Cut My Life Into Pieces
Patiently ignoring Gerard's self-blaming rant, Brian drags Frank onto the tour bus and lies him down on the nearest couch, shaking him roughly awake again. Trying hard not to cry, Gerard looks on helplessly as pain blazes like fire through his injured arm and shoulder and his vision starts to blur with tears. His head is pounding from where he banged it on the concrete when Frank fell on him and he can barely see straight.
With a weak groan Frank opens his eyes and immediately throws up all over Brian, spewing watery vomit everywhere. "Oh god," Gerard croaks, clapping a hand over his mouth as his stomach heaves, "I think I'm gonna be sick too."
“I hope not," Brian sighs, peeling off his puke-stained shirt and putting an empty ice bucket from the mini-bar beside the couch near Frank's head, “Just stay calm and take some deep breaths. I think Frankie’s thrown up whatever was left in his stomach but some of the drugs must already be in his system.” Grabbing a clean dishtowel from the sink, the young manager wraps it tightly around Frank's bleeding arm and anxiously checks his watch, “Okay, the ambulance should be here soon. I'm gonna go grab the first aid kit. Stay here and keep Frank awake, okay? It’s very important."
Gerard nods his aching head and the world begins to spin in his blurred vision as nausea burns the back of his throat and gravity drags him down towards the floor. Suddenly all he wants to do is go to sleep. “Hey!” Brian cries in alarm, “Dude, what’s wrong?”
“Dunno,” the singer mumbles, crumpling to his knees and sagging weakly against Frank's couch, “It's nothing...I’m fine.”
“Like hell you are,” Brian mutters, crouching down beside him, “Your eyes don’t look right, I think you’ve got a concussion.”
“I have?” Frightened, Gerard tries to focus his eyes on Brian’s worried face but it only worsens his headache and he runs a trembling hand through his thick black hair. His fingers come away wet with blood. “Ohhh shit!”
“I've gotta call the hospital again,” Brian says fearfully, “They need to send enough medics to pick you up too and... shit, I can't get cell reception inside the bus! Uh, I'm gonna step outside, okay man? I’ll be gone two minutes tops, just calling the hospital and getting First Aid stuff and I'll call Mikey too so he can come with us. Just hang in there okay? Stay with Frank and don’t let yourself or him fall asleep. Puke in the bucket if you need to. Do you think you can do that?”
“Yeah,” Gerard mumbles, rubbing his eyes as the world slowly stops spinning, “I can do that.”
“Great. Don’t worry, we’ll get through this,” Brian says, trying to reassure himself as much as his friend before jumping up and dashing away down the bus.
Taking a deep slow breath, Gerard concentrates on the hot, angry pain in his arm and uses it to stay alert. Beside him Frank is shivering badly on the couch and there's blood splattered everywhere and soaking through the dishcloth on the guitarist's sliced wrist. “Frankie?” Gerard whispers, stroking Frank's cheek with trembling fingers, “Can you hear me?” Slowly, Frank nods and looks blearily at his friend through swollen eyes misty with pain and poison. His tattooed skin has paled to a lifeless grey-white and his lips are turning blue as he wheezes and gasps for each breath like he‘s in a room with no air.“I'm sorry, Gee,” he sobs in a slurred whisper, “Didn't m-mean...so much…"
"It's okay," Gerard gasps shakily, "It's okay to be sorry but Frank you're really scaring me now. You’re really fucking scaring me! Why did you do this to yourself?!"
Frank’s eyelids flutter closed and he coughs as lightning flashes outside the bus windows. “Didn't w-want this,” he whimpers, "Just w-wanted it to be quiet… to be m-me again. Fuck… I can’t...breathe...”
“Don’t let me die...Gee, please don’t let m-me die!”
“I won’t,” Gerard sobs, tears hot on his cheeks as he looks around helplessly for Brian, “I won’t, you'll be fine, I promise. I’ll take care of you. You’re gonna be alright, but you've gotta stay awake, okay, so open your eyes. You have to stay awake, Frankie, please!”
Frank nods weakly and half-opens his bloodshot green eyes as cold sweat and rainwater trickle down his face. Blood is oozing through his shirt and pooling under his body and it soaks through Gerard’s sleeve as he wraps his arm around Frank's skinny shoulders and hugs him tight.
Outside thunder rolls like bombs through the black sky and the tour bus shakes like the world is falling apart.
Wiping his eyes on the couch‘s armrest, Gerard sits back on the floor and gently pulls Frank down with him so that he can hold him closer. Frank sinks heavily into the singer’s arms, barely conscious, and Gerard gasps as fresh pain rips through his wounded shoulder. Looking around desperately for anything that could improve Frank’s condition, he reaches up with his good arm and opens the window above the couch to let in the storm winds, cradling Frank with the guitarist’s back against his chest so he can breathe better. But it doesn’t help much and he's terrified to hear Frank’s breathing so unsteady, like it could stop at any moment. Blinking past the tears and dizziness in his eyes, Gerard watches in silent terror as his best friend slips further and further away. Where the hell is that ambulance?!
“Brian?” he yells fearfully, “It’s been more than two minutes, where are you?”
“Here!” Brian answers, hurrying back onto the bus with a First Aid kit, “Don’t worry, I'm here. How are you doing? Is Frank still awake?”
“I think so,” Gerard sobs, nuzzling Frank's wet hair as the younger man shivers weakly in his arms, "But he's getting worse, Brian, and I…I don‘t feel so good."
Brian nods shakily, a lump in his throat as he looks between Frank’s pale, wet face and Gerard’s wide, frightened eyes. The singer looks like he's about to faint but the guitarist is clearly fading faster and his eyes are barely open as the strength drains from his body. Blood is splashed on the carpet and on everyone’s clothes and is trickling down Gerard’s face from under his hair. It looks like a war zone in here.
“Let's try not to panic,” Brian says desperately, scraping his fingers through his hair, “The paramedics are on their way so hold on just a little longer guys, both of you, don’t quit on me now.” Ripping open the First Aid pack, the manager puts on a pair sterile medical gloves and starts moving Frank away from Gerard just as Frank’s eyes roll back in his head and he blacks out. “No, no Frankie, wake up!” Gerard cries in a tortured voice, but Frank has sunk into deep unconsciousness and no amount of shouting will bring him back up.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck...” Brian groans, slapping white dressings - soon stained red - against Frank’s injuries. “Here, hold his arm up above his heart and apply pressure if you can,” he tells Gerard, “I think he's cut up his chest too.... Shit! I was never trained to deal with this kind of thing!" Slicing through Frank’s wet t-shirt with a pair of scissors, Brian rips the material away and reveals pale white and crimson-smeared skin.
Then Frank's laboured breathing gets even worse and his unconscious body starts to shudder and jerk violently in Gerard's arms, his head snapping back and forth as he’s wracked with massive convulsions. “Dammit,” Brian cries helplessly, close to tears, “Oh god Frankie!”
“We have to figure out what pills he took,” Gerard sobs as Frank’s body finally falls still again, “Where the fuck is Mikey?!”
“I don't know,” Brian groans, checking Frank’s mouth to make sure he’s still breathing and hasn’t swallowed his tongue, “He didn’t answer his phone when I called him.”
Wiping away the blood on Frank’s torso, Brian gasps in horror when he uncovers a wide bloody slash carved into the left side of the guitarist’s narrow chest. Gerard turns to look as well and his breath catches in his throat when he sees what Frank has done to himself. “That’s… has he cut out his tattoo of her name?!”
There’s a moment of stunned silence and Brian’s mind fills with the echo of Frank’s traumatised screams on the roof tonight: ‘Cut this fucking thing out of me, just stop it! MAKE IT STOP!’ Shaking himself back into the present, Brian presses a thick pad of gauze against the wound and tries to slow the stream of blood flowing from Frank’s fatally pale skin. “He shouldn’t be bleeding this much, should he?” Gerard whimpers, wiping at the blood dripping from his own head injury. “I dunno, but I think pills and alcohol can thin a person's blood until it can't clot properly,” Brian says as pamphlets of medical jargon flash before his eyes, “Combining them like this is lethal, I mean it’s fucking suicide!”
The tour bus’s side-door flies open with a bang and Mikey bursts in wearing a black parka soaking wet from the storm. “What the hell's going on?” the bassist yells when he sees the blood-splattered mess before him, “What happened?”
Gerard looks up woozily and wipes blood out of his eyes as another wave of dizziness rattles through his aching head.
"Mikey, go and check your medication," Brian orders quickly, "Frank's OD’d and we need to know what he took.”
Mikey nods in speechless shock, his eyes big as saucers, and then runs upstairs towards the bunk, quickly rushing back again with several pill bottles in his hands. "Oh-Okay," he stammers, "I think my Paxil's gone and a few of the Zoloft and like all of the aspirin!"
"Shit," Brian whispers, wiping his bloody hands on his jeans.
"He’s dying, isn't he?" Mikey whimpers, hugging the bottles to his chest as rain drips from his hair, "Frank's dying."
There’s a moment of desolate silence, broken only by the thunder and rain, and then Gerard starts to cry, his pained sobs echoing in the quiet. Feeling sick and cold, Mikey kneels down by his brother and puts his arms around him. "It's okay," he whispers softly, not believing a word of it, "It's okay, Gee, he'll be alright." Gerard shakes his head and buries his face in his little brother’s coat, "No," he sobs, "He won't and it's not alright, Mikey, n-nothing is alright!"
At last, the high-pitched wail of an ambulance siren comes screaming out of the night and Brian leaps to his feet and lunges for the door, rushing outside to meet the paramedics. Lightning flashes and an ocean of rain falls like tears from the heavens, shining icy-blue and red in the siren’s glow.
Mikey watches the open doors being beaten and battered by the wind and waits impatiently for the paramedics to run in and save the day. “Come on, come on...”
Then Gerard suddenly seems heavier in his arms and when Mikey gently pushes his brother away, he’s horrified to watch him collapse onto the carpet, lying motionless beside Frank. "Gee?" Mikey chokes, "Gerard, wake up!" Gerard’s eyes are closed and he's taking slow, shallow breaths as tears pink with blood trickle down his cheeks. "No!" Mikey wails helplessly. How could this night get any worse?
"Mikey, what’s wrong?" Brian cries, rushing back onto the bus with Ray and two male paramedics in tow. "Its Gerard," Mikey gasps, breathless with panic, "He just passed out or something!"
"Oh fuck!" Ray yells, his brown eyes wide with shock as he struggles to take in the blood-stained chaos.
One of the paramedics - a chubby blond guy with the name-tag "Grady" on his uniform - kneels down next to Frank while his dark-haired colleague goes to Gerard. "Is this the one who overdosed?" he asks, checking Frank's pulse with gloved fingers. "Yes," Brian answers quickly, "His name is Frank. Mikey knows what he took." With shaking hands, Mikey shoves the pill bottles at the medic. "Plus a bottle of whiskey," Brian adds mournfully.
Grady frowns and whips an oxygen mask out of his kit-bag, strapping it over Frank’s face. "When did he lose consciousness?”
“I don’t know exactly, he was drifting in and out,” Brian says anxiously, “But then he had a fit or something and it’s been at least five minutes this time. We can‘t get him to wake up.”
Nodding grimly the medic gently pries open Frank’s eyes one at a time to examine them with a tiny pen-light. “Pupils are equal and reactive but patient is unconscious and in severe respiratory distress," he reports into his radio walkie-talkie, pulling gauze and a blood pressure cuff out of his med-kit and quickly wrapping Frank's arm in both, "His pressure's dropping. OD'd on Aspirin and mixed NSAI drugs with alcohol and he’s bleeding from deep lacerations to the arms and chest. Self-inflicted?" Brian nods reluctantly, "Yes."
Grady sighs, his expression grave. "We need to get him out of here Shawn," he warns the other medic, "Like five minutes ago!"
Meanwhile Shawn has been busy trying to wake Gerard and is now examining the bleeding gash under his hair. “How long ago did he hit his head?" he asks.
"Ten, maybe fifteen minutes ago," Brian answers fretfully, "Outside on the concrete. But he was awake til just now. I tried to keep an eye on him but we were alone and I had to find things for Frank and get help and call people, I'm really sorry.”
Shawn nods sympathetically. "Don’t blame yourself. It looks like you've had a lot to deal with here. What did you say his name was?"
"Gerard," Mikey whispers, biting his bottom lip to pieces as he stares anxiously at his brother.
"Okay. Gerard, if you can hear me please open your eyes."
Gerard moans something in his sleep and shakes his head a little, whimpering with pain.
"Gerard?" Shawn tries again, "Open your eyes for me."
"How are you doing, Shawn?" Grady interrupts, elevating Frank’s wounded arm, "As soon as Dave gets a gurney in here, I’m taking this kid out."
"Fine," Shawn mutters, running a gloved hand over Gerard's chest.
"Are any of you guys family?” Grady asks the others. “Who‘s going to accompany these two to hospital?”
“Me,” Mikey says quickly, “I’m staying with Gerard. He‘s my brother.”
"I’ll go too," Brian decides at once, grabbing a jacket from the bus driver's chair and pulling it over his head, "They're my responsibility and I have their insurance info. I should stay with them."
"Hey buddy," Shawn says with relief as Gerard’s eyes flicker open, "My name’s Shawn. I’m a paramedic. Can you tell me your name?”
Gerard looks blearily around the bus as a third medic arrives wrestling a gurney through the open doors. “Gerard,” he mumbles faintly.
“Good. And do you know what year it is?”
“I... What's going on?" Gerard asks fearfully, trying to push Shawn's hands away. "Come on, Gerard," Shawn says calmly, "Tell me what year it is."
"2007..." Gerard answers correctly, letting his arms drop limply back onto the carpet, "Friday night, I think.”
“Do you remember hitting your head tonight?”
“Frank fell…Yeah I hit my head. It hurts."
“I bet. Now tell me where else it hurts. Your head and where else?”
“My arm…” Gerard slurs weakly as his eyes drift closed again, "My shoulder... hurts…I'm so tired...”
“Open your eyes, Gerard!” Shawn barks, placing an oxygen mask over Gerard’s mouth and nose. With a visible effort the singer does as he’s told, looking hurt and confused. “Well done,” Shawn tells him, “That’s great. Now keep them open for as long as you can for me, okay? We're taking you to hospital now and they're gonna fix you up, no problem.”
“Ray, I’m leaving you in charge," Brian says as the medics get ready to go, "Round up Bob, James, Matt, Worm and the girls and call Stacey in LA and tell her exactly what’s happened. Then wait for the Support to get back on their own bus and tell the drivers I want everybody taken to the big rest-stop on the Eastern city limits. Wait there until I call you back. Got it?"
"Yeah, got it," Ray says, sounding shell-shocked. "Good. Thanks," Brian says, letting out a long, quivering breath as he watches the paramedics strap Frank’s body onto the waiting gurney, "Christ, I hope Frankie makes it through this. He doesn't deserve it, Ray, he doesn't..."
"I know," Ray says softly, laying a comforting hand on Brian's shoulder.
"No one should ever have to feel so unhappy that they want to do this," Brian cries, wiping his eyes on his sleeve, "What a fucking nightmare.”
The hospital Emergency Room is buzzing with activity even at this late hour, bustling with people and reeking of disinfectant and latex, it echoes with the sounds of sickness and tears.
When Grady and Shawn bring their new patients through the ER doors, several doctors immediately run up and wheel Frank into a Trauma Room where they flush out his stomach with liquid charcoal to neutralise the chalky poison of the pills and stitch up his bleeding wounds. He's lost too much blood to survive much longer so they give him a transfusion too and when he stops breathing they put a tube down his throat to breathe for him. He doesn't regain consciousness the entire time and Brian and Mikey aren't allowed to see what happens next.
Gerard is triaged and subjected to some neurological tests before being stripped of his clothes and redressed in a hospital gown similar to the fake one he wears every night onstage for the Black Parade. The gash on his head is cleaned and sutured and then he's taken away into the shuttered depths of the hospital for x-rays and scans that seem to last hours.
Mikey and Brian sit alone in the waiting room filling out insurance forms and drinking cheap coffee under the harsh fluorescent lights, worrying themselves sick. It's going to be long, endless night.
--------------------- (I will update again as soon as i can, thanks for reading, I hope you like it! xx) -------------------