"Anything interesting?" Frank asked, taking a sip of his tea and squinting up at Gerard's form silhouetted against the sun.
Gerard appeared to hesitate, and when he finally sat down next to Frank, he handed him an envelope. "This arrived by post just now. It isn't local."
Frank put down his newspaper and hefted the letter. His mother's elegant hand had addressed it, every last swoop and curlicue of it familiar, after all this time.
Gerard squeezed Frank's hand a quietly walked inside through the French doors.
Frank looked at the envelope long enough that his tea cooled, and the sun made its natural orbit through the garden, throwing Frank into shadow as it moved.
His hands steady, he ripped open the envelope and unfurled the page.
"Do you ever wonder," he asked, quietly painting invisible lines down Gerard's skin, "what would have happened to us had we stayed?"
Gerard sighed and caught his hand, bringing it up to his lips. "All the time. Don't you?"
"I simply wonder… What if we had not met?"
Gerard made a noise of protest, as if Frank could unmake history with simple words. Frank ignored him and sidled closer on the bed, his leg coming up around Gerard's body, enveloping him.
"Would I be married by now?" he continued, stilling Gerard's twitches with his body, soothing them with his hands. "Or would I have run anyway?"
"You would have run," Gerard told him, all confidence. "You have never been able to hide your heart."
Frank was thoughtful for a long moment. "I suppose that's true. I would have had nowhere to turn to," he added, quieter, almost to himself. "No money, no house… Do you suppose there are men like us out there? Ones who have managed?"
Gerard was quiet for a long time, his breathing steady, his touches soft. "I've always hoped so." He turned and his lips found Frank's, slow, maddening, familiar.
Frank allowed himself to be taken in, just like always, allowed himself to melt into Gerard, their linens softly hiding them from the night.
Afterwards, he twined their fingers together and breathed out, "She was kind."
Gerard made another, softer noise.
"She – she wished me happiness," Frank continued, recounting the letters on the page, the words absolving him, words he did not deserve. "She – saved my letters, she said. All of them."
Gerard rolled them slowly over until he was pinning Frank to the bed, and they were face to face. "I am so glad," he whispered and kissed Frank hard, deep, kissed him forever.
You are, and shall always be, my child, my love. My only son. I wish with all my heart that you were here with me, but I know that wish to be a selfish one. But know that, wherever you are, I am with you, and always will be.
Someday, I shall visit you. You shall show me around your new country, and share your new home.
Someday, love. In the meantime, mind your health. Switzerland is meant to have a wonderful climate. I hope that you are breathing easier, my darling. I hope that you are well.
My love to you both,