(Short drabble - one shot) Gerard used to think he was Peter Pan. Frank is still a lost boy.
He was younger now. Or at least… he looked it. The years had been kind to both of them, but Frank looked twenty again with his cut hair and tanned skin.
For a while he’d been looking as if he was just giving up on himself. He had put on weight, his hair had grown past his shoulders and whenever Gerard called him up he would sound tired and aggravated. He had looked pale the last time Gerard had seen him, when the band had met up one last time to say their goodbyes and give the go ahead for the world to know that as a unit they would be no more. But now he just looked… incredible.
Gerard was still lying in the bed, resting on his side with his head propped up on his hand. His eyes were fixated on Frank, the younger man perched on the edge of the windowsill with his body angled so that he could lean out and smoke without setting off the sensitive hotel smoke alarm. They weren’t supposed to smoke in the room, but Frank was not going to walk down twelve flights of stairs for the sake of not breaking the rules.
The atmosphere was tense, and Gerard’s heart felt like it was trying to explode as his eyes traced the outline of the tattoos he could see littering Frank’s skin.
Smoke tendrils drifted out of the window, twisting and floating into interesting shapes that snared Frank’s attention. For a good long while neither man spoke, in fact Frank was almost forgetting that Gerard was even there before his soft voice brought him back into the moment.
“I’m sorry if I…” He stopped. Unable to get the words out of his mouth. He saw Frank’s muscles tense for a moment before slowly relaxing again, the eyes of his Jack o’ lantern seeming to move. He waited, holding his breath, but Frank didn’t speak.
“Frank… Frank I said I’m sorry if I… Well, ya know…” Gerard trailed off again, blushing fiercely as Frank slowly blew smoke out of the window and shrugged his shoulders, not turning to face Gerard.
“You don’t have anything to apologise for.” His voice was soft and husky, deeper than usual and Gerard’s skin practically crawled as he twisted a corner of the sheets between his fingers.
“It’s just I… It’s been so long and –”
“Gerard you don’t have to explain anything to me.” Gerard bowed his head and stopped looking at Frank’s back for a moment, hating to hear him speak so calmly; as if he just didn’t care.
It had been years since they had done this. Gerard had honestly believed that now the band was no more he and Frank would never get even close to sleeping with each other again, but like usual they had been unable to keep away. It was the first time they’d booked a hotel specifically just to fuck, and the guilt was already crippling the older man. He was also incredibly embarrassed over how early he had come… He had barely got inside Frank before his climax had shocked them both, and it had seemed to take forever for him to finish Frank off with his mouth. That kind of thing usually happened the other way round and Gerard just couldn’t help but view it as proof that Frank was now over him, and yet he was more in love with him than ever.
“Frankie…” Gerard lifted his gaze again, staring at the younger man’s back and waiting for him to turn around. When he just continued to smoke out the window Gerard kept silent, refusing to just talk to the back of his head like a clingy child. He may as well have had a conversation with the Jack o lantern, that would have probably responded more than Frank.
For a while the awkward silence descended again, Gerard just staring at Frank’s inked skin as he waited for him to talk to him. When he had got up that morning and made the long drive to the hotel he had been a ball of nerves and excitement, but despite all of his anxiety he had thought that Frank would be more than happy to see him. Frank was usually the one desperate to get back into bed with Gerard, the older man had assumed that when he arrived Frank would be all over him with need. But this time Frank had been distant, disinterested and cold.
Gerard’s heart twisted uncomfortably in his chest as he continued to stare longingly at the smaller man’s back. Frank had yanked his jeans on as he walked to the window, but when he had sat down they had slipped partway down his backside and the soft curve of his ass was just visible above the beltline. Gerard ached to walk over to him and lay his hands on him, just to feel him and kiss him and tell him he still loved him… but with Frank not even facing him he got the impression he wouldn’t appreciate it.
“Frankie…” Gerard squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, unable to handle the cool silence anymore. “Have I done something wrong? I feel like you don’t even want to be here.” Honesty was the best policy, Gerard supposed, and if there was a problem he wanted it sorted. Frank though continued to remain silent, back to him as he smoked.
“Frank. Please just talk to me, if I’ve upset you then I’m sorry but –”
“Gerard will you just stop apologising?” Frank sighed, sounding exhausted. He looked down at his cigarette, sighing when he saw it was pretty much done. “Christ, I thought we were here to have fun.” Frank crushed the cigarette into the windowsill and then tossed it out of the window, spinning round at last to face his lover.
“We are…” Gerard mewled, sitting up slowly and letting the crisp white sheets of the hotel pool round his waist. “But I don’t feel like you’re having much fun…”
Gerard watched Frank closely as he slowly got to his feet, pulling his jeans back up his hips before walking to the bed. He stopped half of the way though and just leant his weight onto one hip, gazing at Gerard with soft, sad eyes.
“I just…” Frank sighed, bowing his head for a moment and shaking it as if he just didn’t have the energy anymore before he forced himself to look at Gerard again. “We can’t do this anymore can we?” He raised his eyebrows at Gerard, idly scratching his arm and picking at a tattoo from nerves. Gerard just stared at him blankly.
“I guess we shouldn’t…” He began to speak, not sure where this was going. They’d had the whole ‘this isn’t fair on our families’ talk hundreds of times, but this felt different.
“It’s not about what we shouldn’t do.” Frank sighed, shuffling his weight from foot to foot. “It’s about what we can’t do. And we can’t do this. There’s just no point anymore… We’re married now Gee, we have kids we love so much. The band is over, this is over it’s… You’ve outgrown me Gerard.”
“What?” Gerard got the impression Frank had been dying to say this for quite a long time but Gerard just felt baffled. He didn’t have a clue what Frank was talking about. “What do you mean I’ve outgrown you?”
“Well you have.” Frank scoffed, walking to the bed and sitting down on the mattress, nudging the carpet floor with his toes. “You’ve outgrown me, just like you outgrew the band.”
“Wait! That’s not fair Frank, the split was a mutual decision. We all decided it was for the best.” Gerard snapped, scowling as his heart twisted. He knew that Frank was still hurting over the band split, he had been the main one who wanted to stay, but he had eventually agreed that the band couldn’t go on and Gerard wasn’t about to let him use it as an excuse to get mad at him.
“You’re right it was for the best.” Frank nodded, getting back to his feet and pacing across the room. “But I didn’t want to end it. I would have loved to have carried on as we were but I could see you couldn’t do that. Fuck Gerard,” Frank turned to stare at the ex-singer with sad eyes, “we were so young when we started that band. And I get it, our fans are all still mostly teenagers, and we’re too old now to be singing about teenage angst. We’ve outgrown it. I get it.” Frank sighed and carried on pacing, grabbing his shirt off the floor and yanking it over his head.
“The thing is though, I’m still like that teenager… I could still look out at those crowds and just get it. Get all their worries and their pain because I still feel it.” Frank glanced at Gerard with imploring eyes. “But you… you look at those kids and you can give them the answers. Because you’ve grown up now, you’re like a father to them… I’m like… I’m just like the same as they are.”
“Frankie…” Gerard sighed, bowing his head and running his hands through his hair as he tried to understand. “Frank you know if anything is getting to you, you can just talk to me.”
“I know.” Frank gave a short, hollow laugh and shook his head as he tightened his belt and walked across the room to get his jacket. “I only need my music. I don’t need you and I don’t need this… God, I need this least of all.”
Franks words sent a bolt of pain through Gerard’s chest and he began to slip out of bed as he watched Frank gathering up his things. “Frank you have music, you have your new band, you can make whatever music you want now.”
“But I’m not a leader Gerard. You were.” Frank whirled on Gerard, feeling hurt and angry all of a sudden. Standing in the hotel room with the scent of post sex cigarettes still clinging to his skin he felt nothing short of used. “Those kids… the fans… they need a leader. Someone who can help them – I can’t help them, I just tear myself apart with them.”
“Is that what this is all about?” Gerard sighed, pulling on his own jeans quickly. “You don’t want to do this anymore because the band is over?”
“No Gerard. I don’t want to this anymore because you’ve outgrown me. Jesus Christ Gerard look at you! You’re the kinda guy who… who wears casual clothes, dresses rock n’ roll but still like a dad. The kinda guy who takes his kid to school in the morning and then picks them back up again. The kinda guy who speaks like a philosopher and acts like your traditional wholesome American husband.” Frank scoffed and shook his head, seizing his wallet and keys from the bedside table.
“Right… Okay, right. So what are you?” Gerard demanded, not sure how to retaliate to that. So he had grown up, hadn’t they all?
“I’m just… I’m like a lost boy Gee.” Frank sighed, striding across the room to the hotel door. “I smoke and fuck and let my kids watch violent TV with me.” Frank seized the door handle, shrugging at Gerard with a hollow laugh. “But I am mature enough to know that I can’t do this to them anymore. Or to me… or even you. We’ve lost… whatever spark we had once, it’s gone now.” Frank sighed and shook his head, opening the door a crack. “Goodbye G–”
“No, wait!” Gerard slammed the door shut quickly and pulled Frank away from it, his eyes wide and full of tears. “Frank what are you saying? I don’t understand… You can’t just decide to end this. I… Fuck Frank I love you.” The words were whispered like a dirty secret, but then Frank supposed that’s all they were.
“Then you should have told me that ten years ago.” He said calmly. It was an argument they’d had many times but this time Frank had made his decision; he knew what he needed to do and he felt at peace.
“Frankie please,” Gerard could sense this time it really was the end and his heart broke as he clung to Frank’s hands. “Frank let’s talk about this, Frank we can work through it we always do.”
“Gerard.” Frank couldn’t help but laugh as he shook his head, smiling weakly. “I’m not saying we’re not going to be friends anymore. I just can’t do… this… anymore.” He sighed as he tiptoed up, gently pressing a tender kiss to Gerard’s forehead. “I’m going home… Call me.” Frank flashed a small smirk before he turned to open the door, whispering a soft ‘sia Gee’ before he disappeared down the corridor outside.
Gerard stood in the room in stunned silence, not sure whether he really believed what had just happened. He half expected Frank to walk back and say he’d changed his mind but he didn’t.
Gerard thought over everything Frank had said as he walked slowly over to the still open window and gazed out at the street below. Frank was right… he had grown up. There had been a time when he had almost believed he was like Peter Pan, that he would never grow up. And as he saw Frank appear beneath him, walking across the street towards his car with his still sex tasselled hair he realised he was right… He really was just a lost boy.
And Gerard would love him for it forever.