Band: My Chemical Romance
Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction and does not necessarily reflect on the true sexual orientation of the individuals featured. No harmful intent or defamation of character intended. No profit made in the creation of this.
Notes: Thanks to Mei for the speedy beta. The meteor shower is the Southern Taurids.
Summary: Mikey’s brother needs a vacation. Bob can’t say no.
The leaves had blown off the trees and Bob could feel the first bite of winter cold in the air, signalling snow not far behind, when Gerard Way arrived at Bob’s bed and breakfast to get inspired. Gerard actually called it a retreat in the short e-mail he sent Bob letting him know when he planned to arrive and thanking Bob for letting him come. However, according to Mikey and Ray, who both phoned to badger Bob into letting Gerard come up even though Bob had planned on taking the winter off for the first time since he opened, Gerard needed to take a break to prevent burn out. Bob had known Mikey and Ray for longer than he really cared to think about so when they’d both asked he had given in without too much of a fight. It wasn’t as if he’d been planning on going anywhere.
Even though he’d known Mikey for ages Bob had only met his brother a handful of times so he had only hazy memories as a guide when he had gone to pick up Gerard from the airport. It was three hours away from the bed and breakfast and he’d flown in late on a Wednesday night. Bob had forgot how often flights arrived late so he was stuck waiting and silently cursing the directions from the airline to be early to pick up arrivals. The latest one of Gerard’s books, Demolition Lovers, had been for sale at the duty free shop and Bob had checked the dust jacket photo carefully. In it Gerard had close cropped white hair and smoky grey eyeliner. The photo was in black and white to go with the book being a horror-mystery. He looked nothing like the shy guy who had disappeared unless Mikey had forced him to be social.
Bob had start reading Demolition Lovers as he’d waited for Gerard’s plane to arrive. He always read Gerard’s books because Mikey proudly sent him a copy of each one and, more importantly, Gerard could write an entertaining story. Bob had looked up when he heard a metallic clang instead of the usual shuffle of people moving combined with the whir of the wheels on their bags. Bob had watched as a guy with unruly dark hair bent to retrieve a small green bag that had apparently tumbled out of his two bulging pieces of carry-on luggage both of which looked barely within the size limits. Over his head Bob could see another man with short white hair who Bob assumed must be Gerard. He watched the guy give up trying to stuff the green bag back where it can come from and simply push it into the already sagging front pocket of his hoodie. The white haired man turned around enough for Bob to see his age wrinkled face. Not Gerard then.
Out of habit, from picking up other customers, Bob had made a sign for Gerard. The clumsy guy paused again and this time Bob realized that he might not have looked like the Gerard on the dust jacket but he did look vaguely like the guy Bob remembered from Mikey’s parties. One bag slipped down and Gerard paused to hitch it higher on his shoulder. He looked over at Bob, gaze taking in the sign Bob was holding up, and he grinned wide and bright showing a truly spectacular array of tiny teeth. He also awkwardly waved one hand while still trying to hold onto his bag. The bag slipped. Bob grabbed it before it could land on his foot.
“Sorry, man, I’m so tired.” Gerard said trying to retrieve his bag from Bob while Bob shifted just enough to discourage him.
After retrieving his other luggage Gerard had to stop for coffee. He managed to talk the boy working at the counter into giving him a cup that Bob could have sworn was just about double the size of the large that was on display. He also got one for Bob without asking which Bob found bizarrely charming even though he usually hated when anyone did something for him without asking.
Gerard spent the entire three hour drive telling Bob about what Mikey was doing, the book tour his publisher insisted on, and how gratefully he was that Bob was letting him stay all while reassuring him that he wouldn’t be in the way at all. He also wanted to know all about running a bed and breakfast. Bob explained how it could be all the meals if the person was staying longer. This led to a tangent on the imprecision of naming things which managed to meander back to the original question. Gerard also wanted to know all about the area and its history. He sighed sadly when Bob had to explain that there were no local monster stories – not even one lonely ghost.
As they got closer to Bob’s home the roads got emptier and the number of lights grew fewer and fewer. They drove, seeing lights only on the distant horizon, until Bob turned into the treed driveway where the yard light stood out like a far away beacon. The headlights turned the branches whitish grey. There was a green flash of eyes reflecting in the headlights and Bob heard Gerard make a startled gasp as he noticed. Bob braked. A large coyote stalked across the road. Its coat gleamed in the headlights and Bob could tell it had been eating well.
“Holy shit!” Gerard exclaimed. “Bob, did you see that wolf?!”
“Nah, it’s just a coyote.”
“That thing was huge.” Gerard said bouncing in his seat.
“Wolves are way bigger, trust me.”
“Oh wow, oh wow. You’ve seen wolves, do you get wolves here?”
“Sure, sometimes but not as often anymore, they like to be away from people.”
“Oh.” Gerard said and Bob felt bad that he’d lost some of his earlier joy.
* * *
Gerard hadn’t been kidding when he’d promised that he wouldn’t be in Bob’s way. As far as Bob could tell he rarely left the guest quarters. He’d had other customers who’d been the same way although, unlike Gerard, they had managed to turn up for meals. Bob had a feeling this was not what Mikey and Ray had in mind when they wanted Gerard to take a break. After the first week Bob would have been wondering if Gerard was actually alive if not for the evidence of Gerard’s coffee making and the light that burnt long into the night in the guest quarters.
Bob was just beginning the dough for cinnamon coffee bread when Gerard appeared in the kitchen doorway without a sound. His hair was askew and he had ink smudged on his face. His eyes widened as he took in the bowl of dough and the bags of flour leaning against the counter.
“You can make bread? That is so awesome.” Gerard gestured with his coffee cup while he talked and Bob was happy to see it was empty enough that coffee wasn’t going to be slopping all over his nice clean floor. Gerard plopped down on a stool and stared at Bob.
“How is everything?” Bob asked because it was what he always asked his customers.
“Awesome. Mikey was right. It’s beautiful up here.”
“It’s even better if you go out sometimes.” Bob pointed out dryly.
Gerard pushed his hair back distractedly, “I know but I have deadlines and you know if they go whooshing past I’m so fucked. I can’t get new ones.”
“Mikey said you needed a break.”
“Mikey worries about me.” Gerard said fondly.
Bob cracked an egg into the bowl. “Mikey said you didn’t have anything due until next year.”
“Yeah, but that’s sooner than you think. My publisher might drop me if I miss a deadline.”
“You’re a best-selling novelist, I doubt they’d drop you after one deadline.”
Gerard tugged at his hair. “That’s what Mikey said but Bob, that just encourages sloppiness, what if I miss one and it gets to be a habit? I don’t want that habit, Bob.”
“Right, but you could take a bit of a break. I don’t think you’ve even had a decent meal yet.”
Gerard shrugged and took a drink of coffee. Bob watched as he put the mug down and looked at it, obviously puzzled that it was already empty. His eyes darted around the kitchen until he found Bob’s brushed steel coffee thermos.
“The left-overs were good.” He said as he carefully poured himself more coffee.
“They’re better hot.”
Bob sprinkled on the first bit of flour to the dough. Gerard propped himself against the counter and watched as Bob worked in more flour. As the dough thickened he stopped using a stirring stick and began kneading with his hands. Gerard watched in rapt fascination.
“I don’t know anybody who can do that. I couldn’t do that.” He finally said as Bob began giving the ball of dough its final few kneads.
Gerard sounded so wistful that Bob glanced up at him. His mouth had dropped into a slight frown and he was looking down at the dough squishing between Bob’s hands.
“I could teach you, next time I make a batch.”
“Really? That’d be awesome.” Gerard grinned bouncing on his toes and slopping coffee onto the cuff of his sweater. “Mikey’ll be so impressed.”
Gerard’s enthusiasm was infectious and Bob couldn’t help smiling back at him. He knew that he would need to make some plain bread soon and with Gerard still grinning about the possibility of making bread he decided to move his schedule up just a touch.
“You want to give plain bread a try right now?”
“Um.” Gerard’s smile dimed and he looked torn.
Bob was certain he was thinking about his deadlines. “It’ll just be a little break,” he coaxed.
It suddenly seemed important that the glow returned to Gerard’s smile. He had been so enthused about the possibility and Bob wanted him to actually do it. He gave Gerard his sternest look.
“Think of it as a break to get recharged.”
Gerard nodded and pushed his sleeves up. “Turn me into a baker, Bob.”
They carefully mixed up the dough and Bob showed Gerard how to tell by touch when enough flour had been added to the dough. After the dough had risen for a second time Bob let Gerard slide the pans into the oven. Gerard had flour on his nose and dusted over the apron Bob had insisted he wear. He leaned on the counter, dragging his finger through the flour that had been split on it earlier. Bob looked down and realized that Gerard was drawing ghosts in the flour.
“Next book about ghosts?”
“Huh? Oh, no, not really. I mean ghosts are awesome but not like for the series, y’know?”
Bob nodded and put the kettle on for more hot water.
“Have you read them?” Gerard asked looking abashed.
“Sure, Mikey always sends me a copy.”
Bob hastened to reassure Gerard, “they’re good, it’s not like I read them just because Mikey sends them.”
The scent of baking bread filled the kitchen as Gerard began to tell Bob about all the things his editors told him he didn’t need to have in the books. When he talked Gerard liked to use hand movements to illustrate his point. Bob moved the sugar bowl out of his reach. Gerard’s hands fluttered like falling leaves as he tried to explain how difficult it was to describe the movement of the modern dance that had given the hero the last clue to solve the murder in The Black Parade. The timer went off just as Gerard was in the middle of using the split flour to draw out the action scene that was giving him problems in the draft of Cemetery Drive. Bob bent and retrieved the bread pans. Gerard abandoned his flour drawing to hover aniouxly next to Bob asking him how the bread had turned out. Bob gently tipped the pans, catching each loaf and putting it on a wire rack.
“Looks good, but you don’t know until you try it.”
Gerard nodded seriously. Bob handed him the buttering brush and told him to lightly butter the top of each loaf while he finished extracting the rest of bread from the oven.
The bread in the last pan stuck. Bob knew the trick to getting it out was a combination of wiggling the loaf just right and tapping on the pan. His potholder slipped as he tried to wiggle the loaf and he yelped when the hot metal of the pan burnt his fingers. The pan dropped with a clang onto the wire rack as Bob shook his hand. Gerard looked up from where he was carefully brushing the tops of the loaves.
“Are you okay?”
“Just a little burn.”
Gerard grabbed Bob’s hand and inspected his reddened fingers for a second before popping them in his mouth. He sucked gently on them, tongue caressing the tips, and to his horror Bob could feel himself growing hard. He shifted a bit and that broke the spell. Gerard dropped his hand as though it burned him and stumbled back.
His cheeks flushed with embarrassment and he mumbled, “Mom always used to do that.”
Bob moved over to the sink and turned on the cold water. Pretending nothing happened seemed like the easiest course of action. He really didn’t want to think about his mother doing what Gerard has just done. Gerard stared at him, shifting nervously from foot to foot, while Bob let the cold water numb his fingers. The silence stretched uncomfortably between them.
“You want to taste the bread?” Bob finally asked and Gerard nodded gratefully.
* * *
After that morning Gerard took to hanging out in the kitchen when Bob was cooking. Gerard had a wicked sense of humour once he gave it free reign instead of worrying that he’d inadvertently offend Bob with his off colour jokes. However, he was careful to keep his distance from Bob. It was disconcerting to have Gerard flinching back from him when he got too close. For his part, Bob did his best not to think about Gerard’s mouth on his fingers and how Gerard’s mouth might look stretched around his cock. Dirty thoughts about a guest were a bad idea especially when the guest in question was Mikey’s brother.
Gerard begins dragging his sketch pads with him and setting up camp in Bob’s kitchen while he works. Bob watches as he draws out action scenes in quick slashing lines then scribbles cramped notes next to them. Bob likes to watch when he draws the detailed portraits of his characters or pictures completely out of his head. Gerard gets lost in the gentle slide of his pencil across the page. Sometimes he rips the finished pages out and gives them to Bob. He pins them onto the fridge which makes Gerard grin. Making Gerard grin is something Bob finds that he really likes to do. In his bi-weekly phone calls Mikey always quizzes Bob about what his brother is doing. Once he finds out that Bob is supervising, he’s pleased to hear that Gerard has decided to learn to bake. Bob makes him promise to act surprised when Gerard demonstrates because Gerard has been telling him, in exhaustive detail, about his plans to show Mikey his slowly improving bread making skills.
* * *
Bob wakes up to the sound of the wind howling against the side of the house. He listens to the wind and hears the familiar shushing of blowing snow. The floor is colder than usual and he knows that he’ll have to turn up the heat. He peers out the window. It isn’t a surprise to see that the few flakes that had begun drifting down late the previous night have turned into a blizzard. The wind is whipping the fallen snow along making it shift into drifts that Bob knows will turn solid enough to walk on before the day is over. He pulls on an extra sweater and goes to start breakfast.
He’s surprised to find Gerard pacing in the kitchen.
“We’re trapped.” He tells Bob.
Bob stares out the window at the snow swirling around the end of the hedge of trees that mark off the south boundary of the yard. A drift is forming, striking out like a pointing finger, from the base of the hedge but it isn’t anywhere near the height a drift would need to be for them to be trapped. He looks back at Gerard, who has stopped pacing to gnaw at his thumb nail while clutching his coffee mug to his chest, his eyes are wide.
“Are we going to hafta resort of cannibalism?” he asks enthusiastically which Bob would find creepy if he hadn’t already listened to Gerard’s long rambling monologues about horror films and how difficult it is to properly research things like cannibalism and raising zombies.
“I doubt it.” Bob tells him.
“Oh good, I’d hate to have to eat you.” Gerard informs him earnestly and gives him a pat on the shoulder for good measure.
It is the first contact that Gerard has initiated since the finger incident, as Bob as taken to thinking about it, and Bob smiles back at him. It’s nice even if it doesn’t really help his lustful attraction. Bob makes them both breakfast and explains to Gerard about how when winter comes it isn’t unusual to have to hole up for days at a time when the weather gets really bad. He shows Gerard the back up generators and explains how it’s almost impossible to lose a cell signal even if the landline phone might go out. Gerard slowly calms down and stops worrying about the possibility of being trapped with no provisions (Bob’s amply stocked cellar is met with a very impressed stare) for the winter.
Gerard spends the day with his laptop and sketch book spread out over the dinning room table. He hums distractedly when Bob asks if he wants lunch but wanders into the kitchen when he hears the clang of the pot against the burner. Bob lets him help make the stew. They eat in companionable silence. Every once in a while Gerard’s foot will nudge against Bob’s ankle. Bob pretends not to notice.
Gerard helps with the dishes. Bob is almost certain that he makes their fingers touch deliberately. He makes a fresh pot of coffee and settles into his favourite easy chair. Bob has the new Pete Wentz to read courtesy of Mikey. The click of Gerard typing interspersed with the scratch of his pen against the paper compliment the softening howl of the wind. Bob glances up and meets Gerard’s gaze. Gerard flushes and returns his attention to his sketch book. Bob goes back to his book.
He’s just at the part where the narrator is about to confront his doppelganger when he feels Gerard’s eyes on him again. This time Bob peaks over the top of the book and watches Gerard watching him. He has a soft smile on his face. It feels almost too private for Bob to intrude on even though he’s the one being stared at. He returns to his book but part of his attention is still focused on Gerard. He doesn’t relax again until he hears Gerard shift and begin drawing again. For the rest of the afternoon Bob is conscious of the quick looks Gerard is sneaking at him. Each time their gazes meet, Gerard flushes and pretends to be busy with his work.
By nightfall the wind has died down and the sun has set in a blaze of reds and yellows. Gerard, just like he has every night since he arrived, watched the sunset standing in huge west window. The shadows deepen to dark blue in the twilight. Bob stands behind Gerard and soaks in Gerard’s awe at the sunset. He finds it nice to be reminded of how beautiful the country is for somebody unused to it.
The clock chimes nine and Bob puts his book down.
“Come on, get dressed. I’ve got something to show you.”
“It’s freezing out,” Gerard protests.
Bob shakes his head. Gerard hasn’t even seen freezing yet. He ignores Gerard’s protests and herds him into the coatroom. There he bundles Gerard into one of his old winter coats since Gerard’s own coat is built for milder east coast winters. Gerard winds a long stripped scarf around his neck. He lets the ends hang down his front so that they swirl around his waist as he moves.
The air is frigid outside and their breath forms white clouds. Gerard clumps along next to Bob as they struggle over the snow drifts to get into the open area past the hedges. The crescent moon is just starting to dip towards the horizon when they make it past the hedges. When the first howls of the coyotes fill the air Gerard squeaks and grabs Bob’s gloved hand tightly. His eyes widen when Bob tells him what the howls are and Bob feels mischievous enough to howl back at the coyotes.
“You’ll bring them here, stop it.” Gerard hisses at him.
Bob grins at him and gives a long drawn out howl. The coyotes answer back with a series of short staccato barks riding over top of their low baying. Bob yips his answer and they howl back. Beside him Gerard is bouncing on his toes.
“Can I try?” he whispers and Bob nods.
Gerard’s yips sound like a young pup’s and the coyotes answer him with a chorus of yipping that rises and swells into their distinctive howls. They stand quietly listening to the howls fade away until the night is silent again.
“Holy fuck.” Gerard whispers reverently.
“Now, look up.” Bob says quietly.
Overhead the first meteors are starting to streak through the sky. Their distinctive white trails flare between the stars. Gerard tips his head back further and leans back. Snow crunches under their boots as they shift into a better position. Gerard leans back against Bob as he looks into the sky. His mouth is open in a wide grin. Seeing Gerard’s glee brings back Bob’s memories of his own first time seeing a meteor shower. He leans down and kisses Gerard’s happy grinning mouth. It feels so right to kiss Gerard under the night sky. His teeth are chilled from the cold air but he presses into the kiss. His tongue strokes over Bob’s lower lip before disappearing. Bob can’t help but nip gently at Gerard’s lower lip as he pulls away.
“Finally,” Gerard breathes. He twists so that he is chest to chest with Bob.
“What?” That wasn’t the reaction Bob was expecting now that his mind has caught up with his impulsive decision.
“I like you. I was just, uh, waiting for a sign.” Gerard says softly.
“I thought I’d put you off that day in the kitchen.” Gerard confides.
“You really really didn’t.” Bob assures him and bends down to kiss him again. This time Gerard presses his whole body against Bob as they kiss.
“Come to bed?” Bob asks against Gerard’s mouth.
Gerard pulls away just enough that he can see Bob’s face. “Let me watch the meteors just a bit long?”
“You can warm me up later.” Gerard promises.
Bob pulls Gerard back against him so he can wrap his arms around Gerard in a tight hug. Gerard’s head is pillowed against his chest. A meteor flares bright green for an instant and Gerard gasps. Bob squeezes him gently and tips his own head back to watch the sky with Gerard.