Gerard followed him, hand wrapped around his bicep, tugging him back. "Calm down," he pleaded.
"No. Leave me alone," Bert snapped, tugging his arm back. Gerard relented, loosening his grip on Bert's arm "Sorry," he said lowly, looking at Bert. He shook his head, swallowing.
"Fuck off and leave me alone," Bert croaked, backing away.
Gerard tangled his hand in Bert's hoodie and pulled him forward, kissing him hard. "Get off," Bert mumbled against his lips, making no effort to push him away. Gerard shook his head and bit the other boy's lip. Get off me," Bert muttered again and tensed up when Gerard shook his head. "Get off me," Bert screamed suddenly and landed both fists on Gerard's bare chest, shoving him away so hard that Gerard's back slapped on the ground. Scrambling to his feet Gerard let his fists connect to Bert's stomach, using his body as a lever to push him away.
Bert made to attack him again and Gerard shoved him back. "You're fucking crazy," he hissed, gripping the back of Bert's neck. "Insane," Gerard repeated, kissing Bert's forehead gently.
Bert struggled half-heartedly before sniffing and laying his head against Gerard's shoulder. "You can't see him again. You're mine," Bert croaked from Gerard's shoulder. The older man ran his palm up and down Bert's back and cooed softly at him. "No,"
Bert sniffed," N-no?"
Gerard soothed again, petting his skin, "No. I love you more anyway. It won't make a difference if I leave him."
Bert drew back a little, fist made on Gerard's sides, nails scratching over the sensitive skin on his naked ribs. "You won't leave him?"
Gerard shook his head and pulled Bert back to his body. "You're not gonna leave me, are you?" Bert asked, fists moving around from Gerard's ribs to his chest, and up to wrap around his shoulders. Gerard shook his head; Bert could feel his chin brush over the hairs on the crown of Bert's head. "Never baby," he promised. Bert inhaled deeply, and let his eyes slip shut.
"No," Bert croaked after a few minutes.
Gerard tilted his head in confusion, still holding Bert to his body in the middle of their living room.
"You have to pick one. You can't have both. It's not fair." Bert breathed, hand clasping the back of Gerard's neck.
"You're not gonna hit me, are you?" Gerard whispered, watching the tiniest strands of hair on top of Bert's head move with his breath.
"Not unless you hit me," Bert mumbled into his neck.
"I choose you." Gerard stroked his hand down and let it curl around Bert's hip.
"Then," Bert exhaled, warm breath low on Gerard's neck. "Then get him out of my bedroom."
"You have a bruise on your face," Jeph mumbled, holding his cup close to his chest, watching Bert. "Yeah," Bert agreed, closing his lips around a cigarette and holding a lighter to it.
Jeph watched him with unblinking eyes. "You should leave him."
"No." Bert didn't hesitate.
"He hits you," Jeph said. It wasn't a question.
"I hit him too," Bert inhaled deeply, filling his lungs with tar and dirty smoke.
"He cheats on you," Jeph said instead.
"I cheat on him too," Bert repeated, allowing the grey smoke to curl out of his mouth, disappearing into the air along with his low words.
"It's not love," Jeph said, watching the smoke leave Bert's lungs. "You can't think it is."
"You don't understand," the singer said looking up at the ceiling. "You wouldn't get it."
"I don't hit you," Jeph noted. The heat from the cup was starting to singe his fingertips and the inked skin where he had it hugged to his chest.
Bert opened his mouth to argue and closed. A minute later he said instead, "It's different with you and me."
"You kill each other." Jeph mumbled.
Bert inhaled on his cigarette slowly. "I love him." He said. It wasn't an argument.
"You make Jeph sad," Quinn said, his brows furrowed.
"I don't mean to. I don't know how to fix it." Bert said hoarsely.
"You could stop using him. You could stop telling him you love him. You could stop ruining everything and just leave Gerard."
"I don't use him. I love him. I do love him. Just not like how I love Gerard." Bert said, shaking his head warningly, his voice low and hoarse from the previous night's concert.
"I think we're all grateful for that," Quinn said, more to himself than Bert.
"You don't get pity from me. You don't get sympathy," Dan said, thumbing through a book. Bert stood in front of him, shocked. "I ...what?"
"You're not a child Bert. You're a man. I think it's sad that you won't leave him just because you're scared to be alone," Dan said, turning the page in his book.
"I'm not afraid to be alone. I love him and you can't get that," Bert snapped, taking a step back.
Dan glanced up and shut his book, his thumb caught between the pages. "Don't attack me. Stop thinking you're more equipped to talk about love than me just because you have Gerard. Love isn't what he is. It's not hitting each other and sleeping with other people and feeling horrible all the time. You get over it because Jeph will not wait around for you to wake up and see that you're killing yourself. And I don't blame him."
"You...I..." Bert swallowed. "You make me sound like a spoiled child."
"That's exactly how you're acting." Dan said, re-opening his book and leaning forward to read. "You're both too immature to be in a relationship with each other. You need someone stronger and he needs someone who's not going to fight with him as much. Neither of you are good for each other."
Bert swallowed, and shook his head, leaving the room. Dan turned to the next page.
"Dan thinks we're childish," Bert whispered, feeling Gerard's breath on his naked back, bed covers around his hips as he sat up. "Mmm?" Gerard mumbled sleepily, one hand running up and down his back. "Yeah. He thinks we should break up. That we're not good for each other." Bert swallowed. "I think he's right."
Gerard shook his head, nails tightening on Bert's skin. "No."
Bert whispered, "Yes. I'm leaving."
Gerard's hand dropped away from his back, fisting in the sheets, sitting up and rolling away. "No."
Bert nodded, getting himself out of the bed and picking clothes off the floor, pulling them on. "I'm leaving."
"No you're not." Gerard said, moving over to Bert quickly, holding his waist. "Mine."
"No. Not anymore." Bert inhaled, gathering his strength, knowing it was better for the long term, pushing Gerard off. "I'm leaving. You can go back to Frank. Alright? You don't get to tell me what to do. Not anymore."
Gerard just stood there and watched Bert pack. "Fine," he mumbled when Bert zipped up a bag full of his clothes. "Then don't bother coming back to me when Quinn or whoever realizes that you're fucking crazy."
"I'm not crazy," Bert said and then immediately wished he hadn't, not wanting to cause an argument. "I'm leaving," he repeated, wanting some kind of real goodbye.
Gerard just shook his head and climbed back into bed. Bert lost his temper and kicked the foot of the bed. "Don't you even fucking care?"
"No. You'll be back, but I won't be here. I'll see you around Bert," Gerard mumbled from the pillow. Bert stared at him for a second and picked up his bags. "Fine," he spat out, and walked a little too quickly out the bedroom door, hugging his bag to his chest and slamming the apartment door behind him.
Gerard pulled his cell phone out from under his pillow, feeling the smooth plastic drag a little on the dirty sheets.
"Frankie? I did it. I made him leave. Can you come over?"