People don't think of Patrick as a hugger. They watch Pete plastered all over him, Joe grabbing him into a rough man-hug, even Travis leaping out at him like a seven foot puppy on crack, and they label him a huggee. People never think you can be more than one thing at once. But there are things you can't say with words, and Patrick's not the lyrics man anyway, so it hasn't been hard for him to learn when just to pull his short, control-freak bassist into a hug and let that be it.
He mulls that over now, as he notices it isn't hard for him to pull someone else's short, control-freak singer into a hug, either. He found Gerard sitting outside, steadying himself on a cigarette. Gerard normally has a smile for Patrick, a quick "Hi" and a flash of eye contact, just to remind them they're neither of them alone, but today he's out. It's disconcerting, like a balloon half deflated, and Patrick doesn't think twice before he has an armful of Gerard Way between him and the rest of the world.
"Mfls," says Gerard into his shoulder, and Patrick puts his other arm round the guy, crooking it up so his hand rests on the back of Gerard's neck.
"I know," says Patrick. "I know."
"The fuck?" says Bob in that calm, measured tone that means trouble.
That bastard Frank scampers -- no, really, scampers -- away, leaving Mikey supporting all of Gerard's weight. Gerard's a skinny fucker, but not that skinny, and they kind of collapse on each other in a pile of black hair and elbows.
"Ow!" shouts Mikey.
Gerard chimes in with a "Fucker!"
Bob looks down at them. He's, like, half a second away from prodding them with a toe, Mikey can tell, and then Mikey will be forced to kill them all with his brain. He hates toes. Best to avoid it; Pete says labels get pissy cleaning up after psychic mass murder.
Mikey wraps his arms around the mess of limbs that makes up his brother, and says in his best fake-defensive whine, "It wasn't Gerard's fault."
Gerard's squirming now, but long experience helps Mikey keep him from getting the best angle for an elbow in the gut. He came up with this way of dumping the blame when he was five, and it's still a winner.
"Cockface," Gerard mutters, but he punctuates it with the girliest kicks known to man, so he can't be mad yet.
Mikey nuzzles in close, holding on tight enough Gerard can't even flail, and hooks a leg around both of Gerard's. "He totally wasn't the one who wanted to look for your diary. Gerard would never do that!"
There's no reason for Brendon to be backstage, but when has that ever stopped him before? He pokes at a loose floor tile with his shoe, watching as it rocks in and out of its place in the grand scheme of things.
"Hey," says a voice behind him, tired and wary and maybe he shouldn't have come here after all. He thought new people would get rid of the itch that's building up inside him, the scene claustrophobia that makes him want to punch things and run away, but new people have new problems.
"Hey," he says. It's Gerard, looking like someone stole his favourite crayon (black) and told him Santa wasn't real (he is). "What's up, man?"
Gerard just shrugs. For a moment, Brendon gets a glimpse of the Ghost of Ryan Future, and wow, he's glad they're not there yet. Brendon's painfully aware of how little help he's going to be.
"So, hey, Jon Walker gives the best hugs," he says, standing as he reaches for his Sidekick. He'll call Jon, and once again Jon will come from wherever the wherever he is to deliver warmth and puppies, and it'll be fine. Gerard can stop looking like that, just for a minute.
The smile Gerard musters up looks like something you see on TV seconds before the voiceover tells you, "Tragically, they all had to be put to sleep." It's not right.
"Hey," says Brendon again. "Hey." He steps forward, stuffing his hands in his pockets just to keep them from hanging uselessly by his sides. "Hey." He's in Gerard's space now, waiting to be pushed away.
It doesn't come, so he leans forward, pressing chest against chest, and brings up his arms to hold Gerard in place.
Frank likes to grab Gerard when he's leaving the stage, sling an arm round his lead singer and hold on tight. He likes the way they smell together, sweat-slick, free. There's a moment, just between the thrill of being on and the flush of being off, that belongs wholly and completely to them.
He likes to grab Gerard during the set, pull him close and just for a minute feel two hearts beating against the music, two pulses racing in time. He knows it's there, he knows his band, he knows everyone's blood is pumping just as fast, just as strong as his, but sometimes he needs to feel it, too.
He likes to grab Gerard as they go out, a rush and a push and the lad is his, leaning in for a hair ruffle or a shared, quiet smile. It's not a good luck charm; the luck's in getting to do it at all.
Now, though, now he's doing it to prove a point and please the fans, a middle finger to middle America, but all that means is the tongue in his mouth is secondary to the feel of Gerard's upper arm in his hand as he grips it in a quick, tight reminder of us.