"Gerard, I'm kind of worried about Mikey. He seemed really out of it today." Gerard's eyes narrowed at his friend's words.
"Why do you care?" he growled. "He's not your brother." Frank looked at him sympathetically.
"No, but he is my friend, and I'm worried about him. Something's wrong."
"Yeah, Frank, something is wrong. You're worrying about something that's not your problem. Stay out of it." Frank frowned at him, leaving without another word. Gerard closed his bedroom door, collapsing on his bed with a sigh. He placed his iPod into its stereo system and picked his favorite song. It was often one he listened to when he needed to clear his mind, especially when he was trying to think of new ways to release his anger. Sometimes music just didn't do enough for him.
He sang along quietly to the slow song, closing his eyes. There was something about it that seemed to melt away everything bothering him, letting his mind relax and think clearly. He often wished he could listen to it during school; it would make the days seem less painstaking and pointless. 'It's not school,' he told himself, recalling one of Matt's famous lines. 'It's hell with fluorescent lighting.' A smirked played across his face, but fleetingly vanished. Life wasn't going to be the same without Matt. He was the one that kept Gerard sane. Frank was good for comic relief and Ray was an excellent listener, but Matt could have been the twin brother he never had.
His anger began to flare as he remembered his brother's attitude toward their latest plot. 'Nothing's wrong with him,' Gerard told himself. 'He's just having a bad day. School tends to do that to people; I'm a fine example.' But he didn't believe his own thoughts. There was something deeper, something beneath Mikey's outer sadness. Something was torturing him inside.
Gerard silently cursed Frank's ability to be so observant all the time. Now that Frank knew something was amiss, he would no doubt spend every moment of his life trying to find out what it was. Gerard would occasionally get jealous of Frank; sometimes Mikey would talk to him in place of his own brother.
'I shouldn't be that surprised. He's seen what I do to people,' Gerard thought to himself as his anger began to dissolve into the song's steady beat and flowing melody. 'But he should come to me first. I'm his brother, after all...even if I haven't been acting like it...'
Gerard rolled over and stared out the window, hearing the rain begin to return. He knew something had to change. He would have to start being Mikey's big brother again, just like he had when they were younger.
He would make up for all the lost time. No matter what.
Mikey laughed as he watched the car go flying through the air, landing roof-down on top of a motorhome and skidding across it to land on an explosive that sent it flying through the air yet again. He expertly sent the car in another direction, gaining point multipliers along the way.
"You're really good at this game," Bob said with a laugh.
"I've had Burnout for a while...but this never gets old," Mikey said, watching as the score added up on the TV's wide screen. "Explosions make everything better."
Mikey hadn't been so happy in a long time. He handed the controller off to Bob, watching him for a second. His eye would definitely be bruised the next day. He was being careful not to move his injured arm too much, though he winced at the slightest motion.
Mikey's face fell slightly as he thought of what Gerard would do to him once he returned home. In truth, his brother had never laid a hand on him with intent of injury, but Mikey's fear made every one of his older brother's actions seem like a threat. And he knew that, if he really wanted to, Gerard could kill him. He shuddered at the morbid thought.
"You okay?" Bob asked quietly, pausing the game. "You're shaking." Mikey slowly lifted his hands to eye level. They were indeed quivering, and his breath was coming in short, hollow gasps.
"I think I should go," Mikey said, trying to mask his fear. Bob shrugged.
"See you at school tomorrow, then."
'If I last that long,' Mikey thought grimly. He nodded and headed toward the front door, groaning as he realized the rain had picked up again. He left the house and pulled the black hood over his head, though it didn't help much. His steps were slow and rhythmic on the sidewalk. The entire time he pictured what Gerard's reaction would be when he found out where Mikey had been.
'He's not going to know,' he told himself. 'Just say you went out for a walk, if Mom hasn't already told him.' In his mind he imagined knocking on the door, Gerard flinging it open and grabbing him by the front of shirt, slamming him against the wall and breaking one of his arms effortlessly, then beating him senseless until he blacked out, all the while yelling in heated anger...
Mikey shook his head to clear the imagery as he approached his house, turning and walking up the driveway and toward the front door. 'I guess explosions don't make everything better,' he thought wryly. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door once.
It flew open immediately.
Gerard was standing in the doorway.