After his girlfriend breaks up with him for another girl, Gerard becomes witness of a jumbo-jet miraculously landing on the highway, in the dead of night, and then he meets Frank. *Oneshot*
The radio flatlines with a beep confirming the signal is off air and Gerard’s hand subconsciously floats toward the dial, scrolling for another channel. A halfway-decent recording of some orchestral suite fills the interior of the little Nissan a few seconds later. It will have to do.
Gerard is cruising, he doesn’t even know where he’s headed. He just wants to go home, but everything feels like away, the next place more so than the former. Gerard has nowhere left to go, since Mikey moved back to New Jersey, he knows no one in the entire city of New York well enough.
His brother, Michael James Way, had sworn on his own name that things would end in heartbreak. Lindsey just wasn’t the kind of girl that would tolerate all the things Gerard did day after day after day, even though she was kind at heart. At least Gerard had been convinced she was, until she dropped the other girl at Gerard’s feet like a newly caught meal. Here you go.
It would have been humiliating enough if she’d decided to leave Gerard in favor of another guy, and it certainly didn’t make things any better that the girl she did run off with was, by far, prettier than Gerard. Realization struck, and Gerard scowled at the thought. The other girl, Jamia, could even have been potential flirting material if it weren’t for the circumstances. Fuck Gerard’s life, truly and wholeheartedly, fuck it.
He’s contemplating turning the car and going back to New York, back to his and Lindsey’s apartment, despite the memories. It’s empty of people, that’s for sure, and it has coffee and his sketchbooks, but also a lot of photographs and things that used to belong to Lindsey. The things she left behind. The things Gerard smashed against the walls or clutched to his chest and cried over. It’s frankly, a mess back there.
Then there’s a low-frequency rumbling. Gerard rubs his ear, the rumbling grows louder. It keeps on ascending in strength until the noise is all Gerard can hear, orchestral suite drowned out, and Gerard casts worried glances through the rearview mirror. All he can see is the light of two giant spotlights, spewing out over the dead-empty highway, engulfing Gerard and his car in an eerie, blueish glow.
At first Gerard thinks it’s an UFO, but then a jumbo-jet screams past and Gerard ducks instinctively.
”Holy shit!” Gerard shrieks and stops his car. ”Holy mother of fucking crap” What the fuck is he supposed to do? How the hell is he supposed to react when a giant plane just went in for landing on the very same highway he’s driving on? He can’t see the plane anymore, it’s zoomed out of his sight down the road, and eventually he decides to follow it. He guesses they could use any help they’ll be able to get, though, even if all he’d be able to do would be dragging corpses out of reach of flames.
Sometimes it’s wonderful to have the ability to always think the worst of everything. Right now is one of those moments.
Gerard is relieved to see that the plane has landed relatively safe on the highway, police cars already surrounding the site, probably noted ahead. He won’t be able to get past them, and he could turn around, yes, but he decides to stay and see what he can do. It’s clear that he’s already proven himself to be a fail-boat of a boyfriend, so he thinks there’s very little to lose and he might as well try to make himself useful best way he can.
Although Gerard thought he was alone on the entire highway, it certainly felt deserted, there are a few other cars parked along the line of the restrictions. A tiny posse of people is cowering by one of the police cars, talking to an officer and watching shaken people step out of the plane. There’s a sense of turmoil in the air, helicopters chopping in the sky and sirens blaring toward them in the dark, streetlights casting their yellow glow over the shiny and misplaced body of the plane.
”Hey” A voice rasps beside Gerard, startling him and eliciting a gasp that would have been embarrassing, were it not, yet again, for the circumstances. ”It’s a little late to be headed somewhere”
Gerard squints at the short man beside him. The guy is about five foot five, maybe slightly nearer to five foot six, and his appearance is boyish, dark hair curling around his face in short, soft locks. He looks vaguely familiar and Gerard loses track of his thoughts while trying to figure out where he’s seen the guy before, furrowing his eyebrows.
”Uuuh, hi..” Gerard manages at last, blinking to regain his focus on reality. ”Eeh, yeah. I’m kinda just cruising”
”Hmmm” The guy scrunches his mouth up into a little bundle and says ”Yeah, me too, I guess” He kicks some dirt and turns his face up to meet Gerard’s eyes ”Girlfriend left me”
”Shame” Gerard hears himself say, then, quickly correcting himself, ”Uh, I mean, same. Mine left me too” The other guy chuckles.
”Coincidence, huh?” He smiles weakly, glancing over Gerard’s shoulder at the jet for a moment before continuing with a sinister smile ”She left me for another chick”
Gerard is a bit mollified, but he can’t help the tiny giggle that escapes his lips.
”What?” The other guy chuckles ”It’s not even that funny”
”Mine left me for a girl too” Gerard says.
”Okay” The guy’s smile widens into a less somber one ”It is that funny”
Gerard doesn’t really feel like laughing, it’s not the time or the place, but he grins back at the guy. ”I’m Gerard, by the way” He holds out his hand.
”Frank” The guy answers and takes Gerard’s pale hand between both his tattooed ones, and it’s maybe a bit intimate but Gerard doesn’t mind. At least he’s not thinking about Lindsey all that much anymore. ”Nice to meet you”
They stand beside Gerard’s car for a while, talking about music and comics and the way picture frames shouldn’t have breakable glass until an officer kindly tells them that, unfortunately, the road won’t be open for going east tonight. If they wouldn’t mind choosing another route, he’d be grateful.
Gerard doesn’t really want to part with Frank. There’s something about him that makes Gerard feel like they’re old friends, a common denominator that sticks them together like glue. Heartbreak might have that effect on people, who knows. Gerard might just have been too much of a hermit during his twenty-four years of life to notice it before.
”Hey, you know what?” Frank says suddenly. ”That’s her car” He’s looking at the dark blue... Something, that’s parked beside Gerard’s red Nissan, and Gerard guesses Frank has to be talking about his girlfriend. Or ex. Whatever.
”Yeah?” Gerard urges him to continue, playing with the half-empty pack of cigarettes in his pocket. He’d sworn on quitting a few weeks ago, but gave up earlier this night. Right after Lindsey broke up with him.
”Give me a ride home?” Frank pleads mockingly, and Gerard would gladly.
”You better not live in fucking Canada or something” A smirk curls over Gerard’s face, quickly mirrored by a similar expression on Frank’s.
Gerard always wondered what the gaps in the fencing in the middle of the road was for, if you’re not supposed to go through them. Now he knows, and he’s grateful that Frank pointed out the fact that the cops probably rather saw them crossing through one of those than driving all the way back to New York on the wrong side of the road. It suddenly seems so obvious, and they laugh for a while before Frank looks back over his shoulder at the rapidly disappearing blue lights and says,
”Hope they don’t mind me leaving the car all too much” His arm is folded between his torso and the seat, face turned away from Gerard so that only his profile is visible. ”At least I left the keys, so they won’t have to tow it away. Although, they probably will anyway”
”Maybe they will” Gerard ponders ”But at least the towing-bill will be sent to the registered owner”
Frank turns back to face Gerard with a sly smirk and says ”I like the way you think”
It’s almost six in the morning when they reach Frank’s home, a brick complex with too small windows and way too many tenants. It’s a dorm, Gerard notes, which must mean Frank’s still in college.
”Hey” Frank says while unbuckling his seatbelt ”It’s kinda late anyway, so maybe, I thought, you wanna come up for a cup of coffee?”
”That sounds great, Frank, but I have to go to work in a few hours” Gerard feels a little bad, but he’s not going to be a wreck just because his girlfriend broke up with him and call in sick.
”Yeah?” Frank raises one sleek, curved eyebrow at him ”So? It’s not like it makes any difference if you leave from here” And really, Frank’s right, and Gerard is also not so sure he’d want to set foot in his own apartment anyway. He might as well stay with Frank.
”Okay” He says defeatedly, with a tired smile that somehow reaches his eyes in spite of everything. ”Alright, I’ll have coffee with you”
”Awesome” Frank grins.
Frank’s room is tiny, just two beds and a desk. It’s almost dark, the only light seeping in through the gap in the blinds, and Gerard had expected a roommate, but what lies in the bed opposite of Frank’s looks like two.
”That’s Otter and probably Ray too. Don’t ask why they’re spooning, I have no idea” Frank says as he drops his jacket on a chair and turns to take Gerard’s too. ”Let’s go to the kitchen”
The kitchen is greasy and in dire need of a good renovation and the coffee that Frank manages to produce is horrible. They make knowing faces at each other over the brims of their mugs and Gerard thinks back to his own college days at SVA. That kitchen might have had brushes soaking in murky water on the counter and paint splashes and clay-stains on most surfaces, but the coffee was just as bad.
”What is it that you do for a living?” Frank asks as he searches for the light-switch when they’re back in his room. Gerard sips his coffee and watches Frank fumble to retrieve a pack of cigarettes from his jeans-pocket. ”Is this okay?” Frank waves a cigarette in the air and Gerard nods, saying,
”Hmm?” Frank looks through his lashes at Gerard while lighting his cigarette, offering one to Gerard before freeing his mouth from the smoking thing and saying, ”I do that too, sometimes”
Gerard chuckles a little and accepts a smoke from Frank. ”Really, though. I work for the Cartoon Network”
”Really” Gerard lets Frank light his cigarette and manages to blow most of his smoke in Frank’s face before adding, ”It’s a bitch, though”
”Why?” Frank asks as he motions toward the chair where both their jackets are thrown ”Sit down”
The leather of Gerard’s jacket and the somewhat roughed-up khaki-green fabric of Frank’s are weirdly lumpy against Gerard’s back, but it’s not that uncomfortable. He squirms a little in vain while saying ”Well, they only ever let me trace fucking Power-puff Girls, and I get about a dime a month for the labor”
”That kinda sucks” Frank sympathizes, blowing smoke toward the yellowing ceiling in a swirling plume, crossing his feet under himself on the bed.
”Yeah, I feel like a drone, spitting out copies of goodie-two-shoe heroes to please the starving masses” Gerard elaborates. ”I guess you need to start somewhere, though” He adds thoughtfully.
”Maaaan...” Comes a groan from the other bed ”I didn’t say you could crash on top of me” The pile stirs and a spiky-haired face appears above the jumble of sheets.
”Hi Otts” Frank greets the guy happily, sounding none like the newly dumped boyfriend who’s been awake all night that he is.
”Hey Frankie, and...” Otter trails off, watching Gerard with bloodshot, beady eyes.
”Gerard” Gerard fills in helpfully.
”Whatever” Otter flaps a hand and manages to land it in the face of the other guy, who’s just trying to get into sitting position.
”Owww” The curly-haired guy whines ”I thought you said I could crash here?”
”By here I meant in Frank’s bed, not mine, you big wierdo” The noirette, Otter, snarks.
”Hey! Gee-man!” The guy with the afro suddenly cheers and Gerard realizes that, yes, that is actually Ray Toro.
Ray is Mikey’s friend, mainly, but he’s been a constant visitor in the Way residence for long enough to know who Gerard is, and it wouldn’t be fair to say that Gerard and Ray are anything but at least pals.
”Hello Ray” Gerard replies, dropping some ash into his own lap. Frank is quick to reach out for an ashtray and sweep the white flakes from Gerard’s knee into the thing. He wouldn’t have pinned Frank for being picky about cigarette ashes going astray, but Gerard guesses he’d been a little quick to judge.
”You two know each other?” Frank asks around a mouthful of smoke, blinking when some gets into his eye.
”Yeah” Ray says, ”I didn’t know you guys were friends either”
”Well, we weren’t until just a few hours ago” Frank chuckles ”We have a lot in common, though” He stubs his cherry out in the ashtray, smiling. Gerard feels a little warm inside, and he’s not thinking about Lindsey at all anymore.
”You drooled on my neck” Otter grumbles from the other bed, burying his face in the sheets again ”Fuck you Toro”
”Gladly” Ray smirks and Otter howls pitifully into the pillow ”But hey, guys. I think I introduced you to each other at some party?”
Gerard feels himself blushing slightly when Frank suddenly studies his face intently. It’s not that he usually has any problems with people looking at him, but he’s not sure what memories Frank might associate him with, if he does.
”Well, I’m kind of lousy at memorizing faces when I’m drunk...” Frank says, turning away again.
”Yeah, me too” Gerard agrees, but now he knows why Frank’s face seemed familiar before.
”Hey Frank, weren’t you supposed to stay at Jam’s tonight?” Otter asks, peeking up from the fortress of blankets again. Frank’s face falls, and Gerard knows his own probably looks quite similar.
”Yeah, she broke up with me for some gal” Frank chokes out after a few seconds' delay and he looks almost like he’s about to cry.
”She did what?” Ray shrieks, widening his brown eyes.
”She left me. For another girl”
There’s a snort from the blankets, then a choking sound and a full-on laugh. Gerard almost feels like joining in, the irony in the entire situation is pretty rad and he can very much relate to it. That’s also why he doesn’t laugh.
”Otter you’re an asshole” Frank wheezes, giggling. Then he snivels and Gerard realizes that Frank is indeed crying.
Ray looks concerned when Gerard stands up from the chair and sits down beside Frank on the bed, holding out his arms and saying ”Hey. Come here” in the softest tone he can manage. His own throat is clogging up and threatening to make his eyes flood, and when Frank wraps his arms around Gerard and hugs him back, it’s as much of a comfort for Gerard himself as he supposes it is for Frank.
”Oh” Frank says suddenly ”And a plane landed on the highway”
”Who landed on the what now?!” Ray shrieks, apparently not in the least prepared for what he just heard.
”A plane” Gerard fills in ”On the highway to Jersey. That’s where I bumped into Frank”
Otter is silent, Ray is silent and the only thing that’s heard, really, is Frank’s bubbling nose.
”Are you serious?” Otter gasps eventually.
”Dead serious” Gerard assures, patting Frank’s back.
”You’re joking” Otter says flatly ”I bet you were just about to claim your girlfriend left you for a lady, too” He glares at Gerard.
”As a matter of fact” Gerard ponders ”She did”
”Oh. My. God” Otter wails ”Someone save me!”
”Don’t go all Rambo on me now Otts, but I think he’s serious about that too” Ray says.
”I am” Gerard replies at the same time as Frank says ”He is”
”I’m fucking out of here!” Otter cries ”I’ll be in Dewees’ room until you guys apologize for fucking my brain”
Frank sits up straight, wiping the tears from his face and hollering after Otter that ”I’m not fucking your brain!” and then snorting with laughter. ”I’m not, though” He adds when he notices Ray’s meaning stare. ”I solemnly swear”
”Are you okay man?” Ray directs the question towards Gerard, who’s staring at the photo on Frank’s bedside table.
”Who’s that?” Gerard asks and points, expecting an answer like ’my cousin’, ‘a friend’ or, worst case scenario, ’my sister’.
”Oh.” Frank breathes in reply ”That’s the girl who left me”
”Jamia, right?” Gerard keeps staring at the picture, Lindey’s sinister face floating in front of his eyes, her lips moving. Gerard, this is Jamia. She’s my girlfriend.
”Yeah, how’d you...” Frank quiets suddenly. ”No way”
”I think, yes way” Gerard says.
”That’s like, almost cool...” Frank manages before they’re both doubled up, laughing their asses off.
”What?!” Ray barks confusedly when Frank falls off the bed and continues his guffawing on the floor. ”What’s so funny?”
”Jamia ran away with Gerard’s girlfriend!” Frank chokes out.
It takes Otter about ten seconds before bursting through the door with a wild expression on his face, screaming ”What is the matter with you all?!” and probably waking the entire dorm up. When no one bothers with answering him, he slams the door shut as hard as he can manage and proceeds with presumably stomping off and sulking somewhere.
When their stomachs are sore and they’re all out of breath, gasping and hiccuping miserably, Frank grabs Gerard’s ankle, looks up at him earnestly and says, ”Dude, I’m not even sad anymore” Then he drags Gerard down on the floor with him and tangles them up like an octopus and seaweed, and Gerard doesn’t really mind. He doesn’t even notice when Ray leaves the room or when he falls asleep. On the floor. And he’s not even drunk.
He feels like a mess when he wakes up, and suspects he looks even more like one. Sunlight is sifting through the blinds, bright and eye-stabbing. Gerard feels almost hung-over, and he has no idea what time it is. It’s definitely too late for going into work without getting his ass kicked, that’s for sure. Maybe he’ll call in sick, after all.
Frank is still tucked around him like a morbid, mutated blanket, warm and heavy. His tousled, brown locks are tickling Gerard’s nose slightly, but they smell nice. Like soap and smoke and unwashed boy, and Gerard finds himself filling his lungs with the scent.
When Frank finally stirs and yawns, Gerard feels like he’s been lying on the floor for at least a few hundred years. His back and shoulders and knees hurt and both his legs, as well as his right arm is sleeping.
”Good morning” Gerard says when Frank sits up to look at him, bleary-eyed and rumpled.
”Mhhrm” Frank replies and thumps back down onto Gerard’s chest. He coughs lightly before adding, ”Gerard, we have to be the worst boyfriend’s, like, ever”
”Why?” Gerard asks. He’s not really denying the fact that he’s obviously not the best boyfriend ever, but the worst? ”Isn’t that a bit harsh?”
”Our girls left us for each other” Frank says into Gerard’s rumpled Iron Maiden T-shirt ”We turned them gay, for fuck’s sake!” Frank giggles.
”Hah!” Gerard whuffs, his entire chest bopping with the huff of air. Frank’s right, even though Gerard doubts they actually turned their girlfriends gay, more like, made them realize on their own. How horrifying. ”That’s fucking sad”
”Yeah. You know what, though?” Frank says ”I’m kinda glad we did”