They go bowling...
He wasn’t the only one either. Bowling shoes were a far cry from the converses and vans that usually adorned the feet of My Chemical Romance, but it was bowling, and so they swapped their normal shoes for soft ones that wouldn’t scratch the floor.
When everyone had arrived, Brian took charge. Organised as usual, he sorted them all into mixed band groups. Since his main aim was to separate any brothers and couples that he knew of, the groups ended up like this:
Lane One: Gerard, Shannon and Brian
Lane Two: Mikey, Jared, Brendon, Frank and Jon
Lane Three: Ryan, Spencer, Ray, Tomo and Matt
He was about to send them off into their lanes when Shannon noticed something.
“Hey guys, where’s Bob?”
“Huh? Oh yeah, he’ll be here in a minute.” Brian explained. “He’s just off picking up his plus one. Then he’ll join group one. Yes, Gerard, that is the reason you only have three people in your group. Then it works out at five per lane.”
Somewhat in awe of Brian’s organization, the three groups set off to begin their game. And so they encountered problem one: How Do You Get the Machine Thing to Work? Lanes one and two didn’t have any problems seeing as they were opposite each other and shared a machine, so after several attempts from Brendon, Jon worked it. (Brendon was heard muttering ‘Magic fingers’ and ‘Stupid machines all love him’’)
Group three were having problems however, purely because Matt had written Pansy instead of Tomo on Tomo’s name slot, and so the angry guitarist pushed the smirking bassist, who fell against all the buttons, completely messing up the machine in the process. Brian went over to their lane to see if he could make amends, and of course while he was gone Gerard and Shannon, finally able to work the machine, forgot all about him. So when he returned they had to get Jon back again to teach them how to undo it and start again.
But it was just as well, because they had also forgotten about Bob and his friend, who were currently walking through the door. As soon as the others spotted him they were instantly excited. Bob looked lighter than usual, and he was holding hands with a smiling redhead.
She was attractive, not in a ‘Whoa, she’s hot’ way, but in a pretty, approachable way that made them feel like they were going to be good friends. She was wearing blue jeans that matched her eyes, red converses and a black hoody with red hearts, unzipped to show her white tee shirt with black stitching. She was laughing at something Bob had said. This must be Jess.
All of My Chemical Romance were extremely anxious to abandon their lanes and go and meet her, but Brian stopped them with a “Hey, think of how much it took for him to bring her here. Don’t scare them away again, let them have some space.”
Although a bit disappointed, they understood, and so they went back to their lanes to wait patiently (or impatiently in Frank’s case) for Bob and Jess to change their shoes and join in lane one, where Gerard had sat down to try and control his excitement and Shannon was wondering what all the fuss was about.
Bob came and stood in the lane, looking a lot less nervous than Gerard would have expected, and smiling awkwardly.
“Hey guys, this is Jess,”
Jess smiled prettily but nervously, with a quiet “Hiya.”
“I'm Gerard.” Gerard introduced himself, nodding but keeping his head down for a few seconds so it was more like an almost-bow.
“Shannon Leto.” Shannon said, smiling in a welcoming manor.
“Nice to meet you!” said Jess. She paused and looked at Gerard. “Well, Gerard Way. I’ve heard a lot about you, it’s great to finally see you.” She stopped again and looked at Shannon.
“Shannon Leto… I don’t think I know anything about you. But you look like the sort of man who tells it like it is. I'm guessing you’re either a bassist or a drummer.”
“You’re good!” Shannon was surprised. “Yeah, I'm a drummer and I play in 30 Seconds to Mars”
“Very cool.” Jess smiled.
“Right, shall we start then?” Brian interrupted.
And so, with everything working smoothly as possible, Panic! At The Disco, My Chemical Romance and 30 Seconds To Mars began to bowl.
Half an hour later and Jared was once again proving himself to be brilliant at whatever he turned his hand to, scoring mostly strikes, with some spares and nines.
Brendon and Frank, on the other hand, were failing miserably and, as Mikey pointed out with a good natured laugh, a teenage girl some lanes down had got a higher score than both of them. The others were all different variations of mediocre, Ray being quite good and Tomo being quite bad, but without much between them.
Ryan was the exception. He was coming a close second to Jared and thrashing everyone else, leaving them all wondering when he’d had so much practice.
“Have you ever been bowling with them before?” Mikey asked Jared as they watched Ryan score yet another strike.
“Nope.” Jared replied. “And whenever we’ve toured together they haven’t gone then either. I didn’t think they were into it much.”
“They didn’t hit me as people who love to bowl, that’s for sure.” Mikey frowned in confusion. “So how did Ryan get so good at this?”
“Why don’t you ask him?” Jared suggested. He smiled. “How are you two doing anyway?”
“We’re good thanks. He’s actually one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. And, as we have just discovered, he’s full of surprises.”
Jared had to forcefully stop himself from ‘aww’ing.
“You two are just so perfect together.” He said. Mikey smiled; a kind of smile that Jared had trouble recognising. It was a ‘Yes I agree we’re perfect for each other, but I don’t want to say it’ mixed with fondness, respect and excitement. Jared decided to name it The Mikey Loves Ryan Smile, and added it to his mental library of facial expressions and body language.
“While we’re on the subject or people being made for each other,” said Mikey, breaking Jared away from analyzing smiles, “You’ve been making some changes to my brother.”
“I have?” Jared asked, confused.
“You have. Hang on, I have a question. Do you like Killer Queen?”
“Yeah, it’s probably my favourite Queen song.” Jared replied, confirming Mikey’s suspicions.
“I knew it. We’re covering it, and believe it or not, Gerard suggested it. He’s never particularly liked it before. And it’s not just that, he’s changing how he acts as well. He’s lighter and more approachable now, even though he was a grouchy sod for a couple of days.
“Plus you’re honoured, because he dedicated a song to you. You remember when we were playing and Gerard was looking at you while he introduced Famous Last Words? That’s how he makes dedications to one person without saying their name, by looking at them when he says the song title. I'm not quite sure why, but he only does it for people who are pretty special.
“And also, there’s something I want to show you.”
Mikey pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to Jared.
“What is it?” Jared asked as he opened it, but it was a pointless question because what was written on the paper was fairly self explanatory. The page was split into two and the first collumn looked something like this;
Things I Hate About Jared
• He’s perfect
• He has that stupid smirk
• He makes me feel like an idiot
• I can never hate him, no matter
how much I want to
• I love him
The second collumn was titled Things I Love About Jared, but apart from that they were exactly the same.
“He left it on his bed when he went out this morning” Mikey explained, as Jared smiled. He didn’t realise it, but it was the Mikey Loves Ryan smile.
“By the way, you cannot tell him that I showed you. But it’s proof, you’ve changed him.”
Jared stared at the paper, struggling to believe that he had made such a difference, and he would have continued to do so for a long time if he hadn’t been distracted by a Minstrel flying hard into the back of his head.
“What?” Standing up, Jared turned his head to see where the offending brown sweet had come from. Frank was stood in his direct line of view like a deer caught in headlights, his hand full of Minstrels and his eyes wide in panic.
He hadn’t meant to hit Jared. In fact, he had been aiming at Brendon, who was standing in the lane down from Jared and similarly had a handful of confectionary, but his was of Skittles instead of Minstrels.
This is the result of two somewhat childish men with short attention spans and too much energy being let loose when bowling.
It had started quite simply – Brendon had seen a shiny purple bowling ball and immediately wanted it, but it was extra large and he couldn’t lift it off the shelf. Frank saw the ball too, and decided that it was rightly his. Agreeing with Brendon that whoever could lift it could keep it, Frank just managed to pick it up and stagger over to his lane.
Despite the agreement Brendon was instantly upset, and he refused to leave Frank alone until he gave the ball back. Frank protected it like it was his own glittery, purple child, and so a small argument escalated into a full blown war which involved running around and using all of the various sweets from the vending machines as missiles. It was one of Frank’s that had been badly aimed and hit Jared on the head.
And, needless to say, Jared was not pleased.
Two lanes down, Gerard and Shannon paused their game to watch him growl at Frank, pick up the minstrel that had hit him, and calmly walk after Frank, who squeaked in alarm and ran away.
“God, I love Frank.” Shannon laughed as he watched Jared skilfully dodging an onslaught of minstrels to get closer to the rhythm guitarist, before taking careful aim and throwing his own minstrel at Frank, hitting him square in the forehead.
“How come he has such good aim?” asked Gerard. “And he’s so good at bowling? And everything? Don’t you ever get tired of him being perfect?”
Shannon gave Gerard an odd look.
“He’s far from perfect.”
Gerard snorted in disbelief.
“No, really.” Shannon continued. “He’s extremely good at a lot of things, but what he’s really good at is making people think he can do anything. And he usually ignores people who put him down. Put that all together and he seems perfect, invincible even. That’s what we end up thinking, and it’s what he wants us to think. But he has his insecurities.”
“For some reason I find that hard to believe.” Gerard said, raising his eyebrows.
“I'm serious. He aims to look perfect, but he knows he isn’t. Actually, you seen to be making a difference to him. He asked me earlier if I thought he showed off. It’s the first time he’s doubted himself in ages.”
Gerard looked up sharply.
“But… that’s what I called him this morning.”
“I know. You’re really important to him if he worries about your opinion of him. What you say hits him hard. You’re very special Gerard.”
“He actually cares about what I say?”
“Definitely. And a lot more that about what anyone else says.”
This surprised Gerard. He had always seen Jared as someone who couldn’t be touched in any way. To discover that he had such an effect shocked him, and he wasn’t sure if it was in a good or bad way.
Some wise person once said ‘Opposites attract’. And of course, they were right. But in Ryan and Spencer’s case it was ‘Stick with what you know’. For them, it worked. They were such good friends because they were so similar. Neither of them liked mushrooms, for example, or clowns. They both liked comedy movies, but not thrillers, and they both hated being hit my flying objects, however small and harmless they may be. That’s why Spencer understood Ryan ‘going to the loo’ to avoid getting caught up in the fight.
Walking swiftly away from the battle field, Ryan headed into the men’s bathroom. He went over to one of the cubicle doors and began to skim read a poster about Family Fun Offers that was pinned up there. His mind wandered off to question how long he was going to have to hide in the toilets, and how he was going to make it seem like he hadn’t been hiding in the loos like a girl.
He’d almost come up with the perfect solution when a strong hand pushed on his back, forcing him to stumble into the cubicle, and the man whom it belonged to quickly locked the door behind them. All thought immediately fled Ryan’s brain with the exception of one, which he voiced.
“What the fuck?”
“I don’t want to hear a word from you.” The man hissed, clamping his hand tightly on Ryan’s shoulder and pressing their bodies together so that the guitarist was held facing the inside of the cubicle and couldn’t move to see who was behind him.
Not that he would have been able to move anyway, no matter how much he wanted to. At the first words said he had frozen in terror, paralyzed by the silky, smooth voice that had spoken them, the voice that he hadn’t heard for years, the voice that he had never been able to go against. The voice that could control him.
“Bill?” he choked out.
“I said I didn’t want to hear a sound from you.”
Usually Ryan would have corrected that he had actually said ‘word’ not ‘sound’, but he couldn’t say that to him, and he couldn’t speak anyway. His body tensed up with every breath he took until he was shaking in petrified fright, his heart beating so hard he could hear it pounding in his ears.
The man behind him didn’t vocally confirm or deny who he was; instead he kissed Ryan’s neck, beneath his right ear and above where his jaw ended. That was all the confirmation Ryan needed.
His breath hitched in his throat as a barrier broke somewhere in his mind and a thousand memories that had been tightly packed behind it surged through.
They were all memories that he would give anything to forget, all memories of Bill. Funny, in a completely unfunny way, that one kiss could bring their time together folding back. It was bill who had discovered the weak spot on his neck. It was Bill who had kissed him there every time he had left the house to go drinking. And it was Bill who was kissing him there now.
The force with which his past hit him terrified Ryan further, and when Bill proceeded to slip a hand up his shirt and stroke his chest his breathing grew so harsh and irregular he was almost hyperventilating. Biting his lip to stop himself from crying tears that were perilously close to falling, he couldn’t stop a distressed whimper escaping his lips.
Despite not being able to see him, Ryan could almost feel the smirk on Bill’s face and knew that he was thoroughly enjoying the effect he was having. He felt a flicker of relief as Bill’s hand withdrew his from his top, but it was short lived, and was extinguished almost straight away as Bill slid his hand into his back pocket instead. Ryan was surprised when he removed it of his own accord shortly after, but he barely felt the surprise amongst his fright.
“I want you to stay there now, and do not move for two minutes after you hear the door close. Count if you have to. Got it?” Bill breathed into Ryan’s ear. Then, pressing one more kiss on the petrified man’s jawline, he unlocked the cubicle door and left.
The loud slam as the door swung shut behind him echoed resoundingly in Ryan’s head. He vaguely felt the loos of heat against his back, but his mind was too numb to register it.
He was still frozen facing the wall when Mikey walked in and found him.
“Ryan, are you okay?” he asked, growing alarmed when the guitarist didn’t respond. He approached Ryan slowly, laying a careful hand in his shoulder. It was exactly the same place that Bill had grasped him earlier, and Ryan mentally compared the two different touches. Mikey’s was soft, gentle, caring, while Bill’s had been strong, harsh and painful. His traumatised mind flickered back and forth between the two until he felt like it was going to explode. His thoughts blurred together and something inside him snapped. He let out a choking sob.
“Ryan?” Mikey squeezed between Ryan and the toilet to see his face. His own face filled with worry when he saw the tears streaming down Ryan’s cheeks. Wordlessly he embraced him, not squeezing him hard, but just holding him. Ryan let his tears flow, crying freely until they subsided. He didn’t move, just taking comfort in Mikey’s presence until he felt calm and strong enough to talk. Stepping back he managed a weak smile.
“Are you okay babe?” Mikey asked in concern. Ryan nodded, scrubbing his face with his sleeve to wipe away the tracks his tears had left glistening on his face.
“Do you want me to get Spencer?”
Ryan shook his head vigorously, not wanting Mikey to feel that he was in any way inadequate.
“No, I'm fine now thanks.” He replied, attempting another smile.
Mikey cupped his cheeks, using his thumbs to gently clear the traces of tears left in the corners of his eyes. Nodding slowly, he kissed Ryan and then hugged him again. Ryan relaxed into the warmth and comfort Mikey offered, breathing deeply and once again feeling truly safe.
Spencer was starting to worry about Ryan. So, he was shy, but fifteen minutes is a long time to be spending in a public bathroom, even when trying to avoid being hit by sweets. And even though Mikey had gone to check he was okay, they still hadn’t returned. Of course, Spencer didn’t believe in monsters that live in the toilet, but he couldn’t come up with any other explanation. Needless to say he was relieved when he saw them returning.
“What took so long?” he asked as they rejoined the game. He stopped, seeing Ryan’s face. “What’s up?”
Mikey gave the tiniest shrug in response to Spencer’s questioning glance and put his arm round Ryan’s waist. Ryan swallowed, glad of the support, and braced himself for the words that were about to leave his mouth.
“I – I was… and… and Bill came.” He moved closer to Mikey and bit hard on the inside of his lip to stop himself crying again.
“Bill?” Spencer’s face twisted into an expression of shock and hatred, and Mikey was sure that his matched. “In here?”
“That bastard. Okay Ry, I want you to stay with Mikey, I'm going to look for him.”
“He’ll be gone. He was gone when I arrived.” Mikey said.
“I don’t care. I'm still looking.”
Mikey nodded approvingly and moved to hug Ryan properly.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find him.” He murmured reassuringly in Ryan’s ear. “And when we’re through with him he’ll wish he’d never laid a finger on you. I promise.”
Spencer returned a few minutes later, flushed and slightly out of breath.
“He’s gone. I can’t find him anywhere. But we’ll find him, I swear.”
“Okay. Thanks, guys.” Ryan’s voice was small but grateful. He broke off from Mikey and sat down on the bowling lane’s bench. Surprised, he stood up again when he felt something in his back pocket. Fishing it out, he found that it was a piece of paper, folded up.
“Hey, what’s that?” Spencer asked.
“I dunno. Bill must have put it there.” Ryan replied.
“He what?” Mikey started, furious, but Spencer shot him a look –understanding but warning - to stop him.
“What does it say?” he questioned.
Ryan unfolded it and scanned over the words printed on it – the lyrics to McFly’s Ultraviolet, but without a title.
“It’s some lyrics… I think.” He replied, handing the paper to Spencer. Spencer’s eyes skimmed over it, his brow furrowed in concentration.
“What’s the song?” Mikey asked, looking over Spencer’s shoulder.
“No idea.” The drummer replied. He gave the sheet to Mikey, who carefully read it through.
“I recognise this, it’s by McFly.” He commented after a minute. “But why this song? I can’t see any significance in it…”
He read it to himself, lips forming the words but not saying them aloud. He got partway through and then stopped, looking up sharply.
“What is it?” Spencer asked. Mikey smiled triumphantly.
“Gentlemen, leave this one to me.” He left them looking confused and half walked, half ran to the front desk. The girl working there smiled tiredly at him, expecting to be handed a pair of shoes. She got a bit of a surprise.
“Hi, er, Kathy.” Mikey began, looking quickly at her name tag. “Uh… sorry to bother you, but it’s my boyfriend’s birthday today and we’ve almost finished our game… would it be possible to have the ultraviolet lights on, just for five minutes or so?”
Kathy smiled at him, properly this time.
“That’s so sweet! Sure, I can sort that out. Just don’t give anyone else ideas! I hope you guys have a great day.” She gave him a cheery wave as he went back to Spencer and Ryan.
“What did you do?” asked Spencer.
“We really are full of questions,” said Mikey, by way of response. “Wait and see.”
Sure enough, a few minutes later the normal lights were dimmed and the ultraviolet lights came on, casting a blue glow over the place and illuminating any white so it was almost purple.
Mikey took the lyrics back off Ryan and turned them over. On the back a message had been written in a pen with ink that only showed up under an ultraviolet light. Mikey, feeling very proud of himself, handed it to Ryan, who read it nervously.
I'm assuming you didn’t get the voicemail I left you, or I'm sure you would have replied. This is just to say I miss you and we should meet up sometime. Give me a call today, I’ll be waiting.
Love William Beckett
P.S. Don’t ignore this. It’ll make everything worse in the long run.
Ryan was immediately catapulted back into his recent state of shock and fright, shaking, he sat down as his legs gave out, gripping the letter o hard the skin over his knuckles went deathly pale.
“Ry?” Spencer and Mikey rushed to sit either side of him and do their best to calm and comfort him. When he was back to an almost calm state, Mikey carefully asked,
“Can we see or do you want to keep it private? It’s perfectly fine if you do.”
Ryan nodded and put the paper in his lap so that the men on both of his sides could read it. Their faces grew similarly repulsed as they read it.
“We’ll get him Ryan.” Mikey spoke through gritted teeth. “We will.”
Not much later, the games were over. Jared was, of course, the overall winner. Jess had won in lane one and Ryan had one in lane three, despite Tomo taking most of his goes while he was otherwise engaged. The prize for winning? Brian bought them all some chips from the café/bar type area.
Jared, in his ultimate kindness, decided to share his with Gerard. He’d thought about it for a bit, not quite sure how to act round him with his new revelation, but eventually he decided that he’d just act like normal. Gerard had similar thoughts also, but he was never one to turn down chips.
They had eaten about a quarter of them when Frank (who had been the overall loser) approached them, wearing a cheesy smile and his best puppy eyes.
“You want the chips?” Jared asked, disbelieving.
Frank’s smile widened in reply.
“After you attacked me with a minstrel?”
“That was an accident!” Frank defended himself. “I was aiming for Brendon! And anyway, you got me back.”
“Good point.” Jared turned to Gerard. “Do you mind?”
Gerard shook his head, chuckling quietly at how Jared treated Frank like he was seven (which mentally he really was), and Frank didn’t seem to mind.
Smiling, Jared gave the remaining chips to Frank, who cheered and ran off with them. They both laughed, watching him.
“You have such a nice laugh.” Jared said, taking Gerard’s hand. “I haven’t heard it properly before.
Gerard smiled, a bit embarrassed, not having realised that Jared paid so much attention.
“Thanks, I guess.” He said. Jared hesitated for a moment, trying to decide if what he was about to do was a good idea. He made up his mind to go for it, and, moving slowly so that Gerard could stop him if he wanted, he hugged him.
Gerard almost panicked, but he took some comfort from what Shannon had told him and kept calm. With a quick glance at his friends, who were all watching, he mentally shook himself, told himself not to be stupid, and hugged back.
Happiness filled Jared, so strong that he swore he could feel his heart swell. Struck with a sudden desire to burst into song and dance, he decided that it would be better not to, and so he settled for a heartfelt smile, a contented sigh, and squeezing Gerard a tiny bit tighter.
Gerard relaxed now that his initial decision had been made, and let himself feel pleased that he had chosen to not worry about who saw and returned the embrace, he rested his face against Jared’s shoulder and smiled happily.
They stood there for a minute or two, oblivious to the busy hustle of the bowling centre, just taking pleasure in what was probably the most defining moment of their relationship.
“Are they... snuggling?” Bob asked incredulously, staring dumbfounded at Gerard and Jared.
“It looks a lot like that.” Ray said, his voice coloured with surprise.
“But I thought Gerard hated him?”
“Yeah, me too.”
Frank reappeared from hoarding Jared’s chips and stopped in shock when he saw the two men.
“Why are they hugging? And why isn’t Gerard glaring at Jared like he just killed his mother?” he questioned.
They continued their bemused discussion in a three, too caught up to notice that Mikey hadn’t joined in. instead he was smiling secretly as he watched his brother finally accept he was in love with the right person, and there was nothing wrong with others knowing.
For My Chemical Romance, the rest of the day was pretty average. Apart from the inevitable questioning Gerard received and the big explanation he found he didn’t mind giving, it was without any major events. The same went for 30 Seconds To Mars – they had a quick man to man (to man to man) chat, and then they just relaxed and chilled for the rest of the day.
Panic! At The Disco, on the contrary, were far from chilled. It is a well known fact that it’s impossible to have even a moment of peace when Brendon is around, but that wasn’t the reason.
Despite Jon’s calming abilities and Brendon’s infectious hyperactivity, the atmosphere was tense and uncomfortable.
The source of this was Ryan. He sat on the bed in the room, hugging his knees and staring at his mobile - always within reach - but too petrified to touch it.
He didn’t move for the rest of the day.
Beta’d by Michiko
Okay, part two. Hope you enjoy it, please review (any kind of feedback is welcome), and Happy New Year!