Frank had always accused Mikey of being too overprotective of Gerard.
I used to accuse Mikey of being too over protective of Gerard.
Whenever we would pull some dangerous stunt, or be the ones to initiate some drunken fight, Mikey would always be trying to either talk Gerard out of it, or he would accuse me of being reckless.
"Gerard isn't like you, Frank. He's... fragile.", he had warned me when I was barely getting to know the Way brothers.
I hadn't understood what that meant until Gerard started bawling over one punch in the face. He was emotionally fragile.
But nonetheless, I continued to drag him through countless schemes and misdeeds over the years. He would always agree to them, because, well, another thing Gerard Way was was gullible.
Still, I would never put him through anything that he couldn't handle, or through anything that posed great risk or serious trouble. I kept him out of anything too illegal, and I watched him when I let him participate in anything.
No burying dead bodies for you, Gerard.
Yet Mikey had never understood this, and so always pestered me about my "recklessness". I always made it a point to retaliate by telling him he needed to get his panties out of the knots they were clearly in.
This is exactly why, just a week ago, I observed something that set off familiar -- yet nearly forgotten -- alarm bells in my head.
There had been a man at a close gathering the band was having at the beginning of our World Contamination Tour, meant only for close friends. Jennifer, a girl from our crew, brought him up to us with a bubbly grin. Quite possibly because she was drunk.
He was of a muscular build, just about the same height as Ray. Dark haired, chocolate colored eyes that matched his brown jacket. He looked at me and Ray with a warm smile to compliment his color scheme, and we returned it without hesitation.
Mikey, however, was not.
I happened to catch his lack of acknowledgement right away, and paid close attention to his movements thereafter. In a swift motion, he pushed Gerard behind him (who was previously in front) and his teeth bared. His nose recoiled, as though he smelled something foul. His hand remained on Gerard, who simply looked surprised.
The man ignored Mikey, turning his attention to Gerard despite Mikey's distaste.
"Gee, I haven't seen you in forever bro! Come here, show me some love."
He came forward with outstretched arms, in what seemed to be an attempt at a hug. Gerard seemed to even be attempting to reciprocate, but Mikey put himself between them.
"What are you doing here, Stephen?" he asked, his voice resembling a low growl.
Stephen looked taken aback by Mikey, a hint of annoyance twitching on his face. "I came here because I was invited, Mikes. A lot of your friends are my friends too, have you forgotten?"
Mikey snarled, "No, but I'd figured your ass would be in jail by now."
I gave Ray a side glance, who looked just as confused as I did. He caught my eye and shrugged slightly. We were both wondering what in the world had gotten our normally modest, polite Mikey to be so rude.
Stephen laughed slightly, trying to turn the conversation into something a bit more light hearted. Whatever hatred or anger that Mikey was displaying, he clearly did not care to return. He brought his attention back to Gerard, Ray, and myself.
"Hey, well I'm going to be in town for the next couple of weeks. Any of y'all wanna hit me up, feel free to do so. Drinks on me."
Stephen winked, notably in Gerard's direction, and turned away. Gerard seemed to smile back in a sheepish way, but Stephen had already walked away to other folk. Meanwhile, Mikey did not lighten up. He saw Gerard's smile, looked back at Stephen, and subtly muttered the words "Drop dead." under his breath.
"Dude, what was your problem?" Ray asked as we drove home that night.
I looked behind me from the passenger's seat to see Mikey hunched over with his hoodie up. Ray was slightly buzzed, and was asking the question in more a bemused manner than an interrogative one, but Mikey still looked irate. I noticed his eyes slide to Gerard, who was driving, before they went back to Ray.
"I don't like that guy." he answered.
"Well no shit." Ray scoffed, "But why not?"
Mikey's eyes flew to Gerard again.
"He just... shouldn't be trusted, alright?"
"H-oookay." Ray snickered before focusing his intoxicated sights on more interesting subjects. I looked to Gerard for answers, but his eyes kept on the road, and his mouth kept shut.
The quiet tension forfeited its silence at the hotel that night. I couldn't hear their exact words, but as Ray and I played video games, we could clearly catch the muffled arguing of the Way brothers behind their door.
I lifted my eyebrows up to Ray, and he mimicked my motion. I tried to creep to their door, and press my ear against it to hear what they were saying. Unfortunately I could only catch the occasional words. The more commonly occurring ones were "Stephen" "remember" and "don't".
While I couldn't conclude much from the whole of that evening, my attention was definitely caught. I would watch them both carefully for the days to come.
Perhaps it was a bit silly of me -- but you get bored on tours, ya know?
Whatever distaste Mikey had for this Stephen fellow, Gerard did not seem to sympathize with. He talked about making plans with him, not bothering to hide it when he was on the phone with him. However when I asked Gerard about him, I could sense a slight tinge of discomfort in the air.
"He's just an old friend, that's all. He and Mikey got into a little fight a while back." Gerard sighed, "But it was a long time ago. I'm sure he's different now. I can tell."
"Different from what?" I asked, "And how can you tell?"
"Eh. He used to do some shady shit," Gerard was trying to be vague again, I could sense. "But really, he's a sweet dude. I can tell because I've been talking to him, he seems like a totally new person. He's been telling me all the things he's accomplished as of lately. I'm proud of him."
Gerard smiled as he finished talking, and I could not help but remember my thoughts about him being gullible. None the less, I smile back.
One week later and Mikey had not let up at all. At that point, their efforts to hide whatever they've been hiding were no longer as tight. While neither me nor Ray knew what exactly the issue was, Mikey had been less tactful at hiding his dislike for Stephen.
"He invited me to dinner on Tuesday." Gerard mentioned at a lunch we were having before sound check.
"Gerard..." Mikey warned through a mouthful of chicken.
"Oh come on Mikey, he's going to be leaving really soon. Plus, he said he's bringing other people too." Gerard said as though that was cold hard evidence that Stephen had innocent intentions.
"Who else?" Mikey asked.
Gerard paused in a way that was not too convincing. "I -- I don't know." he admitted.
Mikey laughed and shook his head in a way an adult does to a child who was telling him that unicorns existed. "Yeeeaah, you're not going to that."
Gerard's expression hardened.
He did not like being told what to do.
"Mikey -- "
"Gerard!" Mikey raised his voice, and I could see Ray stare down at his food uncomfortably. "You need to stay the fuck away from that man, do you understand?!?"
There he was again -- overprotective Mikey. I hadn't seen him in a while. But the fact that he was suddenly making an appearance told me that something was definitely wrong.
Gerard made an indignant noise before he simply said "Fine.", and gave Mikey the cold shoulder for the rest of the day.
The issue was spoken of no more after that, except when Tuesday came.
Gerard approached me after the show, his red hair still matted with sweat. I had been in my hotel room, getting ready for a little after party that was being held downstairs.
"Hey." Gerard said. "I'm going out with Stephen. If Mikey asks where I am, just say you saw me hanging out with Andrew and Jeanette."
I frowned at him, "Are you sure that's such a good idea, Gee? Where are you guys planning to go?"
Gerard looked slightly confused before he understood and rolled his eyes. "It's fine Frank. We're just going to hang out at the place he's staying in. Here, I'll even give you the address."
Gerard found a piece of paper and wrote something on it with the pen in his pocket. He handed it to me when he was done.
"I'll be back by 3, max. Good show tonight, by the way."
Gerard grinned at me, gave me a wave, and left.
I stood there for a good while, wondering what to do. I had a bad feeling in my stomach. I wasn't sure what it was, or where it came from. But somehow I just knew that this wasn't okay.
I tried to shake it off. After all, Gerard was expecting me to cover for him. We always covered each other in our reckless little schemes, right? That's what we always did, what we always have done.
When I went downstairs to the party, I saw that Mikey was too drunk to even remember who Gerard is. I could almost say the same for Ray, and I'm the only one lagging behind.
I ordered myself a vodka and cranberry, took a few swigs and tried to catch up. Yet something just didn't feel right, and I couldn't tell if it had to do with the fact that they were playing that annoying LMFAO song.
I took another look at Mikey, and I could see that, by the state of him, Gerard's safety was my responsibility that night.
I at least took a moment to finish the ridiculously expensive drink of more ice than alcohol. Then I reached into my pocket, pulling out the address that Gerard had left me. Sighing, I looked back at my wasted band mates, crew, and friends before I walked soberly out the door.
Once I got in the car, I decided to try simply calling Gerard. If he answers and he's fine, everything should be good right? Its been around 40 minutes since he left, so if anything was going to happen, it would probably have happened by then.
But Gerard didn't answer, and the knots in my stomach tightened. I drove off to find him, feeling slightly ridiculous.
Of course, I got lost. It took me another 20 minutes to find the place, even though it had only been a few blocks from the hotel. It was safe to say that the reason they chose tonight to meet is because of how close the venue was to Stephen's hotel.
Room 372. That's what it says on the card. So I went to the desk lady and told her that I'm currently staying in the room, but I have forgotten the key. "How silly of me!", I say. She was an old woman who smiled at me with understanding and printed me a new one.
After a particularly slow elevator ride, I finally reached the floor. I walked through the pinstriped halls and found the number. I pressed my ear against the door, but I couldn't hear anything.
I slipped my key inside the door, intending to open it only a crack. If Gerard sees me and accuses me of spying, I'll accuse him of sneaking off, and we'll be even.
The sound I hear when I open the door is not accusing words, but Gerard certainly was screaming.
I bolted inside, not realizing that there were three more men aside from Stephen. They all stared at my intrusion, while I stared at Gerard.
He was sprawled out, naked on the bed. He was covered in blood, wounds, bruises, and fresh sweat. With his long cherry colored hair, Gerard just looked like one big heap of red, with patches of a skin like color peaking out here and there.
The heap of red was trembling violently.
The men around him were much bigger than me, and were likewise naked. It was obvious to see why, as one of them had his dick up Gerard's bleeding ass.
I knew I couldn't take them with my bare hands, so it was lucky that I had brought the handgun from the car.
They advanced on me like a pack of wolves, but I was at an advantage with a long range weapon. I pulled out the gun that was tucked in my pants and proceeded to shoot them each in the legs as they got closer.
...The fourth one was Stephen, and he put up a fight. He grabbed Gerard by the hair, and he held him close to his own body.
"Be careful who ya shoot, Iero." he laughed manically.
"Gerard..." I whispered, unsure of what to do. I wanted to tell Gerard to fight him off, but he was clearly in no condition to fight.
Luckily, I didn't have to. Gerard seemed to find some small ounce of strength in him as he elbowed Stephen in the stomach. It didn't do much damage, but at least it surprised him enough to let go. I took my shot, and drove one bullet through his abdomen. This seems to take him down, and that is enough.
Gerard fell with him. I ran to him and picked him up, placing him gently on the blood soaked bed. I pushed the hair out of his face, and now having a clear shot of his eyes, I could see that he had been drugged.
"Frankie..." he whimpered, his whole being still shaking.
"Yes honey, I'm right here..." I try to soothe him, cradling him amongst the wounded, naked bodies on the floor.
I think back with relief on the gut feeling that had brought me here. I think back on Mikey and the others being drunk at the party, while Gerard was experiencing true horrors. I think about how no one felt it but me.
As I looked down at his enlarged eyes, which were looking back at me with faith and trust, I supposed that maybe I'm the overprotective one after all.