Just like you, baby. I was already gone. (Oneshot, possible slash references)
Here you go, honey. Right back at you.
(Note: PLEASE don't scroll down; I know you want to even more now, since I just said that, but honestly, you'll ruin it for yourself. Please don't.)
I grabbed my keys from the counter and slipped them into the pocket of my hoodie, looking around the well-balanced furnishing of the living room for Mikey.
"Mikes? You still here?"
"Yeah," came the reply, "I'm in the back."
I walked past the small kitchen and into the studio, my shoes making soft plush sounds against the carpet I had become so used to. I couldn't remember the last time I had spent a full day (or night) at my own house.
He was sitting cross-legged on the ground, an old guitar from his early days being fiddled with in his hands. The blinds were cracked, allowing streams of light to pour onto high quality recording equipment that would never be put to real use. He did this for two or three hours every day now; coming back here and practicing, recording little snips of cords and rhythms he took a liking to and then tossing them into a box labeled "forever." Ray was doing it too. I could hear the recording in playback when I called him this morning.
We all missed it. We still had the bus with the studio in the back, and kept it in Mikey's backyard. Just, you know. Because.
"Hey Frank, what's up?" he asked, smiling as I turned the keys around in my pocket. His hair was still mussed up and his eyes looked strangely magnified by the lack of eyeliner. It was almost like he was wearing glasses again.
I bit back a choke and a sob remembering those glasses, and Ray's, and Matt, and overweight Gerard, and the old van, and Brian approaching us for the first time...
I shook my head to clear my eyes and nodded at him.
"Not much. I was just going to visit Gerard for a little bit."
Mikey smiled again, his fingers plucking at the strings. "Yeah, sure. He'll like that. I'll see you in a couple of hours, then?"
"Yeah, of course," I said softly, turning towards the doorway, desperate to keep my eyes out of his line of vision.
"Hmm?" I turned slightly, thanking the early morning for it's low sunrays.
Mikey shifted against the wall, his back pressed against the painted surface as he smiled a sad, knowing smile at my face and sniffed softly. "Send him my love, will you? And tell him I'll be out there to see before we go visit your parents later."
"All right Mikes," I replied softly, keeping the door wide open as I left. On my way to the front door, I stopped by the bathroom and opened the cabinet carefully, making sure not to let him hear me. The soft guitar strings sounded on in the other room. Reaching up carefully so as not to knock any of the other medications down and give myself away, I took the bottle of painkillers from the bottom shelf, and then smuggled myself into his bedroom to take the other. He would know eventually that I took them, but he would never get mad. It wasn't the first time this process had happened, and with it being only months since that night, I knew this little game would continue between us for at least a year.
With the bottles safely in my hand, I stepped out into the warming Jersey air, my eyes set on the slowly-aging car that lay next to Mikey's moderately new generic vehicle that he barely ever used anymore. Usually I'm the one driving him around, which doesn't bother me, as I'm always over at his house anyway. It was an unspoken compromise between us, although neither of us really lost anything in the agreement. Ray told me this morning that he appreciated what I was doing, staying with him. He said that him and Bob had been worried when Mikey stopped answering his phone.
Truth be told, I was just glad to have Mikey's company. And I was thankful he put up with me.
The sky was slowly turning a lighter shade of blue, and clouds were dim on the horizon, promising a clear day and perfect weather for the drive over to my parents house later this evening. My folks had been begging me to come back and stay for a few days, and I had agreed instantly. I couldn't stand my home any longer. But I was hesitant to leave Mikey, as Ray was two cities away and Bob had gone back home to Chicago for a month, so I called my parents back and told them that if I came, Mikey came, and they had replied, "if you're family, then Mikey's family," and that was all it took.
I threw the pills through the back seat's open window, the shrill rattling noise quaking my nerves in a similar manner, and I opened my door and practically fell in, dropping my forehead to the steering wheel and breathing heavily. My body was shaking, but I swallowed thickly several times before my breathing evened out and my hands were steady on the wheel. Taking long, deep breaths, I started the engine and headed out to Gerard's place.
The drive out there was only fifteen or twenty minutes, but it gave me a level head and the opportunity to calm my nerves. By the time I stepped out of the car and onto the fine gravel, I was feeling rather like I did once the after-effects of a show died down--numb, tired, limp. But calm. Another wave of discontent swept over me when I realized that I would never know the feeling, the high, of being on stage again, but I shook it off and closed my eyes until the torment had passed, and I could hear the breeze in the leaves again.
The place was beautiful, as always. Well kept, green, and enormous. I sniffed and rubbed the end of my nose before stepping past the gate, the gravel crunching beneath my feet.
He was waiting for me just a little ways in. Always waiting for me. Just off the gravel road, in the middle of the greenery.
"Hey, Gee," I said softly, bending down gently to touch the grass beneath my feet. "It's me. Frank."
I sat down in the grass and placed a hand over the cold stone, feeling the chill press against my fingers. I traced the lines in his name with a guitar-calloused finger, hugging the curves and brushing off any stray leaves.
It had been an accident. No one was blamed. It was late in a spring tour, and the roads were dark with midnight lighting. Something jumped in front of our bus: a deer, a dog, a rabbit, we never found out; the driver slammed on his brakes as an automatic reaction to avoid hitting it. We were all jostled around, clutching wildly for some means of stabilization. Gerard was out in the open, and his balance failed him. He fell, his head cracking against the counter as he did. It only took three seconds for the entire thing to happen.
And he never woke up. Not when Brian was pounding his fist against the side of the trailer an hour later in agony, or when Ray went into a state of complete shock and had to be hospitalized. Not even when Mikey was cradling his brothers bleeding head in his arms, rocking back and forth, screaming, did Gerard ever wake.
It was over. We were over. My Chemical Romance was gone. Gerard was gone. And all of us were gone with him.
"Mikey and I are leaving tonight," I tell him, adjusting the flower that had been placed at the end of his grave. There was no body underneath this stone, no rotting corpse. We all decided that Gerard would've hated us for it, so we had him cremated, spending the extra money to have his ashes buried properly without a second thought. He would've told me, "Frank, I thought you'd know better. We just watched that movie last night. I don't want to find you and eat you, that would be nasty. You're a vegetarian."
"We'll be back in a few days. No more than a week," I continued. "I promise."
It hadn't been from drug overdose. It hadn't been from a rapid, psycho kid that hated our band with a passion and opened fire on us, like many threatened to do. There was no liquor, no suicide, no unhappiness. There was nothing like anyone would have expected. He was just human. A person. A small part of a larger mass of people. People who live and died everyday, just like they were supposed to. He wasn't a god. He was just a person with a slightly abnormal life.
Someone who just got lucky.
Someone who just got equally unlucky.
"We miss you," I whispered, blinking rapidly. "Mikey especially. But he'll be out here in a couple of hours, so he'll tell you all about it, I'm sure. He's been recording some stuff," I tell him, brushing the last of the leaves from his tombstone.
"It's not much, but it's nice. Things he wrote for you. I'm trying to convince him to bring his guitar out here and play them for you. I told him that I was sure you'd like it."
The tears were rolling steadily down my cheeks now, but I kept my voice steady. At this point, it was all I had. There was nothing. Nothing but lifeless existence.
"I'm sure he'll do it eventually. You know, when everything...calms down."
I was silent after that, watching as the sun slowly began to rise higher into the sky; and if I closed my eyes and pictured the scene closely enough, it almost felt like he truly was next to me, alive and breathing and watching, instead of the smooth polished stone that now replaced my best friend.
My phone rang softly in my pocket, allowing Lifehouse's "Everything" to echo throughout the cemetery. I checked the caller ID and smiled, flipping open the cover.
"Hey Frank. Are you...are you heading back?"
"Yeah, I was getting ready to leave," I replied.
"Oh, okay," Mikey said, sounding a bit breathless and oddly cautious. "Are you going to, um, stop by your house first?"
"I wasn't planning on it. Why, would you like me too?" I asked, subtly telling him that I wouldn't be hurt if he wanted some time alone.
"No, no," he said quickly. "I just... it's lonely here. Come back?"
I wiped my eyes and replied gently, "Sure thing Mikes."
"Alright. See you soon."
"Yeah. Bye Mikey."
I snapped the phone shut and slid it back into my pocket, where it clinked gently with my keys, before turning back to Gerard.
"I've got to get back now," I told him. "But Mikey will be out here later today to say goodbye."
I leant down and pressed a kiss to the cold stone. "I love you, Gee."
Standing up, I took one last good look at the stone that was placed neatly into finely trimmed grass and was encased by wildflowers.
Loving son and brother
Friend to many
Hero to thousands
May you finally rest in peace,
And with the sight permanently etched into the back of my eyes, I turned around and walked back onto the path, the gravel crunching under my feet.
I was leaving. Just like you, baby. I was already gone.
I was going home.