Gerard gets better.
It’s not easy, and he’s not a friendly person to be around most of the time, but he starts looking less like death and more like an actual human being. Grace is ecstatic, of course. She was there when he woke up, muttering curses under his breath.
He spends most of his days feeling miserable as he works at the counter in the station, glaring at the customers as if they’ve personally affronted him. It’s not a pleasant experience and he most of the time he’s freezing, even in the desert sun, until he finds the Dead Pegasus jacket buried in the box crap that Wreck and Monkey keep in the backroom.
Anyone smiling, or just seeming generally happy grates on his nerves. It gets so bad that he almost shoots one of the customers when he laughs too loud. Wreck takes the gun from him after that, only giving it back once they leave.
“You’re just a regular party poison, aren’t you?” Monkey says once and then takes a shine to the name and keeps on calling him that, the ass. It pisses him off and that just seems to amuse Grease Monkey to no end.
Train Wreck just shrugs, working his way through a can of pup. “If you don’t want to be called by your name we gotta call you something. ‘Hey you’ gets old after a while.”
* * *
There’s a little girl sitting on a crate outside when they pull into the gas station. Her focus is on the block in her hand and when Show Pony pulls his helmet off, it takes him a few moments to realize that she’s actually playing with an ancient rubix cube. She spares them only a glance before doing a double take; her eyes linger on Pony.
There’s a frown on her face as she tilts her head to the side thoughtfully, as if he was a problem that she was trying to work out.
"I think you're missing part of your shirt," the little girl says, eyeing the 'Noise' on his chest skeptically.
Pony gives her his most warming smile, ignoring the way that Ghoul snorts. "It's a personal choice, motorbaby."
She seems less than amused by his response and crosses her arms, looking them over closely, her eyes lingering on the guns on their hips. Pony gets the strange feeling that she's sizing them up.
"Grace," a voice snaps.
There's a dark haired man in the gas station doorway, looking irritated and uncomfortable. The man is watching them suspiciously and Pony notices that his hands are twitching at his side. He seems kinda pale, strange for anyone who had spent time out in the zones.
The girl, Grace, sort of huffs and rolls her eyes. "I was just talking." The man sends her a look and she sighs and mutters, "I know," before heading inside. The man sends them a final look before following her.
"Well," Ghoul mutters, "that was pleasant."
"Don't let him get to you," Grease Monkey says as he comes out from behind the station. "He's a tad bit overprotective." Pony waits for him to say more but it doesn't come as a very big surprise when he doesn't. "So you wanted me to look at the bike?"
* * *
Gerard was never really good at dealing with people. Even back in the city most of the people he came in contact with were either dracs, his superiors, or Korse. It might have been a personal choice more than anything but he was always able to fake his people skills well enough.
But now that he was off the pills it wasn’t that easy. All he knew was now he was feeling and he was feeling everything.
He wasn’t quite sure he liked it.
Still, he knew enough to know when someone was flirting with him. He just didn’t know how to react to it.
Show Pony smiled at him, easy and bright, as he flirted. “So, Party Poison, huh? There a story behind that?”
“No,” he says quickly, even has Grace says, “Yes.” from behind him. Gerard shoots her a look but she just smiles back, all sunshine. “There’s really not a story.”
“Yes, there is. He shot a customer.” Grace found the whole thing amusing and she likes to share it with anyone who will listen. Of course, most of the people she tells are customers themselves.
He gives a sigh and rubs his forehead. “I didn’t shoot a customer. Anyways, they took the gun away before I could actually shoot him, so I just attempted to shoot one.”
“Ooh,” Show Pony seems amused by all this and Gerard is sure that he doesn’t believe them.
From the way Ghoul snorts from the corner of the room Gerard can tell he doesn’t either. “So what did they do?”
“They laughed,” Gerard replied.
Pony just laughs but that trails off when he realizes that Gerard is serious. It gets uncomfortable for a moment when he exchanges a look with Ghoul and looks then back at him.
He just shrugs in response.
They leave when Wreck rolls out their bike, sparkling and shiny, not only in good working order but devoid of any of the desert grime. He watches them through the windows as they look it over.
"Careful now." Grease Monkey is standing in the doorway, watching him. "If Dr. D finds out you've been making time with his boy, he'll ghost you himself."
“Seriously?” he asks, incredulous. He thinks back to everything he’s heard about the infamous Dr. Deathdefying. The radio is almost always on in the station, usually flipped to 109 unless Monkey’s been messing with it. That’s where he recognized Show Pony‘s name, Gerard realizes. He’s heard it on one of the broadcasts, along with Fun Ghoul’s.
"Yep, that right there is Dr. Deathdefying's errand boy himself."
Gerard watches the bike pull away from the station. "Not a fan, I take it."
Grease Monkey shrugs. "Knew him once. Decent sort of guy. I just don't like people who draw attention to themselves." He sends a sharp look Gerard's way. "Not everyone wants to 'make some noise'."
* * *
It takes a few months for him to even realize that the black is starting to grow out. It must have been obvious to everyone else but no one says a word to Gerard about it. He doesn't even notice one day until he passes by a hubcap that Grease Monkey shined up and his reflection catches his eye.
The image is distorted but it’s still there. He reaches out to the top of his head tentatively, touching the brown color. It had been so long since it had been anything other than black that it makes him feel alien, like someone else is staring back at him. His mandated bi-weekly visits to barber had always taken care of any color before it had a chance to make a reappearance.
The brown stands out more than he can ever remember it did.
"I think we've got some black dye in the back if you to take care of that."
Gerard looks at Train Wreck's image in the reflection, even more distorted than his own, and bites his bottom lip. A part of him wants to say yes, to give him some familiarity out in desert, but that feels too much like giving in so he shakes his head. Train Wreck nods and turns to leave before Gerard calls over his shoulder, "Wait."
He stops and glances back, his expression blank.
"Do you have any other colors?" he asks, because he might not want the black but he doesn't want the brown either. There is too much emotion tied to them both.
Train Wreck frowns, looking thoughtful, and then nods. "I have some red put up somewhere."
Gerard glances back at his reflection. "I'll take it."
* * *
Grace loves the red, of course. She actually squeals when she sees it and then reaches out grab some of it, giving it a hard yank as if she expects it to come off. It doesn't of course, but Gerard can't help but let out a vicious string of curses that make Grace giggle as he pulls his head back. His hair is still wet and the extra dye didn't completely come out with the rinse so her hand comes back red, looking almost like blood. "Wicked," she hisses, rubbing to hands together to make it spread.
"I really should be worried about what you're learning out here," he mutters under his breath as smacks her hands on her arms, leaving red dyed handprints behind. It makes her look like some sort of riot kid, the kind you would see at the edge of the city, all painted up like vicious animals.
Grease Monkey just tells her it looks righteous and she beams at him in response.
* * *
It's like they weren't even trying to be quiet.
The door slams open, waking Gerard up from his light slumber. He scrambles out of bed, grabs his gun and presses himself against the wall beside the partly open door. Grace sits up in bed, wide-eyed and panicked. He presses a finger to his lips and she nods, slipping out of the cot quietly and sliding underneath it.
He can hear Train Wreck come crashing out of his room and sees him shoot past him, heading for the store front. He could have strangled the man for such a stupid move.
There's yelling and stuff crashing but thankfully there's no shooting, which means that either Train Wreck managed to take them down by himself (doubtful) or they managed to get the gun from him.
Gerard slips out the door and moves quietly down the hall. The yelling had died down to some muttering but he can still hear Train Wreck cursing. The light is on in the store front when he gets there, and whoever it was that broke in apparently wasn't too concerned with being stealthy.
He glances around the corner and almost drops his gun in surprise.
Train Wreck is on the floor, cursing, with Fun Ghoul and another guy he doesn't recognize standing over him. But what really catches his attention is the man lying on the floor. More specifically, the guy wearing a helmet who was bleeding on the floor, no matter how much Show Pony tries to stop it. It's a blaster wound, Gerard recognizes immediately, which meant that they had run into trouble before they broke in.
He hopes that they weren’t followed.
The guy he doesn't recognize is the only one with a gun out and he recognizes blaster as Train Wreck's. They all have guns but they're holstered and Fun Ghoul looks kinda flustered, as if he hadn't expected this.
Gerard doesn't even think about it before he moves, grabbing Fun Ghoul around the neck and pressing the gun to his head. "Let him go," he said evenly, nodding towards Train Wreck. The guy immediately drops the gun and Train Wreck scrambles out of the way.
"Party Poison!" Show Pony exclaims.
"You woke me up," he growls. “Tell me why I shouldn’t ghost you all right now.” Then he tightens his grip on the gun. “Or better yet, toss you to the dracs and let them finish you off.”
The one he doesn’t recognize glares at him, but raises his hands. “We just need somewhere safe to patch him up and then we will be on our way.” He nods toward the unconscious man on the floor.
“So you decide to bring trouble to our door?” he hisses. Show Pony has the grace to look guilty. "Drop the guns. All of them," Gerard says, motioning with his head.
He can feel Fun Ghoul swallow against arm as they do as he demands. "You really gonna shot me?" he hears him say.
"I don't like being woken up." He presses the gun harder into his neck and Fun Ghoul flinches. “You too.”
Ghoul makes an amused sound. “You’re going trust me to grab my own gun?”
“Point,” he concedes. “Wreck?”
Wreck moves in quickly to take the gun from the holster. He still looks a little disconcerted, probably from the whack he took to the head. “You good?”
“Shiny,” he mutters back, still holding the gun.
“At least let us get his helmet off,” Pony pleads, looking down at the hurt man, upset, “He’s got to be suffocating in there.”
“Alright,” Gerard motions, “do it.”
The other guy has to help Show Pony with the helmet and Gerard is starting to get impatient by the time they get it off. The man lets out a low groan as his head falls back. Gerard can feel his arm tense at the sound and Fun Ghoul makes a choked off noise. He shifts them around, giving him some relief.
“Um,” the man gives again, “-et? Gho’l? P’ny?” he rasps out, blinking up around him blearily, trying to focus.
Gerard knows that voice. He’d know it anywhere. It’s Mikey.
The gun drops as he shoves Fun Ghoul away from him. The man sends a distrusting glance over at him, but Gerard can’t take his eyes off the man on the floor. “You can stay,” he responds.
There’s a cough to his left and he sees Train Wreck glancing over at him, eyebrow raised.
“If you okay it, of course,” he has to say, glancing away. The blood on the floor is no longer an annoyance, now something that makes him want to cringe. Mikey lets out a soft noise, no longer able to keep his eyes open.
Train Wreck must have seen something in his face because he just shrugs and mutters 'keep them out of the store' before heading back to his room. "Move him to the back room. There‘s a cot back there you can put him on," Gerard says.
"Thanks," Pony replies, looking relieved, but Ghoul and the other guy are still watching him with distrust.
* * *
It’s dark when Kobra wakes up. It takes a few moments for his eyes to adjust but when they do he freezes. He doesn’t recognize his surroundings, not the bed, more of a cot really, or walls and there really isn’t much of anything else. His first reaction is to reach for his gun and it’s only then that he realizes that it’s missing; as a matter of fact, the whole holster is gone. What he does find is a makeshift bandage wrapped around his torso and he winces when he accidentally hits it.
The only thing that is slightly comforting is that none of this exactly screams of BL/ind, which means that they had gotten away from the raid safely. Or at least he did.
Getting off of the cot is more work that it should have be, every move pulling at the wound on his side. The room looks slightly better from this angle, but he is also slightly woozy from the sudden movement.
He stumbles slightly as he heads for the door and he catches himself on a chair. His fingers hit leather and it’s his gun holster, the gun still safely tucked away. Kobra pulls it out and grabs the doorknob.
It swings open, barely missing him.
It’s a little girl. She just sort of blinks at him before declaring, “You’re really tall.”
“Um,” he replies, “thank you?”
The girl just looks at him and then the gun, before dismissing them completely. It’s kind of disconcerting but the girl leans back into the hallway and calls, “He’s awake,” to whoever is down there before he has time to process it.
Then she shuts the door in his face.
He blinks and frowns, before shaking his head and opening the door. Kobra’s moving down the hall when Ghoul almost runs him down. “Kobra!”
The firm grip on his gun loosens fractionally. “You alright?”
“Milkshake,” he waves it off. “But what the fuck are you doing up? Did you miss the part where you almost bled to death from the gaping hole in your side?” Ghoul all but shoves him back into the room and forces him onto the cot. “You almost got fucking ghosted on us, you asshole. And my ass almost got shot trying to save yours.”
Kobra knows he should be protesting this treatment but he feels so fucking horrible that he can’t work up a half-decent protest. “Where the six hells are we, anyways?”
Ghoul snorts. “A station in Zone 2. Breaking in probably wasn’t the greatest idea. Party almost finished the job those dracs started.”
The name strikes a chord but it takes a few minutes to place it. “The guy Pony was talking about? That one found all those records?”
“Yeah, Party Poison.” Ghoul looks less than amused, rubbing his neck which Kobra thinks looks a little red but he can’t be sure.
“What about the kid?”
There’s a shrug from Ghoul. “She’s belongs to Party’s crew. She’s not a bad kid. Definitely has more people skills than him.”
It‘s Kobra‘s turn to be amused. “Have a hard time making friends?”
“She didn’t hold a gun to my head,” he replies.
“I apologized for that,” says a voice from the hallway.
“No, you didn’t,” Ghoul calls back.
“Well, I’m not really sorry,” the voice is closer, more familiar.
Kobra isn’t sure what to expect when the man enters the room. Someone bigger, maybe, more intimidating. Not someone who looks like they are still half-strung out. Not even the bright red hair, even though he’s sure Pony has mentioned it before.
But what he certainly doesn’t expect is the fact that he recognizes him. It takes him a few moments before he can speak. “Gee?”
* * *
Gerard hovers in the doorway, unsure what to do. He shifts from foot to foot, carefully avoiding the questioning looks that Fun Ghoul shoots between the two of them.
He doesn’t have to wait long though, because Mikey hauls himself off the bed and crosses the room, wrapping his arms around Gerard and pulling him in. It’s been so long since he’s been hugged by someone who isn’t Grace and his whole body is tense, even as he hugs him back.
The hug is awkward but Mikey seems to refuse to let him go, tightening his grip when he tries to pull back.
“Jesus,” Mikey mutters against him, “I can’t believe it.” He pulls back slightly, only enough to look down at Gerard.
Down at Gerard. He thinks his brother has actually gotten taller, if that was possible.
Mikey laughs, as if he can hear what Gerard is thinking, and pulls him back against him. “I missed you.”
“Missed you too,” he responds, hugging him only a fraction tighter. But he can still feel when Mikey cringes. This time when he pulls back he doesn’t let his brother pull him back in. Mikey lets him manhandle him back into the bed, but doesn’t let go of his shoulder when he sits down, pulling Gerard with him.
“Should I leave you two alone?” Fun Ghoul asks, his expression crossing between amused and disconcerted. “
Mikey can’t seem to keep the grin of his face and Gerard knows there’s a small one on his own. He can even start to see Ghoul’s start to twitch in response. Mikey shrugs, which doesn’t work very well with the way he’s holding on, and says, “Can you blame me for missing my brother?”
“Brother?” comes Ghoul’s incredulous question and he looks baffled by the prospect.
He doesn’t see when Grace first pokes her head in but he hears her voice all the same. “Party,” and that still throws him every time he hears her say it, “Monkey’s looking for you. He says you need to do something with that paint or he’s tossing it outside. The smell is starting to spread.” She wrinkles her nose at the thought.
“I’m on my way,” he says because he knows if he doesn’t the paint will end up drying up in the midday sun before he even has a chance to touch the car.
She nods but doesn’t leave. Instead, Grace comes inside, looking over Mikey very carefully. “So you’re his brother?” she asks, looking between them.
Mikey nods at her, unsure where this is going.
Her expression is very serious as she stares at him for a few moments before a smile breaks out across her face and she looks satisfied. “I can see it.”
He starts to pull away but Mikey just pulls him back, the grip on his shoulder turning concrete. Gerard can understand why, he really doesn’t want to let go of his brother himself but he has too. “I’ll be back,” he promises, managing to detangle himself when Mikey finally lets go.
“Dude,” he hears Fun Ghoul say as he leaves, “your brother almost shot me.”
Some people just can’t let stuff go.
* * *
Gerard looks himself over in the mirror. Carefully dyed black hair, standard issue BLI exterminator uniform, complete with gun strapped to his hip, everything is white and clean and exactly the way it’s supposed to be. He frowns for a moment before he realizes what it is that's making him uneasy. It’s too quiet. Normally he would be able to hear Grace moving around, tinkering with something, and generally making a mess. Now she was gone, out there in the desert. Contaminated.
Maybe Korse had been right. He had been too lenient with her.
She was lost to him now. There is no way of knowing what the zonerunner scum had her thinking now and she’s still too young to be put through the reeducation processes. He grimaces at the thought, memories of his own time at the clinic fresh in his mind. There might be a chance for her when she gets older, as long as she's deemed suitable for rehabilitation.
But right now he can make sure to destroy the people who took her away.
* * *
"There's something you guys need to see," there's hesitancy in Show Pony's voice, enough to catch everyone's attention, and he has the folder cradled against his chest like it's precious. He doesn't make a move to show them though.
It's Dr. D that makes the first move, reaching out to tug Pony forward, and he leans against the wheelchair, laying the folder on the table. When he opens it, no one knows what to say, Kobra most of all.
Party Poison stares back at them. Except it's not him, hair jet black and dressed in standard issue BLI uniform. He's standing out in the desert, leaning against a white trans am, wide black glasses watching the dracs around him. The time stamp on the corner of the picture shows that it was taken just a few days ago. Show Pony points at it, "This was taken at the raid in Zone 3."
He moves it aside and there are two more underneath it. It’s more of Party, or at least the man who looks like him. Korse is standing next to him in the first and they are both leaning over a map of the zones. Kobra recognizes the tension in his brother enough to know he's angry, even if his face doesn't show it. It's the second one that gets him though. He has his gun drawn, pointing at a man that looks familiar, one of Dr. D's own runners. He doesn't even have to ask to know that the man had been ghosted.
Pony runs a hand through his hair, making it even messier than it usually is. "I asked around and apparently Battery City is all abuzz about Exterminator Gerard returning to duty."
Grace makes a strangled noise before exclaiming, "Party's alive!"
Dr. D glances up at them, expression carefully hidden behind his glasses. “Then you’d better bring him home, boys.”
“And how exactly are we gonna do that?”
“Don’t you worry that pretty little head of yours, Ghoul,” Pony replies, exchanging a grin with the Doc. “We gotta plan.”
* * *
Gerard really needs to stop waking up in strange places.
Consciousness comes to him slowly and it takes him a few moments to even realize that he's not actually asleep. He usually sleeps dreamless but it has been known to happen, especially after waking back up on that table.
He has to blink a few times to clear his vision and then he grimaces in disgust. Everything is dirty, even though it looks like someone tried to clean up. The room is windowless but he can still feel the heat through the walls. It's obvious that he's still out in the zones.
The last thing he remembers was the firefight. The dracs were dropping around him one by one by a group colorful zonerunners (the Killjoy's they called themselves) and it didn't take too long before they were overrun. He hadn't even managed to make it back to the car (covering the dracs asses had taken more ammo than he'd had on hand) before the tall skinny one had tackled him and knocked him out.
He was going to have to talk to Korse about stepping up the draculoid's training. The regimen now obviously wasn't cutting it.
The ropes tying him to the chair don’t have any give even after a few minutes of struggling; it's obvious that whoever tied him up knew what they were doing. His gun is gone too, as well as his jacket.
He curses under his breath and kicks. Or he tries to, his feet are tied to the chair legs so it doesn't work out so well. It seems that the chair he's strapped to is the only unbroken thing in the room. The ropes only seem to tighten as he continues to struggle.
"You're only going to make it worse," a voice says.
Gerard turns to see one of the killjoy's standing in the doorway, but it's not the one that tackled him earlier. "Who the hell are you?"
The man just laughs. "I think the better question is, who are you?"
He just looks down at his outfit and raises an eyebrow. "I think that's pretty obvious isn't it?"
"Ah, yes, an exterminator." The man comes inside and Gerard gets a better look at him. Dark hair hangs in his face and there's a green gun strapped to his hip.
"You wanna know why they call us exterminators?" Gerard leans forward with a mocking grin. "It's because we get rid of zone vermin like you. I've always been very good at my job."
There's an amused look on the man's face, like this is one big joke, and Gerard gets the unsettling feeling that he's being laughed at. "As good as Korse?"
Gerard lets out a barking laugh. "I'm better."
"Then why are you one of his flunkies?" He asks.
The term grates on his nerves, he's heard it before, and he manages to say between clenched teeth, "Who says I am?"
The man gets really quiet then, staring at him, contemplative. "I'm Fun Ghoul," is all the man says before he turns and walks out.
* * *
Gerard sighs, bored.
There isn’t a lot of stuff in here to distract him, just some broken furniture and empty boxes, so he distracts himself the best he can. He ends up counting the ceiling tiles four times (he gets three different numbers the first couple of tries and has to recount) and then just starts counting to see how far he can get (3746 before he gets distracted by a bug running across the floor and loses count).
By the time someone else comes in he’s resorted to whistling made up tunes. He stops immediately and watches a head poke in the door.
“Grace,” he says, relieved.
She looks happy to see him until she sees the ropes holding him to the chair, freezing just inside the doorway. Something incredibly sad comes over her expression then and for a moment he thinks she’s going to turn and leave. But she doesn’t and he can feel himself relax; Grace isn’t completely gone from him.
“I need you to untie me. Okay, Grace?”
That makes her back away, shaking her head. “I can’t.”
He shifts forward, even as he feels the ropes pull taunt. “You have to. It’s not safe here,” he tells her. “We can go home. You want to go home, don’t you?”
“We can’t leave!” she exclaims. “This is our home now, don’t you remember?”
Korse’s words about her being contaminated resound in his mind. They’ve gotten to her. Any hope about an easy reconditioning is getting smaller and smaller.
Gerard hears a muffled “Grace!” coming through the door. The voice strikes a familiar cord in him but he ignores it.
“Coming,” she yells, backing away. “I have to go,” Grace tells him, “I’ll come see you later, okay?”
“No, Grace, wait--.”
She gives him a parting glance, mouthing ’sorry’, before she flees.
“Damn it,” he mutters as he leans back. The chair rocks unsteadily but holds. Something digs into his back and he frowns, shifting slightly to relieve the pressure. It takes him a few moments to realize what it is.
He’d shoved the emergency beacon in his back pocket without thinking about it. It must have slid out during all the struggling. An incredulous laugh escapes him, echoing through the empty room.
It takes a bit of squirming and he can feel blood starting to trickle down his hand when he finally gets a hold of it and flips the switch on. There’s a faint hum as it tries to make a connection with a SCARECROW outpost and after a few seconds the machine starts vibrating and he feels himself relax.
Reinforcements are coming.
* * *
No one else shows up, but every once in a while Gerard can hear footsteps pausing outside the room. It’s kind of a disappointment actually; he expected more of a confrontation, an interrogation, maybe even a little torture. He’d been trained for this kind of thing and they weren’t following the instructions.
Eventually, he ends up nodding off slightly, jerking awake with every footfall or loud voice. He’s almost fallen asleep when the yelling begins, followed by the ‘zip, zip’ sound of gunfire, and he’s fully awake now.
It doesn’t last long and then things get very quiet.
Draculoids burst into the room, guns drawn. The weapons drop when they realize who they’re pointing at and a couple rush forward to untie him. Its kind of heart warming to know that even restrained he can still strike fear into their cold shriveled hearts.
Korse follows behind, his jacket billowing out behind him like a cape. He’s looks pristine and untouchable and he refuses to feel grimy in comparison.
“Took you long enough,” Gerard growls at him as he gets his arms free.
Korse just grins.
Fuck that always creeps him out.
* * *
They’re loading the zonerunners (fucking Killjoys) into a containment vehicle when he finally steps outside. He can’t have been kept in there very long, probably not even a whole day, but he still ends up having to squint against the midday sun.
He has to glance around, curiosity getting the better of him, and realizes that he’s outside what had once been a diner. There are still specials stuck to the window and an open sign hanging in the door. Most of the letters on the top of the building are gone though, leaving only DI E behind. Fucking hilarious.
It seems familiar to him in someway. The thought that he might have been here on a raid before crosses his mind but it doesn’t seem right. Usually places that are on the BLI radar stay abandoned.
When he glances over he can see that the Killjoys aren’t going without a fight. He can hear them cursing, see them struggling against the hold. It’s obvious they either haven’t been tranquilized or were given an extremely low dosage.
They manage to get Grace and the one with curly hair into the van without much of a fuss; Grace goes easily, thankfully, but he doesn’t miss the way one of the dracs whips his gun into the back of the curly‘s knee.
The shortest one, Fun Ghoul he remembers, manages to head butt one of the dracs and ends up getting pistol whipped for his trouble. He goes down easily and the dracs toss him in the back of the van.
“Gee!” The blonde calls out to him and it takes a few moments for him to even recognize him.
Fucking hell. “Mikey?”
“Get us out of here, Gee.” Mikey looks at him pleadingly; it’s the same look that he used to give him anytime he tried to get Gerard to cover for him. That’s probably what got them to this position in the first place.
He moves forward, mostly likely ready to say something stupid, like ‘Get your hands off my brother’ or ‘let him the fuck go’, when there’s a sudden sharp pain behind his eyes. He hisses and clinches a fist, feeling his nails dig into his palm.
Grace is fascinated with Show Pony’s skates and is ecstatic when he gives her a chance to try them on. They’re far too large but she still flies across the diner, weaving around chairs and tables before she ends up smacking into Jet.
They both go crashing to the ground.
She scrambles to her feet, giggling and Jet is laughing as well as he makes a grab for her--.
“That’s really not his decision,” Korse says to Mikey as he appears beside him, snapping Gerard out of his daze. He turns to the dracs, “Make sure they are secure. If anything happens you will be the ones to answer for it.”
The dracs nod in affirmation, shove Mikey into the back of the van, but before they slam the doors shut Korse stops them. “No, I want the three of you back there with them. We will be the ones to drive them back to the city.”
“We?” he asks, rubbing his eyes, wondering what the hell just happened. He only half listens to the answer as he follow Korse to the van and slides into the passenger seat.
“-- know we can’t afford any mistakes,” Korse tells him.
He nods like he knows he’s supposed to and Korse seems pleased.
The pain hasn’t gone away, instead getting worse. He should probably say something or at least take one of the painkillers in the medpack strapped to the dash but he can’t seem force himself to do so. He can hear cursing from the back and it seems to make the pounding in his head worse.
Kobra drags him and Grace out to the diner the day the station gets raided.
He doesn’t want to go; Wreck and Monkey are MIA, gone to the dust before SCARECROW even got there. Party shouldn’t have been there himself, Wreck had all but shoved him out the door, telling him to take his newly painted car and make himself scarce for the day, except Grace had left her doll behind so he turned around to get it.
But Kobra won’t listen to a word he says and he really doesn’t have the energy to keep arguing. Blood loss will do that to a person.
Ghoul teaches Grace what parts of the car does what and how to tell when something isn’t working.
Jet teaches her how to count cards, rattling off numbers enough to make Party‘s own head spin.
Mikey ends up teaching her how to bandage up wounds using Party as a test subject. Gerard feels like a mummy most of the time but doesn’t say anything. From the smirk Kobra gives him, he’s not far off.
Party is the one to teach her how to shoot a gun, though. He takes her out to the sand and gives her a chance to shoot at broken furniture. It only takes a couple of tries before her aim is dead on.
It should make him proud (his own baby killjoy is growing up) but instead it just makes him sad.
The run went south and Gerard is patching up his brother’s case of road rash when his brother finally speaks up. “Aren’t you going to say anything?”
Gerard doesn’t want to. He’s had this argument with his brother before and it always ends the same but he can’t help but ask, “Aren’t you worried what’ll happen if you don’t end up getting away?” Because he has. He knows what happens to people who end up strapped to the table, or worse, those who are considered irreversibly contaminated.
But Mikey (no, not Mikey anymore; Kobra, his mind supplies) just laughs. “Of course I’m not worried. If I ever get taken, Party, you’d just break me back out.”
Fucking hell, he’s Party Poison.
“You know has to be done, right?” Korse’s voices startles him, drawing him back to right now. It’s not a question, even though Korse phrases it like one, like Gerard would have a fucking option about it.
Korse is right though; he knows what he has to do. “I do.”
Gerard pulls the spare gun he’d taken from its holster and aims for Korse’s head. He doesn’t miss; his aim has always been fucking exceptional no matter what the fuck BLI has done to his head.
“What the hell?” Gerard hears through the mesh screen, as the van starts to swerve. He grabs the wheel and pulls them off to the side.
He jumps out of the front after relieving Korse’s corpse of its own gun, and pulls open the back of the van, guns ready, and one of the dracs falls out, unconscious. Gerard glances inside and sees Jet opening Grace’s cuffs with a key, his own set on abandoned the floor.
“I knew it!” Grace exclaims, launching herself at him. He laughs as he pulls her out.
Ghoul crawls out of the back next, looking miserable. “You gonna go fucking Costa Rica on us again?” he asks, watching Gerard wearily. Gerard shakes his head and Ghoul nods. “Good.” Ghoul moves in for a quick, albeit stiff and uncomfortable, hug before heading for one of the unconscious dracs, stripping him of his weapon. And possibly his shoes and other valuables.
“Welcome back, man,” Jet says as he hops out. He doesn’t try to hug him, thank god. Gerard’s really not in the hugging mood, and the pain is still lingering in his skull.
The relief is short lived though, because the next thing he knows his brother is right there, pulling him in for a tight hug. “I thought you’d been ghosted. Don’t you even do that again,” Kobra mutters into his neck.
He doesn’t say anything in response, not wanting to promise something he knows one day he won’t be able to keep, and hugs his brother back.
“Now what?” Grace asks him from where she still squished against his side.
Gerard pulls back and grins down at her. “Now we go home.”