I spent a lot of time in my cell, laid upon the picturesque prison bed, thinking about how the hell I got myself here in the first place. While Gerard and I were on the run, the thought came to mind every so often, but I was far too busy ensuring my fucking existence for another few minutes to give it as much thought as it merited. But here, where it’s a matter of either keeping my mind occupied or slowly and painfully going insane, I have all the time in the world. I played back the events of the past few months in my head what felt like thousands of times; most of it didn’t even seem real to me. Like it was a whole other person that Gerard kidnapped back in Chicago. That person was scared and even sheltered, in a sense, yet so apathetic. He didn’t give a shit about anything or anyone, including himself, but at the same time, he didn’t want to die in the possession of this psycho freak he had been taken in by. Frank, the person I am now, is no longer fazed by blood or guts. He’s seen things he probably never should have had to, but it’s only made him a better person. A person who wants to live, not for himself, but for the only thing in the world he’s slowly been finding himself unable to live without. Gerard.
The first time I saw Gerard since we got separated was in court. He was walked in by another security guard and sat down, cuffed to the back of the chair. It was easy to see, just by looking at the two of us, which one had the worse charges. Meanwhile I was merely guarded on both ends to prevent attempted escape, I assumed.
“Gerard Way.” The judge read, glaring at him over his half-moon glasses. “You have been charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault, arson, grand larceny, fraud, vandalism on federal property, kidnapping, threatening an official, and criminal corporation involvement. You will have time to consider your plea.”
Gerard nodded and leaned over as the lawyer whispered something in his ear.
“Frank Iero. You have been charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault, burglary, fraud, vandalism on federal property, threatening an official, and criminal corporation involvement. You have 5 minutes to consider your plea.”
“Not guilty.” The lawyer beside me whispered confidently.
“I’m fucking guilty, there’s no way they’re gonna have any of it if I plead not guilty.” I sighed, slightly annoyed. “I’m guessing you’ve never worked with a high-profile criminal before?”
“Right.” He admitted, rolling his chair away from me a bit. “The plea is yours, but I do suggest taking into consideration Way’s potential plea.”
“What do you think it’ll be? You’re the damn lawyer here.”
This guy’s fucking useless. He’s just like the rest; too scared of the criminal to realize he’s speaking to nothing more than a human who’s made a few more mistakes than he has.
“I can’t guess another’s actions, especially when I don’t know the person in question. You presumably know him better than I do, try to put yourself in his shoes.”
Figuring it was all I had left to do, I did as the lawyer suggested. After spending these past few months with Gerard, logically I should know him well enough to be able to predict his next move. And if I were to guess, I’d say he’s planning to plea guilty, from how he was talking on the helicopter. But if I had to pick the two biggest things I’ve learned about him, they would be that he’s so much more than the world sees him as, and he’s unpredictable as fuck. When I crossed the Mexico-US border with him, did I expect drag sex behind a thrift store, followed by a pole-dancing-turned-distraction escapade? Hell no. So how do I know that right here, right now, history won’t repeat itself, and I’ll find myself pleading guilty while he pleads not guilty?
I looked over at him, hoping for a sign, any sign of confirmation. He had his head hung low, his hands tied behind him. His lawyer appeared to be speaking to him, but I questioned whether he was actually listening.
“Time’s up.” The judge announced. “Your pleas, men?”
“Guilty.” I said quickly, before I had a chance to change my mind or chicken out.
I looked over at Gerard, who retaliated briefly. He looked tired, vulnerable, and scared; this was the most human state I had ever seen him in.
“Guilty, of course.” He said to the judge with a bit of a smile, then looking at me again.
If someone up there loves me enough to make it this easy so far, maybe they'll have enough mercy on me to keep him alive.
There was silence for a minute or so as the judge scrawled the information down on the binder upon his desk.
“Iero.” He started, looking up from his writing. “I sentence you to lifetime in the California State Prison, without chance of parole.”
“Could’ve got parole if you had pled not guilty.” Mr. Sassypants lawyer whispered.
Oh, just shut up before your hurt yourself. I don’t even give a fuck about what happens to me.
“Way, you will spend the next 4 months in Washington State Penitentiary, until you receive your sentence of lethal injection.”
The gavel was struck, and almost immediately, police officers on my either side grabbed my arms and hauled me up out of the chair.
“Wh-Where are we going?” I panicked, not quite able to comprehend everything that was happening.
I must have heard the judge wrong. Of course Gerard isn’t getting lethal injection in 4 months.
“California State Prison. There’s a helicopter waiting for you outside.” One of the officers answered calmly.
Well, I heard that part right.
They were taking Gerard away too; they tried to force him out of the courtroom, but I could see he was putting up a bit of a fight. He struggled within their grip, looking over their broad shoulders towards me.
“Gerard!” I cried out as I was dragged away. “It’ll be okay!”
He didn’t go easily; I guess old habits die hard. He did everything he could to fight his way back to me, but the many officers overpowered him. He did say one thing before we were separated once again though; tears ran down his face as he spoke.
“Don’t fight them, Frank. It’s not worth it.” He cried. “I love you.”
As they dragged me out to the awaiting helicopter, I felt more powerless than I had ever felt before. There’s only so much that brutal resistance can get me, and from the looks of it, this is where the line is drawn. Gerard will be gone in four months, and I won’t even be there beside him while I still have the chance.
And I know this isn’t my fault. If I had never ran into him back in Chicago, this day still would have come, sooner or later. He was too far gone, even then. But the guilt I felt as I was flown down to California was worse than any kind of torture I ever could have imagined, because I couldn’t help but wonder if there’s a way to save his life again, like I did when he got shot.
But then I remembered that the chances of saving someone beyond your horizon; someone you can’t even lay a finger upon or say a few last words to… are none. And it’s not often that the horizons collide upon the wish of someone as powerless as me.