Categories > Celebrities > My Chemical Romance > Trying To Escape The Inevitable

Chapter Twenty Eight

by CosmicZombie 23 reviews

I can’t remember ever feeling so happy.

Category: My Chemical Romance - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Characters: Frank Iero,Gerard Way,Mikey Way - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2012-09-05 - Updated: 2012-11-30 - 7387 words

Hi guys, thank you all so much for the wonderful reviews. Seriously, I cannot stress how much they mean to me- someone said to me recently in a review or email (I can't remember which)'I don't want to bore you by typing lots 'cause you probably don't care what I think'. Guys- I LOVE hearing what you think, anything and everything; I love long reviews, and I love hearing what you think. You're all just amazing, okay? Now, to the chapter...Enjoy ;D

Chapter Twenty Eight

After letting me catch such an unintentionally-heartfelt glimpse into his core, I half expected Gerard to revert back behind his empty façade, retreating to lies instead of heartbeats, the way he always does when something scrapes too close to the bone.

But he doesn’t.

He doesn’t exactly look happy or relaxed, but instead swathing himself in impassive bandages and stitched smiles, he stays uncertain, rough, real, with an expression of steely determination gritted fiercely in his agitated emerald eyes. It’s unmistakeable; the expression of someone who desperately, desperately wants nothing more than to escape, to run and hide- but is tired of doing so.

It’s the expression of someone who’s sticking it out and being fucking brave.

Watching him stay with Mikey and I all day long in a charisma of trembly, spidery hand gestures and smoky half-laughs and dishevelled midnight hair that straggles into his startling eyes makes the fiery little bubble in my chest swell even more powerfully. I push it away a little, though, because it’s scary. It scares me, to be so affected, so empathetic, with someone. It’s too risky, but I know, I’m in too deep, and even if I tried to get out, I know I couldn’t, because deep down, I don’t even want to.

Dusk is starting to fall now, even though it’s only mid afternoon, and we’re all holed up in Gerard’s room, which, being next to the boiler, is the warmest room in the house. We’re listening to all Gerard’s old Nirvana albums while having a long and drawn out argument about which one is the best, Mikey and I sipping from steaming mugs of hot chocolate, Gerard sipping intermittently from a can of lager, which makes the feeling in the heart of my chest sear with anxiety, because I really, really don’t want this new, tentative, almost shy Gerard to be blurred with alcohol.

But it’s sort of different from the way he was drinking in the icy blustering of the graveyard last night- it’s more like he’s drying to numb the scariest bits than drown every inch of himself.

“Come As You Are is definitely the best on Nevermind,” Mikey insists earnestly, setting down his mug of hot chocolate on Gerard’s bedside table.

“Bullshit, Michael James Way,” Gerard snorts, waving his lager can emphatically. He’s relaxed considerably now that over half his beer has gone, but his eyes are still distantly pained; just sort of numbed; partly from the alcohol, partly from the unrelenting determination to conquer what he hates. But he’s not numb. He’s very much alive, very much Gerard, to my utter amazement.

It’s like his waxen disguise is melting round the edges. It was such a flawless, perfect disguise- but I think the flawed one is kinda amazingly beautiful. Quirky, arty, seductive, yet shy at the same time, and full of so many undiscovered smiles.

“Frank?” Mikey’s voice brings my thoughts spiralling back down and I blink, suddenly realising that I’ve been staring at Gerard and they’re both looking at me questioningly; one hazel-eyed and shyly kind, one emerald-eyed and tentative. I blush and duck my head, mumbling something.

“So, which is better?” Gerard probes after a moment.

I blink again. “Um…What?”

Mikey looks like he’s biting back a smile. “Come As You Are versus Smells Like Teen Spirit?”

“Oh.” I clench my fists angrily, furious with myself. “Uhm. I’m gunna have to say Come As You Are, ‘cause it was the first Nirvana song I ever heard.”

“Yes!” Mikey cries in triumph, punching his fist in the air, while Gerard scowls at his lager and mutters something like ‘dick’. They go back to arguing about which has the better guitar solo, while I fiercely wrench my gaze away from Gerard’s skinny, black frame and stare determinedly out at the cold, dusky world.

It’s snowing more heavily than ever; thick, feathery flakes of pure white spilling in a torrent of December from the murky, heavy clouds. The streets were ploughed and gritted earlier, but by now they’re once again completely covered in a blanket of the thick white that sparkles and shimmers icily in the artificial, orange glow of the streetlamps oozing out into the feathery, bitter winter dusk. I’m sitting right by the window, on the windowseat, so close the falling flakes that if I block out the soft glow of Gerard’s bedside lamp in the dim room, I can almost pretend I’m outside, flying with them, just the way I did when I was a kid and Ocean and I lay in the middle of her back garden, making snow angels until we couldn’t feel our toes.

I don’t realise I’ve sighed until I see it steam up the darkened window pane beside me. It’s not quite a sad sigh, though. Nostalgic, maybe, but not sad, because with Mikey sitting cross-legged on the black duvet of Gerard’s bed and Gerard himself curled up on the windowseat beside me, knees hunched up to his chest as he sips from his beer, I really do feel okay. More than okay. Maybe only for this day, maybe only while the snow cascades down from the winter sky, but for now, I feel okay.

“Hey, daydreamer.” Gerard’s nudging my foot gently with his, and I jump guiltily, looking back into the dimly lit interior of the room with an apologetic expression and a slight blush.

“I’m telling you, Nevermind is the best- it’s a classic, you can’t argue with that,” Mikey claims earnestly from where he’s sitting on the bed, looking skinnier than ever in a blue Foo Fighters t-shirt and grey skinny jeans that emphasise his knobbly knees. He’s got all three of the album lyric booklets spread across his lap, using them for quoting to support his argument. I have to smile at how he can look so sweetly geeky about everything, even music.

“No way,” Gerard exclaims, carelessly tucking a strand of hair behind his ear and taking another sip of lager.

“In Utero was such a turning point for that genre, and it has the best songs by far. C’mon, Heart Shaped Box? Tourettes?” I say incredulously.

“Nevermind is a legend,” Mikey repeats insistently, flapping the ‘Nevermind’ CD sleeve in the air to enforce his point, looking earnestly between me and Gerard, who’s huddled up into an outsize Alice Cooper hoodie, listlessly swilling the beer in his half-empty can from side to side in time with the music. The slosh against the metal is oddly soothing and rhythmic.

For a second, he contemplates, head on one side, hair tipping across the pallor of his shadowed face and swollen eyes that startle out vivid green in such a gaunt face.

“But…I don’t know. I think…” His voice still slightly ragged and unused and thoughtful, as though he’s not used to speaking in this voice. “Bleach has the most feeling. For me, that makes it the best- the emotion in it is just so pure and raw. Untamed. Nothing can beat that. By Nevermind, they sound more…trained, or something.”

“Raw music is the best,” I agree a little faintly, feeling stunned by his words. I can’t help glancing sideways at Gerard, and feel my chest do a funny little flipping movement as his gaze meets mine and he smiles a tiny little bit, shyly, half-biting his lip, like we share a secret.

“Don’t get me wrong, I like Nevermind a lot,” Gerard continues, dropping his gaze and ducking behind his hair a little as he traces patterns on the can, a secret little smile still playing softly across his lips. “But I think bands’ first albums are so often my favourites, ‘cause it’s just full of pure, untamed angst that hasn’t been trained or perfected or edited.”

“Nevermind isn’t like that,” Mikey protests, pushing his owlish little glasses up his nose and looking thoughtful. “But I think I know what you mean.”

“Me too,” I say quietly, staring out at the contrast of stark black and beating white choreographing the city because I’m too scared to meet Gerard’s eyes again. To scared to feel what they do to me, so I force myself to talk.

“You hear so many bands these days that sound so polished and manufactured it kind of takes the emotion out of it. Processed emotion just can’t be the same,” I mumble, hiding a little behind my tousled chestnut hair and fiddling with the rips in my jeans.

“Exactly,” Gerard says, his voice velvety and soft and a little uncertain with so much to say. He looks seriously at me. “I’m sick of all these bands that have exactly the same screamo voice- it just dilutes everything they’re trying to say when they sound like a million other musicians. The best music is alive, has a pulse of its own…you can’t teach that,” his sentence tails off lingeringly like a snowy trail of footprints melting away into the horizon, and he sighs, taking another sip of beer.

“You should be in a band.” I blurt, the words feeling too loud and unsubtle to convey what I think. He just said exactly how I feel about music, and it sends goosebumps all down my spine to hear the words woven so eloquently and lucidly from someone else’s mouth. I smile half-shyly at him, though inside, my heart’s beating fast, a butterfly that’s been lost in a cocoon for too long.

Gerard smiles wanly back- but it’s such a sad smile it sort of defeats its own point.

“I was in a band,” he whispers brokenly, staring out at the freefalling snow.

A horribly thick quiet falls over the room, silence beating like a stale pulse, barely thawed by Kurt Cobain’s dirty croon. Over on the bed, Mikey’s breath hitches tensely in his throat and I’m disconcerted by the way he’s suddenly watching Gerard with the kind of increasing trepidation you might give a ticking bomb.

I get the unmistakable, humiliating feeling of having crossed some kind of invisible line I didn’t know existed, and angrily bite down hard on my lip, desperately hoping I haven’t just shattered all the confidence Gerard’s tentatively been brave enough to let manifest all day, hating myself for being so socially inept.

“Creepy Is The New Black. That’s what it was called,” Gerard murmurs, eyes still far away as his smoky voice cuts through the silence and my angry thoughts as he rakes a hand through his tangled hair, staring nostalgically out at the heavy snowfall as though it’s fluid memories. I can see the floating flakes of white reflected in the green of his eyes, sort of like the northern lights without the light.

“Good name,” I say honestly after several moments, ducking behind my hair as Mikey gives me another scared, accusatory look before determinedly looking away and reading the lyric booklet. His hands are trembling, making the pages of the lyric book flutter agitatedly, and I feel humiliated, furious with myself- but without the comfort of knowing what I’ve done. I shift uncomfortably, feeling very exposed.

“Thanks,” Gerard replies almost bitterly, picking at the paint on the beer can. “It was a shit band, though,” he says with some kind of vague, dark amusement, scraping his nail more fiercely against the paint and sighing a little, a half twisted, nostalgic smile playing nightmarishly across his lips. “None of us could play our instruments.”

“You weren’t that bad,” Mikey says hesitantly, eyeing Gerard warily.

Gerard looks fleetingly up from his lager at his brother and quirks an eyebrow sceptically. “Mikes, c’mon. You heard us play,” he points out, emerald eyes glimmering in the soft light of the fairy lights strung across the ceiling.

“Well, you and Jeremy weren’t that bad,” Mikey rephrases, nibbling his lip and pushing his glasses up his nose. “Actually, you guys were really good. It’s not your fault your bassist thought he was playing a guitar or your drummer had no sense of rhythm.”

Gerard’s lips almost quirk into a smile, but seem to give up at the last minute.

“What did you play?” I blurt out, blunderingly curious. I’ve heard him play guitar, obviously, but he’s never played it like he loves it, like it’s his music, his pulse- he just plays it like an instrument. Not badly, just sort of…scientifically. I don’t know why, but I just automatically don’t think of it as being his instrument.

Maybe I do know why. I can’t stop that agonised, beautifully raw, alive singing haunting my subconscious in my own, angst-inked words. …So dead, so dead inside, I’ll spend the rest of my empty days smoking dope…or waiting for a non-existent better…

The silence is horribly evident. Gerard is swallowing, pulling at a rag nail on his index finger, face shielded with his mass of tangled midnight hair. I suddenly realise his hands are trembling round his lager, and my stomach clenches guiltily, my breath waiting for his answer.

“I sang,” he says eventually, not looking up at either of us.

For a second, silence suffocates the room, as colourless and unscriptured as the snow, as black and drained as the sky. Mikey’s mouth is hanging open, but I barely notice him. I’m too busy worrying about the way Gerard looks a little like he’s going to fall to pieces. I unclasp my clammy hands, heart shaking, wanting to put a reassuring hand on his shoulder or something, to slide my arms round his skinny torso and hug him until there’s nothing else- but not having the guts to actually do so.

I wonder if I’ll just have to watch him crumble instead, but before I have to make the choice, the CD grounds to a halt and Gerard leaps up, hands flying for the CD rack to replace the sudden silence.

“What do you guys want to listen to?” he asks, his voice loud and make-be confident, but shaking brokenly round the edges as he bends down to look at the rest of the CDs, midnight hair flopping in his face and shielding his expression.

I bite my lip, guilt and confusion oozing like a great pustule through me, turning my blood tepid with its oily blackness. I grit my teeth angrily, furious that I can’t ever seem to have a simple conversation with someone without saying something to upset them or piss them off.

“Um, I don’t mind,” Mikey replies, sounding uneasily subdued. He’s wringing his hands in his lap, mousy hair falling around the frames of his glasses.

“…Frankie?” Gerard turns to look at me, eyes all pained and questioning, broken up with strands of split-end onyx.

My heart turns over, partly because of the obvious discomfort in his expression, partly because he just called me ‘Frankie’. I grit the breath in my lungs, ignoring the stupid, happy little bubble swelling in my chest.

“Uh,” I duck my head to hide my flaming cheeks. “Um…you pick.”

“Do you like The Used?” Gerard asks after a few moments of flicking through his CDs and holding up ‘In Love and Death’.

“Um, yes,” I bluster, biting my lip uncomfortably.

Gerard’s lips almost twitch up into a smile, but at the last moment they seem to lose their confidence and instead he just slots the CD into the stereo system with a sigh and presses play before crossing back to sit down beside me again, pulling his knees vulnerably up to his chest so as his pale knees poke through the rips in his threadbare black skinny jeans, like crescent moons against the black.

Silence fills the room again, billowing into every nook and cranny, ringing in my ears and blinding me with a thousand unfallen snowflakes. I squirm uncomfortably, feeling churned up and guilty and like I should apologise, but not fully sure just what I’m apologising for.

“Have you drawn anything lately, Gee?” Mikey blurts out, breaking the tense silence. My shoulders relax a little, gaze swivelling apprehensively to Gerard, who’s winding one of the fraying threads from his mangled jeans round and round his little finger.

“I’ve been working on a still life for my coursework,” he mumbles, getting up off the windowseat and shuffling across the room to his desk. I find myself instantly missing the dark, vulnerable warmth beside me and the lingering whispers of charcoal and smoke as he scours through a pile of untidy papers and eventually draws out a battered looking black A3 sketchbook and sliding it onto his bed to Mikey.

“There you go,” he says gruffly. “It’s not finished.”

“Wow, that’s amazing,” Mikey says, eyes full of anxious pride as he looks up at Gerard, who shifts uncomfortably and tries not to smile, but I can see it under his skin.

“Thanks,” he mutters, taking it back and glancing in my direction questioningly.

I widen my eyes hopefully, unable to believe he’s actually willing to show my his artwork. “Thank you,” I say, eyes falling to the page and Gerard continues looking through his desk, back to us.

The drawing is amazing; a skilled, detailed sketch of the school playing fields from the art room window, but it’s sort of…just what it is. Nothing more or less, just a drawing without any need for emotion, totally unlike what other glances I’ve got of Gerard’s drawings, which are more like metaphors in the form of diary entries than simple artwork.

I lift the book back up off my lap to hand back to Gerard, when something flutters out of it. A half- ripped page inked painstakingly in scrawled, spidery black letters, and suddenly its scrawled, inky black words and metaphors, not careful sketches, and curiosity is beating blood in my brain. I glance up nervously, the winged page burning my hands with guilt. Mikey is deep into reading the ‘Nevermind’ lyric book, and Gerard is still fumbling through the papers and magazines on his desk, back to me.

From the chorus and hastily scribbled chords at the bottom of the page, I gather that it’s a song, and that really is the last straw. Curiosity scrabbles at my mind, and before my conscience has time to apprehend me, my eyes are scouring down the page, heart beating fast in my chest as I read.

Reflections of the Dead

Let me tear off this mask, let me unveil these memories;
Bleed and cry and unchart serenity.
Frivolous kisses and soul-searing lies, weave a fable of misty despise-
Under the skin, under the armour,
Where heartbeat’s carcass lurks,
Built on sins, masks, and rusted-out quirks.

I never look in the mirror,
I never look in the glass,
All that reflects,
Is a coffin hiding this past.

This mask is fabricated; I cut the strings of my own heart,
It beats alone, alone, alone, and my soul has been abdicated.
Self-destruction is the easiest art,
Oh, self-destruction is the easiest art.

Words in blood are the weakest of all,
Shallow self-pity and demolition wishes for a pulse
To fall.

I never look in the mirror,
I never look in the glass,
All that reflects,
Is a coffin hiding this past.

Pain is bulbous; protrudes through my skin like bones,
Grinding and groaning and grizzling as the agony grows-
Because this composed façade is only on loan
And I can’t pay back,

My pain is wispy, my pain is discreet-
But I have this feeling,
You can still see it.

I never look in the mirror,
I never look in the glass,
All that reflects,
Is a coffin hiding this past.

Empathy is what you accidentally commit, emotion is what I forget.
These graves I’ve dug, these bones I deflect,
But all it takes is one pair of golden-brown eyes
To dig up every regret,
And I start to feel, as if, maybe, I could still have a pulse;
A pulse,
A pulse.

But maybe it’s just death beating out my prophecy,
Limitless time, limited life,

What should I waste pretending to be,
Something that’s not me?

What should I waste altering my image,
With this plastic knife?

I never look in the mirror,
I never look in the glass,
All that reflects is a coffin hiding my past.

A reflection can’t be edited,
A reflection can’t be mislead,
So when what you see in the glass isn’t you-

You know you’re dead.

I never look in the mirror,
I never look in the glass,
All that reflects is a coffin hiding my past.

The crack in the mirror, the split in the lie,
Reflects this glimmer of a procrastinating heartbeat,
My pain is wispy, my pain is discreet,
But I have this terrifying feeling
You can still see it

Can you still see it?
Can you sidestep being mislead?
Can you see…me?

Or is this reflection forever dead?

I never look in the mirror,
I never look in the glass,
Because I’ve been hiding,
And the crack in the glass is only getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

I’m drowned. I’m choked. I’m being strangled in all

I’ll never be free.
I never look in the mirror,
I never look in the glass,

…Because I’m afraid,

It might no longer be me
Looking back.

I look up from the page, heart fumbling over the sudden slew of answers that raise even more questions. Feeling shaken, I close the book and slide it away from me along the windowseat, feeling guilty for invading Gerard’s privacy when he’s already tentatively letting me in.

“What do you think?” Mikey’s voice interrupts my appalled thoughts, and I look up, flustered. Gerard doesn’t turn away from his desk, but I see his movements still and I know he’s awaiting my reply.

“It’s really good,” I mumble honestly, hiding behind my hair. “Really good.” I know my words sound a little hollow, because, despite their truth, I find myself craving one of those heart-wrenching pieces of art so real they seem to have their own pulse.

“Thanks,” Gerard says gruffly, resuming rummaging through the desk, tossing various pages over his shoulder. I watch them flutter silently to the floor like the snow outside the windowpane, but they’re too punctured in inky angst to carry the same feathery freedom. Instead, they look like awkward moths.

Mikey interrupts my meandering thought with a small, shuddery little sigh as he looks at his watch and starts putting all the Nirvana lyric booklets back into the CD cases with care. “Mom and Steve will be back in an hour,” he says after a moment, still nibbling anxiously at his lip, eyes on his brother.

I wince at the words, and Gerard’s hands freeze on the mound of sketches as he rakes a nervous hand through his midnight hair, before turning round with a twisted expression, lips moist with the tonic for his undulled eyes.

“Shit,” he says quietly. He gnaws at his lip for a moment, drains his beer and turns back round with a sarcastic tone. “I bet they’ll be just thrilled to see me.”

“Gerard…” Mikey starts, but then stops, perhaps realising the flaw in his protest. I feel tense and uncomfortable, like I’m intruding.

“Mikes,” Gerard’s tone is harsh as he turns round to face us again, the paper in his hand quivering- but his expression is soft, gentle. Almost kind. “I’ve caused nothing but trouble, pissed everyone off, stayed out really late, been horrible to Dad’s stepson, and got really drunk on more than one occasion.”

“And now we’ve eaten all the mince pies Mom made,” I add awkwardly, sighing as I realise Mom and Steve probably aren’t too thrilled with me either for staying out last night. And of course, there’s still the dreaded discussion of what happened yesterday afternoon when Steve was called into school…

My stomach tightens uncomfortably at the thought, the scars on my face burning like the whole world can see them- except it’s only Mikey and Gerard.

“All of the pies?” Mikey repeats anxiously, his forehead creasing into a nervous little frown. “Your Mom made those for her work party tomorrow, didn’t she?”

“Motherfucker,” Gerard groans dramatically, raking a hand through his tangled hair once more. Then his alcohol-loosened eyes light up and he’s suddenly grinning; crazily, quirkily. “Hey, I know- we’ll go downstairs and make them a load of mince pies to apologise. What do you think?”

“I’m really sorry, but I’ve got an English assignment I should do,” Mikey apologises sincerely, nibbling nervously at his lower lip as he gets up off the bed, anxiously straightening the creases in his Foo Fighters shirt. He hesitates, looking apprehensively from me, still sitting on the windowseat, staring out at the spill of greasy light and sprinkled snow, to Gerard.

Gerard’s green eyes swivel past Mikey to me, twinkling mischievously, and a stupid little smiles spreads its way across my face so as I have to duck my head and hide behind my hair, trying not to blush, not sure why I’m blushing in the first place, or why I’m having to clench my jaw angrily not to smile warmly.

“You’ll help me, right, Elfie?” Gerard asks hopefully.

“Uhm…” I bite my lip, embarrassed.

“Great!” he exclaims enthusiastically, skipping over and grabbing my hand, pulling me to my feet. “Mikey, you can go and be a geek, and Frank and I can go burn the house down in the name of Christmas, okay?” his fingers are energetic and fidgety round mine and his eyes seek me out, reeling me out of my shell, forcing me to smile.

All it takes is one jerk of my hand before he’s tugging me out of his room, no time for awkwardness or self-consciousness, because we’re falling down the stairs in a tangle of laughs and limbs, Gerard’s long fingers gripping mine tightly as he twirls us round, crazy-style dancing, eyes glittering the deepest green in the shadows of the unlit hallway. I can’t help it. I’m grinning all over my face and dancing with him, the smile so wide it feels like it’s splitting my face in two with happiness that wells up in my chest far more powerfully than tears ever could.

We finally crash into the doorframe of the kitchen in a muffle of giggles and guilty smiles and panting, my head spinning dizzily in the shadows of the hall- from dancing or from Gerard’s fingers laced through mine and his breath all smoky and heady and tentative in mine, I’m not sure. I just feel giddy, whirling- like one of the snowflakes caught up in an unavoidable snowstorm.

I look up, and realise his face is sort of really close to mine. My heart fumbles a beat and I swallow nervously, feeling very aware of the proximity intensified by my fluttering pulse and clammy, shaking hands. He’s looking at me seriously, warmly, gently, and my thoughts I should be angry at have turned to mush.

He smiles slightly, letting it light up the glimmering darkness of his secret-slathered eyes. My eyes ache, because I’m starting to realise just how dark and lonely beauty can be, and it makes my stomach pull to get lost in it.

“Thank you,” he says quietly, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear and sending shivers ghosting all down my spine.

“What for?” I whisper, feeling the pound of my heart in the words.

“Not letting me hide away,” he says softly, eyes pulsating emerald in the shadows of the hallway, where dusk has suffocated all remaining daylight.

“I don’t want you to hide away,” I reply honestly.

Gerard smiles bleakly. “I don’t either. It’s just easier.”

Impulsivity is bubbling up inside of my chest, tugging at my skin and making longing pull at the gaps between my ribs. I suddenly want to reach up and brush his dishevelled midnight hair away from those amazing eyes, trace the shadow of his bitten pink lips, put my head against his chest and listen to see if his heartbeat matches mine- but he’s pulling back, his grin shyly mischievous.

“Ready to burn the kitchen down?” he asks, eyes glittering.

I struggle to get my feelings under check for a moment, feeling as though they’re drowning me, before- “Always,” I managed to grin back, ducking my head a little.

“Right!” he cries, pushing himself up off the wall and stumbling through the doorway, flicking on the kitchen light as we stagger into the room. “We have exactly fifty minutes to bake a batch of mince pies. Have you any mince pie experiences before, elf?”

“…Only eating experience,” I admit guiltily. Gerard huffs and pushes me lightly, though I can tell he’s being really careful not to actually hurt me. I bite at the smile threatening my lips and duck my head, scuffing my foot against the floor as the smile refuses to be dulled and tickles my face.

“Well, that’s not much use is it?” he raises his eyebrows in amusement, hands on his hips as he raids the kitchen cupboards for ingredients. “Have you ever baked anything before?”

“Uh, not since I was about twelve and burnt everything in Home Economics,” I admit, shuffling across to the kitchen work-surface, still biting my lip as I pick at a stain on the kitchen bench in some vain attempt to deflect the pull on my emotions.

“…When you say ‘everything’…?” Gerard raises an eyebrow, hand freezing on the cupboard door as he looks questioningly at me, and I feel my cheeks heat up at the underlying warmth in his amused, gentle gaze. I accidentally pick a chunk of the plastic surface of the bench off instead of the charred stain and blush furiously.

“The food,” I clarify hurriedly from behind my hair, flicking the chip of plastic to the floor. “Not the classroom. Or my class. Sadly,” I add, managing a touch of fmy trademark sarcasm as I start flipping through Mom’s Christmas recipe book in search of the one for Mince Pies.

Gerard smiles the smallest of smiles. “Not a fan of your class?”

“Oh, you’re so perceptive,” I say sarcastically, finding the recipe and crossing the kitchen to the fridge in search of milk.

“I try,” Gerard grins, nudging my bum with a fluid swivel of his hip, so as I overbalance and end up sort of in the fridge with my face crushed against last night’s lasagne, protests muffled.

“Oomph!” I squeak indignantly, struggling slightly before withdrawing my head from the fridge angrily and turning round to face Gerard. “You pushed me into the fridge,” I accuse him crossly, though there’s a smile tugging at my lips.

“I did?” Gerard blinks innocently, adding a pinch of salt to the mixture. He’s trying to bite back a wonderfully crooked, lopsided little smile too, and the little fiery bubble in my chest swells and beats like it has its own pulse.

“You know you did,” I huff, scowling and slamming the milk down onto the counter, fishing a baking tin out of the cupboard as Gerard starts to mix the contents of the mixing bowl.

“Uh oh, have I angered the elf?” he teases, hair flopping in his face as he tries to bite back another smile, but it’s tickling its way across his lips as he busies himself with mixing flour and sugar, the supposedly innocent expression on his half-hidden face.

“What did you just call me?” I demand, poking him carefully in the ribs and trying not to smile too widely, because I’m trying to look at least a little fearsome here.

Gerard shrugs, completely failing to bite back the warm smile as he pretends to be intent on mixing the flour, inky straggles of dishevelled, split-end hair tumbling across his eyes and getting ghosted with the slightly white dust his long, nimble fingers are creating expertly in the bowl. Something tugs very powerfully in my chest then, and I suddenly want to feel that hair under my callused fingers, have those artistic ones woven fiercely, silently, through mine, have our feet weaving unforgotten forgets in the city snow, have my scars looked at and stroked gently, so gently, get lost in those green eyes that reel me in, accidentally enchanted, and make me forget everything I feel I need to be…

I suddenly realise his long, pale fingers have stilled in the mixing bowl and he’s looking right at me, green eyes wide and startling and vulnerable, fusing intently with mine like they’re seeing everything. My heart races and my stomach squirms, but I can’t summon up the willpower to drag my gaze away as my pulse flutters faster and faster and faster as the air condenses to haunted smiles and songs of scared lungs. I can smell beer and smoky shyness, and cinnamon from the mixing bowl, and all I want to do is step closer and close the gap between me and this scared, hidden boy with a cold, impassive, sneering skin and a broken up core.

I thought everything in the world was ugly and cruel and twisted, but it’s not. Getting caught up in these shattered green fragments silently smiling at me, tender and uncertain and happy, I can believe that the whole world is fucking beautiful.

I swallow, trying to remain focused, but he’s turning my thoughts to ghostly ribbons draped all over each other in united longing. His eyes are deep and warm now, reeling me in as he steps closer, and I can see the breaths quick in his chest, the anxiety bitten down on his lips. Then suddenly, he reaches out, and, quick as a flash, streaks a long, floury finger down my t-shirt, grinning half-shyly, half-mischievously. I squeak indignantly at the white trail down my favourite Black Flag shirt and launch for the mixing bowl, mixing bowl, reaching out and smearing the dusty powder down Gerard’s jet black hair with an equally wide, stupid grin.

“Oh, it’s war now, Elfie boy,” he says softly, his grin wide and crooked, and just as unpractised and uncertain and honest as mine is, taking over every inch of my face until it even melts my scars.

Swiftly, he flicks his fingers and I find my face coated in flour and splutter indignantly, half-giggling, half choking as we both dive for the mixing bowl and struggle for the flour in a mad tangle of fingers and giggles and shoves, showering each other with the white powder, tussling and messing about and getting flower everywhere in a flurry of white hands and squeals, until Gerard throws himself at the bench, picks up the bowl- and empties its contents over my head.

My mouth is wide open as the flour showers down my neck and settles in my hair like inside-snow. Silence falls over the kitchen for a second as Gerard surveys me in grinning disbelief. He looks ridiculously adorable with his button nose coated in white and wonky white streaks of dust in his tangled midnight hair, and I can’t stop grinning at how wonderful he is with those mischievous green eyes looking straight into mine.

Suddenly, we both burst out laughing, the happy, careless giggles pealing out through the snow and the spilt flour and the dim light of the kitchen as we gasp for breath, laughing so hard it makes our eyes water and the moisture make little smiling tear-trails down our flour-coated faces.

Each time we finally sober up and manage to look up at each other seriously, we just end up laughing uncontrollably again because we look so ridiculous, covered in the floury dust like snowy ghosts- until finally, we’re both leaning weakly against each other, wiping our eyes as our chests ache from giggling and we dust the flour from our clothes, still grinning from ear to ear.

Leaning against the tingly warmth of Gerard’s skinny body, coated in flour, cheeks aching from smiling and breathing in the soft, vulnerably smoky smell of someone who I hated, but maybe is just a whole lot more like me than I thought, I suddenly realise something.

I can’t remember ever feeling so happy.


By six fifteen, we’ve managed to clear the kitchen of all remaining traces of the flour fight, and make a batch of mince pies, which are nearly done cooking. Gerard and I are sitting on the kitchen table, drinking mugs of coffee and discussing guitar amps, still distinctly white and ghostly with the remnants of flour. A wonderfully warm, fizzling sort of air melts around us, and it takes me a while to realise what it is.


It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that with anyone- but this is a little different; a little more powerful, thrilling, magic. I never want to relinquish it. It makes me feel more alive, more happy, than any music ever could.

When the front doorbell suddenly shrills out through the peace, my heart sinks.

“Oh joy,” Gerard groans, fixing his flour-tinted midnight hair and sighing heavily. “That’ll be the parents come to kill me.”

“They…they might not actually kill you,” I say, setting my coffee mug down and looking at him guiltily. “Just sort of…violently maim?”

“Oh, thanks so much, that’s such a comfort,” Gerard rolls his eyes, pushing me off the table, hands soft against my ribs. “Go tell them to piss off,” he groans. The words are harsh, but his voice is soft; gentle, and he smiles slightly at me.

“I perhaps won’t use quite that wording,” I tell him, masking the way my heart’s fluttering with a grin, sliding off the table and dusting floor from my black jeans before going out into the cold contrast of the hall. The second I open the front door, an icy blast of December sears through me, making me shiver and squint out onto the darkness of the doorstep. My eyes take a couple of seconds to adjust.

I blink.

“Hi,” Ocean says brightly, teeth chattering.

“…Ocean.” My voice is hoarse, stripped of all the happiness.

“Look, I can’t stay long,” she says enthusiastically, stepping in out of the cold and marching past me. “I’ve just come to ask you and the Way brothers something, okay?”

I swallow, feeling numb. It’s like the whole day has been a dream, and she’s reality, cold and harsh, washing over me and turning me so cold and numb with realisation.

“So how’s it hanging?” she asks cheerfully, hanging her coat up on one of the hall pegs and unwinding her stripy scarf. “It’s so great school got cancelled, isn’t it?”

“I-I…” I shake my head, the words as dry as bones in my mouth. “I’m fine.”

“Great,” she beams. “Oooh,” she pauses, sniffing the dim air of the hallway. “Do I smell baking?” without further hesitation, she skips into the kitchen and hating her, hating her, hating her, I follow, heart heavy at the bottom of my ribs.

“Why hello, Gerard!” she announces cheerily, making Gerard, who’s still sitting cross-legged and tentative and floury on the table, start nervously and look up with instantly wary, closed-up eyes that just make my heart sink.

“I said hello,” Ocean pouts, waving extravagantly.

Gerard seems to struggle with himself for a moment before muttering. “Hi.”

I grit my teeth, feeling the anger boil up inside of me. Gerard sets his coffee mug down on the table and makes to get up, but Ocean instantly protests.

“Don’t go just yet- I’ve got something to ask you guys. I’m only calling here on my way to Alex’s, but he’s having a party at eight tonight, and I was hoping you’d all come- Mikey too, if he wants,” Ocean says, eyeing us both expectantly. “Pretty please?”

I hesitate. Gerard swallows, still all hidden behind his hair.

“Um, I guess I could,” I waver under Ocean’s expectant gaze, the words thick and glutinous in my mouth.

“Great!” she beams happily, clapping her hands together. I barely notice her. My heart’s racing.

“Gerard?” I ask, heart all tangled in too many beats as I await his answer. He’s bent over, hair falling across his face as he wrings his hands in his lap, all relaxation melted away- but when his brilliantly green eyes meet mine from behind his inky strands of hair, they’re as open and vulnerable as before, like they’re only mine to see.

The fiery little bubble in my chest swells so much it feels ready to implode with the simple power of what it’s feeling.

“If you’re going,” Gerard shrugs, not looking up.

“Yay,” Ocean claps her mittened hands. “Look, I’ve got to get going, but I’ll see you later, okay? Don’t be too late.”

“Okay,” I mumble, exceedingly grateful to see her leave.

Once I’ve seen her out, I trail back to the kitchen, anxious and full of heartbeats. Gerard looks up and smiles wanly at me, and I relax.

“Well, I’d better go tell Mikey,” he says quietly, getting to his feet.

“Okay,” I mumble, biting my lip.

He shuffles towards the doorway, but just before he goes out into the darkened hallway, he turns back, bites his lip, and smiles at me. Not a smirk, not a smile oozing with plasticity- a crooked, lopsided, shy little grin that shows off all his tiny teeth and makes my chest swell with something so powerful, so pure and amazing I know it’s the kind of thing that will cut the deepest, most beautiful scar of all.

I’ve smiled so much today, I’m not sure that, if I looked in the mirror, it would still be my angry, defiant, scarred shell looking back.

Maybe it would just be me.



Thoughts? :D I'm sorry this took a while, some serious shit has been going down at school and well...yes. I've had very valid reasons for the delay, but all the same, I'm really sorry. I hope you guys enjoyed it...R&R? I'd love to know what you're thinking about the story at this point, as well, things are starting to get interesting...and well, the party in the next chapter? Wait and see, my lovelies ;D I hope I'm managing to write this okay- it's kinda weird, writing 'real' Gerard and happy it alright? Oh, and thoughts on Gerard's song would be great :3 Thank you all so much for reading this and sticking with my guys honestly keep me fighting. Thank you so much.

Lucy X_O
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