glasspaperclip: (Bob/Frank // Against the world)
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Suspended Animation
(1,967) // (R)
Bob Bryar/Frank Iero
They get up late. They always do. Bob’s watch has gone off weeks ago, both hands still and pointing eternally to eleven twenty-three, while Frank lost his own sometime in the first days, when they were barricaded in the basement of Frank’s place.
The guys aren't mine, it never happened.
Inspired by this post at [livejournal.com profile] we_are_cities + #15 Forget at [livejournal.com profile] slashfic25
For [livejournal.com profile] veecious. Happy birthday, dear. ♥ to [livejournal.com profile] anne_elliot for all her help and cheers, ♥ to [livejournal.com profile] ky_betty who did the beta duties. Thank you so much.
Post-apocalypse fic.


*

They get up late. They always do. Bob’s watch has gone off weeks ago, both hands still and pointing eternally to eleven twenty-three, while Frank lost his own sometime in the first days, when they were barricaded in the basement of Frank’s place. Not that it matters. Once or twice Bob has wondered about taking batteries off the watches of the dead but – nah. It’d be pointless. Morals have nothing to do with that, he has abandoned them soon enough. It’s just that given the actual state of things, they don’t really care or need to worry about time any longer.

‘We get up when the sun’s up, we go to sleep when the sun’s down,’ said Frank one morning, taking a bite off a chocolate bar, and Bob has never heard anything so logical and sarcastic before. He doesn’t remember what he answered that day, but pushing the curtains of their motel room aside, he utters a quiet, “That’s right.”

“What’s right?”

Bob turns and waves his hand in a dismissive gesture. “Nothing. I was remembering things. Are you ready?”

“Yeah, just give me a moment.”

Frank’s tying the laces of his shoes, heels on the tangled mass of sheets and blankets. When they got there the night before, the room was tidy, the bed made up. Only the thin veil of dust that covered every surface gave away the fact that no one had entered that place in a long, long time. It’s been a nice change, sleeping in a real bed for once, not having rocks or hard pavement texture pressing against his back as Frank rode him into orgasm, and they even found some snacks and a bottle of mineral water stashed in the mini-fridge. The bathroom offered them half-bowl of water then, all they could gather from the pipes, and they used it to wash their faces at least. Last time they had the chance to bathe has been four days ago, when Frank slipped and ended in a canal that ran next to the road.

Recalling that scene makes Bob smile, and he kneels next to their backpacks in order to hide it. Frank’s pride is still a little wounded by the accident, he doesn’t want to hear another variation of his ‘hey, it could have happened to anyone and I was looking where I was heading. Blame the fog’ tirade. Blaming the fog has become a recurrent habit, and it’s indeed true that with those eternal misty clouds that hide almost everything it’s hard to see the proper way. They haven’t been able to see the sun nor the moon from when it all started, and sometimes Bob wonders if they’re still there. Every once in a while the sun rays get strong enough to reach the ground – they warmed up the skin of his wrist yesterday – but he finds it increasingly hard to believe in something he can no longer look at. Detachment, he guesses.

His hands check the straps of both backpacks, his own first, then Frank’s, making sure that they’ve got everything they need and that they won’t lose any of their belongings while walking. Plenty of places to go to stock up on supplies, the stores are still quite full (they had heard screaming and shouting during the first two days, then nothing at all from the third on, and it isn’t that people can rob so much in forty-eight hours), but they prefer to keep away from big cities. It may be because Frank has watched one horror movie too many, or because he’s read one book too many but – yeah, they’re traveling in the countryside, venturing to small towns only when they’re running short of something.

The funny part is that they don’t have a specific destination in mind. They’re just heading west, vaguely directed towards Chicago, even if Bob doesn’t really want to go there and see what his town has turned into. Better to dwell in ignorance.

“Come on, I’m ready.”

Frank’s voice shakes him off his reverie, and Bob gets up, handing Frank his backpack.

“Let’s go check the reception building, perhaps we’ll find some more food,” he proposes. Frank nods, pulling up the fly of his jacket.

“What I really want is another pair of gloves. Mine are worn out.”

“Mine as well. We could have a look around now, and if we don’t find anything, we’ll stop in the first village we see.”

Warm clothes are important. It gets quite cold in the fog, sometimes it rains, and they’ve soon learned that it’s better if they can sleep in a sheltered place. It’s just that many buildings have been raided, and neither of them feels like sleeping next to corpses or in a wrecked up room. Finding a room like the one they’ve just spent the night is a rare luxury. When Frank got off him, skin still slick with sweat, they lit up a cigarette (the last one of the last package, spared just to celebrate an important moment), and talked for a little while about the opportunity they had – to stay.

It was tempting, it still is, and Bob finds himself turning to stare at the blind eye of the window, forever pointing towards an empty road, surrounded by empty fields. At least they aren’t rotting anymore; during the first days of their trip the stench had been unbearable and they had to keep a scarf over their noses to not feel sick. It’d be easy to stay now, and let the world – what’s left of it – take over, swallowing them whole and turning them into corpses, too. Adding them to the pile, two more.

“Hey, are you coming?”

“Sure.”

Bob reaches the door Frank has already walked through, entering the reception building. It looks as tidy as their room, even if there are traces of a past life. A beer bottle is opened, left in the middle of the counter, and if power was still on, the radio would be playing… uh, something. Static, most likely. Exactly what his own radio, now stuffed at the bottom of his backpack, plays whenever he turns it on. The motel owner is sitting on his chair, head reclined and hands in his lap, still curled around the handle of a gun.

“It looks like John Smith here said goodbye in a brave way,” comments Frank, pushing the chair aside to check on the mini-fridge behind him. They don’t find much, but at least they’re able to add another bottle of mineral water to their supplies. Good.

John Smith, as Frank called him, had also been a smoker. It’s Bob who sees the pack of Lucky Strikes in the pocket of his shirt. It’s right where the blood stain is, but Bob doesn’t care. He takes off his gloves and just slides two fingers in, pulling the pack out. It’s almost full, blood hasn’t reached the cigarettes – oh yes.

“We’ve got some smoke,” he says while Frank is reaching for the lighter already. The taste of nicotine, the smell of burned tobacco feels so familiar and good that Bob doesn’t even spare a thought on what he’s just done. Lack of morals or not, he’s never stolen anything from a dead body, not until today. Still, the line has been crossed and he doesn’t feel anything but relief.

Frank has jumped on the counter in the meantime, and now he’s leafing through the register, reading out loud funny surnames.

“Hand me the pen, will you?”

“What for?”

“Well, we’ve been here. Let’s put our names in the register. Recording that we spent a night here, shit like that.”

It makes no sense, but Bob complies, turning around to retrieve the pen Frank wants. He watches in silence how Frank writes their names in the first empty line, his handwriting tilting to the right.

“What day is today?”

“The fuck? I have no idea. I don’t even know where we are or if it’s morning or afternoon.”

Frank shrugs. “It should be July. Early August perhaps. I’ll just put a random day, hold on.”

As Frank scribbles a number in the departure box, Bob can’t help but notice the gap between the last date and the one Frank has just put in.

*

Later on they’re in the middle of a wheat field. Correction: of what once has been a wheat field. Now the ears of wheat are on the ground, reduced to brownish mush. It makes a revolting sound when one of them steps into large puddles made of decomposed leaves and mud, and in some parts the stench is still strong, but they’ve been through worse.

At least it’s just wheat, said Frank half an hour ago, and Bob grunted his reply while kicking a rock aside. If they had any idea about where they had been heading to, they’d say they’re lost, but geography has little meaning nowadays, and they keep on walking. In the end it’s putting a foot in front of another what really matters; as long as they able to do that, they’re alright.

“Should we start looking for a place to spend the night already?” asks Frank at some point. Bob recognizes his own tiredness written on Frank’s face and nods. There would still be a couple of hours to go, but they aren’t late. It’s pointless to run when you’ve got nowhere to go.

“Let’s just go past this field, um? I don’t really want to sleep on mud and shit.”

“Yeah, nothing can beat the good, old pavement. My back will never recover, I’m sure.”

“Says the one who sat in my lap all the time on the other night.”

“Hey.” Frank gives him a light punch on the shoulder, and he’s laughing a little. “I never heard you complaining. You like fucking people that way, don’t lie.”

At that, Bob has to join Frank, and their chuckles get lost in the fog. It’s amazing, in a way, because Bob knows that deep inside, Frank is convinced that all this will end somehow, that he’ll be able to tell this tale to his grandchildren, and then we were rescued and we found out that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Deep inside, Bob would love to believe the same, to have the same abiding optimism Frank has. If anything, it’d make his life easier.

“Come on.”

“Hey Bob?”

“Uh?”

Frank is leaning against his stick (he got himself one just for the show, not because he actually needs it to walk) and has his nose up in the air. Mist is hovering few inches above his head, creating a milky cape that covers everything.

“What is it?” repeats Bob, tilting his head to his side.

“Do you remember the stars?”

Instinct causes Bob to look up. Of course there are no stars to look at, only that stupid, fucked up fog they saw from the exact moment they got out of Frank’s basement, back in Belleville. They probably aren’t even showing yet, but – fuck.

“A bit,” he slowly admits, feeling sort of ashamed about it. Has it really taken him so little to forget? Has he really taken things for granted up to that extent? Will he soon start forgetting about other things, things he once deemed important?

“A bit. I still have the concept, but it feels as if my memories are blurred at the edge. I don’t know, Frank.”

“Me too.”

Frank takes a step forwards and reaches him. His lips are cold, almost wet, and for a moment Bob thinks they taste like mist and dew.

“We’ll see them again. Sometime, somehow. All this can’t last forever, can it?”

Bob doesn’t answer. He just puts a hand on Frank’s shoulder and keeps on looking up.


A/N: this is inspired by one of the 29 sentences Veecious wrote for my birthday. I chose one and I wrote around it, creating an entire scenario. I hope I did it justice, my dear.

Date: 2009-05-10 09:58 pm (UTC)
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From: [identity profile] maryangel200.livejournal.com
This as amazing, Cee.
Loved the mood you created. <3

Date: 2009-05-10 10:15 pm (UTC)
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From: [identity profile] zephyrina.livejournal.com
Thank you! ♥ It seems that lately I'm all for fucked up scenarios.

Date: 2009-05-10 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iosonosara.livejournal.com
OH, DEI, E' SPLENDIDA. Ho sempre amato le atmosfere post-nucleari. E tu l'hai resa benissimo, qui. E il riferimento finale alle stelle e alle cose che di solito si danno per scontate finché non si perdono è ♥
Complimenti!

Date: 2009-05-10 10:17 pm (UTC)
ext_33154: (Default)
From: [identity profile] zephyrina.livejournal.com
Grazie! :D In attesa di finire le due famose post-nucleari della morte (che languono da quasi un annetto), ho cercato di tirare fuori qualcosa di breve ed efficace. Felice che ti sia piaciuta! ♥

Date: 2009-05-10 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] why-me-why-not.livejournal.com
lovely writing

Date: 2009-05-11 05:25 am (UTC)
ext_33154: (Default)
From: [identity profile] zephyrina.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2009-05-11 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] indie-wonka.livejournal.com
I am such a sucker for apocalypse fics, and this one is really good. I love the mood you set. *adds to mems*

Date: 2009-05-11 05:25 am (UTC)
ext_33154: (Default)
From: [identity profile] zephyrina.livejournal.com
Thank you! :D

Date: 2009-05-11 11:10 pm (UTC)
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From: [identity profile] yekith.livejournal.com
Loved it, I could imagined it all as it happened, it was easy to get into it :)

Date: 2009-05-13 06:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atomichatred82.livejournal.com
You know how much I love these post-apocalyptic snapshots, and it's that much more powerful that we don't actually know what happened, what caused it and what horrors they've seen since. It seems to me that they themselves don't know, or care to at this point. And the way the landscape and the rot and the chaos of the early days was described, almost from casual memory, shows just how detached Bob's become, that he really only has Frank to hold on to now, as much as he's probably reluctant to admit it.

“We’ll see them again. Sometime, somehow. All this can’t last forever, can it?”

;__; Somehow I get the feeling that they won't, and Bob knows--he just needs Frank to stay optimistic for both their sakes.

Date: 2009-05-13 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] little-bullets.livejournal.com
Ugh I loooove post-apocalyptic fic, especially the open-ended stuff, when you don't know what's going on. I really liked that you didn't make it "savoury", made it a bit icky. And Bob/Frank = OTP till the end of the world, literally.

If you'll allow some constructive criticism, there were a few instances of vocabulary that Americans like them probably wouldn't use. Like "as well" instead of "too", "quite" instead of "really" or "very", "perhaps" instead of "maybe", "feels as if" instead of "feels like". It really stood out for me so I thought I'd mention it. The whole story is fantastic though. :)

Thanks for the good read!

Date: 2009-05-14 12:59 pm (UTC)
ext_83527: (Default)
From: [identity profile] untilsally.livejournal.com
See, now I need to know what happened and how they ended up where they are. grrrr!

Date: 2009-05-18 02:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flora-et-fauna.livejournal.com
Beautiful. It feels like, uh... a post-nuclear kind of apocalypse?

Anyways, I love the vagueness of it, the way the two survivors seem far more important than what happened in the background they've come to be so detached from. Kind of heartbreaking, in a good way.

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