If Gerard got a nickel every time he got called "cocksucker" or "fag" or some other unimaginative slur, he'd...well, okay, he wouldn't be rich, but maybe he'd have enough to see a movie or buy smokes. That'd be kind of cool, actually.
So when Frank's fist cracks into a passing jock's nose, the snap echoing off the lockers, Gerard's brain bounces back why? in return.
The question doesn't disappear as Frank leads him outside and their shoes crunch on gravel. It grows in volume with each step until Gerard forces a version out of his mouth. "What the fuck, dude?"
And then Frank says the word - cocksucker, like it hurts to get out - and it takes Gerard a minute to even hear it. His clenching stomach's too distracting. It unclenches, just slightly, when heat flows out of his face and through his veins. Does Frank hate people who suck cock? Would he hate Gerard if he knew?
But it's Frank. If anyone's earned the benefit of the doubt...
It doesn't stop him from feeling queasy when Frank says, "It's not a good thing, Gerard. Especially when it's not true."
"But it is true."
Fuck, it's out there now. And Frank looks like Gerard could knock him over with a feather. It's not hatred, sure, but Gerard can't watch to see if it turns that way, so he drops his gaze to the ground.
"You're...into guys," Frank says, his voice giving no clues.
"Oh. I didn't know."
Of course he didn't know. Gerard never said, and it wasn't like he was shouting it from the rooftops. But some days, it felt like just breathing the wrong way put a neon sign on his shoulders that read, "I'm a big swishy queer, ask me how." Maybe he compensated too much for that.
He hugs himself a little and says, "I didn't want you to know. I was worried--"
"Gee. You know me better than that."
He looks up a little. Frank's closer in his space, eyes round and wondering. Gerard's breath catches.
"I was afraid you'd see how I felt--" he starts, heart thudding in his ears.
The seconds where Frank pulls him close are slow, almost like time's trying to stop entirely. Gerard sees the slightest quiver of Frank's chin as his face grows closer, feels warmth spread as their lips touch and Frank's tongue slides in. He gasps, digging his fingers into Frank's waist, head buzzing with the knowledge that he doesn't have to let go because Frank wants him there.
The heat in his gut settles into something more pleasant as Frank's fingers tangle into Gerard's hair, and Gerard's eyes flutter shut.
Screw nickels. This? Way better.