What do I know about standing in front of a judge like a man, ready to take whatever sentence he hands?
First of the Gang to Die
Nail in the Coffin
A youthful, fresh-faced, thirty-six year old Donald Way turned slowly around in his swivel chair to scrutinize his eldest son. The boy’s eyes were wide and fearing, and he bit his lip as he faced his father.
“Have you ever fucking heard of knocking?” The man snapped at his child, and the six year old squeaked. “You cannot just barge in somewhere whenever you like, you little shit.”
“Momma told me to come down to you, Daddy,” Gerard chirped, as if he had not just been verbally abused by his father. “Momma said you wanted to talk to me about something.”
“Momma says a lot of things, doesn’t she?” He growled, and his son looked worried again. “Maybe she should learn to shut the fuck up.”
The younger did not say anything but simply looked at his shoes, head bent.
“How was your tutoring this afternoon?”
“It was good, Daddy,” he replied, smile faltering when his father glared at his happiness. “Signora Soprano says I’m really good at art.” The green eyes glowed a little. “She says I might be an artist when I’m a grown up!”
“An artist, really now?” The man put to him softly, and the boy was quiet again. “No one in my family has ever become some...painter. Some glorified vandal.”
“Do you think I became rich because I paint? Do you think I am so successful because I can draw?” He removed his tie and glanced at his watch. Sophia would be here in ten minutes and the kid better be the fuck out when she did, that seventeen year old could do things to him Donna could never think of...”Well? Do you?”
“No,” the boy whispered, tears forming in the jade orbs. “No, you didn’t.”
“Don’t you fucking cry,” Donald snarled, slapping his son across the face, who cried out in pain. “Don’t you act like some weak little pansy in front of me!”
“Sir,” Donna said tentatively from the back of the room, hushed and calm. “Please. He’s just tired. It’s late and-“ she glowered, a frown caressing her gorgeous features. “-I’m sure one of your friends would not like to be kept waiting. I will talk to him at bed-time.”
“No fucking chance,” her husband spat back, ignoring his child, sniffling quietly. “You’ll sugar-coat every-fucking-thing and tell him going to a common-blood school like everyone else will be perfectly acceptable! No member of my family will ever attend such a shit-hole.”
“You’re drunk,” she hissed, but not entirely surprised. “You’ve had too much to drink!”
“Gerard,” Donald slurred, stern and serious. “Give me that pencil.”
Gerard quivered. “What pencil?”
“That one behind your ear, you fucking retard!”
“Stop swearing at him!” Donna shrieked, marching over to her husband and son. “You are the worst father I have ever-“
Donald snatched the pencil from his son’s small little hand, smacking him around the head while he did. He then broke it in two with one hand and threw the two sticks out the window. His son knew better than to start weeping.
“Never again,” the Don instructed. “You will be lucky if Don de la Via does not hear about his grandson...the painter.”
Donna scoffed and bundled her son into her arms, cuddling him closely to her chest. She glared at the man she had married barely six years ago.
“You cunt, making your son cry like this,” she spat, stroking Gerard’s raven locks as he tugged at her dress. “I hope you keel over and die.”
“Not fucking likely,” he returned eloquently, and glanced at his pocket-watch one more. “Now get out. Got a nice little teenager coming round here in about five minutes. Hopefully she’ll come more than once...”
Missus Way gasped at his utter vulgarity and rushed quickly out of his study, slamming the door shut. She ran up the looming staircase-impressive; at five two, Donna Way always wore heels-and turned the handle of her sons’ room. Michael was in his cot, being read to by one of Donald’s men.
“Leave, please,” she sighed, carefully placing Gerard on the bed, and turning to the grinning man. “I can handle them myself.”
The man-Reverdici, she thought; a fucking slimeball who was as smart as he was peaceful-smirked and stood up, hand slipping down to squeeze her ass.
“Do I get something for my service, Missus Way?”
She pushed him away, slapping his chest.
“Get out of here,” she snapped. “Take my husband with you, he is not needed here.”
“No need to worry, Missus Way,” the gangster murmured in her ear, caressing her cheek as she seethed with anger and humiliated rage. “We have some plans tonight with some nice little teenagers.” He leaned in to kiss her. “You wanna hear about what your husband is up to right about now?”
“Go away,” Gerard ordered from his ridiculously large double bed, fit for two adults, let alone one boy. “She doesn’t like you.”
The man muttered something in Italian and stalked away, shutting the door with an almighty slam. She sighed and looked at her gorgeous boys, the only source of happiness she got nowadays, in this unfamiliar, lonely city. Sure, Newark wasn’t as flash or as famous as LA, but this place felt so fake. So terrible. Both Michael and Gerard had been born and raised in Jersey, and Donna was proud of her heritage. But now, because her dickhead of a husband wanted to move to California, it would happen. Donald Way says something and it’s like fucking Gospel.
“Daddy got mad at you,” Michael giggled from his crib, tufts of light brown hair sticking up. Evidence of Donna’s adultery, obviously-Donald and her both had jet black, but if she remembered right, that nice man from the bar had had mousey hair and chocolate eyes, just like Michael...”Haha, Daddy was mad at you.”
Both boys had been taught to speak at two years of age. Gerard already had vocabulary that rivalled his mother, who had grown up in a middle-class family.
“Shut up, snot face,” Gerard replied, sticking his tongue out. “I didn’t throw up when Don de la Via was here on Tuesday.”
“Yeah but Daddy loves me!” He chortled away, hugging a stuffed unicorn toy. “He hates you.”
“I don’t sleep with a stuffed horse!”
“FOR THE LAST TIME, MISTER SNUGGLES IS A UNICORN-“
“Daddy hates you too-“
“Tesoro,” she murmured, beginning to undress her son. “Amore, please, no fighting tonight.”
“He’s a snot face,” the boy muttered to himself.
“That’s not true,” Donna said softly, running a hand through her hair. “Miele, say sorry to your brother.”
“Mi dispiace,” Gerard said sullenly, not serious in any sense of the word.
“You too, babbino.”
“Mi dispiace, Gerardo,” Michael said sarcastically, rolling around in his bed.
“Momma,” the boy bleated once he was in his black pyjamas and was being tucked under the covers. “I hate Daddy.”
Donna wished with all her heart she could chide her son for saying such a thing. But in all honesty, she agreed with Gerard.
“He’s mean,” he sniffed, rubbing his eyes. “He calls me mean names and he wants me to be exactly like him when I’m grown up. I don’t wanna be like him, Momma, he’s mean to everyone.”
“Except me,” giggled Michael from the cot.
“Shut up, snot face!” Gerard repeated, and then snuggled against his mother. “I don’t, Momma. I don’t like the Famiglia. I don’t wanna be head of the Cosa.”
“I don’t want you to either, innamorato,” she breathed into his ear, rocking him. “What do you want to be?”
“An artist,” he replied automatically, without any source of hesitation. “I wanna draw the comics like in the Sunday papers Daddy reads.” He gazed up at her. “But he won’t let me. I have to be like him.” He shuddered. “Wear all his ugly rings and stuff.”
Donna frowned into her son’s black hair.
“Miele, when you grow up, no matter what you do, you’re gonna find someone you love a lot,” she whispered, and the thought that she would be forever trapped in a loveless marriage brought tears to her eyes. “Someone who makes you so happy, someone who you’ll never want to leave, ever. And when you find that person,” she said, tears streaking her pallid cheeks as she clutched Gerard so close, “when you find them, I want you to never leave them go, okay? You’re not gonna care about your job, if you’re a painter or a killer or a doctor, because you’ll love them so much and they’ll love you back. You’re so perfect, Gerard,” she squeaked into his hair again. “Don’t you ever forget that. I love you so much, tesoro. Your father does too, so much, but he just-he gets angry, miele, and he is a mean man, like you said. I want you to have such a nice life, baby, because you are the most wonderful boy in the world and you deserve so much better.”
Gerard was a little unsure about how to react to the dramatic outburst.
“Okay,” he replied, hugging her back. “Ti amo, Momma.”
She giggled feebly and wiped at her eyes, the same vibrant green that her eldest inherited.
“Ti amo, Gerard, ti amo cosi tanto.” She kissed his forehead and tucked him in. “You nice and warm, tesoso?”
“Mmmhmm,” he returned the kiss. “Buananotte, Momma.”
Donna nodded, still teary, and smiled as he closed his lids to settle. She then kissed her other son, revelled at them both sleeping so tranquilly and adorable. She switched off the light, and returned to her bedroom, where she wept hopelessly for hours.
The next day, she would be dead.
Gerard Way-now nearing thirty- snapped out of the day dream he had been experiencing to face his husband gazing at him with a questioning expression. The Don cleared his throat and got to his feet. The service would be starting in little over half an hour, and the amount of time for him to dread seeing that fateful bastard once more was running out. He wore a small, forced smile to please Frank.
“Yeah, babe, don’t worry, I’m fine,” he said, pulling the twenty four year old close to him, their hips aligned. They were both in dark suits, every element black silk. He pressed their lips together. Funerals did not require Gerard to step outside of his fashion comfort zone.
“You just...you’ve been kinda distant for a few days,” Frank said quietly, sucking on his lip. His eyes were innocent and bright when they met the fluorescent and the dead. “I was just wondering if I did anything wrong.”
“Wrong?” Gerard repeated, and his boy nodded. “Wrong in what way, sugar pop?”
“Well...”he shifted a little and pressed himself right up against his lover. “We haven’t had sex in a long time.” His voice caught and he squeaked. “I really am trying so hard, Gee, and I love you so much, it’s just so sore and I-“
“Baby,” he breathed, and his hand cupped his husband’s hip as Frank nuzzled into the killer. “Baby, it’s not that at all, I know it hurts and that you want to do it, I know. You’re so wonderful, pet, I’m not angry about that whatsoever.”
“We can fuck soon if you want,” he offered meekly. “I don’t want to annoy you, Gerard, I wanna make you happy.” His hazel eyes filled with tears. “I want to have sex with you so badly, Gerard, you’re so good-looking and I love you so much it hurts.” His voice reached a higher pitch again. “But it’s so hard to even get undressed in front of you,” he cried, “it hurts so much.”
“You do, bunny, you do, you make me the happiest man in the world,” he assured, every word of it true. “We’ll do it whenever you want to, sweetie. Whenever you feel okay.” He lowered his voice and pressed his lips to Frank’s ear. “I promise it would be so soft, babe, so gentle. I know I’m stronger and bigger and you’re so fragile, but I want you to feel safe when we do, okay? Do you trust me?”
The rabbit nodded.
“Because I just adore you so much, sugar pop,” he breathed. “And you’re so vulnerable and weak compared to me, honey, I could just snap you in two because I’m stronger than you are.” He shrugged, and his jewellery tinkled. “No offence.”
Frank laughed weakly and shook his head.
“You’re so perfect, Frankie,” the Don purred to him. “You’re so perfect and I’m so sorry if I’ve been a bitch for the past few days, sweetie.” He sighed deeply and ran his hands through the chocolate locks under his chin. “Just...this is weird, y’know? Becoming Don de la Via and all that..it’s a big fucking deal.”
Frank nodded as his hair was stroked, nestling against the silk shirts his husband wore on a daily basis.
“Were you upset when he went?” The boy asked ever so quietly. “Did you cry?”
“Of course I didn’t cry,” the older scoffed. “Last thing he said to me was, ‘wear sunglasses at my funeral, I don’t want that hideous red eye showing at my service.’” Gerard rolled his eyes. “That bastard treated me like shit my entire life, I ain’t gonna be all repentant and sad just cause the cunt’s dead. I don’t give a shit about him being dead. It’s fucking fabulous.”
Frank had to admit he got a little scared whenever his lover talked like this.
“All his girlfriends are gonna be there,” Gerard said softly. “Probably not a lot older than me.”
“Did he...did he have a lot?”
“Well...there was Sophia, Maria, Lilliana, Francesca, Aria, Isabella...” he closed his eyes and rocked for a moment, concentrating. “They were just the regulars.”
“Oh my God,” Frank whispered, still pressed up against Gerard. “Oh my God, that’s awful.”
“My mother had many suitors, of course,” he continued, shrugging. The blank look told him to simplify his verification. “Boyfriends, sweetheart. I mean she was unfaithful.”
“Yeah but...” he thought about how badly Gerard’s mother had been treated, how arrogant and power-hungry his father was. “But he beat her and raped her and called her names.” The gangster nodded, and it seemed to justify Donna’s misgivings. “Was she nice?”
“She was lovely,” Way murmured, devoid of hesitation. “Of course, I did not know her extremely well over the course of six years, but I remember she was just so...so unbelievably beautiful.”
“Like you?” The boy asked shyly, tracing the curve of Gerard’s lip.
“She had black hair and green eyes, if that’s what you mean,” the killer returned, never one for vanity. “She was absolutely tiny, both height and weight-by her death I was nearing her shoulders and probably weighed more than she did.”
Iero nodded again, liking the tone his husband was using to describe his mother. It was dreamy, and trance-like, as if he were slightly out of breath.
“Your eyes are so gorgeous,” the twenty four year old breathed, and Gerard wore a tiny smile. “You have the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen.”
“Thank you,” the other returned in a hushed tone. “But I presume you mean eye as opposed to plural. This-“ he pointed to the dark crimson thing in his socket, which rolled pointlessly-“this is fucking hideous.”
“Can you see through it? At all?”
“A little bit,” he shrugged. “Around the edges. He stabbed me right bang in the centre of my retina,” he explained, bending down to be eye-to-eye with Frank. “But it looks so disgusting, bright red and inflamed and bloodshot. And it moves. It must be particularly horrible to watch.”
Frank shook his head, inching closer to his lips.
“You’re so gorgeous, Gerard,” he whispered, linking his arms behind the twenty nine year old’s neck. “You’re just so amazing.”
Way leaned in to initiate the kiss, working his lips against those of his lover’s. Frank’s lips were plump and plush, so soft to the touch, and the older wasted no time in stretching his mouth open wide, commandeering the other to follow his lead. Gerard let his hand slip down to have a firm grasp of the boy’s ass, and squeezed lightly. He had forgotten.
Frank cried out and flinched away.
“Gee, please,” he pleaded, squeaking. “Please don’t, please, Gee, I don’t wanna do it now.” He tugged at the other’s shirt. “Please don’t fuck me, Gee, don’t do it.”
The boss gazed adoringly at the boy, treasuring the tender cries his pet was making. He tugged him close again and pressed their cheeks against one another, the younger still sniffling in his arms.
“Poor baby,” he cooed, pressing his nose into the warm, honey brown tufts and inhaling deeply. He raised his eyebrows and spoke quietly. “This is our business, honey. No one else’s but ours.” He sighed and let his lips caress Frank’s snowy skin. “Did something happen while I was away, sugar pop? Because you seem a lot worse since I came back. Before we could do it with an occasional problem but now...now you can’t even kiss me without getting torn up.” Gerard caressed his cheeks and wiped clear, hot tears away on the tip of his fingers. “What happened, sweetie? If someone hurt you I’ll put that fucker in the goddamn ground.”
“Can I...” he paused and pursed his lips. “Can I tell you later?” Seeing the angry, confused look thrown across his lover’s features, he added: “It’s not that bad at all, Gee, I defended myself and everything, it didn’t hurt.”
Gerard was about to reply when the door was rapped upon.
“Don de la Via?” Gerard’s eyes bulged a little at the new name, but he said nothing. “We have to leave in five minutes, sir.”
“Fine,” the twenty nine year old replied, and then turning to Frank. “You’re lucky we have to leave and I can’t interrogate you more. The minute we’re back from that church, sweetie, you’re telling me what’s what and we’re getting you sorted out.” His rabbit nodded faithfully. “You might strap me in, babe, if you would.”
The younger nodded and picked up the heavy holster, beginning to wind it around his husband’s waist and fastening it, then remembering a conversation he’d had with Bob several months ago-the looser it is, the better. Tears began to threaten when he thought of the warm, scruffy gangster and his future, not necessarily in the Mafia but in general.
“You’re going to kill Bob,” he murmured, clicking the belt into place. “You are, aren’t you?”
Gerard inhaled deeply and closed his eyes.
“Babe, he’s not gonna die. I’m not gonna kill Bob.”
Frank looked up to meet his eye.
“You-you’re not?” He searched his soul for sincerity. “But...Kat said-“
“Kat is under strict obligation not to inform anyone of my intentions to do with her husband,” Gerard said quietly, right into Frank’s mouth as they were pressed so close together. “Robert wil be leaving the Famiglia and the only people who will know of his future objectives after that where in will be myself, Katlyn, and now yourself.”
“Gee.” Frank smiled a little, one hand on his neck. “In English, please.”
“Bob will not be shot. He will leave LA and return to Chicago with Kat and we will never meet again.” His tone was sad but definite; he had to do it. “I could not shoot him.”
Frank pecked him on the mouth and then returned to swinging the belt around his waist. He accidentally pulled too hard and their hips knocked together. The younger squeaked a little at the contact and began to whimper his apologies once more.
“Babe, don’t worry,” he purred, hugging him tightly and hearing him snuffle from within his chest. “We’ll get all this sorted out when we come back, okay? Let’s get through this shit, okay, baby?”
Frank nodded. Gerard slipped his hand into his, cane in the other, and they descended the stairs to the waiting cars.
That day, Frank found out how much Gerard truly hated his father.
Once they had arrived on location, hundreds of solemn men dressed in black were making grave talk in the cemetery of the largest cathedral in downtown LA. All of them were rich, and suit-clad and upper-class; there wasn’t a bare hand in the entire place. It was a dreary late-November day, ashen grey sky that looked like the rain would break the banks of the clouds in minutes. It was absolutely freezing that day-and the atmosphere was more than chilly.
Frank bit his lip as he saw the masses turn their heads to gaze upon the surviving son of Donald Way and his husband, the Don slapping the cement with the cane grasped in his right hand. He was wearing a plain black suit, with a sheer shine to the eye. The brim of his hat hung low so that his eyes were shielded and protected, and a pair of sunglasses were propped on his nose as so to cover up the red. Perhaps Gerard had heeded his father’s final wish-or perhaps he was too stubborn not to.
Frank was also wearing something a little out of his comfort zone, and the leather shoes that made him look like a giant seemed to hit the ground with more impact than he’d thought possible. The boy’s dress sense in general was more casual than his lover’s, but today he had worn a pin-stripe suit that hugged his midriff wonderfully. He had removed his piercing and brushed scarlet around the hazel lamps. Said lamps were now darting nervously, surveying the scene laid out before him.
As he and Gerard drew nearer to the towering, huge late eighteenth century church Frank saw familiar faces. Kat, Christa, Ray, Brian, Billie, Adrienne-even fucking Warner was here, grinning that familiar smirk, fake teeth gleaming.
Seeing the revolting man made Frank snuggled in to his husband even more and hold one hand with firmness. Gerard had been unusually quiet since they had arrived at the gates, but this was to be expected. Seeing the man who tortured yourself and your family die and becoming head of the Italian-American Mafia are not exactly a bunch of joy rides.
“Don de la Via,” Christa croaked as they drew up to the billowing chamber doors of the church. “Oh, Don de la Via, I can’t even begin to say how sorry I am!”
Ever compassionate, Missus Toro threw her arms around her boss’s neck, until she realized her place and the person she was hugging. A faint, dull pink brushed her cheeks. She quickly pulled herself away from Gerard and looked downward.
“Many apologies, Don de la Via,” she barely whispered. “I am sorry.”
Ray caught Frank’s eye and smiled at him, and the boy returned the favour. This also did with Molko, Armstrong and Bellamy, who had been smoking around the back of the church.
“Thank you,” Way murmured, and he was revolving the pad of his thumb into Frank’s hand. “It was very admirable of you all to attend.”
“Shall we...shall we sit inside, sir?” Kat asked, and realized her mistakes of old. “I mean, Don de la-“
“Never mind that,” he breathed again, so very quiet and subdued. Frank rested against his shoulder and squeezed his hand. “Call me what you wish. You may do whatsoever you want. I will be staying out for five minutes to smoke.”
“Of course,” Adrienne assured, and the gang moved slowly inside the church, low hums of Latin verses audible through the crack.
“Gerard,” Warner greeted sleazily, and Frank’s breath hitched. “Many condolences.”
“Whatever,” the criminal muttered, tugging his husband by the hand as they went down the steps again, hovering to a nearby grave. Frank could not express his surprise when, totally alone, Gerard’s face contorted suddenly. He pressed the bridge of his nose and his chin quivered from the effort not to cry. He then buried his face in Frank’s shoulder, in the material of his trench coat, and tears streamed down his cheek, little choking noises coming from his throat.
Frank thought it best not to say anything. He just made sure they were out of sight, and then hugged Gerard tightly, seeing it a rare occasion he was the one offering sympathy or comfort. He was shocked that Gerard was crying in a public place-anyone could turn the corner and see them. But what surprised him more was the matter of why Gerard was crying in the first place.
“It’s not fair, goddammit!” He cussed into his lover’s coat. “He should be long dead by now, not her! It’s not fucking fair!”
Gerard cussed several more times and then lifted his head up, black dotted rivers staining his cheek bones. He was sniffling a little, and in total it was actually rather cute, seeing this take-no-shit gangster upset and forlorn over his lost family members.
“Gee,” Frank said softly, kissing his cheek and stretching up to embrace him. “I’m sorry, Gerard.”
The two cuddled tightly again, the warmth unmistakeable as they pressed up against one another. Way screwed his eyes shut and inhaled the scent of the boy he would never leave.
“Fuck you, dad,” he whispered into the freezing November chill. “Fuck you.”