When There's Nothing Left to Burn

A/N: Okay so I know you guys are probably going to hate me but I just felt the urge to write a Gerald/Phoebe story. It's not going to effect my progress on Kissing the Lipless, it's just something that I've wanted to do for a while because I realized that there are practically no Gerald/Phoebe centric multi-chapter fics. So… here we are.

This first chapter is the same as a one-shot I wrote and published on this site a few months ago. I really liked the concept and I wanted to continue with it, so I'm deleting that one-shot and replacing it with the first chapter of this new story. It's kind of dark, just a warning! If you guys could let me know if, judging by this chapter, the story should be T or M, that'd be awesome. Thanks!

Disclaimer: The title of this song is a quote from "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" by Stars. The whole quote is, "When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire". I do believe this quote fits the story quite nicely. I don't own this quote, song, or TV show. Sorry.

His eyes were closed but it did nothing to take him away from that stuffy room. Her breath was a mixture of mint and coconut rum and he wanted to vomit every time she respired on his cheek. That faded red hair tickled his neck and normally this would make his hair rise erratically, eyes become glazed, legs rigid. But it was the fact that he knewher hair was red, her cheeks freckly, that he remained lucid and unmoving.

"Gerald," Lila whispered hoarsely into his ear. He held his breath, opened his eyes and stared into her half-lidded ones, and she smiled. Her teeth like a wolf's; bright and huge. With no response, she drooped a little on his lap, but confidence was quickly regained. "Let's move somewhere more private."

Looking past her, he stared at the other partygoers like statues. They were all laughing and dancing but he blocked them out because the one that mattered wasn't moving at all. Phoebe was standing alone, a hand nestled in her pocket and the other holding a drink that looked to have been drawn into the scene; it did not belong. She sipped it and coughed. Her eyes swiveled restlessly to all areas of the house besides his direction.

Lila caught his attention and suddenly his face was in her chest and she was laughing about how he was 'so out of it'. Her breasts spilled out of her shirt tastelessly, two freckly balloons that were filled too tightly with air. She had a scar on one, from her neck downward, disappearing in what he supposed he could call a shirt. He wondered where she got it, but he figured that was a story he would never hear.

"Did you hear me?" she asked. As if no one ever had to thinkabout going somewhere private with her. When did it become to casual for two teenagers to venture into a dark room, grasp at their clothes and fuck like it was going out of style? He had no idea.

Instead of letting him respond, she leaned in closer, her lips open just slightly as they curved at the edges. Involuntarily, his eyes closed as she moved forward, touching the tips of his mouth just barely. But his mind was somewhere else.

Kissing Phoebe was like a dance. A slow dance, a ballet. Each move was carefully articulated and practiced; the way his mouth moved around hers, and the way they enveloped each other, was all so careful and precise, yet effortless. Every slip of the tongue like a pirouette, controlled… but still beautiful. He could kiss her for days, and not care if he ran out of breath. He could kiss her for the rest of his life.

Kissing Lila was different. It was wild, uncontrollable and tasted stale like beer and other assorted liquors. They groped instead of touched, gnawed instead of nibbled, everything was rushed and all he wanted to do was take his time. Her tongue stumbled lazily against his; their kiss was more of a clumsy tango where the dancers didn't know the steps, and instead squashed each other's toes. There was no leader, it was a free-for-all and Gerald didn't enjoy it.

But he couldn't stop. He pushed the thoughts of all the other guys she had kissed into the back of his mind because it was easier that way. And he was drunk, and he was tired of it all, and something in the back of his mind told him it was okay.

When Lila pulled away, she giggled a little bit but he paid no attention. Instead, he peered around her shoulder while she tickled his neck with her lips. He saw Arnold, sitting with Helga while she rested her head on his lap. He stroked her hair. In Gerald's mind, he could have been doing that exact same thing. Making believe that Lila was nibbling his throat out of love, not lust, was what kept him from shoving her away. And maybe they would fall in love like Arnold and Helga had, and one day he would be playing with her hair while she lay languidly in his lap, telling him stories because she cared to do so.

But instead, she looked at him with drooping eyes and asked, "So, did you hear me?"

"I," he began, his voice thick with dried saliva and alcohol. He coughed and continued, "I heard you."

She laughed again, her lips curling inward at the thought of rejection. "So…?"

All he could think about was that scar on her chest, and how he would never know where it came from. And how he knew that so many other guys had been in this spot, under her warm body, waiting for the 'ok' to take her somewhere else. And how she used to be that sweet girl with fiery red braids and ever-so enchanting stories about a farm.

"Um, sure," he told her with uncertainty. Phoebe was still standing at the counter, this time looking a little "out of it" herself. She stared intently into her cup, pondering the contents, not paying attention to anything around her. If he could get up quickly, maybe she wouldn't see him.

So Gerald pulled Lila from the couch and dragged her down a spare hallway, stumbling lazily as he did so. Again she laughed, that sickening laugh that really didn't have much humor behind it. Once out of sight, Lila quickly regained control of the situation by pushing him up against the wall, wedging one of her thin legs between his and kissing him again, this time with intensity. Her hands found his chest and he was just so done with it all that he didn't bother to push her into a room, instead he hugged her close and bit on her lip, causing a tiny yelp.

Her hands were hungrier than her lips as they slipped down, rubbing over his jeans, causing his eyes to snap open. He shouldn't be here. Sensing his sudden stiffness, Lila stopped what she was doing and looked at him with impatience.

"What?" she croaked, her voice thick with desire.

"I… uh, don't feel good," he lied, pushing her a few inches away from him. Lila gave him an incredulous look, obviously not used to dealing with a guy who was reluctant. With a toss of her hair, she sighed.

"Your loss," she whispered, her freckles dancing dizzily before his eyes as she took a step away from him. And with that, she was walking away with a strange sort of walk, one that was reserved for those who were intoxicated. By the time he snapped his mind out of its unruly haze, she had disappeared from the hallway so he headed back to the living room, hoping Phoebe was there.

He supposed that even she realized she was out of place, for she was nowhere to be seen. The full cup she held was sweating on the counter where she had been standing idly, like it was waiting for her return.

"Where's Phoebe?" he asked to Sid, who passed by him headed for the bathroom.

"I think she's walking home." Sid didn't seem to notice the yearning in the question. He had no idea what she meant.

Phoebe was different. Gerald knew about all of her scars, because she cared to tell him, because she loved him. Each one had it's own little story to it, so that every time he glanced at one he thought in his head: nine-years-old, monkey bars… or, seventeen, car accident.

But she left and she most likely had no plans to return. So instead of sitting alone, he stood on wobbly feet, headed for the counter and poured himself another shot.

A/N: I know it was short but the next chapter will be the events that lead up to this one. I hope it was okay, with the changes I made and everything. Again, let me know if you think this story needs a T or an M rating! Thanks!