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fall away in the dark

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"It was fucked up," Gerard says, and Lindsey just nods against the back of his neck. She's spooning him, arms wrapped tight around his chest, pulling him close. He's never talked about Bert with her, in spite of the history they had, friends and buddies on the road, the touring life, then the wild Taste of Chaos tour, Gerard sober and Bert definitely not.

She's found, over the years, that he finds it easier to talk about the painful parts of his past this way, with the lights out, the heavy curtains blocking out the moonlight. In the dark, he can tell her anything and everything.

"He wasn't a bad person, you know. Just—it was easier to let myself get out of control with him, because he never told me no, never told me to stop and think about what I was doing, never lectured, never got mad at me for being drunk or stoned or high. Never judged me."

Which hadn't been the best thing for then-Gerard, who had already been spiraling down toward rock bottom. He'd needed someone to slam on the brakes, not someone who helped him fill his pockets with rocks and held his hand as they waded into deeper, darker waters.

Gerard sighs. "I thought that's what I needed." He laughs, a little bitterly. "When I was thinking at all. Which, I usually wasn't." He pauses and Lindsey knows him well enough to know he's worrying at his lip. "Until I got sober."

Lindsey presses a kiss to his hair. There's so much she wants to say. She wants to remind him of how far he's come since then, how he's evolved and grown into a new Gerard, a Gerard who finally sees what a good person his is, who has a family that loves him, a wife that loves him, a beautiful daughter and the best band in the world. But it's his turn, so she swallows the words down and just twines their fingers together.

"I loved him, as much as I could love anyone back then. And he loved me in his own way, the best he could. But we weren't good for each other, just brought out the worst, the blackness that lived in both of us. I hated him."

And that's just perfectly Gerard, loving and hating someone and never seeing the impossibility of it.

She rests her cheek against his back, listening to him talk, trying to imagine him and Bert together. She's heard the stories, of course she has, and she's seen the pictures. She's met Bert—impossible not to, because they've all done the same tours, hit the same venues, lived the same dirty, stinky lives. But it's not the same as knowing.

He winds down, eventually, his voice trailing into silence. She holds him close, because she can tell he's not quite done.

"I miss him, sometimes. He was my friend first, before anything else and I miss him."

And for one brief moment, Lindsey hates Bert, because he was an important part of Gerard's life and he turned his fucking back on Gerard. She can't understand that, because to Lindsey, love is for life, for ever and ever, no matter how badly the other person fucks up.

She inhales deeply and feels how solid Gerard is in her arms and lets go of the anger as she exhales. It's too late for Bert. They can't go back to what they were, even if they wanted to. All they can do is go forward.

"Roll over, baby. C'mon," she coaxes and when Gerard does, she holds his face in her hands, tracing his features in the dark before laying a gentle kiss against his lips. It's not her forgiveness he needs, it's his own.

She's not like Gerard, words aren't her medium, but as his mouth curves up a little under hers, she thinks that maybe he gets it, after all.

-fin-