after the coma... (afterthecoma) wrote,
after the coma...
afterthecoma

Empire City - 2

TITLE: Empire City (AKA vertical miles in the sky anchored into the degenerating earth that mysteriously ruins your life without even trying – or maybe by trying too hard.)
AUTHOR: emmawatson, formerly scared_of_this
PAIRING: Frank/Gerard
RATING: PG-13-R
SUMMARY: It's the year 2099. Most of the earth has been swallowed by water and destroyed, and people are contained in vertical miles in the sky. The government isn't being completely honest.
NOTE: This is a very long story that I haven't finished yet, but almost. I decided to post it in parts.



You wake up groggy and achy, but warm. His arm is around you again as you realize you’re in your bed. You don’t feel like moving so you just lay there, feeling his breathe on your neck and his hair tickling your cheek. It’s been so long since you felt someone touch you. Maybe that’s exactly how Gerard feels.

His arm tightens around your torso and you relax into it. You’ve never had someone to do this with, unless you count your mother when she tucked you into bed. But that was a long time ago.

“Frank.”

“Yeah.”

“I’m sorry I’m in your bed, I’m not used to being alone.”

“It’s okay, I’m so used to it that it’s almost painful.”

“Well, I’m here now, if that counts for anything.”

~

The lights crack into place, but you’ve been awake for hours. You weren’t able to fall back to sleep, to put out of your mind everything that has just occurred. A new mate, someone that might be able to give you answers to so many questions, and a new job, something that might terrorize and disgust you forever if it continues. Gerard is over on the other side of the small bed, but it wasn’t until morning that he stopped cuddling you.

Slowly you get out of bed without trying to make it creak, but it does anyway. Soon the alarm for breakfast will go off. You walk over to the sink and look in the dirty mirror – there’s blood on your cheek. You frantically begin to wipe it off, unsure of whose blood it is.

“What are you doing?”

You jump, turning around with your hand still at your face.

“There was blood on my face,” you answer, “um, breakfast is soon,” too freaked out to continue discussing it.

You turn back around, but you feel his eyes on your back.

“Frank, come here.”

You walk over to the bed and sit on the edge. Gerard grabs your arm to make you face him and he tries to get you to look into his eyes.

“Frank, I’ve seen uglier things than we saw yesterday and I think it may only get worse, they don’t want to have to see it themselves and it only scares us into obeying them more – but you just have to get over it and not let it hurt you, that’s what they want to happen,” Gerard states as if you even asked for his advice in the first place. You’re petulant for a moment, but soften quickly.

“Then what do I do?”

“Use it to learn information on how to get the fuck out of here.”

The alarm sounds.

~

You’re walking around the floor with Gerard, kind of showing him around. There’s not much to show – the bathrooms, the showers, the cafeteria – but sometimes things pop up that weren’t there before.

“Imagine what they have hidden in this place, things you just have to look hard for or be shown,” Gerard marvels.

“You mean like the place last night?”

“You know there’s more buildings like this, they’re trying to get everyone that’s still left into one.”

“Um, what’s it like out there now, if you don’t mind me…,” you ask as you face reddens.

“This isn’t the time. I think I’m going to take a shower, it’s been awhile. See you back in the room?” he states rather than asks you.

“Yeah, um sorry.”

You walk in separate directions, but you don’t go back to the room. You step inside a study you’re unfamiliar with and sit in a old leather chair. There’s a book on the table next to you and you pick it up and flip through it. But you can’t concentrate, not on the book, just on Gerard. Gerard’s mysterious story and attitude, the way he keeps ending up in your bed. You’ve never been so desperate for attention and maybe even affection. Ray was nice, but there’s something about Gerard that makes you feel different.

~

Stepping back into your flat you see Gerard already there, half-dressed and reading a book on your bed.

“Are you ever going to use your bed?”

“Probably not,” he puts the book down, “hey you don’t happen to have any clothing I can borrow?”

“Yeah, Ray left most of his stuff here.” You walk over to a small dresser and dig out a t-shirt that should fit and a pair of boxers.

“Um, here is this good?” you ask, showcasing the items.

“Yeah, this is great, thanks man,” he replies and starts to wiggle his dirty jeans down his body before you realize to look away. You listen to him dress and turn back around when he says it’s clear.

“Sit down with me and read, there’s nothing else to do here, right?” he says, and why not, he’s right.

You sit upright on the bed, but he slouches close to you and puts the book in between your laps. Gerard’s skin smells like soap and it makes you feel listless, so your head falls on his shoulder. You feel so comfortable for once, so drunk from the tangible feel of pulses beating against your skin and air tickling your face. Gerard puts the book down and rests his head on yours. You can feel the loneliness between you two as if it’s an electrical current passing back and forth painfully sharp.

Gerard starts to wrap his arms around you, pulling you into his chest and your eyes slip shut and it’s so, so warm.

“I’m getting out of here. Out of this place alive,” he whispers and you startle.

“What do you mean? No one gets out, right? No one,” you utter almost robotically, unhappy that your peaceful moment is dissolving.

“You’ll see Frank and you’re coming too, we’re going to use this trust-thing to our advantage.”

“So they trust me or their lying. There didn’t say anything about you.”

“You don’t want to leave? You wouldn’t help me?” he responds, sitting up straight and undoing your embrace.

“Gerard, I don’t even know you. I just lost my last mate because he wanted to wander around this fucking monster building until he found a way out, but I guarantee you he’s dead, Ray’s dead and Mrs. Prescott is dead and we’re all going to die in here,” you shriek, emotions taking over.

“Isn’t there anyone you left behind out there? Because I did and I’m not giving up until I see them safe again,” he asserts, standing up now.

There’s a knock on door.

“Open up immediately,” you hear.

You run to open the door and the two officers from the night before are there and this can’t be it - another assignment so soon.

“Follow us.” And you do, Gerard and you walk behind them, the halls eerily quiet in a stand-still time of way. You reach a blank wall, but it shifts and reveals another hidden elevator.

“Step in, level 756, room 455.” And they push you in and down you fly, the same sickness from last night overcoming you again as you practically free-fall. Gerard tries to grab you, but you edge away into the rounded corner opposite him.

It stops surprisingly gently and you get out marginally disoriented – surprised that this floor looks nothing like your floor. You try to remember what room number you were told, but Gerard is already leading you toward the right direction.

“How did you know where to go?” you ask, trying to keep up with him.

“Lucky guess, here it is,” he stops, hesitantly touching the doorknob and turning.

You walk into the flat and see only an old man in a rocking chair. What you’re supposed to do, you don’t know - you’re almost sure this man is still alive.

“Get out of here, I know what you’re here for,” the old man croaks as he snaps to life.

“Yeah, what’s that?” Gerard taunts.

“You want my organs, my mind is old, but my organs young – but I’m telling you I’m not ready yet,” he responds, slowly rocking in his chair.

“How can your organs still be young?” you ask, stepping closer.

“They made me this way, and they can do it to you do too young man,” he yelps, his face becoming blood red.

You look around for Gerard, but he’s fingering the books along the man’s bookshelf. You try to get his attention, figure how the fuck you’re going to do whatever it is you’re supposed to do because this man is alive and you are not killing him. The man continues his barrage against you, yelling and screaming and rocking back and forth and neither of you notice when Gerard comes up behind him and knocks in the head with large vase.

He immediately falls limp, already worked up to exhaustion, but he’s alive, right?

“Come on, grab under his right arm, we need to drag him and get him to level twenty-one before anyone notices.”

You’re shocked at the command Gerard has taken, but then again you barely know the man, and you seem to be finding your own mind pushed to limits you didn’t know you would ever see or act upon. So you grab the man and together you drag his limp body along before he wakes up. You hope he wakes up before you make it and he can get away. It takes a moment for the elevator to reappear, but it’s there.

This time it is not level twenty-one, but sub-basement C. This is the place where you expect to see those screaming prisoners, but it is dead silent. It’s different here, the maze, the labyrinth, its heart beats here and you feel the walls pulsate with life. Gerard notices your slack on holding the body and he stops.

“What’s wrong Frank?” He sounds concerned.

“I’m hot, dizzy, I feel the walls they’re moving in on me, they’re breathing, beating, and I’m murdering a man!” and you know you sound crazy but you don’t know what’s going on and you feel the presence of a maelstrom about to erupt.

“We just have to keep going, or they’ll come to us, they want this man remember? Look, just stay here and I’ll find them, okay Frank? Okay? Don’t move.”

And before you can whimper anything Gerard is dragging the body by himself around the tunnels. You wait and it seems forever, hot and sweaty, you’re body doesn’t want this, there is something powerful and ugly down here.

But then he’s back. Almost miraculously. You see his face in a light and you’re happy and strength seems to slowly return. He pulls you up and walks you to the door and you leave just like that.

~

“We can go swimming,” he causally says.

“Where? What?”

“They told me, I think it’s a reward of some sort, we can go, I know where.”

“I don’t know, I haven’t been swimming since, well, before…”

Gerard walks over to you and sits behind you, grabbing your shoulders between his palms and massaging.

“It will be fun.” How can you say no now, you think.

You walk along the halls, some people out and about, a chess room seems to have appeared and loud noises are erupting from the room each time an excellent move is made.

Gerard finds a stairwell, the only one you’ve ever seen here and you walk down it as a door closes you in. It’s warm in here, and just like he said there is a large pool. You walk up to it and stick your big toe inside the water – it’s balmy and inviting.

“I, uh, just realized I don’t have a bathing suit,” you mumble as your cheeks redden.

“I don’t think many people have those here,” Gerard replies, stepping out of his pants and underwear. He throws his shirt over your head and jumps in.

You guess you don’t have a choice, so you undress and get in. It’s worth it though, the feel of calescence, your muscles loosening to the heat, your head lolling around. Gerard is on the other side, swimming and splashing a little by himself.

You float around for some time, losing time when Gerard comes up around you.

“So do you think our job is worth it for this?” he asks, provoking you.

You face him, a frown about to form before he grabs your body in his arms and hugs you as you both keep treading and move over to the pool edge. Your head falls into the crook of his neck, his wet black locks falling into your eyes.

“I think it’s time to head back,” you respond.

~

You get ready for bed, almost relaxed from the swim but scared they will come knocking at your door again. Gerard is already in bed, his side of your bed now, and you get under the blankets facing the wall. He wraps his arm around you and pulls you closer.

“Gerard, can I ask you things?”

“Things? That’s pretty broad.”

“I think you know what I want to know.”

“Yeah, I do,” he sighs, “The world is shit, just like they say it is, but not all of it. There are some places, hidden places that are safe, safe from them, environmentally stable, at least for the time being. People live together trying to make it on their own, not get caught or noticed, just try to live and not be imprisoned. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Is that what you wanted to know?” he answers.

“Is that what you were doing?” you ask, but you’re more pleased to know that your parents were right and that they may still be out there.

“I lived out there for a while, but things got tough. I had a brother, he was stubborn, he left the community, I think he might have been going kind of crazy, and I followed him. That’s when things got weird, scary and I got caught,” he stops.

“But I’m going back for Mikey, I am,” he resumes after a moment.

“I would like to see my parents again,” you say.

“There’s still a world out there Frank, it’s ugly, but it’s still real, not like this fucked, artificial prison they’ve created here with lies.”

~

You wake up groggy and looking at the clock you realized you’ve missed breakfast. Gerard isn’t here. You get up and get dressed, thinking about your conversation last night. A life out there, your parents out there. It could be a silly idea though, they’ve could of been killed or captured or be in this very same building without you even knowing it. But they were fighters and they were ready for the end of the world. Their only mistake was losing you.

Gerard walks in holding a packaged meal. It’s made from weird synthetic materials that is to replace all meals from your previous life. The thing is they haven’t been able to get it to provide the same nutrients in the body as fresh fruits and vegetables, or the same taste – even with all their science. You set it aside when you hear knocking. Gerard opens the door.

“Come on, it’s time,” an officer commands.

You follow and swear to yourself that you’ll be stronger this time, strong like Gerard. You’re taken to the floor below and enter a room with a mother and child. The mother dead, the child alive. She might be five or six.

“We hate cases like this, we really do, so do a good job. Mom goes to level 12, kid goes to level 50, you each take one. Go down past the bathrooms and wait. Carry on,” he says, tipping his hat and exiting.

“Frank, why don’t you take the kid while I clean up here?” he says, as if you get his hint.

“Sure, come on, um, what’s your name?”

“Jane, where’s mommy going?” she whispers, looking up at you.

“Um, to the doctor’s office, Jane, mommy needs a doctor.” You quickly feel repulsive for lying to the child. Each day keeps getting worse.

You walk to the spot in the hall and the door appears. You hold on tightly to the child as you fly downward, but she begins to cry anyway. What are they going to do with her?

The two of you practically fly out the elevator when it stops at level 50. You pick Jane up in your arms, her crying reaching a magnified height as you try to bounce her around. An officer steps up to you when you quickly realize you know him – know him from before.

“Bob?”

“That’s Officer Bryar to you,” he instructs, but he looks up into your face and he knows too.

“Frank Iero? Is that you? Holy fucking shit, oh shit, excuse me kid, man what are you doing?” he asks, a smile on his face.

“I could ask the same about you,” you reply as Jane begins to calm down and stop screaming in your ear.

“Well, I, uh, I work here, you know real job, I’m an officer, first class and all,” and he is beaming more than is possible for his face.

He looks just the same as his fifteen year-old self. Pasty, blond, light freckles, hair now closely shaven. You wonder what you look like to him – he looks like he’s well fed.

“So, um, they got you doing this shit now, huh?” he asks, walking you and the kid down a hallway.

“Yeah, I’m a bit confused about it myself, I’ve been here four years and bam! They just show up wanting me to do these horrible things,” you tell him hoping he would understand. Does he go through these things as well, or are you the reason officers like him don’t have to?

“Well, man, I’m sorry, I don’t know much about it, why you, why anyone, I just get orders to do such and such and I do it, it’s much better that way if you know what I mean.”

“Bob, they’re not going to hurt this kid?” you ask, standing firm and looking into his eyes.

“No, no, Frank, she’ll go up for adoption just like in real – just like before, man, no biggie, she’ll get a new family.”

“But until then – what do they do down here?”

“It’s just like up there, but there’s caretakers, man why are you worrying about this, why would we do anything bad, we’re here to protect you,” he answers with sincerity.

“Can I ask you a favor Bob?” You trust Bob because he’s always been loyal to whatever or whomever he’s facing.

“Yeah, what is it?” he asks.

“I had an old mate, Ray Toro, he just got up and left one day and I don’t know what happened – I need to know whether he is still in the building, can you try to find that out for me?”

“Yeah, yeah, I can try, no promises, but I’ll do what I can do. Well, we part here and I’ll watch out for the kid too, a little cutie like this won’t take long to find a home.”

You kneel down to Jane and cup her round, red face into your hands.

“Jane, these people are going to take care of you until you find your mommy, I don’t know when that will be, but I promise you one day you’ll meet up with her again, don’t forget mommy, but don’t let her absence hold you back,” you whisper, unsure if she understands as she only whimpers softly. But one day she will, she will not forget this moment for the rest of her life.

“Hey Frank, now that I know you’re here, I can show you around, there’s some things you probably don’t know about that you might enjoy, okay? I’ll be around soon.” And with that he winks and turns around with the child.

~

Gerard is already back in the room, seeming to have taken a shower as he lays in the only chair with a towel around his waist.

“How’d it go?” he immediately questions.

“Fine, I think, they’ll set her up for adoption. But, um, I met a friend, someone I knew from when we were teenagers, he’s a first-class officer now.”

“Cool, he’s not a pompous asshole or anything like the other guards?”

“No, Bob is still Bob, loyal as fuck to everything and that’s always been his problem. But he promises to come around and show us what other mysteries this place holds.”

It’s still afternoon, and with no plans you decide to find a chest room to play. Gerard decides to stay and rest, his muscles hurting him a little.

You find an open room, a few pairs playing at tables and you sit down at an empty one and wait for a partner. You’ve never been good at chest, or games, or pretty much anything, but when your options are limited you find yourself picking up new interests.

A older man sits down at the table and makes the first move. Already you can tell this game will end poorly on your end.

“So what do you do?” the man asks.

“What do you mean?”

“What’s your job here? What do you do?” he insists.

“I don’t do anything, I’m just here,” you respond, unwilling and fearful to reveal what your job apparently is.

“I’ve seen officers at your door, and not just any officers, commanding officers, people closer to the top, I’m not spying, but I can’t help being curious,” he says eyeing you.

“I’ve lost a mate and now I have a new one, that’s all, I don’t choose who they send to my door.” You hope your tone conveys finality.

“Anyway, I got your King,” the man replies.

~

You walk back into your flat, confused and scared at what that man was insinuating, but something familiar snaps you back.

“Frankie, stop taping for one second and get over here and help me move this table. But there’s a blue bird out the window, I didn’t think they existed anymore mom, but there it is and I want to describe it. All right, we’ll do it together. Small, about the size of a rat, but skinny like it hasn’t eaten. Has it eaten mom? Of course it has, now it’s color is blue, but more like a midnight blue and look his stomach is orange!”

“What the fuck are you doing?”

Gerard turns around and shuts the tape off. He looks ashamed, but you don’t care. Those tapes are the most important things you have, they are the only things you have and they are private and painful and fuck him for trespassing on your personal life.

“Give me my fucking recorder now,” you scream, walking to the other side of the bed and ripping it out of his hands.

“I didn’t mean to invade, I was just curious, I didn’t know what was on it, but it was beautiful Frank, it was, and it made me miss my family so much, I have nothing, not one thing to remember them with, the sound of their voices are disappearing from my mind every day and I’m sorry Frank, it wasn’t my place,” he cries, sincerely distressed, his eyes wide.

You don’t know what to feel – everything over the pass week has been more than you can handle, absolutely insane – secrets, dead people, the living, breathing life of this structure taking over everything. So you just take your recorder and lie down on Ray’s bed, curling into a ball and hoping for things to settle. Your chest heaves and sighs for some time, but it smoothes out and that’s Gerard’s cue to come to you.

“I’m sorry Frank, I’ll respect your privacy,” he murmurs.

“It’s all right, I just, it’s hurts to hear it and I wasn’t expecting it and there’s just so much going on that it seems almost tortuous. I miss my parents and I want to see them alive just like you want to see your brother.”

“I know, I know and we will, Frank, I promise you.” And with that he leans over, hair falling down to create a dark curtain around his face and he stops slowly at your lips and touches them gently with his own.

“Gerard –“

“Go to sleep, it’s been a long day.”

~

It’s the middle of the night when the door opens.

“Frank, Frankieee, wake up, it’s meee,” Bob tries to whisper. He shakes Gerard’s shoulder and Gerard practically jumps out of the bed about to take Bob down.

“Oh shit, you’re not Frank, where’s Frank, man?” Bob nonchalantly inquires as if he startles friends and roommates in the middle of the night all the time.

“Bob, what the fuck are you doing here? How did you get in?” you reply, groggily rubbing your eyes to try to see in the dark.

“It’s time to show you the good stuff, get dressed, he can come too,” he says, nodding his head at Gerard.

You and Gerard get dressed and quietly follow Bob down the winding walkways, but Bob can’t seem to stop whispering things behind him that you can’t even hear.

Entering another secret stairwell, you make a walk down ten flights of stony steps until you reach a clearing with red lights and flashing strobes.

Walking in it’s revealed to you that there are cages of people - naked women dancing around poles and chairs - men sitting around and staring with their jaws almost disconnected.

“So here it is boys, just like the red-light districts before, but better – anything you want, there’s no judgment here, just fun – everyone wears a mask for some kind of autonomy, but it’s mostly for entertainment,” Bob explains, handing over black masks that cover the eyes.

You look at Gerard before donning your mask, and he just shrugs his shoulders. You’ve never done anything crazy and open like this, being only sixteen when you were taken away, but maybe Gerard has some experience seeing as he’s older.

You each walk your separate ways and you ogle each spectacle amazed or put off and you can’t help but feel a little awaken. There are rooms that advertise 15, 30, or 60 minutes with a female or rooms to watch videos by yourself or rooms with glass walls with people fucking each other senseless inside for all to watch on the outside. There are tons of neon lights and stands with sex toys. There are booths and shower stalls and dirty bathrooms. You’ve never seen something so depraved yet so thought out – people trapped inside this immeasurable building stripped of basic things, including sex, and here it is, all spread out as one wicked sex carnival.

You wonder around, unsure and overwhelmed, when you spot Gerard, despite his mask, looking into a glass room with two men fucking. You watch him watch them, the blacks of his eyes the only thing you can see, a finger playing with a strand of his hair. Finally he moves, and it surprises you when he walks into a room labeled for men only. You don’t know what to feel – being gay is fine and not at all unexpected from the way he acts with you – but that’s just it, the way he acts with you.

Is it dumb to think that maybe something special was building between you two? You’ve never been through something like this – a relationship, a build-up to a relationship, fuck, just feeling like you like someone enough to sleep in bed with them – but maybe Gerard has and this is all old news to him. You’re just a warm body, a friend, a coworker, someone to replace what he lost on the outside. You have no reason to expect anything from him, and if you were wise you would partake in some play too.

You walk into the room that Gerard did and someone is waiting at a desk to direct you to the next available room. While you wait you down a glass of vodka and orange juice, and it’s almost the fresh taste of orange that gets you drunk. After some time you’re room number is called and as you are about to step into the small flat, you spot Gerard walking out and you try to get inside before he sees you.

He grabs you by your arm and looks in your eyes. In your periphery you see a man waiting inside lying on a bed.

“What are you doing?” he asks.

“I’m doing what you just did, is that a problem?” you reply as you try shaking off his grip.

“No, just be careful, I get the sense this is your first time.”

And he’s right, you have only kissed a girl or two, but things like that aren’t a priority when the world is ending.

“I can handle myself, just like you Gerard,” and that comes out way more heated than you intended.

He walks away and you walk inside. The man is good looking, and there’s no need to worry about sexual diseases as everyone is tested upon arrival and kept separate.

“So what do you want to do?” he purrs.

“Um, I don’t know, this is, I’ve never been here before.”

“That’s okay, your not the only one,” he winks, “Just get down on the bed and I’ll massage you.”

You take off your shirt and lay down on the bed. You haven’t felt sheets this soft in forever and the man’s hands on your shoulders are more than nice. Soon you’re relaxed, but you take a few more drinks he offers you. Your pants slide off and you forget to take your shoes off first, but you’re not too embarrassed in front of this stranger anymore.

“You know you’re more beautiful than most people around here,” he breathes.

“Don’t lie, I hate liars.”

“It’s true, your eyes are huge and inviting, your lips supple, your skin smooth, I know it sounds cheesy, but really I’m telling the truth.”

“I don’t even know your name,” you falter.

“Brian Schechter, and you are?” He smiles.

“I’m Frank Iero. You know, you’re tattoos aren’t bad, especially this one on the neck, I wish I had some, I have so many ideas drawn up.”

“Well, Frank, this is your lucky day, I know a man, a close friend who could do some work on you, maybe for free or for a favor, but it can be done.”

“Really? That would be great,” you whisper, easing into Brian’s embrace.

“Do you want to do anything? We don’t have to,” he asks.

“Where else do you have tattoos?”

“Everywhere.”

“Then show me them all.”

~

You walk into your flat at about 5 am tired as hell. You’re not sure whether to get into your bed with Gerard, or Ray’s bed.

“What time is it?” a voice startles you.

“Um, 5 or something. What bed do I sleep in?” you utter.

“I don’t care, you’re a big boy, do what you want,” and with that he turns on his stomach and closes his eyes.

You just step into Ray’s bed and curl over to save what you think is another drama for tomorrow.

~

You sleep late into the day, thrilled in your dreams that you hear no knocking on your door. You finally get up at about 2 pm and take a shower and scrounge around for food. You take your food back into your room to eat when a knock occurs. You heave yourself up, expecting officers to whisk you away, but it’s not them - it’s Brian.

“Hey man, what are you doing here?”

“Well, you wanted tattoos and my man is free, grab those sketches and let’s get going,” he replies as if the answer is obvious.

“Do we have a second? I was just about to eat,” you ask.

“Yeah, sure, can I look at your drawings?” he asks as he moves into your room. He’s dressed in regular clothing, something you might wear.

“Definitely, they’re not the best, but you know.” You take a book out from your small shelf and hand it to him.

“These are actually really good, how about these swallows? They’re great, really kind of epic – relates to sailors.”

The door creeks open and Gerard walks in, startled to find another man sitting on the bed.

“Um, Gerard, this is Brian and Brian, Gerard,” you explain, a little anxious.

“I recognize you, yeah, you’re one of those whores from last night,” Gerard sneers.

“And I believe you were a patron, so what’s the problem here?” Brian replies, clearly not bothered by Gerard’s insinuations.

“Um, I’m going to get a tattoo, isn’t that cool?” You try to change the subject.

“Yeah, whatever, I guess, but be back soon in case…”

“Yeah, yeah, let’s go,” and you drag Brian out of the room.

“What was that all about? Is he your boyfriend or whatever?”

“I have no idea what’s going on, I’m just going to ignore for it now – so where to?”

“Level 954,” Brian responds, and you follow his lead – yet another person, excluding you, that knows how to move about.

~

Brian and you are standing outside the wall near your flat. You’re stomach is kind of sore and it’s almost time to take a shower and run hot water over your new birds.

“Frank, can I see you again? Not like at the red-light district, but as dating, maybe or something like that,” Brian spits out, lower lip in mouth. This is unexpected, at least a little.

“Uhm, yeah, my life has kind of flipped upside down lately, but I’d honestly like to get to know you more.”

“Good,” he sighs and gently kisses you on the lips.

“I got to go,” you say, trying to hide your blush and keep it causal.

You turn to your door when he calls out “if you ever need to find me, level 4000, room 4562, okay?”

“Okay.”

You walk into your room and Gerard is still there sitting on the bed, looking through your book of stretches.

“So which one did you get?” he asks.

“The birds,” and you lift up your shirt and slowly peel off the bandages to show him the designs on your stomach.

“Wow man,” he stands up, “I kind of just want to touch them underneath my fingers,” and he gets closer.

“Well you can’t,” and you smack his hand away, “They need to heal first. I have to go wash them now with this soap they gave me.”

“Can I come along, I mean to shower?”

“I can’t stop you from showering, especially if you stink man, I don’t want that,” you smile, confused with his change in attitude but happy regardless.

~

Gerard stays on the other side of the shower while you undress. You’re glad no one else is in here in case they ask where you got the tattoos done. There is little hot water to spare, but it feels good over your raw skin. You go to grab your soap, but Gerard quickly snatches it from your hand and squirts some into his own. He stands behind you, and starts to massage the soap onto the tattoos as gently as possible.

His body is so close to yours, his hair on his body sticking out and tickling your back. He pours a little of the soap on top of your head and begins to massage your hair and rinse it out. Finally you turn around and his body is so beautiful, but you’re more than confused or irritated.

“Why are you doing this Gerard?”

“I, um, we’re close, aren’t we?”

“Well we weren’t close last night when you decided to fuck someone random,” you reply looking away.

“You did the same thing!”

“Look I didn’t know that’s what Bob was going to show us, and I didn’t expect to partake in any of it, which I did not, we didn’t do anything, just talked and relaxed. But he likes me as a person, like a boyfriend or something, and maybe I like him too, I don’t know, but you’re not making this easier or any bit clearer,” you whisper.

“Whatever Frank, I’m sorry for what I did, I don’t know what is going on between us and I don’t know, just let me know if Brian does anything bad to you.” And with that he grabs a towels and walks out.

~

“Way, Iero, where were you?” Officer Parker barks.

“Just taking showers, we’re here now, so what is it?” Gerard replies.

“Double suicide, young, level 2000, room 2389 to level C – it’s of great importance that you complete this as fast as possible.”

You two quickly get dressed and follow the officer to the portal to get to the lower level.

You open the door and it’s almost serene. A man and woman are lying in their bed together holding hands, eyes shut and legs entwined. An unlabeled, empty bottle on the nightstand.

You each take a reinforced bag and a body and place them inside. You look outside the door and stretchers have appeared. You heave the bodies on them and get to the portal.

“I’m nervous, I don’t want to go down there, it’s the heart of like some fucking concrete beast, I swear, didn’t you feel it last time?” you frantically assert instead of ask.

“I felt fine, but I can’t push both of these at the same time, I need your help Frank!”

The elevator stops and before you even step out you can feel the monster of the maze breathing down your neck. You each start to push a stretcher forward, taking sharp turns every so often. You feel the air getting warm, sticky and smelly. You go to make a turn and Gerard is gone. You scream out his name, but it doesn’t even echo.

It’s dark, but somehow it’s dimly lit by a far off light that might be coming from the middle. Maybe that’s where Gerard is, maybe he fell into a portal and now you have to find him. You leave your stretcher where it is, no longer caring, and you start to run but you can’t remember which way is forward or backward.

You run one way, then another, and you keep coming back to the stretcher with the body bag on top. You stop to catch your breath, your anxiety rising, the feel of the tunnels closing in on you when you see a jarring motion come from inside the bag.

“No, no, this can’t be happening, GERARD, please,” you cry, sliding down the stone wall of the tunnel. You see zipping lights flashing before your eyes, a phantom weight keeping your limbs cumbersome, it’s all an illusion, the body moving within the bag, an illusion, please.

You vomit all over your shirt, almost aspirating the contents into your lungs as you struggle to breath. You roll over coughing and coughing and wiping your mouth on your shirt. You look up and a hand is extending itself from the bag, ripping it open.

You start to crawl away on the ground, the gravel and concrete tearing at your knees, making them bloody but you have to keep moving.

Something grabs your leg and you stop lifeless. Yet, something compels you to look back, and it’s the young woman with her mouth wide open and breathless. You shake her off of your ankle, she’s fucking dead, but she’s not because she finally speaks.

“It’s not real Frank, they want our bodies-“

Someone runs up and hits you and the woman on the head.
Tags: empire city, frank/gerard, mcr
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