Sometimes the best thing you can do is nothing at all. [Oneshot, 99% Frank]
"But...why? We can't do it without you! We'll be booed off the stage!" I looked away from him to stare out the gray window.
"I don't care. Now leave me alone." I grabbed my iPod from the small table and lazily walked to my room, shutting and locking the door behind me. I placed the small white earphones in my ears and pressed play, not really caring what song it landed on. I was a bit surprised at what I heard, though. Out of the hundreds of hardcore metal and rock songs on the small machine, it chose a song I hadn't even purchased. It was gifted to me on iTunes back when some of our fans knew our email addresses. Hey, I wasn't complaining. Free music was free music.
Any other day I would have plugged it into the speaker system, or at least sang along as loud as possible. But I couldn't. Not today. Today I listened. And I liked what I heard.
Soft, melancholy tones of an orchestra emanated from the headphones. I lay back on my bed and closed my eyes, allowing my breathing to slow and relax. It was so beautiful, especially when the piano began to play. The singer's sad, almost strained voice emphasized my mood.
Sound the bugle now.
Play it just for me.
As the seasons change, remember how I used to be.
Now I can't go on.
I can't even start.
I've got nothing left, just an empty heart.
I'm a soldier, wounded so I must give up the fight.
There's nothing more for me.
Lead me away...
Or leave me lying here.
I turned the volume down just enough that I could hear the rain outside. There had been violent thunder earlier, but now it fell placidly and without interruption. I needed the rain.
Sound the bugle now.
Tell them I don't care.
There's not a road I know that leads to anywhere.
Without a light, I fear that I will stumble in the dark.
Lay right down, decide not to go on...
The music intensified, and a single tear appeared in my eye. That was how I felt just then. For the past few days I had been contemplating taking a break, a small vacation at the most, but now I thought of quitting altogether. I loved this band with every ounce of my soul. But lately it had gotten to be too much.
I was overwhelmed. And I felt horrible about it, like it was a disease that would end up killing me one day.
Then from on high, somewhere in the distance,
There's a voice that calls, "Remember who your are.
If you lose yourself, your courage soon will follow.
So be strong tonight. Remember who you are."
The tone of the song changed. It lost the depressing melody line, becoming more and more hopeful with each measure and line of lyrics.
I sat up, feeling dizziness overtake me for a second, and pulled the curtain away from the window, leaning against the wall next to it to watch the rain trickle down the cold glass. I contemplated opening the window.
"You're a soldier now,
Fighting in a battle to be free once more...
That's worth fighting for."
I listened as the last chord died away. The iPod shuffled off to a random Green Day song, but I paused it and took the earphones out of my ears. I tossed the iPod onto my bed and turned back to the window, able to catch my own reflection on the cold, gray-hued glass.
I watched the rain. I stood there for the longest time, watching as the clouds lightened to silver as the sun passed over them, only to darken further as it sank behind the mountains.
I continued to watch as the gray sky let the violet-black hues of night take over. The lights of the city appeared to wash away beneath the raindrops on the window. The falling water began to slow, eventually stopping. I opened the window and smelled the fresh oceanic air. I smiled, suddenly turning to look at the clock. I still had time.
"Where could he be? I can't believe he would do this to us," Gerard said as he paced the floor backstage. I heard the heels of his shoes click sharply on the floor with each step and turn he took. Mikey shrugged in response.
"Can't believe I would do what to you?" I asked with a smirk as I approached him. He was stunned momentarily, then his face brightened. I glanced at Mikey, who seemed pleasantly surprised by my arrival.
"Glad you decided to show up," said Ray bitterly as he entered and began the process of tuning his guitar. I smirked and took a deep bow, then took my guitar out of its case and began strumming several of the chords from the song just to annoy him further. But when I looked up he was smiling, as were Gerard and Mikey. Bob walked by, also surprised to see me, but not in a bad way. I was thankful for that.
I continued to play bits and pieces of the song as I walked away from the group, planning to get one more look at the sky before we went onstage and I wouldn't be able to see anything. I sat on the concrete stairs leading into the venue and stared up at the sky.
The city's glow illuminated the clouds with deep, smoky purple shades, showing no gap between any of them. The smell of rain was still fresh, and I wasn't entirely certain it had stopped for the night. I felt so weak I thought I would collapse, as if we had just finished performing. I sat there for a few minutes with the guitar across my lap. It was almost like it was begging to be played.
I had to do something about that.
I walked back to the group, listening to their conversation. I smirked. It was about me.
"What do you think was wrong with him?" asked Gerard.
"I don't know. Maybe the battery on his iPod died, or he just needed some iPod time," suggested Mikey.
"No, Mike, that's you. He just needed some alone time," said Bob.
"Close," I said, approaching them with a knowing smirk. They all looked at me expectantly, wanting an answer.
I heard the rumble of thunder in the distance. No, the rain was definitely not over. And I didn't care if it interrupted our concert. I welcomed it.
"I just needed a day to watch the rain."
The song is 'Sound the Bugle' by Bryan Adams, from the movie 'Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron'.