Not quite a man of faith, but Gerard still had those sneaking suspicions about… ‘him’, the big man, whatever. He rarely focused on these internal dilemmas of morality. Never ignored it either.
One of those things that made hairs stand on end if he thought about it too much but sent shivers down his spine if he neglected indulging pensiveness on it.
Sure, ‘he’ might not be there.
It was more the design of the world that seemed interesting than the ‘man’ who had created it.
Sometime Gerard could just sit back and become aware of things. Feel every inch of fabric on his skin and the walls he leaned against. Every tooth in his skull and vein in his skin, his tongue and palate and his slow breaths, every house on his street, every street in the world.
Just sit back. Breathe slowly. Count your breaths. One, two, three, blink, one, two, three, blink, it was relaxing, and worrying. He was small. Just a guy. In his room.
Thinking about everything. About everything he knew and everything he’d never know.
“Just an idiot with too much time on your hands.” Frank smirked. “We’re polar opposites, I live in the fucking moment man. You need to stop thinking about yourself and what you’ll do. Think about me you fuckhead. You missed my birthday.”
In the fucking moment was the chilly twelfth afternoon of November, in Frank’s garden. The moment’s hair hung limply over his eyes and it glared back at Gerard, who shook off his reveries and shrugged at him lightly. Something cracked into place in his shoulder after spending far too long hunched over Frank’s algebra homework, pages shifting and crinkling in the breezes. Even Mother Nature hates algebra.
“You never told me when your birthday is.” Gerard retorted in defense with a small gasp as the plastiscine backrest of the loungechair gave way when he leaned back down. ‘Stupid piece of shit’ teetered on his tongue, but he bit down on his words after noticing the refrained laughs behind Frank’s cheeks. If Frank could go to so much effort to not take the piss out of him as his personality obliged, the least Gerard could do was not call his furniture shit.
The house couldn’t give its best impressions. Two months and two weeks after meeting Frank and they were still balancing on the threshold between close and best friendship, but at least Gerard had passed the doorway, thanks to rapidly bonding over mutual disconnection from any other human being. Warm outdoors had led them straight though from one brass handle to another, and Gerard hadn’t even seen the inside of the house before they were treading on the well kept rusty grass of the garden, sitting on decrepit lounge chairs and admiring the view that the rest of the lawn offered, while algebra lay unattended on a small coffee table. Just a burnt sienna lawn littered with daisy heads and other miscellaneous weeds, but it was kept in a manner that didn’t make it seem so overgrown but still let wild threads course on its area.
For some reason Gerard had expected a different kind of house. Maybe messier, not as well kept, not as… nice. And Frank was so happy at home. His mom was lovely. His house was lovely. Everything was lovely and clean and suburban. White fence out front was in lacking though.
“I didn’t do anything for my birthday anyway.” Frank shrugged with a frown. When he realized Gerard had started gazing off into the distance like he did so often, he stopped himself and looked at him curiously. He did that now and again. Just went vacant. Completely lost himself.
Frank tried picking his copybook up discreetly from the table and slip it back into his bag, but Gerard glanced up from staring at distant flowerbeds and caught him by the wrist, giving him an accusing glare. Frank’s eyebrows raised at an angle and his lip jutted out pleadingly, but Gerard simply held his wrist tightly and tugged him forward half an inch.
“I’m here to help you with homework. Take the book out again,” he ordered.
“Like that’s any fun, we could spend a Saturday afternoon doing sooo many other things.” Frank groaned, using his right hand to tug the book free again whilst Gerard still clung tightly to his other wrist.
“So c’mon. It’s only like, three o’clock,” he added pleadingly. “Let’s take a break, I just figured out how to do quadratic simultaneous equations.”
“You still can’t spell simultaneous though.” Gerard grinned.
“This is algebra, not grammar and spelling, shut the fuck up.” Frank sneered, tugging his wrist away from Gerard’s hand and throwing the book aside again. There was a small silence where Frank cradled his wrist and Gerard hesitated on apologizing, broken only when Gerard sighed and leaned back in his chair again. The frame cracked loudly and something jagged snapped and dug into his ribs almost as soon as he lay back and he jumped back up, scrambling off the chair lest it should collapse underneath him, and standing in a wary ninja stance between the two lawnchairs.
“Dude. It’s not going to bite you.” Frank laughed, swinging his legs down and picking the broken chair up in one swift motion. Gerard hopped back when he stepped forward as if the chair was an imminent threat to his life and literally hissed at it.
“Stop giving the chair death glares.” Frank chuckled, glancing up from folding it up and giving Gerard a toothy grin. One of his canines was chipped.
As Frank folded the seat away and perched it up against the wall where it couldn’t harm the city of Townsville any more, Gerard sat in a huff on the ground and rummaged about in his pocket, shuffling through keys and a phone and a few other knick knacks amongst the many little pockets littering his pants and jacket until he found a crumpled and tattered pack of cigarettes nestled in the inside of his coat. A quasi-empty box of matches fell out after, Gerard catching and striking a light in one seemingly fluid motion. He shifted about uncomfortably on the spot as the damp underneath him started seeping through to the seat of his trousers, whilst Frank walked back over to where the evil lawn chair previously was and strolled past to his seat.
“Dude, get off the ground.” Frank ordered, and Gerard rolled his eyes and took a long drag from his cigarette, lashes fluttering in a breeze.
“Where will I sit?”
“Where will you sit?”
“I’m sitting on the chair too you asshole, I like you a lot but not that much.”
Gerard glanced him up and down, as he sat down on the sturdier seat.
“Where do I sit?”
“I dunno. My lap?”
“You sit on my lap. You’re smaller.”
“Fuck your big spoon little spoon logic.” Frank snapped, finally sitting down on the chair and crossing his arms. Shooting Gerard an annoyed look, he leaned back and poked him with the tip of his shoe.
“C’mere,” he stated, nodding to his own knees.
Another drag on the filter, and Gerard laughed out a small puff of smoke. He tugged on the sleeves of his jacket and rose to his feet, seating himself on Frank’s knees and crossing one leg over the other, the base of his spine leaning into Frank’s stomach. Frank made a small umph noise at the sudden weight across his lower waist but didn’t let his smile falter, as if winning some kind of victory by having Gerard on his lap. He looked at him and raised an eyebrow, lips twitching into a wider grin then before and smug happiness all about his eyes.
In return, Gerard just crossed his arms and stuck his tongue out at him, blowing a puff of smoke across Frank’s face and chuckling to himself when his smile turned into a small coughing fit.
“So tell me Frank,” he smiled disparagingly, with a patronizing chuckle and another wisp of smoke brushing Frank’s cheeks. “When is your birthday?”
“October 31st.” Frank grumbled. “Fucking useless. Everyone’s at a goddamn Halloween party and no one remembers it’s my birthday.”
“Shit man, where were you for Hall- your birthday?” Gerard asked, concerned with the rememberance he hadn’t seen Frank at all for the entire midterm leading up to Halloween. His cigarette hand fell down to his side as turned around slightly for the sake of conversation, the smoky stench still rolling on his breath and his skeletal hips pressing against Frank.
“Newark,” he shrugged, looking to the side – away from Gerard - and furrowing his eyebrows. “I promised my old friends from home I’d spend Halloween with them. We got pissed in an apartment and played Xbox, yipee ki yay motherfucker.”
Gerard couldn’t stop a small smile from spreading past his cheeks again at the Die Hard reference, but he stayed concerned for Frank and shifted about in his place, trying not to fall onto his chest.
“It wasn’t so different here,” he shrugged in an effort at sympathy. “I was gonna invite you over to the party… well the get-together that I was at. Only I couldn’t find you anywhere, and, uh, I don’t have your cellphone number.”
Frank turned back to the moment and he raised an eyebrow at Gerard and smiled weakly, looking down at his hands and playing with the skin on his own fingers and nodding for no reason.
“Two months in and you’re bringing me to a party? My oh my you’re a charmer Gerard.” Frank snorted with a grin.
“I did want to bring you as a date.” Gerard nodded, with a small wistful smile.
“Really?” Frank chuckled.
“Really.” He hissed with another drag from the cigarette. With another small nod, Frank reached out and plucked the filter right out of Gerard’s lips and brought it to his own, taking in a long breath and sighing in relief, whistling smoke past Gerard’s cheeks in revenge and smiling happily. Cooties.
“Fuck you man.” Gerard stated, without even a hint of conviction or annoyance to his voice. He felt a certain need to reprehend Frank for stealing, but honestly didn’t care. “You have my mouth germs now.”
“Second degree kissiiing.” Frank sing-sang.
“You’re such a child.”
“You just said I had your cooties.”
“Cooties are totally different from mouth germs!” Gerard scoffed indignantly, crossing his arms and shooting a glare at Frank. “You can’t get cooties from second degree kissing!” Frank clearly didn’t know any of the fucking rules.
“Oh yeah?” Frank scorned. “How do you get cooties?”
“With a kiss.” Gerard snorted, reaching down to Frank’s wrist and pulling it away from his mouth. The cigarette dropped from his hand and fell on the patio flooring in a small ember, and Frank found his protests halted when Gerard leaned forward and fluttered his eyelids shut. He kissed Frank once. Lightly. No tongue. Just a few seconds of warmth rolling past his cheeks in the November afternoon and chapped iciness on his mouth. His eyes were still open, and it was the weirdest thing he’d seen that day, Gerard’s lids twitching and eyebrows furrowing a little. It was three seconds, at the most. Frank didn’t even move until Gerard pulled back and ducked low, and when he sat up and flicked his fringe away he was dusting off the filter end of the cigarette and biting down on it again.
A little cloud of smoky breath still lingered on Frank’s lips, and he ungraciously wiped his mouth off the back of his sleeve to hide senseless palpitations, in case Gerard could somehow see his heart through his shirt. More surprise than anything. It wasn’t specific to Gerard, it’s shocking when anyone kisses you out of the blue.
“Gross.” He spat, nodding to the cigarette. “That was on the ground.”
“Five second rule.” Gerard shrugged. “But yeah, back on topic, you have Way cooties now.”
As soon as Frank opened his mouth to reply, Gerard shuffled back into his earlier position, with his back to Frank, hunched over his own cigarette. It didn’t seem like he meant to ignore him. In fact, he glanced over his shoulder and beckoned Frank to keep talking.
“I’m pretty sure there has to be bodily fluids exchanged for someone to catch cooties. It’s like an STD.” Frank retorted, sitting up and leaning against Gerard’s spine with his chin on his shoulder.
“Do you want cooties?” Gerard purred maliciously.
“Jesus, shut the fuck up you creep.” Frank snapped with a hit to his spine that knocked the smoke from his lungs. Ninja shit, that was.
“Creep?” Gerard frowned, his back still to Frank but warmth tickling down his ribs. “I’m creepy, but I’m not a creep, you make me sound like a goddamn kiddie fiddler.”
“You’re a fair bit older than me.” Frank chimed.
“I ain’t fiddled you yet.” Gerard laughed, shudders racking down his torso and bucking back into Frank’s waist. Frank coughed a little when he got an accidental elbow to the stomach and choked up some weird laughter, hands folded across his chest and forehead pressed to the base of Gerard’s spine. They wheezed again for another few seconds, until the November winds stole the noise away and dropped a heavy blanket on the small ignition in conversation.
Silence fell heavily again and all they could listen to was their own breaths drawl by. The cigarette had died out long ago but Gerard still leaned an elbow to his knee and brushed the filter across his lips, as he did so often.
After the third time he’d seen Gerard do it, Frank had gone home and sneaked a few cigarettes from his mom’s bag, lighting them up and leaning out his bedroom window, purely so he could see how it felt. And it did just that. It just felt. The strangest sensation, pressing this filter to his lips, this soft and ticklish little stick, that just rested in his mouth and slowly seeped out oozes of smoke. In that moment he’d wondered why he spent so little time stopping. Stopping to explore these small little things.
Something vaguely jagged poked him between the shoulder blades and he twitched forward, instantly swiping the spot and almost smacking Frank across the nose.
“Were you biting me?!” he yelped with a small spasm.
“I was bored, sorry.” Frank shrugged.
“Oh my god you really are a child aren’t you?” Gerard groaned, rolling his shoulders and stretching to get rid of the itching on his skin.
With a small grumble and a brush on Gerard’s shirt to get rid of the damp, he shrugged again apologetically, knowing full well he was out of Gerard’s sight.
“Let’s not get into the age gap thing again.” Frank muttered, leaning his forehead to Gerard’s sore spot. “What is it anyways? Four years?”
“The social thing? Oh that’s the three year rule.” Gerard noted, resting again and dipping into the low of Frank’s waist. “Can’t date someone who’s three years older or younger than you if one of you is still in school. Well, you can, it’s just… frowned upon.”
“I didn’t even know about that one.” Frank murmured. “I meant the gap between us.”
“Oh.” Gerard mumbled. “That one’s four years.”
Frank scratched the dip behind his ear and reached up to his lips, before realizing the cigarette was gone. He let his fingers trace there, picking on an errant fleck of skin jutting out and pulling it away slowly. It stung. And bled. But just a little.
Gerard leaned his head back into Frank’s shoulder and let his neck go slack, his long-ish hair tickling down Frank’s shoulder and making him twitch and shiver a little.
“You’re bleeding.” He frowned.
“No shit dumbass.” Frank scoffed, self awareness tugging his callused fingertips from his face. In an awkward motion, Gerard tried turning on his side and wiped the blood from Frank’s lip off his knuckle, before in turn wiping the red stain on his skin off on Frank’s jacket. He tried to move back again but realized he was nestled down beside Frank and basically lay with his head to Frank’s shoulder, glancing up every now and again but for the most part gazing into the distance, where the evil chair still leaned against the concrete wall.
“Why’re you laughing?” Frank questioned.
“Nothing, just saw the chair.” Gerard smirked.
A small chuckle ran past Frank’s lips as well, and he raised his right arm to wipe a new droplet from his lip, before awkwardly resting it on Gerard’s far shoulder.
The tang of blood still tasted strong even when Gerard left that evening. Every time Frank licked his dry lips, he could taste it. Blood, smoke, and cooties.