Oh yeah, and thanks MCR for...um...living. Because without you guys this whole fic would be kinda pointless. Or it would be about Green Day.
So read. Please. Go on. You know you want to.
Gerard got to his feet more quickly than the other two.
Looking around he noticed with a slight ominous feeling that he was standing once again on the giant chessboard the nightmare had began on. It stretched ahead for miles, as far as the eye could see and Gerard felt a strong sense of déjà vu as he squinted into the never-ending dark.
“What is this place?” asked Frank, scrambling clumsily to his feet. “Where are we?”
“This is where I woke up,” Gerard answered upon realising that neither Frank nor LynZ had been there before. “Where I first met Sara.”
“Where you faced your fear?” LynZ inquired. “Or were you lying about that too?”
Gerard, who didn’t see any benefit in answering her, didn’t say anything. Instead he continued to glance around him, finally spotting a small, female-shaped figure in the distance.
“Don’t tell me,” Sara spoke as soon as Gerard had spotted her. “You missed me so much you just had to come back.”
He began to approach her immediately and to his relief the chessboard let him close the distance between them until they were face to face. Frank and LynZ stayed far behind. This was his moment and they didn’t want to get in the way of it.
“Okay,” he took a deep breath and plunged in, headfirst. “I’m gonna be blunt here. I did what you wanted me to do. I played your stupid Game. Now I want my life back.”
Sara looked at him inquisitively and her lip quivered as if she were fighting the urge to smile. “And how exactly do you intend on obtaining it?”
“Whatever you say,” Gerard shrugged. “I’ll do it. Just...please. I’m begging you.”
Sara frowned and for a while she just surveyed him while he waited with baited breath. Finally she spoke again. “Did it ever cross your mind that maybe this is your punishment? For what you did? You deserve this treatment, Gerard. This is your hell. Deal.”
“No,” Gerard shook his head, smiling wryly. “I’m not completely stupid, Sara. There’s something else I have to do, isn’t there? Something you didn’t tell me about? If I’m wrong then I’ll accept it. I’ll go back and live out my hell uncomplaining. But if I’m right...and I think I am...quit being a bitch and come out with it. I know something’s up.”
She continued to watch him for a little while and then she rolled her eyes. “Of course you’re right,” she said. “There’s something else you’re supposed to do. But you’re not gonna like it.”
“Somehow I saw that coming.”
“Then you’re very intuitive,” she told him sarcastically. “Last chance, Gerard. Are you sure you want to do this?”
Yes. No. I don’t know. Possibly? “Cantcha just tell me what it is first?”
He looked back behind him at the two people he loved more than anything else in the world, except, of course, from his little daughter who at that moment lay sleeping with a smile on her face at LynZ’s mother’s house, completely oblivious to the shit her daddy had plunged himself into. LynZ was frowning, her arms folded across her chest but Frank was smiling and gave Gerard a reassuring thumbs up. With a determined expression, he turned back to Sara.
“I can’t make a decision if I don’t know what I’m deciding,” he told her firmly.
Sara sighed, her eyes blazing with unforgiving. “Well then,” she said. “I guess I’ll just have to make it for you.”
She snapped her fingers and a low rumbling sound echoed from beneath the floor. Gerard, perplexed, looked down at his feet and noticed the chessboard vibrating underneath him so violently that bits of marble were beginning to break off. He looked back at Frank and LynZ and wasn’t surprised to see their expressions mirror the fear and apprehension he felt.
“Gerard,” Frank’s voice shook with the floor. “What’s going on?”
If Gerard had replied they wouldn’t have heard him due to the deafening crack that sounded at that exact moment. LynZ screamed and jumped away as the ground began to split beneath them, separating each person from the other. Gerard watched in horror, standing on a raised platform unable to do anything as he watched the floor around his two friends shrink until they were hanging, desperately onto the precipice, lumps of rock crumbling away into oblivion.
“What are you doing?” he screamed at Sara. “What the fuck are you doing?”
“Oh Gerard, you really need to think before you act,” Sara sniggered.
“I didn’t act anything!” Gerard protested. “You made this happen before I had a chance to speak!”
“You wanted to know what you had to do,” she shrugged. “You came back here to do it. Don’t let all our hard efforts come to nothing.”
She pointed down below where Frank and LynZ hung on for dear life with threatening commandment. “One lives, one dies,” her voice rang with clear authority. “You decide who.”
“WHAT?!” Gerard yelled. “No! Fuck, no! You can’t make me choose!”
“Then they both die,” said Sara. “And you get to live with the guilt.”
“Gerard!” Frank was shouting. “Don’t worry about me! Save LynZ!”
“You can’t do this,” the tears were falling with desperation now as Gerard attempted reason. “Stop it! Let them go!”
“GERARD, WHEN WILL YOU GET IT INTO YOUR FUCKING SKULL?” Sara yelled. “I CAN’T STOP IT! I CAN’T LET THEM GO! THIS WAS YOUR FAULT AND THIS IS YOUR PUNISHMENT!”
“Gerard!” LynZ was crying. “Gerard, please!”
“Save LynZ!” Frank screamed. “I’ve got nothing to live for! You’re married! You’ve got Bandit!”
“I can’t just let you die!” Gerard shouted back. “Either of you!”
LynZ released another heart-wrenching sob. A boulder fell, close to her head and she screamed, swinging her body out of the way. Now she hung on with only one hand.
“Leave me!” Frank kept saying. “Pick LynZ!”
“There’s got to be another way,” Gerard said frantically. “Just...Just let them go. They didn’t do anything.”
“I’ve already told you, I CAN’T!” replied Sara through gritted teeth. “Choose, Gerard! Or they both die!”
“Oh God,” LynZ’s eyes were squeezed shut. “Oh God, oh God, oh God. Gerard, please...”
“GERARD, STOP BEING AN ASSHOLE AND SAVE YOUR WIFE!”
But he couldn’t. He couldn’t just utter a word, cold and calculating and let either of the two people he loved fall. Gerard closed his eyes against LynZ’s cries for help and Frank’s attempts at nobility. He wanted to shut it all out, end it all forever. But the rocks kept falling and their cries grew louder and suddenly he was faced with the hardest decision any man or woman has ever had to make.
One or the other?
He turned back to Sara who was watching him, her lips pursed in a straight, firm line and he spoke to her. “You cannot make me choose,” he said softly.
“Gerard, they will die,” she said, placing emphasis on each individual word. “Don’t think I won’t hesitate. This isn’t my choice, I have to follow Rules too. I’ve told you that before.”
“You misunderstand me,” Gerard shook his head. “You cannot make me choose. I won’t do it. So take me instead.”
She surveyed him curiously. “What?”
“My life for theirs,” he elaborated. “But you have to promise me you’ll let them go. They don’t have anything to do with this. This whole thing, it was between me and you. I’m going to fix it. I’m going to jump.”
“NO!” Frank screamed, “FUCK! Gerard, choose LynZ, I don’t care-”
“-Shut the fuck up, Frank!” Gerard spat. “I have to do this! It’s the only way!”
“IT IS NOT THE ONLY WAY!” Frank’s tears were streaming into the abyss beneath him. “STOP BEING A FUCKING HERO! WHAT DO I HAVE? JUST LET ME GO, GERARD!”
“Do we have a deal?” Gerard asked Sara.
She looked at him once, a swift, thoughtful look and then she nodded. Gerard nodded back. It was a gesture of understanding, of acceptance. In that one motion all past mistakes were forgotten, all the held grudges disappeared and Gerard prepared to jump-
“-NO! GERARD! TAKE ME, SAVE LYNZ-”
Frank’s echoed wails were ignored. His legs bent, his arms swung forward and next thing he knew he was falling, falling past Frank and LynZ who both screamed in unison, falling through the cold, dark air, the wind whistling behind him, turning his skin icy cold, the mist snatching at his hair and he just kept falling, down, down into the chasm.
And as he fell, the memories flashed past like a coloured pictogram. He was a boy playing soccer with his brother in the park. He was a teenager walking alone, tears falling with the rain. He was a rock star, beaming from the stage into the faces of a thousand adoring people. He was a husband and LynZ looked so beautiful in her wedding dress. He was a father and wondering at how anything could be so small and so perfect, each feature defined to faultlessness, unknowing of sin or hardship or suffering or pain. And that was how he wanted to keep it for his little daughter for the rest of her life. Protect her from everything and everyone out to get her, give her the perfect life.
And as he fell, it occurred to him that dying wasn’t so bad. He had made mistakes and he knew that he had just remedied each one by sacrificing himself to save the lives of those he loved. He felt free, like a huge weight had been lifted off his chest, like he could finally be at peace. Although, he mused as his eyes began to stream with the pressure, it would have been nice to see their faces one last time.
So dark. So deep. He knew that he didn’t have much time left. So he closed his eyes and just kept falling and tried hard not to think about landing. He could feel the darkness closing in around him, making it difficult to breath and just as the light above him disappeared forever, he swore he could hear a voice from somewhere say, “Fuck this shit.” And that was all he heard before a final, familiar tug from somewhere behind his navel.