Sid starts talking in his sleep. Makes some more plans with his bro.
One night, there was a storm. It was unusually warm for October. Mikey had been scared at first, but Gerard had managed to calm him down.
Later at night, Gerard heard crying.
“God, Mikey, it’s no big deal, we had storms at home too,” Gerard muttered, turning over.
“Shut up! Just shut up!”
Gerard looked up.
“He’s coming home, he’s coming back. Why aren’t you home yet?”
Sidney was talking in his sleep. It would’ve been okay, but he seemed so...lucid. Sidney tossed over, still muttering.
“Sid! Sidney, shut up!” Gerard hissed.
“Yeah, you and him both. Wake up, here he comes, that bastard.”
Gerard flinched at the swearing. “Sid, who’s coming?” he asked, not really expecting an answer.
“My dad and me. Who’d you think?”
Gerard’s eyes widened, then he squinted through the darkness. Sidney was asleep, right? Leaping out of bed, Gerard took two small steps towards Sid. “Sidney, chill out, you’re safe here. Your dad can’t get you here. He won’t find you,” Gerard whispered, putting his hand on Sid’s shoulder.
Sid snapped away from Gerard’s hand.
“Shut up! Just shut up! Not safe, never safe, they’ll find me, he’ll find me. They both will. Shut up!”
Gerard looked over his shoulder, checking to see if anybody else had woken up. Frankie seemed to be nearly awake.
“Shh. Sid, calm the hell down, you’re safe. There’s no bad guys here,” Gerard hissed, breaking out the H-bomb for the first time.
Sid rolled over and opened his eyes.
Gerard jumped back. Sidney was still asleep, dark blue eyes clouded with sleep-induced fog.
The rain pounded down outside harder, and Gerard had to strain to hear his next statement.
“I am the bad guy,” Sid whispered.
That statement seemed to bring him peace. Falling back into his pillows, Sidney started breathing evenly and stopped talking.
Gerard felt sick. What was that? ‘I am the bad guy’? What did that mean?
Climbing back into bed, Gerard nearly fell off the ladder from his clammy palms. It took him an hour to fall asleep after that.
The next morning, Gerard found Sidney hiding under his bed.
“You okay?” he asked carefully. He didn’t want to make the older boy angry. Getting beaten up before breakfast would suck so hard.
“I’m a fail at life,” the older boy intoned.
“I know. What’d you do?” Ray asked, not moving out of his bunk.
“Woke up at three in the morning and tried to do laundry. I am a Laundry demon. I should not be allowed near Downy or Tide,” Sid moaned, his voice floating up from under the bed. “What day is it?” Mikey asked, straightening out his Superman pajamas.
Everybody could hear the smirk in Sidney’s voice. “Nice Jammies. I can only see the feet. Superman sucks.”
Mikey shook it off. “You jelly, bro?” he asked, raising one eyebrow.
There was a beat of silence, then everyone burst out laughing. “Oh my God! ‘You Jelly?’” Ray gasped. Sidney even hauled himself out from under the bed. He didn’t look too bad, for Sidney. On normal person standards, he looked like he’d been on a three-day coke bender.
“Yeah, Sunday, right? Sunday, bloody Sunday,” Sidney muttered, rubbing his eyes. “Confession day,” Frankie chimed, earning a glare from Sid.
“Yeah. Clothes on, we’ve got stuff to do,” Sid snapped, yanking the door open. He stumbled back from the bright light of the sun, muttering swears.
“The light! It buurns!” Ray shouted dramatically, falling backwards onto his bunk and writhing in mock-death. The other boys laughed and joined in, each one pretending to die.
Gerard didn’t. He just looked back at Sidney, who for once, wasn’t snarling, wasn’t sardonic, wasn’t his normal angsty self.
He looked shorter, and thinner. The nights of no sleep were starting to show on his face, darkening rings under his eyes and weighing him down.
Then he walked out the door. He didn’t stride. He didn’t storm. He just walked.
Gerard blinked, remembering Sid talking in his sleep. He shook it off. Sidney was a jerk. He could handle it. Sidney wasn’t here to baby him, and it wouldn’t work the other way around either.
“Hey, Sid! Wait up! Excuse me, move it!”
Gerard turned around. Alexia was shoving her way through confession line to stand with them. Sidney glanced up, froze, then blushed.
“Go away! YOU’RE EMBARRASSING ME!”
Alexia waved off Sidney’s shouting. “This week’s truth week,” Alexia said, up front. “No it’s not, it’s next week,” Sid said, shaking his head.
“Yeah, well, I have a French test next week, so I’m moving it up,” Alexia explained.
“What’s truth week?” Gerard asked, poking Sidney’s arm.
“Truth week happens once a month, during confession. It’s the only time we actually tell the truth.”
“What? Why?” Gerard asked.
“Let’s see...telling the truth gets you busted. You get hit, and then you get detention for a month,” Alexia explained, adding a “No thanks!”
Sidney tapped Alexia’s shoulder. “Uhh, um. Listen, have you heard about the laundry room?” he asked, glancing around.
“Yes. Why? Wait, are you blushing?”
Sid glowered. “Tell me! Spill! Spill! Please?” Alexia pleaded, punching him.
“Ow. No. Don’t. Go away.”
Alexia laughed. “Did you flood it? Was it you?”
“Hey, look here, baby girl, how was I supposed to know dish soap doesn’t go in laundry machines?!”
Gerard started laughing. He looked around for Mikey, but him, Frank, and Ray had disappeared.
“You fucking idiot,” Alexia said, pressing her palm to her face.
“Do I have to confess that?”
"Mother of Fuck."
"You're making Jesus cry."
Gerard got a crash course about prayer from Sidney right before confession- “Just make it believable. Ask for repentance. Wave your arms. Stuff like that.”- and managed to bluff his way through it.
Now, to track down Sid.
Sidney didn’t bother hiding. He was waiting at an outdoor table, Ipod plugged into his ears.
“Sid! Sidney!” Gerard called.
Sid pulled out an Earbud, raising an eyebrow.
“Listen,” Gerard started, sitting down with him at the table. “Sidney, you’re a bit of a dick.”
“Well, gee, thanks!”
“I’m not done. Last night you were talking in your sleep,” Gerard stated, watching for a change in the older boy’s face.
A slight tightening in his jawline, tense shoulders, and flicker of, what, was that fear? It happened quickly, and Sidney put his defenses back up.
“You kept talking about your dad. What’s going on?” Gerard asked, settling his elbows on the table. “Nothing’s going on. I just get bad dreams sometimes, ‘tis all,” Sidney said, turning up his music.
“Bullshit!” Gerard snapped. “Ooh! Bad words!” Sidney commented, smirking.
“Don’t give me that. You’re chill with everybody else. Frankie thinks you’re Jesus Incarnate because you gave him your Harry Potter books.”
“Oh, pardon me! Listen, it’s none of your business,” Sidney snarled.
“Yeah?” Gerard snarled back. If Sid could do this, so could he! “You think you’re so cool and ironic, with your stupid sexist nicknames and gay slurs? So you have a bad childhood, that doesn’t make you any different from anybody else here! So you smoke? So what! You’re not cool, you’re a dick!” Gerard spat, then blushed. That was awful! Why’d he say that?
Sid looked at him, eyes blank.
Then he started laughing. Sidney laughed hysterically, voice rising and cracking.
“Well, listen. I’m not normal. I’m not a good guy. I’m the Joker. Stay up one night, and you’d get to see exactly how strange shit is about to get ‘round here. And FYI, I’ve quit.”
Pushing back from the table, Sidney stormed away. Gerard watched him go. A smirk, nearly identical to Sid’s had curled across his face.
“Now that’s more like it, Mr. Gumb.”
Sidney tracked down his brother, still seething mad.
John was in the library, in the middle of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sidney slammed his fists down on the table. John merely glanced over. “Rough day?” he commented.
“I just got told off by a fucking twelve year old!” Sid hissed.
“And I care? Now shush, Lisbeth’s about to catch a pedo!” John waved his hands, trying to shoo his brother away. Sidney snatched away the book and closed it.
“Now I’m sure you’re brought up better than that. That’s what we call rude.”
“We are starting this thing. The Greatest Show Unearthed,” Sid whispered.
John laughed, delighted. He loved that song.
“Okay, okay, Mr. Gay-not-fabulous. What’s the news?” John asked, chewing on his lower lip.
Sidney showed his teeth in an animalistic grin.
“Distribution. Tonight. Shit’s about to conspire.”