Gerard/Bob. Non-explicit. 1,737 words.
Bob hadn't gone far.
When the Sun Came Up
Gerard got dressed as fast as he could, but when he stepped off the bus it was obvious he hadn't needed to hurry. Bob had only gone as far as the nearest picnic table, just outside the bus's long shadow. He was sitting on the tabletop with his back to the bus, a curl of cigarette smoke rising above his head.
Gerard circled carefully, but Bob kept still, staring down at his slippered feet propped on the bench. Gerard moved slowly to sit on the bench by Bob's feet, resting his elbow beside Bob's thigh--not quite touching--and Bob didn't move away from him. That was a start.
"So the thing is, I'm starting to get confused," Gerard said softly, looking away from Bob, down toward the equipment trailers. "Because I keep going to sleep naked, right, which is okay because my bunk gets pretty warm with two people in it, especially when one of them is this really hot drummer. But then I keep waking up all cold, because the really hot drummer guy keeps bolting on me in the morning, and there's hardly any covers in my bunk because they keep getting kicked out, and then I have to get up, and I am so not a morning person, but I keep doing it anyway and I don't know how I feel about this."
Bob exhaled in an amused-sounding way--nowhere near a laugh, but maybe that had been enough to make him smile, at least, so maybe this wasn't anything so bad. Gerard looked up at him, squinting against the too-bright blue of the sky--man, it had to be love, he'd forgotten his sunglasses--and Bob bumped his knee against Gerard's arm and offered him the remaining half of his cigarette. Gerard parted his lips and tilted his head up, and Bob rolled his eyes but set it carefully in his mouth like Gerard was a baby bird.
"It's just this dream," Bob said, frowning slightly as his fingers neatly failed to brush Gerard's lips. "It's stupid."
Gerard took a drag off Bob's cigarette, liking the idea that it would taste a little bit like Bob if it weren't the very instrument of death for ninety percent of Gerard's taste buds. Exhaling with the cigarette still tucked in the corner of his mouth, Gerard said, "Well, that raises the question of degree of stupidity. Because if it's less stupid than doing coke, it's really not like I can call you on it."
Bob smiled a little, but he looked away, reaching to the side away from Gerard for another cigarette and his lighter. Gerard watched him light up and let his mouth run, like he so often did, to fill up Bob's silence, conspicuous in the quiet morning.
"I mean, you're not actually doing coke, are you? I'm not the boyfriend who doesn't notice his boyfriend doing coke, I don't think. Am I? Because I noticed you having bad dreams every morning for, like, a week. It's been a week, right?"
Bob nodded at that, inhaling, and Gerard watched the tip of his cigarette glow bright orange as the sun, still hovering at the horizon on the other side of the bus. "About a week," Bob repeated. "But it's just a stupid dream, Gee, it's nothing. It just annoys me when I first wake up. I'll start getting you a blanket when I get out of bed, okay?"
"I should put this cigarette out on your slipper," Gerard muttered, tapping ash safely over the ground even as he made the incredibly hollow threat. "If you seriously think that what I care about here is being cold when I wake up."
Bob shrugged. "That's the part I can do something about."
Gerard rolled his eyes and took a last long drag off Bob's cigarette, burning it right down to the filter before he threw it in the direction of the trash can, missing by a couple of feet. "Whatever, we can do something about this. We got Toro to stop having those dreams where we did something stupid and pissed him off, and then he would wake up and still be mad at us for it for the whole day. We can handle this. Tell me about your recurring stupid dream, and then we'll rewrite it with an awesome ending so I'll be fucking jealous that I don't get to go to sleep and have that dream every night."
Gerard slouched down to rest his head on Bob's thigh, looking up under the fall of Bob's hair. Bob tossed his cigarette away and muttered, "Did that actually work? That was before my time," and the smoke drifted untidily out of his mouth as he spoke.
Okay, now they were getting somewhere. Bob hadn't had an I-missed-all-the-important-stuff funk for months, not really since the record dropped. But now he was sleeping in Gerard's bunk more often than not and feeling like this again, and Gerard had a sinking feeling he was somehow responsible.
Gerard kept his voice casual. "It sucked, he was seriously pissed at us. He said we had to be shitty friends if he could even dream that, so we must deserve it. And I don't know if we really stopped him or if he just stopped being a crazy person, but we had fun trying."
Bob shrugged again, looking off into the distance. Gerard had a great view of his beard, and the glint of his lip ring, and up his nose, and no angle on his eyes at all. Bob said, "It's just this dream, okay? It's dumb."
Gerard made a tiny encouraging noise and didn't take his head off Bob's thigh, even though he was starting to get a cramp in his neck. Bob would fix it for him if it still hurt later.
"It's about the next tour," Bob said. "About--" he made a little laughing sound, but the jerk of his thigh under Gerard's head felt more like a flinch.
"About the next costume theme, new personas, all that. It's this whole mirror thing and everybody's shiny and cool and these magic versions of themselves, and everybody has a mirror name. Drareg and Yekim and Yar and Knarf--" and the names all rolled easily off Bob's tongue, even the tricky short a in Knarf. He sounded like he'd been on that tour and had to say all those names in interviews, which was sort of cool and sort of sad. Gerard apparently was the kind of boyfriend who let his boyfriend have shitty recurring dreams for about six days longer than he needed to.
"And sometimes Mikey's still gone and we've got Matt, and sometimes he's the coolest of all, right, Zetroc Ttam. And Mrow, of course, we all talk about Mrow in interviews all the time because it's so much fun to say."
Gerard nodded a little. He could hear where this story would go, now, but he wanted Bob to say it to him. Bob finally looked down, settling his hand on Gerard's cheek and tapping a hesitant rhythm from his temple to his jaw.
Gerard closed his eyes as Bob said, "But I'm just Bob. Just the same. And I get up on stage and you guys all have these costumes and awesome characters to play, and I'm just Bob, and then I wake up and need a cigarette."
Wake up next to you, Gerard filled in. And can't stand to be next to you for one more second.
Gerard opened his eyes in a squint. "Is this your way of asking me if the next costume theme is shiny jumpsuits? Because I told you guys I'm still just considering an idea, and I'm not telling you before it's ready."
Bob's mouth twisted into something like a real smile. "Now if it is shiny jumpsuits you're going to tell everybody it was my idea, aren't you? Because it came to me in a dream."
"Yeah," Gerard said, "and then you're going to point out that the first thing I asked you when you told me about it was whether you were doing coke."
"Which you can tell I'm not," Bob said. His smile spread a little wider, almost reaching his eyes as his thumb brushed Gerard's cheekbone. "Because I have enough short-term memory to ask where this rewrite is that my genius boyfriend was supposed to do to make my dumb dream about shiny jumpsuits completely cool."
"Oh," Gerard said, picking up his head so he could look at Bob properly. "That's easy, you don't need a rewrite."
Bob's eyebrow arched skeptically, even as his hand shifted from Gerard's face to the back of his neck. His fingers dug into the twingey muscle on the side and Gerard's mouth fell open as his whole brain went slack for a second. "I don't, huh? You're not going to come up with a cool alternate ending for me?"
"Ahh," Gerard managed. "Nope."
Bob's hand fell away, which was no more than Gerard deserved, and Gerard stood up and moved to stand right in front of Bob, hands on Bob's knees and looking him in the eye. "You don't need an alternate ending," Gerard repeated. "You just need to realize that your name is already a magic word, and what your dream means is that we can put you through this whole funhouse mirror..."
Gerard waved vaguely to indicate the bus, the trailers, three years of touring and insanity, and--most of all--prolonged and intimate contact with Gerard, "and you come out the other side just the same. Just perfectly, awesomely, immutably, irreversibly Bob. And no stupid thing we do is going to change that, and no magic mirror we put you through would ever find anything to improve."
Bob blinked a couple of times and then smiled, blue eyes lighting up just like the morning sky, making Gerard squint as he smiled back. "Well, when you put it like that."
Gerard let his hands slide up, thumbs following the inseams of Bob's pajama pants. "It also means that no matter what I get the rest of the band to do, I won't ever make you wear a shiny jumpsuit, even if it means we don't all match."
Bob leaned in, laughing a little as he pressed a smile of a kiss to Gerard's mouth. "Oh, well, then," Bob muttered. "It must be love."