Title: Trying hard enough
Rating: R for language
Fandom: Nate Ruess/Jesse Lacey and Frank Iero/Gerard Way (but blink and you'll miss it)
Summary:Being crazy is a give in New York City. From Woody Allen's movies, to the kids shooting up in Battery park, it's all a masked, dangerous game of what if and maybes. But sometime, someone just try hard enough to make it work.
Word Count: ~2500
Dedication: To the lovely x_kchan_x, because I promised her and because I love her.
Disclaimer:This is a work of fiction, not written for profit. I claim no connection with any member of FUN, Brand New, MCR their families or friends. The events hereby narrated are absolutely false and are not meant to reflect the person's private life. No harm, misrepresentation, libel, malice or copyright infringement is intended. At no time is this meant to be construed as reality.
“Where are my glasses?”
Jesse is lying on the couch, Jitterbug pawing at his t-shirt, her tiny claws scratching lightly, but not really hurting him. Jesse makes a small distressed noise when the kitten nips at his jaw and moves her out the way, straining his neck to look at where Nate’s voice had come from.
“What?” Jesse’s voice sounds bored, but Nate knows better than believe just the surface of Jesse’s voice, and he can easily pick up on the undercurrent of annoyance and, even more so, anger.
“My glasses, the black-framed ones. Where are they; have you seen them?”
Nate crosses the living room, entering into Jesse’s field of vision, his white button down un-tucked under the black corduroy jacket. He looks good and he knows it, but Jesse, unlike any other time, doesn’t say anything about it.
“Your hipster’s glasses?” And this time Jesse’s voice is sarcastic, the fake boredom replaced by the bubbling anger. It drives Nate mad.
“I have no time for your rants about the evilness of young New York hipsters. My glasses?” Nate is matching Jesse’s voice with a thread of his own annoyance, and plants himself in front of Jesse’, blue eyes flashing a dare.
Jesse moves the kitten to the floor, something that Jitterbug doesn’t approve of, and she bats her little paw at Jesse’s hand while he is standing up. She manages to break skin and Jesse sucks at the back of his hand, lips pursed and eyes dark and dangerous.
“First, you are not that young, and more important, you are not a New Yorker, southern boy.” Jesse’s breath is suddenly too close, and Nate has to look up, Jesse’s tall frame looming above him.
Jesse’s hand on Nate’s chest is warm, even through two layers of clothing, and Nate’s heart is a fast, faster tempo of loud beating. Jesse fishes the glasses out of the jacket’s breast pocket and slips them on Nate’s nose.
“There, proper adopted New Yorker hipster.”And it’s still gritty with a self contained brand of anger, something that makes Nate’s heart skitter to a furiously fast tempo.
Jesse knows when Nate’s mood changes. They have known each other for almost four years now, since that day at John’s old place, when Nate had been just a kid with ratty hair and wide blue eyes. Jesse knows the buttons he can push, and the one he should not push, but he does it all the same, because he is angry, but he is not going to tell Nate. Not this time. Because this time is even more stupid, this time Jesse cannot rationalise it.
“Whatever crawled up your ass, you better pull it out quick cause you are coming with me tonight, and if you’re going to be like this you can go and fuck yourself. Okay?”
Nate is not the kid he was four years ago, and he is not ready to let Jesse walk all over him, whatever his problem is.
Jesse’s mouth turns bitter with a thin, twisted smile that makes his face look dangerous, with too many angles since he has lost weight. Nate braces himself, hands on his hips, twisted tight around the belt of his dark jeans.
“I’ll go and fuck myself then, you enjoy your night.”
Jesse is out of the room in two long strides, the little cat following him with a haughty sort of gait that makes Nate wonder if it’s possible that the cat is developing Jesse’s habits and traits. Nate stands in the living room, looking around, watching for some sign to decode the puzzle that is Jesse’s mood. He has become an expert in the time they have been living together, but it’s always a tricky thing, and he knows he has to be careful, he knows he should be careful, but he has little time now, and he is not a saint and he feels his patience has finally run dry. He makes a quick decision, that he is sure he will regret all the way to the venue, and leaves the apartment without saying goodbye.
The door is loud against the old, cricking hinges and both Nate and Jesse feel the clank thumping hard against their chests.
Outside is raining, and Jesse watches the taxi stop to a halt and Nate slips in, the back of his head slick with rain, his short hair matted a darker blond.
It’s not even a conscious thought, it’s what breathing, living near Nate has thought him in the past three years; it’s something natural like being in love.
Jesse curses loudly, Jitterbug bats at his bare foot, trying to get his attention, he picks her up and she snuggles to his chest, possessive and jealous. Just like Jesse himself.
Jitterbug mewls with displeasure, but Jesse puts her on the bed and fishes his shoes from under it, still muttering to himself.
He gets dressed hastily, but doesn’t forget his dark, more formal jacket and his tie, the one he had spent a ridiculous amount of money on that time in Milan.
The art gallery is not too far away, and now that the rain has eased off the traffic is less manic, making it a short journey, and guaranteeing that Jesse is not too late.
The walls of the gallery are showing large canvasses with dark, intensely vivid paintings, lines and shapes that speak of life and death, and a peculiar brand of morbid fascination with the beauty of the macabre.
It’s an odd gathering of art lovers and experts mixed with a loud music crowd of men and women with too many tattoos, and the lines of too many roads shifting in their eyes.
Nate is talking to Gerard, his laughter bright above the din of the conversation, and the ugly wash of jealousy returns in full force, scorching hot at the base of Jesse’s spine, travelling fast up to his throat, choking him with bile.
It doesn’t take long for Nate to spot Jesse, he glances across the room and, as always, the compass in his heart finds him unerringly. Nate is still upset, still unease with the way they almost fought back home, he is not ready to just be happy that Jesse has changed his mind, but then he notices the bright spots of colour on Jesse’s pale cheekbones, the heated flare in his eyes and it’s like opening a dictionary at the right page to discover what a word really mean. Nate translates it quickly, and it’s almost silly, almost ridiculous, only it’s not. Not to Jesse.
Jealousy. Jesse is jealous.
Nate excuses himself and Gerard just smiles, his crooked mouth displaying a soft indulgence and an awkward pleasure at being complimented.
Jesse is still standing at the farthest corner of the room, his hand holding a glass of champagne, he nods at some people they both knows, but makes no attempt to talk to anyone.
Nate’s voice is neutral; he knows well not to show that he is aware of why Jesse is acting this way. It’s a dance that requires a lot of concentration, something that is wearing him thinner and thinner.
“Yeah. It’s- He’s good.”
Nate turns his head to spot Gerard beaming at Frank, his white china hand curled around Frank’s neck, a counterpart of tanned and fair.
“Yeah, he really is. And he is a nice guy.”
With Jesse is always a matter of finding out the right combination, a selection of complicated codes to make him open up. Nate is trying to find the right one right now. And maybe he is on the right path because Jesse throws a quick look across the room, his eyes finding Gerard again, his open face and the way he smiles, bashful but clearly happy.
“Yeah. He seems like a good guy.”
“And that’s a problem because?” Nate’s voice is still low, free of any inflection, causal almost. Jesse doesn’t replay immediately, he sips at his drink and when he does his replies is muted, the voices around them loud in cheers and applauses. “It’s not a problem. I like the guy, he’s creepy but cool. I- I mean, he’s cool, yeah.”
Nate wants to laugh, but it takes too much effort and he is so very tired, so very, very tired of this. He pushes his glasses up his nose, the bridge is pinching a bit and the skin beneath is red, throbbing faintly. “I’m tired, Jess.” And its’ sounds so final, more final than he intended it to be.
“Wanna go home?” Jesse is finally looking at him, and there is an edge to his fear right now, the awareness that he has pushed Nate too far.
“I want you to believe me. I want you to let me do this. Please, Jess. I am tired. So fucking tired, please.”
Jesse sets the glass on a windowsill and takes a step forward, and it’s tentative, testing. Nate doesn’t move. Not this time. This time is all on Jesse.
And Jesse is trying, Nate can see it, he is not blind, but he is tired of Jesse just trying, just trying when everything has already started to crumble. Nate wants more.
Jesse takes his hand then, his fingers are cold, but the palm is clammy and the pulse on his wrist has the syncopated rhythm of fear.
“I am a jackass.”
Nate doesn’t reply, he waits, patience thinned by too much trying.
“He is a better man than I am. You know it and I know it. It’s… it’s hard to believe you would choose me over that.”
Nate won’t tell him the obvious, he won’t tell him that Gerard was married and he left her for Frank. He won’t tell Jesse that he is not in love with Gerard. Those things Jesse already knows, the thing he cannot seem to grasp is that Nate loves him the way he is, and the only thing that makes it almost impossible is the fact that Jesse doesn’t seem to be able to trust him on this. On the unequivocal reality of his feelings. And that what makes it so hard.
“But I have. I have chosen you over a lot of things. How can you not see it? After all these years?”
There is another sudden swell of laughter, and Jesse jumps a little, tightens his hold on Nate’s hand, his fingers locked around Nate’s smaller palm. “Maybe I am the one who needs glasses.” Jesse's voice low enough that only Nate can hear him.
“You can borrow mine, you know you can. So you can see what I see.”
Jesse smiles, the knot in his stomach loosening slowly. “Let me take you home? Unless you want to stay.”
“Home. Home with you.”
They decide to walk; the rain has stopped, leaving slicked oily rainbows on the asphalt and a foggy moonlight in its place. Jesse holds Nate’s hand all the way home, his voice a bit questioning, but more secure, finally trying to say what he really means, brushing aside metaphors of anger or righteous fear.
“Part of me will always think that I do not deserve you.” Fingers clasping the key to the apartment.
“That’s because part of you is a total idiot, Jesse.”
Inside is dark, cold. The AC turned way too high for this time of the year. Jesse locks the door behind him and turns on the light, the soft glow of the lamp pooling shadows under his eyes, fanning lines on the top of his cheekbones.
“You are not supposed to make fun of me.”
“But I still do, because you keep doing this.”
“I know.” And there is a sad wistfulness in Jesse’s voice, a clear awareness that his insecurities will not be cured in one night.
“But I still love you, Jesse. You have heard it all before. I have heard it all before. And I am sure we’ll have this conversation again, soon. But, you see? I- I don’t care. Yeah. I am tired. And yes, I wish it was easier, I wish we didn’t have to do this, but I am willing to do it. I am doing it and I will do it again. For you. For us. Because it’s worth it. Don’t you see it?”
Jesse’s answer comes in the shape of a kiss, his hands steady and warm, cupping Nate’s face, slipping into his hair, pulling him close, leaning his body against Jesse’s, possessive and yet gentle.
Nate smiles into the kiss, the heat a wildfire of shivers down his spine.
“Are you trying to coax me into bed again?”
Jesse skitters a line of kisses down Nate’s throat and whispers: “I am trying to say that I can see it, I can. It’s… I really need you to remind me sometime.”
Nate arches his neck back and looks at Jesse’s eyes. “I’ll always remind you. But, Jesse? You need to remind me too. I am not going to do this by myself. There are two people in this relationship.”
Jesse nods, hands still clasped at the base of Nate’s neck, fingers in the dense softness of Nate’s hair.
“I know, and I will talk to my shrink about it. About this… Again.”
“Good. Now take me to the bedroom and take advantage of me.” Nate’s tone of voice is playful, light, but Jesse can see the soft look in Nate’s eyes. The same look he had when Jesse had told him that he was going to start see a therapist, the same look of pride and unconditional love.
“So you love me even if I am nuts.”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
Jesse’s laughter wakes Jitterbug and she hisses at Nate instead of Jesse, and that makes Jesse laughs even harder. He puts the kitten back in the basket in the living room, and the walks back to their bedroom, puts his hands on Nate’s waist, his mouth on Nate’s neck.
“I am crazy for you, Nathaniel.”
“Sexy, southern boy…”
Nate’s giggle is soft and rumbling, almost a purr, and Jesse licks it off his lips, the kiss intense and soft as they fall onto the bed.
It’s slow and slick, like Jesse’s kisses down Nate’s spine, like the press of their bodies and Nate’s breathed please.
It’s heated and shivering, like Nate’s finger grasping at the sheets, the slide of cotton rough under the onslaught of Jesse’s silky tongue. There. Where everything is a pulsing of tight pleasure.
It’s Nate’s eyes wide open, pupils blown, Jesse’s hands running whorls and patterns down his back, the rise and fall of his hips and the press of Jesse’s mouth, words painting shadowed kisses over Nate’s breastbone.
It’s them. Sated and flushed, the simple closeness that is never simple, tangled together, sex and love.
It’s them, asleep; Manhattan screaming at the oncoming sunrise.