glasspaperclip: (Ray // Knocked out)
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Mockingbirds
(1.763) // (Pg-13. Angst.)
Bob Bryar/Ray Toro
'As disappointing as it may sound, old buildings just don’t get animated overnight by a couple of random ghosts.'
Not mine. Not at all. No, no.
For the fic exchange @ [livejournal.com profile] mcr4u. Prompt 'Paramour-fic, focused on Bob or Ray. Bonus points for supernatural elements.' for [livejournal.com profile] atomichatred82. Betalove to [livejournal.com profile] sorrowful_eagle + [livejournal.com profile] reanimated.


i.


Unlike the others, they aren’t affected by the gloomy atmosphere of the Paramour Mansion, nor by the related spooky tales Gerard keeps on finding online. Why should they? The estate, albeit a bit creepy, isn’t the set of some cheap horror movie, but a well-known recording studio: as disappointing as it may sound, old buildings just don’t get animated overnight by a couple of random ghosts.

In California, USA, Real World, dead people remain dead. Both Bob and Ray have no doubts about it.

*

Bob frowns.

“What happened?”

“I almost fell from the stairs. It’s just... I slipped,” answers Ray, and it isn’t a lie. There’s nothing on the stairs, he must have tripped on the carpet, or in his own feet.

Yes, that’s it.

*

Ghosts don’t exist, but shit happens, and it’s the kind of weird shit that would make less rational people have some serious afterthoughts on the matter at hand, or at the very least, start to wonder.

Bob and Ray don’t, though. After a short talk in what they’ve mockingly started to address as ‘the heavy room’, they’ve decided to go on with their lives, putting together pieces of songs and laughing at jokes, rehearsing and sharing a kiss in the main corridor, when it’s dark outside and no one is around.

All the rest isn’t worth of a mention. Coincidences.


ii.


Coincidences.

Bob presses his lips together, recalling the bit of conversation he had with Ray during the afternoon. It was easy to agree (yet again) on how everyone was overreacting about (rumored) supernatural presences while being outside, in the plain sun. Now though, Bob finds it a little less easy. Now it’s two in the morning, he’s wide awake, and as water slowly drips into his bathtub for the second night in a row, all they’ve said seems dull, almost meaningless.

And…

Shit.

Bob inhales, exhales. He’s never thought he could be so easily influenced by old ghost stories, but apparently, his irrational side is getting the best of him. It’s laughable, really.

Well, cut with this crap then. The faucet’s leaking again, big deal. Tomorrow we’ll get someone to fix it for good, and that’ll be it. What are you, twelve?

No, he isn’t; still, he shifts under the bedcovers and listens close, wishing he'd never forget the bathroom door ajar, wishing he could sleep through it just like Ray does. Usually, Ray isn't a heavy sleeper, but from the moment the dripping began, he hasn’t changed his position in bed, not even once.

Good thing I hear him breathing, Bob thinks, and then he shivers, because the implications of that thought are far too creepy for his liking.

Hell, the whole situation he’s stuck in is too creepy for his liking. He’d better turn on his side, put his head under the pillow and follow Ray’s example.

Yeah, that's exactly what I'm going to do.

*

When the last drop falls, half an hour later, Bob is still awake.


iii.


Sleep doesn’t come on the next night either, nor on the third one. After having switched the main light off, all Bob seems able to do is lying in his bed with his eyes glued to the bathroom door (now he leaves it ajar on purpose, afraid to miss it if it happens again, and how fucking stupid is that?), yawning every other minute. Sometimes he manages to doze off for a little while, that’s true, but without gaining any benefit from it. Rather, he feels worse than before.

For someone who has never suffered insomnia in his whole life, it’s twice as uncomfortable, especially when it becomes plain that neither old grandma’s remedies nor sleeping pills are going to help.

*

“What are you, Bryar, wasted already at ten in the morning?”

“I’m tired, Frank. Shut up,” replies Bob, hiding another yawn behind his palms.

“Whatever, dude. You look like shit.”

*

It’s true. The mirror offers Bob a paler version of himself, with dark circles under his eyes and dry lips, while his muscles ache as they would after hours of running. The lack of sleep isn’t only taking its toll on his body though, since he finds it harder and harder to find the right concentration to play drums. The same goes with almost any other daily task, too, from pouring himself a glass of water without spilling it all on the floor to taking a smoke break in the garden without slipping and ending in the pool.

Unsurprisingly, none of the guys (not even Ray) knows about his insomnia; as bad as it’s turning out to be, Bob still doesn’t deem it to be that important. They’re all dealing with other things at the moment, serious problems that need to be solved, and a minor issue like sleeping troubles shouldn’t be the subject of another band meeting.

It really shouldn't.

*

“What’s up with you? Frank’s been telling me that you act all weird.”

“That’s rich coming from him.”

Bob takes a deep breath, his thumb brushing over the key that would interrupt the call. The temptation to hang up on Brian is strong, but giving in to it would make things worse, and that’s something Bob cannot afford, not if he wants to keep his shit together.

“Listen, it isn’t me. Things here are fucked up for good, but this time I don’t know how to fix them: Mikey’s about to leave, this place is as funny as a crypt, everyone’s freaking out… doesn’t all this sound weird to you? Because it damn is, I swear.”

“And you?”

“Me?” Bob swallows. “I’m tired.”

“Just that? Are you just tired?”

Smiling bitterly, Bob closes his eyes. “Yes, I am. I’d love to sleep for a week at least, you know. Actually, I’d sell a kidney to be able to.”

*

Ray finds out on the sixth day, thanks to a jar of Sonata forgotten in the hoodie that Bob has lent him.

He keeps on telling himself that he hasn’t noticed sooner because they’ve all been focusing on Mikey, and because he and Bob don’t share the room on a regular basis. On some nights they do, on some nights they don’t, there’s no given rule about it, as well as no hidden meaning. It’s just a habit they’ve taken up on tour.

Ray blames himself for that, for sticking to normality in a situation that (now it’s in everyone’s face, whether they like it or not) is far from normal.

*

“How long?”

Bob’s eyelids weigh a ton, and his head pounds so much to make him feel nauseous. He’s in no shape to get what Ray is talking about, not until he spells it out for him, using short and simple words.

“What?”

“You. This. Your insomnia. Jesus, Bob, how fucking long?”

“Oh.” Bob blinks and presses his back against the wall. Sitting in the sun is small comfort, but sometimes it makes him feel a bit better; he prefers to be outside rather than locked in his room, like the others do. “Some time, I can’t remember. Days. Before Mikey left anyway. How do you know?”

“How do I know? You tell me.”

Ray crouches down to slip something in Bob’s palm: it’s the jar of pills he thought he’s lost, and as Bob looks at it, his cheeks turn pink. Such a stupid reaction.

Damn. Caught like an idiot.

“I can’t sleep.”

“Well, this is obvious.”

Bob makes a face. “Then stop acting as if you caught me doing coke. I... fuck, don’t know why, it just happens. I’m tired, I feel like I’m about to crash any moment, but when I lie down, sleep doesn’t come. I don’t know what to do; nothing seems to work, and I tried nearly everything. The last option I have is shooting myself in the head.”

“Nothing? Not even pills?”

There’s genuine concern on Ray’s face now, concern and something else. Bob suspects it might be guilt, but it doesn’t make sense. What Ray should feel guilty about? Insomnia isn’t anyone’s fault.

He brings a hand to his mouth, yawns behind it. “No. Fresh water would be more effective.”

“You didn’t say shit about it,” Ray points out, and before Bob could shrug or justify himself somehow, he shakes his head. “It matters, you freak. It matters when you start looking like a wreck, it matters when I don’t notice because there’s too much going on, and I’m sorry.” Ray sighs. “You've lost weight, too.”

“Um.”

Bob chews carefully on his lipring. That’s a sensitive subject, and he’s never comfortable talking about it. “An upside,” he ends up saying.

“Cut the bullshit.”

“You cut it. I’ll sort things out, you don’t have to be sorry. I'll be alright.”

Ray doesn’t answer at once, but he gets to his feet, pulling Bob along. The movement catches Bob by surprise, so he has to lean on and press his forehead against Ray’s neck, waiting for dizziness to pass.

Alright my ass. I’m getting you out of here. Fuck, I'm getting everyone out of here, you hear me?” Ray says then, rubbing the small of Bob’s back with his fingertips. “I don’t care about anything. This shit ends today.”


iv.


Bob doesn’t remember much of the time he’s spent on the couch while Ray was stuffing random clothes into a backpack, nor about the car trip. Online articles have taught him that memory lapses are quite common in cases of sleep deprivation. He just knows that at a certain point, he’s been led through a doorway and put to bed. All the rest is gone from his brain.

*

“He’ll be fine.”

Ray glances over Patrick’s shoulder, toward the bedroom. From when he’s switched the light off, not a sound has come from Bob, not even the faint rustle that signals how someone is turning around in their sleep.

“He’ll be fine,” Patrick repeats, putting a hand on Ray’s forearm and squeezing it sympathetically. “He just needs to rest, then he’ll be as good as new. What’s about you?”

“The others are packing. I have to go helping them.”

Patrick nods.

“I want to make sure that no one gets left behind again, you get me? Bob’s been awake for fucking days, under my very nose, and he’s-”

“I understand.”

No, you don't.

Ray rubs a hand over his eyes. He’s never had troubles in sleeping, but now he feels awfully tired. How ironic.

“I’ll be back before he wakes up,” he promises.

*

In the other room, Bob sleeps.
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