Gerard is a boy who believes in fairy-tales, Frank is just unfortunate. *One-shot*
His soulmate. Gerard believed every word of the story.
He poked a scab on one of his scraped-up knees. There would be scars, he knew that, but what does an eight year-old care about such? Not a terrible amount. He wiggled around a bit, sand creeping into his untied lace-up shoes. Felt his arm tingling slightly and made an effort to move it from underneath himself, accidentially hitting Frank with his elbow.
”Ooch aye! Geraaaaaaard! ” Frank cried. Gerard giggled at Frank’s nasal whines and continued to shuffle around.
”Sorry, my arm’s sleeping” he apologized to Frank, who was glaring at Gerard with a velocity only Frank possessed.
”I was sleeping, but you woke me!” Frank whined. Sqirming his way out from underneath the shed. He rubbed his cheek where Gerard’s elbow hit him, not because it hurt but because if he made it look like it hurt, Gerard would come out from under the garden shed to see if he was okay. Frank was tired of lying there. He would rather play hide and seek, or catch, for that matter. He smiled when Gerard’s head poked out from their former hiding. The older boy’s hair was drenched in sand and he had a dry, curled leaf tangled in it right at the top of his head. Gerard squinted his hazel eyes against the cold october sun and peered up at Frank.
”You have a leaf on your head” they both stated, their voices lacing together as they spoke.
Coincidences like this one was rare and seemed hilarious in the world of a couple of second-graders, a world that was no bigger at the moment, than the schoolyard and the bus-ride home. Like a dropped cup, it would shatter though. The tiny bubble would bust and open up to a universe beyond any human mind to even remotely fathom. But slowly. And it all started this peculiar day, at least for Gerard. Frank would have to wait a little.
Like a bolt of lightning from a high, clear summer sky, she was there. Her name was unimportant, but her deed was not so much. Her pink, dry lips. Ontop of Gerard’s equally chapped ones, became the wake-up call. A tug in Gerard’s chest, swooshing away with the eeriness of knowing you lost something, you’re just not aware of what exactly. He stared confusedly after her as her little feet carried her away, disturbing the schoolyard dirt to clouds behind her.
”Cooties-tag, Gee’s it!” She yelled, and that was it. The ball had been knocked by the momentum. Like dominoes, a prophecy.
Gerard wondered where he’d gone wrong. What had he done foul, to become so hated? How had he ended up here, pressed against a locker, waiting in fear and sick, anticipation-esque suspense, for the next blow. To his guts, his face, his mind.
Someone spat in his eyes. The fluid was slightly warm, or rather would have been if Gerard’s face hadn’t been so flushed from embarrassment and briused, split tissue.
”Looser” Gut-blow. Made him wince and regret ever being born. It hurt. Seven bullies against one weak misfit made an unfair equation, but life’s not ever fair.
”Look at your stupid little face, Gee-tard, all messed up!” Face-punch. Made him yip and suck for air. This was agony. He sunk down, curled in on himself against the grimy locker, cursing the hallway halfway to the seventh layer of hell for being so bloody deserted, but at the same time, praising the same fact. He didn’t know if he could handle the humiliation of being found by someone in a miserable heap of his own snot, blood and tears.
”Fucking faggot” the words were sneered into the battered shell of his ear, he could feel the moist breath flutter his hair, a sickly summer breeze. During his sixteen years on earth, he had never felt this alienated. Like an A-bomb in his head, wiping it devoid of every pride he ever held dear. Because Gerard knew it was true. Mind-blow.
There was an echo of distant steps, the jocks’ cue to leave. They departed with a final kick and buzz of malevolent sniggers. So much for believing in himself, Gerard thought. Frank had been wrong. Showing his true colors didn’t work well. Not when you didn’t have any to show but shame.
Frank. Gerard was grateful that he hadn’t been there to recieve his share of punches or see Gerard getting beaten to pulp. Sometimes, detention can truly save your ass.
The far-away tramping had been coming closer, until the walker rounded a corner and stopped dead-track. The silence was filled to the brim with Gerard’s own ragged breathing and the sound of a book-bag dropping. Rapid steps.
”Gerard? Oh god. Ohgodohgodohgod...” Frank dropped to his knees beside Gerard, tracing the shape of his hunched shoulders, reluctant to touch him. Afraid of disturbing a sore spot that the bullies had inflicted. Keeping his palms close, not more than an inch away, as if to feel Gerard’s aura for any sign of life.
”Go’ way, Frank” Gerard breathed. ”I’m fucking fine” Which was not true, but Gerard said it anyway, whatever to keep some of his dignity intact.
”Now, really?” Frank chuckled nervously, it sounded bizarre with the state Gerard was in, and leaned his forehead against Gerard’s shoulder. Frank curled up around his beaten best-friend in an attempt to protect him from the punches already thrown, like a giant, warm band-aid.
A wrecked sob rocked through Gerard’s aching chest, a crumbling moan of pain escaping through his gritted teeth.
Frank’s mother had bantered him too many times about not ever taking short-cuts through dark back-alleys, ever. He could get mugged, or even raped, by some creep. Frank had shrugged it all right off, things like that only happened to others. It was something you heard about on the news:
”Teen raped and stabbed to death in back-alley” It had, in fact occurred to Frank, that those people on TV had all thought the same, and yet. It happened to them. Still. He’d never expected the lines to go like they most certainly would, it seemed too surrealistic, even for someone as full of imagination as Frank.
”Frank Iero, 19, attacked in back-alley”
The bold letters flashed before his closed eyelids as fists and feet and knees collided with various patches of his skin. He could imagine the headlines with such velocity that it hurt as he was turned around, his left cheek pressed against the graffitied brick-wall. Such irony.
He floated into himself, vegetated as he was robbed of his last gust of hope by the harsh lips of his rapist. The monster bit Frank’s un-cooperative tounge, made him whine like a kicked puppy before leaving him to bleed out on the pavement.
Frank promptly swallowed the blood that flooded his mouth, listened to the drunken chatter of the quickly retreating group of boys. He sunk down to the filthy ground, onto his back. The concrete cold against his bare, flaming skin. He just laid there for a while, staring at the stars and his own breath, trickling out of his mouth in ringlets of icy smoke. They mingled with the sounds of the city, a car alarm in the distance. Tell-tale. They betrayed the figure that laid sprawled by a swelling trash-can. He was physically alive, even though he felt just as dead as the stars, millions of lightyears away.
Rolling over onto his side, Frank threw up the remainders of his dinner and all of the blood he’d so determinedly swallowed. A marble of sluggish orange and chrimson, like a morbid sunset over soaking trenches. Mango-raspberry sundae. Frank retched once more. Bile burned the lacerations on his tounge like fire, but it ceased the bleeding a little.
Frank went home. He walked all the way to his apartment in only his t-shirt and underwear, hoped to god that no one saw him in this miserable state. Frank went home, fell into bed and begged that he didn’t wake up his mother, and he prayed that he would wake up the next morning and forget about this nightmare. Frank went home, and Frank went into denial.
Frank hadn’t been raped in a gloomy alley, he wasn’t covered in blackening bruises all over, his pants would be lying in his drawer by morning and he didn’t feel as if someone had shoved a burning ember up his ass. Beacuse Frank was dead.
He understood why Gerard did this now. He hadn’t done before, Frank had always been the sober one. He guessed that death really did change people, though. Frank was drunk off his face, high as a kite on lukewarm beer and Bacardi, he finally looked just as messed-up as he felt.
They shuffled along, arm by arm, dancing from side to side along the street. Frank should have remembered all the nights he’d half carried Gerard home. All the times he’d dragged him into the bathroom and told him to throw up, he’d feel better in the morning. But Frank needed to be carried, too, and Gerard didn’t do much of a job.
Frank understood, as they stumbled out of the way of a lonely car. He knew why Gerard had felt the need to get wasted frequently through the past three years. Because Gerard was dead too. He was just a rotting corpse, a decomposing carcass on the inside, but still painfully alive on the outside.
Frank wondered, as his shoulder collided with a concrete wall, what Gerard had been through, what he had been hiding. How had he missed all the signs, all the heartbreak that was aching from Gerard’s eyes?
He had been too blind from his own, it was the only answer he could find. But his vision was no longer obscured. He stopped walking, let his shoulders fall back against the wall. Gerard wobbled at the loss of Frank’s arm around him but steadied himself by clumsily placing a hand on each side of Frank.
”Hi” Gerard slurred. His face looked alien in the yellow street-light, flat and two-dimensional, as if Frank had been hurled into one of Gerard’s many drawings. The city was quiet, since it was in fact, a tuesday night. The only thing Frank heard was their labored breathing and the churning of his upset stomach. He stared intently into Gerard’s eyes, determined to find answers to all his wonders. Saw nothing but questions. Realized just how much he missed Gerard.
Maybe it was fate, maybe it was just some hilarious coincidence, or time’s trudge. However, Frank found himself, brave from too much booze and rather haphazardly, pressing his lips to Gerard’s. He wanted to find the answers that Gerard’s eyes lacked.
”Frank...” Gerard mumbled against Frank’s mouth. Frank didn’t want to talk. There was more truth in the taste and smell and feel of Gerard than his voice had ever told. Gerard discarded himself with a sudden, blunt pop, and Frank could see him thinking. Little cogs and bolts were click-clacking in Gerard’s head, a bit slugged-up by the alcohol. Then it all fell into place.
”Oh...” Gerard closed the distance between them, Frank sighed. The night was so cold without another body close.
Maybe, Frank thought, ‘best-friends’ wasn’t enough to describe them anymore.