Mikey goes home.
Chapter Six: Home
Flashback continued yet again
It came as no surprise to Mikey that Bob didn't say anything along the lines of "hi" or "hello" when he came in. The drummer rarely did, the exceptions being strangers or if someone addressed him first. On this particular occasion he was greeted with:
"Shit, man! You look like you seen a ghost! What the hell happened?"
He sat down heavily in the nearest chair and leaned forward, pressing the heels of his hands to his temples.
"Gerard flatlined. They almost couldn't..."
That was as far as he got before the tears threatened him again. He sniffed them back before continuing.
"He's okay now but..."
His voice trembled. The floodgates opened and fresh tears began streaming down his cheeks. After a minute or so, Mikey wiped the tears away and changed the subject.
"So anyway...how's your leg?"
Bob regarded the bassist with an unyielding, yet slightly apprehensive glance, shifting slightly because of the sling that elevated his cast-covered leg.
"Hey, don't you try and change the subject. My leg will live. It's you and Gerard I'm worried about,"
Mikey smirked at the remark.
"You're worried about someone?"
"Hey, c'mon, Gerard's my friend too, so I'm allowed to be. And knowing you, sooner or later you're gonna start beating yourself up about this whole thing so before you start: no this whole thing isn't your fault and don't you even think for a second that it is,"
This actually got a light laugh from Mikey.
"That's what I'm here for,"
There was a moment of silence between the two before Mikey finally told Bob about the media.
"Apparently some of 'em are waiting outside," he explained. "They told me I could go home today but I don't think I'll be able to handle all that right now,"
The drummer stretched his arms before answering.
"You're gonna have to face 'em sooner or later,"
"You sure you wanna do this, hon'?"
Sarah McKenzie smirked at Mikey as he approached the hospital's sliding doors.
"I don't want to, but I have to,"
The nurse laughed and snapped a mock salute.
"Good luck Mikey,"
"I'm gonna need it. Thanks. Oh, yeah, and could you call when I can visit Gerard? I think you already have the phone number,"
"Will do. You take care now,"
And with those words, Mikey gave Sarah a nervous smile and walked out of the hospital. Immediately he was greeted with glaring camera flashes and frantic, babbling questions that he could barely understand.
"Mr Way! How is--?"
"Mr Way! Tell us--"
"How did you--?"
"Did your brother--?"
Mikey began to push past them, his head beginning to throb with the stress and the confusion of it all. Until one question was shouted out loud and clear over the commotion.
"Mr Way! I heard Gerard survived the night! Is this true?"
He sighed, figuring he could at least have the courtesy to answer that question.
"Yes. He survived the night," the response was loud enough to be almost a yell, but only so he could make himself heard over the commotion.
A woman with waist-length curly brown hair stepped out of the throng and immediately turned her back to him.
"I'm here with My Chemical Romance's bassist Mikey Way who has just been released from hospital,"
She turned and shoved her microphone into Mikey's face.
"Any news on Bob or Gerard as yet?" she asked him, keeping her face directed at the camera. He opened his mouth to speak but Nadine never gave him a chance.
"He can't speak. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the face of a broken man. A man who, for all he knows, has lost his brother. God only knows what he is feeling right now. Perhaps he is hoping, praying for a miracle—"
Mikey had had enough. He pushed past her and the other gibbering journalists and opened the door to the taxi waiting for him. As he shut the door the windows were swarmed with nosy members of the paparazzi scrambling over each other for the next 'exclusive' picture of him. He let out a frustrated sigh as the taxi finally pulled away. Part of him was glad to be away from it all but the other part was screaming, wanting to be back at the hospital and closer to Gerard. He leant back against the headrest and stared at the taxi's ceiling, listening to whatever was on the radio: Alien Ant Farm's rendition of Smooth Criminal. Mikey almost laughed at the irony.
You've been hit by, you've been struck by a smooth criminal.
"What is this shit?" The driver spoke up, in the same manner all typical taxi drivers do in order to start a conversation to take the attention off their job. "It'll never be a classic; not like the original,"
"I like this version,"
"You would, being in a rock band and all. I only know coz my granddaughter won't stop talkin' about ya. Oh and yer brother, whatshisface...Jared? Gerald?"
"Yeah him. Lovestruck, that girl, I tell ya," He chuckled to himself. "But y'know, we saw what happened on the news. Devastated, she was. Me, I didn't know what to think. No offence, kid, but your music ain't exactly my cuppa tea. Anyway, she made a card and sent it to your house. Dunno how she got the address. Carol Plummer. That's my granddaughter. She included her address as well if you wanna write back to her,"
The driver continued talking about his granddaughter, but Mikey tuned himself out. He suddenly found himself thinking about what Nadine McCarthy had said.
"God knows what he is feeling right now. Perhaps he is hoping, praying for a miracle--"
Perhaps he was. Considering Gerard had flatlined three times already and had practically died at the scene, a miracle was the only thing left to hope for. But had he already gotten his miracle?
"His heart wouldn't restart, but we kept trying, and after a while we thought...y'know, the worst, but the moment I went to turn off the defib thingy, his heart just started up --BAM-- like that. No warning or anything,"
He sighed and ran both hands through his hair and tried not to think about it any more, but suddenly that image of his brother flashed back into his mind, the bleeding, pale lifeless Gerard and that awful choking sound, and he found he could not stop thinking about it.
"Righty then, here we are. Home sweet home,"
Home. The single word snapped Mikey back into reality. He was home. He thanked the driver and paid up. The sight of his mother and father waiting outside for him made Mikey want to burst into tears and run into their arms, like he had on his very first day of school. However, it was Don and Donna who embraced him first, and Donna was already crying. He fought back tears of his own and the urge to tell them what had happened that day.
"We saw the news," Donna told him through her tears. "I'm so scared for him, Mikey. I was so scared for you. I just--"
She trailed off, sobbing and Don held his wife close.
"Why don't we go inside?" he offered. And Mikey could tell his father was holding back his own emotions. So they went inside, and Donna made coffee, and they all sat at the dining table in silence, trying to regard the empty fourth seat with ignorance. The television in the loungeroom blared continuously. Donna had refused to turn it off, wanting it on in case there was any more news on her eldest son. After a moment Mikey spoke up.
"Y'know, I'm kinda tired. I think I'll go to bed,"
Donna stood and kissed him on the forehead. "That's the best thing for you right now,"
For once in his life, his coffee was left untouched.
He was jolted awake by a voice. It sounded so familiar, yet strangely distorted. He sat up and looked around him, stopping upon seeing the dark figure in the doorway. It moved inside his room and fumbled for the light switch, and Mikey had to squeeze his eyes shut as light flooded the room.
He forced his eyes open and immediately they widened at the sight before him.
Gerard moved toward the bed slowly. "Mikes, you promised,"
"You promised, Mikey,"
As he got closer, Mikey saw the hole in Gerard's throat.
He saw blood ooze out of the wound with every word.
"You promised you wouldn't let me die alone,"
And then blood began spilling from Gerard's mouth, splashing onto the carpet and the frontman raised fear-filled eyes to Mikey.
"Mikey, help me, it hurts so much!" He all but screamed. "I don't wanna die, Mikes! Help me! I don't wanna die!"
But Mikey was frozen. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't move. He could only watch with tears streaming down his cheeks as Gerard fell to his knees on the carpet, still pleading with his eyes and then he clutched his throat, a terrible choking sound escaping him only to meet Mikey's ears--
Mikey woke with a start to find his pillow damp with tears. He sat up and looked around him for any trace of what he had experienced but realisation soon dawned on him that it was only a dream.
He couldn't remember the last time he'd had a nightmare, but what he did remember was that he could never get back to sleep in the same spot after he woke from one.
Mikey got up and made his way to Gerard's room. He opened the door slowly, as if he was afraid his big brother might possibly be in there asleep and there was a chance he might wake him up with any accidental noise. He got into Gerard's bed, pulling the covers up to his chin one-handed and staring off into the darkness until sleep welcomed him back.
It went on like that for three nights, until Donna woke him up early one morning.
"Mikey, let's go see your brother,"