(One shot) Gerard's slowly drinking himself to death but he's content with that as long as he gets to drag everyone down to share the ride.
This is the kinda story I’ve never really wanted to touch too strongly on before because I think it’s hard to write it with the decency and delicacy needed for such an awful time in a real person’s life, so I just want to make the obvious point that this is FICTION and that whatever really happened in that time is nothing to do with me and I mean no disrespect to any of the band or their families in this story.
Saying that, I was also pretty anxious to post this in that its rare I post stuff now that doesn’t have any smut in it, and this is probably the longest thing I’ve ever written without there being kinky man sex to bulk it out XD So um... yeah. I just really hope it worked, and all feedback would really be appreciated on this one.
Ps. Sorry about the insanely long authors note XD
“That was my mum...” Mikey sighed as he locked the keypad on his cell and put it back into the pocket of his jeans. “She was asking about Gerard again.”
Frank and Ray looked at Mikey with worried expressions, neither man saying anything as Mikey sat back down and laid his head in his hands. He breathed a quiet sigh that shook on the exhale, his fingers pushing into his hair. He was clearly distressed, but that was a regular thing recently.
“I just don’t know what to tell her anymore.” Mikey whispered, his voice strained from the effort of trying to hold back his tears. “Even dad has been calling me almost every day. Everyone’s so worried about him and I just don’t know what to do.”
“Hey...” Ray was the first to move to sit beside Mikey, laying his arm around his shoulders and tugging him to rest against his side. “We’re gonna figure this out okay?” He whispered, the same thing he had been saying for days though they were all still stuck in the same mess. “We just... Just as soon as he accepts he needs help it’ll get better...”
“But he isn’t going to accept that.” Mikey whimpered, his tone a little snappy, his head still in his hands. “I’ve been trying and trying to make him see that he needs help and he just gets angry about it.”
“He’s just in a hard place right now Mikes.” Ray mewled, Mikey scoffing and shaking his head.
“We’re all in a hard place right now. I know I need to be understanding but for God’s sake, why is he doing this to us!?” Mikey tensed up and Ray sighed, hugging him close and just closing his eyes sadly. He wanted to comfort Mikey but there was nothing he could say that could make this better. They were all hurting, they were all scared... They just needed Gerard to come to his senses but nothing they did seemed to work.
Over the other side of the room Frank remained silent, his elbow resting on the dressing table and his chin on his knuckles. He was staring blankly at the dressing room door, lost in his own thoughts. He vaguely knew he needed to be comforting Mikey too but he just couldn’t think of anything he could say to him.
Frank sighed as he tried to remember when things had become like this. They had always been big on drinking, all of them had. When they first started the band and started getting popular the alcohol was just an obvious added extra. What rock band didn’t drink? What band didn’t enjoy a party? But how did it suddenly turn into something more? When had the hard drugs appeared? When had being sober become such a rare occurrence? Frank couldn’t remember, he couldn’t remember when it had all started to fall apart.
Gerard had always drunk more than any of them, but that was because of his stage fright. A few beers before going on stage just made it easier for him. It had never been a problem to any of them, it was just what Gerard did...
Frank felt a stirring of anger swirl in his stomach as he thought back on it all. He felt so stupid for not having noticed things becoming like this, why hadn’t he seen this coming? Now it was too late and there wasn’t a day that went by when they weren’t worrying over what Gerard was doing. How was it that a bit of harmless drinking had become an addiction? How was it that a few parties on tour had led Gerard down the spiralling path of drugs?
“He won’t come out.” Frank jumped and looked up in surprise to see Bob in the doorway, his face saddened as he closed the door. Bob had joined the band as their tour drummer for the Murder scene tour, but Frank got the feeling he’d probably become a permanent fixture. They all loved him.
“I tried talking to him but he’s completely wasted. He said he’s not doing the show tonight.” Bob sounded exhausted and Frank looked at him sympathetically as he walked to the couch to sit beside Mikey.
“He won’t play the show?” Mikey repeated, looking horrified as he sat up properly. He gazed at the others before looking back at Bob, it clear from his expression that he was on the brink of a breakdown. “He’s never said that before. What does he mean he won’t play the show?”
“He mean’s he won’t play.” Bob shrugged, running a hand through his blonde hair. “He sounds pretty pissed off. He’s worse than usual I just... I didn’t know what to say to him.” He groaned, Mikey jumping to his feet.
“I’ll have to talk to him.” He decided, Frank getting up with a nod.
“I’ll come with you.”
“So will I.” Ray jumped to his feet too, Bob looking between them all with tired eyes before he groaned and got back to his own feet.
“Alright, me too.” He grunted, Mikey blushing slightly and offering a tiny smile at his bandmates, relieved he wouldn’t have to face an angry, drunken Gerard alone.
“Thanks guys.” He sighed, Frank forcing what he hoped was a comforting smile as they all left the dressing room together and made their way through the tight corridors of the back of the venue.
There was a soft buzzing all around them that drifted from behind the curtains hiding the stage. Already they had a full audience waiting for them to take to the stage, the support acts wouldn’t be on for much longer and then they’d be expected to go out there and put on a show worth the money those kids had paid for their tickets. Frank felt sick to think they might be letting them down.
All four men felt their anxiousness grow as they walked further away from the side of the stage and down the labyrinth of corridors that led to where Gerard was currently hiding. He often went off to sit by himself before shows now, but he had never threatened to not go on stage before.
If it hadn’t been for Bob leading the way it would have taken the men ages to find Gerard, but thankfully the drummer led them straight to him, hiding away in a small, empty room which had probably served as a broom cupboard or something before. Frank shook his head with a soft sigh, resisting the urge to just kick the door down and drag Gerard out of there. Getting irritated and impatient wasn’t the way to go... Especially with Mikey looking on the brink of a panic attack.
“Gerard?” Mikey was the first to knock on the door, his bony knuckles rapping gently against it before he pressed his ear to the wood. “Gee can I come in?” He whimpered, listening for any reply from the older man. It took a long moment for it to come, and when it did the words were gruff and slurred.
Mikey exchanged glances with the others before leaning against the door again, biting his lip. “I need to talk to you, let me in?” He asked as gently as he could, Frank folding his arms tight across his chest as he watched. He already knew this gentle approach wasn’t going to work.
“No.” Came the all too predictable reply, Frank scowling and Mikey looking close to tears.
“Please Gee, I’m so worried about you.” Mikey pleaded, his hands flat against the door. “I only want to talk to you.” He begged, the door still not opening. Frank doubted it was locked but Mikey respected Gerard far too much to just walk in without permission. In fact, Mikey was the only one Gerard talked to on a daily basis since Mikey was the only one who didn’t constantly lecture him about his drinking and drug habits. Mikey just felt like it wasn’t his place to preach to Gerard when he was the younger brother... though sometimes Mikey was forced to act like the eldest.
“Gerard?” Mikey groaned when the door still didn’t open, Gerard not even replying anymore. “Gerard we have to be on stage in five minutes.”
“M’not going.” Gerard snapped, his words horribly slurred. It didn’t sound like he’d even manage to do the show without throwing up or passing out as it was anyway, Frank was starting to believe there was no point in them even trying to make him come out.
“Gerard please!” Mikey begged, his voice desperate, strained with the tears he was trying to hold back and Frank snapped. He wasn’t about to just stand back and watch Mikey fight a losing battle, just getting more and more upset.
“Gerard!” He snapped, nudging Mikey aside so he could stand by the door, banging loudly on it with both his fists. “You open this door right now or I’m kicking it in.” He warned, Gerard hesitating a second, apparently not having realised Mikey wasn’t alone.
“Go away.” He finally slurred, his voice much more dejected now. Frank scowled and grabbed the handle to the door, trying it and not feeling much surprise when he found it really had been unlocked the whole time.
“Right,” He snapped, shoving the door open and striding into the dark, enclosed space where Gerard was currently hunched over a large vodka bottle. “I’m not taking this shit anymore. I don’t care how wasted you are, get out here right now and perform to those kids who paid to see us or God help me I am actually going to punch you in the mouth.”
Gerard ever so slowly lifted his head to gaze at Frank through tired, half lidded eyes. His skin was paler than usual, almost gray and he was swaying slightly. He looked as if he was about to throw up and Frank took a hasty step back just in case.
“M’not going...” Gerard slurred, his voice thick and his words almost impossible to decipher. “Just fuck off.”
“Don’t you fucking say that to me.” Frank snarled, Mikey whimpering at him to stop being so rough as he seized Gerard by the collar and forced him onto his feet. “Can’t you see what you’re doing to everyone!? We’re all so fucking worried about you, we want to help you and you just sit in here like a child! Well you know what? That’s fine, you can sit and drink yourself to death if that’s what you want but you are not stopping us from playing to our fans!”
“Frank stop it.” Mikey begged, tears welling up in his eyes. “Please, getting angry isn’t going to help him.”
“Mikey’s right Frank, you have to be gentle.” Ray agreed, stepping forward to lay a hand on Frank’s shoulder but the shorter man shoved him away.
“Fuck being gentle!” He snapped, turning to look at Gerard with blazing eyes. “We’ve been trying to be gentle and it’s getting us nowhere. And you-“ He pointed a finger accusingly at Gerard. “You’re the one who started this band, you’re the one who wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. Well we’ve got a sold out fucking gig here and you’re hiding in a fucking cupboard refusing to play. If you’re gonna be like this then I’m quitting the band. That’s it, I’m done.”
A crushing silence descended over the band as all eyes fell on Frank. The guitarist just continued to stare at Gerard, challenging him with his eyes. Gerard himself just looked as if he hadn’t even heard, but Bob and Ray both had their jaws slackened. Ray looked terrified, Bob astounded and Mikey felt as if he was about to collapse.
“F – Frank?” He whimpered, Frank slowly turning to look at him. His eyes softened slightly but it was clear he had meant what he’d said and he wasnt about to change his mind.
“Okay, look. We’re all upset right now, we just need to calm down and think straight.” Ray said as sternly as he could, holding his hands up in an attempt just make everyone calm down but Frank simply scoffed and shook his head.
“I am thinking straight.” He protested, looking at Gerard again. The older man had sank back down onto the box he’d been sitting on and was holding his almost empty vodka bottle with a saddened look on his face, his eyes on his feet. “If you don’t play tonight’s show then I’m leaving the band.” Frank’s voice was softer now, thick with tears of his own but it was painfully clear how genuine he was being.
“Frankie please...” Mikey whimpered, tears starting to drip down his cheeks now. “Frank you can’t leave the band.” He begged, Frank tensing and bowing his head. He hated to hurt everyone like this, especially when they had enough to worry about but he just couldn’t stand being a part of the band anymore.
“I mean it.” He whispered, meeting Mikey’s eyes with an apologetic look. “Nothing has ever made me want to just put down my guitar and stop playing before. But right now I just don’t think I can do it. I can’t keep making music with that.” Frank jabbed his finger at the drunken mess of a man he’d once knew, tears building in his own eyes but he refused to cry in front of everyone and so he stormed off before a single drop could fall.
Gerard looked up as Frank left, his glazed eyes making it difficult for him to make out what was happening. Everyone looked as if they were wavering, when he turned his head it felt like his vision moved too fast, making him feel dizzy. He understood that everyone was upset and there was something very crucial about what Frank had said but in his drunken state he just couldn’t take it in properly.
“Do you see what you’re doing?” Mikey was the next to speak, his voice thick with tears as he glared at Gerard. “You’re tearing this band apart!”
“Mikey...” Ray gently touched Mikey’s shoulder and squeezed softly; pulling him into his side and wrapping his arm close around him. “Gerard,” he sighed, looking sadly at the elder brother, “You need to play the show tonight. We need to be out there now. I know things are getting on top of you, but please just come out and do this show and then we can all talk properly.” He said as tenderly as he could, Gerard shaking his head so vigorously his hair smacked against his cheeks.
“Don’t wanna play.” He slurred, Bob sighing and stepping forward into the cupboard.
“Gerard don’t you understand what you’re doing? If you don’t play then Frank is going to quit the band. You won’t see him again.” He warned, Gerard shrugging as if meant nothing to him, just breaking everyone further. “The fans are waiting Gerard.” Bob continued, his voice growing desperate. “Hundreds of kids out there who need to hear our music. We help them man... You help them. You save lives with this music, and you really want to just sit here and keep that from them? There could be kids out there right now who are depressed, and having a shit time at school or at home who are thinking about killing themselves but they’ve come to this show because... because they know that in the time this band play everything will be okay again.” Mikey and Ray looked to Bob with sparkling eyes, the passion in the drummers voice shocking them all, even Gerard was starting to listen. “Please don’t take that away.” Bob pleaded, Gerard starting to look a little guilty.
“You started this band because you wanted to save lives.” Mikey whispered, Gerard slowly turning his bloodshot eyes on him. “If you don’t step out on that stage tonight then you’ll be saving no one.”
Gerard was silent as he stared at Mikey, their eyes locking and a moment of understanding passed between them. Gerard looked at Ray’s arm draped across Mikey’s shoulders and felt a stab of pain in his chest. Even in his drunken state he knew that it should be him who comforted Mikey when he was down... And yet he was the reason he needed comforting at all. And now Frank was leaving, and there could be fans out there on the brink of ending their lives and he could possibly change that and...
Gerard sighed and lowered his head. What could he do? How could he save anyone when it was taking every ounce of strength and every drop of alcohol to hand to stop him from just ending his own life?
“No.” He whispered, shaking his head and downing the rest of the vodka in the bottle. “I can’t.”
“Hey hey hey – what’s the hold up!?” Mikey, Bob and Ray all jumped and turned to see Brian strolling purposefully towards them. Brian Schechter was the bands manager, and also a dear friend, and right now he had a face that could call down thunder. “You should be on that stage by now – the fans are getting restless. What the fuck are you all doing? Gerard got out of that damn closet, come on, come on, come on! Let’s go!” Brian clapped his hands loudly and frantically and just on instinct everyone except Gerard darted into action and jogged towards the stage.
“Hello, Earth to Gerard!? Come on man hurry it up!” Brian demanded when Gerard only continued to lounge on his box, holding the now empty vodka bottle. “Gerard?” Brian snapped, clicking his fingers infront of Gerard’s face. “Snap out of it man.”
“M’not going.” Gerard sighed, his voice soft and tired. The alcohol was making him woozy, he felt dizzy and sick and he just wanted to go back to the bus and sleep.
“What do you mean you’re not going?” Brian demanded, scowling as he folded his arms and glared down at Gerard. “Gerard, don’t do this to me man. I need you on that stage now.”
“I can’t.” Gerard whispered pathetically, bowing his head and hunching over his bottle. “Can’t.”
“Oh you can’t? We’ll see about that.” Brian scoffed, grabbing Gerard beneath his arms and yanking him to his feet. Gerard stumbled and almost fell but Brian supported him, dragging him towards the stage without another word. Gerard just kept his head bowed and allowed his feet to drag behind him, refusing to cooperate at all as Brian struggled through the tiny corridors of the venue.
By the time the two men reached the wings of the stage the others were all anxiously whispering in the darkness. When they saw Brian approaching with what appeared to be an unconscious Gerard draped against him Mikey released a groan so full of anguish it was like the sound of a dying animal.
“I can’t do this.” Frank groaned, his voice strained but Brian shot him a glare to shut him up, Ray stepping forward to help their manager get Gerard to stand up by himself and steady him on his feet.
“Right, you’re already fifteen minutes late. Just get on that stage and play okay?” Brian ordered, Gerard groaning and swaying dangerously, though he’d stopped trying to fight by now. “The first song is Helena, now go.” Brian waved his hands so that the band would go on stage, reminding Gerard that the set list was taped to the floor since he doubted the alcoholic was going to remember the song order.
Frank, Mikey, Bob and Ray all took to the stage with racing hearts and butterflies in their stomachs. Each of them was feeling equal measures of nausea, the darkened stage looking like the gateway to hell in that moment. The screams of the crowd were deafening as their silhouettes were spotted getting into position, Gerard only managing to make it to the microphone because Brian pushed him there.
Frank glanced nervously at Gerard, his heart picking up even more speed. The man clearly didn’t know where he was or what he was doing. The vodka he’d drank was really starting to kick in and mix with whatever he’d had before hand and his swaying was getting worse. His grip on the mic stand was deathly tight, his head bowed and his skin so pale that when the stage lights came on he looked almost grey.
Frank looked to Mikey with a panicked expression, Mikey’s eyes telling him he was fully aware of their situation. Behind them Bob counted them in with his drumsticks and on instinct Ray started to play, though he too was glancing across at Gerard. They waited... Waited for him to sing.
Gerard didn’t even open his mouth.
Hundreds of voices floated up onto the stage, singing the opening to Helena when Gerard didn’t. It was the fans, their faces grinning as they sang the first few lines, clearly expecting Gerard to start singing when the song really kicked in. Frank prayed they were right. He prayed that Gerard would hear their voices and something inside him would wake up and perform, even if it was half hearted they just needed him to sing.
“Burning on...” Gerard’s voice was soft, mechanical, but it was there. Frank breathed a sigh of relief and felt sweat dripping down his forehead already as he played with all the passion he could muster to try and make up for what Gerard was lacking. Ray seemed to have the same idea and his body moved to the music as his fingers beat an angry rhythm on the fret board of his guitar. Mikey kept mostly to the back, his eyes fixated on Gerard, full of worry as the older man sang in a monotone into the mic.
“Just like the match you strike to incinerate...”
The fans must have been able to tell that there was something seriously wrong with Gerard, but if they did they didn’t let it show. They belted out the song at the top of their lungs, jumping and moshing as if it was the best show opener they’d ever seen.
Frank felt his heart break a little at the sight. He wanted to give these kids everything, he wanted to give them the greatest show they had ever seen but there was nothing he could do to make Gerard want that too.
It was relief when Helena came to an end and Frank could walk over to Gerard and try to talk to him quickly. Mikey seemed to have the same idea but he hesitated when he saw Frank walking across the stage too, the bassist coming to a stop and allowing Frank to deal with the mess that was their lead singer.
“Gerard.” Frank hissed, careful not to let his voice reach the microphone Gerard was still hunched over. Ray was quickly making up a guitar solo to try and keep the crowd distracted as Frank grabbed Gerard by the chin and forced him to look at him. “For fuck sakes get it together-“
Frank stopped and quickly jumped back when he saw the expression on Gerard’s face, just managing to take three steps back before Gerard was hunched over vomiting all over the stage.
Mikey stared at Gerard with his jaw dropped and a look of utter devastation on his face. Ray only shook his head sadly and Bob jumped up from behind the drum kit but didn’t attempt to go over to the singer and help. In fact no one did. They all just stared like idiots as Gerard threw up what appeared to be mostly just liquid. Not even the fans were making any noise now... everyone just stared.
Frank felt his whole world crumbling as he watched Gerard wretch and heave, his body convulsing as everything in his stomach made a quick exit out his mouth. The venue had fallen so silent that Gerard’s vomiting sounded loud even right at the back of the crowd, the dim stage lighting making his puke look red and green and blue as the lights flashed.
Mikey was the first to leave the stage, dropping his bass and storming out into the wings before he broke down infront of everyone. He couldn’t stand to watch his brother vomit up God knows how many bottles of alcohol infront of their fans. He could feel a panic attack coming on and he stumbled past an astonished Brian who was watching from the sidelines with wide eyes.
Ray was the second to exit, chasing after Mikey and thrusting his guitar into the hands of a roadie. Gerard was the best person for helping Mikey calm down before a panic attack hit, but whenever Gerard was... predisposed... Ray was the one to take the job. In the past few months he’d got pretty good at being there for Mikey and so he wasted no time in joining him back stage and quickly working to compose him.
That left just Bob and Frank... The drummer hadn’t been in the band long enough to know how to handle a situation like this. He felt horribly exposed without his drum kit to shield him from the eyes of the crowd, and he gulped as he fought between wanting to escape into the dark, safety behind the stage and yet knowing he should be helping Gerard.
Frank glanced at the blonde man and sighed, striding forward to stand beside Gerard and hold his hair back as he continued to wretch. Barely twenty seconds had passed since Gerard had started to vomit yet it felt like an age. Frank looked at Bob and gave a tiny, discreet nod. The drummer sighing with relief and thanking him with his eyes before he too ran off the stage.
Frank and Gerard were left alone. Embarrassed and exposed infront of the staring crowd. A few of the fans had started to cry, and a few shouts of Gerard’s name drifted up onto the stage. Frank ignored them all, refusing to look out at the sea of terrified faces as he awkwardly rubbed Gerard’s back and encouraged him to ‘let it all out’.
Frank knew there was no point in trying to get Gerard off the stage until he finished vomiting, but he was painfully aware of the few cell phones which had now been lifted into the air to record the moment. Frank winced and squeezed his eyes shut. This time tomorrow the video would be all over the internet and everyone would see Gerard throwing up all over the stage. The rumour of his alcohol addiction would be confirmed and the band would be projected into the painful situation of having to reveal the truth.
Plenty of people had speculated, quite publically, that Gerard was an alcoholic. Plenty of music magazines had mentioned it in articles about the band, but Brian had been perfect at keeping it all very down low and making sure the rumours were only ever the cruel whisperings of people who had no solid evidence and were just trying to meddle into the private lives of a band who kept those sorts of things private.
Now though they had exactly what they needed. A video of Gerard throwing up on stage, hundreds of fans to testify to what they’d seen. To talk about how the smell of vomit was strong and acrid, the scent of alcohol radiating off it, Frank having to hold his breath so he didn’t start to heave himself. Now the whole band was going to be left humiliated. Their family and friends were going to be humiliated. Especially Gerard’s parents... They had been so proud of their sons when the band started to take off, and now, coming to the end of such a successful tour it had all crashed and burned.
As soon as Gerard managed to stop heaving Frank began to drag him off stage, the older man groaning and standing up straight, his head lolling back and his eyes closed as Frank tugged him by the wrist. There was now a puddle of liquidy vomit on the stage, the puddle growing as the liquid ran towards the edge of the stage and began to drip off it. There was a minute or two of utter silence and then the roadies were rushing onto the stage to clean it up, the silence of the crowd breaking as hundreds of people all began talking at once.
Backstage Mikey and Ray had disappeared out the fire exit so Mikey could get some air. Bob was stood talking frantically with Brian, but once Frank and Gerard appeared they fell silent.
“We better get him into the dressing room.” Brian sighed, helping Frank move the singer down the corridors, Bob following along behind. “Bob, will you go and find one of the first aiders... and maybe a bucket?” Brian asked over his shoulder, the drummer nodding and rushing off without a word. Frank supposed he was probably relieved to not have to deal with Gerard.
“This a bloody disaster.” Brian grunted as he and Frank struggled to move the dead weight that was Gerard. The singer was still conscious but he wasn’t acting like it, just keeping his head bowed and dragging his feet as he groaned every few seconds. “I’ll have to cancel the show. Fuck.”
“What are you going to tell the fans?” Frank asked, his voice strained from the effort of lugging Gerard down the corridors and finally through the dressing room door.
“The truth I guess.” Brian groaned as he and Frank awkwardly got Gerard to lie down on the couch inside the room. “I don’t think we can lie to them on this one. It was obvious what was happening.”
“Everyone’s going to know...” Frank whispered, his eyes wide with horror. Technically only idiots believed that Gerard was actually fine, it had been painfully obvious for months now that the guy was constantly drunk. But even then they could just kid themselves, say it was because he was just having a good time, being a rock star, being a party animal... No one had to know it was a problem.
“Frank, everyone’s going to know anyway. We owe them the decency of not trying to hide it from them anymore.” Brian sighed, his voice soft and soothing though it was clear he wasn’t particularly happy about revealing the truth either. “The tour is almost over; if we tell them now at least it’s not like you guys have anymore interviews or anything to worry about so no one can ask you about it.”
“I guess...” Frank sighed, running a hand through his hair and squeezing his eyes shut. He felt sick and uneasy, but he knew Brian was right.
“I’ll go out there now and tell them the show is cancelled.” The manager sighed, walking to the door. “I won’t tell them right now that Gerard’s... ya know... We’ll put that out in an official statement on the website tomorrow.
“Okay...” Frank whispered, sighing as Brian left the room to break the news to the crowd. Frank was left alone with the barely conscious singer, his stomach rolling as he looked at him. He suddenly felt angry... Furious at Gerard for doing this to them. For months now Frank had been understanding and gentle, had done all he could to delicately move Gerard into doing the right thing.
They had all made it clear time and time again that Gerard could talk to any of them. They had tried hiding his alcohol or refusing to buy him more, but he always managed to find some on his own no matter how wasted he was. Frank had spent many days and nights holding Gerard’s hair back whilst he vomited and then cleaning it up after... And he was sick of it. He wasn’t going to do it anymore, he was fed up of trying to make the singer see sense when it was clearly not going to happen.
Frank folded his arms across his chest and turned his back on the singer currently drifting in and out of consciousness on the couch. He stood tensely thinking everything over until the first aiders came to make sure Gerard was okay. They didn’t say anything to Frank and Frank didn’t say anything to them, instead he just grabbed his pack of cigarettes and left the room.
“Okay, the new date for last night’s show is now one week today. When you get back from Japan you have one days grace before you’ll be back there and performing to that crowd and believe me when I say I need you all on best form, putting on the best show of your lives.” Brian’s voice was a firm, deadly growl as he scowled at the five men infront of him. “If you fuck it up again, you’re going to lose a lot of fans, you’re already treading on thin ice after last night’s disaster. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that.”
Five heads nodded sheepishly, no one saying a thing as Brian lectured them. They were sat in the airport waiting to catch their plane to Japan. It was half four in the morning and they were all exhausted and miserable. Gerard was sober by now though he was feeling sick and shaken. He kept whining how he was desperate for a beer but the others wouldn’t let him touch a single drop of alcohol. They knew he was only on the brink of sobriety and if he had just one drink he’d be drunk enough to not be allowed on the plane.
Gerard could listen to some reason and so he was obediently sipping from a bottle of water as they waited to board the plane. His skin had a sickly greyish tinge to it and every time Frank glanced at him he felt his own stomach swirl. Gerard had been getting steadily worse for months but now Frank could really see the difference. He looked like a dying man, sat with his head bowed, ignoring them all.
Brian had already had an official statement released on the bands website revealing that Gerard had an alcohol problem and apologising to all the fans they had let down the night before. The statement had ended with the promise that this had given Gerard a wakeup call and that he was going to get help, but Gerard had not said anything of the sort.
No one said anything until it was time to board the plane, and then they all just shuffled silently to their seats. They were all exhausted, and Frank was mostly just looking forward to being able to get some much needed sleep. His threat to leave the band was still very much in place, hanging above them all like a ton of bricks waiting to fall. In fact, the only reason he was getting on the plane at all and not just leaving was because he couldn’t bear to hurt the others.
As he took his seat he did up his seat belt straight away so he wouldn’t have to worry later, resting his head against the window and closing his eyes ready to just sleep immediately. He felt someone slowly sit down next to him, perching on their seat delicately, like an old man who struggled to lower himself. Frank opened one eye in case it was an old man who perhaps needed a hand, but to his surprise it was Gerard, ever so slowly shuffling back until he was seated in the chair.
“Gee?” Frank couldn’t help but feel worried as he looked at how the grey tint to Gerard’s skin had now gone somewhat green too, the older man’s eyes blood shot and his skin looking a little clammy. “You okay?” Frank reached out to touch Gerard’s hand and found that it was damp.
“I’m fine.” Gerard muttered, he sounded irritated and so Frank slowly drew his hand back, biting his lip.
“Sorry...” He mumbled, getting the feeling he had angered the singer and the last thing he wanted was an argument. In fact, all he wanted was to sleep.
Gerard glanced at Frank as the guitarist turned to rest his head back against the window, his eyes closing. Gerard felt a small swirl of guilt in his stomach, or maybe that was just nausea? They had just over a twelve hour flight ahead of them and Gerard wasn’t looking forward to it. He could feel he was sobering up and with it came a steadily worsening head ache. He really wanted a drink.
“Frankie...” He whispered softly, biting his lip when Frank just ignored him. He couldn’t have fallen asleep already; no one fell asleep in thirty seconds. “Frank, you didn’t mean it when you said you’d leave the band did you?” Gerard asked quietly, touching his clammy hand to Frank’s warm one. Gerard could remember painfully well everything Frank had said last night, not to mention his humiliating experience on the stage. At the time he’d been too drunk to really feel embarrassed, but now the memory was making him cringe.
“Go to sleep Gerard.” Came Frank’s stiff response, Gerard blinking stupidly for a second before he sighed and moved his hand back into his own lap.
“Kay...” He sighed, bowing his head and closing his eyes obediently, though it was impossible for him to actually sleep when he was so desperate for a drink.
For Gerard it felt like forever before the plane finally took off, soaring up into the sky and making the ground below them become a web of roads and lights. Dawn was only just breaking and Gerard gazed with tired eyes at the sun breaking through the clouds before Frank sleepily reached out to shut the plastic blind on the window without opening his eyes.
Gerard sighed and gazed around the plane. Almost every passenger was sleeping, some leaning against the sides of the planes, some leaning against each other, some just resting back with a travel pillow... Mikey and Ray were across from Frank and Gerard and they were leaning into each other, Mikey’s mouth gaping open as he slept deeply. Gerard’s lips twitched into a tiny smile. He was glad Mikey was sleeping, he knew he was stressed. He needed all the rest he could get.
Infront of Mikey and Ray, Bob and Brian were sat together. Brian had placed his travel pillow to the window and was leaning against that, Bob himself was reading the in flight safety manual that was placed in the back of each chair.
A couple of Stewardesses were walking down the aisle between the seats, making sure everyone was comfy and didn’t need anything. They whispered to the ones who were awake and switched off the over head lights for those who were asleep. Gerard closed his eyes quickly and pretended to be sleeping too as one neared where he was sitting. He smelt the woman’s perfume as she leant over him and flicked off the lights above him and Frankie, and then heard her footsteps as she walked quietly away.
Gerard knew he should get some sleep too, but he just felt too anxious. He didn’t know what it was. He just really wanted a beer.
For six, painful hours, Gerard was left to just sit and ache by himself. He felt restless and sick, his headache was getting worse. He asked a stewardess for some water after a few hours but it didn’t make him feel any better. He managed to snatch an hour or two of sleep between sitting with his eyes wide open. But beside him and around him everyone else just slept peacefully. The whole band had got used to sleeping in awkward positions, so for them sleeping on a plane was no problem, but for Gerard he couldn’t rest until he had a beer or even something stronger to numb his anxiety.
After six hours of flying the stewardesses came round again with the breakfast for those with a meal. Gerard felt almost relieved as people started waking up to receive their food, Frank yawning and stretching beside him. The band always had an in flight meal and Gerard quietly thanked the stewardess as she handed over a tray for him and Frank.
“Did you manage to get sleep?” Frank asked softly once they’d both had their cups filled with coffee.
“A little.” Gerard mumbled, running a hand through his hair and squeezing his eyes shut as his head continued to pulse with pain. “I’ve got a hangover.” He groaned, Frank shaking his head as he spread some butter onto his cold toast.
“I’m not surprised.” He scoffed, taking a bite of toast and moving to rip off the top of his yoghurt. The only time they were guaranteed a meal on tour was on the plane, it had become something of a treat by now. “I wonder if you can ask for some painkillers.” He mused, looking around for a stewardess but Gerard just shook his head.
“No point. It won’t help.” He grumbled moodily, sipping his coffee but only staring at his food. “I just need a beer or something.”
“No you don’t.” Frank said sternly, glaring at Gerard as he idly stirred his yoghurt. “A drink is the last thing you need.”
“Hair of the dog.” Gerard shrugged, as if that justified everything, but Frank only narrowed his eyes even more.
“If you get drunk again you’ll just end up having another hangover tomorrow, and then you’ll get drunk to cure that, and on and on it’ll go until you end up killing yourself.” He said a little snappily, grabbing his toast and taking another bite of it as he turned his face away from Gerard. He didn’t want to have to lecture him on this again, it was all just the same argument they’d had a million times before.
“I’m not going to kill myself.” Gerard grumbled, picking up his toast but all he did was tear off the crusts before abandoning it again. “I know what I’m doing Frank, I’m not a child.” He snapped, pushing his tray away. He wasn’t hungry. Frank glanced at him and then at his uneaten food.
“You have to eat Gerard.” He sighed, his tone exasperated. “You haven’t eaten in days, plus you practically threw up your entire stomach last night.” He scoffed, rolling his eyes. Gerard scowled and leant back in his seat, sipping his coffee but refusing to eat.
“Like I said, I’m not a child.” He growled, sounding angrier than ever, making Frank flinched. “In fact, I’m four years older than you, so for once can you stop lecturing me.” He added bitterly, Frank resisting the urge to grab his tray and smash it, and all of the food, into Gerard’s face.
“I see it as looking out for you but fine. I won’t say another word.” He snapped back, angling his body so that he was facing away from Gerard, eating his toast grumpily and keeping to his promise of silence when Gerard had one of the stewardesses bring him a whisky on the rocks. The woman didn’t even look surprised; it was just the typical rock star thing to do. Frank hated that... He hated that no one even questioned it; if more people did maybe Gerard wouldn’t get so angry when he or Mikey brought it up.
“This has to stop Gerard.” Brian groaned as he awkwardly rubbed Gerard’s back and held his hair back for him. This was usually Frank’s job, but the guitarist was nowhere to be seen. The band were almost at the end of the Japanese leg of their tour, just two more dates to go, and Gerard was spiralling further down his path of destruction. Standing with him now Brian found it incredible to think when Gerard had thrown up on stage back in LA he had actually thought he’d hit rock bottom.
Right now it felt like Gerard was just falling endlessly and the only rock bottom he’d be hitting would be the bottom of a casket.
Gerard tried to choke out an ‘I know’ between vomiting into the trash can at the side of the road, but it was impossible. Turned out Sake made drunken vomiting even more violent than usual and for a wild moment Gerard thought he was going to end up suffocating on his own vomit there were such long stretches between when he was able to suck in a breath.
Brian was just grateful Gerard had waited to get this drunk after that night’s show, though he hadn’t exactly been sober on stage. In fact, he hadn’t exactly been sober at all during any point of their time in Japan. It was still grating on everyone, especially Frank. Mikey had started trying to avoid Gerard at all costs so that he wouldn’t have to see him falling apart, and Frank had started ignoring everyone and just spending his time alone.
Brian got the distinct feeling that the entire band was crumbling like cigarette ash and he was desperate to get things back together.
“Gerard, I really don’t want to force you to do anything but right now man, I really think I need to get you into some sort of rehab.” Brian sighed as Gerard finally began to breathe properly, his vomiting over for now.
“N – No... B – Brian I don’t need... R – Rehab...” Gerard groaned, panting harshly as he got his breath back. There was a vile taste in his mouth and his head was spinning. He felt ready to collapse.
“Yes you do Gerard.” Brian said sternly. He was just as bad as everyone else in backing down to Gerard, trying to keep him happy, but he knew he needed to be firm this time and he was determined to be so. “I’m going to call around and by tomorrow morning I’ll have found you somewhere to go okay? I’ll make it somewhere discreet, no one even has to know.”
“No! Brian I don’t need rehab.” Gerard sobbed, starting to panic as he realised how serious Brian was being. He couldn’t handle this right now, he just needed to lie down and sleep. He didn’t want to think about getting help, he was fine, he could quit any time he wanted. “Brian please.” He sobbed. “You can’t force me.”
“I really don’t want to force you Gerard.” Brian groaned, dragging the singer to the bus. “But if you refuse to cooperate I won’t have a choice, I’m trying to help you.”
“No you’re not.” Gerard whined, his voice thick with tears, his voice still slurred. “You all just hate me.” He groaned, stumbling up into the bus with Brian’s help. Inside Mikey, Bob and Ray were all yanking on jackets. When Brian and Gerard tripped past the door they all paused and stared with wide eyes at the two of them.
“Where the hell have you been?” Mikey gasped, forgetting his jacket and rushing forward to help Brian get Gerard onto the sofa. “We’ve been calling both of you for an hour! We were just about to go out looking for you, we’ve been so worried!” He whimpered, brushing Gerard’s hair back off his face and getting a good look at him.
“Sorry Mikey, we were um... a bit busy. Did you need something?” Brian asked softly. It was unlike any of them to try calling Gerard when he was off another binge, and they had known that Brian had gone out to fetch him back. They never usually panicked like this, and Brian knew almost instantly that it wasn’t just Gerard that had made them worry.
“Has something happened?” He asked quickly, looking at them all, jackets half on, their eyes big and worried. “Guys?”
“Frank quit.” Ray whispered, Mikey tensing and bowing his head against Gerard’s legs where he was knelt beside the sofa, fussing over him. Bob sighed and slowly slid off his jacket, putting it away as Ray swallowed the lump in his throat.
“He... What?” Brian stared at Ray with wide eyes, his heart skipping a beat before it started to race. “What do you mean he quit?”
“He’s gone.” Ray clarified, shrugging. “When Gerard left the show tonight to go get drunk again he just... He said he couldn’t stand it anymore and that he was leaving. He said he’s going home.”
“What?” This time it was Gerard who spoke, his voice rough and slurred as he struggled to sit up. “F – Frankie’s gone?” He gasped, the pain in his voice causing them all to flinch. Brian didn’t think he’d ever heard anyone sound so heartbroken before and it took him by surprise.
“H – He can’t be gone. He can’t be gone!” Gerard tried to get up off the sofa but his body was exhausted and he was still extraordinarily drunk. He ended up falling straight back on his front again and Mikey hurried up to sit beside him, pulling him to rest in his lap and hug him tight. “He can’t be gone!”
“Shh, shh Gee it’s okay... It’s okay we’ll bring him back.” Mikey whimpered, shocked when Gerard suddenly broke down into tears, sobbing harshly into his shirt. It had been a long time since Gerard had cried like this, in fact, Mikey was certain the last time had been when he found out about Elena dying. In that moment he hated Frank for making Gerard cry, hated him for abandoning them all when they were all struggling. How could he be so selfish?
Gerard though was simply beating himself up. Even drunk he understood that this was his fault. Frank had threatened to leave plenty of times and made it clear it was only because of Gerard’s drinking, and yet he had continued to get drunk every day, not caring how it hurt the band. And now Frank was gone... Gone back to New Jersey and Gerard had lost him.
“Alright, alright everyone just calm down.” Brian’s voice was back to its usual calm authorative tone, his hands held up in an attempt to get everyone to compose. “How long ago did Frank leave?”
“About an hour.” Mikey sighed, gently stroking Gerard’s hair as he continued to sob against him. “He grabbed his stuff, got in a taxi, and left.”
“Well he can’t have got far.” Brian sighed, running a hand through his own hair as he thought over everything that had been said in the past week. “I think it’s obvious he would have gone to the airport. I doubt he’d have just said he was leaving and then hid somewhere around here to try and teach us a lesson.”
Everyone nodded their agreement. They all knew Frank well enough to know he wouldn’t cause them any undue pain. In fact, deep down they all knew the young guitarist had been fighting the urge to quite the band for quite some weeks now. Deep down it was clear to them all he had only stayed to try and keep them happy, but it had just ended up being too much for him to cope with.
“I doubt he’d have managed to get on a plane back already, but I’ll call and check.” Brian continued, already pulling his phone from his pocket. “Mikey, will you please clean Gerard up and get him to bed?” He asked softly, Mikey nodding and moving to help Gerard up but the singer was still distraught.
“B – Brian, you’ll g – get Frankie back right?” He sobbed, Brian sighing as he gazed at the tears pouring down Gerard’s cheeks.
“I’ll... Try.” He sighed, shaking his head. “But Gerard, if he really wants to leave I’m not going to force him to stay.” He said softly, leaving Gerard a wailing mess of tears and drunken sorrow as Mikey dragged him down the bus to his bunk and Brian left to call Frank.
“Are you sure this is what you want Frank?” Brian sighed, Frank biting his lip as he curled up on the metal chair in the departures lounge of the Japanese airport he was sat in. He’d already managed to get himself a ticket for the next flight to America, and was just waiting for his flight to be called. He had to admit, it had all happened a lot quicker than he had been expecting, but the thought of getting home and just away from the black cloud that had become the band did make him feel relieved.
“I’m sure.” He sighed, his tone apologetic. “I’m sorry Brian... I’m sorry to all of you. I just... I can’t cope anymore. Nothing’s ever made me want to give up before but I just can’t.” He breathed, Brian sighing on the other end.
“What am I gonna tell the fans? We’ve got two more shows here, what do we even say to people?”
“Tell them I’m sick.” Frank shrugged. “Nothing out of the blue there. We don’t have to officially announce me leaving until the tour is over, I think that would make it easier on everyone. The fan’s especially.”
“Frankie...” Brian mewled, Frank wincing at the pain in his voice. “What about the show in LA? Those kids have already had to watch Gerard throw up on stage, and now you want them to have to go through the hassle of coming back on a different date for their show only for you not to be there too? I think it’s only fair that after everything they at least get the full line up.”
Frank groaned and ran a hand through his hair, gripping at the locks as he hunched over his knees. Of course Brian was right. After the utter shit they had given them last week they really needed to make it up to them, but Frank couldn’t stand the thought of getting up now and returning to the bus. He thought for a long second, his head beginning to ache.
“You’re right.” He finally whispered, Brian sighing with relief. “I’ll play the show in LA, but I’m still not coming back.” He decided, Brian falling silent. “I’m still gonna go home now. I’m gonna go back to NJ and just take a few days off. Then I’ll meet the band in LA for the show, but I’m not coming back to the bus, I’m not sharing their dressing room, I want everything separate. That way there’s no confusion for them that I mean it when I saw I’m leaving.” Frank had never made diva requests before, and his stomach twisted uncomfortably but he had to do this. His sanity was at stake.
“I... Okay.” Brian sighed, his voice uncertain so Frank continued, just wanting it to be completely clear.
“Brian... Tell them all that the show in LA... I’m only playing it because we owe those fans. Tell them it’s the last time I’m ever going to play with them. I’m not coming back into the band, I just can’t handle the pain.” Frank’s voice broke a little as he felt an overwhelming sadness come over him. He loved the band, he still felt like he was just a fan boy playing with his idols, but he couldn’t watch Gerard kill himself anymore.
“I understand.” Brian whispered, trying to keep professional though his own chest was aching. “I... I’ll tell them.” He promised, Frank nodding. “But Frankie, what if Gerard gets help? I... I’m trying to get him to go to rehab. If he gets clean won’t you come back?” He asked delicately, Frank flinching at his words. Gerard clean... God, it had been something he’d been dying to see for what felt like forever now.
“Believe me Brian, there’ll be snow in hell before Gerard gets clean.” He whispered, his voice thick with tears and he hung up before the manager could say another word.
Everyone felt the brunt of Frank’s departure.
The next morning Gerard could do nothing but stay in his bunk, crying softly into his pillow and refusing to talk to anyone. Brian had told everyone what Frank had said on the phone and they were all left feeling dazed and sick. To think that they would get to play one last show with the guitarist, without even seeing him beforehand, made each of them mourn in their own way.
Even the roadies were moping around, carrying their gear into the venue with dejected faces. One of them would be filling in for Frank, but where as they usually fooled around and had playful games of rock, papers, scissors to see who would get the honour of taking Frank’s place, now none of them stepped forward to volunteer as guitarist. In the end Brian was forced to do his manager duties and elect someone himself.
Gerard was hideously hung over, like usual, but to all of their surprise he hadn’t yet got up to fetch a beer from the fridge. It turned out that a couple of nights before he had almost overdosed on cocaine and that had been the final straw for Frank. Gerard had revealed this only to Brian in one of his outbursts that morning when Brian had tried to go see him, and now the manager was left wondering whether to tell the others the truth.
They had all known that Gerard used hard drugs sometimes, but to hear about his near miss made Brian worry even more. If Frank had known then no wonder he had left. Brian himself felt like just throwing his hands up and walking away himself. How could Gerard not see he was going to die if he kept doing this?
Brian was still considering calling around to get Gerard into rehab, but after talking discreetly to Mikey about it they had both agreed forcing him wouldn’t work. If Gerard wanted to keep killing himself he’d do it one way or another.
The show that night had been weak and hollow without Frank joining them. Gerard had got drunk like usual, but nowhere near as bad as usual. After the show he went back to his bunk to be alone, cradling a bottle of whisky and a bottle of vodka. Despite the fact he was once more drunk and throwing up by the end of the night, it was the first time in a long time that he had got drunk in the bus, and everyone felt some relief in knowing where he was and that they were all there to help him if he wanted them.
It wasn’t until after the second nights show that things began to change.
Everyone was still missing Frank, and now they had played yet another show without him, and greeted fans after who all begged them to tell the guitarist to “get well soon”, they were all starting to crack. Mikey couldn’t wait for them to get to LA so they could play the final show of the tour and then just go home. He was desperate to get away from everyone and just be alone for a change, and he could see when he looked at Ray and Bob that they too were after the same thing. They didn’t even try to talk sense to Gerard anymore, they just left him to it and counted down the hours until they could leave Japan.
It was a surprise then, that when they left the venue and got back into the bus they found Gerard already there. His face was pale and he was shaking, but he wasn’t drunk like they had been expecting. When he had walked away straight after finishing the show they had all assumed he had gone out to get drunk like usual; it was only now that they realised he had played the show sober.
“Gerard?” Mikey stepped forward as he noticed Gerard was holding his suitcase. “Gerard are you okay?” He asked, his voice growing panicky. Gerard looked terrified, his eyes wide and his skin a little grey.
“I’m leaving.” Gerard croaked, swallowing thickly. “I’m catching an earlier flight so I can go to New York.”
“What? New York?” Mikey felt his heart start to race with fear and he grabbed Gerard’s hands. “Gerard what are you talking about?” He demanded, certain that his brother was going through some sort of drunk induced delusion but Gerard knew exactly what he was doing.
“I’ve called my therapist.” He whispered, Mikey’s eyes growing wide. “I talked to him about... about my... my...” Gerard squeezed his eyes shut, taking a deep breath before choking out the word “problem.”
Mikey, Bob and Ray all looked at each other, Brian stood behind them all with a look of astounded relief on his face.
“You called your therapist?” He whispered, unable to keep the pride out of his voice. Was Gerard actually seeking help? All on his own?
“Yes.” Gerard nodded, biting his lip as he fidgeted slightly. “He gave me the number of an AA in New York. But I need to be there first thing in the morning to start my...” Gerard faltered, not sure of the word. Rehab? Treatment? Therapy? “Start my course.” He finally settled on saying, his heart breaking when he saw the relief shining in everyone’s eyes.
“Gerard this... this is incredible.” Brian breathed, Mikey nodding his agreement as tears started to drip down his cheeks.
“I... Gerard, do you really mean it?” He whimpered, Gerard forcing a pained smile as he nodded.
“I’ve already lost Frank because of this, I don’t want to lose anyone else. And... And if I get better maybe... Maybe he’ll come back.” Gerard didn’t sound certain of this fact, but Brian instantly nodded and stepped forward, wanting him to really believe it was true to give him some real incentive to do this.
“It will. Gerard I know it will.” He promised, Gerard’s smile growing more genuine as his eyes grew teary.
“I hope so.” He whispered, turning back to the others. “Well I... I better go. I can’t miss my flight.” He sighed, Mikey suddenly rushing forward and pulling him tight into his arms.
“Gee...” He whimpered, crying softly. “You’ll be okay.” He mewled, Gerard hugging him tight back as he nodded. He hoped Mikey was right, but right then he felt like shit. He was already craving a drink and it was taking all of his energy not to give up. “Let us come with you. We’ll grab our stuff now and get on the same flight.” Mikey suddenly announced, pulling back to get his case but Gerard shook his head.
“No. You guys need to go to LA and take a day’s rest before the show.” He said firmly, taking a deep breath to steady himself. “I need to do this alone.”
“Gee...” Mikey mewled, tears dripping down his cheeks as he cupped Gerard’s face. “Gerard I don’t want you getting on a twelve hour flight all by yourself.” He whimpered, Gerard wincing as he resisted the urge to point out that Frank had had to do it.
“I’ll go with him.” Brian spoke up before anyone else could. “Gerard’s right, you guys need to catch your flight tomorrow and rest up before the LA show. I can go with Gerard.” He smiled, wanting it to seem simply friendly though deep down he wanted to keep an eye on Gerard. As much as he was thrilled to hear about him wanting to get help, and as much as he trusted him, he was worried that he was going to get to New York and just end up going straight back off the rails.
Gerard looked at Brian with sad eyes. He could tell his manager wanted to come with him just to keep an eye on him, but he also knew that was why Mikey didn’t want him to go alone. He supposed after fucking things up for all of them for so long it was only natural they wouldn’t trust him now.
“Alright... Brian will come with me.” He sighed, Mikey hugging him tight again from relief. “Now we have to go, I can’t miss this flight.” Gerard added, Mikey nodding and pulling back to allow Ray and Bob to hug him tight and whisper words of encouragement too before standing aside to watch him and Brian leave the bus together and get into a waiting taxi.
The show in LA went as smoothly as it could whilst Frank didn’t speak to a single member of the band either before or after, and Gerard was going through some pretty severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
The fans had been incredible and now that an official statement had been released revealing Gerard was getting help the flood of support messages was making all the difference.
Though Frank hadn’t agreed to come back to the band no statement had been released to say he had quit. Since the tour was over and everyone was just getting some down time Brian had decided it might be best to just leave that until the next album was in the recording process. If at that stage Frank still decided he didn’t want to be part of the band then the statement would be released and he’d be gone forever.
The thought made all of them feel sick, Frank included. Since the tour had ended he’d got back in touch with everyone except Gerard. Mikey had told him himself that Gerard was going through AA and doing really well, but Frank just couldn’t bring himself to call the singer. He was thrilled to hear he was getting back on his feet, but deep down he just couldn’t believe it was possible, and if it was... well, he didn’t want to distract him.
The show in LA was all a blur to Gerard. It had been a night of shaking, sweating, and nausea that had him unable to remember most of what happened on stage. He was told it had all gone well, and that the ‘black outs’ in his memory were normal for someone going cold turkey. But what he could remember made his heart break... Frank... Gorgeous, feisty Frankie... He still hadn’t come back to them.
Gerard knew their only hope of getting Frank back into the band lay on his shoulders and he had been determined to do something right for a change. As such he had made what his therapist called a ‘miraculous recovery’, but what Gerard called seventeen days of utter torture.
Those seventeen days had been the darkest, most painful, sickest days of his life but by the eighteenth day he was clean, sober and moving on with his life.
Everyone was so proud of him, but Gerard didn’t want them to be. He didn’t deserve all their congratulations and cards and flowers and hugs... He didn’t deserve for his parents to throw a celebratory meal for him. He had got himself into a huge mess and only after destroying the end of what should have been their greatest tour did he decide to sort himself out. As far as he was concerned he deserved nothing but maybe a pat on the back and the opportunity to speak to Frank.
Gerard was fully aware that everyone else was back in touch with the guitarist except for himself. He wasn’t really sure why Frank hadn’t got back in contact with him... but then he hadn’t exactly made an effort either. He had been too busy trying not to die from withdrawal... but now he was back on his feet he was determined to get Frank back in his life.
Frank was just sitting down with a cup of coffee when there was a knock on the door. He looked about in surprise, as if he’d never heard such a noise before, and then ever so slowly leant forward to put his coffee down on the coffee table.
Frank hadn’t been expecting any visitors, and after touring for so long he was usually allowed a few weeks rest before people started showing up unexpected. Saying that though, how long had he been home now? Two, three weeks? Frank couldn’t remember. He was so busy trying to think about it that he only remembered the door when another knock sounded.
“Oh!” Frank jumped to his feet and hurried into the hallway, feeling suitably like an idiot. He hurried to the door and pulled it open, his confusion melting off his face as he revealed Gerard standing awkwardly on his doorstep. “Oh... Gerard.” He breathed, his eyebrows raising in surprise. This was definitely unexpected.
“Hey Frankie...” Gerard smiled timidly, biting his lip and wringing his hands as he hoped he wasn’t intruding. He had convinced himself that despite Frank not keeping in contact with him they were still friends, but now he was looking at him he grew panicky. What if Frank hated him? “I... I’m sorry I didn’t call or anything, I just thought I’d drop by and um...” Gerard trailed off, terrified, and Frank smiled softly as he stood aside to let him in.
“It’s fine, come in.” He chuckled, surprised by how thrilled he was to see Gerard. It took him a moment to realise it was because he could tell he was looking at the old Gerard, the one he had fallen in love with, and not the drunken wreck he had become.
Gerard smiled and breathed a small sigh of relief as he entered the house. He still had tiny amounts of anxiousness left behind from the withdrawal, but he was assured that as his body got more and more used to not having any alcohol that would slowly fade away too.
“This is such a pleasant surprise.” Frank giggled, filled with a sudden energy and happiness like he hadn’t felt since... God, since the beginning of the tour, before it all went to shit. “Do you want a drink or anything?” He asked softly, already walking into the kitchen.
“I’m okay actually.” Gerard smiled, too nervous to drink. “Frankie I want you to come back to the band.” He said simply, the words blurting out in his haste to just get his answer. He couldn’t stand having Frank be apart from them all and he needed to bring him back.
Frank tensed at Gerard’s words and stopped fussing with the coffee machine to slowly turn to face him. He was shocked that Gerard had come out with it so quickly, though of course he had known the topic would have to come up sooner or later. He looked at Gerard and bit his lip, hesitating a moment before he forced a smile.
“Alright, come sit down and we can talk properly.” He purred, taking Gerard’s hand and leading him into the living room where they could sit down on the couch together.
Gerard sank into the soft cushions and turned to look at Frank properly, sighing as he took in the sight of his floppy brown hair, his big hazel eyes and tattooed skin. He’d missed seeing him. It had only been a few weeks, but it felt like forever.
“I’m clean now.” Was the only thing he could think of to say, his voice taking on a pathetic begging quality as he pleaded for Frank to come back. “I... I don’t do drugs anymore, and I don’t drink. I don’t even take medication if it has alcohol in it.” He continued, his eyes anxious as Frank gazed calmly at him, keeping silent and letting him speak. “I know it’s only been a couple weeks but... but they’ve been the hardest weeks of my life, and if I can get through those then I know I can get through the rest of my life without a drink too.”
“I’m really glad to hear that Gee.” Frank smiled, reaching out to take Gerard’s hand and squeeze softly. He really was thrilled, and somewhat resisting the urge to just jump on Gerard and hug him tight. “Really, I’m so proud of you.”
“Don’t be.” Gerard scoffed, frowning at the usual line he’d been fed all these weeks. “You should be mad at me for ever getting into that mess in the first place.” He sighed, Frank smiling fondly as he shook his head.
“No, I should be proud of you for having the strength to turn things around.” He corrected the singer, softly kissing his palm. “I hate to admit it but, I honestly didn’t think you’d manage it.” He confessed, feeling a stirring of guilt for that now. He should have had more faith in Gerard, he could see that now.
“I know... And I know that’s why you left the band; because you thought it would never get better.” Gerard turned his hopeful eyes on Frank again, squeezing his hand and lacing their fingers for comfort. “But it is better now Frankie, and I promise I will never go back to that place again. So please, please come back.” He whimpered, his heart hammering with the fear of rejection.
Frank sighed and smiled weakly at Gerard, his own heart racing. He wanted to return to the band more than anything. Music was what he lived for, he hated not playing his guitar and he hated not touring. He knew that it would only be a few more weeks before he’d be itching to get a new record made and out on the road again, and though he had Pencey Prep he could turn to for that, he knew there was only one band he really wanted to be with.
“Gerard I...” Frank sighed, bowing his head and feeling incredibly guilty. He felt like he had no right to just waltz back into the band after storming out on them like he had. He should have stood by them all and never left in the first place. “Gerard I really would love to, but I... I just... I mean, it feels like if I did that I’d just be being arrogant and egotistical and unfair and-“
“Hey, what?” Gerard shook his head in bewilderment, smirking a little as he gazed at Frank. “Why the hell would you think that?” He chuckled, quickly wrapping his arms around Frank and hugging him surprisingly tight, bringing tears to the guitarist’s eyes as he sank into the warm, familiar hold of his best friend’s arms. “Frank we want you to come back, it’s killing us all not having you around.” He mewled, nuzzling his nose through Frank’s sweet smelling hair. “Especially me.”
Frank sighed and relaxed against Gerard, even smiling as he buried his face into the older man’s neck. “You remember how much of a huge fan I was of you guys when you first started?” He asked quietly, Gerard nodding and gently rubbing his back. “When you decided you needed a second guitarist and you asked me, and I was too high to even get off the couch... I couldn’t say it then through all the haze, but I was so excited... so happy to be asked to make music with my favourite band.” He mewled, Gerard grinning wide and pulling back to cup Frank’s face and meet his watery gaze.
“Then don’t stop.” He pleaded, gently kissing Frank’s tears off his cheeks. “Please come back Frankie... I promise you, I’ll be strong this time.”
“Gee... Making music with you guys is the only thing I’ve ever wanted.” Frank whimpered, giggling a little at the absurdity of his tears, grinning as Gerard wiped them away with warm, comforting hands. “I’ve missed you.” Frank choked, and Gerard knew he wasn’t just talking about the three weeks that had passed since the tour.
“I know... But I’m back.” He assured Frank softly, gently pecking his lips. “I’m back and I’m never going again okay?”
“Okay...” Frank sighed, softly kissing Gerard again and feeling relief wash over him.
“So you’ll come back to the band?” Gerard asked softly, already knowing the answer as Frank smiled and nodded, pressing tighter to the singer and embracing him to his chest.
“Yes... Yes, of course I will.” He sighed, his head spinning with relief and happiness as he clung tight to Gerard and the older man sighed with relief. Finally everything felt as if it had clicked back into place and there was only one last thing he had to do.
He cupped Frank’s face and tugged him into the deepest, most heartfelt kiss he had ever pressed to anyone’s lips and without a single moment’s hesitation Frank sank against him and kissed him back with all the love he thought he had lost.