank muttered.
Gerard was now reduced to a tearful little ball in the center of the room, cowering from his husband's fury. Frank's heart sank a little once he really took in the sight, so, he mustered as much self control as he could, and left. He went to the couch to sleep that night, automatically assuming he wouldn't be welcome on their bed.
Frank awoke early the next morning. He recalled the night before and a huge amount of guilt hit him like a speeding train. He knew he had to make this right.
Not bothering to get dressed, Frank head out to the store. He got all the ingredients he would need. He returned home later, ready to prepare Gerard's favorite breakfast. He was going to give it to him in bed, as long with a well rehearsed apology.
At first, when Frank came into the bedroom, he thought Gerard was still asleep. Then he saw that his eyes were open. But something didn't look right.
"Gee?" Frank prodded, "Honey?"
Frank came closer. When he was finally close enough to see Gerard's face, Frank screamed and dropped the tray and its contents all over the floor.
Gerard's skin was deathly pale. Drying vomit lined his lips and spilled over the corners of his mouth. His eyes looked as though they were open in shock. And in his hand, was what must have been nearly a hundred pills.
"GERARD!" Frank screamed, running to him. "Gerard..oh god... oh please... no...."
He checked his pulse. It was there, although extremely slight. Frank immediately called an ambulance. Afterwards, all he could do was hold Gerard's hand and sob as though he had already lost him.
"Please, baby, don't do this to me... please, I love you so much... I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."
Gerard stared at Frank. He seemed unable to continue.
"What happened after that?" Gerard asked. "You don't have to go into detail."
"You turned out okay, obviously." Frank went on. "I um... I took some anger management courses. I -- I promised you I would never yell at you again."
Suddenly, Gerard was able to connect the dots. The reason for all the coddling was now very clear. Recent events flashed through his mind as though a movie trying to piece everything together.
"..It was nice, really. Finally getting to catch up. I worry about you, ya know? I'm glad to know that you're doing okay..."
"...he was in fact still dealing with clinical depression, and that he took medication to try to stabilize it. But sometimes, they did not help..."
"...He's nice to see once in a while. But he's just one of those people you shouldn't um... get too close to. You should be careful around him..."
All the "are you okay?"'s and the looks of concern finally made sense. It made sense as to why Frank never got angry at him. And Gerard now knew why Frank had so desperately come out to find him. They all thought he was on some constant verge of committing suicide again. They felt guilty.
"So all this.. all this affection, all this worry... is just out of guilt?" Gerard said quietly.
"What? No, of course not Gerard!" Frank scoffed.
"Well now that I think about it, almost everything you've done seems like it's been out of guilt. You love me... because you feel guilty."
"Gerard, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard you say!" Frank argued.
"How can I trust that anything you say is just because you don't want me to kill myself?" Gerard asked him.
"Because I love you! After all these years together, how could you possibly say it was out of guilt?" Frank said, hardly believing his ears.
"I don't know... I don -- Frank, slow down the car." Gerard warned him. They had started going at a rather quick speed, and Frank had stopped paying attention to the road due to the intensity of the conversation.
"It's like I don't even know you anymore.." Frank shook his head, now not paying attention to anything Gerard was saying. "I mean I understand you're having problems with your memory, but now you're just making false accusations. God, Gerard, are you getting delusional?"
"Frank, slow down the car!" Gerard yelled, their current topic suddenly far from his mind.
And then, out of nowhere, a swerving car made a left onto their street. They were on the right lane. They had been going so fast, there was no way to stop. Gerard tried to think quickly. The driver was obviously drunk, and weaving in and out of lanes at an incredible speed. He was going to hit Frank's side. Making up his mind, Gerard reached over to the steering wheel, and swerved their car as far to the left as possible. Caught like a deer in headlights, Gerard heard Frank scream his name before the car plowed into him.
Incredible pain ripped through him like a lightning bolt, and finally faded into black.
Next chapter: Gerard's decision.