Pairing: Implied Bob/Brian but mostly gen.
Word count: 23k
Warning: Death of original characters, description of physical injuries, traumatic situations.
Written for bandom_hc Prompt: 335. plane crash!MCR! The guys are flying in a storm, in a private jet (just the band, Brian and Worm) when the plane crashes in the ocean. The guys end up stranded on and island, waiting for rescue. Heartbreaking scenes with Mikey cradling Gerard's unconscious body to his chest and rocking. Bob trying to hide is serious injuries from the rest while working hard to build shelter and find food. Pairings optional but Bob-centric is prefered. Lots of boys trying to act like everything is going to be okay while being scared to death and trying to take care of each other.
A/N: Huge thanks go to teaforbryony for running the challenge of my heart. To sperrywink who yet again was there every inch of the way as I wrote. To themoononastick and mahoni for the great beta and for prodding me to keep writing until I reached a much better end. Since they've seen this I've changed a lot, so any mistakes are mine and mine alone.
Finally thanks to paperdollkisses for all the medical information. She hasn't actually read this so any misuse of this info is on my shoulders only.
Ray hates flying. He tells himself that he's used to it now, and in some ways that's true. They fly so often it's been a case of learning to deal, and the more flights he takes the easier it becomes -- but that doesn't mean it's easy. No matter what class they travel the seats are always uncomfortable and the air tastes weird, holding the taint of chemicals that settles in Ray's mouth and lungs.
When they're shoved into a plane barely big enough to hold them and their luggage, well, things are a thousand times worse.
Attempting to get comfortable, Ray shifts to the side, wincing when his elbow impacts against the hard edge of his seat. Rubbing at the bone he turns slightly, his knee jammed against the wall in front as he looks around, needing the distraction. In the row behind, Bob's mouth is open as he sleeps, his head against a small white pillow and his legs tucked up, wedged against the back of Ray's seat. Next to him, Gerard's slumped to the side and his sunglasses have slid down his nose, looking like they're going to fall off at any moment. Ray reaches between the seats and pushes them back up with his finger.
"Weh?" Frank mutters, still half asleep in the seat next to Ray. Freezing in place, Ray waits until Frank settles. As much as he wants distractions he's not about to take away much needed rest, especially when the next few weeks are blocked out with constant promo and appearances.
Ray looks past Frank and sees that Brian's awake, and is squashed against the window, Mikey taking up almost two thirds of the seats. Which should be against the laws of physics, Ray cranes his head, trying to see how someone so skinny can take up so much space.
"He's like, some fucking octopus," Brian says, but he's making no attempt to push Mikey away, just drums his fingers against his knee as Mikey sighs softly in his sleep, looking perfectly comfortable, his head resting against Brian's shoulder. "Next leg he's sitting with Worm."
Ray swallows and glances back at Worm, who's sitting in the back row and sharing with nothing but a bag containing an array of magazines and a bottle of water. He's lying sideways, earbuds jammed into his ears, the wire disappearing into his shirt. Ray envies him his easy sleep and room to move, especially when Frank mutters drowsily and shifts onto his side, his mouth pressed against Ray's arm.
"Or you put him with Frank," Ray says, and gently eases out his arm, leaving behind a trail of drool that stretches from elbow to wrist.
Brian stares, his mouth curling up slightly at one side. "Works for me."
Ray leans forward, forehead almost touching the wall in front as he tries to work the kinks out of his back. "An hour, I can make that."
"Then onto the next flight," Brian says, sounding as reluctant as Ray feels. He looks down at Mikey, only moving his eyes. "I can't believe I miss the fucking tour buses."
Ray yawns. He misses them too, especially when he's stuck in a tin can thousands of feet in the sky. It's something he tries not to think of, his stomach twisting with nerves each time he pictures being suspended in thin air. It doesn't seem natural and he can feel sweat break out at the nape of his neck. He swallows again, says, "Next time you need to book us on luxury jets. We're rock stars, we should have fold out beds and stewardesses bringing us hot towels."
"I don't think they're called that now," Brian frowns toward the cockpit, where their own attendant -- an older woman called Tina -- had disappeared nearly twenty minutes before.
"They're flight attendants, right?" Ray sits back up and plucks the information booklet out of the holder on the wall, opening it up and flicking through the pages. "It says here....Fucking hell!"
Ray grabs for the armrest when the plane suddenly shudders and dips forward sending Ray sliding in his seat. Bracing his feet against the floor the booklet falls to the ground when he instinctively holds his arm against Frank's chest, keeping him in place.
Brian half-stands as the door to the cockpit opens and Tina appears. She looks worried as she holds onto the doorway, raising her voice so she can be heard over the high-pitched whine of the engines. "We've run into some mechanical difficulties, if you could all fasten your seatbelts. I'll be back with news as soon as I have it."
She goes back into the cockpit, the door shutting behind her, and all around him Ray can hear people waking. Twisting to the side he tugs at Frank's seatbelt, fastening it around him as Frank looks around blearily, still half-asleep. Across the aisle Brian's doing the same to Mikey, and he puts his hand on Mikey's shoulder, keeping him in place when he tries to stand.
"Sit still." Brian looks around, taking command. "Gerard, Bob, Worm, are you all belted in?"
Ray's relieved when they all say yes, and he tightens his own belt until it's digging into his stomach. It still doesn't feel like enough and he feels like throwing up as the whole cabin starts to shudder and oxygen masks drop from overhead, swinging wildly on the end of their clear tubes.
"Is that smoke?"
Worm sounds panicked, and Ray can hardly breathe when he turns and sees a trail of smoke through the window. It's like all his nightmares are coming true and he's gripping the armrest, nails digging in, and actually whimpers when the door slams open and Tina appears again, clinging to the doorframe.
"You'll have noticed difficulties have escalated and we're aiming for the nearest emergency landing space. If you could all assume the crash position." She hesitates and swallows hard, and Ray sees that she’s sweating despite the outward projection of calm. "Assume the positions now."
A last look and Ray's leaning forward, his head between his knees. Beneath him the floor is shaking and Ray reaches for Frank's hand, curling their fingers together and holding on.
"I love you all." Ray grips harder at the sound of Gerard's voice, and he knows he has to be hurting Frank's hand, but he can't seem to loosen his grip, not when Gerard sounds so wrecked, obviously convinced he's saying his goodbyes. "Mikey....fuck, Mikey. I couldn't have had a better brother."
"We're going to be fucking fine." Bob, trying to sound sure despite the way his words tremble and all Ray can do is keep praying and, when there's an explosion and they plummet even more sharply toward the ground, scream.
Ray wakes and realizes there's something hard jabbing him in the side. He thinks he's fallen asleep with his iPod jammed between his body and his bed, it won't be the first time, or the last. He moves to tug it free, and immediately the pain hits, an agonizing wave that makes Ray cry out as he tries to curl up and keep breathing. It feels like his whole body has been flayed, his skin raw and his bones shards. There's not a place he isn't hurting and he whimpers as he begins to remember -- an explosion of light and sound, the plane plummeting down, the sound of screaming as they hit ground -- glass exploding inwards and metal buckling as the side of the plane was torn free.
Ray turns his head and vomits, unable to stop the tears when each retch brings fresh pain. When he's finished his whole body is throbbing and all he wants to do is close his eyes and give in to the darkness that's pushing close; so tempting with the possibility of nothingness -- no pain, no memories, just black, because Ray doesn't want to deal. It's too hard and he's hurting and every tiny movement is an effort.
Slowly, Ray opens his eyes. As much as he wants to give in he won't, because he needs to find his friends, his brothers.
At first all he can see is sand, golden and covered in dark patches, then further, some kind of trees and a large hunk of metal, a shadowed shape at its side. Squinting, Ray tries to understand what he's seeing, because the shape is vaguely human, but wrong, like the limbs have been rearranged and the torso flattened. His heart racing, Ray pieces things together -- the curve of a calf, a bare foot, dark hair lying against the sand, and then some distance away, a hand, the fingers splayed.
"No," Ray mutters, and his chest burns as he turns onto his side, his arm trembling as he pushes himself up onto his knees. All the time he keeps watching that shape and grief is yet another physical hurt as he wavers and spits, blood and shards of teeth landing on the sand. Nauseous, he waits for the dizziness to pass and he's read medical articles in magazines. He knows he shouldn't be moving and he can't help think of shattered ribs and blood pooling in his belly, but none of those magazines said what to do in a situation like this and Ray has to move.
On hands and knees, he crawls forward, and the sand is forced between his fingers, gold turning red and he knows if he looks behind him he'll be leaving a trail. He gets closer and sees that the metal is part of the side of the plane, crumpled and blackened, but he still can't see who the figure is, just blood and bones and things that glisten. Arms shaking, Ray vomits up bile mixed with blood, spits out another tooth before moving again, and all the time he has to listen to his own harsh breathing. Waves against the shore, the rustle of trees, the crack of settling metal, but no voices or other human sounds -- and that frightens Ray more than anything.
"Hey, hello," Ray says, and the words sound funny, thick as Ray tries to talk, his mouth swollen and slick with blood. The person lying on the sand doesn't reply. Ray knew they wouldn't -- he hoped they wouldn't, not when they look like that -- but he has to say something, a distraction against the constant mental screams. He gets even closer -- close enough to touch, to finally clearly see, and relief makes him light-headed -- it's the flight attendant, her mouth wide open and her clothes ripped into shreds.
"I'm sorry, so sorry." A moment of thought and Ray pulls at her skirt, ensuring that she's partially covered. It's the least he can do, especially when all he can think is Thank God. Thank God it wasn't his friends, because Tina was nice, she joked with them and showed Ray pictures of her kids. Closing his eyes, Ray whispers a prayer and then turns away, having to search.
He doesn't see anything at first, he's too low to the ground and residual smoke is making the air hazy. Steeling himself, Ray pushes himself to his feet, gasping at the fresh pain in his chest and stomach. Resting his hand against his ribs he can't feel anything broken, but they feel like they are, and he takes in sharp gasps for air as he turns, looking around. He sees more metal on the beach, a suitcase, its contents strewn along the water line, and then further along the beach, three figures, all of them lying still.
Sheer fear gets Ray moving, he stumbles forward, and realizes he's lost one of his sneakers as he half runs-half walks over the tiny shells that dig into the sole of his foot. "Please, please, please." Ray repeats the mantra as he gets closer and sees that it's Frank lying on the shore, the waves breaking over his legs, pulling back with clear water streaked with blood. Worm lying on his side, still attached to his seat. Bob sprawled on his front. None of them are moving and Ray doesn't know who to check first. It's an impossible choice and he frantically looks at them all, hoping for the smallest sign.
Then Frank moves, his fingers twitching and with a last look at Bob and Worm, Ray staggers to his side and collapses down, seeing that Frank's legs look wrong, his feet at painful angles. "Frank? Frank, you need to wake up. Please."
Frank moves his hand and opens his eyes, and Ray hates the sounds that are torn from Frank's throat as he tries to move, his mouth open and eyes wide as his fingers dig into the damp sand. "Whu... What?"
"The plane crashed, remember?" Ray rests his hand on Frank's side, his touch gentle because Frank looks to be all bruise under the tattered remains of his t-shirt. "I need. I need to check the others. Try not to move."
A last touch and Ray's crawling away, hating to leave but he needs to check Bob, who's lying so still that Ray's afraid to touch, sure that when he does he'll find that it's already too late. Hesitantly, Ray reaches out, his hand shaking as he touches Bob's back. "Bob?" There's no reply, and Bob's motionless, his face in the sand. Throat tight, Ray gets in close and fastens his fingers in Bob's t-shirt, needing to cling to something. "Bob. God, Bob, you need to wake up, please."
At first Ray thinks he's projecting what he wants to hear, because Bob still hasn't moved, but Ray takes the chance, peeling Bob's hair away from the side of his face. "Bob?"
"M awake," Bob slurs and finally, finally moves, turning his head to the side. He squints shut his eyes and brings up his arm, touching his cheek, his fingertips over the deep gash that runs from his forehead to his ear. "The others?"
"I've found Frank, he's alive," Ray says, and looks over his shoulder to where Frank's still lying on his back, soaked to the waist and his eyes closed. "I need. Fuck." Ray clenches his hands and takes a deep breath against the panic that pushes close. He needs to check Frank, and Worm. He needs to find Brian, Mikey and Gerard. "Worm's here too, I haven't checked him yet."
"Go see him." Bob's slowly sitting and under the congealed blood his skin looks grey. "I'll look for the others."
"Can you even stand?" Ray asks and grits his teeth as he stands himself, swaying in place as Bob grimaces as he gets onto his knees and then slowly, onto his feet.
"I can stand," Bob says, and he's panting for breath as he shades his eyes with his hand, looking along the shore that's littered with dark shapes, each one made meaningless by distorted lines and warped angles. "I'll go that way."
Ray wants to go with him, but he knows time is an issue and they have to split up, he nods, says, "Yell if you find them."
For a few lurching steps they walk side by side, then Ray touches Bob's arm, needing that contact before they separate, Bob walking away as Ray kneels next to Worm, thankful when within seconds he's sees that he's breathing. "Worm, you need to wake up." Ray pats Worm's face and carefully plucks off the shards of glass that covers his chest and glints in his hair. "Worm."
"Ray?" Worm's eyes open suddenly, and Ray can see him snap into hazy awareness. "The plane..."
"Crashed," Ray says, his fingers slipping against the metal as he struggles to open the buckle of the seat belt that's tight around Worm's lap. "I've found Frank and Bob."
"Fuck." Worm groans when the seatbelt opens and he slumps down, his hand against the sand. "The rest?"
"Not yet." Ray looks toward Bob and sees that he's bent over, hands braced on his knees. "Bob's looking for them."
"I'll go help." Worm starts to stand and Ray can see the effort it takes to bite back the pain, Worm's mouth a thin line and his expression set. It's an expression Ray sees often, the studied one Worm uses when things are going to hell except this time there's no bus within easy reach where they can be ushered to safety. Making a quick decision, Ray looks back at Bob, who's still hunched over and frozen in place.
"Can you stay with Frank? Get him out of the water if you can, I'll go with Bob."
At first Ray thinks Worm's about to refuse, but then he looks at Bob too, and then nods. "Don't do anything stupid."
"I won't," Ray says, and his chest aches as he heads away from Frank, hating leaving him even if he knows he's in good hands. It doesn't take long to catch up with Bob. Ray looks at his footsteps in the sand, seeing how they waver and detour past items on the beach. Bob's wolf hoodie, Frank's book, the pages fluttering in the slight breeze, lumps of metal and broken glass.
"Is Worm okay?" Bob asks, standing almost upright when Ray gets close.
"He's walking and talking," Ray says, beyond that he's got nothing. He's sure Worm's carrying some injury, they all are, but cataloguing has to wait until they're all together. "He's looking after Frank."
"Good," Bob says, his voice low as he frowns and starts to walk again, never changing his path when he wavers into the surf, the water breaking over his feet. "Gerard should have been near me, we were sitting together."
Ray thinks about the plane, how Mikey and Brian were across the aisle, Worm in the row behind. Logically Gerard should be close to where he found Bob, but none of this is logical and Ray tries to walk faster, his heart hammering when he sees something close to the trees that grow along the edge of the sand. "Is that an arm?"
"I think, yeah." Bob moves so he's in front of Ray, taking the lead as they hurry forward. The sand shifts under Ray's feet making him lose his balance when Bob yells, "Brian!"
This close Ray can see it is Brian, his arm flung outwards, his body resting against the trunk of a tree. His eyes are open but he's not moving and guilt strikes hard when, for a fleeting moment, Ray's glad it's Bob that eases himself to the ground at Brian's side and presses his fingers against his neck.
"He's alive," Bob closes his eyes, his lips moving soundlessly, then he gently pats Brian's face and says, "It's time to wake up you lazy fucker." Brian doesn't respond, just looks blankly ahead, Bob pats his face again. "I swear, you'd better wake up. We're not doing all the work alone."
Still no response, and Ray's thinking brain injuries and fractured skulls, things they can't deal with at all. Looking away from Brian's blank stare, Ray sees they're kneeling on moss, the trees providing a thick canopy above their heads. If he wasn't so scared it would be a beautiful spot, the shadows a relief from the strong sun and Ray's trying to think of practicalities and not Brian's wide-eyed glassy stare. "I think we should bring Frank and Worm here."
"Makes sense," Bob says, and he looks up, his hand on Brian's chest. "We'll being them here once we find Gerard and Mikey."
"Right," Ray says, and his whole body is throbbing, a steady bone deep ache as he looks back along the beach, Worm a small figure as he kneels next to Frank. "How. I mean. What about Brian?"
"We'll have to leave him here for now, there's nothing we can do for him yet," Bob says shortly, his expression set, but he's moving his thumb over a rip in Brian's shirt, gently stroking the skin beneath. "Considering the lazy bastard won't wake up it's all we can do."
Ray turns away, his hand shading his eyes as he looks further along the shore, where a plume of black smoke darkens the brilliant blue of the sky. "We should see where the smoke's coming from."
Bob nods and leans closer to Brian, says softly, "Fine, you keep sleeping a while longer. We're going to find Mikey and Gerard, the fuckers have gone missing; and someone isn't awake to find them." Leaning against the tree, Bob struggles to stand, and then starts to walk. "We need to find the crew, too."
"Tina's dead." Ray remembers her face, how wrong she looked, her body destroyed and flung on the sand. "I haven't seen the captain, he's probably...." Ray freezes in place then, suddenly remembering his phone. It's something he should have thought about long before and he's cursing himself as he pats at his pockets. "The phones. I never even checked."
"Wasn't it in your bag?" Bob asks, and Ray's head feels like it's bursting as he tries to remember. How he got into his seat and everything was so cramped, his phone digging into his side so he pulled it out and dropped it in his carry on, something that could be anywhere now.
"Yours?" Ray has to ask, even though Bob's making no attempt to search his pockets.
"In my bag." Bob starts to walk again. "Mikey'll have his. I doubt there'll be a signal but we can try it when we find him."
Reassured that Bob's saying when and not if, Ray picks up the pace, even though all he wants to do is drop to the ground and lie still, but he knows if he does that he won't get up. It's why he forces himself to keep moving, head down and his feet dragging, over the shells and dark patches, so stark against the blanket of white. Most of them line the indents in the sand and the longer Ray examines them the more he suspects what he's seeing. He looks up, at the patches that stretch forward in a wavering line.
"Does that look like blood to you?"
Ray digs the toe of his sneaker against the dark sand, and Bob bends slightly, looking down. "I think, yeah."
As one they begin to follow the trail, around a curve in the beach to a cove, where they find the main body of the plane surrounded by destroyed trees, and close by -- Mikey. He's sitting on the ground, one side of his face bloody, holding Gerard cradled against his chest.
"Mikey," Ray says, and relief hits -- a little -- because even though Mikey is obviously alive Gerard's body is lax, his head hanging back over Mikey's arm. "Mikey, is Gerard okay?"
"I had to find Gerard, I couldn't leave him." Blinking rapidly, Mikey ducks his head, his cheek against Gerard's.
"Yeah," Bob says. "It's good you found him."
Mikey looks up and bites at his bottom lip and takes an audible breath. "I had to find Gee first."
Ray looks behind him, at the dark patches that stretch along the beach and how Mikey's boots are missing, his hands and feet covered with blood. "You came a long way."
"I woke up and he wasn't there," Mikey says, his tone blank. "I had to find him."
Ray exchanges a look with Bob and steps closer, needing to check Gerard himself, because Mikey's so shut down it's impossible to know if Gerard's alive, even when normally he knows Mikey's every tell. "He's okay?"
"I think he hit his head, he's been unconscious since I found him."
"Thank god," Ray says and Bob mutters something under his breath before turning toward the plane.
"I'm going to look for the pilot."
Mikey indicates the side of the plane with a jerk of his head and tightens his hold on Gerard. "He's over there. I tried, but I couldn't....I tried."
The last thing Ray wants to do is look, and his stomach churns as he heads for a tree, the body of the pilot laid out at its base. Ray doesn't need to get close to see that he's dead but he does so anyway, taking in the jagged gash across the pilot's stomach and Mikey's blood-soaked hoodie lying in a wet heap. It's evidence Ray can't help fitting together and he shudders, needing to get away from the cloying smell of blood and smoke.
"There'll be a first-aid kit inside; I'm going to get it." Bob looks determined as he makes for the plane, toward the gaping hole in the side that exposes crumpled seats and luggage all tangled together. "You help Mikey with Gerard; we need to get back to the others."
"Be careful," Ray says, pushing aside thoughts of explosions as Bob clambers inside the plane, making things shift with a shriek of metal that makes Ray shiver as he whispers a prayer over the pilot before going back to Mikey and Gerard. "Mikey." Ray crouches as much as he can, breathing through the fire that burns in his chest as he looks at Mikey's face and as much of Gerard as he can see. "Do you have your phone?"
Mikey tilts his head forward slightly. "It's in my pocket," and makes no attempt to get it.
"Is it okay..." At Mikey's blank look Ray lowers himself down and eases his hand into Mikey's pocket. It's a tight fit and it takes a while before Ray is able to prise the phone free. When he does it slips from his hand, the screen and casing slick with blood. Thankfully it still seems intact and Ray picks up the phone wiping it in the sand, leaving behind a smear of red. He looks at the screen -- there's no signal, and Ray had expected that, but the disappointment is still crushing.
Ray looks over his shoulder and sees Bob sliding out of the plane. He's carrying a bottle of water, a small first-aid kit looped across his shoulder, and when his feet hit the ground he wavers before pulling himself upright, his lips white. Ray shakes his head, says, "Nothing."
"It was worth a try," Bob says, and looks at his watch. "We should get going, I'll come back for more later."
"We'll come back," Ray corrects, and yet again steels himself before standing. It's not getting any easier and when he's upright he curls his arm protectively around his chest, taking the water as Bob reaches for Gerard.
"I'll take him."
"No you won't," Mikey unexpectedly snaps, and glares up at Bob as if defying him to try and touch Gerard again. "I can look after him."
"Never said you couldn't," Bob says mildly, backing up a pace. "But we need to get back to the others."
"Then I'll carry him," Mikey announces, and Ray doubts Mikey could carry Gerard for long at the best of times, and this is a long way from that. "Give me a minute to get up."
"Mikey." Ray takes a step forward and Mikey looks wild, his eyes narrowed and his mouth pulled into a snarl.
"Don't touch him. I can do it."
Ray's eyes burn and he leans in when Bob moves close, needing to touch as Mikey struggles to his feet while still holding Gerard. It's painful to watch and Ray's vision is blurred when Mikey eventually manages to stand upright, Gerard cradled in his arms. Gerard's head is tilted back, exposing the bruising on his face and the bloody handprints on one cheek. He still hasn't made a sound or moved and seeing him like this, when Gerard is always moving somehow, is wrong.
Bob gives Mikey a long look and begins to walk, the first-aid kit bumping against his back. "If you need me to take him...."
Despite the way his arms are already shaking, Mikey straightens his shoulders, says, "I won't."
Ray hesitates a moment and pushes his hair out of his face, then starts to walk. One foot in front of the other, going slow to accommodate Mikey who's limping badly, his brow furrowed as he keeps on moving. Together they make a macabre parade, Mikey and Gerard in front, Bob and Ray half a step behind, neither saying so but there to help when Mikey inevitably falls. They're all bloody and bruised, their clothes torn and as they walk cuts reopen, droplets of blood landing on the sand like liquid confetti.
No one is speaking and the silence allows Ray's thoughts free reign. He thinks about Brian lying so still, Frank motionless in the surf, Mikey, fierce as he protects his brother, and Bob, ploughing on without acknowledging his own hurts. Together they make for a terrifying reality and all Ray wants to do is go home.
"We'll get rescued," Bob says suddenly and he stops watching Mikey to look at Ray. "The pilot'll have made a distress call, all we need to do is hold on until they get here."
It's reassuring to think of rescue already on the way, but the time between the first hint of something wrong and the plane plummeting down seems little more than a minute and Ray's worried it wasn't enough. "It happened so fast."
"He'll have got something out." Bob seems sure and he looks toward the ocean that seems to stretch for miles, their own perfect blue prison. "We just need to wait. Some first-aid, a shelter, we'll be fine overnight."
Ray looks at him. "Once we get everyone together I'll go back to the plane, someone'll have food in their bags."
"Frank has M&Ms," Bob says. "I stole a handful when he was in the bathroom at the last connection."
"He'll kick your ass," Ray says, and then snaps shut his mouth, his gums and teeth instantly throbbing. He focuses on countless memories of Frank laughing while being chased by Bob. It's better that than remembering him lying so still, soaked through and in obvious pain.
Bob curls his fingers around Ray's wrist and squeezes; hard. "Don't think like that."
"You're turning into some kind of mind reader now?"
"You're not a hard read," Bob says, and they're slowing even further. Ray's thinking they're going to have to wrestle Gerard away because Mikey's almost to his knees, holding on through sheer will power alone. Thankfully, when they finally get around the cove they see Worm trudging toward them, obviously favoring one leg.
"Thank fuck." Worm's brow creases when he looks at Mikey and Gerard and he heads towards them, his arms outstretched. "Let me take him."
"I'm fine," Mikey says, and steps past Worm.
Worm keeps frowning as he glances between them all, keeping guard even now. "I followed your footprints and saw you'd found Brian, I carried Frank there."
"Good. It'll be a good place to stay," Ray says. He doesn't know much about making camps, a few trips under canvas no way a preparation for something like this, but they need to regroup somewhere, and the place where they found Brian seems better than most.
"I think Frank's broken his legs." Worm rubs the heel of his hand over his arm, next to a cut that runs from elbow to wrist.
"I saw that," Bob says and he's pulling ahead slightly, his hand against his side. "You know first-aid, right?"
Worm draws in a breath. "Basic stuff."
"That'll do." Bob runs his thumb over the strap of the first-aid kit. His knuckles are grazed and swollen, like they've been dragged along the ground.
Ray keeps the bottle of water clasped to his chest, his eyes feel dry, gritty each time he blinks and he shivers, realizing that the sun is lower in the sky. "We need blankets and shit, it's going to get cold."
"I'll go back to the plane soon," Bob says, already looking toward the place they left Brian. Ray follows his gaze and sees that Frank's sitting slumped against the trunk of a tree, his face a white blur as he looks their way.
"I told him to watch Brian," Worm says. "He was going to come with, otherwise."
"Fucking idiot," Bob mutters and hurries ahead. "You know he'll try to walk."
"Tell him if he does I'll...." Ray trails off, there's not a threat that's any worse that what they're suffering anyway. "Tell him we'll be there soon," he finishes weakly and exchanges a look with Worm, silently communicating so they're either side of Mikey and Gerard as they walk back to the trees. The pace is torturous and Mikey's mouth is a thin line, his arms shaking badly by the time they finally reach the others. As soon as they get close Mikey drops to his knees and carefully lies Gerard on the sand and soft moss, ignoring everyone as he straightens Gerard's arms and legs and pushes his hair out of his face.
Finally giving in to his own exhaustion, Ray lowers himself down next to Frank, breathing hard through his gritted teeth.
"You okay?" Frank touches Ray's knee, looking concerned and Ray wants to laugh because none of this is okay, and the fact that Frank's even asking when he's propped up and ghostly white is ridiculous.
"I'll survive," Ray says and sees how Frank's ankles are swollen and bruised, his clothes damp, the fabric clinging and filthy.
Frank looks past Ray toward Gerard and Mikey. "Is Gerard okay?"
"He's sleeping," Mikey says, and keep stroking his fingers through Gerard's hair. "He'll wake up soon."
Frank shifts his gaze from Gerard to Mikey, making no attempt to hide how he's examining him from head to toe. "Are you okay?"
Mikey shrugs one shoulder, says, "I'm fine."
"You look like you've washed your face in blood, you're not fucking fine," Bob says, and drops the first-aid kit to the ground before lowering himself down until he's sitting between Frank and Brian. Once he's settled he opens the bag, exposing the neatly arranged contents -- bandages and band aids, sterile dressing packs and antiseptic -- a tiny fraction of the medical help that they actually need. Ray doesn't even know how they'll begin to assess injuries, but Bob and Worm are looking through the supplies, putting aside a selection that they set on the sand.
"Frank, we need to immobilize your legs," Bob says matter of fact, like he's done this thousands of times before. "I'll look for something to use on the way to get blankets. Mikey, what about Gee, is anything broken?"
Mikey takes hold of Gerard's hand. "Not that I saw."
Bob looks up from where he's sorting through a small selection of dressings. "What about you? And no bullshit about being fine."
"Nothing broken," Mikey says, and finally looks away from Gerard. "The worst's my ear." He brings up his free hand, fingertips grazing a deep jagged gash and Bob leans in close, his eyes narrowed.
"You're lucky it wasn't ripped off."
"I have a spare," Mikey replies, and he touches his earlobe, making the cut widen and glisten wetly. "You need to check Gerard."
"Checking." Worm kneels next to Gerard and runs his hands over Gerard's arms and legs, examining bones and joints before gently feeling around Gerard's head, careful of the bruising that darkens one side of his face. Pulling back his hands, Worm rubs at his eyes and sits back on his heels, looking frustrated. "I can't feel anything obvious, but I'm not a doctor."
"It's okay..." Ray starts to say, but Worm cuts him off.
"It's not okay, it's my job to protect you."
Bob picks up a packet containing an antiseptic wipe and tears it open. "You're not psychic, you couldn't know we'd crash," then turns to the side so he's facing Brian. "I'm going to clean that cut, okay?"
Bob unfastens the top button of Brian's shirt, peeling back the material to expose the cut that runs over his collar bone. Delicately, Bob cleans away the dried blood and it has to hurt, but Brian never flinches, just sits and stares into the distance.
"I should make you do this yourself," Bob says, and his touch is sure, always gentle as he drops the blood-smeared wipe on the packaging and rummages through the bag until he finds a small pair of scissors. He uses them to cut the sticky end off a dressing before carefully covering half of the cut. "Figures you'd check out when there's work to be done, lazy fucker." Bob picks up another dressing, snipping off the end so he can completely cover the cut. When he's done he briefly rests his hand on Brian's chest, his fingers over the dressing, so starkly white against Brian's bruised and blood-stained skin.
The first-aid kit in front of him, Worm counts the wipes and dressings, the crease in his brown deepening as he examines the small piles. There's not enough for what they need -- nowhere near.
"It's only for tonight," Bob says, fumbling as he fastens Brian's shirt buttons. "We can cover and clean the worst."
"We'll need stuff for Frank's legs and Mikey's ear," Worm says, then looks closely at Ray. "That's a nasty tear in your jeans."
Ray turns his head and looks down, seeing that his jeans gape open over his thigh, the material stiff with blood. Curling his fingers around the edge, he pulls at the tear and sees a jagged hole in his leg, the edges puckered and wet. Seeing it makes pain flair, and he feels nauseous, his head swimming as Worm gathers up a small handful of wipes, gauze and a roll of bandage.
"It's be easier if you take off your jeans," Worm says, and Ray hesitates a moment before unbuckling his belt. It takes a while to actually get his jeans undone, Ray's fingers feel clumsy and the buttons stubbornly refuse to go through the holes, but eventually he's pushing them down, wincing as the denim is pulled away from his leg. Jeans bunched around his ankles he lies on his side, head resting on his hand.
"This'll sting," Worm warns, and Ray pulls in a sharp breath when he feels the wipe against his leg, gasping at the sensation of it actually entering the cut.
"Paisley boxers, tasteful," Frank says, and Ray looks along the sand and sees that Frank's propped himself up on his elbow, smiling despite the beads of sweat on his forehead and the fact his whole face is leached of color.
"Fuck off," Ray says, his leg trembling as Worm continues to clean the wound. It feels like hours since he started and Ray's hands are clenched, sand sticking to his face as he tries to remember to breathe. Vision blurred, he watches as Bob counts out supplies, laying them close to his side, then beckons to Mikey.
"I need to look at your ear." Mikey doesn't move, and Bob sighs. "Gerard'll be pissed if he wakes up and your ear's rotted off."
"Fine," Mikey says finally, and lets go of Gerard's hand before crawling over to Bob. "But it takes a while for ears to rot off, a few days at least. You could probably leave it."
"Or I could ignore you and clean it anyway, before you skew our image with an one-eared bassist." Bob stretches out his legs, patting his lap. "Lie there."
Frank moves a little, biting back a gasp as he watches Mikey rest his head against Bob's legs. "Our fans would love the one ear thing, they're morbid bastards."
Bob begins to gently pull back Mikey's hair from the gash, pushing the blood-stiff clumps to one side. "Well I wouldn't, he'd only bitch about not being able to wear sunglasses."
"There's those kind with the elastic to keep them in place," Ray says, and can't help laughing at the look Mikey throws his way.
"I'd be a cold day in hell before I'd wear those." Turning his head slightly, he looks up at Bob. "I think I'd better keep the ear."
"Good choice," Bob says, and rips open a packet containing a wipe. "I'll go as fast as I can."
Watching Bob work is one of the worst things Ray's done, it's painful in a way that Worm cleaning his leg isn't, and Ray's head is throbbing in sympathy as Bob efficiently cleans the wound, Mikey closing his eyes and breathing hard, tears from his right eye mixing with the fresh blood. Ray wants to look away but it feels cowardly to do so, like he's abandoning Mikey in some way, and what makes it worse is he knows that it still isn't over. Even when Bob is smoothing on a dressing that covers Mikey's ear and down the side of his cheek, there's still Frank, who's remained propped up on his elbows, never looking away.
"Sorry," Bob says, his voice low as he uses the edge of his t-shirt to wipe Mikey's face.
"Not your fault." Shakily, Mikey sits and when Frank jerks his chin moves to lie at his side, tucking the uninjured side of his face against Frank's shoulder. They lie close and Ray tries to remain still as Worm finishes fastening the bandage around his thigh.
"Done." Worm straightens and Ray takes a moment to lie still. Relishing the heat of the sand against his body. It's a welcome contrast against the breeze which is rapidly cooling, reminding Ray that they need to get blankets and supplies before they lose the light of the day.
Slowly, Ray sits, his hands planted against the ground for support and his jeans crumpled around his ankles. "We'll have to make camp soon, get blankets and shit, maybe a fire."
Hand shading his eyes, Bob looks toward the shore, where the sun is deep red, turning the ocean into an expanse of flames. "I'd say we've an hour before full dark, we need to go back to the plane."
"I need someone to help with Frank," Worm says and Ray's torn between staying and wanting to be far away, gathering the things that they need but mostly, away when they splint Frank's legs. Which makes Ray feel ashamed, that he's seeking excuses so he doesn't have to see.
"I can stay," Ray says, but Mikey shakes his head and sits, his fingers curled around Frank's arm.
"I'll stay." Mikey sounds sure, his gaze never faltering as they all look his way. "I can help Worm and watch Brian and Gee."
"Works for me," Bob says and stands, leaning against a tree as Ray pulls up his jeans and fastens his belt. "We'll be as fast as we can."
Worm stands too and heads toward the trees, standing on the border between beach and forest as he peers into the shadows. Ray thinks they should explore in the direction eventually, but for now all he wants to do is get back to the plane, where he knows there's things to keep them warm.
"I'm going to look for branches, for a fire and stuff," Worm says, and twigs crack under his feet as he walks away. Mikey watches him go, then inches himself forward so he's sitting within reach of Frank, Gerard and Brian.
"You should go," Mikey says, and stretches out his leg so his bare toes are brushing against Gerard's arm. "We'll be fine."
"We will," Frank agrees, and he lies back against the tree and wipes his forearm across his face. "Mikey's going to tell me stories."
"I am?" Mikey says, one eyebrow raised.
"You are." Frank nods, looking perfectly serious. "I'm all hurt and injured and shit so it's your job to distract me. You can start with why you have a nurse's uniform in your closet."
"Why've you been in my closet?" Mikey asks, fixing Frank with a look.
Frank waves his hand dismissively and moans, long and drawn out. "Hurt and shit, remember."
"Oh my god, okay," Mikey says, and looks at Gerard before turning back to Frank. "Alicia bought it, she likes...."
"Come on." Bob grabs hold of Ray's arm and tugs, making Ray stumble. "They'll be talking details soon."
Ray would say he wants to hear the details, but Bob's expression is set, his hands trembling slightly before he curls them up tight. Concerned, Ray follows, leaving Mikey and Frank to their story. "You never said if you were hurt."
"I'm not," Bob says shortly. It's the only time he speaks as they follow their own footprints back to the plane.
Bone weary, Ray looks down as he walks, over the blood splattered sand and small shells, scraps of paper and as they approach the curve to the cove, an iPod, the wires snarled, one earbud missing completely. Hissing out a breath, Ray picks it up and pushes it into his pocket.
"It's fucked up inside the plane." Bob wipes sweat off his forehead and looks over at Ray. "I saw some of the carry on bags, but we should try and find the luggage. It'll be near the back."
"Tina kept stuff at the back too," Ray says, remembering how she disappeared behind a curtain before handing Bob his pillow. "We need to check the cockpit. The radio could be working."
"It's worth a try, if we can get...." Abruptly, Bob stops talking and presses his hand over his mouth, swallowing hard. When he sways Ray reaches out, curling his fingers around Bob's arm, his skin feels clammy and cold.
Bob nods and drops his hand. "I'm fine."
Ray isn't so sure, but Bob pulls free and starts walking away, wiping his palm against his side. "If we get the radio working we'll send a message."
"We'll send two," Ray says, hell, he'll send one hundred and two if it means getting rescued and real medical help for his friends. "A message and then find food, water and shit to keep us warm."
"We need a lighter or matches," Bob scowls. "I should have packed one in my carry on."
"I guess that means I should have packed a first-aid kit, water, drinks and emergency blankets in mine."
"As long as you remember for next time," Bob says, and then says quietly as they round the corner. "There better not be a next time."
Nothing's changed since they left, there's no reason it should have, but Ray's stomach still plummets when he sees the plane with its ripped off side, the nose buried in the ground. Averting his gaze from the pilot he focuses on the interior, taking in the jagged edges of metal and the oxygen masks that lie still on the end of their tubes.
"We can get in there." Bob's indicating a space toward the back of the plane where there's a gap, the row of seats missing. "Be careful when you get in, it's not balanced well."
"I will," Ray says and follows Bob as he approaches the plane. Up close the damage is shocking in its brutality, metal sheared through and glass shattered, and everywhere Ray looks there's blood, on the floor and backs of the seats, smears on the white exterior, like someone was clinging on before being flung away. Actually climbing inside is one of the worst things Ray has ever done, but he braces his shoed foot on the wing and carefully clambers inside. When he does so metal groans, and Ray reaches out, gripping onto the back of a chair, his whole body shaking.
"Take it steady." Bob's climbed up too, and Ray's glad he's not offering to take over or telling Ray to go back outside, because Ray wouldn't, he couldn't, no matter how much he's afraid. Taking a deep breath, he heads for the cockpit, the plane shaking with each step.
"Oh Jesus fuck." Acid spills into Ray's mouth when he gets into the cockpit and sees that the whole of the front window is shattered, one side of the glass blood-stained and something wet hanging from one of the glass shards. Head swimming Ray looks away before he has to see if it's fabric or skin.
"Does the radio look intact?" Bob's standing in the doorway, looking around the instruments, his gaze settling on a headset that's lying against the window. Ray reaches out and picks it up.
"I suppose I should...." Reluctantly he puts on the headset, relieved that the microphone seems intact. Now all he has to do is find the controls to actually send a message, which feels like an impossible task because even if Ray does know radios he doesn't know planes. He holds his hand over a bank of controls, most of them smashed, their display dead. "I've no idea what I'm doing."
"You're doing fine." Bob steps forward and rests his hand on Ray's shoulder. "Find anything that looks like it belongs to a radio."
Ray looks again, at each instrument and control, and finally sees something that could fit. Hand against his chest, he crouches down and presses a button, making static sound in his ears. "I think that's it, but all I'm hearing is static."
"Try anyway," Bob says.
Ray tries to remember distress calls, the things he's heard in movies or read in books, but those words won't come, all he can say are his own. "Hello. Hi. I don't know if anyone can hear this. I hope so. We need help. Please. I'm Ray Toro, from the band My Chemical Romance. We were traveling to a concert and our plane went down, I don't know where. Somewhere. I don't know. Just. We need help. The pilot and Tina, the stewardess, are dead and we have injured people, a lot of them. My friends need help. If you can hear this, reply, please. We need help. Please."
Bob squeezes Ray's shoulder. "That's good."
It doesn't feel good to Ray, it feels like he's giving a big pile of nothing over a radio that may not even work, but he has to hold onto a chance that it did. Slipping off the headset he sets it on the seat. "We should get those things and get back."
A last squeeze and Bob turns, heading for the back of the plane. On the way he picks up anything that's easily accessible, throwing them outside, and Ray does the same. Gerard's bag, the pillow Bob was using, one of Mikey's shoes. There's more trapped in the wreckage, Ray can see his own bag jammed under a buckled seat, but it's pointless trying to ease it free, not yet anyway. If they're still here tomorrow Ray will try then -- and desperately hopes that that tomorrow never comes.
"Tina's stuff." Bob's pulling back a curtain, showing an alcove with shelves and a small counter. All the shelves are empty, the contents strewn on the floor, blankets and bottles of water and jammed against the wall, a pink purse, a key chain of Tigger hanging from the ring on the side. Acting on a hunch, Ray picks it up and looks inside. It feels like he's invading her privacy and he says a mental sorry, but it's worth it when he finds the box of painkillers almost hidden at the bottom. They're generic brand and not very strong, but he'll take anything right now. Ray shoves them in his pocket then closes the purse, putting it back in place.
"This is the last I can reach. Bob's throwing a wadded up blanket outside, where it flutters down to join the others. There's small pile out there now, bags, blankets and bottles of water, everything they could easily grab.
"We'd better start back," Ray says, all too aware of how fast the sun is setting. It's causing shadows to creep across the sand and the trees are rustling, making Ray's neck prickle. "You think there's anything out there?"
Bob looks over his shoulder at Ray. "What, like a polar bear?"
"Fuck off," Ray says, his mouth twitching into a slight smile. "There's no Dharma Initiative here, at least I hope not."
"There could be." Bob clambers down to the ground and Ray makes a grab for the back of a seat when the plane shifts abruptly, tipping further to the side. "There could be a resort on the other side of the trees and we wouldn't know about it."
Ray eases himself down and opens one of the blankets, piling bottles of water and pillow on top. "You're not going exploring tonight."
"Never said I was," Bob says, and puts bags over his shoulders, the straps criss-crossing over his chest.
"No," Ray agrees. "But you were thinking it."
Bob doesn't deny it, just puts pillows inside a blanket before bundling it up and throwing it over his shoulder. "We could be sitting like idiots while there's help close by."
Ray picks up his own bundle, breathing hard until the burn in his chest subsides. "If there was help close by they'd have been here by now. You can't go exploring forests in the dark."
Hands tight around the blanket, Bob looks along the length of trees, where the body of the pilot is already lost to the dark. "I'll go at first light tomorrow."
Which is a compromise Ray's willing to accept. He begins to walk, says, "I'll go with you."
It seems to take even longer to get back to the others. It's a combination of sheer exhaustion, constant pain, and the cold that makes Ray shiver, his feet dragging as they approach the make-shift camp. As they get closer he's surprised to see a glow, and then, when he gets closer still, a small fire. It's been built on the sand, a tower of palm tree bark lying in an ordered heap and sparks burn bright orange against the black sky. Sitting to the side Worm's face is colored red as he feeds more bark into flames that leap up and crackle.
Ray moves in close, drawn by the heat. "Did you find a flint?"
"Not exactly," Worm says. "Gerard had a lighter in his pocket."
"I told him we needed marshmallows but the tight bastard says he doesn't have any," Frank announces with a frown. He's been moved closer to the fire and is lying stretched out, folded palm leaves and Worm's ripped up shirt made into crude splints on each ankle and he's resting his head on Mikey's lap.
Worm pokes at the fire with a rolled up piece of bark. "You don't even eat marshmallows."
"Semantics," Frank says, and under his complaints it's easy to see how pale he is, the skin under his eyes dark and bruised, his whole body tight. "If you have a camp fire you need to have marshmallows."
"If I give you M&Ms will you shut up?" Kneeling, Bob takes off the bags and puts one next to Frank. "They should still be in there."
"You found my bag." Frank reaches for it and instantly screws shut his eyes. "Mikey, can you...."
"I'll get them." Careful not to jostle Frank, Mikey reaches out and opens the bag. After looking inside he pulls out a giant bag of M&Ms, and also a box of Tylenol, one of the stash of medication Frank always carries around. "You should take these."
"I'll take the whole fucking box," Frank says. He turns his head to the side, looking across Mikey's lap toward Brian and Gerard. "Give me two, keep the rest for everyone else."
"I've got some too," Ray says, pulling the box of painkillers out of his pocket.
"I've got a fuck load if we find my bag." Knee walking over the sand, Bob sits and waves his hand in front of Brian's face. "You still pretending to be checked out?"
"I thought he was coming around earlier," Worm says, looking into the flames as he pokes at the fire. "Then he went back to staring."
"Typical, you wait until I go, fucker." Bob pulls open the top of Brian's shirt, checking the dressing. "Anything to get out of doing any work."
Ray grabs hold of the bundle he was carrying, opening it to expose the blankets, pillows and water bottles inside. Taking a blanket he shakes it out and uses it to cover Frank from neck to knees, ensuring that he's protected from the cold as much as he can be. "That's a good sign, if he was becoming aware on his own."
"I think..." Frank trails off when Mikey eases him up slightly, holding an open bottle of water against his mouth so Frank can drink, washing down the painkillers. When he's done Mikey settles him back down and then cups his hand and pours in a little water, dripping it into Gerard's mouth.
"You think?" Ray prompts.
"I think he was reacting to me," Frank says. He's holding onto the blanket, his eyes sliding shut as he watches Mikey quietly coax Gerard to drink. "When they were splinting my legs, I was kind of loud."
Worm jabs a palm leaf into the heart of the fire and Mikey pulls in his shoulders, water spilling from his hand onto Gerard's face. Uncovering his arm, Frank reaches up and rests his hand against Mikey's cheek, pushing gently until he turns and looks at Frank who says, "It had to be done."
"I hurt you," Mikey says blankly. Frank pinches Mikey's cheek; hard.
"Don't pull that distant crap with me." The blanket crumples around his waist as Frank sits, his arm trembling as he props himself upright. "If I can walk after this it'll be due to you and Worm, so get some of those M&Ms, a blanket and lie between me and Gee, you're so fucking skinny you'll probably freeze otherwise."
For a long moment Mikey and Frank stare at one another, and then minutely, Mikey relaxes, and Ray knows Frank's won this time. Picking up two blankets he throws them to Frank, who holds onto them as Mikey pulls Gerard even closer, so they're all lying close together in a row.
"You forgot something," Frank says, when Mikey covers Gerard and starts to lie down. Sighing, Mikey leans forward and takes a small amount of M&Ms, holding them in his hand.
"Okay for you?"
"Fine," Frank says, and lies back down and pulls the cover up to his chin, occasionally opening his mouth as they share the candy.
"They've got the right idea." Worm adds more bark to the fire, and the air is full of the sound of crackling and the scent of smoke. "I'll watch the fire tonight, you all should get some sleep."
"We all need to get sleep," Ray says. He looks at his watch, noting the time. They should be at the hotel now, checking in after almost a day of travelling, instead they're stuck here. Ray's rubs at his chest and tries to swallow past the lump in his throat. "You included."
Worm shakes his head. "Watching you all is what I do."
"Not here it's not, we'll take turns," Bob says, gathering blankets and pillows which he sets to one side of Gerard. He gives the last blanket to Worm who drapes it over his shoulders like a cape. "Ray, you lie next to Gee, Brian can sleep between you and me. You hear that?" Throwing a pillow behind Brian, Bob urges him down, patiently directing each movement until Brian is lying on his side, his knees tucked up and hands against his chest. "Jesus." Bob turns away and rubs his hand across his face. "That's not fucking right."
"Just until tomorrow," Ray says, reminding both Bob and himself that rescue has to come soon. "Have you taken some painkillers?"
"Yeah." Bob lies next to Brian, one arm against his back and curled up as small as he can get under the thin airline blanket.
Hand under his cheek, Ray tries to sleep.
Ray doesn't want to wake. After what feels like hours he finally feels warm and the painkillers have reduced each hurt to sharp background aches. The last thing he wants to do is move but Mikey's sitting up, a dark shape against the glow of the fire as he looks down at Gerard.
"What's wrong?" Ray says, keeping his voice low.
"He was moving, I thought, I thought he was waking up." Mikey's voice is hoarse and his hand is against Gerard's chest. "His eyes were open. They were."
Ray isn't so sure. He's lying pressed close to Gerard and hasn't felt him moving, but that doesn't mean he hasn't, and he sits up slightly, propped up on one elbow. "Gerard?" Gerard's eyes are still closed and even in the darkness the bruising on his face is plain to see. Ray looks at Mikey. "Maybe you were dreaming?"
Mikey shakes his head. "I saw it, he moved. See!"
Ray looks, and sees that Gerard's eyes are half open. He blinks, his gaze unfocused and Mikey's leaning over him, looking at his face.
"M'ky. M going to be sick."
There's no time to move before Gerard's throwing up, protesting weakly as Mikey turns him on his side and holds him still.
"Done?" Mikey asks, and when Gerard nods he lies him back down and reaches for the empty M&M packet, using it to scrape the vomit from his hands and Gerard's chest. Ignoring his own nausea, Ray grabs a bottle of water and unscrews the top.
"Want a drink?" Gerard nods, and Ray helps him sit slightly, holding the bottle as he takes a sip. "Not too much, you'll get sick again."
Gerard drinks and then pulls back, lying heavy against Ray's arm. "We're not dead. I thought we were going to die."
"Me too," Ray admits, aware that people are waking, Bob rolling onto his side and Worm looking over from the other side of the fire. "But we didn't."
"I was scared." Gerard turns his head and his breath smells sour, something dark glistening at the corner of his mouth. Ray takes hold of the hem of his t-shirt and uses it to wipe Gerard's lips.
"We'll be rescued tomorrow, I know it," Ray says, trying to sound confident.
"Yeah," Gerard says, and presses his clenched fists against his eyes. "My head's fucking killing me."
"Take these." Mikey holds out his hand, two painkillers lying on his palm. It takes two tries before Gerard manages to pick them up, but when he does he swallows them dry and turns his head as he stares at Mikey. "Your face, how badly are you hurt?"
Mikey digs his hands through the moss and into the sand, shoveling away the parts soaked with vomit. "It's just my ear."
"You lost your ear?" Gerard asks, sounding horrified.
Mikey shrugs his shoulder and keeps on scooping his hands through the sand, filling the hole he's just made. "It's still attached. Frank broke his ankles."
"Oh god." Gerard tries to sit, but collapses back, breathing hard. "Is he...how's he doing?"
Ray looks over to Frank, who's lying flat on his back, his mouth open and the blanket pulled up to his chin. One of his hands has become uncovered and even in sleep his fingers are clenched. "He needs a hospital."
"What about Bob?" Gerard asks. "Brian and Worm? The pilot and Tina?"
Ray runs his thumb over the blanket as he decides how to reply, and Gerard's watching him, never looking away. "Worm's okay, Bob too. Brian's... shit, I don't know, he's not really with us right now. The pilot and Tina didn't make it."
"Fuck." Gerard's staring up at the canopy of trees overhead, unblinking, his unswollen eye wide. He's so still Ray wants to check his breathing, death a constant in the back of his mind.
"You're not a bad person," Mikey says suddenly. He's pulling at the moss so it's smooth and then takes Frank's hand, tucking it back under the blanket. When he's sure Frank's totally covered, Mikey lies down, fitting himself against Gerard. "You can mourn them while being glad it's not us."
Gerard turns his head slightly, enough so he can rest his unbruised cheek against Mikey's, their noses together as they talk, their words hushed. "We're no better than them."
"True. But we're all family, it changes things." Mikey sighs softly, pulling the blanket up higher. "If we had wings we could fly out of here."
"Feathered or bat kind?" Gerard asks.
For a long moment Mikey doesn't reply, and despite being unable to see details of his face Ray knows he'll be frowning slightly, his forehead creased. "Depends. Worm could have griffin wings."
"Right, right," Gerard says. "He could carry someone on his back, the ones that don't have wings."
"Riding a griffin would be awesome, even if it's not Worm." Mikey yawns, not bothering to cover his mouth. "I think they'd be hard to catch."
"You'd probably need magical rope, or a net," Gerard says, his eye slowly closing. "Rescue by griffin would be awesome."
Mikey yawns again, says, "Agreed."
The silence stretches and Ray realizes they've fallen asleep. Resisting the urge to touch -- they're sleeping, not dead -- he rubs at his eyes which feel gritty and swollen. What he should do is gather the blanket around him and try to sleep, but each time he tries his thoughts end up racing and he has to fight to lie still; aware of Gerard and Brian lying to either side. Eventually, he has to move, suppressing a groan at the resulting pull in his leg and chest. Blanket clasped in his hand, he circles the fire, to where Worm is feeding in another bundle of bark.
"Go get some sleep, I'll watch the fire now."
Worm agrees without protest. Standing slowly, he hands over the bark he's been holding. "If you see or hear something...."
"I'll wake you, promise," Ray says, and eases himself down to the ground. Bark in hand, he looks into the flames and begins his watch.
Tags: my stories:bandom