Sorry its so short you guys... and so erm... late x___x
Yep you guessed it, ANOTHER apology for being so late. This chapter just took me ages to write for some reason. I really couldn’t get a flow going x__x But I’m thrilled I’ve finished it now and I can finally move on to the good bit! XD Hopefully you’ll still enjoy this chapter though and I’m gonna try super hard to get these updates back on track.
Thank you so much for putting up with my shitness! XD
Frank didn’t know whose arms were around him, he only knew that he wanted them to let go. The arms were strong, the biceps large, the limbs trying to drag Frank away from the body of his lover as he screamed and cried at the top of his lungs.
“Frank! Frankie – come on!” The voice was familiar, something in the back of Frank’s mind twigged. Recognised the strong accent. The deep timbre of the vocals. But it wasn’t enough to move him; he refused to be dragged away from the ringmaster, refused to leave him.
“No – NO!” Frank screamed so loud his throat burned and the arms around him tugged harder, making his ribs ache as he was dragged away. He wasn’t strong enough to hold onto Gerard’s hands and he sobbed pathetically as Pierre yanked him away from the ringmaster’s body.
“It’s okay... it’ll be okay...” Pierre promised softly, Frank not hearing him as he cried harshly. “Come on... Just come on...”
Pierre gripped Frank tight as he dragged him away from the blood soaked bed and carried him outside of the wagon. Frank’s screaming had quietened by now, reducing down to desperate, terrified sobs that blocked his throat and threatened to suffocate him. It looked like everyone in the circus had congregated around the ringmaster’s wagon, everyone stood a few feet away as if trying to keep a safe distance from whatever might be inside.
Pierre dragged Frank away from the wagon and the crowd as the doctor and some of the acrobats rushed to Gerard’s aid. The night was eerily silent now Frank had stopped screaming, and all the mechanic could do was stare with wide eyes at the floor with his jaw hanging open and his chest heaving as he struggled to breathe. The circus doctor was one of the acrobats, and she wasn’t really trained to heal something as serious as the wounds to Gerard’s chest. Frank couldn’t even see why she’d even bother trying; it was obvious there was nothing anyone could do.
“Frank? Frank please talk to me?” Pierre begged softly as he shook Frank a little, the mechanic not looking up from the floor as his knees buckled and he dropped down onto them, Pierre falling with him. The night air was cool, freezing Frank’s scratched face as tears streaked over his cheeks. Pierre whimpered softly and gripped Frank’s jaw, forcing his face up to look at him but Frank squeezed his eyes shut as if he didn’t want to see.
“Frank, please my friend talk to me!” Pierre begged, raising his voice a little as if he wondered whether Frank could even hear him; but Frank only kept his eyes shut and shook his head frantically. “Please Frankie, you must be calm.”
“Calm...” Frank choked, finally opening his eyes and staring at the muscleman with a look of horror mingled with shock. “Calm!? My lover has just been murdered – how do you expect me to be calm!?” He all but screamed, his throat aching from the sudden force of his vocals and he sobbed as he pushed Pierre away from him with as much force as he could muster. “Gerard is DEAD and you want me to be CALM!?”
“Frankie please, you don’t know that he is dead, he might –”
“No! Shut up! He is dead – you didn’t see him. I did! I did see and I know!” Frank shouted before collapsing down into a fit of fresh sobbing, crumpling against the dewy grass and hiding his face in his hands as he shook with the force of his sobbing. His throat was aching just as much as his heart, his felt like his insides were tearing into a million tiny pieces. It hurt more than anything he experienced, it felt like he was dying but yet the sweet release of death did not come to him.
Pierre felt useless as he looked at the sobbing man, his hand half raised as if to comfort him but he couldn’t quite bring himself to touch Frank’s shoulder in case it made him lash out. Pierre wished he knew how to help Frank, but he was clueless as to how so he simply knelt beside him with sympathetic eyes as he chewed on his lip and prayed that someone else would come by to help. And it wasn’t long before his prayers were answered.
“Frankie! Frank!” Cain’s long hair was like a stream of silver moonlight fluttering behind him as he ran as fast as he could towards the mechanic and the muscleman. Silver was just a short distance behind him, Cogs sat on his shoulder and clinging to his hair so that he didn’t fall as his owner ran with all he was worth.
Frank was so beyond himself in his sorrow that he didn’t even hear his friends calling to him, was completely oblivious to them both before Cain collided into him, barrelling him over as he flung his arms around his neck and knocked them both sprawling across the grass. Frank gasped in shock and choked a little on his tears, wrapping his arms around the clown just out of instinct as Cain clung to him.
“Frank! Oh Frankie... Oh God, are you okay? Oh Frank, it’s awful. Just awful.” Cain whimpered, struggling to sit up again and drag Frank with him so that he could pull the mechanic into his lap and hug him tight.
Frank whimpered softly and buried his face into Cain’s shoulder, clutching his friend tight as he sobbed out all of his heart break. The fall backwards had knocked a little sense into him and he didn’t want to push people away anymore, he wanted to be held and comforted whilst his world fell apart.
“C – Cain... H – He’s gone... He’s gone...” Frank sobbed softly, clinging to his friend as he shook and cried. Silver reached them barely a second after and another pair of arms wrapped around Frank from behind as his second friend held him. Cogs chirped sadly and scampered onto Frank’s shoulder, nuzzling his smooth metal head against Frank’s neck and making soft clicking noises as if to try and comfort him.
“He’s gone guys...” Frank sobbed harshly, Pierre getting up and walking away to disappear into the crowd gathered outside Gerard’s wagon. “He’s gone...”
“Shh, shh Frankie don’t say that.” Silver whispered softly, gently rubbing Frank’s back and kissing his hair comfortingly. “You don’t know that...”
“Yes I do!” Frank wailed, clinging tighter to Cain and leaning back a little into Silvers embrace so that the three men were almost sprawled across the grass together. “Y – You didn’t see him...” Frank whimpered, fed up of having to say it. Why didn’t they believe him? Why were people trying to give him hope? There was no hope. Gerard was dead and Frank wanted to be too. This was all his fault anyway, if he hadn’t been so stupid as to sleep with Gerard behind Maria’s back then this never would have happened. If he had only been strong enough to resist the temptation. If only he hadn’t demanded that Gerard leave Maria for him. There were so many things he had done that would have changed this if he had simply done them differently, and now Gerard was dead and it was all his fault.
Cain looked at Silver over Frank’s shoulder, the two men sharing helpless looks as they begged the other with their eyes to say something that would make it all better. But neither man knew what to say. There were no words that could make this better for Frank just like that. Things like this needed time, these wounds would have to heal over weeks and months, not a matter of seconds.
Cain sighed and bowed his head against Frank’s shoulder, holding the mechanic closer and keeping silent as he embraced him. He knew now there were no words Frank wanted to hear so he gave him what he wanted and stayed silent instead. Silver followed his lead and kept his mouth shut, only Cog’s gentle clicking’s and whirring’s and Frank’s sobs penetrating the silence of the group.
They didn’t know how long they stayed there, Frank crying in the arms of his friends, but for the mechanic it felt like forever. The sky remained dark and the crowd around Gerard’s wagon didn’t disperse but Frank felt as if days had passed by, but then it wouldn’t surprise him if he stayed locked in this moment forever. Unable to move on or heal. Just lost in the hell that he had caused.
Of course though in reality it was only a few minutes before Pierre came back, running across the grass towards the trio with wide, sparkling eyes.
“Frank! Frankie! Come quick, we need you!” He shouted as he ran over, Cain and Silver looking over with interest but Frank just acted as if he hadn’t even heard the Frenchman, not caring what he did or didn’t need. Couldn’t he see Frank was grieving?
“Frankie! Please Frankie, Gerard is alive!” Pierre cried, skidding to his knees beside the three men and tugging Frank gently out of Cain and Silver’s grip, cupping Frank’s face and forcing him to look at him as he panted softly. “Frank, Gerard is alive but we need your help.” He said frantically, Frank’s blood shot eyes growing wide as tears continued streaking down his cheeks.
“W – What?” He squeaked, his whole body shaking as Pierre lifted him onto his feet, clutching his upper arms so Frank didn’t collapse again as Cain and Silver sprung to their feet too.
“He’s alive!?” Cain gasped, Pierre nodding as he gazed deep into Frank’s eyes.
“Yes, but he is very weak. Frankie, you the only one who knows how to save him. We need you to come now.” He said as calmly and strongly as he could, Frank whimpering as he shook his head frantically, his heart jumping and racing as his stomach churned. Gerard was alive? He wanted to feel thrilled and yet he only felt more afraid, he couldn’t afford to get his hopes up now in case he still lost Gerard anyway and then it would hurt even more he knew.
“M – Me? B – But I don’t –”
“He showed you how to fix him no?” Pierre demanded as he began tugging Frank across the grass back towards Gerard’s wagon. “The doctor, she trying her best but she no understand the machinery. You the only one who knows.” He insisted, his French accent thicker in his panic so that Frank had to concentrate hard to understand him and his stomach lurched.
“But I’m no doctor! I fix cannons Pierre, not men!”
“So what!?” Pierre demanded, by now the two men were barely three feet away from the crowd and as he rounded on Frank everyone turned to watch. “You won’t even try!? You are willing to just let Gerard die because you only fix cannons!?”
Frank felt a fresh wave of tears building in his eyes and he whimpered softly as he shook his head, feeling ashamed of his hesitation as the rest of the circus all stared at him with wide eyes.
“I... I want to dry but I...”
“The doctor will be with you.” Pierre said, softer this time and he took Frank’s head to lead him to the wagon. “She will know what needs to be done, but you must do it.” He explained as best he could and Frank nodded uncertainly, bowing his head and avoiding everyone’s eyes as he allowed Pierre to lead him to the wagon.
The crowd of circus folk was silent as everyone watched Frank walking to the wagon, many of the girls were crying whilst everyone else just looked shell shocked; but Frank refused to look at any of them, his heart hammering as he walked to the steps leading up to the door of the wagon and Pierre moved to stand behind him.
“Don’t let anyone see inside.” Was all he said before he pushed Frank into the wagon and then shut the door behind him, standing outside with his muscular arms folded to ensure that no one tried to get in. Not that anyone wanted to, and as Frank entered the wagon he couldn’t blame them.
The sight was worse than he remembered, and he choked a little as he stared with horrified eyes at his lover.
Gerard was lying flat on his back in the blood soaked bed, all the cushions and the sheets dropped in a sopping red pile at the other end of the wagon, leaving nothing but the mattress but even that was now stained red. Gerard was motionless, his skin a garish pale, tinged a light grey and kneeling beside him were two of the acrobats. One of them, the doctor, was perfectly calm as she worked quickly, trying to stem the blood and find a solution to healing the ringmaster; the other was here simply to take on role of nurse, and she shook and cried as she tried to compose herself and wipe away the excess blood so that the doctor could see clearly.
“Frankie!? Oh thank goodness you’re here! Quickly, I need your help.” The doctor, Amelia, cried and she offered one blood soaked hand to Frank, beckoning him over as the mechanic stood glued to the spot.
“G – Gerard...” He choked, feeling his chest start to heave as he began sobbing again but before any real tears could spill down his cheeks Amelia spoke calmly and clearly to him, calming him down with a voice full of authority.
“Frank, compose yourself!” She demanded, Frank instantly stopping his sobs with supreme effort. He hiccoughed a little and though he tried to stop he shook violently, but he knew now his composure could be the key to saving Gerard’s life and so he tried his best to calm down.
“I – I’m sorry.” He coughed, rubbing his eyes. “P – Pierre said something about erm... you needing help?” He asked shakily, Amelia nodding and beckoning Frank over again and this time he finally took the hint and tripped towards the bed. He tried not to look at Gerard but he couldn’t help but turn his gaze on him, his heart ripping into shreds as he looked at the mess that his torso had become; blood running freely even as the second acrobat tried desperately to stop it.
“Okay, just try to stay calm Frank. Everything is going to be fine.” Amelia said calmly, her voice masking her panic, making Frank believe her words fully though deep down she was just as terrified as he was. Gerard was losing a lot of blood and she had no idea how to help him with half of his body made of machinery. “I need you to take a look inside him and tell me if you can see any damage.”
Frank nodded shakily and knelt down beside Gerard opposite Amelia and the second acrobat. His hands trembled as he reached to take the key from around Gerard’s neck, the metal object slick with blood and Frank nearly dropped it several times as he slid it free and moved to place it inside the lock on the door in Gerard’s chest. The bronze door was coated in blood but Frank managed to fit the key into place with little trouble and swing the door open.
Amelia leaned forward with intrigue as she helped the other woman apply pressure to as many of Gerard’s wounds as they could, trying to stem the blood flow to give Frank as much time as possible to look inside the ringmaster.
Frank swallowed thickly and took a deep breath to try and stop his head from spinning as he gazed into the cavity of Gerard’s chest. He felt on the brink of collapsing and turning into a shivering, sobbing mess again but he forced himself to remain composed. Now that he knew Gerard was alive – albeit barely – he was determined to make sure that he remained so.
As he looked at Gerard’s insides he began to notice things that were wrong instantly. His heart, thank God, had not been affected by the attack, saved by the door infront of it but the glass ball that had held the green potion had been smashed in the attack and was no missing, making the gears inside Gerard grind with a sickening noise. His lung had been punctured in its metal half and Frank could see it struggling to inflate. His metal ribs had bent out of shape and there was blood seeping through from the other side... the ‘human’ side.
“We need a new ball here.” Frank said softly, his voice shaking but only a little and he tapped the empty dip where the glass marble should have been. “His lung is punctured and his ribs need seeing to. His heart is fine but there must be internal bleeding on this side...” Frank touched his hand to the right side of Gerard’s torso. “I can’t see any where down from his ribs so I don’t know anything from there.” He added, looking to Amelia for further instruction.
Amelia was nodding slowly, her brow furrowed as she thought as quickly as she could. She wasn’t trained as a surgeon, she was a simple doctor. She dealt with colds and viruses, some minor poisoning and infections. She was not skilled enough to save a life in such turmoil as this but there was nothing she could but try. She tried to use her medical knowledge to that point mixed with common sense to think of how to save Gerard.
“Okay, first things first, Frankie can you fix the problems here?” She asked, gesturing into Gerard’s chest. Frank glanced down again, his heart wrenching at the pitiful sight but he nodded slowly.
“I... I think so. But I need my toolkit.”
“PIERRE!” Frank jumped in shock at Amelia’s sudden shriek and then jumped again when the door banged open and Pierre poked his head round with wide eyes.
“I need you to fetch Frank’s tool kit. And another one of these glass balls here – Gerard had spare right?” Amelia demanded, Pierre looking to where she pointed before nodding.
“I – I believe so yes.”
“Then fetch us one of those too, and the potion he filled it with. Also bring me some boiling water, fresh towels, a needle and lots of thread. As quick as you can please.”
“Yes ma’am.” Pierre nodded politely and quickly moved back, shutting the door and barking to someone to guard it for him before he tore through the empty circus to get the required items. In the mean time Amelia passed Frank some bloody towels and got him to apply pressure to Gerard’s wounds too, he and the two women pressing down with enough force to stem the blood whilst they waited for Pierre to return.
It didn’t take long for Pierre to return, Frank surprised by how quickly he came back, everything asked for cradled in his arms. He came back into the wagon and put the items gently down on the bed, Amelia thanking him and having him leave again before she passed Frank his toolkit.
“Fix as much as you can Frank and I’ll do this side.” She said with a tiny smile, hoping it would help Frank keep positive and to her great relief he nodded with a calm, smooth expression. He seemed to have fully composed by now and his hands didn’t even shake as he took his toolkit and opened it.
“I need the marble first.” He said softly, holding his hand out without looking up from his kit and Amelia quickly sought out the glass ball from the pile and passed it to Frank along with a vial of the green liquid used to fill it.
Frank was quick to locate the tiny hole in the glass and fill it with the potion, feeling somewhat soothed by being able to see Gerard’s heart beating slowly and weakly in his chest. As long as that didn’t stop Frank could remain calm. At least with Gerard being unconscious he wouldn’t feel the pain of what was going to have to be done.
Amelia used a cloth to pick up the heavy metal kettle that was full of boiling water and had her assistant hold a bowl steady as she filled it with the steaming liquid. She left Frank to do his thing as she got busy soaking the thread and needles Pierre had brought in the boiling water. She added some rosewater and turpentine to help sanitise the items and had her assistant wipe down Gerard’s chest again to get rid of some of the blood.
“We might need to cauterize the wounds...” She said thoughtfully when the bleeding refused to stop, Frank’s stomach lurching at the thought but he carried on with his own work, placing the now full vial of potion into its place on Gerard’s chest, relieved when it clicked into place with ease and started dripping green liquid down into his heart.
By the time Frank had pulled a mini blowtorch out of his toolkit the awful sound of grinding gears had stopped, the potion doing its job instantly and Frank felt even more positive as he looked back into Gerard’s chest. The punctured lung was a problem, but since it was only the metal part that was affected Frank knew welding it should do the trick. He would have preferred to have made a metal patch and screwed that in instead but he simply didn’t have the time, so he simply winced and got on with it as he lit the torch and held the attached goggles to his eyes.
Amelia watched with some interest but then shook her head quick, refusing to be distracted and she pulled the needles and thread from the water. She didn’t know what to do about the internal bleeding, she just had to hope that whatever was damaged it was not so severe that it would not be able to heal itself.
“How much blood is there Frank?” She asked, Frank busy spraying flames into Gerard’s chest, his face the picture of concentration behind his thick black goggles. He ignored her question for a few seconds before stopping the blow torch and lifting his goggles to look at Amelia.
“Erm...” He peered down into Gerard’s chest again before looking back to the beautiful doctor. “Not too much, I’d say it’s just coming from general wounds, if any of his organs were hit it doesn’t seem to severe.” He said uncertainly. He was no doctor so he couldn’t be sure and the last thing he wanted to do was make something seem fine when it wasn’t, but it really wasn’t a lot of blood, much more was coming out of his external wounds and so they needed seeing to most.
Amelia nodded her understanding and left Frank to continue doing... whatever he was doing with that blowtorch, whilst she and her assistant got busy tending to the stab wounds.
Frank watched through his goggles as the metal of Gerard’s lungs began to melt and fuse together, using a screwdriver to coax the two sides together without dipping. It wasn’t the best tool to be using, but he was having to improvise a lot. As soon as the two sides had joined and there were no more gaps to be seen he put the blow torch down, looking up in surprise when Amelia’s assistant took it from him. She had stopped crying by now too and Frank didn’t question her motives when she took a metal rod from out of the boiling water. The handle was wooden and Frank watched with some interest as she used the blow torch to heat the metal end until it was bright red and then promptly run it over one of the stab wounds.
Frank gasped but didn’t move to stop her. The metal touched Gerard’s skin for barely a second and when she moved away the skin had turned hard around the wound, the bleeding stopping and she was able to wipe the excess blood away so Amelia could move in with the needle thread and start stitching it up.
Frank was amazed but didn’t waste any more time watching, instead he pulled a large pair of pliers out of his toolkit and peered into Gerard’s chest again so that he could assess the damage to his ribs. He knew he’d have to be careful not to damage them any more as he worked, and he carefully gripped one metal bone in his pliers and began to pull.
It was a delicate, lengthy process, and the three worked in silence as they concentrated on their tasks. Gerard’s heart was still beating slowly but Frank fancied that it had got a little stronger and there was much less blood flowing now.
By the time Frank had managed to carefully bend each rib back into its original shape – or as close as he could make it – Amelia and her assistant had finished cauterising and stitching each wound. Frank looked Gerard’s insides over one last time before carefully closing the metal door and locking it again, Amelia dipping a clean cloth in the boiling water which by now was simply warm and using it to wipe the whole of Gerard’s torso over.
Two hours since Frank had first come into the wagon to help the trio finally sat back and breathed out soft sighs. They all gazed at the ringmaster with mixed feelings of hope and fear, knowing that they had done all they could and praying that it was enough.
Gerard’s skin was still a sickly pale colour, but the grey tint seemed to have faded now. His skin was stained with blood and so his torso was a little pink from it, his skin a patchwork of lines of neat black stitches. But his chest was rising and falling with steady breathing and for now it seemed that he was stable.
Frank got up with the girls and shakily picked up his toolkit to throw away. He would buy a whole new one, he never wanted to look at this one again after having to use it to try and save his lover and Amelia seemed to understand as he dropped it outside the door. He then helped the women to remove everything that had been touched by the blood, all the bedding and the cushions and a few items getting passed outside, the circus folk not asking any questions as they all rallied round to collect the items for burning.
Pierre came into the wagon with some of the strongest men in the circus and they all very carefully lifted Gerard without moving him too much so that the mattress too could be removed. By then the wagon was like a shell and so the men carried Gerard outside, a blanket draped over him, to be laid to rest in Frank’s wagon.
The circus became like a funeral procession in that moment, Frank walking shakily beside the men carrying Gerard as they moved through the night to his wagon. Cain and Silver stood on either side of him, just a little behind him with their hands on his shoulders. Then came Amelia and her assistant, the two acrobats holding hands as they allowed their fear to finally grip them fully and they cried softly as the rest of the circus folk followed on behind.
No one really knew whether Gerard was alive or not in that moment, but no one dared ask and Frank didn’t have the energy to tell them. He simply followed the men to his wagon and then waited outside as they lay Gerard down on his bed. Frank then embraced Cain and Silver and whispered that he would see them in the morning before going into his wagon too, leaving his friends shaken and bewildered outside. Amelia though called everyone to attention and took them to the big top to explain Gerard’s condition thus far.
For the rest of the night Frank sat at his little table, his knees drawn up to his chest and his eyes never leaving Gerard as he watched his chest rising and falling. He was frightened and tired but he forced himself to just follow that steady movement, determined to watch him all night to make sure that he didn’t stop breathing.
At some point just before the dawn a bonfire was built in the circus to burn all the bloodied items from Gerard’s wagon and Frank’s face was cast in an orange glow from the light of the flames coming in through his window. He didn’t turn to stare at them, and he ignored the scent of smoke as the flames climbed higher, though his brow furrowed a little. As he sat gazing at the ringmaster he made a vow to avenge him. He didn’t know where Maria had gone, nor did he care. But he knew, as soon as the morning came, whether Gerard was alive or dead at that moment... he would saddle up a horse and he would leave the circus.
He would leave the circus and not return until he had found the bearded woman and made her feel every ounce of pain she had caused him, Gerard, and everyone else, ten times over.