Gerard really fucking hated arguing with Frank, but really? The Yo Gabba Gabba Holiday show? Empowering music for pre-schoolers he could totally get behind, but the Holiday special show was all fucking pre themed and creatively stymieing and shit. No. Not fucking doing it.
They'd all agreed they weren't going to sell out, that was the whole point of Vampire Money, right? Yo Gabba Gabba was the same thing. Fuck Frankie, fucking hanging up on him. BAH HUMBUG.
Gerard huffed, glaring at his phone, like it was the cause of all the shouting, and got into the uncomfortably soft hotel bed, pulled the covers up over his head and closed his eyes. He was never going to be able get to sleep now.
There was a loud banging sound from downstairs and Gerard startled, huffed out a grumpy sigh at the ridiculous, uncomfortable, stupid, loud hotel and rolled over.
Someone was sitting on the other side of his bed.
Gerard pushed down the sheet and comforter and sat up.... it was Frank.
"What the fuck!?" Gerard yelled. Frank had totally fucking snuck into his fucking hotel room to argue wit... Gerard's brain stuttered; Frank was transparent.
Gerard could see the stupid detailing on the back of Frank's coat right through Frank's body
Frank grinned at him and pulled at the microphone cables that were wrapped around his neck and chest. "Hello Gerard."
"Never eating cheese at night again, never eating cheese at night again, never eating ch..."
"I am here night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A chance and hope of my procuring, Gerard."
"What. The. Fuck? What fucking fate?"
"Your wife, saying you need to do more with the kids. Even though you totally just did and she must be PMSing or something because, seriously? Except you can't say that, even though her hormones have been crazy ever since she gave birth, which is fine and not her fault or anything but, anyway, you need to avoid my fate, and I've totally procured you a method." Transparent Frank nodded, decisively, and resumed "You will be haunted, by Three Spirits."
"What?" This was the most confusing dream Gerard had ever had, including the one about the three-legged octopus-goat.
"Get with the program Gee." transparent Frank rolled his eyes. "Three spirits, one on each hour of the clock, they're here to show you the way."
Transparent Frank shook his head. "You're kind of stupid without coffee. I? Am a ghost. Look." Frank pulled one of the cables tight around his throat and kept on pulling until it slid right through his skin and out of the other side. "Ta da!" Frank hefted the cable he’d just pulled through his neck in one hand. "These are apparently the chains I forged in life, which is a bit... weird, but anyway, I'm here to make sure you listen to the spirits and don't do the same as me."
"Not dead? Nah. This is, like, some kind of part-time out of body deal. Cool, huh?" Frank wrapped the cable back around his neck. "Don't copy the mike cable thing, it's totally mine."
Frank grinned at him again. "Good. I'm glad we had this talk. Remember, three spirits, one each hour. Listen to them."
Gerard felt himself falling and he awoke with a gasp as his head hit the pillows. The room was dark and Frank wasn't anywhere to be seen.
Gerard turned the top pillow over so he could put his face on the cool side. He was never going to have a cheese plate after nine in the evening, ever again. And arguing with Frank never led anywhere fun, either. He frowned and picked up his cell phone and sent Frank a text Sorry for shouting :( :( just don't have any ideas for a holiday themed show.
Frank didn't text back.
Gerard stared at his phone for another five minutes but it didn't vibrate. This was why he hated texting, he'd never understood why Mikey liked it so much, and he was totally not going to turn into fucking Pete Wentz and text every fourteen seconds before giving up and posting passive aggressively on twitter about allegorical sno cones or whatever.
Gerard put his cell in the bedside drawer, under the bible, and pulled the sheet back up over his head. Next time he was going to make sure that whatever hotel they ended up in didn't have stupid fucking pillow top beds. It was too soft and made him feel like he was trying to sleep on a stuffy cloud.
"Mikey?" Gerard wasn't pulling the sheet down from over his head, but he'd been being poked by his brother for a very long time, and that had definitely felt like Mikey.
"I am." Mikey sounded weird.
Gerard pulled the sheet off of his head. Mikey looked all wrong, like his perspective was off and he was actually really far away. Not that it wasn't nice that Mikey was shorter than Gerard again, but it was fucking weird. Also Mikey was slightly translucent. "Are you one of the spirits Frank was talking about?"
"Yup." Mikey poked himself in the stomach and his fingers went right through. "Cool, isn't it?"
"I am the Ghost of Holiday T.V. past."
"T.V. past." Mikey rolled his eyes. "Look, it's not that hard. I'm here to show you why T.V. is great, and how it shaped you, and why you need to need to do Yo Gabba for Bee. I figure we can watch Empire and the good bit of the Holiday Special."
Mikey sat on the bed next to him and shoved his ass into Gerard's side until Gerard slid over enough for Mikey to lie down next to him. "I'm totally a magical spirit thing, we won't even need to fast forward to get the Boba Fett cartoon, it's awesome."
"No Bea Arthur singing to the Cantina Band song?"
"No Bea Arthur singing to the Cantina Band song." Mikey patted Gerard's arm and picked up a bucket of popcorn from the floor. It was see-through, too.
Okay, so the whole thing was fucking weird, but Gerard had been watching the Star Wars movies with Mikey since he was old enough to work the VCR, and Mikey smelled right, even if he didn't look it, so he figured that he might as well try and enjoy it.
It was fun, humming along with the Max Reebo band and mouthing the dialogue along with Han. Gerard made a mental note to organize more regular movie nights with Mikey when they were back in L.A.
There was a light on in the bathroom, and he could hear the fan whirring as he got closer to the door. Fucking A. Now he was a total environmental hooligan, using power unnecessarily, as well as flying a billion miles a year. He made a note to see if he could buy, like baby trees or something and get them planted in Bandit's name. Trees were good for the planet.
As Gerard reached for the bathroom door handle, a voice called him by his name from inside, and bade him enter. He obeyed.
It was the bathroom. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. The room was several times larger than it had been and it was set up like a television studio. In easy state upon the closed toilet, there sat a jolly looking Ray, glorious to see.
"Come in!" Exclaimed Ray, who was (as was becoming typical for the night) transparent, and who appeared to have the opposite perspective-issue that Mikey had had and was definitely at least nine feet tall. "Come in, and know me better, Gerard."
"I, um. I don't think that's possible, Ray. We lived in a van." Gerard stepped one foot into the room, reluctant to completely commit to standing in a space that was realistically too big to actually exist. He was definitely dreaming, unless his bathroom was also a TARDIS. Gerard was pretty sure he would have remembered his bathroom being a TARDIS.
Ray grinned, and though the Ray's eyes were clear and kind, Gerard did not like to meet them and he stared at the bathroom floor, noting the crossed tape marks where he was pretty sure the sink had been before he went to bed.
"I am the Ghost of T.V. Present," said Ray. "Look upon me."
Gerard slowly raised his eyes. Ray was wearing a simple green robe bordered with white fur. The robe hung so loosely around him that Gerard could see quite a lot of Ray's bare chest and he could see Ray's feet, also bare, sticking out of the bottom of the robe. It was a bit disturbing that his subconscious could recreate quite so much naked Ray skin.
Ray's hair was loose; a holly wreath set here and there with shining icicles sitting atop the dark brown curls.
...He looked kind of awesome, actually, and Gerard made a mental note to try and work in some kind of robe/wreath ensemble for Ray in their next video.
Ray snapped his fingers and suddenly they were at home, in Gerard's family room, with Lindsey lying out on the couch and Bandit sitting upon the floor (way too fucking close to the T.V., mom always said that's why Mikey needed glasses and Gerard should really look into that).
"Linds...." Gerard reached out to her; he really fucking missed his family.
Ray put an arm across Gerard's chest. "She cannot see you or hear you; we're just here to watch."
"Mommy," Bandit turned away from what looked like the credits for Yo Gabba Gabba. "Why does Daddy hate Toodee?"
Okay, so kid's T.V. mostly made Gerard feel like he was still high, or having some kind of horrible flashback, but Yo Gabba was actually pretty decent. Like, the songs didn't make him want to pull his own eyeballs out through his ears to make it stop or anything... it still had freaky shit characters, but Bee seemed to kinda like those and who was he to judge people's heroes... except for the fact that Mikey and Lindsey had totally trained Bandit to like the ridiculous ice cat dragon bassist best and seriously?
"Why do you think he hates Toodee, Bee?"
Gerard was very proud of their non-blaming parenting style, even if reasoning with a small child was sometimes quite difficult.
"Because Uncle Mikey said to Uncle Frankie that Daddy just doesn't want to play with them and bad wording shut up."
Gerard snorted. Apparently Bandit had heard the argument going on in the background when he called her last night. Lindsey bit her bottom lip and managed not to laugh; it had taken weeks to persuade Bandit that just because Uncle Mikey was allowed to say a word didn't mean that Bandit was allowed to say it, and laughing would have totally undermined all that effort. Gerard was very, very proud of his wife.
"Oh." Lindsey sat up. "Well, I think we should probably ask Daddy about that? Uncle Mikey said Daddy didn't want to play with the Yo Gabba Gabba people?"
Bandit nodded her head, seriously.
"well, maybe there's a reason we don't know yet? Maybe Toodee sheds like Bunny does and makes Daddy sneeze too much?"
"Oh." Bandit looked pensive. "But if he's 'lergic he can just take the anti-lergey stuff, right?"
Gerard turned and glared at Ray. "Seriously?! You guys are trying to guilt me using my daughter? Low fucking blow." He crossed his arms for emphasis.
"This is just what is, Gerard, your actions alone have led you to this place." Ray poked Gerard in the middle of the forehead and Gerard fell backward.
Frank shook his head. "I am the Ghost of Festive T.V. Specials Yet to Come, and I have come to show you what will come to pass if you do not learn and act upon what you have witnessed"
"Oh. Good." Probably the mass annihilation of tiny fluffy bunnies or something. Gerard pushed down the covers and stood up.
Frank leapt on his back, proving, ghost or not, Frank was still Frank, and knocked them both to the floor.
When Gerard stood up they were back in Gerard's house again, watching his girls watching T.V., although this time the room was decorated for Christmas. Gerard grinned at the zombie snowmen on the tree.
The T.V. screen filled with the Yo Gabba Gabba logo. "Hey!" Gerard started. "This is the holiday show!" There were snowflakes and sparkly things on the screen.
"Yes. I'm a ghost. I have powers." Frank buffed his fingernails and looked kind of smug.
Gerard glared at Frank; this smug ghost shit was getting really fucking tired already. "Look, I don't know what this is intended to achieve, I already said that I'd be happy to do Yo Gabba Gabba but not the holiday show, I just." He waved his hands about his head to indicate the overwhelming ludicrousness of expecting him to want to do the holiday show. "There are too many fucking rules."
A cry from in front of the T.V. startled Gerard, and Lindsey sat up suddenly, fumbling for the remote.
"Momeeeeeeeeeeee!" Bandit was standing in front of the T.V., pointing at it and shrieking. "They're stealing Christmas! Mommy! Mommy!"
Lindsey stood up and grabbed Bee back from the T.V., turning her head away from the screen and turning the T.V. off. Just before the screen went black, Gerard saw Bert McCracken's evil face grinning out from underneath a horrible parody of an elf's hat.
"Who the fuck asks the Used to do kids' T.V.?" Gerard grabbed at the front of Frank's shirt.
"People who were holding out for My Chemical Romance and had their network pressing them to get a genre-similar back fill." said Frank.
"What?!!?! That's not even...." Gerard spluttered.
"It's what will happen if you continue to hold out after the rest of us already said yes." Frank said, calmly. Gerard kind of wanted to punch him in the teeth, except for... Frankie and anyway Gerard and punching were usually a fairly painful combination for Gerard's hand.
"But, that..." Gerard felt his gestures getting bigger and Frank would usually laugh at that, but seriously. "That doesn't make any sense!"
"No, it doesn't, but it is what will happen."
"How the fuck do you know?!"
"Ghost. Of. Festive T.V. Specials Yet to Come." Frank rolled his eyes. "Duh."
"So, what you're saying is that either I suck it the fuck up and pull something outta my ass for a holiday themed show, when, incidentally, it's, like, a hundred and twenty outside, or Bert fucking McCracken traumatizes my kid by threatening to steal Christmas?"
"Yep, pretty much. And J will fucking kill me if I let that happen, the girls are kinda getting into watching Yo Gabba Gabba now."
"Oh fuck this." Gerard closed his eyes and rolled his shoulders back. Painful hand or not, Frank really needed someone to punch him right now.
"What are you so afraid of, Gee? It's just a little winter-themed empowerment song for kids; you've made up a million of them for Bee." Frank looked most solemn.
"But there needs to be a theme, and costumes, and like..." Gerard waved his hands around again.
"What do you think about when you think about Christmas?" Frank asked.
Frank rolled his eyes. "Of course you do."
"Well, like, Hoth, obviousl.....oh. Ohhhhhhhh. Do you think they'd let us make Hoth?"
Frankie grinned. "Thatta boy."
"Fine. Okay." Gerard huffed. I will change my ways in hopes of changing these" Gerard waved his hands around a bit more "Shadows of what may be."
"Oh, I like that, can we use it?" Frank asked.
Gerard frowned. "I dunno, I think I stole it from somewhere."
Frank leapt at Gerard in some kind of ninja attack hug and pushed him over to the ground again.
It was blissfully empty of translucent band mates.
"I will change my ways." Gerard shouted and scrambled out of bed, pulling at the drawer to retrieve his phone.
There was a text from Frank saying we can have ideas too, dude. But we'll tell them we can't do the show.
Gerard winced and started pacing, he'd been being a self-centered drama queen again, all into his own head and excluding his band, and fuck... he needed to go and see Frankie and everyone right now and stop them cancelling their appearance.
His hands were busy with his clothes all this time; turning them inside out, putting them on upside down, tearing them, mislaying them, making them parties to every kind of extravagance, but finally, finally he was dressed enough to go out through the hotel corridors and not be arrested.
He ran out into the corridor and almost skipped to Frank's room; he raised his hand to knock at the door and stood there, perfectly winded.
He really needed to stick with giving up smoking.
Frank opened the door and looked at him.
"Is it too late?" Gerard was suddenly terrified that the whole of the previous night had not been a dream, and if it was real then it had taken far too long for it to have been one night; there had been daylight at home. So maybe it was too late, maybe Frank had alread...
"Huh?" Frank returned, looking mightily confused.
"Too late? Have you told them we can't already?"
"Oh, too late to cancel? No, it's like 7am, Gee." Frank yawned.
"It's not too late, I haven't missed it, the Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can.” Gerard gathered Frank up in a hug.
"Huh? You're making less sense than usual and it's way too before coffee for this kind of shit." Frank said from where Gerard was crushing his face into his poncho.
"It's not too late and I have an idea and we're all going to be on Hoth, and there'll be snow and snowflakes are all different, and..." Frank was walking backwards into the room, pulling Gerard with him. Gerard figured Frankie could handle the steering and continued telling him his idea. "... and it's good that they're different, and we can paint James blue."
"I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about Gerard, but if we can paint DeWees and be on the girls' favorite show then I'm good."
Gerard was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; he painted DeWees and dressed him in faux fur, and designed costumes in bright happy colors good for developing eyesight and expanding vocabularies. He worked with the Yo Gabba Gabba crew and drew individual happy snowflakes, all different like every child in the world. His own heart laughed, filled with excitement for their children to watch them on T.V..
He had no further interaction with Spirits, but lived upon the rule of no cheese before bed ever afterwards. And so, as December rolled around and the schedules filled with endless saccharine specials hawking tales of commercialism or overt religion all sung in distressing three part disharmony, one little beacon of hope for parental ears was heard observing with a catchy little tune that every snowflake's different, just like you, and Gerard could not stop smiling.