A cold breeze blew through the trees, causing a soft rustling sound to erupt throughout the calm of the woods. A man, with dyed black hair and beautiful hazel eyes, wandered amongst the trees. His eyes flitted from one tree to the next, soft mutters coming from his pale pink lips as he tried and tried to remember which one it was. “No, not that one… not there… Maybe, no…” He mumbled to himself as his chestnut eyebrows knit themselves together in the middle. The woods covered a large expanse of area, and since most of the trees were of the same type, it would be easy to make oneself lost amongst the orange-brown leaves and bare trunks.
It was a particularly dry winter that year, so the dry cold made his cheeks bloom cute red roses. He cursed his own body for focusing the body heat there and not his numb, trembling digits.
“Ah,” He breathed out, mist forming from his breath, when he spotted it; that one tree. On the trunk was a carved heart, with two initials inside, ‘G + F’, and a small hole in the center. The symbol was a little deformed from the tree attempting to grow bark over it again, but it was there nonetheless.
A smile formed on his lips as he fished through the pockets of his heavy coat, pulling a pocket knife out. He got the knife years ago, and the last time he used it, he stood in this very same spot.
With a click, the young man flipped the knife open, pulling out a specially crafted key from the small assortment of tools.
He let out another breath and looked from the key to the hole in the tree. “Don’t worry, Frankie, my dear. I’ll be there shortly, just like I promised.” He slipped the key into the hole and gave it a twist, hearing mechanical clicks come from the tree.
The tree made whirrs and ticks, slowly opening with a warm glow pouring out of the new hole. Through the hole was a spiral staircase, which the man slowly descended. The steps creaked and groaned under his weight, having not been used in so long; they sounded like they were about to break. He ditched his heavy winter coat on the way down, knowing that, where he was going, he would not need it.
The noises made the man quicken his descent until he reached another door, about two feet taller than him. A smile crossed his face as he turned the knob and opened the door, seeing the world before him.
It opened to a beautiful grassy plain with blue and red bell flowers sprinkled amongst the grass. The wind no longer nipped at his skin, but rather welcomed a warmth that had become unfamiliar to the Jersey man. When the wind blew, the flowers made sounds, beautiful chimes. They reminded the man of a cathedral. The stems of the flowers were thin, but were as tall as trees. The flowers themselves were about a foot in diameter. At the bases of the flowers sprouted tiny cherry blossom trees, each about a foot tall. Small piles of the pink leaves laid around the trees.
Directly in front of the man was a road made of shining blue river stones. In the distance was a city with a sparkling dome around it, glinting in the morning sunlight. A large palace stood on a floating piece of land with its own dome around it, the dome being a sparkling and shimmering bubblegum pink, almost like a round diamond. Things- they were unidentifiable from his distance- flew every which way inside the dome, rarely colliding.
A couple meters ahead was a sign. He approached and read it aloud; “Find shelter before sunset. One shall not anger the Faeries.”
He nodded gently, making a mental note of that, and began his trek along the road. If he remembered correctly, walking to the city took only six hours. Judging by the position of the sun, he thought, the trip would be over before suppertime.
The walk seemed like a small blip in time. The man walked past the bell flowers and into a pasture of daylilies. Pixies- not to be confused with Faeries- sat atop vibrantly colored flowers as they sipped the fresh dewdrops off. A couple waved to the oddly dressed traveller, one watching him with daydreaming eyes as he continued to walk.
He passed through the Pixie pasture uneventfully. The road veered a slight bit, running alongside a forest of blue-leaved trees. Schnest- the strange humanoid, yet still animalistic species, native to this country- peeked from behind the trees. They stood on two legs and resembled humans, but had two sets of ears and a tail. Their ears came in all shapes and sizes, many resembling a deer’s or a cat’s, some having huge bunny ears. The tails sometimes resembled a lion’s, or a wolf’s, or a bunny’s.
One schnest slowly approached the man. The schnest was naked, having blue hair and blue freckles adorning their hips and v-line.
The man noticed and smiled, fishing through his pockets and pulling out a packet of peanuts. He approached the schnest quietly and opened the pack, handing it to the creature. The man made an eating gesture before going back to the road and continuing on.
Soon, though, his trip did come to an end. He approached the large metal gates of the city and smiled to himself. There were turrets that held the gate up and a wall expanding in either direction to protect the city. The dome found its base on top of the wall.
There were two windows, one at the bottom of each turret. Someone peeked out of the turret on the left, a scraggly man with a small, scruffy beard and black hair that shone with grease. “Who are you? Why are you here?” He asked the traveller.
“I’m Gerard Way,” The man said. “I’m here to see my boyfriend, Frank Iero.”
The scraggly man ducked back into the window and flipped through some pages. “Hmm… Gerard, Gerard… Yes, the witch has been expecting you,” The man in the turret looked up to smile at Gerard. “Come on in.”
With loud clicks, clunks, and groans, the gates opened to reveal a calm yet busy city, many fantastical creatures walking this way and that across the cobbled streets. There were vampires, large pixies, dwarves, elves, incubi and succubi, and many more, wandering about. The vampires were easily spotted with their decorative umbrellas and pale complexions. Dwarves and elves were, of course, shorter than everyone else. The dwarves had bigger noses, though, and a rougher look and stance about them. Incubi and succubi had horns and shining scales around their hips and shoulders, which they flaunted proudly.
Gerard stepped inside and smiled softly, looking around at all the stone buildings. He weaved his way through the streets, many of the mythical creatures looking at him in curiosity. A few incubi and succubi attempted to lure him away for some darker intent, but he politely declined and hurried along his way.
It didn’t take long for him to reach a quaint little inn, stepping inside and looking around. It was lit by oil lamps and a few candelabras, with a fireplace to the left and a sitting area in front of it. There was a desk with a woman sitting behind it, an open book atop the counter with an inkwell and quill. The woman was quite pretty, with bright red lipstick and black pigtails. She was quite obviously a witch, judging by her open cloak draped over a darling red dress with lace up the front.
Gerard walked up to the counter with a smile. “Hello, I’m here to book a room.”
The woman looked up at him and returned the smile, standing up. “For how long, hun?”
“Hm,” Gerard shrugged, “I don’t know. Anywhere from a week to a month.”
The woman looked at him in shock. “Holy- really? Alright, sign the book.” She turned to the wall of keys, taking one off its hook and walking around the desk to him.
He nodded and picked up the quill, dipping it in the ink and scribbling his signature on one line and his name in print on the one beside it.
Once he was done, the woman led him upstairs to a small room. There was a bed and a dresser, with a small window between them. An oil lamp sat atop the dresser, the flame flickering and making shadows dance across the walls. A desk sat beside the dresser with an inkwell and quill on it.
Gerard smiled and thanked the woman as she handed him the keys, bidding him a good afternoon.
The city was quiet. It was no longer bustling with activity as it had been earlier. Not even vampires, who should thrive after dark, were in the moonlit streets. All the curtains were drawn with oil lamps flickering behind the drapes. Many had been blown out so small children could sleep.
Despite the protective dome around the city, the civilians were afraid. Rumors of Faerie attacks spread like wildfire, terrifying all the creatures.
Even from inside the dome, one could hear the wails of the Faeries, echoing throughout the night. Gerard peeked through the drapes and at the sky, seeing figures flying around the dome. One tried to fly in but disappeared as soon as it touched the protective barrier.
He sighed and shook his head, drawing the curtains and going to the desk. He sat down, searching through the drawers. “Hmm… here we go,” Gerard mumbled to himself, pulling a notebook from the drawer and setting it on the desk. He began to write a letter.
He finished in half an hour, blowing on the ink to dry it faster, before folding it up. He searched the drawers again and pulled out a stick of wax and a stamp. The human used the oil lamp to melt the wax onto the paper before pressing the stamp against the wet wax, sealing it. He wrote “ To Frank Iero” on the outside and set the letter on top of the desk before turning in for the night.
The morning came, and Gerard rose from his peaceful slumber. He did not change, since he had not thought to bring any extra clothes, but just straightened out the button down he had worn and adjusted his tie. He normally just wore t-shirts and skinny jeans, but he was going to see Frank; may as well dress up for it.
The human walked downstairs to the front desk where the witch sat, humming as she scribbled down something in a notebook.
“Ma’am?” Gerard said to get her attention.
The kind woman looked up at him with a smile. “Yes, sir? How may I help you?”
Gerard held the letter up where she would see. “I need to get this to Frank Iero. Is there a… a mail service here?”
She blinked, a bit confused by the second sentence as she had never heard that term used before. “I’ll have a messenger girl deliver it to him, don’t worry.” She pulled on a string beneath the desk, and within a few moments, another, shorter witch with a sparkly purple cloak appeared from a door.
“Yes, Linds?” The second witch said, looking at the witch behind the counter.
“Take this to Frank Iero, would you?” Linds handed the second witch the letter.
The second witch absolutely beamed with excitement, nodding as she took the letter. “Yes, of course!” She grabbed one of the brooms and walked outside, taking off towards the floating palace.
Gerard chuckled as he watched her fly off before turning back to Linds. “She seemed excited, huh?”
Linds nodded and sighed. “Frank Iero is the master of the Coven. No one knows quite where he came from. He just showed up one day, a few years ago.”
The human nodded, smiling to himself. “Yeah… mysterious…”
Linds looked at him. “So, what are you? You look like a human.”
“I am,” Gerard said simply. “And technically, so is Frank.” He looked at the witch. “He and I… we have history.”
The witch seemed shocked. “You do? How?”
Gerard couldn’t help but chuckle. “What is this, tell your tragic backstory hour?” He sighed and nodded. “He’s… he’s my boyfriend. Long story short, I promised to come back to him years ago, so here I am.”
“You’re not bluffing?” Linds cocked an eyebrow.
“No,” Gerard said, “I’m not. See?” He pulled out his pocket knife and showed her the key. “This is how he got here. I opened the door. He made me stay on earth…” He looked down, sadness overcoming his face. “I’ve missed him so bad…” A small thought, just an inkling of an idea really, popped into his mind. What if Frank had found another? A witch, one that was more capable, more loveable, more-
The witch nodded and spoke, snapping Gerard from his thoughts. “I understand. Jamia, the messenger, is my girlfriend. She had to leave for the School of Witchcraft a while back, which is in a city called Salem on earth. Very few witches go there, and only the best can pass to become Coven masters.” Linds paused and lowered her voice. “She was devastated when she got her final grade…”
“I’m so sorry…” Gerard said softly.
She shook her head. “It’s alright. You should go find something to eat, then get yourself a few changes of clothes for your stay.”
“Ma’am, I have no mone-”
Gerard was cut off by Linds handing him a bag of golden coins. “Here, this should be plenty,” she said. “Go on, now. Can’t be smelling like a dusty old inn when you see your man, now can you?”
A chuckle came from the human. “Thank you, ma’am. I’ll see you later.” He waved slightly and left the inn, beginning to walk along the cobbled streets to find some breakfast.
Gerard found a quaint little cafe, deciding to sit down and eat there. He had a sandwich and some coffee, a simple meal. The cutlery was stunningly beautiful. It was porcelain with gold around the edges for an elegant touch. He smiled, watching the gold shimmer in the sunlight as he ate his lunch.
“Mr. Iero! Sir!”
Frank groaned softly, setting down his quill and going to his balcony, where the messenger girl always landed. “Yes, Jamia? What is it this time?” He was right in the middle of memorizing an important spell for the Coven.
“A letter, sir, from a man at Lindsey’s inn.” She handed him the small bit of parchment with the wax seal.
Frank cocked an eyebrow and examined the letter. “A man? Hm. Thank you.” He gave her a nod and waved her away, turning back to his desk. He didn’t even notice her fly off as he drifted back off into his own mind.
He sat at his desk, setting the old, tattered books aside for a moment to open the letter. The wax seal peeled off easily, his fingers unfolding the paper.
I’m here, just like I promised you. Remember? I still have that pocket knife that you gave me. I would never let you down. I’m staying at a cute little inn, not too far from the city’s entrance. You can find me there, or of course I could come to you if you were to write back and tell me where you are. Whichever one is fine, it’s up to you. I can’t wait to see you, I’ve missed you dearly.
With the utmost love,
Frank couldn’t help the small smile creeping up onto his lips. “He remembered…” He mumbled softly and relaxed.
“Who did?” Mama, a pudgy little dog which happened to be his familiar, waddled into the room, looking at him.
The witch chuckled and looked down at her. “Gerard. My boyfriend.”
“Ooh, boyfriend?” Mama said in her typically thick British accent. “Of how long?”
“Technically, about ten years. But I’ve been here for four of those years, so we haven’t seen each other in a while.” Frank smiled at the thought of seeing Gerard again.
Mama chuckled. “Shit, you are head over heels for this boy, huh?”
Frank gave a soft nod in confirmation. “Mhm. I can’t believe he’s actually here… well
I can. Gee’s a man of his word. But I’m just having this… this euphoria!” He smiled wide as an idea came to him. “I am going to bring him here!”
Mama looked at him quizzically. “And how, pray tell, are you going to accomplish that? Is he a witch?”
“Nope. Human. But that doesn’t matter.” The witch hurried off to his table of spells, flipping through some of the books and papers. “Where is it, where is it… aha!” He held up a sheet of paper, reading the name aloud. “Beckoning spell.”
“Beckoning, hmm. Haven’t used that one in a hot while, eh?” Mama said, hopping up onto the table while Frank began to set up his potion.
“I’ve never used it, Mama. I’ve been saving it for Gee.” The witch pulled a cauldron down from a shelf, setting it down on the floor. “Mama, get the hose and fill this up.” The little familiar did as she was told as Frank sifted through many boxes and vials on his shelf, mumbling to himself whilst reading off of the paper.
“Alright,” Frank said. “Three sticks of lipstick, a lock of my hair, some pixie blood, and a vampire fang,” he held up the vial with what seemed like dust inside, “ground, to be exact.” He added the ingredients to the pot one by one, murmuring the chant under his breath and stirring everything together. The spell turned a beautiful, iridescent red, shimmering in the daylight that flooded in through the window.
Once it was all evenly blended, he, with the help of Mama, dragged the pot onto the balcony to finish the spell. With the paper in his hand, he began to sing the spell.
“Come my beloved,
I take thee away,
To my home of enchantment.
Come my beloved,
You’ve been far away,
So stay with me here in my castle.”
Frank’s voice echoed throughout the town, heard by all but only affecting one of the people down below.
The human heard the song, looking to the sky and seeing a faint reddish mist begin to snake down to the ground. It approached Gerard and enveloped him, lifting him effortlessly into the air.
Gerard didn’t object, as the magical tune had rendered him thoughtless. He looked up towards the source of the singing, a faint, dopey smile appearing on his face as the spell lifted him higher, meters into the air.
Frank smiled as Gerard was lifted higher into the air, being gently set down onto the balcony of the castle. The reddish mist dissipated, lifting the spell off of Gerard. He rubbed his face, looking around with a soft groan then looking up at Frank with a blush and a gaping mouth.
“Hey, Gee,” the witch said, going to pull his boyfriend up until the human suddenly jumped up and enveloped him in a hug.
“Frankie!” Gerard exclaimed, seeming like an overly energetic puppy. “I missed you, I missed you so much!”
This earned a chuckle from the witch. “I missed you too, baby.” Frank kissed his cheek and pulled away. “Welcome to my humble abode,” he joked with a smile, holding his arms out wide.
Gerard looked up at the castle. “Holy shit, it’s way bigger up close.” His lips twitched into a smile on one side. “And it’s yours?”
Frank nodded. “Yup. I’m the master of the Coven-”
“I know. Linds told me,” Gerard interjected.
“-and that means,” Frank giggled, “that I get this whole castle to myself. Except of course for the Coven meetings once a month in the main hall.”
Gerard mimicked his giggle. “Someone’s important, huh?” He pecked his boyfriend’s lips. “I’m so proud of you. Really. I knew you would do something great.”
The witch smiled and lead him inside. “Thank you, but…” He sighed. “I’m not all that great.” Gerard was about to protest, but Frank continued. “I’m assuming that you saw the dome above the city?”
“Yes, sort of hard to miss.” Gerard raised one of his eyebrows. “What’s it for?”
“It’s to keep the Faeries out. The Faeries are corrupted angels, bound to this world, not permitted in heaven nor hell. They feed on the souls of these creatures, the ones within the city. The dome is made of all sorts of heavenly things- pure angel feathers, halos of dead angels, gallons of holy water… Anyway, the dome is weak, weaker than it has been in decades.” He looked at Gerard with desperation. “I’ve only been in the Coven for a few years, Gerard. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to fix it. All the others have at least a full decade of experience.”
Gerard listened, nodding a little. “What if everyone in the Coven fixed it? You shouldn’t have that large of a task put onto your shoulders.”
Frank smiled a little bit, just a little twitch of his lips. “That’s so caring of you, Gee. I’m sorry, but that isn’t how it works. One spell, one caster. That’s the rule.”
“Oh…” The human hung his head. “I’m sorry.”
Frank shook his head and kissed his cheek. “It was a great suggestion, hon.”
The pet name sent butterflies soaring through Gerard’s chest, a smile painted on his lips. “You make me feel like we’re in high school again when you say that.”
The witch chuckled, “Oh, I wish, baby doll. It was simpler.”
“Study, have fun after school, a few short shifts at Mickey D’s a week. Nothing so extreme, so life threatening.” Frank sighed, taking Gerard’s hand and examining it. “I’d just met you, and…”
“And you were like a lost puppy,” Gerard finished with a small smile. “Spent every second you could with me. But I loved it, of course. You were my first real boyfriend, the first one to… to treat me right.”
“You were fresh out of a break up, right?” Gerard nodded at Frank’s question. “Yeah,” the witch continued, “Matt, I think. He was a dick to you, treated you like fucking dirt,” He spat. “I swear to fucking god, if I see him aga-”
“Frank,” Mama spoke sternly, making Gerard jump and look at her with startled yet curious eyes, “calm the fuck down, boy. And you, human, relax, I’m his familiar.”
Gerard cocked his head and kneeled down to examine her. “I thought witches had cats?”
“I’m a dog person, babe, you know this,” Frank interjected with a chuckle.
“I know,” Gerard replied, “I just thought you didn’t have a choice who your familiar was.”
“No, it was my choice,” Mama said, waddling over to Frank. “Familiars make the final choice as to who their witch will be.”
“Ah, okay.” Gerard stood back up and stretched out, looking around the room at all the cluttered shelves of ingredients. Chopped up bits of various species, ground powders of bones, teeth, and hair, oozes and eyeballs in clear jars, and spices galore- but that of course didn’t even begin to cover it all.
“Gerard,” Frank turned to face his boyfriend, “the monthly meeting of the Coven is in a couple days. If you are staying that long, I’d like you to accompany me. Would you do me the honor?”
The human let out a giggle. “As long as you don’t always talk so formally. It sounds so weird coming out of my rambunctious, overly-sexual Frankie.” He wrapped his arms around Frank’s shoulders.
Frank couldn’t help the smile on his face as he held his boyfriend’s hips and pulled him into a kiss. It lasted only a moment before the witch pulled back to speak. “You got it, sweetheart. Jamia told me you were staying at Lindsey’s, wanna stay here instead?”
“I’d love that, angel.” Gerard smiled and rested their foreheads together.
“How the hell could a shirt be this damn tight?!” Gerard groaned as he tugged at the collar of his soft shirt that was probably a size and a half too small.
He was to attend the monthly meeting of the Coven as Frank’s guest, so he needed to look good. The two had, unfortunately, been unable to spend much time together in the first couple days that Gerard had been in that city. Frank was so busy studying that damned spell; the poor boy was absolutely petrified that he’d mess it up. But, of course, he didn’t let that show. He couldn’t, not with Gerard there.
“I don’t know, hon,” Frank shrugged while brushing his hair out. “I can cut the back and lace it back up with some twine to make it looser?”
The human huffed and nodded. “Please.” He turned around so his back faced Frank.
Frank cut a slit down the back of his shirt and laced it back up like a corset, tying it in a bow at the top. “All done.” He smiled and went to the closet. “Now, for the finishing touch, your cloak.”
“Cloak?” Gerard looked at him, curiosity sparkling in his hazel eyes.
“Of course.” Frank nodded and pulled out a velvet cloak that looked like a reddish shade of magenta in the right light. He walked it over to Gerard and helped him put it on, tying a beautiful bow on the front.
Once the two were all ready, they made their way through the floating castle and to the main hall. There were already about a baker's dozen of witches sitting at the long oak table. The runner down the center was a beautiful red that shone in the dancing candlelight. Jamia and Lindsey sat on the left side, Jamia chattering happily with the innkeeper.
Frank sat at the head of the table, requesting for another chair to be brought for Gerard. Within seconds, a maid had a chair set beside the Coven master, in which the human sat shyly.
It wasn’t hard to tell that Gerard felt out of place. All the witches seemed so knowledgeable and wise, and Gerard? He was just a human. Just a human from a completely different world.
“Iero,” An elder witch began, “we need to cast the rebuilding spell within the next month. The shield is weakening minute by minute.”
Frank nodded solemnly. “Yes, sir, I understand. I’ve been studying the spell for weeks now, just another week and I should be prepared.”
“You better, boy,” Another old hag said, “or else all hell will be released on these innocent people!”
The Coven master nodded again, reassuring her that he had everything under control. But Gerard, he took one look at Frank and knew- he wasn’t even close to being ready.
Subtly, the human took Frank’s hand, letting the table runner, the part than hung off of the table, conceal their intertwined fingers. Frank glanced at his boyfriend out of the corner of his eyes and felt the corner of his lips twitch into a smile.
The aforementioned old hag took a look between the two and narrowed her eyes, saying, “And there’s another thing we should bring up. Who the hell is that? He surely isn’t a witch- he doesn’t have a proper cloak like the rest of us do.”
She was right. All the other witches had cloaks with some sort of embroidery along the edges and sparkled more than Gerard’s.
Frank nodded and hummed in response. “He’s my boyfriend, ma’am. He’s visiting from earth. He’s just a human, no threat, I can assure you.” He said the last couple words with a soft chuckle.
“A human?!” The first elder, and all the other elders, exploded. “Why is a lowlife human sitting with the Coven, let alone the Coven master?” He scoffed. “He needs to leave. He’s already heard enough confidential information.”
Now, mind you, the Coven consisted of fourteen members, including Frank. Four of those fourteen members were the elders, those with older and, frankly, more conservative ideals than the other, younger witches. Even if Frank had put it up to a vote, that would have been a five-to-two ratio; they would have lost. But, being the protective lover he is, he didn’t have any of their shit.
“He isn’t going anywhere.” Frank’s once relaxed and charming face was twisted with stern anger, his glare slicing through the elder that mentioned making Gerard leave. “He deserves to know everything I do. We don’t keep secrets from one another.”
Jamia nodded softly and gently began to clap. Soon enough, all the younger witches were clapping, encouraging Frank.
Gerard was a blushing mess, a crooked little smile on his pale, yet slightly rosy lips. He ducked his head down and gave Frank’s hand a squeeze. “I think I’m gonna like it here,” he said softly so that just Frank would hear.
Frank nodded. “I’ll make sure of it.”
To be blunt, the Coven meeting was boring; to Gerard at least. He understood nothing of what the other witches were saying and most of the witches completely ignored his presence. He walked behind Frank once it was over, following the witch to his work room.
Frank sat at his desk and slumped over, placing his head in his hands. “This whole town is doomed… fucking doomed…” That was all that Gerard would hear.
The human shook his head. “No, no it’s no-”
“Yes it is, Gerard!” Frank snapped, looking at Gerard with tears burning in his eyes. “I’m not experienced enough, and because of that, I can’t save this city.” He stood back up and grumbled, taking his cloak off and throwing it to the floor. “I don’t deserve to be the Coven master. I’m not good enough.”
Gerard was taken aback to say the least, watching the scene unfold with sad eyes. He sighed and sucked on his lip. “There has to be another wa-”
“There isn’t,” The witch spat.
“Shut up and hear me out, okay?” Gerard looked at him desperately. “You said that Faeries are like… demented angels. What about some sort of exorcism? Repent all the angels.”
Frank listened and considered it. “How would we get all of them at one time?”
“We can’t get every last one at once, but with someone as bait,” he gestured to himself, “we can get a bunch into one concentrated mass and then do it. Less Faeries means more time to practice the spell for the dome.”
The witch frowned and shook his head. “I don’t want you getting involved in this and getting hurt, Gerard. Faeries are more attracted to humans than anything else, I… I can’t risk it.”
“What are you gonna do then? Make me sit out and watch you do this?”
“No,” Gerard said, “I will not sit by and watch all this happen. I am going to help, whether you like it or not. They’ll come after me, while you hide, and once there are enough, you say the exorcism. It’s easy.”
Frank sighed and looked away for a moment before looking back at Gerard. “You get hurt and I am sending you right back to earth, am I clear?”
Gerard nodded. “Clear as crystal.”
The witch nodded softly and gave Gerard a kiss. “I sure fucking hope your plan works.”
Gerard and Frank whipped around to see the man in the turret. They were just on their way out of the city when they were stopped.
“Where do you two think you’re going, and why with that bag of spellcasting items?” The scraggly man asked.
Gerard began to speak, “how did you-”
“He’s the gatekeeper, he knows every single item that goes in and out of the city,” Frank whispered to him.
“That’s right,” the gatekeeper said, “and I’ll ask ya again. Where are you going and why?”
Frank cleared his throat and stood tall. “Sir, that is strictly confidential information belonging to the Coven. You’ll thank us later.” And with that, he gently grabbed Gerard’s arm and hurried him down the path, to a field a short ways from the city walls.
The sun had begun to set on the beautiful green plains. The faint buzzing of pixies was no longer heard, and the warm wind whistled in their ears while it made the grass dance and tickle their ankles. A few bushes dotted the plains, where Frank took his shelter. He whispered a spell, making himself invisible to Faeries for the night.
Gerard breathed in and out, his chest hitching and stuttering a couple times as he tried to calm himself down. In the distance, a few rough, throaty screeches were heard; Faeries.
He slowed his breathing down, making himself relax. The screeching began to draw closer, making the arrival of the Faeries more imminent.
“Look at you,” Gerard heard a voice behind him. He could recognize it anywhere; he whipped around to look.
There stood Frank, looking right back at Gerard with what the human thought was a sly smirk. “You’ve always been so full of… ah, what’s the word… self hatred, haven’t you?”
“H-Huh?” Gerard croaked out. “What a-are you talking about?”
“This.” He opened his arms with a sinister chuckle, regarding the situation at hand. “Putting everything on the line, just for me.”
“It gets annoying, you know,” Gerard whipped around when he heard the voice again, but to his right. And there he was, Frank, standing as though he hadn’t moved. “Having to chase my boyfriend around like a puppy off his leash, risk my job, my friends, my job, all for you to do it again.”
“I do that when I love someone, I can’t help it,” Gerard tried to seem strong. He tried, desperately, to seem like he wasn’t getting scared, getting sad.
“Oh,” There it was again, but at another angle, Gerard once again turning to face it, “but is it really love? Or was it just me giving you a few compliments to fill the void in your heart that you yourself can’t fill, to make you feel better about your pathetic little life?”
“For the first time in oh, so long, you finally felt loved,” Frank clasped his hands and made goo-goo eyes, before the sly and mean smirk came back. “Well guess what?” He took a few steps closer, and suddenly there were a dozen more Franks, all surrounding Gerard. “I never meant any of it. Not a fucking bit.”
Gerard tried to back up, but bumped into one of the Franks. Although, it wasn’t Frank anymore, not really. None of them were. The faces were distorted, dark, and blurry, all with two glowing crimson dots for eyes. They began grabbing and clawing at him, making Gerard fall to the ground.
Over all the commotion, Gerard heard something. “Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus…” He tried to look through all the tangling limbs. He knew that voice anywhere.
Frank. The real Frank, not a Faerie disguised as Frank. He could only catch little tidbits of what he was saying; “Humanas creaturas… propinare… potenti manu Dei… libera nos, Domine… audi nos!”
The Faeries screeched, making Gerard flinch and cover his ears as they all began to shine with bright light, pure, heavenly light. They all began to soar upwards; back to heaven, he supposed.
It was over in just a few moments, leaving a shaking and terrified Gerard curled up in the middle of a field. Frank ran over to him with his bag, kneeling by Gerard.
“Gee! Gee, hey, hey, I’m here, you’re okay, you’re okay…” His voice got progressively softer as he took the taller male into his arms, helping him to stand up.
Gerard looked at him with a terrifyingly skeptical look in his eyes. “You’re… the real Frank… right?” He croaked out quietly. He seemed so weak, so scared, like a wounded deer.
Frank nodded. “Of course, of course… come on, let’s get back.” He helped Gerard back across the plains and to the city’s gate, ignoring the gatekeeper to hurry Gerard inside and shut the gate.
He softly chanted something once they were in the center of town, making them float up to the floating castle. Frank ran inside with Gerard in his arms despite his arms beginning to scream in pain. He let Gerard lay on his bed and waited for him to fall asleep.
“Mama?” He said softly once Gerard had drifted off, looking at the little dog by his feet. “Stay here with Gerard, make sure he stays safe.”
Mama nodded. “Sure thing, love. What are you going to do?”
Frank stood up. “I need to document what just happened. This is absolutely groundbreaking.” His voice was just above a whisper, and a smile was on his face. He hurried out and to his work room, pulling a Faerie book from the shelf and opening it to a blank page before grabbing his quill and inkwell.
The morning came sooner than Frank had hoped. Before he knew it, he heard the door to his work room creep open and soft footsteps inside. He turned to the door and saw a sleepy and disheveled Gerard, looking at Frank.
“Morning, Frankie,” the human said whilst rubbing his eyes.
Frank got up and gave him a smile, walking over to him. “Morning, Gee.” He pecked his lips. “Baby, sweetheart, you are a genius. Last night was such a success!”
Gerard blinked his lazy, hazel eyes and looked at him. “It… was?”
“Of course! I must have sent a good two dozen Faeries back to heaven!” Frank seemed ecstatic until he realized that Gerard didn’t share the same emotions. The human seemed morose, which was never a good sign with Gerard. “Gee, what’s wrong?”
“Hm? Nothing, nothing at all.” Gerard said. “You’re safe, you’re happy, it seems. Everything is fine.” His words sort of slurred together and he seemed more fatigued than he should be.
“No, it’s not nothing. Gerard, what’s wrong?” Frank was more stern, looking into Gerard’s eyes.
“I…” Gerard sighed in defeat. “Last night, the Faeries…”
“Did they hurt you?!” Frank interjected anxiously, checking Gerard over for any noticeable injuries.
“No, they just… I dunno how to describe it.” Gerard rubbed his head. “They… they looked like you, but their faces were all…”
“Yeah, burry, fuzzy faces, with red eyes. I thought it was the real you at first, but they kept saying that… I wasn’t good enough. That you never r-really loved me.” His voice cracked and broke, his gaze on the floor.
Frank’s heart shattered, his eyes on Gerard. “Gee, honey, that’s what Faeries do. They get inside your head and dig up your deepest fears, the ones that would hurt you the most.”
Gerard was quiet, slowly lifting his head to look at Frank. “S-So… I am good enough? Y-You still love me, right?” He seemed small and frail when he said that.
“Honey,” Frank’s eyebrows furrowed together with sympathy while he felt his heart nearly rip in two, “of course I do!” He hugged Gerard close, kissing his cheek. “You are wonderful, perfect, absolutely perfect for me. I wouldn’t be here in this beautiful, fantastical world if it weren’t for you.”
Gerard nodded slowly and closed his eyes, melting into his embrace. “I love you, Frank.”
“I love you, too, Ger-”
The sound of an electric shock would be heard throughout the city, directing the two mens’ attention to the window. They both walked out onto the balcony to see, with great horror, that the barrier had a long crack in it, stretching three fourths across the surface. Down below, in the cute cobbled streets, citizens panicked and screamed, everyone scurrying inside for cover.
It only took a few moments for a member of the Coven to land on the balcony, a young woman, looking at Frank. “Coven master Frank, you need to do something about the barrier, and now. It won’t last till sunset, and when the moon comes out…” She didn’t have to finish, both Frank and Gerard understood what it meant.
Frank swallowed a lump that had formed in his throat, his eyes flitting through the scene of havoc before him. “Alright. I need to create the potion first.” He hurried back inside, beginning his work on the potion.
It took hours to create the potion exactly how it was needed, and three hours passed before Frank realized that the clock was ticking a bit too fast. He became stressed, working despite itr, but Gerard saw right through him.
“Frank, you don’t have enough time.” Gerard said softly.
“I… what?” Frank looked at him, shocked.
“You’re going to run out of time.” Gerard got up. “We need a backup plan, and I have one. First, I need that bag you brought last night.”
Frank”s mind turned over and over, finally clicking. He pointed to the bag, which was laying across the room. “You need to hurry, Gerard. The fate of this town rests in our hands.”
Sure enough, just as Frank was stirring the last of the ingredients into the spell, the dome cracked once more. Frank frantically hurried along, dragging the cauldron out to the balcony where the dome would be seen fading.
Gerard hurried to the balcony with him just a few moments later. “I’m all done. You?”
Frank sighed and gulped. “One last thing to do.” He gestured to the open spellbook in his hands, sighing softly as he began to read from it. Gerard didn’t understand the language and assumed it to be Latin, watching the base of the dome begin to glow.
The sun had already set, casting a purplish light across the sky and letting a few small stars be seen. Screeching was heard in the distance, and it was quickly coming closer. Frank spoke as quickly as he could but stumbled over his words, having to start all over.
Meanwhile, Gerard was leading all of the witches to different spots outside of the city with plenty of brush beside a small clearing. Some of the younger witches volunteered to be bait and scattered across the fairly open plain with another witch hiding and waiting for the Faeries to come.
“Gerard!” Jamia whisper-yelled to the human from behind a bush, waving the man over.
The man hurried to her and crouched down, “What?” He asked quietly.
“Stay here, Frank would kill us if anything happened to you,” the witch explained.
Gerard frowned and furrowed his brows together. “But I have to help you. I can’t just sit here!”
“You can, and you will.” Jamia was stern, casting the same spell that Frank had casted the night before to hide them both from Faeries. She gave Lindsey a thumbs up, and the taller witch ran into the open, jumping around and yelling to get the attention of the Faeries.
All they could do was watch and wait…
It only took a few minutes for the strange, glowing Faeries to surround Lindsey, speaking to her in what seemed to be distorted gibberish. She must have been hearing something different, because she was conversing with them.
“Cmon, cmon…” Gerard said softly, anxiously looking between Lindsey and Jamia, waiting for Jamia to begin the exorcism.
Jamia noticed and spoke, “Just wait a little longer, Gerard…”
Gerard nodded and tried to wait, but the thought of Lindsey being killed on his account terrified him too much. He grabbed the open book from Jamia and began to read off the ritual. His voice rang out loud and clear through the night, making all the Faeries turn to look at the bush where he and Jamia were hiding. There must have been thirty, maybe thirty five of them.
Despite Jamia’s attempts to snatch the book back, he kept reading, a scowl plastered across his face while his eyes flickered from the book to the creatures and then back to the book. Sure, he was slow, but he was nailing every word, and soon, all the Faeries screeched out into the night and ascended into heaven.
“Lindsey!” Jamia shouted and ran out from behind the bush, over to the woman that lay in the grass. The shorter woman knelt down by her side and looked at her before turning back to Gerard and shouting, “Gerard, come quick!”
The human nodded and ran over to them. He looked down at Lindsey and could practically feel his heart break. There she was, laying in the grass, and barely even conscious. She had a huge gash that ripped through her eye and was bleeding profusely.
“Holy shit- Jamia, use your cloak, press it to the wound to stop the bleeding.” Gerard instructed her and kneeled down by lindsey, taking the wounded woman’s hand. “Linds, hey, hey, you gotta stay with me. Listen to me, stay awake, okay? Forget everything the Faeries said to you.”
Lindsey coughed and nodded weakly, looking up at the two with one eye as Jamia had the injured one covered. “Jamia is… a-alive… right?”
“Yes, darling,” Jamia nodded and caressed her hair, “I’m right here for you. I won’t let you die.”
The taller witch chuckled and smiled weakly. “As long as you’re fine then… then I’m fine.” She reached up with a shaky hand and cupped Jamia’s cheek, feeling a tear that was rolling down. “Oh, honey… why the tears? M’alright.”
Jamia shook her head and leaned into her touch. “Lindsey, yo-ou’re hurt-”
“Don’t worry about me, hon. Go get ‘em.” Lindsey gave one last weak and loving smile before she fell unconscious.
Gerard frowned as he watched and shook his head. “We need to get her inside the city, come on.” He helped Jamia stand up and the two of them slowly but surely began to carry Lindsey back inside the city walls. The city seemed deserted since everyone had retreated into their homes by then.
“Is there somewhere that we can get her wound helped?” Gerard asked as they walked through the gates.
Jamia shrugged. “Quickest bet would be a witch that knew how to do a healing spell, but all the others are either out there or up in the castle working on protecting this city.”
Gerard thought for a moment. “Jamia, have you ever practiced a healing spell?”
“Well of course, but I never seem to get it right.”
“Oh, Gerard, but what if I-”
“Try it, Jamia!” Gerard exclaimed. “She’s already lost a lot of blood, and she may not survive much longer. Just try it, I know you can do it.”
Jamia gulped and let out a soft whimper, nodding and laying Lindsey down on the cobbled street. The witch exhaled and closed her eyes for a moment, beginning to recite a healing spell.
“Eye for an ear,
Star for a tear,
You’ve made me weep,
Now come back, my dear.
You’ll be alright,
You’ll live through the night,
Now please lend an ear,
And come back, my dear.”
Jamia finished the incantation and traced a symbol on Lindsey’s forehead with her finger, opening her eyes and biting her lip as both she and Gerard waited desperately for Lindsey to open her eyes.
“Gerard,” Jamia said, “take the cloak off of her eye.”
The human nodded and removed the piece of thoth from the witch’s eye, gasping softly when he saw that the wound was completely healed. There was still a scar which was slightly lighter than the rest of her skin, and the blood that had previously been pouring out of her was now all dried up.
Both the human and the conscious witch gasped, Jamia smiling happily as relief washed over her. “Oh, thank God.” She felt a weight lifted from her shoulders and gently shook her lover, watching as Lindsey’s eyes opened to look at them.
“What…” Lindsey squinted and looked around for a moment or two before her beautiful walnut eyes landed on her lover. “Jamia… what happened?” She asked, her voice weak and frail. “I don’t remember you reading the spell… am I in heaven?”
Jamia and Gerard both chuckled. “No,” Gerard said, “you’re not dead yet. I read the spell. There were too many Faeries, I feared you’d die.”
Lindsey gave a soft nod. “Well done, Gerard. You should become a witch.”
Gerard let out another chuckle. “No, thank you. Too much excitement for me. I’m an artist back home.”
“An artist? How lovely.” Jamia smiled and helped her lover stand up. “Now, we’ve been talking long enough. We need to get to Frank and help him.”
“But Frank said that he alone can cast the spell, that no one else can help.” Gerard looked at her and received a sigh from both of them.
“No, that’s what the elders say,” Lindsey corrected. “Y’know, the dickheads that wanted you to leave. It is completely possible and, actually, better for multiple witches to cast the spell at once.”
Gerard nodded and grew a confident smile. “Then let’s go, we need to help him!”
It was just mere minutes until the trio reached the castle. Gerard rode on Lindsey’s broom, clinging to her with shaking limbs; he failed to mention the fact that he was afraid of heights, and tried to ignore the lack of a surface underneath his feet. His worries were calmed once Lindsey landed on the balcony and they all dismounted the brooms. Gerard hurried to Frank’s side, noticing how distressed he seemed.
“Frank, hey, what’s wrong?” Jamia asked, approaching the Coven Master.
Frank let out a groan. “I’ve tried this goddamned spell five fucking times, and I keep fucking up!” He exclaimed angrily. “It’s hopeless, I can’t do it!” He was about to throw the spellook out the window when Gerard grabbed his wrist and lowered his arm.
“Frank,” Gerard said softly, “listen to me. We’re here to help. You don’t have to do this alone.”
“Yes I do, i-it’s the rules!” The Coven master had begun to tear up, his hands trembling.
“No, Frank, it’s not. It’s just the elders being the elders.”
Frank sniffled. “What do you m-mean?”
“My best bet? They don’t like you. They’re trying to make you leave, to run back home and never come back. They’re trying to scare you.”
Lindsey nodded in agreement. “Yeah, they’ve never liked Frank. They try to keep the old rules, keep everything strict and the same, but Frank is so loose and free, he doesn’t stick to the old rules. There are only, what, four of them? Every time we vote on something, the elders lose, which is usually for the better, trust me. Frank’s side wins, and they don’t like it. They probably do want you gone.”
Frank frowned and looked at them. “Guys, I appreciate the help and all, but this is only making me feel worse…”
“Don’t let them get to you, Frankie,” Gerard looked into his eyes. “You need to prove them wrong, show them that you can do this, that you can pass any obstacle. Do it in spite of them, be better than their expectations.” He swallowed a lump in his throat. “It’s how I survived without you there to reassure me that my art was good, or that my singing was pretty.”
Frank looked at him and slowly but surely relaxed, smiling. “Alright. Come and help me read this spell, then.”
Jamia dragged a reading pedestal out to the balcony so everyone would crowd around it. Frank laid the open book down on it and all the witches began to read.
They all spoke slowly and loudly, letting their voices echo through the night. The screeches of Faeries could be heard through the cracks in the protective barrier, and every so often a bright light would cut through the black of the night, signalling yet another group of Faeries had been exorcised. The trio of witches continued on, ignoring everything around them, including Gerard, who was watching the barrier.
The three of them weren’t strong enough. They needed more…
Gerard chewed on his lip and walked up beside them, figuring out where they were and beginning to read along with them. He raised his voice, making it ring out loud and clear, nailing every word on the head, just like he had with the exorcism.
It was Gerard’s extra little push that made the spell take more effect. The cracks in the barrier began to glow and sparkle, the glow painting the housetops with a light coral color. It was slow, sure, but it was better than before. The barrier began to change color, fading from the cute bubblegum pink it had been when Gerard first arrived to a sheer alabaster color, shining in the dark and lighting up not just the city, but the surrounding few kilometers.
The quartet on the balcony kept looping through the spell until the barrier would not repair itself anymore. They all stopped, admiring the beauty of the true barrier in silence. Down below, people began to flood the streets, and cheering could be heard all the way on the castle balcony. This made Frank beam, looking over at Gerard with a glow in his eyes that hadn’t been there since Gerard asked Frank to be his boyfriend.
“We did it,” Frank whispered, tearing up as he hugged Gerard tightly. “Oh, my God, we actually did it. They’re safe, they’re all safe…”
Gerard couldn’t help but smile, hugging Frank close and closing his eyes. “I knew we could do it, Frankie. I knew it.” He gently rubbed the witch’s back, comforting him.
“Gee?” Frank started, soft and slightly muffled by Gerard’s chest,
“Yeah, Frankie?” Gerard answered.
“I wanna go back home.” The witch looked up at Gerard. “I miss home.”
Gerard let out a chuckle and nodded, smiling. “Me, too. Mitch really misses you.”
Finally, after a few days of relaxing and paperwork signing, Frank and Gerard departed down the road for home with cloaks draped over them to be kept as memorabilia. They walked in silence, hand in hand, as they observed the scenery with small smiles playing on their lips. The both of them felt absolutely euphoric about the fact that they would go home together.
The walk took but a few hours, and soon they were standing at the foot of a tree with some initials carved in it. Gerard pulled a beautiful pocket knife from his pocket and flipped it open, pulling out a key. He slid the key into a small hole and turned it. The tree made clicks and whirs, the trunk opening up to reveal a spiral staircase.
“Going up, my dear?” Gerard gestured to the tree and smiled at Frank as he joked, a soft giggle coming from the both of them as they ascended the staircase.
They were quick and light on their feet, both very conscious of the fact that the stairs were old and weak. It wasn’t long until they reached the top and exited the tree, greeted with a beautiful scene.
The grass was a blooming shade of green, and some small patches of snow still laid at the roots of some trees. A few trees had some small buds on the tips of their branches which sort of glowed in the wondrous morning sun. Every so often, they heard a bird chirping; maybe calling for a mate, maybe feeding its young, who knows? There was a small dirt path which led past the tree with a plaque beside it on a pedestal where passersby could see it. It commemorated the park in which the tree grew to some old man, maybe the founder of that city.
“Let’s get home,” Gerard said. “I paid for three month rent before I left, so the apartment should be fine.”
“What about Mitch?” Frank asked, looking up at his boyfriend.
“I gave Mikey a key so he could feed him.” Gerard quickly followed up that sentence with, “Don’t worry, he thinks I’m on a trip for work.”
Frank visibly untensed. “And what about me?”
“Also on a trip, for college. Studying abroad.”
The shorter man smiled. “Perfect. I’m so glad to be home.” He leaned up and kissed Gerard, keeping their lips latched for a few moments before pulling back. “I love you, Gee.”
“I love you too, Frankie,” Gerard said. “Let’s get home, shall we? You’ve got like, four seasons of Supernatural to catch up on.”
Frank giggled. “Race you?”
“You’re on.” And with that, they both took off, racing down the path that they had known for their whole lives. They were home.