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Friendship Seen Through Gritty Eyes

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It's late, and freezing, and stuffy, and the airport is that exact kind of over-bright gloom that always gives Gerard a headache. Every fucking flight is delayed and he's stuck in Heathrow alone because he stayed on in London after his tour to do some more interviews. Well, that and some kind of storm, delaying or cancelling all of the flights.

He just wants to get home.

He keeps pacing around the terminal; he's got access to the first class lounge, and he doesn't want them to forget that they need to get him on the next flight out of here, but he can't sit in the perfect beige, listening to the perfect muzac and watching cheese slices curl on the buffet. He can't settle, he's wired from too much coffee and the long come down that a successful tour always brings with it, but he's so, so tired.

On his eighth, or eighteenth, or eightieth rotation, lounge-to-makeup-to-jacket shop-to-magazines-to-window looking over the runways-to-lounge he detours to look at the bottled water in the magazine store.

"I thought you'd get that shit for free, up in the first class lounge..." A familiar voice says from behind him.

Gerard jumps slightly, and tries to cover it it by turning round. It's been years but that's a voice that Gerard wants to think he's cool. The nerdy, insecure kid who lives in his hind brain really fucking wants that voice to like him.

"Hi Bert."

Bert snickers, and although his face is older, cleaner, clearer, it still creases up the same as it did when they were both smelly, drunk and high a billion years ago. "Still suave, and sophisticated, I see."

Gerard feels a flare of the old anger that burned so bright to hide the hurt when they stopped being... whatever... to each other. "Awkward." He almost mutters.

"Still pretty though. D'you have a painting in the attic, Way?" Bert gives him an up and down look that Gerard'd swear was a come on if this wasn't Bert.

"Clean living and enough hydration." Gerard says pertly and swallows down his anger. It's been fucking years, they're both older now, both parents and... He's worked really hard to forgive younger Gerard and younger Bert deserves that too. "You're one to talk, you look like a fucking magazine cover."

Bert does, too, his hair is shaved short at the sides, longer on top and blond. It suits him more than the black ever did.

Bert poses. "I'm the poster boy for recovery. And going out in the fresh air and sun, if you believe it." He looks almost sheepish.

Gerard can't help smiling. "No, I know, I fucking love a good hike."

"You fucking love an excuse to wear short shorts." Bert leers at him.

"You follow my instagram!"

"Well, sometimes." Bert's face is, maybe, wistful?

"Yeah." Gerard nods. He checks in, too.


"Do you e.."
"I wish th..."

They both start talking at once and stop with a laugh.

Gerard takes a deep breath. "I'm sorry. I. I was fucked up and trying not to be fucked up and I was an asshole."

"I know from asshole." Bert huffs out an unfunny laugh. "I'm sorry too, you know. I was so angry, just, furious, all the time. We do the songs from back then and sometimes it feels like I'm falling down a hole filled with my own pain and lashing out. I was sorry to hear about your band, you know, but a clean break from that sometimes sounds like a fucking genius idea."

Gerard half shrugs. It's not why they called it quits, but sometimes he's glad he doesn't have to sing those words any more. He looks Bert right in the eyes . "Sometimes I miss singing those songs like breathing. "

"Yeah, yeah. I get that." Bert claps him on the shoulder. "Do you want to grab some dinner? I figure you've had about 43 coffees and nothing to eat."

Gerard tries not to look sheepish. "Something like that."

"Come on, Way, you can tell me all about the vision behind your album. You fucking love a theme."

"It's a hallmark of classic rock."

"It's a hallmark of classic art student - talking of that, when's the next UA coming? "


Dinner isn't perfect. Gerard refuses to give out spoilers, Bert is a little awkward with his teasing, but what it is is a new start. Enough time has passed that the broken edges of who they used to be have healed and worn back down to something smoother, something closer to how they were back in their best days, but now they're not two broken, terrified boys, and they're not clinging on to each other in a spiral of self-destruct. Now they're learning how to share their history and acknowledge the genuine fondness they feel for each other. It's a start, and by the time their flights are (finally, finally) called - heading in opposite directions around the world - they've maybe learned how to be friends.