1. BONDS

When the family arrives home, after the Little Miss Sunshine trip, the harsh reality sets in on each of them. Edwin had died and been buried in another state, and Dwayne would never be able to achieve his dreams. The thing is, most of the family - except for Frank who had only met Edwin when he moved in with the Hoovers, and Dwayne, who was not related to Edwin - was too overpowered by grief to remember the latter, which left uncle and nephew alone to settle in the yougest's room. Along the trip, they'd developed a strong bond, which started with being able to respect eachother's silence, but strengthened when they began sharing their personal thoughts.

In the middle of the night, Frank felt someone sitting on his bed and woke up to find a tousled Dwayne silently asking him to scoot over. Doing so, Dwayne lied down next to him and they stayed quiet for a while.

"What the fuck am I gonna do now?" Dwayne asked, arm over his eyes. Hearing Dwayne's voice was still very strange to him, like a secret treasure. Knowing the boy's voice was only used when he thought it strictly necessary made their conversations very special to Frank.

"Do what you love, isn't that what you said you would?" Frank replied, slightly confused. Dwayne chuckled without humour.

"Easier said than done."

"Why?" Dwayne turned around and looked straight into Frank's eyes in a way that unsettled the older man. Dwayne's eyes were black like a raven's feathers, two pools of bottled up emotion. Terrifyingly beautiful in the moonlight.

"How do I know what loving something feels like?" he paused, his eyebrows knitting together. "What does love feel like?"

"It's like... Well, when you love something... or someone, there is this... feeling you get in your chest, this feeling of emptiness which you know can only be stopped by the addition of the object of your love to your life. If you get it, you just love, just live, and give what you can give. And take what little you deserve. And if you can't have it, the emptiness starts sucking small pieces of you. If you can't let go, you just..." Frank looks absentmindedly at the scars on his wrists. "Die on the inside." he looks back up into Dwayne's eyes. his voice had turned into a whisper. "You never really stop loving something, you just start being able to live without it."

"Have you ever felt that way?" Dwayne asks. Frank thinks about it for a while.

"I thought I did once. Now I just think I was obsessed. You need to know when to stop, with love, or it'll end up like that." he whispered.

"I hope you get the love that you deserve someday." Dwayne said, those black pools intruding in his mind once more. This time, Frank smiled bitterly, unfazed.

"That's nice of you."

The silence crept in again, the pale moonlight playing with their eyelids and lulling them to a state between sleep and awareness. For the first time in a long time, the feelings that ate each of them up were eased down and forgotten due to the reassuring presence of the other.

Dwayne opened his eyes slightly and turned to lie on his side, facing Frank. And in a sleepy innocent voice, just before he fully passed out, he asked "Just promise you won't hurt yourself again..." Frank froze for a second, his heart swelling with the words. Looking at Dwayne, he smiled to himself, feeling something bittersweet invade him as he listened to his nephew's light breathing next to him.

Then, his eyes popped open. "What the fuck is wrong with me?"


The next week, Frank moves out of the Hoover house. The only reason he hadn't left in the morning next to the night when his feelings had arised was that he couldn't leave Dwayne alone with those people. He stayed until the grieving ended for the rest of the family and then he took off. He couldn't let this strange form of imorality grow, so he'd cut it's evil by the root.
He'd only talked to Sheryl about leaving, so when he opened the door in the early morning with a cab waiting for him across the street, he didn't expect a voice to call him from inside. A tussled Dwayne stood in the middle of the living room, confusion written all over his face.

"Where the fuck are you going?" Frank took a deep breath and braced himself for the consequences of what he was about to say.

"I'm going away, Dwayne."

The boy just stared at him, the confusion giving place to betrayal. Dwayne felt crushed from the inside. He'd allowed the older man into his secrets and emotions, and now he was leaving? Without a hint of warning? A heartbroken "Why?" left his lips, as he aproached Frank, looking in the older man's eyes, trying to understand why he'd do this. "You... You don't get to do that."By now, Dwayne was only mere inches from Frank, holding the lapels of his jacket, his voice failing. "You don't get to make me trust you and then simply leave without saying a sigle fucking word about it! You don't get to..." Frank wound his arms reassuringly around Dwayne, remembering himself that this was only a child who eventually would find someone to trust again, and that he couldn't stand in the way.

"It's not like we'll never see eachother again..." Dwayne looked up at him, understanding what he meant by that.

"It'll be a long time." Dwayne said to himself. Frank leaned in and kissed his forehead, sighing.

"Don't worry, I'll call. Promise." Then, the older man took a step back, looked at Dwayne for a while and left. And indeed, it would be a long time.

A/N: This is pretty much my first fanfiction and it's not written in my native language, so any constructive criticism would be appreciating. Thank you!