solarbaby614: (MCR: Trust Me)
solarbaby614 ([personal profile] solarbaby614) wrote2012-03-24 11:25 pm

Fic: Paper Monsters

Title: Paper Monsters
Author: [personal profile] solarbaby614
Word Count: 5151
Pairing(s): Gen, Pre-Gerard/Frank
Warnings On and off screen violence.
Summary: Peter fucking Pan. Mikey's never going to let him hear the end of it.
Rating: R
Disclaimer: All I own is the plot.
Author's Notes: This mix rocked totally out loud and I think I pissed off my family listening to it so much. The mixer didi such an awesome job. ♥ The fic took a slightly different turn than originally planned and I don't know how close it followed the music. Thanks so much to jokerindisguise for helping me as I panicked over finishing this fic and helping me hash out the details.

It’s not that Gerard is bad at English, per se. He can read and write and has a fair hold on that whole conjugation thing. The whole issue is that it’s just not all that interesting.

His class had spent the last two weeks covering the works of Shakespeare, and two weeks before that going over Canterbury Tales; he can remember doing the exact same thing in class two years prior. Gerard had the same teacher then too. He’s fairly sure the man has just been reusing the same lesson plan for each class.

Okay, so he might have fallen asleep during a few classes, waking up to Ray nervously poking him with the pointy end of his pencil, and he might have forgotten to do a few assignments, but this is all stuff that he’s learned before, stuff he’s done before. He’s pretty sure he still has copies of most of the assignments sitting in an old backpack in the back of his closet.

So he doesn’t understand exactly how he’s failing the class.

The teacher gives him a careful look where he’s slouching in a chair in front of the desk and tells him, “You’ve only turned in three of your assignments since we started going over classic works in class, you missed the last exam completely, and don’t think I haven’t seen you napping in the back of the classroom, Mr. Way.”

He feels his face heat up and he ducks his head, letting his hair fall in front of his face in hopes that the teacher doesn’t notice.

There’s a long-suffering sigh from the teacher as he rearranges the papers on his desk before glancing back up at him. “This is a required class, Jarrod--“

“Gerard,” he corrects automatically. He’s never gotten his name right, so it’s wasted effort.

Mr. Tracy just gives him a blank look before continuing on, “--so you need this class to graduate.”

That catches Gerard’s attention immediately and he straightens up. “Is there any way to get my grade up in time?” It doesn’t have to be a good grade, just not failing. Failing is bad.

“I don’t do extra credit. You know that,” he tells Gerard. The panicked look on his face makes him pause and he shakes his head. “Lucky for you, there is something you can do.”

Relief fills Gerard and he immediately gets suspicious. “What is it?” Because he’s seen stuff like this on the news and the rumors around school about the staff are some of the worst kept secrets, but Mr. Tracy’s never given any indication that he’s like that. It’s not that he’s one of the better teachers, just one of the more disinterested ones.

But it wouldn’t be the first time he’s been on the receiving end of something like this; it’s just the first time he’s actually had something that they could corner him with, to make him agree.

Mr. Tracy must see the thoughts run across his face because he rolls his eyes and goes, “No. Nothing like that.”

That does little to comfort him because whenever teachers don’t want that, what they do want tends to be even worse.

“What I need are volunteers.”

Well, that’s fucking ominous. Gerard just blinks and waits for the punch line and the teacher doesn’t fail to deliver.

“For drama club.”

What the fuck.

“What the fuck,” Gerard says, incredulous.

Mr. Tracy glares at him. “Language,” he scolds. “We need more people in the stage crew. Our last few volunteers met some… unfortunate accidents. Loose wiring and low hanging beams and stuff like that.” He waves it off like it’s of no concern to him, which Gerard supposes it’s not. “It’s simple. You help with this year’s play and you’ll pass the class. No more homework, no more tests. Hell, you don’t even have to come to class anymore if you don’t want to.”

Gerard fiddles with the loose plastic of his math binder and thinks. They must be really desperate if they’re trying to recruit people like this. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to do; art’s always been his favorite class. The drama group is one of the safest to be around. They usually have the fewest disappearances; mostly because the people who make up the lighting department are built more like linebackers than the actual ones on the school’s football team.

“I’ll do it,” he hears himself saying before he can second-guess himself. Gerard immediately cringes, wondering just how badly he fucked up.

“Fantastic,” Mr. Tracy says, looking elated. It’s a terrifying expression, one that he’s never seen before, and Gerard has to suppress a shiver when he sees it. He grabs a piece of paper from the desk drawer and passes it over to him, which Gerard takes with only slight hesitation as he stands. “Take this with you when you meet with Mr. Dewees after school tomorrow in the theater. He’ll be so happy to see you both.”

Gerard pauses, frowning. “Both? There’s gonna be someone else too? ” God, he hopes that it’s not anyone from the football team, or the soccer team, or the chess team.

There’s a nod from Mr. Tracy. “It seems you’re not the only person who couldn’t seem to keep up with my lesson plan. Mr. Iero will also be working on the set.”

Frank Iero. Fuck, that’s even worse. He knows about Frank; hell, everyone knows about Frank. The teen is good-looking, a hot motherfucker actually, but he has no alliances, no territory and everyone is still fucking terrified of him. The other students usually have a mixed reaction of trying to get his attention or staying out of his damn way when he comes down the hall. Gerard can feel panic start to well up inside of him at the idea of being around him for any prolonged amount of time.

Mr. Tracy looks up, seeming to realize that Gerard is still standing there, staring at him. “You can go now,” he says, dismissing him completely.

Gerard hurriedly shoves the paper in his pocket and leaves. He pauses when he gets to the hallway, leaning against the wall. There’s no hurry to get to his next class, it’s already thirty minutes into the lesson and he doesn’t want the attention people receive when they enter late.

He digs the crumpled paper out of his pocket and stares at the title on the top.

Peter fucking Pan.

Gerard wonders if there is some sort of cosmic joke being played on him. Mikey’s never going to let him hear the end of it.


Mikey laughs at him when he hands him the papers.

He doesn’t stop laughing when Gerard curls up on his bed, burying his face in his arms. “My life is a wasteland,” he mutters into the bedsheets.

“Stop being melodramatic,” Mikey tells him between giggles. “It’s not that bad.”

Gerard lifts his head up and glares at him. “I’m going to trade you in for a better brother. Maybe even a sister.”

All he receives in response is a snort as his brother starts flipping through the script, looking more and more amused as he gets farther in.

Ray reaches over and pats him on the head in sympathy, because he’s an awesome person and understands Gerard’s pain. “You’re working on the set, though, right? It sounds like it’ll be right up your alley.”

“But I’m not working on it alone. The teacher has Frank Iero working on the set as well,” he groans. Ray freezes, eyes widening, and even Mikey looks up from the papers. “He’ll murder me. They’ll find me in the woods behind the school like they did that McCracken kid a few years back.”

“There was no actual proof that Iero did that,” Mikey tells him.

It’s a pathetic attempt at reassurance, if that’s what it’s supposed to be in the first place. Gerard responds by trying to kick him, only Mikey is sitting on his own bed, not Gerard’s, so it misses by a mile.

A goldfish would be more reassuring. He wonders if it’s too late to trade him in for one. His mother wouldn’t mind; the goldfish would eat less and not accidentally nearly burn the house down.

Ray just pats him on the head again, comfortingly, getting that worried look on his face that he gets when Mikey accidentally does something particularly dangerous. He’s Gerard’s favorite; there’s no doubt about that now.

“Didn’t he put a kid’s head through the trophy case last week?” Ray says.

Gerard makes a distressed noise. He really needs better friends.


Gerard shows up exactly on time after school the next day, not a moment sooner, not a moment later.

He pauses inside the door, watching the cast that had already taken the stage. They’re good, but Gerard really expected no less. They have the kind of reputation around school that makes sure all their shows are always sold out.

What catches his attention, though, is the stage itself. The background is a shoddy job; it also appears to be painted upside down, unless Neverland’s sky is supposed to be green. He can tell that the props are poorly made, and he cringes as one of the actors (a pirate maybe?) pulls out his sword and the blade falls off. Even the costumes are bad. Gerard can’t tell who’s supposed to be playing what (though he assumes the guy in green is Peter Pan. Or Tinkerbell).

Gerard’s beginning to understand why exactly the last crew had succumbed to ‘accidents’.

“Wonderful, wonderful!” a voice booms throughout the auditorium. Mr. Dewees appears from off stage, clapping his hands. “I’m very impressed with all of you! Ryan,” he says to the pirate, “next time try not to let your broom (Jesus Christ, it’s even worse than Gerard first thought) fall apart.” He catches sight of Gerard in the doorway and gives a large grin. “Fantastic! Now that we have our new stage crew, we can really start to buckle down and really get to work.”

There’s a collective groan from everyone, but when Mr. Dewees gives them a terrifying look it shuts up pretty quickly.

“Well don’t just stand there,” Mr. Dewees tells him, beckoning him forward, “come and join us and we’ll get started.”

Gerard tentatively approaches the stage. He hasn’t seen Iero yet and he wonders if he decided to blow the whole thing off. It would be ballsy, even for him.

“Good, good,” Mr. Dewees says, turning back to the stage. “Alright, let’s lose the props and when I get back we’ll start from the beginning.”

The group scatters quickly, looking grateful for the perceived break.

He’s startled when he hears a snort from the audience. He barely stops himself from jumping and he spins around. Frank Iero is stretched out in one of the auditorium seats near the front, legs propped up on the row in front of him. His shirt’s ridden up and Gerard can’t help but stare at the tattooed skin.

“All right, you two.” Mr. Dewees turns back to them. “Let’s put you to work.”


“And this is where you two will work your magic,” Mr. Dewees (“James,” Mr. Dewees tells them, “there’s no room for formality on the stage.” Gerard is sure that he’s the only one to think so.) declares as he theatrically throws open the doors.

The first thing that Gerard notices is that it’s small and cluttered. On closer expectation, he realizes that it’s only so small because it’s so cluttered. It looks like there’s years’ worth of costumes and props filling up the space.

James must see his expression because he says, “Our last set crew liked having everything on hand in case there was anything that they could cannibalize for the current plays.”

Gerard almost flinches at the wording (but he doesn’t cause he’s awesome) because he’d heard of the old crew. There had been rumors.

A thoughtful look appears on James’ face as he reaches out and starts picking at the loose thread on what had probably been a military uniform in a previous life. “That might have been a part of the reason that they didn’t last very long. They weren’t very at good it. I should have listened to Stephanie when she told me they weren’t any of her students. ” He frowns for a moment, and then his face lights back up and he turns to the two of them. “I’m sure that we won’t have that same problem.” He looks at them expectantly.

Gerard nods while Iero just makes a noise of affirmation.

“Good. I’ll have some of the actors bring you the props we’ve been working with. Hopefully you can help fix their… stability issues.”

That’s one way of saying it, Gerard supposes as he watches them haul the load into the already overcrowded room. He’s not even sure what some of this stuff is supposed to be, he thinks as he pulls what appears (hopes) is supposed to be a glittery mace out of the pile.

“That’s my wand!” One of the actors says. The ‘Hello, My Name Is’ tag says Pete but it also says Tinkerbell underneath it as well. Gerard wonders if that’s how everyone is supposed to tell exactly who’s playing who.

“Tinkerbell didn’t have a fucking wand,” Iero declares and it startles Gerard a bit. It’s the first time he can remember that he’s actually heard Iero speak.

Pete’s eyes go wide. “But I’m a fairy! Fairies are supposed to have wands!” He eyes the ‘wand’ in Gerard’s hand, and for a moment he thinks that Pete’s gonna try and grab it, but instead he just turns to look at the guy helping carry in the backgrounds.

“He’s right,” Patrick informs him. His name tag has Patrick (Tree #2) on it, which basically means that he’s wearing a pair of white shirt and pants that have been painted (please let that be paint, he silently begs) brown.

Pete’s face falls and he looks at the wand forlornly.

It makes Gerard feel so bad that he goes “here” and hands it over to him. His face immediately lights back up and he practically bounces out of the room. It didn’t look very sturdy anyways; it’ll probably fall apart soon.

Patrick gives him a look of something that looks like approval before he follows.

A sigh escapes Gerard as he takes a look at the pile of stuff they have to work on. Eventually he picks up an armful of… something and prepares to get to work. He gets halfway through the pile before he realizes that he has no clue what the hell any of this stuff is actually supposed to be.

When he glances over, Frank’s stretched out on a couch in the corner and is taking a nap.


It’s actually doesn’t suck once Gerard starts. Theater craft really isn’t anything he’s done before but he likes it. James pretty much gives him creative freedom, telling him just to make sure that it looks good and people can recognize what it’s supposed to be.

He’s also been given free access to the art storage room. The art teacher, a woman who insisted on being called Madame Germanotta, was ecstatic when she learned that he would be the one taking over the job. Apparently the last students who worked the crew were ‘blights on the artistic world’.

Frank spends the whole time they’re supposed to be working on the set either napping in the corner or playing on his phone. He tries to leave a few times, only to be escorted back by a chattering Ryan or an irritated Bob or, once, by a frowning James. That’s the only time that Gerard can remember Frank looking nervous. That only lasted a few moments though; once James had left, Frank had turned to him with a glare and snorted when Gerard averted his eyes.

In the end, Gerard has to do all the work by himself. And that wouldn’t be that bad, except for the fact that he ends up having to scrap most of the stuff the last crew had done and start all over.

He gets the backdrops done first, mostly because they were the easiest. Whatever paint they had used on them originally was crap and it peeled off when Gerard went to remove it. It only took him a few days to paint new ones, listening to Frank complain about the smell the entire time.

By the time he gets done with them they’re better than new. Even Frank doesn’t laugh at them like he did when he saw how they used to look. Gerard takes that as a sign of approval.


“Hey, Way!” a voice calls, as Gerard hurriedly gets his books out of his locker. His locker is in football territory and he has no desire to spend any more time there than he has to. Sure enough, when he turns around he sees Todd Martin, one of the football players, coming towards him.

Gerard looks away and grabs his stuff, not even bothering to shove it into his bag, before heading quickly in the opposite direction, pretending he didn’t hear him.

That works for all of ten seconds until Todd grabs him by the back of his sweater and shoves him back, his head bouncing off the wall. “I was talking to you, fag,” Todd hisses at him, wrapping a hand around his throat.

Instinct is to struggle in the hold, but all that does is cut off his air flow, and there are black dots dancing at the edge of his vision when Todd finally lets go. Gerard slides to the ground, coughing.

Todd crouches down next to him with a smirk. “So I heard you’re the drama club’s newest bitch. How’s that going for ya?” He grabs a handful of Gerard’s hair and gives it a yank, and Gerard has to bite back a whimper. “Yeah, I thought so.”

A bell rings, signaling the beginning of third period.

The grip on his hair is released and Gerard collapses back down. He sees Todd stand up from the corner of his eye and starts to relax, when he receives a swift kick to the stomach. A cry of pain escapes him and he curls into himself.

Todd laughs above him before walking away, kicking Gerard’s books as he passes them by, sending them scattered. “You’re not even worth it, you pussy.”

Gerard has to lay there for a few moments before the pain has receded enough that he’s able to move. He hopes he hasn’t cracked a rib or ended up with internal bleeding or something.

He grabs all his stuff from the floor and shoves it in his bag, taking his time. Classes already started about ten minutes before and no one is in the halls anymore. In the end, Gerard doesn’t even go on to class; instead he heads for the prop room.

It seems like the safest place to go right now.


“You really shouldn’t let him get away with that shit,” Bob says the next day, sitting on the edge of the stage as Gerard tried to get some of old white paint off the old desk.

Gerard didn’t even look up from what he was doing. “Who get away with what?”

“Iero,” Bob replies. “You’re never gonna get this done by yourself and he was forced to do this just as much as you.”

He pauses long enough to readjust his scarf before getting back to work. Hopefully, if he gets this done tonight it’ll be dry by tomorrow. “You really think that he’s going to listen to me if I even tried? They’d be fishing me out of Miller’s Creek.” If they ever found him at all.

Frank had already made himself scarce hours ago and it was only him and Bob left. Normally it would just be him, but Bob hung around after practice, apparently intent on keeping Gerard company. Not that he’s complaining; after all, the football team’s practice usually lasts until about eight.

Bob shakes his head. “I know Iero’s type. He’s dangerous, don’t get me wrong, and a bit of a sociopath, but he’s not going to kill you for standing up to him.” A smirk crosses his face. “If he kills you then he’ll have to finish this all himself.”

Gerard snorts. “Thanks for the vote of confidence,” he says back. When he reaches over to get the side, he doesn’t notice that the scarf comes loose and pulls away from his neck.

“All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t show any fear. If you do he’s just going to walk all over… you…”

All of a sudden, Bob is right there beside him, staring down at him in that crazy intense way that had freshmen running into walls and lockers to get away. Before Gerard can move away Bob has a hold of the scarf and is pulling it away from his neck, making the bruises completely visible. “What the fuck happened here?”

Fingers ghost over the bruises and Gerard jerks away, moving quickly to cover it up. “It’s nothing.”

“It doesn’t look like nothing,” Bob’s voice is dark and angry. “It looks like someone tried to take your fucking head off. And they did a piss poor job of it.”

“I’ve had worse,” he says, keeping his voice even. “It’s fine.”

“No, it’s not,” Bob answers back, “because you’re off fucking limits now. And I’m gonna make sure that whatever asshole did this is going to understand that.”

“Fuck all you are.” He slams his brush down and gets to his feet, getting face to face with Bob, which is really fucking stupid but he can’t seem to bring himself to care. He hasn’t needed anyone to fight his battles for him before and he doesn’t need anyone now. Bob doesn’t move away, but Gerard does see the subtle way his stance shifts. “You know why? Because this isn’t your fucking problem. It’s mine and I don’t need any help. So back the fuck off.”

Bob looks like he wants to argue but just shakes his head and then laughs. “There’s that backbone I knew was there. Just make sure Iero knows it too.”

Gerard glares at him as he bends back down to grab his brush. “Motherfucker,” he mutters under his breath.

“You know it,” responds Bob, taking his place back at the edge of the stage.

He doesn’t say anything else for the next hour while Gerard finishes up the desk, but Gerard still catches him glancing back at his neck with clenched fists when he thinks Gerard isn’t looking.


The thing is that Bob kind of has a point.

There really is no possible way that he can finish this all by himself. Gerard can’t get through the list of things to be done fast enough to keep up with the progressing play, especially with the liberties that James keeps taking with the script. For some reason the swordfight scene on the ship now takes place on a volcano and the lost boys need to be wearing kilts.

“That is it!” Gerard snaps, slamming the incomplete props down beside the couch with a loud noise.

Frank jerks up, suddenly alert and awake, spinning around for the source of the disturbance. When he catches sight of Gerard, he relaxes, writing him off as threat.

Normally that would bother Gerard, but right now he really doesn’t care. “I’ve had enough!” He glares at him and Frank turns to watch him uneasily. “You’ve done nothing but slack off and sleep for the last month and I’ve had to do everything. But not anymore.” When Frank gets to his feet Gerard crowds in close. “You need to start pulling your weight around here or I will go to James and explain exactly what has been going on. I can’t keep doing everything!”

The blank expression on Frank’s face shifts into something more dangerous and Gerard has a split second to regret his little outburst before Frank throws him against the door and pins him there with an arm against his throat. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t just get rid of you now and finish this myself. I’m sure it’ll save me a lot of hassle.”

“Because you need me,” he chokes out. “There’s no way you’ll be able to finish this by yourself and you’ll end up having to repeat the year.” The scary expression doesn’t disappear, but the pressure on his larynx gets lighter. It’s enough to make him braver. “Now let me go,” he says quietly.

Frank growls and the arm’s pressure increases before moving away completely. He doesn’t back away, just crosses his arms and waits. “So what exactly do I need to do?”

Gerard takes that as encouragement. “Alright,” he says. “There’s a list of stuff that needs to be done on the table. Just pick something off of it.” He scoots past Frank, ignoring the way his eyes seem to follow him.

He glances back a few moments later and sees Frank reading the list.

Huh, that actually worked.


Four people have disappeared since Gerard started working with the drama club. Two of them used to be in Gerard’s Trigonometry class; they chose to sit beside him because they liked tripping (shoving) him whenever he got up. He doesn’t really miss them.

They find the body of one of them in the park down the road from Gerard’s house and the bodies of two of them underneath the freeway overpass. One of them is still unaccounted for, but Gerard knows that no one is really looking.

No one really goes looking for bodies anymore.


The coffee is Mikey’s idea.

It’s supposed to be some sort of peace offering, which isn’t a bad idea in theory. Of course, Gerard believes he has a better chance of it being thrown in his face than accepted. Mikey rolls his eyes when Gerard says as much; the thought of someone wasting coffee like that is foreign to him.

Frank is hunched over one of the tables when he gets there (getting coffee made him the late one for once) and he already seems to be at work. He sits the cup down beside him and Frank pauses for a long moment, but doesn’t look up. There’s a long moment where neither of them move before Frank reaches out to take the cup cautiously.

He pulls off the lid and looks up at Gerard with a frown.

Gerard just holds up his own and takes a sip, ignoring the suspicious look that Frank sends the drink as he takes a seat.

The door to the stage is open, so they can hear James’ booming voice as he gives directions and the answering squeaks of what sounds like Ryan. There’s a loud crashing noise followed by laughter, and Gerard can only cringe at what they could be breaking out there.

When he finally glances away from the door (things are silent out there and he isn’t sure he wants to know what’s happening out there) Frank is standing beside him, staring down. Gerard gives a start and looks up at him, wide-eyed. The cup of coffee is clutched in his hand. The image of it being thrown on him crosses his mind; it wouldn’t be the first time someone had done as much.

But that doesn’t happen. Instead, Frank just nods to him and gives him a muttered, “Thanks,” before moving away.

“Anytime,” he says back, stunned.


Thursday morning, Brock Anderson throws him into the lockers and Gerard ends up with a bloody nose. Frank appears next to him, in that creepy silent ninja way he seems to, and glares at Brock as he heads down the hallway.

Brock never shows up for football practice that afternoon, or school the next day, or the next.

When Frank shows up late that same afternoon with a bandage wrapped around his hand, Gerard doesn’t say anything about it.


After that, Frank starts talking to him, with like real words and shit, none of that aggressive, thinly veiled threats stuff that he gets from most other students.

And the truth is, he’s kind of awesome. He reads comics, even though he’s never heard of Doom Patrol and isn’t that a fucking travesty.

The first time that he makes Frank laugh, Patrick ends up showing up, because apparently people got worried that he’d completely snapped and went all Joker on Gerard’s ass. He just sort of gets this disturbed look on his face when he realizes that this isn’t the case and backs slowly out the door; Gerard keeps seeing people peeking around the door frame the rest of the afternoon.


“Pete tells me that you and Frank Iero have a thing now,” Mikey says, setting his lunch tray down in front of his brother. Ray reaches over and steals a fry before he can stop him, and he’s barely quick enough to swat his hand away from getting his hand on another one. He pushes the tray out Ray’s reach, who just stares at it forlornly like he hadn’t just inhaled his own moments before, and turns back to his brother. “But he can’t seem to tell me exactly what the hell that thing is.”

Gerard shrugs. “It’s nothing. We’ve just been talking.”

No one ever goes after Mikey; not since he hooked up with Pete Wentz the beginning of freshman year (or middle school, depending on what rumors you were listening to), which was something that Gerard really didn’t want to dwell on. Ever. At all.

The best thing about not having to go to english class anymore, other than not having to go to english class anymore, is the fact that it used to take place right before his lunch period, so he’s basically got an extended lunch.

Mikey’s lunch fell about the same time as well so he’s started eating lunch with him and Ray, who’s got independent study this period, the lucky bastard.

Ray shakes his head. “You know Frank Iero doesn’t talk to people.”

“We’ve been working together on the play,” replies Gerard. “Usually you have to talk to people to do that.”

“You know what I mean,” Ray shoots back.

Mikey frowns, looking between them before shooting Gerard a worried look. “You’d tell me if something was going on, right?”

“Of course,” Gerard snaps. “But nothing is going on, okay? So just let it go.” He doesn’t know why he’s getting so short with them about it, but all he knows is that it’s getting under his skin.

Ray’s hands go up in surrender and Mikey gives him a look, but doesn’t say anything more on the subject.