Gerard really sometimes wonders how he and Mikey are even related. They're so different in some ways that you'd never put them together as friends, let alone relatives . Even when they were kids - while Gerard was busy being a paranoid pre-thinker, hiding away in his room with a stack of comics and a bag of chips, Mikey was busy being North New Jersey's answer to Evel Knievel, riding anything with wheels off anything with a ramp.
And that's exactly why Gerard is here, stuck in his car at rush hour in ridiculous heat on his way to North Heart Hospital after a frantic phone call from his mother, ordering him to drop everything he was doing in New York City and drive back to Jersey to deal with his idiot kid brother. The fool has somehow broken his leg at the most awkward part near his knee, though how it happened he's yet to learn as his mother was too busy freaking out to give him any exact details.
Gerard cranks his window all the way down and pulls at the collar of his shirt. It's disgustingly hot in this car and Gerard can feel his jeans start to mat with his skin. He eyes a leaflet about car security in the side of his door and grabs it eagerly before he starts to fan himself. It doesn't offer much in the way of coolness, but it's the best thing that Gerard's got right now.
What feels like a life time later, when in reality it's more like twenty minutes, the cars in front slowly start to roll forward. Gerard resists the urge to punch the air and finally presses the gas pedal. After a few feet, the cars stop again. Gerard punches the steering wheel and curses.
By the time Gerard gets to the hospital, he's just about ready to scream. Luckily, he finds a parking spot pretty easily, and he's finally able to peal himself out of his seat.
It's a truly beautiful thing when he passes through the hospital doors and in to the blessed air conditioning, and Gerard would like nothing more than to fall down against the cold, clean floor and just stay there. He won't though – partly because he's not that weird but mostly because there's one hell of a cute guy at the reception desk, smiling brightly at the receptionist and making her laugh. Gerard can see tattoos peaking out of the neck of the guy's green scrubs, and he's so entranced by guessing what they are that he doesn't notice when his body automatically stops at the desk.
"Hi," the girl says brightly, and Gerard's head quickly jerks away from his creepy staring. Cute-Tattoo-Guy doesn't seem to have noticed. "Can I help you?"
"Uh, yeah," Gerard fumbles awkwardly. "I'm here to see my brother."
"Name?" she asks, tapping on her computer.
"Way. Mikey Way."
"Hey!" Cute-Tattoo-Guy says. "I know him. He's the champ with the broken knee, yeah?" Gerard nods dumbly. "He's on my floor, come on I'll take you."
"Thanks," Gerard says and Cute-Tattoo-Guy winks at the receptionist before pushing himself away from the desk.
"He's on the second floor," he says, stopping in front of the elevators and jabbing the button. "You'd think they'd put people with broken legs on the first floor, right? Well, the poor bastards with lung problems are up on fourth. It's fucked up."
"Uhm…" Gerard's not totally sure if he's suppose to answer or just nod.
"So you must be Gerard, right?" Gerard blinks a bit, because he thinks his brain might still be a bit scrambled from all the sunlight.
"Uh, yeah. How did you-"
"Mikey," he interrupts, stepping in to the elevator as the doors ding open. Gerard follows slowly. "He told me you'd probably be coming. He's pretty cool your brother…completely fucking insane but he's fun to talk to. Oh, I'm Frank by the way and I really like your hair," he smiles widely, showing all of his teeth.
Gerard's tempted to reply with his own name, because that's what you do when someone introduces themselves, but he stops himself before he can look like a total idiot – because Frank already knows who he is.
"Thanks….uh, are you Mikey's doctor?" is the next best thing he can think of as he runs his fingers through his bright red locks. Sometimes he completely forgets it's even red.
"Uhm, kind of," Frank says as the elevator stops and the doors ding open once more. "I'm still a student…sort of. So your brother tells me you're in art?"
Gerard wants to roll his eyes for some reason.
"Yeah," he says instead as they walk down one of the many identical corridors. "I write comics."
"That's fucking awesome, man. Seriously. If healing the sick wasn't my calling, I could so see myself writing."
"Couldn't you do both?"
Frank sucks in a quick breath. "I don't know. I mean, this job is pretty consuming. I can't be all 'Oh, could you please hold on to your severed fingers for a couple more minutes, madam? I just gotta jot down this killer idea for a story.' I don't think that would go down so well."
Gerard lets out one of his embarrassing, honking sort of laughs just as Frank pushes open the door leading to Mikey's small, private room.
"My god I can't believe you still laugh like that," Mikey says from the bed, throwing a TV magazine and it lands on his brace. "Sup, bro?"
This time, Gerard does roll his eyes. "What the hell have you gotten yourself in to this time?"
Mikey simply grins and pats his brace lightly. "Hey, Frank. You here to hide from Toro?"
Frank's laugh is soft as he shakes his head. "Nah, I've actually got some work to do. I was just showing your brother up. I'll catch you later for The Simpsons?"
"Of course," Mikey replies, giving Frank a single thumbs up.
Frank nods before smiling up at Gerard. "Nice to meet you, Gerard. I'll hopefully see you 'round again."
Gerard doesn't get to reply because Frank's already slipping away. He watches until the door is closed and when he turn back, he finds his brother staring at him.
Mikey tutts and shakes his head. "You're suppose to be here for me and instead you're scoping out my doctor? You're a terrible brother."
"I'm a terrible brother? Do you have any idea what I just drove through to get here, you ungrateful asshole!"
Mikey snorts. "You're so high strung, bro. You should take some time off."
"Well, thanks to you I have two weeks off to look after your sorry ass."
"Really? Aw, I'm touched. Does that mean you've got some time to re-dye your roots?"
Gerard flips his brother off before flopping himself down on the chair and cranking up the AC box on the wall.
"So, how did you end up with a torn knee cap?" Mikey looks away from his brother, chewing his lip and arching his brows. When he looks back at Gerard, he's glaring. "Mikey…?" he warns.
Mikey sighs. "Fine."
Frank's on his way for a coffee break when he hears that honking laugh again. He stops by Mikey's room and pokes his head through the door.
Gerard's sliding further and further down the chair, laughing until his face is bright red. Mikey's not looking very impressed.
"If I didn't have a brace on," he says, "I would be kicking your fucking ass right now."
Gerard wipes a tear away. "I'm sorry…it's just so damn funny."
"He told you how he hurt himself?" Frank interrupts, and both Ways look over at exactly the same time with exactly the same expression. It's kinda creepy.
Gerard smiles. "It's the most hysterical thing I've heard all year."
When Frank smiles back, Gerard notices how bright his eyes get. "It's already in the hospital's 'Funniest Shit Ever' book under the heading of 'Idiots with Hula Hoops'. You guys want some coffee?"
Mikey nods furiously. "If it's not that vending machine crap, yes please!"
"I'll see if I can sneak you some from the break room. You want a cup, Gerard?"
"Sure," Gerard replies with a little nod. "Thanks."
When Frank leaves, Mikey tutts in disgust. Gerard straightens himself up in his seat after kicking the side of the mattress.
"Seriously. Please stop."
Gerard rolls his eyes. "You're imagining things. You've been cooped up in this room too long."
Mikey shakes his head. "Whatever, bro. If it keeps you coming here to visit me every day, then I don't really care."
To Gerard's disappointment, though he'd never admit that to Mikey, Frank doesn't stay long. He brings in two mugs of amazing smelling coffee and hands them to the brothers.
"If Dr. Toro comes in, for the love of god - hide the mugs. He'll kick my ass if he knows I've been giving his coffee away and have me on bed pan duty for a month." He smiles winningly when he hands Gerard his mug.
"Gotcha," Gerard winks back.
Mikey grunts again.
Staying at Mikey's apartment was definitely not Gerard's idea or at the top of his list of places he'd like to stay - ever. But someone needs to look after Mikey's damn cat, Sombrero, and his mother's having his old room turned in to her new office – so he's got no other choice.
The very moment Gerard steps through the door there's the stench of what Gerard can only describe as broken refrigerator and a black ball of fluff crying at his feet, slinking in and out of his legs. Gerard reaches down to pet the cat's head.
"Hi, Sombrero," he sighs. Why the fuck would you name a cat Sombrero?
He throws his bag on to the couch and immediately regrets it as a plume of dust rises in to the air, causing him to splutter.
"Fuck, Mikey," he curses, batting the dust out of the air, "you ever heard of a vacuum?"
But Mikey's not here to answer, of course he's not. Mikey's tucked up in a clean bed in a clean hospital – not a dusty couch or fur ball in sight.
Sombrero cries again, jumping on to the unit between the kitchenette and the living room. Gerard sighs and unzips his bag, riffling through it for a few moments before pulling out the list of written instructions from Mikey.
Cat food – top cupboard. ONE TIN! The fat bastard will cry for more but he gets ONE! That shit is expensive!
Gerard rolls his eyes and sets the list down again before turning towards the kitchen and clapping his hands together. Sombrero's sat on the counter, biting at his own claws while he eyes Gerard.
"Ok," Gerard nods. "How about we get you some food?"
Sombrero meows loudly and jumps down on to the kitchen floor, circling his empty food bowl like a hungry shark.
After feeding the cat, Gerard's stomach starts to grumble. He's more than terrified about searching Mikey's kitchen for food. After living with him for so many years, god only knows what creations he's come up with whilst living unattended.
In the freezer he finds a microwave pizza which is only a day out of date. Gerard's not particularly thrilled about this, but it's the freshest thing in Mikey's kitchen next to a tub of mayonnaise, which has only got a week of life left before it joins the list of 'out of date and gross' things living in Mikey's kitchen. No wonder he doesn't let their mom come over, she'd kick his ass for sure.
Gerard takes the pizza in to Mikey's bedroom, where he will unfortunately be sleeping. The bed is unmade and Gerard spends at least ten minutes checking for questionable stains before he'll let any part of his body on to the mattress. Mikey's been single for a while now and…well…yeah. The less Gerard thinks about that, the better for everyone.
One thing Mikey Way is good for is his extensive DVD collection. Gerard's pretty much spoilt for choice as he browses over shelf upon shelf of countless DVD boxes. Finally, he just picks one at random, something he's never seen before which looks like it might be in Japanese…but Gerard doesn't mind. It's just something to fall asleep to.
Visiting hours start at 10:30am tomorrow morning, and Mikey has instructed Gerard to be there on the dot with a McDonald's breakfast – because apparently the only thing worse than hospital coffee is hospital food.
The next morning when Gerard steps through the hospital doors, hands filled with Mikey's things and mouth full of a McDonald's take away bag, there's an unconscious man on the floor. There's already a few nurses gathered around him, checking pulses and shining things in the man's eyes and Gerard side steps around them awkwardly, trying not to drop a McMuffin on anyone's head.
When he rounds the next corner, Frank almost wheels a gurney right in to him.
"Shit," he curses. "Sorry, Gerard." Gerard steps aside and lets Frank roll the bed passed. "I'll catch you later!" he calls over his shoulder and Gerard tries not to drop everything he's holding.
After a fumble with the elevator buttons and a balancing act with the bag of McMuffins, Gerard finally makes it to Mikey's room. The door is open just a sliver and Mikey's laughing. Gerard stops and peers through.
Who Gerard assumes is Dr. Toro is standing by Mikey's bed with a chart in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Gerard can't see much of him from the back, but he's got dark curly hair and he's wearing Star Wars sneakers.
"You're going to get me in to trouble," Dr. Toro says. "I was only suppose to be in here for two minutes, and it's been ten already."
Mikey beams up at the doctor. "But I'm your favourite patient, right?"
He laughs loudly. "Unless someone else in this hospital knows as much about The Empire Strikes Back…which I seriously doubt."
"Well…" Mikey trails with a ridiculous blush.
Gerard snorts to himself and finally pushes the door completely open. "I taught him everything he knows," he interrupts and both men look up quickly like they've been caught red handed.
"You must be Gerard," the doctor says as he places the chart back on Mikey's bed, extending a hand to Gerard and grasping his in a firm shake.
"And you must be Dr. Toro."
He nods. "Ray Toro."
"So, how's the Hula Hoop champ doing?" Gerard asks, to which Ray laughs and Mikey death glares him.
"I think he'll live to Hula another day. Another X-Ray and some rest should see him ready for physiotherapy. He should be out of here within a week."
"Oh, god. Does that mean I'll have to take him home soon?" Gerard groans and Ray grins.
"I'm afraid so."
"My place better be in one piece when I get back," Mikey interrupts, and Gerard could say something about Mikey being stig of the dump but he doesn't really feel like being beaten to death with a McMuffin. "My cat better still be alive too."
Gerard rolls his eyes. "Sombrero is fine, I assure you."
Ray says, "I think you should get another cat and call it Poncho," and Mikey's mouth hangs open.
"That is seriously the most amazing idea I have ever heard," he replies.
Gerard stands there awkwardly for a few moments watching them grin hopelessly at each other. He's about to cough abruptly when a young nurse comes skidding in to the room.
"Dr. Toro," she says urgently, flipping her dark hair out of the way, "another patient has collapsed in the waiting area."
"On my way," Ray says with a sharp nod before turning to the others. "I'll come and check on you later," he says and then he's gone, door swinging closed behind him.
Gerard watches the door for a moment before looking back at his brother – who is still watching the door. When he finds Gerard smirking at him, Mikey scowls.
"What?" he snaps.
Gerard's smirk deepens. "You like him," he sing songs. Mikey scoffs and Gerard drops the McDonald's bag on his bed before taking his seat. "I can't believe you gave me shit for checking Frank out when-"
"Ah-ha!" Mikey interrupts. "So you admit you were checking him out."
Gerard opens his mouth to talk but then closes it again. He's got nothing.
Frank pokes his head through the door some forty minutes later, announcing he's got a break in five and he'd like to spend it complaining about how much his feet hurt. Gerard grins ridiculously and nods, ignoring Mikey's subtle smirk.
"You're so obvious," says Mikey.
"Not compared to…'Oh, but I'm your favourite patient'," Gerard mocks.
When Frank finally gets back in to the room with a fresh cup of coffee, the brothers have been bickering for a while. He takes up the spare, less comfy looking, seat and laughs when they actually do realise they're not alone anymore.
Frank groans and lifts a foot to rest on the bottom of Mikey's bed. "My feet are killing me," he complains.
"Busy?" Mikey asks and Frank nods.
"Very. We've had three people collapse on us just this morning."
Gerard makes a face. "Three? How come? It's nothing…infectious, is it?"
Frank giggles. "You're so paranoid. But, no. I don't think so. I think today is just a very, uh…" he waves a hand in front of him, "collapse-y kinda day."
For the rest of his break, Frank complains about the snobby woman and her demanding brat of a child in the ER who have been running him ragged all morning, along with the three unconscious patients. Mikey injects his own witty remarks in to the conversation, but Gerard's too busy staring at Frank's mouth when he talks or the way he runs his fingers over his short, dark hair when he talks about something which really ticks him off.
Whenever Mikey manages to catch Gerard's eye, he smirks in that annoyingly brotherly smug way.
"Man, Sundays are long," Frank says when he's finished complaining about his morning. "Isn't Sunday supposed to be the day of rest?"
Gerard laughs. "I don't think that applies in a hospital."
Frank dismisses the comment with a wave of his hand. "Psht," he says. "I didn't mean all of Sunday. Maybe just an hour so I can nap."
"Like you don't nap in the break room," Ray interrupts from the door.
Frank grins up from behind his coffee mug. "Whatever. I catch you dosing off in the nurse's station all the time."
Ray sighs. "Well, when you work as hard as me then I'll let you."
With a roll of his eyes Frank sighs and pushes himself out his seat. "I guess that means break time's over."
"You guessed right," Ray nods. "Mikey, I'm sending you down for an x-ray first thing tomorrow morning."
Mikey grimaces. "I hate getting x-rays."
Ray says, "I know. But I'll make Frank go out and buy you a Starbucks on me after, deal?"
Mikey beams. "Deal!"
Once Ray and Frank have gone, Gerard smirks.
"Mikey's got a boyfriend," he sing songs. Mikey flips him off. "Hey, at least mom will be happy he's a doctor."
On his way out of the hospital, Gerard sees Frank one more time. He's talking to the receptionist again, making Gerard's chest tighten in jealousy.
"Hey," Frank smiles. "See you tomorrow?" Gerard nods. "Awesome. See you then."
The way Frank waves and watches him leave lets Gerard's chest loosen and his stomach flip.
After Gerard feeds Sombrero, he settles himself down in the middle of Mikey's bed with a can of red bull and the DVD remote. He's just about to hit play on 'The Ninth Gate' when his cell starts to ring. Sighing, he throws himself back on the bed and answers.
"Gerard," his mom greets. "How's your brother?"
"Hi, mom. Mikey's still in one piece, don't worry. How's Philadelphia?"
"Pretty cold, actually. Grandma says hi, by the way. So, how bad is it?"
"Mikey's knee? It's not bad. He's got another x-ray tomorrow and he'll be in a brace for a few more weeks…Hi, grandma."
His mother sighs. "You'll keep him out of trouble for me, won't you?"
"Yes, mom," he drones. "I got a couple weeks off work."
"That's nice, sweetheart. You'll call me and let me know how he's doing?"
Gerard fumbles on the floor for the red bull can which dropped there a moment ago. "I will, mom."
"Ok. Goodnight, hun."
Gerard falls asleep before the end of the movie, and wakes up in the middle of the night to the menu music looping and over and over.
Mikey calls Gerard at half nine the next morning to tell him he wants blueberry muffins for breakfast. Gerard groans, throws his phone to the bottom of the bed and rolls over.
Gerard almost can't believe he's got a whole two weeks of this shit.
On Tuesday, Gerard decides he needs to eat his lunch out in the sunshine and away from his little brother. It's a beautiful day, bright but not really too warm. Gerard likes it when he can feel the breeze through his t-shirt and the sunlight on his face – and today is one of those days.
He's halfway through a tuna sandwich when a shadow blocks out his sunlight.
"Can I sit here?" the shadow says.
Gerard looks up to find Frank smiling down at him, holding a take out cup of coffee. Gerard nods and shuffles over a little, even though there was already plenty of room. Frank grins and takes his seat.
"So, no Mikey?"
Gerard shakes his head swallowing his last bite. "No, I just needed some space."
"Oh?" Frank's face falls a little. "I can leave if you like."
"No, no – it's fine," Gerard insists. "I mean I needed some space from Mikey. He's kind of a pain in the ass when he's ill or injured."
Frank laughs. "That I can believe. I take it he falls over a lot?"
Gerard makes a forwarding motion with his hand. "Falls over, trips over, jumps off of, jumps in to…."
"I'm surprised I haven't seen him in here more often."
"Usually it's just a quick trip to the Emergency Room," Gerard explains. "This is only the second or third time he's broken a bone."
Frank nods slowly, bringing the cup to his lips. "So," he says after a sip, "are you like that? Like Mikey?"
Gerard laughs shortly. "No, not at all. The most reckless thing I've ever done is forget to turn my cell phone off on a flight to LA."
Frank grins and lets out a sort of childish giggle that he doesn't seem at all embarrassed about. "I have my phone on in the hospital sometimes."
Gerard thinks for a moment. "Shit, me too," he admits and Frank starts giggling again.
"Fuck the police!" he exclaims, and Gerard can't help but laugh too.
It takes Gerard a moment more to notice that during their conversation, Frank has managed to slide a whole lot closer, so much so that Gerard's really starting to wish he hadn't picked tuna for lunch.
"You know," Frank says, voice quiet though he's still smiling. "You're hair looks really red in the sunlight."
Gerard glances at one of his bangs. He's right. It does. Gerard offers a weak smile in return, not overly sure if that's suppose to be a compliment.
Frank smiles back. "That's a good thing, don't worry," he laughs softly. "I used to have red hair, when I was a lot younger. It really suits you, though."
"Thanks," Gerard perks, running a hand through his hair. That one was definitely a compliment.
"Hey, you wanna come and get some more coffee with me in the cafeteria? We can take some back for Mikey," Frank offers.
Gerard's lips quirk and he nods. "Yeah, sure."
When Frank and Gerard walk back in to Mikey's room together, Mikey raises a questioning brow at his brother. Frank sets the coffee on the little table and makes his excuses that he really should be getting back to work. "Seriously," he says, "I'm starting to think Toro might actually be serious with the bed pan threats."
As soon as Frank leaves, Mikey begins with his teasing.
"Someone had a lunch date," he sing songs.
Gerard's just about to give his brother a hurl of abuse when he notices a Starbucks take away cup peeking out from behind the plant on the window ledge.
"Uh, do Starbucks deliver now?" he asks, reaching over and plucking the cup out of the plant pot.
"Damn," Mikey grumbles.
"Did a certain doctor bring a little gift for his favourite patient?" Gerard mocks with fluttery eyelashes.
"I really kind of hate you," Mikey says.
Gerard laughs. "Ok, so I won't be a dick about your coffee boyfriend anymore."
"And I won't be a dick about your nurse boyfriend."
"He's not a nurse!" Gerard argues, but gives up quickly and flaps a hand at his brother. "Fine, whatever. Deal."
It's early in the morning when Mikey thinks I have got to get out of this room. He can't remember the last time he was out of these four walls, and the en suit bathroom doesn't count. It's something ridiculous like 4am, so the halls should be quite enough for Mikey to get a quick walk (well, limp) up the corridor and back. That should provide just enough sanity to tide him over for the next couple of days.
After peeing in his ridiculously over helpful disabled bathroom, he steadily limps his way out in to the corridor. He looks one way and then the other. A night nurse passes carrying a stack of bed sheets, but she's too busy muttering to herself to see Mikey as he flattens a palm against the wall and stumbles another few steps.
The floor is cold against Mikey's bare feet, but it's nice to feel something beneath them that isn't itchy blanket. The movement makes his leg scrape against the inside of his brace a little, and it's annoying but not enough to make him turn back. Maybe he can get to the vending machine at the end of the corridor, he's sure he's got a couple dollar bills crumpled up in the pocket of his shorts.
He nods to himself. That's definitely the plan.
He manages to get maybe another five steps or so until he hears soft footsteps behind him. They stop abruptly, squeaking against the floor.
"And just where do you think you're going?"
Mikey sighs and hobbles around. "Don't you ever go home?" he says.
Ray smiles. "Not when I've got patients trying to escape." Mikey presses his lips together. "Where are you going?"
"For a walk," Mikey answers with a bit of a shrug. "I'm bored."
"You really shouldn't be moving about on that leg, yet."
"But I'm so damn bored!" Mikey whines and Ray smiles sympathetically.
"It's not forever, and the quicker you let your leg heal the quicker you'll be back in a Hula Hoop." Mikey rolls his eyes but laughs shortly. "So, back to bed?"
Mikey huffs. "Fine, fine. I'll just be miserable," he says, moving to storm back to his room, but he put his weight on the wrong part of his bad leg and ends up tumbling forward in to Ray. Mikey lets out an annoyed painful yelp as Ray catches him and holds him steady.
"Shit," he curses. "Are you ok?"
"Does it sound like I'm ok?" Mikey gasps.
"Here, let me-" and before Mikey knows what's happening, he's being scooped up in to Ray's arms. Oh great. Like he doesn't feel ridiculous enough, now he's being carried like a rescued fucking princess.
Ray carries Mikey back in to his room, moving like Mikey doesn't weigh all that much (though he knows that's a lie) and setting him back down on the bed, where he starts to unclip, unzip and unfasten the leg brace.
"I've got to take the brace off, let your leg swell if it needs to, ok?" Mikey nods, letting his head flop back against the pillow. He groans. "Does it hurt?" Ray asks and Mikey simply nods. "I'll be as careful as I can."
"I know you will," Mikey says, too bothered about the pain throbbing through his leg to think about how Ray might take that.
Ray slides the brace off easily and Mikey groans uncomfortably. When Ray's hands start to move over his leg, Mikey peers down. Ok, so maybe this isn't all bad.
"Does this hurt?" he asks, applying pressure to Mikey's lower leg.
"And this?" he does the same a little higher up, just under Mikey's knee. Mikey yelps and tries to squirm away. "Sorry," Ray apologises quickly. "I'm sorry, I just need to check."
Mikey nods, squeezing his eyes shut. "I know…I know, I'm ok. It's ok," he babbles.
Ray slides his hands up to Mikey's thigh and rubs his thumbs in to the flesh. "How does this feel?"
Mikey's moan is surprising, to him more than anyone, and it would be able to pass off as pain if he didn't breathe, "Good," after the short pause.
Ray stares down at him, eyes wide open and lips parted like he wants to talk. His hands are frozen on Mikey's thigh, and it's another few long seconds before he lets them trail away.
"I'm gonna go and get you some painkillers," he says before stepping slowly away from the bed.
When he leaves, Mikey throws his head back down on to the pillows, cursing his own fucking stupidity.
Ray sends a nurse in some five minutes later with the painkillers, and Mikey just knows he's fucked up. Big time.
The painkillers are, for lack of a better word, fucking strong. Mikey wonders if someone has accidentally slipped him some LSD or something, because everything feels rather trippy. He's actually a little freaked out. The room's kind of blurry and his hearing is kind of fucked up, but he figures if he lays very still, it won't be too bad.
It gets better. Slowly. Another half hour (or what he thinks might be half an hour) and he feels drowsy and sort of like this is just a really bad hang over. He can move his head again without the room spinning and he can hear a little clearer, so he counts that as a somewhat mild victory.
A few minutes later, there's a soft knocking on the door.
"How are you feeling?"
Mikey's head rolls towards the door, blinking. "What? You're knocking?"
"It's your room," Ray says softly. "And it's polite."
Mikey smiles sleepily, but frowns again soon after. "I thought you didn't want to see me…" Ray steps further in to the room, letting the door close behind him.
"I thought I freaked you out."
Ray tilts his head to the side. "A little," he admits. Mikey whines and turns away again. "Wait – no," Ray says quickly, striding to the bedside. "Not like that." Mikey slowly turns back.
"You didn't come back, with the meds."
Ray lets a hand fall on to the mattress by Mikey's side. "I had to go down to the ER again; we've had another one of those cases…some kid collapsed on his mom."
"Oh…" Mikey says. "I thought…"
"Mikey, you're sweet," Ray starts, "and funny and interesting but-"
"Oh my god," Mikey interrupts, groaning and covering his eyes with his hands. "You're gonna blow me off with that talk? Seriously?"
Ray reaches out and pulls Mikey's hands from his face. "BUT," he starts again, staring right at Mikey, "I'm going to have to wait until you are not my patient to ask you out."
Mikey blinks, bewildered. "Oh," he says again. "Oh."
Ray smiles and squeezes Mikey's fingers. "Yeah…oh."
It's not far passed 8am when Gerard's phone starts ringing obnoxiously loud. He groans and ignores it for a few rings…fucking Mikey. God only knows what he wants for breakfast this morning. After another few moments, the phone is still persistently ringing. Gerard groans and fumbles for it on the dresser, pulling himself up slowly.
"Mm-yeah?" he yawns.
"Hey, Gerard? It's Frank…Frank from the hospital."
Gerard sits up quickly. "Frank? Yeah, hi. What's up?"
He can hear clicking on the Frank's end of the line, it sounds like he's tapping a pen against something. "Mikey had a bit of a fall this morning."
Gerard rubs at his tired eyes. "Is he ok?"
"Yeah. He's knee's swollen up again, so he's probably bought himself another couple days in here – but, yeah. He's ok."
"He's such an idiot," Gerard replies, shaking his head.
"He'll be fine, I promise," Frank assures. "I just thought you should know."
"Yeah, no…thanks a lot, man. I really appreciate you calling me. I mean, you didn't have to." Gerard hates how lame he sounds.
"I just thought you should have some time to prepare yourself for your brother's whining," Frank laughs softly.
Gerard groans. "Oh god. Is it that bad?"
"Not too bad. The painkillers are keeping him pretty docile."
"Awesome. Wanna write me a prescription for when he gets out?"
Frank starts giggling like he did the other day, and Gerard's grin is stupidly brilliant. "I'll think about it. I gotta go, but I'll catch you later?"
Gerard nods to himself. "Sure."
Frank lets Gerard in to Mikey's room before visiting hours are due to start. It's only about twenty minutes before, but Gerard still smiles like Frank's just agreed to give him a lung or something.
Mikey's leg is still out of its brace, and his knee is a strange purple colour, plump and swollen. Gerard winces when he sees it.
"Shit, Mikes," he says.
Mikey groans a little from the bed. "I know. Bring me more drugs."
"Whoa there, Courtney Love," Frank says with his hands up. "You're not due painkillers for another few hours."
"Mikey," Gerard warns sternly and for some reason it makes Frank smile.
Frank says, "Ok, guys. I gotta get back to work. I'll come and check on you soon, alright?"
Mikey nods shortly and Gerard smiles, stomach fluttering when Frank throws a wink his way before leaving.
"If I wasn't in such a good mood, I'd tell you you're both disgusting," Mikey comments from the bed.
Gerard laughs. "This is you in a good mood?"
Mikey pulls himself further up the bed, wincing. "Believe me, if I didn't have a guaranteed date after this damn knee heals – I'd be far worse."
"What?" Gerard says, eyebrow raised curiously. "You have a guaranteed date? What the hell does that even mean?"
Mikey beams. "It means that when I'm no longer Dr. Toro's patient, Ray will be taking me out."
"Wow…" Gerard trails. "I'm impressed."
Mikey rolls his eyes. "Is it that hard to believe someone wants to date me?"
Gerard laughs. "No, it's just hard to believe you plucked up the courage to ask someone out."
There's a moment's silence where Mikey tries to avoid his brother's eyes. Finally, he caves. "I was medicated," he admits.
Gerard snorts. "You're such a loser," he puts a hand on his brother's shoulder and squeezes lightly. "But congrats, I'm happy for you."
"I can trip you up and call Frank to come help, if you like?" he offers.
Gerard rolls his eyes.
Ward 4B is has quickly become the home of all five collapse patients. Ray stands at the door of the ward and checks over the chart rota. It was his decision to section them off, it's not exactly high profile contaminations, but they're still waiting on test results before he can move them anywhere else.
All five of the patients have vomited at some point, even though they've all refused food…when they've been conscious, that is. Ray presses his lips together, brows furrowing in thought as he looks over the last nurse's notes. He's anxious to know what's going on with these people, because from the quick examination Ray's managed to do on a few of them, they should all be fit and healthy.
"No change?" Nurse Bridget asks, quickly checking the pin watch on her uniform.
Ray shakes his head. "Nope, not in the last couple of hours. How are we doing on those test results?"
"They just keep telling me ASAP. I can call again if you like?"
Ray nods. "I think that's a very good idea."
Nurse Bridget turns towards the desk, arm outstretched to grab the phone when all of a sudden every single monitor flat lines. Ray double takes for just a moment, confused as his heart sinks in to his shoes.
"What?" Nurse Bridget gasps and Ray quickly snaps out of it.
"Call the crash team!" he shouts, flying in to the ward. "Alert everyone!"
He can already hear panicked footsteps rushing towards them down the corridor as he gets to the first bed, fingers pressing against a young boy's neck. No pulse. A few others arrive just as he starts to perform CPR on the boy.
Gerard hears the commotion first and turns towards the door with a wide stare and open mouth.
"What the hell?" Mikey says quietly when he finally realises.
There's the sound of people running quickly, elevator's dinging and doors flying open, things being dragged across the polished floor as people shout hurriedly to one and other. Gerard stands slowly, intent on seeing exactly what's going on out there.
Their door suddenly rattles open and both brothers jump back in surprise. It's only Frank.
"Hi," he says as white coats go flying passed him.
"What's happening?" Gerard asks quickly.
Frank shuffles further in to the room, letting go of the door. It shuts softly behind him. "There's some big disaster upstairs," he explains, eyes jutting up to the ceiling. "Everyone on Ward four has flat lined."
"What?" Mikey gasps. "How is that even possible?"
Frank shrugs. "Honestly…I haven't a fucking clue, but it's making everyone go crazy. Everyone's being called upstairs."
"So what are you doing here?" Gerard says and Frank smiles a little.
"I'm suppose to be keeping people in this Ward calm whilst everyone else has a shit attack."
Gerard shakes his head, confused. "Wait, so what…everyone just died?"
Frank chews his lip for a second. "Technically, yes. Whether we can get them back or not is another question."
"Did the machines fail or something?" Mikey asks, leaning forward in bed to try and see around his brother.
Frank rubs the back of his neck. "Seriously, I don't know. Nothing like this has ever happened before."
"But, the hospital is safe to be in…right?" Gerard looks actually kind of scared, and the quiver in his voice makes Frank want to reach out and touch him. Instead, he nods whilst smiling kindly.
"Of course," he says. "They have to find out what's happened before anyone can start to worry."
Mikey lies himself back down. "I don't know, everyone out there sounded pretty worried to me…"
Frank flaps a hand around. "You know how dramatic doctor's can get."
Gerard doesn't want to leave Mikey, like he really doesn't want to leave Mikey here tonight. The hospital feels even more eerily creepy than usual, and Gerard just doesn't want to leave his brother here. He's also not too fond of the idea of going home alone after being creeped out all day.
Frank manages to convince Gerard that Mikey will be alright, only by agreeing to let Gerard in early again tomorrow.
"Sorry," Gerard says as he and Frank ride the elevator down to reception. "It's just been a weird day."
Frank smiles kindly. "I know. It's ok, though. I totally understand," he reaches out and touches Gerard's arm lightly, not able to resist Gerard's worried looks anymore.
Gerard glances down at the hand on his arm before smiling himself. "Thanks," he says quietly.
Frank touches Gerard's arm again twice before he's out of the double doors, assuring him that his brother will be fine and they'll all have lunch together tomorrow. Before leaving, Gerard pulls Frank in to a one armed 'thank you' hug, and Frank really does have to stop himself from burying his face in Gerard's neck (he smells amazing) and holding on like he never wants to let go.
As he watches Gerard make his way to the parking lot, he wonders when he became such a hopeless romantic.
When Ray steps quietly in to Mikey's room sometime just before eleven, he looks positively exhausted. Mikey shuts his book quickly and sets it aside.
"You look like shit," he says.
"Thanks," Ray smiles weakly.
"Rough day?" Ray nods. Mikey gestures to the chair. "Take a seat."
Ray only pauses for a moment before collapsing in to the comfy chair, letting his body sink in to the cushioning. He sighs with pure relief. It feels so good to be sat down again.
"Mm," he hums. "Better. How's the leg?"
Mikey shifts the sheets aside, revealing his slightly less swollen knee. "Not as sore, now," he replies and Ray nods.
"Good, I'm glad," he says whilst arching his back and listening to the bones crack.
"So, what happened?" Mikey says after another moment's pause. "Did those people die?" and even though he expected it, a part of his is still surprised when Ray nods.
"All of them," he says quietly.
Mikey presses his lips together and reaches down from the bed to rest his hand on Ray's shoulder. He squeezes softly. "I'm sure you did everything you could."
Ray's lips quirk in to a sad smile. "I tried," he says and Mikey squeezes again.
"You're a really good doctor, Ray. If you couldn't save them, then no one would have been able to save them."
Ray sighs, long and deep. "I'll try and make myself believe that."
Frowning, Mikey uses his grip on Ray's shoulder to coax him out of the chair. Ray follows, confused, until Mikey gets his fingers around Ray's bicep and a proper grip on his body so that he can pull him in quickly.
Ray goes willingly, leaning down and waiting for their lips to meet.
It's a brief kiss, but delicious all the same. Mikey's lips taste like fruit juice and are warm against Ray's chapped and cold ones. Mikey keeps his fingers tight around Ray's arm, loosening them through out the kiss. He lets his tongue slide momentarily beneath Ray's bottom lip before pulling back.
When Mikey smiles, Ray smiles back.
"That was nice," Ray whispers. Mikey pecks his lips quickly and finally lets him go. "I needed that."
"Glad I could be of service," Mikey says.
Down in the morgue, coroners Oscar and Simon have just pushed the last body in to the cooler and clicked the door closed. Simon pulls off his gloves, balls them up and throws them towards the bin. They miss.
Oscar sighs. "I really wish you'd stop trying to do that," he says, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "It's been three years and you've never made that shot."
Simon rolls his eyes. "I haven’t listened to you for three years, what makes you think I'll start now?"
"Kids," Oscar sighs, shaking his head.
Simon laughs. "I'm thirty eight."
Snapping off his own gloves, Oscar makes his way to the desk. "Yeah, but when you get to my age, everyone under forty qualifies as a kid."
Simon laughs again and pulls off his apron and scrubs, stuffing them in to the waste bin. "You want a ride home?"
Oscar sits down at the desk and shakes his head. "No, thanks. I've got some paper work to finish. I'll get the bus."
"Positive," he nods.
Simon smiles, "Alright, then," and grabs his coat from the hooks by the door. "I'll see you tomorrow. Want me to lock you in?"
"Please," Oscar replies, eyes already fixated on the computer screen.
Simon slips out of the morgue, locking the door quickly before leaving for the night.
Oscar brings up three of the five case files, bringing up the 'cause of death' tabs and entering cardiac arrest on all three of them. He saves the files and looks at the other two. He could just enter the same cause in those too, because that's probably what they're going to find when they open them up tomorrow, but he can't until they've completed and documented the rest of the autopsies.
He sits back in his chair and sighs, rubbing his hands over his tired face. It's been a long day, one of the busiest he's had in a while and he's exhausted. Just another twenty minutes or so and he'll be on his way home to crawl in to bed for seven hours before his next shift starts.
Dealing with death has never been so tiring, and Oscar wonders if he's getting too old for this, or if he's going to have any hair left at all by the time he retires.
The familiar buzzing of the lights in the hatches suddenly stops, and that eerie blue glow that he's become so used to, suddenly goes out.
Oscar stands from the chair, face puzzled as he makes his way over to the first drawer. He unhooks the handle, unlocking the door until it makes a heavy click and swinging it open. A breeze of cold filters out of the dark, but that's nothing unusual. What is unusual is the smell. Oscar only had this body out a matter of hours ago, and already it's starting to smell like it's been locked in a unventilated room for days. He wipes at his nose and grimaces.
When he pulls the drawer out in one swift motion, the smell gets sickeningly stronger.
"What the hell?" Oscar mumbles to himself as he grabs the white sheet and pulls it away from the face.
It's a middle aged woman; Oscar forgets names easily because names are easy to forget. To him, she's body 179 – N. Her eyelids are pale and lips blue, skin loose and sagging. She looks just how's she's suppose to…she just doesn't smell like she's suppose to.
Oscar touches her arm. She's still cold though, not as cold as he would have expected.
Just as he lets go of her arm, her eyes fly open.
Oscar jumps back with a shriek. The eyes stare right at the ceiling, mouth slowly falling open.
A tinny sort of groaning sound escapes and from his recoiled position a foot or so away, Oscar takes a cautious step forward, heart in his mouth, breathing quickly.
Suddenly, her eyes fixate on him and he yelps again. Within a moment, she grabs his arm hard, fingernails digging through his white coat so sharply that he can feel them pinch at his skin.
When he tries to shake her free, she lunges herself over from the drawer, grabbing Oscar by the shoulders and sinking her teeth in to his neck. Her teeth chew through his skin like sponge and he lets out a gargling sort of cry as she tears away a chunk of flesh.
As she drags Oscar to the floor, the other drawer doors start to bang and rattle.
Gerard gets to the hospital nice and early, at least a half hour before visiting hours start. When he gets to the entrance, he's pleased to find Frank sat on the opposite bench, smoking and staring off in to the depths of the hospital. Gerard sits down quietly beside him.
"Hi," Frank smiles, uncrossing his legs and moving himself closer. Gerard tilts his head and smiles back.
"Hi," he says. "Can I bum a smoke?"
Frank looks down at the packet in his hand like he's only just realised what he's doing. "Uh…sure," he nods, handing them over. Gerard's just lighting one up when he adds, "Y'know that shit's bad for you."
Gerard quirks an eyebrow. "You would know, right?"
Frank grins and pockets the packet again. "I'm not really supposed to smoke in front of the hospital," he waves a hand, "bad image or some shit."
"Everyone has their vices though," Gerard adds and Frank nods thoughtfully.
"Exactly…like Mikey and his coffee. I mean, were you guys raised on a coffee bean farm in Cuba or something?" Gerard laughs.
"Maybe in a past life."
Frank ashes his cigarette on the ground before taking another long drag. He speaks again without looking away from the concrete. "So…I was thinking, well, more hoping that you'd maybe want to grab something to eat this weekend?"
Gerard tries to contain his grin as his heart drops in to his stomach. Did he just hear that right?
"I…I eat most weekends," he says and immediately mentally slaps himself. Why is he such an ass?
Frank looks up quickly. "I meant, uh…with me."
And now Gerard really hates himself. "I know," he says and smiles a little in hope to rectify the situation. "I was attempting to be funny…and apparently I failed."
Frank's face changes then, and he smiles the way Gerard's seen him smile every day since they met. "Oh! Sorry…I guess, I guess I was just nervous."
Gerard is floored. Nervous. Frank – nervous? Nervous about asking him out? No. Really…
He's only aware he's been staring and not saying anything like the moron he is when Frank looks away again and takes another drag of his cigarette.
"Yes," he says quickly, before Frank has a chance to see his obvious moron-ness and rethink. "I'd love to grab something to eat, with you, this weekend," he recites.
Frank beams. "Really? Wow…that's awesome."
Gerard responds by bumping his shoulder against Frank's, just because.
Simon is late. Oh fuck, is he late. He's so late that Oscar is going to have him on drain cleaning duty for at least a month. He presses his security card against the elevator, and pushes the button for the basement. He watches the numbers pass by slowly, willing the elevator to move faster as he bounces on the balls of his feet.
He checks his watch again.
Fuck. He is late.
Finally, the elevator stops in the basement with a heavy clunk and the doors swoosh back. Simon hurries over to the morgue, fumbling his security card back out of his pocket, along with his set of keys.
When he gets to the door, he notices that there's no 50's rock and roll blaring out from Oscar's old radio. Crap. He must really be pissed. Simon gulps and snaps back the lock before swiping the access pad with his security card. The light bleeps green and he pushes the door smoothly open.
Simon's barely got time to register the stench of the blood that covers the room, or the remains of his colleague strewed across the floor before there's an ear shattering screech and then a burst of pain exploding from his left shoulder.
The door swings closed and the lock snaps back in to place, swallowing the sound of Simon's cries.
"You look happy to say your leg still looks like a bag of plumbs," Gerard says in response to his brother's megawatt smile.
"It's not that bad today," Mikey says, leaning forward and prodding it gently. "I'm just sick of being lay in this position."
"I'm sure Ray could help you with that," Gerard smirks as he drops down in to his usual spot. He expects a witty come back, but instead his brother sinks back in to his plump pillows with a dreamy sort of look, and Gerard's got the disgusting feeling he's just inspired a couple hours worth of day dreams.
Gerard grabs the remote and turns on the TV, leaving his brother to his thoughts.
Frank's been chewing on the same pen since this morning and he's pretty sure that on the next chew, he's going to get a mouth full of blue ink. He spits it out on to the reception desk.
"Are you actually going to do any work today?" Ray says from behind, leaning over Frank's shoulder to pick up a stack of charts.
"I've been busy," Frank replies, "very busy I'll have you know."
Ray hums. "Mmhm. So how is your rib fracture patient in bed four?" Frank stares blankly at his boss, picking up the pen lid again. Ray sighs. "That's what I thought." He hands over the top chart. "Go and give Mikey his pain killers."
Frank grins. "Thank you," he says before he practically skips away to the medicine room.
Mikey and Gerard have got their eyes glued to an episode of General Hospital when Frank gets there. He laughs.
"Why are you watching this crap?"
Mikey shrugs with one shoulder. "I don't know. It's either this or Animals Do the Funniest Things."
"Pft," says Frank, handing over the paper cup of pills to Mikey, "Animals any day, dude."
Mikey knocks back the pills and makes grabby hands for the water. Gerard hands it over and Mikey gulps it back before wiping his mouth. He burps. Gerard rolls his eyes.
"Uck," Mikey grimaces. "Coffee…I need coffee."
Gerard sighs and pushes himself to his feet. "Fine, fine…I'm on it. I don't think I have any change, though…"
"Not vending machine crap," Mikey groans; hand on his forehead like a woeful damsel. "I'm going to die if I have to drink that shit again. Seriously. How am I suppose to live?"
Gerard shakes his head. "Fucking drama queen."
"I'll handle it," Frank smiles. "I'm sure Ray won't mind. Wanna help me, Gee?"
Gerard looks between Frank and Mikey and back again. He nods.
When Frank asked for help, Gerard thought he meant carrying the mugs back to Mikey's room. If he would have known what Frank really meant was to push him against the break room door as soon as it closed and kiss him, then he maybe would have popped a tick tac or something before they left.
But whatever. He's just going to have to work with this…which he's totally fine with, by the way. Frank's lips are soft and warm and he taste like minty gum as their mouths press together. He's got little nippy teeth and a tongue that won't quit, and Gerard can't help but think it's totally adorable the way he opened his eyes at first, just to make sure Gerard was ok with this.
Frank captures Gerard's bottom lip and tugs it between his teeth. Gerard gasps when Frank's hand flattens against his stomach. Frank tears his mouth away and pushes his hand on to Gerard's hip.
"Sorry," he says, all rushed and breathy. "I was going to be a gentleman but, I just; I really couldn't wait til the weekend to kiss you."
Gerard smiles, stomach flipping as he grips Frank's shoulders. "I, uh…I don't have a problem with this. I'm not that classy anyway."
Frank replies, "Awesome. So, I can do it again?"
Gerard wraps his fingers around the neckline of Frank's scrubs and pulls him back in. "Definitely."
The feel of Frank's pulse beneath Gerard's fingertips as they press against his neck is hotter than Gerard could have ever imagined. It's impossible for Frank to be still, Gerard also notes, but he doesn't mind keeping up with Frank's rushing hands and busy lips.
Someone tries to open the door, sending both Frank and Gerard jerking forward and then back again.
"What the hell?" Ray says and Frank groans.
"How is he everywhere?" he whispers and Gerard laughs, spluttering and cute.
"Frank? Is that you? Man, you better not be jerking off in there or I swear to god-"
"Jesus!" Frank interrupts. "Keep your panties on, Toro."
They pull themselves away from the door, finally letting Ray push it open. He eyes the pair of them knowingly.
"Frank, need I remind you that you're still on duty?"
Frank salutes as Gerard stands awkwardly behind him. "Yes, boss."
Nurse Bridget swipes the elevator pad with her card and presses the button for the basement. She taps her white dolly shoe against the floor, irritated and annoyed. She's been trying to call down to the morgue all morning. She's got at least ten different people pressing her for those autopsy results, and today is really not the day for the bone head brothers to be goofing off.
Something really doesn't feel right when she gets to the morgue door. She pauses and goes up on her tip toes to peer through the tiny window.
Blood. That's all she can see. Blood – everywhere.
Yelping, she hits her security card against the pad several times in a blind panic until the light flashes green.
As soon as she pushes the door open with one hard shove, something covered in blood and screaming launches itself at her. She drops her security card, and as it clatters to the floor so does a clump of her flesh.
Frank, Gerard and Mikey have just taken their first sips of hot coffee when there's a shriek from somewhere down the hall. Frank almost splashes his all over himself, head jutting in the direction of the closed door. Mikey and Gerard are just as frozen and it takes until the next sound of an almighty crash before Gerard leaps out of his seat.
"Stay here," Frank says, heading for the door without another glance back. Gerard follows slowly behind anyway, shoulders tense as Frank reaches for the handle.
When he pulls back the door, a nurse runs passed, blood spilling from her neck as she holds her hand over the wound. She screams. From the door leading to the staircase, several blooded bodies come bursting through. Frank recognises the woman immediately. They move quickly, sniffing like animals and growling as they tear down the hall.
Frank jumps back, slamming the door closed.
"What? What?" Gerard says quickly. Frank eyes are wide and mouth ajar. "Frank, you're scaring me." There are more screams.
"I think, I think-" Frank stutters. "No, that's impossible."
Mikey's trying to swing himself in to a sitting position. "What's impossible?"
"The people…the bodies," he shakes his head, pressing his back against the door. "They're back."
"Frank…what do you mean?" Gerard says. "Back? How can they be back?"
"I don't know, ok?" Frank says. There's another scream. Footsteps. Running. Shoes squeaking against the floor and a gut wrenching growling sound.
And then the lights go out.
Ray's under the nurse's station desk on the first floor, back pressed to the wood as he tries to breathe as quietly as possible. He doesn't even know how well these things can hear, fuck. All he knows is that the infection seems to be spreading quickly in the few who the monsters fail to finish off.
Most people are being torn, literally limb from limb, flesh split open and their insides pulled out. Ray's seen countless surgeries, autopsies and some of the nastiest accidents you could imagine, but still his stomach is turning.
They're shuffling passed the station right now and Ray closes his eyes, focusing on the plan of the hospital he's got mapped out in his head.
Focus on the plan, he tells himself, because apparently all those gaming/movie nights with Frank are about to pay off. He can feel his heart about to take out a few of his ribs when something drops off the desk, a stack of folders or something, and crashes against the floor with a loud slap.
There's a groan and growl and a pained moan which might still be human, but Ray doesn't think about that too much. Instead he thinks of an hour ago, when today was just another day and the most exciting thing would be sneaking in to Mikey's room with another mug of coffee.
Mikey. That's definitely a priority in his plan.
When the first scream exploded for the hospital hallways, the receptionist punched the security button, locking all main exits and windows. The only way they can be opened is from the outside, by the police. But from his extensive apocalypse movie knowledge, Ray's got a sickening feeling that no one's going to open those doors until the infection can be contained.
He bites his lip and shakes his head. No. He can't think like that. People who think like that never make is through the first twenty minutes in movies. He waits for a quiet moment and then shuffles on to his knees.
Faze one, he thinks. Find Mikey!
Gerard's holding Mikey upright whilst Frank straps on the knee brace as quickly as possible. Frank's hands are shaking as he tightens the last strap, looking up at Gerard with uneasy eyes.
"Ok," he nods.
Mikey steps forward, testing himself as he applies the least amount of weight possible to his injured leg. It twinges and he winces, but it's bearable pain. It has to be.
"Yeah," Mikey breaths, chest tight and leg aching as if that one step were a brisk jog. "I'm ok."
The chairs, bed table, bed and anything else moveable in the room are currently piled up against the door. The bed's pretty heavy and damn near impossible to move with the stoppers clamped down on the wheels, and the rest of them just hope to hell that it's going to be enough to hold them until…well, until whatever.
They haven't heard anyone in at last ten minutes. Frank's scared to ask the question were others as quick to move as them? The screaming from before tells him probably not. There's a lump in his throat when the words All Those People… flash in his mind, but he quickly swallows it down.
There's nothing he can do, nothing he could have done to make the out come any different and even though a part of him is seething at himself for hiding away in this room when he's suppose to be a fucking doctor, he tells himself that it's because he's a fucking doctor that he's going to get the three of them out of this alive. Or die trying.
"How long do you think we can stay here?" Gerard says; hand tight on his brother's hip.
Frank shakes his head. "I don't know."
"Do you think they're working their way through the hospital?"
"I don't know."
"Will they come back?"
Frank sighs. "I don't know…probably. Eventually, yeah."
"Ok," Gerard gulps and nods. "So, we're just going to stay here? There's no way to get out?"
"The exits will be locked. When someone pushes the security button, it locks the hospital down until the Police arrive."
Mikey groans. "Oh my god, that is so dumb." He hops over to the wall and leans against it, taking as much weight as possible off his leg. "I can't believe I'm going to die thanks to a fucking Hula Hoop-ing accident."
Frank's lips quirk in to a brief smile, one that Gerard doesn't fail to notice.
"You're not going to die," Gerard sighs and Mikey gives him a you and I both know that isn't true kind of look. "You're not," Gerard demands.
"None of us are," Frank interrupts. "Just, I don't know. Just let me think of something, ok?"
Mikey nods and Gerard reaches out, wrapping his fingers around Frank's hand and squeezing. Frank squeezes back. They lean together against the wall, hands clasped as Frank stares hard at the door, desperately trying to think of something.
Break a door down. Break a window. Call for help. Look for other survivors.
These are all options, and Frank mulls them over with half a mind, the other half focussing on the feeling of Gerard's hand against his.
Ray can't help but feel in another world from the one he woke up in this morning. He's lost his doctor's coat and tie, down to the only clean shirt he could find this morning and his itchy, dark slacks.
The coat was holding him back, or so he found out when he swung the emergency fire axe in to the jugular of a middle aged woman as she bared her blood slicked teeth and shrieked at him. When her severed head is rolling along the floor, he thinks that maybe he recognises her.
Wiping the blood from the axe on to his coat right before he throws it, he wonders how easily he's slipped from life saver to killer. But then again, can you really take life from something that's already dead?
Right, so that's one down and god knows how many to go.
Ray turns and sprints for the door to the stairs. It's only two more floors until he gets to Mikey and the others.
When he's climbing the stairs, two at a time, axe weighing heavy in his hand, he peers all the way to the top floor. It's a lot of stairs. A lot of stairs, but it's a way to get to the roof without going through every single one of the fifteen floors of the hospital. If they get to the roof, then maybe they can call for help, maybe there's an old fire escape (that he's just never noticed) that reaches far enough back to the ground.
Ray grips the metal railing and hauls himself up a few more steps.
Mikey's biting off the majority of his thumb nail on his right hand, staring at the opposite wall, feeling uncomfortable in the silence they've been in for god only knows how long. He can hear his heart beating in his ears, except for when there's a noise in the hall. Then everything slows and freezes until it's been quiet for a while, and then his thudding heartbeat continues.
Gerard's still got his fingers wrapped around Frank's hand, thumb against Frank's pulse point as he calmly feels it tapping away beneath his skin. Frank's been staring at the door for a while now, staring so hard that sometimes he swears he sees it moving.
And then it actually moves…
The handle rattles and the door shifts forward by just an inch or so, but it's enough to make them leap away from the wall.
"Guys? You in there?"
"Ray!" Mikey hobbles forward quickly, unsteadily.
"Mikey?" The door's shoved again, the tower of furniture shaking. "What's wrong?"
"Hang on," Mikey replies, pulling a chair back.
"Whoa," Gerard says, moving his brother out of the way. "The last thing you need to be doing is moving heavy objects."
Mikey stumbles back, scowling but doing as he's told.
Frank and Gerard pull the bed away from the door, just enough to let Ray slip through the open gap. As soon as he's in, everything's shoved quickly back in to place. Ray watches them for a moment before turning just in time to get an arm full of Mikey.
"Ray," Mikey breathes as Ray's arms wrap tightly around his shoulders, "You're ok."
Ray presses his face in to Mikey's neck, holding on tight as he closes his eyes for a very brief few moments. He's so relieved he feels almost sick with it, and there's a familiar prickly of tears starting in the corners of his eyes. The axe in his hand brushes against Mikey's shoulder, and he turns his head out of the hug to see it.
"Have you had to…?" Mikey can't even finish that sentence. Ray's hands fall to Mikey's elbows and he nods. Mikey looks at him with large, lost eyes for a moment before he leans in again and kisses Ray. It's just a harsh press of lips with the briefest flick of tongue, but it seems to breathe new air in to Ray.
Gerard coughs awkwardly from by the door.
"Let them have their moment," Frank says quietly, but Mikey and Ray have already stepped away from each other.
Ray clasps a hand over Frank's shoulder. "I'm so glad you're alright."
Frank smiles back. "You too, Toro."
He turns back to Mikey. "How's your knee?"
Mikey peers down at his brace and wriggles his toes. "Still there," he says.
"You put your brace back on?" he asks.
"I did," Frank says. "I thought he was going to need it, if we move."
Ray nods. "Good call."
"Are we moving?"
And then everyone stops and looks at Ray, like he's the one holding all the answers. Ray slips an arm around Mikey's waist, allowing Mikey to rest the majority of his weight against him. Mikey goes, more than willingly.
"I was thinking…we could try the roof? I mean, the stairs are pretty clear. Mostly."
Looking between one and other, everyone slowly starts to nod. It's the only plan they've had so far.
"Yeah," Gerard finally says. "We'll head to the roof."
"Uh, guys," Mikey starts. "Stairs?" and he jiggles his leg a little for emphasis.
"Oh," Gerard says and Mikey nods.
Ray takes in a breath and shakes his head. "We can do it," he says confidently. "We can take it slow. There's another fire axe on this floor, so two of us can carry those and the other one help Mikey."
"I can't hobble up fifteen fucking floors!" Mikey says, but before anyone can reply he groans and presses a hand to his face. "No, I can. I have to, I know. I'll be ok."
Ray squeezes his hip. "You will be ok. I'll stay with you, ok?"
"We'll all help," Frank says. "We'll get to the roof, block off the door and, shit. I don't know. Take off all our clothes and use them to spell out 'HELP'."
Everyone smirks and Gerard can't help but think that this is a highly inappropriate time to think about Frank taking his clothes off.
"So, it's settled," Ray says. "We're heading out."
Everything so far for Frank has felt highly surreal, like the world's not really there almost. He just saw some freaky things and then locked himself in a room for a while, so he's got no idea what to expect when they step out in to the hallway. This could all just be one big, unbelievably cruel joke.
But it's not. It's really not.
As Frank grabs the second fire axe out of the emergency case, there's a rush of staggering footsteps from down the hall. Everyone turns quickly.
"Shit," Ray breathes. "Bridget."
That's Nurse Bridget alright. Frank's seen her practically every day for the past few years, only not…well, dead. Her uniform is ripped and matted with blood and other dark stains. She's got a horrific looking gash between her neck and shoulder, and her mouth is hung open and dripping.
She sees them and quickly runs towards them. It's not a normal run, not like someone out for a brisk jog, no. It's all limb flailing and zigzag patterns.
"Shit, shit, shit," Gerard curses.
Frank grabs the handle of the axe firmly in both hands. "I got it," he says, calmly taking a few steps forward, and swinging the axe back like a baseball bat.
She sprints down the hall, knocking over a cart and slipping on a splayed out bed sheet as she goes. Frank adjusts the bat in his grip and takes a deep breath as she gets that much closer.
With all his might Frank swings the axe forward, sending the blade slicing through Nurse Bridget's neck just as she reaches them with her grabby out stretched hands. She shrieks. Her neck snaps and folds back, flesh and tendons snapping and finally her head dropping to the floor merely moments before the rest of her body. She crumbles in to a heap of limbs in front of them.
"Oh my god," Mikey says, fingers digging in to Ray's shoulder.
Frank lets the axe fall to his side as he holds it loosely at the base, metal head clinking against the floor. He exhales slowly. Gerard steps forward and flattens a hand against Frank's back, rubbing soothingly.
"Well done," he says quietly, dropping a peck on to Frank's shoulder.
Frank's still eerily calm and he turns to rest his forehead against the side of Gerard's head.
"Come on," Ray says as he starts to help move Mikey again. "We should get going; chances are the rest of them heard that."
Gerard wraps his fingers around Frank's elbow and slowly starts to pull him away, because Frank's too busy staring at the butchered body rather than paying attention to what Ray's saying.
When they pass an overturned cart just by the door leading to the stairs, Ray picks up a handful of surgeon masks and shoves them in to his pocket.
"What are those for?" Mikey says.
"We might need them at some point," Ray replies. "I'm not sure exactly how the infection's spreading."
Pushing open the door to the stairs, Ray leans Mikey against the railings as he ushers the others inside. He hands the axe to Gerard who takes it with a slightly bewildered expression.
"You and Frank take up the front a rear, I'll help Mikey."
"You don't have to," Mikey says quickly. "I can use the railing; pull myself up a step at a time."
"Mikey," Ray says sternly, "We'll be here forever if you do that. Just let me help you up, ok?"
"If you don't let him help them I'm going to fireman lift you up every other flight," Gerard says and Mikey rolls his eyes.
"Ok," he says, holding his palm out in defeat. He jabs his index finger in to Ray's chest. "But if you pick me up fucking princess style again I will fucking end you."
Ray smirks as Frank and Gerard throw each other confused and amused looks. They finally shrug and Ray wraps his arm back around Mikey's waist.
"No princess business, got it," he says.
Taking the stairs one at a time, Mikey manages to keep a steady pace with one hand on the railings and the other gripping Ray's shoulder. The brace is starting to rub and itch, irritating his skin every time he puts weight on the leg.
He keeps his eyes on the flat part between every flight, counting the steps until he gets there. Ray keeps smiling reassuringly at him, tightening the grip he's got on Mikey's hip and hoisting him up the next steps if he feels Mikey start to slow.
Frank's several steps ahead of them, glancing back every now and then to check on the others and just to look at Gerard once more.
As they steadily climb, he thinks about that date he was planning, the cosy little Italian restaurant with the Starbucks near by, the park they could have walked through on the way back to Frank's place and all the excuses he could have made just to get Gerard inside. He thinks about kisses Gerard on his couch and how they're progress from making out to pulling each other's clothes off, and how he'll get Gerard in to his bed without appearing like he's just after one thing – when really he's after many…everything Gerard's willing to offer, basically.
Before he knows it, they've climbed seven floors.
Mikey groans when his knee finally gives way, wobbling to the side and sending him sliding down the railing. Ray grabs him quickly with both hands.
"I got you," he says as Mikey huffs, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand.
When he tries to step forward again, he yelps.
"Mikey," Gerard says, hanging the axe over the railing to help his brother stand.
"I'm fine," Mikey tries to assure them, but he finds it hard to get his words out with puffy little breaths. "I'm fine."
Somewhere deep down near the first few floors, they hear an unnatural explosion of groans. They all peer down the spiral of stairs quickly.
"How long do you think it'll take them to get up here?" Frank asks, but no one replies. Instead, they spend a moment staring at each other before Gerard hands his axe to Frank.
He grabs one of Mikey's arms and Ray quickly follows suit, grabbing the other one.
"I think it's time to get moving," Gerard announces, and Frank nods, taking the stairs two at a time as Gerard and Ray each wrap one of Mikey's arms around their necks as they quickly climb after Frank.
It takes the majority of Frank's strength to wrench the roof door open. It's old and it sticks and the handle is slightly rusting, paint chips crumbling off and lodging in to Frank's palm as he yanks at the handle and pushes the door open.
The light hits his eyes like he hasn't seen it in days, even though it's only been a few hours. The breeze is fast and sharp, typical of a Jersey evening, and it pricks at Frank's arms.
He grabs the axes from the ground where he dropped them, and holds the door open for the others.
They set Mikey down on the ground, leaning against one of the large vents. His face shows pain and he closes his eyes, listening to the clanking noises as the rest of them push the roof door closed again and block it with whatever they can. Frank shoves an axe under the handle and Ray blocks the bottom with broken bits of pipe he finds close by.
When the door is as secure as it can be, they step back, panting heavily. Ray turns to tend to Mikey and Frank pulls Gerard in to a one armed hug.
"We made it," Gerard breaths and Frank nods, pressing a chased kiss to his warm forehead.
"We did," he says.
Ray kneels in front of Mikey and loosens the straps on the knee brace.
"How are you holding up?"
Mikey winces. "Fine," he lies. "Peachy."
Ray leans forward and kisses him briefly.
A moment later and there's the distinct sound of propellers chopping through the air in the distance. Ray quickly jumps to his feet as all four of their faces turn to the sky. They glance around, turning in slow circles trying to find it.
And then it comes like a large black eagle, hovering over the nearby hills.
It's a helicopter.