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16 September 2008 @ 07:38 pm
Child's Play  
Author : slashxyouxup
Pairing: Frank&Gerard
Rating: NC17
Summary : There are probably five playgrounds in the whole of New Jersey where it’s deemed safe to actually let your children play.
Disclaimer: Writers lie – just like your parents.
Warnings: Bad language, sexual situations.

I started this thing at the beginning of Summer, and I finished it last night. 26K+ (yeah, I know), 62 pages, a lot of hours and brain frying. Thanks to alana2x1 for beta-ing for me, and for constant support. And also thanks to my beautiful xoxxblitz7 for forcing me to write this. No really, I was about to start something else and she made me write this. So if you love it, thank her. If not, blame her. Or fuck off. Either or.

Child’s Play

There are probably five playgrounds in the whole of New Jersey where it’s deemed safe to actually let your children play. Mostly because there hasn’t been a dead body found in any for over three years (yes, three whole years) or the drug dealers who used to set up shop there are either dead (found in one of the less safer parks or a nearby river) or in jail – finally.

Frank Iero is lucky enough to live close to the cleanest looking one, and despite his mother’s wishes that her Grandchild stay in the backyard to play, Frank would rather his son, little Leo Iero, play outside with the other kids, run around and fall down, do everything he did at that age.

Leo Iero is four, nearly five years old. The day he was born was the most terrifying day of Frank’s entire lifetime and the thing he remembers most is vomiting, at least three times, in pure fear that pretty soon the most important thing in his life was going to appear and he’d actually have to act like an adult and accept half of the responsibility. Of course that was when he didn’t know that it wouldn’t be too long before the mother decided this was all too much for her to handle and drove off into the sunset, leaving a twenty one year old Frank clutching a barely two month old baby, looking completely petrified. He looked down at the small blanketed bundle and mumbled, “Oh shit”.

But now, thankfully, he’s not so afraid as he’s just learnt to deal with life, and no matter what he knows he could never regret Leo, not even when they’re dirt broke, or when Frank’s slaving away at some bullshit call center while his mother does most of the child raising. Leo’s the most beautiful, most amazing, most curious and intelligent little boy Frank has ever known. He can build some of the most obscure looking things imaginable out of Lego, knows almost every song from the film Summer Holiday and lives for their trips to the park; the only real time they get to have fun together.

So two to four times a week, depending on how tired Frank is or how good Leo has been, they head for the park; Frank gripping Leo in one hand and Romeo (their two year old bullmastiff)’s leash in the other as they walk the two blocks to their local park, where Leo will run almost head first into the sand pit and Romeo will go bolting after him as Frank sits on a nearby bench, half watching his child and pet and half dreading waking up tomorrow.

Today is no different; Leo is dead set on finding out just where this sand pit ends and Romeo’s sat watching, wagging his tail and shaking his head as sand goes flying in his direction from Leo’s mad digging. Frank smiles, figuring it won’t be long before Leo manages to get Romeo to help.

A gust of wind blunders by and Frank shudders, pulling his jacket around him tighter. Of course Leo, like most children, is unaware and unphased by the sudden change in weather as his current task is far more important than his green pullover, which is currently lying unused and unneeded on the bench next to his worrying father. Frank doesn’t mean to be like an obsessive mother, like his own mother is 99.9% of the time, but Leo’s been cursed with the same immune system as Frank, which is clearly none at all.

Frank glances at his watch and picks up Leo’s hoodie deciding to call it a day, regardless of the fact Leo has yet to find the bottom of the sand pit. He calls Leo’s name and he immediately looks up with a pout on his pink lips, but Frank gives him that stern, fatherly don’t push it look, and Leo reluctantly gets up, stomping out of the pit and leaving a trail of sand.

“Sorry little man but its getting cold,” he says, pulling Leo on to his lap and struggling against the child’s flailing limbs to get the hoodie on.

“Aw but dad,” he whines, “I was almost there.”

Frank sighs sympathetically and kisses Leo’s temple, “I know, you’ll get there next time.” He wraps his arms around Leo and stands, pulling the child against his chest as he wraps his little arms around Frank’s neck and hides his face from the wind. Frank whistles for Romeo, who’s already at their side, and walks towards the exit not bothering with Romeo’s leash because he knows his way home better than Frank does by now, and it would probably take a powerful force to part him from Leo’s side.

When they get home Frank fixes a simple dinner, warming up the pasta his mother sent home with Leo the day before, and they eat together at the table as Frank pretends not to notice when Leo slyly feeds Romeo the bits he doesn’t like. Leo ends up with most of the pasta sauce around his mouth and on his hands (he never did like the invention of the knife and fork) and Frank breaks out into a beaming grin as Leo licks the sauce from his hands with a blissful look on his face.

Frank leaves the dishes in the sink, along with last night’s, and brings Leo’s space man pj’s from his room, helping him change before they settle down for their evening of Scooby-Doo reruns. Leo burrows himself away in Frank’s arms, opens his mouth and yawns a yawn bigger than he is, and then sets his eyes on the TV screen.

It’s no more than an hour later when Frank feels the steady rising and falling of Leo’s chest against his and the quiet little snoring with the occasional smacking of lips. He stands carefully with Leo wrapped up in his arms, and carries him in to his room. Leo’s still gripping Frank’s t-shirt in his small fists as he lays him down in his bed. Frank smiles and pulls the material gently from his grasp, kisses his forehead whilst pulling up the covers and whispers a soft goodnight.

He stops as he gets to the door, turning around to see the last of the light falling off Leo’s peaceful face. He smiles again and creeps out, closing the door behind him.

When he’s back in the empty front room of their small bungalow he sighs, suddenly noticing how cold it is without Leo pressed up against him. After pulling out a beer from the back of the fridge he repositions himself on the couch, tugging a blanket over himself and allowing Romeo up purely so he can keep Frank’s feet warm as they watch the rest of Scooby-Doo together.

Frank wakes up to Romeo barking at the paper boy. He rubs at his eyes, clearing the blur until the softened edges have disappeared and morning is harsh once again. He glances at his watch once and then twice, praying he got it wrong the first time.

“Shit,” he mutters, pushing the blanket aside and standing quickly to find himself still dressed in yesterday’s clothes, “fuck,” he grumbles, stumbling quickly into his bedroom.

There’s no time to shower, so he sprays a nauseating amount of deodorant every five seconds as he dresses. He runs into the bathroom to brush his teeth for fifteen seconds, before deciding that’ll do and races out of the bathroom stuffing his wallet and keys into his pockets, making his way to the door whilst trying to flatten down his hair. He shoves on his shoes, pets Romeo’s head and slips out of the front door.

As he stands on the doorstep he stops and turns round, staring hard at the closed door as he tries to remember what he’s forgotten, he knows its something important, but he just can’t seem to put his finger on it.

His eyes widen in realisation, “FUCK!” and he bolts back inside.

Leo is still nestled deep within his covers when Frank runs into his room. He picks him up, blankets and all, and carries him as quickly as possible out of the house and into the car, buckling him up as his head lolls to the side. He mumbles a word or so, but nothing more as Frank clambers into the driver’s seat and races to his mother’s, trying to keep to the speed limit and also trying not to get his ass fired.

When he gets there he’s out of the car as quick as possible, pulling Leo into his arms and making his way to the front door. It opens just as he reaches it, revealing his confused and concerned looking mother as she receives an armful of grandson.

“Is he sick?” she asks, but Frank shakes his head.

“No, late, I’m late, really late,” he kisses Leo’s head and then his mother’s cheek, hot tailing it down the path, calling “thanks mom!”, before jumping into the car and speeding off down the quiet lazy morning street.

Linda Iero shakes her head as Leo squirms and yawns in her arms.

“Where’s daddy?” he mumbles, mouth still mostly covered by his blue blanket.

She sighs, “Daddy’s gone crazy,” before stepping back inside the house.

Frank makes it to work just in time, but still sneaks to his desk so no one can taunt or tease him with ass face lines like “Oow, almost Iero”. He collapses in his chair, kicking at the waste paper bin and slamming his head on to the desk. He turns his head slowly to the side, seeing the giant red numbers and letters of his note pad calendar and the picture of Leo in front of it.

The picture was taken maybe an hour after Leo was born. Frank reaches out his hand and strokes Leo’s face with a finger.

“All for you little man,” he sighs before pulling himself up, grabbing his headset and shoving it over his bed head hair. He presses the button he loathes the most and in his best fake cheery voice says, “Customer Services, how may I help you?”

Frank’s the better part of dead by the time he climbs back into his car at the end of the day and he glances at himself in the rear view mirror to confirm that yes, he looks like shit. With an annoyed grumble he sets off to his mother’s house, hoping to avoid the tonne of questions about this morning which are probably waiting there for him along with a hyperactive son.

Thankfully the questions aren’t there, but the hyperactive son? Oh he’s there alright.

“Jesus mom, did you inject him with speed or something?” he asks, as Leo launches himself at Frank with a high pitched squeal, which doesn’t end when he gets to Frank.

Leo’s hyperactive babbling continues as they get in the car, as they drive home, as they get into the house and as Frank collapses onto the couch with the will for it to swallow him up.

“Park daddy,” Leo begins, “let’s go play!”

Frank groans and presses a cushion over his face, “No Leo,” he mumbles, “not today.”

“Daddy please,” Leo whines, stomping his feet on the ground, “please daddy, daddy please, pleasepleaseplease, daddy please, daddy daddy-”

“For fuck sake Leo!” Frank shouts, ripping the cushion from his face and sending it flying across the room.

Leo froze to the spot with a helpless and terrified look on his face. The anger slowly drips from Frank’s expression and he sits up, but as he moves Leo flinches in fear. Frank feels sick, physically sick at the thought of ever hitting Leo or hurting him in any way.

“Leo,” Frank whispers, but it seems to trigger the tears, which slowly start dripping down his child’s face. Frank instantly scoops him up and pulls him onto his lap into a bone crushing hug, “Leo,” he repeats, kissing his head, “I’d never hurt you, Leo, never, I’m sorry I got mad bambino, I’m tired and that’s not your fault and I’m so sorry.”

Leo sniffles and nuzzles his head in to Frank’s chest, “Okay.”

Frank pulls back from the hug to look at Leo’s red eyes and wet cheeks. “Can you forgive daddy for being such an ass?” Leo nods. “And do you still want to go to the park?” Leo nods again, wiping his nose on the back of his hand. Frank kisses his cheek, “Let’s go then little man.”

They’re at the park ten minutes later; Leo’s sat in the sandpit and Frank’s sat on its edge, stroking Romeo and watching Leo build a village of sand castles. They sit quietly for the most part, Frank leaning forward to inspect a castle at Leo’s request, or to kiss his cheek or the back of his head – just because he can.

Another unleashed dog walks by, getting Romeo’s attention immediately. It barks and bounds off, and all Romeo can do is bolt after it. Frank groans as the dogs bark and chase each other round in circles as the other dog’s owner shrieks something about rabies. Frank stands with a sigh.

“Romeo,” he calls, “Romeo!”

“Shouldn’t you be standing on a balcony when shouting that?” a voice quips from behind.

Frank turns to give some sarcastic comment back when the man’s face stops him, “Gerard?”

Gerard grins, “How the hell are you, Iero?”

“Holy,” he trails, “I haven’t seen you in years.”

“Yeah, what – eight years is it?” Gerard asks, folding his arms across his chest still with that impish grin Frank remembers so well.

“Something like that,” and Frank realises he’s grinning too because holy shit it’s Gerard.

Gerard glances down to the sandpit, “You’re under attack little bud,” he comments as a bug or three make their way over the sand in the direction of Leo’s village.

“I’m on it!” Leo calls up, smashing the bugs with the palm of his hand. Leo looks up and grins instantly, “Gerard!”

Frank stares oddly because he’s pretty damn sure he didn’t have Leo when he was in high school, he came some three torturous years later.

“Hey Leo,” Gerard replies and looks up to laugh at Frank’s expression. “I come in once a week at Leo’s playgroup for their art time,” he explains.

“Leo only goes once a week,” Frank replies, still a little stunned.

Gerard smiles, “Well I suppose it’s just my good luck it’s on Leo’s day, right Leo?”

Leo nods frantically, “Right Gerard!”

There’s a small voice coming from down below, and Frank looks down to see a small boy with black messy hair and paint-covered hands pulling at Gerard’s trouser leg. Gerard smiles and bends down to pick the boy up.

“Frank, this is my son Matthew. Matty, say hello to Frank.”

The boy hides his face in his father’s neck for a moment before peering out with one eye. He waves, “Hello Mister Frank.”

Gerard smiles and kisses the boy’s temple, “We better get you home soon.”

“Back to mom?” Frank asks, because he figures Gerard’s married to some beautiful stylish woman and they have an amazing suburban home complete with welcome mat and a sleeping cat on the window ledge.

“Well if you see her let me know,” Gerard replies and Frank’s face instantly freezes.

“Shit, I’m um, sorry?”

Gerard laughs, “Don’t worry about it. I expect with the lack of wedding band or mortified expression at the thought of a single father your story is pretty much the same?”

“Yeah,” Frank nods, “something like that.”

Gerard dips his free hand in to his pocket and pulls out a small white card. “I really gotta get going,” he says and slips the card into Frank’s hand, sort of shaking it as he does so, “but give me a call sometime, I’d love to catch up.”

“Okay,” Frank smiles, “I will, thanks.”

Gerard winks and turns; Frank watching him leave until he’s out of sight. He smiles to himself, thumbing over the card in his pocket. With a dreamy smile he thinks back eight years, to the last time he saw Gerard at his graduation. His younger brother, Mikey, had been a good friend of his at the time, although they lost contact after high school, as most people do. He remembers nursing a small crush on Gerard throughout most of high school, although he never did anything about it and continued dating girls like the rest of the denying sexuality population did. And look where that got him.

Leo sneezes, breaking Frank’s thought. Frank sighs and scoops him up in his arms, nuzzling his nose against Leo’s cold red one. “What you say we go home and daddy makes us some hot cocoa?”

He grins and nods.

It’s two days later and Frank’s almost skipping over to his car because work’s out early. He thanks the heavens for broken gas pipes, calls his mom from the car to tell her that he’ll be able to pick Leo up from playgroup today and then turns on the radio, humming along to a song he doesn’t even know, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel with his window rolled down and drives the ten minutes to Leo’s playgroup.

Leo is both surprised and delighted when his father walks through the door with a happy-go-lucky smile on his face. He takes his work from the table in one clammy hand and runs, squealing “Daddy!”

Frank picks him up and hugs him close, “Hey little man, what you got there?”

Leo hands him the piece of paint-covered paper. There’s an orange splat in the middle which looks like Leo’s fist print, and then black triangle eyes and a big open messy mouth.

“It’s a jack-o- lan-tan daddy, just like yours,” he beams.

Frank kisses Leo’s temple, “That’s great stuff little man, definitely one for the fridge.”

As Leo squeals in excitement, Frank looks up to see a recently familiar face making his way over with a grin the size of Leo’s.

“Hey,” Gerard calls, manoeuvring his way through lines of children before finally getting to them, “so you showed dad your picture huh?” he asks Leo.

“Yeah,” Leo nods, “it’s going on the fridge.”

“Whoa, hot stuff. Good job buddy,” Leo beams again, “good to see you again.”

Frank smiles and hoists Leo further up on his hip, “Yeah, you too. He been good?”

“As gold, always is.” Frank hugs Leo closer and kisses his temple again. “Listen I was thinking about that catch up thing, and me and Matty are grabbing a bite to eat and going to the movies and-”

“We’d love to,” Frank interrupts.

“Really?” Gerard looks pleasantly surprised.

Frank smiled, “Yeah, wouldn’t we Leo?” Leo nods and squeals and does a little arm flailing. Frank laughs, “See? It’s settled.”

“Right, great, well let me just grab my things and we’ll be out of here.”

Its some thirty minutes later when they’re sat in a booth of a child friendly diner, fussing with napkins and drinks and ketchup before both boys finally settle down in their quiet junk food daze, munching on ketchup covered fries and watching the world go by. Oh how hard life can be.

Gerard strokes Mathew’s hair back with a doting smile and turns to take a bite of his own burger.

“So, what have you been up to for the past eight years?” Frank asks as he idly plays with the straw in his coke.

“Well, one is obvious,” Gerard states, motioning his eyes over to Mathew with a grin, “and being the same weirdo I was in high school, only art is my job now. I own a gallery not too far from here.”

Frank can’t help the feeling of jealousy which courses through low in his stomach. “That’s amazing, I’m really happy for you.”

Gerard smiles brightly, “Thanks,” and Frank dreads what he knows is coming next, “what about you?”

“Me? Not a whole lot really. Tried the music scene for a while, but then little Leo came along and I had to get some shitty 9-5 like everyone else.”

Gerard frowns and scrunches a paper napkin in his hand until it’s a small uneven ball, “There’s still time to figure out what you wanna do though, right?

“I don’t know,” Frank shrugs, “time’s something I don’t really have a lot of.”

“I could see if there’s something at the gallery, if you like? Hell I own it, I’ll create you a job.”

Frank laughs and sips his coke, “Thanks, but I don’t think I’m really the arty type.”

“Well,” Gerard sighs, “offer’s always there.”

“I appreciate it,” and Gerard beams.

They decide on Ice Age 2, no matter how many times Mathew flings himself at the poster for the latest horror flick. Frank raises an eyebrow in amusement as Mathew stamps his feet and cries,

“I wanna see the blood daddy!”

Gerard looks over apologetically at Frank, who simply laughs and shakes his head, insisting that it’s fine and then commenting, ‘like father like son’ as Mathew pouts with his head hung low. As an apology, Gerard pays for everyone’s ticket and the treats; no matter how many times Frank tries to refuse.

The theatre isn’t too packed, which Frank is always grateful for. As Leo is with all things he likes to vocalize his opinion and make his point very clear. Apparently Mathew is pretty much the same, the only ones who don’t appear to have anything to say on the matter are Frank and Gerard, who only crack up whenever the little squirrel appears.

Leo and Mathew regularly peer up from their oversized buckets of popcorn to ask a series of questions such as;

“What’s a mammoth?”

“What’s the ice age?”


“What does ‘saving the species’ mean?”

Frank looks over to Gerard helplessly, who simply shrugs and states, “I don’t know, we’ll look it up on Google later.”

It’s been a while since Frank’s been able to take Leo to the movies, usually due to lack of money, time or energy, but with the awed and beaming grin on his little face Frank knows he’s going to have to do this more often.

In the parking lot of the movie theatre Leo yawns and rubs his tired eyes, not yet used to the sunlight again. He tugs on his father’s sleeve and whines that he’s tired. Frank pets his head and puts him in the car, then turns back to Gerard.

“Thank you, so much, we both had fun.”

Gerard smiles warmly, “Yeah, you look like you needed it.” And then there’s a pause as they smile nerd-face smiles at each other until Mathew coughs a chesty cough below them. “Hey, I’m putting some of the kids’ art up in the gallery next week, you’re both more than welcome to come, most of the other kids will be there anyway.”

Frank nods, “Yeah, sure, sounds fun.”

“Call me and I’ll give you the details.”

Frank smiles and bobs his head forward, leaning with a lingering glance before turning and walking round the side of his car.

They wave each other off as they drive to the car park exit, and Frank wonders how soon he can call without looking too eager.

Mathew’s still bounding around in the backseat from all the sugar by the time they pull in to the driveway, directly behind Gerard’s brother’s car. He tries his best to unbuckle Mathew, but he wants to dance a limb flailing dance to no music at all. Gerard has to threaten to leave Mathew in the car alone before he finally sits still.

“Uncle Mikey!” Mathew shrieks as they enter Gerard’s three floor home. He flings himself in to his uncle’s arms and Mikey picks him up, holding him up above his head as they make rawring sounds at each other. Gerard rolls his eyes and wanders into the kitchen.

A few minutes later Mikey enters, having left Mathew in front of the TV, to accept the mug of hot coffee his brother offers with an appreciative smile.

“So, where’ve you been?” he asks, leaning against the dishwasher and blowing away the first layer of steam from the mug.

“We went to the movies after playgroup with some friends.”

Mikey quirks an eyebrow, “Some friends?”

“What? I have friends.”

“No,” Mikey shakes his head, “you have workpeople, family and a bunch of four year olds.”

“Well, one of them was four.”

“And the other?” Mikey asks, placing his mug on the unit.



“Frank Iero.”

“Frank Iero? Frank Iero? Frank Iero from high school who was my best friend and had a major crush on you but I pretended not to notice and who you had a crush on and again I pretended not to notice Frank Iero?”

Suddenly, Gerard has a headache. “Um, yes?”

“Holy shit no way,” Mikey grins, “I haven’t seen him in fucking years man and- wait, he has a four year old?”

Gerard nods, “Leo, his son is called Leo. Looks just like him too.”

“So he’s married? Girlfriend?”

Gerard shakes his head. “No, same situation as me and Mat.”

Mikey cocks his head to the side and folds his arms across his chest with a pondering look, “Well that’s rare. So!” he snaps from his thoughtful daze, “Are you seeing him again?”

“Yeah, at the kids art show you’re helping me with.”

Mikey’s face drops, “What art show I’m helping you with?”

“The one next week,” Gerard states with hopeful eyes, “Mathew really wants you there.”

“No,” Mikey whines, “you can’t play the kid card man, I got nothing to top that. Plus the kids think I’m a piñata.”

Gerard smirks, “Well that’s just extra fun for me.”

Mathew yawns as Gerard tucks him into bed. It’s almost ten and Mathew’s been running around until about ten minutes ago when the sugar rush had finally worn off and he’d immediately dropped to the ground.

“You got Charlie?” Mathew asks, snuggling his head into his pillow.

Gerard grabs the monkey from the bottom of the bed and tucks it in with him, “Right here buddy.”

“Thank you daddy.”

Gerard grins and leans forward to press a kiss to his forehead. He whispers, “Night little Em.”

“Night big Gee.”

Frank has the mail in one hand and Leo in the other when he gets home. He sets Leo on the ground, who immediately runs after Romeo, and thumbs through the envelopes. He separates the bills from the junk mail, throwing the junk into the trash and hiding the bills from view in a drawer in the kitchen. The last envelope is white, clean and with a hand written address. Frank kind of doesn’t want to open it, as he kind of already knows who it’s from.

And he’s right, it’s from her. He gets one of these every six to eight months, and it’s always exactly the same. She asks how they are first, both himself and Leo, asks how they’re doing and if anything’s new. Then she tells them what she’s been up to, who she’s with now and how her life is going. She thanks Frank for giving her the opportunity to live her dream and travel, has postcards attached to the letter with pictures of the places she’s been. Then she apologises, tells Frank he’s a better parent than she ever could have been (even though she’s never seen anything to prove it), asks for pictures of Leo and asks that Frank tell him about her, and try not to paint her as the bad guy.

At the end of the letter Frank screws it in his hand and slams his fist on the table, before covering his face. He won’t cry, he won’t, not in front of Leo and not because of her. He won’t.

After a short and messy phone call to Ray, Frank’s on his way to the bar to meet him and Bob. His mother’s back at his house, sitting with Leo as she tries to cover up why daddy is so upset. She begs Frank not to come home drunk, but she knows without even asking what’s wrong, and she knows that tonight Frank’s coming home wasted.

“Chicks man,” Bob announces as he passes Frank a beer, “they’re fucking nuts.”

“I agree,” Ray nods, “fucking head cases. Don’t you worry Frank; you got Leo and your mom, and us of course. That’s all you need.”

Frank sighs and pulls at the label on his bottle, bobbing his head in a sort of half nod half nothing.

“Sign of sexual frustration,” Bob quips, “when was the last time you got any?”

“I have a kid Bob, what do you think?”

“Man I remember you complaining like that in high school, minus the kid of course,” Ray grins, slapping his hand on Frank’s back, “cheer up.”

“Speaking of high school, guess who I saw yesterday?” Frank says as Bob and Ray shrug. “Gerard-fuckin-Way.”

“No shit,” Bob laughs.

“He’s got a kid too. Same age as Leo. No mom either.”

“Dude this is perfect,” Ray announces as Frank quirks an eyebrow in confusion, “you have a kid, he has a kid, you’re single, he’s single, and if I remember correctly neither of you are exactly straight. This is romance comedy in the making I tell you.”

“Yeah,” Bob nods, slamming his empty bottle on the table, “and this time, no one can get pregnant.”

Frank gets home at about two in the morning. His mother sighs and begins to make coffee, but Frank’s passed out by the time it’s even boiled. She leaves Frank a note, sets the alarm on his watch and kisses his temple, stroking his hair away. She kisses Leo one final time and leaves.

Frank calls in sick the next morning and spends the entire day playing with Leo, just because he can.

Leo seems pretty damn excited about the art show as he’s smiling over a sleeping Frank and shaking him, both hands fisting the covers as he rocks his father back and forth calling,

“Wakey wakey eggs and bakey, daddy!”

“Mumf,” Frank mumbles, pressing his face further into his pillow.

The shaking and calling continues for a further five minutes, before Frank finally gives up, pulling Leo under the covers to tickle him until he’s crying with laughter.

They get to the show a little late, not too late, just fashionably late, Frank thinks as they enter the gallery. He gasps a little as they enter because the Gerard he remembers in high school was secluded, unpopular and weird. This gallery, it’s anything but. It’s got high ceilings and bright lighting, polished wooden floors and a clean smell and fuck it actually looks like a real gallery.

There’s a sea of proud parents, marvelling at their children’s work and the rest of the art the gallery contains, some holding cups of tea or coffee and some with their arms folded laughing at a witty comment the person they’re talking to just made, and hyperactive toddlers running in the spaces in between.

They’re all pretty middle class families and Frank feels like a sore thumb, sticking out in jeans and a t-shirt in a crowd of whatever’s in style at the moment. There’s no such pressure on Leo as he looks up at Frank with pleading eyes, waiting for the nod that he can join the rest of his friends in, well, running around in circles by the looks of things.

“Frank!” Frank’s head shoots up. He grins a shit eating grin as he instantly recognises who’s making their way over to him.

“Mikey Fucking Way,” he grins, accepting the bone crushing hug he pulls him in to, patting his back and squeezing a little more before letting him go.

“God, it’s so good to see you,” Mikey smiles, “it’s been too long man, I need your address or your number or something.”

“Thinking of stalking me?”

“Damn you’re sharp,” Mikey laughs, and before Frank knows it they’re in one of their laughing fits like back in high school, stoned in Gerard’s basement while his mom was asleep in the living room.

As their laughing eases off there’s a tug at Frank’s jeans, and sure enough as he looks down Leo’s beaming up at him. He picks him up in a hug, and turns him to face Mikey.

“Leo, this is your uncle Mikey,” he says, “say hello.”

Leo waves enthusiastically, “’lo uncle Mikey.”

Mikey smiles and nods his hello, seeing Gerard approach them out of the corner of his eye. “Hey Leo, wanna go find where the candy is?”

“Yeah!” Leo shouts, and Mikey choruses the same after, taking Leo from Frank and turning away just as Gerard gets to them.

“You came,” Gerard smiles, bearing little pointy teeth.

“Leo wouldn’t not let me come, he’s been excited about this for days,” Frank explains, “not that I didn’t want to come, I mean of course I wanted to come,” he babbles, and Gerard laughs because Frank did that a lot in high school. Like the time he tried to ask a girl to prom but could only use a series of half words, noises and hand gestures to indicate the two of them dancing. She’d laughed and walked away, so he went to prom with Mikey instead. “Hey, you wanna come and see Bob and Toro? I was gonna leave Leo here for an hour and meet up with ‘em at this coffee place just across the road and, well I know they’d love to see you again.”

After a short pondering look Gerard nods with a small sort of innocent smirk, “I think I could leave Mikey in charge for a while.”


The coffee shop is in fact directly across the road from the gallery, and before they get to the other side of the street they can already see Bob and Ray sat in the window clutching steaming mugs and waving frantically with beaming grins.

Gerard laughs because really, they haven’t changed one bit.

There’s an exchange of hugs and manly pats for a minute or so, a few laughs and where the hell have you been all my life? until they’re settled in to the soft squishy body swallowing brown chairs.

“So,” Ray begins, “Frank tells me you gotta sprog too?”

Fighting off the urge to giggle, Gerard settles for a manly chuckle instead, “Yeah, Mathew.”

“Does he have the arty loser loner whatever gene too?”

With a roll of the eyes, Gerard answers, “Yes. But he’s not a loner; he’d make friends in an empty room.”

“He gets that from Mikey,” Frank laughs, “does he have imaginary friends yet? Maybe Mikey can lend him one of his old ones.”

Frank sits back and watches his friends continue to converse and laugh. He watches the smile grow on Gerard’s face, like it belongs there all the time and wishes his own face could look like that more often. He wishes he didn’t have so few reasons to smile everyday. He wishes that Leo could see him smile more often.

He doesn’t notice he’s been frowning until Gerard looks up and mouths ‘You okay?’ Frank merely smiles, weakly, and nods.

They exchange numbers when their hour’s up, some more hugs and manly pats and then Frank and Gerard are standing outside the coffee shop, waiting for a break in the traffic.

“So listen, are you sure you’re okay?” Gerard asks after ten or more seconds of silence. Frank shrugs. “Anything you want to share? I’m a good listener,” he offers.

Frank rubs the back of his neck, “It’s nothing really, just, well, Leo’s mom sent me one of her letters, they always play on my mind for a while but I’ll be okay.” Gerard doesn’t look so convinced. “Honestly,” Frank urges.

“Can I see the letter?” Gerard knows it’s not really his place and is totally too forward but he figures maybe the letter can help him understand Frank’s life a little more, and answer some of the questions he’s too afraid to ask.

“I don’t have it on me,” Frank explains, hoping that will be the end of it.

“Bring it to mine then, tonight. We can crack open a bottle of wine or something a little less gay,” he grins, “I’d like it if we could hang out and catch up.”

Frank thinks for a moment, weighs up the pros and cons, and then nods. “I suppose I could ask my mom to take Leo.”

“No, no, bring him too,” Gerard insists, “you should stay the night, both of you. The kids can crash out in front of cartoon network and the bed in the guest room is comfy as hell and right next door to Mathew’s, y’know in case Leo wakes up.”

“Okay,” Frank smiles, “we’ll be there.”

When they get back, Mikey is looking tired and dishevelled with his glasses askew on his face.

“Damn those kids can run fast,” he pants.

Frank shoots him an apologetic look as Gerard merely laughs and pats his shoulder, then wanders away to charm some parents, leaving Frank and Mikey to round the hyper active children back up and separate them from whatever they’re clinging to with shaking hands.

They deliver the children to their rightful parents, ignoring the looks and annoyed scoffs and comments about the amount of candy they’ve probably consumed in such a short space of time.

Thankfully, Leo isn’t that bad. Frank finds him sat under a table with a twizzler hanging from his lips. He bites off half and hands it to Frank. Mikey shakes his head and laughs then wanders off with a small pair of jeans in search of a pantless child.

The letter is safe in Frank’s back pocket and it feels heavy as they walk the path to Gerard’s front door. Frank and Leo both look up at the house in awe, and maybe slight jealousy, well on Frank’s part anyway. The front yard is pretty big, with a white fence and everything. The lawn is freshly mowed and flowerbeds full of colour skirt around the edge of it. The only thing which makes it look less than perfect are Mathew’s various toys strewed about the place, which makes it feel at least a little normal.

Gerard answers the door after a moment’s pause with a surprised grin on his face, as if he expected them not to show. Taking their jackets and gear he ushers them into the living room. It’s big, of course, but lived in, and not as scarily immaculate as the look of the house suggests. There are strange paintings on the walls, and pictures, a lot of pictures, mostly of Mathew.

Mathew comes plodding down the stairs in Star Wars pj’s and Charlie the monkey tucked carefully under one arm. He smiles shyly up at Frank and then beams at Leo who giggles back, lets go of Frank’s hand and runs towards his friend. They run back up the stairs, on their hands and feet, with a call of ‘Bye daddy!’.

“Play nice kids,” Gerard shouts up as Frank smiles after them, still grinning by the time Gerard turns to look at him. “So, you wanna take a seat while I get us something to drink?”

Frank ducks his head and finds his way over to the oh sweet Jesus comfiest couch he’s ever sat on in his life as Gerard disappears into the kitchen. Frank slouches back and tries not to moan, running his hands over the black loose leather and sighing in contentment.

“Nice isn’t it?” Frank’s eyes shoot open and he sits up immediately. Gerard laughs, “It’s fine, honestly.”

Frank blushes, smiles a little and accepts the glass of wine Gerard hands him with a quiet, “Thanks.”

It’s merely seconds after Gerard has sat down before he turns to Frank, looking at him expectantly and saying, “Well, show me then,” like they’re thirteen and Frank’s brought porn.

Frank digs his hand into his back pocket and pulls it out, handing it over with an uncomfortable easiness. Gerard takes a sip of his wine, sets the glass down and then scoots back, crossing his legs and unfolding the letter, his eyes immediately devouring the words. Frank watches his face close, extremely close, for the changes in his expression. He worries his bottom lips between his teeth as Gerard’s eyes dart in an erratic fashion (that doesn’t even look like they’re reading) until they stop dead and move across to Frank.

“What a bitch.”

Thank you!” Frank shouts, his arms flailing in relief.

Gerard laughs, “I take it not many people see it your way?”

Frank sighs, “Well Ray and Bob do, but my mom’s a sucker for giving people the sympathy vote.”

“Well if she felt so guilty she’d come and see you guys.”

“Ex-fucking-actly! That’s what I say all the time.”

“Does Leo know she writes?”

Frank immediately looks down at his hands, “He doesn’t even know she exists. I’m dreading the day he asks.”

Gerard smiles weakly and places a reassuring hand on Frank’s shoulder, “Just tell him the truth, that’s all you can do. At the end of the day you did nothing wrong, you were still there and you’re here now, that’s all that matters.”

Looking from his skin to Gerard, Frank stares for a moment, as if testing the sincerity of his words. After a few seconds he smiles, “Thanks.”

After checking on the kids, who are sprawled out in front of Robot Boy, they settle down themselves in front of Trainspotting which Frank hasn’t seen in a fucking lifetime, man. Frank thinks he’s honestly just going to fall asleep and never wake up on this couch, because it’s just that fucking comfy. He spends most of the time hiding his face behind his wine glass, torn between the film and Gerard’s face. He doesn’t think he’s even seen a face so animated in every expression. The way his eyebrows raise and furrow, his eyes narrow and widen, the way his lips curl and press in to a tight line, the way his nose wriggles every so often.

Gerard shoots a smile his way before concentrating on the film again. Frank’s feels his stomach tighten and he groans inwardly, fuck no. He forces his eyes back to the screen and tries with everything he has not to think about how amazing Gerard’s face is.

When the baby dies they both bite their lip as it begins to tremble. This scene was always tragic, but now they’re parents it’s just plain sorrow. As Sick Boy breaks down in front of the crib, Gerard rubs a hand over his reddening eyes.

“Shit man,” he mutters.

Taking another gulp of wine Frank nods, “Yeah.”

They watch the rest of the film in silence, not saying anything or looking at each other until the end credits are rolling. Gerard picks up the bottle of wine from the floor and refills both glasses.

“I gotta admit, even as a junkie, Ewan McGregor – I so would,” he comments.

Frank smiles lazily as the wine begins to seep in, “Even in Star Wars?”

Especially in Star Wars, hell I’d do anyone from Star Wars.”

“Ew,” Frank giggles, ignoring the fact that he’s actually fucking giggling because Gerard starts to giggle too, and pretty soon they’re laughing hard, clutching their stomachs as tears roll down their faces.

Frank laughs into his wine glass, bubbling the liquid with his breath as he attempts to drink it. Finally they calm down enough to finish off their glasses and refill them again.

“Do you ever,” Gerard begins as he sets the empty bottle down on the floor next to the other, “regret having Leo? Or think about how different your life would be?”

“Aw, don’t get heavy on me man,” Frank whines, letting out a leftover giggle. He pauses and thinks for a moment, sips his wine and looks back up at Gerard. “No,” he finally answers, “do you?”

“I don’t regret Mathew, ever, but I sometimes wonder what life would be like,” he admits, looking down into his glass. He looks back up at Frank, his eyes big and helpless looking, “does that make me a bad person?”

Frank smiles and leans forward, muttering, “No,” before pressing his lips to Gerard’s. He doesn’t pull back, but he doesn’t move, the sober part of Frank is screaming at him to move, to back off, that this is such a fucking bad idea but he can’t, it’s like he’s stuck and this is the only option. Gerard’s hand suddenly appears on Frank’s cheek, cupping his face as he presses against Frank’s lips. And that’s all it is, just pressing lips and a hand on a face.

And that’s the last thing Frank remembers.

Frank wakes up in the morning with a body pressed against his chest, but it’s not what he initially thinks. Wiping the sleep from his eyes he sees Leo curled into his shirt, his hands clutching the material as he looks up at Frank with small tired eyes.

“Hey little man, what you doin’ there?”

“Had a bad dream,” he yawns, snuggling further, “Gerard bring’d me down.”

Frank strokes Leo’s hair and leans down to kiss his forehead. “Where is he now?”

“Dunno,” he mumbles in to Frank’s shirt, but by a clattering of kitchenware it’s more than likely he’s in the kitchen.

Frank lays Leo out of his arms carefully as he gets up, replacing himself with a cushion, which Leo immediately snuggles into.

When he gets into the kitchen Gerard greets him with a smile, which Frank soon returns, and hands him a mug of hot coffee. Frank’s never been so glad to smell caffeine in his life as he takes a big whiff and then blows the smoke away, and it’s like scorching heaven as he swallows his first mouthful.

“Sleep okay?” Gerard asks, because isn’t that the first thing you’re supposed to ask your house guest?

“Yeah,” Frank nods, “great thanks.”

And then there’s no more words, just looks and a small crooked smile, almost a smirk, on Gerard’s part, for a good thirty seconds, which pretty much feels like forever for Frank, and he can feel the tension rise as the steam from the coffee cup makes his face sweat, at least he thinks it’s the coffee.

Frank’s sure Gerard’s about to say something, he’s pretty damn positive some words are about to escape those wine flavoured lips, and then Leo and Mathew come running in, running around their fathers in circles, arms extended out and making aeroplane noises.

Leo gets picked up as Frank raises him over his head so he can continue flying, and Mathew clings to Gerard’s leg as Gerard grins and pets his head.

“Daddy,” Mathew says, looking up with Bambi eyes, “can I go Leo’s party please?”

Gerard looks up with a questioning eye and Frank suddenly remembers his son’s birthday, “Yeah, party, Leo’s birthday, party next week, come, yeah come,” he blurts, and then Gerard’s crooked smile/smirk returns.

“Sure,” he looks down to Mathew and nods, “we’ll go.”

The next day when Frank tells Ray and Bob about the slightly drunken not really but kind of kiss they grin and high five each other, which really wasn’t the type of thing Frank was hoping for but he’s not in the least bit surprised.

He groans, “You’re not getting it guys, there’s more than me to think of here.”

“What, Leo?” Bob asks, to which Frank nods and rolls his eyes in a well duh fashion. “So ask him, idiot. The kid’s got a mind of his own.”

So Frank takes Bob’s advice and sits in on Leo’s Lego building, watching in silence for a few minutes, before he finally looks up at his father with an innocent smile and curious eyes.

“Hey Leo,” he begins, taking a piece of unused red Lego and fumbling it through his fingers, “what do you think about Gerard?”

With his eyes fixated on his tower he attaches another piece to the outer wall, “I like Gerard, he’s cool,” he says, then stops to poke his tongue out between his pink lips as he contemplates the position of his next piece, it’s a habit he gets from Frank, who does the same when he’s playing a complicated guitar scale or there’s a tricky crossword question. “Mathew’s fun too, he smells like paint. I like paint.” And then he looks up again as if seeking approval of his answer.

Frank smiles and ruffles Leo’s hair, “Cool.”

Because the last person Frank dated was in fact Leo’s mother he’s a little out of loop, so to speak, on the rules – the do’s and don’t do’s – of flirting, dating, socialising and generally anything to do with new people or situations that don’t involve a beer with Bob and Ray or cleaning up pink vomit after Leo’s eaten too much sherbet.

He knows he can’t go to Ray for help, or Bob for that matter because they only have knowledge of girls and the latest Gibson’s, and he’s pretty sure he can’t get any advice from Leo, even though he does really think about it, so there’s really only one person left.

“Hey mom,” Frank starts as his mother sends Leo to play in the living room. She looks up and smiles, “I was wondering if I could ask you about something.”

“Sure,” and she’s still wearing that you can tell me anything smile she’s been perfecting since he was thirteen.

“Do you think that, um, maybe, it would be okay if I kinda, um, went out, with this guy and-” he stops there because he can see his mother laughing, her hand covering her mouth as she tries to hide that snort he unfortunately inherited. His jaw drops, appalled like an embarrassed teenager, “Are you laughing at me?”

“No,” she attempts to straighten herself up, “no,” she repeats with a serious face, which lasts all of three seconds before she lets a giggle slip. “Frank, why are you asking me?”

He shrugs, “Because mother knows best?”

She grins, “Well yeah. But if you’ve found someone you want to date, and you’re happy Leo’s happy, then you don’t need my approval.”

“Thanks,” he smiles, maybe blushes a little, “but I was looking for more advice than approval.”

She makes an Ohh kind of face and then folds her hands on the table, “Well there’s not much I know hun. I mean it really didn’t take all that much to get your father, it didn’t take long before we-”

“Ew mom stop!” Frank interrupts, closing his eyes and covering his ears.

She rolls her eyes, “Before we fell in love you idiot.”

“Oh,” Frank lowers his hands and smiles in approval, watching as she reaches across the table and takes his hand.

“Just be yourself baby, you’re a catch. I should know, I made you.” And she winks.

Frank never thought planning a birthday party for a five your old would be so stressful, but for the past five or six days he’s been on the phone and traipsing around countless shops, sorting everything from food to decorations, invites and cleaning supplies for after his home is trashed by a stampede of sugar infested infants.

The only thing which keeps him going when he’s trying to budget what little spare money they have is the growing excitement on Leo’s face every new morning when he rambles about the new and exciting wonders of being five will bring. There’s one thing Leo really wants for the party that Frank is struggling to get. He wants a bouncy castle; ever since he nose dived in to one at a family fun fair he’s been practicing new moves on his bed and the couch when he thinks Frank’s not paying attention. But Frank’s called at least five different places, and the most Frank can afford (if they want to continue eating for the next month) is to rent it for about an hour, which really wouldn’t go down well.

On the morning of Leo’s birthday, Frank’s already sat by Leo’s bed, he and Romeo both wearing party hats as they wait for the birthday boy to arise. When he finally does Frank lets off a party popper, Romeo barks at the noise and Leo cheers in excitement and throws himself into his father’s arms.

“Happy birthday,” Frank grins into Leo’s hair as he squeezes him tightly in his arms. Leo pulls back and beams, clapping his hands and bouncing on the bed. “Wanna go open some presents?”

“Yay!” Leo squeals, scrambling out of bed before Frank can utter another word. He follows Leo, who skids in his big socks on the wooden flooring, into the living room where he dives on to the couch and waits patiently. Romeo bounds and skids just the same before bombing on to the couch next to Leo.

Frank hands him a large, brightly wrapped long box, holding it out in front as Leo’s small hands viciously attack the paper, tearing twenty minutes of last night’s work to shreds in merely seconds. As Frank helps him carefully remove the lid, it reveals a child size classical guitar with ‘Leo’ inscribed into the dark wood in a thick black ink.

Leo gasps and stares down open-mouthed at the instrument, awed into silence as his fingers land on the warm strings.

“Whoa,” he whispers.

“Do you like it?” Frank asks with a knowing smile as Leo nods frantically. He jumps off the couch, lugging the guitar clumsily in his arms, before letting one free and wrapping it around his father’s neck and kissing his cheek.

“Love you daddy,” he sings, and Frank rubs softly at his back suddenly feeling a little emotional.

Frank presses his face in to Leo’s neck and inhales that child smell he’s been addicted to since Leo was born, “I love you too little man.”

Leo pulls back with his beaming grin, “Can we play?”

“How about,” Frank begins, “we play for a while and then take Romeo to the park?”

“Yay!” Leo cheers, bounding into his room to get ready. Frank smiles and sets the guitar down before following.

Ten minutes later and they’re sat directly in front of each other cross legged on the living room floor. Leo watches carefully as Frank makes a simple A chord. He shows Leo the fingers and points to the strings. With the trade mark Iero tongue poking he does his best to copy, only making one mistake with his first finger which Frank thinks is pretty damn impressive for his very first try. They play the chord together, it sounds a little unsteady on Leo’s part but it’s definitely an A.

For the next twenty minutes Frank helps Leo with a further two chords. By the end he’s mastered the A, got it down better than Frank expected, and he’s made a damn good effort on the C chord and on an E. Frank gets all excited as Leo cheers with every right sounding chord, and he knows it won’t be long until he’s teaching him scales and pentatonic patterns.

This time when they get to the park Leo doesn’t head for the sand pit, he clings to Frank’s hand, pulling him on to the grass and jumping around. Frank picks him up and put him on his shoulders, holding his middle as Leo outstretches his arms, laughs and giggles and makes aeroplane sounds.

“Faster, faster!” Leo calls as Frank runs across the grass, weaving through the trees and people, Romeo bouncing behind barking in excitement.

“Make way!” Frank announces to some amused and some annoyed faces of the public, “Birthday boy coming through!”

Their mad run leads them to collapse at the end of the park, Frank removing Leo from his shoulders and holding him out as he collapses on to the grass; Leo landing on his chest facing the sky. Romeo lies down beside them and they pant together, giggling every now and then.

Leo rolls off Frank with a nurgh sound and crawls over to Romeo, throwing himself over the side of the large dog and hugging into the fur. Frank turns his head to watch and smiles lazily, squinting away from the sunlight. Leo turns to grin back at Frank, letting out a giddy hee sound.

Frank rolls on to his side and brushes Leo’s hair away from his face, before grabbing his head and planting a big kiss on Leo’s lips who, instead of protesting like he usually does, leans right into it.

“Happy birthday,” he whispers when their faces are still close together. Leo grins and sticks his tongue out.

When they get back home Frank’s mother, Bob and Ray are already there, ready to set up for the party. Leo runs to his uncles as he sees them first, and accepts the hugs and play punches. He jumps up at his Grandma next, wincing a little at the big kiss she lays on him.

“Happy birthday sweetheart,” she smiles, hugging him tight in her arms.

Frank, Bob and Ray move immediately to the backyard to set up the tables and chairs for the food his mother’s preparing in the kitchen under Leo’s approval. They set out a line of white garden tables and cover them with paper space-themed table covers, including matching plates, cups and napkins.

When they fill up the indoor balloons there of course has to be some inhaling of helium and some singing of some timely classics such as ‘Bat out of Hell’ and ‘Living on a Prayer’. Leo insists on joining in, but his own helium voice scares him and he cries high pitched in Frank’s arms until it wears off. He has much more fun chasing the regular air filled balloons for outside, hitting them off Romeo’s nose before he jumps up after them.

They scatter the balloons, hang up banners and streamers and then they’re pretty much done. The three men stand at the back door and nod at each other in triumph.

“Good job boys,” Bob announces, patting the other two on the back.

Frank turns back into the kitchen to see how his mother’s doing. The kitchen smells great and when he thinks she’s not looking he dips his finger into the pasta sauce. She slaps his hand before it gets to his mouth.

“Ah!” She scolds as Frank sucks on his finger and pouts. “No free samples.”

“But I wanna,” he whines.

She throws her hands up, “Get out of my-”

“Ha!” Frank interrupts, “It’s my kitchen so you can’t tell me to leave.”

She rolls her eyes and settles on slapping the side of his head.

The stampede of kids arrive just a little past two, storming through the house and into the backyard where the balloons are the first to be attacked with grabbing hands and high screeches. The food and drinks are brought out quickly, set across the table in a neatness, which all the adults know is going to last all of five seconds.

The party is underway almost immediately, and Frank loses Leo within the play and laughter of the other kids, but he doesn’t mind, because this is exactly what should happen at a five year old’s birthday party.

When Frank comes out of the bathroom with the first aid kit, because lord knows they’re probably going to need it, he almost runs smack bang into Gerard.

“Hey,” Gerard grins, “got casualties already?”

“Nah, it’s for just in case,” he says, shaking the box and setting it up on a high shelf out of little hand’s reach. “So, you came.”

“Yeah we came. Matty ran straight out back with the others, he’s been really excited about this party.”

Frank grins, “Awesome. Leo will be so glad you’re here, I’m really glad you’re here.”

Gerard smiles that crooked smile Frank remembers from the morning they stayed the night and the pause that comes with it lingers around them, only this time less awkward and more comforting. Gerard thrusts a wrapped box in to Frank’s hands, breaking their gaze.

“Leo’s present. It’s not much, just a set of paints.”

“No, that’s awesome, really, he’ll love it,” Frank smiles and nods, setting the gift aside with the others.

Just as another one of their pauses are about to set in again Ray appears and slaps Frank on the back.

“Hey, time to go get the cake. Oh, hey Gerard!”

Leo’s cake’s been made at the bakery just on the edge of town, a little way from their house but not too long, Frank knows he won’t be gone more than an hour and Leo probably won’t even notice anyway. The cake is made up of mostly blue and yellow icing. It’s space-themed, just like the rest of the party. Aside from the guitar it was the most expensive thing in Leo’s birthday, and Frank’s mom helped pay. He knows Leo’s gonna love it.

It takes a little longer than expected, and the traffic on the way back is a bitch. Frank’s been gone near an hour and a half by the time he gets back and he stops on the path and cocks his head to the side as he hears a sound he doesn’t remember hearing when he left.


He places the cake in the fridge and steps out into the back yard where he’s confronted by a huge bouncy castle crammed in to the grassed area, dots of kids jumping, landing, jumping. He can hear Leo’s laugh above everyone else’s.

Frank looks over to Bob and Ray with a what the fuck look, and they grin, shake their heads and point to Gerard who’s standing behind him. As Frank turns to him he blushes and smiles awkwardly.

“Leo kept talking about it, and your mom said you were finding it hard to pay for. You don’t mind, do you?” Gerard asks with a look like Frank’s going to tear his head off, but he’s totally okay with that.

“Mind? Mind?” As Gerard begins to look worried Frank beams and pulls him into a bone crushing bear hug. “I fucking love you!”

Gerard’s blushing, really blushing like a love sick teenager but thankfully only Ray and Bob can see that, and they high five each other and walk back into the house. Frank pulls back and he’s still grinning, he holds Gerard by the shoulders and just continues to beam at him until something runs into the back of his legs, almost knocking him over.

Leo scrambles between them and throws himself at Gerard’s legs, clinging to them with his eyes closed and smiling.

“That means he likes you,” Frank whispers as Gerard pets the young boy’s head and laughs.

Mathew appears not a moment later, looking up at his father with pleading and curious eyes.

“Hey bud,” Gerard smiles as Leo detaches himself from his legs, “what’s up?”

“Wanna come jump daddy?” Mathew asks with that puppy-eyed look he’s so damn good at.

He leans down to kiss the top of his head, “Maybe later, now go have fun.”

Both children run off to join the rest. Frank can’t help but cringe as Leo forward flips from the grass to the air filled death trap.

“That kid has no sense,” Frank mumbles, shaking his head.

“Like some punk ass I knew in high school,” Gerard begins, “who jumped over back yard fences and off the top of cars blind drunk.”

Frank grins smugly, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

My inner fangirl is a boy.littleladypunk on September 16th, 2008 11:42 pm (UTC)
Ok, so for now I just read first part because it's really late here, but I love it already.
I love kid!fics and I judging just from this part I know your will be just amazing.

"Gerard grins and leans forward to press a kiss to his forehead. He whispers, “Night little Em.”

“Night big Gee.” "

That was so sweet :)
cassandra_ml: frerardcassandra_ml on September 17th, 2008 11:35 am (UTC)
oh I was thrilled about Leo, cos I really, really love kid-fics. but I didnt expect Matty, two sweet little kids?! even better. :D

ivane marieeveseventy6 on September 17th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
wow this is absolutely fantastic. wonderful. unbelievably sweet. kid!fics are always sweet, but i adore your writing so this one has brought tears to my eyes it's so amazing. it's so realistic and i can just see the frank and gerard with their boys and it makes my heart all warm and smiley. i love everything about this.
...off to read part II <3 XXXXXXX
black_velvet_niblack_velvet_ni on September 18th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
If I were to sit down and try to make a list of what I liked about this story I wouldn't even know where to begin! I admire your writing, and I enjoyed the content of this story so much I had to read it twice.

Thank you for sharing this story!
xbiankisxxbiankisx on September 19th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
awwwwwwwww this is so sweeeeeeeeeeet i love it! =)
luv_tefurrawredluv_tefurrawred on September 20th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
oh my gosh, this made me smile so much. n_n
Dead Argument: Syn and Zacky; shouldersdeadargument on September 21st, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
this is just totally amazing and you made me grin through half of the story.

Ten fingers up dude. double high five just because I am a complete dork
intrinisintrinis on October 14th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
this made me go all <3____<3 and fishmouthed. so goddamned cute, and awkward and smooth and beautiful and painful in all the right places. it's so well-balanced.
toxicdanger on January 1st, 2012 09:01 am (UTC)
Gaaaahhh I fucking love you. <3