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all your hopeless heart

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The first day back after summer was always, in Frank's opinion, the hardest. Yeah yeah, all his friends at the sixth form at his old school had been back for weeks already, and his friends who work full time never got off in the first place, so he supposed he was lucky. Still, he was tired as hell. He read the time on his grainy alarm and groaned. 6.30. He rolled over and tried to block the incessant beeping out with his pillow, before accepting that yep, he was awake. 

Frank sat up and swung his legs over the side of his small single bed and set his bare feet on the grimy carpet. Stretching, he stood up and padded to the shower. He jumped in and winced at the cold sting of the water on his shoulders. Shit it was cold. He quickly shampooed his short hair and washed it out as soon as possible, just wanting to get out of the cold. 

Twenty minutes later Frank was standing in front of his wardrobe, adjusting his tie in the mirror so it was just short enough to be considered rebellious but not short enough to get yelled at by every strict teacher in that place. Frank and his mum, especially his mum, had considered it a miracle when Frank had been accepted into St James' private school to do A levels in art and design, fine art and English literature. Frank had always been talented, and he did know it, but to see his talent recognised by a prestigious private school in Kensington... it had been incredible.

Only, when he had got there, he'd found it different to his dreams. The other students, instead of respecting him for his intelligence, looked down at him for coming from a poor background. His mum was a nurse and worked night shifts, so she wasn't around all that often and when she was she was usually asleep. Even though his mum was the hardest working person he'd ever met, the job didn't pay well and they lived in a small flat in a sprawling estate in Brixton. Even scraping together the money needed for the textbooks and uniform had been a struggle. Because of this, Frank had started taking shifts at the takeaway shop in the estate. He worked from seven until eleven every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, and because of this he was always tired and he could never get the stench of rancid kebab grease out of his skin. 

Between his height- Frank had always been small- and his background he was the prime bullying target at St James' School. He had a couple of friends, also outcasts and losers, who he hung around with in a table in the corner of the canteen at lunchtimes, but they didn't actually get along that well. That's the thing, being a loser is the only thing they actually had in common, apart from that they were completely different, but sometimes hanging around with people you don't like is preferable to hanging out by yourself. Makes you harder to pick on. 

Frank was startled out of his thinking by the noise of someone stirring in the next room. His mum was probably waking up. She had a shift until eleven the night before and had another one starting at midday. Frank checked the alarm clock again. Fuck; 8.10. He hastily chucked his stuff into his Sports Direct backpack, grabbed his art folder and put on his fake leather brogues before running out of the door, not stopping to grab anything to eat, probably nothing in the house anyway, yelling a quick goodbye to his mum who answered only in a confused grunt. Smiling, Frank ran down the twisting stairs; he hadn't used the lift since that old lady got stuck in there for like five hours when he was five and had to pee in her handbag. Rumours are the smell had never left the plastic flooring...

Only a few minutes later (their flat did have the benifit of dung very close to an underground station) and Frank was on the graffitied tube to South Kensington station, standing like a sardine in a can between an elderly Chinese lady and an American tourist with a frankly ridiculously large camera hanging around her neck. She was wearing Crocs and khaki shorts even though this was late September in England and even in London it rarely got above 16 degrees. He was so caught up thinking about this random woman's fashion choices he only just noticed it was his stop and had to push past the American in order to get out of the Automatic Doors Of Doom before they slammed shut.

He got out of the station and checked the time on his to be honest, crappy phone. 8.40, fifteen minutes until lessons. He swore under his breath. He'd been emailed his timetable a week before and he knew what he had first period- art and design with a new teacher he hadn't heard of before. His name was Mr Way, which conjured up an image of an old, old man who was more turtle than human. No matter how bad he was he couldn't possibly be as awful as last years teacher; Mrs Worth. She was the living embodiment of the word bland. An ancient, wizened old lady who shuffled around making comments nobody could decipher and generally was pretty useless.

As Frank hurried through the white streets of Kensington, buildings towering on every side, he hoped for something that would make this year at least a little interesting. He couldn't deal with another year like year twelve.

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As Frank neared the school gates, he was pulled back down to reality, his hopes of a good year thirteen ruined. As usual, the girls in their rolled up skirts got out of their daddy's porches and jaguars, and linked arms with each other as they squealed and screamed about what had happened in the short space of time between they'd last texted or whatever. Frank rolled his eyes. And of course, the boys were getting out of equally fancy cars, slamming the doors of them like they weren't probably worth more money than Frank could ever dream of having. Amongst all the arm linking and hugging and shoulder clapping there were a few scattered year sevens, with their too large blazers and huge bags, standing like islands in the sea of teenage hormones. It wasn't like it was that much of a change for them; most went to St James' prep school from the age of three, which is literally next door.

Frank entered the obnoxiously fancy main building, not even caring about the elaborate trophies and paintings covering every surface. Only a year ago this had awed him, but now it just further highlighted the fact he didn't fit in. So he kept his eyes down as he headed through the building, stopping at his locker to discard some of the extra books and folders that he wouldn't need until later in the day, and left by the back entrance to go toward the arts block. Back entrance conjures the image of a small and maybe a bit grimy door, but not at St James'. The 'back entrance' was still a large, carved oak door. It took a lot of Frank's strength to open it, especially when he was this tired after working all night.

He stifled a yawn while walking to the arts block. Shit he was tired, how would he make it through the day? He hurried up a bit once he realised that he was one of the only people still not in lessons. 'Nice one Frank, first lesson with a new teacher and you're going to be late.' He mumbled to himself, sticking his hands in his blazer pockets. He made it to the art room- a3- and pushed open the door as little as he could to try and avoid people noticing. He mumbled a quick apology for being late and plopped down in the only available seat, right by the back in the corner. Suited him just fine. As he frantically was unpacking his pencil case and sketch book, he heard a small cough coming from the front of the classroom, and looked up, only to make eye contact with one of the most handsome men he'd ever seen.

His thick, dark, angled eyebrows were drawn together in a quizzical expression, above gorgeous hazel eyes, eyes which were fixed on Franks. His youthful, face was pale, which was emphasised by his jet black hair. It was quite long and messy, but in a way that made it look artfully tousled instead of plain knotty. The man had a fantastic bone structure and jawline and defined, pink lips. He was thin and not too tall, but not short like Frank, and wore tight, maybe even unprofessionally tight, black trousers and an equally tight black waistcoat which defined his tiny wait. Under this he wore a white shirt, sleeves folded up to the elbows to reveal toned but not too muscular forearms, which right now were crossed over his chest. He also had a skinny black tie around his neck.

Frank had obviously been staring a little too long, as he heard sniggers from across the room. He tore his eyes from the man's to try and figure out the source of the sound. Predictably, it was Charles Henry, the poshest, richest, most obnoxious boy in the school. Rumour it that his dad worked high up in MI5, but who could know for sure. Any way he was the most popular, probably because the school would be sued of not or something. Frank caught Charles Henry's eye, and he mouthed the word fag at him. Frank rolled his eyes for the second time in a very short space of time. He'd had a year to think of a better insult and that was all he could do? Pathetic.

Another throat clearing from the front had Frank's eyes locked with the man's again, and he felt himself going red. 'Well,' he said. His voice was softer and more feminine than expected, and definitely not a London accent, but with an underlying growl that made even the word well sound undeniably sexy. Frank gulped. 'since you've missed introductions, I'm Mr Way, the new arts teacher here at St James'. We were just about to do a get to know me exercise and, as you've interrupted my lesson so rudely,' a wink then, lazy and so, so hot. Frank's heart fluttered and he felt himself going even redder. 'I think it's only right that you should start us off.' He broke eye contact then to address the whole class. 'I'd like you all to tell me your name and something you're interested in, starting over here.' He unfolded his arms, gestured at Frank and leaned against the desk, crossing his feet over casually. 

Frank stuttered, wracking his brains for something interesting to say about himself. 'I- I'm Frank and I like to play guitar.' A spark of interest in Mr Way's green flecked eyes, before he moved onto the person next to him, a blonde girl who answered confidently, 'I'm Becky and I ride dressage.' The sharing moved around the classroom, but Frank wasn't listening. He couldn't take his eyes from his teacher, who nodded after every person's introduction, sometimes making an interested noise or small comment. When he was facing the opposite side of the room to Frank's seat, he could admire the way the muscles and tendons moved in his neck when he swallowed or spoke, and of course his magnificent jawline. Frank gulped again.

Frank had never considered himself gay, but he knew he wasn't straight either. At his old school he'd had experiences with both genders and enjoyed them equally. The only people he'd really told were his best friends Ray and Mikey, who were totally fine with it. They loved him whatever. Frank missed always having them around to rely on, but after they finished year eleven they'd all went in different directions. Ray had stayed at their secondary school to do a level film studies; he wanted to be a director. Mikey had quit to go and work in the huge Waterstones in the city centre, he wasn't anything much, just working on the floor making sure that books were replaced on the shelves after they were sold. Still, he seemed to enjoy it, though Frank did get the odd pang of jealousy sometimes when Mikey talked about his friends and things they had gotten up to at work.

Frank had to rip himself from his thoughts yet again. God he was exhausted. He stifled another yawn and tried to focus while Mr Way finished up the introductions and stood up. 'Wonderful!' He said, clapping his hands and starting to pace along the front of the room. 'Now, I know you've been working on this course for a year already and, because of that, you already have half of your coursework completed. Before she left, your previous teacher told me where it is and I've got to confess I've already had a sneaky look. All I'm going to say now is how amazing everyone's is, but I know we can get it even more amazing by the end of the year. I'm not criticising your previous teacher here,' this was met by more sniggers and giggles. Mr Way shrugged and flashed the most adorable smile Frank had ever seen, his teeth were so tiny and cute! 'Okay maybe I am a little. I know this is fine art and it does focus on traditional pieces and styles, but I still think that we can push the boundaries of your imaginations a little more.' Frank grinned, both in excitement for the coming year and because of how animated his teacher was becoming. 'Your work is very good, but one thing I have noticed is that, last year, when you were given a task for coursework, we ended up with twenty very similar pieces. Again I'm not saying it was bad, but I can tell your old teacher didn't let your creativity off of it's leash as much as she maybe should have.' Lots of nods and 'yes sir', and Mr Way grinned again, making Frank's heart flutter faster. 'We have a double period today, and we've spent about half of the first one talking, so the plan for the rest of the lesson is you getting your portfolios in order and checking you have everything, and I'll come around and talk to you all individually.' He stopped pacing and, when nodody made moves to collect their stuff, he let out a small, sexy chuckle and gestured to the door of the storage cupboard. 'Go on then!'

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The room was a flurry of movement for about ten minutes before everyone settled down and started to look through their work from the previous year. Mrs Worth had always been hyper critical of their work and taught her students to be the same, so Frank cringed as he looked through stuff from the start of year twelve, work that, to be honest, he hadn't looked at for months. All he thought of when he saw work like this was ways that he could have improved it if he'd known then the skills he had now. Most of which he'd taught himself using online information and YouTube in the school library. He yawned again. If he was going to do well in his exams he'd have to stop taking these late shifts, but then how would Frank and his mum do without the extra money coming in? And it was unfair to ask his mum to take on any more work, she already worked too hard.

Frank watched Mr Way again. I mean, it would have been rude to miss the opportunity right? His face was so expressionate as he examined each student's work. Frank rested his head in his hands, propping his elbows on the desk. He had tiny, faint lines of the sides of his eyes, the only sign that showed he may not have been as young as Frank first thought. Frank felt like he had weights attached to his eyelids, he was so tired and they kept drifting shut against his will. He tried to busy himself with shuffling through the various loose sheets he had in a wallet in his bag, seeing which ones belonged with his work and which belonged in the recycling. But this wasn’t enough to keep him awake. What harm could a quick nap do anyway? He'd slept before in class with Mrs Worth and she never noticed, and it did really help him get through the rest of the day. So Frank lent back on his chair and closed his eyes, promising himself he wouldn't sleep for long anyway.

Frank felt a hand on his shoulder and the presence of someone crouching next to him. He woke up with a jolt, whipping his head to the side, and found himself making eye contact with a concerned looking Mr Way. 'Are you okay Frank? Are our feeling ill? Do you need to see the nurse?' He looked genuinely concerned about Frank, and a guilty feeling flooded him. 'No no I'm fine just, just tired that's all.' Mr Way's beautiful eyebrows drew closer together in confusion. 'Oh, okay. I'd appreciate it if you didn't fall asleep in my class in the future though, Frank.' Hearing Mr Way say his name like that maked Frank feel kind of flustered and suddenly very aware of the hand resting heavily on his shoulder. He gave a sheepish grin. 'Sorry, sir.' Mr Way, apparently also aware of the hand that had been on him for a little too long removed it and stood up. He brushed the creases out of his trousers and turned towards the desk. 'Anyway, you've done some amazing work Frank.' He said leafing through his folder. 'Some of the best in the class actually, your use of colour on this piece is fantastic.' He pulled out a stormy seascape done during his studies of water near the end of year twelve. 'Thanks sir.' Frank said, awkwardly scratching the back of his neck while his teacher continued to examine the artwork, tracing the shape of a wave with his slender finger. Frank noticed something, the telltale callouses on the fingers of his left hand that indicate a guitar player. A shiver ran down Frank's spine; that's why Mr Way looked interested when he told the class about his hobby, he was a guitar player too.

Just as Frank had almost gathered up the courage to ask his teacher, he put down the painting and glanced at the thin, leather strapped watch on his wrist. 'Damn, look at the time.' Frank looked at his own crappy watch and blushed. It was the end of the double, meaning he must have been asleep for longer than he'd planned to be. Mr Way raised his voice and addressed the class, strolling into the middle of the room. 'Right guys, it's been great meeting you all but it's the end of the lesson, please put your stuff back in the cupboard and have a great rest of the day.' He gave a cheery smile that lit up the room, which filled with the sound of scraping chairs. Frank pushed his own chair back and started throwing stuff into his bag, when Mr Way turned back and started walking towards him again.

Frank pretended not to notice and swung his bag onto his shoulder, desperately trying to squash the butterflies in his stomach. 'Frank,' he looks up, again looking into those captivating eyes. 'I'd like you to come back here at lunchtime to have a little chat.' A million possibilities passed through Frank's mind, far too many of them involving Mr Way wearing a lot less clothing than would be considered appropriate. 'It's nothing to worry about, just want to talk about some of your work, that's all.' Mr Way reassures him with a smile. Frank smiles back. 'Okay sir.' He says, still considering what this could mean. Mr Way turns back to his desk, conversation obviously over, and Frank leaves the room, full of a potent mix of anticipation and nervousness about their meeting ahead. And he still has a break time and a whole two periods to get through before lunch.

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Frank struggled to concentrate in English lit, partly from his exhaustion and partly from his mind being consumed by thoughts of his new teacher. Why did he want to talk at lunch? Had Frank done something wrong? Was his work not up to standard? Or was it something completely different? Had Mr Way noticed Frank staring and wanted an explanation. He chewed on his lip, and the small scar where his lip ring used to go, before he had to take it out for school. He could still put it in, and often did when he was hanging out with Ray and Mikey, but it reminded him of a completely different time in his life. A time when it wasn't about where could he stay at lunch so he didn't get food thrown at him and instead about hanging out and having fun with his friends. In a way, this lunchtime meeting was a blessing in disguise: he didn't have to hide from all the dickheads. And would get to spend more time with Mr Way.

Period four was a free, so Frank went up to the library do some reading for English. The class had been instructed to read chapters six and seven of The Great Gatsby before tomorrow's lesson. It was a lot to do and he wanted to get on top of it before he got home, but he just couldn't concentrate. Instead of thinking about Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby, Frank just thought of Mr Way's piercingly beautiful eyes. He thought of the way his hand felt on his shoulder, the way he showed his teeth when he smiled, the way his waistcoat defined his already slim frame. He found himself rereading pages over and over again, the words not sinking in. 

'Snap out of it Frank.' He mumbles and tried to lose himself in the book. It's strange, not being able to get absorbed in it, because The Great Gatsby is one of Frank's favourite novels. He's read it about five times on the past, all during years nine to eleven when he really should have been reading up on GCSE texts. He just found the story fascinating, the way Fitzgerald mirrored events from his own life in his writing. In his opinion, writing was another form of art, but a subtler one, and one Frank had never really been able to use effectively. He still loved reading though, and he loved the way books could transport him to another time and place. 

The bell jolted Frank out of his thoughts and he buried his face in his hands, rubbing his eyes. A whole fifty minute period and he'd read less than ten pages. He groaned. He'd have a lot of reading to do tonight. Stuffing his battered book into his rucksack (Frank preferred to use his own copy in class rather than the slightly sticky one they all were given) he put the bag on his back and strolled out of the quiet library. 

On the way to the art room he passed by Charles Henry and his group loitering in the hallway. Frank looked down at the tiles on the floor, trying to avoid being noticed by the crowd. He was so intent on staring at the floor that he didn't notice the leg stuck out by one of the group. Casual enough so nobody would notice anything had been done on purpose, but far enough out to trip Frank up and send him sprawling on the ground. He landed with an 'oomph', hitting his forehead on the stone and bashing his knee. He struggled to his feet and winced at the pain in his leg and the sudden wave of dizziness and turned to the group. 'What the fuck guys?' He yelled at them. A few choked down laughs as they faced him. Charles Henry stepped forward. 'What do you mean gay boy?' Frank narrowed his eyes at the insult. 'You know exactly what I mean, asshole.' Charles Henry just laughed. 'If you're looking for someone to blame for your clumsiness just go to the bathroom. There's mirrors there.' He turned back to his friends and they all walked away towards the canteen, laughing and high fiving their leader for his crappy attempt at an insult. Frank just sighed and set off, limping, to the art room.

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Frank's knee ached like hell as he limped his way to art, muttering some pretty inventive insults under his breath. He was also feeling slightly dizzy, but he just assumed that was from a combination of nervous excitement and having not eaten all day. He breathed deeply as he approached the art room, steeling himself before seeing his teacher so he didn't go into a state of shock at the utter gorgeousness of the man, like earlier. He chuckled to himself. Pathetic really. Taking one last deep breath he put his hand on the doorknob and opened the door.

Walking in and shutting the door softly behind him, Frank was faced with the sight of Mr Way sitting behind his desk with his feet crossed up on its surface, sipping from a coffee mug and engrossed in something on his phone. Frank took the opportunity to just watch him for a few seconds, before, feeling slightly awkward, clearing his throat. Mr Way looked up suddenly, saw Frank standing there and made a slight surprised noise as he swallowed a mouthful of coffee. He set down his mug, put his phone in his pocket and took his feet from the desk. He gesture to Frank to come over. 'Hi Frank! Come pull up a chair.' He said this with one of his adorable smiles and Frank grabbed a chair from a desk and took it over to where Mr Way was sitting. He positioned it on the same side of the desk as Mr Way, but not behind it. He did this so they'd be close but not so close that their knees would touch. It occurred to Frank that this was his teacher, so he really didn't need to think about that, but whatever. He put his bag by his chair and sat down, wincing at the protest from his knee.

'So Frank, would you like to explain why you fell asleep in my class earlier?' Mr Way's voice was firm but kind, and he leaned forward and clasped his hands between his legs, leaning his elbows on his thighs. Frank had no choice but to look up into those stunning eyes of his. Any excuses he was planning melted away under his gaze. Frank also noticed how long and dark his eyelashes were. He started talking. 'Well, if you hadn't noticed, I'm not exactly like most people here. I'm from Brixton you see, I came here on a scholarship at the start of year twelve. My mums a nurse and she works night shifts and no matter how hard she works the pay isn't amazing and she can't take on any more shifts or do another job alongside it because she'd be too tired. And money's been pretty tight since I started here what with my oyster card and uniform and supplies and the rent and all that, so recently I've been working late too. I've been taking on some work at the fast food place down the road, from like seven till eleven, usually it's later than that though, because Kayliegh who has the next shift never helps me clean up even though she's supposed to. She usually leaves me to do it and then I'm there until like twelve at least.' Frank was suddenly aware that Mr Way hadn't said anything, just intently looked at him, and he felt a wave of self conciousness crash over him.He knew he was rambling. 'And yeah, I had a late one last night. After my shift I had to sort out a bunch of stuff for today so didn't go to bed until like two. And I'm really sorry for falling asleep in class.' 

Frank didn't know why he was telling all this to a relative stranger, he hadn't told anyone at school, but there was something about Mr Ways manner that was just so calming. He didn't need ask questions or nod or interrupt. He just sat there and listened. 'You don't need to apologise, Frank. I understand, I really do. Have you told anyone else at school about this so you can get some support?' A simple shake of the head was all it took to tell him no. 'Have you got any close friends here? Anyone you can confide in?' When Frank kept shaking his head Mr Way sighed and leaned back in his chair, running his hands through his tousled hair.

'So who do you hang around with during breaks? Who do you eat with?' Frank found his voice. 'I- I just keep myself to myself I guess. There isn't really much point in making friends now anyway, I'm leaving in less than a year anyway...' Mr Way sighed again. 'So you're meaning to tell me that a guitar playing, good looking boy like you doesn't hav eany friends? Because I find that hard to believe.' Frank's mind spun. Good looking?? He probably didn't mean anything by it, but he couldn't help but read too far into Mr Way's comment. 'I- I'm not lying, sir.' Frank blushed. 'I just never fit in with anyone here, I guess I'm too different.' 

Mr Way looked deep in thought. Then he rubbed his hands together and sat up straight. 'Anyway Frank, I didn't call you here just to talk about that, I asked you to come and talk about your work.' Frank gulped, worried. Mr Way reassured him with one of his beautiful grins. 'In all the time I've been teaching art and even just looking at art, I've never seen anything of a standard like this by someone so young. You're seventeen aren't you?' Frank just nodded again. 'With work like this you should be able to achieve A* if you keep working hard, and with those grades you could go to almost any university or art school you want. I couldn't help but notice you're in my art and design class too, and your work in that is just as impeccable.' Mr Way's eyes were filled with light and enthusiasm, but all Frank could do was say what he knew would probably drown it. 'I- I wasn't actually planning to go to university...' Mr Way's face fell, as he knew it would.

'Oh. Is there any particular reason why?' Frank grappled with his words for a minute, trying to find the best way to articulate his thought process. 'I've seen friends and family members go to university, spend all that money on tuition and rent and whatever, and the quit their courses after a year or less, and then come back having thrown all that money down the drain and come back with nothing. And also, when I was little, university seemed like a dream, like a far away land that would be beautiful and magical and life changing. But then again, so did a school like this,' Frank gestured around the room 'and now that I'm here I realise the reality doesn't quite match up to the fantasy. And I guess... I guess I just don't want to be disappointed again, because the childlike view I have would be ruined forever and I know I couldn't ever get it back.' By the end of saying this, Frank was gesturing wildly around him, and his voice had gone from timid whisper to confident, even a little angry. Mr Way had been doing listening to him in that calm way of his, and he left Frank to breath deeply for a few seconds and cool down before he spoke. 

'Do you not think, Frank, if you let it, being here could be what you imagined? If you let people in before you write them off? If you at least tried to make friends? I know it's not easy to open yourself up to people, but once you've done it isn't it so worth it? And you should consider university, I think. It might be good for you to be forced to like people.' A sheepish grin, maybe because of the slightly horrified look on Frank's face, and he laughed. Frank did too, it was infectious. 'I didn't mean it like that, but you understand me don't you Frank?' Suddenly serious again, he grasped Frank's hands. Taken aback by the intensity of the man in front of him, Frank gulped and nodded. Mr Way relaxed again and let go of Frank, who couldn't help but miss his hands' warm presence. He glanced at his watch the back up at Frank. 'Damn, we've been talking for a long time! Twenty minutes until next period, you should run off now if you want to grab something to eat for lunch.' Frank wanted to say no, that he'd rather spend the rest of his lunch talking about anything and everything with Mr Way. 

Instead, he mumbled a 'yeah' and grabbed his bag from its place on the floor. He stood up suddenly, probably too quickly, and turned to leave. His conversation had made him forget the events of earlier, being tripped over and banging his head on the floor. But shit he remembered it now. Suddenly overcome with a feeling of dizziness and nausea, his bag slipped off his shoulder and back to the floor as he swayed. This caused Mr Way to stop what he was doing and drop his phone to his desk with a clatter when he whipped his head around. The last thing Frank remembered was the feeling of a strong pair of arms catching him and laying him gently to the floor, just before he blacked out.

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'Whoah, man!' Ray said after Frank had explained the days events to him. After Frank had fainted, he'd woken up in the nurses office. Apparently he'd been out for less than ten minutes, but it would have been longer if he hadn't been caught by Mr Way. Frank wanted to go and thank him, but the nurse said it would be best not to. She was kind, and asked him why he thought he'd fainted. Instead of telling her the truth, he'd just smiled weakly and told her he probably hadn't eaten enough. It would have only caused more trouble anyway.

Now he was sitting on a swing in the park with Ray and Mikey, having stayed in the nurses office until she said he was okay to go back home. He didn't tell her he'd be going on the tube, just mumbled something about calling his mum to get picked up. The nurse wouldn't have let him go home if he'd told her the truth. 'Yeah,' Mikey said, swinging his legs. 'isn't that everyone's dream, swooning into the love of your life's arms like oh, I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me, I just can't stay normal around you, sir.' He fluttered his eyelashes and said the second part in a stupid, high pitched voice. Then him and Ray both stood up and Mikey pretended to faint into Rays arms, and Mikey sighed and put the back of his hand on his forehead. 'Shut up guys,' Frank shoved Ray, causing Mikey to tumble to the ground. The boys all laughed. 'you know it wasn't like that. I actually fainted.' Ray shot Mikey a look, as if to say 'yeah sure'. Frank shoved him again, and they all chuckled again. 'I did!'

Ray suddenly turned serious- Frank swore he could see his afro actually deflating, and he stifled a giggle at the thought- 'I'm kinda pissed off that you didn't stand up to those arseholes though.' Frank shrugged and kicked his legs. 'What good will that do? They'll still call me short, and dumb, and a chav.' His friends both mumbled in agreement. Frank tried to brighten the mood. 'Plus, if they stop taking the piss out of me I won't have anything interesting to tell you guys!' It worked. The guys were laughing again. 

'Anyway, tell me more about your mysterious new crush.' Mikey demanded. He always loved gossip. 'Well what do you want to know? I've already told you about his pale skin and dark hair, and his teacher-but-not-too-teacher style, and his plush lips, and the way his eyes fix on you and don't let go, and oh god his eyes are so pretty. Have I mentioned how much I love his eyes?' Frank sighed as the others laughed. 'God you're so soppy when you're in lurve.' Laughed Ray, drawing out the last word. 'I'm not in love guys, I just... I can just appreciate a fine man okay?' They all chuckled again.

Frsnk loved spending time with his best friends, even though they saw each other at least twice a week it was still so good to catch up with them. And they enjoyed spending the rest of the evening together, staying out until way after it got dark, talking about anything and everything. But the whole time, all Frank could think about were those hazel eyes...

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The next day, Frank woke up for school bright and early, and actually looking forward to it. He got ready and got his bag packed, and actually had about ten minutes before he had to leave. A thought made its way into his head, and Frank headed for the bathroom, stopping by a rarely opened draw in his dresser and fishing out a black eyeliner pencil he'd bought once on a whim. Mikey went through a phase of wearing eyeliner in year eleven, and Frank had to admit it had looked kind of cool, in a gothy, emo kind of way. 

Frank got into the bathroom and switched on the light. He took the lid off of the pencil and looked at it, concerned that an object that sharp would going so near his eye. He took a death breath to steady his hand, and put the pencil to his eye. He dragged it along the lower eyelashes of both eyes, and then used his finger to smudge it around. He'd seen Mikey do it countless times before parties in year eleven, and, stepping back from the mirror, he had to admit it looked pretty cool. There was a strict no makeup policy for the girls at St James', but Frank couldn't remember seeing anything on the uniform policy about boys.

Slinging his back over his shoulder, he yelled yelled goodbye to his mum and headed out of the door. He was in such a good mood he didn't even get annoyed when a tourist asked him for directions to the natural history museum even though it was literally the huge gothic building down the road, pretty damn hard to miss. He just pointed it out to her and continued on his walk to school. He smiled at the pigeons on the way, at the big issue sellers, at all of the bumbling tourists taking photos of the impressive white buildings around them that were literally just offices. He knew the reason for his good mood- Mr Way.

It wasn't even like anything had happened between them, just a talk, but Frank immediately felt better. Even the confidence to put on makeup had come from it. Well, maybe it was also because he thought it would make him more appealing to Mr Way. God, he was talking about his teacher here! His teacher who was probably not at all interested in him, who was probably in a relationship, who maybe had a wife, and maybe even had kids! His face, which Frank only then realised had been smiling, fell. He'd only just considered the fact Mr Way might be married. I mean, he was an attractive man, who probably made decent money judging by the school he'd just got a job at, and he looked well old enough to have had children. Bloody hell. Frank gulped. The weight of his crush was just settling in.

But the maybes kept him walking, smiling at the feeling of the warm September air on his face, summer insisting on holding on for a few weeks longer. He strolled into school, hands shoved deep in his pockets, humming along to the music on his earphones. He said hi to people he barely knew in the hallways, getting a few funny looks and some giggles from the girls about his makeup, but it didn't bother him as he made his way to art and design.

The lesson was in the same room as his fine art class- and with the same teacher-so he walked into a2 and plonked down in the same seat as yesterday. He kept his earphones in as he unpacked his stuff. That was why it took Mr Way three times saying his name to get Frank to notice. On the third try, Frank looked up to where Mr Way was sitting at the desk at the front, sipping on a takeout coffee from the artsy coffee shop near urban outfitters on the high street. His eyebrows were raised, partially hidden underneath his artfully tousled hair. It was then Frank realised he was the only person in the classroom.

Mr away swallowed a mouthful of coffee. 'Any particular reason you're ten minutes early, Frank?' Shit. Frank had been so lost in his positivity that he hadn't paid any attention to the time. 'I... um...' He had to think up a reason so he didn't look like a complete idiot. An idea sparked in his mind. 'Actually sir, I wanted to thank you for yesterday. What with, you know, saving me from dramatically crashing to the floor and all.' He scratched the back of his neck, grinning sheepishly. Mr Way laughed. 'Ah, no problem, Frank,' he said. 'I couldn't exactly let you flop to the floor in the middle of my classroom without helping could I? That wouldn't have looked great on my first day!' Frank couldn't help but chuckle. Mr Way had such a dad sense of humour that clashed with his 'young edgy hipster' image, but it suited him somehow. 

Mr Way studied Frank for a moment from behind his coffee. 'Are you wearing makeup Frank?' He asked, seeming more curious than annoyed. 'Um, yeah, I guess...' Frank replied, expecting to be told to take it off. Instead, Mr Way grinned. 'Looks cool, but maybe next time put a little more on the outside and less on the inside, it'll bring out the colour of your eyes more. Oh and maybe go to the bathroom and break and blend it out a little more, you'll look a little less like an emo raccoon.' Frank just looked at his teacher, stunned. Mr Way gave him a little wink, before gesturing to the group of students gathering outside the classroom to come in. As the trickle of people started to enter the room. Mr Way looked at Frank again. 'If you want to come hang out at lunch, the offer's still there.' 

Chapter Text

The rest of the morning passed by without incident. As suggested, Frank did go into the bathroom at break and smudge his eyeliner around a bit more. He did have to admit it brought out the green in his eyes.

Frank decided to take up Mr Ways offer of staying in his room at lunch. I mean, it didnt mean anything, just a teacher offering to help his struggling student. Nothing was going to happen, and Frank couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed at that. He shook his head, he was being completely ridiculous. Frank had had a free fourth, which meant he could spend it in the library again, reading. Well, reading and answering all the ridiculous texts he got from Mikey. On the way to art, he felt his phone buzz again in his pocket. He pulled it out and looked at what Mikey had to say; 'you know he's probably a vampire right? hanging out to gain your trust and then one day without warning he'll just go for your neck.' Frank chuckled. His friend had such an obsession with vampires and zombies and werewolves and anything horror, that Frank though he'd began to get confused between what was real and what wasn't. He sent a message back. 'you wish mikes, you creep.' He laughed again and put his phone back into his pocket, not wanting to get it confiscated. 

He got to a2 just as the bell rang, and was nearly caught in the flood of year sevens that came bustling out. They were all talking and laughing, pushing and shoving each other on the way to the canteen. It never ceased to amaze Frank that they could all walk with bags bigger than them. He swore under his breath as he tried not to be swept away. As he was in the middle of a particularly creative curse, he caught Mr Way smiling at him, leaning against the doorframe. Frank's heart skipped a beat. 'Inventive, I'll give you that.'

Frank blushed and Mr Way laughed, strolling back into the classroom. Frank took it as a cue and followed him, jamming his hands back into his pockets. After a moments hesitation, he closed the door behind him, unsure wether it was the right thing to do. Mr Way didn't look up from where he was clearing away dirty paintbrushes and pallets, so Frank stood their for a couple seconds, wondering what to do. He spoke up, 'Do you want me to help with that?' Mr Way looked up and around at him, as if just remembering he was there. 'Oh yeah, that would be great, thanks.' So Frank busied himself for the next few minutes, gathering mugs of painty water and pouring them out into the sink, and cleaning the dirty brushes.

Wanting to get to know a bit more about Mr Way, Frank asked him a question. 'So, Mr Way, these are some pretty cool mugs, are they all yours?' Mr Way laughed and looked at the mug in his hand, a black one with a cartoon Frankenstein's Monster on it. 'Yeah, I guess you could say I'm a bit of a mug collector.' He laughed again. Frank did too. 'I figured I may as well put them to some use, so here they all are.' He gestured at the area by the sink where they were all stacked. 'Oh, also,' he looked up at Frank from his mug and made eye contact across the room. 'when we're in here, at lunchtime I mean, you can call me Gerard.' His eyes crinkled as he smiled. Frank smiled back, his heart fluttering like it did when he was six and drank some of his mums coffee. 'Okay, Gerard,' he said, stressing his name and making him chuckle, 'I think I'm done clearing this stuff up.' Mr Way, no, Gerard, looked over and saw that he'd finished and put the mug he was still holding with the rest.

'Great! And thanks for the help Frank.' Gerard went to sit down at his desk and Frank followed, pulling up a chair as he had the day before. 'God, what is it with year sevens and poster paints? Give them something simple to do and they all end up with their arms coloured bright blue or something.' Gerard groaned and buried his face in his hands as Frank giggled. Bloody hell, he actually giggled. 'I was a right twat in year seven. I was so annoying it makes me cringe just thinking about me then.' Gerard didn't say anything or even acknowledge his use of the word twat. That was something Frank really liked about him. Unlike those teachers who tried to get along with the kids and be like a friend, he didn't flip when a student did something not strictly appropriate. He genuinely liked his students and was happy for them when they succeeded.

'Ah, weren't we all?' He agreed. 'Anyway, Frank, what is it that got you into art?' Frank pondered his answer for a moment, thinking about the actual root of his love for it. 'I think it was comics. I mean I've always been reading them. Nothing too niche, only the classics, Batman, Doom Patrol...' Seeing the spark in Gerard's eyes, he trailed off. 'Are you kidding? I love comics! Especially Doom Patrol, I just think all of the characters are so different and they all fit together so well, and I love that. It's such a parallel for life, and it makes it so incredible.' Frank was stunned at his sudden outpouring. 'Yeah, totally! I see exactly what you mean.' They shared a smile then, the smile only two people who have just found they have the same niche interest can share. Gerard grinned harder. 'Actually, I've been working on a concept for a series that I think you might like. I've made up a few character profiles and some panels, would you like to see?'

Franks insides burned with happiness that Gerard wanted to share this with him. 'Yeah, that would be so cool!' Gerard pulled out the drawer underneath his desk and pulled out a scrappy pile of paper. He dumped them on the surface and leafed through them, pulling out certain ones and laying them flat on the desk. Frank read the title on top of the first one out loud. 'The Umbrella Academy.' Gerard looked almost embarrassed at hearing the title read aloud. 'Uhm, yeah...' He seemed really nervous, like Frank's opinion really mattered. Frank looked through the sketches, drawings and snatches of text. 'I like it. I really like it.' Gerard looked up into his eyes and Frank was suddenly aware of how close they were; he'd lent closer to lean over the desk and examine the art properly. 'Would you like me to explain the story to you?' Now Gerard was like an excited little kid, enthusiastic to share his ideas. Frank smiled. 'I'd love that.'

Twenty minutes later and Gerard had explained to Frank the whole concept of the Umbrella Academy. He now knew the backstory of all the main characters; born in an unexplained worldwide event when fourty seven women, none of which had shown any previous signs of being pregnant, gave birth, and some were adopted by a mad scientist, who raised them as superheroes and now they went around saving the world. Frank's impression was that it was quite funny, but also with some more serious and sobering moments. It was such an interesting concept. So different from anything he'd read before, but still so original and clever.

At the end of lunch, Frank didn't want to leave. But he had to. As he walked out of the classroom, Gerard again offered for him to come the next day. He didn't hesitate this time. He smiled at Gerard. 'Of course.'

Chapter Text

The rest of that week passed, for Frank at least, in a mix of lessons, seeing Mikey and Ray, and spending every lunchtime with Gerard, talking about whatever came to mind. They'd known each other for a week, and yet already had the kind of relationship that meant you could be excited talking one minute and sitting in comfortable silence the next. They had been developing ideas for Umbrella Academy, talking about people in the school (mainly complaining) and just chatting about whatever was going on i their lives. Gerard had told him that he lived in a small flat he was renting from a friend in Hammersmith. He had also told Frank that he was an only child, and spent most of his childhood in his bedroom or in the basement of his family home in a village outside of Oxford. One person he spent a lot of time with was his grandma, Elena, but when Frank had asked where she was now, Gerard had simply shaken his head, looking at the ground. He looked like, he was about to cry, so Frank had leaned in and hugged him. Gerard had explained that she'd passed away four years previously, and that he was in America when it had happened. Frank had hugged him again, and they'd stayed like that for at least a minute, just appreciating each other's nearness, when the bell had rung and Frank had to go out, only to come back three minutes later for his period five lesson. 

That was Friday, and Frank had been thinking about it all weekend. Probably too much. Ray and Mikey had both come over on the Saturday, and they'd spent most of the time playing video games and chatting about Gerard, as well as Rays new film project. Both of the guys told Frank that he should probably stop hanging out with Gerard, in case his crush deepened into something he couldn't ignore. Frank knew they were probably right, but he also couldn't help the feeling that he and Gerard had some sort of... connection. He knew it was stupid, but he couldn't ignore that ridiculous flicker of hope that his teacher might feel the same about him. God, the situation was so messed up. Frank was almost happy when he had to leave to go to work with moody Kayleigh, just so he had a dull, monotonous task to take his mind from his thoughts. 

Even though he knew he probably shouldn't, Frank still ended up in Mr Way's room at lunchtime. 'Hey, Gerard!' He said brightly, strolling into the classroom and shutting the door behind him. Gerard was, as usual, drinking from a takeout cup of coffee. Starbucks today. He waved and put the coffee down, swallowing. 'Hey Frank.' Bloody hell, he looked as tired as Frank felt. Frank pulled his chair up as usual. 'Are you okay?' He asked. 'You look tired?' Gerard smiled weakly. 'Yeah, I'm good. Just a lot of marking, you know? I've had a bunch of stuff from year nine. They're picking their GCSE options in a couple months and I've asked them to do a big project on environmental art, just to gauge where they're at, you know?' Frank nodded and Gerard ran his hands through his jet black hair. 'Well, it seems that nine b are all very enthusiastic about environmental art, hence all this work.' He gestured around to his cluttered desk. Frank did have to admit it looked like a lot of work. He picked up a couple of pieces covered in writing. Gerard looked over. 'Ah, the essays analysing a piece of their choice. I asked them to do that for homework and about half of the class actually handed it in, which is pretty good. But now I have all that to mark too.' Gerard made a noise of frustration. 'I could help if you wanted? Marking the essays I mean, just reading them through and checking they have all the aspects you want, I did do year nine art you know.' He ended the sentence with a wink. 

Gerard looked up at him, the stressed lines of his face softening. 'You have no idea how helpful that would be. Thank you so much Frank.' He looked so grateful and sincere that it made Franks heart melt a bit. Frank smiled, and Gerard returned it with a smile of his own. There was an energy crackling between them, a line of static connecting them. Frank was suddenly aware of how close their faces were. There was heat radiating off of Gerard, and Frank could feel every breath on his face, see every pore on his perfect skin. Frank leaned in closer, and Gerard seemed to too. His heart beat faster, almost bursting out of his chest. His eyes flickered between Gerard's own, which were locked on him, and his beautifully plush lips. Frank was terrified, and he knew that what he was doing was so, so wrong. But that didn't stop him from closing his eyes and placing his lips on Gerard's. 

His lips were soft and warm, and Frank wanted nothing more but to sink into them further. But it was wrong. Gerard didn't respond by kissing him back, and Frank opened his eyes and jerked backwards to see him just sitting there, hazel eyes wide in shock. Or was it horror? Or was it disgust? Either way, Frank's fairytale was shattered. He scrambled to his feet, grabbing his bag from where it was dumped on the floor. He mumbled something incomprehensible, something close to an apology and ran out of the classroom. If he had looked back at his teacher, he would have seen him still sitting there, expression of shock on his face, following Frank with his wide eyes as he ran from the classroom. Then he would have seen his face crumple in confusion. He was scared, and worried for Frank, and also confused. Confused as to why he didn't kiss Frank back.

Chapter Text

Frank ran to the bathroom, eyes blurry with tears. He ran inside and ducked into a cubicle, slamming the door and locking it. He sat on the closed toilet lid, rested his head in his hands and let himself, for the first time in too long, cry. He cried silently, angry at himself. How could he be so stupid and naive to think that his teacher could ever like him back. Just because Mr Way had let him call him Gerard, and just because he let him stay in his room at lunchtimes...

And Frank had taken that to mean something it didn't, and now he'd ruined any chance of a friendship with Gerard. He swore under his breath. How could he be so stupid? Another silent sob wracked his body. What was he going to do? He couldn't exactly go up to Gerard and say 'oh, sorry I kissed you Mr Way!' The situation would be funny if it wasn't so awful. But it was awful, and Frank had no idea what he'd do. Never mind ruining his friendship with Gerard, he'd now have to find somewhere else to hide out at lunchtimes. Shit. He sobbed again, pressing his hands to his mouth to keep from making a noise. The toilets were blessedly empty.

So Frank stayed there for the whole of lunchtime. He didn't turn up to his next lesson. He waited until he could be sure the corridors would be all but empty and walked out of the toilets. Then he just kept on walking, feet carrying him through the school, out of the gates, and to the underground station. He found himself at home a while later. Frank barely remembered the train ride home, he just remembered holding in all his tears and his emotions, bottling them all up until the got home.

As soon as Frank got into the flat, he shut the door behind him, and slid down against it and sobbed. The crying wracked his entire being, physically shaking him until he was lying on the floor gasping for breath, eyes clouded with tears. At some point, he crawled into bed and pulled the covers over his head. At some point the crying stopped, leaving Frank feeling empty. At some point, his mum came home, looked around the door and saw her son seemingly asleep after a long day. The sun set, the moon rose, stars obscured by the London pollution, and the room went dark. And eventually, Frank fell asleep, Gerard's horrified face when he kissed him inscribed into his mind.

Chapter Text

The next day in school was awful. Frank managed to get by in his first and second period English lit class, eyes skimming the pages and not taking anything in. He had woken at around five, so he looked even worse than usual, dark circles under his eyes looking like bruises. He even managed to survive break okay, hiding in the sixth form study room, which was the hangout of the geeks. But he knew that periods three and four he had fine art. With Gerard.

He dragged his heels all the way, and arrived just before the bell. He slumped into his seat in the corner, and avoided looking up. When Mr Way was calling the register, his voice hardened on Frank's name, and he only mumbled a 'yes' in response. He knew he got a few funny looks, after all, his was usually the brightest answer, but he couldn't bring himself to care. Frank spent as long of the lesson as he could looking at his desk, but there came a point where he couldn't help but look at Gerard.

Gerard had spent the whole of the lesson asking questions about things he new Frank would be enthusiastic about, that he would usually answer. But this time he asked the question looking directly at Frank. 'So, what other ways can art and music influence each other? Frank, you haven't answered anything today.' Frank looked up at him. His tone was clipped and professional, a world away from the jokey tone he'd used when it was just him and Frank. He looked the same as usual. At least to anyone else. But Frank could tell something was off by the way his mouth was set in a hard line, and by the way he stood; posture a bit more straight than usual. Frank forced himself to meet Gerard's eyes, almost wincing at the flint in them. He kept his voice steady. 'Well, sir, the moods and emotions in a pice of art can influence the moods and emotions in a song or piece of music.' Frank was proud of himself for keeping his voice steady, but it was a bittersweet feeling. As soon as Frank had finished speaking Gerard turned away from him and started talking to the rest of the class. 'Yes, right, does anyone else have anything to add?' He hadn't added Frank's suggestion to the board with the rest.

Frank managed to avoid talking for the rest of the lesson, keeping his head down. All he saw of Mr Way was his legs every minute or so as he paced up and down. This didn't stop him sensing the vibes in the room, though. The whole atmosphere was tense throughout the lesson, and Frank was one of the first out of the classroom when the bell rang, running out without looking back. He was walking aimlessly down the corridor, looking at his feet, when he bumped into someobody.

'Oi, watch it mate!' He looked up, mumbling an apology, when he saw the sneering face of Charles Henry. His face split into a grin. 'Ah, little gay boy, just who I wanted to see!' Shit, shit, shit. Charles Henry gestured to his friends to come over, and soon Frank was surrounded by a circle of guys, who all had about a foot on him. 'Look guys,' he said, trying to act unbothered, 'I really don't want to fight, just let me go.' Charles Henry laughed and the others did too, as if on a cue from their leader. 'Nah, I don't think I can let that happen.' Frank clenched his fists, so they couldn't see the sweat forming on his palms. 'We want to know what happened between you and your little boyfriend.' The guys continued laughing and looking at each other. 'I- I don't know what you mean.' Frank stuttered. 'I think you do, Frankie. You and your boyfriend Mr Way, I've seen you two hanging around, the looks you give each other, and now both of you are in a mood the same day. Too much for a coincidence isn't it?' They had all moved closer, cutting off any ways that Frank could get out. He swallowed. 'I have no idea what you mean.' He said, choking on his words. 'For fucks sake, stop lying.' Snarled Charles Henry. 'Everyone knows he's a total fag, I mean look at him right?' They all laughed again, and Charles Henry basked in the attention. 'And we know something is going in between you two, which makes him a nonce and you a dirty, dirty little pest. And pests have to be squashed, Iero.'

Frank gulped again. He didn't know what to say. Charles Henry was so close to his face that he could feel the flying spit when he spoke. 'I- I-' He didn't know what to do. 'Oh, you don't have to say anything, we'll find out eventually, don't worry.' And with a menacing smile Charles Henry was out of his face, and him and his friends were sauntering down the corridor, barging past people, and talking and laughing about him. 

Breathing deeply, Frank unclenched his fists and continued walking down the corridor. He tried to ignore the looks he was getting, tried to stop his hands from shaking. He headed towards the toilets. Once he got there he leaned against the cool porcelain of the sink and splashed his face with water. He breathed deeply and looked at his reflection in the mirror. The person who looked back was tired, and sad, and scared, and he was also defeated. And defeated was something Frank had promised himself he'd never be.

Chapter Text

The next days passed so slowly, dragging on in monotony. Frank missed Gerard, and he missed being able to enjoy his art. He hadn't done any coursework over the last week, any time he tried he just thought about Mr Way. He just wanted things to be okay again between them, but knew they wouldn't be. It was incredible how much you could miss somebody you'd known for a week. He also felt isolated from Mikey and Ray. He hadn't answered their calls or texts, and the last time they'd come over he'd pretended to be out. He just didn't think he would be able to face them; they'd notice something was wrong, and he'd have to explain what happened, and he just didn't think he'd be able to do that, not without getting upset. He also didn't want to admit that they had been right.

so Frank's self imposed isolation continued, and the days blended into one another. He hadn't had any other run ins with Charles Henry and his friends, but he had heard them laughing and making comments behind his back. He'd ignored them. He had decided he wouldn't let himself be defeated by them, and he was going to stick to that. So, on Wednesday and Thursday he had walked into his fine art and art and design classes without looking at the ground, and answered the register like normal, and answered questions when asked. One thing he hadn't done was made prolonged eye contact with Mr Way. He just couldn't. 

On Friday period three he walked in to a2 for his art and design class. He got there well on time and sat in his usual place, waiting for the lesson to start. Students trickled in, filling up the room, and still Mr Way didn't arrive. The bell rang, and he still wasn't there. The volume in the room was getting louder and louder, as everyone spoke louder and louder, competent to be heard. Frank rolled his eyes and turned his music up louder.

Five minutes later, and the door opened again, Mr Way bustling in. Frank glanced over, and saw Gerard wearing the same exact suit as yesterday, only more crumpled. And he had larger bags under his eyes, and his hear was even greasier and messier than usual. Frank tried to be slightly disgusted by this, as a normal person would be. Instead, he just found it hot. He looked down and yanked out his earphones, suddenly finding the surface of his table very interesting. Mr Way dumped all the stuff in his arms on the desk, and plopped down into the seat behind his desk. He buried his head in his hands and groaned. Then, like he'd suddenly remembered where he was, he jerked up. 'Oh my god you guys, I'm so sorry!' he glanced at his watch. 'Oh wow, that is late. That's, like, impressively late...' he trailed off. Mr Way was obviously tired. Frank tried not to care, but he still looked up to watch Gerard speak.

'Long story short, I've had the crappiest night, which involved getting a set of keys chucked at me, and ended with me sleeping on the sofa of a friend I haven't seen for about three years. Who lives in Brighton. So I haven't marked any of the year nine environmental projects that need to be fully evaluated by period six today. So what I was thinking for this lesson was you could all work on coursework or whatever while I mark these and also try to find some coffee from somewhere, that sound good?' There were nods and various scraping and shuffling noises as people got up to go and get supplies and got stuff out of their bags. Gerard looked visibly relieved. 

Frank tried not to be curious, but couldn't help but wonder what Gerard had done to get a set of keys checked at him. He chucked, imagining the look on his face. That earned him a few sideways glances, but he didn't care. He shoved his earbuds back in, and put on the new Fall Out Boy album. He hadn't really listened to them since year eight, back in his awful emo phase, but their new albums were so different to what they'd put out back in the day, that Frank found himself really getting lost in it. The fifth song, The Last Of The Real ones, really spoke to him. He found himself zoning out, not concentrating on the work and instead concentrating on Patrick's voice, Pete's lyrics, and Joe and Andy's playing. It was pretty incredible, along with the rest of the album, and it took him back to such a happy time in his life.

He'd been at that perfect age in year eight; old enough to be able to go and hang out with his friends at skate parks until late, but not quite old enough to feel the pressures of growing up and becoming independent. The most important thing in his life had been hanging out with Ray and Mikey, whom he'd only known for a year, and crowding around one of their iPod touches to see the latest music video from whatever band they were obsessed with at that point. Now it was all exams and coursework and 'how can I avoid these dickheads in the hall today' Suddenly, the bell rang, jolting Frank from his thoughts. He scrambled to put away his stuff and zip up his bag. He jumped up and joined the crush to get out of the room. As he was walking over to the door, he felt a familiar grip on his arm. He spun around to come face to face with Gerard.

Up close he looked even worse. His undereyes were cast into deep shadow, his face was all shiny, his hair greasy and knotty. Frank still couldn't find it unattractive, in fact it had the opposite effect on him. He backed away from his teacher, struggling for words. Mr Way spoke first. 'Hey, Frank, um, could I maybe see you at lunch? There's something I'd like to talk to you about...' he ran his strong hand spthrough his hair. At this point, everyone else had left the classroom. Frank swallowed, avoiding his eyes. 'Um, yeah, I guess...' Gone was his confident attitude. Gerard nodded like an awkward teenager. 'Cool, see you here in an hour I guess?' Frank nodded. 'Good, yeah, okay.' Gerard stood there awkwardly for another second before giving Frank a shy little wave, and turned to walk back to his desk. Frank took this as his way of dismissing him and left the classroom. His hand lingered in the doorknob for just a little too long.

Chapter Text

Frank had a free fourth period, and spent it in the library stressing about what was going to happen at lunch. It reminded him of the first day back, only so much had changed since then. He cringed thinking about how his last lunchtime with Mr Way had gone. God, it was going to be so awkward. He looked at his watch nervously: still twenty minutes to go.

Feeling restless, Frank got up and left the library. He had an idea and headed for the toilets. Once there, he shoved each of the cubicle doors open just to check there was nobody there. When he was certain, he went to the sinks and dumped his bag on the surface, hunting around inside until he found what he was looking for. Once he had found it, he took the lid off of his eyeliner. He hadn't used it since what had happened, but why not put some on now? He brought the carbon pencil to his eye and dragged it along his top and bottom waterlines and lashlines, then did the same for the other eye. Then he smudged it around with his index finger, trying to get that 'I haven't slept in a week' look. Once done, he stepped back. He looked good. More than good actually. With a five o clock shadow on his jaw, and the deep shadows on his eyes, he looked like the protagonist in a crappy copy of twilight. In a good way though.

He checked his watch again. Five minutes. He grabbed his bag and left the toilets. He shoved his earbuds in again, this time listening to Surfer Rosa by the Pixies. He trudged towards art, trying to master his unbothered, 'too cool for this' walk. He waited outside a2, leaning against the wall outside as a bunch of stressed looking year tens walked out. As soon as they had all gone, Frank took out his earphones and went into the room, turning and shutting the door behind him.

He felt arms on either side of him, pinning him to a space on the door. He turned to find Mr Way right in front of him, staring with burning eyes. 'Gerard, what the fu-' Frank didn't get the chance to finish his sentence, because suddenly his teachers mouth was on his. Frank's eyes snapped open in shock, to see Gerard's closed as he kissed him. Frank sunk into the kiss. He tasted like cigarettes and coffee and something manly, like stale sweat and testosterone. It was so, so sexy. Frank heard a click and realised it was the door locking. Gerard's hands moved from the door to Frank's arms. He was so strong, and Frank was pinned in place by the taller man. He heard a groan and realised it came from him. Mr Way laughed into his mouth. His tongue went into Frank's mouth, exploring and claiming it. Frank sank further into it, not stopping to think of the implications of what was happening. Mr Ways hands moved from his arms to his chest, and from his chest to cup his face. This left Frank's own arms free, and, before giving himself time to regret what he was about to do, he used them to push Gerard away.

His mouth immediately missed the feel of Gerard against it, and he momentarily considered pulling Mr Way back again and screwing the consequences, but he knew that would cause more problems than it would be worth. He looked up to Gerard, who was intently staring at him, eyes clouded with lust, already plush lips swollen and pink; he had an expression close to grief on his face. 'Gerard, what the fuck is this? I mean, I kissed you, you didn't speak to me for like a week, and now this? What the hell is going on? Also, I don't know if you'd noticed, but you're my teacher, and this is your classroom.' Gerard's eyebrows knitted closer together in confusion. 'I thought... I thought you wanted this, Frank?' Frank backtracked. 'I do,' and bloody hell, he wasn't lying. 'I just thought, because this week...' Mr Way shook his head. 'I haven't been avoiding you Frank, you've been avoiding me. And the expression on his face made Frank realise that it was true, and that it had been as painful for Gerard as it had been for him. 'God, I've been such a dick.' He said, and pulled Gerard back towards him by his tie. His teacher complied, and they were kissing again like they hadn't stopped. 

Frank kept hold of his tie and started to work it loose as he was again crushed against the door. Gerard pushed one of his legs between Frank's, making him gasp into his teachers mouth. Gerard laughed, mouth still on his. Suddenly, he pulled his face away, and Frank yearned for the contact back. They just looked at each other, faces shining with sweat, lips puffy, hair a mess. Well, more of a mess than usual in Mr Way's case. With one last glance at Frank's lips, Mr Way turned and sauntered away, back to his desk. He looked over his shoulder and raised an eyebrow, telling Frank to follow. And he did, like an eager puppy.

Frank reached where Mr Way was standing behind his desk. Frank leaned sweetly over and planted a kiss on him, sweet and closed mouthed, like a thirteen year old. Gerard smiled slyly and sat down at his chair, gesturing to Frank to come over. Frank walked around to stand in front of him, casually strolling over like his body wasn't combusting with the effort of restraining himself. This time it was Gerard's turn to pull Frank down towards him by his tie. Then they were kissing, deeply and slowly, savouring the taste of each other. Then Gerard's kisses grew more urgent, needy, and Frank brought his legs around to straddle Mr Way, sitting in his lap on the flimsy office chair. 

When their kiss finally broke apart, Frank couldn't hold his curiosity in any longer. 'So, Mr Way, what changed in you to do this, and how the hell dis you end up in Brighton with a set of keys thrown at your head last night?' Frank said this playfully, with messing with Gerard's hair, but he did really want to know. Gerard chuckled. 'Well, the keys were probably my fault to be fair, I fell out with the guy who's flat I'm renting. So he kicked me out and I had to find somewhere else to stay, hence Brighton, and also hence why I stink.' It was Frank's turn to chuckle. 'You know, I like it, it's all kind of... manly.' Gerard joined his laughter. 'Well maybe I should not shower more often. Anyway, I think the jets were just a nice final 'fuck you' from Bert.' Frank nodded, still playing with his hair. 'Bert being the guy who's flat it is?' Gerard nodded. 'Would it be a violation of our strictly professional teacher/student relationship if I were to ask what you did to get kicked out?' 

Gerards face went from easygoing laughter to more serious and thoughtful. 'Well, uh, that's where it gets a little awkward.' He looked straight into Frank with those incredible eyes. 'I, um, I wouldn't sleep with him.' Frank nearly choked. 'Ya what?' He spluttered. Mr Way became slightly more relaxed again. 'Well, we had a sort of... a thing... I guess. A while ago now. We were both going through similar stuff and we found each other and we had a friendship that developed quickly. And then it developed into something... more, I guess. But then I guess I got out of that dark place and he didn't, and it sort of stopped. Well, when I say sort of...' he trailed off then, and gave Frank a sly little wink that made him blush and remember he was sitting in his teachers lap. Mr Way picked up his story. 'And I needed a place to stay he offered me this flat. He said I could have the rent cheep too, and I obviously accept. But sometimes he'll come round late at night, when he's all vulnerable, you know? And he'll ask me to, you know, sleep with him. Usually I'm fine with it, I mean, we did used to be together, and we never strictly called it off, I guess. But last night... I realised I couldn't. Because I realised my feelings for you.' Gerard looked up into Frank's eyes, looking partly like a lost little boy. 

And that was the moment Frank realised he may be falling in love with Mr Way, and falling hard.

Chapter Text

Frank was glowing as he left the classroom. He felt as if something that had been missing had clicked back into place. He and Gerard had spent the rest of their time chatting, sneaking in kisses where the conversation lulled. It felt so natural, being with Gerard, like they'd been together forever. Of course they weren't actually together now, not officially. Before Frank had left the classroom Gerard had pulled him in for one more kiss, gripping his hands. Frank had smirked and casually opened the door, strolling out of the room and towards his fifth period English lit. When sitting in English he'd unfolded the piece of paper Mr Way had put in his hand. On it was a phone number and a signature. Frank smiled at it. It was a really cute signature; 'xoxo g', and it made Frank smile just by looking at it. 

Once out of lessons and on the tube, Frank punched the number into his phone, simply naming the contact 'G'. He smiled again and sent a text. 'hey x' he had debated adding the x, wether it was too flirty, but then he'd remembered lunchtime, and decided that it definitely wasn't. He'd pressed his phone against his chest, smiling to himself in the middle of the cramped underground carriage.

Once out of the station back in Brixton, Frank's phone buzzed. The message back said 'hey Frank x'. Frank grinned widely again as he typed his reply. 'I had fun today, what about you?' This time the reply was instant. 'Yeah it was good, different but good'. Frank reached his block of flats and sprang up the stairs like a little kid. He got to his flat, flung open the door, dumped his bag and flopped down on his bed. He sent off another text to Gerard. 'It was, we should do it again sometime ;)' He briefly regretted the winky face, but then realised it didn't matter that much. Without waiting for a reply, he called Ray and Mikey.

Thirty minutes later and they were all sitting in Frank's living room, drinking coke and half watching the Jeremy Kyle show. After a few slightly awkward minutes, Mikey asked the question they were all thinking. 'So Frank, what brought you into and now I guess out of, your little self imposed isolation? Was it a hippy thing or...' Frank and Ray both laughed, Mikey had this magic ability to make anything seem so much easier. Frank dipecided the best thing would be to tell them everything...

'And that is how I ended up spending my lunchtime making out with my teacher and sitting on his lap.' Ray snorted into his coke, Mikey looked shocked more than anything else. 'Well Frank, looks like you've been a bit busy.' Mikey gave Frank a fake patronising look. Frank and Ray both laughed again. 'Apparently I have.' Frank looked down at his coke and frowned. What had he gotten himself into? Noticing his change in mood, Mikey punched his shoulder, making some coke spill and fizz on the carpet. 'We were just teasing Frank, really. We're happy for you, aren't we Ray.' Ray nodded, his afro making him look sort of like a sheep. The compassionate looks on both of their faces made Frank glow again. 'Thanks guys.' They all smiled at each other.

Just as they were settling down to watch the lie detector test results on Jeremy Kyle, the door clicked open. Frank jumped up; his mum wasn't supposed to be getting home until seven. But still there she was, shuffling into the living room, keys in hand. She saw Frank, Ray and Mikey and a grin split across her face. 'Frankie!' She rushed over and cupped Frank's face in her hands, kissing both cheeks. 'I thought you were supposed to be at work tonight?' Frank broke free of her grip and checked his watch. Quarter past seven. 'Shit,' he murmured, rushing to go and grab his jacket. 'I've got to run, see you later guys.' Ray and Mikey grinned at him and waved before turning back to the telly- the very pregnant girl was yelling at her cheating boyfriend, and Jeremy was having to stop them from physically fighting. 'Bye mum, have a good night.' Frank hugged his mum again before rushing out of the apartment.

On the way down the stairs, Frank pulled out his phone. Two new messages. He opened the first, from Gerard. 'Yeah, we should do it again. How about lunchtime Monday, in my room? x' It took Frank a few seconds to remember what Gerard was referring to, but when he remembered it made him groan, because Monday was so far away, but it gave him something incredible to look forward to. He opened the second message. 'Don't forget to wear your eyeliner ;)' A thrill rushed through Frank. He found himself looking forward to Monday.

Chapter Text

Frank spent the rest of his weekend feeling lighter than usual. He spent a lot of time texting Gerard. They discussed the new ideas Gerard had for Umbrella Academy, some guitar pieces Frank had been working on, and just generally flirted. Sometimes, when Gerard said something especially sweet, Frank had to actually pinch himself to make sure this wasn't some sort of elaborate dream, and that he wouldn't go back to school on Monday to find just an average teacher in Mr Way's place. He even found work bearable, and, on Monday morning, he jumped out of bed already smiling.

He pulled on his suit and rushed to the bathroom, eyeliner in hand. Once his makeup was perfectly drawn on and smudged, he ducked back into his room to grab his bag and headed for the door. On the way down the hallway, he bumped straight into his mum, who was in her dressing gown, bleary eyed and clutching a cup of coffee. Her eyes widened when she saw Frank's. 'What have you got on your face Frankie?' Frank stuttered for a second, not quite knowing what to say. His mums expression changed from one of shock to one of concern. 'Oh, Frankie, you've been so odd recently. You barely talk to me, you're always smiling at your phone and now you're going to school looking like this. Is there anything up?' Before Frank had a chance to respond, his mum started talking again. 'Because you know if there is you can tell me? You know that right? Is it because I work too much? Or is-' 

Frank put his hands on his mums shoulders and smiled what he hoped was a reassuring smile. 'Mum, honestly, I'm fine. I know you have to work and it's fine, honestly.' His mum softened a little. 'And the makeup?' Frank tried to come up with a decent response. 'I'm just experimenting with something, that's all.' He looked at his watch. 'Look, mum, I've got to run so I'm not late for school. See you later yeah?' Frank planted a kiss on his mums cheek and ran out the door.

As he suspected he would be, Frank was five minutes late for fine art. He slunk into he classroom, going around the back of the desks to reach his seat. He didn't make eye contact with Mr Way until he spoke to Frank. 'Well Frank, you're late.' Gerard came over and rested his hands on his desk, sleeves turned up so Frank could see the muscles and veins moving under his skin. He looked down into his eyes. 'Sorry, sir.' said Frank with a smirk. He could see Mr Way trying to resist the temptation, but he gave in and winked. Subtle enough that nobody else would notice, but Frank certainly did. 'You'll have to come back at lunch Frank, this can't happen another time. Oh, and we'll discuss that stuff on your face.' His voice dropped to a low, gravely pitch as he referred to the eyeliner, and Frank gulped. If it was any other teacher, Frank would have been embarrassed and pissed off, but having Mr Way say this to him made his body tingle. It was from anticipation, and he also realised, lust. Lust for this powerful but inwardly sensitive man that was currently towering over him.

Gerard smirked once more and turned away, leaving Frank feeling bare without the presence above him. The rest of the lesson passed relatively uneventfully. Gerard was clever. He spoke to Frank more often and more casually than anyone else, but not so much that it would cause anyone also to be curious; he knew that he had to keep it hidden and he was doing a spectacular job of it. That didn't stop him from dropping Frank the occasional subtle wink, and every one made him look forward to lunchtime more and more.

Chapter Text

Frank made his way to a2 as soon as the lunch bell rang. He waited eagerly for the class to finish fling out, anxiety riddled year elevens dragging their polished leather heels down the hall. As soon as the last one was out, Frank practically jumped through the door.. He instantly found himself in a position just as compromising as the last time.

Gerard's mouth was hot against his and he quickly moved down, planting kissed on his jawline, then slightly undoing his tie and nipping at his neck. He didn't bite hard enough to leave a mark, but God Frank wanted him to. Frank arched his head back and sighed, taking in the pleasure of what Gerard was doing. Mr Way pulled Frank's face back towards his by his shirt and kissed him roughly on the mouth again, tasting amazing and new and of something slightly salty. Frank pushed him away when he realised that it was tears. 

He held Mr Way at arms length, gently but strong enough that he couldn't try and kiss Frank again, though they both ached for it. 'Gerard, what is it?' He started stroking his face with one hand, which just made him start crying harder. 'Gerard, what's wrong? Is there something up?' And awful thought made its way into Frank's head. 'Is it me?' Gerard shook his head, breathing heavily to overcome the sobs that were taking over his body. Frank had never thought to see him in this state. Or anyone really. Once Gerard had slightly composed himself, he reached up to the hand on his face, took it in his own and led Frank over to the desk. Frank could only comply as Gerard sat down in his chair and gestured for Frank to sit in his lap. Frank started playing gently with Mr Ways hair, not saying anything, just encouraging him through gentle actions to open up.

'I, um, I lived in New York for a while. When I was a teenager. My mum got a job out there with this big corporation in the Worlld Trade Centre and we moved to New York City in early 2000.' Something awful jolted through Frank's mind: the date. It was the eleventh of September today. The sixteenth anniversary of the falling of the twin towers. He murmered 'oh my god.' As if Gerard had read his mind, he nodded to himself. 'Yeah. On the eleventh of September I was in the city. It was a Tuesday but me and a couple friends decided to skive and go into the city so we caught the subway. We got out of the station and everything was fine for a little while and then there was this huge noise, like the sky was falling.' Gerard looked up at Frank, tears leaking their way out of the corners of his eyes, which were wide, almost panicky, as he relived the memories. 'The whole city looked up and saw the first plane. It had crashed into the first tower and it felt so surreal, like a movie. Then a woman screamed and we saw the second plane and it crashed into the second tower. Everything was crashing and burning and falling. I saw bodies, Frank, falling from the sky. I was fourteen years old.'

Frank didn't know what to say. 'I-' He had no idea how you could say anything when somebody had been through something that awful. 'I'm so sorry.' Something even more terrible occurred to him. 'Was your mum okay.' Gerard nodded. 'Yeah, she'd left to go and meet a client. I didn't know that at the time. But I've never been able to stop thinking about what would have happened if she wasn't?' Frank just nodded his head. He felt himself choking up too. Gerard continued. 'The police started to shove people away from the towers. Not that people were hard to get away. People were just running through New York. In the street, in the road. They just dropped what they were doing and ran. Nobody had any idea what was going on, only that it was bad. There were children crying, and adults crying, it was chaos. The police were just loading people onto subway trains and getting them anywhere, just out of the city. I got split up from my friends. I was alone and so, so terrified.' He looked again into Frank's eyes. 'Just imagine it Frank, I was fourteen, alone in New York City, without a phone, during the biggest terror attack that's ever happened.'

Frank couldn't. As of he was just remembering who and where he was, Gerard attempted to compose himself. 'Well, um, I found my way back home, and my mum was fine and she told me my friends parents had called and they were safe. Then she told me that we were leaving New York, that she'd booked flights back for the Friday and that we were coming back to England. I'd always been a sensitive kid, so in tune with others emotions, but that just sent me over the edge. When we got back home I just shut myself away in the basement, working on art, making music. It was really, really hard. Obviously I was in a lot of counselling, mainly for the grief. I became really depressed during that period. I was really chubby as well, so I didn't have friends at school. I was just so cut off from the rest of the world. And I've barely told this to anyone before, ever.' Frank was properly crying with him now. He just felt so awful that something like this had happened to Gerard. He enveloped him in a hug, squeezing him tight to try and make him feel better. Gerard hugged back, and they both cried onto each other's shoulders.

The hug broke apart, and Frank used his thumb to wipe away some of Gerard's tears. They both sniffled, and then nervously laughed. Frank took the opportunity to say what he thought might be the most heartfelt thing he'd ever said. 'Gerard, I'm so sorry this happened to you, but I feel so blessed that you chose me to open up about it to. Thank you.' Gerard looked up into his eyes and smiled sadly. 'Oh Frank, what have I gotten into with you.' Frank smiled back. 'I don't know, but I do know I never want it to stop.'

And then they were kissing again, happiness and sadness mixing equally in the weight of all that had been said.

Chapter Text

Frank left the classroom reluctantly at the end of lunch. He didnt want to leave Mr Way while he was upset like this, and it was obvious Gerard hadn't wanted his too either, but they parted on the promise that they'd text each other when Frank got out of lessons. Throughout the afternoon Frank's concentration lapsed, going back to what Gerard had said.  It amazed him that someone could have seen so much and go through so much and yet still be as cool and seemingly relaxed as he was. It also reminded Frank that there was so much he didn't know about Gerard. I mean, he'd lived in New York! What else could he have done that Frank didn't know about.

That brought Frank back to thinking about something bad. Bert. Frank couldn't help but feel a bitter twist in his gut when he thought about Bert and Gerard together. Even though Gerard had said he no longer had interest in Bert, they had been together at some point. And Gerard obviously wasn't living on his friend's sofa anymore, meaning he was probably back at home in the flat he rented from Bert. Even though Mr Way had never explicitly said anything about Frank being his boyfriend, he couldn't help but feel a bit threatened by Bert. Really it was ridiculous, but Frank couldn't help but feel a bit jealous; Gerard and Bert went way back, and Bert obviously knew so much about him, stuff that Frank had no idea about. Just basic stuff, like his favourite food, his favourite colour, his favourite song. But that stuff did matter. Kind of.

Frank survived the rest of the afternoon, his lapses going largely unnoticed. He went back home straight from school to get on with homework. He said hi to his mum when he got in. She was watching something on the telly, but she turned around on the sofa and grinned at him. 'Hey Frankie, this new Italian place opened down the high street, I wondered if you'd like to go tonight?' This took Frank by surprise, as usually on her rare evenings off she prefered to get a takeaway and doze of in front of the telly. 'Sure, mum.' Frank replied. His mum grinned wider and reached for her phone. 'I'll book us a table. Seven okay?' Frank shook his head slightly. 'Maybe a little later, I have an English lit essay to do, so that might take a while. Seven thirty?' Franks mum smiled and punched the number into the phone. As Frank went to his room and settled down on his bed with his laptop on his lap he heard her chatting to the guy at the Italian.

He also heard a buzz on his own phone: a text from Gerard. He grinned, all thoughts of Nick and Gatsby put aside. 'Hey, sorry earlier was a bit heavy xx' Frank's reply was instant. 'Don't worrry about it, if there's anything you ever need to talk to me about it's chill xx' He glowed inside. A couple of seconds later his phone buzzed again. 'Thanks Frank' Not wanting the conversation to end, Frank sent another message. 'See you again same time tomorrow? ;)' The reply came quickly. 'Of course x' And then another one. 'You looked really good today by the way Frank. The eyeliner definitely suits you ;)' A shudder ran through Frank, he hadn't thought Gerard would notice. The next text he sent was probably a bit too flirty, he just hoped Gerard was in the mood to play along with it. 'Oh did you like it Mr Way, maybe I'll try it again tomorrow.' Another message made Frank's phone buzz. 'Of course, Iero, of course' Frank was relived Gerard was playing along, and also slightly thrilled at the more flirty direction the conversation was taking.

'Well, I guess I'll be seeing you tomorrow sir?' He grinned, thinking of Gerard smirking as he opened the message. The reply came back. 'Yes Iero, and don't be late.' Frank smiled again as yet another message came through. 'x' Plain and simple. Frank sent one back, and then put his phone down and tried to concentrate on his essay. The question was about Analysing Fitzgerald's conception of the American dream. They had to consider wether he thought it to be completely dead, or wether he believed it could be revived. The kind of essay Frank usually wrote and passed with flying colours. He didn't get that A* at gcse for nothing. So why was he struggling so much to think of themes and ideas tonight?

After much thinking and typing, Frank had a reasonable frame for his essay down. He still had to flesh it out and add more detailed analysis, but he reckoned he could do that easily during frees. He closed the lid of his laptop and headed over to his wardrobe. The clock on the wall said 7.10; only twenty minutes until him and his mum needed to be at the restaurant. After a bit of digging around, Frank managed to find a relatively clean pair of jeans and an only slightly crumpled Iron Maiden tshirt.

He stripped off his uniform and got into the clothes. Going to the bathroom he put on a bit more eyeliner and ruffled up his hair. Then he had an idea. Heading back to his room he went straight toward his bedside table. He dug around in the top drawer for a minute and then found what he was looking for: his lip ring. Frank smiled and went back to the mirror in the bathroom. With a bit of teasing he managed to get it back in. He grinned at his reflection in the mirror. The guy staring back at Frank was the emo but not too emo guy that year eight Frank could only dream of being. Something else was different too, not just the eyeliner and lip ring. Frank seemed to glow from the inside. He was more confident as well, posture higher and prouder. In short, he looked like the young man he'd needed to grow into for a long time.

Chapter Text

Dinner was good. It was nice to sit down and properly chat with his mum. Often when they talked one of them was on the way out and they didn't have a chance to properly chat. But tonight they had as long as they wanted to just sit down and chat, and it reminded Frank of dinner times with his mum and dad when he was younger. The warm glow inside him was amplified by the great food, and they chatted and ate for hours. Frank's mum didn't quiz him too much about earlier, all she asked was wether there was anything bad going on. Once Frank had reassured her that yes, everything was fine, and yes, the eyeliner was just something he was doing for him, not because of pressure from anyone, she was fine. After that, they talked about his art, his music, her job. They talked about Mikey and Ray and how they were doing. They talked about anything and everything, and it made Frank incredibly happy.

They got home, full up with pizza, and flopped down on the sofa. Frank reached for his phone, and his mum reached for the tv remote. 'Frankie, you're on your phone all the damn time now. How about a movie?' Frank looked up from his mobile. 'Yeah mum, sure. Movie. Sounds good.' To be honest, Frank was more concerned about his phone. He clicked onto his texts. He noticed the new one from Gerard and smiled. The text read 'interesting plot development in the Umbrella Academy, can't wait to show you x' Frank's smile stretched wider; he loved hearing about Gerard's comic. He sent a quick message back. 'Can't wait x' and put his phone down to concentrate on the movie.

The film in question was some new soppy chick flick, and Frank excused himself halfway through, claiming tiredness. It was true, he was exhausted. Also, he wanted to get lots of sleep so he looked nice and fresh for the next day.

-

Tuesday came around all too quickly, but lunchtime couldn't come quicker enough. He'd decided to wear his lip ring to school and he got some shit for that. Mainly just little comments behind his back, but of course Charles Henry had to take it to the next level. Frank was getting his English text out of his locker in the common room before he went on see Gerard when a group of people walked in and the door slammed behind them. Frank sighed and turned around, really not in the mood for a conflict. As he did, Charles Henry sniggered, like Frank's existence was the single funniest thing in his world right now. To be fair, it probably was. 'Hey, fag boy. Cute lip ring. Where'd you get it? 2005?' On cue, the guys all laughed. Frank sighed and tried to figure out the best response that would get him the least hate. 'Yep, that's exactly it. Since when didn't you become so insightful Charles Henry?' He looked angry. Maybe sarcasm wasn't the best route to go down. 'And since when did you become such a cheeky fuck?' The guys gathered behind Charles Henry all laughed again. Sighing again, Frank decided to just say screw it and to shove through the guys. He saw a gap between two of them and decided to make a run for it. He breathed in, breathed out, and went for it. 

He shoved past Charles Henry and his idiots, and into the relative safety of the hallway. Part of him wanted to lean around the door and see their dumb faces, but the clever side of him told him to get his ass down to art. Plus, he wanted to see Gerard, and that always overruled anything else. The thought of seeing Gerard put a smile back onto his face, and he headed over to a2.

Chapter Text

Frank arrived at Mr Ways room and found Gerard sitting behind his desk, cup of coffee in one hand, pencil in the other. He walked in and closed the door, the click alerting Gerard to his presence. He looked up and grinned. 'Frank! Hey!' Frank slipped closer to the desk. 'Hey, watcha working on?' He perched on the edge of the desk. Gerard looked up at him. 'Just some little sketches for Umbrella Academy. It's a design concept for Pogo, do you like it?' Frank looked at his sketch, then back down at Gerard. He smiled, leaned down, and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. 'Yeah, I do.' Both of their faces split into grins.

Gerard focused on Frank's face for a moment, before grinning again. 'You've got a lip ring! I just noticed.' Frank laughed. 'Yeah, I've had it for years, I just barely wear it any more.' Gerard nodded. 'You should wear it more, it's cute. Makes you look extra emo.' He winked slowly, showing off his thick black eyelashes. 'Do you have any piercings Gerard?' Frank asked. He looked down at the floor sheepishly. 'Um, no, actually. I'm kind of scared of needles. Terrified, actually, would describe it better. Like the thought of having a hole made in your flesh by choice? Why?' He shuddered comically and Frank laughed. 'Looks like we're not getting couples tattoos any time soon then.' Gerard grinned up at him again. 'Oh, so we're a couple now?' Frank grinned back. 'I guess we are.' 

Gerard angled his head up and Frank leaned down to kiss him. Soon he found himself sitting on Mr Way's lap yet again, tangling his hands up in his hair. Gerard tugged on his lip ring in such a sexy way that Frank moaned into his mouth. Gerard laughed into his moth and no pulled away, leaving Frank sitting on his lap, arms around his neck, pouting like a little kid. Gerard put a finger on his lips, just feeling them. 'Aw, poor baby, not getting what he wants all the time.' Frank smiled against his finger and saw the same expression mirrored in Mr Way's eyes. A look of contentment, and of such warmth that Frank's heart swelled so much he thought it might burst. 

Frank decided to play on what Gerard had said. 'Oh, I think I know a few ways to get what I want from you, Mr Way.' He put a lazy smile on his face and absently played with the hair at the back of Gerard's neck. Gerard's grip of Frank's waist tightened as he pulled Frank closer. They were pressed against each other, and Gerard's breath tickled against his ear as he whispered. 'Are you sure about that Frank?' He struggled not to gasp as he replied. 'Oh, I am.' Gerard shifted back and smiled. Frank already missed the presence of his teachers' body against his, so he kissed him again. It started soft and tender, and ended hot and heavy, both of them gasping to breath as they pulled away from each other.

They spent a good few minutes just sitting, foreheads touching, smiling at each other as they struggled to get their breath back. Gerard surprised Frank by speaking first. 'If I asked you if you were free Friday night, what would you say?' 'Well,' Frank replied, 'that depends. Are you asking if I want to come and do something with you? Because if that's the case I think you already know the answer.' Gerard smirked. 'So you are free then?' Frank smirked right back at him. 'I'm sure I can free up a space in my busy, busy schedule.' 

Just at that moment, the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch. Any moment now, Mr Ways room would be flooded with unenthusiastic year tens. 'Good, I'll text you later then, I guess.' Frank planted one last kiss on his lips before getting up off his lap and swinging his bag over his shoulder. He sauntered out of the classroom. 'I guess you will.' He closed the door softly behind him.

Chapter Text

Frank got a text from Gerard as soon as he left the school gates. 'I know a really cool bar we could go to on Friday x' and then, before Frank had had a chance to reply to the first one, 'Maybe you could stay over at mine afterwards x' A thrill rushed through Frank's entire body. His hands shook out of excitement and nerves as he replied. 'Sounds great x' Frank exhaled deeply and started walking. His feet carried him to the tube station like he had wings on them. He couldn't remember ever feeling so light and happy. Frank's mouth kept twitching it's way into a smile, trying to resist the temptation to grin like an idiot in the street as he skipped down the walking part of the escalator.

-

The rest of the week, Frank and Gerard slipped into a comfortable routine. Sneaky winks and brushes of hands in classes, and lunchtimes spent together in Mr Way's room. Really, it was remarkable they hadn't been caught; they were getting less and less discreet. It worried Frank slightly, but he wasn't about to say anything. He didn't want any of it to stop. Frank had also managed to avoid Charles Henry, even if it had meant a bit of sneaking around between periods. 

But god, it had been so worth it. Every lunchtime Frank went to see Mr Way, and every lunchtime was amazing. They talked, they kissed, they worked on art. They'd even started working on a piece together- the cover for the first issue of The Umbrella Academy. Gerard had pretty much finished writing out the plot for the first issue. There was six parts, and Gerard had drawn concepts of all the characters, the main settings, everything. The few first drafts of panels he'd done were amazing, but he'd decided that now he wanted to create the cover. Gerard had talked to Frank about some ideas he'd had, most of them centring around a picture of Vanya playing her violin. Gerard and Frank had spent most of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday lunchtimes working on it, and when Frank had left at the end of Friday lunch Gerard was just putting the finishing touches to the piece.

Before they parted, they made arrangements for that evening. 'So,' Gerard said, 'meet me outside the bar at eight thirty?' Frank planted a kiss on his plush lips before replying. 'Yup, I'll be there.' Frank kissed him lightly again and then made to leave, but Gerard pulled him in further. Their lips were locked for so long that Frank lost track, and soon Mr Way found himself with a class of restless year eights outside his door, and Frank found himself late for English. Not that either of them could concentrate in their next lessons anyway.

Chapter Text

Frank arrived early. He was stood outside the bar by quarter past eight, shivering. It had turned cold when the sun set, and he was only wearing a tshirt and an old leather jacket with his jeans and Doc Martens. He'd also kept his lip ring in and put on more eyeliner. He had to admit, he thought he looked pretty cool. Frank had told his mum he was going to sleep over and Ray's after his shift, and she had work anyway so she wouldn't be checking up on him. The thought of where he would really be sleeping made him shiver again, but not from the cold.

Frank looked up at the sign for the bar. It was done in bright colours, graffiti style. There was music coming from the inside, but not too loud. And it wasn't the usual music either, more rock than pop. Apart from that, Frank couldn't really tell more. Just then, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He spun around to be enveloped in Gerard's arms. He was so warm,a dm Frank would have been content to just snuggle into him right there and then. Instead, he regretfully pulled away and looked up to Gerard's eyes. He smiled, and Gerard returned one of his own. He spoke nervously. 'Hey...' It wasn't exactly awkward, just strange. He'd grown used to seeing Gerard as Mr Way, in school, wearing his skinny suit every day. Instead, he was dressed in skinny black jeans, a black tshirt and a leather jacket so beat up it had to be vintage. In short, he was dressed very similar to Frank. One thing that was the same was his beautiful face, except he looked more relaxed than Frank had ever seen him. His eyes were glittering in the streetlights, and his skin was glowing. A five o clock shadow graced his strong jawline, and a thin line of eyeliner was present on his waterline, smoked out below his thick lashes. 

Gerard probably saw Frank looking, so he grinned and said 'Oh Frank, you don't think you're  only one who can look good in makeup, do you?' They both laughed. Without warning, Gerard took his hands from Frank's waist and grabbed one of his hands, dragging him through the doors into the bar. As soon as they were inside, Frank could see exactly why Gerard had chosen the place. The inside was dim, but not too dark and dingy. Coloured led spotlights dotted around on the ceiling cast the room in ambient shades of pink, purple and blue. One wall was covered in graffiti in neon colours, some looking like it had been done professionally, some... not so much. The opposite was painted black, and completely covered in framed artwork and records, along with a few guitars and other pieces of memorabilia that Frank could only assume were signed. There was a bar at one end, all sleek silver and glass shelves. The floor was plain black vinyl, and scattered with chrome silver tables and chairs. The atmosphere was unlike any bar Frank had ever been in. For a place so busy and so bold, it felt remarkably laid back and chill. Frank could never have guessed somewhere like this could exist in the usually stuck up suburb of Kensington. But then again, that was London for you: scratch just a little under the surface and you find something unique and unexpected. Gerard turned around and grinned at Frank's probably bemused expression and dragged him further inside. 

They practically ran over to the bar, Gerard dragging Frank by the hand, both of them narrowly dodging tables and chairs and people. When they reached the bar, they were ere both out of breath and grinning at each other, cheeks flushed in the stuffy heat. Frank tried to talk through his laughter. 'How, how did you find, find this place?' Gerard laughed right back. 'Too many lonely nights wandering this city.' Frank smiled in what he hoped was a flirty way. 'Well, I hope I can change that.' Gerard raised one perfect eyebrow. 'Oh yeah?' Frank nodded. 'Oh yeah.' They both laughed again. Gerard turned and pulled out a bar stool for Frank, who awkwardly climbed up and sat down. Gerard laughed again. 'Are you taking the piss out of my height? Because I swear to god Gerard I could just leave right now.' Frank was only messing around, but Gerard grabbed onto his hand like he would actually leave. 

'Um, hey, I'll get the drinks in. What do you want?' Frank didn't really know what to say, so he just mumbled something about a beer. Gerard spoke to the man at the bar, a thirty something hipster with a moustache and a beret, and a few minutes later than had their drinks. Looking for something to talk about, Frank noticed that Gerard didn't have a proper drink, instead he had something that looked like orange juice. Taking a sip of his beer, Frank asked Gerard 'So, how come you're not drinking?' He looked down at his drink, and then back up at Frank. He put a hand behind his neck and scratched at the back of his hair. 'Ah, I was hoping not to get into this so early.' Frank tried to backtrack, thinking he'd makybe said something wrong, but Gerard just shrugged him off. 'Nah, its fine. It doesn't matter, had to come out at some point.' He looked around, as if physically searching for the words.

'Well, um, when I was in my twenties I had a few, um, issues with alcohol. And by issues I mean I was a full on alcoholic. Drugs too. Yeah, um. It nearly killed me actually. It was just a mixture of depression and drugs and alcohol. Unless you hadn't already guessed, it wasn't so great. Dark times. But hey,' he shrugged. 'I'm here now.' He took a sip of his drink. Frank's own drink now looked like rat poison to him. 'Oh, wow. Are you okay with me...' He trailed off and gestured towards his beer. Gerard nodded and stirred his own drink with his straw. 'Yeah, I mean, I haven't touched any for over four years. I feel like I'm in a stable enough place right now that I can deal with being in places like this. I don't know, I just feel like it's been long enough that I can trust myself.' Frank was stunned as he watched Gerard stir his juice. Moments like this reminded Frank that he really did know nothing about Gerard. 

'Tell me about yourself Gerard.' He looked up from his drink at Frank's question, spreading his palms out. 'What do you want to know?' Frank considered his question for a second. What did he want to know? In the end he went with the simplest answer. 'Everything. Anything. Just tell me about you, not about art or work or school, just you. Your first job, your favourite movie, your favourite food, what you wanted to be when you were growing up, anything.' Gerard looked down at his lap, before meeting Frank's eyes. 'Well, let's start with the easy ones. My first job was in a supermarket, packing bags. My favourite movie, maybe the Rocky Horror Picture Show? My favourite food would probably be pizza. When I was younger I probably wanted to be Batman more than anything.' Frank just looked at Gerard and nodded, trying to store away this information, tuck it away somewhere safe in his mind where it wouldn't get lost. 'What more do you want to know?' Frank replied quietly. 'I told you, Gerard. Everything.' 

So that's what Gerard did. He talked and talked for hours. He told Frank about his family, about what he likes to do on the weekends, what hair dye he uses, where he buys his jeans. In return Frank told him everything too. He spoke about school, about home, about Mikey and Ray, but mainly about himself. They exchanged stories, they laughed and they comforted each other, and they learned about each other. By around eleven thirty Frank's head was spinning, but he didn't know if that was because if the conversation or because if the three beers he'd drunk. So of course, when Gerard leaned in and whispered in his ear 'Why don't we get out of here? Go back to mine?' Frank was more than happy to comply.

Chapter Text

Frank and Gerard walked out of the bar holding hands, dodging between tables and people. Frank's balance was more than compromised, so to be honest he didn't do too well. He stumbled out of the door and grabbed Gerard's other hand, spinning the older man around to face him. Breathing in the crisp night air, he stood up on his tiptoes to kiss Gerard. Frank's grip on his hands broke loose and he reached up to cup his face. He felt Gerard's arms snaking around his waist, pulling him closer until their bodies were pressed against each other. Standing there, kissing under the spotlight of a streetlight on an empty London street, they felt like the only two people left in the world. 

All too soon, they broke the kiss off and just stood their, still pressed against each other, breath clouding in the cold and mingling in the space between their flushed faces. Frank moved his hands to Gerard's shoulders, and Gerard's own hands travelled downwards until they were comfortably inside the back pockets of Frank's jeans. Frank smiled lazily, 'So, what now?' Gerard grinned back. 'Well,' he gave Frank's bum a squeeze through the denim, 'I was thinking we could take the joy that is the late night London Bus service back to my flat, and then... we'll see what happens. Sound good?' If it was even possible, Frank grinned wider. 'Sounds amazing.' They stood motionless for another second, until Gerard surprised him by quickly removing his hands from their (very welcome) place in Frank's pockets, grabbed one of the hands that was on his waist, gave Frank a devilish grin, and ran off, dragging Frank after him.

Frank laughed out loud. 'Shit, Gerard, slow down!' He was surprisingly fast. Gerard just laughed and didn't slow down at all. In fact, he didn't slow down until they were sitting at the back of the top deck of an empty bus, Frank sitting on Gerard's lap kissing like they wouldn't be back at his flat in a minute. Well, the bus was empty apart from some random middle aged man sitting at the front and shooting them disgusted looks. The thought of pissing him off made Frank push himself harder on Gerard, so much that it was almost too obscene. Almost.

By midnight, they were outside Gerard's flat, trying to unlock the door. It was made difficult by the fact Frank was pressed up against the door, pinned in place by Gerard's strong arms, with one of his hands scrabbling around the lock with the key. The key finally slipped into the lock and Gerard twisted it. The door swung open and Gerard pushed Frank through it. Looking up into Gerard's eyes, Frank saw pure dominance, but with tenderness and loving behind it. For a second they just stood there, in the hallway, just breathing and staring at each other. Frank wanted to breath in every inch of this dominant, powerful man before him. It was Gerard, but it was a new Gerard. This Gerard was strong and bold and spontaneous and free from the inhibitions he had to have at school. Lust filled the air between them, and Gerard broke the eye contact for half a second to glance at a door that Frank could only assume was his bedroom, then looked back to Frank and raised an eyebrow.

Frank didn't need to be told twice. He went towards the room and put his hand on the handle. His heart was beating so fast he almost couldn't handle it, and suddenly he was completely sober again. Gerard's hand found its way onto his, wrapping around it as he pushed down on the handle and opened the door. Frank stepped in and Gerard followed close behind, switching the light on. Frank hadn't know what he was expecting, but this wasn't really it. The room was surprisingly clean and airy, even at night, with a large window, clean white walls, and a grey carpet. There was a mirrored wardrobe built in along one wall and the others had lots of shelves holding weird figurines and books, and any left over wall space was given up to posters and quirky art pieces. On one side there was a white desk covered in art supplies and pieces. But Gerard wasn't focusing on the furniture. He was pulling Frank, by the hand, to sit on the bed.

They sat down next to each other, legs overlapping, not even bothering to take their shoes off, and immediately started kissing again. Except this time it was far more weighted. The kiss was deeper and more urgent, like they wanted to do everything all at once. Gerard's hands found their way back to Frank's pockets, and Frank's found their way to the hem of Gerard's tshirt, and then under it. Within a few seconds, Frank's hands were roaming all over his toned back, scratching with his fingernails and feeling the hard muscle in his shoulders. Frank's fingernails dug in harder, and Gerard moaned into his mouth. This made Frank do the same, and dig his fingernails in even more. Gerard squeezed his bum, making Frank groan again. Gerards hands moved from his pockets to quickly shrug off his jacket, and then to Frank's belt, where they began to work on the buckle. Frank felt a flash of embarrasment because of the bulge he knew was growing in his jeans, but when he glanced down and saw a similar one inside Gerard's jeans, he knew what he was doing was the right thing. 

Frank moved his own hands down to the hem of Gerard's tshirt and started to tug on it. Gerard realised what he was doing and lifted up his arms to Frank could tug off his shirt. Once it was off, Frank just had to stare for a second. He didn't have the usual rippling abs that he knew people liked, instead he was just... skinny. He had a flat, pale stomach and chest, with barely a hint of muscle, but it was so, so hot. It took Frank's breath away. The feeling of Gerard undoing his belt dragged him back to the present, though. Gerard grabbed his face again, kissing him hard and rough. Frank put his hands up and tangled them up in his hair. He'd started to sweat, they both had, and Frank could feel it on his hands. How was even that so sexy when it was Gerard? Somehow, he managed to form words as Gerard moved from his lips to kiss his neck. 'Gerard, oh my god, Gerard.' He laughed against Frank's skin and made him shiver. A hand slipped its way up Frank's shirt, then another, and soon he was shirtless too, still sitting on the end of his teachers bed.

They broke apart and sat, staring at each other and trying to catch their breath. They were hot and sweaty, even though the slightly open window was letting in a hint of cold night air. This time Gerard was the first to speak. 'Frank, I, oh my god.' Frank smiled coyly at him, he loved that he had this affect on the far older man. 'Frank, I really don't want to say this but, um, we should stop. No, no, not stop, but um, we shouldn't go, shouldn't go any further than this.' Frank nodded and chewed at his lip ring. 'Yeah, I was thinking the same thing actually.' He hadn't been, but he didn't want to seem to disappointed. 'Really?' Gerard seemed surprised, even a little offended. Frank laughed shyly. 'No.' Gerard grinned, then frowned again. 'Well, I obviously don't want to, and you don't either, but we just can't. You're seventeen and we'll, you're my student. I'd lose my job already, I don't fancy getting put in prison for taking advantage of a minor.' Frank smiled again in what he hoped was a seductive way. 'Oh, you'd be taking advantage of me, Mr Way?' Gerard but his lip and looked at Frank like he wanted to kill him as well as kiss him. 'Frank, Frank, Frank, you know I just can't resist you when you call me that.'

And then they were kissing again, just as hot and heavy as before. They knew they would have to stop at some point even though they really didn't want to. But, once Gerard's belt was unbuckled too and his hands were slipping their way down Frank's jeans, they knew that had to stop before they went too far and just couldn't stop. Frank placed his hands on Gerard's hot chest, pushing him away slightly. Their lips broke apart, but were so close they were almost touching. Their faces were so close Frank could make out every fleck of green in Gerard's eyes, and his breath cooled his skin. Gerard smiled devilishly. 'Oh, Frank, who's being dominant now?' Frank grinned in return. 'Oh no, can't Mr away deal with someone else taking control for once?' He tutted. 'Now this is being taken advantage of.' Gerard leaned in and kissed him lightly again before whispering against his lips. 'And you just love it, don't you?' Frank whispered back. 'I do Gerard, and you know what? I love you.'

Chapter Text

Twenty minues and a lot more kissing later, and Frank and Gerard were curled up together in bed in their underwear. They were lying on their sides facing each other, arms and legs tangled up, breath mingling in the space between them. Frank threaded his fingers through Gerard's and brought them up to his face. He examined Gerard's hands, the hands of a man who's been an artist and a musician all his life. Tendons pushing at the skin, bitten down nails, rough calluses on some fingers from playing the guitar. Frank couldn't help but marvel at every single part of this man's body and soul. And he couldn't help but feel incredibly, incredibly lucky that Gerard had chosen him. Gerard whispered, 'What are you thinking about?' Frank smiled softly, 'Just about how blessed I am that you chose me, out of everyone. And how lucky I am that you let me choose you.'

Gerard smiled back. 'Of course I chose you Frank. You're... special. You're so different from anyone I've ever met before. You just see things from such a unique and insightful perspective, and sometimes it's just so hard to believe you're only seventeen...' He trailed off then, getting lost in thought. His eyes were heavy and kept nearly closing. After all, it was past one in the morning. Frank smiled lazily. 'I think I love you Gerard.' He closed his eyes and snuggled down closer to Gerard, who wrapped his arms around him and squeezed him tighter. 'Oh Frankie, I think I might love you too.' 

When Frank didn't reply, Gerard looked down at him, head resting on his chest, fast asleep. Gerard smiled, content with watching his sleeping boyfriend. Was Frank his boyfriend now? He assumed so, after what had happened. His smile stretched further as he remembered the events of the night. He breathed in, inhaling Frank's scent, and soon after that, he was asleep too.

-

When Frank woke up he had no idea where he was. He felt the sunlight streaming in onto his face, so unlike home, and felt someone else lying next to him in an unfamiliar bed. Then he recognised the feel of the hand he'd woken up holding. Frank rolled over, and saw the man lying next to him. Gerard's face was relaxed in a smile, his eyelashes were slightly fluttering, and his black hair was even more messy than usual. Frank smiled contentedly and reached out to stoke his slightly stubbly cheek. His skin was so soft, and Frank lay his hand on his cheek. Gerard's eyes fluttered more and cracked open. In the bright and airy morning light, they were fen more stunning than usual. 'Hey.' Frank whispered. Gerard replied groggily. 'Morning Frank.' 

They stayed in bed for a while, just lazing around and chatting, until Gerard's slight coffee addiction got the best of him and he got up to go and make two. Another positive if this was the fantastic view Frank got of him in just his underwear. His lean muscles moved perfectly under his skin as he strolled out of the room, casually, as if this wasn't the kind of thing that happened every day. A few minutes later Gerard returned with two small cups. The smell of strong coffee filled the room. Gerard handed a cup to Frank and he propped himself up to sit and drink it. Gerard got back into bed next to him and smiled sheepishly. 'I don't know how you like your coffee so I just made it as strong as I usually have. I hope you don't mind.' Frank took a sip of the inky black liquid and nuzzles into Gerard's neck. 'Mm, it's perfect. Thank you Gerard.' 

The next half an hour or so was spent just chatting until Gerard decided he wanted to go and grab breakfast at some hipster cafe down the road. Reluctantly they both got out of the warmth of Gerard's bed and got dressed. Their clothes were in a crumpled pile at the foot of the bed, and their bare skin kept brushing. Every time it sent a pleasant chill down Frank's spine. Once he had his jeans and socks on, Frank picked up his tshirt from the floor. It was so creased it was almost comical, and smelled faintly of beer and sweat. Gerard, who was now fully dressed, saw Frank's nose wrinkle slightly. 'Do you want to borrow a shirt or a hoodie or something Frankie?' Frank smiled, 'Um, yeah, a hoodie would be good.' Gerard smiled and went over to his wardrobe. After a bit of rummaging he managed to retrieve a plain black pull-over hoodie and handed it to Frank. Frank felt Gerard's eyes on his chest as he slipped the hoodie over his head. It was soft and felt like it had been washed a hell of a lot of times. The best part was that it smelled like Gerard; coffee and cigarettes and a warm breeze through the trees. 

Gerard smiled lovingly and moved closer to Frank. Then he took his face in his soft hands and kissed him softly and sweetly, so unlike the passionate kisses of the night before. 'I love you Frank.' Frank looked directly into those hazel eyes. 'I love you too Gerard.'

Chapter Text

Frank crunched down on a piece of toast. Opposite him, Gerard was eating something called an acai bowl. If he was being honest, Frank had no idea what that meant, but he wasn't about to admit that to his super cool hipster but still emo boyfriend. Boyfriend. That sounded nice in his head. The super cool hipster but still emo boyfriend who had suggested they had come to this upper cool hipster and not at all emo cafe. The theme was all rustic and woody, with big open windows and flowers everywhere. In the warm September morning light it was almost too cottagey for Kensington. 

'So,' said Frank, gesturing with his toast, 'got any plans for today?' Gerard swallowed his spoonful of mysterious breakfast and nodded. 'If by plans you mean sitting at my desk and drawing, then yes. And you know that it's eleven thirty, right? There isn't exactly all that much of today left.' Frank nearly choked on his food. 'That late?' Gerard laughed. 'Well, what time did you think it was Frankie? We've already been up for hours.' He had to admit that Gerard had a point. 'I don't know, I guess I just didn't think about it. Shit, I haven't checked my phone since yesterday evening.' 

Frank pulled his mobile out of his pocket. He only had twenty percent charge. He also had about ten texts. He opened the first one, from Ray. 'Yo dude I just had my mum ask me where you were when she went to bed. Apparently you were meant to be sleeping over? I just said you were coming after work?' Frank's heart beat faster. The second one was from Ray too. 'Frank are you okay?' He opened the third. 'Okay I'm probably wrong here but I've decided to assume you're spending some quality time over at Gerard's house after your little date. Don't worry I won't say anything.' That was reassuring. 'Oh and have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do ;)'

This made Frank conceal a laugh, and then blush at what he was implying. In Ray's defence this wasn't so far from the truth. The second set of messages was from his mum. 'Hey baby r u still going to rays 2nite?' God the way she texted was so cringe worthy. 'Txt me when u get there x' 'just called rays mum and she sed u were getting there after work. Hope u have a good nite, I'm at work till 7 so don't bother txting me becos I'll b asleep in the morning xx love u xx' Frank breathed a huge sigh of relief. He'd gotten away with it, just about.

Across from him, Gerard finished his breakfast. 'So, what's up mr popular?' Frank laughed and put his phone back into his pocket. 'Oh, you know, just nearly getting caught sneaking off to spend the night with my teacher, no biggie.' Gerard grinned evily. 'Shh, Frank. Someone will hear you, then we'll be in deep, deep shit.' Frank took another bite of his toast. 'Eh, it'll be worth it.' he said through his mouthful of food. Gerard laughed. 'Yeah, I guess it would. I mean, losing my job, my home and getting sent to prison for a couple years is totally worth one night with you.' Frank grinned smugly and finished his toast. 'I know.'

Gerard payed the tab, partially out out of chivalry, partially because Frank didn't have any money on him. They got out onto the busy Kensington high street and walked along for a minute. Frank couldn't remember feeling as content as he was now, walking with his gorgeous boyfriend beside him, wearing his tshirt, feeling the last of the summer sun on his face. He was just about to tell Gerard this when he felt a strong grip on his arm and was dragged forcefully into a small alleyway and around the corner.

He tried to help but his mouth was covered by Gerard's. His whole body was crushed against the wall with the force of Gerard's passion. Frank groaned into his mouth as he wrapped his legs around Gerard's waist. He obviously liked this as he put both hands under Frank's arse and lifted him on top of a wheelie bin that was in the alley. This put Frank above Gerard, and he made full advantage of that as he forcefully took control of his boyfriend's mouth. Gerard stood on his tiptoes to be as close as possible. As the kiss was getting more and more heated, there was a clicking noise as a door swung open into the alley. They both whipped their heads around to see a middle aged man standing in the door leading up it into the alleyway, bag of rubbish in hand. A bag of rubbish, Frank realised, that was probably meant to go in the bin he was now sitting on. The man went bright red, dumped the bag on the floor, and mumbled something about coming back in a minute. Then he turned and closed the door behind him. Frank and Gerard looked at the door, then back at each other, then at the door again, stunned. Then They looked at each other one last time, and burst out laughing.

They laughed so hard that tears streamed down their faces, smudging yesterday's eyeliner even more. Frank fell forward off of the bin and ended up lying on top of Gerard, both of them still shaking with laughter, in the middle of the alleyway, just off of the high street of one of the poshest places in London. Thinking this just made Frank laugh harder, and that had the same effect on Gerard, until they could both barely breath. It took a few minutes for them to calm down enough that Frank was able to flop off of Gerard and they could sit up. 'God,' said Gerard, 'just a few weeks ago I didn't know who you were. I had no idea I'd ever meet anyone like you, if I'm honest I had plans to slowly sink into a depression and then die alone. And now look at us.' He gestured vaguely around the dank alleyway. 'Yeah, look at us sitting on the floor of this minging alleyway. You do treat a guy well Gerard.' laughed Frank. As if just remembering where they were, Gerard stood up fluidly and took Frank's hand, pulling him up too. 'Ah, Frankie, don't say I don't spoil you.' he said with a wink, letting go of Frank's hand and brushing off his jeans. Frank did the same. Then, Gerard took his hand again and smiled sheepishly. 'Come on, before that guy comes back for his rubbish.' The thought of this nearly sent Frank back into a laughing fit, but Gerard tugged his hand, leading him back out onto the bustling street.

Chapter Text

Frank and Gerard parted on the tube platform, with a kiss and the promise of a text later. The thought of not seeing Gerard until Monday was almost too much for Frank; he was close to not getting on the train home and instead dragging Gerard back to his place to finish what they'd started the night before. But Frank didn't do that. He got on his train back to Brixton and got home to the empty flat. He went straight to the bathroom, stripped off and got into the shower. It felt almost criminal to wash. He felt like he was removing Gerard's scent from his skin, removing the mark he'd made, but nothing would ever take away the mark that night had made on Frank. He'd been with people before, and he knew Gerard had been too, but that had just been such a personal experience, something he didn't think he'd ever be able to share with anyone else. A connection he'd never be able to replace, and he yearned for Gerard's hands to again be all over his skin.

Not only that, but Frank had learned so much about him when they were talking in the bar. For example, he never would have guessed that a man that beautiful would ever have struggled so much with his confidence and body image. And Frank had never told anyone about his struggles with finding a purpose to his life. Growing up in such a deprived area it was hard to see a future for himself outside of Brixton, and for years he had been terrified he would end up like so many people he knew: leaving school with a few crappy GCSEs, going straight into a shit job, buying a shit flat, getting with someone he didnt really want to be with, having a couple of kids, breaking up in the end, and getting old with only a cat for company. He'd seen it happen to so many people, and couldn't bare the though of a life like that for himself. That's why he'd worked hard, got his GCSEs and got his place at his sixth form. It had been tough, and he’d wanted to give up a bunch of times, but he’d succeeded. And it had obviously paid off, because without it he never would have met Gerard.

Frank got it of the shower and dried off a bit, before wrapping his towel around his waist and grabbing his clothes off the floor. He went to his room and got a clean pair of underwear and socks out of his drawer and some clean jeans out of another. Frank put them on and, instead of grabbing a tshirt, picked Gerards hoodie up and put it on. He didn’t put deodorant on; he didn’t want to make the hoodie smell of anything other than Gerard. Frank pulled the fabric up to his face and breathed the scent in deeper. He headed to the kitchen, shoving his dirty washing into the machine and putting his mobile on charge. Once there, he dialed first Mikeys and then Rays numbers on the landline. ‘Come over,’ he said to both of them, ‘and bring pot noodles.’ Frank grabbed his own lunch from the cupboard and three cans of coke from the fridge, and put the kettle on. He had a feeling he’d have a lot of explaining to do.

-

In fifteen minutes the tree boys were all sitting on Franks sagging sofa, steaming pot noodles in hand and cans by their feet. ‘So, Frankie, how was your night?’ said Ray pointedly. Frank looked into the depths of his plastic cup. His face split into a grin. ‘Actually, it was amazing.’ To the delight of his friends, Frank recounted the entire night, from start to finish, not leaving out any of the details. By the time he'd finished, both of his friends were sitting on the sofa and staring at him, pot noodles completely forgotten. 'What the fuck happened to the Frank I knew who only had one night stands with girls he met when he was drunk at parties?' Mikes said. Ray punched him in his arm. 'Man, you're in love, aren't you?' Frank grinned. 'Yeah, I guess I am. Yes.' He blushed, even though it felt good to finally get it completely out. 'And you know what the best part is? He's in love too.' Ray and Mikey both grinned widely at him, Mikey squeezing his cheek. 'Ah, man, I'm so proud of our sweet baby!' 'Piss off!' laughed Frank.

Suddenly, Ray grew serious. 'Just one thing, Frank. You're forgetting who this guy is. He isn't just your boyfriend Gerard. He's your teacher Mr Way. Your teacher Frank.' Frank ate some pot noodle and thought while chewing. 'Yeah, I guess I've been putting that to the back of my mind, I just haven't wanted to think about it.' The realisation of what he'd been doing had dawned on him. 'Oh my god, guys, what the hell am I going to do?'

Chapter Text

After that, the mood had turned sort of sour. And it hadn't stopped after Ray and Mikey had left; Frank had spent the rest of the weekend moping around the flat. The only things that had lifted his mood was the occasional texted from Gerard. They were weren't anything much, no great sweeping declarations of love, just little observations on whatever crap tv he was watching, comments on the joy of marking lower school work, stuff like that. In return Frank had supplied him with other witty remarks on the futility of capitalist society, his she-devil of a year seven and eight art teacher (who had been fired under circumstances still unknown to this day) and the like. Even though Gerard always managed to cheer him up, Frank still couldn't stop thinking about what Ray had said. It would be easy to just dismiss it, push it to the back of his mind along with all the other crap he'd rather not think about, but this was important. Realistically, he and Gerard could never be together. At least, not publicly. And even if they got past that it would lead to them spending all their lives together skulking around like a pair of criminals. Technically, Gerard was a criminal. This thought sent a chill through Frank. Legally, Gerard was a could get fired and imprisoned for what they'd done. It would ruin his life. And it would ruin Frank's. 

But, Frank was eighteen in October. In the eyes of the law, that would make it legal for them to be a couple as they would both be at a legal age. But even if it was legal, that doesn't mean it would be acceptable to a lot of people. The only solution Frank had seen was to keep it a secret until he left school in summer, and then lie and say they hadn't gotten together until she'd left school, and then it would probably be acceptable. Anyways, nobody would have to know at that point that Gerard was his teacher and not just a slightly older boyfriend. Then again, there came the 'slightly older' problem. Right now, Frank was nearly eighteen, Gerard was thirty. A twelve year age gap didn't sound like an awful lot, right? But when one of the people was only a few years over twelve in the first place... And there's a world of difference between eighteen and thirty. And just think of the awkwardness of the 'how we met' speeches at their wedding. Frank shook his head. They'd known each other for a few weeks and here he was talking about marriage. But, the problem was still there, what was he going to do?

-

This was still all racing through Frank's mind as he made his way to Mr Way's room on Monday lunchtime. It was the first time he'd seen him since Saturday, and he was surprisingly nervous. He was still wearing the hoodie, he'd not taken it off since Saturday except to shower, and now he had it on over his school shirt instead of a jumper. With his black hoodie, lip ring and eyeliner, Frank looked every inch the emo kid. He kind of loved it. Frank opened the door and was greeted by an empty room. The blinds were all completely open, bathing the room in warm, natural light. It smelled strongly of coffee, and there was a mug on the desk. Frank strolled over and picked it up, swilling the dregs around. He sat on the corner of the desk, shifting away some papers. He didn't mean to look, but one sheet caught his eye in particular. On it were what looked like a scribbled poem, covered in lots of crossings out and rewritings. It was headed 'Skylines and Turnstiles.' Frank read the words.

'You're not in this alone
Let me break this awkward silence
Let me go!
Go on record
Be the first to say I'm sorry
Hear me out
And if you take me down
Would you lay me out?
And if the world needs something better
Let's give them one more reason now

We walk in single file
We write our wills and punch our time
Ride escalators colder than a cell

This broken city sky
Like butane on my skin
Stolen from my eyes
Hello angel, tell me
Where are you?
Tell me, where we go from here
This broken city sky
Like butane on my skin
Stolen from my eyes
Hello angel, tell me
Where are you?
Tell me where we go from here
Tell me we go from...

And in this moment we can't close the lids
On burning eyes
Our memories blanket us with friends we know
Like fallout vapor
Steel corpses stretch out towards an ending sun
Scorched and black
It reaches in and tears your flesh apart
As ice cold hands rip into your heart

That's if you've still got one that's left
Inside that cave you call a chest
And after seeing what we saw
Can we still reclaim our innocence?
And if the world needs something better
Let's give them one more reason now

This broken city sky
Like butane on my skin
And stolen from my eyes
Hello angel, tell me
Where are you?
Tell me, where we go from here
This broken city sky
Like butane on my skin
Stolen from my eyes
Hello angel, tell me
Where are you?
Tell me where we go from here
Tell me where we go from here...'

Frank saw a drop of water land on his lap, and then another, and then he realised he'd started crying. The words were so raw and powerful, their flow and rhythm so strong, it was overwhelming for him. And the influence behind the words was so obvious to Frank, but cloaked in just enough metaphors that anyone else reading it could apply it to anything. Frank had never known Gerard could write like this, didn't know he wrote at all, and he had no idea why he would keep something like this hidden. Frank read the poem through again, tracing the writing with his fingers. He heard a cough.

Whipping his head around, he saw Gerard leaning casually in the doorway, hands deep in the pockets of his crumpled suit. Frank frantically stood up and put the paper down. 'Oh, hey, Gerard. I was just about to come look for you.' The words died in his throat as Gerard walked towards him, kicking the door shut with the kind of swagger that Frank had only seen from him once before, in his bedroom on Friday night. All he could do was stand there and stare at the man walking towards him, confident, every step calculated and precise. Only when Gerard had gotten so close that Frank could barely breath and put a hand on his desk on either side of him, did he speak. He put his head down to whisper in Frank's ear, 'Hello Frank. Snooping, were we?' Frank gulped before replying. 'No, well yes, but I didn't mean to.' He looked up into Gerard's eyes, hoping for the familiar playful spark to appear, but there was nothing there but cold flintiness. 'You call me sir, Frank.' growled Mr Way. 'My classroom, my rules.' 

Frank caught onto the game Gerard was playing, and he was all too happy to play along. He dropped his own voice down to a whisper, drowning it in sickly sweetness. 'I'm ever so sorry, sir, are you going to have to punish me?' Gerard let out a small noise at this. 'Well, I guess I don't have a choice...' His voice trailed off at this as his hand made its way under Frank's hoodie, then his shirt, and started stroking his lower back. Frank stiffened and pressed himself into Gerard, completely getting rid of any remaining space between them. 'Mr Way...' He brought his own hand up to stroke Gerard's jaw, scratchy with stubble. Placing a soft kiss on his jaw, Frank whispered against his skin. 'Punish me Mr Way.' When he drew away he leaned backwards on the desk, looking up with innocent puppy dog eyes, trying to make himself look as vulnerable as possible. His teachers hand moved from his back to his shoulders, pushing off his blazer.

Frank was putty in Gerard's hands, too caught up in lust to think clearly. Soon he was sitting on the desk, blazer and hoodie on the floor, kissing Gerard while he undid the buttons on his school shirt. Of course Gerard was still completely fully clothed; Frank had never known how much he enjoyed being in control, or how much of an apparent kink it was for him. You never would have guessed from his shy, artistic personality. His legs wrapped around his teachers waist, and Gerard's arms around his back, ignoring the buttons for a moment in favour of nibbling on his ear. He whispered in a deep, sultry voice, 'Want to go into the storage cupboard?' Frank bit his lip, at that point he would have said yes to anything. 'Of course Mr Way.' He felt Gerard smile against his ear. 'Say please.' Frank, keeping in character, not that it was hard to be submissive to this man, whimpered, 'Please sir.'

Chapter Text

Gerard lifted Frank up, almost effortlessly, Franks legs wrapped around his waist, his arms supporting his back. Frank's arms were around his neck. Once in the dark storage cupboard, Gerard set him down, not too gently, on one of the units covered in scraps of paper and watercolour palettes and paintbrushes and pencils. He cleared all of these with one swipe of his arm, sending them all clattering to the ground. Now that they were in the dark, Gerard didn't hold anything back. He planted kisses all over Frank's mouth, jaw, neck and the exposed parts of his chest with a sense of frantic urgency. Frank tilted his head back, exposing as much flesh as he could, and Gerard took full advantage by biting and sucking on his neck like an animal. Frank tried not to groan; he knew it would leave a mark but at this point he didn't care. 

Gerard continued working at the buttons on Frank's shirt at the same time as forcefully kissing him, and Frank fell harder and harder into his lust. Only once his shirt was fully undone and on the floor did they slow down a little, Gerard placing delicate kisses all over his shoulers and chest. His pale skin almost glowed in the low light, the only source of illumination coming from the gap under the door. The brief lull in activity meant that they could hear the voices in the room next door.

'Right boys, all we need to do is find some clear evidence this guys a massive fag and then get out of here.' Charles Henry. Frank opened his mouth to say something, but Gerard clapped his hand over his mouth, stifling anything he was going to say. They shared a look of mutual fear. The voice in the art room said 'Yo guys, get a load of this! Dumb emo bitch is writing crappy poetry. Ha!' There was collective laughter as Charles Henry read out some lines of the poem Frank had found earlier. Frank looked up to Gerard, hoping to find the anger he felt mirrored in his face too. But instead on Gerard's eyes he saw sadness, bitterness, resentfulness. And a single tear rolled down his cheek. The grip on Frank's mouth loosened, and before Frank knew what was happening, Gerard was out of the door, slamming it behind him.

At that moment, Frank wanted nothing more than to go out and stand by his boyfriend, and stand up to these arse holes. But if he came out of the cupboard, half shirtless, covered in sweat and sign a massive new hickey on his neck, it would be oh so easy for them to put the pieces together. All Frank could do was stand with his ear to the door and listen to what was going on outside. 'What the hell do you think you're doing? Coming in here when without permission? It's enough that you take the piss out of me and out of anyone you can in this bloody school but to come in here and go through shit trying to find 'evidence' for me being gay?!' He was shouting at this point, Frank had never seen or heard him this angry. 'You know you could just have asked me! I would have told you you dick heads! Because unlike you I'm not the kind of person to give a fuck about what people say, you shallow, shallow, pathetic losers! Now get out!' Gerard's voice broke, and Frank could tell he'd started to cry. It was heartbreaking. 'Just, just get out...'

There was no more speaking or shouting as Frank heard the guys troop out of the door in shocked silence. Then he heard a soft thump as Gerard flopped down in his chair, then very quiet, quiet sobs. Frank buttoned up his shirt, breathed in, breathed out, and gently pushed open the door. He padded over to where Gerard was sat. His head was in his hands and his breathing came in ragged gasps, showing his upset. Resting a hand on his shoulder, Frank crouched to the same height. 'Gerard, I'm so sorry.' He spoke softly, like comforting a child. 'They're pathetic, you know that. They're just dumb bullies that want to make somebody else feel as shit as they do.' It occurred to him that this was completely the opposite of the roles a student and a teacher would usually play, and even further from the ones they'd been playing a minute ago. Gerard slowly lowered his hands and raised his head. Frank grabbed one of his hands and squeezed it. 'Hey, listen to me Gerard. What is write, that poem it's beautiful. It really is.' Gerard made eye contact, looking at Frank with such a heartbreaking gaze. He sighed, mumbling something Frank couldn't make out. He squeezed tighter. 'What was that?' Gerard smiled wryly. 'It's not a poem. It's a song.' 

Frank guessed he must look like a fish, gasping for air, because Gerard sniggered a little bit. 'It's a song, I write songs sometimes. I guess it's a kind of therapy for me. It's not very hard to figure out what that ones about...' Tears formed in Frank's eyes too. 'No, it's not hard. That's what makes what those boys did to you even more of a dick move. God, I've said this before but I'm so sorry you had to go through that.' With the hand that wasn't clasped in Frank's, Gerard brought it up to stroke his face, tracing along his cheek and jaw. 'You have such a beautiful soul Frank.' Those simple words were enough to make Frank start crying properly, and the they were both crying, and then crying and kissing. And then Frank took up his usual spot: sitting on Gerard's lap, face nuzzled up into his neck, and stayed there until the lunch bell rang and he was forced to leave. He would have given anything to be able to stay.

Chapter Text

On Tuesday, Frank again went straight to a2 at lunchtime. He'd only seen Charles Henry and his friends once today, and they'd only glanced at him and not said anything. Every cloud, Frank shrugged. Gerard looked up from his impressively pile of marking when Frank came in, still wearing his hoodie, still not having washed it. 'Hey!' he said, 'I guess you can tell I'm a tiny bit swamped right now. Why oh why did I ask year seven to sketch bits of fruit and year eight to write analytical pieces at the same time?' Frank laughed and dragged up a chair. 'You've got to give it to em, I didn't know how to spell analytical when I was thirteen.' He sneaked in a tiny peck on Gerard's lips. 'So, anything I can help with?' Mr Way grinned coyly, 'I was hoping you'd say that. 'Could you write some comments on that year seven work? Just generic stuff, like wow, great work! Maybe try a bit harder on that shading next time! And the like.' 

Within a couple of minutes, they were both settled and doing marking. Frank tried to adapt his handwriting a bit to match his teachers script. It didn't take much to fool an innocent year seven, and soon he'd gotten into a rhythm. He started to think about the song he'd read yesterday. 'Hey, Gerard, you know that song you wrote?' Gerard nodded, scribbling frantically and not looking up from his marking. 'Have you um, have you got a recording of you singing it?' Gerard put his pen down and looked directly into Frank's eyes. 'Would you like to hear it?' Nodding enthusiastically, Frank replied, 'Yeah, of course. If that's okay, I mean,' He was cut off then but Gerard getting his phone out and laying it on the desk. 'Promise you won't laugh at me?' Frank couldn't imagine anyone laughing at him, and he told Gerard this. He pressed play, and the sound swelled up from the phones speakers. 

Even in the tinny speakers of his iPhone, Gerard's voice was amazing. It was raw and powerful and masculine, but with enough softness and delicacy that you could tell that the feelings were all authentic. The song wasn't acapella, there was a simple electric guitar line behind it. Instantly Frank's mind exploded with ways he could improve on it, make the song even more incredible. Hearing the lyrics sung by Gerard opened Frank up to new interpretations, made him see parts of it in a different light. Simply putting it, it was incredible.

When the song was over the room felt emptier somehow. 'Damn Gerard. That was, just wow.' All of a sudden Mr Way looked shy, looking at Frank from behind his hair. 'You really think so?' Frank leaned across and hugged him, squeezing tight. 'Really really.' 

-

The rest of that lunchtime was spent swapping ideas for how they could improve it even more, Frank suggesting some extra lines to put in ok guitar, Gerard saying what hat else he could have done with his voice. Both of them were contented, and Frank didn't think he'd be that happy again for ages.

Chapter Text

On Friday night, Frank again went to Gerard's flat. This time, they met a few hours after school finished, grabbed a takeaway pizza and went back to the flat straight away. Curled up on the sofa and stuffed full of pizza, Frank layer his head on Gerard's chest while his boyfriend's long fingers played with his hair absentmindedly. Gerard had put on some indie horror flick from the seventies, and Frank was half watching it, half staring up at his boyfriend. Around nine the movie finished (Frank was none the wiser on what it was about) and he plucked up the courage to tell Gerard what he'd been working on for the past week, staying in the music block for about an hour after school every day to use one of their guitars. 

'So,' said Frank, tracing lazy circles on Gerard's chest. His head felt hazy and kind of out of it, even though he was completely sober. 'I've been working on something recently, wanna see? Well, hear.' Gerard raised an eyebrow. His movement was also lazy and sort of heavy. 'You planning to tell me what it is, or just sort of,' he gestured vaguely around. 'show me.' Frank forced himself to get up off the comfy sofa, and headed to the bedroom where he knew he'd seen a guitar last time he'd been there. Behind him, Gerard chuckled. 'I don't know what you're thinking of Frankie, but I'm definitely intrigued.' Frank turned around and winked at him, and Gerard laughed again, 'Such a tease!' before getting up and following him. 

Once in Gerard's room, he picked up his guitar. He hadn't really had a chance to look at it properly last time, but damn it was gorgeous. It was a white Gibson Les Paul, all flowing lines and curves. It had a nice weight, not too light, and a good, sturdy neck. He was plugging it in to the small amp when Gerard came in. He again lifted his perfect eyebrow and leant against the door, hands deep in his pockets. 'You know what Frank, this really isn't what I thought you had in mind.' 'That,' said Frank, checking the guitar was in tune. It was, perfectly so. 'is because you have a dirty mind.' He straightened up, looking directly into Gerard's eyes. 'Now, I want you to sing.' His eyes widened in shock, but Gerard just nodded and took his hands out of his pockets. 'Skylines?' Frank nodded. 'So this is why you've been hanging out in the music block after school?' This time it was Frank's turn to look shocked, and Gerard grinned. 'Didn't think you could hide something from me, did you Frankie?' Frank giggled. 'Guess not.' 

'So,' Gerard said, 'want to get going?' 

Frank launched into the first riff. It was fast and punchy, and fit perfectly with the dark mood of the song. Gerard seemed to know exactly where to start singing, and he started with the same passion and intensity that possessed Frank whenever he picked up a guitar. The momentum was incredible, and by the time they'd finished they were both coated in a faint sheen of sweat. The energy Gerard sung with radiated out, and he transformed the space from a room to a stadium. His voice wasn't the most incredible, but he more than made up for it with the raw emotion of his performance. It pushed Frank's fingers to find new shapes and progressions that he hadn't considered being able to do before.

They both stood grinning despite the emotions they'd just poured out. 

Chapter Text

The rest of September and October passed quickly, but every moment was full of happiness and memories. Frank showed Gerard his favourite places in the city, lots of tiny park and courtyards hidden between towering buildings in the middle of the city. In return Gerard showed him his favourite bars and cafes and independent comic book shops. They spent every lunchtime in Gerard's room, just chatting and coming up with ideas and discussing anything and everything that came to mind. Frank also spent a lot of time at Gerard's flat, long evenings watching mindless crap on the telly, playing music, just sitting next to each other in companionable silence. While Frank did love the times when they went out to bars and did stuff, he almost preferred when they just sat on Gerard's sofa eating greasy Domino's and watching reruns of Jeremy Kyle or TOWIE, but he wasn't about to say anything.

One of Frank's favourite things about himself was his birthday. It was on Halloween, and when he'd told Gerard this one day he'd practically squealed with excitement. Today was a Friday, October 30th, meaning Frank's birthday was on the Saturday. He hadnt made any plans of his own, but usually he, Ray and Mikey made plans for each other. This year was differen though, because Gerard was added into the equation; Frank knew he wanted to spend time with his boyfriend...

Frank strolled to the art room after his period four English literature class to find Mr Way standing on a chair trying to fix a cardboard bat onto the ceiling. The last year seven scuttled hastily out of the classroom as Frank entered, closing the door behind him. Gerard successfully attached the bat and stepped down from the chair, a wide grin on his face. 'Hey,' Frank murmured, leaning over the desk to kiss Gerard, who returned the kiss for a few seconds, before pulling away and gesturing around the classroom at all the decorations. 'You like em?' Frank looked around the classroom. There were a load of bats distributed all over the ceiling, a few green origami frogs and a decent size paper mache pumpkin. He giggled; only Gerard would be so extra about Halloween.' 'I love it Gee.' 

Gerard sat down on his office chair and gestured for Frank to come and sit on his lap, which he was completely happy to oblige to. Frank settled down and leaned into his boyfriends neck, taking deep breaths of his coffee, cigarettes and forest smell. Gerard's arms wrapped around him, pulling him closer. For a guy who never seemed to do any exercise whatsoever, Gee was surprisingly fit, and Frank always felt safe in his arms. 'So,' Gerard said softly, 'I've had some ideas for your birthday Frankie.' Frank looked up and locked eyes with his boyfriend. 'Yeah?' Gerard nodded. 'Yeah, it's nothing special but how do you fancy doing London like a tourist? That's the thing, when you grow up here you grow up with things like Big Ben and Trafalgar Square and whatever, so I bet you've never done the whole tourist thing, taking photos with the lions and buying a shittily printed tshirt with 'I heart London' on it and getting lost in Selfridges.' Frank shook his head. 'So yeah, that's what we should do.' Gerard said before looking softly at Frank. 'I mean, if you want to of course Frankie. It's your birthday after all.' Frank nodded, grinning. 'I'd love to. And you're right Gee, I've never done the touristy stuff. It'll be really fun. And,' he planted a kiss on Gerard's cheek, feeling the stubble under his lips. 'I'm glad I get to spend the day with you.'

Just then, Frank's phone started to buzz in his pocket. He sat up, untangling himself reluctantly from Gerard's arms. He pulled the phone out to see that it was Mikey calling. 'Hey, Mikey, what's up? I'm kinda busy right now.' Frank winked at Gerard, who smirked and snaked a hand around his waist. 'Ah, canoodling with your boyfriend again? Don't worry I'm not going to be long. So, me and Ray basically organised this massive Halloween/birthday party for you at mine and we were going to make it a surprise but we realised that you'd probably make plans to stay over at Gerard's and it would be a wee bit awkward if you didn't show up to your own birthday party.' Frank gulped like a fish. 'Um, guys, I don't know what to say. Thank you so much! Um, I had made plans with Gerard for during the day but I'm sure I can make it. When do you want me there?' There was a shuffling noise from the phone and Ray's voice came out of the speakers. 'Hey Frank, nine okay?' Frank chewed his lip and looked to Gerard, who averted his gaze. 'Can um, can Gerard come too? I don't want to make it awkward or anything but I really want him to be there. Gerard's eyes snapped back up to meet his. Frank grabbed his hand and mouthed 'okay?' Gerard nodded and squeezed his hand, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. More shuffling and whispers from the phone, before Mikey said 'Of course, we wouldn't pass up the chance to finally meet this mysterious, hot boyfriend of yours. Plus we'll be in costume and everyone's got to end up smashed anyway so nobody will really recognise that he's um, a wee bit older.' Frank squeezed Gerard's hand again, knowing that the thought of being around alcohol would make him feel uncomfortable. 'Sure,' Frank said. 'I'll, we'll see you guys there.' He smiled reassuringly at Gerard. 'Great,' Mikey said, before hanging up. 'Great,' murmured Frank, before nestling back into Gerard's warmth. 'looks like we need to get Halloween costumes.'

Chapter Text

'What the actual fuck, Frank?' Gerard stepped out of the changing room in the costume shop. Frank spluttered with laughter at seeing him in the 'sexy nun' costume. 'I thought,' Frank said while shaking with laughter, 'I thought it would suit you.' The look on Gerard's face nearly made Frank fall over, as it was he had to double over to try and contain the laughter. They'd gone to the costume shop straight after period six had ended, meeting a couple of blocks away as usual, and they'd already been there for an hour. Frank had very early on just decided to throw on some black jeans, docs and an old leather jacket, put on a load of eyeliner and use some gel to make his hair into spikes. However, Gerard ideally needed something that would hide at least half of his face. Frank sat down on the floor and Gerard flopped down next to him, black skirts settling around his skinny legs. 'This is hopeless, tell me again why I can't just do the whole 'edgy punk kid' thing?' Frank sighed. 'Because we need to cover up that pretty face of yours, Gee.' Gerard picked absently at the loose threads on the skirts. They both sat quietly, Frank picking at the chipped black nail polish he'd taken to wearing, Gerard fiddling with the costume. 

After a couple of minutes Gerard's face split into a grin and he turned to Frank. 'I think I've got my costume sorted out Frank, you're going to love it.' Frank smiled back and nudged his boyfriend with his shoulder. 'What is it baby?' Gerard winked and gave him a brief kiss on his cheek, before jumping up. 'You'll see it tomorrow, patience Iero.' Gerard grabbed his jacket and made to head out of the changing rooms, but Frank got up and grabbed his wrist. 'Um, Gerard, you're still dressed as a sexy nun...'

Chapter Text

Frank and Gerard met at the Kensington High Street station early Saturday morning. Gerard was already waiting by the entrance, and as soon as Frank arrived he picked him up and swing him around in a hug, much to the annoyance of everyone else. 'Happy birthday Frankie!' Giggling like a little kid, Frank swatted at Gerard's arms until he put him down and then placed a soft kiss on his lips. 'Thank you Gee. Today's going to be amazing, I just know it!' Gerard laughed and laced his fingers into Frank's, who clung onto his arm. 'So, where to first?' Gerard pulled out his Oyster card. 'You got yours?' Frank nodded; his was tucked in his back pocket as always. 'Youll see then.' Winking, Gerard pulled Frank into the station, through the ticket machines and ran down the escalators in such a rush Frank had to almost run to keep up. They ended up on the platform for the Circle Line, just as the doors had started closing for a packed train. 'Come on Gee, let's just wait for the next one, this ones packed, and it'll only be a few minutes anyway.' But Gerard dragged Frank through the doors just in time, and into the claustrophobic carriage. The windows were misted up with people's breath, and Frank's face was pressed tight into Gerard's shoulder. Not that he was complaining. 'You going to tell me where we're going yet?' said Frank, voice slightly muffled by the fabric of Gerard's Iron Maiden shirt. Gerard grinned down at him. 'Soon.' 

At the first stop, Notting Hill Gate, Gerard took his hand and pulled Frank, this time more gently towards the platform for the Piccadilly Line. They got on an equally packed train and stayed on there for a while longer, going past station after station. Queensway came and went, then Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Bond Street, and then at the next stop they finally got off. 

They emerged out of Oxford Circus and into the swarms of people on Oxford Street. It never ceased to amaze Frank, the shear amount of people who were constantly here, day and night, never stopping, always busy, always walking. Gerard squeezing at his hand woke him from his thoughts. 'So, want to hear the plan?' There was such a childish grin on Gerard's face that Frank couldn't help but smile back. 'Of course.' Gerard nodded down the street. 'Want to walk?' As they walked Gerard explained his plan: they were going to spend the day in London and visit as many attractions as they could and take a photo outside of each of them on Gerard's polaroid camera that he had in his backpack. They were going to go to all the big attractions, starting with Selfridges.

At eight thirty in the morning, there were already tons of people constantly moving in and out, laden with shopping bags full of designer clothes and bags and makeup and shoes and just general expensive shit. Gerard stopped in the middle of the path outside of the revolving doors, and the crowd flowed like water around them. He dug out the camera and pulled Frank in next to him, Gerard's arms around his shoulders. 'Smile baby.' said Gerard, and he took the photo. It came out of the bottom of the camera and Gerard shoved it in his pocket. 'Cool,' he said, putting the camera back in the bag and grabbing Frank's hand. 'onwards and upwards, we've got a hell of a lot to get through.' Frank grinned and ran a little to catch up with his boyfriend's long strides. 'This is so cool Gee, thank you so much.' Gerard kissed the top of his head. 'It's no problem Frank, I'm glad you're excited.'

They walked down Oxford Street hand in hand, not really talking, just breathing each other in. They took another photo outside of Hamleys, this time on either side of someone in a bear costume. Once they reached Piccadilly Station they took a selfie with the BBC centre and the screens that were London's slightly underwhelming answer to Times Square in the background. Next they headed to Leicester Square and took one outside the Odeon. 'Gee, let's go to the m&ms store!' Frank tugged playfully on Gerard's arm, making him giggle. 'God, sometimes I forget you're only seventeen, such a baby.' Gerard made to pat his head but Frank batted his hand away. 'I'm eighteen now Gee you dick, forget why we're here?' Gerard laughed again, heading towards the m&ms store. 'Only joking Frankie, I love it when you get all worked up.'

An embarrassing amount of time and money later and Frank and Gerard were sitting on one of the stone benches around Leicester Square, feeling a little bit sick after eating way too many m&ms. 'Oh god Gee, I'm never eating an m&m ever again. Why did we buy two big bags.' Gerard threw another limited edition, London exclusive m&m in his mouth. Of course they were the same as ordinary m&ms, except the bag only came with red white and blue m&ms, and cost like four times as much. 'I know what you mean,' Gerard groaned. 'They're way too addictive, and boy do I know all about that.' Frank choked on his m&m. 'Did I actually just hear that?' even after all this time knowing Gerard, his joking about his drug addiction always surprised Frank, and always took him aback. 'Sorry Frank, I really should stop joking about that stuff huh?' Frank nodded but stayed silent; he didn't want Gerard to know how much it affected him. Gerard jumped up, startling Frank. 'Anyways, we still have plenty of places to go, come on.' Frank stood up, taking Gerard's hand and squeezing it. 'Where to?' Gerard just winked at him in that infuriatingly casual way. 'You'll see.' 

It turns out Frank didnt have to wait long, as they got back on the tube at Leicester Square and only went one stop to Covent Garden. When they were there they took a photo inside the packed Moomin shop. Then they headed down to Waterloo to get a photo next to the London Eye and the Sea Life Centre, and, at Franks insistence, one outside the Shrek Adventures. Hand in hand, they crossed Westminster bridge and took a photo with Big Ben in the background. After that they walked up toward Buckingham Palace and took another photo. By then it was lunchtime, and Gerard took them to a cute cafe on a small street off of Oxford street. They both got a toastie and a coffee and took them to Hyde Park. It wasn't that warm, and a carpet of leaves covered the grass. Still, they sat on the grass and snuggled up against each other, Gerard laying his jacket on the ground and the couple both covered by Frank's oversized hoodie. The cold of the ground still managed to seep into them but their food, coffee and each other's body warmth managed to keep them from being too frozen by the time they were done.

Frank leaned his head on Gerard's shoulder, and Gerard wrapped his strong arms around him. 'I'm so glad I met you Gee, you mean the world to me.' Gerard squeezed tighter and placed a kiss on Frank's forehead. 'I love you Frankie, you adorable idiot.' Frank grinned. 'And you'll still not tell me your party outfit?' Gerard laughed loudly and released Frank from his grip. 'Ah, so that's why you were being so nice to me, it was all just an evil ploy. I should have known!' Gerard stood up and pulled his jacket from underneath Frank, putting it on and leaving Frank sitting on the ground, pouting. He stood up and brushed the faint player of dirt from his jeans. 'It was worth a shot.' Gerard shoved his hands in his pockets and started to walk. Frank caught up and looped his harm through Gerard's. 'So, where to now?'

Chapter Text

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the city, chatting and taking in the atmosphere of the Autumn day. London was beautiful in its own unique way. It must be the only place in the world, Frank thought, where the ancient and the new could blend so seamlessly. True to Gerard's word, they had done everything, down to getting crappy 'i heart London' tshirts and wandering around in them. It had been an amazing day, the best birthday Frank could remember, plus instead of work tonight he had the promise of a Halloween party with his beautiful boyfriend and his best friends in the entire world.

Frank had gotten home just before seven, completely worn out, and had been taken immediately out for a meal by his mum, still wearing his new tshirt. He hadn't eaten much, even though they'd gone to his favourite restaurant; this little Italian oh the high street that did the best pizza Frank knew. He was probabaly still suffering from the effects of his and Gerard's m&m binge that morning. His mum had given him a new watch, which he'd been needing for a while. It was black chrome, with a slick, clear, black face. It fitted perfectly, and Frank glowed from it. 

By eight thirty, Frank was in his bathroom putting a huge amount of gel in his short hair to make it stand up in spikes. He was going for an early 2000s Chester Bennington look. It wasn't exactly going very well. After he'd gotten his hair looking halfway decent and not like he'd been drowned in Vaseline, and he looked moody and brooding under a hell of a lot of eyeliner, Frank made a start on getting dressed. He put on his most ripped jeans with a belt buckle that looked like a bat. Then he made a start on his tshirt. He pulled off the 'I heart london' shirt and started to make some rips and slashes with a pair of blunt kitchen scissors. When he was satisfied with that, Frank got out some black and grey paint and flicked it over the distressed shirt, creating a dirty, spattered effect. Finally, he outlined the writing in a sharpie, making it jagged and angry looking. Frank put it on and admired his handiwork in the mirror. Jonny Rotten would be very proud. Over that, he pulled on a beat up leather jacket that he'd had for years. That was one advantage of never growing, Frank thought: not having to buy new clothes often. He made a start on his Docs, lacing them up with the laces threaded about half of the way up. Shoving his phone and keys in his pocket, and yelling a quick goodbye to him mum, Frank headed out.

Ten minutes later and Frank was outside the off licence a couple blocks away from Mikey's. He anxiously checked his watch; Gerard was a few minutes late and he didn't want to disappoint Mikey after he'd done all this for him. It was a cold night, and Frank had to pull his jacket tight around him to keep from shivering. Suddenly, his vision went black, obscured by a pair of hands, and he started. Until he heard the familiar voice whisper in his ear. 'Happy Halloween, Frankie.' Gerard moved his hands and spun Frank around to face him. He gasped, if it wasn't for the familiar grin Frank didn't know if he'd have recognised his boyfriend. 

Gerard was wearing a suit that Frank hadn't seen before. It was black with skinny pinstripes, and obviously old as the legs and sleeves didn't quite reach his ankles and wrists. It was badly creased, in a way that somehow looked intentional. The shirt was black, long sleeved, and not buttoned to the top of his neck. He was also wearing a black and grey striped scarf draped haphazardly around his neck. The biggest transformation, however, wasn't in his clothes. Gerard had caked his face in pale, almost ghostly white powder. His eyes were rimmed in red eyeshadow, up to the eyebrows and all underneath, and the same makeup had been used to smudge around one side of his mouth, giving him a corpse like appearance. His hair, usually parted at the side, had been messily split down the middle, and messed up so much it looked like it hadn't been washed in weeks. Perhaps the biggest shock was the colour: the roots had been dyed a vibrant teal. Frank was speechless.

'Have you... have you bleached your hair?' Gerard laughed. 'Not very well but um, yeah. I don't think I did it right though. It still burns a bit. Sorry I'm late by the way, looking this good takes time.' Frank laughed too, though he did have to admit his boyfriend looked great. And, he had to admit, a good few years younger. 'I love it Gerard. You look kind of homeless, but in a cute kinda way.' Frank tried to reach up to mess his hair up more, but Gerard caught his arm and leaned down to kiss him. Frank didn't resist, and after a blissful time they broke apart, laughing and gasping for breath. 'I love being your homeless boyfriend, Frank.' said Gerard with mock sincerity. They both burst out laughing, and Frank looped his arm through Gerard's. 'C'mon, let's get to this damn party!'

Chapter Text

Frank and Gerard got to Mikey's ten minutes late, and by then the party was in full swing. They managed to slip in through the front door quite anonymously, even though they got a bunch of slaps on the back from people that new Frank, and some that didn't. They weaved their way through the crowds of teens in Mikey's front room, most of which already drunk at quarter past nine, and into the kitchen. On the side were a ridiculous amount of bottles of spirits, cans of beer and stacked red cups. There, making a vodka and coke, was Mikey, dressed as a skeleton. By his side, sipping suspiciously out of a red cup, was Ray, dressed in a matching outfit to Mikey. As soon as they saw Frank walking towards them, they made to go over to him, but then hesitated when they saw the tall man on his arm. Frank gave Gerard's hand a reassuring squeeze, and smiled up at him. 'It'll be fine.' he whispered, before facing his friends again and breaking out into a huge grin. 'Guys! Bloody hell this isn't great!' Mikey gestured around at the kitchen full of people and heavily decorated with Poundland decorations. 'I know, right!' It was obvious he was already a bit tipsy.

Frank and Gerard reached Mikey and Ray, and the two pairs just sort of stood there for a second, slightly awkwardly, before Ray spoke. 'So, this is the handsome boyfriend we've been hearing so much about.' With that, the ice was broken. Gerard's face split into a grin. 'The very same.' Mikey chimed in, 'Hey, dude, love the costume. Not so sure about the hair though...' The four laughed. 'Yeah, might need an emergency hair dye trip to Superdrug tomorrow. Fuck, it's school Monday so I've got to do it tomorrow. Fuuuck.' More laughter. 'Yo, do you two want a drink?' Ray offered them both red cups filled with a clear brown liquid. Frank immediately took his, not even thinking about Gerard, who shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot. The atmosphere got a bit prickly. 'Um, actually no thanks. I don't drink anymore. I'll have a coke if there's one going though?' Ray pointed over to the counter with his other mysterious liquid, which he then took a swig of. Gerard untangled his arm from Frank's and headed off to find a drink with one last squeeze of his hand.

As soon as Gerard left Mikey came up and whispered to Frank, 'Whoa Frank, your boyfriend doesn't drink? Who even is this guy?' Ray joined them. 'Yeah, you're totally hiding something, he's not putting you in any danger is he Frankie? You know you can tell us if you're worried about anything.' Frank considered wether Gerard would mind if he told his friends, before deciding it would come out eventually and he may as well, get it over with. 'I'd rather you didn't tell anyone but um, he used to be an alcoholic.' He cringed at their concerned expressions, but Frank decided he should just tell them everything. 'And also a drug addict. Cocaine. Some other things. But it was years ago and he's been clean and sober for years, and he's not putting me in any danger, and guys, I think... I think I love him.' Mikey and Ray looked absolutely shocked. Of course, Gerard chose just that moment to stroll on over with his can of coke. When he saw the look on their faces; Mikey and Ray shocked and Frank guilty, he looked at the floor and shuffled his feet a bit. 'Ah, he told you, I guess.' Frank nodded, and looked sadly up at Gerard. 'I'm sorry, Gee. They're not my friends, they had to know.' Gerard nodded slowly. For a minute he looked as if he was about to cry, something Frank had seen once and never wanted to see again. Then, as if a switch had been flicked, a brig smile lit up his features, taking them all aback. 'Ah well, that's what happens when you have such a punk rock boyfriend, isn't it Frankie?' Grateful for the change in the conversation, Frank nodded dumbly. 'Anyway guys, I need to hear all the embarrassing stories you have about Frank.'

Gerard led Mikey and Ray away, an arm around either of their shoulders, leaving Frank alone in the kitchen. Well, by alone, the small house was heaving. Frank just didn't really know anyone. He made himself busy by downing his drink, cringing every time he took a sip. What was this stuff? Frank finished his drink and went to the bar to get another one. He fumbled with the screw top on the vodka he was opening to make a vodka and coke; whatever Ray had given him it must have been strong. Head already feeling a little warm and fuzzy, Frank headed into the leaving room, where he somehow got embroiled in a very fast paced drinking game, the rules of which he didn't really understand. It didn't really matter though, people were already drunk enough that any awkwardness had vanished and Frank was really enjoying himself.

By around midnight things were starting to get messy. Frank hadn't seen Gerard since that incident with some random girl trying her very hardest to kiss him, and Gerard trying his very best to politely shove her out of the way and run. Even after he had gotten away and escaped to the relative safety of Frank's side, the random girl was joined by her friend, and Frank last saw Gerard bolt for the door to the kitchen, being chased by random girl's angry random friend, wielding a glittery stiletto as a weapon. Normally, this would have concerned Frank, but in his very intoxicated state, he was just amused. Even sober, there would have been something very funny about a teenage girl in a corset, fishnets and bunny ears chasing after a thirty year old man with shittily dyed blue hair, threatening him with a glittery shoe. What made it even better was the first random girl following, crying, makeup smeared everywhere, being comforted by a third random girl, wearing almost the exact same costume as the first two. All this had Frank curled up on Mikey's sofa crying with laughter, while Ray and Mikey had a heated conversation over the top of him about what to do about the couple that had fallen asleep in a quite compromising situation in Mikey's parents' bed. The party kept going, flowing and pulsing around them.

Frank became suddenly aware of a strong arm curling around his shoulders, waking him up. Not that he'd been aware he'd been asleep in the first place. Another arm cradled his legs, lifting him off the sofa. Frank didn't want to leave the sofa. It was warm and comfy and soft. He tried to tell the arms but they wouldn't listen, they just kept on lifting. Frank tried to say no but it came out as a sort of 'nurg'. He heard a laugh. That was rude. Frank frowned and tried to squirm out of the arms. He didn't want to be carried by rude arms. But that only made the arms laugh more so he gave up. Frank was still being carried away by the arms, so he decided to open his eyes and look at them. He was very surprised, because the arms were attached to Gerard. His boyfriend Gerard. Frank loved his boyfriend Gerard, very very much. He decided to tell him this, but Gerard only smiled and told him to shush, which was also rude. Gerard was being rude just like the arms. This annoyed Frank, so he frowned again. Gerard just told him to go to sleep. Frank was very sleepy, so he decided that that was a very good idea. He decided it, not rude Gerard, it was his idea. Frank closed his eyes again. The arms were very comfy. It only took a couple of seconds before Frank fell asleep. 

 

Chapter Text

Frank cracked open his eyes, the acrid taste of sick in his mouth and what felt like a layer of tar covering all his limbs, restricting his movement. The sun was burning holes into his eyes, so he turned his head, groaning as his all muscles protested. Sitting up in bed next to him, sipping from a cup of inky black coffee, was Gerard. 'Morning sleepyhead.' Frank opened his mouth to say something, but the smell of the coffee fully hit him and made the vom rise in his throat. Gerard pointed to the opposite side of the bed, where a handy bucket was sitting on the floor. Frank made full use of it as he leaned over and puked his guts up.

After a couple more minutes of retching, Frank wiped his mouth and sat up next to Gerard, leaning his swimming head on his boyfriend's shoulder. Gerard said nothing, just regarded him with a bemused smile and lifted eyebrow as he groaned. 'Oh god, I was awful wasn't I?' The sound of his own voice grated at Frank's ears and made him wince. Gerard nodded. 'You were um... a handful. Literally, in fact.' Frank had a flashback of being carried to Mikey's car, then strapped into the back seat and driven back by Gerard to his flat, before being dumped into bed. At some point he'd also been stripped down to his underwear as well. He could also remember throwing up a few times. Not good. Frank groaned again, snuggling into the nook between Gerard's neck and his shoulder, trying to shield himself from the piercing sun. 'Can you shut the curtains?' Frank's tongue felt thick and clumsy. Gerard grinned. 'Nope! See it as karma for me basically saving your ass last night.' He shoved his now empty mug on the bedside table and pushed Frank's head off his shoulder. He got up and headed for the door, leaving Frank sitting with the wall supporting his aching head. 'C'mon Frankie, I'm making breakfast. See you in twenty?' Gerard offered him a sympathetic smile. 'If it's any consolation, I used to have this most days, and boy have I had worse.' he left the room, closing the door as softly as possible behind him. Frank flopped back down; being horizontal made him feel a hell of a lot less queasy, but he knew he owed it to his boyfriend to at least get up, especially because of how much of a pain he'd obviously been last night. 

Frank dragged himself out of bed, wincing as his head swam. The tile of the bathroom floor was pleasantly cold as he padded to the ensuite and turned on the shower. Frank got in when it was still cold, letting the water hit his head and shoulders like freezing bullets. It felt good to have the sweat and grime from last night stripped from his skin. As the shower warmed up, Frank just stood there until his fingers wrinkled, absorbing the warmth and trying to get his mind in order. He got out into the steamy bathroom and dried himself off using the fluffiest towel he'd ever used in his life. It smelled like fabric conditioner and Gerard, and Frank breathed in it deeply. Once he was dry, he stole some of Gerard's deodorant and what seemed to be some sort of moisturiser, and headed back into the bedroom to find something to wear. One look at his crumpled costume from last night told Frank it would not be a good idea to wear that again, so he had a look in Gerard's wardrobe. He ended up digging out a pair of shorts (any of Gerard's many pairs of black jeans would have been way too long) and a plain black t-shirt.

Frank padded into the kitchen, rubbing at his eyes. Gerard was in there, frying some bacon for breakfast at the same time as making toast. He leant against the breakfast bar, staring at the way the muscles in his boyfriend's arms moved as he cooked. Gerard caught him looking and smiled. He put the bacon and the toast onto two plates, creating what Frank thought were the best bacon sarnies he'd ever seen in his life. That might be his hangover speaking, but they did look good. Gerard put the plates down on the breakfast by and sat at the chair on his side, leaving Frank to clamber onto his. They both ate quietly, Frank finishing his in about thirty seconds. It made him feel a little more human, and along with the steaming cup of coffee that Gerard had made him too, he almost felt better. 'You're the best boyfriend ever, you know that right?' Gerard smirked, 'Yeah, I am, and don't forget it.' Grinning, Frank lifted his hand to the stubble casting a shadow on Gerard's face, stroking his jaw with a thumb. 'So, what happened last night? Because honestly all the memories I have are kind of... hazy.' His hand flopped back onto the surface. Gerard laughed, 'Bet they are. Well do you want to hear about before or after I had to carry you to Mikey's parents' car and drive you home? Oh and by the way I have Mikey's parents' car and should probably return it.' Frank choked and spluttered on his coffee. 'Mikey's dad will actually kill me! What the hell were you guys thinking?!' Gerard rolled his eyes. 'Well it's not like I could have carried an unconscious you on the tube, back to your flat, dump you at the door and say to your mum, "This is your very drunk and passed out son, I'm his boyfriend. Oh and by the way I'm also his teacher. Okay bye bye Mrs Iero, see you on parents' evening in November." could I?' Frank groaned. 'I was that bad?' Gerard nodded. 'That bad.' 'Well then,' started Frank sheepishly, you'd better start from the start.'

-

It took a good half hour to get through the events of Frank's birthday. From the awkward chat at the start with Mikey and Ray, to Frank getting involved in that drinking game that ultimately was his doom, to Gerard being chased through the house by multiple teenage girls in corsets and bunny ears, and eventually Frank having to be driven home by Gerard. All the way through the story, Frank kept having to stop Gerard to check that he'd heard right on some of the more strange details, like the amount of bunny corset girls. It was evident that Frank hadn't been all that much of a pain throughout the night, apparently he'd just stayed out of the way, giggling about things that nobody else could see or hear. At least, not until it had come to leaving. Even then, the guys seemed to have been more amused than angry. Gerard had a good time in the end, having found a group of metal heads in a corner and spending his time either chatting with them or with Mikey and Ray. True to their words they'd told him about loads of the embarrassing stuff Frank had done in secondary school; the time he'd tried to pull Abi in his gcse music class with a song he'd written about her, the time in year seven when he'd accidentally called a year ten boy 'mum', and the time when Mikey's dad had walked in on Frank and Abi making out in Mikey's parents room after coming home early when Mikey was hosting a prom after party in year eleven (because yes, the song had somehow worked, Frank surmised it was the line 'your hair reminds me of a silken shroud' that got her).

After the recount of the night was over, Frank stretched his arms out. 'Well, what's the plan for today then?' Gerard laughed. 'Today? Frankie, its nearly four in the afternoon!' Frank spluttered on his coffee. 'What?' Pointing in the direction of the clock on the kitchen wall, Gerard nodded. '3.54 pm, I feel like there isn't much of a day left to do anything with.' Waving off his boyfriend's sass, Frank made another suggestion. 'Alright alright, I get it Mr Way, I'm just the dumb drunk who doesn't ever think to look at a clock blah blah blah. Want to just watch a movie until later? I believe you should be able to drop me off when you're taking Mikey's car, if that's okay?' Smiling and kissing his forehead, Gerard agreeed it was a good plan.

After washing up their plates, Gerard and Frank curled up together in the sofa to watch one of Frank's guilty pleasures: The Great Gatsby. Knowing they'd study it in year 12 was one-off the only reasons Frank had chosen to do English lit a level. The evening passed in a haze of Leonardo Decaprio and Gerard, basically Frank's perfect life, and before he knew it he had fallen asleep again.

Chapter Text

On Monday Frank headed into school with a smile on his face. He hadn't left Gerard's until gone nine the day before, but his mum had seen the car drop him off and assumed he'd stayed at Mikey's so she wasn't that worried. Frank still felt pretty bad at spending so little time with her, though, and made a promise to himself to hang out more with his mum.

He headed into art and design and dumped his bag down by his usual seat, getting out all his stuff. The class was already full, and the bell had rung by the time Gerard came in, sporting his usual briefcase and, strangely, a beanie hat. He quietened the class down and started to take the register. One of the girls, Hayley, had a habit of flirting with Gerard, which always made Frank roll his eyes with disgust at how pathetic she was. Today she took it to a whole other level. After saying 'present, Mr Way,' voice dripping with provocativeness, the dirty kind that Frank knew he hated, she squeezed her boobs together with her arms until they were practically spilling out of her half unbuttoned shirt, leaning forward. Some of the boys laughed and made comments but Hayley didn't seem to notice, and if she didn't she was too deep in lust to care. 'Mr Way,' she drawled, 'why are you wearing that hat?' Gerard, by now used to her, sighed. 'Because, Hayley, some days I just feel like wearing a hat. Do you never feel like wearing a hat?' Not noticing the sarcasm laced tone, Hayley shook her head and tucked a strand of bleached hair behind her ear. 'Um, no. I feel like it takes away from my features.' She pushed her chest forward more, and creds to Gerard for keeping a bored looking eye contact. 'Try it some day, it might be an improvement.' 

Before a pouting Hayley had a chance to reply, Gerard continued with the register. 'Frank?' Trying to stop choking on his water, Frank answered with a muffled 'present.' The lesson passed without incident, until about halfway through when Hayley made an 'accidental' swipe at Gerard's head with one of her French tipped acrylics. Unfortunately, a loose thread caught in the tip of her nail and dragged it off of Gerard's head and onto the floor. It landed with a delicate plop, but with the room was silent enough that you could hear it. Because there, in all its greasy glory, was Mr Way's green hair.

Hayley's jaw dropped. 'Um, Mr Way, your hair is like, green.' Gerard rolled his eyes. 'Very good Hayley. Your observational and analytical skills are really coming on.' The room was so quiet a pin could have dropped. Of course Frank's mind decided that this would be a really good time to start laughing. He tried to hold the snigger in, covering his mouth with his hand and waiting for it to subside. It didn't. There was just something about the dumbfounded look on Hayley's oranged face, as if she couldn't understand the pure greenness of Gerard's hair, and the look of plain indifference on Gerard's face, that Frank found hilarious for some reason. Mr Way picked his beanie up and jammed it back down on his head, and sat back down behind his desk, telling the class to 'continue with your bloody coursework because if you all fail it's on me,' and propping his feet up on the desk. Frank made the mistake of sneaking another look at Hayley's face. The look of complete confusion sent him over the edge, and a spluttering burst of laughter burst out of Frank. The class silenced again, and Gerard slowly put the lid on the pen he was using to mark with, obviously expecting the loud noise to come from one of his more disruptive students. However, when he saw it was Frank, red faced and still giggling, he raised one sharp eyebrow. Sighing, Gerard stood up. 'Frank, could you step outside please, we need to have a chat.'

This stopped Frank's laughter in its tracks. He swallowed and stood up, surprised to find himself shaking. Ignoring the whispers, he made his way to the door, following Gerard, who was holding it open, and who's piercing gaze bored into his shoulders as he made his way out, Gerard closing the door shut behind them. Gerard stood for a second, saying nothing, hands deep in pockets. Though he was terrified of what he'd see, Frank risked a look up to his face. But Gerard wasn't angry. In fact, his face was scrunched up in that adorable giggle of his, all scrunched up nose and teeth. He wheezed out some speech, 'her... her face... oh my god...' That was what sent Frank and Gerard both into a laughing fit in the middle of the corridor, Gerard leaning against the wall and Frank bent over, holding his aching ribs. Within a few minutes Frank had finally regained the ability to speak. 'Oh my god I thought you were so pissed, literally never do that to me again!' Frank hit Gerard feebly on the shoulder, and Gerard retaliated with a poke to the ribs. Laughing once again, Frank tried to poke back, but Gerard grabbed both of his wrists. Frank tried to writhe free, but Gerard wouldn't let him. They dissolved with laughter once again.

Just as Frank had gotten one hand free and was preparing to launch a lethal tickle attack on Gerard, the sound of heels down wooden floorboards appeared. They looked at each other, completely frantic. Gerard opened the door to his classroom and shoved Frank through it. 'And that is why you need to get your act together Frank.' he said very loudly, so everyone in the room could hear that they'd been discussing important coursework stuff, and not laughing at the expense of another classmate. Frank nodded, trying to look sheepish. He slunk down in his seat and Gerard sat back down behind his desk, beanie hat firmly affixed to his head. The rest of the lesson went by in silence, all of the other students apparently shocked by Mr Way having to take his apparent 'star pupil' out of the class for a chat. Still, Frank and Gerard still made eye contact across the room, and the energy that flowed between them was louder than any noise.

Chapter Text

Frank and Gerard met up after the end of school, as usual a couple of blocks away, so as to avoid being seen. The good part about sixth form was that you didn't have to wear a specific uniform- any dark coloured suit would do- so to anyone that didn't know them Frank and Gerard would look like two inconspicuous young men walking together, probabaly just out from working. Today they were heading to Superdrug, to grab some emergency black dye for Gerard, before going back to the flat to dye said hair. Gerard had given up on the beanie; it was becoming too annoying to keep tucking the dyed strands back into it and Gerard had decided to just live with the odd strange look from an old lady now and again. 

They ducked out from the flow of people on the street and into the glaring white floors and crappy pop music of the store. Gerard tucked Frank's hand firmly into his own and led him straight towards the hair dye section at the back of the store. 'I can tell you've done this plenty of times.' remarked Frank. Gerard nodded. 'Yup, usually at like two am when I realise my roots are making me look a little too much like that mum that always asks to speak to the manager at stores or whatever.' Squeezing Gerard's hand, Frank replied with 'Baby, you're definitely the mum in this relationship.' Stopping to examine the selection of black dyes, Gerard look nonchalantly at a box, ever so casually dropping in. 'Oh yeah, there was me thinking I was the daddy.' He flashed Frank an evil grin, putting the box of dye back on the shelf and grabbing the cheapest one, before walking briskly off to the till to pay. Frank just stood there, half stunned, half... was he pleased? Or just a bit shocked that his usually chill boyfriend was being so forward? Either way he had to scramble to catch up with Gerard as he strolled out of the shop, having already payed in the time Frank had just been standing there.

-

Once at home, Gerard washed his hair in the bathroom sink as Frank sat on the closed loo seat watching him. Once he'd cleared his hair of the grease that never seemed to let up, Gerard snapped on the plastic gloves and opened the tube of cheap dye, filling the bathroom with the eye watering stench. Frank coughed as it hit the back of his throat. 'Jesus Gee, how can that shit be any good for your hair?' Gerard squeezed the tube out all over his hands and went straight to dumping it on his head, working it through his hair with the lack of caring of someone who's been doing this constantly since they were fifteen. 'Oh, it's not,' he grinned, 'why'd you think I'm so greasy all the damn time?' Frank laughed. 'Fair point.' 

'Bollocks!' Gerard swore suddenly as a glob of dye splattered onto his shirt. His hands were still covered in dye, so there was nothing he could do about it. 'God sake, Frank could you take this shirt off for me?' Frank raised an eyebrow suggestively, which gained him an eye roll from his boyfriend. 'Can't do anything with you can I Frank?' Jumping up from his perch on the loo, Frank grinned. 'Nope, nothing at all.' Frank started to unbutton Gerard's shirt, while Gerard fashioned his hair into a sort of mohawk on top of his head and peeled off his gloves. 'Um, Frank, I can probably do this myself now...' But Frank kept going unbuttoning the shirt. 'I mean, probably... doesn't mean I'm going to let you though.' He flashed his boyfriend the cheesiest grin he could muster and Gerard rolled his eyes and laughed. Frank kept up the grin until all the buttons were undone and he worked on slipping the shirt off, one arm at a time, tracing the faint outlines of muscles on Gerard's lithe body. 'Um, Frank, how long does it take? I need to wash this dye out before my heads stained black forever.' Frank sighed and finished with his admiration. 'Sorry, it's hard having the hottest man in the world and not getting just a little distracted sometimes.' Gerard gave him a light peck on the cheek, 'Yeah, I'd know,' before turning the tap on and starting to wash his hair again.

Frank stared into the vortex of water swirling down the plug hole as it changed from black to crystal clear. Then Gerard took what was actually a hand towel and started to use it to dry his hair, but really just managed to make it even more of a mess. Not that Frank was complaining; he was too busy staring at the way his boyfriends shoulder and back muscles moved as he dryed his mop of black hair. Occasionally Gerard caught him staring in the mirror, and every time Frank returned it with a wink dripping with sensuality. 

After Gerard's hair was somewhat dry the two went to the kitchen to grab some dinner. Disappointingly Gerard had put on a tshirt, which somehow managed to look effortlessly cool with his skinny work trousers; Frank had changed already into one of the few sets of jeans and shirts he kept in his own drawer in Gerard's wardrobe. He stood over the hob heating up a can of tomato soup as Gerard (unsuccessfully) to wipe the dye off of his wonky parting using his phone as a mirror.  

They sat down on the sofa to have their soup and watch that days episode of This Morning. It had become a sort of tradition of theirs, watching the show after school and commenting on all of the articles, sometimes even trying out the things on Gino's cooking sections, which without exception ended in disaster. 'God,' said Frank one he'd finished his dinner, 'I can't believe it's November. It's weird, this year's gone so fast, but it doesn't feel like I've only known you two months. It feels like we've been together forever.' Gerard put down his also empty bowl and gripped Frank's hand, warm from holding the bowl. 'Yeah, and you'll be off to uni in a few months and then where will I be?' Frank swallowed, throat suddenly dry. The UCAS deadline was only a couple of months away and he'd been trying to live in the moment, trying to put it off, but you can't stop the future from coming. He'd always wanted to go to university, his mum had told him all his life he needed it to be a success, and he'd always been taught that no relationship was worth losing that for. His talk with Gerard earlier in the year had reaffirmed that belief. 'We'll make it through that Gee, easy. Plus, I've always planned to stay local. That way I can stay at home, look after my mum, ya know.' The corner of Gerard's mouth lifted up, and he turned towards Frank, eyes starting to glisten with unshed tears in the low light. 'Really? You're not just saying that because of me though are you? I'd never want to hold you back from doing what you want to Frank, you know that, right?' Frank nodded and brushed away the single tear that had escaped and was now rolling down Gerard's cheek. 'Really really. You're never going to lose me, promise.' 

Chapter Text

Gerard and Frank were asleep on Gerard's sofa, arms curled around each other to ward off the winter chill that was started to creep into the world. It was almost two in the morning, a clear, crisp night with not a cloud in the sky. It was quiet, too. Well, London quiet; the constant noise of sirens and traffic and shouting and talking and dogs barking were still there, just toned down, as if it were all underwater. That's how Gerard heard the faint click of a key in the lock as it turned. He woke up, chest moving rapidly up and down as he struggled to keep his breathing in check. Frank remained peacefully asleep, his ears not picking up the sound of the door opening, his eyes not seeing the sliver of light cast into the apartment from the corridor outside. Soft footsteps padded along the floor, making their way slowly to the door of the living room. Gerard had to think fast. The steps were careful, calculated, but not hesitant. They were the assured stride of someone who had done this before, who wasn't afraid. That meant either a very cocky burglar or, and this tonight was even more terrifying, someone who had been in his apartment before. The hallway light flicked on.

Gerard knew he had to wake Frank up too. As he was he put both of them in more danger. Slipping a hand over his mouth, Gerard shook Franks shoulder, jostling him into consciousness. Of course, having woken with a hand tightly over his mouth, Frank's eyes immediately widened in terror and he started to struggle, until he made eye contact and saw his own terror reflected in Gerard's eyes. He lifted one shaking finger to his lips to signal to Frank to be silent, before pointing at the door. The steps were getting closer; they had to move. Gerard pointed to the kitchen area, and mouthed to Frank to go behind the breakfast bar. Almost silently, Frank untangled his limbs from Gerard's and slid off of the sofa, before padding over to crouch behind the breakfast bar. The door to the living room clicked as the handle was slowly turned. Gerard levered himself off of the sofa, and made one last frantic second of eye contact with Frank. 'I love you' he mouthed silently. Frank tried to smile, but it came out as more of a grimace. Gerard took a shuddering breath. Was this really happening to him?

The door opened.

Gerards hands trembled as he battled against his body's desire to run. He narrowed his eyes in pain as the bright light streamed into the dark room, outlining the silhouette of a man, whose features Gerard managed to make out as his eyes adjusted to the light. He let out a breathy sob. 'Bert?' 

Chapter Text

The man in the doorway didn't say anything. Bert just walked towards Gerard, purpose in his stride. Gerard fought every cell in his body to stay still as Bert came face to face with him. Frank was still crouched in the kitchen, rooted to the spot with shock. Gerard asked again, 'Bert, what the hell are you doing?' Instead of a reply, Bert grabbed his shaking hands, gripping so tightly on his wrists that they would definitely bruise, and kissed Gerard. He tasted sour, of booze and fags and other things Gerard hadn't experienced in years and never wanted to again.

Bert wasn't letting go. Gerard could barely breath, couldn't move his arms, and he was starting to panic, so he did the only thing he could. Shutting his eyes and silently begging that everything would be okay, he brought his knee up and slammed it between Bert's legs. Still without saying a world, he loosened his grip on Gerard's wrists, swayed backwards, and crumpled to the floor, hitting his head hard on the floorboards.

Gerard looked to Frank, then back to Bert, then to Frank again. His mouth gaped open and shut like a fishes. 'I, I...' Frank clambered to his feet, shaking visibly. He walked to Gerard and clasped him in a tight hug. The reassuring presence of his boyfriend was what sent Gerard over the edge, and he started sobbing uncontrollably. Before long, Frank joined in, out of the shock they were both in.

They stood like that for a good few minutes before remembering the main problem at hand: the crumpled figure of Bert lying on the floor of Gerard's living room. Gerard ran his hands through his hair, practically pulling it out. 'I don't.. What is he doing here Frank? What the fuck is going on?' Frank just shrugged numbly, tears leaking out of his eyes. 'Oh my god. Frank, can we get him up on the sofa? I grab his arms and you grab his legs? He's pretty light I think.' Together they lifted Bert onto the sofa, checking his pockets for anything dangerous, but all he had was his battered phone. Once he was there, Frank had a chance to examine the man that had once been held as dearly to Gerard as he was now.

'What are you thinking Frankie?' whispered Gerard, brushing a soft hand across his cheek. Frank stayed looking at Bert. He was pale, with lank hair that reached to his shoulders. His face looked like that of a man who would smile easily, but etched with deep lines of sorrow. But most importantly, it was the face of a man who's life had been all but lost to drugs. 'How do you know people like this, Gerard? How do you love them? I mean, he's a junky. You were a junky. How did this all happen?' Gerard sighed and picked at his fingernails. 'It happened in the same way it happens to everyone. Fall in with the wrong crowd, sink slowly into their way of life until you realise you've become one of the wrong crowd. Some of us get out. Some...' He looked at Bert's sleeping face with what looked like grief. 'Some aren't so lucky.' 

Frank's tears started to flow again. 'I love you, Gerard. I really really love you.' Gerard nodded sadly. 'I love you too Frank. Now and forever.' Frank nodded sadly. How many others had Gerard said those words to before, and how many of them had ended up like Bert? A wasted junky with a lasting obsession over a former love, one that would never be reciprocated again? As if sensing this, Gerard took Frank's hand in his. 'Not you, Frank. Never you.'

Chapter Text

Bert woke up with the sunrise. Frank had gone to sleep hours before, padding off to Gerard's bedroom without a word. Gerard had stayed sitting on the floor by the sofa, and now, bleary eyed, he stood up as Bert began to stir. Sitting on the arm of the sofa, Gerard watched his ex lover as he groaned and cracked open his eyes to face the world. Bert saw Gerard's stern face above him and groaned again, shitting his eyes and raising his arms over his eyes. 'Shit, what the fuck am I doing here?' Gerard hated seeing anyone like this, it took him back to the worst times of his life, times he didn't want to be reminded of ever again. It took every scrap of strength left in him to inject his voice with ice. 'How about you tell me.'

It took about a minute before Bert managed a reply. 'Ya know how it is, I was just passing through town, thought I'd stop by and say high.' Bert was now looking straight at Gerard, his eyes wide and sympathy inducing, but Gerard knew his methods of manipulation. 'Ah, you thought you'd break into my flat at god knows when in the morning off your head on god knows what, terrifying me and my boyfriend half to death, and think ""hmm, you know what, I guess I'll just kiss him."" What a great fucking idea that was!' By the end of this Gerard was shouting in frustration, causing Bert to cringe in pain. 'You couldn't quieten down a little could you? Only I've got a hell of a hangover.' Even in a state like this he still managed to be an arrogant, smirking little shit, and it only further enraged Gerard. 'You know what, Bert? I don't think I will shut up.' He jumped off of the end of the sofa and started pacing around the living room, shouting as loud as he could. 'Maybe I just want to shout and scream forever, all because of you Bert. You think you can just stroll back into my life whenever you want to as if you never ran away, as if you didn't just up and leave to become a shitty ass groupie to some shitty ass punk band and dump me in the dirt? Well I'm not having it any more. I know your promises don't mean shit, never have and never will. You're incapable, you always choose drugs and parties over people and that is why you will never, ever find love. You're a manipulative waste of space and I hate you. I hate you Bert.' 

All this Bert took in silence. 'Talk to me Bert, say something.' A wave of unexpected emotion came over Gerard. 'Please...' Tears had started to roll down both of their faces now, the reality of the situation really hitting home. 'Jesus, your knee is fucking solid mate.' The deadpan delivery of Berts words were enough for Gerard to laugh a little. Bert levered himself up to sitting on the sofa, cringing in pain that definitely wasn't just hangover induced. Gerard sat down next to him, close but not touching. 'Why are you really here Bert?' A sigh from the other man. 'Simply? Loneliness. More comprehensively? A long relationship with substance abuse that has put me in a position where I have driven away everyone who every has or ever would love me.' Gerard put his head in his hands and rubbed at his temples. 'Please don't make me put you, because I'm really not in a position where I should be doing that right now.' Bert nodded towards the wall.

'I have this hope in my mind, this dumb hope, that somehow after everything you still want me. That you still feel the same way as you did when we were younger and everything was so simple and clear and unclear and muddled.' Gerard sighed. 'Well that's just the problem isn't it Bert. You're living ten years ago. I'm living now, I'm living for the future. I've made a life for myself and moved on. There will always be a place for you in my heart, but a different one. Because now my heart is owned by Frank, and you will never replace him.' Bert laughed bitterly. 'Ah, that child that you've taken in, ever so good of you.' Gerard let o a noise of pure frustration. 'Honestly, Bert, do you think you're in a place to judge my choices right now? Really?' He said nothing. 'That's what I thought.'

In Gerard's bedroom, his alarm went off. It was six am. He heard stirring from the room. A tap went on, off again. Drawers were opened and shut. Without a word, the door was slammed as Frank walked out of the apartment. Gerard buried his head in his hands. 'What have you done Bert? What have you done?' He could feel himself unravelling, feeling the feeling that ten years ago he would have gotten rid of with a fortunes worth of cocaine. Another ten minutes of silence, before Bert stood up, pushing himself to his unsteady feet. He stumbled but didn't fall. 'I don't know. I'm sorry, truly, I am, Just promise you won't let him go.' The mens' eyes shone with tears as they locked for the last time. Gerard knew this was goodbye as Bert dropped the keys to the flat on the coffee table, walked out of the living room, and left, shutting the door with as much careful silence as when he had entered, leaving Gerard alone in the cold room apart from the frost crawling up the windows.

Gerard allowed himself to break down, giving himself the time to grieve that he had denied himself all the time since he'd first parted ways with Bert. He cried for himself, for Frank, for Bert. He gave himself half an hour of being upset, before he dried his eyes, got on the still dye stained and crumpled shirt from yesterday from where it had been discarded in the bathroom floor, along with his waistcoat, jacket and tie. Gerard looked in the mirror! The same mirror where less than twenty four hours earlier he had been looking at Frank, happy and content. Things got messed up so quickly. Frank was under his protection, his love, how could he have allowed him to be put in so much danger? It made him feel sick to his stomach with guilt. On the way out of the apartment he grabbed Bert's old set of keys from where they had been dropped onto the table, gripping them so hard the cold steel cut into his palms, making him bleed. He didn't care. Once out onto the busy street, Gerard dumped the keys into a bin on the corner, letting them drop with a thud in amongst the empty fast food cartons are carrier bags, before striding into the tube station and going to work without looking back. He had a whole new set of problems to face now, starting with explaining things to Frank.

Chapter Text

Frank slammed the door behind him as he left the apartment, tears blurring his vision as he strode down the harshly lit corridor. God, he'd been so stupid. How naive had he been to think that Gerard's past wouldn't catch up with him, that it wouldn't come back to haunt the both of them? Out on the street it was freezing, the cold air scratching at his exposed skin. He kept walking until he was in the stuffy tube station. What had Frank expected? How had he genuinely believed that he was special to Gerard? That he wasn't just another object for him to play with for a bit then toss away like a cat toying with a mouse until it eventually got bored and killed it? And now Gerard was alone in the flat sitting on the sofaall cosy and  close to Bert, right now probably doing god knows what, despite the fact that just a few hours earlier he'd broken in and frightened them both half to death.

The train was even more cramped that usual, hot bodies pressed close together in the packed carriage. All it did was remind Frank of the nights he'd spent close to Gerard, nights that had meant the world to him but obviously meant nothing to his boyfriend. Was he even his boyfriend any more? Was he ever? It took everything Frank had to not break down on that bloody underground train. When his stop came he shoved his way off of the carriage and didn't stop walking and pushing until he escaped into the biting air. Once outside he put one hand against the wall of a random building, leaned over, and threw up right there in the street.

Frank finished heaving after a couple of minutes, choking through the sobs. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve, knowing how much of a mess he looked; yesterday's clothes, no shower, no sleep and now having just puked in the street. It'd be funny if it wasn't so tragic. He turned around and leaned against the wall, just trying to breath. A youngish man looked at him with pity. 'Too much last night mate?' Frank forced an approximation of a smile. 'Yeah, something like that.' The man just smiled back and kept walking. Frank closed his eyes and sighed, before leaving the solid support of the wall and carried on walking to school, which started in ten minutes, and he was at least that far away.

-

Of course, it was just Frank's luck that his first period was art and design. As he walked through the corridors he just kept his head down, ignoring the disgusted, snobby looks and whispers his appearance was attracting. Fuck them, what did they know? On getting to his classroom he dumped his bag down and almost collapsed into his seat. Despite going to bed last night Frank hadn't gotten any sleep; he'd stayed up all night catching snippets of Gerard and Bert's conversation through the wall. God he was paying the price now, aching all over and struggling to keep his bloodshot eyes open. 

Just then, he noticed the silence that surrounded him and looked up, only to see the whole class looking at him. Of course, Hayley spoke. 'Oh my god, you look like, like a mess.' Frank groaned and rubbed his eyes, 'Never one to mince your words are you Hayley?' She shook her head vigorously. 'No way, I've been veggie since I was like, 16.' Someone else in the class piped up, 'Hayley, you literally turned seventeen a few months ago.' This took focus from the living human train wreck that was Frank Iero, leaving him free to close his tired eyes and just wallow in his misery. Suited him just fine.

The door clicked open and the room fell silent again. Frank kept his eyes closed. The sound of Gerard's voice made him feel ill. 'Shit, guys, I need to stop doing this, I'm so sorry, you all deserve so much better.' Frank squeezed his eyes tighter shut. 'I won't tell you the whole story as to why I look like I've been attacked by an organised group of squirrels, but all I'm going to say is that it involved a very late night and copious amounts of alcohol. So if you could all get on with coursework that would be wonderful. Again, really sorry guys.' God, it was getting harder by the second for Frank not to cry as he heard Gerard shuffling paper as usual and putting his feet up on the desk like he always did when he was tired or pissed off. Still, he refused to look weak. This wasn't his fault. It was Gerard's.

The lesson passed painfully slowly, which was unsurprising baring in mind Frank spent the whole double period with his eyes screwed shut and buried deep in the swirling abyss of his brain. When the bell went Frank jumped as if he'd been shot, distracted as he was. Painfully, he clambered to his feet, ignoring the protests of his exhausted body. As usual there was a bottleneck at the door, and Frank was stuck at the back. "Come on, come on," he thought; he needed to get out before Gerard had the chance to speak to him. Time wasn't on his side.

A strong hand grabbed at his upper arm, strong enough to leave a mark. Frank didn't have to turn around to know who it belonged to, instead he tried to wrestle himself away, to keep walking and leave the room. Gerard gripped harder. 'Frank,' he hissed, quiet enough that only Frank would hear, 'I need to talk to you.' Frank still didn't look around. 'Mr Way, you're hurting me.' he said in a voice purposely loud enough that the few girls who still hadn't left the room could hear, they looked around with faint concern before returning to their gossip. Gerard sighed and let go. The girls left the room and Frank went to follow, but in front of him the door slammed, pulled by a hand that reached around Frank, trapping him. He spun around.

'What the fuck is wrong with you, Gerard?' In the harsh morning light he looked, frankly, like shit, bags under his eyes casting his pale face into deep purple shadow, hair completely flat on one side and wild on the other, suit crumpled from a night laying on the bathroom floor. Frank felt a twinge of pity, but forced himself to squash it down and keep his expression neutral. Gerard sighed. 'Frank, where do I even start? I am so, so sorry, nobody should be put through what you experienced yesterday. And I'm so sorry that I thought I could just run away and ignore my past. I was wrong, and dumb, and I see that now. I just hope you can forgive me.' He ran his hands exasperatedly through his hair. 'Man, I just... I don't know. I just love you so much.' Frank burst out laughing as he blinked back the tears. 'You love me do you? And you love Bert too, I guess. And all the other guys that you've dumped over the years. When were you planning to do that to me, huh? Before or after you lead me to become a drug addict?' Now Gerard too looked on the verge of tears. 'There have been no other guys Frank.' He was shouting now. 'And I didn't turn Bert into what he is. You can blame me for anything, anything, but never that. That was his own decision, and I thought I could help him. I thought I loved him. Like we were Sid and Nancy or Kurt and Courtney or some bullshit like that, like we were destined to be together, but we all know how those stories end. Did I love him? In the haze and confusion of addiction? Yeah, maybe I did. But what I felt for him was completely different to what I feel for you Frank. That was just a... a chemical romance, nothing but drugs and circumstance. But you and me is real, no chemicals, no confusion, just love, Frankie. You and me against the world. I just... I can't lose you. I can't.'

Frank just breathed out. He wanted to believe Gerard, and most of him did, but there was something, some niggling thought in the back of his mind that held him back from falling back into his arms. He breathed in. 'Gerard,' an ember of hope came into life in Gerard's eyes as Frank said his name, twenty four hours ago he would have found it beautiful, romantic, but now he just found it infuriating. Before he knew what he was doing, Frank slapped Gerard around the face, hard, splitting his lip. Gerard's look of shock and hurt stung Frank a million times worse than any slap could hurt, but still he found himself yelling, 'I never want to see you again! Ever!' 

Frank ran out of the classroom and didn't stop running until he made it home, and collapsed onto his bed.

Chapter Text

Gerard felt as if he'd been shot. All emotion had been ripped from him, leaving behind an empty husk, devoid of feeling. Did his face hurt where he'd been hit? He couldn't tell, the world felt far away, as if he had become disconnected somehow, and that missing link had just sprinted away from him. Gerard slid down the door and onto the floor, body unable to support itself. Nothing felt real, had the past twenty four hours even happened? If he fell asleep would he wake up next to Frank? Or just in a cold, empty classroom?

He shook his head, hard, like a dog drying itself off after a bath. It somewhat cleared the fog obscuring his thoughts. What could he do? Gerard knew he had to get Frank back; he couldn't survive without him, but how? What was it about the situation that Frank couldn't process? He brought shaking fingers up to touch his swollen lip. They came away with a slick coating of blood. 'Shit.' he muttered. Before doing anything else Gerard needed to figure out how to get through the day. He still had four periods left, as well as the hour long lunch period. That, at least, was taken care of: he could just hold up in his room, but before that he had a double with his higher set year elevens. They were never too much bother, always just too stressed about coursework and getting the A*s that daddy had promised them. A free fifth period, but then last period with the rowdy as hell year eights that were pretty much intent on making his life as much of a misery as possible. Gerard groaned, could today get any worse?

Just then, there was a knock on the door above him. Gerard jumped to his feet, wiping the majority of the blood from his mouth and onto his creased waistcoat. 'Jesus, as if I wasn't enough of a sodding cliche already...' He opened the door to find none other but Hayley standing there, top shirt button undone and trying to squeeze the tiny amount of boobs she had together. Gerard sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. No matter how obviously he expressed his dislike towards Hayley she just couldn't get it into her bimbo head. 'Heeey Mr Way,' she drawled with as much honey on her voice as to make it sickening. 'I'm super, super sorry, I just left my pen on my desk, any chance I can come in and get it?' She batted her fake lashes and smiled a lipgloss covered smile. Then she noticed the state of Gerard's face. 'Umm, sir, your lip is like, bleeding.' Gerard forced out a brittle laugh, 'Uhh, yeah, tripped over a desk, face planted, you know me, clumsy as anything.' To illustrate his point he flapped his arms around a bit before jamming them back into his trouse pockets.

'Omg!' Hayley pursed her lips. 'You should totally sue the school Mr Way, you could get like millions. My daddy's a lawyer, and he says-' Gerard cut her off mid sentence, already sick of her mindless babbling. 'Hayley, why don't you go grab your pen, huh? Break ends in a few minutes.' Hayley sashayed over to her desk, right in front of Gerard's, and grabbed her pink fluffy biro. 'Cheers Mr Way,' she called out as she left the room, 'see ya tomorrow!' Gerard sighed and closed the door. 'Unfortunately, yes.' he mumbled under his breath.

-

Periods three and four were uneventful, Gerard's lip having gone down enough for it to look a good few days old. The elevens probabaly just assumed it had happened on the weekend, one too many out of the lash or something. Lunch was when Gerard decided to try and do something about Frank. So he called him. Every time it his mobile went straight through to voicemail, and every time Gerard left a message with one of the many, many reasons why he loved Frank. This went on for two hours, up until the first of the year eights tramped in for period six. 'Mr Waay,' he whined, 'are you calling your wife?' Gerard smirked, God, if they knew... 'Yup, my wife wanted to know what I wanted for tea.' One of the most self entitled girls Gerard had ever met in his life piped up. 'Your wife shouldn't be cooking for you, that's misogynistic, which means not feminist, which is bad.' Gerard sighed and closed his eyes, it was going to be a very long afternoon. 'Mary, my wife is cooking today because she is at home at the moment. I am not. Unless you can get me a remote control to turn the oven on, looks like she's the one making tea today. Plus, I can't cook for shit.' This shut Mary up, and made the boys snigger. The effect of a swear on a thirteen year old boy was a reliable way to control this class, and honestly the only one.

Halfway through the lesson Gerard's phone started buzzing. He checked the name on the screen. It was Frank. Gerard's heart skipped a beat. He put down the keyboard, leaving the screen on the PowerPoint slide about crosshatching vs ordinary shading. Riveting stuff, but a curriculums a curriculum. 'Right guys, I'm going to just pop to the loo for a second, can you finish off those shading charts for me while I'm out? Mary, you're in charge.' He ducked out of the room, just catching the end snippet of a conversation that was going on at the back of the classroom, '-nah, he's got a vibrator in his pocket, off to have a wank I guess.' Gerard rolled his eyes. Boys, always so... creative.

As soon as Gerard got into the bathroom he pulled out his phone and pressed accept. At first there was no sound, only a sort of shuffling noise. Then he heard a few sniffling noises. 'Frankie?' he whispered softly. The sniffling grew louder, then Frank spoke, voice cracking. 'I, I'm really sorry, I-' The crackly line revealed nothing after that but muffled sobbing, to which Gerard softly replied, 'Frankie, I need to go back to work, but can I come over to yours later to talk?' Frank made a sound that Gerard heard as an agreement, but the line was too dodgy for him to properly make it what he was saying. 'Okay Frankie, I'll see you later. I love you baby. I love you.' After nothing came through but static he hung up, and let out the breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding. Gerard even risked a smile, letting his hopes swell. He walked out of the loos and back into the hell that was 8w on a Tuesday afternoon with his phone clutched to his chest.

Chapter Text

Gerard got to Frank's flat half an hour after school ended. Tentatively, he pushed on the unlocked door, getting a creak in response. Breathing deeply out, he pushed harder, stepping into the silent flat. It was just then he remembered he hadn't ever been there before, and wouldn't know how to find Frank's room. 'Frankie?' he called out softly. 'In here.' came the response from a closed door at the end of the hallway, sending a flutter through Gerard's heart. He exhaled again, walking to the door and putting his hand on the doorknob. He opened the door.

'Hiya.' Frank was sitting cross legged on top of his bed, still dressed in yesterday's clothes. His acoustic guitar was lying on the bed next to him. 'Hiya.' said Gerard, mouth forming around the unfamiliar word. He laughed and shoved his hands in his pockets. 'This is weird, um, I just came to apologise I guess...' He trailed off, scratching the back of his neck. Frank looked so young sitting on his bed, surrounded by things and photos from his childhood. One photo took his eye, one of the only items in the room not coated in a thick layer of dust. It was of a young boy, probably five years old max, that was unmistakably Frank. He was standing on a grey beach somewhere, being swung in the air by a man. Catching him looking, Frank reached over and picked the photo up from his dresser. 'That's my dad.' He didn't look at Gerard, instead keeping his gaze on the picture in his hands. Gerard felt out of place, like he was intruding on something that nobody else was supposed to see. He shifted from foot to foot. Frank put the photo carefully back on the dresser and finally made eye contact with Gerard.

'He left, in case you hadn't noticed. Went to the store one day and didn't come back. I spent years waiting for him to come back, until I just realised that he wasn't going to and that I had to move on with my life and do whatever I could for me and mum. It's why I'm not great at making friends, the only people who I'm properly close to are Mikes and Ray, and I've known them since preschool. So with you I managed to open up, which by the way was fucking hard, and when I saw you with Bert I just thought that I'd been dumped again. And it sucked.' Gerard nodded, scuffing the carpet backwards and forwards and looking at his shoe.'I literally don't know what to say to that, what can I?' Gerard sat down on the edge of Frank's bed as he shrugged and pulled on a loose thread. Tentatively, Gerard reached out and placed a delicate hand on his jaw. Frank didn't look up, but didn't move away from his touch. 

Gerard started to speak, his tone gentle and soft. 'I guess your family is something you're born with, but I think you can choose to change it if you want it enough. What you have with Mikey and Ray, they're like your family. I guess something as shit as that leaves a hole in your life, but over the years you fill that hole with other stuff, like music and friends and parties and days on the sofa watching TOWIE. Except it never really goes away, there's always a scar there to remind you of what you've lost and that just stays with you for the rest of your life, and the thing that you've lost, no matter how much it hurt you, you would do anything to have it back. If your dad walked through that door right now you probably wouldn't hesitate to go and hug him or something. I know I wouldn't. I guess, on a smaller scale, I felt similar towards Bert when I saw him. Even though he'd basically broken in and scared us half to death, I still just saw the guy I've known for so many years, who's vulnerable and sweet and wouldn't want to hurt me. So I listened to him and talked to him, but then I saw how he was hurting you, and then I realised that no matter how much he didn't want to hurt me he had, and he'd hurt you and I couldn't stand that. I guess some things in life just can't be fixed, some holes just can't be filled.' 

Frank nodded slowly, a film of tears glistening on his eyes. 'Yeah.' Gerard didn't expect him to say anything more. Instead, Frank leaned into Gerard and kissed him. Slowly, softly, delicately. Gerard kissed him back, and he knew that while things weren't completely right again, they were forgiven, and that was all he could ask for.

-

Later, they were sitting curled up on Franks sofa, watching This Morning. 'I love you, Gee. I'm sorry for today, it's just been a fuckton to cope with.' Gerard shushed him. 'No Frankie don't apologise, you did the completely right thing. Thanks for listening to me though, I know if something like this had happened to me when I was eighteen I wouldn't have been so thoughtful. Probably would have thrown a chair as soon as I'd walked into the room to be honest.' Frank laughed. Jesus, it had only been a day and Gerard had missed that sound. 'I love you too Frankie, more than you could ever know.' Frank mumbled something that he couldn't make out, so Gerard asked him what it was. 'I said, I'm pretty sure I understand.' 

Chapter Text

Frank woke up in the middle of the night, breathing heavily. He was in his own home, in his own bed, except Gerard was lying by his side. It was a strange juxtaposition: the mundaneness of his home life in striking comparison to the man with which he spent much of his life. Frank's bedsheets covering the pale body of Gerard. He looked at his boyfriend, who twelve hours ago he couldn't bare to look at. He didn't know what had make him make that phone call, but he was glad that he had.

-

Wednesday was exhausting. Frank had struggled to sleep all night, kept awake by his swirling thoughts. But he was happy, happy that he'd made it up with Gerard, but also that Gerard had helped him to make some sense of his thoughts about his dad. Of course he'd been right, as usual. Lunchtime had been spent studying in the library. Everything had been so much recently, Frank had to admit he had been neglecting work a bit. Plus, being around Gerard was still a little uncomfortable. He tried his hardest to plan for an upcoming progress assessment, but his thoughts were everywhere. Snatches of lyrics of songs he'd heard, ones he'd written, ones he hadn't yet. Flashes from Monday night. And memories from when he was little of him and his dad. Despite himself, Frank couldn't stop smiling. Yeah, his dad had let him and his mum down and he would never be able to forgive him for that, but he was still his dad, and Frank couldn't help but love him. One memory in particular stood out.

Frank was four. For his birthday, his dad had taken him and his mum for a surprise trip to the seaside. Only it was October, so it was freezing and raining. They had trudged along the beach for a while, shivering but still happy. After a couple of hours in the freezing cold they had gone into a cafe to defrost, and Frank's parents had bought him the biggest hot chocolate he'd ever seen in his life; it had taken him about half an hour to drink it all. On the drive back into the city, they had stopped by a fish and chips shop and had eaten them parked in a car park. Frank fell asleep at some point during the drive, and had woken up being carried into bed and tucked in by his dad as his mum stood smiling and leaning against the door frame. 'I love you forever, Frankie.' his dad had said. Frank had fallen asleep exhausted but contented.

Frank dumped his pen down on the desk, the sharp noise stark in the library. Screw this, he wanted to see his boyfriend. He shovelled his stuff into his backpack, crumpling books and papers, but not really caring. Striding out of the library, Frank headed straight for art, not thinking about anything but Gerard, Gerard, Gerard. He shoved open the door stood there for a second, wicked grin on his face, waiting for Gerard to notice him. He was leaning over his desk, intent on the pile of paper he was marking. After a second, Frank grew bored of waiting. He practically slammed the door shut behind him and locked it. That got Gerard's attention. 

'Hiya,' said Gerard, voice unexpectedly husky. 'you okay?' Frank nodded slowly. Instead of talking, he walked over to the desk and pulled Gerard towards him by the tie. Their lips collided. Gerard floundered, unsure how to react to such a sudden turn around, but Frank knew what he wanted. He guided Gerard’s hands to his waist as he leant against the desk. Seizing the initiative, Gerard shoved stuff out of the way on the surface of his desk so Frank could kneel on it, then spin himself around to sit on Gerard's lap, straddling his waist on the flimsy office chair. Frank kissed Gerard like it was his last day on Earth. 'Fuck,' Gerard breathed into his mouth. 'where the fuck did this come from?' Not wanting to take the time to explain. Instead he pulled his face away from Gerard's, keeping a hand firmly placed on the side of his jaw. 'Mr Way, I want to go back to your place.' Leaning in so his lips grazed Gerard's ear, Frank whispered, 'I want you.' Frank felt the shudder that ran through his body, as close as they were. 'Frank are you sure?' Mr Way was whispering too. Frank breathed in. Breathed out. 'Yes.'

Chapter Text

That's all it took for Gerard to practically throw Frank on his back on the desk, winding him, and not giving his time to regain his breath before leaning across his body to kiss him, a hand firm on either arm, pinning him down. Frank couldn't help but moan into his mouth; he loved the power that his seemingly reserved boyfriend could display. Gerard laughed against his lips. 'How the fuck are we going to do this?' Ah. Frank hadn't really considered how exactly he was planning for him and his boyfriend to sneak out of classes and back to Gerard's flat. 'I've got a double free,' Gerard mumbled between kisses. 'So I'm allowed to leave.' His mouth moved away fro, Franks lips and to his jaw, enabling Frank to talk. 'Hmm, free fifth, English second.' He laughed out loud. 'Oh my god, I want to go to English. As in, I want to go to yours, do whatever,' he drew that word out in a slur, causing Gerard to moan against his jaw and to pinch harder on his arms. It was pain, but Frank didn't mind. He enjoyed it. 'then,' he smirked, 'I wanna go to English and text you under my desk. Make you miss me, make you beg me to come back again after school ends.' 'Frank you're fucking killing me here.' Frank squirmed happily under Gerard's touch. 'I know.'

They kissed again. And again. Finally, painfully, Frank had to dash to the toilets to wash his face with cold water, trying to reduce the size of his puffy lips. Then, after popping back to the art room for one last, lingering kiss, Frank grabbed his bag and, without looking back, almost ran out of the gates and down the street, dodging the hordes of office workers on their lunch breaks, and outside the cafe where they had agreed to meet. His heart pumped with adrenaline, not at what he'd just done; sixth formers were allowed to leave site during lunchtimes and frees, but at what he was about to do. With Gerard, it was new, and it was exciting. God, how his life had changed in a few months.

After half a minute of standing on the frigid pavement, Frank caught Gerard approaching across the road, wicked grin splitting his face. So soon as he reached him, Gerard pulled Frank towards him by his waist, kissing him on the mouth and forcing him to stand on the very tips of his toes. 'Mmm,' Frank murmured. 'you're so sexy Gerard.' Pulling him tighter against his body and stroking upwards from his waist, Gerard leaned down to Frank to whisper in his ear, 'You know, we could stay here making a fool of ourselves in the street, or we could hurry up and get back to mine...' Frank felt hot despite the chill. He reached behind his back and took Gerard's hand in his, squeezing. 'Come on then.'

The bus ride to Gerard's was spent sat with thighs pressed against each other, trying to refrain from indulging in relieving the tension that was crackling like electricity between them; if the bus hadn't been so busy Frank thought he would have jumped on his boyfriend there and then. As it was, the wait was excruciating. 

After practically running to the flat and up the stairs - the wait for the lift would have been too long - Frank and Gerard were out of breath by the time they made it to the door. Gerard scrabbled in his pocket for his keys, fumbling with the lock. On getting it open, he grabbed Frank's hand and dragged him in behind him, slamming him into the inside of the door, and pushing on his arms. His fingers would probably leave bruises, but both Frank and Gerard were too deep in lust to care. Frank moaned into his boyfriend's mouth, which gave Gerard access to kiss him deeper, more powerfully. It was overwhelming, almost too much for Frank to handle. If Gerard hadn't been holding him in place, he was sure he would have collapsed. Unable to stop himself, he moaned again, feeling Gerard's lips curve into a smile. 

His grip loosened from Frank's arm slightly, and it was all the encouragement he needed to reach up and put it on his boyfriend's jaw, hooking fingers around his ear and running his hand through his hair. Gerard moved even closer to Frank, gently pushing one leg between his, which was met with easy compliance. Frank's mind was spinning. He moved his hand down from Gerard's face to his tie, but before he could start to loosen it Gerard gripped it tight and released his grip on Frank's arm, instead stroking his shoulder and neck. Annoyingly, he also removed his mouth from Frank's, but soon made up for it by placing soft kisses on his neck. 'You okay baby?' Frank nodded, still in a heady daze. 'More than okay Gee. Or should I call you Mr Way?' He slipped some sexy into his voice, the kind he knew his boyfriend could never resist. Gerard stopped, lips hovering over the sensitive skin of Frank's neck. He smiled a wicked grin, before whispering into Frank's ear. 'Yeah, you should,' He injected the powerful steel into his voice that he knew Frank found equally irresistible. 'shall we take this into the bedroom, slut?' Frank hadn't been called a slut by anyone before, but he knew he could definitely get used to it. 'Yes, sir.'

Gerard grabbed Frank's hand and pulled him into his room, keeping a perfect balance and stride, despite walking backwards. He looked at him with smoking eyes beneath thick, black, lowered eyebrows. Frank's heart was pounding in his chest as Gerard closed the door with a soft click, took him back into his strong arms, and kissed him. At first it was soft, caring, but it quickly turned into something else. Something insistent and sexy and wanting, needing, more. Frank lay back onto Gerard's bed, his legs hanging off of the edge and his feet firmly on the ground. He feared that if they weren't, he might float away from his body and never come back. Gerard lent over him and Frank pulled him further down by his tie. Their bodies were pressed tightly against each other, and Gerard's hand was starting to snake up Frank's side, against his bare skin. Frank shifted so Gerard could easier reach his shirt buttons. Taking the hint, Gerard started to undo the buttons, deftly with one hand, while the other held Frank's jaw as they kissed. At the same time, Frank worked the tie undone, pulling it off and dropping it on Gerard's bed. He started to undo his top button, but then Gerard gripped his wrist, gently but insistently. 'Uhuh Frankie, I'll do all the undresssing around here.' He dropped a wink dripping with smut, and Frank swallowed. Fuck this man was sexy. 'Yes sir.' he said, trying to replicate his boyfriends sultry tone but not quite achieving it.

'Sit up.' Gerard whispered against his lips. Frank sat up and his shirt was worked off of his shoulders, exposing his bare chest and arms to the cold. He shivered, and Gerard placed soft kisses down his neck and the top of his chest, before softly pushing him back onto the bed. Except his time he pushed Frank further back so his whole body was laying flat on the covers, and climbed on himself, kneeling over Frank, a leg on either side of his hips. It was from this position Gerard slowly, teasingly undid and took off his own shirt, smirking as he pulled it over his shoulder like some sort of stripper. Of course Frank told him this, which only made Gerard play it up even more, and they both ended up giggling. 

When Gerard lent down and kissed Frank again though, the mood turned to something considerably more sexy. Gerard rested one hand on Frank's chest and the other on his belt, starting to pull it slowly through each loop. Frank dug his nails harder and harder into Gerard's back, knowing they'd leave a mark. Gerard got his belt buckle undone. This was as far as they had gotten the only other time anything close to this had happened before between them, only this time both of them were ready, excited for this moment to happen. As his hands moved lower, so did Gerard's mouth, creating a hickey on the delicate skin just above Frank's collarbone, just out of view in a shirt, so nobody at school would find out. Always clever.

Frank sighed, his breath tickling Gerard's ear. 'Are you sure baby?' The soft tone that Gerard usually used had returned, all traces of the character earlier gone. 'I'm sure I'm sure.' Frank whispered back. Gerard hummed against his skin, before going back to kiss Frank, this time more tenderly, as if they both knew something significant was happening and wanted to take in every. single. moment.

-

Afterwards, when it was all over, and all they could hear was the birds singing in the bright afternoon light, Frank and Gerard lay tangled in each other, just taking in the closeness of one another. 'I love you,' mumbled Frank into the crook of his boyfriend's neck. 'Hmm.' Gerard replied. 'except you know I gotta go now right?' Gerard groaned. 'I thought you'd forgotten about that.' Frank smiled giddily, 'A man never breaks his promise.' Gerard kissed the top of his head. 'So you're a man now huh?' Frank laughed. 'Yup.' With that, he shoved Gerard off of him, untangling their limbs. 'See you later baby!' Frank pulled on his suit. 'Fuck Frank, it's fucking freezing, please come back to bed.' Smiling breezily, Frank replied with, 'I'll text you baby, don't worry.' He grabbed his back and shoved the door open, turning around to wink at Gerard. 'Hope you can survive without me for a few hours.'

And with that, Frank almost skipped out of the door, knowing he was frustrating his boyfriend. He was right; Gerard was left in his crumpled bedsheets, in a state of almost shock. What was going on?