The news is broken to the Way family...
Oh yeah, don’t own MCR.
Chapter Nine: Echoes
Eventually, Gerard's nurse came and shooed them all out and for once Mikey didn't protest. He gave Gerard one last hug and walked out, a big smile on his face for the first time in ages.
That night at dinner, there was conversation and laughter shared among the bassist and his parents, laughter and conversation he hadn't had for four months because of his brother's condition. They toasted to Gerard's health and promised each other that from here on in things could only get better, but there was a dark part in Mikey's subconscious that still feared for the worst.
Mikey had no trouble getting to sleep that night.
Mikey stands in the hospital hallway, a crowd crushing him as he tries to reach his brother's room. He doesn't know why he needs to get there; it just feels like the right place to be, like his own private sanctuary. But he can't get there, no matter how hard he runs or tries to push past. Suddenly he is shoved from behind and he turns to see who pushed him. It's the girl with the gun, smiling that doped up smile, except she's missing half her face and that doped up smile is chilling.
Two-Face, he thinks crazily. She's Two-Face and I'm Batman.
He hits the floor and notices he's in Gerard's room. He stands up and sees Gerard sitting there smiling at him, arms held wide for a hug. Mikey runs over to accept the hug and finds that his arms go straight through Gerard. It is Gerard's spirit on the bed, sitting inside Gerard's body, and Gerard's body is still hooked up to all the wires and respirators and heart monitors and the girl is there with her pistol against Gerard's head smiling that doped up smile as she hums a nameless tune and pulls the trigger--
Mikey woke up gasping, beads of sweat rolling down his face, the nightmare fading in his mind. He got up and headed to the kitchen for a glass of water, confused as to why the nightmares were still plaguing him.
He was surprised to find the kitchen light on and his father sitting at the table, staring into a mug of what Mikey guessed was chamomile tea. It was Donna's remedy for sleeplessness, and Don had sworn by it since the death of Elena.
It was the sight of his son that made Don look up from his mug.
Mikey jumped, causing some of the water he was filling his glass with to splash his face.
“Just needed a drink,” he muttered, turning the tap off and wiping his face with his sleeve.
Don sensed by the tone of Mikey’s voice that something was wrong. Even as a child, Mikey had only ever wanted water in the night when he’d had a bad dream, and in the past months Don had almost always woken up to a used glass on the kitchen bench.
“Another nightmare, huh?”
Mikey regarded his father quizzically, but Don simply replied with a small, knowing smile that said clearly: “I’m your father; you can’t hide things from me”.
He nodded hesitantly before polishing off the drink in four gulps.
“Wanna talk about it?”
A small smile crept across Mikey’s lips as he sat beside his father.
That night, for the first time in as long as Don could remember, Mikey poured his heart out to him.
Doctor Farris was waiting for them outside Gerard's room when they came to visit the next day, a solemn expression etched into his aging face. Immediately that little voice in Mikey’s head--the one that always assumed the worse--began its prediction of Gerard’s fate.
He’s dead. Or relapsed. Or doesn’t want to see us. Or doesn’t remember us. Or—
“Mr and Mrs Way? We-we need to talk,”
Don and Donna sensed the same vibe of impending doom radiating from the doctor’s tone, and, exchanging worried glances, somehow found the courage to reply.
“Is it Gerard?”
Farris let out a small sigh. “I’ve already told him what I’m about to tell you. I’m afraid…Gerard’s vocal chords haven’t shown any signs of recovery. We’ve kept a close watch on his progress and done numerous tests and if nothing changes I’m afraid he’ll be unable to speak for the rest of his life. I’m really sorry,”
Like a bandaid, Farris thought, pretending to observe something on the clipboard so that he wouldn’t have to see the shock and sadness on the Way family’s faces.
This is the part of my job I hate.
Mikey stole a glance through the window separating Gerard’s room from the hallway. Gerard was lying on his side, his back facing the window and Mikey wondered what his big brother was feeling at that moment. He tore himself away from the group as Donna began stammering questions at Doctor Farris, who was still wallowing eye-deep in guilt, as he always did when he had to break bad news to patients and their families and headed into Gerard’s room his feet feeling like they were made of lead. The walk to the bedside seemed like one hundred miles and all the while Mikey was struggling to find something to say. Gerard still hadn’t moved and it was hard to tell whether he was sleeping or not.
“G-Gee?” He hadn’t expected his voice to come out as a shrill, pathetic whimper, or to suddenly feel the familiar sting of tears in his eyes.
Gerard didn’t move.
Mikey sat in the hard plastic chair next to the bed and ran both hands through his hair, trying his hardest not to cry. He tried not to think about the diagnosis, how it meant My Chemical Romance’s career was in peril. As far as he was concerned Gerard’s voice couldn’t be replaced. So many times the fans had told them they were so original, had such a unique sound; the list of clichés went on in a never-ending stream. Mikey knew it wasn’t his bass playing, or Bob’s drumming. It was the guitars and Gerard’s voice. And if part of that were to be wiped out forever…Wait, what was he thinking? Gerard may never speak again and all he could think about was his career?
A tugging at Mikey’s sleeve jerked him out of his thoughts. He raised his head and found a pair of big, tear-filled eyes looking at him, all the trauma and the pain Gerard couldn’t express through words reflected clear as glass and longing to escape. As those emotions escaped and fell onto the bed sheet, Mikey felt his own floodgates open. He embraced his big brother and they both cried on each other's shoulders, loud sobs contrasting silence.
Gerard’s notebook lay on the floor, the one note written there forgotten. Five words had been scribbled, unintended for anyone in particular. The page had also been stabbed several times with the pen that had borne those words and was tear-stained.
All there is is silence.
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