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The Sun at Hand

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The Sun At Hand

Mikey and Lena

Mikey is the first one to see her, shaken awake from a restful sleep. “What-Gerard?” He asks, Lena still asleep on his shoulder. Dimly, he sees a faint glimmer, something out of place in the room, and it awakens him. “Whazzagoingon?”


“Arcadia’s settled.” Gerard says, and this wakes Lena in an instant, her chipmunk form dashing over to Mikey’s neck. Mikey is fully awake now, and he sits up, his eyes searching for the daemon. A list of possible forms runs through his mind;weasel, hawk, maybe a mink….


His eyes find the glimmer now, and he sits, and stares, one plus one adding to equal utter confusion. “She’s never been that color before.”


“We know.” Arcadia says, in her voice like sandpaper on velvet. She makes a tiny movement, and a wave travels over her fur, dull in the darkness yet still bright enough to be seen. Mikey looks, really looks at his brother, and is not surprised to see as much shock as there is pride.


“When I got home from school I was drawing and she just…changed.” Gerard bites his lip. “I mean, I knew it was coming, for Christ’s sake I’m fourteen, she should have settled two years ago but…”
“We didn’t think I’d look like this.” Arcadia says, and Mikey hears just as much shock in her voice as he did in Gerard’s.


My brother has a golden daemon. Well, not just a golden daemon, but judging by the shape and size, a golden fox-too streamlined for a dog, too small for a wolf. Mikey looks at Lena, party for comfort, partly for some answers. Golden daemons were…different. They marked greatness, marked a drive and ambition. Someone with a golden daemons wasn’t content in fitting in, they wanted to stand out and show the world what they were made of. Mikey would be lying if he said that he wasn’t surprised, and Gerard knows it-knows that he’s not special enough to have a golden daemon.
But then Mikey thinks of Gerard’s drawings, the spidery lines that seem ready to burst off the pages, and he thinks that there’s no other form for Arcadia.


“She’s beautiful.” Lena says, voice soft as usual, and she hops off the bed and clambers into Arcadia’s fur, seemingly wonderstruck. Arcadia releases a soft, throaty growl, and closes her eyes. As for Mikey he looks at Gerard and nods, giving his approval. Gerard almost falls apart with relief, and throws himself into Mikey’s arms.


0.0

“Lena’s settled.” Mikey tells Gerard, and he’s feels a burning pit in his stomach when Gerard grins, and acts like it’s the best thing in the world.


“Meerkat, right?” Gerard says, face lighting up instantly, looking closely at Lena perched on his shoulder. “That’s awesome! I saw a show on meerkats, they can survive in the desert forever, they out run hawks and everything, fastest little buggers around-“


“Just stop.” Mikey chokes and he feels Lena tremble against him, because there is nothing worse than being upset with your daemon’s form, because you’re being upset with yourself. It tears at Mikey, like a hot poker shoved into his heart, tearing him apart.


Gerard’s face falls. “What’s wrong?”


“You know exactly what’s wrong.” Mikey spits, forcing his voice to be cold and indifferent. How could Gerard not? He’s got a golden daemon, the stuff that the greatest artists in the world have. And Mikey has…a meerkat. He might as well have a hamster.


Gerard and Arcadia look at each other, and Gerard goes to Mikey and swallows him into a hug. “You know that I think you’re amazing.” He whispers. “You know that you inspire me every single day.”
Mikey says nothing, allowing himself to be hugged. Gerard feels his discontent, and pulls away. “Mikey, please.” He begs, and Mikey looks at the 16-year old, looks at the pleading look in his eyes. Gerard could never stand seeing Mikey upset.


“No! You’re obviously going to do something amazing-probably be an artist, I don’t really care, and I’m probably going to be in the background for the rest of my life, because you’re special, and I’m-“
“Mikey. Stop.” Gerard commands, and Mikey feels even more like a little brother, Gerard gaining a authoritative tone in his voice. “You are fucking special, you hear me? Fuck, who else is going to tell me that if the zombies move slowly, then the zombies dogs have to as well, and that even though it’s physically impossible that the blood would look so much cooler if it was sprayed everywhere and-“ He cuts himself off, a thought occurring. “Mikey, how about I promise you something?”


“What’s that?”


“Whatever I do later on in my life, I’ll do it with you by my side. I couldn’t have it any other way. That means that you have to be there, Mikes. Deal?”


Mikey waits for Gerard to regret this promise, but he doesn’t and Mikey has no choice but to agree. “Deal.”


0.0

Mikey clutches the phone in his hand, frantically fighting the urge to call Gerard again, and it’s hard. He knows he’s okay, because he talked to Gerard ten minutes ago, so he’s obviously alive but oh god, oh god, oh god.


Lena clutches at Mikey with her little paws, whimpering, and Mikey holds her just as tightly. The waves of why did this happen who would do this does nothing to stop the fear. Mikey tries to think of what type of person would kill all these people, tries to think of what could make him do that, and fails.


It’s wrong, Mikey knows, to think of himself at a time like this because Gerard was there and Gerard saw this but Mikey is so, so lost in himself at the moment. He can’t bear to hear the news turned on, can’t bear to hear the hundreds dead, towers destroyed, he’s only waiting for Gerard to come back. Then he and Lena will know, once and for all, that Gerard and Arcadia are okay.


Mikey hears a key turning the lock to their apartment, and he’s at the door, flinging it open before Gerard even sets foot inside. He throws his arms around Gerard, buries his face in his brother’s neck. He can’t see Lena, but he can guess where she is, lost inside the wheat-colored fields of Arcadia’s fur. Gerard is trembling, Mikey can feel that, yet he returns the hug.


“You’re okay.” Mikey whispers, partly for his sake and partly for Gerard’s. Gerard says nothing and Mikey pulls away to look at him, and shit, he looks like he’s been to hell and back. Which he has.
Gerard is still silent and collapses onto the couch, Arcadia quietly following him. As he sits down, she hops on his lap, and he holds her close, stroking her with one hand. Mikey bites his lip, wishing he could have any idea how to comfort his brother. He doesn’t.


“Gerard, please, talk to me.” Mikey begs, and Lena gently pats Arcadia’s tail. He sits next to his brother, not to close, but close enough that he’s there.


Gerard looks at Mikey helplessly, like a mute that has so much to say, yet can’t. “…So many people Mikes.” He whispers, and Mikey feels a cold, hard fist hit him in the gut. “There was just complete and utter fucking chaos-when people realized what had happened….” He trails off, the ghosts of pain and destruction dancing in front of his eyes. “We were all helpless. It was as if God had smashed a foot down on those towers.”


Suddenly, he jumps up. “There should have been something we could do! Something any of us could do! But everyone was screaming, and no one knew-we lost all ability to save anyone. And I , fuck, I just let myself be taken away from the paramedics like a coward.”


Mikey sees were this line of self-hate is going, and tries to stop it. “Gerard-“


“And what could I have done? Fuck, what have I done that means fucking anything at all? It didn’t stop this from happening! It didn’t make the lives of the people who died any better! I’ve done nothing to help anyone, not even myself.” He lets out a dry, biter laugh. “Arcadia obviously settled wrong.”


There is a moment of terrible, crushing silent as they realize what has been said, and Arcadia grows perfectly still, even she’s shocked by the word that her human has said. Gerard realizes his mistake as soon as it’s said, and he looks at his daemon with a thousand apologies at his lips. “Arcadia, I’m sorry-“


“No. You’re not.” Arcadia says, her voice rougher than normal. “You’re not, because I feel the same way.”


Mikey feels like he’s looking at them through a glass door, perfectly in the moment but unable to contact them at all. He sees disappointment and loss and fear all over Gerard’s face, and he can do nothing. Surprisingly, it’s Lena who speaks.


“If you think that you’re not doing anything important,” She says, voice small but strong, “Why don’t you change that?”


Frank and Zieka


“There’s something I need to tell you guys about.”


Frank doesn’t even look up from his morning smoke. He can already guess half of Jerry’s next sentence: Gerard did….Yet another story about the big fucking drunk elephant in the room. “Whadaya think, puked on a speaker or broke a stage light?” He whispers to Zieka, curled up on his chest, and she barks a dry laugh.


It’s not that Frank doesn’t like Jerry-he’s a good tour manager; more than willing to put up with the band’s colossal heaping pile of shit. Yet he doesn’t see that the band is one beer can, one bottle of vodka away from collapsing, and Frank doesn’t want to be collateral damage when that happens. He should care more, Frank thinks, about his band falling apart. He supposes he stopped caring when Gerard did.


“Gerard called Brian this morning.” At this, Frank actually looks at Jerry, and Zieka snaps her head up. Out of the corner of his eye, Symphie moves a tiny bit closer to Ray, and the guitarist rests a hand on his daemon. Frank can’t see Mikey, but he’s pretty sure that his expression is similar- red lights are flashing in everyone’s mind. Because Gerard talking to Brian is very much so out of the ordinary; if anything he’s been avoiding Brian like the plague. Frank feels a black hole open in his stomach, and Zieka voices what he thinks.


“He wants to quit the band, doesn’t he?” The badger asks in her rough voice, and all eyes turn to Frank and Zieka. “Doesn’t he?”


Jerry shifts uncomfortably, and his beagle daemon drops his head. “In a way…”


“Look, we just need to talk to him –“Frank rolls his eyes at Ray. He thinks he can fix everything.

 

“He said he was going to kill himself.”


Zieka yelps, she actually yelps, and Symphie lets out a wild shriek. He can’t see Mikey, but he hears the whimper that Lena releases, probably burying herself into Mikey at the same time.
Ray is the first one to speak, one arm wrapped around Symphie to comfort her. “He what?”


“He had done about five lines of coke.” Jerry continues, looking apologetic, like the doctor that tells you that you have terminal cancer. Frank simply floats in numbness-since when was Gerard on coke? “He called Brain, and he said that he was going to kill himself. Brian he-he talked him out of it, at least made him wait. He then called me, told me what happened. I kept Gerard company until he crashed.”
Zieka reacts in the best way she knows how, baring her teeth and growling, the most primal instinct she has. Jerry continues, “Brian told me that he was gonna get some motherfucking sleep, but he gave me some things to tell you guys.” Then, Jerry’s whole demeanor changes, and his daemon raises her head.


“You need to get him help.” He orders, and Frank suddenly feels like an admonished child. “Everyone in this band has just been waiting for it all to fall apart, and hoping they won’t be there while it happens. You need to do something while you lead singer is still alive!” Frank flinches away, and clutches Zieka, the claws scratching his skin. “He and Arcadia want to get better. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have called Brian last night. Don’t give up on him. Aren’t you supposed to be his friends?”


Zieka lets out a truly pathetic whimper, and Frank fights the guilty tears that threaten to overwhelm him. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, I’m his friend, I left him, he could have- here he has to stop himself, because he really doesn’t want to cry right now.


“We will.” Symphie says, speaking for Ray, and she says it like she means it. Zieka looks at Lena, partly for comfort, partly out of concern, then hops down and nuzzles the meerkat. “We’ll help him.”

0.0

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” Mikey says, rubbing, Gerard’s back. Actually no, it’s about as far from okay as it could be, yet Frank knows that saying that wouldn’t help. Symphie is tending to Arcadia, who’s lying on her side and whimpering, Symphie’s soft monkey paws stroking Arcadia’s head. Gerard is currently puking up beer and sake and his breakfast and dinner and motherfucker, is that blood?


Frank can’t watch anymore, and he turns and leaves, Zieka having no choice but to follow him. He hears Ray call his name, but Frankie, my dear, doesn’t give a damn. Zieka attempts to talk to him, yet Frank ignores her, pushing through stagehands for a quiet spot.


He rests against a wall, where he can no longer hear the clatter of noise and worried demands, and pulls out a cigarette. He closes his eyes and he leans against the wall, sliding down to the ground. He doesn’t care how dirty the floor his, he really needs to fucking sit.


“Why do they do this to us?” Zieka asks, while Frank looks at her, then pulls her close, cuddling his daemon in his arms. “I thought we were finished with the huge fuck-ups two weeks ago.”
“I know.” Is all Frank can say, and he closes his eyes and hides his face in Zieka’s fur. His parents told him that a badger daemon was someone who cared tremendously, and would fight to the death for those he cared. Frank doesn’t feel like much of a fighter right now.


“Frank.” Frank knows that voice anywhere, yet chooses not to respond, face still hidden in his daemon’s fur. “Frankie, please. We need you.” Ray continues. “You can’t abandon Gerard and Arcadia there.”
“I don’t think that they really know what’s going on around them.” Zieka snaps.


“Then do it for Lena.” Symphie growls at Zieka, an edge in her voice. “You expect her to just sit there while her sister-daemon suffers?”


“I can’t do it, Ray.” Frank mutters. “I can’t take him doing this again and again-“


“He said he was going to stop.”


“He’s said that before.”


“I think he means it.”


Now Frank looks up, trying to see if Ray really believes what he’s saying. He does. “I need him to come back.” Frank whispers, feeling like a child.


“I know.” Ray says, and extends a hand to Frank. “So go back in there and get him.”

0.0

“Will you get that damn thing out of here?” Zieka asks, swatting a paw at Arcadia’s tail. “Not everyone enjoys seeing a damn disco ball rubbed in their face.”


“Come on, you know I’m sexy.” Arcadia purrs with a foxy (no pun intended) expression. She nips at Zieka’s ear. “Besides, you’re shooting a scene in 15 minutes, so get your lazy ass out there.” Gerard grins at his daemon, and then prods Frank with his foot, making a come-on gesture.


“Didn’t we shoot a scene five seconds ago?” Frank asks, grouchily sitting up, Zieka jumping on his chest, the badger perfectly fitting within Frank’s arms.


“You’ve been snoozing for three hours Frank, now go.” Gerard smirks, mouth quirking into a wry grin, despite the hollow look in his eyes. Arcadia yelps her approval, then they leave, probably in the search of coffee.
Frank waits until after they’ve left, until he and Zieka are certain that no one can hear them. “Well, they look alright.” The badger says cautiously.


“I know.” Frank says, sitting up as Zieka jumps to the ground. “It’s just that…”


It’s just that a month ago Gerard was dying over the edge of a toilet in Japan. It’s just that two weeks before that, he tried to kill himself. It’s just that Frank can’t quite believe his eyes.
Because it’s Gerard and Arcadia, but he supposes it’s a version of them that he’s never seen before yet missed all the same. Honestly, when Frank thinks, he’s never known Gerard when he wasn’t drinking, just knew him when his drinking was more controlled. This Gerard, the Gerard that will look vulnerable instead of covering it up with drink, the Gerard that grins hugely without any extra stimulants, the Gerard has his brain running even faster than normal…is different.


Frank sighs and makes his way over to the set, catching Bob of the corner of his eye. He’s been staying firmly out of the Drummer Problem, having more than enough worries. Yet, he supposes, looking at Bob and his blonde great dane daemon, if he’s gonna be a new member of the band then he better get to know him.


He spots Gerard excitedly looking at the cameras, watching the playback with an expression of pure glee. Frank smiles, not being able to help it. If this is going to be anything like the Helena shoot, then Gerard will be looking at himself, trying to figure out a way that he could even more emulate Liza Minellei. He grins when he sees Frank, excitedly waving him over to the camera. “Check this out. I get fucking hit in the face.”


“Well, it can’t get any uglier, so…” Frank quips, laughing as Gerard expertly flips him off.


“See how you like it, dickhead.” Gerard growls. “They’re shoving you into a locker, hobbit.”


Frank wants to say more, something about how if Gerard is older, then how come Mikey towers over his brother, yet the director pulls him away to a row of lockers. Frank feels warmth grow in his chest, seeing Gerard happy and laughing and not drunk, when Zieka nudges him. “Is it just me or is Arcadia…brighter?”


Frank goes to say that her vision is going, because daemons don’t change one they’re settled, yet he stops and looks at Arcadia. And frowns.


Because he’s sure he’s imagining it. The lights are just really bright here. Yet Frank swears that Arcadia’s fur is glimmering and shining like never before, brighter then he’s ever seen. And now, looking back, he’s sure that her fur had a certain shine when he first met Gerard, and that shine…he thinks back to his recent memories, and he’s never noticed it, but in the past few months, Arcadia had never been shining, the gold dull and matte and hardly noticeable.


Now….it physically hurts to look at her.


Frank goes to say something to Zieka, yet he’s shoved into a locker before he can say a word, and in the darkness the vision of Arcadia dances in front of his eyes, something impossibly beautiful and wonderfully real.

Bob and Mariette

“Mikey’s…in a bad place.” Bob can tell from the expression on Gerard’s face that this doesn’t even begin to cover it, but the truth is too painful to be spoken aloud. “I talked to him and…he thinks he needs to leave the house. Get away from all of this for a while.”


It’s like a silent bomb has been dropped, and Mariette’s only reaction is to press a tiny bit closer to Bob, the great dane pushing at Bob’s leg for comfort. Frank, always volatile, is the first to speak. “Is he leaving the band?”


Gerard winces, and Arcadia speaks for him. “He doesn’t know. He just needs to get away from here. Get help.”


“How bad is he, G?” Ray asks, and Bob will admit that he’s been wondering the exact same thing. It’s not like they haven’t noticed that Mikey’s not alright, but the album has been slowly killing them all, they’ve all been feeling stressed. It’s disabling, like someone’s inside their heads or that the house is going to eat them from the inside out. And (here Bob feels guilty, feels so guilty, like everyone else) they didn’t want to look at each other, didn’t want to see the pain that everyone else was going through because their own shit was eating them alive. You had to scream to be heard.


Well, Mikey did just that. A full-fledged panic attack a week ago, collapsing into his brother’s arms from a cocktail of pills and booze. It was only when Gerard took Mikey to his room when he saw how many pills were scattered on the night table, how many bottles of beer and vodka where hidden under the bed. And then the painful ugly truth hit them right in the face-Mikey wasn’t alright, he hadn’t been alright for a long time.


“He…he’s pretty bad.” Gerard says, then Bob watches something inside the man break, and he falls into a chair. “The more I think about it the more I see it, but at the time…” He shakes his head. “I mean, he would come into my room at night, ‘cause his own room terrified him, and I thought it was just the atmosphere of the house, but then he was different, he would get upset at the smallest things, then he stopped talking and now…this.” He bites his lip. “He-he told me that if he doesn’t leave the house and get help then,” Here he closes his eyes for strength, “he’s probably going to end up leaving the band. Or killing himself.”


This bomb wasn’t silent, and Frank utters a curse, Zieka flying into his arms, pressing her head against his chest. Ray simply freezes, shell-shocked, Symphie turned into a statue. Bob looks at Gerard, who’s looking as if he’s considering burying himself alive. “I talked to Stacy, he’s going to stay with her. She’s already booked a few therapists for him.”


“When is he leaving?” Marietta speaks what Bob’s lips are to numb to say, and he’s grateful for that.


“Tomorrow. He’s already packed.”


Here the wall that Gerard’s been building breaks, and he hides his face in his hands, not wanting the guys to see him cry. He turns to leave, practically running out of the room, but Toro stops him and captures him in a big bear hug. He doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t need to, just lets Gerard bury hold onto him as he cries. Marietta, who’s always been more emotional than Bob, goes to Arcadia and rubs the fox’s face with her own, murmuring semi-comforting words. Beside Bob, Frank just clutches Zieka tightly, like she’s his life line.


Bob tries to think of something he could say to cheer himself up, but We’ll get through this doesn’t work, because fuck, they might all lose their minds before the album is done. He then thinks of We’ll always have each other, yet even that doesn’t work because Mikey might be leaving, maybe even permanently. When everything fails, he just settles for one sentence, one phrase that gives him a tiny bit of hope.


We’ll carry on.

0.0


“Well excuse me for acting like the only person that still thinks we’re in a band!”


“Look, just leave me the fuck alone!”


Bob rubs his head, feeling the beginning of a headache start to form. It shouldn’t surprise him that Frank his lashing out at everyone-he’s emotional, every feeling that he has is magnified and broadcasted to the world. It isn’t fair, however to make Gerard the collateral damage from it, the dude already looks like a zombie. However, it’s easier not to get involved though. And less painful.


“Frankie, Gerard, both of you calm down.” Ray moans wearily, trying as always to be the peacemaker. It doesn’t work.


“Do you even want to finish this album?” Frank yells. “Because for the last two weeks, you’ve been walking around like you don’t give a fuck!”


“Frank, shut up, now.” Arcadia growls, surprising everyone by addressing Frank. Daemons don’t normally talk directly to humans, and visa versa. But this is a different case.


Frank ignores her. “I know you have some shit going on, but we all do, okay? Walking around like a zombie isn’t going to fix anything, Mikey wouldn’t-“


“Don’t you dare tell me what Mikey wouldn’t want.” Gerard snaps, his low and quiet anger contrasting with Frank’s unstable one. “You have no idea what he’s like, you’ve known him for all of five years, I’ve known him for all his life-“


“Oh please, tell us all how you have it so much worse.” Zieka snaps sarcastically, and Bob and Ray share a quick glance, surprised by how cruel her voice is.


“Don’t even go there, Zieka.” Arcadia threatens, moving towards the badger. “You have no idea-“


“Because I’m not a recovering alcoholic, right? Because I’m not so caught up in making this album exactly how I want it that I’m too selfish to see who I’m hurting?”


Bob and Ray freeze this point, and look at Gerard, waiting for him to either burst into tears or sock Frank across the face. However, Gerard doesn’t miss a beat, and steps closer to Frank. “Because I am losing my little brother, and every day I don’t know if I’m going to wake up and find out he’s killed himself, because I feel like this fucking house is suffocating me, because every night in my dreams I see everyone I love burning to death before my eyes, because this album is killing me, and some days I wake up and I think that I’m just going to walk into that fucking swimming pool, and all you do is sit and bitch about how nothing is getting done. So yes, Frank, I do have it worse.”


Gerard’s rant stuns Frank into silence, and Gerard takes this opportunity to turn and leave. Zieka, however, still has anger left inside of her, and snaps at Arcadia’s tail.


Arcadia turns, and in a motion that only daemon eyes can follow leaps at Zieka and pins her to the ground, fox teeth around the badger’s throat.


Frank gasps and clutches at his neck, and Mariette surges forward, pushing Arcadia away from Zieka. Bob and his daemon turn to look at Gerard, who’s looking sadly at Arcadia. “Arcadia.” Is all he says, sounding tired, and without another word they turn and leave the room.


Frank collapses into a chair, still rubbing his neck, and for a moment Bob is furious at Gerard, that he could have done this to Frank. Zieka’s a badger, she’s a fierce little thing, and both human and daemon are obviously in pain. Zieka leaps onto Frank’s lap, and he strokes her gently. “Did she hurt you?” Symphie asks, and everyone knows who she is.


Zieka shakes her head a tiny amount. “N-no. It hurt, but it’ll go away.”


Bob looks at Frank, really looks, and sees so much sadness on his face, anger replaced by an even stronger emotion. “Fuck, I didn’t know…” He puts his free hand on his head, rubbing his eyes. “Why did I push-why did I say that-“


“Because you’re stressed. We all are.” Bob says, even though he knows that it doesn’t exscue Frank or Arcadia’s behavior. “ Trust me dude, I’m upset that we’re not getting anything done as well.”


“I know, but-“ Frank stops, and the color drains from his face. “Fuck, Gerard said he was thinking about fucking drowning himself, and I-“


Bob isn’t a huggy guy, but he knows someone who needs one when he sees it, and okay, he really likes Frank. The combination of recklessness, the ability to feel without abandon, making the good so good and the bad so much worse, the little bit of childness inside the tough-punk exterior. He gets up and easily pulls Frank up from the chair ( he could probably carry Frank with one arm) , and swallows him in a hug. “Listen Iero,” He orders, “You are going to sit here and let me hug you until you feel better, then you will go to Gerard, and apologize for being such a massive dickhead. Then he will apologize for being such a massive dickhead, and you two will make up like teenage girls. You hear?”


Frank laughs, although Bob can detect a couple of sniffles from sobs, and he knows that whatever he says has worked. “I am the worst friend ever.” He mutters.


“No, you’re a great friend, you just can be an asshole at times. Don’t worry, you make up for it. Remember when you punched that guy that was harassing Arcadia?”


Frank giggles a bit, then pulls away, trying to hide the fact that his eyes are red and swollen. “I think I better get down on my knees to apologize.”


It’s so obvious, Bob can’t resist. “Okay, I didn’t need to know that much about what you and Gerard do in your spare time.”


Suddenly everyone is laughing, and Bob feels a warmth in his chest that threatens to overtake him. They’re a family again, and they’ll make it through this.

0.0


Gerard runs towards Mikey like he hasn’t seen him in years, and for Gerard it probably feels like years. The longest Gerard’s ever been separated from his brother is two months, Mikey’s been gone for “martial leave” for half a year. Add that to the fact that Gerard’s been watching over Mikey like a hawk, and Gerard’s been chomping at the bit, counting the down the days until Mikey rejoins the tour.
It’s actually kinda cute, Gerard squeezing Mikey so hard that he doubts either one of them can breath, Gerard whispering something into Mikey’s ear. On the ground, their daemons are all over each other, Arcadia giving Lena a big, wet lick. Finally, Gerard kisses Mikey on the side of the head, and relinquishes him to Frank, who similarly attacks him with a hug.


Mikey’s smiling so hard that Bob thinks that his face might break in half. It’s a good thing-it means that Mikey’s refound his love for the band, he’s refreshed, he trusts himself more. They called it a martial leave, but it was more “Mikey’s vacation so he can get over having a complete and utter mental breakdown”. Bob hugs Mikey when the other guys are finished, noticing that Gerard is looking at the scene with so much happiness in his eyes that Bob thinks he might burst.


Symphie comes over to Mariette, and nudges her with her foot. “Check out Arcadia.” She whispers, and Mariette and Bob both look to see Arcadia smiling a big foxy grin, her fur shining so brightly that Bob wants sunglasses, the glare from the daemon is too much.


He laughs to himself, and no one notices because everyone is too happy, because they’re complete again. They crawled out of the hopeless pit that was the Black Parade and the Paramour mansion, and everything is really going to be alright.


Lindsey and Chaillion

She supposes that it’s a bit unusual for a girl to love this, sweat coming out of every inch of skin in her body, vest wet from a splash of beer, fingers aching from exhaustion. Lindsey doesn’t care. There is nothing she would exchange for this feeling, the adrenaline she feels as she steps off the stage, the feeling that she can take on anyone and anything. It’s a joy no lover has ever been able to give her, a high no drug has ever been able to match, and the best part is that it’s completely legal.


She laughs as Jimmy hugs her, calling her a “motherfucking hardass”, and Lindsey is nodding her head in agreement. Chaillion perches on her shoulder, sending soft bird calls of simple exhilaration.
Lindsey feels a hand wrap around her waist, and she already knows who it is, she’s already traced every line of those hands. “You looked like an Amazon queen out there.” Gerard whispers into her ear, and Lindsey laughs even harder, because oh god, she’s so in love.


“What does that make you?” Chaillion asks, the blue-black egret feathers bobbing up and down. “Persesus?”


“Nah, I like Artemis better. Goddess of the hunt and all that.” Arcadia responds, and Chaillion flys down to rest on her back.


“So are we going to the party tonight or are we going to sit in the tour bus and make out?” Lindsey asks, and she’s shocked to find that she really doesn’t care which. Anything with Gerard is instantly awesome, because he’s like another daemon, one you have to find yourself. For once, sex doesn’t make a relationship deeper. It’s already there.


Gerard’s expression changes just a tiny bit, but Lindsey knows him well enough to see nervousness on his face. “Actually there was something I wanted to talk to you about.” He mutterers. “Think we can get away from here?”


“Sure.” Lindsey replies, and allows Gerard to lead her away from the stage, out of the venue. Her mind’s racing, and she briefly wonders if’s he’s going to propose to her. Actually, the thought doesn’t thrill her as much as it should-mainly because there isn’t much that a piece of paper and a ceremony can do to certify their love.


When they get a good ways away from the venue, where they can no longer hear the chatter of the people around them, Gerard and Arcadia pull away from Lindsey and Chaillion. Lindsey is shocked to see nervousness etched on even Arcadia’s fine features-she’s always been more outgoing than Gerard, with endless courage and a madcap confidence. Before Lindsey can ask what’s going on, Gerard speaks.
“So…” He looks at her, and this seems to give him the strength to continue. “So you’re kinda the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and I never thought that I could feel anything like this in my life, and I really can’t imagine myself with anyone else, fuck, I can’t imagine myself loving anyone else other than you, and you’re everything I ever wanted combined, and I know that we’ve only been together for a few months, but you’re the love of my life, so if you don’t mind could you touch my daemon?”


Gerard says all of this in one blurry, speedy sentence, it takes a moment for Lindsey to process it. When she does, she’s struck dumb by the level of trust that Gerard has in her. “You…you want me to do that?” She chocks. They hadn’t even properly slept together, and now Gerard was asking her to touch his daemon. Sex was one thing, touching someone’s daemon was other thing entirely. It was the most intimate experience you could share with someone-you were literally trusting them with your soul.


Gerard nods, and Lindsey feels exhilaration in her veins. “Has anyone touched her before?”


Much to Lindsey’s surprise, he nods again. “The guys in the band...Eliza.” He says, although he grimaces at the last word. “With her…I didn’t want it. It hurt.”


Oh, like that really boosts Lindsey’s confidence. When someone doesn’t want their daemon touched, it’s the most invasive thing you can do to someone. “Are you sure about this?” Lindsey says, feeling much like the boyfriend being offered virginal sex from his girlfriend.


Gerard nods, and Lindsey looks at Arcadia, who’s close to Lindsey, staring at her with pleading eyes. Without taking her eyes off Arcadia, Lindsey slowly sinks to her knees, then extends a hand toward the daemon. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, Lindsey touches Arcadia.


The feeling is immediate and shocking, Lindsey would pull away if it wasn’t so wonderful. She hears Gerard gasp, and Lindsey holds Arcadia a little firmer. She’s literally feeling everything that’s Gerard, the feeling that’s he’s laid bare before her and everything that he is she could have. The essence of Gerard is plugged into her veins, the feeling of love and care and affection is so intense she might burst. Lindsey’s surprised to find that the pleasure is hardly sexual-it’s like the intimacy of sex, without the physical taboo.


Gerard sinks to his knees from the pure pleasure of the feeling, and Chaillion knows what Lindsey wants without Lindsey voicing it. Chaillion hops over to Gerard, and Gerard wastes no time placing his hand on Chaillion. Lindsey’s hand suddenly tightens around Arcadia, because everything she was feeling is now redoubled. Now she is the one who is laid bare, and Gerard is the one who owns everything in her, but that’s alright because she owns him, and there is no me or you, just us.


Lindsey throws her arms around Arcadia, burying her face into the fox, tears of pure joy leaking from her eyes. Next to her, Gerard lets out a little shuddery breath, and Lindsey thinks she hears him crying as well.

 

Lindsey doesn’t know how long she says there, but eventually she needs to feel Gerard physically, and breaks herself away from Arcadia. She kisses Gerard with everything she can’t put into words, and he returns the favor. His arms wrap around her waist, and he’s muttering nonsense things about how she’s “everything, everything Lyn, I love you, I love you, I love you,” and they stay like that, wondering if anyone has ever been in more love than them.


Finally they calm themselves down, and look at each other. “Let’s get married.” Gerard says.

 

“I was hoping you’d say that.” Lindsey replies.


0.0

“We should pull up a chair. He might faint.” Chaillion says, perched on Lindsey’s shoulders.


“He’s not going to faint.” Lindsey says, although, yeah, it’s possible. He could faint.


“Are we going to faint?” Chaillion asks as an afterthought.


“I don’t think so.” Lindsey says, with the tone of voice that implies that she’s thought a lot about this. “I think we’re past fainting.”


She sits in her and Gerard’s cozy L.A apartment, knees tucked into her chest, practically sunken into the couch. Every so often she looks at the clock, wondering when it had began to move so quickly.
“Maybe I should send him a text.” Lindsey says. “Give him some warning.”


“And risk seeing him read it when he’s on the road? He’ll be in an accident.” Chaillion reasons, and Lindsey agrees. She can’t lose Gerard, now more than ever.


“Goddamnit, when does he get back home?” She muttered, rubbing her eyes. “Chaillion, I think that I’m freaking out.”


“You and me both.” Chaillion mumbles back, rubbing his feathery head against Lindsey’s for comfort. “Just think, you’re carrying-“


A turning of the lock was heard, and both Lindsey and Chaillion snapped their head to the door as it opened. “Lyn? It’s me.” Gerard called, coming inside. “You won’t believe what I saw coming home, there was this guy dressed in a dragon costume, but it wasn’t really a dragon because it was more snake than dragon, so I guess that would make it a basilisk-“


He cuts himself off as he sees Lindsey and Chaillion looking at him like deer stuck in the headlights. “What’s wrong?” He asks. “Did something happen? Are you okay? Are you hurt-“


“No, no, I’m fine.” Lindsey says, stopping Gerard’s trail of over protectiveness before it could go off the tracks. “There’s just something I need to tell you.”


Gerard instantly looks worried, and he shares a glance with Arcadia before cautiously saying, “…Ooooookkaaaaaay.”


“Um, you might,” Lindsey swallows, “You might want to sit down.”


Now Gerard looks extremely worried, and he sits down. Before Lindsey can say another word he says, “Are you breaking up with me?”


It takes a moment for Lindsey to process what he’s said. “What?!”


“Because, if you are, I get it, I mean I’m self-absorbed and needy and a huge attention hog, and I’m not there for you as much as I should, and fuck, if I really loved you that much I would be home instead of running off to tour every month, and I’m really not made to have a normal lifestyle at home, and you’re right, you deserve someone better and-“


“No, no no no!” Lindsey cries, horrified by what she’s hearing. “No I’m-I’m not breaking up with you. I love you.” She adds, just in case he’s missed it the other 300 times she’s said it.


Gerard looks honestly surprised. “Oh.” He stares off into space, then looks back at her. “So,um, what is it?”


Lindsey pulls Chaillion into her hands for comfort before speaking. “I, um…” She takes a deep breath and decides that the best thing to do is to just spit it out. “I’m pregnant.”


Arcadia lets out a yelp, and Lindsey waits for an expression from Gerard, yet it’s like someone pressed the pause button on him, he’s not moving, not blinking, probably not even breathing. Lindsey takes this opportunity to talk. “I took five tests, just to be sure, and they were all positive, and I’ve set a doctor’s appointment on Monday just so we know for certain, and I should have called you but I only found out two hours ago and….” She trails off, uncertain if Gerard is following her at all. “Honey?”


Slowly Gerard turns toward her, looking at her like he’s seeing a Greek goddess. “You’re sure.”


“About 98 percent positive.”


Gerard nods, like someone’s told him there’s a chance of rain tomorrow. He looks at her again. “You’re carrying my-our-child inside of you.”


“Yes.”


“I’m going to be a dad.”


“Yes.”


Chaillion was right about the chair. They did need it.


0.0


Lindsey feels just a little bit bad about the fact that instead of welcoming the baby with open arms, she thinks Motherfucking hell the little bastard is out just give me painkillers please god please. Her wish is grated, as the nurse pumps drugs into her I.V.


All thoughts disappear as the child is handed to her, the little pink buddle of life, her daemon hardly formed, just a group of hazy golden Dust. Lindsey can’t see straight, and starts crying, out of relief and joy and pure and utter happiness. The child starts to cry, and Lindsey raises it directly to her breast, looking down in wonder at the child.


“Is it a boy or a girl?” She hears Gerard asks, and judging by how rough his voice is, he’s crying as well. Arcadia is running in circles around Gerard, letting out a howl of joy.


“A girl, Mr. Way.” The nurse says, and Lindsey looks down in wonder at the girl, her daughter, their daughter. She’s a mother. She has a daughter. Mother. Daughter.


“Her daemon’s formed.” Chaillion says, and Lindsey sees a tiny, fluttering sparrow go up to her daughter and rest upon her head. Chaillion goes towards the daemon, and nudges it gently. “It’s alright, it’s alright,” Chaillion murmurs. “We’re here.”


“Mother-daemon?” The daemon asks, and Chaillion nods. It’s a male voice, yet tiny and child-like.


“What’s your name?” Arcadia asks, placing her front two paws on the hospital bed to see better.


“Rustiel.” The daemon whispers, and then nudges at the girl. “Who’s my human?”


Gerard and Lindsey look at each other and smile, then name already chosen. “She’s Bandit.” Lindsey whispers, kissing her daughter on the top of her head.


“Nice name.” Rustiel mutters, then shifts into a tiny ferret, yawns, and goes to sleep. Arcadia can’t contain other yelp of pure joy, and Gerard laughs.


“You want to hold her?” Lindsey asks, and Gerard nods so hard Lindsey thinks that his head might fall off. She carefully removes Bandit from her breast, and then hands her over to Gerard, who looks at her with much adoration that Lindsey thinks that she’ll start crying again. Fuck, pregnancy hormones turn you into such a huge snap.


Chaillion goes to say something, but he’s forgotten as there’s a knock on the door. “So am I an uncle now or what?” Lindsey hears Mikey ask, and Gerard grins as he opens the door. Mikey and Alicia both smile one of the sweetest smiles that Lindsey has ever seen. “Boy or girl?” Mikey softly asks.


“Girl. Her name’s Bandit.” Gerard replies, carefully holding his daughter. “Say hi to your niece.”


Mikey’s face is somewhere between amazed and thrilled as Gerard hands him Bandit, and he’s not the most expressive guy. Lena’s on his shoulder, softly chattering into his ear. Alicia’s stays him, looking at her niece with one arm on Mikey’s shoulder. “I talked to Jamia and Christa, they’re on the way.” Alicia explains. “Turns out that Frank got pulled over for speeding when trying to get here.”


Somehow Lindsey finds this utterly hilarious, and she burst into hysterical laughter. Gerard goes over to her and sits next to her, holding her hand. “We’re parents.” He whispers.


“Yeah.” Lindsey replies, and it’s terrifying and wonderful at the same time. She’s only distracted when Arcadia nudges Gerard.


“Hey, there’s something you should check out-“ She starts, but is interrupted yet again. Frank and Jamia are standing in the corner, just taking in the whole scene. Gerard sees Frank and no words have to be said, everyone can just feel the joy in the air. Gerard walks over and envelops Frank in a hug, just as Jamia comes over and kisses Lindsey on the top of her head. Lindsey’s whole mind is kinda swimming, and she just watches as her daughter-her daughter- is passed to Frank.


“Come meet your goddaughter.” Gerard says, and Frank looks up at him, utterly surprised.


“Seriously?” He asks, and Gerard nods. Frank then quickly hands Bandit back to Lindsey so that he can hug Gerard again. Suddenly everyone is talking, and more than a few people are crying, but it’s okay because she’s a mother, a mother-


They’re interrupted when Arcadia literally leaps onto the bed, letting out a howl that’s loud enough to be heard but quiet enough so it doesn’t disturb Bandit and Rustiel. “Finally, we’ve got your attention.” She growls. “Just thought you all should know, because this is mildly interesting, but has anyone looked at the Rustiel’s color?”


Everyone’s eyes go to Rustiel, who’s cuddled up sleeping next to Chaillion. The daemon’s still shifting, even in sleep; trying to pick out the forms he likes the best. Yet even as it shifts each one of his forms is colored a dark, shining red, as brilliant as rubies.


Everyone’s eyes go wide, and Arcadia flops onto the bed with a satisfied expression. “‘Bout time you noticed that.” She grumbles.


0.0

Ray doesn’t know exactly how many cups of coffee are actually dangerous to your health, and maybe’s it’s better that he doesn’t. If he did know, he probably would have had a heart attack from stress by know. Not for himself, but for Gerard’s who’s been awake two hours and has had five cups of coffee, and will probably double that amount before the day’s over. Then again, Ray doesn’t blame him,knowing what’s coming.

 

Currently they’re all gathered in Gerard’s hotel room, which is pretty posh because, okay, Gerard likes nice things. Ray’s staying pretty quiet and is just fiddling with his guitar, but anyone who knows him knows that he’s like that when he’s nervous. Mikey’s not saying a word; just sits close to Gerard, as if their physical closeness will be comforting, occasionally stroking Lena on his shoulder. Frank’s twisting his hands around, stuck between wanting to go get his guitar and feeling better without it. Gerard is babbling like an idiot about everything and anything thing-Ray catches the words jacket, strobe lights, half-elf ranger dwarf, and hair dye-which is what he does whenever he gets nervous. Okay, they’re all really fucking nervous.


Because the last time they played at this show, they got booed, they got beer and piss bottles thrown at them, and now they’re headlining it.


“We’re gonna be fine.” Frank says, speaking mostly for his benefit. “Did you see how many tickets were sold?”


No one says anything in reply, only Gerard goes on about “the black jacket variant really looks cool, doesn’t it, right, right, and I know that we all liked the blue one but the black looks even better right” without missing a beat. Ray looks at his wiltering band mates, and decides that now is the time to fulfill his position as the Team Dad.


“Ha any of you eaten anything?” He asks, and three wide-eyed faces look at him and shake their heads. He sighs. “Well, useless you want to pass out on stage, you should eat.”


“Do you think that we can?” Zieka asks, rarely speaking directly to a human. “The smell of food makes me sick.”

 

“Hear, hear.” Arcadia replies.


“I don’t care.” Symphie says, crawling off of Ray’s back. “Chose something that you won’t even taste.”


Everyone looks like they’re about to move but doesn’t. Even Gerard goes silent, and Ray stops his quietly playing.


“We’re going to play onstage with Brian fucking May.”Gerard says.


They look at each other and the look of how we got so fucking lucky is shared once again and Frank lets out a little giggle. “We’re playing with Brian fucking May.” Gerard repeats, and Mikey grins and wraps his brother in a one-armed hug. “The first time that Queen played at Reading, they got hammered as well.” Gerard says, and Ray can feel him going into band-leader mode. “And Freddie Mercury said that they were gonna come back and be the biggest band in the world. At this concert were we got beer and piss thrown at us five years ago, now we’re headlining, and we’re playing with Brian fucking May.”
Everyone grins, and this leads to a big sappy group hug, and once again ray is wonderstruck by how influencing Gerard can be. He laughs quietly to himself. They really do have the best front man in the world.


0.0


“Do you hear them? They’re fucking ready for us.” Gerard has his head low, arms around Mikey and Frank’s back. Ray can’t see him but he can feel him, the strands of neon red hair pushing into his face. At their feet, their daemons are huddled together similarly.


“Every one of those kids.” Ray agrees, and he feels Mikey’s fingers tighten on his back for a moment. James and Mike are already on stage, hidden out of sight, but the kids know that they’re there. The leather of Ray’s Jet Star jacket is already burning with heat, but Ray accepts it, at least for a while.


“This is what it’s all about.” Gerard continues. “This is what we live for. We go out there, good or bad, and we give everything we have, and we make a fucking difference. It doesn’t matter what’s happened before. What matters is now.”


“Your past doesn’t matter.” Frank says. “What happened five years ago doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is us and our friendship and what we do onstage. Because that’ll last forever.”
“Let’s give these kids the best moment of their life.” Gerard says. “Let’s make them feel more alive than they ever have before. We’ve done it before. Now, let’s do it louder and brighter than we ever have.”
“Fuck yeah.” Mikey mutterers and they laugh and break away. Mikey, Frank and Ray quickly swing their guitars over their shoulder. Lena hops and rests on Mikey’s shoulder, while Arcadia stands by Gerard. It’s dark, here on the side of the stage, yet Arcadia is lit like a light. She’s practically burning with energy, but it’s a good thing.


Ray spots Brian May on the other side of the stage, and he gives them a thumbs up. Symphie swings by his feet, the monkey strangely calm “Well be fine.” She whispers.


“We’ll be more than that.” Ray replies, and Gerard nods to the stage hands, and they cut the lights, and they walk out.


0.0


From the second that Ray plays the opening to “Na Na Na”, he knows that the show is going to be fucking awesome.


The kids are screaming so loud that he can hardly hear Gerard, and only Mike’s drums are keeping him on track, and he has never, literally never seen a crowd this big. They’re all screaming so loud that he can hear them, despite the ear piece, and it’s amazing.


Symphie doesn’t usually move around a lot in shows, same thing with Arcadia. Symphie’s currently resting next to an amp; pushing Ray’s pedal’s when he needs it. Zieka is doing the same thing, although it’s in-between running around in circles and jumping up and down. Lena is resting on Mikey’s shoulder, where she usually is, and Arcadia….


Ray looks for Arcadia, and when he finds her, he’s momentarily blinded. She’s sitting on top of a box on a set, perched tall, almost like an Egyptian cat. Her tail is swishing back and forth, she’s grinning hugely, and she’s shining so brightly that it hurts Ray’s eyes. The lights are reflecting off of her, until she doesn’t even look like a daemon, but a mythical creature that’s been dipped in gold.


The rest of the show plays like a dream. The kids love every minute of it and Ray’s so filled to the top with such pure energy that he thinks that he might burst. Gerard says that they’re closing with Helena, and Ray plays with everything he’s got, like this was the last song he’ll ever play. The lights go out, and they leave the stage as the crowd screams. The band doesn’t even say anything to each other as they go off, because they know that they’re all feeling the same, feeling that this is one of the best nights of their life. And the best is yet to come.


Mike starts up the drums, and the fans scream because they know that there’s gonna be an encore, and then Brian starts playing as they walk out. It’s too dark for the fans to recognize him, but they recognize the song, and fuck, that makes them excited. Ray can hear the pure delight of a showman as he announces, “Ladies and gentlemen…Brian fucking May.”


The crowds screams as loud as it did when they started playing, and Brian goes over to stand by Ray, who’s can’t keep from grinning so huge it hurts. The usually calm Symphie is staring wonderstruck at Brian’s coyote daemon, and Ray can’t really think anything other than, what did I do to get this lucky?


Gerard starts to sing, and Brian looks at him with such recognition that Ray’s reminded of something Brian told them when they first contacted him, something that he knows that Gerard will cherish for the rest of his life.

Freddie had a golden daemon.


Brian starts tearing it up, and he and Gerard move to the front of the stage. The fireworks start and Ray feels like they’re in the center of a supernova, because how it not possible is that anyone in a 50 mile radius could not see them, could not hear them?


Then the real fireworks start, suddenly the stage is flooded with strobe lights and spark showers and God knows what else. Brian still improvising and playing like Ray does in his dreams, and there’s really, really no words for how happy is his right now.


James fires up the piano, and they’re playing Welcome to the Black Parade with Brian May. Brian goes over to Mikey, and Ray can tell that Mikey can hardly speak as Brian pulls him into a one-armed hug. A few seconds later Ray is tearing it up in the intro to Black Parade right next to a literally honest-to-God legend, and yeah, Ray’s good, but really, how can he be good enough for this? He doesn’t bother to think, just plays, knowing that Brian is smiling the whole time.


The song breaks, and there is nothing, nothing other than right now.


The song seems to be finished too soon, and Ray can’t see for the confetti. Gerard is pulling them into a group hug, and while they’re in a hug, Symphie grabs a microphone (lucky opposable thumbs) and pulls it over to Arcadia.


Perched on the set, looking over Reading festival where everyone is screaming their name, where they are victorious, where they have never felt more alive, where they have literally played the best show of their life, Arcadia lets out a howl.