"Gerard was worried that one of his best friends would turn into a slave to the beast inside his head."
He swung himself into the drivers seat and stuck the keys into the ignition. He started the car, pulled out of his driveway, drove down his small road. Soon, Frank pulled up to a stoplight and rubbed his eyes with the knuckles of his thumbs. The agitated drivers behind him honked angrily after the light turned red and his car didn’t move. Frank blinked hard to refocus his sight, and shakily returned his hands to the wheel. Finally, he pulled into Ray’s driveway. Ray was a little more extravagant with his money, but was still smart with it. His house was Victorian, but the inside was renovated into a little more reserved and modern. Frank pulled the keys out of the ignition and climbed out of the car to get his guitar. He walked up the front door and rang the doorbell. Usually, he would just walk in, as he was a frequent visitor, but since it was early, a little past nine, he didn’t want to intrude. Soon, the door opened and a small woman opened the door, her hair up in a ponytail and wearing a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt.
“Hey, Frank!” she said.
“Hi, Christa,” he said, embarrassed. This woman, Ray wife, was still in her pajamas by the look of it, and clearly he had come too early. “Did I come too early?” He said, a little humiliated.
“Oh, no! I just decided not to change,” she laughed, noticing that Frank was worried. “Come in! Ray’s just getting ready.” Frank stepped inside. He had always liked Christa. Not in that way, but more like he appreciated her presence and she never felt like a foreign presence when she was around. Ray seemed genuinely happy with her, too. Frank had had multiple girlfriends, and he did like them, but was usually the one who broke it off with them. He never knew exactly why, and he did genuinely like them, but he didn’t feel complete, even thought he knew they were perfectly capable of being his missing piece.
Frank walked around the house, comfortably fitting in like it was his own and waited for Ray, who came down the stairs not too long afterwards. He was wearing a casual t-shirt and jeans, his usual wardrobe, and greeted Frank with enthusiasm. Frank hadn’t seen a lot of the rest of his band members after touring for their last album and such. While everyone was busy with their own personal lives, Frank felt himself slipping further away from everyone. At one point, months ago, not long after the band temporarily parted ways to take a small break, he rarely left his house and preferred to stay in bed or on the couch. He felt helplessly despondent. He liked living alone with all the freedom that came from it, but occasionally, it got lonely, and he missed being around his band, which had grown to be a family to him. He found himself getting more and more scared of being alone in those months and decided that his reason for this depression was inactivity. He forced himself to go to Dr. Lestrade, his psychiatrist, for an analysis and prescription for medication, who said his depression could have been caused by the abuse inflicted upon him when he was a child, and it most likely was. The doctor was the only one he told about his past. He decided not to tell anyone with fear that they would treat him differently, with more pity, perhaps. After Frank consulted with him, he made himself go out to do what he loved most: make music. After he did this, the depression bled out and Frank found himself happier and with a more fulfilling feeling. That was, until the night before, when he found the dreaded feeling drifting in his mind again. If it hadn’t been for the traumatizing dream, he would have stayed inside and skipped out on the meeting with the band. Maybe, he thought, the dreams would go away if he stayed positive and active.
“Hey, Ray! How’s it going,” Frank acted enthusiastically, wanting to keep the positive façade up. He hugged Ray, and once they parted, Ray looked down at Frank, an expression of confusion and worry on his face.
“You okay?” he said. Frank was bewildered and panicked. What had given his distress away?
“Yeah… why?” Ray weaved his fingers through his thick hair, as he always did when confronted with an unusual or somewhat stressed situation.
“Nothing, you just look… really tired.” Frank forced a smile as well as he could.
“Oh, it’s nothing. Just like you said: tired. I just stayed up all night reading this amazing book. Have you ever heard of The Book Thief?” Ray smiled, relieved that nothing seemed to be wrong. Little did Frank know: Ray, along with the rest of the band, was secretly concerned for Frank. They did notice that Frank had cut himself off from everyone for those few months, and planned to talk to him, but before they could, Frank amended himself and they decided to leave him be. Ray was relieved Frank was interested in his usual activities again and told him to go to the basement, where he had all of the necessary equipment for what they were doing that day. Frank sat himself down on the couch in the basement, which seemed strangely softer and more comfortable than he remembered. He sunk into the gray pillows while Ray returned to whatever he was getting ready before Frank appeared. Frank knew he shouldn’t give in to the sleepiness, but it was so enticing, and his eyelids couldn’t keep open. He struggled to keep them from closing until he finally fell onto his side, kicked his shoes off, brought his legs up onto the couch, and closed his eyes, quickly falling asleep.
The rest of the band members arrived at Ray’s, giving the same enthused greeting to each other. They all shuffled downstairs to find Frank sleeping soundlessly on the couch. Ray chuckled to himself, and told Gerard and Mikey that Frank had barely slept the night before and that they should probably let him sleep for the time being. Gerard simpered, seeing Frank dozing off on the couch, considering the whirlwind of destruction he was on stage. They hadn’t played together for a while, but Gerard hoped that craziness was still there inside of him. After hearing about Frank’s depression, Gerard was worried that one of his best friends would turn into a slave to the beast inside his head, just as Gerard had done for most of the early years of the band’s existence. He swore to himself that he would do everything in his power to prevent that monster from taking Frank over like it did himself. Unfortunately, he had no idea the reason for Frank’s depression and was far from capable of changing it. Gerard hadn’t seen Frank for a while, and though he did see that he was getting better, seeing help and being active and all, he knew Frank was a usually secretive person. Frank wasn’t one for talking at all, unfortunately, so all Gerard could do was assume he was okay. As frustrating as it was, Gerard knew as much as he tried, all Frank would do is assure to everyone he was okay, even if he wasn’t.
Gerard, Mikey, and Ray sat in different places around the room. Gerard sat down on one of the ends of the couch, just at Frank’s feet while Ray and Mikey sat on the floor together, resting their instruments in their arms and lap. Gerard glanced at Frank now and again to check up on him while he took out a sheet of paper from his pocket with clusters of words that could soon develop into lyrics of a song. For a while, the room was busy with song making and melody development, and Gerard was focused on a verse of lyrics he was sure would turn out to be successful. He was interrupted from his concentration, though, when he felt Frank fidget and move around restlessly next to him. Gerard looked up from his paper and glanced at Frank. His face was pained and twisted into a horrible expression of fear, and soon, started to whisper,
“No… Please… Stop.” Gerard got up and went around to stand by Frank’s head. Mikey and Ray looked up from their spots on the ground, Frank’s quiet calls catching their attention. As soon as Gerard put his hand on Frank’s shoulder to shake him, Frank yelled out in agony, the scream making Gerard jump back in surprise. A light touch like that couldn’t have hurt Frank, could it? Wanting for Frank to wake up but not causing him pain in any way, Gerard called,
“Frank! Wake up!” It didn’t work, and Frank was still trembling on the couch. Now, Ray and Mikey were standing beside Gerard, looking down at Frank. Gerard decided that the pain couldn’t have been real, and as soon as he woke up, he’d snap out of whatever kind of dream he was having, so he grasped Frank’s shoulder and shook until Frank burst awake, gasping, just as he had done in the early morning that day. No one spoke for a moment, and only Frank was heard, some whimpers escaping from his throat. Christa interrupted the silence.
“Hey, are you okay down there?” she said, opening the basement door and calling from the top of the stairs. Ray faltered before saying,
“Yeah, we’re fine.”
“Well, the food is ready.” Ray looked at Mikey and said, “Can you come help me bring the food down here?” Mikey nodded, and stole a quick glance at Frank, who was now rubbing his face with his hands. Ray and Mikey disappeared upstairs, leaving Frank and Gerard alone in the basement. Gerard helped Frank sit properly on the couch, and sat down next to him before asking,
“What happened?” Frank looked away from Gerard, staring at a painting on the wall with fake interest, and laughed,
“Oh, it was just another one of those dreams. All those fans were chasing me.” Gerard shook his head.
“No, Frank, stop. That’s not what you were dreaming about,” Gerard said and reached over to touch Frank’s arm lightly, to revert his attention back to him. Frank flinched once Gerard came into contact with his arm and pulled it away. “Does you arm hurt?” Gerard said, noticing the wince. Frank didn’t answer, but pulled his arm to rest on his lap.
“I can’t say anything, Gerard,” Frank said. There was no way he would get Gerard or anyone else involved in this. No matter how bad the dreams got, he would never tell. After all, it might interfere with anything he’d ever accomplished within the group.
“You can,” Gerard said.
“No,” said Frank, and quickly stood up from the couch. Gerard grasped Frank’s arm to get him to sit down, and Frank gasped in pain, pulling his arm away again. “What are you doing?!” he said, fuming. Gerard was surprised.
“I— I don’t—“
“I have a huge cut there!” Frank said, gingerly, holding his arm.
“I’m so sorry. I mean, if it hurts that much you should probably get it checked. What happened?”
“I don’t know…” Frank mumbled. Gerard knew he was clearly lying. There was no way Frank could have just missed getting a huge injury that caused so much pain.
“Here, can I see it?” Frank sat back down hesitantly, and pulled off his hoodie, carful not to disturb his arm ay further. The both of them looked at his arm. There was no cut. No sign of blood. Frank opened his mouth to say something, an excuse maybe, but there was nothing to excuse.
“Frank…” Gerard said.
“But— but it hurts so badly. There’s gotta be something,” Frank murmured, putting his hand on his arm, but quickly pulling it back. It still hurt. There was no way such pain could come from nothing. His eyes darted back and forth, scared and chaotic, searching for any sign of injury.
“Does anywhere else hurt, Frank?” Gerard asked.
“Yeah… my forehead and back.” Gerard slowly reached over to the right side of Frank’s face he had pointed out where it hurt. When he made contact with his skin, applying very little pressure, he received the same reaction from Frank, pain. Yet, there was no sign of bruise or laceration. No swelling. No discoloration. Gerard pointed to Frank’s back.
“Can I…?” Frank nodded and leaned forward. Gerard lifted up Frank’s shirt, revealing his pale back, his spine arched and protruding from his skin. It was covered in tattoos, but did not hide the fact that there was no trace of anything that would inflict pain. Gerard lightly placed his palm on Frank cold skin, and almost immediately, Frank jerked forward, letting out a gasp of pain.
“Is there something there?” Frank said, pulling his shirt down.
“No… Frank, please tell me. I know you know why it hurts. Just, please trust me. I— I care about you so much.” Gerard reached over and lightly took Frank’s shoulders, careful not to hurt him again, and pulled him into a hug. Frank felt his heart jump. No one had said that so openly to him before, and now, because of that, he felt obligated to tell Gerard. Obviously, he wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about Frank’s problem, whatever it was, and would probably tell anyone to help him get something out of Frank. So, he finally, still hugging Gerard, said,
“There are these terrors… They started last night.” Gerard felt Frank’s jaw moving on his shoulder and pulled apart the hug to properly see his face. He urged Frank to go on. “I hadn’t thought about them for years. I mean, I tried not to, but it just came back all at once.”
“What did?” Frank sighed. He’d really have to tell Gerard.
“When I was little, starting from when I was a kindergartener, my mom, if you could even call her that, started—“ Frank paused, readying himself to tell Gerard the big secret he had kept for all these years. “— She started to beat me. I don’t know why. I was too young to understand, but she just kept hurting me. And would threaten horrible things if I ever told anyone about it.” Frank saw the look of disbelief on Gerard’s face, but kept talking, knowing that he would probably stop if he took a pause. “She was smart about it too, never leaving marks wherever anyone could see, and it lasted for years, until I was ten.” More and more of the things his mother had done to him started to appear in his mind, more vivid than ever, coaxing at Frank to look at them, remember them. Still, Frank went on, telling everything his mother had ever done to him. “She’d starve me sometimes, to the point where I couldn’t get up, and when I couldn’t, she’d just beat me again. Other times, she would burn me when she put out her cigarettes. I still have the scars on my arm, but I found that tattoos are convenient in hiding them.” Gerard couldn’t take the stories anymore.
“Frank, stop, that’s enough.” He couldn’t bear to imagine Frank as such a small child being abused like that. “So, your dreams were of that?”
“Yeah,” Frank answered. “Last night’s dream was bad, but this one was worse. This time, she had a knife, and was just swinging it at me, cutting my arm and back. Last night, she slammed my head against a door and kicked my stomach.” He stopped, but then said, “Thank you for waking me up.”
“I’m sorry, Frank. I’m so, so sorry,” Gerard said, pulling Frank in for a hug again, wrapping his arms around him.
“I’m so scared, Gerard. The dream I just had now was so much worse than last nights. I was bleeding so much, Gerard, I was,” Frank desperately tried to convince Gerard. “What if she tries to kill me?” he cried, his voice weak.
“No one will kill you, Frank, because I’ll be there with you.” Gerard released Frank, and said, “You’re sleeping at my house tonight. I’ll make sure she doesn’t hurt you.”
A/N: Sooo, did you like it? Tell me if you did, and updates'll come faster!!
P.S. Did you get my Sherlock reference? ;D