Three Cheers for Tragic Ends

Chapter Five

August 12th, 1997

“Gee-bear?” The blonde boy poked his head around the doorframe to the artist’s room, wearing an oversized sweatshirt down to his knees and appearingly no pants. He shuffled into the room more, looking ridiculously stupidly shy with his fingers curled barely over the edges of the sleeves. Gerard raised an eyebrow as Mikey stopped, and leaned into the doorframe, and said, “I need new pants.”

“You need new pants.” The noirette repeated the words and he set his issue of Doom Patrol down next to him– the one that he’d read so many times over he knew the script like the back of his hand. “Uh, might I ask why?”

Mikey sighed dramatically, waving his arms about in exaggeration. “Because.” He let his arms fall down and the sleeves came with them, covering the entirety of his hands. “I can’t just walk around in this… this dress,” he grumbled.

Gerard snorted, and he held his arms out to his brother, motioning for the younger boy to come towards him. “Get over here, dork,” he smiled, voice light and joking. Mikey shuffled closer to him and sighed, and said, “I feel ridiculous.”

“You are ridiculous,” he ricocheted. “But ridiculous won’t get you new pants with my dwindling supply of cash; so tell me why you need new ones.”

“The old ones got too small,” Mikey whined, and blushed. “My ass wouldn’t fit into them.”

“You have no ass,” Gerard laughed, and Mikey cried, “I do too!”

“Alright, you have a flat ass. And I guess you have been getting bigger– taller. I meant taller,” he quickly corrected when his brother gave him a glare, face flushed. “Okay… I guess,” the older boy finally shrugged. Mikey grinned.

“Really, you mean it?”

“Yeah, I mean it. We can’t have you walking around with that flat ass of yours hanging out, jeez.” Gerard reached out and ruffled Mikey’s bleached hair, and gave an open laugh. Mikey humphed at him.

“Can we go today though? I’m kinda in urgent need,” the younger boy asked, slightly pleading. Gerard shrugged, and pushed himself off his bed and made way to his dresser.

“Yeah, just let me find you some bottoms…”

“Remember when I said I felt ridiculous?” Mikey asked. Gerard turned the radio down and looked over at the passenger seat to his brother, who was pulling an Eeyore. He made a noise of recognition and Mikey said, “Well I lied. I really feel ridiculous now.”

“Shut up, it’s not that bad,” Gerard said, and rolled his eyes. The artist’s khaki cargo shorts were already ghastly to begin with, and they admittedly did hang off the blonde boy three sizes too big; but the kid was small, what could you do. “You’re just lucky they cover your weird-ass knees.”

“Do you have to make fun?” Mikey pouted.

“It’s my job,” Gerard said, and smiled at the younger boy.

“I thought it was your job to protect me,” Mikey retorted sarcastically.

“Of course– from everyone but me.” And he laughed, boisterously, and turned the radio back up just a bit.

“So where are we going?” Gerard asked after a while. They were currently driving through the miserably small town of White Oak; because once you escaped the Grove, there was still more– a school, and a few shops, a deli and coffee place that didn’t serve stuff too bad, and Gerard was tempted to stop there and abandon his brother for an hour or so, but Mikey pulled him out of his thoughts.

“There,” he said, and pointed to a store on the corner of a block. Gerard turned the car and parked in front of a small store, a shop called Wired with the ‘R’ all backwards and a fat period at the end. It looked more like a hoodoo shop than something that would sell clothes –let alone clothes his brother would wear– but he wasn’t about to judge. Hell, just because he wore the same three shirts and pairs of boxers didn’t mean that anyone else had to.

“It looks a bit… um.” Gerard said as they stepped out of the car and walked up to the shop. The artist could clearly see now through the window that clothes did indeed inhabit the odd, bijou building.

Mikey turned to him and raised an eyebrow. “Um?” he said. “It looks a bit ‘um’. Ah, okay?”

“Well, whatever,” the noirette sighed, and pushed his way into the shop.

Small bells clanged as the door swung open and Gerard looked up at them, and the few tiny bones that hung along with them. The artist couldn’t tell if they were real or not– he didn’t want to know.

A petite woman with graying hair greeted Mikey as he stepped up to the counter, directing him to the pants section straight away. Gerard still stood in the front of the store, looking around curiously. He was about to just give up and ditch his brother for coffee –which, wow that actually sounded pretty great– when he noticed a compact box in the corner filled with old vinyls. He let out a definitively girlish squeal of appreciation and made his way over to the box, and began leafing through the records.

“Dude,” he called out to his brother, holding up a record, “they have Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness for ten bucks!”

“Buy it!” Mikey practically yelled back, voice full of enthusiasm. Gerard let out a ‘duh’ in response and slipped the album under his arm, continuing to browse through the others.

When he was sure he could spend no more money on vinyls alone, the artist slipped away and into another corner of the store, where he nearly orgasmed again because oh my god, art stuff, this was so cool and everything was priced practically a rip-off to the store– or maybe the old woman running the shop was just extremely generous.

After a bit of time, and a lot of art supply collecting, Mikey called out, “Okay, I’m ready to go!”

Gerard pouted at him but moved away from the stuffed-animal collection he was currently gawking over, and made his way to the counter. He set down three vinyls, a set of graphite pencils and two pads of drawing paper, and a yarn cat on the checkout next to his brother’s two pairs of gray, ripped skinnies and, “Twenty dollar Doc Martens? Damn!”

Gerard blushed and looked down, abashedly at his choice words, “Sorry,” he muttered to the old woman, who smiled and waved him off.

“Not a problem, dear,” she said softly, and began to ring up the items. “Okay, your total today comes to 80 flat.”

Gerard pulled his wallet from his back pocket, and fished four twenties out of it and handed them over, and said, “Worth it, man. I had my doubts about this place but Hell,” and he motioned to the shoes on the counter, “20 bucks? Jesus, man.”

He smiled, and collected the now-bagged items from off the counter, and said to Mikey, “Ready to go, bambino?” Mikey nodded, and hugged his new pants to his chest, looking significantly happier than he had when they’d walked in. “Thank you!” he said, to the old woman, as they were leaving the shop. She simply responded, “Have a nice day.”

“So I’m just letting you know,” Mikey said as they were walking back to the car to deposit their things, “that my total over here was 45, which… oh. Okay, that’s actually more than yours, never mind, ignore me, blah blah blah.” The blonde boy blushed. “Thank you,” he mumbled, and hugged his brother.

“Yeah, no problem, piccolo. Wanna go get coffee?” But the two boys were already making their way across the street to the little coffee shop, an equally odd-looking place titled Smiths with an exclamation point for the ‘I’ and Gerard wonder why as a kid, when he visited Elena, he’d never noticed any of this.

Then again, Elena rarely left the grove. Gerard was starting to think that, really, once you entered the Grove, you didn’t leave. And he wasn’t sure if that was disturbing or not.

He opened the door to the shop and held it open for his brother, who shuffled through happily straight up to the counter and ordered, “Two coffees, black,” smiling all the time at the rather bored-looking teen who stood behind the counter. His name tag read ‘Spencer’.

“Yup, okay that will be 6.50$, please,” he said simply, and Mikey looked back at Gerard, who was still stupidly standing in the doorway (because he had a tendency to do that when he felt out of place).

“Oh, yeah,” he said, and ushered himself up to the counter. He rooted about his wallet again and pullet out two fives, setting them on the counter. Mikey raised an eyebrow slowly, and said, “Dwindling supply, my ass.”

“Your flat ass,” Gerard retaliated, not missing a beat. Mikey pouted, and Gerard took his change back.

“Those coffees will be out in a just a second,” the boy, Spencer said, and then, to seemingly no one, “Brendon! Coffee!”

A boy looking not much older than fourteen popped up behind the counter, so suddenly that it almost gave Gerard a heart attack, and grabbed two cups off the counter swiftly before filling them up with the steaming rich liquid. He smiled a great big smile as he handed the cups over the counter to the brothers, whom the older of let Mikey grab because he was still struggling farcically with his wallet.

“Thank you,” Mikey smiled at the young boy, who grinned with all his teeth and said, “No problem!” and waved frantically as the two made their way over to a table. Gerard barely caught as the older boy, Spencer, shoved the younger one’s arm down and said something about being ridiculous.

There was that word again. Today was seeming like quite a ridiculous day.

“So I asked the lady in Weird,” Mikey began, ignoring when his brother corrected him, “about this Frank of yours.”

“What?” Gerard mumbled into his coffee cup, one eyebrow quirked in curiosity.

“Well, you know. Because I didn’t believe that he was real, right? Anyway, she said that she didn’t really know, but her grandmother lived in the Grove and– apparently the only Frank that’s lived in that town, as far as she knows, hasn’t lived there for a hundred years. A flat hundred. Isn’t that weird?” Mikey derided, and then said, “Conclusion? I’m right; you’re high.”

“Whatever.” Gerard rolled his eyes. “I know that Frank’s real. Just because you haven’t seen him doesn’t mean anything– and so what, because she said ‘as far as she knew’. Which, why would she anyway? Conclusion? You’re a butt. I just bought you 45$ worth of shit and coffee. Stop being a butt.”

“But it’s my job,” Mikey mocked, and then laughed. Gerard blinked at him.

“You think you’re funny,” the artist cooed. “That’s so cute I could just die.” He hid his smirk behind his coffee cup. “Your jokes are as flat as your ass.”

“If you make one more comment about my ass I’m just going to assume you have a thing for it, which, FYI, makes you one of the weird ones–”

“Don’t talk about the weird ones, sheesh!” Gerard cried. Mikey snickered at his older brother.

“Whatever. Your anal retentiveness fuels my being,” the blonde boy said. “All the more to mock you over.”

“You’re so nice,” Gerard purred sarcastically. “Suck a dick.”

“Mm, not my thing,” Mikey said, shaking his head. “I’ll pass.”

“Whatever, anyway.” Gerard set his cup down, now void of contents. “You ready to go?”

“I guess,” the blonde shrugged. He stood up then, and before following his brother out of the shop, turned and called to the young boy behind the counter, “Thanks again,” he called, voice teasing, and he winked at the younger boy, who blushed and busied himself behind the counter.

“Not your thing, huh?” Gerard asked. Mikey shrugged.

“I was being nice,” he countered. “There’s a difference.”

“You were flirting.”

“I have fun.”

Gerard smiled at those words, softly, and when Mikey asked why, he just shrugged him off. “What?”

“Oh, nothing. You just remind me of someone, sometimes.”