Just another drunken party, just another drunken fight. But no matter how many times, Frank and Gerard would always have each other's back.
Cloudy Summer Nights
The smell of booze was rank and repugnant in the cold, night air. It was still a better atmosphere than the one provided indoors, where the scent was more concentrated, and mingled with the sweat and body heat of packed sardine-people.
Gerard unleashed a cloud of cigarette smoke from his lips, shooting it heaven bound, to mix with the clouds in the sky above. It fell short of its journey, only making it to the height of Frank's nostrils.
Frank shot Gerard a look. Gerard knew he only minded because his girlfriend, Jamia, was there next to him. Away from her, Frank would have been smoking with him, probably going through a pack two times as fast. Still, Gerard gave him a responding look that was meant to be apologetic, but it either did not come off as such, or Frank didn't care, because his expression still looked annoyed.
Maybe, Gerard thought, he's just pissed at the fact that he can't have a smoke too.
It was, after all, the after party to a very strenuous show. There had been equipment malfunctions, late crew members, no food (not even the standard bowl of tortilla chips!) -- and for an audience turn out that was less than fifty.
The smoke he inhaled was the loving caress warming him after a hard day. It was all he could do when Kat was away, anyway.
A sardine-person approached him, coming outside from the house, and flopping outside drunkenly.
"Gerard!" He screamed in a mangled way.
Gerard waved at him coolly, taking a particularly long drag of his cigarette before he had to talk. He anticipated that this was one of those moments where conversation was inevitable.
"Gerard!" the man screamed again, even though he was much closer this time. The tall, dirty blonde boy was panting heavily, apparently exhausted from the 30 second sprint from the door to the edge of the lawn. "Dude your lil' bro is in there all fuckin' talkin' shit and shit." he garbled out.
"What?" Gerard asked. Not because he could not hear him the first time (although it did come close to that), but because it seemed such an odd statement, that would definitely need elaborating on.
"Yeah, dude, he was like, talking shit about Theo and now Daves all pissed off at him." He explained in a series of slurs.
"Well what was he saying?"
"I don't fucking remember man."
Now it was Gerard's turn to look annoyed. He frowned, and said "I'll go check it out." while staring ahead of himself.
He had hoped Mikey would stay out of trouble tonight. He was way too tired for this shit.
Gerard finished off his "cancer stick", as Kat so fondly called it, and proceeded to get up and head across the lawn to investigate. He looked around, but his eyes could not locate Frank and Jamia. He figured they must have wandered off somewhere.
Near the screen door was an entanglement of sardine-people, packed together more tightly than usual. They were talking passionately, yelling gibberish in their drunken tongues. Gerard meant to pass by them without much notice, but amongst their gibberish came an angry bellow.
He glanced over and the entanglement had opened up to reveal a mob of red faces staring at him with beady eyes. A boy with a mop top haircut and a plaid shirt, the boy he knew as David, was in the center of them, his eyes gleaming with intoxicated menace.
"You tell your bro to watch his fucking back, Theo says he's gonna fuck him up the next time he sees him on the street." David smirked, and around him came echoes of agreement.
Gerard tried to keep his expression impassive, but a slight nervousness began to scuttle under his skin.
"Then Theo ought to watch his." Gerard growled, "Because I'll snap his fucking neck before he comes within an inch of me or Mikey."
He heard low "oooo"'s and chuckles come from those around him, but Gerard kept his eyes on David, who had his face in an ugly scowl.
"Your just as rude as your brother, you know that?" David spat, "I think you all need to be taught a lesson, you and your shitty fucking band."
Gerard laughed at that, "And whose going to teach it? You? Fuck off."
Having had enough, Gerard made to go into the house and seek out Mikey, probably to tell him that they might want to retreat for the night. Yet he could only manage around five steps when he felt a hand grab at his jacket sleeve, clenching the black fabric.
David was now just inches away from him, looking like a lion hungry for prey. Gerard felt a great surge of annoyance, and pushed David away, but his chubby arms caused little friction against the muscular build of the boy.
"Don't fucking touch me!" Gerard swiped at him, and David did let go, but it was obvious that it was of his own volition rather than being relevant to Gerard's weak attempts at self defense.
"You look scared, Way." David scoffed, his smirk returning. The growing unease on Gerard's face must have been evidence, because David was certainly getting his cockiness back. "Nervous because that faggot Iero isn't around to save your fat ass?"
...And suddenly, all the jittery butterflies in Gerard's stomach turned into vultures of rage.
"FUCK YOU!" Gerard screamed before finally giving David a shove that sent him stumbling back. In the darkness around him, he heard the laughs and chuckles of watching hyenas.
David quickly recovered, giving Gerard a shove in return. As Gerard dodged it, he could see Big Worm coming towards them, looking frantic as he waved around his gigantic arms. The sight distracted him, and he was less successful at avoiding David's next attack.
He was grabbed by the collar while Gerard struggled against him, but by then Big Worm had reached them, and he separated them instantly.
"Break it up! Break it up!" he was shouting.
Gerard took a few unsteady steps backwards before he realized Ray had appeared behind him. He glanced over his shoulder and saw that the rest of the sardine people were flopping outside to witness the drunken fight of the evening.
"You okay, man?" Ray asked.
Gerard turned to him, assuming it was safe to tear his eyes away from David and his group.
"Yeah -- yeah, I'm fine. Where's --- "
But before he had time to finish his sentence, a sardine came flying at him. Gerard side stepped, avoiding the bull rush that they had been attempting. He barely had a moment to take a breath before he realized more sardines were flopping towards him.
They swamped him, one baldish one blatantly tackling him to the ground. Suddenly, Gerard found himself trapped underneath a seemingly unending mound of wriggling bodies, unable to move or run. Some of them were kicking him, delivering blows to his chubby face. He supposed it was a good thing he had a lot of padding.
He craned his neck slightly, trying to avoid someone's boot tip, when he saw two large green orbs staring down at him from a crack in the mound. He knew those orbs anywhere. Frank had jumped into the mob, and he seemed to be trying to dig through to him.
The next few moments was a whirlwind of bites, kicks, punches, and elbows. Gerard did manage to break free of his restraints, but only to join a brawl that offered much more pain and battery. He wasn't sure who was fighting who anymore. He saw a flash of Ray's hair here and there. Frank was on top of someone, smashing his face into a blood pie of sorts, Worm was throwing people, and there were folk who seemed to be fighting just because one accidentally hit the other in the confusion.
In this, Gerard was knocked back down multiple times before finally, he felt an obese hand grab him by the shoulders and pull him away. Worm set him next to Jamia, who was off to the side, watching intently. Gerard knew her eyes must be searching for Frank.
"I didn't even have time to stop him." Jamia muttered once Gerard stood by her, but she didn't look at him. Her eyes kept looking for Frank. "He literally just screamed your name out of nowhere, and before I even knew what was happening, he was jumping into this mob of people."
At last, Gerard's eyes spotted a mop top of dark brown hair running out of the entanglement. The fight dispersed seconds later, and Ray's bush of hair was the next thing he glimpsed. The bush of hair was running after someone, who Gerard finally identified as Frank. He hadn't been sure at first, as Frank had lost the black jacket he had been wearing all night in the mess.
Frank was chasing David, screaming at him. Gerard couldn't hear exactly what he was saying, but he thought he heard his name somewhere in there. Ray was trying to hold Frank back, but in a lame attempt --- even though Ray had his arms locked around Frank, Frank was still pursuing David, and simply dragging Ray with him.
Gerard started walking forward to step in, but Jamia put out an arm in front of him.
"He'll be fine. And you've been beaten up enough for one night, don't you think?"
She gave him a gentle smile, and he gave her a nod of begrudging agreement.
Sure enough, Ray was able to convince Frank to fall back after Frank had been contented to yell a few obscene and angry statements at the retreating David. It was a new day tomorrow, and they had another show in another state. It was time to leave this sardine pack for another.
Gerard hopped into the passenger's seat of the band van. Ray, Mikey, Matt, and Worm were all settled in in the back seats, with exception of Mikey vomiting all his booze into their empty drink cooler. They had already dropped off Jamia, and were ready to head off into the Big Apple. Frank turned to him from the driver's seat, his expression puzzled.
"Shouldn't you be in the back?" he asked.
"Why?" Gerard seemed clueless.
"Dude, you got fucking ambushed tonight." Frank reminded him, "Have you seen your eye?"
Gerard glanced at the passenger's side mirror to see that both eyes, in fact, were already swelling.
"Ah, that's nothing." Gerard smiled somewhat, as much as he could without moving the bruises on his cheeks. "Besides, I couldn't let you take this long ass drive on your own."
"Fine, but we're listening to the Bouncing Souls." Frank stated decisively, already putting the CD in the player.
"Of course we are." Gerard laughed, all too familiar with Frank's rituals for long road trips.
Frank started the engine, and they set off into the night. They sat in silence for a while, before Gerard muttered sleepily, "Thanks for stepping in tonight man."
"I know you'd do the same for me."
"You'd be right. Smoke?"
Gerard looked into his pack, and saw he had only one left. So they shared it, filling the van with clouds all the way to New York City.