1944. The circle starts to close.
He swallowed and shut his eyes and recharged his rifle, blood screaming inside his veins, bullets exploding and hitting and killing a few feet away from him, mind alert, eyes darting from side to side as he prayed that the man bleeding out behind him wasn't Frank.
Frank, tiny and still shaken from what had happened with Ray, Frank, fighting and cringing as he did so, ribs on the verge of splitting.
Frank, to who Gerard had begged not to fight as they let their skin touch for one last time, once again oh so very certain of death looming over them and breathing on their necks. But Iero hadn't listened: he never did.
"'Cause if I'm supposed to die, I wanna do it dragging the sons of bitches who killed Mikey and hurt Ray so bad down to Hell with me."
He'd said so with a savage glint in his eyes, a light so ferocious Gerard had felt the unstoppable urge to kiss him, and he'd done so, fingers tugging at his hair, breath becoming more rushed as their bodies pressed together, caught in the heat of the moment.
Gerard wiped the sweat from his face. He shut his eyes and muttered a prayer, scared and numb and restless. His last thought was always for Michael, and for never hearing his laugh again, and the pang of longing would give him the energy to start shooting, never stopping to think that the men in front of him had a family, children, hopes and dreams.
Just like he did.
Just like Mikey.
"This is it."
Gerard smiled to himself and wiped dirt from his face. He turned around, rifle armed and ready.
The butt of someone's gun hit him square in the teeth, knocked out a few. Blood and the sweet pang of pain filled his mouth, his vision blurred and focused back on a Nazi's dark gaze.
The enemy soldier didn't give him time to breathe: he hit him again, this time harder, but Gerard was quick enough to manage to grab him by the neck before falling back and rolling down the soft slope of a small hill. They hit the hard, cold ground, and Way's lungs shuddered and screamed as air viciously got knocked out of them, added more pain to the throb in his face.
He felt the Nazi's boot kick him once more in the chin, and his lower jaw clashing against his upper jaw made a sickly, gut-wrenching sound. Gerard bit his tongue.
He desperately started crawling away, the furthest possible. It had all happened so fast, too fast: his brain wasn't able to form any coherent phrase or train of thought yet, all he could do was feel.
Confusion, and the blood-chilling notion of maybe not making it out alive. He didn't know why the other man had decided to kill him, why he'd chosen him and not someone else. He didn't know and the puzzlement was maybe the scariest thing of all, even scarier than death itself.
But, as they say, fear can turn men into monsters, and fear was what had taken hold of both of them.
Kill him before he can kill you.
Gerard managed to wriggle away, stumble and stand up, but then he felt the sudden weight of someone throwing themselves on top of him, pinning him down to the ground once more. The German soldier wasn't gonna let him escape. He wanted blood, and blood was exactly what he was going to get.
The panic inside of Way swelled and grew to unimaginable size. He clawed and bit and scratched, trying to break free. His heel hit something, and the soldier let go of him: enough time to try to stand up again.
And then his breath got caught in his throat and his knuckles went white and his mind simply stopped as sharp screaming waves of pain exploded from his knee and started to push through his nerves, filling every cell of his body to the brim.
The knife was wedged in deep, and the stabs fell with surgical precision.
He felt his knees give out and suddenly realized that he was going to die, and his mind didn't even twitch at the thought. Gerard Way was going to die, bloodied and wounded, just like his brother: killed during battle. A war hero. A fallen soldier. The Purple Heart. Lindsay, a war widow. The second one in the Way family.
Frank, the light trailing his skin and his lips against his. The smell of his hair and his heart beating against his ear. The small veins in his eyelids, pencil-thin. Blue and perfect.
He thought about Bandit.
His daughter would've never seen her father again. She would've never even remembered him.
He didn't care. Maybe never knowing him would've made things easier. The pain wouldn't have really been there: a ghost image of her father, something hushed, something so far and distant she would've never truly been able to fully grasp the notion that he ever existed at all.
Gerard dug his fingers into the soil, and it was wet and it smelled of thunder storms as the pain in his leg and body washed over him in quick, deep waves.
He shut his eyes and waited to die.
"Get your filthy hands off of my man, YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT!"
Frank's voice was sudden, and it was ice-cold and ferocious and it was a blessing to Gerard's ears.
Iero threw himself against the Nazi, pushed him to the side. They rolled for a few feet, tangled together, and then Frank managed to shift his weight and pin the other man to the ground. The German soldier squirmed as Frank repeatedly punched him in the face and his eyes gleamed with a light so savage it transformed his being completely. Chest heaving, hands shaking, lips curled in the sadistic smirk of enjoyment coming from other's pain, Frank suddenly grabbed the nearly-unconscious Nazi's head and twisted his neck.
The crack echoed, scary and nearly unexpected on Gerard's behalf, who was lying in the mud, feeling his own blood puddle beneath him and soak his clothes. It echoed, and Frank suddenly realized he'd just killed a man. He realized it as he looked towards Gerard, he realized it as he stood up and moaned as a snap came from his once-again damaged ribs, as he looked at his hands which felt like someone else's.
He looked towards the body behind him: his face was twisted in pain and fear.
Frank fell to his knees next to Gerard, chest heaving as he wheezed while the pain bit in from time to time. Gerard's hand pressed against his cheek, and he kept it there, shutting his eyes.
Gerard was pale, slipping away.
"Stay with me."
Frank murmured it, opening his eyes again and squeezing the man he loved's hands.
"Don't you dare leave me. Don't you dare shut your eyes."
But Gerard couldn't hear him. He could see him, but there wasn't anything else, and even what he saw was fuzzy and far and distant, and the pain cancelled everything out.
He was going to bleed out. He would've died anyway, and the thought of Frank trying to save him made his heart quiver, and it made him sad.
The irony, the bittersweet irony of him dying.
He smiled to himself, even though the smile had no meaning.
"Oh God, oh no. Gerard. Fuck. Gerard. Please. Please."
But he was beyond that. He was beyond feeling anything, even pain had little to no meaning.
Gerard shut his eyes, and Frank's lips against his forehead were the last thing he was conscious of.