An artificial hum filled the dining court with a flickering fluorescent light while everything else seemed to be suspended in a impeccable silence. As his eyes adjusted, Frank's hazy vision started to focus on the dark red fluid that was seeping towards him, coating the monochrome floor tiles a glossy crimson.
“Gerard..” He breathed, his body tense with shock as he stared at the older man sprawled on the cold floor. Gerard's breathing was shallow, his eyes closed as Frank just looked on, his brain unable to jump start himself into movement.
With his attention focused solely on the older man, Frank didn't notice a shadowy figure silently slip away from the scene. Although the intruder was gone their safety had been greatly compromised.
“Frank, I need some help.” Gerard managed to whisper out through clenched teeth, taking a sharp inhale as he struggled to breathe through the pain. The skin of his chest was searing from the blast of the ray gun shot and he wasn't sure how much blood he was losing, or how quickly. “Need to get this patched up quickly, don't know how much is left.” His body heat was rapidly dropping, black edging softening his vision as he tried to access his own damage.
“Fuck- yeah, fuck- of course.” Frank stuttered quickly when he'd managed to crash back into the reality of the situation. He darted across to retrieve one of the many first-aid kits from behind the counter, then dropped to his knees beside the red headed man. “Fuck, Gerard- this is a lot of blood. You need to get to the hospital.” He panicked as he ripped a sterile cloth compress out of its packaging and pressed it to the charred skin of Gerard's wound.
While Gerard desperately needed medical attention there was no way for it to be sought out- the hospitals were all located inside the city boundaries, equipped to deal with even the most horrendous injuries but available only to civilians that submitted to Better Living Industries and their meticulous commandments. Getting to a hospital was a necessity that would need to be worked around.
Gerard's rapidly draining energy didn't even allow him to make an ill-mannered comment on this, his body already beginning to lose the fight to stay awake. “Just need the bleedin' to stop.” He murdered quietly as his eyes slowly dropped closed. The shot had gone straight through Gerard's chest, but at an angle that landed the worst of it up through the tendons of his shoulder. And while blood flowed from him quickly, it wasn't as life-threatening as it could have been if it was just a few millimetres lower.
As Gerard drifted in and out of conciseness and Frank attempted to ease the blood flow, Ray emerged from the store room that he shared with Mikey. The most medically trained person in their community, Jet Star was the next best option when it came to needing a hospital.
“What the fuck happened?” He exclaimed, his eyes wide when his gaze landed on Gerard on the floor, his medicinal instincts kick-starting at the sight of the trauma. He immediately moved to kneel next to Frank, putting his hand over the bloodied compress that the younger man had held pressed to Gerard's chest. “Frank, I need you to get the vodka from the store room, and some extra bandages that are in there. We're going to need to flush his wound out and pack it with sterile wadding before he bleeds out.” He spoke clearly and calmly, but his heart felt like it was break his chest open with its hard, rapid beats. There had been a fair few incidents that he'd had to take care of in the past, many scrapes and injuries that were all just part of venturing out into the desert. But this was big, it was serious, and last time they had to handle an injury of this calibre they lost him. The poor soul got infected too quickly for Ray to be able to save anything. He always gave the best he could, but that wasn't always good enough.
“Frank, go.” Ray pushed sternly, forcing his attention away from Gerard to look at the younger man. “We will lose him if we don't hurry.”
The severity of the situation panicked Frank even more but he managed to get himself to his feet and rush to the stockroom. He wasn't normally so slow, so shocked into doing nothing- but this was Gerard. He'd already lost his family, his beautiful wife and children, and now he was faced with having the love of his life brutally ripped away from him, right in front of his eyes. He grabbed an armful of bandages and an unopened bottle of vodka before he returned to Ray and Gerard, carefully setting everything down by Ray's side. “What do you need me to do?” He asked quietly, his eyes on Gerard's face, brow creased heavily as he watched Gerard's pale skin lose colour.
“I need you to hold him still. This isn't going to be easy, and it's going to hurt a lot.” Ray said softly, aware of Gerard's deteriorating state. The other man may not even be aware of what's about to happen, but the pain will surely snap him back into consciousness long enough to be in agony before he passed out from it. He opened the bottle and poured some vodka over his hands before he opened a bandage, soaking that too. “Okay, Gerard. This has to be done.” He said quietly, giving Frank a cursory nod before he took away the blood-soaked compress.
His lip pinned firmly between his teeth, Frank leant an arm across Gerard's chest, careful to avoid the area being worked on, and watched the older man's face intently for any sign of his stare changing.
Gerard gave an immediate jerk when Ray flushed the wound with the antiseptic liquid, a sharp gasp of air snapping his eyes open. Ray moved quickly as Frank held Gerard still to the best of his ability, flushing the wound and then packing it with cleansed bandages. When he'd filled the gap as much as he could, he opened an adhesive patch from the first-aid kit, wiping the area on Gerard's chest clean before applying it.
Gerard's sounds of pain echoed through the building, waking anyone that hadn't arisen at the previous scuffle. The youngsters all knew better, they knew to stay in their room until someone they trusted told them that it was safe to leave. Part Poison's howling terrified them but they couldn't do anything to fix it, just hoped that it wasn't an enemy taking control of their settlement.
The pain was too much and caused Gerard to black out, which Frank was almost thankful for. He didn't want for the older man to suffer more than he had to. He and Ray carefully manoeuvred Poison into the bedroom he and Frank shared, making sure that he was propped up enough to ease the bleeding as much as possible. Ray talked him through the schedule they would have to keep to make sure that Gerard had the best possibility of surviving, all the while they tried not to think of what might happen if it all took a turn for the worst. Mikey was gone and they were miles and miles away from the city boarder, with only two of them present any excursions for supplies would be incredibly risky. It was forbidden to leave the diner alone, just one of the many rules that Gerard had implemented to try and ensure everyone's safety.
While Gerard rested as peacefully as possible, Frank checked the boundaries of the diner and then reassured the anxious teenagers that had been waiting in their room that everything was safe, even if only for a little while. Together, Ray, Frank and the others fixed up the diner as best as they could, having shut the lights off to work in the faint flickering of candles as they repaid as much damage as they could. It was vital that they made the building safe again, especially for Gerard's recovery and until they got a hold of Mikey again. Soon they'd need more supplies, but while Gerard's health was touch and go and Mikey was gone they had to wait and try not to let the unease and darkness creep further into their once safe place.