He'd somehow lost himself along the way. [FINALLY UPDATED, SORRY FOR THE WAIT, GUYS!. PLEASE READ, RATE AND REVIEW?? :D]
The Colour of Memories
Frank was sure his heart had never beat so fast. The rancorous, hot barking that had hounded them through snares of soaked, skeletal branches had long since melted to rain-drenched silence- but they were still running. Running and running, jagged, bare branches grazing Frank’s wet skin as he was hauled through the torrential rain and scripture of blood-red leaves, skidding and slipping and stumbling; gasping opaque fear into the rotting woodland air in front of him… But they still didn’t stop.
It half felt like something from a film or storybook, but it was too real- tumbling forcedly down mossy banks, the bleak October rain slashing into his skin, the uneven pound of it hitting the muddy ground with his feet was so starkly alive- but most of all, the urgent, vice-like grip around his wrist, and how its frantic presence sent thrills of horror up Frank’s spine. He’d felt half terrified, half elated with sheer adrenaline as the air whipped past, and he tasted rust, stories, fear, all fused into it. He couldn’t help it, couldn’t deny it; but he was exhilarated, alive, more full of that fatal curiosity than his own blood.
But now it was starting to fade, along with the savage barking they were initially running from. Now there was nothing but the patter of rain on dead leaves, the frantic rustle and pound of two pairs of feet, the uneven gasps of air. Frank was beginning to feel exhaustion and fear eclipse the any thrill or curiosity. It was bitterly cold, he was bleeding, his lungs ached so much it felt as though he could barely draw a breath. He wanted to stop.
He was scared.
“Where are we going?” Frank cried out, feeling ready to burst into tears. His weakened voice was feeble, almost instantly swept away by the ashen air that skinned past, too fast to breathe in. He was choking and gasping, trying to gulp down oxygen as they jolted roughly over uneven ground. “Please!” he sobbed in desperation, trying to tug his hand from the convict’s. It felt the last thing from a storybook, now- it was terrifyingly real, so real it hurt.
Frank struggled ineffectually, but his captor wasn’t stopping- he continued wildly tugging Frank through the dying woodland, eyes wide and wild and wonderful in the eerie light the thick drizzle evoked. If it hadn’t been for how agonisingly alive they were, it might as well have been a ghost pulling Frank through the ditches of muddy, iced water and sodden leaves, running, running, running through the serrated branches- until they were sprinting across open bleak countryside; two stark figures puncturing a scriptureless skyline.
“Please!” Frank was half-sobbing with exhaustion now, only dimly aware of the stark rain slicing through the air, running greyly down his skin. He was so overwhelmed that it took him several gasped, choking breaths of the frigid autumnal air to realise that they’d stopped.
Frank blinked to refocus his blurry vision, and, with a jolt, realised where they were. The barren, stubbly field they were standing on, drenched, was none other than the furthest-flung field of the farm.
Gulping down shuddering breaths of the icy air, he raised a trembling arm to wipe the tears and rain from his face and lenses of his glasses, staring in utter disbelief at the sallow, haunted man standing bleakly in front of him. Just like before, the hollow emerald eyes reflected an even higher dose of the thundering fear that still thrummed through Frank’s body, and once again, this oddly reassured the latter.
After glimpses and hints and snippets that had preoccupied his thoughts for days on end, it was utterly surreal to see Gerard Way simply standing before him in the rain, blood and being. Unprotected by illusion, with the ashen rain cutting down his sallow skin, he seemed incredibly vulnerable, even more scared than Frank remembered from the night he’d been to the gig. But most of all, he seemed so real, so human- almost pitifully so. It was as though he’d been a painting Frank had stared at for weeks, and now it had suddenly stepped out of the frame.
It was this that eradicated the remaining fear in Frank, allowing the powerful itch of curiosity to ebb back as he stared at the gaunt-eyed convict. His head was bowed slightly so as his hair fell around his features like dyed rainstreaks, and Frank could see his hands trembling where they clutched his tattered clothing.
For several minutes, all Frank could do was stand and let the rain beat down deafeningly, icily around them, staring at the skittish, wild creature that had saved him several nights ago; at the unhinged, dangerous convict the whole country was looking for; at the terrified man. The rain fell between them, hard and dying and grey, and he stared right back at Frank; edgy, skittish green glimmers from under the sopping wet black hair.
“It-It’s really you, isn’t it?” Frank blurted, when he couldn’t contain the enormity of it any longer. His voice sounded uncomfortably loud in the pouring rain, and he watched the sunken, green eyes flicker fearfully at it.
“I mean, you who saved me,” Frank clarified, stammering a little, because that was what he had meant- not that it was really Gerard Arthur Way, the escaped convict the whole country was looking for- but that it was really this man with terrified eyes who had pulled him from the pitch-black road on Saturday night; who’d saved Frank’s life with trembling fingers and haunted eyes that flickered in the scored firelight.
“You saved me,” Frank murmured again, almost to himself, but he couldn’t look away from the hollowed-out face, the streaks of onyx hair plastered in stark contrast to the convict’s eerily pale skin and the dark, red gash oozing blood on his forehead. The blood mingled with the rain, turning weak.
The green eyes hesitated, torn between something. They watched Frank extremely warily, ready to flee at a second’s notice.
“It was you, wasn’t it?” Frank trembled again, although he already knew it was. It was really him, right there in the rain and the cold and the bloody red October leaves, like something out of a storybook, and Frank just couldn’t stop staring, his golden-russet eyes wide, because it was real, really real.
Very slightly, the convict inclined his head, eyes still extremely wary.
Frank didn’t realise he’d been holding his breath, clamped into his lungs, until he let it all out in a huge exhale of opaque relief, swirling away into the rain between them, diffusing the tension riddled through it.
The wariness in the convict’s eyes didn’t falter, but the rigid line of his stubbly jawbone softened very slightly.
“I-Why did you?” Frank stammered, feeling horribly innocent in comparison to the blackened, scarred eyes staring at him in plain confusion.
“I mean, why did you save me?” Frank clarified hurriedly, heart thudding.
He waited eagerly for the answer; ears straining to hear it to permeate through the thick rain, and unexpectedly, it came.
“…Why wouldn’t I save you?” The voice was unsure, inhibited and quiet, like he hadn’t used it for a very long time and what he wanted to say had begun to fray around the edges- or he wasn’t sure what was fact and fiction anymore. His eyes flickered skittishly from the horizon to Frank, nervous, edgy and dark, behind his tangled, wet hair.
“I- I don’t know,” Frank mumbled, feeling his heart pound nervously. He glanced up, realising that the convict’s presence was slipping from his fingers and he would escape any moment. Somehow, the thought of never being exhilarated, scared- haunted- by the tormented tangle of green eyes again terrified Frank. He looked beseechingly up into them, willing them not to leave him alone in the rusty, damp air, not to leave him to everything he’d run away from that morning; the tangle of hormones and expectations, his parents, Robbie, Clarissa-
“Your eyes are like hers,” the convict murmured suddenly, snapping Frank from his thoughts. His voice was vague and pensive as he looked intently into Frank’s eyes, painstaking sincerity behind all the scarred barbed-wire of his emerald. Then dropped his gaze almost guiltily and twitched and fidgeted, glancing edgily over his shoulder into the thick mist of pouring rain. “Sorry,” it was a whisper as he shook his head, agony riddled through his eyes as he let them linger for a moment on Frank’s before closing them, as though seeing hurt too much.
Frank suddenly knew he was about to leave; knew the frayed words hanging in the frozen air between them were an incomplete goodbye- and sure enough, seconds later, he began edging away.
“Wait!” Frank blurted out, unable to stop himself. He was scared- not of the convict’s presence, but of being without it. “Don’t leave.” His words were harsh and unrefined in the falling grey and the convict froze instantly, eyes guarded. There was silence for several moments, apart from the deceased autumnal rain drilling into the hard ground at their feet. Frank watched the gash across the convict’s forehead ooze dark beads of red. “I-” Frank grappled wildly. “You’re hurt,” he stammered, gesturing to the vivid scarlet gash grazing the translucency of the convict’s face. “Um, do you want me to clean it? I have first aid stuff in my bag.”
The gaunt, green eyes hesitated, a moment of vulnerability between murky suspicion and bright-green gratitude. Frank watched as gratitude mingled with surprise, starting to eclipse the suspicion, and trembling, Frank chanced a nervous step towards the convict. Instinctively, the convict stumbled backwards, eyes flaring with luminescent fear that made Frank’s heart sink.
“You’re bleeding,” he said helplessly.
The moment Frank realised the words that had tumbled from his mouth, he wished he’d never spoken them; it was as though he’d flicked a switch; the convict’s eyes convulsed and he trembled, raising two long, skeletal fingers up in escalating terror to the feel the graze on his forehead. When he brought his fingers away, shaking, there were two violent smears of dark red on his translucent skin, instantly diluted by the falling rain- but the rich colour somehow seemed to remain in his eyes. Frank watched, appalled, as torment surged through them, dark and lost. The red had been washed away by the falling rain, but Gerard Way continued to stare in horror at his fingers where the blood had been moments before.
“…I can clean it up,” Frank stammered, anxiety forming a tight knot in his chest.
The convict just stared at him, his eyes worlds away, convulsing silently in agony. Frank had never seen eyes so tainted- the way the darkness spilled out across the irises with wispy black tendrils, until there was nothing there but the bleak, unending abyss, and no hope of green.
Frank desperately wanted to tell him that it was okay, that whatever he feared so obliteratingly couldn’t get him here- but before he could try and convey this, the bitter silence of the autumnal rain was ground out by a distant sound of rusty motor.
The convict flinched, his eyes instantly wild and alert, snatched back to the present- but still smothered in sheer panic, desperation, torment. Heart pounding in his chest, Frank squinted through the rain and realised with a jolt of horror, that his father was trundling across the field in the farm tractor. The amount of trouble he was in with his parents, the reason he was in so much trouble, all came thundering back, and Frank swallowed uneasily, his throat suddenly dry with panic.
Gerard Way made to escape, but instinctively, without even thinking, Frank grabbed hold of the convict’s matted, torn clothing and hung on. Green eyes fluctuated, suddenly boring into Frank’s; sharp, fragile, dangerous.
“Let go,” he trembled, his voice very soft. His eyes pleaded urgently with Frank’s through the hard, grey lines of torrential rain.
“You’re hurt,” Frank said, his voice shaking. “I can help.” He wasn’t quite sure why he couldn’t let the convict go, but he just couldn’t. His curiosity wouldn’t let him.
The scarred green eyes stared unblinkingly at him for a moment, all the torment still toiling and tumbling beneath the surface. Then-
“Why?” His voice broke as he stared at Frank, suddenly frozen, statue-like, even though the tractor was drawing closer through the rain and he was still bleeding. It was as though that one word carried the weight of the world.
“Because you saved me,” Frank said simply, eyes wide and bright, pure gold in the unflinching grey rain, brimming with earnest innocence.
The guard in the green eyes faltered for a moment, and Frank took the opportunity to grab hold of the convict’s skeletal wrist and pull them both across the ugly, barren surface of the soaking field towards one of the old, rusting barns. Inside, it was eerily silent and cold, the rain battering hollowly at the rafters and the corrugated tin roof. Frank pulled them both behind some old farm machinery and they both collapsed onto the rotting hay bales as the rain drummed overhead, and the convict whimpered frantically.
He was scrabbling manically at the wound on his forehead with his long fingers, like he was trying to erase it, but it was only hacking at it more so as blood spurted down his face, staining his hands. “Get it off, please,” he choked, desperately scratching at the red on his hands, eyes wide with terror. To Frank, in that moment, he suddenly wasn’t the convict the whole country was looking for, he wasn’t edgy and damaged, he wasn’t the person who saved Frank’s life. He was simply scared- terrified in a sense Frank had never imagined could exist. For a moment, he watched in horror, out of his depth, as the convict’s eyes screamed, dark and alone in their sunken sockets.
Then Frank’s first aid training kicked in with a blow of adrenaline to the stomach, and he began fumbling hurriedly in his bag, hunting for something to staunch the flow of blood that was distressing the convict so much. Frank’s hands were trembling as he searched frantically in is bag, watching Gerard Way helplessly; he was shaking uncontrollably now, tears glittering in his tortured green eyes, gestures wild and tormented as he tried to pull the blood from his skin, sobs wracking his skeletal chest, the sallow skin of his face twisted up into agony.
Realising he needed to act as soon as possible, Frank tore off his coat and hoodie, grabbing the latter and tentatively approaching the convict as he thrashed about desperately on the hay, half-sobbing.
“Stop, it’s okay, I can get it off, I promise,” Frank pleaded, blindly grabbing one of Gerard’s thrashing hands and pulling it away from the wound, chest aching at the sheer terror etched into the other man’s face. Somehow, he managed to grab the other hand too, and kept a firm hold on them as he nervously raised his hoodie to the bleeding, and tentatively pressed the fabric down on the wound to clot the flow. Beneath him, the convict writhed and twisted, but he was silent now, and Frank could tell the edge had been taken off his fear. They were both silent for a while then, Frank holding his hoodie to the wound as the rain pattered noisily on the rickety barn roof and the convict screwed his eyes shut, breaths shuddering through his chest.
“It’s okay,” Frank murmured, biting his lip as he watched, trying somewhat desperately to reassure the terrified man. He tentatively reached out and touched the convict’s skeletal wrist, where the skin was so sparse it was almost translucent, and Frank could see the veins and bones lurking beneath it, uncovered secrets.
He hadn’t expected any acknowledgement from the convict, so jumped slightly when the long, pale fingers gripped his hand back, fierce and lonely. He kept his eyes screwed closed, mouth clamped shut as though he thought he’d bleed from them if they were open, but he didn’t let go of Frank’s hand.
The feel of the bony, brittle fingers clinging to his made Frank feel oddly appreciated, so he didn’t let go either. Once he was sure the blood had clotted, he removed the hoodie and tactfully folded it so as the blood wasn’t on show, before sticking a band-aid over the open wound and shakily kneeling down on the damp hay in front of the now motionless man. Gingerly, Frank took his skeletal hands and wiped the red stains from them with the hoodie. When they were clean, he let go and sat back a little to look at the convict, the pounding of his heart suddenly very loud in the stillness of the barn.
With a jolt, he realised that Gerard Way was already looking at him, unblinking, his emerald eyes fragile from recent trauma. Suddenly feeling embarrassed, Frank dropped his gaze and busied himself with putting all his things back in his schoolbag, his hands shaking slightly as he did so. He noticed there were two tiny stains of red on his palm.
The voice was sudden and surprisingly strong, making Frank jump and look up. The convict’s eyes were almost tranquil, between the muddy green clash of guilt and gratitude. “I-What’s your name?” he asked quietly, staring unblinkingly a Frank with those wild, skittish eyes.
“F-Frank,” Frank stammered, taken aback. “Iero.” He looked at the convict. “You’re Gerard, aren’t you? Gerard Way?”
He smiled wryly, though his eyes retained their pain. “I must be so hard to recognise, what with the whole country looking for me.”
Frank smiled weakly, and went back to re-packing his bag in the momentary silence, listening to the rain continually drumming on the tin roof.
“I’m sorry,” he stumbled on, sounding more human than before. “I just…I can’t bear the smell of it.” Frank knew he meant blood, and recognised the magnitude of the convict’s fear by his reluctance to even say the word. Gerard was looking at his hands, turning them over and locking his long fingers shakily together. “Or the colour. It’s the colour of memories. I can taste them.”
“It’s gone now,” Frank stammered, not really sure what to say.
There was silence again for several moments, and Frank felt his heartbeat increase with every droplet of rain that battered into the barn roof.
“I shouldn’t be here,” Gerard said suddenly, eyes wretched as he looked at Frank. Frank suddenly realised how ill he looked- the shadows of the barn enhanced it; how Gerard was almost skeletally thin, painfully thin with bulbous bones protruding uneasily from his papery skin; how his hair hung, lank and dead in those tormented eyes sunk deep into their sockets. He wrung his hands frantically, expression gaining a kind of wildness. “I can’t, they’ll find me, they always find me, I can’t hear them in the rain, their footsteps, they’ll-” he stopped dead, and looked at Frank, suddenly bleak. “I can’t let them find you.”
Frank wasn’t sure what to say anymore, so he stayed silent.
The convict slumped down, covering his face in his hands. “I can’t.”
“Who?” Frank blurted out, which initially he wondered why on earth he felt the need to ask. “I-I mean, I won’t tell anyone,” he stammered stupidly, because it was so obvious to him it felt such a needless thing to say. “I promise,” he added quickly.
Gerard looked at him for a long, agonising moment, then let out a shaky breath. Frank suddenly wondered whether he was talking about the same people finding him as Frank was, and if his question of ‘who’ wasn’t so needless after all.
“I know,” Gerard said raggedly, looking anxiously at his hands as though he still expected there to be blood on them. “That’s not what I meant, Frank Iero.”
Frank was about to say something in response, but before he could begin to unravel the endless reel of questions he wanted to ask, the noise of the barn door being flung open on his hinges slammed through their silence, and they both leapt up in horror.
Gerard startled, looking round urgently with wild eyes.
“Hide,” Frank whispered earnestly, pushing him towards a heap of broken down farm machinery. He was only just out of sight when Frank’s father strode into view, and Frank swallowed, the amount of trouble he was in suddenly resting heavily on his shoulders as he looked back at his father. What with everything that had happened, he’d almost completely forgotten about ignoring his parents’ wishes and going out with Robbie last night.
Reality sunk like a stone to the bottom of Frank’s stomach.
He’d almost forgotten what had happened with Robbie last night.
“Frank!” John Iero’s furious tones roused Frank from the memory of gasping breaths and frantic movements and sweaty skin. Guilt infused itself through his veins as he swallowed what seemed like a million secrets, and looked up from his soaking shoes on the grimy hay, into hard grey eyes of his father. Behind him, he thought he heard the back door of the barn unlatch, and with a pang, realised that Gerard Way was gone, fleeing out into the big, wide world that Frank knew almost nothing of.
“What on earth are you doing here, Frank? You should be in school!” John was shouting so loudly it drowned out the rain, but Frank barely heard above the suddenly lonely echo of his heartbeat and the listless, heavy feel in his veins.
Frank pulled himself into the present, biting his lip and not quite managing to meet his father’s eye as he mumbled, “Sorry,” with more insincerity than he’d ever spoken before. He wasn’t being insolent, he just simply didn’t care. There suddenly seemed to be a million things more important in the world than apologising for missing one morning of school.
“Sorry? What the hell do you mean, ‘sorry’?!” John raged.
“What does sorry usually mean?” Frank snapped, and then stopped, shocked at himself. Even John looked momentarily taken aback for a second, before he grabbed Frank furiously and hauled him from the barn out into the rain. The droplets fell like icy needles to Frank’s skin, but he barely felt them or the angry grip of his father’s hand round his wrist. All he could think of was the rain running down a sallow-skinned face and dribbling like tears from a pair of gaunt, green eyes.
“Skiving?” Linda whispered, a hand covering her mouth in shock as John dragged a soaking wet Frank through the back door and into the warmth of the farmhouse kitchen. Without the continuous patter of rain, it suddenly seemed horribly silent. “Oh, Frankie, not really?” she shook her head disbelievingly.
John just nodded emphatically, jaw gritted furiously.
Frank didn’t care that his father was furious, but he bit his lip as he glanced up at his mother, a pang of guilt shooting through him at the appalled expression on her face. The rebellion of the past few days suddenly hit home and he felt very small and insignificant, standing in the middle of the kitchen he’d grown up in, rainwater dripping off his clothing and forming little puddles around him on the floor.
“I told you it was a mistake to let him go to that concert,” John fumed, looking angrily at his wife. She disregarded him completely and looked straight at her son.
“Frank, what’s going on?” she asked quietly, eyes pained as she surveyed him. John snorted incredulously and drew out a chair, its legs scraping noisily on the tiled floor, making Frank wince where he stood.
“Oh, that’s right Linda, he doesn’t need telling off at all,” Frank’s father snorted sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
“Let him explain himself first, John,” Frank’s mother said firmly, though her voice shook slightly. “Let him tell us what’s going on and we can decide what to do then.”
“What do you think is going on, Linda?” he demanded, raising his eyebrows incredulously. “Frank’s clearly trying to get our attention by getting into trouble. That boy he ran off with yesterday against our wishes and now this. I bet it’s his influence, isn’t it? It’s disgusting.”
“No!” Frank said angrily, glaring at his father. “It’s nothing to do with Robbie!” He blinked the second the words were out of his mouth, surprised at how quickly and instinctively he defended the green-haired boy despite his current confusion. He swallowed guiltily, trying to push the memories from his mind and look innocent.
“Then who has it got to do with?” John spat patronisingly, raising his eyebrows.
“No one,” Frank mumbled, ashamed of his sudden outburst, but the anger still burnt and flickered at his insides, swelling with the sheer amount of uncertainty breaking him into tiny pieces. It oozed through the cracks, fiery and greedy, taking advantage of his insecurities. “It’s just me, Dad. No one’s to blame. It has nothing to do with Robbie, really,” he finished dully, taking off his rain-speckled glasses and wiping them listlessly on his trousers before shoving them back on and wincing as his world swam all-too clearly into view.
“Well of course it’s something to do with…Robbie/[,” John pronounced the name derisively, demeaning it. “Did you see the kid, Linda? Green hair and [/make-up, I tell you- make up on a boy!”
“What’s his appearance got to do with it?” Frank asked heatedly, glaring at his father. “It doesn’t have anything to do with what kind of person he is. Robbie’s great,” he said loyally, cheeks burning.
“Well, what kind of person dresses like that? None of your proper friends do, they dress like normal, respectable people. They’re the kind of people you should be associating with, Frank- not freakshows like that,” John looked forcefully at his son.
“Robbie isn’t a freakshow!” Frank shouted angrily. “He’s the best friend I’ve ever had, okay? He doesn’t lie like everyone else! He’s honest. Isn’t that an important quality in a friend?” he pointed out, cheeks flaming.
“No, it’s not okay,” John said incredulously, completely disregarding the last half of Frank’s sentence. “You cannot be associating with people like that, Frank.”
“You can’t tell me who I can and can’t like!” Frank said loudly, trembling with anger. “Especially if your only argument against them is that they wear make-up! I mean, would you think badly of me if I wore eyeliner? It wouldn’t change what kind of person I am, just like it doesn’t have anything to do with what kind of person Robbie is!”
“Of course it does, it shows a clear kind of disregard for rules and what’s acceptable,” his father retaliated instantly.
“Don’t be so narrow-minded!” Frank couldn’t stop himself from shouting; the anger was bubbling up from the pit of his belly, contaminating his blood so as it rushed hotly around his head, blurring everything with frustration. “I like Robbie, okay? Nothing’s going to change that.”
“‘Like’?” John repeated slowly, his eyes suddenly narrowed.
The kitchen went deafeningly silent, so as the only sound left was the rain trickling sadly down the windowpane behind the cooker, lonely salt. Frank closed his eyes for a second, willing the burning humiliation to fade before he spoke.
“As a friend,” he finished dully, staring guiltily at the kitchen floor and fiddling nervously with his sleeve, determinedly avoiding his parents’ gazes. “Robbie’s just a friend,” he repeated defensively, but he could feel himself blushing and it felt horribly like he was trying to convince himself more than his parents.
"Are you sure?" John demanded, suddenly looking disgusted.
"Yes," Frank insisted, mumbling slightly as he tried not to remember the hot, tender pressure of Robbie's mouth against his, the way it had made his insides go crazy, his heart pound faster- the way it still made his belly tingle to think about it now...
“Well, I’m telling you, Frank- you can’t see anymore of this boy. He is clearly a terrible influence,” John flattened any negotiation out of the sentence, and Frank felt his heart sink helplessly at the thought of losing the green-haired punk. He looked at his Mom pleadingly, all anger drained away to just a heart thumping with fear.
“Mom?” The word didn’t come out angrily like all the others; it sounded very small and uncertain, as though he was waiting for the response that would confirm everything. She looked at him sadly, like the battle was already lost, and Frank bit his lip, trembling from the torrent of emotions that had been tumbling through him moments before, but had suddenly left him empty and bleakly alone. Everything suddenly seemed so close to the surface, so out of control- he was used to having all emotions in check, used to having everything so organised, but now it was chaos- inside and outside. He needed just one person to be on his side; to support him no matter how confused he was.
Linda was backed against the dresser, shaking her head. “I think,” she sighed quietly without looking at Frank. “I think you should focus on your studies, honey. And there’s clearly something funny going on ever since you met that Robbie. Maybe...maybe it is for the best if you don’t see him again.”
A lump rose in Frank’s throat as he stared incredulously at his mother, feeling betrayal stab into his skin. He’d thought that at least, no matter what he did, he’d have his family to support him, his mother. Thoughts of confusion whirled behind his untarnished golden eyes, making his skull ache with the tangle of trying to understand.
But suddenly, as he looked at the disappointment in his mother's gaze and the bitter anger in his father's, one thing rang clear.
He didn't know who he was anymore.
He’d never pushed the boundaries of his safe little world before, and now he was beginning to, they were opening further and wider than he’d ever imagined- but at a price.
He'd somehow lost himself along the way.
Frank spent the remainder of the day sitting cross-legged on the windowseat in his room, gazing out into the slowly darkening needles of autumnal rain drilling into the concrete of the yard. The house was utterly silent as the rain poured down outside; Linda and John had gone to a friend's house for the evening, leaving Frank to mull over his thoughts all alone. The second they'd left, he'd grabbed a loaf of bread, apples, and a whole block of cheese from the darkened kitchen, and raced out of the back door and through the pouring rain, feet squelching through the muddy puddles, until he reached the barn.
Of course, it was emptier than ever, but Frank couldn't ignore the little pang of disappointment that shot through him when he didn't see a pair of gaunt green eyes gleaming at him through the shadows. Even although it had been what he expected, Frank still lingered in the cold, musty dark of the barn longer than necessary after he'd left the food out on the most prominent hay bale. He closed his eyes and let the solitude wash over him in the sound of raindrops battering against the roof, let himself feel so utterly lost and confused and frustrated- but eventually forced himself to return to the house, hands shoved in his pockets, thoughts shoved away.
Once he got back to his room, he leant his head against the windowpane and stared out listlessly at the darkened countryside, trying not to think. It was almost pitch-black outside, but the woods were a clawed threat on the horizon, blackened, dangerous and exhilarating. The darker it got, the more Frank could imagine a skeletal figure weaving in and out of the twisted branches.
He could imagine it so vividly that when his mobile started vibrating on the table beside him, he jumped wildly, scrabbling to answer it, a hand jumping to his forehead.
“Hello?” he stammered, suddenly aware that his heart was pounding.
“Hi, Frankie,” Ray’s voice crackled over the line.
Frank didn't realise how much he'd needed to hear the calm voice of his oldest friend until he did; he let out a huge breath he didn’t know he’d been holding at the sound- his day had felt like it was whole worlds away from Ray and school. “Ray,” he breathed, clutching the phone more closely to his ear and staring out at the almost black rain.
“Is everything okay, Frankie? Why weren’t you at school today?”
“I…” Frank stopped. “I was ill.”
“Really?” Ray didn’t sound convinced. “I spoke to Robbie, and-”
“What?!” Frank squeaked, eyes wide in panic. “What did he tell you?”
“…Nothing, he just said I should call you.” Ray sounded confused. “Is there something he should have told me?”
“No!” Frank blurted out, pushing a frantic hand up to his face and closing his eyes against the tears that suddenly threatened.
“I…Ray, I think I need to speak to you about something.”
“What’s wrong?” Ray sounded genuinely concerned. “And not that it’ll help, but Clarissa’s really stressed about you. She thinks you’re cheating on her or something, but I know you’re not, so don’t worry too much.”
Frank groaned, guilt bubbling in the pit of his stomach. He sniffed and wiped the salt-trails from his cheeks, composing himself even though he felt more alone than ever.
“Listen,” Ray continued kindly. “Why don’t you come over to mine after school tomorrow and we can talk properly?”
“That…That sounds good.” Frank heaved a sigh of relief at the thought of Ray's gentle, level-headed presence and watched it seep across the black windowpane in front of him. Ray was like the anchor in his life- wherever he went, whatever he did, Ray kept him grounded to reality. He'd never really needed Ray in that sense before- he'd never tried to push outside the boundaries of his safe little life before- but now that he had, he realised just how much he needed his friend.
“Okay, well I’ll see you tomorrow, then?” Ray probed.
“I might not be at school, but I’ll definitely make it to yours later,” Frank promised, sniffing a little. “Thank you, Ray.”
“Any time, Frankie. See you tomorrow, then.”
With a loaded sigh, Frank pressed the end call button and chucked his phone back down the window beside him, thoughts rushing at a million miles per hour at what he was going to tell Ray. The house was completely silent apart from the repetitive drum of raindrops against the darkened window that Frank leant his aching head against, the quiet only amplifying the thoughts screaming through his mind. He succumbed eventually, letting his eyes slide closed against the sudden magnitude of existence. Images flashed behind his eyes; His parents, Gerard Way, Ray, Robbie and Clarissa...
For a moment, Frank considered them both; Clarissa and her haughty, pretty expression; Robbie and his crazy hair, his wicked smile and the feel of his lips against Frank’s, the way they’d tasted of lemongrass and smoke and mint and how they’d given Frank butterflies in his stomach, they’d-
Frank’s eyes suddenly shot open; a soft tap tap tap had just sounded against his window. Heart suddenly pounding, Frank squinted out into the darkness, mouth dry with fear and excitement. Then the noise came again, and with a squeal, Frank leapt back from the window- a pair of quirky turquoise eyes and polka-dot eyebrows were just outside his window.
Robbie was just outside his window.
Mwhahaa, first chapter back and I leave you guys on a lovely little cliffhanger ;D How was the chapter? I'm seriously nervous about posting this, I don't know if it's any good or not, it's been so long since I've written this story. I really hope it's okay- if it's not, I'll delete it and re-write. I was kind of just getting the feel of the story and characters again. What did you guys think? Do you still want me to write this? What did you think of Gerard? Things are about to get pretty exciting now! Rates and Reviews would be incredibly appreciated. Thank you so much for reading, and once more, I'm so sorry for the wait.