After the third day of grieving and sleeping and only eating nicotine and caffeine, Frank advices Gerard to get up.
Mikey’s been around twice since Mrs Hate’s death. Gerard was sleeping for the majority of his visits but it was still nice to have his little brother in the house; muttering and complaining about Gerard’s love affair with instant coffee. Apparently, he’s just as lazy as Frank when it comes to the preparation of sickly black caffeine. “I fucking work in Starbucks” Frank had protested but not very convincingly, after all, the Nescafe sitting in Gerard’s kitchen was bought on one of Frank’s grocery runs.
Mikey was probably just checking Gerard wasn’t on his way to becoming another Jersey, drunk bum. He wants to be offended by Mikey’s lack of faith but honestly, if Frank weren’t there controlling what Gerard is allowed to pump into his body, he wouldn’t have driven home from the hospital sober.
Frank’s actually been really amazing. He’s dealt with grief more than Gerard has in his life and it’s comforting, having someone around that knows how it feels.
That still doesn’t mean he can tell Gerard to get out of bed, though.
“You need to face the world, Gee” Frank always calls Gerard Gee now, it’s nice.
He nudges his arm with a caring hand and Gerard stares up at Frank’s big brown sympathetic eyes and feels the bitchy, cryptic part of his brain just whither. He’s so fucking nice and pretty and Gerard hates him.
Gerard rolls his face over on the mattress and groans in the form of a reply. Not yet, he isn’t ready yet. Frank just sighs and rakes a hand through Gerard’s greasy hair. It must be really gross but Frank doesn’t complain. He’s so fucking nice and pretty and Gerard loves him.
“It will be good for you” Frank assures him, “Like ripping off a bandana, you know?”
Gerard really, really doesn’t know.
“Murph” Gerard says and turns so that he can look up at Frank in a way that doesn’t make him look all chin and jaw and perfect curved eyebrows. His eyes feel all crusty and achy and his lashes still have that horrible damp consistency from all the fucking drama queen weeping he’s been doing all day. Frank smiles at him and presses a small kiss to the back of Gerard’s hand, holding it within his own. “Frank,” Gerard grumps and feels another wave of tears wash over him. They’re hot and salty and bother his saw skin.
“C’mon” Frank urges. He’s wearing one of Gerard’s t-shirts, it’s plane black with a small bleach stain from when Gerard tried to dye his hair in the sink as a teen. Mikey had insisted it was punker to do it in the bathroom. He’s only been fourteen at the time, it was before his groth spirt so he still had to reach up a little to get at Gerard’s hair. The dye hadn’t worked too well, that’s when he had started dying it black. He’d forgotten he even owned the thing but it looks good on Frank. “We can go somewhere familiar”
Gerard nods, somewhat reluctantly and sits up, trying out a soft smile. It feels malnourished but not entirely bad. He’s on his way.
In the car Gerard thinks about the night he met Frank. Driving there and hating the world and suburbia and wanting to run and hide in the hills or race in the desert. He feels very differently now. Gerard hates sand, sheep are annoying. Frank is much better.
They go to Mikey’s because, really it’s the only place they can go. Mikey’s at work but Alicia is in. She’s cradling Rowan when she opens the door and smiles kindly at Gerard and Frank. “Oh hey! Visitors baby, say hello” Rowan doesn’t say hello but her eyes give it a good go.
Alicia hands Rowan over when Gerard’s sat down. There are stains all over the couch now, baby food, marker pen, crumbs and even a pizza crust. Gerard looks approvingly at the mess before he takes the baby. He smiles down at her and then tickles her stomach.
He thinks about how her life has only just begun, about Mrs Harte in her last moments and somehow, somehow manages not to tear up.
“She loves you” Alicia says in an uncharacteristically tender gesture. It’s hard to believe she’s the same emo girl Mikey picked up in a bar all those years ago. “She knows you’re family”
Gerard feels stupid and soppy but still smiles a little as he stares at his sister in law leaning against the doorframe of the living room. She’s in a pair of flannel pyjama pants and one of Mikey’s Joy Division t-shirts, her feet are clad in a pair of thick ski socks. Gerard doesn’t think Mikey and Alicia have ever been skiing. Maybe, they’re thinking of going, planning a trip for some time soon. He can’t imagine Mikey on skis, especially not with the baby. It would be ridiculous to leave with Rowan so young.
“Are you going skiing?” Gerard asks, looking back down at the stripy socks. They’re definitely ski socks, the tube ones that don’t give you blisters. Gerard’s never been skiing before either but he knows ski socks when he sees them. Unless they’ve just worn them for walking socks, but the only thing more ridiculous than Mikey and Alicia skiing is Mikey and Alicia hiking; at least skiing is sort of fashionable. He wonders if it’s something to do with one of their new contracts. A skiing contract? Alicia just raises a confused eyebrow. “Your socks,” Gerard mumbles.
“Oh! Um no, just, my feet get cold, the tiles in the kitchen”
“Oh,” Gerard says and looks back down at Rowan. Her eyes are closed now, her breaths small and shallow. Her face plane and smooth, she’s asleep. “She’s so lovely” Gerard says.
“Mm” Alicia hums warmly and smiles at her sleeping daughter.
“Can I hold her?” Frank asks, reminding Gerard that he’s in the room. It’s strange with Frank, one second he’s charming and lively and the soul of the party and the next you barely notice that he’s even there. It’s endearing, somehow.
Gerard nods and hands over the infant. Frank cradles her to his chest and smiles as she scrunches up her face and sighs. Gerard watches Frank’s face and eventually he looks up, he’s got a faint look in his eyes as they catch Gerard’s. Gerard grins crookedly.
Mikey comes home at five. He looks flustered and over worked and asks Alicia about dinner as soon as he comes through the door. Alicia coos something sarcastic about keeping her man happy and shoves Mikey through into the living room. He grins at Gerard and Frank sharply and then pulls his brother into a tight hug.
“Hey, it’s good to see you,” He says into Gerard’s ear, “How’re you doing?”
Gerard shrugs when Mikey lets go and says, “About the same, I guess. A little better, maybe?” he doesn’t want to start crying now. Right now he’s doing okay.
Frank holds his hand when he sits back down and curls towards him, his cheek resting on Gerard’s shoulder. Gerard feels fifteen all over again, watching Mikey and Alicia watch them. They’ve both got disgusting, smug looks on their faces. Gerard’s sort of glad, of course he knew Mikey was aware of him and Frank; they’ve been living together for a week now (unofficially). It’s still nice though, to know his little brother approves, not that it would change anything if he didn’t, it’s just easier this way.
“Finally” Mikey sighs and rolls his eyes “finally” he repeats the word, a little hushed now.
Gerard grins a little sheepishly and Frank kisses his shoulder, looking up to his face with happy eyes.
They stay over for dinner and Frank picks up a few of his clothes, even though Gerard doesn’t mind him wearing his. Frank drives and Gerard stares out the window again, it would be the prefect time for brooding if he were in the mood but as suburban Jersey passes by the glass Gerard just feels oddly clam, refreshed. There’s still a lot of sadness in his chest somewhere but it doesn’t feel so volatile out in the open Newark streets.
He kisses Frank before they even get inside the apartment, he really is a teenager around Frank, he doesn’t mind. Frank smiles into his mouth and their teeth clack a little painfully as Gerard grins back.
“Hello,” He says after pulling away.
“Hello” Frank echoes back, he sounds dreamy as he pulls Gerard into the house.
The funeral is on Friday. It’s a small gathering but Gerard hardly recognises any of the grievers. Mrs Harte never had children, most of her friends passed before her. Gerard thinks he remembers one woman, tall with a high grey bun of hair on her head, from somewhere. Mrs Harte’s sister in law, maybe. Everyone is dressed in either black or grey and no one really speaks. Gerard makes a speech but even his own words are lost on himself. There not even outside, so there’s no chance of rain.
That’s okay, this time though; Mrs Harte shouldn’t have rain at her funeral.
Neither Gerard nor Frank go to the wake, it feels wrong. Frank says they always make his skin itch.
They go back to the house instead, and watch more food network whilst Gerard tries to hide his tears. Frank just wraps an arm around him and nuzzles into his hair, cooing and petting at his shoulder.
On Monday Gerard goes back to work. He doesn’t really need to; the money he’s been left is a small fortune, but Gerard can’t bring himself to spend any of it. Or at least not on laziness, the money will have to go to a good cause. Besides, Frank says the routine will be good for him and he kind of owes it to Bob.
“Hey Gee,” Bob calls over when Gerard stumbles in, ten minutes late, “How’s it going?”
“Okay” Gerard says, aiming for light hearted.
“Good,” Bob grins, “We’ve missed you around here” He punches Gerard’s upper arm in his equivalent of a hug.
“You have?” Gerard asks, before he has a chance to stop himself. He really needs to check up on his brain to mouth filter.
“Of course, you’ve even had girls coming in to call on you”
“Girls?” Gerard twists the word into something ugly, because apparently, he is twelve.
“Well, girl. Uh what’s her name? Crazy black hair like yours, does her makeup in the dark”
“Alice” Gerard breathes. He hasn’t seen her since she ditched him in Soho.
“That’s the one!” Bob booms, “I told her you didn’t bat for her team but she was pretty persistent”
“Yeah,” Gerard says sort of fondly, “She is”
“Well, she left a number, it’s at your desk”
Gerard walks home to an empty house that night. There’s a note from Frank on the fridge had to work don’t wait up xo frnk Gerard sighs and feels something strange churn in his gut.
He picks up his cell and calls Alice.
A/N This chapter is so short I know but it’s like a filler kind of because I needed to show a bit of time going on and all that jazz but I’m really excited about the next chapter so y’know look out for it. Also thank you thank you thank you for getting the last piece green! It means the world to me, seriously I’m so glad you guys have been enjoying reading!