He can't remember whose idea it was initially, but all Gerard knows is that his band has some brilliant motherfuckers in it.
He looks up at the night sky, taking a drag deep into his lungs, and turns around unsteadily on the sand. "The sky here is so fucking big." He should really bring Lindsey and Bandit up here someday, just to be able to watch his daughter’s eyes grow huge as she tries to take it all in.
"Yup," Frank says next to him, and Gerard glances at him, the light from down the beach forming a halo around his head. Gerard reaches out an arm and drags Frank in close to him, brushing a kiss across his forehead.
"If you guys are finished appreciating nature or whatever, the fire's ready," Ray calls out, and Gerard and Frank turn around together and start walking back towards the fire pit.
They've only been back in North America for forty-eight hours, the jetlag still intense and disorienting as fuck, his brain still stuck on Paris time. They probably should have just gone back to the hotel after tonight's concert, should have left right after their set without sticking around for Blink to finish up and forced their bodies to accept that it's time to be going to sleep rather than time to be getting up, but then someone mentioned a bonfire under the stars and it was all over.
Mikey's tending to the fire at the moment, making sure the larger pieces of wood catch properly and poking around the edges methodically before putting down the stick, satisfied for the moment. Fire-tending is the one Boy Scout skill Mikey inexplicably gained from a childhood short on outdoor adventures and long on bright summer days spent sequestered in an artificially darkened basement.
"Good job, Mikeyway," Frank says, taking a last drag from his cigarette before dropping it into the plastic cup with half an inch of disgusting ash water at the bottom of it. "Now who's got the marshmallows?"
Ray lifts up the bag full of marshmallows and Hershey's chocolate bars and graham crackers. "Ready and waiting."
They gather in a semicircle around the fire, facing out towards the Pacific, the beach stretching long and empty in both directions. It's full dark out except for the light from the flames, the air still and quiet except for the crackling of the fire and their grunts as they get down onto the sand. Gerard wraps his arms around his knees, staring out at the water, the breeze cool on his back and the heat of the fire intense against his face.
"It's so weird to be facing the ocean and not be facing east."
Frank knocks into his shoulder. "How long have you lived in California?"
Gerard shakes his head. "I know, just, I have to like mentally twist myself around and think about it, you know? Like. Reorient myself in the universe."
"Have you ever thought about how the ocean is always on the east or the west?" Mikey asks, spearing a marshmallow on a stick and holding it over the fire. "Like, all the sunrises and sunsets."
"Well, except for the Indian Ocean," Ray points out.
"And the Antarctic," Frank says.
“That’s not an ocean!” Ray says, and Frank flips him off.
“Fine, the Arctic then, Mr. National Geographic.”
"But the big ones, yeah. Good point, Mikey," Gerard says, privately thinking it's still weird as hell that the sun will be rising up over the mountains of Vancouver rather than off the horizon of the water, big and blazing and scary as hell. He looks over at Frank, who's staring back at him with a small smile on his lips, and Gerard knows he gets it.
He reaches over to the stack of sticks designated for marshmallows and prepares his own, keeping his marshmallow off to the side of the fire and slowly rotating it to achieve the proper level of toasted.
Mikey is a fucking ninja at toasting marshmallows, just sticking it into the middle of the bonfire and managing to never light the fucker on fire, pulling it out a minute later perfectly brown and bubbly and caramelized. He's got the s'mores production down as well, the chocolate piece perfectly centered on a graham cracker split in half, pulling the marshmallow off the stick squished between the halves, the chocolate melty and warm and gooey.
The only problem with his proficiency is his overwhelming ambivalence about actually eating the end product. He shoves it at Ray, who takes it gingerly between a couple of fingers but still ends up with a sticky mess of melted chocolate and marshmallow all over his palm. Gerard hopes for his sake it doesn't wind up in his hair, but he's pretty sure that's inevitable.
He turns back to his own marshmallow progress, dismayed to discover that while he was busy watching Mikey's creation, his marshmallow was lost to the fire, dropping off his stick into the pit. He sighs and gets a fresh one out of the bag, looking over at Frank just in time to see Frank’s marshmallow catch fire.
"Whoops!" Frank says gleefully, pulling it out of the flame and blowing it out. He gives it a few more seconds before testing its temperature with his fingers and finally pulling it off and shoving it all into his mouth.
"That's so gross," Mikey says, assembling his next marshmallow concoction with a professional air and handing it off to Ray, who's already got a hand on his stomach and a slightly queasy look on his face.
"This is how marshmallows are meant to be eaten, Mikey," Frank says around a mouthful of burnt sugar. He spears his next victim. "You gotta get the taste of the smoke and the trees and blackened death--"
"Okay, fine, you are a marshmallow connoisseur, is that what you wanted to hear?"
"Yes, that is all I was looking for, thank you," Frank says seriously as he thrusts his untainted virgin marshmallow into the flames.
Gerard laughs and looks back at his own stick just in time to see the marshmallow ooze off the end of the stick onto the fire. “Motherfucker.”
Frank giggles at him and Mikey pats his shoulders reassuringly. “You can have one of mine, Gee.”
“I just want to fucking toast my own marshmallows, how fucking hard is that?” Gerard says, crossing his arms and staring at where the blob of sugar fell into the pit, hoping it can feel his condemnation.
“Gerard, no, for the love of god please eat some of his marshmallows, I can’t keep up,” Ray says, popping the last bite of his--fourth? Gerard has no idea--s’more into his mouth even as Mikey hands him a brand new one.
“This is sad, Ray, what the fuck happened to your ironclad stomach?” Frank bites his marshmallow in half, the gooey white center dripping all over his fingers and the blackened crust flaking around his lips.
“You try eating half a dozen sugar bombs and then talk to me, okay?” Ray says, biting into his current s’more with a look of resignation on his face.
Gerard decides to put Ray out of his misery and holds out a hand to Mikey for one. Maybe it’s better if he doesn’t make his own. They’ve probably got a better chance at not getting busted for having an illegal bonfire in the first place if he doesn’t interact with the fire any more than is strictly necessary.
He eats his s’more, moaning a little in appreciation of Mikey’s skill, and looks over at Frank, gazing at the melted sugar that’s stuck all over his lips. His brain immediately starts to imagine how Frank will taste later on tonight once they’re back at the hotel, his mouth sticky and sweet as he trails down Gerard’s body, because Frank is an excellent human being who understands that sometimes there’s nothing that helps cure jetlag-induced insomnia better than a slow, sloppy blowjob.
Gerard leans over for a quick kiss now, a preview of sorts, licking over Frank’s lips a bit before flopping back down onto the sand, staring up at the stars. They’ll get a couple of hours of sleep tonight, a few more tomorrow morning during the bus ride down to Seattle, and then he’ll talk to his daughter and his wife on the phone at a time that’s reasonable for all of them, for once. He feels Frank’s hand on his wrist, fingers tacky against his skin, and he twists his hand around to clasp their hands together, and just breathes.