Pairing: Frank/Gerard (Ray/Mikey)
Disclaimer: This is not true or real. I made it up.
Summary: Gerard is in more than a mess when he is kicked out of Heaven, and the demon tracking him is certainly not helping him. Frank has a plan, though, and he needs the fallen angel for it to work. This is what happens when Heaven and Hell collide.
A/N: If you're sensitive to religious themes (sort of?), you probably shouldn't read this. I'm not really very religious myself, so... yeah.
Heaven wasn’t perfect.
Gerard had gathered this after many many years floating amongst the clouds, watching new people come, new people pass through the golden gates, new people marveling at what Heaven was. But Heaven was not perfect no matter how much people down on Earth thought so.
Gerard wasn’t perfect either; he was well-aware of this fact. He didn’t always follow all the rules or do the things he was supposed to, but there was supposed to be room for error.
The problem was that Heaven was supposed to be perfect and imperfect angels just didn’t exist.
“I’m sorry, Gerard,” Brendon said as they stood at the gate and Gerard stared up at the golden posts. Brendon looked truly sorry as he handed Gerard his sketchbook, the very thing that had gotten him into such trouble in the first place. Gerard had known it was a mistake, from the very first time his pen touched the paper, but he couldn’t help it.
“What am I supposed to do?” Gerard asked, a strange feeling of panic welling up in his stomach. He’d never been on his own before.
Brendon shrugged sadly. “I don’t know. You’re still you.”
“But I’m not allowed back in,” Gerard replied, staring beyond Brendon to where Heaven spread out, a paradise that he could no longer reach, could no longer fly to.
“You still have your wings,” Brendon offered, trying to be hopeful, but it didn’t help. He was screwed. “At least they didn’t get clipped.”
Gerard could feel his wings rustling, almost affronted and angry at the very thought. Sighing, he shook his head.
“It’s not a sin,” he argued, but Brendon couldn’t say anything.
“I’m sorry,” he just said again, reaching for the gate. “Maybe you can, you know, redeem yourself after a few decades. It’s happened before.”
Gerard wasn’t comforted as Brendon slid the gates shut. Brendon lingered sadly between the bars and Gerard felt more alone than he ever had in the thousands of years he’d existed.
“Bye,” he breathed as Brendon waved, and when he blinked, the gate vanished, one more door no longer available to him.
“Somebody’s in trouble,” Pete sing-songed as Frank walked past on his way to the Office, as they liked to call it.
“Fuck off,” Frank replied, giving him a hard shove as he went. Pete stumbled back but didn’t stop smirking. Instead, he fell into step with Frank.
“So what did you do this time? Messing around with someone in the first hierarchy? You know Bert hates that.”
“I said, fuck off,” Frank replied. He didn’t have time for Pete’s mischievous questions, already plotting something. He had other issues that didn’t include Pete’s pranks on the humans in purgatory.
“No?” Pete asked curiously as they got closer and closer to the Office, and Frank bit back his annoyance. “Going below your station, then? Slummin’ it. Third hierarchy demons looking more appealing lately?”
“Fuck, Pete,” Frank cursed finally, turning around sharply and Pete stumbled on the rock path. The door was before them, large and imposing in its blackened stone, and Frank needed to concentrate. “Go away. Find some human to torture.”
“You’re more fun,” Pete said, grinning, and Frank glared.
“Your power doesn’t work on me, remember? We’re the same level.”
Pete sighed. “You’re no fun. I’m gonna find Gabe.”
Rolling his eyes, Frank let Pete flit away, shifting into a crow as he took off into the depths of the underworld. When the sounds of flapping wings disappeared, Frank returned his attention to the door, knocking twice with the big knocker, a resounding clang echoing through the hall.
The doors opened moments later and Frank walked in.
The Office was a long room, tall ceilings and flickering torches lining the walls. Lesser demons flitted around but Frank ignored them, heading for the end of the room where a tall chair was settled, more torches fitted in the arms and an imposing figure perched there.
“Bert,” Frank greeted him, bowing his head slightly.
“Frankie,” Bert replied, dark eyes glimmering in the torchlight, and Frank could tell by the use of his nickname that he was in deep shit. “I bet you know why you’re here.”
Frank didn’t reply, although it useless. Bert knew everything that went on his little kingdom of sin and mockery. Bert slid off the chair, falling to the ground with the lightness of a cat. Frank didn’t move as Bert came forward.
“If you don’t, allow me to remind you,” Bert continued, snapping his fingers, and a lesser demon hurried up with a scroll of parchment, which Bert took without a glance. “You, Frank, are part of the second hierarchy. You’re lucky, you know. Other demons look up to you; you have some influence around here; you have more power than others, and yet…” He paused thoughtfully, fingering Frank’s black hair, pausing on the red stripe. “You choose to do upsetting things. Do you want to upset me, Frank?”
Frank knew the right answer – there was always a right answer – but he wasn’t a demon for nothing.
“Never,” he replied, although he felt Bert pause, fingers in his hair, tugging at the ends a little too hard to be affectionate. Frank held his head high, swallowing down whatever nerves he had. He was as close to the first hierarchy as he could get and Bert knew it too.
“Then why, might I ask, have you been spending so much time with Quinn and Jepha? Don’t you remember your job? You remember why you’re here?”
Frank paused, chewing on his tongue for a second. “Of course. But sometimes I get sick of humans.”
Bert’s fingers dropped from his hair and he unrolled the scroll.
“Quinn and Jepha are first hierarchy, unlike you, Frank. Quinn and Jepha don’t need to be distracted. They don’t need to be distracted by you, the one who’s neglecting his duties, and you know how I feel about neglect. It’s a sin.”
Frank wasn’t sure what Bert was thinking as he smirked darkly, turning to Frank and tapping the scroll.
“And sins must be punished, don’t you agree?”
Frank frowned slightly, a nervous flutter in his stomach. Anytime Bert mentioned punishment, it couldn’t be good. The last demon to be punished… well, Frank hadn’t seen Nate in a while.
“Thought that’s why we were here,” Frank replied, and Bert laughed, but it wasn’t an amused laughed.
“Frank,” he said, shaking his head but still smirking that smirk that he didn’t have very often. “You’re a distraction and you’re not doing your job, and I can’t have that.”
Frank felt his stomach falling rapidly, a sick feeling spreading through him as Bert’s fingers brushed under his chin.
“What are you gonna do?” Frank asked finally, and Bert laughed again, sharp and knowing.
“Punish you,” he replied, and Frank could only bite his lip ring as Bert walked back to his throne.
Frank glanced around him, taking in the buildings, grey and unwelcoming. The sky was overcast and looked like rain, a perfect omen. A few people wandered the streets, unconcerned with the two men standing in the alley.
Pete laughed, loud and full, and Frank glared.
“I told you not to mess with the first hierarchy, but did you listen? Nope, nope. You never listen to me. Maybe if Jepha or Quinn had told you that, you would have listened.”
“Shut up, Pete!” Frank snapped. He couldn’t take his endless rambling, not at a time like this.
Pete humphed. “Well, if you’re going to be like that, I don’t know why I bothered to come along. I’ll see you when your punishment’s over. Don’t go too soft.”
Pete turned away, transforming into a black dog that took off down the alley, snapping at passersby, and Frank groaned into his hands.
“Fuck!” he said again, earning him a few strange glances from the people on the street. Ignoring them, he kicked a trashcan, scattering the trash and scaring the actual stray dog living in the alley.
He was screwed. Completely and utterly screwed.
When Bert punished people, he punished. Now, Frank was stuck up here with all these humans. Vile, dirty, disgusting, idiotic humans. And he had no idea when his punishment would end. Bert had been mum on that little detail.
Frustrated, Frank turned from the overturned trash, facing the city where he was doomed to reside for who knew how long.
It was grey and unpleasant, an air of unhappiness hanging over everything, which normally would have cheered Frank, but Frank usually had somewhere better to go home to. He already missed the underworld and its stifling hallways and stuffy rooms. He didn’t like all this open air, didn’t like the cold pricking at him, trying to worm its way under his skin.
He had to find a way back in, he decided as he stood there, chewing his lip ring thoughtfully. He had to do something beyond his normal tricks that would impress Bert. Something awesomely evil that would have him welcomed back with open arms, something that might even make him a first hierarchy, if that was possible, and Frank was sure it was.
The only problem was, what was he going to do? Frank only had so many talents, and though they got him through most scrapes, he’d have to work harder to get through this one.
Sighing, he kicked a piece of trash and shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans, thinking that while he was stuck up here he might as well enjoy what the human world had to offer.
“Hey, where’s the nearest bar?” he asked a passing woman and she paused, looking uneasy, but Frank smiled sweetly, feeling the way her unease melted away – it was a special talent of his.
“There are a few downtown, on Jefferson street,” she replied and Frank smiled back.
“Thanks,” he said, already turning and leaving her behind; she wasn’t worth his time.
Gerard wandered aimlessly in the grey city streets. He didn’t know where he was going or what he was doing. He had no purpose, and that scared him more than anything.
With only his sketchbook for company, Gerard turned down more unfamiliar streets. It really didn’t matter if he was lost; he had nowhere to be. He could feel the chill in the air and his wings shivered. He already hated having to cover them up, hide them – there was a reason he avoided coming to Earth, after all. He liked his wings to be free, but they had to be hidden in the presence of humans – and now they were cold. This just kept getting better.
By the time Gerard had wandered closer to the middle of the city, the rain had started. He may have been impervious to most human things like sleep and the need to eat, but he didn’t like rain.
Covering his head with his sketchbook, he ducked in the first open shop he came to. A tinny bell announced his presence and he winced at the sound, so ugly compared to what he was used to. It didn’t matter, though; he was out of the rain at least.
It took him a second to take in his new surroundings, eyes scanning over the rows and rows of comic books, the dim lights hanging above the counter near the back. His eyes were drawn to the bright drawings and he couldn’t help himself from reaching for the nearest one, flipping the pages open and staring in wonder at the drawings there.
“You like Silver Surfer?” A voice out of the back startled Gerard and he nearly dropped the comic as he fumbled to put it back.
“I-uh,” he said quickly, turning and finding a guy with way too much hair emerging from the back with a box in his hands. The guy smiled, pushing his hair aside.
“Yeah,” Gerard replied quickly, shaking himself and telling himself to calm down. He would have to get used to dealing with humans. “Sorry. It’s just… been a bad day.” Or century, he added to himself as the guy nodding understandingly.
“Yeah, bad weather today. Makes everybody in this damn city crazy.”
Gerard frowned at his language but reminded himself not to say anything. He wasn’t here to guide anymore. He was here to fit in, which he apparently wasn’t doing very well when he shifted nervously and the guy gave him a look.
“So are you looking for anything specific?”
“Not really,” Gerard mumbled, shoving his hands in his pockets. His wings rustled under his jacket, annoyed. “I’m kinda new to the city.” It wasn’t exactly true but it was true enough for the moment.
“Oh, cool,” the guy replied. “Well, I’m Ray, and this is my place. Well, mine and Mikey’s. He’s around here somewhere.”
Gerard nodded slowly, glancing around at the comics, all the comics he itched to read, to devour the artwork like he’d never allowed himself to before. It was gluttony and sins were not allowed.
“So these are all comics?” he asked finally, fingers tightening over his sketchbook. It was the one thing he had left.
Ray nodded. “Yep. We’ve got the biggest selection in town. Mikey was collecting them for years before opening this place.” He smiled fondly and Gerard didn’t question it. “Do you draw?”
Ray was looking at the sketchbook in Gerard’s hands and his fingers tightened again.
“S-sort of,” he admitted after a second. “They’re not very good.”
Ray paused, giving Gerard a searching look, and Gerard felt a wave of nerves steal over him as he stood there. He didn’t like the human world very much – there was too much suspicion.
“You said you were new,” Ray said finally. “What do you do exactly?”
“Not much really,” Gerard replied, eyes falling on a brightly-colored comic and he wanted to read it. He wanted to read them all. “I don’t have a job anymore… not really.”
That was true at least.
Ray was looking at him again, and Gerard felt nervous, like Ray could see something that he was trying to hide. His wings rustled behind him and he told himself to be calm.
“You want to come out tonight?”
Startled, Gerard blinked. “What?”
Ray shrugged, setting down his box on the counter. “Come out with me and Mikey. We’ll go hang out, get a few drinks.”
“I… don’t drink,” Gerard said slowly, though he knew it sounded flimsy when Ray laughed, hair bouncing around him.
“What are you, an angel?”
Gerard frowned down at his sketchbook. “Not anymore,” he muttered to himself, and Ray didn’t hear him.
“It’ll be fun, and do you really have somewhere else to be?”
“I guess not,” Gerard replied at length and Ray smiled.
“Good. So while you’re here, you wanna help me organize?”
Gerard wasn’t really sure what was happening, but it was better in here than out in the rain, so he took the stack of comics Ray handed him and wondered how exactly to organize comics.
Alcohol just didn’t work for Frank the same way it worked for humans, and he was feeling resolutely sober after his fourth shot. The bar, however, did seem a little more like home as he sat there, watching people make fools out of themselves, watching sin multiply even from his mere presence.
He saw men hitting on women while their wives went to the bathroom, saw girls hike up their skirts and perch primly on bar stools, waiting for men to buy them drinks, which they did.
It would have made Frank happy normally, that he was doing his work so well, but in actuality, it all meant nothing. No matter how many humans he corrupted, it wouldn’t get him back into Hell, and he wanted back in. He could only stand the human world for so long.
“You hold your liquor pretty well,” the bartender commented as he slid over another shot. Frank just nodded back, scanning the bar.
It was full enough, plenty of prospective sinners, but none interested Frank. He had to find the right one, the one that would make Bert see how integral he was, how valuable he could really be… when he wasn’t trying to get in with the first hierarchy. Frank did have his own agenda, after all.
The fifth shot was just as tasteless as the first four and Frank sighed as he set down the glass. A part of him wished Pete was there, at least for his rambling company if nothing else. Then again, Frank always preferred to work alone.
He paused as he circled the room, inspecting a group of women, but they didn’t interest him. It was too easy. He needed a challenge, something fun. Frank never got to do fun anymore. It was just hooking up married business men and their secretaries, two male roommates who weren’t gay, a woman and her gardener out of wedlock. He wanted something different.
Turning away from the main floor, tables clustered up to a stage that was devoid of a band at the moment, he glanced down the long bar, scanning all the way down to the other end.
The moment his eyes fell on the group at the end, he felt it.
It was a prickling at the back of his neck, crawling down his spine, curling in his stomach. He had only gotten the sensation a few times in his existence. His memories had been erased some thousands of years ago after the Fall, but he knew exactly what this was: an angel.
Gerard had never been in a bar and it pained him to see so much sinning, everywhere! It was incredible, and Ray and Mikey didn’t seem to notice at all. They led him to the end of the bar and ordered drinks, which Gerard tried and failed to refuse. Instead of drinking, he let it sit on the counter in front of him as Mikey and Ray talked.
Mikey was pretty quiet, which Gerard appreciated. Mikey hadn’t asked questions when Ray had introduced them and said he was going out with them. Instead, Mikey had just shrugged and headed for the register, rummaging for a pen.
“Where do you live?” Ray asked, sipping his beer while Mikey pushed up his glasses and twirled the straw in his drink idly. Ray was standing close to Mikey, who didn’t seem to mind at all.
“Um.” Gerard hesitated. He couldn’t exactly explain that he didn’t need to live anywhere, not really. “I’m looking at some places downtown.”
“Well, don’t let them cheat you,” Ray said knowledgeably. “Some of those places aren’t worth the money they charge.
“Good to know,” Gerard muttered, clutching his drink but still not drinking.
As they sat there, Mikey leaned over and whispered something in Ray’s ear. Gerard tried not to listen, not that he could really hear over the noise in the bar. He knew it was about him, though. He was an angel, after all. He had intuitions.
Ray smiled, pushing Mikey’s glasses up for him and sliding an arm around his waist.
Gerard paused, eyes on the arm and the way Mikey wasn’t moving away. He felt uncomfortable all of a sudden and looked away, focusing on the dented countertop. It must have shown, though, because Ray frowned.
“You okay there?”
Gerard hesitated, almost wishing he did drink. He turned back, lowering his voice and leaning in carefully. “Are you… homosexual?”
It took a second but then Ray laughed and Mikey arched an eyebrow at Gerard. Gerard didn’t smile and Ray stopped laughing.
“Does it bother you?” he asked slowly, and Gerard didn’t know what to say.
“It’s a sin,” he whispered, like it was somehow a secret, even though Ray’s arm was still around Mikey’s waist in complete view of everyone.
Ray looked torn between amusement and confusion. “Yeah, well, I like this sin.”
Gerard stared, confused. “You’re not going to get into Heaven.”
Mikey was watching Gerard carefully, and Gerard’s wings shifted nervously behind him, hidden from sight of all prying eyes. Ray paused, fingers tightening on Mikey’s waist.
“How do you know?”
“I—” Gerard stopped, shutting his mouth and having no real answer to that.
“Are you a priest?” Ray asked finally and Gerard frowned.
“No,” he answered slowly. “I just believe in all that stuff, I guess. God, Heaven, angels.”
Ray was smiling, but Mikey blinked at Gerard.
“I believe in angels,” he said, and Gerard looked up carefully.
“Yeah, well, I haven’t seen any,” Ray replied, nodding at Gerard. “Are you okay with this?”
It was wrong and a sin and they weren’t going to Heaven, but they had been nice to him so far and Gerard had no one else he could turn to down on Earth. Maybe they’d change their minds, he thought hopelessly as he nodded.
“Sure, I’m fine,” he said at length, and Ray smiled.
Gerard relaxed slightly, pushing at his drink and wondering how he’d gotten into such a mess. As he sat there, Mikey and Ray talking quietly, he felt his left wing shudder, feathers pressing together, and the feeling spread. It was a strange feeling and he couldn’t quite shake it as he stared at his drink.
Frank had never seen an angel this close up before. Angels weren’t really allowed to fraternize with demons on principle, but Frank had heard stories of other demons meeting angels while out. He could just see the faint glow of white surrounding the guy sitting with the other two. He looked more depressed than Frank had thought angels were.
The guy was almost everything Frank had ever pictured when it came to angels. His skin was pure and unmarked, unlike Frank’s own, covered in ink to show his loyalty. His dark hair flopped in his eyes, and Frank knew he was hiding wings somewhere, probably pretty white wings with soft feathers and golden dusting on the edges.
The other two guys, Frank could tell immediately that they were a couple and scoffed to himself at the angel. He was probably there to ‘lead them to the path of righteousness.’ Well, not if Frank had anything to do with it. In fact, if Frank had anything to do with anything, it would be with that angel.
Taking a sixth shot, and it sadly didn’t affect him at all, he slid off his stool, rounding the bar to the other side where the angel was staring intently at his undrunk drink.
Bracing himself, Frank fixed a smile on his face as he slid up next to the angel, already shivering in anticipation at being so close to one.
“Hey, buy you a drink?” he asked, watching the angel’s head swivel to him, the way his eyes widened and he almost stumbled off his stool.
Gerard nearly panicked as he looked up and found what was clearly a demon standing next to him. The guy had black written all around his aura, a dark cloud closing in around Gerard of fear and panic. His wings struggled to free themselves, trying to escape, but Gerard clamped them down with his mind. He could handle this.
“No, thanks,” he muttered, turning away, but the demon didn’t leave. Gerard hadn’t really thought that he would, but a guy could hope. Mikey and Ray were watching curiously as Frank slid onto the stool next to Gerard.
“I’m Frank,” Frank offered, holding out a hand, which the angel regarded as though it might burn him and shied away. He took it back after a second, nodding at the bartender. Another shot was set in front of him moments later.
Gerard didn’t reply, trying to keep away. He didn’t want to touch him – who knew what might happen. It was bad enough that he was expelled from Heaven, but if he was caught fraternizing with a demon, he’d never be let back in.
Ray gave Gerard a nudge from behind him, and when Gerard turned, he gave him a look, nodding at Frank. Gerard frowned, and Ray sighed.
“He’s Gerard,” he replied for him and Gerard panicked silently, staring at Ray, trying to communicate wordlessly how badly he didn’t want to talk to Frank. Ray ignored him.
Frank smiled, but it was more of a smirk, and Gerard eyed him warily. Demons were no good, especially if they were on Earth.
“Gerard, huh?” Frank asked and Gerard didn’t respond, focused intensely on his glass as though by staring he might imbibe it. “Whereabouts are you from?”
Gerard eyed him – he knew Frank knew. He was taunting him.
“Out of town,” he replied finally.
“So you’re just visiting?” Frank asked, downing what was now his seventh shot. He really needed to find something that worked, especially if he was going to be stuck here for a while.
Gerard hesitated, trying to figure out how not to tell Frank the truth without lying. Willful deception was a sin, after all. “I… I…” Ray and Mikey were watching him now, along with Frank, and Frank was smirking at him, a real smirk this time. “I don’t know.”
Frank watched him for a second, trying to figure out why an angel wouldn’t know. Angels always knew their jobs and their purposes.
Gerard didn’t meet Frank’s eyes, reaching for his glass before he thought about it, and taking a drink. He coughed at the taste, the burn in his throat, making a face.
“Don’t drink much?” Frank drawled, and Gerard mustered up as much of a glare as he could. Frank was just teasing him now, trying to see how much he would admit in front of humans. Well, Gerard wasn’t stupid, and even if he had been kicked out of Heaven, he didn’t want his wings clipped too.
“No,” he replied coldly, shoving the drink away, pushing away the temptation firmly and glaring at Frank. “So where are you from?”
Frank shrugged. “South. I’m just here for a little while on business. You know how it is.”
Gerard’s mouth twitched. He knew why demons came to the surface and it was never good.
“And what kind of business are you in?” he asked skeptically.
Frank smirked, playing with his lip ring and gazing at the words tattooed across his knuckles. “Matchmaking,” he replied simply, nodding at Ray and Mikey, who were no longer paying them any attention.
Gerard glanced around quickly, making sure no one was listening, and leaned into Frank, careful not to touch him.
“Your powers don’t work on me,” he whispered quickly. “So just get out of here before you get us both in trouble.”
Frank shook his head, eyes shining mischievously. He liked this angel. “You angels, always so worried about getting in trouble. And besides, how do you know they don’t?”
Gerard didn’t reply as Frank slid from the stool, eyes lingering as he stepped away.
“I’ll be seeing you,” he told Gerard, and Gerard knew, with a sinking heart, that it was a promise, and he couldn’t do anything as Frank left, and he sunk down onto his stool, defeated.
“Are you actually looking for a job?”
Gerard looked up from the comic he was reading, stuffed away in some dark corner and trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Ray was standing by the front window, looking out, but he turned to Gerard when he hesitated.
Gerard spent most of his time in the store since it wasn’t as if he had anything else to do.
“Um,” he said finally, chewing his bottom lip and trying to think of an answer that wouldn’t be a flat-out lie.
Ray tilted his head to the side, curls bouncing around him. “Where are you staying?”
Gerard didn’t have an answer for Ray. Normally, when he’d been working, he hadn’t needed all the excuses. He was just a guiding force for someone, to steer them in the right direction, to give them a shoulder to lean on, but now, he needed the shoulder.
Lately, he’d taken to wandering the streets at night since he didn’t need to sleep. What he found made him sick, all the sins committed in the darkness of night. He preferred the daytime.
Ray sighed. “If you’re in some kinda trouble,” he said, coming over and Gerard closed his comic slowly. He’d never been asked that before. “It’s okay to ask for help.”
“I…” Gerard didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t in trouble, really. He just had no purpose. “I’m not in trouble.”
Ray arched a skeptical eyebrow as Mikey came out of the back, humming some tune under his breath and settling in the register chair with a comic.
“Where are you living, Gerard?”
Gerard hesitated, glancing around him. The comics held no answers, though, just more sins; humans couldn’t have supernatural powers – it was a challenge to the Heavenly authorities, but no one seemed to care. He couldn’t explain any of that to Ray, so he stayed silent while Ray frowned at him.
“Alright,” Ray said finally, pulling Gerard up by his, arm and Gerard let him, confused. “You’re working here and you’re staying in the unrented space above the store.”
Gerard stared, amazed at Ray’s generosity, reminded why he was an angel in the first place, for people like Ray who had such good hearts.
“I don’t need a job,” he insisted. He didn’t need money or material possessions. All he needed was his sketchbook and something to pass the time.
Ray shook his head, though, ignoring his protest. “Don’t lie to me,” he replied, smiling and poking Gerard in the ribs. “It’s a sin.”
Gerard didn’t really find that funny but he didn’t say anything as Ray handed him a stack of comics.
“Your job is to make sure all the comics are perfectly organized by issue number, publisher, and series.”
Gerard blinked. “But I don’t even know them all.”
Ray smiled, patting him on the back. “Better get reading then,” he replied, leaving Gerard and heading over to Mikey.
Staring down at the stack in his hands, he felt his wings rustle hopefully, and he felt the first wave of warmth that he’d felt since he’d fallen. Glancing up at Mikey and Ray talking together across the room, Gerard felt like maybe things were looking up.
Frank was bored. He was more bored than he’d ever been in thousands of years. He was so bored that he was considering bursting into the Office just so that Bert might give him a different, even worse, punishment. At least then he might not be stuck on Earth with the idiotic humans.
The sky was dark, almost pitch black, and Frank kicked rocks on the pavement, scaring a stray cat down an alley, frightening the vicious snapping dogs in an impound lot. They streaked away with their tails between their legs as Frank walked past.
Frank was fucking bored.
There was no one out, not this late, not this cold. Looking up, there were only a few pinpricks of stars and he paused, staring up into the sky.
“You think you’re so smart, don’t you?” he said softly, staring up. “You all-holy angels stuck up there, caring about humans and their follies. Well, you should enjoy it because one time or another, everyone messes up.”
He waited but nothing happened and he huffed, kicking another rock and it rolled off the pavement, tumbling into overgrown grass of an old churchyard. Laughing to himself, Frank turned and strolled up the path. The gargoyles perched on the church’s gutters hissed at him lightly and he ignored them. Gargoyles didn’t scare him.
Sinking down onto the church steps, he plucked at a piece of grass. He looked up again, watching a star twinkle down at him.
“I found one of you,” he said at length, gazing down at the grass in his hand. “A lost little lamb on its way to slaughter. Did he get punished for talking to me? Or are you all too good to punish your own for something so insignificant?” He looked up but nothing responded. Turning the grass over in his fingers, he paused. “But you’re not all good, are you? You weren’t. I wasn’t. Do you remember that? If you don’t, I think I can remind you.”
Smirking, Frank glanced down at the grass, watching it shrivel and blacken in his palm.
He needed to find Gerard again, but it was turning out to be harder than he expected. Tracking angels wasn’t like tracking humans. Frank could track humans by their sins, especially the ones he had tags on. But angels. He couldn’t tag angels.
He couldn’t even be sure that Gerard was still on Earth, for that matter. He might have flitted back off to Heaven and gotten someone else to take over his mission. Angels liked to do that sort of thing when they got scared.
Frank needed Gerard, though, needed him for his plan to work. And it didn’t hurt that Gerard himself was a pretty angel, and Frank liked pretty things. He liked playing with them, like cats played with mice before they ate them. Frank was the cat.
How to track him, though, how to find him, Frank wondered, picking more stalks of grass and watching them crumple into black ash.
As he sat there, the light hissing of the gargoyles in his ears, picked up in the whisper of the wind, the flickering streetlight in the distance, Frank remembered the two guys Gerard had been with that night at the bar. They were no doubt his charges, why he was there. If Frank could find them, he would find Gerard.
Better yet, they were humans, which made it all the easier for Frank. Pushing himself up from the steps, he walked back down the path to the street, pausing as he reached the sidewalk and smirking at the sky.
“Thanks,” he said, stepping out, and behind him, the grass crumpled and died.
Working at the comic book store was actually pretty easy and Gerard almost enjoyed it. He enjoyed it more when he didn’t think about the things he could have been doing if he wasn’t stuck on Earth for eternity.
He took the time to devour issue after issue of comics, things he’d never been allowed to indulge in. His eyes feasted on beautiful drawings, bright colors, good triumphing over evil. It made his hands itch to draw but he refused to give in. He wasn’t going to encourage his bad behavior. It had gotten him in big trouble before and it couldn’t help now.
Ray hadn’t asked him again about the sketchbook he kept with him at all times, and Gerard was thankful for his tact.
Mikey didn’t talk to Gerard much but he hung around a lot, riffling through comics books while Gerard tried to do his new job as best he could. Gerard had learned so far that Mikey’s beliefs in angels also extended to unicorns and dragons.
Gerard was sorting through the Marvel section one afternoon when Mikey sidled up to him with a new box. Mikey didn’t say anything as he set the box down, pulling out the new issues.
Gerard paused, setting back down the issue of X-Men, and glancing at Mikey out of the corner of his eye.
“So if you believe in angels,” Gerard started slowly and Mikey glanced over but didn’t speak. “Do you believe in demons?”
Mikey thumbed through the issues slowly. “Sure,” he replied finally, and Gerard hesitated.
“You think they’re, like, real,” he said and Mikey shrugged. “What do you think they do?”
Mikey shrugged again, pushing up his glasses. “They’re just there to balance out the angels. I guess they do evil things, like encouraging sins or something. I don’t know. They’re demons.”
“What do you think angels do?” Gerard asked curiously. He’d never come across anyone who didn’t have their own set belief in what he was supposed to be.
Mikey set the comics down in their right place. “They help people, whether or not they really want help.”
“What do you mean?”
Mikey turned to him, and Gerard felt a little nervous under his blank stare.
“You think Ray and I are living in sin, right?”
“Well…” Yeah. Gerard sighed and Mikey didn’t react.
“So if an angel came to ‘help’ us, I don’t think they’d get too far. Sometimes people are just happy the way they are and they don’t need someone else to tell them how.”
Gerard had never heard that in his entire existence. People couldn’t be happy unless they believed, unless they accepted it. He knew humans could be stubborn sometimes – one time he’d had a woman who was convinced that she could fly and that her wings would save her from the suicide she was attempting. Talking her down had been quite a challenge and Gerard had ended up having to break her fall, which didn’t help as then she was firmly convinced she could fly – but he’d never had anyone flat-out say that they would refuse help.
Mikey wasn’t watching him and turned as the ugly little bell rang, announcing the entrance of someone to the shop.
Gerard was still puzzling over Mikey’s answer and didn’t notice the creeping feeling of unease until his wings fluttered nervously against his back and he felt the chill.
Turning around sharply, he found Frank coming towards him down the row. How had he found him? Gerard had tried his best cloaking methods, but apparently demons had a way around that.
“Afternoon, Gerard,” Frank said pleasantly as he stopped near him, and Gerard froze, turning back to the comics, away from Mikey, who had wandered back to the register. “Indulging in a little free time activity?”
“Indulgence is a sin,” Gerard shot back, careful to keep his voice quiet. He didn’t like that Frank had found him, or that he seemed intent on talking to him.
Frank laughed, eyes lighting up, and he bit his lip ring, running his tongue over the silver circle. “I’m well-aware.” He shifted closer to Gerard, feeling him tense, the white glow strengthening a little as if to protect him. “So why are you still here? Your charge being difficult?”
Gerard didn’t reply, shying away from Frank and his black aura. Frank made him feel nervous when he really shouldn’t be. Gerard had nothing to fear from him except possible contamination and further punishment.
Then again, he knew Frank had to be up to no good. They always were.
“What do you want?” he muttered, then, sorting through the comics and trying to ignore Frank hovering closer.
Frank smirked, watching how Gerard avoided looking at him, black hair flopping in his face as he kept it tilted down. He could see the pure paleness of his skin, the smoothness of it, and Frank itched the mark it, but when he reached out, Gerard flinched, jerking back violently.
Frank ignored the movement, reaching for a comic instead and flipping it open on the pretense of reading, but watching Gerard carefully.
Gerard’s heart was pounding violently in his chest and he swallowed hard. Frank had just tried to touch him. What was he trying to do?
“I think you know why we come to the surface,” Frank said finally. “Same reason you come down.”
Gerard thought briefly that it wasn’t for the same reason.
“So where are your wings?” Frank asked, a little too loudly as Gerard shot him a look.
“Be quiet,” he hissed, glancing back sharply to Mikey at the register, but he appeared not to have heard, his nose in a comic. “There are people around.”
Frank paused, eyes scanning down Gerard curiously, lingering on his back where he knew the wings should be. Gerard was trying his best to ignore Frank, hoping he might go away.
A light of recognition came into Frank’s eyes as he thought of something. “Are you… have you been clipped?” he asked finally and Gerard frowned quickly.
“No,” he replied, a little defensively. He had not, thank you very much. “And if you don’t leave me alone, you’ll be in trouble too.”
Frank scoffed, putting down the comic and turning more towards Gerard. He liked the way Gerard shivered a little, nervous in his presence. It was different than most people reacted to him. Most people hardly knew he was there, could just feel his presence, his pull, his influence over their actions.
“I doubt you could do anything worse than what Bert can. So flap your wings all you want at me, but I’m not going anywhere, and I get the feeling you’re not either. So why waste such a pretty face?”
He reached his hand out again but Gerard jerked away again, staring at Frank.
“You have a death wish, don’t you?”
“Can’t die.” Frank shrugged. “Besides, I’m a demon. Of course we do.”
Smiling, he arched his eyebrows at Gerard as he turned. Sighing, Gerard waited until Frank had left completely before sinking down, elbows on the rows of comics and groaning softly into his hands. Now he had a demon on his tail. Great.
“So he freaks you out?”
Jumping, Gerard accidentally scattered the few comics sitting on top of the row and they dropped to the floor at his feet as he looked up, finding Ray on the other side of the row.
Running his hand through his messy hair, he tried to calm himself. Instead of responding, he bent down to pick up the comics while Ray watched.
“I get that you think that being gay is a sin,” Ray continued as Gerard straightened up. “But when a guy as hot as that hits on you, you’ve gotta think a second.”
Gerard stared. “Frank is hot?” he repeated dimly, and Ray smiled, almost confused.
“Dude, where have you been? Yeah, he is. He’s totally got that bad boy thing going on.”
Gerard just stared blankly and Ray shook his head.
“When was the last time you got laid?”
Gerard’s eyes widened and he squeaked a little. It was an impertinent question, not to mention irrelevant. Angels didn’t need or want any human desires such as sex. They were content with the love they had already. He had never even considered sex.
Ray was giving him a strange look. “Have you ever?”
Gerard shook his head slowly and Ray looked torn between laughter and pity.
“Wow,” he said finally, wrinkling his forehead. “I don’t know what to say to that. How old are you?”
About three-thousand years, Gerard thought vaguely. He didn’t really know anymore since time was a human thing.
“Uh… Thirty… three,” he added, hoping it sounded believable. Ray was eyeing him, though, and he looked away.
“And you’ve never had sex,” Ray repeated, watching the way Gerard flushed slightly. “Wait a minute, I’ve got it.”
“What?” Gerard was nervous as Ray sighed, as though he understood.
“You’re part of the church, aren’t you? Not a priest but like an altar boy or a modern-day monk, right?”
It was close enough, so Gerard shrugged and Ray nodded.
“I get it now. So why are you out here?”
Gerard paused, eyes straying to his sketchbook in the corner. “I sort of got kicked out,” he admitted slowly. It still hurt to think about, and it had only been a few days really. He had the rest of time to think about it.
“Oh, that sucks,” Ray said sympathetically and Gerard sighed.
“Well, you guys are all about redemption, right? Couldn’t you fix it?”
Gerard shrugged. “It would take a long time.”
“You’ve got the rest of your life, right?”
And then some.
Gerard sighed, picking at the comics. “I suppose.”
“Unless you don’t want to go back,” Ray said after a minute and Gerard frowned. “The Real World has a lot great things to offer, you know. We’ve got amazing food and great entertainment, friendships that don’t include strings.”
“Friendship is a love between people,” Gerard said, still frowning, and Ray smiled.
“We’ve also got relationships and sex.”
“But sex out of marriage is—”
“I know,” Ray interrupted him. “But don’t knock it until you try it. And that Frank guy, he is pretty good-looking for a first-timer. And he seems to like you.”
He only liked him because… well, Gerard hadn’t figured that out yet, but demons didn’t come onto people for no good reason, especially angels.
“And don’t worry,” Ray assured him, patting his shoulder gently. “We’ll help you adjust. It’s not that hard out here.” His smile was reassuring but Gerard didn’t feel any better, and when Ray left and Gerard thought back on Frank’s smirk, the way he’d reached for him, fingers outstretched to touch his skin, his wings fluttered anxiously and he knew he was screwed one way or another.
Of all the human vices, Frank had yet to find one that worked. Alcohol was useless, and pain never worked for Frank. He had enough of that in his life. Cigarettes worked better than some things and he took to always keeping a pack in his pocket.
He officially hated this city. He hated all the people in it, all the dark, rainy skies. He secretly blamed Gabe for the weather, knowing it was probably his way of messing with Frank while he was being punished.
Frank still hadn’t quite figured out how to get to Gerard. Gerard was trying his best to avoid him, and it annoyed Frank. No one ignored Frank.
Sitting under a dripping overhang of an abandoned house’s porch, Frank lit up a cigarette, taking a long drag. It warmed him from the inside at least as he sat there, watching the rain pelt down beyond.
As he watched the rain, a sleek black cat came running past, darting in between the bushes, and Frank would recognize that tail anywhere.
“Vicky,” he said, happily surprised, as a woman appeared around the side of the house, pulling up her hood and ducking under the roof. She didn’t sit, though, and Frank didn’t rise from the stair. He was relieved to finally see someone he knew.
“Don’t get excited,” she drawled, smoothing down her dark hair and shaking out water from her sleeve. “I’m not here to rescue you.”
Frank had suspected as much and watched as she sat down beside him, shoving him over a little on the stair. She was silent for a moment, staring out at the rain, and Frank sucked on his cigarette, wishing they were stronger.
“Bert’s really pissed at you,” she said finally and Frank scoffed.
“Really?” he asked, an eyebrow raised and gesturing out at the desolate houses, grey under the pouring rain.
“Don’t be sarcastic; it doesn’t suit you,” Vicky replied coolly and Frank rolled his eyes.
“If you didn’t come up here to be my knight in shining armor, then why the hell are you here?” Frank asked instead, flicking the butt out into the wet grass where it sizzled and died.
Vicky inspected her black-painted nails for a second, and Frank waited impatiently. “Just making sure you’re still alive. Bert may hate you but he knows he needs you.”
Frank arched a skeptical eyebrow. “There are thousands of other demons who would kill for my place.”
Vicky shrugged. “Yes, but you see, they need to be promoted to your spot, by Bert. So it doesn’t really matter how many want your place. It just matters that you’re still there.”
“What is your point, Vicky?” Frank asked impatiently. Vicky had always been the hardest to crack, probably because that was her job.
“My point is, Frankie, that the longer you’re being punished, the longer the rest of us have to deal with your work and Bert raging around, convinced he doesn’t need you.”
Frank just gave her a look until she huffed, rolling her eyes.
“So get unpunished, Frank, and do it fast. I’m not meant to make people cheat. I have my own job to do and you’re fucking up mine.”
She stood up and Frank just watched her.
“I have a plan, you know,” he said as she stepped out into the rain and glanced back. “And it’s a good one.”
“It better be,” she replied. “It better be fucking made of gold, Frank, if you want to get back into Bert’s good graces.”
She was gone in a twist of black, and Frank caught sight of the cat slinking away through the bent daisies. He just pulled out another cigarette, fingering the end.
“White and gold,” he murmured, flicking the lighter and watching the flames dance away the darkness.
The apartment was pretty empty and Gerard had no desire to fill it with anything. He had some money from working at the comic shop but he didn’t need it. He didn’t need to buy anything or go anywhere. Instead, he found a homeless shelter and donated his pay to them, feeling a familiar glow of happiness when the people smiled. He missed that.
He spent his nights in the apartment, lying on the bed and staring at the dark ceiling. Sometimes he wandered, but mostly, he stayed inside. It was quiet inside, warm, almost comforting, but it wasn’t home.
Lying awake, he sighed, thinking about how time passed on Earth. Before, he’d never noticed. Before, it hadn’t mattered. Now, though, days became nights and nights became days and it mattered whether it was a Monday or a Wednesday. Gerard just couldn’t keep it all straight.
Ray and Mikey had been incredibly accommodating, especially now since they thought Gerard was fresh from the priesthood. Gerard felt guilty (another sin… great) for letting them believe it, but as an angel, it was his duty to help people and sometimes white lies needed to be told.
As he lay there in bed, he thought longingly of somewhere far above him where Brendon was probably playing a lyre, singing some nice song while Greta hummed along and William made chains from flowers. His heart ached as he lay there, thinking of all the things he was no longer privy to.
A voice startled Gerard and he rolled off the bed with a hard flump on the wooden floor. Wincing, he pushed himself up, staring across at Frank, who was perched calmly in the only other chair in the room, one leg crossed over the other and looking completely content.
“H-how did you get in here?” Gerard asked, stumbling over the words in his shock. He pushed himself up from the floor completely, edging back to the bed but not sitting down in case Frank decided to attack him.
Frank didn’t move, though, and only shrugged. “How do you think?”
Alright, it had been a stupid question, Gerard admitted, but that didn’t make it any better, finding Frank in his apartment in the middle of the night.
“What are you doing here?” he demanded instead. “Why are you following me? I didn’t do anything to you.”
Frank sighed but still didn’t move. “You angels are so worried all the time. Don’t you ever relax? Have fun?”
“I don’t need fun,” Gerard argued as the backs of his knees hit the bed.
“Right, your job,” Frank breathed quietly. “So what is your job?”
“What?” Gerard eyed him cautiously, but Frank was obviously not here to attack him, still sitting comfortably in the chair.
“You know,” Frank said with a vague hand gesture around the apartment. “The reason you’re slumming it in some dirty apartment above a comic book store. Don’t you have somewhere better to be? Like up there?” He pointed at the ceiling and Gerard glanced up for a second, frowning.
“It’s not really your business,” he replied, finally sitting down cautiously, still watching Frank.
Frank looked at him for a moment, chewing on his lip ring, and Gerard snuck a glance at the rest of him.
He was still a demon, Gerard thought, as his eyes took in the ink-covered surface of his skin, the drawings so like those in the comics, an expression of something Gerard couldn’t. He was a little short, strongly-built, though, and Gerard could sense the burning desire in him for something else.
“What are you looking at?” Frank asked after a second and Gerard’s gaze snapped up to Frank’s.
Frank held his gaze for a second before smiling slowly. “So are you gonna tell me or not?”
Gerard scoffed, glad Frank wasn’t going to push him getting caught staring. “Why would I tell you?”
“Doesn’t seem like you’ve got anyone else to tell.” Frank shrugged, glancing around obviously at the empty room.
“That doesn’t mean I’d tell you,” Gerard shot back. Frank was prying for something.
Frank made a soft noise, tugging at the ends of his hair and pausing. “You tell me your secret and I’ll tell you mine,” he offered finally and Gerard scoffed again.
“Like I’d believe anything you tell me. You’re a demon.”
“And you’re an angel. Glad we’ve established that,” Frank replied, uncrossing his legs and leaning forward. “You know, not all demons are evil.”
Gerard stared at him, unimpressed, and Frank gave in.
“Okay, they are all evil, but not all of us wanted to be evil.”
“I don’t believe you,” Gerard replied. “And I don’t know why you’re here, but I know it can’t be good, so just go away.”
“No ‘please’?” Frank asked, pushing himself up from the chair, and Gerard watched him sharply as he moved forward. “I thought you guys were all horribly polite.”
Gerard could feel his wings shuddering behind him, still cloaked from human eyes, and he tried not to panic.
Frank watched Gerard tense with each step closer he took, the white glow strengthening in the dark, and Frank wondered what would happen if he got too close, if it would dim. He paused as he reached within a foot of Gerard. If he wanted to get anywhere with Gerard, he had to use different tactics than normal. Angels weren’t the same as humans. He’d have to use some of his own natural wiles.
“What do you want?” Gerard asked when Frank stopped.
“I just want to talk to you,” Frank replied easily, smiling as he scanned down his body. Gerard was definitely pretty and Frank could handle that. He’d dealt with worse, only this time, it was a little closer to home.
Gerard frowned, eyeing Frank cautiously. He didn’t trust Frank as far as he could throw him, and he didn’t want to touch him so…
“You’re planning something.”
“Are all angels so suspicious?” Frank asked, plopping down on the bed and Gerard scooted away automatically.
“Only when demons start tracking them,” Gerard shot back, curling into himself as Frank leaned back, hands on the bed to keep him up.
“How often does that happen?” Frank asked curiously, and Gerard jerked his shoulders in response.
“I don’t know. You tell me.”
“Well, this is my first,” Frank admitted, which didn’t reassure Gerard.
“And why are you?” he asked but Frank laughed.
“If you won’t tell me why you’re here, then I’m certainly not going to.”
“So you are planning something,” Gerard muttered, and Frank shrugged.
“Someone’s always planning something in our little divine worlds, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.”
Gerard gave him a look. “You work for Bert, the most evil demon alive, if they were alive, which they’re not, but if they were—”
“You’re cute when you ramble,” Frank cut him off and Gerard nearly choked on his tongue.
“W-what?” he asked and Frank ignored him.
“Can I see your wings?”
Gerard stared, scrambling up finally. “No.”
Frank cocked his head to the side. “Why not? I’ve never seen any before.”
“They’re private,” Gerard spluttered, feeling them curl in against his back, almost as if to protect him.
Frank sighed slowly, watching Gerard hug his stomach and stand in the dark.
“If I had wings, I’d show you,” he offered.
“That doesn’t make a difference,” Gerard replied sharply. He just wanted to get rid of Frank, but Frank wasn’t moving.
“Why are you so uptight?” Frank asked, rising from the bed, and Gerard took a stumbling step backwards. “You’re on Earth for fuck’s sake. There’s tons of shit here to do, and you’re sitting in an empty bedroom at fuck all hours of the night arguing with me.”
“What do you suggest I do?” Gerard asked, confused, and Frank shrugged.
“Have a little fun while no one’s watching. You don’t have to be a saint all the time.”
Gerard could say that he did, but he knew Frank wouldn’t care. Frank didn’t look at things the same way he did.
“Our existences are different,” Gerard tried to stress, but Frank was rolling his eyes and coming closer. “And you shouldn’t be here. Or I shouldn’t be here with you. This is not going to end well.”
Frank gave him a look. “What’s so bad about good and evil hanging out? We could be friends.” As he said it, he reached for Gerard and Gerard stumbled back, hitting the wall.
“Frank, don’t—” he tried to say, but Frank’s fingers were already enclosing around his wrist.
It took didn’t take even a second for Gerard to feel it, the burning warmth pressing into his skin, something he’d never felt before, rushing through his veins as his heart sped up and his eyes widened. He was frozen, staring at Frank, who looked just as shocked, and pulled his hand back after a second, rubbing his fingers while Gerard stared at his wrist where dark red marks from Frank’s fingers were already fading.
His heart was pounding and he felt more alive than he ever had as he stood there, pressed against the wall, breathing hard and hoping Frank would go away more than anything.
Frank’s eyes rose from his fingers and he licked his lips slowly.
Gerard was swallowing hard, and Frank watched the slide of his throat, skin pale and pure, and he had to force himself to look away. Finally, he took a step back, dropping his hand.
“Have a good night,” he said finally, taking another step and transforming into a little black scorpion, skittering across the wooden floorboards and out the door.
Letting out a shaky breath, Gerard slid down against the wall, raising his wrist and staring at the skin, now back to normal. He could still feel the places Frank’s fingers had pressed and closed his eyes, trying to block out the night.
Part Two >>