"So, how's life? I hear you've been depressed lately." Jason said the next day when their father had gone to work and their mom was out putting clothes on the line.
"I dunno..." Frank said, kicking at the rocks in front of him.
"We keep seeing things everywhere, Frank. Will you tell me why?" Jason prodded, looking at his little brother.
"You won't believe me, and it'll ruin everything." Frank said, still trying not to meet Jason's way-too-convincing eyes.
"Try me." Jason challenged, "Are you really gay? Is that what's this about?"
"No, that's not it." Frank said.
After a few more guesses, Jason still hadn't guessed, so he gave up and watched Frank retreat to the tree house. Shaking his head, Jason waited a few minutes before going up to see what he was doing and make sure he wasn't cutting himself or something.
When he got up, Frank was in the attic. He was in the secret room. Jason didn't make himself known yet, hiding behind the door. He could see Frank's back. He was crouched next to the far wall, lifting a wallboard. Jason watched him take out a picture and look at it for a moment before slipping it in his pocket.
Jason crept back down and went up the ladder with a little more force in his steps. Frank looked up this time.
"Hey." Jason said.
"Hi." Frank said back.
"I dunno..." Frank answered.
Jason looked at the wall.
"Hey, what's that?" Jason asked, pointing to a place on the wood.
"Uh... nothing! Just a scratch!" Frank stammered, blocking Jason's view after he'd looked behind him.
"Then why can I see?" Jason asked, trying to look over Frank's shoulder.
"Because... Because you don't need to! It's uh, NO!" Frank protested as Jason shoved him out of the way.
Frank cowered in the corner while Jason looked at the mark. It was a tiny hole. There was string poking out from it. Jason pulled it and part of the wall fell to the floor. Inside the small compartment was a bunch of notebooks, an old blanket, and some other junk.
"Frank, what is all this stuff?" Jason asked, sifting through it.
"Stuff." Frank answered, pulling at his shoelaces.
"Yeah. I can see that. Is it yours?" he questioned.
Frank shook his head. Jason found a sketchpad in the mix of items and looked inside.
"It's Gerard's?" Jason said, reading scribbles of words on the inside cover.
Frank shrugged and picked up the blanket and holding it to his face, apparently smelling it.
"Is he dead?" Jason asked after a moment.
"I don't know... you could kind of say I am too though..." Frank replied quietly.
"What?" Jason said, confused.
Frank just shook his head again and continued pressing his face to the blanket.
"Was he your boyfriend?" Jason asked.
"Not really..." Frank answered.
"Well, he sure liked drawing your chest." Jason stated, flipping through another notebook.
Frank grunted and put the blanket around his shoulders.
"What is this- You know what? Forget I even asked..." Jason said, holding up a bottle and grinning.
Frank blushed visibly despite himself.
"So, you do know who Gerard is." Jason said.
"Yeah... but there's a lot you don't know..." Frank whispered.
"I'll bet there is..." Jason agreed.
"Jason, if I just like left suddenly without telling you why or where I was going, would you hate me? Like if I never came back and just disappeared?" Frank inquired out of no where.
"I wouldn't hate you, I'd just be really sad." Jason replied, looking up at Frank.
"Oh..." Frank squeaked.
The two sat there a moment before deciding to go back inside. They put the stuff back and left the tree house, waving to their mom as they passed.
Frank immediate lay down on his stomach in the living room once they got inside.
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