"Gerard?" Donna Way asks, sticking her head into her son's room. “Don't you want to come out at some point?”
He looks back at her dully in response.
"Love, it's been two weeks," she tries again, "at least have a shower, it'll make you feel better, I promise."
Bullshit. Gerard can only think of a handful of things that will make him feel better and a shower decidedly isn't one of them. But his mother is looking at him expectantly so he mutters "fine," and waits for her to go away.
Mrs. Way doesn't budge. "Go on then" she says instead.
Gerard doesn’t understand her, really, he doesn’t. She stands firm, framed in his doorway, demanding he get up and continue living as if nothing has happened. As if he hasn’t been ditched, dumped and discarded; tossed aside like an empty candy-wrapper after Barbara got bored of everything he had to offer.
You’re really sweet, she told him, but I’m going to have to end this.
Gerard glares at his mother and wants to yell that his girlfriend broke up with him, okay. He has every fucking right to be unhappy.
"Moooooooooom," he whines instead, "can’t you just leave me alone?"
"I will when you’ve had a shower."
Gerard feels too drained to argue. So he heaves a sigh and rolls off his bed onto the chaos of clothes, games and comics that smother the floor. A deck of Magic cards shifts under his hand when he pushes himself up and he curses as he slips and falls smack onto his face.
"And afterwards you could maybe clear up a little," his mom says pleasantly. Gerard isn't fooled. It's not a suggestion. It's an order.
"Do I have to?" he asks, just to make sure.
Vaguely, Gerard wonders what it is with parents and tidiness. He sighs again and extracts a semi-clean t-shirt from underneath his desk. Then he grabs the dark blue hoodie he wore yesterday, unearths a pair of sweatpants from the mess at the foot of his bed, and wrestles for a while with his jammed drawer; a violent struggle for the last pair of clean boxers. As he makes his way across the room he trips over an open videotape case and only just catches himself on the edge of the closet door, which swings open a little before getting stuck in another pile of clothes.
His mom eyes his room doubtfully. "I'm serious, Gerard. Clear up and give me your dirty laundry so I can run the washing machine, alright?"
"Yeah, yeah," he replies listlessly as he trudges to the bathroom. He locks the door and leans against it, closing his eyes.
Immediately, vivid, vicious mental images start waltzing through his mind: Barbara sprawled on his bed as she tells him all about her favorite bands, Barbara grinning at his dorky jokes, Barbara as she must be now, gorgeous and laughing on some beach, messing around with a muscular, tanned Greek guy and not missing Gerard at all. He takes a sudden, sobbing breath which echoes loudly and sounds absolutely ridiculous. “Pathetic,” he mutters. “Pull yourself together, Gee.” He is not going to cry again. He is not! But the tears come anyway and he decides to take that shower after all. With the water running he'll at least not have to listen to himself.
Gerard strips off his clothes and throws them in the direction of the clothes hamper. The water is soothing, it calms him down and for a while he doesn’t move, just enjoys the feel of it pounding on his bare skin. Gerard always forgets how good it feels to shower.
He shampoos his hair twice, so he won't have to again for at least a week, then washes himself quickly, trying not to look at his fat body too closely. (His mom insists that he's not fat, but, well, yeah right.) He dries off just as quickly and pulls on his clothes, then grabs the comb and tackles his hair. It's a knotted, tangled mess - to be honest he can't even remember the last time he combed it - but after a few painful minutes of cursing and yanking, the brush finally slips through it smoothly.,
Gerard chances a glance in the mirror. His chubby face looks back at him and, almost automatically, his puffy, teary eyes slide away and land on his mom’s makeup. For whatever reason, his hand reaches for the lipstick and he uncaps it. Gerard stares. There is something really appealing about the shade. He stands there for a good few moments, frowning at the bright, angry red and thinks how makeup makes girls look all kinds of gorgeous, even those that aren't all that beautiful to begin with...
Well, why not? He brings the lipstick up to his lips, watching it carefully in the mirror as it paints them a bright, bright red. Putting the lipstick back on the shelf, he rubs his lips together. They feel strange, all waxy and smooth and not like his own at all. Finally he backs up a little and forces himself to look up at his reflection.
What he sees makes him blink in surprise. He's... well, he's pretty, genuinely pretty, the lipstick somehow transforming all the flab into attractive curves. Actually, Gerard reflects, he looks kind of like he should be in the Rocky Horror Show. The thought draws a smile to his lips, and that makes him even prettier, and now he suddenly can't stop staring at his eyelashes, of all things.
So he searches the bathroom counter for mascara. "I'm just a sweet transvestite," he sings softly as he applies it, trying his best not to blink. It tickles slightly, and in the end Gerard does a fairly bad job, getting it all over the place. But that doesn’t matter. Maybe he can hide the smudges with eye liner. Gerard reaches for it and grins. His reflection (his pretty reflection!) grins back, eyes huge and earnest and innocent. For the first time in weeks Gerard thinks that he’s going to be OK.
Putting on kohl turns out to be quite unnerving. Gerard feels like he’s going to poke himself in the eye any second now. But he’s an artist, dammit. He can deal with drawing two simple lines on his skin. He’s so close to the mirror now his breath mists the surface of the glass. When he finally finishes he looks away quickly, before he has time to really see the effect the eyeliner has on his face. Carefully, he puts all the make-up back exactly where it was. He pauses for a moment before turning around.
Gerard’s eyes are hazel really, but they glare green under the cold bathroom light. The black smears of eyeliner make them seem darker, sharper, more intense; highlight their stark contrast to the snarling red of Gerard’s lips. He looks both vulnerable and dangerous, no longer pretty but provocative.
He looks beautiful.
There’s a knock on the door and Gerard jumps about a foot in the air. "Hurry up, Gee!" Mikey's voice says, "I need to piss!"
"Just a sec!" Gerard all but squeaks, scanning the room frantically for make-up remover. He’s seen girls get caught under heavy rain, knows that if he tries to get the stuff off with water he’ll only succeed in covering his face with a blurry and very, very noticeable mess.
"Gerard, I’m waiting!" Mikey calls. “What’s taking you so long?”
"Nothing!” Shit. Shitshitshit. He can’t find the make-up remover anywhere and Mikey’s right there getting impatient and Gerard is royally screwed and oh fuck! He looks through the bathroom cabinet and sees about a hundred different creams and shampoos and shower gels but nothing he can use to -
“Gee, is everything OK?”
Gerard hesitates for a moment. Then he walks over to the door, wrenches it open and sprints past Mikey before his brother has a chance to see his face.
“What’s the-” Mikey starts to say but then Gerard reaches his room and slams the door so hard it rattles in its frame. He’ll wait till Mikey’s out of the bathroom, then he’ll lock himself in again and figure out what to do. Maybe he should try with a bit of soap. Or something. In the meantime Gerard is fidgety as hell and needs to occupy his hands somehow. He surveys his room. Perhaps his mom is right, he really should at least put his games away so they don't get stepped on.
So he settles down in front of the pile of stuff that's covering half the floor and starts sorting through it, tossing clothes towards the door, putting videotapes in their covers and setting games back on the shelves. Then he freezes. There are footsteps, soft and steady and threatening, coming down the hall. Before Gerard has time to react, the door handle’s already turning and his brother steps into the room.
“Gee, I was - Oh.” Mikey stops when he sees Gerard’s face, taken aback. They stare at each other for a horrible, endless moment and Gerard can feel his cheeks burn. He waits for Mikey to laugh.
Mikey doesn’t laugh, though, nor does he comment. He doesn’t even raise an eyebrow. Instead he lifts his hand and holds up a videotape.
“So hey, I got 'Alien' from Alex today. You wanna watch?" Mikey asks and Gerard loves him so much it hurts.
"... Yeah," he says. He smiles as he takes the tape from Mikey's outstretched hand and slides it into the VCR. Then he flops down onto his bed. When Mikey flops down next to him Gerard puts an arm around his little brother. They settle in to watch.