"Oh God. Oh no. Oh, Honey..." Read, review, rate and feel my love :P
“Mr Iero, I do believe that you’re meant to be here at eight thirty. It’s now nine-fifteen. You’re late.”
Mr Casey’s stern voice breaks the harmonic silence of the record store as I pad in, fully aware of the time and fully aware that he probably is quite shocked by it; I’m something of a conscientious worker and I’m never late, I love my job too much to miss a minute of it. Of being in the company of soul-saving symphonies, of inhaling the charmingly musty smell of the old shop that is like my sanctuary, of making friendly conversation with my boss.
I’m never late; there’s just too much for me to miss by coming in late.
But today is different. Today I have more to my life than a dog, my boss and a room full of dusty records. Today I have the Way brothers. The Way brothers and a sleepless night that prevented me from waking up at my alarm clock this morning, hence the lateness. I just couldn’t get to sleep last night, couldn’t stop the rusty cogs of my mind whirring in endless contemplation about the weekend’s events. The attack; taking in an injured and distressed kid; reacquainting myself with Gerard; kissing Gerard like my life depended on it; hearing Mikey scream through the thin walls of my apartment; Mikey locking himself in the bathroom and Gerard’s pure fear at his little brother being all alone in that grotty little room; Mikey’s panic attack that made me want to burn myself for triggering it, even though I was just the trigger and not the entire, horrific reason; kissing away Gerard’s tears as he did the same for me, like two angels licking away hell-fire from each-other’s faces; everything.
Everything including the feeling of holding Mikey on that park bench, holding him and caressing his hair as though it were wing-like gold. Caressing it in a way that I hoped came across as reassuring and friendly, in a way that helped him and didn’t creep him out.
Or let on how much I was enjoying the taste of his downy hair.
It tasted nowhere near as godly as Gerard’s mouth nor was it anywhere close to how passionate Gerard’s hands made me feel, but it was nice. He tasted cute, if that’s at all possible. I know it is, because that’s exactly how his hair tasted; cute. Like you’d imagine a teddy bear’s picnic to taste; all fluffy and moreish and innocent. Like the owner could never do anything wrong and needs to be babied away from everything bad. Like the owner needs love and attention. Because Mikes does need love and attention; needs it like a corpse needs air in it’s lungs and a pulse igniting it’s maggot-infested heart.
I do love him. Just not in the way I love Gerard, not in a passionate, lusty way; the kind of way that you can imagine an angel adoring a demon. I love Mikey like he’s my best friend, like it’s my duty to look out for him like he needs someone too. Not in the way that my mind is gnawing into my heart and telling it to. Never in that way. It wouldn’t be fair on the poor kid; it wouldn’t be fair on Gerard and, to a certain extent, it wouldn’t be fair on me.
But he is cute though, undeniably so. And I guess that that’s why I want to taste him some more, let him taste me; because he’s cute and I like the taste of cute. Like good girls like bad guys. But that is all I feel for him; like. Not love. Just like. Which is why I’d only want to have fun with him, not go out with or get into anything serious, not like I want to do with Gerard. I can see myself being with Gee for a long time, loving him in every imaginable way and him loving me back. With Mikey I can see myself finding the kid adorably cute, having a bit of fun with him and then leaving it like that; friends with benefits, I guess.
But I could never do that to Mikes. To my friend; to the person that I need to protect from the exploding mines that seem to rupture in his mind on a daily basis. It just wouldn’t be fair on him to drag him into something that isn’t even right and is only for my own enjoyment. I’d want it to be for his enjoyment, too, but it isn’t right to start something with someone as scarred and nervous as him when I have no intention of making it serious. When I have every intention of getting with and staying with his big brother.
Besides, he’s three years younger than me. Still a kid. A straight kid. A straight kid with too much mental trauma for me to mess him up inside even more. Not that I’d ever take advantage of anyone, not intentionally anyway. I want to help Mikey trust again, not make him so that he’ll never be able to look anyone in the eyes ever again. I want to help him feel loved, not used. I want to make him feel special, not disposable.
Which is why I was up late thinking last night; telling myself that I can’t let my body send out the messages that it desires to, that one Way brother is enough. More than enough. I love Gerard, really, truly, wholly, madly.
But there’s something irresistible about Mikes that makes me just want to squeeze him until he has no breath left to fuel his sobs. It would be mindless if we ever did get into anything, Mikes and me, or rather; to me it would be mindless. To Mikes it would be confusing and scary and horrid and mean. And I don’t want to be any of those things to him. I don’t want to betray his big brother and the man that I want to call mine.
So I’ll just be here for Mikes like he needs me to be; as a best friend and a guiding light, steering him away from the callous destruction of self-hate and loneliness. As a second brother; nothing more and, I hope, nothing less.
“Well, Frankie, what’s with the lateness? Misfit forget to wake you up on time?” He chuckles at my vacant expression, an expression that is lost to my thoughts. “Frankie?”
“Huh?” I shake my head as though clearing it and carefully sit down on the old wooden stall behind the counter, placing my rucksack under the till desk. “Oh. Yeah. Sorry, Mr C. I just had a tiring weekend, I guess.”
He raises his eyebrows in interest and his grey irises widen in interest. Great. As much as I love and respect my boss, he is prone to being quite nosy. Extremely nosy. Nosy to the point of knowing everything about anyone who has ever bought a record from him.
Not that I mind; it’s quite nice to have someone take an interest in what I have to say. I remember when my Nan died last January; he had urged me to talk to him until I’d cried it all out. He’d shut the shop that day, just let me tell him about all of the fears I had about her, all of the precious memories that I wanted to share through grievous terror of losing them like a net-full of released butterflies. He’d been there for me, looked after me, driven me home and given me the rest of the week off. Because he’s amazing like that; everything that a friend and boss should be.
So maybe his nosiness is a good thing, but there are some things that just shouldn’t be shared. Watching a kid nearly get raped being one of them. Falling hard for the kid’s big brother being another.
Or maybe I need to talk the weekend through with someone entirely unrelated to the situation; get a different view on how to help them. Yeah. Besides, it’s not like Mr C is the kind of guy to judge anyone or ever let a secret out of his trustworthy old mouth.
“Busy weekend? I thought you were just partying with Misfit.” His smile widens like a teddy bear’s grin and his eyes twinkle with engagement. “What did you get up to then? Did you meet someone?”
“Yeah, actually. I did.” My lips curve heavenwards at the thought of Gerard’s white-hot touch and sharp, silken lips. His eyes turn from stars to moons and he leans in closer from his own, overused stall. “Friday night I was walking home and there was this kid, Mikey his name is, and there was this guy…”
I trail off, unable to find the words to describe the scene that has been replaying in my tired mind since my eyes soaked it in like the cloths that I used to soak up Mikey’s blood. Blood. So much blood that I was almost sick at having to clean it off of his sob-convulsed body. That was, without any form of doubt, the worst thing that I’ve ever had to do; wiping away that poor kid’s blood like oil from a seal pup unfortunate enough to be caught up in an oil leak. It really was just like that; an innocent, helpless creature of natural shyness and cuteness, falling victim to the cruelty of the world. To the cruelty of humanity. The kind of cruelty that he seems to suffer from on a daily basis.
Which is precisely why I gave him my cell number; so that he can ring me or text me, no matter the time of day, whenever things get too much for him; whenever he needs someone to cry to because, even though I know for a fact that Gerard does care and really is trying, I will always be someone that will listen to him and not find his problems annoying. Or funny like those bastards at his school.
Funny? More like a crippling infliction to my soul that can only be healed by the idea of making those problems disappear or at least be not as problematic for him. Because that is the least that he deserves; orphaned, stuttering, anxious, shy, frightened, panicky little angel. Little angel with a shattered halo and fractured wings, fractured by years of abuse from bastards that don’t even know how truly great that kid is. How lucky they are to know someone as understanding, as forgiving, as sweet as Mikey Way. And that is another reason that he has my number; his sweet little stutter is something that I love hearing because it means that he views me as trustworthy enough to speak to. I want him, need him to trust me because without trust how can I make him believe that he really can come to me for the help that Fate has forced him to need?
“Frankie? What is it; what happened?” At hearing Mr Casey’s concerned voice drill through my wall of thoughts, I realise that I’ve been staring at the floor; a distressed frown tugging my face hellwards.
I look up and swallow past the many memories I have of Mikes crying, just shaking away into the nothing that he believes himself to be, in my arms. Memories that I have a lifetime of even though I’ve only known the kid for a few days. I have to talk to Mr C, have to get it all off of my chest like I keep encouraging Mikes and Gerard to do.
“The kid, Mikey Way, was getting beaten up pretty bad. Like really bad. I saved him.” Mr C’s smile returns, although slightly dimmed by quiet curiosity. “I took him home and cleaned him up. Poor kid couldn’t even make the walk back to my place.” I sigh, my heart wincing at the recollection of Mikes choking on his own blood and only being scared of one, petty little thing; angering me into making him throw up more or just abandoning him to the snatching claws of the night. “His brother came to pick him up and, well, it turns out his brother is an old friend from high school. An old friend who just so happened to have a thing for me.”
“A thing, eh? What’s he like? Tall, short?” He smirks knowingly at my stupid blush and I start to fiddle awkwardly with the fraying sleeves of my black and red stripy jumper, my thumbs fiddling hard enough to tear little rips in them, making the hems of the sleeves like messy gloves.
“Gerard’s great. Real caring and nice. But he’s changed since high school, got a lot more mature. He’s had to; his parents died and now he’s got Mikes to look after.”
But is he really looking after him all that well?
Of course he is.
No. He's not.
He’s trying to but, as the constant monument of ever-present terror in the back of Mikey’s eyes can prove, he’s only doing what he wants to do and he’s not doing it all that well. And it’s what he wants to believe Mikey needs. And, as much as I love and lust for Gee, what he believes Mikey needs is completely separate form what that down-trodden kid actually does require. I just hope that Gerard has done the right thing since yesterday and has made everything better.
No, I don’t; if it’s already better than he hasn’t fixed it properly. This kind of thing should take longer than a day, no matter how much I want them both to be happy as soon as possible.
I don’t think that Mikey’s felt happiness in a long time, he may have felt content (like when I was holding him close to me yesterday on that old bench), but not actual happiness. As in he doesn’t have anything worrying him, anything weighing him down, no unnatural marks of harsh cruelty staining his body and mind. I don’t think that he’s felt any of those small releases that most take for granted for a very long time. I also don’t think that it will be too long until he does feel those things again, at least it won’t be if Gee and I have our way. Which we will because, together, I believe that we can do anything. Especially when it’s to do with the most precious kid in our lives.
“Is he like a single parent kind of deal, then?” My boss asks critically, clearly trying to let me release the thoughts that are moshing in my mind.
“Kinda. No. I really don’t know, Mr C. I think that he’s trying to be.” I end there, unsure of how to phrase my thoughts out loud to someone that doesn’t fully understand what’s going on.
“But…” He nods for me to continue, letting me know that I can say whatever and he won’t judge; because he really is one of the coolest old guys I know.
The coolest old guy I know. I can talk to him about anything.
“Mikey’s got this stutter thing and he gets bullied pretty bad for it.” Talk about a fucking understatement. “Gerard… He just doesn’t really understand how to deal with it. The poor kid’s too frightened to talk half the time, that’s how bad it’s gotten.” Genuine pain filters into my voice at this; I can’t stand the thought of anyone getting hurt, but when it’s that cute, innocent kid it makes it two billion times more horrendous to me. Even more so that it’s other kids, classmates that are meant to be nice to each other, that are causing the gashes to his heart and soul. “He’s even scared of Gerard and I guess Gee doesn’t know how to handle that. He’s only trying his best, but it’s pushing Mikey even further away. That’s why he was out on Friday night; they’d had a fight.”
It all just tumbles out like junk from an overflowing cupboard and I immediately feel bad; it’s not my place to go around telling people the Ways’ family business and secrets. But it is my place to help them. More than my place; my desire and duty and need. And if the only way I can help them is by seeking council from my oldest and wisest friend then so be it; their need for my help is far stronger than any embarrassment I cause by finding guidance in how to help them.
“Go on, tell me more.”
That’s the only prompt that I need.
“They’d had a fight and Gerard said some crappy things to Mikes. I’m guessing that he loses his temper a lot, he must do; Mikey looked pretty shaken by the whole thing. And by the time Gee came to pick him up, he was out for the count. We started talking and, well, one thing lead to another,” I cringe at how cliché I sound, but continue, “and we kind of, made out on my couch?”
“Good.” I almost choke on his response, earning me a smirk. “I’m glad that you’ve found someone; you really do deserve a nice guy, Frankie. Someone who’ll look after you like you try to look after everyone else.”
Does he really think that highly of me?
I’m touched; really, genuinely beaming on the inside like my heart is a thousand watt light bulb. I don’t think anyone’s ever said such a kind thing to me, and it’s made me feel like I can do anything; even make Mikes feel like I do right now.
He’s at school right now, I think. I hope he’s alright, that people have seen his banged up face and have decided to leave him alone for once. No, not leave him alone; ask him if he’s alright, just be halfway decent towards him. There must be at least one person there willing to do that, to see a fellow student with slight slices running down his face and to care enough, just be nosy enough even, to ask if he’s alright, to ask if he would like someone to hang out with. Yeah. I’m sure Mikes is fine, if not I’m sure Gerard spoke to him yesterday about this sort of thing; maybe Mikes will even go to a teacher if it does happen today.
Who am I kidding? That kid wouldn’t ask for a glass of water if he was on fire! He’s just too nervous and scared of upsetting anyone for his own good. Why can’t he see that he only upsets people when he lets himself get into a state, purely because he was too frightened to ask for help when he was still able to be helped? Even then, though, it isn’t even his fault like he thinks it is. Like I said to Gerard; he’s just a frightened little boy. But he’s not a little boy; he’s a tall, cute sixteen-year-old with some serious emotional issues and traumas. Half of which not even his big brother knows about.
“Thanks, Mr C. Means a lot.”
I look at my watch, counting down the minutes until my lunch break. Normally I hate leaving this place, the place where I feel like I belong, but today I know where I’m going for lunch. I’m going to Starbucks for something extra sweet. Besides, I need to ask Gerard how Mikey’s doing.
“What’s up; old guy boring ya, huh?”
He laughs at my flustered face; I know it was only a joke, but I really don’t want him to think that. He’s a great friend and the last thing I wish to do is make him feel old or unwanted; he’s someone, like the Way brothers, that I genuinely enjoy being around and like. And someone that genuinely likes me back.
“I’m just kidding, Frankie, no need to look so worried.”
“Sorry, Mr Casey.” I grin sheepishly as he ruffles my hair as though I’m his grandkid or nephew or something.
I guess I kind of am, just not by blood.
“Thinking of your guy, Gerard, was it?” I nod shyly, already knowing that he knows the answer for himself. “Go.”
I blink up in surprise.
“Go see your guy, I know that it’s what you want to do.”
“Are you sure?”
I’m already picking up my rucksack and standing up with the eagerness of a slave running for it’s blessed freedom.
“Yes, Frankie. You deserve to be happy.”
“Thanks, Mr C! You’re the best!”
“Oh, and Frankie?”
“I don’t want to see you back here ‘til tomorrow morning, understand?”
And with that I’m catapulting down the street like the arrow from Cupid’s accurate bow, weaving in and out of the crowds with the precision of a fox chasing a rabbit. Nothing can stop me from getting to Gerard. Nothing, not even if Kurt Cobain were to descend for heaven to give me guitar tips I would not stop; I just want to see Gerard. To see him and know where I stand with him. Is he my boyfriend? Does he want to be? I certainly want to be his, want to be there supporting him and Mikey in every way that I can. Because they do need my support, Mikey may be too unsure to trust it properly yet and Gerard may be too determined to admit it, but they do need it. I wish that they didn’t because then nothing would be wrong with them, but they do and I am more than willing to give it to them. Above and beyond willing; I’m desperate to support them, to catch them when they fall so that they can run back into each other’s arms. That’s all I want; to help them be brothers again because, if they can achieve that, then they will be happy. And happiness means smiles. Smiles that put the Northern Lights to shame in both the beauty and brightness stakes.
Especially Gerard’s; that sexy way he has of making his smile look like it constantly wants to be on top of my own, working on it to make it wider and to open it up so that our tongues can dance together like two sweethearts at prom; like two lovers at a night club.
Mikey’s smile, or what I’ve seen the potential of, is very different. All uncertainty about how real the reason behind it is, how unsure of how long it will be capable of lasting. It’s cute. Just like every other aspect of him. Cute and childlike; childlike in the sense that he needs protecting. Which he does. Especially at the moment. At the moment he needs protection in the form of someone to listen to him even when he doesn’t realise that he needs to talk. And, boy, does he need to talk. Talk about the bullying, about the attack, about Gerard, about losing his family, about the true and complete reason behind the constant fear in his eyes. I don’t want to hear any of it, about how much agony every day puts him through like it so obviously does, but I have to; I’m the only one that will and I absolutely refuse to let that poor kid go through all of that on his own. It just wouldn’t be fair.
I got beaten up once. Once was more than enough. Feeling the grates of a locker digging into my back like a peeler on the skin of an apple; being engulfed by the burning, pointless hatred in the eyes of the bully; having my day wrecked by their spiteful, yet meaningless, taunts; running home with a black eye staining my face like a coffee stain on a white sheet of paper.
Once was bad enough; but to live every day like that? No wonder the poor kid believes he’s worthless; one time made me question myself. Until I realised that it really was the biggest load of bullshit ever; getting beaten up just for being gay. Ridiculous. Just like getting beaten up for being fat or different or smart or for any reason at all. Nothing justifies it.
Why can’t Mikey see that? Why can’t the other kids?
I feel a splatter of rain leap onto my nose like a frog onto an unsuspecting lily pad. Rain. Just a reason to get to Starbucks even quicker, to my Gee even quicker so that I can kiss him and talk to him. Nothing can stop me from getting to him, from gracing my eyes with the glory of his somewhat vivaciously vampiric image. I wouldn’t mind getting bitten by him.
I’m nearly there now, I can just make out the sign amidst the dripping rain. Almost there, almost to Gerard.
I feel something vibrate from my jean pocket. My cell! Seriously? Right now, out here in the rain and just as I’m running to see Gerard? I’ll ignore it.
But what if it’s important?
Sighing and skidding to a halt, I flip my banged-up, barely functioning phone open.
“Hello, Frank Iero speaking.”
Nothing. Silence. A distinguishable silence that I can recognise immediately by the heavy, almost erratic, breathing and soft, scared whimpers.
“Mikey? Is that you?” I ask gently down the phone, surprised that he even found the courage to phone me. Surprised and pleased; extremely pleased.
But not really; he sounds distressed if his silence is anything to judge by, distressed and strained like the breaths are physically inflicting him with agony.
I hear a quiet sob down the phone.
Oh God. Oh no. Oh, Honey...
“Shush, it’s okay, Honey. It’s alright, tell me where you are and I’ll come get you.”
Shit, he sounds hurt. Every kind of hurt, the kind that prevents him from speaking more than a word around his mouthful of sorrow.
“I’m coming, Mikes. Don’t worry.”
And I’m off running again, far away from Starbucks and beyond the record store, running like the devil is on my tail.
I’m going to rescue my best friend.
A/N: Thank you ever so much for reading; I hope that it was okay. Again, I’m really not sure about this chapter and struggled with writing it, so feedback would be really helpful! Thanks to anyone who’s been kind enough to take the time to review so far; it really does help me to write! Thank you very much for taking the time to read and please review! :)