FRERARD ONESHOT! “Every snowflake is magical, Gerard,” Frank murmurs. “Snowflake wishes always come true.”
Every second that echoes across the empty living room from the mantelpiece clock to my expectant ears feels endless, resounding through the silence of the warm living room and reminding me of my solitude.
I’m sitting on the window seat, gazing out into the frozen street, knees pulled up to my chest for comfort as I gnaw away at the raw nails on my left hand, staring wistfully out at the darkening December world shivering beyond the cold glass.
The frosty windowpane is icy against my cheek in contrast to the warm glow that emanates around the room from the flickering flames of amber fire dancing in the grate, the smell of crackling wood mingling with the scents of heady pine needles that cling to the Christmas tree in the corner, and the warm, spicy smell of cinnamon from the little red and gold candles decorating the living room.
I sigh heavily into the empty room, my weary exhale coating the glass of the window in a frosting of wasted wishes that obscure the frozen trees lining the secluded, suburban street, the frosty puddles nurtured by the grey pavement, and a darkening winter sky that drowns the neutral town street in bitter dusk.
I wish it would snow.
I wish those pure, fluffy feathers of white would dance their way down from the heavy clouds to coat the world in a frosting of enchanted icing sugar.
I love everything about the snow; the soft whisper of dreamlike ice that melts into your skin where they fall, the way they coat everything mundane in a layer of pure white magic, and the way they make you feel almost as if you’re living in a different world; a silent, white world.
A better world.
I sigh and tear my eyes away from the bitterly cold December street and overcast dusky cloud, looking across at the clock on the mantelpiece for what feels like the millionth time since I stumbled through the front door and up the stairs, changing out of my hated school uniform into a pair of black skinnies and a black baggy hoodie to hide myself in, and then going back down the stairs and into the living room to sit on the window seat.
Which is where I’ve been ever since, waiting.
Waiting for him. Waiting for Frank.
It suddenly occurs to me that I spend a great deal of my angst-ridden existence somewhere other than where I appear to be.
For instance, for the past thirty minutes, I would appear to be sitting on the window seat in my living room, but actually, I’m far away, lost in a world of daydreams, skimming the grey, snow-filled December clouds.
Frequently, when I’m sitting at the dinner table with my family, I’m dancing away into a world of make-believe and fairy tales, a world where everything isn’t ruptured by pointless argument and confrontation.
But I do it most when I’m trapped inside the rusting, grey iron fencing of school. When I’m being sneered at, laughed at, beaten and bruised and hated. When the familiar, nagging daggers of hurt contort my battered ribs at the reckless insults flung at my back, when the slow, sickening dribble of scarlet blood is smothering my taste buds, when I’m forced up against the cold, unwelcoming metal of the broken lockers, forced to re-live my worst nightmares over and over again, day after day, I’m not really there.
Instead, I’m curled up in my own safe little world with the only reason that keeps me going, keeps me alive, after the endless days of a living hell. But that world is tied so frailly with wispy ribbons of daydream it feels so fragile, so precious, so easy to break, and I’m scared I’ll lose it.
All the other worlds I immerse myself in when reality is too hard, might be figments of my imagination, but the final one, the most powerful one; the one that gets me through every hellish day of torture at school, it’s real.
Maybe not entirely real; maybe things aren’t exactly as I’d want them in reality, but that reason, that person isn’t a made up, make-believe character or fairytale figure ready to disappear in a puff of lost wishes and violet smoke
And he’s Frank.
The small, laughing, smiling, russet-eyed boy I sat next to at my first day of high school, trembling with nerves, stomach a sea of writhing, wriggling, venomous snakes that squeezed at my lungs so I couldn’t breathe and forced me to take panicked, shallow gasps of the stuffy classroom air.
But as soon as Frank plonked himself down beside me, shook his scruffy, chestnut brown hair out of his eyes and grinned at me, I knew I was going to be okay. My stomach stopped churning so sickeningly. I stopped trembling uncontrollably. i stopped being scared.
My heart didn’t stop slamming against my ribs, but they way it trembled and fluttered was in a different and not entirely unpleasant way; in a way that would become familiar over the next few years.
I tear my eyes away from mounds of dead, mushy, greying leaves frozen to the cold pavement outside, and glance back across the warmth of the crimson-walled living room to the mantelpiece clock.
Suddenly, the living room door swings open and my older brother’s backcombed hair and glittering grin poke through the crack in the doorway to the warm glow of the dully-lit living room.
“He still not here?” Raven asks quietly, coming into the room and shutting the door quietly behind him.
I shake my head wordlessly, looking back out at the bleakly icy world outside the grimy glass.
I hear Raven sigh as he flops down opposite me on the window seat and tucks his feet up companionably onto the ledge beside mine, leaning his head against the windowpane in sympathetic symmetry.
“Gerard…” He heaves another sigh and looks round at me, his indigo eyes filled with empathetic sympathy instead of their usual dark, slightly wild glint. “Don’t you think that maybe…it’s time to…y’know…get over it?”
My heart plummets like a stone to water, drowning in the cold blackness.
I look at him; my rebellious older brother with his choppy, hairspray-smothered ebony hair teased into a gothic tangle, his glittering, intelligent and slightly wild indigo eyes rimmed in smoky black liner, his bitten-down nails painted with chipped black lacquer, his lower lip pierced with two silver rings.
“No,” I reply simply, looking back out to the overgrown garden path and murky, half-frozen puddles.
“But-” Raven starts, before I cut him off.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
He sighs, but doesn’t persist. “Fine. So…how was your last day at school?”
“Fine,” I mutter monotonously, not meeting my elder brother’s all-too perceptive eyes.
“Really?” Raven asks sceptically, raising an eyebrow at me.
“Leave me alone, Rae,” I scowl, shaking him off. “Haven’t you got some Christmas party to go to or something?” I ask, knowing the several billion parties my popular, college-attending brother will have been asked to during the holidays.
“As a matter of fact, yes,” Raven replies, getting to his feet with cat-like grace and fluffing his inky hair.
I sigh heavily, leaning my forehead against the icy glass and searching the bitterly bleak street for life.
“Gerard…” Raven sounds unusually sensitive and uncertain. “You are okay, aren’t you?”
“Of course I am,” I lie, dropping my gaze guiltily. What else could I say? That I got hung from the goal posts in the school sports field today just for wearing a Misfits badge? That I don’t go a day without someone sneering at me? That I pretend that none of it’s happening because that’s just easier?
That I’m hopelessly in love with my best friend?
Or that I feel like I’m slowly breaking apart?
I’m sure he knows it all anyway, why should I have to say it all out loud?
“Have…have you told Frank about school?” Raven asks tentatively, running a hand through his hair.
“What about school?” I mumble.
“Gerard, what the fuck do you think?” Raven rolls his eyes in frustration.
I heave a shuddery sigh. “No,”
“I…I just…I don’t want to talk about it, okay?”
“Fine,” Raven sighs in defeat. “It’s Christmas, Gerard. I just want you to be happy, yeah?”
“I am,” I mutter as Raven turns to go.
He says nothing, but ruffles my hair on his way out.
Then I’m left in the silence once more, listening to his footsteps echoing up the stairs and feeling the familiar jagged pangs of guilt tear across my chest. It’s not like I like lying.
But sometimes it’s just easier.
Even to Frank. He doesn’t know half of what goes on in my life, and that’s the way I want to keep it. Because when he doesn’t know, I can almost kid myself it’s not really happening.
I sigh again and look back out into the grey, icy world, gaze lingering on the rusty, ivy incrusted garden gate that leads down the overgrown path to our front door, willing a fingerless-gloved, callused hand to grip it and for the familiar rusty creak to reach my ears as it swings open.
I never understood why Frank wanted to be my friend anyway; I was the weird, freaky, shy Goth kid who sat at the back of class, drew strange, supernatural creatures and never spoke to anyone because I was too scared, and no one else spoke to because they were too scared too.
But Frank spoke to me.
He seemed to understand, in a way no one else could. Shiny-eyed and beaming, he’d have been the last person I have expected to understand the darkness of my reality. He looked as if he’d never experienced a bad thing in his life; never been sneered at or picked on; never been excluded from everything; never lived in the shadows…never been scared.
I was wrong. He’s been through it all, just like me. But he just deals with it differently. I remember us sitting under the old oak tree in the sports field on our first week of the local high school, him talking enthusiastically, eyes beaming as I sketched away at a vampire, hair hanging across my face, trying to block out all the other students milling around.
And then I asked him.
“How can you be so happy when people pick on you?” I’d mumbled, shading the vampire’s fangs too hard as little bubbles of nervousness rose inside me, awaiting his answer, worried about my question.
He’d turned to look at me, russet eyes wide, their usual shining brightness replaced with raw, shimmering empathy. “It’s not easy, Gerard, but it’s the way you deal with it. I used to care, but I don’t anymore…now it just makes me stronger.”
I wish it made me stronger, but it doesn’t. It makes me weaker and weaker and weaker, even though I’ve got Frank by my side. Even though I know he’s there for me, I never tell him how much it hurts. I never tell anyone.
Maybe, deep down, I’m just a little bit too ashamed to tell anyone the truth.
Suddenly, the familiar creak of the garden gate reaches my ears, and I jump, jerking out of my thoughts as my stomach lurches expectantly and I look up to see a shadowy figure dancing down the overgrown path, footsteps light and easy on the cracked concrete. Seconds later, the harsh ring of the doorbell resonates through the empty house and I jump up, scurrying from the warmth of the living room, out into the hall that’s strewn artistically with clear fairy lights and tinsel.
Fingers trembling with nerves, stomach dancing with the familiar excited nerves of anticipation, I fumble with the lock on the front door and pull it open, letting the icy air whoosh into the warm hallway.
I look up, shaking my hair in front of my eyes to shroud my nerves.
Stood on the doorstep, grinning in a black pom-pom hat and a long, stripy scarf, is Frank. His hands are shoved into the pockets of his blue skinnies and despite the fact he’s shivering, his golden and russet swirled eyes are shining more than ever in the dusky grey half-light.
He’s barely changed since that first terrifying day of high school, apart from perhaps being a few inches taller and with longer, chestnut hair that almost brushes his skinny shoulders.
“Gerard!” He grins, pulling me into a brief, cinnamon scented hug. The familiar smell of his shampoo tugs at the strings of my heart as I hug him back, heart pounding familiarly in my chest.
He releases me all too soon, stepping back onto the cold pathway and looking up at me, bobbing up and down on the balls of his feet, the grin still tugging mischievously at the corners of his pink lips.
“Hey,” a smile spreads out across my face, feeling almost foreign.
“Sorry I’m a bit late,” Frank apologises cheerfully, flicking a strand of chestnut hair out of his eyes. “But hey, you have to keep these traditions.”
“It’s fine,” I shake my head, still smiling slightly. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed Frank being on time for something. “Um…want to come in?” I feel stupidly nervous, and a warm blush is creeping across the pale skin of my cheeks. No matter how used I am to seeing him, I still get the stupid little nervous butterflies.
“No, you’re coming with me,” Frank grins, grabbing my hand and tugging me out of the door. “It’s going to snow!”
He tugs me down the garden path, grinning excitedly as our feet fumble over the uneven concrete and frozen weeds.
“Where are we going?” I gasp as he pulls me out onto the street, the gate clanging shut behind us as I try very hard not to focus on the soft warmth of his hand clasped round mine.
“Anywhere!” he cries, dancing down the deserted, frozen road, me stumbling along behind him.
So I just follow him as we thunder through the streets, Frank’s fingers laced tightly round mine as we sprint through the silent town, laughing, exhilarated as the icy wind lashes against our raw, numb cheeks while the heavy, overcast sky is slowly drained of light.
It’s bitterly cold; my feet are numb in my converse from splashing through a thousand frosty puddles, my nose red and burning from the lashing wind that whips right through my baggy hoodie and jeans, through my skeleton, my hair whipped away from my face.
Finally, we slide to a halt, panting, still laughing feebly, our breath smoky hot and curling up into the rapidly darkening December dusk from where we stand beside the mouldering wooden gate that leads to the darkened park; a haunt we’ve often occupied after endless days at school, sharing sweets and sharing music, sunbathing in the shade of the poplar trees in the summertime, swinging as high as we can on the rusty red swings. It’s our place, the place we’ve always hung out, right from the start, because it’s quiet and peaceful and no one ever disturbs us. It’s one of the few places we can freely be ourselves.
“Your cheeks are all pink, vampire,” Frank laughs, lightly brushing my raw cheeks with an icy fingertip.
I feel my cheeks rapidly heat up and duck my head, blushing. “It’s the cold,” I mumble.
“I know that, Geezy,” he smiles, poking my nose through my tangled ebony hair, still panting slightly from our mad sprint through the streets.
I look up almost shyly, stomach somersaulting in a familiar manner as I meet his warm, russet eyes. He looks even more beautiful than usual; cheeks flushed from the cold, the chestnut hair falling out of his hat in dishevelled strands, lips red, eyes shining and shimmering enchantingly in the half-light.
“Geezy?” he murmurs, dragging me out of my little daze.
“Sorry,” I mumble, looking away. “Um…park?”
“What else do we ever do?” Frank grins, pulling his scarf more tightly round his neck and dancing his way through the gate, across the cracked tarmac and the clumps of dead October leaves. I follow, limping slightly from the pain that rips like fire across my left ankle from yet another of the endless incidents at school.
But I won’t think about school now. I’ve got two full weeks of freedom where I don’t need to think about the stuffy classrooms or cramped corridors or the sickening stench of school dinners. I’m with Frank now.
None of that, none of the shit that happens every day exists right now. Nothing exists but me and Frank and the snow-laden sky.
“Come on, sky, snow!” Frank cries, flinging himself down on one of the broken, rusty swings beside the now leafless poplar trees shivering in the December dusk. He throws his head back, looking up at the endless sky of thick, grey cloud, heavy with the promise of snow.
I sit down gingerly on the swing beside him, sitting cross-legged on the frozen black plastic, hooking one arm around the metal chain and staring up at the sky too, sighing heavily and letting my exhale curl up despondently into the thick sky that’s almost totally dark now.
“What’s up?” Frank asks, relinquishing his gaze from the copious satin sky and turning on the swing so he’s facing me, wide, empathetic golden eyes shimmering in the dull light of the streetlamps at the park’s gate.
“Oh,” I look away, not having realised my sigh. I usually feel happy and carefree when I’m with Frank, but occasionally, even his presence just can’t block out reality well enough.
He’s still looking at me, eyes riddled with concern and question.
“…Nothing,” I mutter, looking down at a ground I can barely see from the thick night smothering the park, scuffing my shabby converse across the chewing gum speckled tarmac.
“Gerard,” Frank’s serious now, all the excitement and freedom gone from his voice. “I’m not stupid. What’s wrong?”
“I said- nothing,” I repeat with slightly more force, although my voice wobbles dangerously, so I stop talking, fiddling with the sleeve of my baggy hoodie to diffuse the tension.
Frank leans out and grabs my wrist, pulling me round to face the russet worry riddled in his eyes.
I yelp involuntarily; his callused fingers are digging into one of the scarlet, bruised lacerations slashed through my skin earlier this week by one of the jocks at school during one of the incidents in the gym changing rooms.
“What?” Frank demands, releasing his grasp slightly, but not looking away from me in the dusky grey darkness, his eyes urgent.
“I…it-it’s nothing,” I stammer, trying to wrench my wrist out of his grasp, but he holds on tight, making me wince again.
Eyes determined, fingers trembling slightly, he takes my hand and gently rolls up the sleeve of my baggy black hoodie. His breath catches horribly as he sees the wound ripped through my lily-white flesh, his rosy cheeks blanching at the mangled flesh, and turning ghostly with horror.
“…Gerard?” He breathes, eyes wide and hurt, his worried expression going through my weary heart like a blunt dagger.
I shake my head and look down. This isn’t meant to happen; when I’m with Frank, I want to forget about all this. And I don’t want him to find out. I don’t want him to worry about me.
I don’t want him to think I’m weak.
“Tell me, Gerard,” Frank says quietly, rolling my sleeve back down but not letting go of my hand. “…Did…did you do that?”
“No,” I whisper, shaking my head but not looking up.
“Then who did?”
I stay silent, listening to the bleak rustle of a few lonely leaves fluttering across the silent park and the slight crackle of electricity as the streetlamp’s greasy glow by the gate flickers.
“I’m pretty sure I can guess,” Frank says softly. “But why…why didn’t you tell me?”
I glance fleetingly up at him through my tangles of raven hair, and I know it’s a question I have to answer.
“I wanted to pretend it wasn’t there,” I mumble, still not looking up.
“Oh,” Frank sounds unusually uncertain. He’s still clutching my hand tightly, as if he’s scared to let go. “But…I could have done something to help, Gerard. You should have told me.”
“I didn’t want you to get hurt,” I mutter even more quietly.
“That’s fucking stupid,” Frank says bluntly. “You know I’d want to protect you.”
I shrug, mouth sour with shame.
It’s gone now, lost forever; the magic, far-away feel that usually engulfs me every time I’m with Frank, the feeling that nothing can hurt me and that I’m safe. The feeling that I’m living in one of my daydream worlds and everything is perfect.
It’s all gone now that he knows. Now that he knows what a failure I am.
I disentangle my hand from his, hurt welling up inside me like blood as I get to my feet, attempting to escape to the gates and away home where I can melt away into the shadows and live in one of my daydream worlds.
“Gerard!” Frank grabs hold of my arm, pulling me back so as I have to look up into the russet worry swirling in his golden eyes. “Don’t go.”
I shake my head wordlessly, still trying to get away, sickened by my own flaws.
Frank sighs, looking right through all the false smiles and pretences in my hazel eyes, the daydreamed worlds of an escapist, and then he winds his arms round my waist and pulls me into a fierce hug, burying his nose in my neck, his chestnut hair tickling my nose.
“You don’t need to pretend, Gerard” He murmurs into my neck, breath warm and tickly on my soft skin, arms tightening fiercely round my waist as if he’s trying to hold me together.
But he’s still not holding me tight enough; my soul’s cracking into a million tiny little shards, fragments floating out of reach. I’m breaking, breaking, breaking, and even he can’t hold me together forever.
He sighs furiously into my jugular, hands squeezing my spine, clutching me to him almost as if he’s scared I’ll break into the tiny million ruins if he lets go.
“You’re perfect the way you are, okay?” He sighs softly, so softly I’m not sure it was even meant to reach my ears. But once again, I get that glowing feeling that he genuinely understands me, the way no one else does. And not just my words; my silences too. I don’t need to voice myself for him to hear me.
My soul stops splintering away for a half a heartbeat, consuming the seven spat words that heal its ruins like glue.
And then suddenly, a single, pure, snowflake lands on my nose. Then another, and then another and another, until the winter dusk is filled with a flurry of white feathers dancing their way down from the clouds.
Frank pulls back and looks up at the sky, eyes shining, lips tugging into a smile. “It’s snowing, Gerard,” He says softly.
Despite everything, as I look back at him through the flakes of pure white floating through the bitter air, I feel my lips curve into a small smile too, blinking as the little snowflakes cling to my eyelashes and melt onto my skin.
“It is,” I say softly, as Frank leans forward and brushes a snowflake off the tip of my nose, smiling gently.
“Close your eyes and make a wish,” He smiles, tucking a strand of my raven hair behind my ear.
“A wish?” I ask, puzzled.
“Every snowflake is magical, Gerard,” He murmurs. “Snowflake wishes always come true.”
I tip my head back to look up at the dusky December sky. Millions and millions of tiny, pure white flakes are floating down to the mundane world like fragments of a swan’s feathers, settling on the cracked tarmac like icing sugar, dusty and perfect.
Catching a couple of snowflakes on the tip of my tongue, I look back down at Frank, his nose red from the cold, eyes shining in the silent dusk of the park, the tiny little sprinkles of winter rain clinging to his tendrils of dishevelled hair and making him look dreamlike.
“Are you going to make a wish, then?” I ask softly into the perfect silence the snow drifts down into.
“Only if you do,” he grins, nudging my chin with the tip of his nose and making my heart race.
“Fine,” I have to smile, despite my frantic heart and trembling hands.
He’s close; so close that I can see every little flake of untainted snow clinging to his long, dark lashes, see the little flecks of golden olive in his russet irises, the slight flush to his usually ivory skin.
I take one last glance at the falling snow, and then shut my eyes.
Before I can even breathe the only wish I know I want, something gently warm and soft, so soft presses tentatively against my cold lips.
I jump slightly, but don’t open my eyes. Goose bumps are erupting all over me, mingling with the feel of snowflakes melting on my shivering skin. The soft pressure stays there for a moment, almost as if it’s waiting for my blessing, until, shakily, heart thumping crazily, I move my lips, half-numb with the cold, tentatively, tremblingly against the silky soft pressure.
A soft sigh is exhaled against my lips, a cinnamon, tobacco and smile scented sigh that just screams Frank.
My heartbeat skyrockets, pounding wildly against my bruised chest as he reaches up and puts his hands shakily either side of my face, pulling me fiercely into the kiss as his warm, soft lips mesh against mine, sweet and pure and silently urgent, just like the snow that tumbles down around us.
Feeling as though I’ve drowned in one of my own daydream worlds, I wind my arms tentatively round his skinny waist and crush him against me, spine tingling, pulse throbbing, thoughts a dizzy mess as his tongue dances into my mouth, warming my numb lips with shocks of electric heat that fizz all over my body.
He must be standing on his tiptoes to reach me, his heartbeat smothered against my ribcage, as stuttery and unsure as mine as we stand, entwined in the snow and the dusk, nothing but lips, hearts, and broken pieces that are finally being healed back together by the warm, fiercely silky soft pressure and tiny, hot little gasps of breath.
After what feels like eternity yet no time at all, he pulls back, and I finally open my eyes, heart thumping wildly against my shivering chest as the grey dusk and flurrying, fluttering flakes of snow and pure, untainted silence engulf us.
I look, wide eyed at the small, smiling boy nibbling his lip before me. His cheeks are rosy red and his eyes, russety gold and shining enchantingly as he looks up half-uncertainly at me from under his chestnut hair.
“W-w-what did you wish for?” I stammer, cheeks flooding bright red.
He smiles. “What do you think?”
I blush even more furiously and duck my head, nibbling my lip to hide the blossoming embarrassed smile.
“…Did you get what you wished for?” Frank whispers, reaching out and tangling his fingers round mine, looking up at me with wide eyes.
The smile tugs at the corner of my lips, too strong to quell as I look back at the skinny, russet-eyed boy looking up at me. “Maybe,” I blush, and he grins. “Not that you gave me much time to wish for it,” I add, blushing again.
He grins more widely. “I told you snowflake wishes come true.”
I smile stupidly, feeling weirdly dreamlike.
“Oh, and Gerard?” He says softly.
“Yeah?” I look up.
“Don’t ever think you’re alone in this again.”
Before I have time to respond, he’s standing on his tiptoes and pulling me into another recklessly soft kiss, hands tangling in my hair and making me shiver as I pull him closer and he urgently works his lips against mine, tasting of snowflakes and adrenaline and pure Frank.
My heart’s pounding wildly again, my chest feeling ready to explode with the happiness that’s golden and cinnamon scented and bubbling up inside me so that I can’t suppress smiling against his lips.
I feel him smile back, and then we’re both lost in the timeless kiss and the falling snow and the silent dusk of solitude that curls round us.
One of my wispy, daydream worlds is real. Wonderfully, beautifully alive. No longer a make-believe world of wasted wishes and decomposing dreams, but really real.
It’s icy cold and spinning, fierce, soft and beautiful, cinnamon scented and just perfect, and all tied together with delicate white ribbons of snowflake wishes.
What did you think? Hope you liked it and…MERRY CHRISTMAS FOR TOMORROW!! Hope you all have fanbubblytastic days :D anyway, I’d really love to know your thoughts, so please, pleeease R&R…it’d make my Christmas (: Thanks for reading- hope it wasn’t too bad… love you guys!