Gerard had thought they were going to end up stuck on the plane - waking Frank up was like trying to resurrect the dead - practically impossible. He knew the kid was tired out from their little encounter at the airport, and was still healing, making him even more prone to exhaustion, but you would think it would wake him up if Gerard just shook him, right?
Wrong. Gerard finally ended up forcing Frank to stand up by hooking his fingers into the collar and pulling upward, causing the smaller to splutter and stumble. Gerard apologized profusely to the suspicious flight attendants, and they hurried on to baggage claim. Well, Gerard hurried. Frank just sort of yawned and shuffled along behind him.
Then, Gerard was sure that the goddamn airline had lost their one checked bag, which made him pissed off because he'd packed all of his favorite toys, okay, and now he'd just have to wait an even longer time to have fun with Frank because he was particular about these things. He could've thrown back his head and praised the high heavens when he saw the little black suitcase on the dirty conveyor belt, but refrained. He might have been tired, but he wasn't that tired.
It was late, and Gerard didn't feel like getting a rental car now, but he knew it must be done. So he dragged a protesting Frank to the car rental shuttles, and they went to some car rental place (all he remembered about it was that the sign was green and white), and ended up getting a little black Mercedes Benz, stuffing the suitcase in the back, stuffing Frank in the passenger seat, stuffing bills into the rental people's hands, and finally collapsing with a sigh in front of the steering wheel. He hated the smell of rental cars, but the smell of Frank and the lingering scent of sex on them both made it more bearable.
Gerard made a couple phone calls, one to Stump to tell him they'd arrived in California with no trouble, and another to Hayley Williams, who he expected would be in the general area. He'd need her and her team to help if the place was under heavy surveillance.
Frank was passed out still, not moving at all except for occasional twitches or lolls of his head. He looked somewhat adorable while he was sleeping, Gerard thought, narrowing his eyes at him. And then...no. No way. Frank was attractive and hot and a good looking boy, but he wasn't cute. Gerard wrinkled his nose and looked away resolutely. That was dangerous thinking right there.
Instead, he turned to the address which was now all but imprinted into his mind. He entered it into the GPS, and smiled smugly when the little robot voice said, "Directions to 5023 West Magnolia Drive...calculating...your destination is approximately ten point eight miles away. The route guidance will begin shortly."
"Excellent," said Gerard to the invisible woman's voice, and he tried to pretend that he didn't keep sneaking looks over at Frank, whose eyelids were fluttering in a strangely endearing way.
The house they were keeping Mikey in certainly wasn't a bad place to live.
West Magnolia Drive was a street lined with enormous houses, many of the windows dark at this late hour. The rental car wasn't out of place in the neighborhood - there were countless other Mercedes and more expensive cars parked in the driveways.
5023 was a house on a hill near the very end of the street. It was surrounded by a small grove of citrus trees, the scent of their flowers heavy in the air. It was April, he realized, spring, and that meant his birthday was in just a few days. Gerard blinked and turned his attention back to the house, killing the engine and parking in front of it, bathed in shadows.
The house was three stories from what Gerard could tell - the third story being the smallest, more of an attic than anything, really, but there was a light on in the highest window and he thought he saw a silhouette move behind it. His heart leaped. His brother, or his captors?
Gerard's eyes scanned over the small wood wrapping around the first story. It would provide them cover, but do the same for their enemies. Citrus trees were small and knobby, not great for climbing to get away from things, but climbing to hide? Perhaps. He could see the perfectly manicured green grass and narrowed his eyes. Somebody was obviously taking care of the yard, and it wasn't Mikey.
A flicker of movement caught his eye, and he stared at a space in between the trees, where he could just barely make out the front door. Sure enough, there was a person standing there, and from the looks of it, they were armed. He trailed his gaze to the other side of the door. There was nobody there.
Just one guard? Gerard didn't believe it. He looked for others, but ended up with just the one. Huh. Maybe, since they considered him dead, they had dropped their security? But what about Mikey? Even if he wasn't in the business of killing people like Gerard, he knew his brother could easily take out the guard. Gerard had taught him to defend himself, after all, like any responsible older brother would.
Then he heard another car, and Gerard slumped down in his seat, pushing Frank down, too, so that they wouldn't be seen. They were in front of another house, so if the car appeared empty, it would seem as though the homeowner across the street owned a black Mercedes and had parked it here.
The car pulled into Mikey's driveway, and Gerard saw it was a plain, black truck - an FBI vehicle. He knew them well enough. The driver stepped out, and Gerard cursed under his breath - it was Agent Bryar, the blonde one who had infuriated him so much during his time at RO. The one who'd inspired him to hurt Frank. Gerard gritted his teeth, wishing so badly to do to Bryar what he'd done to Schechter. Maybe he could add some fire in there, too, and break a couple bones while he was at it. Gerard did not like Bryar, and he hoped that the bastard was there when he got his brother back.
Three other agents got out, one dark haired woman, a bald man, and a blonde guy who looked to be the youngest out of all of them. They were all armed, as Gerard had expected, and slowly snuck around the sides of the house, taking up their respective locations. Gerard was writing it all down, or rather, drawing it, on the back of the paper with the address on it.
He glanced up just in time to see the curtains in the highest window part, and a pale face peered out anxiously, glasses crooked on his nose. Gerard bit his lip to stop from calling out to him. Mikey was being held hostage, and he probably thought Gerard was dead. Hell, Mikey probably thought he was going to die soon.
That wasn't going to happen, not in Gerard's book. He turned the key in the ignition and sped off, reaching for his cell to call Hayley. She picked up on the second ring.
"Williams, I scoped out the place. There's five guards, all armed, but not heavily. Three story house, surrounded by citrus trees, two guards at the door, and the other three are positioned around the perimeter. I made a diagram of it, you can take a look at it tomorrow."
A pause. Then, "Did you find where they're keeping Michael?"
"He was on the top story when I saw him," Gerard said, spotting a decent looking motel not too far off. "Listen, we're at the Blue Moon Inn on 30th Street, less than two miles from the house. Ask for S. Black to find out what room."
"Alright, Way. We'll come tomorrow. It's three in the morning, you know."
Hayley made an annoyed sound and hung up.
Gerard managed to keep Frank awake for exactly five minutes and four seconds as they checked in at the motel and went to their room. The place wasn't five star, and the bed wasn't extremely comfortable, but it would have to do. Besides, Frank didn't seem to have any complaints about it, falling down onto his side of the double bed and burying his face in the pillow, halfheartedly pulling the covers over himself. "Mmm," Frank moaned happily, "beds," and then he was asleep again, snoring softly.
Gerard rolled his eyes and dragged the bag into the bathroom to get dressed and brush his teeth and all that. Yes, even mass-murderers brush their teeth. He was just kicking off his jeans and pulling off his shirt when his cell phone started ringing. Startled, he fumbled in his pile of clothes on the ground, managing to fish the damn thing out of his pocket. He didn't recognize the number on the screen, or, well, he sort of did...like he'd seen it before but couldn't remember where.
Frowning, he pressed TALK and held it to his ear.
"Who is this?"
"Gerard? Thank god, is that you?"
Gerard paused. It was a woman's voice, and he was sure he'd heard it before, but like the number...he just couldn't place it. "Who're you?"
"I'm...I'm Alicia," the caller gasped. "Alicia Simmons."
Gerard froze. "Mikey's girlfriend? Why're you calling me?" He hesitated. "Didn't you think I was dead?"
"Yes!" she said, and he heard a thumping noise in the background, but didn't comment on it. "But I just...Mikey called me today and...well, all his phones are tapped into, so we can't say anything suspicious. But we made this code, where he rambles to me about harmless things, but the beginning letter in each sentence in part of a word. And today he spelled out your name."
"You had my number from that party forever ago," Gerard said, the realization dawning on him. Five years previously, Mikey had gone clubbing with Alicia and invited Gerard to come along, bribing him by convincing him he'd find somebody 'special' there. Gerard had sincerely doubted that anyone would be 'special' enough for him, and he was right. But it had still been a nice respite from his normal lifestyle.
Alicia made a noise in the affirmative. "I don't know why he said your name, though, and I thought you were dead...we all did, I think he still does, but..."
"I was in a black car, outside the house. I only ever rent black cars, he knows that."
She sucked in a breath. "So maybe he suspected...this is just...how the hell did you manage to escape?"
"Long story. But we're getting Mikey out of there."
"Not you. Myself and some...coworkers."
"No, wait," she said, her voice firm, "I want to help. Please. They've been holding him for the past month and a half, I only got to see him once and...what if they hurt him?"
"Then I'll take care of them myself," Gerard said coolly. "You can't come. It would only complicate matters." Gerard was unsure about even taking Frank, but Frank did know how to kill and defend himself, and the more able men (and women) they had, the better.
"No," Gerard tried.
"Yes! Gerard, do you even understand how much this hurts me, too? I love him, alright, and we were talking about big things before all of this happened!"
"Like marriage, Gerard," Alicia said, her voice breaking. "Like raising a family."
Gerard blinked. "With Mikey? You...you love him?"
"Yes," Alicia snapped, "as hard as that is for someone like you to wrap your head around."
"Watch it," Gerard growled, "I didn't want this to happen anymore than you did. Mikey should not be involved."
"Yes, well, now he is," Alicia pointed out, "and if he is, then I am, too."
"Fine," Gerard said shortly. "Fine. But if you get hurt, or worse, killed, don't blame me."
"Thank you," she said, voice a whisper. "I just want to help him."
"When he found out you'd been killed-"
"Stop. I don't want to hear it."
Alicia was silent.
"Ten at night tomorrow," Gerard said in a low voice.
"Ten. Got it."
Gerard hung up.
When he successfully changed clothes and padded back into the bedroom, Frank was moving around on the bed, his face twisted up in discomfort. Gerard slowed to a stop and looked down at him. Frank was still asleep, but not as soundly as before, and his eyes moved rapidly under closed lids. He was dreaming...but of what?
Frank had dreamed on the plane, too, mumbling something about doves and nearly crying out in terror. From that alone, Gerard could guess what was going on in his subconscious, and it made him feel, quite frankly, a little upset. Maybe Gerard wasn't the most trustworthy person on the planet, hell, maybe he was the least trustworthy, but safewords were serious shit, and they were there for a reason. Gerard knew what happened when tops didn't listen to their bottoms, and it wasn't pretty.
Then again, he somehow couldn't really see Frank using the safeword. Frank was stubborn, and he was also pretty prideful. He'd probably see using the safeword as stooping down too low, and that was what might get him hurt. But on the other hand, Frank wasn't flat out stupid. If he knew it was really something he couldn't handle, he would say it, eventually.
Frank started making small noises, and Gerard crawled into the bed next to him, still staring curiously at Frank. He was whimpering and kept making small twisting motions, like he was trying to get away from something. Gerard didn't know why he found it so fascinating to watch. It looked like Frank was physically in pain, but it was all in his head.
"No," murmured Frank, still sleeping, "no, Billie, stop." His whole face scrunched up again in agony, and Gerard stiffened at the mention of the other's name. He didn't like the fact that others had been with Frank like he was, others had touched him like Gerard had. But something interested him about it: what had Frank done to Billie to give the other such a vendetta for him?
"Please!" Frank was gasping, body shaking and trembling. "I'm sorry!" He cried out, writhing around on the bed, and Gerard caught his jaw and kissed him, feeling how Frank tried to tear away and then, as he drifted out of the nightmare, leaned into it, heartbeat slowing. Frank made a soft noise and then wrapped his arms around Gerard, slipping away from the kiss and continuing his slumber with his face tucked into Gerard's neck. It was supremely uncomfortable for Gerard, just because this was cutesy and couple behavior and Gerard was not sure he was ready for that. Maybe he had snuggled Frank on the plane, but that was so that Frank wouldn't disturb the other passengers with his screams, right?
Maybe, though, if he did this and went with what Frank wanted concerning things like these, the rewards would be better for him in the end. Maybe this was the way to make Frank submit without a fight.
Then again, Gerard kind of enjoyed the fight part.