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Goya

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Frank was an outcast. He barely had any friends, and would rather stay home and listen to music than to be out on the town. He never really saw anything wrong with that, though. Except, some days he wished he could just stop existing for a bit, but not forever.

 

He was depressed, but not suicidal. There was a difference. Frank had known that he had something wrong with him for a long time, and it was fairly obvious to everyone around him besides his own parents. He had figured it out long ago, and at first, it had worried him. Until he had come to terms with the fact he wasn’t meant to be happy. The only reason Frank brought it up was when someone asked, which was, in reality, never. No one cared enough. No one wanted to hear about his problems when they had plenty of their own.

 

The only person he spoke freely about it was Gerard Way, and even his younger brother, Mikey Way, at times.

 

Frank had actually been friends with Mikey first, as the younger Way was only a year older than him, though they ended up in the same class because he had been held back a year due to a medical condition. They became 'friends' quickly, since they didn't hate each other, and managed to work on a project without one of them freaking out at the other for a reason neither would remember in the future. After they got past the painful awkwardness of not knowing each other, of course. Eventually, they became actual friends when they found a shared interest in playing music, though Frank preferred the guitar, while Mikey, the bass.

 

He constantly mentioned having a brother, fawning over his art skills and music taste, but Frank never saw him. Until one day, he emerged from his ‘lair’, as Mikey had taken to calling it. Frank knew that Mikey spent a majority of his time down there though.

 

Frank had found a drawing on the table, and had been admiring it when Gerard, the mysterious brother, had emerged from his basement room, stealing a juicebox of orange juice and snatching the photo back with a frown. Frank wasn’t sure if it was directed at him or the drawing, though they were both equally as likely.

 

“Hey!” Frank exclaimed, making weak grabby hands for the drawing. Gerard, or as Frank was calling him in his mind at the time, the attractive asshole that lives in Mikey’s basement, raised an eyebrow at him.

 

“What? It’s my drawing, I think I have rights to picking it up and keeping it away from people I don’t know,” he replied, sounding nervous and a little awkward. Frank kind of wanted to scoop him up and hide him away. He seemed innocent, but not enough to make conversation impossible.

 

“You drew that?” Frank asked, and attractive asshole who lives in Mikey’s basement nodded slightly, and Frank was in awe for a moment before he started rambling about it. He wasn’t much of an art nut, but to find out that a drawing that he thought deserved to be been seen by others and not thrown aside amount the random junk that was on the table, was created by someone who lived in his best friends basement, was pretty fucking cool.

 

“How do you do it?” Frank asked after he finished his rambling, mostly just running out of air, and Gerard shrugged helplessly.

 

“I just can. I’ve practiced a lot, and my grandma taught me. I… I can show you a few others, if you really want,” he offered after a brief moment of contemplation, and Frank nodded almost too eagerly.

 

They had spoken almost every day from that point on, whether it be about comics, or an old horror film they had just found on late night TV. Sometimes, Frank would play some music for Gerard on an old, beat up acoustic guitar he had lying around. They would mock the pop songs that played on the radio, though secretly they both loved to dance around the basement to them, on the nights they had a little too much warm beer. Frank might run guitar riffs or lyrics he thought of by Gerard, who would nod, listening calmly as he sketched this week’s comic character into his beat up, coffee stained notebook.

 

Gerard had been there for him through so much, had completely supported him when he came out, even when his parents didn’t. They were sitting in the basement the day before Franks entire life went down the drain.

 

He was lazily strumming the guitar as Gerard was explaining a concept idea for the new comic he was making. It was a very lazy and calming day, and maybe that’s when Frank should have decided not to execute his plan that night, so he wouldn’t ruin the nice day he was having.

 

“I’m going to ask my parents to put me in therapy tonight.” Gerard, confused, glanced up from his book when Frank spoke.

 

“Haven’t you already? I thought you did that last month,” Frank looked sheepish for a moment, and Gerard rolled his eyes. “Chickened out again?”

 

He then nodded, setting the guitar to the side.

 

“It’s just hard, you know? They never listen to me unless I get bad marks on a test, or did something illegal,” Frank said, grabbing a smoke from the box sitting next to him, carefully placing it in his mouth and lighting it, speaking with it hanging out of his mouth.

 

“Even when I came out to them, they refused to listen, they pretended like I didn’t exist. It sucks, because the only time I know that they actually realize I’m alive is when they tell me to turn down my music or my amp, or something. I swear, they wouldn’t even notice if I were gone.”

 

Gerard nodded slightly, deep in thought. Frank let out a small puff of smoke, imagining a tiny dragon Frank blowing steam out of his nose. He would have to ask Gerard to draw that for him later.

 

“So why don’t you? Run away, I mean,” Gerard asked, surprising Frank, and causing him to choke on smoke, looking at him incredulously.

 

“I couldn’t do th-”

 

“Why not? You just said they wouldn’t care.”

 

“Yeah, but how would I pay for anything? I’m only 16, I can’t get a job to live off of. I can’t get a house. I’ll die, or be stuck on the street for years!” Frank said, slowing beginning to panic because he was actually thinking about doing it, and that terrified him. He wasn’t sure if it was the thought of being alone that terrified him, or all of the responsibility that would be placed on his shoulders.

 

“I wouldn’t let you die, or live on the streets. You can come and live with me and Mikey.” Gerard calmly replied, as if it were obvious. From the look on his face, it was obvious to Gerard, and he couldn’t understand why Frank didn’t know that already.

 

“If your parents suck that much, why stick around, right? Hell, even if your parents don’t suck, it’s nice to have your own place.” Gerard would know, he had gotten Mikey and himself a small apartment closer to the school and Frank the second he had turned 18, and could take care of Mikey on his own. He didn’t do it because his parents were bad; the boys just needed their own space. Thankfully, their mom understood, but still made regular visits.

 

Despite that, Frank quickly shook his head. Guilt would destroy him, even if his parents wouldn’t care. “That would be like stealing their only child.”

 

“Obviously, they don’t deserve that child if this is how he’s treated. Frank, you know how much I hate kids, but if I had a kid, I would want one as fucking awesome as you are,” Gerard paused, leaning on his knee and putting a finger over his mouth, continuing, “Please pretend that didn’t sound weird.”

 

Frank frowned while crossing his arms over his chest.

 

“I just…” he started off strong, but faltered, letting his hands fall into his lap. “I can’t run away.”

 

He got up and grabbed his bag from the floor in front of him. Frank walked out without another word, and Gerard didn’t try to stop him, knowing that he needed to be alone.

 

Frank arrived home to an empty house a little while later after going through at least three of his last five cigarettes. Gerard would buy him more later. He swore loudly, tossing his bag into the closet with a frustrated yell. It was well after the time his parents were supposed to be home, which meant they had gone out to dinner together and forgot about him. Again. Just what he needed.

 

“Jackass parents that don’t give a fuck about their only child. God damn it!” Frank yelled to the empty room, unable to control his anger as he slammed the door.  He looked through the cupboards, looking to see if there was even anything he could eat for dinner. He managed to scrape together a head of lettuce, and an apple. Frank swore again, slamming the cupboard door shut.

 

“I’ll make myself a fucking apple salad, fucking great!” Frank continued, yelling as he stormed into the living room. The neighbors would probably complain, but he didn’t give a shit who heard him, he was pissed off. He dropped onto the couch, sighing deeply.

 

“This is complete and utter bullshit…” Frank mumbled into the couch cushion, finally calming. “Fuck…”

 

After a few minutes, he pulled himself up to a sitting position, turning around, and pulling his knees to his chin. He felt almost as if a black hole had opened up inside of him and started swallowing everything, starting with his heart, and was now tugging on his lungs, threatening to tear them apart.

 

He tried to shake the feeling off and got up, grabbing one of the loudest, angriest CDs he could find from the piles in his room, and walked back to the living room where the CD player was connected to the surround sound system his mom had bought for watching movies. For herself, of course. Frank slipped the CD into the player and cranked the sound. If he blew the speakers, well, then it serves her right.

 

Frank mumbled along to the lyrics, throwing himself onto the couch again. He didn’t want to be sitting there, though.

 

The more he thought about what Gerard said, the more he wanted to do it. Frank wanted to run until he couldn’t breath, and then keep running until he passed out from pure exhaustion. He could see in his mind’s eye, him, Gerard and Mikey in an old car, speeding down a tunnel, away from everything, all of their problems left in the dust, but not forgotten. They would learn to not make those same mistakes anymore. Frank wouldn’t be ignored there, wherever they went, because his friends actually cared about him. They would find some way to survive, they could do it, he knew they could. They would live off food from cans they stole from a vending machine if they really had to.

 

Frank heard something that wasn’t the beat of the music, and opened one eye, seeing a familiar head of always greasy black hair through the window frosted beside the door. He frowned and got up again, pausing the music, and wandered over to the door, opening it.

 

“Gerard, what are you doing here?”

 

“I bought veggie burgers,” was his only reply, and Frank was eternally grateful, though still sighed deeply.

 

“How do you always know?” Frank asked, opening the door wider to let him in.

 

“I’m like Spiderman a little bit. Remember when you bit me? My Frank senses were tingling, so I knew something was wrong.”

 

“There’s a slight flaw in that explanation,” Frank pointed out, closing the door behind Gerard, who walked over and put the bag containing the burgers on the table. He turned to look over at Frank with one eyebrow raised, his hands on his hips. “I haven’t ever bit you.”

 

Gerard shrugged, and flopped onto the couch, completely at home.  “Then maybe I’m just your personal super hero.”

 

Frank rolled his eyes, and sat down next to him, grabbing one of the burgers from the bag.

 

“Or, maybe you’re just a weirdo. I don’t think a superhero would have your complexion, and your legs would look awful in spandex.” Frank replied, and Gerard tried to look offended, but he couldn’t cover the grin that was itching to get out.

 

“Whatever, just eat your damn burger, Iero.”

 

Frank laughed and started eating, doing as he was told. They ate in silence for a little bit, until Frank got bored of it, and grabbed the TV remote.

 

“Oh, go to 34, they’re showing Dawn of the Dead again,” Gerard said, bumping Frank’s shoulder. He nodded and changed the channel, curling up on the couch again. He wrapped his arms around his legs, and rested his chin on his knees.

 

He finished his burger and went back to thinking. Gerard leaned back on the couch beside him as well, then leaned into his side. Frank could feel the warmth from his body seeping through two layers of clothing and into his skin.

 

“What’s wrong?” Gerard paused for a moment, face screwing up. “Besides the obvious.”

 

Frank chuckled gently, unraveling a little from his ball of anger and sadness to let Gerard in. He rested his head on Gerard’s arm, which had been haphazardly thrown over the back of the couch.  

 

“I’m angry, and a little scared because I’m actually thinking of doing it, of running away. My parents obviously don’t want me, and when I’m around you and Mikey, I feel like I’m actually okay, you know?” Frank sighed as Gerard rested his head against Franks shoulder.

 

“I don’t feel so fucked up, or maybe I feel more fucked up, but being around people who are just as fucked up as me probably helps.” He paused, frowning at his own choice of words. “Sorry.”

 

Gerard scoffed, shrugging, because he knew he was a pretty different type of person.

 

“You’re not messed up, Frankie. You’re you, there’s nothing wrong with being wired a little differently. It makes you more interesting than everyone else I’ve met. Besides Mikey, of course, but he doesn’t count.” Frank frowned, and couldn’t really help himself from pulling Gerard closer, hiding in his shoulder as the thoughts that had been crowding his head for the past hour spilled out.

 

“Then why don’t my parents care? If I’m so goddamn special, what did I do to cause them to ignore me?” Frank asked, his voice cracking a bit. He instantly hated himself for spilling his problems onto Gerard, but there was no way he could take back his words now that they were out there.

 

“Because your parents are fuckheads who can’t see when they’ve got something special, but I can see. I know how amazing you are,” Gerard said, hand working its way around Franks shoulder, and resting on the back of his neck, rubbing softly.

 

“I don’t feel too fucking special. I feel like a fuck up.”

 

“Hey!” Gerard pulled back from Frank and grasped the sides of his face, forcing Frank to look into his eyes. “You’re not a fuck up, or maybe we’re both fuck ups, but at least we have each other, okay? It doesn’t matter, though, because fuck ups keep the world spinning.”

 

Gerard let go of Frank’s face, pulling him into a hug.

 

Frank was slightly grateful for that, because he had a huge urge to push forward out of Gerard’s grip, and kiss him, but he had no idea if his affections would be returned. He knew Gerard didn’t really care about gender, but he didn’t want to fuck up his friendship, and why the hell was he thinking about this now of all times?

 

“You’re not a fuck up, Frank.” Gerard repeated, soothingly rubbing his hand on Franks back. He felt so weak, sitting there, close to tears. Most teenagers wouldn’t care if their parents ignored them; they’d probably be happy, so why did it matter to him so much?

 

Once he seemed to calm down, Gerard pulled away, looking unsure of something. Frank nudged him, trying to encourage him to talk about it.

 

“This is such a bad time for this…” Gerard sighed with a faint chuckle. Frank continued staring at him, immensely confused. “I feel like you need some, well, hopefully good news.”

 

Gerard chuckled again, nerves obviously getting to him, twisting his hands around in his lap. Frank slowly began to understand what he was trying to say, figuring out his body language fairly easily.

 

“Look, I have this thing where sometimes I think that people like me a lot more than they actually do, because I like them so much. So please don’t be angry with me if you don’t actually, well-” Gerard cut himself off, pushing forward a bit, and pressing his lips against Franks’.

 

There weren’t fireworks, it wasn’t an ‘intense battle of mouths and tongues’ or whatever, it was a simple kiss between two scared and inexperienced teenagers.

 

But to Frank, it was the best thing that ever happened to him. His body felt warm, and everything that had ever wronged him was gone from his mind. He was soaring high above comprehensive thinking.

 

But what goes up, must come down, and Frank's parents decided to start giving a shit at that moment, arriving home and pushing open the door. Frank didn’t even hear the door open, but Gerard sure did, pulling away.

 

“Mr. Iero!” Gerard was able to get out before Frank’s father had grabbed him by the back of his hoodie, and dragging him towards the door.

 

“You won’t be seeing Frank anymore.” His dad was glaring daggers at Gerard, then slammed the door in his face. Frank, still completely lost to the world because Gerard had kissed him, was soon pulled back to earth by his parents glaring at him, and trying to get his attention.

 

“Frank, what the fuck was that?” His father asked harshly, to which Frank responded with a confused noise.

 

“I told you guys like, half a year ago that I was gay. Why is this such a surprise?” He asked, and his father took a step back.

 

“No son of mine is a fucking faggot,” he hissed, still glaring at Frank. “You are to be locked in your room until we find a way to fix you-”

 

“I’m fine, though,” Frank mumbled. He felt better than fine, he felt amazing.

 

“I always knew there was something wrong with you, always going to that fairy’s house; we barely ever see you.”

 

“I’m okay, trust me, dad,” Frank said a little louder this time, blood beginning to boil.

 

“If I had known what you had been doing over there, I would have stopped it a long time ago. He turned you gay, it’s always the artsy types-”

 

Frank was fed up.

 

“I’M FUCKING FINE!” He yelled, standing from his seat on the couch. His hands clenched at his sides. His mother gave him a bewildered look, and Frank took off. He couldn’t be in the same room as… them. He didn’t even want to be in the same town.

 

He raced to his room and started filling his bag with as much clothing he could grab. Casting a glance over his pile of CDs, he frowned, before trying to pick ten he could survive on until he could buy more. He grabbed up his saved up cash from his desk, and threw the bag onto his back just as there was a loud thumping at the door.

 

Time’s up, Frank thought to himself, and threw open the window, thankful for a ground floor bedroom. He heard the door to his room slam open just as he dropped to his feet below the window, and began to run.