Gerard Way has what people would call an 'imaginary friend.'
he's not imaginary.
Gerard is very sure of this- after all, why would he be anything but real?
His name is Frank, and he's Gerard's only friend in the world.
Besides his little brother, Mikey, who doesn't really count.
The first time he saw Frank was when he was four years old, playing beside the pond in the Way's backyard. He'd been digging around in the mud on the banks, and dipping his stubby little fingers into the algae covered water, squealing at the tiny bugs that scattered away from him, when he'd heard a voice that he didn't recognize.
He looked up, eyes round and curious.
"Hey, kid," said the voice, and then there was a boy sitting across the pond, on the big rock there. Gerard tilted his head. The boy was much older than him, about the age of Brendon, Mrs. Urie's son, who went to the big school for big kids- high school. He had dark hair which curled around his ears and neck, narrowed green eyes, and pink lips curled up in a treacherously mischievous smirk. He wore all black- tight black jeans, a baggy black t-shirt.
Gerard opened his mouth, then closed it again.
"Can you talk?" The older boy raised a perfectly arched eyebrow at him and leaned forward a little. Gerard was afraid the boy was going to fall into the pond. His mommy always told him to be careful how close he got to the water.
Gerard blinked at him before saying in a rush, "Sowwy, my mommy doesn't like me to talk to stwangers."
The boy looked amused. "I'm not a stranger, kid."
Gerard furrowed his little brow at him. "Who awe you?"
The boy grinned. "My name is Frank. What's yours?"
He blinked again, holding out his hand and saying solemnly, "Gewawd Way."
Frank laughed and held out his hand, too, even though the pond was too far across for even their fingers to touch. He moved his hand as if they were actually shaking and said in a very serious voice, "Nice to meet you, Gewawd."
"You too, Fwank," said Gerard.
'Fwank' smirked again, withdrawing his hand. "Oh, Gerard," he said, looking strangely pleased, "you and I are going to have a lot of fun."
"Mommy, make Frank stop!" squealed six year old Gerard, running around the house, his arms flailing. Frank chased after him, still wearing his signature smirk, before tackling Gerard and tickling him mercilessly. "Frank! Frank, stop!"
Mrs. Way looked fondly at her son, who was rolling around on the ground, laughing. Gerard had such a wonderful imagination. She was just about to pretend to pull 'Frank,' her son's imaginary friend, off of him, when the faint strains of somebody crying came from upstairs.
"I'm sorry, Gerard
it's Mikey," she said apologetically, hurrying away and taking the stairs two at a time to get to her two year old son.
Gerard's face went from helpless laughter to upset, and Frank stopped immediately, sitting back on his heels and watching the other closely. "Gerard? Are you okay?"
Gerard pouted at him. "Mommy doesn't love me. She loves Mikey. She always chooses Mikey! It's not fair!"
"I know," Frank said, hugging the other to his chest. "Family can be so horrible, you know?" Gerard nodded furiously and Frank shushed him. "Shh, it's okay, Gerard. One day they'll all be gone, and it'll just be the two of us."
Gerard pulled away. "Really?" he said suspiciously. It sounded too good to be true.
Frank nodded earnestly. "Yes, Gerard."
"Promise?" Gerard said, still unsure.
Frank smirked. "I promise."
The taller boy named Robbie threw another rock at Gerard, who cried out as it struck his shin. He fell to his knees and winced as the shadow of the older boy fell over him. He was eight, and Robbie was ten, and already big for his age.
"Frank," he whispered. The other was crouched down beside him, silent.
"Trying to ask your friend for help?" sneered Robbie, and Gerard didn't dare look up. "You're a freak," hissed the other, and Gerard gasped when the boy's shoe hit his shoulder, sending him crumpling to the ground. "A crazy freak," Robbie confirmed.
"Frank, help me, please," Gerard whimpered.
Frank did not. He just said in a low voice, "You need to bear it. You need to know how terrible the world is, Gerard. How corrupted the people are."
Gerard didn't understand, so he just squeezed his eyes shut and took all of Robbie's beating while Frank watched on.
"Mommy, where is Daddy going?" A five year old Mikey tugged on his mother's sleeve. She pushed him away, trying to hide her tears from her youngest son. "Is Daddy going on another trip? Is he?"
Mrs. Way nodded, glancing down at him and smiling weakly. "Yes, Daddy is just going on another trip, Mikey. Why don't you find your brother? Mommy has work to do."
Mikey looked unhappy. "But Gerard is with Frank, Mommy."
Mrs. Way sighed and rubbed her eyes. "I'm sure he can spare some time for his little brother." She raised her voice, yelling, "Gerard Arthur Way! Can you and Frank play with Mikey for a little bit?"
"Yes, mom," Gerard called back down the stairs, opening his door, Frank trailing after him, lips quirked in amusement.
"Gerard Arthur Way, huh?" he giggled, poking Gerard's side.
"Shut up," huffed Gerard, earning him a light slap on his shoulder from Frank and a sibilant whisper in his ear.
"That's my line."
"What the heck, Frank?! How'd you do that?"
Gerard leaped away from his friend, who had a candle from his birthday cake in his hands. The candle was in the shape of an eleven, and although it had long been blown out, Frank had somehow relit it. The flame danced in his hands.
Frank's emerald eyes watched the tiny point of orange and blue before he flicked his wrist and the candle went out. "What can I say?" he said, his words laced with something darker. "I like to play with fire."
"Weird," was all Gerard said before he picked the remains of the cake up and put it in the freezer.
"Gerard, I think
I think we need to have a talk," Mrs. Way said hesitantly from outside of Gerard's room, knocking on the oak of the door.
Gerard looked at Frank apologetically. The other had been in the middle of telling him an awesome scary story. "I'll be right back, I promise," he assured the other, whose mouth was now turned downwards and his face stormy, but he still nodded.
Gerard slipped out of the room and smiled at his mother. "Yeah, mom?"
I think we should go into the living room," Mrs. Way said a little awkwardly. Gerard shrugged and nodded, following her downstairs.
The two of them settled on the couch, and his mother turned to him slowly. She cleared her throat and ran a hand through her wild blonde hair before clearing her throat again and saying, "So
Gerard, now that you're twelve and in middle school, I wondered if you-"
Gerard's eyes went wide and he clamped his hands over his ears. "Lalalala can't hear you!" he yelled.
Mrs. Way frowned. "I only wanted to ask if-"
"I AM not getting The Talk, mom!" Gerard said loudly, glaring at her. "It's gross, and it's also unnecessary since Frank already told me about all that stuff." His cheeks went red at the memory.
Mrs. Way's eyes went wide, then softened, and she pulled Gerard's hands off from where they were clamped over his ears. "I'm glad, then, because I'm not giving you The Talk. I was going to say that I wondered if you were considering getting rid of Frank."
Gerard went silent and stared at her before finally whispering, "Get rid of him? What
She looked at him, concerned. "Well, Gerard, it's not really normal for kids your age to still have imaginary friends."
Gerard blinked, hurt. "Mom, he's not imaginary."
She pursed her lips. "Gerard, I hate to break it to you, but yes, yes he is."
He looked at her coldly now. "You're wrong."
She wrung her hands desperately. "Gerard, nobody else can see him! You need to let go of Frank and
make some friends, or something!"
Gerard stood up abruptly. "He's the only friend I need."
He turned coolly and went up the stairs.
Mrs. Way stood up, biting her lip, when suddenly the lights on the big chandelier flickered above her.
Puzzled, her eyes flicked up to look at the structure of glass and metal. The lights flickered again and her spine prickled as though someone were watching her.
She shook her head, walking into the kitchen and muttering something about needing an electrician.
"Frank, please just listen to me!" Gerard said, trying to get his friend to look at him. "Frank, don't you understand?"
Frank turned his face to look at him sourly. "No, I don't understand. Enlighten me please, oh so wise thirteen year old?"
Gerard frowned at him. "I just don't want people to think I'm insane! Frank, this," he gestured between them, "isn't normal!"
"Do you not want to be my friend anymore?" Frank said sadly, turning his puppy dog eyes onto Gerard.
Gerard cursed in frustration. "Listen, Frank, I need you! We both know that! But I just
I can't talk to you in public or anything anymore, okay? I met this really cool guy at school, Gabe, and I don't want him to think I'm weird!"
Frank stiffened up. "You're going to replace me," he said tonelessly. "I get it."
"No, wait-" Gerard said, reaching for him, but it was too late- Frank was gone when he blinked.
"Ugh!" Gerard said in frustration, walking out of his room and going downstairs. His mom was in her office, he could hear the clicking of keys.
Shaking his head at his friend's moodiness, he walked outside into the backyard. He had to admit it was a pretty awesome yard. The grass was long and wild, and there were a few shady trees, but his favorite part of it was the little pond in the corner.
He squinted, and he could see Mikey crouched by the pond, looking for frogs or something. He went over to him and crouched down next to him. "Hey, Mikes," he said, brushing the hair out of his eyes and smiling at his little brother. "Found any frogs yet?"
Mikey frowned at him, his glasses pushed almost all the way down his nose, it was a wonder they didn't fall off. "I'm not looking for frogs this time," he said in annoyance.
"Yeah? What're you looking for?" Gerard said, interested despite himself.
"Well," said Mikey, turning to face him, his expression somber, "I'm looking for what Mommy said was in here."
Gerard raised an eyebrow. "Which is what?"
"Ashes," Mikey said.
Gerard gave him a strange look. "Uh
"So," said Mikey offhandedly, "is Frank here?"
"You still can't see him?" Gerard said, disappointed.
Mikey shook his head, looking around. "He's here?"
Gerard sighed. "Nah. He's having a hissy fit; hopefully he'll get over it."
"Oh," Mikey said, going back to looking for ashes.
Gerard stared at him, shrugged, and went back inside.
"Gerard, dear," said Mrs. Way to her son, who was sitting at the table, alone, tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth as he sketched something on the piece of paper before him.
She peered over his shoulder. It was a drawing of a boy who looked strangely familiar, as if she'd seen him in a painting or a movie, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. "Gerard," she said impatiently, turning her attention back to her son.
"Hmm?" he replied, glancing up at her.
"I was just wondering if you and Frank
that is, do you still talk to Frank? He's still around?"
Gerard looked at her oddly. "Um, yeah, actually. Why?"
"Is he here now?" she asked.
Gerard licked his lips and set his pencil down. "No."
"Good. Gerard, can I take you somewhere special?"
Gerard stood up, cocking an eyebrow. "Where?"
"It's a surprise," she said playfully.
"Okay?" he said, a little curious. His mom hardly took him anywhere, let alone somewhere that was a surprise.
She smiled and said, "Great, let's get in the car."
They were driving for a few minutes, and Gerard had no idea where they were headed. He didn't recognize any of the buildings. "Mom?" he said after a while.
"What, dear?" his mom answered a little too quickly.
"Is this part of my fifteenth birthday present?"
She laughed. "You're fourteen and a half; you still have a while before then."
Gerard mumbled, "Oh."
He really didn't know what it could be.
After about half an hour, he and his mom got out of the car and his mom covered his eye with a hand almost immediately. "It's a surprise, remember," she said.
They walked into an air conditioned building, and he heard hushed voices, clicking of keys, and then they were in an elevator and his mom took away her hand.
He blinked blearily, taking in the stainless steel space. It didn't strike a bell. The little bell chimed and the disembodied voice said "Level Three," before the doors opened and his mom ushered him into a white hallway. He blinked in dumb confusion as they passed by several doors before stopping before one that had a small plaque next to it.
Dr. Ryan Ross
There was more, but his mom practically pushed him into the room beyond the door.
There was a clock somewhere, ticking softly, and a receptionist's desk. A man was at the desk, and he looked up when they entered. Gerard stared in shock. It was Brendon Urie, all grown up now. His mom had been friends with his mom, and they would always come over when he was little. Before Frank, even.
"Brendon!" Mrs. Way said brightly, and they exchanged an awkward hug across the table.
"How've you been?" Brendon asked, beaming at her, until his eyes fell on Gerard, who was by this point very confused.
"Oh, yes, Gerard, this is Brendon Urie, you remember him, right?" Gerard stared at his mom. She was talking to him like he was a little kid again, or as if he were stupid.
mom, what's going on? Where are we?" Gerard chewed his lip.
Brendon said hurriedly, "Well, you two can go into Mr. Ross's office, he's expecting you."
"Come along, Gerard dear," his mom said hastily, once again basically pushing him into the next office, the office of who Gerard assumed was Dr. Ryan Ross.
He stared at the office. There were lots of pictures on the walls, strange pictures that he couldn't make sense of.
"Hello. You must be Gerard and Donna Way?"
Gerard was jerked out of his stupor by the smooth male voice from a couch in the corner of the room. He turned towards the speaker.
"I'm Dr. Ryan Ross," said the man kindly, addressing Gerard. "I assume you're Gerard Way?"
Gerard furrowed his brow. "Uh
yeah, that's me. Um, would somebody care to explain why I'm here? Wherever 'here' is?"
Dr. Ross looked troubled before his expression cleared and he gestured to the armchair opposite the couch. "Take a seat, Gerard." Gerard did, slowly. He mother stayed in the corner of the room, looking worried.
He looked more closely at the doctor. He had a round, boyish face and medium length dark brown hair, as well as brown eyes. He had an easy smile and a caring face, but Gerard was still wary of him. He didn't know what was happening.
"You're here because you're very special, Gerard," said Dr. Ross. "I'm here to help you."
Gerard stared at him before whispering, "Wait
are you a therapist?!"
"I prefer the term psychiatrist, but yes," he said, still smiling.
What the hell, what the fuck!
"I'm not insane!" said Gerard, fidgeting.
"I know you're not," said Dr. Ross calmingly. "But I just want to ask you a few questions, okay?"
Gerard stubbornly closed his mouth.
"Do you have a friend named Frank?"
Gerard didn't answer, but shot a look at his mother. How dare she betray him like this?!
"Okay then, and you know that Frank is imaginary, correct?"
Almost against his will, he burst out, "Frank is real!"
Dr. Ross looked smug for a second before saying, "Gerard, nobody else can see Frank. Why do you think that he's real?"
"Because I can see him and I'm not crazy!" Gerard said, trying to ignore the lump in his throat.
"Does he talk to you? Are you close to him?"
"Leave me and Frank alone!" Gerard nearly shouted.
"Is Frank here right now?" Dr. Ross asked in a quiet voice. "Is he in this room, Gerard? Is he talking to you?"
Gerard stood up, eyes filling with tears.
Frank wasn't in the room, no, but he could feel something, something heavy in the air, almost like it was charged with static.
"Gerard, maybe we should go," Mrs. Way said. She grabbed his arm and he let her. They thought he was crazy, mentally unstable.
"Donna, I recommend this," said Dr. Ross, and before Gerard could stop him, he'd pressed a slip of paper into her hand. Pills, was all Gerard could think.
It seemed like an eternity before they were in the car again. Gerard slumped against the car door. It was getting dark outside, the sun was setting. Gerard was silent.
"Gerard, I'm sorry," his mother pleaded, her eyes on the road.
Gerard said nothing.
His was staring out the window, his mind somewhere else, when he saw someone standing on the side of the road.
He made a strangled noise in his throat as their eyes met, and Frank's were unquestionably angry. Then he disappeared, and Gerard turned away from the window, his heart pounding. Frank knew what had happened. How did he know what had happened?
He turned and almost had a heart attack.
Frank was sitting in the backseat next to him, eyes like pinpricks of blazing, jade fire. Fixed directly on him.
He kept his mouth shut, though. His mom already thought he was insane. He couldn't talk to Frank. He couldn't make it worse.
"You told him," Frank accused, leaning forward a little. Gerard shrank back, shaking his head frantically.
"You did!" screamed Frank, lunging forward. "Don't lie to me!" Gerard squeezed his eyes shut, but Frank's words were still there, and then he felt his bulk pressed to his side, smothering and forceful and furious. His body was stuck in between Frank's and the window. How could nobody else see this? How could this be not real?
"Frank, I'm sorry," Gerard whispered as softly as he could, Frank's eyes almost glowing with the power of their rage.
"They're trying to take you away from me," Frank growled. "I'll never let them take you away from me. Don't take the pills. You can't take the pills."
"I won't," Gerard said in a very low voice, his heart pounding.
"Soon," said Frank in a hush, "it'll just be the two of us."
And then he melted away, just like that, and he and the pressure on Gerard's chest were gone.
Gerard looked up from his painting. It was very dark, twisted shapes and a leering face looming up in the middle, a face that was very similar to someone special to him.
"What?" he snapped. The door to his room opened and his mom walked in.
"You're going to be home alone for most of tonight, dear," she said, avoiding eye contact. Ever since she had taken him to Dr. Ross, their relationship had begun to fall apart. Gerard certainly didn't trust her, she knew that much. But he'd been talking less and less about Frank, so she assumed that the pills (which he wasn't taking) were helping.
"Yeah? Why?" said Gerard, redirecting his attention from his painting to his mom.
"Mikey is having his first sleepover at his friend Ray's house, and I'm going out to catch up with some old friends. I did try to change the date, but they were set on tonight, so
"I'm fifteen, I'll be fine, mom. Jesus."
She smiled. "Only fifteen and a day, though," she reminded him.
Gerard shrugged. "Still fifteen." His birthday had been yesterday, and as always, he didn't feel very different.
"Alright, well, you be safe. I'm taking Mikey now and I won't be back until the early hours of the morning, knowing this group." She laughed weakly but stopped when Gerard ignored her. She sighed and pressed a light kiss on her son's cheek. "I love you, dear."
"Yeah, love you too, mom."
She left the room.
Gerard went downstairs an hour or so after she'd left. It was already seven pm. He was halfway down the stairs when a figure appeared in front of him and he jerked backwards in shock.
"Frank! Fuck, you scared me!"
Frank smirked at him. "I did, huh?"
Gerard glared at him, pushing him and prompting him to go down the stairs. Both of them did, and Gerard walked to the kitchen, looking for some food, while Frank lingered behind him. Frank never seemed to eat, it was weird.
"Hey, guess what?" Frank said quietly, leaning his head on Gerard's shoulder (Gerard was taller than him now) and putting an arm around Gerard's waist in this weird, intimate way that made Gerard's cheeks catch fire.
"We're both fifteen now," Frank said, nuzzling Gerard's shoulder. His eyes went wide and he detached himself.
"That we are," Gerard said. "Why does that matter?"
Frank grinned impishly at him. "We're going to have fun tonight," he trilled, before he clambered back up the stairs and was gone.
Gerard watched him go before shaking his head and turning back to the refrigerator, Frank's touch lingering on his hip.
Gerard ate dinner (a really gross hot pocket), watched half of a movie (Firestarter) and then went up to bed. He didn't see Frank, and was too tired to remember the other's last words.
Gerard woke up drenched in sweat.
Something was wrong.
He sat up in bed and all at once, a familiar smell filled his nostrils.
Gasping, he tumbled out of bed, already feeling the heat in the air, the smoke trickling under the door and reaching out with gray tendrils.
Said door suddenly burst open, and Gerard stared, his eyes watering.
Frank stood there, and behind him was a wall of flames, painfully bright and hot even from here. Terror consumed Gerard.
Frank's eyes were large and mirror-like, reflecting the fire even though it was behind him.
"Frank!" Gerard said helplessly, stumbling forward to his friend. Smoke was pouring into the room now that the door was open, and although Gerard was starting to choke and wheeze, Frank seemed perfectly fine. "Frank, what's happening?! Frank, help me!"
Frank's face softened and he stepped forward. Much to Gerard's horror, the fire seemed to follow him, coming into the room and tearing apart his life bit by bit, consuming his room, eating his home, and somehow forming a perfect circle around him and Frank, who was right in front of him, smiling in an innocuous way that made Gerard petrified with unrelenting dread which he couldn't explain.
"Frank," he whispered, his voice scratchy, his lungs working double-time, trying to win, and losing. "Please."
Frank shook his head, smiling. He put a finger under Gerard's chin and said in a sing song voice, "Don't you understand? I said someday they would all be gone, and it would just be the two of us."
Everything was so hot, burning, fire, go, run, run Gerard's instincts screamed, but he couldn't move. "N-not like this, Frank, please."
"Oh, Gerard," Frank crooned, his mouth still in that goddamn smirk. "Exactly like this."
Gerard whispered, "Frank
And then the roof fell in and everything was pain and flames and darkness.
GERARD WAY, 15, KILLED IN FREAK HOUSE FIRE; ON SAME SITE AS THE 1980 IERO HOUSE FIRE
Gerard Arthur Way, age 15, was found burned to death in the remains of his house (1313 Clandestine Drive). The cause of the fire is unknown; many authorities blame it on Way himself, as the 15 year old boy was diagnosed with schizophrenia about six months ago. Donna Way, his mother, protests, saying "He had never shown any signs of depression or suicidal thoughts, he was a good kid."
Whatever the cause, it is still a rather 'spooky' occurrence, especially given the 1980 house fire in the Iero mansion, which had been on the same site as the Way house. This house fire also killed one fifteen year old boy, as well as his family. The cause of the 1980 Iero fire is rumored to be the work of the 15 year old boy, Frank Iero, whose psychiatrist described him as a 'dangerous, violent, lonely child.'
The doctor who had diagnosed Way for schizophrenia, Dr. Ryan Ross, writes, "The boy was completely convinced that his imaginary friend, whom he affectionately called Frank, existed. It was as though it had never occurred to him that Frank was not real. This is quite normal for the clinically insane, for, as it is often said in my field: "The main symptom of a psychiatric case is that the person is perfectly unaware that he is a psychiatric case.""
This 'imaginary friend' named Frank is perhaps a mere coincidence to the deceased Frank Iero. But if not
is there something else at work here? Was Way saner than most believed? Was the house fire his fault, or the work of a phantom? Was history just repeating itself?
We will never know.