Mikey gets the message.
Chapter 10: Heaven Help Us
Mikey was running. His heart was pumping out of his chest. He didn't know how long it had been since he had gotten the phone call from Frank. It was probably just thirty minutes ago, but somehow it felt like days ago. He had just dropped the phone and started running. His breath was ragged. He felt a panic attack edging forward, but he knew there was no time for that now. Right now he only knew one thing: he needed to get to Gerard.
Finally he reached it, the hospital room where they brought him. Frank was sitting by Gerard's bedside, sobbing. He was running his hand through Gerard's hair. It would seem Gerard hadn't woken up yet.
Frank snapped around and Mikey saw his old friend looking shattered. Mikey stepped forward and put a hand on Frank's shoulder. Frank said nothing for a while, except for occasionally choking back of a few sobs when he abruptly stood up. "I'll let you have him like usual then." He said bitterly before walking out, and he was gone before Mikey could even ask what he meant by that. Mikey took Frank’s place in the chair.
Now it was Mikey's turn to cry, as he inspected the state his brother was in. Gerard looked, if possible, paler than usual. Like a weird, paper white. All sorts of IV's were hooked up to him. It was really a simple image, actually, in comparison to the beaten and bruised stage his body had been not too long ago --- yet still just as heartbreaking. What happened to his big brother? Why him? He was always such a good person, such a sweet, kind person. Sure he had his quirks here and there, who didn't? But in the end he always meant well. And he didn't deserve any of this.
Slowly, the rest of their gang joined them. Jimmy and Chantal, Steve and Ray. But no one dared to pry Mikey away from Gerard or try to take his place by his side. No one dared to even go near them. Mikey was holding on to Gerard's hand with both of his hands, rubbing it with his thumb. But just like Mikey, they were all filled with sadness by seeing the state Gerard was in. The silence between all of them was horribly deafening. And they were all wondering, why? When they had just seen him smiling and giggling like his old self just a few hours ago? Frank knew. Frank knew Gerard must have made up his mind about what he was going to do a while ago, and that's why he was so happy. He wanted his last hours with his friends to be good ones. He didn't want anyone to think anything was wrong. Because Gerard didn't do spontaneous things like that. Frank felt almost angry at Gerard for not just telling him what was on his mind instead. But he was ashamed to admit he also didn't know if he would trade in those last bonding hours he spent with Gerard for anything, even the truth. What fueled that more than anything wasn't the fact that they had so much fun together, but the fact that Gerard had really spent those hours with him, and pretty much only him. If his calculations were correct, Gerard had gone off relatively quickly after Jimmy had pulled him aside. And Frank knew Gerard hadn't really spoken to anyone else that night. He approached him to play ski ball, he chose Frank. It was the most bittersweet feeling in the world.
Gerard could hear beeping noises. His mind was so fuzzy, he probably had the IQ level of a 3 month old right now. His mouth felt extremely dry. He could feel someone doing something with his hand. He also felt something else on his hands. Something that he had never hoped to feel again. Needles! He struggled to open his eyelids, which felt weirdly heavy and looked down, confirming what he had already thought.
"Mikey?", he rasped out. Mikey had had his head down on the bed, but he immediately turned to Gerard at the sound of his voice.
"Gerard!", Mikey yelled gleefully. Everyone was alerted now. They had been standing there for so long, no one had kept track of time. Yet none of them had wanted to leave.
"Mikey... get them off.", he said, shaking his hands to indicate what he meant. Mikey almost laughed, "I can't Gee, you need them but oh my god, thank god you're awake! I was scared out of my mind!"
Everyone was smiling at him. Gerard didn't care. His heart rate was gaining speed. "Mikey! GET THEM OUT!", he had started screaming.
"Gerard, please, calm down! I ---", Mikey didn't know what to do. Gerard was starting to hyperventilate.
"We need to call a nurse.", Chantal insisted before running out to get one.
Frank was watching the scene uneasily. Gerard was panicking. Mikey was trying to calm him down but he just sort of ended up yelling over him. Jimmy was pacing back and forth being kind of useless. Deciding he'd had enough, Frank went over and encased Gerard in the tightest embrace he could at the awkward angle that was available to them. He rocked him back and forth and tried calming him down with shushing noises. It worked --- Gerard had finally stopped screaming.
Mikey was relieved, but still felt a pang of jealousy watching the moment. He remembered back when they were kids, they both suffered from night terrors often. He remembered when Gerard would hold him, similar to the way Frank was doing now, comforting him. And he would do the same for Gerard. Slowly so much of that close brother relationship had dissolved since Frank and Gerard became best friends. And maybe more than that. Mikey didn't like to think about it, but he knew Gerard was in love with Frank. And now it was only Frank who could save him from his nightmares. Just as that thought had passed, he heard Gerard call his name. He went over to Gerard and Frank stepped aside.
"Mikes, I'm so sorry.", Gerard said and reached a hand out for Mikey to hold. Mikey took it and smiled at Gerard, and Gerard smiled back.
And then everything crashed and burned.
Unlike so many of the recent horrors the boys had experienced in the past days, this one seemed to happen in slow motion. First it was just Gerard taking a deep breath. Then it was him getting this terrified expression on his face, that Mikey would remember until his dying day. Then there was a sudden assortment of loud noises and monitors going off in all directions. Then, a crowd of people came running in, in scrubs and coats. Then Gerard's chest was having these spasms, like something was threatening to burst through it, he was struggling to breathe. There was a lot of screaming, a lot of yelling. Yet to Mikey it was almost like the room had gone completely silent --- he couldn't hear any of it. Then he was being pulled away from Gerard, being yanked away, although he was fighting to keep his tight grip on Gerard's hand. Eventually that was ripped away too, and it felt as though his own heart was being ripped from his chest. He screamed Gerard's name at the top of his lungs, he was struggling with the people that were trying to tear him away from his big brother. His whole world was crashing down around him. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t think, he couldn’t hear. All he could comprehend was that his best friend was dying right before his eyes. And finally he sees Gerard turn to him, and Gerard manages to mouth out the words "I love you!" (Or maybe he yelled out, Mikey wasn’t sure.) before he gets thrown out of the room, into the hallway with the rest, all of whom were mortified, as the doctors and nurses fought to save him.
A time of death was called. Chantal was crying. Jimmy was trying to comfort her, tears flowing from his own eyes. Frank was screaming, he was throwing random objects at the ground. Steve was silent, staring in shock. Ray had his face buried in his hands, and one could see his shoulders shuddering if they looked closely enough. And Mikey, well Mikey just fainted.
But Gerard was with his wife and child. He was home at last.
Frank was walking through the woods. He wasn’t sure how’d got here, or why he was here. It was dark. He was lost. Even a bit scared. He travels a little further, only moonlight guiding his path. There’s clearing up ahead and he walks into it, and a ways ahead, he sees Bert McCracken. Bert had a mask on, something similar to Party Poison’s except it was completely black. He was surrounded by other faceless figures. There was a table in front of them, and Gerard was tied to it, naked. He was already cut up, drenched in his own blood, groaning in pain. Bert was holding the knife he carved him with.
“Let him go.”, Frank said surprisingly calmly, considering what he just walked in on.
Bert sneered, “What’s it to you?”
“He’s not yours to take.”
“You think he’s yours?”
Frank said nothing to that, but instead focused on Gerard who was continuing to groan and writhe against his restraints. “Frankie…”, he moaned out, “…it hurts…”
“I love him! PLEASE!”, Frank began to sob.
Bert laughed maniacally and lowered his knife into Gerard’s neck, about to sever. Frank was screaming for him to stop. “PLEASE! DON’T HURT HIM! I’LL DO ANYTHING! PLEASE, NO! I LOVE HIM! I LOVE HIM!” He was running towards them. He had to save Gerard.
“NO!”, Frank shrieked finally waking up in a cold sweat. He was in his own bed. Back at his own house. He looked over and saw Jamia had not come back from work. He curled in a ball and began to sob uncontrollably, the night terror he had just experienced echoing in his mind.
“You think he’s yours?”
No, but he should have been.
It was a week after the funeral. It was needless to say they had canceled the tour. No one had spoken of the future of My Chemical Romance, but it was almost certain they were over. It seemed impossible to carry on without Gerard, at least for now. Ray and Christa were staying with Mikey and Alicia. Neither were sure who needed the other more at the moment. It was like they were trying desperately to still hold on to a band that had broken apart long ago.
Frank hadn't been at the funeral. Frank hadn't spoken to anyone since Gerard died. It made Mikey angry. While Frank could be pissed at him all he wanted to, couldn't he put whatever problem he had aside right now? At least for Gerard? He only got one funeral.
He was absentmindedly scrolling through one of Alicia's books that she had on their shelf. He couldn't read comics or play video games right now. They hurt too much. Ray was making some ramen over in the kitchen. Mikey’s cell phone rang, it was Jamia. That's a bit weird, Mikey thought to himself. He decided not to answer. Then she called a third time. A fifth time. Finally Mikey realized she wasn't going to let up. He picked up the phone.
She was crying. Oh god.
"Yes, Jamia?", Mikey inquired in a hesitant voice.
"Frankie, he --- he...."
Mikey felt his heart sinking.
"He what Jamia?"
"Hes killed himself, Mikey! It happened a couple of days ago. He --- he left something for you.... "
"Oh Jesus Jamia... I'll be right over.", Mikey hung up, horrified, and told Ray what had just happened. They both rushed over to their old friends house, Mikey still hoping to God that this was all some horrible, horrible nightmare.
They had arrived at Frank's and Jamia explained everything. Frank had hung himself in their bedroom the day before yesterday. She had come home to it, thanking the heavens that Cherry and Lily were still at school. While telling the tragic tale, Jamia would explode into sobs every now and then and they would have to wait for her to stop and try to comfort her before she could continue on. She explained he had left an envelope sealed letter with Mikey’s name on it. She hadn't opened it nor did she show it to anyone. She had figured it was something between Frank and Mikey. If there was ever a moment Mikey had respect for anyone outside of Gerard and Alicia, it was then for Jamia. He would have opened it and read it a thousand times over had it been him. She handed him the plainly marked envelope and went to go check on the children, who were still wondering where their father was. Ray suddenly laughed. Mikey couldn’t think of what he could possibly find funny at a time like this. It was a bitter laugh however, and Ray had a thoughtful look on his face.
“What?”, Mikey asked.
“Nothing, it’s just funny.”
Mikey continued to look half confused and half disgusted, but said nothing so Ray continued on.
“Well more ironic than funny, really. None of this would have ever happened if we had just gone home the first time around. But we didn’t because we were scared Gerard would hurt himself. How ‘bout that? ”
Mikey had no response to that except to continue to look disgusted, but at what, Ray wasn’t sure. He shifted in his chair awkwardly before he said he was going to step outside for a smoke, a habit he had taken up lately --- in addition to a new found love for drinking. Mikey was left alone with his letter.
Mikey stared at it for a long while before opening it. He expected some long detailed letter explaining everything. Instead all it he got was:
If you couldn't stand to let us be together in life, maybe you'll learn to fuck off in death.
And Frank had gone to be with Gerard. And he was home at last.
Next chapter: Revenge.