Gerard stepped up behind me, his shaking form pressed against mine as he whispered in my ear.
"Don't say anything. He can't come in unless you invite him. It's law," he breathed quickly, as quietly as possible so the body outside wouldn't hear. "It's one of their weaknesses. They can't enter a building unless being asked to."
I had brought the gun back up to eye level, now pointing it haphazardly towards the door with the mad thought that I could just shoot my way out of the situation. My anger towards Mikey had dissipated almost instantly, only to be replaced with a cold sinking fear that seemed to encompass every single one of my bones.
"They don't abide to any of the other rules," I whispered back, urging my hands to stop quivering. "What makes you think this one still stands?"
I was willing to believe anything now. If one of them burst through the door, fire gushing from it's mouth, I'd be less than surprised. I had spent the last night on the verge of insanity, and nothing was going to compare to it now that I had finally understood.
"They can change their looks, Frank, but never who they are." Gerard answered softly, his hands cupping my shoulders protectively as he spoke against my neck, eyes locked on the door. "Their laws still stand, however they decide to alter them."
"Come on, Bird," Jeremy pleaded in a sing-song tone, his voice laced with a sick humour. Despite what Gerard had said, I couldn't shake the dread that this kid was just toying with us; that he could break down the door and attack the second he got bored with our resistance. Which would likely be sooner than later where Jeremy was concerned. "Let me in..."
"Gerard. We've got to leave," I whispered urgently. "We've got to get--"
"Ger-ard! Baby, baby," Jeremy crooned, and I could almost picture his face up against the door, nails clawing and scratching as he stewed in the hatred of his own laws. "Let me in, sugar. I won't hurt you, I promise." He laughed, a sweet sound that was dipped deliciously in poison. "You said so yourself, didn't you? Track number three, I believe?"
Gerard swallowed thickly; I could feel his heart beating into my back. His breathing was nervous. Erratic. His body was trembling against mine, and I could do nothing to comfort him except to calm my own breathing, hoping it would help regulate his.
"Where do we go?"
A loud band caused us to jump out of skins, and Gerard shivered involuntarily as the demanding cry of "GERARD!" came from Jeremy only a second later, his fist banging against the door. The change was so sudden that both Gerard and I leapt backwards, our hands grasping for each other as means of support--physically and mentally. The sound echoed through the room and bounced off the walls. The yell was inhuman. Reverberating. Haunting.
"Gerard, let me inside the /fucking room,/" he said, pronouncing each word slowly, clearly, so we could hear it. "Ripping your body apart is not on the top of my to do list, but I can put aside sexual gratification for the blood and pleasure that would come with clawing your chest open, if I must," he finished with a snarl. "Now let me inside before this gets ugly."
"Is there another door?" I whispered, my voice so low that even I could barely hear it. "A way out?"
Gerard was frozen now, his hand clutching my shoulder like he needed assurance of the situation. Nails were scraping on the door--a sound that made me wince and recoil, the feeling of wood splintering into skin overpowering my thoughts. Gerard's grip on me tightened, stirring me, and I leant my head back to hear him better.
"Me," he said softly, as if the revelation surprised even himself. "Me. I'm another way out. They're more concerned with taking me down first, so let them. You can escape, and try and figure out a way to beat them."
"No fucking way," I hissed. "You're not going to pull this heroic shit and leave me. No."
"No, you listen," I stated, a bit louder than was wise. "That's what they want, can't you see that? To leave me alone. To leave me vulnerable. That is why they want you."
I turned around to stare at him, the sound of Jeremy's vocalizing and Mikey's whines of protest fading away as his eyes flashed, a terrible beauty. "They know, Gerard. They know I'll fall apart without you. It's why they never wanted us together. You can't--" I paused, swallowing the lump in my throat. "You can't leave me. Not now."
Suddenly, Mikey let out a strangled cry, twitching and convulsing against the bed frame.
Jeremy's voice was hushed now, the tone barely graspable above Mikey's distressed pants and cries of Lincoln's name. But he was conversing. Two voices. Intermingled in the night, sounding perfectly blended with the crickets and buzzing neon sign. Jeremy wasn't alone on the other side of that door.
They were arguing, though not heatedly. Jeremy's voice was demanding, whining, and Lincoln's was smooth as always. Tones overlapped. Hissing. Breath. Creaking of wood.
"Now," I whispered. "Now. We have to go now."
"Where?" he replied back urgently, eyes locked on the door, as if hoping he could see straight through to the bodies outside of it.
"The other room. There's a window in the back of that one. Come on."
I pulled on his arm, trying to urge him towards the connecting door, but he withheld, glancing down at Mikey, who stared back up with gleaming, brotherly eyes that belied his ease with the surroundings.
"/Gerard!/" I hissed wildly, tugging on his arm and casting hurried glances towards the front door. I could still hear them, voices low; the sounds sent chills down my back and raised my senses, altering me to every change in tone, every startled confirmation, every low, seductive growl. I could hear Mikey's soft pants, responding to Lincoln's voice; the soft breeze hitting the windows; the thumping of my own heart against my thin chest.
But more strongly than the sounds of vampires, more potent, was the connection to the man standing next to me. The sensation of Gerard's blood, running rapidly from his pounding heart through his arteries, a hot temperature that contrasted so vividly with his pale, winter-like skin. The sound of his every breath echoed in the depths of my mind, surrounding my thoughts until I was forced to breath with him, feel with him. Until everything he was, I was. The same link I shared with Lincoln I shared with Gerard, but on polar opposites. Lincoln was chilling, blood-weakening, haunting. Gerard was part of me, an extension of myself and everything that I was, creating a twisting wire that strengthened and held fast. Sturdy. Reliable.
Gerard stopped, pulling his arm away from me to kneel down next to his brother. He moved the hair back from Mikey's face affectionately.
The expression Gerard wore was one I had never seen; a mix of enlightenment, truth, and incomparable pain. I felt the sudden jolt through my spine as his arm detached itself from my fingers, slipping out of my grasp to reach towards the being that inhabited his brother's body.
"I can't, Frank. He's my brother." He stopped, and Lincoln's voice reached my ears again.
"--don't care, Jeremy. If I had wanted it done like this I would have sent Billy. Or, perhaps Sylvia could do a better job?"
"I hate when you do that--"
A loud bang followed, sounding distinctly like a body being shoved against the door.
"Then you'll do what I ask, exactly as I ask it."
"Gerard!" I broke in, trying to block out the voices. "Come on! We have to--"
Gerard's hand rubbed Mikey's shoulder gently as their eyes gazed back into one another's. One filled with love, regret, failure; the other (which sent a disturbing chill down my spine) a soft, calm stare. He didn't look at me as he answered blankly, "He needs me, Frank."
Gerard. Gerard, look away. Look at me. He's gone. Your brother. Gone. Hiss. Regret. Contact.
"It's Mikey, isn't it?" I heard Jeremy from outside the door, his voice a low growl. "It's your new pet. You're going to replace me! After all that happen--"
Jeremy's voice was cut silent, but by what, I didn't want or care to know. A short pause followed, before Lincoln answered, "Stay quiet. Mikey should be doing his job."
And that's when I realized. Tearing my eyes away from the door, I glanced down at Gerard with a panicked expression, hoping that this wasn't what the signs were making it out to be. He kneeled in front of his brother, eyes leaking tears from emotion and lack of proper hydration; he hadn't been blinking. Mikey was staring back, unfaltering and unmoving, making pathetic whining noises from the back of his throat. "He needs me," Gerard muttered repeatedly, like a broken record.
"Gerard?" I questioned, leaning down and whispering. No response but the wordless opening and closing of lips. Gerard barely moved. "Gerard. Gerard!" I tugged urgently on his arm, but he stayed fixed in the spot, eyes locked on his brother, mouth slightly agape.
"Gerard, please. I need you."
The only response I got was laughter from outside the door.
"How's it going, Bird?" I heard Lincoln chuckle, soft and piercing.
Gerard was leaning closer to his brother, eyes glazed and unfocused, lips parting in a sudden bout of mindless ecstasy. His head was tilting, giving Mikey full access to his neck, which glimmered lightly with sweat and tears. Mikey was panting, all lust and teeth and desire. Lincoln was laughing. Gerard was falling. I screamed in my head until my mind collapsed and I was left with nothing but barbaric instincts.
I reached out and planted my hand firmly on Mikey's shoulder.
He twitched, then his skin began to smoke and he shrieked, breaking his gaze with Gerard to attempt and jerk away from my hand. With contact broken, Gerard, shocked and confused, fell over backwards and looked around frantically, eyes darting wildly. When he saw me, I felt his heart stop and start again quickly, and I reached out to take his hand. He accepted, and without a backwards glance, we fled from the voices and the screams and the smell of burning flesh.
He stumbled behind me, still dizzy and fumbling, but I could feel him again. Feel his blood rushing and his skin prickling and the beads of sweat being to form on his forehead.
We skidded to a stop inside the next room, and I reached up to unlatch the window; no heroics involved, no smashing and flying glass and shielding was necessary, but my heart was racing. Were they right behind us? Would we meet them on the other side of the door? Was it already too late for us? For Bob and Ray and Brian? For everyone?
Please. I thought desperately, slamming the window open and ushering Gerard through it. Please, let us find a place to hide. Please, help us. Help us.
"I can't see anything," Gerard whispered, his head peering out of the window. The skyline was dark still, but dawn was approaching, and the stars were shining brightly on the hollow ground, reflecting the pasty glow of the stuccoed walls and the yellowing grass. Streetlights blinked eerily at us as buildings provided a skyline to the darkness.
"Go," I whispered back, nudging him. "Run."
"/Run,/ Gerard. That's all we can do. I won't lose you."
Nodding, he stumbled out of the window and hit the ground with a soft smack, turning left and right frantically to ensure that we were indeed as alone as we could possibly be. With a final glance back into the other room, where all was silent save the soft sound of Mikey's vocalizing, I climbed out of the window and into Gerard's waiting hand.
And we ran. Ran through the dark and the fear and the complete unknown, hand in hand like the world was ending. Running from the apocalypse. Trees and the park and sidewalks passed like a blur in the night, crying out to us morbidly, inviting our crisis. Lightless buildings flew beyond us, blank and empty like hollow souls, beckoning with twisted, needy windows and wooden doors. Nothing here is safe, I thought, a stinging sensation climbing through my body. We have no where to go.
We can't carry on.
We ran until I had to stop, leaning against a small brick wall with a hand clutched to my rapidly rising chest. Gerard was next to me, leaning heavily on his knees and taking great gasps of air to fill his lungs.
"What can you hear?" he asked me once his breathing was steady, turning to look in my direction so I could see the small glowing orbs that were his eyes.
"You," I answered truthfully, fixing him with a meaningful gaze and hoping he would understand.
It seemed he did, as he reached over and touched my cheek gently, leaning in to kiss my lips tenderly and allowing me to tilt my head and fall into him. His lips were soft and warm, despite all that had happened, and I moved closer to him, pushing myself off of the wall and into his chest, where his arms wrapped around my waist protectively as I opened my mouth and deepened the kiss, moving my lips against his.
"Wait," he gasped, breaking away. "I can hear it. Listen."
I couldn't hear it as well as he could, but I could feel it. Feel the chill creeping down through my flesh and to the marrow of my bones. It wasn't as strong as when Lincoln was close, but I stepped in front of Gerard nonetheless, pressing him between the wall and me so that his arms wrapped instinctually around my waist. The sudden knowledge that Gerard--the front man, the leader, the creator--was relying on me, allowing me to stand between him and danger, shot a leap of confidence and thrill through me, pulling at my heartstrings in a way I never thought possible.
"It's coming," he whispered against my ear, and the "I know," was just on my breath before it was too late. She was already there.
"Boys," she greeted, sounding almost surprised. "How are you?"
She had slunk out of the shadows so quickly that neither of us had a response. Her brown hair was up now, straight and trimmed in lace and plaits while necklaces graced the skin above her styled black shirt and blood-splattered white skirt, making her vampire status seem slightly more believable than any of the others, save the words 'Scary Kids Scaring Kids' printed on the bottom hem of her shirt.
She stared at us thoughtfully for a moment, amused by our speechlessness.
"I didn't expect to find you out here," she continued, looking delightfully perplexed. "In fact," she added, staring directly at me. "I had been hoping to taste your blood on Lincoln's lips by now.
"And you," she added to Gerard, eyes flashing dangerously. "I was just on my way to ask Jeremy if he'd like to share."
Gerard shuddered involuntarily behind me, and his hands gripped my hipbones more tightly.
"What's up with you two?" I asked quickly, finding my voice. I was trying to distract her; it was blatantly obvious as the words bubbled out of my mouth and crashed below me, but if she hadn't realized that we were gone, did Lincoln even know? My common sense seriously doubted that he didn't the second we had escaped out of the window, but her presence had actually shocked me. Had I truly believe that no one followed us?
Maybe I do have faith.
She clucked her tongue disapprovingly. "What, Jeremy and me? We've always been in competition. It's just..." she trailed off, looking lost in her own thoughts before shaking her head and smiling at me. "That's another story. Now, back to you, my pretty."
Gerard scoffed, and I let out a half laugh, half cry at his ability to be exactly like Gerard at such a horrible fucking time.
"Oh?" she questioned Gerard's response, folding her hands and stepping closer. "You think this is funny? Clearly, Gee, you don't understand the severity of your situ/ation./"
Her voice was cruel, laced with a sarcastic humour that could be matched only by Gerard himself, and her eyes were cold, a sickly beautiful colour of chocolate lightning and death. She had brought her slender body dangerously close now, near enough to reach out and wrap her hands around my throat if she desired to.
Her focus was directed at Gerard, however, and her hands reached out not to strangle me, but to run her fingers down the milky expanse of Gerard's neck. Gerard cringed in response and tilted his head towards mine, breathing deeply into my neck. His grip on my hips faltered and strengthened repeatedly, like a pulse, each time her finger sunk a little deeper into his skin, and I realized that what she was doing was something far beyond abnormal. Something conveyed through touch that Gerard was feeling and I was lacking. He whined gently, and I quickly fumbled for his hand and squeezed it, turning my head towards his to silently tell him it was alright. It was alright. Okay.
I'm here for you. Stay. Remember me.
"Ah!" she said softly, her mouth opening in surprise. "You're strong for a human. Normally I can get them to fall right...into...my...lap."
With each punctuated word, she ran a finger down Gerard's shirt, ending up at the waistband of his pants. Gerard whined and pulled me against him, constricting his body against me and the wall.
"Frank..." he moaned against me, breathing deeply and panting against my back. "God...fuck, Frank, get her off. Get her off before I..."
She smiled. "I can't wait to see the look on Jeremy's face," she laughed, leaning in closer and being careful not to touch me in any way.
She pressed her lips against Gerard's, and all I needed was the flash of jealously and rage, and Gerard's protesting moan to drive me out of silence and into action.
She broke away to stare at me, a confused silence echoing in the dark, misty expanse of her eyes. Lightning flashed pitifully in the colour and thunder roared weakly in her voice, dying the moment she tore her lips away from Gerard to answer, "What?"
"Leave," I growled, placing my hand on the back of Gerard's head and turning his face towards my neck. My other hand shot to the wrist against my hip and held it there, encouraging him to place more pressure on it. The thought of her terrified me. Excited me. Thrilled me. The look on her face was the rush of adrenaline I felt on stage, the sound of the crowd. The control filled me, chilled me, fulfilled me. I felt as Gerard felt, every night, with every light every body every sound. Noise. Flash. Lust. Flash. Power. She felt me and her eyes widened. Aura. Drive her back.
"Leave, bitch. And take your little fucking charms with you.
She took a step backwards, one hand coming up to settle in her hair and grip it uncomfortably. She glanced nervously between Gerard and me, the former breathing deeply into my neck, trying to calm down the rising heat in his body. I held onto him tightly and inhaled his scent, sparks of jealously and rage clashing in the back of my throat, waiting only for the outlet manifested by her defiance and shocked, sputtered reasoning.
"Bird," she mouth, wide-eyed, "Bird, Frank, don't you see? I--" she stumbled back slightly, thin arms coming out to steady herself. Her necklaces jingled in the calm night air.
And she did, letting out a tiny gasp before dissipating back into the darkness, leaving nothing but the faint smell of fragrance in her wake.
I stayed silent for a moment, trying to process and compact the sudden leap of faith and rage and thrill that had passed through me. Gerard was still breathing heavily, his hand clamped in mine and his fingers pressing so deeply into the flesh around my waist I was sure he'd leave bruises. The skin on my neck tingled when the air brushed against me, and my forehead was warm from where it was pressed against his.
"Are you alright?" I whispered, the sound so soft and resounding after the ungodly cursing I had thrown at Sylvia. He took a few deep breaths before responding.
"That was heavy," he laughed lightly, voice ghosting across my skin, before his tone changed and grew serious. "I thought...I thought she was going to--"
"What was she doing?" I asked urgently, running my fingers across his knuckles. "What happened to you?"
"I felt," he started, breaking off in a shiver before continuing, "...all I wanted. Her. It was strong, like a plague. A disease. Every place she touched me was hot and aching, but I could... feel you."
My heart leapt to my throat and I felt like choking. Strangled by desire, tears, love.
"I could feel you, and," his voice was hot, rimmed with lust and joy and sweat. "And, God, you were something. I couldn't--your voice. That control. Christ. You were like Jesse fucking Custer," he finished, chuckling lightly as his face pressed against my skin, drinking in the art and salty sweat that adorned my body. His heart pounded against me and a sudden desire seized me, the longing of flesh against flesh and passion, like fuel to the glowing embers that caught fire the first time he looked at me and smiled a little longer than necessary.
I turned around to face him fully, and his hands shot to my waist and pulled me flush against him, until I was inches away from his shining green eyes, piercing and glowing and darkened. He leant forward and kissed me again, slow and demanding, tongue on my lips and begging for entrance. I felt my knees weaken from the force and his hand was trailing up inside of my shirt, leaving little spots of heat that burned and drew me closer.
It was languid and needy, a controlled lust that pleaded for me to press close, sink deeper. My hands tangled in his hair as he spread his hands across my ribcage and back, urging me closer, pulling me in. He bit my lip lightly, earning an appreciative moan from deep within my throat.
Go. My mind was screaming. Go now.
I tore my mouth away from his, lips flushed and parted.
"Come on," I whispered. "Let's go."
He didn't question me; bit his lip and nodded, allowing me to grab his hand and take off down the grass and dirt. I had no idea where we were supposed to go. Where we'd be safe and secure and we could figure something out. My mind jumped back to Mikey, stranded and tied in the motel room. Was he free now? Wrists unbound as he sat with Lincoln and Jeremy, laughing and talking and plotting, grins hitched on their faces as the moon shone brightly, a glowing crescent in the silver of the night?
Dawn was coming. I could feel it. The light started at the bottom of my stomach and propelled itself upwards, expanding my chest and evening my breath.
I jerked immediately, my feet nearly failing me as I swivelled to the right, dragging Gerard behind me.
"/Shit!/ Frank, what're you--"
I sped down the dirt road, scraping at the rocks and small tuffs of growing plants to gain traction. I had my eyes closed, mind guiding me. A voice that reverberated through my cerebellum, reflecting off bones and muscles and cells, dripping my entire body in a golden cover, like heaven had decided to rain down its bounty upon me.
Go. Around the building. Across the path. To the gate. Go. Here. Now.
Gerard halted so suddenly that I was jerked back into him, hands connected. His eyes were wide, thankful, relieved. He laughed bitterly, taking in the sickening irony of the looming building only meters from us.
Vampires are unable to enter churches, temples, or other religious sanctuaries that represent "light" or goodness, whether they have been previously invited or not. They may only enter such holy places if they have been somehow desecrated beforehand.
From The Fiendish Field Guide
There, cross glimmering in the morning light high above us, was none other than a sanctuary of God himself, looking more inviting than it ever had been in my entire years at Catholic school.
"Thank God," Gerard muttered, gripping my hand urgently, a relieved note of hysteria in his voice.
And I laughed, tears streaming down my face.