“Gerard, there’s nothing there.”
“Okay, Gerard, I want you to open your eyes very...slowly...”
Gerard’s eyelids felt sticky as they gradually pried apart. A slither of dazzling white light slipped between the cracks and his breath caught in his throat. He clutched Mikey’s hand so tight he could hear a small whimper sound from him but honestly he couldn’t really care less. Because he could see.
He could see. Gerard gasped as he stretched his eyes wide, blinking back the little water that had flooded them. The world around him was blurry and contorted; he could only make out the faint outlines of his brother by his side, the doctor peering at him a few inches away and the nurse in the corner.
A smile bigger than any he’d smiled in a long time lit up his face. “Oh...my...Jesus...”
He let his eyes wander about the room. It was still really very blurry, but he could see the stretch of white of a smile on his brother’s face as he opened his eyes fully.
“Hey, buddy.” Mikey’s grin broadened. “How you doing?”
Gerard opened and closed his mouth dumbly in search of an answer, but when the words couldn’t quite form themselves he continued to look around the room instead.
“How are you feeling?” Doctor Brice asked after shining a tiny light in Gerard’s eye.
“I’m...I’m a little dizzy.”
“Don’t worry, that’ll ware off in a bit. As will the blurriness,” the doctor added when Gerard blinked twice and squinted in a vain attempt to clear the fog surrounding his vision.
Brice held up his hand. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
“I can see your hand!” Gerard squealed.
“Yes, you can. Answer the question.”
Gerard squinted and widened his eyes again. “...All of them?”
“Good.” Brice smiled satisfyingly and leant back in his chair. He turned to Mikey. “Everything seems to be in check, but protocol needs him to stay here for tonight. The blurriness is perfectly natural and should go away in a few weeks or so and -”
“- Who’s that?”
Mikey and the doctor turned to look at Gerard. “What?”
Gerard was smiling a little confusedly at a dark figure in the corner. Their features were completely unidentifiable due to the fog. “Who is that?”
Mikey frowned and looked around the room. “...There’s no one there, Gerard.”
Gerard’s head cocked to the side slightly and he squinted. There was definitely someone there. He looked at Mikey. Mikey was looking at Brice wearily. He looked back and to his dismay there was, indeed, no one there.
He scratched the nape of his neck sheepishly. “Huh. My mistake.”
Gerard didn’t like hospitals. He wasn’t going to lie; he had only few good experiences of hospitals and even they weren’t the greatest. The spotless white walls and grey faced doctors put him off completely; let alone his phobia of needles. And there was the fact that the chance of catching something at a hospital was higher than not. So he didn’t like hospitals at all.
He blinked and stared at the ceiling above him. He could just make out the small swirls and patterns of the wallpaper. He held up his hand in front of his face, moving it forwards and backwards. He grinned.
There was a soft knock at the door and he dropped his hand and looked up. An ivory skinned, slender grinning face popped his head through the door.
“There he is,” the visitor grinned and shuffled into the room. Gerard’s grin returned at the familiarly deep rumble of the voice and waved.
Frank sat on the edge of the bed, russet eyes twinkling. He gingerly handed Gerard a card, taking his hand in his to help. It depicted a grinning Care Bear holding a sign reading Fuckin’ Get Well! on it. Gerard traced his fingers on the huge popup writing.
“It’s the best I can do,” Frank said sheepishly. “Though, the rose bouquets kinda put it to shame.”
Gerard chuckled. “It’s perfect. You’re the only person who remembered I was a guy.”
Frank laughed and ran a hand self-consciously through his choppy raven hair. His friend was looking at him oddly and he couldn’t help but feel as if he was being X-Rayed, even though Gerard was the least probable candidate to have X-Ray vision.
“C’mere,” Gerard finally said. “Let’s see you.”
Frank’s eyebrows disappeared into his shock of black fringe and, albeit hesitantly, scooted closer to him. Gerard put his hands in his, feeling the fingers and wrists. They were calloused; a guitar players. He slowly moved his hands up, feeling the firm shoulders and slender neck. He dragged his fingers softly on sharp jaw and cheek bones, a small pointed noise, a double pierced ear. The biggest, brightest eyes he’d ever seen.
“Prettier than you expected?” Frank smirked.
“Don’t flatter yourself,” he laughed.
He dropped his hands and placed them in his lap. Frank scratched the back of his neck. Gerard drummed his fingers on his thigh.
“So,” Frank, as always, was the first to break the silence. “Ready to see the big bad world tomorrow?”
“Not really,” sighed Gerard. “But there isn’t much I can do about it, is it?”
Frank frowned and nudged his friend. “Hey,” he smiled warmly. “We’re here for you.”
“I feel like a nuisance.”
“But you’re our nuisance. And you won’t be for much longer anyways. Soon as your vision clears up you can change your own diaper.”
Gerard scowled and stuck out his tongue. “You suck.”
Frank chuckled and ruffled his hair before standing up. “Get some sleep; it’s been a long day.”
“That sounds like a good idea.” Gerard sank into the pillows and snuggled under the blanket. Frank stopped at the door and turned around to smile at him, his hand on the door handle. His eyes twinkled in the dim light.
“You want me to kiss you goodnight?”
“You want me to shove it up your ass?”
Frank laughed and stepped out of the room, keeping his head inside. “Night, princess.”
He laughed again and shut the door, flicking the light switch. Darkness enveloped the room, except from the small sliver of silvery moonlight that had managed smuggle itself through the slits in the blinds. It was only until he heard his best friend’s footsteps disappear down the hall that he shut his eyes.
Half a minute later he was asleep.
It had been fifteen years since Gerard had seen Los Angeles. He’d been once as a kid, to see a distant relative of some sort, and had found himself transfixed by the emerald marine waves and cloudless blue skies, a vibrant contrast to the gum flecked streets and graffitied walls of New Jersey. And as he and Ray sped along the sizzling tarmac of the road back home, he was as equally hypnotized by the beach view below as he was that one vacation.
“Thanks for driving me home,” he said again, eyes not leaving the view below despite their current blurriness. “I appreciate it.”
His friend grinned at him in the rear view mirror. “Don’t mention it, man.” He followed Gerard’s gaze to the white sands down the hill and a thought occurred to him. “We need to take you to the beach. See the ‘sights’...”
“You mean chicks.”
“All I’m saying is it’s been a while since you got some.”
“Yeah, but I was close to it! You have no idea.”
Ray looked at him doubtfully.
“What?!” Gerard protested at his expression. “Bitches dig blind guys!”
Ray snorted. “Think you got a bit of a problem there, Houston. You aint blind anymore.”
“Oh, fuck you,” Gerard growled, violently winding down the window whilst his friend erupted into a fit of snort-like giggles. Gerard stuck his head out the window a little, letting the breeze caress his face and send his hair flying across it. Ray rolled his eyes.
“You look like you’re doing a shampoo commercial.”
“I’m counting my blessings,” Gerard replied matter-of-factly. “In case I wake up from this crazy dream.” He looked at him.
Ray smiled. “It’s all real, I’m afraid.”
Gerard returned his smile. “That’s good.” He turned back to the window and frowned at a small heap on the road in the distance. As they drove past it and he could get a better look, he felt the colour drain from his cheeks and his eyes widen to see it was a small, mangled form of a child lying on the road. Dark crimson blood stained her sky blue dress and her hair fell into clouded unseeing eyes.
“Stop the car,” he murmured. His voice was dry and almost a whisper. “I said stop the fucking car!”
Ray slammed on the brakes and the car screeched dangerously to a halt. Gerard burst out of the car and ran out onto the road to find there was nothing there except the occasional stones and shrubs.
“Gerard, what the fuck?!” Ray followed his friend who was now staring confusedly at the road.
“I could’ve sworn I saw...” he muttered faintly.
“Saw what?” Ray inquired furiously.
Gerard looked at him slowly. His face was marble white. “There was a kid,” he explained firmly. “I saw it with my own eyes. She was there, and she’d been hit. I sware to God...”
He jogged forward a little, squinting into the distance, even though he knew exactly what his friend was going to say to him next.
“Gerard, there’s nothing there.” Ray put his hand on Gerard’s shoulder. “Let’s go.”
Hesitantly, Gerard walked back to the car. He was shivering, and for some reason, was reminded of the dark figure in the corner of the doctor’s room. Because he knew he saw what he saw. And he knew he wasn’t crazy.
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