It’s raining. Again. Rain seems like the only forecast the New Jersey sky seems to be equipped for because it’s been offering its citizens nothing else for the past two weeks. Everyone is tucked in safely at home, avoiding the freezing cold pelting down on them, the crash of thunder and the lightshow that follows. Everyone except the man walking leisurely down the broken sidewalk, his pace showing anything but disdain for the weather as it soaks through his clothes, his lifted hood doing nothing to protect him.
Amidst the claps of thunder and the rain crashing loudly into everything it hits, there’s enough noise to drown out the unintelligible words tumbling from his lips as he makes his way across the street without a single look to what else could be traveling adjacent to his path. There’s no one to hear his drunken ranting, no one to shoot furtive glances as they usher loved ones to the opposite side of the street.
The moan of agony is almost lost to him beneath the clamor of the night; the cry of pain seems to almost come from within him rather than the small alleyway before him and had he not taken a moment from his mumblings to light his cigarette he surely would have missed it.
Inebriated enough to heed no concern for himself, he shuffles into the lane, his stick of nicotine forgotten within a small lake at the mouth of the entrance. Cocking his head he searches through the downpour for the source of the small whimpers still making their way past his ears.
He’s never seen such terrible beauty, the way the small body before him is curled in on itself, lying on it’s side, dark hair covering the youths face as he arches against the pain, a pitiful whine slipping past his lips once again, unaware of the man in black watching him writhe in agony.
And the boy is beautiful, the most beautiful thing that Gerard can ever remember seeing, with the black tattoos curling their way down the luminescent skin of his arms, visible even in the darkness. Gerard knows his hands are shaking as he continues to gaze at the small boy in front of him, senses blurred against the alcohol still coursing strongly through his veins.
There’s blood covering the youth, streaming from unidentified wounds, spilling down his body into the water he lies in; Bloody and mauled and dirty and beautiful.
Without another thought Gerard feels himself reaching out to the strange beaten boy, placing his hand on his shoulder before realizing that it might produce a less than desired reaction, considering the circumstances he found the boy in. The yelp of fear that issues past the youths lips causes Gerard to grimace before hastily removing his hand and taking a step backwards.
His eyes are bright and wild and full of fear as he stares, curling his knees in closer still to his chest while simultaneously sitting up. Gerard can see his clothes are soaked clear through, his thin white t-shirt a meager shield against the rain and the cold of the night; he’s shaking hard as he continues to stare up, chest heaving against his knees.
“I didn’t mean to scare you…” The words fall from his lips before his intoxicated brain can decipher what they are. “Are you okay?” The dark haired youth continues to stare, his eyes alight with wonder and fear, unspeaking and shaking.
Gerard can’t think, staring at this beautiful boy with his shining skin and tattoos and bright eyes; he swallows hard, feeling his own chest heaving as the rain continues to pour down on both of them, and he suddenly wants to be anywhere but in the rain, wants desperately to get this striking creature somewhere warm and dry.
“I promise I’m not going to hurt you, okay?” His fingers reach down once again to the trembling boy, lightly touching his small shoulder, his lips touched by a small smile of reassurance as he continues. “How’d you like to get out of the rain? I’ve got a place not far from here, you could crash there, at least until it stops raining…” As the words filter through he can’t help thinking that he sounds like he’s coming onto the kid, cursing his stupidity once again.
With a slight cock of his dark haired head, the boy reaches his own hand up to Gerard, allowing himself to be lifted from the pavement, his eyes never leaving Gerard’s face, searching, searching for some answer to some unspoken question. A quick shiver runs up Gerard’s spine at the intensity of the boy’s stare before he’s gripping the offered hand tightly within his own as he leads them out of the alley.
He walks quickly, dragging the unnamed boy behind him, looking over his shoulder every couple seconds to check on him as they walk-run to the apartment, Gerard stumbling with the keys as he tries to get them out of the rain as swiftly as possible.
When he finally manages the lock he pulls both of the trembling bodies into the apartment, flicking on the lights as he dashes down the hallway, pulling out towels and blankets from the closet before rushing back to the boy still standing in the hallway, his arms crossed over his chest, seeming to vibrate. His skin is glowing beneath the harsh light, his lips tinged blue, his teeth clattering violently against each other.
Gerard throws the towel around the boy’s shoulders, frantically rubbing up and down his exposed arms, hoping the friction will warm his skin, will stop the powerful shaking beneath his frenzied fingers. He can feel eyes on him as he continues his task, afraid to look up and see horror reflecting in those exquisite eyes, until eventually the shaking has subsided and it would be inappropriate to continue touching the boy.
Gerard’s eyes lift grudgingly, bracing himself for the anger and screams and accusations that are bound to be thrown, but the boy just stares with such wonder that Gerard can’t help but stare right back. He gazes like he won the lottery, like Gerard’s his savior and his whole world wrapped into one haggard person. But he looks scared too, like Gerard might just hurt him like whoever had earlier tonight. Fear and adoration and awe are written in his features.
Tearing his eyes away from the beauty before him, Gerard remembers that the kid was bleeding just minutes ago and that despite the fact that he’s looking heaven sent right now, he could have serious injuries; he might even need a hospital, though Gerard is hoping that it’s nothing more than what he himself can deal with, he doesn’t want to drag the kid anywhere else tonight.
Pulling the boy’s arm once again Gerard heads to the his bedroom, unsure of how he’s going to go about helping the boy whose name he doesn’t even know.
“Where are you hurt?” He’s not sure if that’s an appropriate first question, but maybe the most pertinent in the moment. His eyes are searching the bright green ones staring up at him from the perch of the large bed. Gerard’s afraid for a moment that maybe the kid is deaf or doesn’t understand English; all he does is continue staring at Gerard for a few more minutes, his lips almost lifted up in what could be mistaken as a smile before his fingers are gripping the bottom of his shirt and pulling it over his head in one swift movement that sends Gerard flying back against the door in a panic.
There’s barely a moment for Gerard to admire the small hips and flat stomach before his eyes are assaulted with exactly what the boy was intent on showing him. Bruises paint his skin like a canvas, the purples and greens and blues blurring between the smooth white, seamlessly melting until they’re barely discernable and he can’t imagine what sort of beating must have occurred to cause such casualty. Gerard doesn’t meet the boy’s eyes, feeling his heart beating strangely fast and erratic against his chest.
Standing, the dark haired youth then turns facing his back towards Gerard, and there’s guilt and disgust and sadness crawling it’s way through his veins like poison slinking it’s way from his brain, tightening around his throat and seeping into his heart, wrapping itself around his stomach and he’s barely at the porcelain before he’s expelling this mornings breakfast and his liquid lunch and dinner, left only with his heaving gasps and the blistering tears trailing across his pale cheeks as they burn their way through his skin as the poison boils beneath it.
He sinks to the floor, his forehead resting against the stark white tub, hoping the cool ceramic regulates his breathing, stops the tears from flowing down his cheeks with more ferocity than before as the image of the boy broken and bleeding on the pavement of a dark alley stains his vision in red.
Biting his lip he hastily wipes at the tears still spilling down his cheeks, lifting himself from the floor. Splashing his face with cool water he takes a final calming breathe reminding himself that someone else is now counting on him and he can’t go falling to pieces. Pulling open the door he rushed through moments ago, he holds the wet cloth firmly as he returns shakily to the bedroom, confusion and disbelief and horror pushing his feet forwards until he’s standing before the boy again.
“What’s your name?” Gerard knows his voice is shaking slightly, knows that his mind is a bit unstable at the best of times and there’s a good chance this is all a dream, or perhaps a hallucination.
Once again the boy cocks his dark head to the side, biting his bottom lip in uncertainty, his brow slightly furrowed but no sound makes its way past him. Gerard isn’t deterred, pressing on.
“I’m Gerard, I’m not going to hurt you. I want to help.” Gerard takes the boys nod as understanding and his fingers reach forward once again, the boy lying on his stomach as the taller man’s fingers come in contact with the softest skin he’s ever felt, sure that it’s all still a dream, but secretly hoping it isn’t. He can feel the bile rising in his chest as his fingers brush against the drying blood across the boy’s small back. Lifting the cloth Gerard applies as little pressure as he can, wiping away at the dried and still flowing blood alike, listening to the soft whimpers from below him.
Gerard can’t imagine how someone could do something so horrible to such a beautiful creature, still wiping at the strikingly marred skin, revealing it to his eyes as he wonders whether he ought to bandage his wounds up. A strange and terrifying realization hits Gerard once the blood is cleared away, the wounds down each side of the boys back now visible, the skin red and raw from Gerard’s ministrations and what’s clearly been torn from him; Gerard’s flying away from the youth for a second time, his back pressed tightly against the wall, his eyes wide with fear meet wet green.
“You’re an angel…”