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A year after the end of "Don't mean too much to me"

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"I'm sick, assholes. I don't feel like going swimming. I mean, I never feel like going swimming."

Everything hurts; Frank's breaths are heavy in his chest. Even talking feels like a huge effort. Frank hates this. Hates, hates, hates. "They wouldn't let me in, anyway. It's not hygienic."

"You're not actually contagious," Gerard says, running a hand across Frank's forehead, carding through his hair. He's pressed all along Frank's back, his other arm across Frank's middle. "And it's not like anyone can tell you're sick."

Frank grumbles, tugging until Gerard settles more fully on top of him. Gerard complies with a sigh. "You guys can tell."

"Well, no one else can tell. How are they supposed to know you-"

"Come on, Frank," Ray cuts in, concern obvious in his voice. Fuck, Frank hates making him sound like that. Hates that they're all gathered around like he's on his death bed. He wants to brush it off and tell them it's nothing, but. "It'd be good for you. Just for a little while, you know? We'll all go. It'll be... fun."

He doesn't sound like he believes it'll be fun, even for a second, but Frank appreciates the effort.

H struggles to crack one eye open. "Even Mikey?"

Mikey doesn't say anything, but he doesn't protest when Ray wraps an arm around Mikey's shoulders and says "Of course, Mikey's coming too."

"Mikey in a swimsuit," Frank rasps. He takes a deep breath, feeling all the places in his body that ache, all the unfamiliar points of tension. Maybe swimming would help. "Alright, I guess if you guys wanna swim that badly, I can come with."

He pushes up into Gerard's hand, still tangled in his hair. It feel good, the pressure. For a second Frank can pretend that if Gerard let go, Frank would float away, that Gerard is what's keeping him grounded.

Truth is, Frank's terrified. It's never been that bad before. Never this long. What if...

"You'll get better," Gerard whispers into his ear. "Promise."

"I know," Frank grits out around the heavy lump in his throat. Then, louder: "Okay, we're going. Wait, do we even own swimsuits?"