"You're not my brother."
Elena gives him a tearful smile, her hands clutching nervously at her purse.
“Oh, Gerard… You’re back,” she croaks out, her throat closing up on her vocal chords with the overflow of emotion.
Gerard blinks hard and his vision blurs with his own salty tears. He gasps out a couple breaths, desperately trying to understand.
“… You’re. Here?” he whispers, tears flowing down his smooth cheeks, burning.
She smiles again. Her smile is as sweet as the cookies she used to make for Gerard. He remembers their taste. His lips twitch sideward unconsciously.
“Yes… Yes, honey, I’m here. And so are you,” she tells him with conviction.
He nods silently, his young face relaxing, the creases of his frown disappearing. He rubs his upper arms as his eyes wander over her tiny, hunched figure.
“… I missed you,” he mumbles, leaning forward slightly, in an unrecognized effort to get closer to her.
A muffled sob comes from near her and Gerard’s head snaps towards that direction. It’s his mother, holding a handkerchief to her mouth, pressing it against her flesh to keep the cries inside. He flutters his lashes to keep the tears away, to better focus on her. Their gazes meet.
She shakes her head in a vain attempt to better control her emotions but another whimper escapes her lips before his name, nonetheless.
His tears feel heavier on his cheeks as he finally moves to get up and walk away from the wall he’s cowering against. He takes one step forward.
“Mom…” he mumbles, heartbroken, “…Don’t cry.”
Donna blinks furiously to keep the tears away as his father wraps an arm around her shoulders in support, squeezing.
“Gerard,” Donald says in a weak voice, his own eyes glazed over, “We’re so glad you’re home, son.”
Gerard doesn’t really understand what exactly “you’re home” means since he clearly isn’t home, but lets it go. Because Elena’s there and he hasn’t seen his mom or dad in months. He’s missed them so much.
He takes a couple more steps towards them and mutters quietly.
“I missed you…”
The three of them just stare at him in unadulerated awe as he approaches, as if they’re back to the day he took his first steps, tottering on his inexperienced toddler feet.
“He's lucid... Keep talking to him,” the doctor encourages, “You might help ground him.”
Gerard hesitates at the doctor’s words, frowning again. It feels like he’s forgetting something… Or. Someone. He looks towards his family again. His Mom and Dad, his Gramma… They’re all here. Just… Then… Where is he?
“Mikey…” he breathes, coming to a halt a few feet before his bed. “Where’s Mikey?” he asks. His eyes have started scanning the room again, as if expecting Mikey to jump up from some unexpected place, trying to make him laugh. But his little brother’s nowhere in sight.
“Where’s Mikey?” he asks again. He can’t keep the disappointment out of his voice or his face. His features are crumbling slightly. Why wouldn’t Mikey come to see him?
“That’s the brother, right?” his dad asks the doctor, unsure.
“Yes,” the doctor responds, “Aside from many friends, Gerard has made up a brother for himself, too. Desperate for family ties, I suppose. He doesn’t have the chance to see his family on ‘tour’, so he needs his brother.”
Gerard shakes his head in furious denial. He doesn’t really get the full meaning behind the doctor’s words but he’s sure that the man has just claimed that Gerard has made Mikey up. That’s crazy!
“What… what the hell are ya talkin’ about?” he yells in the doctor’s face.
The doctor blinks at him and smiles in an irritatingly calm and compassionate manner. When he talks, his voice carries that irritating calm demeanor, too.
“Gerard,” he begins patiently, “You don’t have a brother. ‘Mikey’ is also a delusion, like your friends and your band.”
Gerard’s eyes get as big as ping pong balls and his face falls completely. What little stability he has gained in the past peaceful moments leaves his body, fluttering its wings against the cold wind of Gerard’s rage as it wraps itself around his body. He doesn’t back off this time, unlike the previous times the doctor has given him such world-shattering news. He’s done with putting up with this shit. He takes a threatening step towards the white-coat, a growl rising up in his throat.
“Shut up,” he says, in an eerily quiet voice.
But the doctor doesn’t seem to notice the swing in his mood because he continues to talk to him patiently.
“No, Gerard, I’m saying these for your own good. Mikey is not your brother. You’ve created him inside your mind… He doesn’t really exist.”
“Shut the fuck up!” he roars in the doctor’s face, glaring at him dangerously. Only the mere few inches between them keep him from wrapping his hands around the other man’s throat.
The white-coat takes a few steps back, realizing the gravity of the situation. But Gerard’s not finished yet.
“You don’t know shit!” he screams, “You… you don’t know Mikey!”
“I’m sorry, Gerard,” the doctor says quietly, trying to calm him down.
And then Gerard flinches violently because there’s a hand at his elbow. He jerks his arm back, twirling around to face his attacker. But it’s not an orderly this time. It’s just his grandmother. She’s looking up at him with the most sympathetic expression so that he wants to wrap himself in it and just be content.
“You tell him Gramma,” he mutters, staring deep into her eyes, pleading, “Tell him… Tell him about. About Mikey. How, how he is…”
A tear hesitates in the crease under her eye.
“I’m sorry, honey…”
Gerard grabs her hand, tugging at it like a little child that wants ice-cream so bad.
“… C’mon Gramma, pleaaase… Tell him… Tell him how Mikey w-would set the table when we’d he-help you in Thanksgiving,” he pleads, so desperate.
She slowly shakes her head and his breath hitches as he turns towards his parents.
“Mom… Dad,” he cries as they avert their eyes, “One of you! Just tell him… fuckin’ tell him about Mikey… Tell him h-how he took his ff-irst steps t-trying to c-catch me as I ran.”
His father shoots him a shocked look while his mother rests her head on her husband’s shoulder, still holding the handkerchief to her mouth, her shoulders shaking with silent hiccups.
Gerard sniffles, the corners of his lips hanging down with despair, his posture even more hunched than normal with the unbearable weight on his mind. “T-tell him,” he mutters as he shakes all over. “Tell him how he’d… how he’d fall ff-flat on his f-face before he could walk after me.”
“G-Gerard,” his grandmother starts hesitantly, not wanting to make him mad again, “You d-don’t have a brother, honey… You a-always wanted one, but… but you ne-never had a brother.”
“Yes…” mutters his mother, blinking teary eyes at him. He can see the shining truth in them. “You’re our one and only, baby… Our Gerard…”
“… Our only child, our only son,” says his father. When he blinks, Gerard can see that he’s started crying, too.
He feels his breathing go erratic and gasps to take proper breaths. He feels like he’s suffocating. As if somebody’s gripping his throat. He has to breathe… Mikey! He claws at the empty air in front of him and breaks down at the horrified expressions on his family’s faces, sinking to the floor by his grandmother’s feet, sobbing. His body shaking with the most violent sobs. Blood-curling wails escaping his mouth.
“I think we’re losing him!” states the doctor and Gerard feels arms trying to restrain him. And the stinging of a needle piercing his skin. He doesn’t respond. He’s gone numb.
A warm hand lands on his back softly. Stroking.
Elena whispers to him:
“Oh, Gerard, you’re going to be all right.”
“Oh Gerard, you’re gonna be all right,” someone mutters in his ear, stroking his back. “Hey, just wake up… It’s okay… Gerard!”
He opens his eyes, his mind floating up to the surface of consciousness, as someone shakes him with a strong grip on his shoulder. He is met with darkness and can’t be sure if he’s really opened his eyes.
“Hey, Geraaard!” calls a whiny voice and he turns towards the sound and is met with a gentle light. And the concerned face of his brother. Who is not supposed to exist. At all.
“You…” he mutters, squinting to see his face clearly; his eyes have not yet adjusted to the light.
Mikey gives him a hesitant facial expression that could probably pass as a smile.
“Yeah, it’s me,” he says, then adds in a tone he hopes is reassuring, “Whatever you were seeing, it’s over.”
Then he notices the tears straining Gerard’s face and brings strangely trembling fingers to wipe them off. Gerard quivers against his touch.
“You’re not s-supposed to exist…” he mumbles, frowning.
Mikey doesn’t know if he hears right but he frowns back at his brother anyway.
“What?” he asks.
Gerard scoots backwards, further into his bunk, and blinks at him like he’s seeing an alien.
“You’re not real,” he says, his voice holding more certainty now. Because he can see it now. Mikey can’t be his brother. They don’t look alike at all. Brothers are supposed to at least resemble each other a bit. But no. Mikey’s all arms and legs, bones without meat whereas Gerard has lots of meat and fat to carry around everywhere. And his face is longer, his lips fuller, his eyes deeper, his jaw sharper. All over, he has a stronger, a more masculine face compared to Gerard’s soft, almost feminine features. And he’s quiet when Gerard’s such a loudmouth. He’s everything Gerard isn’t. He’s everything Gerard cannot be. Can never be.
And finally, the realization dawns on him that he made Mikey up because he needed someone to load those characteristics he always yearned for. So that he could blame someone else for not possessing them. Mikey got the sharper chin, Mikey got the longer legs, Mikey got the silent mind. So he couldn’t.
But right now, Mikey’s looking at him with the most frightening look Gerard has ever seen on his face.
“The hell are you talkin’ about?” he asks roughly.
“You’re not my brother,” Gerard states. And he says it all without even blinking or looking away. He’s that sure.
And Mikey’s speechless before him. Gerard’s almost expecting him to disappear into thin air since he admitted to himself that he doesn’t exist. But he just sits there, his jaw gaping open, and stares at Gerard with a hurt look on his smooth features. But Gerard wants him to go away. To disappear. Or else, he thinks, he might have done something wrong. So he tries again, his voice ringing more clearly this time.
“You’re not my brother… Because. I made you up. You don’ really exist.”
Mikey’s whole face crumbles for a moment and in that flash of a moment Gerard sees so much pain engraved across that young face. But then anger washes away the pain and Mikey scoffs as if he wants to spit.
“What the fuck did you snort up this time, huh, Gerard? It must be some pretty strong shit to make you delusional like this,” he hisses, his voice biting at Gerard’s skin.
But Gerard’s determined.
“I didn’t snort up anything. The doctor said… and Elena, she was there. She said you weren’t real, that I. I-I always wanted a brother b-but I never had one. And Mom and Da –”
“You know what, Gerard?” Mikey cuts him off, “Fuck you and your drugs and your alcohol! You’re crazy!”
Gerard’s eyes get huge. Mikey wouldn’t talk to him like that. Mikey was always understanding.
“I’m not!” he yells back, “You… Gramma said you’re not real, she said –”
But Mikey is shaking his head now. He is strangely chuckling to himself. But when he looks back at Gerard, there are tears glistening in his deep, sunken eyes. Gerard can see them even with his glasses on the way.
“Just face it already, Gerard,” he tells him smoothly, his voice whipping across Gerard’s sensitive skin, “Gramma is dead. She’s dead. And she’s not coming back!”
With that he gets up and storms off, leaving Gerard blinking against the weak light coming from the back lounge.
Frank hears all the shouting and screaming from the front-lounge of the bus, where he’s lying on the couch with the intention of falling asleep to the glow of the TV screen. He has strange cravings like that sometimes. But when the frustrated bassist enters the room, he immediately jumps to his feet and walks over to his friend.
“Hey, what’s up?” he asks tentatively.
When Mikey locks his eyes with his, Frank can see the tears. Mikey shakes his head, refusing to acknowledge the tears and wipe them off.
“Gerard’s gone completely crazy!” he exclaims, his voice frantic yet sad. “I dunno what kind of shit he has in his system right now but he’s talkin’ fuckin’ crazy talk.”
Frank frowns, rubbing Mikey’s back soothingly.
“Why? What happened?” he asks.
Mikey’s shaking with the force of his emotions when he answers.
“He was crying in his sleep. Something about ‘telling him’. I dunno what the fuck that means. And he sounded like he was in pain and I shook him awake, thought he was having a nightmare…”
Mikey huffs out a breath as the guitarist directs him over to the couch, encouraging him to talk at the same time.
“And then he went nuts on me,” he says. “Kept telling me that I was… I’m not… that I’m not real. I-I’m not his br-brother.” He can’t go on after that, his breath hitching in his throat, tears finally sliding down his cheeks. Frank hugs him around the waist and he drops his head on his friend’s shoulder, sniffling quietly. “He s-said th-that,” he starts again, stammering, “t-that I d-don’ exist… H-he m-made me up. Like I’m in his head. And. And… I’m n-not his br-brother.”
All the time, Frank shushes him soothingly, stroking his hair tenderly.
“I thought he was. He was d-done with the drugs,” Mikey mumbles silently, after some time.
Frank sighs, contemplating the issue in his head and deciding to tell him about the dream Gerard had before.
“He should be,” he responds and goes on, “It must’ve been the dream, Mikes… He… He saw something similar to that a few nights ago… When he was rooming with me.”
“He saw a dream like that?” Mikey asks, unsure.
“Yeah,” Frank says, nodding, “He, uhhh, he was tossing and turning and screaming real loud so I, uhhh, had to wake him. Then he was pretty shaken… I mean, he needed sometime to realize where he was and I worked really hard to calm him down. I think what he saw was pretty scary…”
Mikey frowns lightly, ready to start blaming himself for treating Gerard like that.
“What did he see?” he asks.
Frank takes a deep breath to explain everything. And when he’s done, Mikey’s eyes are huge behind his glasses.
“So… you’re saying that… that he saw something like that again?”
“He might have. I mean, there’s no other logical explanation of his behavior… Unless you wanna believe that he’s doing dr –”
“No.” Mikey shakes his head as he says that single word. “It must’ve been the dream…”
“Yeah… Maybe I should go check on him then…” Frank trails off and Mikey nods, agreeing with him in an instant.
“You should. You… You try to calm him down… Oh God, I yelled at him…”
Frank squeezes his shoulder as he gets up.
“It’s okay Mikes – oh!” He bumps into Ray since he’s walking with his head still turned towards the sulking bassist. The lead guitarist is only entering the front-lounge.
“Hey, what’s going on?” he asks Frank.
But Frank doesn’t have the time to explain.
“Just stay with Mikey,” he pleads, diving into the hallway towards the bunk area.
Ray looks after him for a moment and then walks over to Mikey’s side hurriedly, sitting beside him. Mikey gives him a grateful look and takes the comfort he offers so easily.
Frank gently slides the curtains of Gerard’s bunk away, afraid to freak him out even more. He peeks inside and there Gerard is. Curled up in a tiny ball, plastered against the opposite wall. He’s clasped his hands around his knees and his whole body is trembling. His head presses against the wall, as if he wants to disappear right through it and never come back. Frank can’t see his face; his hair’s all over it, keeping him away from curious eyes, protecting him from the harshness of the world.
He ducks his head slightly to lean closer to the singer, whispering softly.
A wild tremor runs through the front-man’s body but other than that, he doesn’t give any response to indicate that he heard Frank.
The tiny guitarist frowns, climbing into the bunk slowly.
“Hey, Gerard… C’mon…” he mutters.
Gerard shakes his head hysterically, squeezing his arms tighter around his knees, pressing his body harder against the wall of the bunk. He presses so hard that there will probably be bruises in his pale skin come morning.
And Frank understands.
He understands why Gerard won’t answer him. Why he won’t talk to him. Gerard thinks he’s not real. Just like he thinks Mikey’s not real. And so, he figures if he ignores them, they’ll just go away. Disappear. But Frank knows better.
“Gerard, listen to me,” he begins, taking a deep breath. “I know what you’re thinking. And you’re wrong. We’re not just figments of your imagination, you hear me? And anyone who says the opposite is wrong. Is fucking wrong! Mikey’s real, and Ray and Matt. We’re all real. I’m real and I’m here…”
But Gerard has completely closed in upon himself. It’s almost like he doesn’t hear Frank. He doesn’t even flinch at his words let alone whimper or shake his head. He’s completely reaction-less. He’s finally managed to shut him out. And Frank can’t take it. He can’t bear being ignored by Gerard while their skins are mere inches apart. So he reaches one hand out to touch his shoulder gently, but decides against it at the last moment, fearing his reaction. Instead, he begins talking once more in his oh-so-soothing, deep deep voice.
“… Look, Gerard, I’m not gonna disappear if you keep ignoring me. You know why? Because I’m really here. I am. You have to believe me… We talked about this before, you remember? You remember what happened a few nights ago? You saw a dream, just a fuckin’ dream. And then I convinced you that I’m real… Why are you shuttin’ me out now? It was just a fuckin’ nightmare you saw. Again. You’re no John Nash. Yours is not that a beautiful mind. Are you listening…? You’re not ill, Gee, you’re not… You’re just. Just confused ‘cause you’re goin’ through a hard time… You’re not schizophrenic.”
Gerard doesn’t want to listen to him. But his voice is too good, just so very good, for him to not pay attention to it. It’s smooth, just like the type of jelly Gerard loves. It slides along his skin, rubbing against it; soothing, calming. It’s deep like the bluest ocean; Gerard wants to float on the surface of it. So peaceful. And that’s how Frank manages to make his words register in Gerard’s brain. But Gerard still doesn’t want to believe him. Because the doctor… fuck the doctor! His grandmother wouldn’t lie to him. She wouldn’t. Because she’s the most honest person alive. Or is she really alive? Gerard doesn’t know. He’s not sure. But he wants to believe that she’s alive. No matter what Mikey says. It’s just… He knew it must have been a nightmare when he heard the news of her death. And now he knows it was all a bad dream. A mind trick his subconscious was playing on him.
But the thing is… he can never be sure which world is real.
He has to sacrifice one of these worlds.
He has to let go of one of them.
He has to let Elena go.
Or he has to let go of Mikey, Frank, Ray, Matt and all of his dreams… His dreams that have come true.
He was never good at making decisions.
And then, he is ripped away from his thoughts by the lightest touch against the bare, vulnerable skin of his arm. He jumps high up in the air immediately; terrified. The skin contact is too much for him to bear. He can’t pretend Frank doesn’t exist if he feels his warm touch against his skin like that. He yanks his arm away from the guitarist’s touch, no matter how much he yearns for it.
“Gerard…” comes Frank’s voice, strained with the effort he puts in it to keep it from cracking, “… Just. Please… Don’t do this.”
A wild tremor runs through his body and he wants his ears to go deaf. He doesn’t want to hear Frank’s voice so full of pain and desperation.
“… Please,” Frank pleads softly, shifting closer to him on the little bunk bed, “Look at me, G-Gerard. T-Talk to me. Just… Say something… Look at me. And you’ll see…”
And Gerard can’t keep himself away from him anymore. He can’t resist his pleas. He doesn’t know why. He doesn’t know why Frank has that effect on him. But he has to turn. He has to face him. Look at him.
He slowly moves his head away from the wall it’s pressed against and realizes that his scalp hurts. He cranes his neck and gives Frank a fluttering look from behind the greasy curtain of his dark, tousled hair.
Frank sighs as if a great weight has lifted from his shoulders and scoots closer to him on the bed so that they’re almost touching.
“Thank you,” he mumbles politely, gazing into Gerard’s eyes. Gerard can see a world of emotions twirling around in his pretty, pretty eyes. He likes the color of them. How they seem green one moment and then turn to honey the next. He likes how so very big they are. And how innocent looking. But right now, his eyes are sad. Too sad for Gerard to keep his gaze. They’re full of sorrow and concern and just outright pain. And fear is there, too. But still, there’s a determined set to the guitarist’s jaw. He seems so…
“Can I touch you?” he asks Gerard carefully, in the softest way possible. “I… I-I don’t want you to jump like you did just then… It’s… I f-felt bad. Like I hu-hurt you. I don’t wanna hurt you…”
Gerard gulps down hard. He wants Frank to touch him. He needs his touch so bad. And he feels for Frank. He doesn’t want to make him any more miserable than he already is. But what if he’s not real? What if he’s not really there? What if he’s one of those damned delusions which are the very reason why he’s locked up in an asylum?
But Gerard’s weak. He feels so alone and confused and so scared. He yearns for Frank. His body aches for him. He just wants to breathe in the guitarist’s familiar fresh scent and go to sleep. He’s so tired…
He nods hesitantly, locks of his hair falling in front of his face. So Frank raises a trembling hand and tucks them behind his ears lightly. He cups the side of Gerard’s face delicately, afraid to scare him, and strokes his cheek with his thumb.
“Believe me,” he mutters as Gerard leans his face into his touch, “It was just a nightmare. You’re not ill.”
Gerard lets out an involuntary sound of contentment from the back of his throat as he unwounds his arms from around his legs, reaching for Frank. He turns his body to face him completely as one of his hands plant itself against Frank’s cheek and the other rests against his shoulder. Frank’s eyes flutter closed for a moment at his touch and they open again soon enough.
“See?” he says lightly, “I’m here and I’m real.” He gives Gerard a weak smile and still, the flesh on his cheeks lifts upwards a bit, only the shadow of the way Gerard’s so fond of. He has lovely, high-sculpted cheekbones and Gerard likes the soft, creamy flesh that covers them.
“You’re not imaginary…” Gerard mumbles, cupping his face in both of his hands.
Frank smiles at him for real this time. But there are tears in his eyes.
“No, I’m not,” he says reassuringly, mirroring Gerard’s actions. The lead singer gives him a sheepish look and blinks a few times, his thick dark lashes fluttering against his full pale cheeks, a single tear trailing down to his chin.
Frank can’t help himself and in a flash, he’s caught the lone tear with a kiss on Gerard’s soft cheek. His touch is so tender, the action so loving that Gerard sighs, his eyes flickering shut and turns his head slightly in search for Frank’s rosy lips. Frank doesn’t pull back, instead, lets his lips trail a moist path from Gerard’s cheek to his lips. And when their lips finally meet in a gentle caress, he doesn’t hesitate to kiss Gerard. He moves his lips against the older one’s and is a bit surprised when he kisses back. Their mouths scissor against each other and it’s nothing like the chaste kiss they shared in the bathroom before. This one is more desperate, filled with aching and yearning. Gerard gasps into Frank’s mouth and the guitarist uses the opportunity to slide his tongue in his mouth. They lap at each other’s mouths as their hands pull at hair and clothing to bring each other closer, to deepen the embrace. Frank buries his hands in Gerard’s thick hair as Gerard wraps his arms around his shoulders, wanting to meld them together so that he can never be alone and scared again. He whimpers as Frank lets out a stifled moan and they both press on the back of the other’s neck to strengthen the kiss.
In the end, the tiny guitarist breaks free, panting for air, his chest rising and falling so rapidly that it looks like he’s been running for miles. He feels Gerard’s whole body shake beneath him and that makes him realize that he’s practically straddling the front-man’s lap. Gerard leans his head back against the wall he has propped himself against and takes deep, trembling breaths as Frank watches him. He runs a hand over Gerard’s smooth features, making him blink open his eyes.
“Hey,” he calls softly, leaning in towards the singer’s face. Gerard gives him a dazed look before smiling contently.
“Hey…” he coos back.
“How’re you feelin’?” Frank asks carefully, toying with a lock of jet-black hair.
Gerard nods his head a few times before answering.
“Okay, I think,” he mumbles unsurely, blinking up at Frank from between his long, thick lashes.
“That’s good,” Frank states, glee evident in the melody of his voice, his face beaming.
Gerard reaches to pull him in a tight hug, his hands lingering on Frank’s tiny body as he waits for the warm, peaceful feeling to fill his body and his psyche.
“Thank you,” he whispers gratefully in the guitarist’s ear.
Frank nods once but still asks: “So you believe this is real?”
“Yeah…” he sighs. “I was just being stupi –”
“No!” Frank cuts him off, “You were just confused and scared. It’s okay…”
Gerard nuzzles his face against Frank’s neck as he struggles to keep the vivid images away from slipping into his mind.
“It’s just that… this time… Mom and Dad were there. And. A-and Gramma, too.” He sucks in a sharp breath to keep the threatening hiccups back. He doesn’t know how or when he became so emotionally unstable. It’s scary. One second he’s content and smiling, the other he’s trying to hold back from sobbing.
Frank strokes his hair and his back as he lets it all out.
“… She was so… so real, Frank. She was there. And. So… healthy and… Alive. I wanted to believe… so bad…”
Frank rocks them back and forth softly as Gerard lets the venom spill out from deep inside him. In the end, Gerard shakes against him with silent hiccups and whispers:
“I upset Mikey… Frankie, he was. I didn’t m-mean to. But. I made him miserable. I saw h-his tears and… He wo-wouldn’t g-get so angry with me but he thought I’d… I’d snorted up s-something. But I didn’t! I swear…” he trails off, then adds nervously, “Just… in the morning. I mean, I think i-it was this morning… I. I snorted some coke…”
Frank gasps. “What?”
Gerard hangs his head in shame, still hiccupping slightly.
“Just a few cuts…” he mumbles, afraid to meet Frank’s eyes, afraid of seeing the utter disappointment in them.
Frank doesn’t respond so Gerard’s eyes fill with tears once again.
“I’m sorry…” he pleads.
Frank tries hard to control himself. He takes a few deep breaths before asking:
“But… why, Gerard?”
He sounds so broken, so fragile that Gerard hates himself even more. But he still finds the strength in him to explain how he felt when he woke up in the morning. The despair, the hopelessness, the self-hatred, the fear… The exhaustion…
In the end, Frank lifts his chin with two tattooed fingers and locks their eyes.
“Now listen to me carefully,” he commands, “I want you to promise me. Promise me that you’re gonna come to me whenever you feel like that again, okay? And I need you to give me what’s left of the cocaine – ‘cause I know there’s more, I do – yeah, so you’re gonna give me the cocaine and I’ll get rid of it. Gerard, if I’d known you’d moved onto cocaine I would…” he shakes his head, not able to come up with the words to describe how he feels. At last, he figures there are no such words.
“I think Mikey knows…” Gerard mutters in a weak voice. He figures there’s no other reason for Mikey to ask him what he’s snorted up this time. “Jerry must’ve told him.”
“Jerry knows?” Frank asks, surprised.
Gerard nods silently.
Frank takes another deep breath before speaking again.
“Okay, so, promise me. You’re gonna come to me when you feel like that again.”
Gerard nods in a continuous motion. “I promise,” he says, his voice stronger now.
Frank gives him an encouraging smile and goes on. “Good. So, you know what you’re supposed to do now.”
Gerard eyes him warily and acknowledges the stern look on the guitarist’s face.
“Okay,” he says and wriggles in his place slightly, signaling Frank to get off of him so that he can stand up and go find his suitcase. Frank takes the hint and follows him down the hall as he walks towards where his suitcase is placed. Gerard can’t blame him for not trusting him to do this alone.
First, he digs his hand into the pocket of the jeans he was wearing earlier and grabs the little package of white powder. He stares at it for a flash of a moment and then hands it over to Frank obediently. Then he searches his suitcase for the big book where the rest of his stash is. When he finds it, he shakes it, fluttering the pages all around the place and two other tiny packages fall to the floor silently. He doesn’t hesitate before handing them over to Frank, this time.
“Is this all of it?” Frank asks.
Gerard looks up at him from his place kneeling on the floor and nods.
“You sure?” the guitarist asks, raising an eyebrow at him.
Gerard closes his eyes and tries to remember if there’s more. He soon realizes there is. But he doesn’t know if he can truly hand all of it over to Frank. It’s such a shame that all that pretty white powder is gonna go to waste. And Gerard really needs it sometimes.
Frank’s voice cuts in through his thoughts sharply.
“I want to trust you, Gerard.”
Gerard bites his bottom lip as he opens his eyes to find Frank’s enormous green orbs focused on him. He frowns and mumbles:
“I think there’s more.”
And he turns towards his suitcase once again, digging through the layers of clothing impatiently. He comes up with a seemingly unopened pack of cigarettes and gives it to Frank, too. Curious, Frank fumbles trying to open the pack and finds that it’s actually already opened but carefully closed back to give the illusion of a fresh pack. Inside, there are three more little bags of white, white powder.
“So, is this all, then?” he asks.
“Yes, it is,” Gerard answers without hesitation.
“Okay,” Frank states and smiles down at him, offering him a hand to help him stand. Gerard takes his offered hand and smiles back at him gratefully.
“Thanks for trusting me,” he says before leaning towards him to press his lips against his. They kiss silently, holding hands. And it takes a long while to break that kiss. They keep pecking each other’s lips, refusing to break apart.
Gerard sighs as they finally drift apart and Frank smiles at the unconscious sound. He trails his knuckles along Gerard’s soft cheek as he stares into those honey-coated doe eyes of his. Gerard once told him that if he could be an animal, he’d want to be a gazelle. Frank thinks it really suits him well. He still can’t believe how beautiful Gerard is, sometimes. He is still surprised by that innocent beauty. And every time he kisses him, his heart clenches like a fist of fire in his chest, scorching him from the inside.
He doesn’t know where they’re going with all this kissing. And he doesn’t want to think about it. He just wants Gerard to be all right.
“You’re gonna be okay,” he states softly, still staring into the lead singer’s eyes.
And Gerard’s face is illuminated with the most radiant smile Frank has seen on his face recently.
“I believe you,” Gerard tells him.
Frank squeezes his hand and beams at him. He’s still concerned about Gerard but Gerard doesn’t need to know that. He just needs people to believe in him. To trust him. And support him. To the end.
“I wanna apologize to Mikey,” Gerard mumbles silently, looking away once again.
“Okay,” Frank agrees, “Let’s go find him, then.”
So he leads Gerard towards the front-lounge, still holding his hand. And there Mikey is. He’s sitting on the couch, those long lanky limbs of his curled around his skinny body. He’s leaning against Ray’s shoulder and the lead guitarist has an arm around him. They look distracted. Like they stopped talking a long time ago and right now they’re just staring off into the distance, thinking.
“…Mikey,” the older Way calls quietly.
The lanky boy blinks out of his reverie, raising his head to look at the newcomers.
Gerard shuffles his feet awkwardly as he tries to find the right words.
“I wanna… umm, I. I-I’m sorry, Mikey,” he mutters sincerely, “I didn’ mean to hurt you… I. I didn’ know what I was. What I was talkin’ about. I’m really sorry. I’d never wanna make you sad…”
Mikey’s face crumbles slightly at the sight of his brother so sincere and heart-broken.
“No, no, Gerard… I’m sorry. For getting mad at you and. And yelling at you like that. I shouldn’t have. I… And I didn’t really mean it when I bitched to you about the drugs. I. I-I trust you. I really do… I just… didn’t know it was a nightmare. Sorry…”
“I love you, Mikey,” Gerard croaks out, tears finally falling freely from his eyes. “I tried to tell ‘em that… Mom and Dad and Gramma… I begged ‘em to tell him. The doctor. Tell him about you, tell him that you’re real… but then, they wouldn’t and I –”
He can’t finish his words because Mikey’s out of his seat in a heartbeat, his arms around Gerard, squeezing so tight he can’t breathe. “I love you, too, Gerard…” Mikey mumbles in his ear and finally, they break down. They cling to each other and end up on the floor, shaking with violent sobs.
They cry and cry and cry… and finally run out of tears. They’re left trembling in each other’s arms silently.
The two guitarists can only watch them from the corner of the room, their own eyes full of tears, suddenly feeling extremely superfluous but not caring about it at all.
A/N: Hey, guys! Hope you liked this monster of a chapter. Because I put some real huge time and effort into it. So please please pleeeeeaaaaase, give me some feedback, will ya? Rate and/or review, like usual. And I'll be grinning like a mad man when I see them!