“But, I guess, you’re just happy we’re still alive, huh."
"It's not a big issue. You.. could.." Gerard stopped himself and sighed in exasperation. He was not good at people.
"Gerard wants you to come with us. So do I. So?" Mikey remarked. "Yes, good." He added, turning over in his blankets and curling up to sleep on the sofa. Gerard sniffed and his cheeks burnt scarlet, humiliated. He loved his brother, but sometimes his intelligence drove him mad. He imagined that was how other people viewed him.
"Happily, I'll come with you guys, but could anyone explain the situation?" He asked softly. He was still confused, but if Gerard wanted him to come, he would come. Frank leant his head on Gerard's shoulder, kissing his cheek.
"Tomorrow," Gerard breathed in deeply, showing proper emotion for what seemed like the first time. "Is our Mom's.. it's her.. um, anniversary." He hummed sadly, hanging his head a little. "She.." He couldn't bring himself to say the words, and he sat, trying to think straight. He hated it when he couldn't trust his brain. Frank wrapped his arms around Gerard, thinking he knew what it felt like.
"I'll come with you." He sighed, holding Gerard close as comfort. Gerard was shaking and focusing on staying calm.
"She died, three years ago, Frank." He stared absently at the floor, not even thinking, just gazing. He wanted to curl up in Frank's lap and hide under blankets, he wanted to be as close to him as possible - but he couldn't. His mother's death didn't usually hit him hard. He realised maybe he was weaker than he was when he was sixteen. Frank just sighed, gulping, stroking Gerard's back.
"I know how it feels, Gee, trust me." He sighed, looking down at Gerard, he wanted to do something, but he couldn't. He didn't think he was able to.
"He was only eleven." Gerard leant into Frank and rested his head on Frank's. He could feel himself crumbling at the edges. "He'd already grown up without a father. He'd already lost everything he ever had. Me and Mom were the only things left." Gerard hiccuped and pressed his face into his palms, making a small, aggressive noise in his infuriation. "He'd be changing the world right now if that hadn't happened. If i had the money to send him off to college.. If he didn't have the heart to stay with me, he would have gone on a scholarship. He had the chance, but I'm such a wreck, he.." Gerard mumbled, knowing he was talking complete and utter nonsense. This wasn't even relevant anymore. Frank, surely, didn't care. This was why he didn't let people get close. Frank stroked Gerard's head, sighing.
"Awh, Gee." He wanted to burst into tears there and then, but he couldn't not for him. "You have been through so much, and I.. Looking after Mikey like that, it just makes me even prouder of you and I can see that you're really brave to carry on." He kissed Gerard's forehead. "But I'm here for you now, you have someone else in your life, to help you." He smiled softly, trying to comfort him, "And yes, I will come with you tomorrow." Gerard nodded and shook himself.
"I'm okay. I'm fine." He assured himself, though he didn't think it had assured Frank in the slightest. "You'll have to skip school.. but.." Gerard laughed softly, sniffing through his tears. "I get the feeling you don't have a problem with that." Frank giggled, lightening Gerard's spirits, if only a little.
"Not a problem," He wiped the tears on Gerard's cheeks with his thumbs, smiling, "If you cry, you'll make me cry and then we will just be a big soggy mess." He giggled, trying to make his boyfriend smile. Boyfriend.
"Don't cry." Gerard sniffed. "I don't like crying. It's just another thing that I don't understand. I still don't understand and I'm doing it." The corners of his mouth twitched, though there was still sadness there.
"Tears are words that the heart can't express." He stated, smiling softly. Frank kissed Gerard's cheek. "Sorry, I just like kissing you," He laughed softly, blushing. Damn, this wasn't a crush, was it?
"I've never heard that one before." Gerard confessed, a little impressed. The others, had been heartfelt, but a little cliche, a little - expected - but this one was new to Gerard. "I like that one."
"Good, I was hoping you would." He giggled, leaning his head on his shoulder again, "Do you want some more coffee?" He asked, softly.
"Um," Gerard looked down at his drained coffee cup. "I want to sleep." He answered truthfully, shaking his head, holding his forehead in his palms. "I just want to sleep."
"Okay, I'll be heading home." He smiled, standing up, taking their mugs to the kitchen.
"Alternatively," Gerard started, following Frank. "You could, stay?" Frank grinned inwardly and pretended to act casual.
"If you want me to, I can." He smiled, looking up at him. Gerard nodded pensively.
"I think I do." He smiled, running back to the living room to prise the empty coffee cup from between Mikey's clenched fingers, who was sleeping quietly on the sofa. He returned and kissed Frank's cheek softly.
"I love how affectionate you've become." He smiled, feeling himself blush. "Of course I'll stay."
"I've always been affectionate!" Gerard complained, jokingly. "Well done for bringing it out of me." He smiled quietly, taking Frank by the hand and leading him upstairs. "I'm just.. really tired." He sighed, collapsing on his bed, leaving it to Frank to close the door. Frank closed the door, flopping next to him on the bed.
"Then sleep, I could do with a nap, happily." He giggled, laying his head on Gerard's chest, "I'll bring anything out of anyone, if I'm willing to." He smirked. Gerard didn't really understand what Frank was insinuating, but he hoped that Frank would tell him one day. He nodded softly and pulled his jeans off, leaving him in his boxers, curling up against Frank. He turned off the light and lay there for a while, listening to Frank's soft breathing.
"Frank?" He asked, into the darkness.
"Yes, Gee?" Frank replied quietly, still softly breathing, his ear against Gerard's heart, hearing it beat.
"I can't do.. that, today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Not yet." He whispered, sounding strangely terrified. "I just.. can't. I just want to sleep." Frank glanced up to meet Gerard's bright eyes in the surrounding darkness.
"That? Oh..." Frank clicked, understanding what Gerard was talking about. "It honestly didn't even cross my mind, I promise."
Gerard beamed softly and tucked his knees up.
"Thanks. You know, for understanding. I'm a total freak," He hummed, happily. Maybe that was simply how he liked it. Frank smiled and shook his head.
"You're not a freak, it didn't cross my mind. When it comes to that subject, we're both on the same page." He giggled, pecking Gerard's lips, softly, "You said you wanted to sleep, so sleep." He laughed gently, taking Gerard's hand, lacing their fingers together.
"I will. You're distracting me." Gerard smirked, turning and lying on his back. "Every night, before I go to bed, I recite something I enjoyed that day and I store it. I file through the things I've learnt and I put them away. I have a lot of filing to do. But I already know what I'm going to recite."
"Recite away." Frank replied, a little sarcasm in his voice. Frank laid on his back, tilting his head to the left side, shutting his eyes, but not sleeping. He awaited for whatever Gerard was going to do. Gerard sighed and rested his head back. Gerard hummed softly, very obviously going along with something in his head, but not making it obvious in the slightest what he was doing. He was glad that Frank was comfortable around him - most people weren't. Frank smiled, hearing him hum. He shuffled slightly closer, hoping to hear what he was saying, but he just sounded like he was mumbling.
"No time, like the present." Gerard hummed softly inwardly, before turning on his side, and resting with his nose just touching Frank's. Frank smiled, remembering that's what he said when he asked him out. He thought Gerard was asleep, from the small raspy noises he was creating.
"I love you." He whispered, letting his eyes slip shut, falling asleep.
Gerard awoke in the morning, his body tangled with Frank's. He pulled himself from him and stood up, rushing around his bedroom to find smart clothes. Frank felt something had moved, so he sat up, rubbing his eyes, yawning.
"Morning." He smiled.
"Good Morning, Frank." Gerard, replied, shoving on his smart shirt and trousers, and a nice dinner jacket. "Sorry for waking you up." He apologized, still sounding half asleep. Frank shrugged.
"I had to get up one time or another." He smiled, "I have a change of smarter clothes, if you would like me to wear them?" He asked, combing his fingers through his hair.
"I-I d-don't mind." Gerard's eyes flashed open. "Shit, Mikey!" He left the room quickly and returned up the stairs, bundling a tired and sarcastic Mikey up and into his own bedroom.
"You need help, Mikey?" Gerard asked. A groan erupted from Mikey's end of the house. "Hold on."
Gerard slipped through and popped his head around the door to Frank. "I just gotta.." He paused, hearing a loud bang, and an expected "Fuck!". Yep, Mikey was having - not the best day.
"Go, go do what you need to do." Frank shooed Gerard away, smiling, and laughing to himself. He took out a black shirt, red tie and black trousers out of his bag, he got changed quickly, then spent about 5 minutes just brushing his hair, hair spraying it in the right place. He sat on Gerard's bed, waiting for him to get back from helping Mikey.
"Fuck! You're going to kill me with that- I can do my own tie- Gerard!" Mikey growled, shouting. It was understandable; he was ill, and irritable.
"Stop yelling! You can't do your own tie, if I left you, you'd probably kill yourself by accident!" Gerard yelled, back at him. The conflict between them was sparking off, despite how close they were. The dynamic was so interesting, and so confusing, to Frank.
"Well Gerard, maybe it won't be an accident." He hissed. Frank heard Gerard gasp form the other room.
"Don't you fucking dare pull that out on me." He lowered his voice, to a growl. "Come on, get dressed," He snapped. Gerard came storming back to Frank, obviously particularly stressed. Frank never knew about sibling arguments, so he obviously was confused and kind of scared.
"You look very nice." Frank spoke softly, smiling, not knowing what to say. Gerard looked a little relieved, reaching forward and kissing Frank, properly, for once. Sincerely.
"Thank you. So do you." He replied, sitting down on the bed and holding his cheeks in his palms. "As if this day couldn't get harder." He sighed. Frank smiled, enjoying the kiss,
"Thank you." He breathed in deeply, turning towards Gerard, "Face me a second? Please?" He asked, softly, looking at Gerard's tie. Frank got taught tie's at catholic school and he wanted to do Gerard's in a more artistic way.
"Ah, sure," He sat up straight and let Frank do his work, observing his shaking fingers. "Huh. Look at that." He noted, staring absently at himself. Frank finished with all the loops and knots, smiling.
"There you go." He giggled, proud of himself. "Very artistic." Gerard replied, his soft laugh lines crinkling. "I'll go get Mikey.. and we'll go. It's a short walk. I just like to get there early."
“Okay, you go get Mikey, I’m just sat here.” He giggled, kissing Gerard’s nose, before he walked out of the room. Frank twiddled his thumbs, nervously.
Mikey appeared at the door, Gerard stood protectively behind him. He was still very obviously sick; his skin was grey and pale, his forehead sweaty.
“Come on, let’s get going.” Gerard sighed, weakly. His expression was bleak and cold. Frank nodded, standing up, walking behind Mikey and Gerard, gulping, blushing. He was scared that Gerard would start crying and then he would feel guilty because he can’t do anything. Gerard took the lead as they walked, making their way to a small cemetery, where their mother rested. Gerard kept his face solemn and calm, whilst Mikey became particularly dependant on his older brother. Frank stood back, sighing, he remembered this from when he was a little younger when his grandmother died. He kept his head down, looking at his shoes and the floor, trying his best to not make a scene.
Gerard coughed and straightened up.
“Mom.. I remembered to pay pur taxes. You said i’d forget, you always did too. But i remembered. Mikey’s doing his bachelors. We’re all really proud of him. I hope you are too.” He sighed, holding Mikeys hand in one and mine in the other. “But, I guess, you’re just happy we’re still alive, huh,” he added, making Frank's heart ache a little further. Frank gulped, biting down on his lip ring, really trying not to cry. He sniffed, he just couldn’t help it, all the memories from his grandmother just flooded back. He kept silent, swallowing, listening to Gerard lament. The way he spoke seemed odd to him- no caring words, just little tidbits. Obviously it meant something to the brothers, but to Frank, it was an unknown language.
“I love you, as well. I've got to something interesting to share with you, but none of it’s scientific this time, Mom. I learnt how to feel.” He smiled weakly, pulling Mikey towards him, who pressed his face against Gerard’s chest. “Bet you didn’t see that coming.” He choked on his tears, spluttering. He had tried his best to stay strong but somehow it hadn’t worked out. It pained Frank to know they endured this once a year. How Mikey had to go through this when he was only eleven. Frank looked up at Gerard, his eyes red and brimming with tears, then at Mikey, who was sobbing openly into him, his fingers digging into Gerard’s coat. Frank felt a tear roll down his cheek as he looked at the gravestone. He was speechless. He took Gerard’s hand, squeezing it gently. He was doing his best to be comforting.
Mikey tightened his grip around Gerard, who gazed at him sadly and hauled Mikey up, Mikey clutching his legs around Gerard’s waist, sobbing and hanging on for dear life. He looked very different from the sarcastic, witty 14 year old Frank had encountered the previous evening. He looked exactly like Frank had imagined him at eleven.
“I l-love you!” Mikey called out, to no one in particular, be it his mother, or Gerard. Gerard shushed him, breathing softly into his hair, and kept his gaze trained on Frank. Frank just stared at the gravestone, sniffing, feeling a few tears go down his cheeks. He finally looked away, rubbing his eyes, looking up at Gerard. Gerard gazed down softly at Frank, begging him with his eyes not to go. If there was anything to freak Frank out, it wasn’t Gerard, but rather the interesting dynamic he and his brother formed. A platonic, fatherly one. It was odd, how close they were. More like father and son, than two brothers.
“Thank you.” Gerard mouthed. Frank sniffed, smiling softly through his tears.
“Welcome.” He gulped, rubbing his eyes and cheeks. “Out of everyone I know, I have.. Such respect for you two.” He admitted, still sniffing.
The brothers nodded in unison, still crying into one another. Gerard hated emotions, more than anything, especially the negative ones. He didn’t mind the ones Frank made him feel- he could live with those. All the others made him want to die inside.
“M-means a lot.” Gerard quivered, holding his brother and now Frank, tight against him. Frank sighed, stroking Gerard's cheek.
"You're so brave, Gee." He smiled, hugging Gerard, wrapping his arms around his waist. Gerard nodded solemnly and nuzzled himself against Frank's touch. Mikey tugged onto Gerard once more before releasing himself, and kneeling beside the grave. Frank looked up at Gerard.
"You'll be okay, Mikey will too, it just takes time." He spoke softly, trying to comfort him as he nuzzled Gerard's chest. Gerard nodded.
"I am okay. It just gets hard, sometimes." He said quietly, gazing down at Mikey, who sat hunched beside the grave.
"I am really sorry for doing that thing again. I couldn't stop myself. But I won't do it any more, I promise." Mikey bowed his head, quietly, as he spoke. "Gerard's doing a real good job. Don't worry about us up there; we're doing just fine.. I'm doing just fine." Mikey whispered, softly, tucking in his knees. "I love you, Mom." He dipped his head and stayed knelt for a while, thinking everything over in his head. Frank felt the tears climb over his eyelids, spilling down his cheeks. He cried softly against Gerard's chest, looking at Mikey briefly, before shutting his eyes, holding Gerard close. Everything just.. Felt so similar.
"He's younger than he thinks he is." Gerard whispered, holding Frank close against him. "He may be five times smarter than me, but.. He's not all there." Gerard patted Frank's shoulder and kissed his forehead. "Come on." He took Frank's hand and led him to a small bench, leaving Mikey a moment of privacy with his mother. Frank sat huddled up to Gerard, sitting on his lap.
"I understand, that's how it normally is with guys like him.. they have so much going on in their brains, they’re just not all there in the head." He smiled softly, looking into Gerard's eyes, "I'm sorry for crying."
Gerard was silent for a few moments before Gerard spoke up again.
"It must have been hard." Gerard noted, tugging Frank towards him. "Your grandmother."
Frank nodded, sighing.
"But, how did you know?" He asked softly, leaning his head on Gerard's shoulder.
"You clearly still have both your parents, but if you had some sort of prolonged bond with them.. well, you wouldn't be here, with me." He nodded, softly. "So, you have this other person. Your grandmother. On your father's side, since your mother's mother wasn't the nicest woman.
"You and your intelligence." Frank hummed, sadly, kissing Gerard's cheek. "I had no one for two years. I was just on my own.. I.. I have no friends and my family hate me." Gerard nodded.
"But, now, you have me. Yes?" He asked, placing a kiss on Frank's forehead. "Fuck your family." He paused. "Not literally. That's wrong." Frank laughed softly, blushing.
"Of course I have you, but that was why I was so stunned when you said we were dating. No one ever seems to like me," He sighed, nuzzling Gerard's neck, "But now I have you," He took the elders hand, lacing their fingers together, "Thank you."
"They don't see you like I do." He smiled, softly. "One beautiful form of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen." He noted, tugging on Frank's fingers. Frank was utterly bemused, but he found Gerard endearing. Frank blushed, giggling.
"You're too sweet.” He rubbed his hand over Gerard’s and grinned sweetly. “And, may I say, you look very handsome in a suit." He smiled, chewing his lip ring. Gerard stared down at himself with a little disgust.
“Eh, I much prefer my other clothes." He smiled softly. "But, thank you. So do you." Frank nodded.
"Thank you." He giggled, running a hand through Gerard's hair. "So, what do you want to do now? Knowing you, you don't want to go back to school."
"I will do what I always do." Gerard smiled, gazing over at Mikey. "Me and Mikey used to get something to eat, and then we'd go to the book store, where I'd pick him out some new books to read. He gets through doctorate level textbooks faster than anyone I’ve ever met."
Frank giggled, standing up, holding out his hand for Gerard.
"Sounds like a plan, if I can come along?" He asked, softly, blushing.
"Well, you weren't going to go home." He sighed.
"I can't go home, I live in a..." He couldn't find it in himself to say the words, and Gerard was already making his way over to Mikey and grasping him by the hand. Frank watched from afar as they conversed quietly. "You feeling alright now, Mikes?" He said, dropped to Mikey's height, his hands resting on Mikey’s shoulders. He nodded feebly. They conversed quietly, mostly Gerard nodding whilst Mikey rambled softly, before throwing himself at Gerard, who squeezed him tight. They stood up together and walked, hand in hand to where Frank stood, watching wistfully.
Gerard looked so protective and strong when he was with Mikey. He knew that he had a job to do and he did it well. Gerard reached out and put an arm around Frank and they walked together, looking considerably closer than they had done on the way in, looking like an oblong, dysfunctional family.