Part the first
Ugh. I hate that dog. Goddammit, why does she even sleep in the bed? I mean, I love her to death, but she’s a husky for Christ’s sake! Well, she’s only a puppy, and Gerard had made the sweetest face when he begged me to let her sleep with us. But that’s not the point. The point is I’m sleeping and she will. not. stop. squirming. I sigh and look over at the clock. 2:13 in the morning. God. Why am I awake? Better yet, why is the stupid dog awake? She’s so damn lucky I love her.
But she just yips at the sound of her name and bustles out from under the covers. Okay… commands don’t apply before sunrise I guess. I know she has to go out but it’s freezing outside and I am making no move to get out of bed. Maybe I’ll just let her piss on the carpet again.
“Frank, can you please take your dog out?” Gerard rasps beside me.
My dog? MY DOG?! It’s his dog! He’s the one who bought it! (For me… for my birthday).
“Just ignore her, she’ll shut up.” I argue, closing my eyes.
“If she shits on the rug you’re cleaning it up.” He mutters before coughing deeply and turning onto his side.
Fair enough, but that still doesn’t mean I’m gonna get up and do anything about it. Gerard coughs again and I think he even mumbles a ‘chop, chop’ as he turns onto his side. “Frank. Dog. Now,” he says before tossing the comforter over his head. I frown and jab at his shoulder, but he just groans and grinds his head into the pillow.
“Asshole,” I mutter, throwing the sheets off my legs in the most obnoxious way possible.
Sadie yips again, looking at me with big blue eyes. She pads over to me, nudging my bare shoulder with her cold nose. I flinch and sit up straighter, sighing and running a hand over her back. Puppies are so soft and warm, like hyperactive cashmere sweaters that knock over all the garbage cans when you’re not home.
“Do you need to go outside, Sadie?” I ask softly.
The dog whimpers and jumps down off the bed, running over to our door and pushing it open with her forepaws. I slip out of the bed, tugging on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt before walking out into the living room, where Sadie is sitting patiently at the door, her tail thumping against the floor with excitement.
“Hurry up and piss.”
I open the front door, and watch the dog take off into the darkness. I yawn and rub my fists into my eyes, stretching a bit before slumping over against the door frame. Stupid dog. Stupid winter time. Why am I out of bed? Oh, right, stupid Gerard. It’s not long before she’s back inside, shaking off a layer of dew from her coat. She stays close to my heels as I walk back into the bedroom, bounding up onto the mattress before I even close the door. She goes to Gerard’s side first, pressing her nose to his neck until he turns over and starts cuddling up to her.
“Did Sadie go outside like a good little girl?” he asks softly, voice hitching.
I look up from tugging off the sweatshirt and over at the bed. Gerard makes a face before coughing roughly, leaving him gasping for air. I frown and go over to the bed. “You don’t sound good. Are you okay?”
I crawl back under the covers, pulling him into me. I put my hand against his cheek, huffing a little at the hot skin beneath. He nods, though and pulls his face away. He tries to cover up another coughing fit, but he just sputters and clasps his hands awkwardly over his face.
“I think it’s just a flu, I’ll be fine.” His voice is already scratchy, fuck.
And ‘Fine’ my ass. Last time he said he felt fine he was walking on a nearly broken ankle for 5 hours before telling anyone about it. I push some of the hair from his eyes, staring into his foggy irises. He blinks tiredly, and even in the dim lighting of our bedroom, I can tell he’s getting sick.
“Go back to sleep, yeah? It’s not even 3 yet,” I comfort, reaching over and tucking some of the blankets around him.
He smiles and wriggles closer, “Cuddle with me.”
The first thing I learned about him when I met the guy was he was a sucker for attention. If he could find a way to be doted upon he would take full advantage of the situation. He was even worse when he was sick or hurt, because then he was just a big baby and would cry and carry on until he got exactly what he wanted.
And I’m not one to reject a perfectly good opportunity to spoon the man I loved.
I fall down beside him, wrapping my arms around his waist, listening to him take in slow, congested breaths, before we’re both fast asleep.
What time izzit? Fuckit’sbrightinhere. I sit up in bed, only to find it’s empty and not even Sadie is curled up in the mound of black and purple sheets. The spot where Gerard was sleeping is still warm, but the house is silent. I scramble out of bed and into the bathroom, throwing the door open. Gerard has a really bad habit of taking baths and then falling asleep in them, especially when he’s not feeling well, but the tub is empty and dry. There is a bout of coughing from the living room and I sighed in relief. I walk in quietly, kneeling down in front of him. He’s stretched across the couch and bundled under all of our blankets. I run my hand over his cheek and whine unhappily when I realize he’s running a now gnarly fever.
“Babe?” I ask, putting a little more pressure behind my hand.
He blinks awake and looks up, smiling tiredly at me. “Mmmm. Hi, Frankie.” He whispers.
There’s a soft bark, and I see Sadie’s head pop out from beneath the quilt Gerard’s thrown over himself. It’s also then I notice there’s no sound going on around us which means the TV isn’t even turned on. That’s weird; he’s one of biggest TV junkies I know.
“Why are you out here and not in bed with me?” I press gently.
He looks down, his flushed cheeks going pale for a moment, before he coughs heavily and runs a hand over Sadie’s head. “Couldn’t sleep, so I tried to watch some TV. But it gave me a headache. So… here I am.” He explains feebly.
Sadie burrows back down under the covers and he pulls the quilts up to his chin. Damn. It’s our first real break from touring in 2 years, and he comes down with Hyper-Flu or something. I sit down beside him, pulling his feet into my lap. Guess I should call Brian and cancel that label meeting this afternoon. He’s in no state to go, and no way in hell am I leaving him home alone for 5 hours.
“Are you hungry? Or want something to drink?”
He shakes his head and points to a half empty water bottle perched on the coffee table. I rub along his calf, playing with the frayed ends of the blanket. I strain my back to reach over him and grab my phone off the coffee table. Gerard closes his eyes and settles into place while I flip my phone open and prepare myself for Brian’s wrath. He answers on the second ring.
“It’s 7:30 in the morning, Iero, this had better be good,” he grumbles, the sounds of traffic nearly drowning out his voice.
I giggle nervously, “So, uhh, about that meeting. We can’t go.”
Brian curses and something honks, “What do you mean ‘you can’t go’? We’re negotiating your contracts, you guys really cannot miss this.”
I look over at Gerard, sighing into the phone, “Gee is sick. Like, really sick. We can’t come.”
“How sick?” Brian asks, sounding frustrated but also sympathetic.
“Fever,” I breathe, “And he has a bad cough.”
There’s a lapse of silence, and I can hear him turn off his car and get out. “The meeting isn’t until 2. Just make him sleep and take some Tylenol and if he’s not better by then we’ll figure something out.” He replies, voice calm.
“You know he won’t take anything,” I groan impatiently
Brian laughs at that but it sounds sarcastic, “I don’t care, knock him out and force-feed him if you have to.”
Maybe I could sneak some Tylenol in a bowl of soup… I go back to massaging Gerard’s legs, smirking as my hand dips down beneath his cocoon of quilts and start fondling his inner thighs. But he doesn’t react; he just kinda gives me a weary look and pulls his legs into his chest.
“I’m not in the mood, Frank. Maybe later.” He mumbles.
Brian coughs on his end of the line jerking my attention back to him, “Did you take his temperature yet?” he asks seriously.
I laugh, “You sound like my mother.”
“I am your mother. Jesus.” Brian huffs, still sounding stern, “Did you or not?”
“Ummm… hold on just a sec,” I stammer.
I rattle Gerard awake, smiling when he looks up at me, “Do you know if we have a thermometer?” I ask, pressing the phone to my chest.
He gives me an incredulous look, cocking up one eyebrow and pointing towards our bathroom. I smile and squeeze his left big toe, before standing up and trekking over to our nasty needs-to-be-cleaned green en suite. Whoever built this apartment was on crack though, because there’s 2 bedrooms, but only one bathroom. And it has two doors, one into our bedroom and one that opens out into our pathetic excuse of a kitchen. I rummage around the drawers, finally fishing out the tiny thing under a hairbrush and an old Gillette razor. Maybe I should clean while he’s bedridden. Nah, fuck that, it involves energy. And I’m on vacation right now. Now how do you turn this damn thing on… ? Oh, here we go… hope this works.
I walk back over to the couch and sit on the armrest nearest Gerard’s head, running my hands through his hair to coax him awake. He groans and buries his face into his arm, instead. “Open your mouth,” I say, poking at his cheek with the metal tip.
“I’m fine, jus’ lemme sleep.” he grumbles, before turning himself over to face the backrest of the couch.
I roll my eyes and nudge him in the shoulder. “Gerard, open your damn mouth or I will find another hole to put this in.”
It doesn’t take much convincing after that. He rolls back over and opens his mouth obediently, but the whole time he glares at me like I’ve taken away his favorite toy. He’s such a whiney ass when he gets sick.
“You still there?” I ask Brian, no longer hearing him on the other line.
He grunts a ‘yes’ and I can hear his computer coming to life in the background. The thermometer beeps and Gerard nearly spits it at me before sinking back into his pillows and covering his head with a quilt. I flip it over to read the display and my heart plummets.
“Fuck” I exhale.
“What? Is it bad?” Brian asks in a hurry.
I can hear the panic in his voice, but he heard the fear in mine. This is worse than I thought. “103.7” I reply, my voice wavering.
It’s silent for a while, so I stand up and walk into the kitchen. I root around for a rag and run it under cold water, and throwing in a handful of ice cubes for good measure. I make back to the couch before Brian answers me, and I lay the washcloth across Gerard’s brow.
“Frank, you—fuck,” Brian sucks in a breath, and I can practically hear him frowning, “You need to take him to a doctor. Now, if you can. Now now now.” He emphasizes.
I make a defeated noise and look down at Gerard. “What about the meeting?”
Brian kind of whines and I can hear him rifling through papers, "I’ll take care of that. Just get Gee to a doctor and call me when you find out what’s going on, okay?”
I nod, even though I know Brian can’t see me. I was actually kind of looking forward to the meeting. I mean, we did just get off tour, but I love those guys. Except now I think Mikey is going to be a little pissed I didn’t tell him his brother was sick in the first place, but he can get the fuck over that.
I drop my voice to a whisper and stand up from the couch, “Should I take him to the emergency room?”
Gerard’s head pops up at this, “No!” he shouts, sending himself into a bout of coughing.
No, no Frank, you don’t say those words. Only if someone is bleeding out of every orifice to even utter those two horrible words in the same sentence. He’s terrified, I can tell, and I think all he really wants is TLC. And maybe a 36 hour nap. Brian however, just sighs, “Lemme talk to him.”
I turn around and hand the phone to Gerard, who curls up and hides his face under the blankets. About 5 minutes and a coughing fit later, he hands the phone back to me and whines in the back of his throat. There’s the sound of phones on Brian’s end and he groans, “ER, now. Text me when you get there,” he orders, and with that he hangs up.
Gerard whines again and I squeeze in next to him, practically pulling his chest into my lap. I press my face against his neck, trailing kisses along his jugular. “It’s okay, I’ll be with you, so you don’t hafta be scared,” I comfort.
He closes his eyes, deep in thought, before nodding and pulling his arms free of the blankets, throwing them around my shoulders. I scoop him up and carry him out to the car. Sadie whines and follows me as I walk out the door, and tries to jump in while I’m sliding Gerard into the passenger seat and tucking a blanket around him. I shoo her back inside, making sure I lock everything up before walking back to the car and starting the engine. He gazes at me tiredly, blinking his sick eyes as I take off for the nearest hospital. “I love you, Frankie,” he mumbles.
I’m not sure if he’s saying that because he’s delirious or sincere, so I don’t answer him. I don’t really need to. I just kiss his hand and plan on keeping a steady hold on it as the day passes. "Damn straight you do."