Gerard attends his first high school reunion, which ends up being more than he bargained for. Oneshot.
Its three o clock in the afternoon, and Gerard re-checks his hair for the fifteenth time that day. He sees to it that it's parted just right, straightened as flat as it can possibly go, and has a good amount of shine. He notes with despair that it is however, not exactly the right shade of red that he wanted it to be.
What has the singer in such a fervent fuss, you ask? Today is the day of his first high school reunion.
He had been anticipating it for some time, although never had he felt as nervous as he did right now. His mind was in a frenzy, going through every name he could remember from his high school class --- despite the fact that he knew none of those people remembered him.
He looks in Lindsey's make up drawer, trying to see if she had anything that would of use to him. Whilst rummaging through her eyeliner, the sound of his phone going off causes him to jump.
He answers, seeing Raymond Toro's picture gracing phone's screen.
"Hey man." Ray greets. "You still going to your reunion thing today?"
"Yeah, in a couple of hours. Why, what's up?" Gerard asks, having returned to fussing over his hair.
"I was gonna ask if you wanted to drop by after. I got Dragon Age back from Andrew." said Ray.
"Neat." responded Gerard, "Well yeah, if I get back early enough, I'll head over."
"Awesome. You nervous?" Ray asked.
Gerard was quiet for a moment before responding, "A little."
"Aw, well you shouldn't be. I mean, this is your chance to show up all those assholes who ignored you in high school --- I mean look at who you turned out to be! You're Gerard fucking Way!" Ray exclaimed in such a way that grew a grin on Gerard's face.
"Yeah, I'm Gerard fucking Way!" he repeated laughing.
"They don't have anything on you Gee. I'd bet a lot of money that you turned out a better person than the whole lot of them put together."
"Thanks Ray. That means a lot." Gerard smiled.
"No problem dude. And once your done giving them the middle finger they deserve, just drop on over and we'll have a few beers."
"For sure." Gerard agreed.
"Alright, well we'll see you tonight then?"
"See ya then buddy."
Ray hangs up. Gerard stares at himself for a little longer, but now feeling immensely better than he had before. It's amazing what a few words of encouragement can do. He brings himself closer to the mirror and whispers, “I’m Gerard fucking Way.”
And so he was. He abandons the mirror for an hour or more of relaxation. Gerard then summons Lindsey, who is exquisitely dolled up for the occasion. She wears a small black cocktail dress, which complements his own black dress shirt and pants. Together they prepare, and ready Bandit for the sitter’s. Around five o’ clock, they gather everyone into the car and drive away.
They arrive at a Hilton Hotel just an hour or so away from their home. Gerard sits in the car for a moment before pushing himself to step outside of it. He could already see people who were clearly there for the event, and his anxiety rose. Sensing his unease, Lindsey plants a gentle kiss on his cheek. He smiles at her, thanking the heavens she is there with him today. It feels hard enough already, and he doubts he would have ever been able to do this without her.
They both step out of the car together, and he takes her little hand in his. They go inside the lobby, where someone is waiting to check the names of everyone that is admitted into the reunion room. Gerard waits his turn with Lindsey, and finally reaches the end of the line. There,, they give him a name tag and a raffle ticket.
Taking two very deep breaths, Gerard goes inside.
He is instantly greeted by the sight of what looked to be the setting of a cheaply done prom or school dance. He walks around with Lindsey; partly, he looks for any familiar faces, although he somehow also feels like avoiding anyone he knows. They are offered drinks by the hotel staff and take them graciously, both feeling like a drink is just what they need.
At this point, Gerard is finally approached by someone.
“GERRY!” A man with diminishing hair, a large belly, and a pair of glasses grins at him. It takes Gerard a while to remember this one, and he tries to hide his forgetfulness. He fails.
“Its me, Josh! We used to hang out with Tiffany and them, remember?” the man reminds him.
“Oh yeah!” Gerard exclaims, now remembering a small group he hung around with for a very small amount of time in freshman year.
“Not that I’d expect you to, of course.” Josh nudges him on the arm slightly. “You’re a big hot shot rockstar now right? Of course you wouldn’t remember the little people like us.”
“Don’t be silly.” Gerard frowns, although now more embarrassed that he had not remembered Josh off the bat. “I remember all of you guys. So what have you been up to now Josh?”
“I’m actually working for Microsoft right now.” Josh boasts, his chest ballooning proudly.
“Oh wow, good for you!” Gerard pats him on the shoulder, legitimately happy that his friend was doing so well.
“Yeah, well you know. Its not exactly red lobster every night like I’m sure you get, but it puts food on the table.” Josh shrugs, “I have 6 kids to feed, ya’ know?”
At this point, Josh brings out his wallet and shows Gerard an assortment of pictures of small children and their mother, who looks remarkably similar to their father. Gerard shows him Bandit, introduces Lindsey, they exchange more pleasantries, and finally, Josh wanders off to find more entertainment.
While Gerard does not strike many more conversations after that one, he shows Lindsey each familiar face from the sidelines. There was your typical groupings of students: the jocks, the popular girls, the band geeks. Gerard notes that most of those who were in the attractive crowd has not been so lucky in that area in recent years.
At some point a woman walks up to him. She is thin, blonde and tall. Gerard recognizes her as Andrea Ballard, as he had many classes with her, despite never actually talking to her.
“Oh my god, aren’t you Gerard Way?” she says with wide eyes.
“Yeah, Andrea right?” Gerard smiles at her.
“Yeah! What are you doing here?” she asks.
“Well…. I did go to school here so…” Gerard trails off.
“You did?!?” She looks at him with an utmost shocked expression. Gerard is unsure how to react to this. He stands silently and lets it sink in.
“Oh my god! I never know I went to school with someone famous!” is all Andrea says before she walks away abruptly, yelling at her husband that she went to school with the lead singer of My Chemical Romance.
“Wow. Guess I was less noticed than I thought I was.” Gerard sighs, and Lindsey raises her eyebrows at him.
They move next over to where the snacks are, taking a few cocktail shrimps and standing around awkwardly. The fact was that Gerard did not have enough friends in high school for this day to be anything but awkward – which is something he should have realized before he came. He feels sorry that he dragged Lindsey along to this, while he had told her of his not-so-great high school history, he could help but feel like she was finding out all over again.
A couple of passer-bys greet them. A few simply give scouring or judgmental looks at the hair on his head. Gerard gets the feeling he is being mocked.
Next, a tall man approaches them. He is Pat Egan: a lanky fellow who was quite muscular in his prime. He is also someone who, throughout Gerard’s high school career, bullied him constantly. Gerard tries to put on a brave face, despite Pat’s welcoming smile.
“Well if it isn’t Gerry Way.” Pat says as he finally approaches him, and extends his hand to shake.
Now, Gerard has met many villains in his life. He has met many of his critics and his haters, and he has always been able to put on a mature, perhaps even smiling face when he encounters them. Their insults and their spats were all water off of a ducks back for him, because he was, as previously established, Gerard fucking Way. He was a huge success who sold millions of records and had an army of devoted fans.
At this moment, however, Gerard literally seems to fall back in time. For this moment, he is not Gerard fucking Way. He’s just Gerard, or more commonly called Gerry. He is fat, and he is awkward. He is ugly and hunchbacked. He is ignored and invisible. He is depressed and uncared for. He is nobody, looking into the face of all the other somebodies.
“Gerry?” Pat beckons him out of his stupor. Gerard smiles at him and takes his hand, shaking it weakly.
“Hey Pat.” He says in a voice fit for a mouse.
“Aw man, I can’t believe I’m standing in the same room as Gerard Way! This is so crazy!” Pat says with enthusiasm. “Whose this lovely lady?”
Lindsey introduces herself, and Pat brings his attentions on her. Again, he is brought back to the years of his youth. Pat had always dated the attractive girls, especially the ones Gerard liked. He could not have had them anyway – he was too ugly. They were beautiful. They were the important people.
“So, Pat, what are you doing these days?” Gerard interrupts Lindsey and Pat’s chatter, suddenly feeling very insecure.
“Ah nothing much, man. Nothing much compared to you at least. I’m a neurosurgeon over at City of Hope hospital.” Pat says with an air that is none the less smug.
“Wow.” Lindsey stares at him, clearly impressed. Gerard shifts awkwardly.
“Yeah, you know, it’s a pretty rough job.” Pat boasts, “I guess we both ended up saving lives huh, Gerry? Me the medical way…and you… well… “
Pat trails off and Gerard waits politely. Then Pat places a hand on Gerard’s shoulder.
“Hey.” His tone a bit softer. “I’m sorry I picked on you so much kiddo. You know how it is.”
And at that, without even waiting for a response, Pat turns heel and walks away to more amusing subjects. Gerard and Lindsey walk away from the area. They meet a couple more people after, both insignificant conversations. Yet by the end of the event, it seems that by some stroke of luck, almost every person in Gerard’s graduating class seemed to have turned into some sort of doctor, lawyer, or administrator. Gerard leaves with Lindsey, feeling very perplexed.
The car ride to Ray’s is spent with Lindsey trying to coax Gerard out of the slump he suddenly seems to be in. Gerard is silent, while Lindsey throws phrases like “You’re being silly!” and “Don’t even think about them baby, they don’t mean anything!” at him. Still, he seems to wear a frown until they get there. No one but Lindsey would be able to tell just how rattled he had been from his expression, but she knew. Sighing, she follows her husband to the Toro’s doorstep, wondering what to do with her little Gerry.
Ray answers the door and welcomes them cheerily, immediately pressing Gerard as to how the event went. Gerard shrugs and abruptly walks away towards the kitchen. Ray gives Lindsey a questioning look, who frowns at him. Ray nods knowingly, and they follow Gerard into the kitchen.
Gerard’s expression finally does change however, when he sees who is in the kitchen. Frank is sitting at the dining table, struggling to open a beer bottle. He has not seen Frank for some time, as they were currently in between albums.
“Frankie! What are you doing here?’ Gerard greets him. Frank locates Gerard, and his face visibly lights up.
“I’ve been here for a couple of days, dude. Just on business, but I decided to chill at Ray’s for a bit.” Frank gets up as he talks, enwrapping Gerard into a much needed hug.
They gather some chips and salsa and set up all the elements for a lovely get together between close friends. Christa has baked delicious brownies, and sets them out with Lindsey’s help. Gerard however, still feels deflated.
Whilst setting up the Playstation, he sees Lindsey whispering something to Frank, both of whom seem to be glancing at him. When she is done, Frank nods and beckons Gerard to him. He drags them to Ray’s guest bedroom, and he closes the door.
“Sit.” He instructs Gerard, motioning towards the neatly done twin sized bed. Gerard obeys, and Frank sits next to him.
“Talk.” Frank commands Gerard in a similar manner.
“About what?” Gerard cocks his head.
“You know what I mean Gee. I know where you just came from.” Frank speaks with a sternness in his voice. Gerard grimaces.
“It was so embarrassing Frankie…” Gerard buries his face in his hands, marring the perfection he had assembled upon it prior to leaving that day.
“What was embarrassing?” Frank asks.
“Everything! They either didn’t remember me at all, or they did and… well….”
Frank waited, listening patiently.
“…A lot of them made like, huge successes of themselves!”
“And you’re not a huge success?” Frank nearly laughs.
“Not like them! They save lives and stuff! And they looked at me like I was some freak…” Gerard whines.
“Gerard, you save lives! And you’re not a freak.” Frank assures him.
“I save lives in a metaphorical way.” Gerard sighs. “And I don’t even really, the fans that say that really only saved themselves. I just get credit for helping it along. But like… the people I went to school with are like doctors and surgeons and things like that…” Gerard shifts uncomfortably again, not wanting to mention that he was talking about one person in particular.
“You know, a lot of them could be lying about what they do.” Frank says thoughtfully. “Plenty of people do that at reunions like this. And they must have felt intimidated by talking to you again considering who you are, they probably wanted to make themselves seem like less of a failure.”
“You don’t know that.” Gerard pouts. “I don’t know. I guess it just feels like high school all over again. I’m nobody. And they’re somebody. They save lives, and all I do is scream into microphones.”
“Look me in the face right now.”
Gerard lifts his gaze slowly so that it meets directly with Frank’s huge green eyes. Their faces are close, and it seems like they spend a few seconds merely breathing on each other’s skin. Frank raises his right hand up.
Finally, he slaps Gerard sharply in the face.
“Ow! What the fuck was that for?” Gerard yells at him.
“I don’t want to hear you ever, ever talk like that again!” Frank scolds him, pointing a finger in his now red face. Gerard cradles his cheek, glaring at Frank for the blow.
“You are not nobody. You are more of a somebody than you can ever comprehend.” Frank continues on. “They may save lives on hospital floors, okay, but you’ve saved lives of people you never even touched, never even met. People from different countries that you haven’t even been, credit you for saving them. And I’m one of them, Gerard! You saved me! Maybe not from the brink of suicide, but at least from the extremely fucking dull life I would have had without you, or without this band! All the guys would tell you the same thing! So you look me in the face, and tell me that you haven’t saved anyone, or that you’re a nobody, I fucking dare you!”
Gerard does look him in the face, yet tears emerge in the place of words. Frank wraps him in his arms and adapts a softer tone.
“I know its hard for you to be around the people you knew in high school or from the past. Its hard not to compare where you are and where they are, or what they might think.” Frank comforts him. “Just remember Gerard, they don’t matter. High school doesn’t matter – it’s what you turn out to be later that matters. And as long as you can make yourself happy in life, then you already won the victory. Aren’t you happy, Gerard?”
Buried into Frank’s chest, still shedding silent tears, Gerard mutters, “Right now, yeah.”
Frank chuckles a little and runs a hand through Gerard’s hair. “Well then, that’s all that matters.”
He feels Gerard smiles against him. They stay that way for a while, and Gerard remarks on the funnier parts of the event. Frank listens intently, asking questions and throwing in snide remarks. When he sees Gerard is truly okay again, he suggests they rejoin their group. Gerard agrees, and they go out of the room together.
They walk in on Ray, Christa, and Lindsey laughing about a funny story Christa was telling. Gerard sits next to Lindsey and places an arm around her.
Seeing her husband in a happier state, she turns to Frank, who winks at her. Lindsey smiles and mouths one word:
They sit together blissfully for the rest of the night, relishing in the company of chips, beer, and friendship.