He'd always known he'd loved his brother, just... not to this magnitude. (WAYCEST!)
I was only 15.
Why couldn’t life just be easy?
Why couldn’t people just be nice?
What the fuck did I DO to make me deserve this?!
I couldn’t breathe—Anger, restricting my windpipes, out of breath from running all the way home, chest still aching from the brutal blows to it that sent me over the edge. I couldn’t see— Glasses, gone. Tears flowing and pooling and clouding my vision, red hot emotion blinding me further. Smash! Crash! Slam! The entryway lamp, the wobbly bookcase it sat on, vase after picture frame after whatever it was I could get my shaking hands on, I couldn’t stop breaking things— shattering and smashing and destroying everything in sight. And I couldn’t stop screaming
“GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!!! AAHH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”
Alone, in my house, rage still pulsing through me, cruel words echoed through my mind, as harsh as the blows that came before them.
I sobbed, eyes leaking saline into my forearm and staining the fabric dark and wet and salty with tears and tears and tears and tears and I collapsed on the couch from the weight of it all, curling up into the tightest ball possible because all of my pain still throbbed within me and there was so much of it everywhere that I couldn’t stand.
“MIKEY?!” came a yell from upstairs. “Mikey, what happened?!”
Gerard. My older brother.
At least I thought I was alone…
His voice sounded urgent, laced with fear and accompanied by the sound of his bedroom door slamming and the heavy pounds of his feet hurtling him down the stairs. Panicked and finding me curled up on the couch, surrounded by the wreckage of what once was our living room, he immediately enveloped me in his strong embrace. I squeezed my arms around his middle and wrapped my legs around his waist, rocking and crying and sobbing and letting the surprising comfort and warmth of my brother swallow me whole.
“They… I was… in the park…” I sniffled, each word a struggle to form between racks of tears and failed attempts at breathing. “And I… was alone jus’ lis’ning to my music, and they—” And then I clutched at him harder, letting go of a particularly loud sob that left me shaking.
“What did they do, Mikey?” Gerard asked quietly, his voice barely above a whisper.
I retched loudly and sniffled. Unable, to meet his eyes, I nervously lifted up the hem of my t-shirt and pulled gingerly away from Gee to reveal the purple bruises painting my skin. Dark. Purple. Ugly. I could feel my brother’s eyes on me, but couldn’t look at him. I just couldn’t do it, because I knew that if I did, I would not be able to pull myself together for a million years.
The littlest gasp escaped Gerard’s lips at the sight of me. “Oh God, Mikes, who did this to you?”
“I… I just… I…”
I couldn’t tell him. Something about the way he asked me, like I was breakable or something, just… I don’t know. My face burned vermillion. I yanked my shirt down and pulled away from the warm embrace of my brother I suddenly didn’t deserve. I was pathetic. Weak. Couldn’t protect myself from a couple of stupid guys, so I came home crying like a little girl just to throw myself in his arms. And now he knew. Knew what a loser I was and had seen my ugly disfigurations as proof for everything they said. I couldn’t handle it. All of a sudden I just felt so ashamed.
“Mikey, no!” Gerard protested, tightening his grip on me just so I could fight harder to get away. I twisted and turned, writhed in his grasp as tears streamed silently down my cheeks again.
“Gerard, let me go!” I screamed. His grip only tightened, though, hands grasping at whatever they could find in attempts to calm me down.
“Mikey,” he said. “Look at me.”
I kept twisting. Writhing.
“Mikey—Mikey, stop fighting!”
“If you would just—”
Thrashing. Doing anything to get away… To not have to meet his emerald eyes.
“MIKEY IF YOU WOULD JUST FUCKING LOOK AT ME!”
The hurtful words swirled in my mind, telling me why I shouldn’t, but the touch of the warm body embracing me nudged at my heart, telling me why I should, and—
Gerard’s eyes. Staring back into mine. Smoldering green, filled with worry that wound far back into their depths and tangled inseparably with something that looked a lot like love. I was struck silent, completely lost in their swirling complexity. They flicked back and forth quickly, focusing on my right eye, then my left, then back again. “Mikey,” he whispered, bringing a hand to rest on the side of my face and catch one of my tears. “Who did that to you?” His voice sounded so soft, so caring and warm that my voice caught in the back of my throat. I swallowed thickly and wiped my face on my sleeve.
“Guys from school.”
Gerard’s eyes darkened considerably.
“Do I know them?”
I shook my head. He opened his mouth as if to press for names, but then thought against it.
“They didn’t… they didn’t do anything else to you…?”
“No!” I replied, much too quickly. I felt my lip quiver, my poker face fall for a moment. Gerard didn’t need to know about the name calling… the fact that this had been going on for weeks… that the incident in the park that evening was not a first-time occurrence, but rather the push that tipped me over the edge… But he caught it. The look in his eyes assured me he did.
“…Mikey?” he probed softly.
As much as I wanted to hide this from Gerard, I knew my brother well enough to know there was no escaping this. Thing was, accepting I’d have to tell him didn’t make the process of doing so any easier.
“They just…” I struggled, trying to keep my cool whilst sniffling and wiping my eyes. “They just called me a few names. It’s nothing. I’m fine.” God, he could see through me like a window.
I fought back the words like I fought back the tears—unsuccessfully. Soon, I found myself pressed against Gerard again, crying and crying and crying and melting in the warmth his embrace gave me.
“…Good for nothing emo faggot geek piece of shit can’t even stand up for himself why don’t you do us all a favour and go jump off a bridge with the rest of your faggot friends!” I recited, letting it all out in the longest breath I’d ever taken and dumping all of my troubles on the floor for my brother to see. The floodgates had been opened. There was no stopping this now. The words just kept on coming. “Loser. Never amount to anything. Weak. Worthless. Agh, it’s stupid stupid stupid and it’s every day, Gerard! Every fucking day, and I just can’t… I just… I can’t…”
“Oh, Mikey,” Gerard said, holding me together whilst I fell completely apart.
“I can’t do this anymore. It hurts. I wish I didn’t let it get to me, but it fucking hurts, it fucking hurts so bad and I can’t do anything about it and I just want it to stop, Gee. Please, make it stop…”
I felt Gerard’s hands on my body, neck and face as he lulled me in this soft kind of rocking-way, his arms encircling me fully and completely, as he stroked my hair and whispered over and over again, “Don’t listen to them. You’re not worthless. Mikey, it’s okay. Mikey, I love you. I love you, Mikey.” With his mouth right next to my ear, I could feel the tickle of his lips on my neck as they formed the words “love” and my name, and I could feel the warm air they expelled as he spoke against my skin.
I let out a quaky, shuddering breath and wrapped my arms and legs tighter around him, allowing the rocking sensation and the heat of his body to overcome me. My head nuzzled safely into the crook of his neck, I knew with absolute certainty that nothing could harm me again, so long as I had Gerard. Had him close to me. Holding me. Telling me he loved me, and not only that, but showing me. The sobs had stopped coming, and my heartbeat slowed to a pace that wasn’t racing and pounding from the overwhelming weight of the outside world, but beating steadily and surely and it felt so completely nice and real and alive.
Gerard shifted his position, so as he was looking at me with his wide, black-ringed eyes into my blurry, red-rimmed ones. Slowly, slowly, he pressed a lingering kiss to the corner of my mouth. The side that always bends up into my crooked smile and creates the dimple that Gerard says he loves. “I love you, Mikes. Please, always know that.” Much to my surprise, I found myself letting out another shaky sigh, my fingertips clutching at the back of his shirt. Assurance, so he couldn’t float away.
His emerald eyes latched onto mine again, big and beautiful and full of concern, and my stomach did an odd sort of flip-flopping thing that I chose to ignore.
“Don’t go, Gee,” I whispered. Much to my dismay, I could feel pools of water starting to form again, only this time for a different reason than before. A soft hand came up from my back to stroke my head again, and tuck it back into his shoulder. The rocking resumed, the circular sounds of his breathing like music to my heart. I inhaled his scent deeply. It was sweet, like cherries and cinnamon, with a cigarette-induced smokiness. Inhaling again, I caught the faintest hint of something that brought a slight smile to my lips.
“You smell like coffee.”
“And that surprises you, why?”
“’T doesn’t,” I replied, voice muffled against his skin. “Just noticing.”
A second later, I felt my brother pulling me further into his lap so our bodies were flush against each other, then him tucking his own head down to curl into me. His forehead pressed into the crook of my neck, hair against my cheek, and God, his skin is warm. A tingling heat spread through me in all the places we clung together… especially in the place where I felt his muscles tighten into a smile.
“You do, too.”
My heart only skipped a beat or two at this reply. Wondering if he could feel my smile as well, I mirrored his words.
“And that surprises you, why?”
We both laughed this time, his light and airy, mine trying to be. But it didn’t last, and soon I was rocking back and forth against him, combating sobs that just wouldn’t seem to stop coming.
“Shhh, Mikey, shh. It’ll be okay, Mikey. Shhhh. I’ve got you.”
“I said I’ve got you.” Gerard repeated, moving his face to look at me properly. “Always. Here, you can use my t-shirt to blow that snotty nose of yours.”
I blinked, and accepted the offered black collar. The back up in my nostrils made that kind of noise only crying induced snot can make, but I didn’t care. I blew harder.
“God damn, Mikes. You been cryin’ or something?” joked my brother. A soft blush crept over my cheeks in reply, and Gerard sensed this, meeting my eyes with a look of adoration and a genuine need to comfort me. “Why don’t you put your head in the other shoulder now, yeah?”
I nodded, finding the idea of a face full of my own snot not too appealing.
“There you go,” Gerard said once I’d gotten myself comfortable. I felt one hand move to the middle of my back and the other to rest below my butt as he whispered the words “You ready?”
“Hold on tight!”
And then I was in the air, my arms and legs wrapping instinctively around Gerard’s body as tightly as possible as he moved about the house, towards the direction of our rooms. My heart panged at the thought of having to let go of my brother and all the safety and soft-spoken words that came with him. I couldn’t deny my breath picking up when my bedroom door came into view.
“Gerard,” I said, clutching desperately at the material of his favourite shirt for the second time that night. “Gerard, I don’t—”
“Mikey, shhh. It’s okay.”
I buried my head into the crook of his neck, wanting to hold on to him for as long as I could. He shifted my weight so as he could open the door, and I sighed. The slow and persistent beating of his heart filled my ears, and I felt complete in a way I never had before. Complete in a way that meant bullies would never be able to get to me again. Not school, not teachers, not the stupid jocks that think they run the fucking world or the losers that give you nothing but the kind of sickening sympathy that could never be real because they will never, ever know what it really feels like to be an outcast in a popular world. No. All their sympathy is bullshit, because they’ll never know.
Never know what it’s like to be beaten down because they’re different.
Told they’re nothing; that they’ll never amount to anything.
That they deserve every single piece of shit thrown their way, because somehow they “had it coming” to them.
No, they’ll never know what any of that feels like.
And they’ll never know what it’s like to be in Gerard’s arms, either. To have a simple embrace melt all of that away.
“IloveyouGerard,” I said, then opened my eyes to find myself in a room unfamiliar to my own. Posters lined the walls, along with painting after gorgeous painting, colours so bright and vivid that they vibrated even in the dark. Clothes littered the floor, along with books, CD’s and comics, and the whole space had that lingering scent of cherries and cigarettes and coffee. I knew instantly where I was.
“Gerard?” I said, voice soft, daring myself to hope this meant what I thought it did.
“You can sleep with me tonight, if you want to.”
My stomach did that funny flip-flop again, and I squeezed myself closer to him and breathed deeply. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll take that as a yes.” The sensation of motion then overcame me as he sat me down onto the foot of the mattress and scooted me up towards the pillows. He’d gotten an arm in between the mattress and the small of my back, and was leaning on his forearm, which rested on the pillow, just above my head. “Mikey,” he whispered, face only an inch away from mine. His eyes were glowing green, dancing in the dark light of the room.
“Mikey,” he said again. “Mikeyway.” And he smiled, removing his hand from my back to run it gently through my hair in this loving way that sparked feelings in me I can’t even describe. Just that there were flutters in my heart and butterflies in my stomach and wobbles in my knees and every other cliché you could possibly think of rampaging every part of my body and he was laying on top of me and it felt so wonderful, and he was leaning down and I held my breath, and then he—
And then he kissed the corner of my lips again, so softly that, if every square inch of my skin hadn’t been pulsing with electricity, I might have been able to argue that it didn’t happen at all. His saccharine breath washed over my skin as he pulled away just barely, lips brushing the corners of my own while he spoke the words “I love you, too.”
I was paralyzed. My entire being, a live wire. I wanted to touch him again, I wanted to hold him again, wanted him to hold me again in that way that only he can. Wanted to wrap my arms around him and pull him down on top of me, closing the inch of space between us, so it could be not the weight of the world tearing me apart, but the weight of Gerard on top of me keeping it together. I wanted all of these things, desperately, but didn’t let myself have them, because I was scared it would be wrong if I did. Instead, I stayed captivated in his lingering touches and gaze. After what felt like an eternity, but much too short of an eternity at that, he dropped his gaze to somewhere below my face and began to move. Lower… lower… His artist’s fingers caught at the hem of my t-shirt and pulled upward, and then his breath, oh, his breath washed all over my skin. I screwed my eyes closed, lost in a symphony of feeling that shouldn’t have been driving me crazy, but was in the most delightful of ways.“Gee… AaYY— aghh.” A soft pair of lips came down to kiss the tender bruise on my skin, lingered there for a moment just as he had with his kiss before. The air vibrated with a tangible energy between us that caused my stomach to back flip, floating around in a swarm of vicious butterflies that I couldn’t have ignored, even if I wanted to. Finally, he rolled off of me, separating us for a moment too long, but then pulled me closer still.
“It will be okay, Mikey. Everything will be okay. I love you, Mikey. Mikey, I love you.”
“I love you, too, Gerard,” I said, my heart feeling that oddly wonderful sense of completeness again.
“Yeah,” I breathed, eyelids drifting closed as I melted in a swarm of fuzz and butterflies. His arms wrapped the littlest bit tighter around me, and he buried his chin into my shoulder from behind. Whispered words emanated from his lips that my pre-sleeping state could not fully understand. Exhausted from crying, I let myself go, falling into a heavy and peaceful sleep… the kind of sleep that I had not had for a very long time.