While signing autographs, Gerard is assaulted with acid that threatens to destroy his good looks. Lindsey has to cope with the aftermath. Can their marriage survive? Oneshot.
The World Is Ugly
Gerard had gone through the drill a thousand times before. Perform the show, unwind in the dressing room, try to sneak out the back door, run into some twenty or so fans anyway, get in the car, leave, repeat the next day. A regular night on tour.
Yet it was one night, a night where he did not do anything out of the unordinary that the unordinary happened. It seemed like any other night, of course.
"You guys ready?" Gerard had questioned his band and remaining crew, who were packing in their last few objects as they cleaned out the dressing room.
"Yeah." was the only reply he heard, coming from his younger brother Mikey. Mikey hitched a dufflebag's strap onto his shoulder with a bit of effort before grabbing another free water bottle.
"Alright, lets go."
Gerard's eyes scanned for their body guard. He was over by Frank, who was chatting with him in what appeared to be a light hearted conversation. Assuming he was intending to stick with Frank for a change, Gerard turned the doorknob and charged out into the night.
It was everything he expected. Flashes and cheers from behind metal barriers, small hands shoving letters into his own, waving sharpies and CDs for him to sign. He accepted what he could within arm's reach, but more hands continue to clamber at him. Gerard looked over and saw Frank and Ray, who were both sweaty and exhausted, doing their best to accommodate the demanding crowd. For their sake as well as his own, he tried to lead the pack quickly to the shelter of the bus, which was only about ten or so feet away.
"Gerard! Hey, Gerard!" he caught a voice screaming amongst the rest. It only stood out because it was one of maybe three masculine voices against mostly screeching girls. "Gerard! GERARD! OVER HERE! FUCKING LOOK OVER HERE!"
Gerard tried to crane his neck to see the source, but to no avail. Thinking nothing of it, he walked close to the barrier on his right for one last autograph.
Camera flashes painted his vision in a glaring white, enwrapping it so that he failed to see the liquid that flew at him before it hit his face.
And then... fire. His face was on fire.
That is what he thought, as he felt a deep burning ravage most of the lower half of his face, as well as some of his neck. He screamed, and alongside his own, he heard others scream.
"GERARD!" he heard again --- but that wasn't the voice he had heard before. That was Ray.
Everything after became a blur of noises, shouts, and mass chaos. He was screaming for a while, doubled over. Other people were screaming, the cheers of happiness then being replaced with yells of horror and confusion. There was burning, lots of burning. Someone's arms wrapped around him, and Gerard thought that they were Mikey's from the size of the hands. He couldn't be sure, because he couldn't see. While the mass of the liquid had not landed on his eyes, some particles from it seemed to linger there.
Everything was dark, an occasional blurry line visible now and then.
"IT WAS THAT GUY!" he thought he heard someone yell, a voice he couldn't recognize. There were footsteps that quickened in pace until they were running.
His breathing was quick, panicked. He wanted to cradle his pained face, but it was clear the liquid did not agree with skin contact. The arms that enveloped him were walking him somewhere. Frank was calling 911. Finally, as the arms gently sat him down on some sort of seat, the noise around him calmed slightly as he heard a door shut.
Gerard heard the bus driver, Tom, ask what happened. Mikey responded with a distressed squeak.
"I think someone just threw acid in his face."
He heard the sirens loud and clear, and felt someone's hand gripping his own as he was taken into the ambulance via stretcher. Judging by the fact that they rode inside the ambulance with him, Gerard could tell that this was Mikey too. He was right. It took Mikey a while to confirm this, but Gerard figured his silence just meant that he was just as confused by what just happened as he was.
They arrived at the hospital, and Gerard felt an assortment of fingers and objects poking and prodding at his face. The burning had died down slightly, but his face was still covered in this stinging sizzle that was constant and unyeilding.
His stretcher was in motion, but he did not know where he was going or what was happening. The word of the night: confused, confused, confused. It had won by the skin of its teeth against 'pain'.
Two surgeries later. Gerard still could not see, but the doctors kept insisting that it was temporary. As he had thought, very little of the acid actually hit his eyes. However a good amount had burned into his nose, cheeks, and chin. It had been a whole cupful, and unfortunately very little of the stuff missed. His band mates insisted that appearance-wise he looked fine. Gerard waited until the majority of them had left him in his room to eat breakfast, and he asked the only person he trusted to be honest with him.
He heard a deep sigh, and there was a few minutes of silence before Frank managed to speak.
"You have a lot of scarring. It covers most of your face. Your forehead and eyes are alright, maybe a bit bloodshot. You are still beautiful to me -- understand that you will always be beautiful to me. But no, you don't look the same at all. Still, I can promise that it won't make a difference to anyone who matters."
Gerard said nothing more, but his head was already buzzing with disagreements to that statement. First of all, his fans are his income. They are not going to support a singer that has half his face off. They matter, because they put bread on the table. Bread which he uses to feed his family, which brought him to another faction of people who matter.
The attack had occurred just the other day, and Gerard had word that Lindsey was doing her best to put her affairs in order and hurry over. Mikey and the others seem to view this as a relief, but Gerard was nothing more than nervous about it.
Was she going to stay married to --- whatever he was?
Of course, he himself did not know how bad the damage was. But after hearing Frank's assessment, he knew it was nothing that could be shrugged off. In a way, he already felt resentful that Frank had been honest with him --- but he knew his best friend was only trying to protect him. It would be so much more hurtful and confusing to have found out on the day that she leaves him, because she can't stand to look at him anymore.
Gerard lamented and floated in a lake of pessimism until late that night, when a scurry of footsteps came rushing into the room. A pair of slender arms wrapped around his neck, and a high pitched sob came from the person it was attached to.
Gerard felt his facial muscles lift into something of a smile, but his skin grafts felt too stiff to properly achieve one. The sobs multiplied, and Gerard could feel water trickling onto his chest. Gerard felt at a loss as to what to say, but Lindsey piped up before he had to think too hard.
"Oh god baby, I'm so sorry. I tried to get here as fast as I could, but B..."
Gerard felt around before he felt something broad that he assumed was her back. He hooked an arm around her and held her awkwardly.
"I know, I know..." Gerard assured her.
Well, he thought, at least she hasn't run away at first sight.
Lindsey spent the next hour filling him in on facts. The fact that she was going to take him home in a few hours, the fact that their flight was due to leave at seven in the morning, the fact that Bandit was over at their neighbors house for the time being. Suddenly, she stopped talking in an abrupt way.
"I'm sorry. Do you want to talk about what happened?" she asked, "I didn't mean to frazzle you, there's just a lot we need to get done. You know how I feel about leaving B with sitters."
"No." Gerard almost laughed, "I'm glad for it, actually. I'm pretty tired of having to recall what happened. Honestly, I'm not even sure myself."
"Well we'll have plenty of time when we get home, and you take all the time you need. We can talk about it then... or not at all." said Lindsey, as she interlocked her own fingers with his.
"Thanks." he gripped her palm tightly, relishing in its smooth skin.
Ten hours and many fussings from Mikey later, Gerard was home in Los Angeles. Within the ten hours, he spent a great deal analyzing Lindsey's tone and phrasings, waiting for the implication that she was disgusted by his very existence. Still it did not come, but he figured it must be because of two factors: she didn't say very much to begin with, and she was busy trying to get them home.
The days passed, and with occasional visits to his primary physician, the grafts they had transplanted became his own skin. His sight was still struggling to return. He saw more blurs as people moved around him, but they were still dark. It was especially disappointing when Gerard realized Lindsey had a collection of new dioramas that she had been excited to show him when he got back from tour. He settled on trying to feel them instead.
They told Bandit he was sick, but could not answer her when she asked what kind of sickness would do that to someone's face.
He would feel his face sometimes, and it felt very rough. Jagged, even. His imagination caused him to see himself as all sorts of horrific monsters. Only in dreams did he have the relief of feeling normal again, but waking up from those, back into reality, easily crushed that relief with the heaviest hammer.
Yet there would be Lindsey, who would occasionally run her hand over his face, caressing each bit as though it were a work of art.
"You're beautiful..." she would whisper to him, before planting a soft kiss on his lips.
And as he laid in bed with her a week after the attack, Gerard thought perhaps it wasn't so bad. Perhaps he was over thinking things, if Lindsey still found him tolerable. He dug his nose in her hair, inhaling the sweet scent of cinnamon. He could not see her, but she smelled beautiful. And although her hands rubbed him soothingly, it was feeling her heart beat against his own that felt most comforting. It was those things you only notice once a sense like sight is taken away.
"Do you still love me?" he asks before he can stop himself.
In their embrace, she shifted. Gerard could feel her staring at him with the big, auburn eyes that were once his source of warmth.
"Of course I do, honey. More than ever." she ran a hand through his hair as though to emphasize this fact, but Gerard still felt perplexed.
"Why?" he questioned her, "You can have someone so much better. You deserve better than this. Linds, I --- I don't even know if I'll be able to continue fronting the band. I'll be useless."
"Well I didn't marry you for your uses." Lindsey replied almost defensively. "I married you because I love you, and I love you because you're an amazing person. Cheesy as it sounds, I love you for who you are on the inside -- not because of how you looked or how much money you made."
Gerard scoffed a bit, "Oh c'mon... looks had to have something to do with it."
"Maybe, but that doesn't matter now either way. You're still very sexy..." Lindsey somewhat purred toward the end of her sentence, and Gerard felt blood rushing into his cheeks amongst other areas.
He grinned and puckered his lips for a kiss, which was quickly granted, and which led to many more.
"I love you." he managed to mutter between the blind and messy lip locks.
"I know, babe." he heard in return before he felt slender hands lowering his sweatpants.
Of course, inevitably, Lindsey knew that Gerard would wake up with his vision returned. He would look in the mirror, and realize that half his face was nearly gone. He would scream and cry, and some part of him, however small, will have died. But for that evening, with kisses and caresses, Lindsey did her absolute best to make Gerard feel as beautiful as he had always been.
The smile he had when they were done, she thought, had to be the most gorgeous thing she had ever seen in her entire life.