There’s something in the way that the glass fits so easily within his grasp, cool and filthy and wrong. So wrong. He can taste it on his tongue as he pours the bitter liquid down his throat, swallowing against the bite and as much as he desperately wants to stop, he emphatically nods his head in acceptance of another fill.
He’s lost count of the number of times he has emptied the glass, lost sight of the angelic face that swims before his blurred vision, lost the job he hadn’t allowed himself to believe he wanted. Failure and loss and disappointment; it’s all too much to stop himself from downing another shot, wiping the bitterness from his lips before resting his chin upon his upturned palm, contemplating his newest employment fiasco.
A snort escapes him as he remembers the words the director had candidly belayed to him, expressing apparent regret as he informed Gerard that the artwork was “not quite what they were looking for, however much talent it was clear he had.” Bullshit.
There’s some holes in his memory, eagerly filling themselves with the astringent liquid, but he remembers dragging himself out of the building and holing up in the first bar he found, feeling wholly unwelcome and yet completely comfortable in the dank and squalid establishment, content to drink himself into the background of life. Downing another shot he can’t help the soiled smirk that says he’s well on his way.
The dingy bar helps dissipate the tightness in his throat, the sting beneath his eyes and the pretty little face that swims through his thoughts. The darkness makes the time fly by, the only account realized in the number of empty glasses he can claim.
It’s a good hour into the third Halloween movie, just as Michael Myers is slicing into another victim, that Mikey first notices that something is amiss with the trembling boy beside him. He considers that it could be simply out of fear, taking into account their choice of programming, however, the angel had happily sat through the first two movies, chirping and giggling his way through each bloody scene, so Mikey rules out that option, turning his body towards Frank, alarmed at the paleness of his skin; slight sweat broken out on his forehead and neck as he shakes, wide eyed and staring at the screen and Mikey might just have mistaken it for engrossment.
“Hey, Frankie? You okay?” He’s hesitant to touch the angel, unsure if that’s allowed exactly, but Gerard seems to handle it without determent and Frank had thrown himself into Mikey earlier in welcome; fingers barely brush the bare skin of shoulder before the boy-angel is launching himself across the couch, back pressed painfully into the corner of the room, eyes bright and fearful and too wide in a face that seems to be getting paler by the second.
“Frank? What’s going on? You’re freaking me out a bit here…” Mikey tries to keep his voice even, the fear at bay beneath what he hopes is a calm exterior, even if he can feel it tearing at the edges. The sight of the dark haired youth straining into the corner of the room, shaking with those wide staring eyes is enough to make Mikey dig into the pocket of his jeans, pulling his phone out and dialing quickly, eyes never leaving the trembling boy across the room.
It takes three failed attempts before he’s cursing his brothers name as he tosses the phone into the abandoned cushions of the couch and making his way across the room, eyes still trained on the boy before him.
It’s in vain that he tries to swallow against the lump in his throat, the fear of the unknown making his own chest feel tight and constricted beneath his hoodie, his fingers trembling at his sides.
He tries to decipher what Frank is staring so intently at, only now noticing the slight moving of his lips as if he’s conversing silently with someone, the knowledge somehow failing to console.
“Frankie?” Mikey’s trembling travels from his hands, up his arms, filtering its way into the rest of his body as the boy continues to stare straight ahead with too wide eyes and the silent conversation Mikey can’t make out. “Frank, you’re scaring the shit out of me dude…”
The scream that rips its way through the silence, past Frank’s lips and assaults Mikey’s ears is enough that he loses the feeling in his legs, dropping to his knees before the boy whose eyes are clamped tightly shut as the impossible sound passes past his parted lips. Mikey desperately fights the urge to clamp his hands over his ears, fights the desire to run or perhaps to join in, barely suppressing his fear beneath concern for the angel whose dropped to the ground before him, writhing on the hardwood, small body thrashing against the pain.
Expletives escape past Mikey as he struggles towards the undersized youth, twisting and straining against some force that only he seems to see or understand, the scream of obvious pain still ripping from him and Mikey barely forms a thought that perhaps he’s having some sort of seizure before silence envelopes the apartment once again. If not for the fact that Frank is still on the floor breathing hard and the ringing in his own ears, Mikey might actually question his sanity.
It feels as though his very bones are trembling beneath his skin as he stares in fear and desperation and confusion at the equally shocked boy before him, though his elusive eyes stay focused elsewhere.
The crack of the front door sends Mikey scrambling to his feet, the sound too loud in the deafening silence, like cotton balls being ripped from ears.
The sight of Gerard struggling to pull his keys from the front door, barely managing to maintain his balance and giggling as he presses himself into the wall to steady himself, sends Mikey into a rage; he wants to attack his brother, wants to throw him into a wall or perhaps just hug him because he’s never been so scared or angry or relieved to see someone. It’s in the moments when Mikey is deciding what action to take that Gerard looks over and spots his brother trembling and Frank still on the ground, chest heaving and gasping like he can’t breathe that he drops his keys to the ground, pushing himself away from the wall precariously.
“What the fuck happened?” He bypasses the younger Way, dropping inelegantly to his knees before the still shaking and gasping and pale angel-boy who hasn’t moved in the past minutes, staring at the ceiling as though in desperation. Gerard’s fingers immediately fit themselves into the grooves of Frank’s cheeks, smoothing the damp skin, before wiping at blood beneath his nose, the red too bright against his insipid skin. He feels like he might choke, like he can’t breathe as he continues to stare at the blood coating his own fingers now and there’s more than terror as he moves to rake his fingers through Frank’s hair as he lifts the limp boy from the floor, tightening his hold as he pulls the wilting body to his chest and he’s staring, hopeless, at his brother, imploring him to weigh in on the situation but Mikey’s still staring at the boy in his arms wordless and terrified.
Gerard pulls Frank from his chest; feeling as though he’s holding a doll or perhaps a dead body instead of the angel-boy, anguish pulling at his features, his chest and throat too tight in the small apartment, breath mingling with the broken gasps that indicate Frank’s animation.
“Frankie? What happened? Are you okay?” The angel continues staring helplessly at the ceiling, unaware of Gerard’s presence, unresponsive to his touch or voice and Gerard doesn’t know what to do except pull the small limp body from the floor and place him in bed, wrapping the blankets around him and kissing his forehead, whispering reassurance and apologies as one large, fat droplet frees itself from the spidery cage of his dark eyelashes and cuts a jagged path down his blanched cheek. Hesitant fingers brush it away before stepping into the hallway where Mikey is pressing into the wall, still trembling and breathing hard enough to induce a panic attack.
No words are spoken as Gerard brews coffee for the brothers, his own hands unsteady beneath the alcohol and the fear. Mikey hovers in the doorway of the kitchen, wringing his thin fingers, his eyes averted and darting though he seems reluctant to leave Gerard’s own sight.
Handing the youngest Way the cup of bitter liquid Gerard doesn’t know where to start, can physically feel the fear washing off his brother, can feel the way it’s choking him. They drink the blistering substance in silence, both absorbed in their own fear and confusion, until Gerard finally clears his constricted throat, placing his mug onto the counter with more force than he intended.
“Mikey…I-” Words abandon Gerard, leaving him floundering in panic for a moment until he’s able to calm himself enough to continue. “What happened?” He can sense his forged calm slipping, fear clawing at his mirage of control as he contemplates the possibilities.
Mikey avoids his eyes, hands wrapped too tightly around his own mug, knuckles white against the strain. “There was something here Gee…” His voice is barely loud enough to hear but the words seem to reverberate in Gerard’s scull. “Something was hurting him…”
Thoughts?? What/who do you think was in the apartment? What do they want with Frank and why do they keep coming?
I'd be interested to hear your take on it!!