Actions

Work Header

Just Like Heaven

Chapter Text

Frank’s used to feeling like an outcast, but this a whole new level. He feels like he sticks out majorly as he tries to sway his body to the beat of whatever shitty pop song is blaring over the speakers. He doesn’t really know what's going on. Vaguely he can hear cheering from another room. Out of the corner of his eye he can see a couple making out on the couch, the girl pressing herself against the boy frantically. At least Frank thinks they're a couple. He’s not sure considering how many people he's seen basically fucking in the hallways, people that he knows wouldn’t usually even spare each other a second glance outside of the party. He knows that’s what they’ll do right after this ends. They’ll never look towards each other ever again.

Frank sighs and looks down at his drink, shrugging before throwing the cup back and trying to drink as much as he could at once. He was able to get a little down before he was sputtering and wiping at his mouth with the back of his hand. He made a displeased sound when the taste of cheap alcohol assaulted his senses. He placed the cup down on a table beside him before wandering off to the kitchen, needing to find something that would get rid of the repulsive taste left in his mouth.

He forces himself through the crowd of people, trying to ignore the people that accidentally ended up grinding on him when he shoved past them. There were a couple noises of complaint, but he ignored them, relief flooding him when he broke from the wild crowd and saw the kitchen. It was also crowded but nowhere as near crowded as the living room was. He was relieved to find that there were no couples throwing themselves at each other’s.

Frank knows that if he wanted to have a little fun he could. He’s done it before and wouldn’t have a problem doing it again. He hadn’t been to many parties, but he had been to enough to find somebody to spend the night with. But he was finding a very scarce selection tonight. He wasn’t picky. He’d sleep with both, girl or boy so really he was open to anything. But everyone here was boring, and he found himself unable to keep his attention on one person long enough to actually get with anybody.

“Excuse me.” He mutters as he passes another person, though he’s sure why he’s saying anything. The music is too loud for anybody to actually hear anything he says. At this point he’s just muttering to himself.

Frank approaches the fridge carefully. He’s pretty sure that it’s bad etiquette to just take something from somebody’s fridge, but he doesn’t have it in him to care. Everyone is pissed off their ass and probably would notice if he just randomly dropped dead, much less notice him stealing something from the fridge.

Frank frowns when he finds that the fridge is mostly empty. He thinks sourly that it was probably only filled up with alcohol before. It’s previous contents are no doubt spread across the trashed house, the only remaining condiments being a few stray bottles. Frank’s about to close the door when a certain bottle catches his eye. He stares at it for a second, squinting his eyes to look at the label. It has a generic water company logo on it, but he doesn’t really care. He’d take anything to wash down the disgusting taste of whatever had been in that cup.

Frank reaches for it and turns the cap, sighing in relief when the seal pops, telling him it hadn’t been opened before. He pulls away from the appliance and lazily closes the door with his hip. He sighs again when another round of cheers comes from the other room. He can only imagine what they’re doing. It’s probably something stupid, like seeing how fast somebody can chug a bottle. Frank doesn’t really know why they’d want to. He’s been shit faced before, but it was never from drinking it all at once.

Frank tries to ignore the weird looks he gets when he starts drinking. He knows he probably looks like a freak drinking water at a college party. Especially when there’s an abundant amount of alcohol around him. If Frank was being honest, he hadn’t really ever drank anything besides vodka, and most of the time it was mixed.

The water does barely anything to get rid of the nasty residue, but Frank takes the little bit of relief he does get with gratitude. Soon the plastic bottle gives up its last drop and Frank is crinkling it up in hand, tossing it aimlessly when he walks past a trash can. He’s not even sure if it made it in the basket. He doesn’t really care about that, either. He’s pretty sure he’s the one doing the least damage to the house.

He doesn’t even know whose house this is. He just knows some freaky goth girl from his art class invited him, smiling at him with weirdly pointed teeth before disappearing into the stock room for more paint bottles. Frank was surprised he was able to pick up what she had said considering how quickly she had babbled it out. Now that Frank thinks about it, he doesn’t even see freaky goth chick anywhere.

Frank’s seriously considering just ditching this party. It’s doing nothing for him and he’s not even in the mood to get drunk. He looks around one final time before rolling his eyes. He was an idiot to come to this. Frank’s not even a party kid. He doesn’t even know half the people in this room. The only one he had actually seen was some druggie that he had caught smoking behind the school a bunch of times. They weren’t friends but Frank didn’t hate him or anything. He seemed like a pretty cool dude when he wasn’t stoned.

Frank rounds the corner of the counter, a little bit of disappointment settling inside of him. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting coming here. He looks like a freak among these kids. He’d seen the stares he’s gotten. He’s sure he’s been the topic of conversations before. Frank wasn’t a popular kid but any sorts, but he had fucked up enough times for his name to be brought up. It was probably spoken by some kids that he didn’t know. They probably didn’t know him, either. He was either the kid who got in a fight outside of his second period or he was nobody. There was no in between. If you asked these kids, there was no Frank Iero.

Before Frank can break into the main room again, a familiar face is blocking him. He has to squint to see who it is in the bad lighting, but he’s able to tell once a colored strobe of light passes over her face. It’s freaky goth girl. She says something to him, but the music drowns her out. Frank can only vaguely see her lips moving. He’s about to shout and tell her he can’t hear her, but before he can do that he’s being tugged through the main area and down some long hallway. The music is more muted here and Frank can actually hear freaky goth girl.

“You’re here!” Her voice is high and excited. Frank wonders briefly if she’s drunk, but then he realizes this is probably just her usual behavior. He’s never really seen her do much except paint, her body moving to whatever music their teacher played as she slapped some paint on a canvas. She seems like a hyper person, so Frank considers that she might be sober and just a little strange.

“Yeah.” Frank replies with nowhere near the amount of enthusiasm that she has just given him. Luckily she doesn’t notice and just continues to smile at Frank with her weirdly pointed teeth. Her smile was a little unnerving and it made Frank shift uncomfortably.

“I want you to meet my friends.” She says excitedly before taking off again, dragging Frank along with her. Frank stumbles and almost falls, yelling out to freaky goth girl that she needs to slow down. She doesn’t listen to him, however. Frank has barely just balanced himself when he’s abruptly stopping, stumbling once again. He rams into freaky goth girl slightly, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Either that or she somehow doesn’t notice.

Frank isn’t really sure who her friends are since there’s not exactly anybody that’s like her here. It’s all the same except for a couple kids that do their own thing. Frank doesn’t really care most of the time. He just does his own thing.

“They’re not from this school.” She adds on when she sees Frank’s expression. She doesn’t seem hurt or anything like Frank probably would be. In a way she seems humored. She grins at him for a second before pulling him into yet another area.

Frank’s relieved when she stops again and releases him. They’ve stumbled into a dimly lit room that reeks of pot and bad hygiene. It makes Frank wrinkle his nose. The smell of weed excites him slightly. He can’t really stomach most alcohol, but he has no problem with smoking.

“This is Frank!” Freaky goth girl announces. Frank shifts uncomfortably in his spot but doesn’t try to get away when everyone in the room turns to look at him. None of them really seem malicious. One boy even smiles at him.

Frank waves awkwardly at the group. He doesn’t know what to do so he just stands there until somebody yells out, “Drink, you dumbass!”

Frank barely has any time to react before a bottle is being thrown at him. He’s surprised he’s able to catch it, and when he looks down at it he finds himself being glad that he did. The bottle is glass and he knows it would have completely shattered had it hit the floor. He finds himself being annoyed at the person who threw it, the irritation no doubt showing on his face as he looks down at it.

“You gotta open it, dude.” Another voice pipes up. It’s from the boy that had smiled at him. His tone doesn’t sound like he’s making fun of Frank or anything. It’s more so a playful comment, and Frank finds himself smiling back.

Frank doesn’t pay attention to the label of any alcohol this time around. He’s satisfied enough by the pop of the bottle cap to drink it. The taste is equally as gross as the last drink was and he has the urge to spit it out, but he forces himself to at least drink and swallow some of it before he pulls it away, wiping at his mouth.

Freaky goth girls hits his arm encouragingly before nodding towards an empty spot near the crowd. Frank tries his best to give her a thankful smile before shuffling towards it. The bottle clunks when it accidentally collides with the ground as Frank sits down, making the boy wince. He’s relieved to find that it hasn’t cracked.

“There’s no good shit here.” A voice tells him. Frank glances up from his drink and sees the boy that had smiled at him before watching him. The corner of his mouth is quirked up and his eyes are excited, seeming to be genuinely happy that Frank’s there. He’s a skinny guy with messy, black hair, which Frank doesn’t doubt is dyed. He’s pretty fair skinned from what Frank can see in the dim light. Frank’s cheeks heat up as he realizes he finds the guy attractive.

“Victor.” The boy supplies when he notices Frank’s confused expression. “I’m Victor, this is Andrya, that’s Bonnie.” He starts listing names and pointing at people. He’s talking so quickly that Frank is struggling to keep up. “The girl you were just talking to is Nova, but you probably know that.”

It feels weird to think of freaky goth girl as anything other than freaky goth girl. Nova doesn’t sound right in his head. He decides that he’ll still call her that. Freaky goth girl fits her a lot better than Nova. He just has to make sure that he never says it to her face. He doesn’t think she’d really appreciate Frank calling her freaky.

“And that is Gerard.” Victor finishes off his long list of names with a wave to the other corner of the room. Frank blushes again when he realizes he hadn’t heard basically any of them. He focuses on the name Gerard, although. That wasn’t a name that he had heard before. He doesn’t even see this Gerard dude, now that he thinks about it. Frank glances over at the corner that Victor motioned towards, frowning when he doesn’t see anything. But then Bonnie’s phone lights up and Frank sees him.

Frank understands why he hadn’t seen him before. This Gerard dude was basically covered in black, plus he’s pretty much pressing himself against the wall. Frank can’t really get a clear look of the guy. He’s hunched over, fiddling with something in his hand. His hair is completely curtaining his features and Frank finds himself getting annoyed by it.

It’s only when Gerard lifts his head slightly does Frank realize what Gerard is holding. He’s smoking. Frank thinks it’s a cigarette but he’s not sure. Gerard takes a break from smoking to look in his direction, eyes focusing on Frank. He peers at Frank curiously, making the boy look away. Frank can still see that Gerard is still staring at him from the corner of his eye.

Great. This dude thinks I’m a freak. Frank thinks almost bitterly. He doesn’t know why he’s upset. He’s used to the staring, and it’s not like this guy was actually important or anything. Frank doesn’t even know anything about him besides that his name is Gerard and that he smokes.

But then Gerard flashes a smile at him. It throws Frank off for a second. It’s not a cruel smile. In fact, there’s nothing cruel about Gerard at that moment. He seems excited about something. Frank watches as his smile slips into a smirk, and then he’s bringing his cigarette up to his mouth. He takes a drag before blowing out a puff of smoke, looking away from Frank. He’s still grinning, though. It makes Frank even more nervous.

“Frank!”

Frank’s eyes unwillingly tear from Gerard at the sound of his name being called. Victor is reaching out to him, a bottle of liquor in his hand. Frank scoffs playfully before laughing and takes it from him, completely forgetting about the half drank bottle next to him. He doesn’t even really like what he’s being handed if he’s being honest, but he doesn’t mind getting drunk off of it if he’s promised a good time. And when Victor breaks the clip on his can of his drink, Frank begins to think that maybe he might be.

-o-

Frank doesn’t think he’s completely drunk, but he’s honestly not really sure. He just knows that he has drank too many bottles of whatever shit has been passed around and that his head feels kind of heavy. The beverage tastes gross, yet he keeps drinking it, laughing each time Victor hands him another one.

“This shits fucking disgusting.” Frank spits out with a laugh. He counteracts his previous statement completely by taking another swing. He doesn’t know why he keeps drinking, but he does. He likes the way it’s making him feel.

The girl he knows as Andrya snickers somewhere from beside him. He chokes out a chuckle of his own before leaning against the wall, tipping his head back and letting his eyes fall shut.

“If they’re disgusting, why do you keep drinking them?” Andrya comments. She sounds a little intoxicated herself, but nowhere near as bad as Frank is. Frank wants to roll his eyes at her, but he can’t. He can’t even find the energy in him to open them.

So maybe he is a little drunk.

It’s nothing serious. Frank has been shit faced before. He’s drank to the point where he’s passed out, but that was rare. He didn’t get drunk often. He felt like he was slowly spinning out of the control, but he wasn’t really sure if he wants to stop.

“Because.” Is all Frank gets out before he laughs again. He feels hysterical. He doesn’t necessarily feel bad or good. He’s just there. He’s in the middle, waiting for something to determine his mood.

Frank’s stomach churns unpleasantly, his brows tugging together as a wave of nausea falls over him. The can falls from his hand when he suddenly shoves himself up, stumbling away drunkenly. Somehow he finds his way to a bathroom. He’s not sure how he didn’t collapse in the middle of the hallway. He barely makes it to the toilet before he’s doubling over and retching. His throat burns as his body rejects the little bit of food he has eaten. He realizes that he had basically consumed purely alcohol that night. That was probably why he couldn’t keep it down.

“Fuck.” Frank whines quietly, pressing his hand against his forehead and leaning against the toilet. His stomach is still rolling and he’s sure that he’d just throw up again if he drinks anymore.

The door opens and Frank prepares himself to tell whoever just came in to find a different bathroom, but the words get stuck in his throat when there’s suddenly a gentle hand on his back.

“You really should watch what you drink.” The voice sighs. Frank doesn’t recognize it and immediately becomes irritated. Who the fuck was this random guy to come in and tell him what to do with his life.

Part of Frank knew he was being irrational and that it was the alcohol that was driving him to be so bitter. The realization wasn’t enough to stop him from turning around and glaring at whoever was touching him. Except his glare didn’t last very long, the expression faltering when his eyes fell on who it was.

It was Gerard. Except he didn’t have a cigarette hanging between his fingers this time, nor was he smiling. His expression was mostly blank, though a little humor was swimming in his eyes. It only manages to piss Frank off even more.

“Fuck off.” Frank spits out. His karma arrives a second later when another round of sickness floods him and he’s leaning over the toilet again, emptying whatever was still left in his stomach.

“I don’t think that’s the best idea.” Gerard murmurs and begins to soothingly rub Frank’s back. If Frank wasn’t intoxicated he would have blushed. But he wasn’t stable enough to even convey that emotion.

“I’m fine.” Frank mumbles out, even though it’s obvious that he’s not. Gerard chuckles quietly at this and continues to try to calm Frank.

“I don’t think that’s too good of an idea.” Gerard makes a disgusted noise from the back of his throat when Frank retches again. He tries to play the noise off as a cough when Frank replies with an annoyed noise of his own, but it doesn’t do anything. Frank’s already heard it.

“I need...freaky goth-“ Before Frank’s finishing his plea to go get freaky goth girl he’s gagging again. At this point he doesn’t think he’s vomiting cause he’s drunk. He’s pretty sure it’s just because whatever he drank was disgusting.

“I don’t really know what that means.” Frank stiffens when Gerard chuckles and gently brushes his hair away from his face. This isn’t what he expected from Gerard. He really hates to be the one to judge a book by its cover, but Gerard had honestly seemed like an asshole when he had sat in that corner. All he had done was smile at Frank rather creepily. It wasn’t exactly welcoming.

“I think you need to sleep this off.” Gerard says quietly when Frank rests his head against the toilet seat. The hair that hasn't been brushed away is beginning to stick to his forehead. His eyes are watery, making him wipe at them.

“I just got here.” Frank moans childishly. He knows he should lay off and just go home but he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t even know how he’ll get home. He’s not sure how much money he has on him to call a cab and there’s no way he’s getting behind the wheel. He’s not drunk enough to be that stupid.

Gerard stays silent for a second and Frank looks up at him, ready to face some type of attitude. But instead he’s staring at Frank strangely.

“Frank, you’ve been here for three hours.”

Frank blanches, his brain blanking as he tries to take this information in. It doesn’t feel like it’s been three hours. It could have only been thirty minutes at the most.

Holy shit.” Frank says. He suddenly grins and a giggle tears from his throat. It makes Gerard roll his eyes. “Holy shit, dude.” He repeats. His laughter is growing louder and louder by the second. He feels like he’s out of control, spiraling down into an endless pit of confusion.

Gerard just sighs this time. “I’ll tell Nova you’re coming upstairs with me.” He tells Frank after a short period of silence. Frank barely manages to make out what he says.

“Woah, dude.” Frank starts shaking his head. He regrets it immediately when his head starts to throb. “Woah, woah. I’m not...not really interested.” Frank breathes before slumping slightly against Gerard, a small, hysterical smile pulling at his lips.

“Not that that, you idiot.” Gerard rolls his eyes. Frank’s cute and all but he wasn’t going to sleep with a guy so drunk he could barely keep his head up.

“Then like what?”

Frank’s question gets ignored this time. Gerard stands up, his hold on Frank tight as he struggles to keep the younger boy up. Gerard isn’t weak but by this point Frank is pretty much a rag doll.

Frank wobbles alongside Gerard awkwardly, barely staying on his feet. He’s relieved when he finds his way back to the room he had been in before and happily collapses on a couch that he wishes had been open earlier.

“He’s reached his limit.” Frank can hear Gerard say. It’s very quiet by the time it reaches his ears, though. It’s a mumble by that point. He’s not sure if he even heard t correctly. Frank doesn’t even pick up a single word with the next thing Gerard says.

Frank forces himself to pry his eyes open and gives a loopy smile when he sees freaky goth girl watching him. She doesn’t seem all there, either. She’s still holding up a lot better than Frank, regardless.

Gerard breaks away from the conversation and begins to walk towards Frank again. What happens next is the same thing that they did before. Gerard hauls him off the couch and directs him out of the room. Except this time Frank has to go up the stairs, which proves to be a huge mess when his legs suddenly give out and the only thing keeping him up is Gerard’s hold on him.

“Couldn’t you be a little more responsible than this.” Gerard mutters the rhetorical question in his ear. Frank knows he’s not supposed to answer but he wants to anyway. He can’t, though. The words get stuck in his throat as soon as he tries to speak.

Soon Frank’s passing into a room that he’s never seen before. It’s a bedroom covered in posters that he can’t read and filled with figurines. He thinks he can see a rack of comics out of the corner of his eye but he’s not sure. Almost everything is blurry at this point.

“I can’t believe I’m babysitting some fuckin’ college kid.” Gerard grumbles. Frank doesn’t know if Gerard thinks he can’t hear him or not, but he can’t find it in himself to be mad at that moment.

Gerard suddenly lets go of Frank and Frank wobbles slightly before falling. He prepares himself for the hard impact of him hitting the floor, so he’s pleasantly surprised when he lands on something soft. He realizes that it’s a bed and he sighs drunkenly, letting himself collapse completely. His head is only against the pillow for a second before he completely blacks out.

-O-

The pounding sensation creeps up on him as soon as he wakes up. It’s so bad that he doesn’t open his eyes right away. He has a vague idea of what happened the night before. He went out to a party and then got drunk. Except he only remembers up until Victor handing him what was probably his fourth drink. He doesn’t even remember going home.

It takes him a second to realize that he doesn’t remember it because he isn’t home. The pillow that he’s pressing his face against is too soft to be his, and it smells of a detergent that reminds him of his old pillows back home. It’s flowery and fresh, nothing like the gross smell of boy that stains Frank’s room. The sheets under him are also much too soft and feel much too clean.

This definitely isn’t Frank’s room.

There’s a movement beside him and Frank’s chokes on the groan he was about to let out. He holds his breath, eyes widening when he hears the even breathing of somebody next to him.

Frank forces himself to open his eyes, holding back the wince when the pain in his head intensifies. The room around him isn’t as clean as the bedsheets made him think. In fact, it’s pretty gross. There’s clothes thrown all over the place and the trash can is overflowing. The only other things to take note of in the room are the piles and piles of comics, dumped on a dresser next to a bookcase that just held even more comics. Something inside Frank stirs. This all looks really familiar. He struggles to bring back the possible memory last night but sighs when he fails.

He realizes too late what he’s done. It’s silence for a second before whoever was next to him is moving again. This time the movement is more advanced than before. It’s more than just a shift in position to get more comfortable this time around.

“I know you’re awake.”

Frank panics at the voice. It startles him, and on instinct he shoves himself off the bed, falling to the floor with a loud thump. He knows in reality he shouldn’t be freaking out this much. He probably just slept with this guy.

Except he’s looks the same exact way he did when he arrived at the party. He looks down at his clothes. He’s still dressed, so he doesn’t think he hooked up with whoever this was. He normally doesn’t redress himself right after a hookup.

Somebody clears their throat and Frank’s head snaps up. He’s met with tired, almost amused eyes. They look familiar but Frank can’t exactly place who in his memories they belong to. It’s not until he fully looks at the rest of his face does he realize who it is.

Gerard.

The only other memory Frank has of Gerard is him smoking, so to get so close and personal with him all of a sudden is more than a shock to him.

“You talk in your sleep, y’know.” The corner of Gerard’s mouth curls up. Frank doesn’t respond to this. He’s so confused he can’t even be embarrassed. He just blinks slowly and tries to figure out what he’s doing in Gerard’s room. He’s not naked, nor does he look like his clothes had been taken off at any point. He doesn’t remember anything that could point him to an explanation for being here.

“Why...am I here?” Frank asks quietly. He’s still lying awkwardly on the floor. He starts to push himself up when Gerard’s smile slips into a smirk.

“You got drunk and I helped you. No need to thank me.”

Frank’s grateful for that, of course, but he can’t stand the cockiness in Gerard’s tone. A kind act should be done simply because it’s kind, not to get validation out of it. Frank wants to tell Gerard that, but he can’t because hell, he’s no saint. And regardless of how shitty Gerard’s undertone might be, he still helped Frank out.

“Well, thanks.” Frank steadies himself by gripping the end of Gerard’s bedpost. “I appreciate it.” He tries to make himself sound earnest but truly he does appreciate what Gerard did. He just doesn’t really like Gerard.

“Anytime, babe.” Gerard’s cockiness intensifies when Frank’s cheeks heat at the word babe. He’s not blushing because he’s flattered or anything. He’s not attracted to Gerard. He just feels...flustered being called that by him.

Frank stands there awkwardly for a second, trying to collect his bearings and think past the pounding in his head. He’s not sure how he’s going to get home. Driving with a hangover isn’t that great of an idea. He can barely stand without becoming faint.

“By the way,” Gerard suddenly calls when Frank starts trudging towards the door. Frank bites back the annoyed sigh that wants to claw its way out of him and turns around.

Gerard is smiling again, the smirk that he had so confidently worn before gone. “Who’s freaky goth girl?”

Frank’s entire body flares this time. He doesn’t remember saying anything about that, but to be fair he doesn’t really remember anything.

Gerard cocks a brow at Frank’s embarrassment. “You kept saying it in your sleep.”

More embarrassment washes over Frank as he begins to wonder what else he said. He’s too hungover for this. He knows he’s being rude to Gerard, especially after what he did for him, but he feels too sick to give a proper thank you and a full answer.

“I’m sorry.” Frank breathes before turning back around and passing through the door. The outside is absolutely trashed, and Frank begins to feel a little bad for Gerard. This is obviously his house and he’s no doubt going to have to spend hours cleaning it all up.

Frank’s not entirely sure how he makes it down the stairs without tumbling down there. He’s sure his legs are going to give out a few times, but somehow he makes it to the bottom in one piece. He shoves his hand in his pocket, sighing thankfully when he feels his phone in it.

Somehow he manages to see the screen clearly enough to open up his roommate's contact. The phone rings in his ear as he stumbles out of the house, the repetitive sound giving him even more of a headache than before. The ringing stops suddenly and his roommate’s familiar voice breaks through the phone. Frank is barely standing by the time he finishes the conversation.

He clumsily hangs up and drops it back in his pocket. He feels bad that Ray has to walk so he could drive Frank’s car back, but he knew it was better than driving it himself when he wasn’t fully conscious.

Frank sits down on the front porch with a loud sigh. The concrete is hard and cold under him and frankly, quite uncomfortable but he doesn’t want to get in his car just yet. He needs the fresh air.

He’s not sure how long he’s sitting there until Ray comes jogging up to the house. He’s a little annoyed and Frank can tell, so he gives him a small, apologetic smile. He’s sure he looks deranged, although. He’s tired and hungover, at this point he’s unable to even try to look like he didn’t get majorly fucked up.

“Dumbass.” Ray rolls his eyes when Frank shoves himself off the steps, wobbling awkwardly as he tries to navigate himself down the driveway.

Frank scowls at him but throws him the keys anyway. The suns hurting his eyes and the only thing he really cares about at that moment is getting into shade and going home.

Frank slumps against the car seat, his head rolling to the side to look out the window before he sighs tiredly and reaches down to buckle himself in. He feels like he’s going to vomit but he doesn’t tell Ray. He already feels bad enough.

When the car rumbles to life, Frank allows himself to close his eyes. He’s had enough for this morning. No, he’s had enough for the entire week.

Frank’s eyes open when the air turns on in the car, the loud sound jarring him from his half slumber. The scowl returns when he suddenly gets a blast of cold air in his face. He blindly reaches out and turns it away. He’d rather not deal with another nuisance today.

He’s about to close his eyes again when something catch his attention. Embarrassment bubbles up inside him when he sees Gerard watching him from the door, grinning crookedly. It just puts Frank in an even worse mood.

Frank huffs and looks away, ignoring the strange look Ray gives him.

-o-

Frank knows he’s stupid to go out drinking so soon after, especially after how wasted he got last time. He had sworn to himself that he would never drink again that day after he had thrown up in the toilet for the third time, but it wasn’t long till he broke his promise. Frank still wasn’t a fan of alcohol, but he was more open to some when freaky goth girl came around again and invited him to yet another party. Frank soon realizes it’s not her that gets invited to them, but people that she knows. She just went around and recruited people for it. Frank doesn’t mind, though. A party is a party.

Frank’s on his second cigarette by now. The taste of nicotine is gross and makes his throat burn, but he doesn’t really notice. He’s too out of breath from laughing. Frank hadn’t even been in art class for five minutes when freaky goth girl grabbed him and began towing him out of the school. He doesn’t really mind that, either. He hates school. The most he ever does in art is draw a stick figure and call it a masterpiece.

He remembers most of the kids around him. He remembers Victor, whose awfully close to Frank now that he thinks about it. He’s basically pressed against Frank. It doesn’t bother him, if he’s being honest. Beside them sits Andrya, whose been drawing something in the dirt for the past ten minutes. Frank’s not really sure what she’s doing but he doesn’t question it. She’s nice either way, even if she is a little odd. Frank likes odd, though. He appreciates it. He’s odd himself.

“Hey, jackass.” The toe of Bonnie’s boot collides with his knee when she kicks at him. “You’re dropping it.” She nods towards the hand holding the cigarette. Frank didn’t realize it before, but it was slipping out of his fingers more and more by the second. He curses quietly, his cheeks heating as he tightens his hold on it. He rolls his eyes playfully when Andrya laughs at him, bringing the cigarette up to his mouth again.

“Where’d you go last time?” Bonnie asks him, wrapping her arms around her knees and hugging them close to her body. “At the party, I mean.” She explains when Frank gives her a confused look.

“Oh.” Frank says in a hushed tone. He doesn’t really want to explain that he got so drunk that some guy had to help him because he was about to blackout. “Um,” he drums his fingers against his thigh, tugging his bottom lip between his teeth when Bonnie cocks a perfectly shaped brow at him. There’s not much he can say without Bonnie pushing it farther, so he just decides on the truth. He’d eventually overcome to embarrassment. “I drank too much, I guess. Somebody ended up taking me to their room and I just slept there.”

Frank knows it sounds weird and honestly pretty fake, but it’s the truth. Sure, it’s not fully explained and he’s not telling her about how he woke up in Gerard’s bed, but it’s fine. He just hopes she won’t question it.

Victor shifts slightly from beside him. “Who?” He questions curiously. Frank knows he means no harm, but he gets annoyed anyway. He tries his best to not let it show. Victor’s a nice guy and Frank’s doesn’t want to ruin anything because he’s embarrassed.

Before Frank can make up some ominous answer, Andrya cuts in with, “Hey, has anybody seen Gerard?” Her brows tug together in confusion. Frank almost forgot that Gerard was a part of this group.

“He never responded to me.” Freaky goth girl replies. She almost looks troubled and Frank wants to ask what’s wrong. But before he could say anything the expression is gone, and it’s replaced with a smile.

“He seemed bothered by something this morning.” Andrya responds. Frank shifts in his spot slightly. He doesn’t know much about Gerard, but he seems pretty carefree. Of course, Frank could be wrong. The only memories he has of him were the ones from before he was drunk and when he woke up in his room.

“The dude’s a grouch so who knows.” Bonnie mutters across from him.

Frank slouches when freaky goth girl looks at him, her eyes narrowed slightly. She doesn’t seem mad. She more so looks like she thinking, and Frank just happens to be the topic of it. She doesn’t say anything like Frank thought she would. She only looks at him for a few more seconds before looking away.

“So,” freaky goth girl suddenly claps her hands. It startles Frank. “That party I told you about. It’s at Erin’s house. She’s actually in our class.” She glances at Frank for a second. Frank struggles to remember an Erin, sighing when he doesn’t come up with anything. His memory is shit. Freaky goth girl rolls her eyes but continues talking. “Anyway, we can all group together so there’s a designated driver, unless you guys want to drive there on your own.”

“Just share because I had to walk back before, and it was a pain in the ass.” Bonnie agrees. Frank has to stifle a laugh at the bitterness in her tone. He doesn’t do a very good job, though, and it earns him a kick in the shin.

Everyone else murmurs in agreement, making freaky goth girl clap her hands again. “Cool, great. Who’s driving?”

“Not Frank.” Victor snorts. He makes a sound of protest when Frank jabs him in the side with his elbow. “Hey, no offense, bud. You just don’t really handle a lot of alcohol well and I don’t want you driving.”

Frank mimics him childishly, snickering when it earns him a slap on the shoulder. He’s fighting hard to hide the embarrassment and he thinks he’s doing a pretty good job.

“I’ll drive.” Andrya inputs. “I didn’t handle that alcohol too well either last time.” Andrya opens her mouth and pretends to gag, rousing a laugh from Frank. Andrya turns and beams at him. She’s pretty, Frank thinks.

“That’s because you took like...seven shots in a row.” Freaky goth girl chimes in. She smirks when Andrya kicks in her direction.

Frank feel a sense of joy as he looks around him. He doesn’t really think of these people as friends, but he thinks they could be. He doesn’t really feel as alone when he’s around them.

First the first time in seemingly forever, Frank doesn’t feel like a nobody.

-o-

Frank’s relieved when he enters the party and immediately sees alcohol that he actually likes. There’s a table full of bottles and it excites Frank. Maybe he won’t have to get drunk off of some gross shit this time.

“I don’t know my way around here.” Freaky goth girl calls over the loud music. Frank doesn’t know what’s playing. He just knows that it’s loud and fucking intense. It’s not pop like that other party was, he’s sure of that.

She grabs Frank’s hand and holds it tightly, grinning at him before yanking him through the crowd. His possible friends are following behind him.

This house is cleaner than the other one. It hasn’t been trashed yet, and Frank knows it’s only because it’s early into the party. By morning it’s going to be just as trashed as Gerard’s was.

Frank hardly gets time to fill up his cup before freaky goth girl is pulling him through the hordes of people again. They head up the stairs, the rest of his group still following. Freaky goth girl suddenly lets him go and he falls against the wall, his drink sloshing around in the red cup. They’re in the hallway. It’s not completely empty, but it’s not as packed as downstairs.

“Why do you always go somewhere with less people?” Frank asks curiously. He’s expecting freaky goth girl to get angry at him for question her, so he’s surprised when she smiles brightly.

“Frank, do I look like I enjoy people's’ company?” She motions down to her clothes. She’s not the type of modern goth Frank would see on the internet now. With her it’s all long skirts and lace, hair pinned up in some dorky yet dark style. Now that Frank has started to pay more attention to her, he realizes that she’s almost constantly wearing boots, too.

When he looks back up at her, she’s no longer grinning. She’s looking behind Frank with a raised brow. Before Frank can turn around and check what she’s looking at, somebody brushes past him. Frank’s confusion melts when the person moved into the dim lighting.

It’s Gerard, again.

Gerard turns around slightly, eyes squinting as he struggled to see Frank. Eventually, recognition dawns on his face and he flashes a crooked smile.

Frank doesn’t like it.

He doesn’t trust it, either. Gerard had been nice enough to watch him last time and he appreciated that a lot, but he was cocky about being nice enough to do the deed and it kind of killed Frank’s respect for him.

Frank sighs and tips his cup back, frowning when he was met with nothing. He pulled the cup away and looked down at it, his frown intensifying when he sees that it’s empty. He hadn’t realized he had drank all of it. He bites the inside of his cheek before letting out yet another sigh. he doesn’t really want to have to go through the crowd, but he knows he’ll have to. So, he sucks it up and pushes himself off the floor. He doesn’t look behind him when he starts to walk away. He doesn’t want to see Gerard.

He doesn’t hate the guy or anything. He doesn’t like him, but he doesn’t totally despise him. Something about Gerard just rubs Frank the wrong way. Frank doesn’t really care what Gerard thinks of him. He’s not angry because Gerard was clearly judging him the first time he saw him. No, he couldn’t give less of a shit. Gerard just annoys him.

Frank’s hold on the railing is tight as he goes down the stairs. He can see clearly, so it’s not like he’s having any trouble with walking down them. It’s just the dread he’s feeling knowing that he’s about to have to break through some gross college kids.

He feels like he’s suffocating when he bursts into the other room, his attention immediately settling on the table. A lot of the alcohol is missing, but he sees some stuff that he knows he can get drunk off of without being disgusted by it. His hands shake slightly as he pours the liquid, the loud beats of the music spiking his nerves. He’s not sure why he’s so freaked out. This wasn’t an issue last time. But this time he feels like he’s choking, and he knows he needs to get the fuck out of here.

Except he can’t. When he tries to navigate his way through the rambunctious students, he’s stopped and pulled into it. A girl that he’s never even seen in his life is holding onto his arm. She’s yelling something at him, but he can’t hear it over all the noise. He’s able to faintly see a smile, telling him that whatever this was that it was harmless. But it doesn’t feel harmless when he’s dragged even farther into the crowd. His drink falls from his hand and splatters all over the floor. Nobody seems to care. Nobody even seems to notice. They’re either too busy grinding against each other or they’re drunk. Frank grimaces when he feels his now wet pant leg start clinging to his skin.

Frank tries to push his way out, but he doesn’t manage to even move a little bit. This crowd is stubborn and is caging him in. He’s got people rubbing against him, people that he probably doesn’t even know. In fact, he doesn’t seem to know anybody in this.

Frank jerks when somebody comes up behind him, pulling him against their body. Frank tries to break away. He’s ready to turn around and punch whoever’s grabbing him because frankly, he’s not a fan of it. But he freezes when the person leans in and whispers in his hand.

“You don’t look like you’re having fun.” Gerard murmurs. Frank’s surprised he can even hear him.

I’m not. Frank wants to reply, but he knows it won’t reach Gerard’s ears. It takes him a second to realize that he’s not trying to shove Gerard off of it. In all honesty, he doesn’t really mind Gerard holding him. Maybe it’s because it’s someone familiar. That’s what Frank needs at that moment. He needed familiarity.

“Y’know, Nova told me to leave you alone..” Frank can hear the smile in his voice. He’s laughing. “Told me not to fuck with you. Never really said why. Just told me you’re a nice guy, blah, blah blah. Don’t bother you, all that bullshit.”

Frank’s mind is racing as he tries to comprehend everything. Freaky goth girl doesn’t want Gerard near him, which means there’s something bad about Gerard. Frank’s instincts were right.

You’re overreacting. A voice in Frank’s head tells him. Frank scowls and pushes it to the back of his mind. Something is off about Gerard and he doesn’t like it.

“But I’ve never been too good at listening to people.” Gerard finishes with a laugh. It makes Frank’s scowl deepen. He knows that Gerard hasn’t really been mean to him, but he still feels some type of unjustifiable rage bubble inside him. Maybe it’s because Gerard acts all cocky and mysterious and then just comes up behind him and tells him some bullshit story that Frank really couldn’t care less about.

Frank forces himself out from Gerard’s hold. He’s surprised when Gerard doesn’t try to hold him back. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He doesn’t know where this courage is coming from, but whatever he’s doing he know he can’t back out of it.

“You should have listened to her.” Frank shouts over the music. At first he doesn’t think Gerard heard him, but when the older man’s facial expression falters slightly he knows that he did. He doesn’t look hurt or anything. Frank’s jab at him hadn’t upset him. He just looks confused.

Frank turns and pushes himself through the rowdy crowd, leaving Gerard behind him. If he had turned back, he would have seen that Gerard was staring at him.

Frank forces himself to swallow down the sudden lump in his throat and navigates his way to the stairs, his drink long forgotten.

-0-

Frank can taste the residue of alcohol as he moves his mouth against Victor’s. Both of them are drunk, Frank’s mind going completely blank every time he tries to form a coherent thought. All he can really think about is how Victor is tightly holding onto his jaw and how desperate his lips are against Frank’s.

He’s not sure how many drinks he had after the Gerard incident. He just knows that freaky goth girl came up to him with another bottle and he gladly took it.

One of Victor’s hands slides down to cup Frank’s neck and he pushes himself against Frank more eagerly. It makes Frank inhales sharply, his heart beating erratically in his chest. He’s excited, and he’s sure to let Victor know that by shoving himself against the boy just like he had pressed himself against Frank.

They’re not alone and Frank knows that. There’s other people in the room, but he doesn’t really think any of them were paying attention. Even if they are, Frank doesn’t care. The most they can do is insult him or tease him about it.

“There’s a bathroom down the hall.” Victor murmurs into Frank’s ear. The tone of his voice sends a shiver down Frank’s spine. It’s rough and needy and Frank fucking loves it. “It should be free.”

Frank grins at Victor. He’s a good looking guy and Frank’s not opposed to doing anything with him. Victor smiles back and Frank feels something stir deep in his stomach.

Victor pushes himself off the ground, pulling Frank up with him. Frank doesn’t fight back when Victor begins pulling him down the hallway. He’s too excited to really care that he’s basically being thrown around. He just lets Victor pull him into the bathroom and reattach their lips.

The door isn’t closed even a minute before Frank’s sinking down on his knees and fiddling with the buttons of Victor’s jeans.

-0-

Frank once again wakes up in a bed that isn’t his. There’s nothing specific that tells him this like there was when he woke up with Gerard. The bed just feels stiffer than his own mattress, and it makes his slowly pry his eyes open.

Victor is lying next to him. He’s still sleeping and doesn’t look like he’s going to wake up any time soon. He can’t think of who’s room he’s in. It’s not like him to crash in a random person’s house.

He can remember most of last night. He mostly remembers two things: Gerard and what he did with Victor. His cheeks heat at the memories. He wasn’t a virgin but giving a blowjob in a random person’s bathroom was a new thing for him.

The act had been sloppy and desperate. Frank didn’t really give blowjobs often, but when he did he was pretty fucking good at it. He had no problem taking Victor. Victor had loved it, and he knew that by the sounds and the bitter taste of come that had stayed on his tongue.

He had gotten Frank off with a few frantic, quick jerks. It was only a couple minutes until Frank was gasping into his mouth and coming unraveled in Victor’s hand.

Frank pushes the memories to the back of his mind looks around the room curiously. It reminds him of his own in a way. It’s a mess, clothes strewn all over the floor. There’s posters pinned to the walls, adding flair to the boring dorm room. Frank can vaguely see the words Black Flag through his sleepy haze.

Frank hears a phone ding from beside him, and it takes him a second to realize that it’s his phone going off. He reaches out for it and silence it to not disturb Victor, brows tugging together at the site of a text from a number he’s never seen before.

Have fun with him.

It’s strangely threatening, and Frank doesn’t really want to text back, but he finds himself typing a reply anyway. He asks simply ‘who are you?’

The typing bubble pops up and it’s not long before Frank gets a response.

It’s Nova.

Frank snorts quietly. He supposes he wasn’t exactly private with what he was doing so he should expect texts like this.

Thanks.

Frank looks down at first phone for a few more seconds, the corner of his mouth curling up. He has to bite back the laugh he wants to let out, so he doesn’t disturb Victor.

Frank props himself up and swings his legs over the side of the bed. The mattress dips slightly when he presses down to push himself off, and Victor stirs.

Frank walks slowly through the room, his body not quite waking up yet. Something catches his eye and he smiles when he looks to the side and sees a picture of all his friends. It’s propped up next to a pile of CDs. Frank’s smile falters when he sees a familiar face.

Of course, Gerard would be in it. What else did he expect? Gerard was part of that group. Part of what hopefully is now Frank’s group. He likes everybody and they likes him. All except for Gerard.

Frank forces his shoes on roughly. He had woken up in his clothing, so he doesn’t think they did anything here. It must have all been in the bathroom.

He feels kind of bad ditching Victor, but he doesn’t want to wake him. Plus, the morning after was usually pretty awkward. So, he doesn’t say anything and look back when he opens the door and leaves.

-o-

“If you guys keep getting me drunk I’m going to die of alcohol poisoning.” Frank mutters when freaky goth girl passes him a shot. They’re not at a party this time. They’re in her room, scattered around the room. A movie that he can’t distinguish is playing in the background. He hasn’t been paying attention to it. His attention has been on Gerard.

Gerard’s pressing himself against the wall, looking down and swishing a bottle around. He’s more pissed off than usual. His cockiness is long gone.

The only interaction they had had was when Frank made a joke and Gerard glared at him. Literally fucking glared at him. It had made Frank wince because of how angry he looked.

“Truth or dare, truth or dare, truth or dare.” Andrya begins to chant. She’s already tipsy and it’s making Frank laugh.

“Andrya, we’re in our twenties. Adults don’t do that stuff” Freaky goth girl starts shaking her head. Andrya scowls and leans forward, her dark, red hair swinging as it falls in front of her face.

“Of course, they do.”

“Maybe in some shitty movie, yeah.” Frank finds himself replying before he can stop himself. His comment rouses a snicker from Victor. Frank’s cheeks flood red when he realizes the proximity between them. Victor’s closer than he ever has been before.

You sucked him off, dumbass. This isn’t the closest you’ve been. Frank’s thoughts invade his mind and he blushes even harder.

Frank glances towards Gerard direction again simply out of habit. He regrets it when he sees Gerard glaring at him again. Or at least he thinks he’s glaring at him until he looks more into it. He’s glowering at Victor.

Frank turns to look at Victor, confusion rising inside of him when he sees Victor responding to the stare with a cocked brow.

“Do it anyway.” Andrya continues the conversation. She starts to reach for another shot but is stopped when freaky goth girl sighs and pulls her hand away.

“No.” Freaky goth girl sighs again when Andrya continues to reach for the shots.

“No to alcohol or no to truth or dare?” Andrya sticks her tongue out of her mouth slightly when she struggles against freaky goth girl. Frank laughs under his breath at it.

“Both.”

“Killjoy.” Victor mumbles, earning a kick from Bonnie. “What? I’m right.”

“Stop being rude.” Bonnie adds input to the conversion for the first time since they got there.

Vic mimics her under his breath but other than that stays quiet.

“Truth or dare?” Andrya asks anyway, peering at Frank with a smile. Freaky goth girl groans but she ignores her.

“Why do I have to go first?” Frank complains. He’s not actually upset. This is more so funny than anything considering Andrya was getting drunker by the minute and freaky goth girl literally has to pry the drinks from her hands.

“Cause I said so.”

“That’s not how life works.”

“Who cares.” Andrya dismisses his argument with a wave of her hand. “Now, truth or dare?”

“This isn’t fair.”

“Truth or dare, Frank. Pick one before I pick it for you and embarrass you.”

“Thanks.” Frank mutters. He considers it for a second before sighing. “Truth, I guess.”

Andrya grins and him and he feels like he made a big mistake. Her expression changes and she looks like she’s considering.

“Are you a virgin?”

Frank can’t help but cackle at this. What a generic question. He was sure that that had been asked in every shitty teenage girl movie he had been forced to watch.

“Andrya, oh my god.” Bonnie puts her face in her hands and groans. Frank just keeps laughing.

“If you’re going to play, be a little more creative than that.” Freaky goth girl mutters, but Frank can tell she’s smiling.

Are you?”

“No.” Frank rolls his eyes. He almost a little offended that anybody could actually even consider that he was a virgin. Sure, Frank wasn’t the greatest looking guy alive, but he wasn’t that ugly.

“When did you lose it?” Andrya pushes. Frank sighs before replying.

“That’s more than one question, Andrya.”

“And?”

“And it’s the next person’s turn.” Frank cheers under his breath when Bonnie passes a bag of chips to him from their stash. The bag makes a loud noise when he tears it open.

“Victor?” Andrya moves on. She doesn’t sound very happy about it.

“Truth.”

Andrya seems to consider it for a moment before smiling excitedly at Victor. Her smile is almost crooked, the alcohol making her loopy.

“Are you a virgin?”

“You literally just asked me that.” Frank interjects. He giggles when Andrya scowls at him. “Can’t you come up with something else?”

“No.”

Victor sighs from beside him and shifts slightly in his spot. “No, I’m not. Happy?”

“Still can’t believe you two slept together.” Freaky goth girl reaches across and snatches Frank’s bag of chips.

“Hey!” Frank protests, but freaky goth girl has already begun eating them. He huffs childishly. He doesn’t realize what freaky goth girl had said until he sees everyone staring at him and Victor, eyes darting between the two. “What?”

“You guys fucked?” Bonnie says a little too loudly. Frank’s entire body heats. He hadn’t noticed freaky goth girl’s comment at first, but now that he had he wants to curl up and die.

“Thanks, Nova.” He scowls in freaky goth girl’s direction. She breathes out a swear word between looking between him and Victor.

“I didn’t know that was something you didn’t want shared. I mean, like, I get it but most of us are pretty open about that.”

“It’s fine.” Frank sighs. He feels bad when guilt passes over freaky goth girl's face. He gives her an apologetic smile and mouths, “It’s okay.”

“Before you continue, we didn’t even fuck.” Victor says when Bonnie opens her mouth to speak. “It was a quick blowjob in the bathroom and some making out.”

Frank’s entire body heats. This is getting thrown out in front of everyone. Of course, he’s not embarrassed by Victor or anything. He’s a good looking dude and if he’s being honest, he’d actually sleep with him if given the chance.

“You guys did all that in the bathroom?” Andrya seems impressed by it and it makes Frank’s skin burn harder.

“Partially.” Victor continued. Frank doesn’t know how he’s so calm about this. He’s also beginning to feel confused at the partially. He doesn’t remember doing anything else.

“The only things that happened back at my dorm was making out and a hand job.” He shrugs. This catches Frank’s attention even more. He doesn’t remember that.

“I don’t remember doing that.” Frank pulls his brows together. It’s a struggle but eventually he’s able to surface a memory of it happening. The memory is faint because he was drunk when he did it, but it was still there. “Oh, shit. I did.”

Victor hums in response. He’s so nonchalant about the situation while Frank is about to die from embarrassment.

“Y’know,” Gerard suddenly speaks. It startles Frank slightly. He had forgotten Gerard was even there. “I always thought you were a prude, but I guess not.”

Anger sparks inside of Frank at this. Gerard's mocking him and he can tell by his tone. It’s not genuine surprise. He narrows his eyes at the other man.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Freaky goth girl replies before Frank can. Frank’s surprised to find her glaring at Gerard. It even takes Gerard back a little, his eyes widening slightly at the action.

“Nothing’s wrong with me.” Gerard looks at her strangely and pulls his knees to his chest. He looks like he’s closing in on himself and Frank almost feels a little bad for him.

Almost.

“Then why are you acting like such a fucking dick?!” Freaky goth girl snaps at him. Her voice is rising in volume more and more every second and Frank’s afraid an actual fight is going to break out.

“I said one thing, Nova. Calm the fuck down.”

“No, it’s not just one thing, Gerard. It’s a lot of things. It’s you not showing up to our hangouts because you for some fucking reason have a problem with Frank. It’s you complaining whenever I tell you he’s coming along. It’s you acting like a fucking child constantly. I told you not to bother him and you did. I get you not listening to me, but could you at least manage not to be an asshole about it?”

Frank feels a lump form in his throat at her words.

It’s you complaining whenever I tell you he’s coming along.

Frank knew he didn’t belong here. He didn’t belong anywhere. He was fucking stupid to believe that he belonged with them.

Frank wasn’t an emotional guy. He didn’t cry over things or get upset just because something didn’t go his way. He wasn’t a crybaby. But he couldn’t help but feel sad at this moment.

He didn’t care what Gerard meant. In the end it didn’t come down to that. It came down to him not belonging in a group. How could he belong when one of the members hated him and wouldn’t even hang out with his friends because of him?

“Oh, fuck you, Gerard.” Frank hates the way his voice cracks. He’s going to cry. He doesn’t feel any tears coming but he sure as hell was upset. “If you hate me so fucking much why don’t you just tell me instead of saying shit behind my back?”

Gerard stares at him with parted lips. He seems shocked. Everyone does. They all wordlessly watch him as he pushes himself off the floor and grabs his stuff. He wasn’t going to overstay his stay any more than he already had.

“Frank.”

It’s Victor that calls out his name as he reaches the door. He wants to look at him, but he doesn’t because he knows he’ll just get some pity look. They probably all hate him and just didn’t know how to tell him. Victor’s probably the only one who can actually stand his pathetic ass.

Turn back around, dumbass. You’re being dramatic.

Frank doesn’t listen to the voice in his head and instead turns the knob and pulls the door open. He ignores the shuffling behind him and people calling his name as he closes the door.

Once again, Frank feels like a nobody.

Chapter Text

Frank is tired. It’s not just a physical exhaustion that takes over him. He’s mentally tired, too. He’s never realized how lonely he had been until he had found what he thought were his friends. But now those friends are gone.

Frank knows he’s probably overreacting a little. Before he’s always acted like he didn’t care that he was alone but now that he realizes that he did, it hurts to see something fall apart. Sure, the rest of the group was friendly towards him, but what did he know. Gerard talked about him so what’s to say the others didn’t.

And of course, he had to have been a whore and fucked around with Victor. Victor probably hates him too.

Dumbass.

“Yeah, I know.” Frank mutters and kicks at the ground. He had walked to the dorm because he thought he’d be drinking, and he was beginning to regret it.

Frank realizes how much of a loser he’s being at that moment. He’s running away from his problems, mumbling about them to himself.

Stupid.

Frank winces at the name. He doesn’t know why he’s beating himself up over this. He’s definitely not sure why it hurts so bad. He’s literally insulting himself. Why can’t he just tell himself to shut up and end it?

Frank hates this sad, self-loathing state he’s fallen into. He knows every insecurity he has, so he’s his worst critic. He can easily jab at his biggest fears without even realizing it.

That’s why it hurts.

He does know why it hurts. He just doesn’t want to accept it. It hurts because deep down he knows he doesn’t fucking belong, and he can’t deny that. He knows it and so does everybody else. The insecurity of never being enough is forcing its way out and clouding his mind, making him unable to think about anything other than how much of a disappointment he is.

He can’t hide from himself, no matter how much he wishes that he can.

The most he can do is be a coward and run from other people. This was why nobody ever noticed him. He didn’t let himself be noticed.

Frank doesn’t realize it until he’s arrived it, but he’s wandered off to a nearby park. It wasn’t the one he had been at with the others before. It was a random, worn down one that had once been colorful and clean. He’s only been there a select amount of times, and it was mostly to smoke in peace. Except he doesn’t have cigarettes on him right now and he’s sad.

The bench creaks under Frank when he sits, the old material begging for him to get off. He doesn’t move, though. Part of him hopes it gives out and the wood just fucking stabs him. He’d have another problem to focus on, then.

Dramatic much? Frank rolls his eyes at his thoughts. He’s acting like such a crybaby. It’s his fault for being dumb enough to believe that people would actually like him, so why is he moping around and acting like it was their fault.

No, it wasn’t their fault. It wasn’t his either. It was Gerard’s.

Gerard was the one that made him run away.

“Stupid fucking Gerard with its his stupid fucking attitude and his stupid fucking ego.” Frank curses under his breath and kicks at the ground.

Frank keeps his eyes on the ground when he hears crunching, the sound of leaves being crushed under somebody’s shoes. He only looks up when a pair of black boots come into vision and somebody sits beside him.

“He’s gone if you want to come back.” Victor’s voice breaks through the silence. It makes Frank groan and bury his face in his hands. He just wants to be alone.

“Bonnie yelled at him.” Victor continues, even after Frank stays silent. “Everyone did, actually.” Victor scratches the back of his neck sheepishly.

“Don’t bother.” Frank says sharply. He feels bad when Victor’s face twists. It’s not his fault Gerard’s an ass and Frank is unlovable. “I’m sorry. It’s not your fault.” Frank adds.

“It’s fine.” Victor murmurs. Frank’s not sure how he’s so calm after Frank snapped at him, especially after how dramatic he had been earlier. “I don’t blame you for being mad. Gerard’s always been a bit of a dick.”

When Frank goes quiet again, Victor sighs. “Look, we don’t hate you. I can’t speak for Gerard but when did his opinion really matter.” The question is rhetorical, but Frank wants to reply anyway. But before he can Victor starts speaking again. “The fact is that the rest of us don’t hate you. If we did we wouldn’t have kicked Gerard out.”

This makes Frank glance back up again, his eyes widened. “You actually kicked him out? I thought you meant he left by free will.”

A wry smile curls on Victor’s face. “Well, he kind of did but only because we basically told him that he wasn’t welcome.”

Frank knows he should feel some type of happiness that Gerard got some type of karma, but he just feels bad. An asshole or not, Gerard was still part of that group and Frank was getting him kicked out.

“You didn’t have to do that.” Frank mumbles. “He belongs there, not me.”

When Victor laughs Frank jumps. The sound is unexpected. “Frank, Gerard doesn’t even do anything. Half of the time I forget he’s there. You’re more active in our friend group than he’s ever been.”

“But I saw him in a photo of you guys when I left your room.” Frank shook his head. Victor was just trying to spare his feelings and he knew it. “He’s obviously important in some way.”

Victor rolls his eyes. “That doesn’t mean anything. He’s in it because he was there. Don’t get me wrong, he can have his moments, but he’s mostly just an asshole and ignores us. He’s just a follower.” He shrugs. “And for Nova to actually come and get you is saying something because we all came to her. She sought you out, so believe me when I say we want you there. She’s quite picky.”

“Yeah, and what about Bonnie and Andrya? You?” Frank shuts Victor down. He appreciates Victor being kind to him, but he knows the truth. He doesn’t belong.

“They love you, and so do I.” Victor says it like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. Frank flushes and ducks his head. “If I didn’t like you do you really think I would have fucked around with you?”

Frank flushes even darker. Maybe he really was overreacting, and it had to have Victor bringing up their sexual history to make him truly realize it.

“Oh.” Frank whispers and looks down at his hands. He feels embarrassed now.

“Come back.” Victor reaches for his hand, locking them together. “They’re worried about you.”

Frank stares at their hands before slowly shaking his head. “Maybe another day.” He tells Victor, gently pulling his hand from his grasp and pushing himself up. “Thanks for looking for me, though. Sorry I’m dipping out on you.”

Frank starts to walk away from the bench, his shoes digging into the dirt. He’s tired, incredibly so. He just wants to go home and hide under the covers like a child in the dark. Maybe he’ll be lucky, and Ray won’t be home.

“Oh, come on, Frank.” Victor protests from behind him. Frank can hear his footsteps, so he’s not surprised when he grabs his arm.

“Look, Victor.” Frank yanks his arm out of Victor’s grasp possibly a little too harshly, twisting to look at his friend. “I don’t really want to hang out anymore. Just tell them that I’m sorry and I might come back some time.”

Victor narrows his eyes, calling Frank out on his bullshit. “I don’t know how much of an idiot you think I am but I’m not stupid enough to believe that. You can’t just avoid us because Gerard’s an ass.”

“I’m not.” Frank utters and turns on his heel again. He wants to say that yes, he can because he’s been ignored all his life so why can’t he do it back? It’s not fair, but neither is life so he shouldn’t be surprised. Nothing has ever been fair to him.

“It seems like you are.”

“So, what.” Frank mutters rhetorically. He doesn’t understand why it’s such a big deal. He can leave and they can go back to how they were before, Gerard included. He’s apparently repulsive according to him so Frank feels that his disappearance would actually be a relief.

“You’re really going to let Gerard drive you away? Gerard of all people.” Victor catches up to him, walking side by side as Frank tries to make his escape. Frank sighs.

“He’s not driving me away.” He denies, though he knows it’s true. He is letting Gerard drive him away.

“I don’t believe that.”

“You don’t have to.” Frank is ready for this conversation to be done and over with. He’s not relieved anymore. He just wants Victor to fuck off and leave him alone, even if his intentions are good.

“At least come back with me.” Victor quickly steers their conversation into another direction. It makes Frank pause, brows tugging together in confusion.

“What?” He says quietly, because he knows going back with Victor meant going back to them.

“I mean come back to my room.” Victor clarifies. He sighs when Frank looks at him strangely. “I don’t want you to be alone and I know you don’t want to go back to them. So, if you came back to my room it would just be us.”

Frank blinks and awkwardly rubs at his arm, looking down. The idea doesn’t seem too bad, but what are they going to do? He had fun before because he was drunk. If he’s sober he’s probably going to be the lamest motherfucker alive.

“I’ll bore you.” Frank objects with a shake of his head. Victor only rolls his eyes. Frank half scoffs at the action. “Victor, I was fun before because I was drunk. Sober I’m a loser.”

“Christ, stop doing that!” Victor stops his foot like a child and throws his hands in the air. “You’re not a loser and, contrary to what you might believe, you are fun when you’re not drunk.”

“Contrary to what you might believe, I am.” Frank knows he’s being rude, but his lack of confidence overrides the need to take the compliment.

“We can still get drunk, you idiot.”

Confusion washes over Frank. “I thought you gave all your alcohol to them?” Frank swears with the amount of drinks they had in front of them all of them had to contribute.

Victor laughs at this. It’s full blown laughter that makes him lose his breath and Frank finds himself becoming embarrassed. “Frank, there is no way I would give all my alcohol up.” He almost sounds disbelievingly, like it was an atrocity for Frank to think that. Frank flushes a dark red.

“So, you get drunk alone?” Frank tries his shot at humor but he’s pretty sure he failed when Victor tilts his head and looks at him with almost confused eyes.

“Do you not?”

“Uh,” Frank says because awkward. Maybe they drank more than he thought. “I don’t really drink outside of...occasions.” Frank scratches the back of his neck awkwardly.

“Oh.” Victor’s face is blank for a second before a humored expression takes over it. “Seems like I have a drinking buddy for today, then.”

Frank blinks once at Victor before sighing. He’s not going to give up and Frank knows that.

“Fine.” Frank finally gives in. Victor looks surprised for a second before he grins, quickly grabbing Frank’s hand and pulling him along. Frank stumbles slightly, the toe of his already dirty sneakers digging into the ground as he trips over himself.

Victor’s hand is warm when it covers Frank’s, his fingers intertwining with the younger boy’s. It’s a comforting feeling and Frank begins to feel even stupider than before. Who cares if Gerard didn’t like him. Victor did and apparently so did the others.

Frank doesn’t know how long they walk. He just knows that Victor is excited, the older man occasionally having too much pep in his step for what just happened. Victor’s a happy guy, though, and Frank needs to get used to it.

When they reach the stairs to Victor’s dorm, Frank expects Victor to let him go. Victor just continues to pull him along, hand in hand with Frank. Frank realizes what they must look like right now. They look like boyfriends, though Frank probably seems a little dead inside. Frank’s never had a boyfriend. Well, not a legitimate one. Not one that lasted.

“Ignore the mess.” Victor murmurs when the door swings open. There is no mess, Frank realizes, and he almost wants to laugh. Victor has obviously picked up since last time.

“There is no mess.” Frank replies in a confused tone. Victor laughs in return. Frank’s beginning to love the sound.

“Maybe not to you.” Victor flashes a coy smile at Frank before closing the door behind him and heading for the fridge. “But if you let me get you drunk enough I’m sure we can create one.”

-

Frank supposes he should feel like a whore. He barely knows Victor and here he is, moving his hips against the other’s while basically not knowing a single thing about him. He’s drunk, though, and he doesn’t really care. Especially not when he feels his orgasm building, Victor’s fingers tighten in the hair at the back of his head, tugging on the strands desperately. He’s kissing him, and Frank notes in his drunken haze that he’s quite a good kisser.

Frank doesn’t think as he kisses back. He doesn’t let himself think about what’s going to happen over this. He lets his mind go blank other than the thought of his upcoming orgasm, grinding his hips against Victor more intensely.

He doesn’t think either when he’s coming, gripping Victor’s shoulders tightly. He doesn’t think when Victor is harshly kissing him again. Nor does he think when he’s being shoved off the older man’s lap and Victor’s suddenly rummaging through his drawer, bringing out a condom and lube. He doesn’t think when Victor’s pressing at his entrance and he’s sliding down, gasping.

He doesn’t let himself think. Not at all.

-

Frank doesn’t cuddle. He most definitely doesn’t cuddle after fucking somebody. At least he usually doesn’t, but this time seems to be an exception. The warmth of Victor’s body against his is surprisingly unpleasant and Frank feels like he’s about to combust with how quickly he’s heating up. He’s tried to get out of Victor’s grasp, but he was unable to, the attempt only making the other boy sleepily tighten his hold on him.

“Victor.” Frank whispers and awkwardly nudges at the boy’s chest. The older man stirs slightly but doesn’t response. Frank growls quietly in frustration and tries again. “Victor.”

It takes another shove to the chest before Victor is groaning and prying his eyes open, looking at Frank almost confusedly. “What?” His voice is rough with sleep, and by the looks of him he’s ready to doze off again any moment.

“Can I use your shower?” Frank’s sweaty and gross. There’s also that matter that he’s probably sure there’s still come inside of him. He flushes crimson at the reminder.

Victor smiles exhaustedly. A weird feeling stirs inside of Frank when he sees the fondness in his eyes. It’s not the type of fondness he had seen before. It goes deeper than that. Much, much deeper, and he doesn’t think it has anything to do with the fact that they had just fucked hours before. “Yeah, sure.” He murmurs and releases Frank, rolling on his other side. Frank doesn’t say anything else, just gets out of bed, dragging the discarded sheet along with him. Victor doesn’t seem to notice its absence, so he doesn’t feel bad for taking it.

The white sheet drags along the floor as Frank makes his way to the bathroom. Victor’s place is bigger than it looks, and Frank can’t help but be a little jealous. The fabric drops to the floor when Frank opens a cabinet and finds loads of folded towels, taking one out and draping it over the shower curtain pole. The room fills with steam when Frank turns the knob as hot as he can. It’s going to burn horribly, and Frank knows that. But he wants it. He needs some type of pain to snap him out of his haze. He won’t let himself fall into a delusion again.

His skin screams in protest when he steps under the boiling hot water. He has the instinct to step out of the way and relieve himself of the pain, or at least turn the knob so it’s a bit colder. He just tells himself to shut up and that he has no choice. Because in the end he doesn’t really think he does. One way or another he’s going to get hurt. He’d rather it just be by his own choice.

He ignores the way the skin of his knuckles redden while he washes his hair, the scorching water taking an effect on the tender area. It’s hotter than he thought it would be and he’s sure that Victor will be confused if he sees a lot of steam, but Frank doesn’t do anything about it.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and it’ll get so hot that my skin melts off. Frank thinks bitterly. It’s unrealistic and dramatic but at this point, he’s not sure if he would even notice if it did happen.

Before Frank knows it, he’s sliding down the shower wall, staring at himself in the reflection of the metal shower faucet. He looks like a fucking mess. His hair is sticking to his inflamed face, his eyes big and pathetically sad.

What was he doing with his life? He was majoring in something he didn’t truly care about while being miserable and friendless. Friendless besides Victor, at least. Here he was, whoring around instead of actually being a decent human being and moving on with his life. He knows to the outsider that he must seem bratty but he’s not. He’s had too many people turn their backs on him for him to just brush it under the rug and act like these things don’t bother him.

Crybaby.

“I know.” Frank replies to his thoughts in a murmur. He wants to scream at them to shut up but then he’d really reach a new level of low.

Frank doesn’t turn the water off, even when it starts to seriously hurt him, and tears involuntarily prick at his eyes. He just lets the water burn his skin until it burns the message into his head. He can’t be a coward anymore.

He won’t.

His skin continues to scream in pain even after the water is turned off, finally giving him a second of what he thought would be relief. It only brings him silence and more time to think about his decision. He’s a fucking fool and he knows that. It took him basically melting his skin off to finally get that through his head. But pain had always been what helped Frank, in a way. Pain could break him but could also fix him.

“You can wear some of my stuff, if you want.” Victor offers when he passes Frank as he walks out of the bathroom. Frank barely gets the chance to nod before Victor is entering the bathroom, closing the door behind him. Frank winces as he thinks about all the steam he’s walking through and has to fight the guilt that creeps up on him when he hears the water turn on, knowing that he basically just robbed Victor of any hot water he was going to get.

It’s strange changing in another person’s room. He can’t help but feel odd when the towel drops and he’s pulling on his dirty pair of boxers, followed by a clean pair of pants that aren’t even his. The shirt feels weird, also. The soft cotton is a huge contrast to the usually rough feeling of Frank’s worn out shirts and jackets.

It’s dark outside, making Frank realize how stupid it was to shower. He hadn’t noticed the time. He always showers after sex, usually, but he feels like it was kind of unnecessary this time. Granted, both of them had been tired and worn out, but they weren’t exactly dirty.

Frank stills slightly when there’s a quiet knock at the door. He stares at it, not making a move to answer it. He knows what happens when people open the door at night. He’d seen enough horror movies to know that somebody usually ends up with a knife in their chest or hit with a bat. Granted, they were shitty movies that he had seen run on the tv when he was younger, and his mother left him on his own, too busy bustling around the kitchen. But it’s realistic, nonetheless.

When the knocking continues, he considers getting Victor. He’s weighing his options. He could either ignore it until they went away, get Victor, or suck it up and go open it. He knows he shouldn’t be such a coward. It’s just a knock on the door, but Frank’s never been too brave. Or too smart for that matter, so when he suddenly steps forward and pulls the door open he’s not really surprised.

It’s who is at the door that surprises him. Freaky goth girl timidly stands there, shifting her weight between her two feet as she looks at Frank with an expression mixed between nervousness and surprise.

“Frank.” She sounds just as surprised as she looks. Frank’s grip tightens on the doorknob. He regrets opening the door now, not quite ready to face the awkward confrontation. He forces himself to remember what he had thought about in the shower. He couldn’t run away anymore.

“Nova.” Frank barely misses calling her freaky goth girl.

“Is...is Victor here?” She stands on her toes and looks over Frank’s shoulder curiously. When she doesn’t see anything, she gives Frank a strange expression.

“He’s in the shower. I can-” Frank’s voice falters when he sees a flash of somebody, bright eyes watching him for only a second before ducking out of the way. Frank’s heart skips a beat when he realizes he recognizes the eyes.

“No, no. I don’t-” Freaky goth girl tries to stop Frank when he shifts slightly, shuffling to the side so he can see out the door better. He regrets it almost immediately. “-think that’s a good idea…” Her voice trails off when Frank’s expression changes.

Frank’s mood drops drastically when he sees him. He’s standing awkwardly, almost timidly when his hands linked together in front of him, rocking back nervously on his heels. When he sees Frank, he gives him a smile, but its uneasy and jittery, not quite reaching his eyes.

“I didn’t know you were here. I thought you were just ignoring me when I went to your place. That’s the only reason he’s with me.” Freaky goth girl rushes out. Her expression is apologetic, though it’s unneeded. Frank’s not mad at her. Frank’s not mad at anybody at that moment, surprisingly. “I thought that if him and Victor worked it out, then maybe Victor could convince you to forgive him.” She nods towards Gerard at the action.

“He’s busy.” Frank steers his attention completely back to freaky goth girl. He doesn’t really want to look at Gerard anymore. “I can tell him you came when he gets out.”

Freaky goth girl blinks slowly at Frank, obviously not expecting his rejection just as much as she hadn’t expected him to be there. Frank tries to smile at her, though he doesn’t think it’s too convincing.

“Are you coming back to us?” She asks suddenly. It takes Frank by surprise, him having to take a second to compose himself again. He knew what he had to tell her. He knew what he was going to tell her, even if he had to do it with dickhead Gerard standing right over her shoulder.

“Of course.” Frank thinks his smile is a little more legit looking this time, but he doesn’t know. Freaky goth girl’s reaction doesn’t give it away. She just seems surprised. It takes a second but eventually she does smile, and unlike Gerard’s it reaches her eyes.

“Why are you here?” Gerard speaks for the first time. His voice is quiet and unsure, his eyes big and confused as he looks at Frank expectedly. Frank knows damn well that Gerard knows. With his history with Victor it should be pretty obvious, considering it’s late and Frank is still wet from his shower. He was definitely doing something. Frank decides not to sugar coat it and allows himself to be a little bit of an asshole when he turns to Gerard and fakes a sickly sweet smile.

“Victor and I were just having a little fun.” He beams. His smile drops a bit when Gerard’s expression twists into something sad. He feels bad now.

Maybe Gerard’s not the asshole here.

“When are you all hanging out again?” Frank feels like an ass when he turns back to freaky goth girl, asking a question that does anything but distract him. He’s asking a question that is only going to speed up him merging back into the group, forcing him to face what he had done. He wondered what the rest thought. What Andrya or Bonnie thought. Did they hate him?

“We don’t have any plans yet, but I can try to get all of us together tomorrow.” Freaky goth girl says. She laces her fingers together, looking off in space before nodding. “Yeah, I should be able to do that.”

“Cool.” Frank doesn’t really know what else to say. He scratches the back of his neck awkwardly before sparing Gerard a quick glance. He’s staring down at the ground, his hands shoved in his pocket. Frank doesn’t want to be the mature one here, but he knows he has to, even if Gerard was faking it. “Gerard?” His voice is soft.

Gerard’s shoulders tense and Frank can see his forehead crinkle between the parting of his hair. He lifts his head slowly, his eyes squinted slightly when he scrutinizes Frank. “Yes?” He mutters. He’s expecting a crude comment, Frank realizes. More guilt rushes through him.

“I’m sorry.”

Frank’s not sure what he’s apologizing for. Maybe it’s for making the sex comment, or maybe it’s for just being overdramatic in general, but he feels the need to apologize.

Gerard doesn’t say anything for a second. It’s silence until Gerard makes a soft, almost confused sigh. Frank thinks he’s about to reject his comment before he mumbles, “Why?”

Frank can see freaky goth girl looking between them and he starts to wish she wasn’t there. “I just am.”

“Oh.” Gerard says. His brows tug together for a few seconds, and then he adds, “You didn’t do anything.”

“I was rude.”

“Everyone is rude at some point in their lives.”

“It doesn’t justify it.”

“But it doesn’t make you a bad person.”

Out of the corner of his eye Frank can see freaky goth girl shuffle to the side, disappearing down the building stairs.

“I guess.” Frank mutters.

“I’m sorry, too.” Gerard surprises Frank with an apology. Frank didn’t think Gerard would actually say anything. He thought it would be a one sided conversation and Frank would get to close the door and act like this never happened.

“Oh, uh.” Frank struggles to form a proper sentence. He doesn’t know what to say. “It’s...it’s fine, Gerard. Really.” He rocks back on his heels slightly, nervously. “It’s...it’s fine?” He repeats it like a question. He really doesn’t think it’s fine, not at all. He still thinks Gerard’s an asshole, but Frank’s not exactly the nicest person ever so he really can’t reject Gerard’s apology.

Gerard purses his lips tightly. “You don’t sound very convincing, y’know.” He calls Frank out on his bullshit. Frank has to suppress a groan. Being mature isn’t very fun, especially when he’s still a bit drunk. He had puked up most of whatever he had eaten and drank earlier, but some still remains in his system.

“I’m not really good at talking to people.” It’s not a lie. Frank’s always been a bit shit at conversations, even when it was somebody he knew. Sometimes he struggled with talking to Ray, and he lived with him.

Gerard smirks suddenly. “Yeah, I kind of figured that when you rushed out of my house that morning.” Gerard’s smirk slips slightly when the water turns off and his eyes dart towards the bathroom door, watching it shortly before looking back at Frank. “Frank?” His voice is quieter than before.

“Yeah?”

“Did you really sleep with him? Or were you messing with me?” Gerard watches Frank intently. Frank doesn’t reply at first. He just looks back at Gerard, holding eye contact despite the awkwardness of the question. It’s almost silly. Why would Frank lie about that? He wouldn’t lie about doing that with somebody else just to falsely prove some stupid comment Gerard had made wrong.

“I was serious.” Frank mumbles. He averts his eyes to the ground, but not before he sees Gerard’s expression change. His shoulders have tensed, and Frank can see that his hands are now balled up into fists, still stuffed in his pockets.

“Oh.” He replies stiffly. Frank lifts his head and looks to the right when he hears the bathroom door open. He mentally urges Gerard to hurry up and leave before Victor comes out and sees him. Instead, Gerard glares at him. The expression takes Frank by surprise. He thought they were over that by now. When Gerard gives him a once over he suddenly feels really uncomfortable.

“Are those his clothes?” Gerard asks suddenly.

Despite already knowing the answer, Frank glances down at his shirt, tugging on the bottom of it. He really doesn’t she why this is important. “Yeah. Mine are dirty.”

Gerard speaks the moment Victor comes into view.

“Cool.” He snipes. It’s not a casual cool. Gerard is being an asshole again and Frank’s not in the mood to deal with it.

So much for acting like adults.

Frank is slamming the door shut the moment Gerard makes the indication that he’s going to come in, shooting Victor a nasty look from where he was. Frank locks the door, turning the knob to make sure that it actually locked. His lock didn’t even work half the time.

He can feel Victor staring at him. He doesn’t say anything about it. He doesn’t even look at Victor. He just turns and walks towards the bed, picking up the blanket off the floor and dragging it along with him. He probably seems like an asshole just crawling into somebody’s bed and covering himself, not even speaking to the person.

Frank squeezes his eyes shut, forcing himself to ignore the noise of Victor moving around and the slight dizziness that stuck around. He doesn’t make any noises until Victor pulls the blanket away from his head, exposing Frank to the real world once again.

Frank’s stuck his hand out, offering Frank yet another bottle. Usually, Frank would take it without another thought. He’d probably be chugging it. So, it’s a surprise when he croaks out, “No, thanks.” and closes his eyes again.

-o-

“They won’t say anything.” Freaky goth girl reassures Frank as they approach the group. Frank has no idea if Gerard is going to be there or not, but he doesn’t really care. That’s the least of his worries. He’s probably going to show up to this and get called a coward or something.

Bonnie is the first one he sees. She grins at him, wildly waving. A trail of smoke follows the movements and Frank sees that there’s a cigarette dangling between her two fingers. Andrya follows next, though she’s not smoking anything. Then there’s Victor, who just smirks at him. And then behind him is Gerard.

Frank expects some type of nasty glare from Gerard. Maybe a snarky, shouted comment from him. Whatever it is he expects, it definitely isn’t the smile Gerard gives him. Frank doesn’t smile back, too fazed by Gerard’s action.

This wasn’t right.

“Hi, Frankie.” He calls leisurely. For a moment it wipes away Frank’s confusion and replaces it with a sense of irritation. He was really going to act like nothing was wrong after he had once again acted like a baby last night?

“It’s Frank, not Frankie.” Victor snaps at Gerard before Frank can reply. It dazes Frank, confusion washing over him once again. Confusion, annoyance, and even maybe a little bit of bitterness.

Frank rolls his eyes when Gerard mimics Victor’s words. They’re acting like children. Partially Frank knows it’s his fault. He shouldn’t have told Gerard that they have fucked. That was childish on his part. He couldn’t go back on that, though, and he was really beginning to feel like an idiot for it.

“Hi, Gerard.” Frank mutters and drops to the ground. He’s about to speak when there’s suddenly somebody grabbing his hand, quickly looking down to see Victor holding his. It’s not gentle like a lover would hold him. It’s almost mean. Possessive cruel.

Frank really, really doesn’t like it.

Frank scowls and rips his hand away, ignoring the way Gerard stares between them. He doesn’t feel guilty when Victor blinks at him confusedly. If he wanted to be bratty, then Frank could, too. Frank’s pretty sure he has already shown he can be one. This whole situation had arisen because he had been one.

A bratty, overdramatic, whore.

Oh, yeah. Frank can’t forget the whore part.  A part of him suddenly regrets being an asshole to Victor, but not because of a guilty conscious. Victor had so much shit against him. Nobody cared about what Frank did and he knew that, but he also knew that if something was good enough to hear it could quickly spread, and then he’d actually be known for something other than some weird kid.

“Yo, Frank.” Bonnie breaks the awkward silence by calling his name. Frank looks up at her almost nervously, expecting some type of comment about the obvious feud going on between the two boys around him. Maybe she knew. They probably shit talked him behind his back about it. Oh god, they did, didn’t they? Maybe there was some type of running joke about him. Maybe-

Dude.”

Frank jolts when Bonnie gently kicks at his shin. She’s grinning at him with the same smile she had given him before all of this bullshit. There’s no trace of deceit  or mockery behind it.

“Look at all this cool shit I found yesterday.” Bonnie reaches behind her and pulls out a beaten up bag that looks like it’s been around for way too long. It’s tearing in certain places and the color is faded, but there’s patches sloppily sown onto it. The corner of Frank’s mouth twitches when he notices some covering up holes. They’re pretty cool patches, despite their wear and tear.

Bonnie hastily scoots forward, breaking through the weird blockage that had caged him, Gerard and Victor into an awkward, imaginary fighting rink. It’s a relief. Frank’s never seen Bonnie fight, but he seriously doubts neither Gerard or Victor would do anything with her in the middle. They’d probably end up trampling Frank to death beating the shit out of each other, but Bonnie they wouldn’t touch. Hell, Frank wouldn’t even touch her, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a woman. He’s pretty sure Bonnie could take him the hell out with one punch.

Frank cringes when he pictures it. That’d be a hell of a way to go out.

Bonnie carelessly dumps the contents of the bag in front of Frank. He wasn’t expecting much, so it’s a surprise when a whole pile of junk falls from it. At least, it seems like junk at first. As Frank takes a closer look at it, he realizes it’s really, really old shit.

“There’s stuff from like, the eighties in here. I think there’s some seventies stuff, but that’s all just Sex Pistols merch. And by merch, I mean broken shit that I found at the bottom of the two dollar pile.” Bonnie spreads out her collection, and Frank finds himself being drawn to something. Hidden slightly under a pile of old pins is what seems to be a cassette tape. Bonnie’s still talking but he’s no longer listening as he reaches for the item.

There’s tape on the bottom part, marker scribbled all over it. It’s so faded that Frank can barely read it, but when he bring sit closer to his face he’s able to make out the words. It reads Just Like Heaven, and it takes a second for Frank to register what it’s talking about.

Frank had completely forgotten that cassette tapes existed because of how old he pinned them to be, so there’s no surprise that there’s an eighties song on it, even though he knows they were create much before that.

“The Cure.” Frank looks up from it to question Bonnie. “Where’d you find all this stuff?”

“Uh, some are thrift store items, and others are antique store ones.” Bonnie seemed distracted by something else that’s in the pile. Frank doesn’t hold interest to whatever she’s picked out and inside focuses his attention back down to this object. His fingers curl around the side of it gently when an urge to keep it washes over him. He doesn’t listen to cassettes, he doesn’t even have a player for it. But he wants it for whatever unexplainable reason. Usually, he’d never ask to take something that was somebody else’s, but it’s different this time. He feels like he needs this, despite it being a piece of junk that probably didn’t even work anymore.

“Hey, Bonnie?” Frank leans back of his heels to view Bonnie properly. Bonnie barely looks up from what she’s doing, just answering with a hum. “Can I keep this?” He feels awkward asking for it, and he knows he’s going to feel even worse if Bonnie says no. But she doesn’t. She just shrugs and says, “Sure, why not.”

“There’s more stuff in the antique store, but it’s all so fuckin’ expensive.” Bonnie sounds truly bitter about it. Frank has to bite the inside of his cheek to hold back a laugh.

“Rob a bank.” Andrya pips up. Freaky goth girl swats at her arm condescendingly before glancing towards Bonnie.

“Do not do that.” She tells Bonnie potently. Bonnie grins wildly, and Frank is already able to predict her response.

“I’m going to do it.”

“That is a terrible idea.”

“That’s a fantastic idea, actually.”

Frank’s too consumed by their bickering that he doesn’t even notice the order around him has changed. He only notices when somebody moves up to the other side of him, making him finally realize that Victor’s long gone, and he’s presented with a face he’s not sure if he likes or not.

“Strange as angels.” Gerard says in a tranquil tone. Frank’s first thought is ‘when the fuck did he get here?’ and then ‘is he on drugs?’ because what in the actual fuck does that mean?

“What?” Frank asks dumbly.

“Well, the lyric is ‘You, strange as angels’, but you get the idea.” Gerard doesn’t exactly explain it, but his second statement is enough to clear it up. Frank’s cheeks dust a light pink and he can’t help but feel like an idiot. Of course, it’s a lyric. What else would he be talking about? Frank obviously wasn’t an angel. Unless angels were people who cried like a baby over nothing and had sex to hide their actual feelings.

Goddamn. Frank really needs to loosen up with the whole insulting himself thing. He’s his own bully, and he knows that if he doesn’t give that up he’d going to spiral down farther. And it wasn’t like the sex thing was original.  He knew plenty of people who hid behind orgasms and quick fucks to hide how screwed up their life actually was. It was an addiction. Frank didn’t believe he was quite at that point yet, but he didn’t put it past himself to get like that.

“It’s one of my favorites off that album.” Gerard continues to talk despite Frank not responding. “It’s that and ‘Why Can’t I Be You.’ It’s a little too sappy for me, but I still dig it.” Gerard somehow manages to contradict himself in those few seconds. It annoys Frank, but he decides to let it go.

“How is it too sappy?” Does Gerard not realize it’s a love song? It’s going to be sappy. It’s supposed to be. It was pretty obvious Robert Smith was not one to hold back on being dramatic. He makes it work, though, and he’s pretty much owned being dramatic his entire career.

Gerard smirks slightly. “I think ’Everything you do is simply dreamy.’ is quite sappy. Also, the chorus and title of the song presents the fact that he wishes he was as great as whoever he wrote it about. It’s sappy, and honestly way too over the top.”

“Don’t disrespect Robert Smith.” Frank swats Gerard’s arm lightly. He doesn’t realize it at first, but this is probably one of the most relaxed conversations he’s had with him. His relaxed state slips somewhat when he looks beside him and remembers that Victor was gone.

“Where did Victor go?” Frank knows he’s skating on thin ice with that question, especially when Gerard’s fingers clench around his thigh, digging his nails into the skin. Frank knows it’s not enough to hurt himself through his jeans, but it still worries him.

“He left.” Gerard answers curtly.

Frank doesn’t have to ask why to know.

“Because if you rob a bank, you’ll fucking go to jail.”  Freaky goth girl is the one that tears Frank from the somewhat awkward conversation. It hadn’t been the type of awkward it was before where Frank had the urge to knock Gerard out. It was awkward this time because well, Frank didn’t want to smack Gerard into unconsciousness.

“But I’ll get money.” Frank sighs when he realizes Bonnie’s still arguing about robbing a bank for the antiques.

“Yeah, illegal money that’ll you’ll get locked up for.”

“Jesus christ.” Frank mutters under his breath. He knows they’re going to go at it for as long as they could. Bonnie would just keep leading on the argument because she thought it was funny and Freaky goth girl would fall right into it and follow her every word, ready to contradict it.

When Gerard elbows him in the side, he startles. Frank tries to cover his surprise up by rubbing where Gerard had hit and giving him a light, playful glare. When Gerard smiles, Frank knows he totally did not buy it, and that he was in fact laughing at him.

“Hey.” Gerard’s eyes lit up suddenly, his smile turning mischievous. Frank feels his stomach roll at the sight of it. It makes him nervous, defensive. He’s expecting that smirk to turn into some irritating comment, so he’s a little more than thrown off when Gerard says, “How do you feel about weed?”

Frank blinks confusedly. What does weed have to do with any of this? He couldn’t even remember pot ever being brought up in any of their recent conversations. “Uh,” Frank’s mind blanks. Weed? He likes weed. Weed made him forget how fucked up he was. “I like it?” He’s not sure why he says it like it’s a question. He loves it. He can’t even count how many times he’s smoked it before.

Gerard’s smirk deepens when he replies, “Good.”

-o-

“I hope this is good shit. I haven’t smoked it yet.” Gerard lifts his mattress to pull out a bag. Frank takes a double take when he sees how much shit is in the bag. It makes him wonder how often Gerard smokes. Because holy shit, there’s enough for the entire group to last off of for multiple occasions.

“How much do you smoke?” Frank questions incredulously. Where Gerard gets that much without going broke he has no clue. It can only mean threw things. One, the weed is fucking shit. Two, Gerard has enough money to throw around that easily. Or three, he stole that shit. Frank’s done some stupid things in his life but stealing from a drug dealer was not one of those things. The guy who sold him his weed was scary enough to make him run away at Usain bolt speed. He wouldn’t even dream of stealing from him.

“Depends.” Gerard drops the bag on the floor in front of Frank. Frank hesitates before reaching for it. He’s a little bit afraid to smoke it considering he didn’t know where it came from. His drug dealer was scary, but he wasn’t trying to take him the hell out. He didn’t know where Gerard’s came from.

“Depends on what? And where did you get this from?” Frank feels around the bag. It looks fine, but Frank knows that appearance doesn’t mean it’s not laced, or that it’s good.

“Depends on how bitchy I’m feeling.” Gerard gives Frank a humorous grin, tilting his head to the right slightly. Hair fell in front of his face when he did, masking half of his expression. Frank is still able to see him eying him playfully from beneath the mask of dark hair. It’s weird to him, and Frank’s not entirely sure how he feels about it. Gerard has so many different personalities in his mind. There’s the asshole Gerard that he had met on the first night, and then there was the Gerard that came to Victor’s dorm, and now there was this Gerard. He likes this Gerard the most.

“And I got this from some guy named Nico.” Gerard readjusts his mattress, so it looks like it had never been moved in the first place. Frank can’t help but admire the fact that he actually hid it. Frank’s was smack dab in the middle of his underwear drawer. “He’s cool, I guess.”

“You guess?”

“Yeah, I guess. Now.” Gerard claps his hands together. “How do you usually smoke it? I have rolling paper if you would like to use that, but I also have a bong. We’d have to share it, though. I usually smoke alone, and I’ve never had any troubles with my current one, so I’ve never bothered with getting another one.”

“You smoke alone?” Frank’s genuinely surprised by this. He isn’t trying to diss the guy or anything, and he completely understands if he wants to do it alone. He doesn’t believe it makes him sad or anything. It’s just, Frank’s never once smoked alone. Even when he was in high school he was lighting it up with other people.

“It’s relaxing for me.” Gerard shrugs and begins to roll out the papers in front of Frank. Frank wants to laugh when he sees Gerard pull out a bottle of Febreze. He can’t hold back all of it, though, and despite his efforts a small laugh escapes him. Gerard follows his attention, furrowing his brows when he sees Frank focusing on the bottle. “Listen, weed fucking stinks, and I’m not trying to get kicked out. I get too paranoid when I’m high to be anywhere else, especially alone.”

Frank doesn’t think when he says, “Smoke with me.”

He doesn’t regret, though, when he sees a pure smile spread on Gerard’s face. It makes him feel a lot worse about how he treated him than he had earlier. This guilt is dragging him down to hell and he doesn’t think it’s going to let up on him any time soon. Gerard isn’t bad. He isn’t the villain. He never was. Frank knows he realized this before, but it doesn’t truly hit him until now.

“Hey, Gerard?”

Gerard nods slightly to show that he’s listening, making Frank rock back on his heels nervously.

“I’m really sorry.” He still feels weird apologizing. It doesn’t feel wrong or anything. It just feels...weird. He doesn’t like admitting that he did something wrong, and it has nothing to do with his ego or his pride. It has to do with the fact it tacks on another thing to his conscious that he’s going to tear himself apart over for the rest of eternity.

He manages to somehow feel even worse when Gerard smiles that soft simper again.

“It’s okay, really. I forgive you. We’ve gone over this.” Gerard doesn’t give Frank time to respond before he’s twisting and reaching under the bed to grab the bong hidden there. It’s beat up and the paint is chipping, but it seems to be fine other than that.

“I cleaned her off this morning, don’t worry.” Gerard tells Frank as reassurance when he catches him staring. Frank almost wants to tell him that that’s not the reason he’s staring, and it’s actually because his bong looks like it’s fifty million years old. He doesn’t have time to when he focuses on another part of what Gerard had said.

“Her?” Frank questions. He’s named his guitars before, but he’s never named his bong or assigned it a gender. Gerard raises a dark brow at him.

“Yeah. Her name is Ghoul.”

Ghoul. Gerard named his bong Ghoul. He named his bong another word for a fucking ghost. It’s hilariously stupid and Frank wants to laugh at it, but it’s also endearing. It’s...it’s Gerard. It’s stupid and overly edgy and it screams freak and Frank really, really fucking digs it.

“Nice.” Frank doesn’t have to fake the sincerity in his voice. “Mine...mine doesn’t have a name.”

“What does it look like?” Gerard sounds like it’s something as serious as naming your newborn child. In the past, Frank probably would have giggled. But at this point he’s realized that it doesn’t matter if he thinks it’s stupid. Gerard thinks it’s nice and that’s what matters.

“It’s just black.”

“That’s a boring ass bong you’ve got.”

“Yours is literally falling apart, Gerard.” Frank says it playfully, praying that there’s no offense created from it. He doesn’t think there would be, but Gerard sure does seem to love it, considering he gave it a name.

“She just has character.” Gerard rolls his eyes at Frank childishly before turning back to his beloved bong. Frank watches as he slides the bowl out of the down stem, pinching some weed out of his sleek black grinder, filling the bowl to the brim with drug. He reaches down, his fingers closing around the neck of the bong as he settles it into his lap and puts the bowl back in its place with a soft clink. Gingerly, he slides a black bic lighter out of his pocket, lights up and inhales.

Frank regards Gerard intently. There was something about seeing him smoke that was oddly interesting. He seems to be taking his good old time, his eyes fluttering closed as he inhales. Frank counts the seconds until Gerard lets out a breath, coughing slightly after it.

“Yeah, this is good.” Gerard nods. He doesn’t look up towards Frank when he starts refilling so Frank has more to work with. He works nimbly, his pale fingers dancing along the bong, redoing all the steps like it was a natural instinct to him.

Frank waited patiently for Gerard to finish. A part of him didn’t want him to. Frank was enjoying watching him. It gave him a chance to actually look at him. He had never realized how frail Gerard appeared until now.

“Frank.” Gerard shoved the bong and lighter towards his direction. It took a second for Frank to recollect his thoughts, but when he did he found Gerard grinning almost smugly. He must have caught Frank staring. Frank ducked his head to hide his blush and reached for the bong.

Just as Gerard had done, Frank flicks open the lighter and brings it up to the object. It’s not long until the good old familiar burn that he loved so much scorched down his throat, the smoke filling his lungs. Frank held it in as long as he could until his chest began ache and his brain screamed for oxygen. He let it pour slowly back out from between his lips, a thick cloud of smoke filling the room as he slowly exhaled. Frank swallows the taste of butane from the lighter, his face scrunching up at it before he passes it back to Gerard.

Even by the time they’re done, they’ve barely made a dent in the stash. Frank wants more, but he knows he can’t have it. He’s already begun to feel sleepy, yet he’s in no mood to sleep. He just wants to laugh. He wants to laugh and run around the room, but he can’t because all he can do is lean against Gerard’s shoulder and stare blankly at a poster. He’s not really sure who id on it. The face on it doesn’t seem to match with the body. In fact, it doesn’t seem to match with anything. Frank’s not really sure if there’s anything on the poster to begin with. Is there a poster? He doesn’t really know anymore.

He just knows that the room absolutely fucking reeks of weed and so does his clothes. It smells terrible, but Gerard is soft and gentle when he presses himself against the other man’s chest. He just knows that Gerard’s shoulders are soft and pudgy under his fingers, his hands clenching around the fabric of his shirt and digging into the soft skin. He knows that Gerard has really fucking pretty eyes, and that they’re even better close up. He knows that his hair is soft as Frank moves a hand to run through the hairs on the back of his head. And he knows that he definitely should not be so close to somebody he hated only a few days ago.

And he knows for sure that Gerard’s wearing cherry lip balm because that's the first thing he tastes when Gerard closes in the distance between them and connects their lips. And now he knows that Gerard is a damn good kisser, impatient and messy, but still so fucking good.

Vaguely, in the back of his mind Frank remembers that weed doesn’t make you do things you don’t truly want to do. Or at least that has always been it with him. We’d just gives you the courage to do what you want, and that means that Gerard has just wanted to do this for a really, really long time but never had to opportunity or courage to.

Frank doesn’t necessarily want to kiss Gerard, or at least not before this. That had never been his plan or his motive behind any of his actions. Kissing Gerard hasn’t even been a thought in his mind before this. But now he doesn’t understand how he never thought about doing it. This was good, really good. And when you were presented with something good in life, you took it because Frank knows damn well that life loves to be a bitch to people. Whatever he does with Gerard doesn’t have to mean anything. Nothing has to mean anything tonight. But Frank has been presented with something that doesn’t seem like a bad idea at the moment, and he doesn’t know if it’s the drugs in his system, or just some hidden bullshit feelings he didn’t know about before this, but he’s more than willing to take it.

Frank’s high as a damn kite, and he’s not really completely sure what’s going on right down, but as he thinks about how this was how what he had done with Victor started out, he realizes that what him it had been no thinking. He has never let himself think when he was hooking up with other people. He knew let himself truly feel. He never took in as much detail as he’s taking in right now. Usually, he was taking his clothes off as fast as he could, desperate to get himself in that position where he could make himself forget everything, make him forget how much he loathes himself and every single mistake he has ever made in his life.

Except now, Frank does feel, and he does remember. And he’s not rushing to tear his clothes off so he can fuck away all his problems for the night. He’s letting himself indulge in what he’s been given, and that scares him. But he has no time or clarity to think about that because Gerard is moving away from his mouth down to below his ear, sucking on the spot greedily.

And Frank still remembers, even as Gerard begins to play with the waistline of his underwear.