After seeing what we saw, can we still reclaim our innocence?
It happens all very sudden. He doesn’t even have any time to be able to know anything. To be able to get to know anything. In a flash, he finds himself walking. Walking through what seems to be a long hall. Full of… Full of.
People in white gowns.
With a start, he realizes that he is also in a white gown.
White clinic gown.
Which reminds him that… this isn’t supposed to be happening. This isn’t supposed to be real. He’s not here. No. Really. He’s not.
He frowns and keeps on walking, his eyes wandering over the people around him. Their faces are mostly expressionless. And it’s disturbing; not being able to know what they’re thinking or feeling. But then, maybe they’re not thinking. Maybe they can’t.
And even though… even though he’s not supposed to be here. Somehow… he is. Here. With all these other ones.
The problem is, he just can’t figure… can’t figure anything out, actually. He frowns and comes to the realization that he doesn’t know what to do. Where to go. It’s almost like his brain is not working the way it’s supposed to be working and. Thus. He’s vacillating. Confused. And with all these creepy crazy people around him, he feels so vulnerable. So alone and scared and.
Once again, panic takes over his body. He starts shaking and feels his breathing get erratic. His hands grip the sides of his head, pulling his hair and it hurts. His head snaps in random directions. Random faces end up in his sight. Bulgy eyes. Hanging-open mouths. Raised brows. White walls. And. White tiles. And. White gowns. Shaking hands. Crooked smiles. They’re everywhere.
His eyes widen uncontrollably and he rakes his nails down his face. Pain helps. Doesn’t want to see anymore. He presses his hands over his eyes. Don’t look!
“Gerard!” someone calls from behind him. Probably an orderly. Or a male nurse.
Then he feels someone touch his elbow and.
“C’mon. Time for –”
He wakes with a start.
“ – soundcheck.”
Gerard raises his head from its resting place on his right arm and jerks his other arm away from whoever’s grip, spinning around in his seat, his eyes huge with fear.
It takes him a moment to realize that it’s Matt standing in front of him with a confused expression on his face. He tries to even his breathing. It’s just Otter. He takes a deep breath, shuddering.
The drummer frowns harder.
“Hey, man, you all right?”
Gerard’s eyes start travelling around the room, taking in his surroundings. And he finally realizes that he’s sitting at the booth in the back-lounge of their tour bus. Sweat is trickling down his temple to his chin by the time he nods his head hesitantly.
It seems to be enough for Matt so he just shrugs and starts talking again.
“Yeah, whatever. It’s time for soundcheck so get your lazy ass up already.”
Gerard nods again as he watches the retreating back of his friend and wipes off the sweat on his face with the sleeve of his hoodie. He keeps blinking, trying to understand what just happened. He feels like someone is hijacking his reality; one moment he’s in one direction – or dimension – and then the other, he’s in a completely different one.
He thought it was only a dream.
Frank said it was only a dream, that night.
But he just can’t decide if it really is a dream or if he’s losing his mind. Or maybe he already lost his mind a long time ago and he actually is living a delusion at the moment.
He searches for some kind of evidence that he just fell asleep on the booth and tries to remember what he was doing before the so-called “dream” invaded his mind.
His eyes fall on a book on the table and he remembers reading it. Carelessly, without focusing his thoughts on anything. He takes it in his hand and idly flips through the pages. A tiny neat transparent package lands on the table, dropping from between the pages of the book.
It’s full of white powder.
Gerard blinks and his hand shoots up almost immediately to grab it and keep it out of sight; afraid someone might see it. Even if the bus seems to be already deserted.
He puts his hand on his lap and sits hunched over, frowning at the white powder in it.
It’s the stimulant to finally bring his fading memory back to his confused mind. He remembers now. He knows he snorted some of it. But no. Not some of it. That was a different package. And subconsciously, he buries his vacant hand deep into his pocket and produces another tiny package. But it’s not as neatly packed as the other one. Because Gerard ripped it open and had his wicked way with the pretty white powder, earlier that day.
It was just one of those days. Those mornings that never seemed to leave him alone. As he lay in his bunk, silently blinking up at Frank’s bunk on top of his, he felt desperate and miserable. He didn’t want to be himself, anymore. Just wanted it to be over. Like that morning he had decided to kill himself. Wanted to go home but didn’t know if he was even going to be alive to see the next day. And yet Brian had told him that only if he could make it to Japan and back, then everything would be okay. He would be home and he could… he could. Whatever. He needed to feel high or he feared he was going to hurt himself. Even try to kill himself again. So he had actually gone through with it once more: In the bathroom, he had formed neat little cuts of white powder and greedily snorted them up. Not caring about what would happen when he finally got down from that high.
Then of course, after a few hours of blissful euphoria, the despair had returned, powerful as ever. And he’d popped a bunch of his beloved pills – Xanax he’d picked up before stepping on the bus, panicking like a maniac at the thought of not having them anymore – just to be able to sleep. Just to shut his goddamn brain off.
And apparently he had slept.
It’s the only explanation.
And he dreamt.
But the weird thing is, he doesn’t know if people see dreams – or nightmares – continuing after one another from where the previous one left off like the episodes of a TV series. The thought is outright scary: His subconscious is trying to make him go crazy!
And finally, he thinks that maybe, just maybe, there are parallel universes. And he might be channeling one of them.
Or maybe that’s because he doesn’t want to believe he has finally driven himself insane.
He shakes his head and stands up, stashing the cocaine back in its place between the pages of his book and dumps the book in his suitcase. Then makes his way out of the bus and towards the venue where they’ll be playing tonight.
He feels like maybe, he needs something more than just a few beers to face the crowd, tonight. He laughs a bitter laugh at the thought. He can’t even attempt partial-sobriety.
He’s so fucking pathetic.
Gerard manages to get through soundcheck without anyone noticing something is wrong with him. Though Mikey keeps glancing in his direction when he thinks he’s not looking but he’s wrong. Gerard notes every one of those glances and every time he does, an uncomfortable, uneasy feeling grips his insides, twisting them mercilessly. He can see the worry wedged deep in Mikey’s dark, sunken eyes. The miserable twitching of his brother’s lower lip. And whenever their gazes meet, Mikey smiles at him. He’s so brave, Gerard thinks. And yet, he knows his brother is fearful. For him. Mikey always worries so much for him. Because at first, it was only him and Mikey. They only had each other for a very long time. And suddenly, Gerard has an incredible, unbearable, an almost irresistible urge to go hug him. Wrap his arms tight around him and refuse to let go like he used to do to annoy his little brother when they were kids.
So Gerard waits for him to hand his bass over to a roadie and then practically runs to his side, throwing his arms around his brother’s shoulders immediately. Mikey lets out a muffled cry of surprise as he staggers under the impact of Gerard’s body slamming to his own. But Gerard just holds on tighter, squeezing as if he’ll never let go. His grip is so firm and tight that it actually feels a bit uncomfortable with Mikey’s hipbones and collarbones digging into his flesh. But when the younger Way sighs “Gerard…” and wraps his lanky arms around his middle, Gerard’s chest feels at least two-sizes small for its cage.
“…Mikey,” he mumbles silently, slamming his eyes shut; going to a time and place where they’re both younger and still innocent.
After seeing what we saw, can we still reclaim our innocence?
Mikey keeps patting his back with slow continuous movements as he murmurs to his brother’s ear.
“…Hey, Gee. What’s wrong?”
Gerard shifts his head on his brother’s shoulder and settles his cheek against the crook of Mikey’s neck as he shrugs.
“I just… I-I wish… you wouldn’t wo-worry so much for me… I’m s-ss-sorry I make you worried all the ti –”
“No!” Mikey objects, now stroking Gerard’s dark tousled hair softly. “I know you’re gonna be okay.”
Gerard nods softly as Mikey squeezes his waist a little and then he blinks open his eyes. He is met with a pair of affectionate eyes immediately. Frank is staring at them from across the stage with an amazed expression on his face. He gives Gerard an encouraging smile, his lip ring reflecting the sunlight that’s falling over the side of his face. To the vocalist, he’s beaming. So Gerard beams back, still in the cocoon of his brother’s arms, feeling so very happy and peaceful all of a sudden.
He wants to bathe in the feeling, wants to roll around on the ground covered with that feeling - like a playful dog, wants it to last forever. But after realizing that it got so hot that Mikey’s face is sweating lightly, he pulls back reluctantly and stares up at his brother.
Mikey ruffles his hair a bit as he finally lets go and rewards him with a patented Mikeyway smile where his lips curve upwards slightly, lighting up his face. But when Gerard beams back at him, his smile breaks into a stupid happy grin, showing his bunny-ish front teeth and all.
Then Gerard feels a hand on his shoulder and spins around to come face to face with what appears to be a light brown bush, only to realize it’s actually the top of Ray’s bowed down head. The look on the guitarist’s face is one Gerard has only seen when Ray first heard the news about Elena. But he’s also smiling and his afro kinda looks a bit tired and over-emotional. When Gerard directs his smile at him, Ray gives him a big happy one of his own and moves in to hug him, his hair tickling the side of the singer’s face, emanating little pleased sounds from his mouth.
Ray squeezes Gerard tight and pats his back before releasing him from his death-grip.
“We’re here for you Gerard,” he mutters sheepishly.
“Thanks,” responds Gerard, gratefulness evident on his face and in his tone. He toys with a curl on Ray’s head for a while and the guitarist lets him.
Then he notices Frank coming over from the corner of his eye and turns to greet him.
The rhythm guitarist has his hands in the pockets of his hoodie and he gives Gerard pursed tiny lips and enormous eyes as he comes to a halt beside them.
Gerard raises an eyebrow at him.
“…What?” he asks, grinning lop-sidedly, “You want a hug, too?”
Frank nods enthusiastically, his head bobbing under his hood, an innocent expression on his face.
“Yep,” he says, “Mine doesn’t have to be all that brotherly, though…”
Gerard giggles girlishly and a faint blush creeps its way to settle down on his round cheeks as he closes the distance between them and throws his arms around the guitarist’s tiny figure. Frank’s arms wrap around his waist and they stay like that for some time; eyes closed and minds completely oblivious to the outer world. Gerard plays with the little hairs on Frank’s neck unconsciously and the tiny guitarist tries hard to hold back from shivering. In return he runs his hands up and down Gerard’s back and the vocalist sighs for him contently, turning his face to nuzzle his nose against the hollow where Frank’s ear meets his neck.
Then the friendly hug turns into a more desperate embrace as Gerard’s mind once more drifts into thoughts of his “dreams” or hallucinations or whatever. He takes a troubled breath and Frank’s hand gently massages his scalp.
“…You can tell me what’s wrong,” begins Frank, murmuring into his ears silently, having sensed the sudden tension in his body “Whenever you want to… whenever you’re ready.”
Gerard nods and Frank rubs over the tense knots between his shoulder blades for a moment before Mikey finally declares the situation calls for a group hug and he and Ray both throw their arms around the other two.
Soon, they’re a little puppy-pile of happy boys.
But Matt’s nowhere to be seen.
Before going on stage, Gerard loads his stomach with beer and feels better immediately. He’s just not ready to face the crowd without it. And no one says anything. Maybe because they know he’s just trying to hold on day by day, each day. Each night. He’s on the edge and all he needs is the lightest push.
During the night’s show, Gerard can’t keep his hands to himself. He runs over to Mikey’s side, hugging him from behind, creating the illusion of naughtiness, emitting violent cheers from the audience. Then he prances his way over to Frank, taking good care not to get hit in any vital areas by a flailing limb and in a flash of a moment, when the guitarist throws his head back in ecstasy, his tiny fleshy red lips open in the most perfect little ellipse, sweat trickling all over his face, Gerard makes a soft noise at the sight in front of him. The mic catches it and Frank’s eyes shoot open, looking at him curiously. Then he takes a couple steps over to where Gerard’s standing and turns his back to him, leaning his shoulders against his chest, knowing that Gerard will keep him from falling. He throws his head back again, bracing it on the vocalist’s shoulder, and Gerard holds him with a hand over his torso, singing to the crowd from around Frank’s lithe body as Frank keeps violently slamming on his guitar.
It’s over too soon.
Gerard stiffens on the mattress he's lying, realizing that he’s not in his bunk, anymore. Daylight pours into the room from the tiny window on the other side and he sits up in the white hospital bed, rubbing his head roughly as if it would help send him back to the tour bus.
“Oh…” says someone in a surprised but pleased tone from the doorway and Gerard snaps his head to see a doctor. No. The doctor. It’s the same doctor. “You’re awake…” the doctor trails off.
Gerard shakes his head forcefully, in absolute denial.
“No. I’m sleeping.” He’s so certain.
“No, you’re not,” responds the doctor gently, as if trying to make him embrace the idea.
Gerard blinks at him in confusion and slight suspicion. He realizes his limbs are not strapped down to the bed and jumps on his feet immediately. He has unconsciously put the bed as a barrier between the doctor and himself.
“No,” he says again, his voice lacking the sure quality it had at first, doubtful. “…I’m dreaming.”
The doctor shakes his head, his hands deep in the pockets of his white coat, in the traditional pose you see everyday on TV. He steps closer to the bed and talks silently in a soothing tone.
“It’s going to be okay,” he says and the feeling of déjà vu overtakes Gerard’s mind for a moment, his gaze becoming unfocused as he remembers. Remembers Frank telling him the exact same thing. With his deep melodic voice and his tongue rolling over the words smoothly. His words, the way he had put them, had the sincerity, conviction and compassion the doctors’ miserably lack.
“… Look,” the doctor continues, making a gesture like he’s reaching back, “Look who’s here.”
And he steps away, revealing… someone. People. Gerard can’t focus for a while, his vision blurry but then he recognizes them.
And it’s impossible.
Unless it’s a miracle.
But there’s no such thing as a miracle. Gerard’s sure of that. And yet, they approach. Tentatively, at first, afraid to scare him. And he blinks and blinks and focuses and they’re still there.
She’s smiling, tears glistening in her eyes. He can see them even with those ever-present glasses on her face.
Gerard’s eyes widen and he backs up against the wall behind him, shrinking against the corner. She can’t be here. She just can’t. There’s no way. At all. He shakes his head, a continuous motion, and they finally stop. They don’t want to scare him.
She’s the one to break the silence with her soothing voice.
Gerard frowns harder, his eyes madly dashing around her face, her slightly hunched figure, her grayish white hair. She’s the same. Like she always was. And it’s disturbing. She just… can’t.
As they stand there looking at each other, Gerard slowly takes it in. One by one. His mother’s there. Right. It’s her with the fluffed up yellow hair and the compassionate expression. His father’s there, too. He looks a bit shook up and older. More. Miserable, perhaps.
And she’s there. Elena. His grandmother. Alive and well. Staring at him in awe, wiping away a single rebellious tear from her left cheek.
“Oh… Gerard, baby…” she whispers.
Gerard just wants it to stop. It’s too hard. He can’t accept it. Can’t. He smashes a hand to his face, rubbing it all over his forehead. Make it go away.
“…You’re really here,” his grandmother goes on, “I knew you could do it, baby.”
It seems so real. So amazing. Fantastic. To have her standing in front of him again. And he wants to believe. Wants to believe that she’s here. And this is not only a dream.
He peeks out from between two fingers and blinks up at her, whispering in silent shock:
A/N: Yepp, here you go with another chapter! I hope you like this as much as the previous one cause I'd like to thank you for the reviews and ratings! They really motivate me =)
I'm sorry if this is a bit of a cliffhanger. There was actually supposed to be more to this but then I decided to cut it off here. Just bear with me until I post the next chapter ;)
And for faithful followers of Soul Purpose, I am gonna give it my everything to put up the next chapter as soon as possible. It's just that my brain is pretty much like vegetable soup right now and I can't seem to organize my thoughts to come up with the next chapter. Now that I've let some of this Frerard schizophrenia shit out, I think I'll be able to focus on it better. (And for the ones who are not interested in Soul Purpose at all, I'm sorry you have to read this in pretty much every chapter I've ever posted.)
Thanks for reading! And now you could possibly, pleaase, do me a favor: Review and/or rate, huh? What do ya say?