Coming home one night, Gerard is in a car accident. Frank is left to pick up the pieces.
I can't go on. I can't, I can't.
Ever since the moment the police showed up at my front door.
It was half past nine, on an ordinary Friday night. I was alone in the apartment, watching horror films and eating leftover pizza. Gerard was gone to Mikey's, their weekly tradition. He had promised to be back by ten, pressing his warm lips to the tip of my nose, making me giggle like a schoolgirl. I had thrown my arms around his neck, to mumble an "I love you" into his throat, and he pulled me close to return one, before strolling out the door. I settled myself onto the sofa, waiting for him to come back.
I must have dozed off however, as next thing I knew I was hitting the floor, closely followed by a pizza box and some sofa cushions.
"Shit", I muttered, rubbing my now aching head. I looked around the living room, but there didn't seem to be any sign of Gerard. I staggered to my feet.
"Gee baby, you home?", I called, but there was no reply. I wandered around looking for him, but he definitely wasn't there. I pulled out my phone to check for any messages from him, but my breath caught in my throat when I saw the time. 23:19. I felt my heart begin to pound in my chest. This wasn't like him. My head began to spin, and it wasn't from the potential trauma. He'd never stay so late without calling. He'd never stay so late without calling. He'd never-
The doorbell rang abruptly, shocking me out of my panicked spiral. I sighed with relief. He was home, he'd have a perfectly good reason for not calling, he'd laugh at me for overreacting, then I'd drag him to bed because, despite my nap, I was tired. I scurried down the hall, the wooden floor cold on my bare feet, and opened the door. But instead of the smiling face of my boyfriend, I was met with the severe faces of two sodden policemen.
"Are you Frank Iero?", the taller of the two inquired, shuffling awkwardly.
"Y-yes, why?", I stuttered, my heart starting to flutter again.
"Can we come in?"
"Sure", I muttered, realising I had left the poor guys standing in the pouring rain. I let them in, and showed them into the living room. My breathing was shallow and my mind was racing. I'd seen plenty of cop dramas, and I knew exactly where this was going. That didn't prepare me to actually hear the words though. The shorter man glanced at his colleague, took a deep breath, and spat it out.
"Gerard Way was involved in a serious car accident at ten o'clock tonight. He's alive, and was taken to hospital, but is in a very critical condition. I'm sorry."
I didn't feel anything for a moment. I couldn't speak, and I couldn't move. All I could do was stare at the ground and wait for the reality to hit me, and then it did. It crashed down onto me in a wave of nausea, crushing my chest, making it hard to breathe. It took every shred of my composure to not fall to the ground and scream. All I could do was nod, and fight back the tears that were threatening to fall. I looked up at the officers, who apologised once again, and took their cue to leave. The second I heard the door slam, I fell to my knees and started to cry. I sobbed like a child for what felt like hours, until my lungs burned and the tears had run dry.
When I eventually stood up, my legs felt too weak to hold me up. I took a few deep breaths, and called a cab to take me to see him. My voice was shaking as I gave the address, but for once I really didn't care how stupid I sounded. I ended the call and threw myself onto the sofa to wait.
The journey was unpleasant to say the least. The cab driver tried his best to make small talk, but the most he was getting from me was monosyllables or grunts. I was in no mood for cheery conversation. I leant my head against the back of the seat and stared out the window. The rain seemed to be easing off a little, and the grey rivulets rolling steadily down the glass gave me something to focus on. The hiss of the rain and the roar of the tires against the deserted highway combined to make a sound that matched the static inside my head.
We eventually pulled up outside the hospital. A massive, greying building, with rows and rows of windows punctuating the expanse of once-white stucco. A couple of people huddled together under a shelter, trying to get in one last smoke before bed. As I approached, I felt a pang of fear. I had always hated hospitals, and to think of Gerard lying in there, not knowing what state he was in... I gathered myself, telling myself I was acting like a little kid, and headed inside. I was in such a daze at this point, from shock and fatigue, that I must have walked around the stupid revolving doors at least five million fucking times before escaping into the lobby. I made my way to the Accident and Emergency department, where I saw Ray and Bob already sitting in the waiting area. Mikey must have called them. Ray was openly crying, huge sobs shaking his entire body. It was so strange to see him like that. Ray was usually the calm one of us all, collected and rational. Bob however looked stoic as ever, with the exception of his red rimmed eyes. He was never going to show us how upset he really was. He'd keep it to himself, and take it out on his drum kit later. He was the best damn drummer I'd ever known, I often wondered why he wasn't in a band.
Bob looked up.
"He's in intensive care. Mikey's with him." He drew in a shaky breath. "That bitch over there won't let us in because we're not family. We're the closest goddamn thing to it!", he almost shouted, earning himself a disapproving glare from the aforementioned receptionist. I squeezed his shoulder in support, to which he gave a small smile. I walked over to the reception desk. She looked like a two-dollar whore. Her coiffed hair did nothing to hide the mousey brown roots emerging among strands of bleach blonde. Her nails were at least five inches long, painted a lurid shade of pink, and the several layers of make up did nothing to enhance the scowl plastered across her face. To add insult to injury, she was chewing a large wad of chewing gum in a most unattractive manner. She looked me up and down, and frowned.
"What do you want?", she snapped. Holy shit. Nice way to treat the loved ones of trauma patients.
"Um... I'm here to see Gerard Way..."
"Whatever. Are you a relative? Or another friend?" She shot a glare at Bob and Ray.
"Well, no-" She cut me off.
"Well what then?" Jesus Christ. Give me time to speak.
"I'm his boyfriend..." She gave me a look of disgust. I wasn't really in the mood for that shit, but what can you do? Bigots will be bigots.
"Hmph." She started typing, the keys clicking impossibly fast. "He's in room nine. Last door on the left. Don't get in the way." She picked up a nail file, as if to signal that her work was done. I thanked her, only out of habit, and walked down the corridor. I stopped outside his door. There was a tiny window, but I didn't look in. I wasn't ready. I took several deep breaths, and pushed open the door.
My eyes fell on Mikey first, who was asleep in the chair beside Gerard's bed. He had a sling around one shoulder, supporting a heavily plastered arm. The front of his t-shirt was bloody. My breath began to shake again. I had no idea Mikey had been in the car too. What if he had been badly hurt too? How would I have taken that? But the flurry of thoughts concerning Mikey's wellbeing stopped dead when I looked at the unconscious form on the bed.
All I could see was a mess of tubes and wires. There were about ten different machines hooked up to his mangled body. His body, his beautiful smooth pale skin, that was pressed up against my own so many times, making me feel like I was worth something, even if only to him. But now it was gone, lost in bandages and bruises. His face, so cherubic and sweet, was puffy, and littered with cuts from a shattered windscreen. A long line of stitches zig-zagged across one of his cheeks. He barely looked like himself anymore. It was too much for me, way too fucking much. Seeing him lying there, only alive because of the machines around him. Slipping away. I sank to my knees beside him, and gently took hold of his hand. It was cold, so unlike the warm fingers I was used to having entwined with my own. I kissed his hand, then rested my forehead against it and started to cry again. This must have been a record. Twice in one night.
I jumped when I heard someone call my name. Mikey had woken up.
"When did you get here?", he mumbled, wiping his eyes.
"I have no idea", I replied. I seemed to have lost all concept of time, or anything that was not Gerard, to be honest. "Are you okay? The blood..." I looked at his t-shirt.
"Oh, I'm nothing to worry about. Seatbelt cut me up pretty bad, that's all. Broke my arm in two places too, but that should heal up fine. You should know", he smiled, and I smiled back weakly. I was forever breaking bones, and quite possibly the clumsiest guy in Jersey. I swallowed the lump in my throat.
"Have they.. said anything.. about him?" Mikey sighed.
"He's pretty bad. Steering wheel hit him in the chest, couple of broken ribs. They're worried about the cut on his cheek, it's pretty deep and it's a hard place to heal, apparently. And-" His voice had been steady up until now, but it suddenly cracked and his face contorted. "-and his skull, Frank, he fractured his skull, there was blood pouring out of his nose, and there was nothing I could do-" I'd never seen Mikey cry like this before. I wanted to comfort him, but the pain in my chest made it impossible to move. I felt like an idiot for nursing my head earlier. I'd hit it off a carpeted floor, while Gerard had fucking fractured his. I was such a baby. We both sat in silence for a while.
"What happened, Mikes?" He looked up, and sighed again.
"It was around ten to ten. Me and Gerard were playing Guitar Hero." I smiled to myself. Many of the wars between the Way brothers were caused by that game. "He kept looking at the clock, so I asked him what was up. He said he'd promised you he'd be home by ten.
"You saw the rain, right? I told him to wait for a while, because he wouldn't be able to see two foot in front of him. But neither of us had credit, and he said he didn't give a shit about the weather, he wasn't going to worry you by being late and not calling you. He grabbed his keys, but I made him let me go with him. He said okay eventually, but I had to sit in the back seat. We were on our way to yours, and he turned a corner. Bam. Truck." He stared at the ground.
Basically, if Gerard had stopped being stubborn as a fucking mule, just for one night, he would not be lying in A&E right now. I felt a bubble of anger rising up inside me. Why couldn't he listen to common sense for once? Why did he do something so stupid? What kind of idiot attempts to drive in twenty percent visibility, at ten o'clock, in winter? I felt the anger being replaced with guilt as I realised why he did it. Me. He knew I freaked out when I was left alone in the apartment late at night, and he knew I freaked out even more if I was worrying about him too. He's dying, because I'm a paranoid wreck. I needed to get out.
"Hey Mikes, I'm going for a coffee. Do you want one?" He shook his head, he was falling asleep again. I wondered if that was a bad thing, then left.
I wandered in the vague direction of the coffee machine. I checked my phone, two new messages.
hey man, me and ray are gonna leave. be back in the morn. get some sleep sometime.
frankie, i just heard about gee n mikey. i'm so sorry sweetie. Come over 2 mine if u need food or anything ok? hope ur alright x x
I put my phone back in my pocket. I wasn't trying to be rude, I just didn't know what to say. I reached the coffee machine, and pressed my head against the cool metal. I wondered if this was all a shitty nightmare, and if I was going to wake up soon. I reached into my pocket, pulled out a random assortment of coins. I fed them into the machine, hoping for the best. I had just enough for a black coffee. I didn't like coffee without creamer, but it would have to do. I thought of all of the times Gerard scoffed at me, telling me that black coffee was the only real kind of coffee, and that I just wasn't badass enough to cope with a little bit of bitterness. Asshole. I took a sip of the black liquid, wincing from both the heat and the taste. Maybe I wasn't badass enough after all. I decided to go outside and get some air.
It had stopped raining, leaving just a bitter coldness which made me wish I had worn a jacket. I pulled out a cigarette and lit it. I pulled the smoke deep into my lungs, the familiar burn soothing, the taste mingling with the taste of the coffee. I exhaled slowly, watching the cloud form in front of my face, then dissipating into the night air. I leaned against the wall for a while, listening to the distant hum of the traffic, which was occasionally broken with the sound of police sirens. I went back inside when the cold began to feel like it was seeping into my bones.
Back in Gerard's ward, the sudden heat was making me drowsy. Mikey was fast asleep. I pulled up the other chair beside his bed, and took his hand again. I watched his chest rise and fall for what seemed like hours, before drifting off to sleep. I dreamt that we were back in the apartment. It was early morning, and I was still in bed. Gerard seemed to be making breakfast, as there were faint crashes and strings of curses audible from the kitchen. I smiled, filled with happiness, and shifted deeper under the blankets. But all of a sudden, the peace was ruined by the piercing shriek of an alarm clock. I woke up for real, and the high-pitched whining didn't stop. I looked around dazedly for the source of the noise, until my eyes fell on a monitor with a little heart symbol in the corner, with a single red line running across it.
Oh god. Oh god.
His heart hadn't stopped, had it? His fucking heart did not stop. I glanced at Mikey, who was now wide eyed and blanching by the second. Fuck. This certainly wasn't good. Several doctors rushed in, one of which was carrying a defibrillator. Yep, his heart had stopped.
"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave the room. Same for you" He was looking at Mikey. "It's too small, and we need room to work." I couldn't let go of his hand. "Sir, we need you to leave, right now!" So I left. I stood in the hallway with Mikey, who was ghostly pale and shaking.
"He's... He's not going to die, is he Frank?", he asked in a small voice. I didn't know how to answer him, I mean shit, I didn't want him to be dying, but...
"Of course he won't, Mikester. You know he wouldn't give up that easily" I didn't look him in the eye.
Silence again. I risked a glance through the little window in the door, which I instantly regretted. Gerard's lips were blue.
"Stop. He's gone."
What? Why were they stopping? He hadn't gone anywhere. Stopping wasn't going to help him! I looked at Mikey, who'd obviously heard too. His chin was wobbling, his eyes filling with tears.
"Time of death, three-ten a.m.. You've tried your best, everyone."
Mikey closed his eyes, and put his good hand over his face. I didn't know what to do, other than to wrap my arm around his waist until the doctors re-appeared. One of them approached us, with the same expression as the police officers earlier. Feigned sympathy.
"We're sorry. We couldn't restart his heart. He more than likely entered cardiac arrest as a result of the chest trauma he suffered. We did everything we could for him, he just didn't pull through."
"They're just removing the equipment, then you're free to go back in. I'm truly sorry for your loss." I'm sure he was. He sees this shit every day. Gerard was just another patient who didn't make it. The doctor gave a sympathetic grimace, and walked away. Mikey just kept crying, the kind where no sound even came out any more, the cry of pure grief. I rubbed his back in a futile attempt at comfort, until a nurse finally signalled that it was okay to go back.
I walked over to him. He looked peaceful now, that all the wires were gone. He was still covered in blood, but looked more like he was sleeping. His lips were still blue, his skin pale tinged with purple. He was still so beautiful. Mikey was just standing by the door, a blank expression on his face, but pain glistening in his eyes. I laid my head on Gerard's chest like I had so many times before, when I'd had a nightmare, or was just feeling sad. He'd wrap his arms around me, and I'd fall asleep easily, soothed by his soft breathing and the steady thrumming of his pulse. Now there was no sound, no gentle rise and fall. Nothing.
I was living in a nightmare that he couldn't save me from any more.
Based on the first fic I ever wrote, so I'd love some feedback. :) R&R? xo