"Frank says it was just a dream but the doctor has practically said that Frank isn’t real."
Frank thinks of Gerard as he is shampooing his hair. He’s on Gerard-watch for the night. Mikey’s been on the watch for three days, now, since he found out what almost happened. Frank has finally taken over because they’ve only yet been able to convince the younger Way that it’ll be better for everyone if he shares his guard-duties. So now, Frank’s rooming with Gerard: Something totally normal under normal circumstances.
They sat and talked and watched television, just like old times, and the vocalist seemed fine. And he, himself, told Frank that he’d be all right by himself for a while. So Frank thought it’d be okay to leave him to himself for a few moments. Everyone needs their solitude, after all. And Frank actually thinks that Gerard will never be able to trust himself if no one trusts him, first. He’ll never be completely clean if he can’t go through some part of it alone. He’s an adult and he deserves to be treated like one instead of being treated like a kid. He’ll never believe in himself if no one believes in him. And Frank does. He does believe in his friend. He knows Gerard’s strong. He knows he can pull himself through this. He believes. He trusts.
He keeps his head under the spray of water for a few moments more than necessary; just to see if he can get all that exhaustion and desperation and tension out of his body. His system. So that he can feel weightless for a moment; as if he is hovering in the air. Light as the blinking summer rain.
Suddenly, his desperate attempts at relieving himself from at least some of the stress gets interrupted with a blood-freezing scream.
His head snaps towards the bathroom door as his eyes get huge and he turns off the faucet to hear more clearly: It’s Gerard.
And somehow, he’s out the bathroom door in a flash, having grabbed and wrapped the white fluffy hotel towel around his waist in less than a second.
He immediately turns on the light. Gerard’s still screaming.
“No! No! Noooo!”
But his eyes are closed and he’s writhing on the bed, his brows furrowed in pain, his hands clutching the sheets tightly, his head moving from side to side in hopeless denial.
It’s a dream. A nightmare.
Frank has to wake him.
“Gerard!” he calls out when he finds his voice but the sleeping vocalist doesn’t hear him. His screams have gotten weaker now, but he’s still chanting the same two-lettered-word:
“No… no. Noo!”
Frank gets on the bed, not losing any more time then he already has and calls out his name again, louder this time.
“Gerard! Hey, Gerard…”
He can see one clear drop of tear running out from the corner of Gerard’s eye. He can’t take it anymore. His hand moves to wipe the salty droplet away from that pale skin and then settles on that full cheek.
“Gerard!” he cries.
Frank can’t decide what to do. He doesn’t want to slap him. Or shake him violently. He doesn’t want to hurt him. But Gerard doesn’t seem to be hearing his voice at all.
But he tries again.
“Gerard! Gee, c’mon! Wake up!”
Gerard is reduced to whimpering now. Softly. In the most heart-breaking way. Not anything like his previous violent, horrendous screeches.
Frank frowns and an ache settles itself firmly inside his chest. He grabs the sleeping man’s shoulders and shakes him, screaming.
“GERARD WAKE UP!”
His eyes shoot open in fear and panic. He struggles to get a proper breath, miserable, trouble-filled noises emanating from his sore throat.
Then he flings himself upwards to sit upright in the bed and Frank lets him, removing his hands from his shoulders but not taking his eyes away from him, nevertheless.
Gerard just breathes in troubled, irregular breaths for sometime, his eyes darting around the room in panic, taking in his surroundings like he hasn’t just fallen asleep in that very same room.
“…Gerard” mumbles Frank silently, afraid to scare him.
For a moment, the vocalist doesn’t react. He just sits and keeps on staring into nothingness. But then his eyes move around in their sockets in the tiny guitarist’s direction. But they’re empty.
For one horrific moment, Frank believes that Gerard doesn’t recognize him. At all.
He sighs a little when his friend asks in a timid, hoarse voice:
“Yeah… ‘s me. Gerard…” he trails off.
Gerard looks like he might start crying again. Or maybe he has never stopped crying, there are still tears running out of his eyes.
Frank reaches out hesitantly, to gently wipe the tears away. He can’t help it. But the other man flinches uncontrollably at his touch and lets out a deep, vulnerable sound.
“Hey…” the guitarist calls out, taking his hand away miserably. “That was just a dream…”
Gerard seems to close upon himself for a second, wrapping his arms around his body and shuddering silently. He doesn’t know what’s going on. He has no idea. Frank says it was just a dream but the doctor has practically said that Frank isn’t real. And yet, he’s back in the hotel room, in the bed he remembers lying on. Frank’s hair is wet and he’s wearing a towel around his waist. He looks like he has just jumped out of the shower. Gerard can see his tattoos. They’re pretty. He’s always wanted to touch them…
As his shaded eyes sweep over the ink on the guitarist’s body, Frank shifts closer – crawling a bit on his knees on the bed – and inspects his face.
“…You okay?” he asks faintly, his hand hovering in the air, as if not sure where to touch Gerard so he won’t quiver away from his touch.
The front-man’s eyebrows tremble as he slowly shakes his head: First right, then left.
“It was so real,” he whispers, shivering.
Finally Frank puts one hand on his shoulder and cups his cheek with the other.
“But it wasn’t,” he insists, “Just a dream. A nightmare.”
His fingers trail over Gerard’s troubled face and he realizes that the front-man is not only crying but he’s also sweating. And it’s so cold on his pale, pale skin. It trickles down his chin and pools around the corners of his eyebrows. Cold, so cold sweat.
“’s gonna be okay,” Frank assures him softly, leaning in and looking deep into his enormous terrified honey eyes. He lets him see the comfort in his own hazel orbs and rubs his hands over Gerard’s body, in a subconscious attempt to warm his skin.
Gerard stares back at him like a little child. He looks so lost. Frank has never seen him like this. Wasted, cracked up, yes. But lost, no.
“You know what you need?” he says lightly and Gerard blinks at him, leaning his head into his touch slightly.
“A nice, warm shower,” Frank answers his own question, trying to crack up a smile for Gerard. He doesn’t want the other man to see but he, himself, is pretty shaken up. Seeing Gerard like that, acknowledging the pure terror on his face, in his voice, all over his body… It’s almost too much for him.
Gerard blinks a few more times and gives a one-shouldered shrug as a reaction. Frank takes it as an affirmative response and takes his hand and starts tugging at it gently as he moves to get out of the bed.
“C’mon” he mumbles, smiling and still tugging at the vocalist’s hand.
Gerard’s eyes once again roam around the room crazily and then he seems to decide it’s safe for him to get up. So he does and follows Frank to the bathroom.
After seeing the whiteness that is the bathroom itself, Gerard cowers a bit; getting flashes of white, sickly walls, and clings on Frank’s hand tighter. The guitarist turns back to him in time to see him grimacing and asks, worried:
“Hey… What is it?”
Gerard look at the white tiled walls surrounding him and forces the memories away; those walls were not tiled after all.
Frank can see the painful struggle on his face so he closes the distance between them and puts his free hand at the side of Gerard’s head, stroking gently.
“What’s wrong?” he asks silently, “You wanna talk ‘bout it?”
Gerard stares at him for some time and he just can’t take the silence. Gerard is always vocal. Always loud. He’s never silent like this. Never. He’s always talking, humming, singing, murmuring, blubbering, sighing or just making some damn kind of noise. It just unnerves Frank to see him reduced to a silent, crumbled mess like this and because of a dream… He has to know what he saw; if it was too bad. He has to. Because there is speech in his silence. And Frank listens to that speech intently but still doesn’t understand what has freaked out his best friend so much.
“Huh?” he tries to encourage Gerard again.
Finally, the lead singer nods. Frank smiles, helps him sit on the closed lid of the toilet and moves to sit cross-legged on the cold, hard floor in front of him. And Gerard still doesn’t let go of his hand. His grip is rather firm. But it’s okay as far as Frank’s concerned. He knows the other man needs comfort.
“… Frankie. ’m not even sure if it was a dream,” begins Gerard.
He listens and listens as Gerard lets it all out. His voice quivers and his eyes screw shut as he talks about the injection and Frank covers his other hand with his, squeezing, letting him know that it’s all over.
“And then… He said, he said that. I-I was ill and… have been in. In a. Mental inst-institution,” Gerard gasps, trying to hold back the tears. “For. For th-three years, he said.”
Frank’s eyes get even wider and he sidles up to Gerard’s legs, leaning his body against them lightly, trying to make him see that he, Frank, is real, subconsciously.
“That’s fucked up,” he states. “But still… Gee, it was just a fuckin’ nightmare.”
Gerard takes a deep breath and nods continuously, trying to convince himself that it was indeed only a nightmare.
“’cause I know I’m real as hell,” Frank smirks slightly and Gerard’s lips twitch, barely able to form the shadow of a smile.
“There’s just… No way to know. For sure,” Gerard says as Frank gapes at him.
Then the guitarist takes up a different approach to the subject.
“Yeah, you’re right,” he says, nodding. “There’s no way. We could all be like, living in the matrix. As far as we know.”
Gerard’s lips tug up at one corner.
“Yeah,” he mumbles softly, “Who could know?”
But still, the cold, uneasy feeling hasn’t left his body.
Then Frank decides talking time is over and tells him that he really should take a shower. Insists that it would help. And Gerard believes him, hoping that the warmth might chase the cold away.
But still, he sits on the closed toilet lid distractedly.
“Want me to help?” Frank asks casually, and a bit affectionately, after seeing that he makes no move to undress and get in the shower.
Gerard looks at him and shrugs a shrug that could mean anything and everything, really.
Carefully, Frank makes him stand up and takes off his black faded denim jacket. Then tugs at the hem of his t-shirt, clueing him on raising his arms upwards, and takes it off, too. He doesn’t leave any room or time for awkwardness to settle in as his hands move to carefully unbutton and unzip Gerard’s jeans. Gerard holds onto his shoulders with both hands as Frank bends down to peel down his pants. He makes Gerard lift one foot off the floor first and then the other. In the end, the front-man is left standing in front of the shower in only his boxers.
Frank doesn’t think it would be good to invade Gerard’s privacy so much to remove his underwear. Gerard doesn’t even like letting people see any part of his body except his face and his hands, let alone stand practically naked in front of them. So Frank is pretty aware that this is a great act of trust and comfort. And he just looks at Gerard for a moment. Stands back and adores the glory of him. Because he’s truly beautiful with that pale skin stretched over his elegant ribs and with those shapely thighs. And his chubby little belly just adds to his beauty, doesn’t steal from it like Gerard thinks so. With his hair and his eyes and his lips and his nose, he’s completely perfect. Only he doesn’t know that. Or doesn’t quite understand that. And right now, only the expression on that pretty face and the tension-packed posture of that body is wrong.
Frank shakes himself out of it and takes a step towards the door.
“I think you’ll be able to do the rest, huh?” he asks, changing his mind and going back to Gerard’s side.
Gerard merely nods idly and gets under the shower spray still in his boxers. Frank once again turns to leave and hears the sound of the water droplets hitting Gerard’s soft skin. Just as he’s about to get out, Gerard calls out to him.
He turns back and sees him under the spray. His pale flesh flushed pink under the warm water. He already looks slightly better.
“Yeah?” Frank asks.
But Gerard doesn’t say anything else. Just sort of beckons him to come closer with his eyes. And Frank does. Because he’d do anything for Gerard.
When he’s close enough to touch, Gerard gently takes hold of his hand and tugs at it until he ends up under the spray, himself. They both blink at the water droplets running down their faces, trying to see each other clearly. Frank feels his towel getting heavier as it gets wetter with each passing second. But he doesn’t care.
Then Gerard leans in and places his lips over Frank’s, his doe eyes closed. Frank, too, leans into the kiss instinctively and his eyes flicker shut. Then there’s only the feel of the water running down his body and Gerard’s lips on his. The kiss is hesitant and chaste. Their lips don’t exactly move at all. They’re still holding hands when they finally break the kiss.
“I think you’re real,” whispers Gerard against Frank’s lips and he smiles.
He squeezes Gerard’s hands and takes a couple steps back, gets out of the shower and looks at the singer from behind the wet tendrils of his dark fringe. And nods.
Then retrieves another fluffy white towel and gets out of the bathroom.
Gerard doesn’t feel cold anymore.
Frank is lounging on his bed in his boxers and a clean white t-shirt, his hands interlocked behind his head, his eyes closed, when Gerard walks out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist and another one wrapped around his head. He looks like he’s sleeping but then he blinks open his eyes and Gerard sees that he’s wide awake.
“…Thought you were asleep,” Gerard mumbles quietly.
“Nope. Just relaxing.”
Gerard’s skin is still pinkish in color and he looks considerably more at ease with himself than before.
“I see the shower helped,” Frank comments, turning on his side and leaning his head on his palm, supporting its weight with his elbow on the bed.
“Yeah. I feel better.”
Then he looks around the room to spot his suitcase so that he can retrieve some clean underwear and pajamas. He doesn’t need to look far though, for a pair of black boxer briefs and his favorite pajamas are placed on his bed, all folded neatly. He grabs the clothes and hugs them to his chest, his gaze returning to his friend, his lips forming a warm smile.
“Thanks,” he says gratefully.
Frank returns his smile.
“Don’t mention it.”
Gerard returns from the bathroom another ten minutes later, having put on his faithful pajamas and dried his hair. He walks over to his bed reluctantly and his eyes wander over it, realizing that the empty little vodka bottle he has dumped on the bedside stand is not residing there, anymore. He bites his lower lip in shame and dares a glance at Frank, who has once again turned on his side to face him.
“Don’t look at me like that,” begins Frank, “I’m not gonna yell at you for drinking.”
Gerard just stands there and stares at him.
“I… I-I just. Can’t d-do without it.”
Frank sighs a deep, exhausted sigh.
“Maybe you’re just not… not ready yet. But you know, you admit that you have a problem. That’s something, at least.”
Gerard drops his gaze and looks back at his bed. He can’t get one more step closer to it. He finds that he doesn’t want to. It’s almost like he’s afraid of the bed. He only realizes he’s been standing there, staring at the bed for maybe a long time when Frank starts talking again.
“Don’t wanna sleep in there, huh?”
Gerard shakes his head wordlessly.
Then Frank scoots over to the left side of his bed and tugs the covers from underneath him to hold them up for Gerard.
“’s okay. You can sleep here,” he says reassuringly.
Gerard’s head shoots up and there’s a flicker of hope on his face. His eyes are open wide in the most innocent way and his brows are about to get lost in his hair line. His mouth slightly open, letting out a surprised but warm, damp breath.
Upon seeing the welcoming smile on Frank’s face, he shuffles towards the other bed in a completely awkward but grateful way, not knowing where to place his hands or where to direct his gaze.
When he finally ends up by the empty side, Frank takes one of his hands and locks his eyes with his.
“’s okay,” he mutters again and gently pulls Gerard towards the bed. The singer pulls back at first, coming like a reluctant child, but then he relaxes and lets Frank direct him. They lay side by side on the big double bed, Gerard still holding onto Frank’s hand and they close their eyes.
They don’t turn off the lights.
Gerard doesn’t know why exactly but he feels awkward. It’s not like he’s sleeping with Frank for the first time; they have slept crammed up against each other in their tiny van for who knows how long. They’ve fallen asleep with their heads in each other’s laps, or on each other’s shoulders or practically on top of each other. But still, this feels a lot more different and awkward. Though, Frank seems more relaxed than he is.
Maybe he feels weird because he basically kissed Frank like twenty minutes ago. It warmed his insides, that tiniest, lightest touch of their lips.
But then again, it’s no big deal. They do that all the time.
He fidgets and shifts on his side, trying to settle down in a comfortable position. He flops down on his back, then turns on his side facing Frank. That doesn’t work either so he turns on his other side. He draws up his knees towards his chest, but that, too, doesn’t seem to work. He sighs in exasperation when he can’t find a suitable position to sleep in.
“Try settlin’ down ‘n your shtomach…” mumbles Frank, his face squished in the pillow under his head; he, himself, is in some weird position between sleeping on his side and sleeping on his stomach.
Gerard sighs once again and shifts closer to the guitarist, flopping down on his stomach in the way. He tucks his hand close to his chest and nuzzles his head under Frank’s chin slightly.
“Mmm… ‘s okay,” mumbles Frank one more time and reaches out with one hand to pull Gerard a little bit closer, his arm settling over the singer’s waist.
And it’s everything Gerard needs. The warmth, the life emanating from Frank’s body is all that he is so in desperate need of. He snuggles against that warm, soft flesh and breathes in the scent that is pure Frank to him. His hand places itself against the peacefully beating heart of the tiny man and finally, Gerard is convinced that he is real. This is real. Frank is really here.
Their legs get tangled in each other’s and Gerard finally drifts off into a light slumber.
He wakes with a start, images of the orderlies, the needle and the doctor swimming through his mind to get in front of his eyes. “None of that is real, Gerard… not in a band…” echoing in his ears. “… mental institution… been with us for three years now…” He gasps.
And then Frank is shushing him quietly, rubbing his back with one hand, brushing wet tendrils of jet-black hair away from his face with the other.
“Gerard… ‘s all right. ‘m here. Hey, right here…” whispers Frank to his ear. “Fuckin’ dream…”
And Gerard clings to him in fear, burying his head in the crook of Frank’s neck, wrapping his arms around his torso. Their legs already intertwined in the closest, most intimate way possible.
“’m here,” Frank sighs to the side of his neck, continuing to rub his back soothingly.
And Gerard finally drifts back to sleep – for the last time that night.
A/N: Hey, guys... Here's the second chapter. And I sincerely hope I can get a reaction this time =) I really need to know what you think. I mean, anything... Just please review or rate or do something, anything to tell me how this is... I had thought this was a good idea at first but now I'm guessing not many people like it.
Anyway, yeah I'm done pleading for reviews and ratings. So, ummm, if anyone's interested in Soul Purpose, I'm gonna try to get another chapter up, soon, but if it doesn't come in a few days, then it might not come until next Friday or Saturday. I'm going to stupid summer school and have to come up with a presentation on Thursday or Friday.
hmm, yeah. I guess that's all :)