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Chapter 9

Show Pony followed the disguised man, still curious as to who he was. The man was telling him about how he knew about Frank and their situation. "I pay attention to things. I'm alone in this place, so I have nothing better to do than to watch others. And I really do wish that I was alive to been able to have known My Chemical Romance. They're a great band, good people. But when I saw that Gerard had a live person with him I was just so interested. No one has had the balls to bring a living person down here before. Y'know, besides Dr. Death bringing you down here," he explained. Show Pony nodded, shuddering in remembering Death. He tried to forget, and for a while, he had. But then this man just had to bring it back up again.

As they walked, Show Pony spent a lot of time studying this man, trying desperately to figure out if he knew them at all. Before Dr. Death became obsessed with hiding him, Show Pony was very social, getting along with people and making friends. He knew a lot of people, perhaps he knew this person too. But he didn't recognize anything about him. If only he would take off the mask and show him who he is. "Is it okay if I ask you why you're wearing the mask?" He asked quietly. The man turned to him and tilted his head to the side. "I almost always wear it. I don't like my face, I think it's a nuisance and I hate it. I wear it so that people don't have to look at it anymore," the man explained. That whole reason just made Show Pony upset. Low self-esteem always brought him down, even if it wasn't him feeling it. "Y'know, I don't think anyone looks so bad that they have to hide their face." Show Pony said.

He could hear the man laugh a little bit as he shook his head. "No, I think that my face is the worst thing that's ever happened. But hey, at least we know that God has a sense of humor, creating this face and all," the man says. Show Pony sighs and steps in front of the man. "Look, I don't know who you are, but I can assure you that your face is perfectly fine. Can I see it?" He asked. The man stopped and took a few steps back. "I... I don't know. I haven't shown my face to anyone in a long time. It's been years. I've only ever taken off my mask when I'm alone and sick of looking through little holes. I just don't think I can show you," he says, backing away even more. Show Pony frowns and nods. "I understand. I'm sorry," he said.

Show Pony moved out of the man’s way, now walking beside him. “So… when we get to the lab, what are we going to do?” He asked. The man shrugged. “I don’t really know. I think you should know more about it than me, you’ve been there before,” he said. Show Pony gaped at him and shook his head. “You’re pushing our luck on an assumption that I know what to do?!” He exclaimed. The man nodded. “Like I said, you’ve been in that lab before, you know what he does. I’m just a loser who stalks people for fun,” he said. Show Pony sighed and started to feel his head begin to ache. “Alright, I know that he has a way to reverse what he did so that Frank can go home again, but I don’t know what it is exactly nor where it would be. So I guess we have no choice but going in on an assumption,” he said, defeated.

He had known this man for less than an hour and already, Show Pony knew this man was reckless. “So when we get there, what do you suspect we do if Dr. Death gets back?” Show Pony asked. The man let out a sudden laugh. “Hell if I know! I don’t ‘plan,’ I just do things,” he replied. Show Pony stopped there. “Are you serious?! Do you realize that this man knows of ways to annihilate us completely?! I have seen him cause pain to a man who has been dead for a pretty long time with my own eyes! He will destroy us and he wouldn’t care. If he catches us, it’s over for us. We can’t just go in there without a plan,” he said. The man laughs again and faces Show Pony. “You act as if I care if I’m destroyed. I couldn’t give a shit if he finds me. I’ve got nothing going for me. I have no purpose. If I don’t make it out, it wouldn’t be the first time.”

They walked together in silence for what felt like forever. Clearly, this man wasn’t one to be too caring. Show Pony looked around nervously, the silence getting to him. “Look, I’m sorry I was yelling. I just… I’m just the type of person who plans out what they’re about to do… I’m not used to just winging it,” he said. The man nodded and grunted, but said nothing. Apparently he wasn’t one for talking either. Show Pony knew that this man was different, but that was obvious. He wanted to know what it was that really set him apart from everyone else.

Eventually, they reached the lab. Show Pony stared up at the building remembering all of the things that happened in there, both good and bad. The man turns to him, stepping closer. “Okay, so we’ll plan a little bit. What do we do?” He asked. Show Pony glanced at him, then back at the building. “Um… okay, I got it. I think that what we’re looking for is some kind of ritual, so a book maybe. I want to say that it would be in the library, but he’s smarter than to do that. So it’s more than likely in some other room. He always keeps his bedroom door locked, so it could be in there. But it might also be in the laboratory itself. I think we should split up and save time. I’ll check the bedroom, you check the lab. It’s located in the basement, you wouldn’t miss it. Sound good?” Show Pony said.

The man said nothing for a moment and for a while Show Pony thought it was because he didn’t like the plan. “Wow, you really know how to plan under pressure. Yeah, that works,” the man said. Show Pony sighed in relief. Together, they entered the building. “Well, the bedroom is just down the hall here, you come get me if you need me,” Show Pony whispered, being cautious. The man nodded and quietly walked away. Carefully, Show Pony headed to Dr. Death’s bedroom, finding it locked as he suspected. He knelt down and pulled a paperclip out of his pocket. He found it on the ground on the walk there and expected he’d need it later. He straightened the clip out and as quietly as he could, he put the paperclip in the lock, jiggling it around. He didn’t know what he’d expect to see in there. Dr. Death could potentially be in there. He had always kept Show Pony out of that room before. Finally, he heard a ‘click’ in the lock and he slowly pushed the door open.

He rose to his feet and peeked inside. The room looked pretty standard to him, almost dull. There was a bed with a blanket and three pillows, a dresser with photographs on it, and a closet. Show Pony went to the dresser and picked up one of the pictures. It was an old photo of him. He was maybe ten years old then and had a huge smile spread across his face. Dr. Death was around thirty or so at the time and went by the name of “Dennis” then. He was like a father to him. Show Pony’s real parents disappeared one day and Dr. Death took him in. Despite how hellish Dr. Death was to him recently, he was nice to him in life.

Show Pony remembered the day that that picture was taken. It was when he was finally accepted onto a team, the baseball team. He wasn’t a huge fanatic about baseball, but he was happy to just be accepted into something. Though he had only been on the team for a short time, it was one of the greatest times of his life. Dr. Death took that picture so that they could both look back on the day that he was accepted. Show Pony gave a teary smile to the picture and set it back down. Memories were always hard for him, they reminded him of the life he had on the surface. It was especially hard to remember the life he had to give up. He could have gone very far if only he stayed there. But Dr. Death said he needed him, but clearly it was for his own selfish reasons.

He died for a lost cause, something he never thought he’d do. He always thought that his life would be that “white-picket-fence” kind of life. He’d be married, he’d have a kid or two and a job he didn’t like nor dislike. Then he’d grow old and spend his free time sitting on a park bench with a long time friend, feeding pigeons. Finally, he’d die calmly in his sleep and it would be over. That’s what he wanted; he wanted it more than anything. Instead, he was forced to go down to the underground before his time with a man who was planning on killing him. He threw his life away, gave it up recklessly so that a man could unfairly and selfishly take his life back. He was angry with Dr. Death for what he did. More of a reason to protect Frank, he needed to keep Frank from dying that way.

Show Pony walked to the closet and flung it open. A few boxes were inside. He took the boxes out and opened them up. Only clothes and pictures were inside all of them. He put the boxes and began rummaging through the drawers. “Show Pony?” A voice says. He jumped up, looking at the doorway. He sighed in relief at the sight of a blank mask, despite how creepy it looked. “Oh, hi, what’s up?” He asked. The man walked inside, carrying multiple books. “So I found these in the lab, is that okay?” He asked. Show Pony nodded and smiled. “Yeah, that’s perfect. I’ve got one here, should we check them out now or later?” He asked. The man shrugged and leaned against the wall. “I say later, it’s actually getting pretty late, he might be coming home soon. I think we should go,” he said.

They left the building with thankfully no sign of Dr. Death. “So where do we go from here?” Show Pony asked. The man turned to him. “I can take you to my place, you can rest and we can work on it more tomorrow,” he replied. They stayed with that and the man led the way. “Do you want to at least tell me your name?” Show Pony asked. The man shook his head. “Nope, names are just labels and I don’t like labels. They’re kind of what killed me… sort of,” he said. So the man had no name, no face, and no purpose? It didn’t make much sense to Show Pony, but he knew he’d get nowhere by asking questions, so he needed to figure it out on his own.

Later, they finally got to a small house. “Well, this is it. It ain’t much, but it’s a roof,” the man said. Show Pony found it hard to believe that it was actually occupied at all. There was almost nothing there. The walls were bare, the counters and tables were empty, nothing but a couple of pieces of furniture were inside. “There’s a bed down the hall, you can used that. I’ll sleep on the couch,” the man told him. Show Pony spun around quickly. “No! I’ll sleep on the couch, it’s your bed anyway,” he said quickly. The man shook his head. “I sleep on the couch most of the time anyway. I don’t have much use for the bed. You use it.”

Show Pony agreed tentatively and set the books on the table. “W-well… good night then,” he said quietly. The man replied with a muffled “mm-hmm,” before sitting on the couch. Show Pony walked slowly down the hall and into the only other room in there. The bed was small, but big enough. It was a long day, incredibly stressful and he was just glad to be able to finally lie down. He leaned into the bed and instantly felt his back unwind. He let out a slow sigh and closed his eyes. He was exhausted, completely worn out. As soon as he relaxed into the bed, he was out like a light.

The man didn’t sleep, he hasn’t slept for a long time. He sat on the couch with the books in front of him. He decided he might as well do something useful. He opened a book, flipping through page after page. He sighed and looked at the words, sort of reading them, not much actually coming to him. He closed the book and paced around the room. Why did he even bother? Frank wasn’t important to him; he could easily leave this in the past. He could put it all on Show Pony and go on with whatever he wanted to do. So why didn’t he? Surely he didn’t actually care about this situation. Frank was not his problem. The man let out a large sigh and threw his hat to the ground, letting his rough, unmanaged hair fall around him. He was sick of hiding, he was sick of pretending that nothing mattered him to him. Truth be told, he cared a lot about Frank and what was happening to him. He cared about helping him. He cared about sending him home.

The man grabbed his mask, slowly pulling it off. Fresher air felt good to his skin, as it always does when he takes the mask off. Another thing he loves about not wearing the mask: full vision. He hated looking through holes, they blocked too much from him. The man looked around the room, stopping as he caught sight of his reflection in the window. He walked toward it, standing right at it. He stared at himself, completely in wonder. He hadn’t looked at his face in years. Bright blue eyes stared back into his own. “God, I’m so ugly,” he whispered to himself. He never liked how he looked. He always thought he was hideous and assumed that that was what everyone else thought of him too.

“Kurt Cobain… that’s who you are,” a voice said. The man spun around with wide eyes. There, Show Pony stood with a small smile on his face. He sighed, folding his arms over his chest. “Okay, yeah, that’s who I am. I’m that loser who couldn’t keep himself alive. I hate to say that yes, I’m Kurt Cobain,” he said, reaching for his mask to hide himself from Show Pony. But Show Pony grabbed the mask before Kurt could. “Why are you hiding yourself?” Show Pony asked, Kurt growled and said, “Because I didn’t know it wouldn’t end! I thought that if I blew my brains out, I’d be free from myself and people in general. I didn’t know that I’d just be shoved down here. Now give me the damn mask back!”

Show Pony looked at the mask, then back at Kurt. “No, I have questions and you’re going to answer them,” he said. Kurt curled up his fists and sat on the couch. “Fine, just get it over with,” he grumbled. Show Pony sat next to him. “So, I thought that suicide by a bullet to the head would leave you… y’know, brain-dead, why aren’t you like that?” He started. Kurt sighed and sat back. “You don’t stay that way forever. I’ve been dead for a long time, a very long time. I got better. I noticed that Mikey Way did the same thing. He’ll be okay, he just needs to heal. I healed by remembering, maybe it’s the same for him,” he explained. Show Pony nodded, thinking about that zombie-like bassist.

Kurt was not ready for anyone to know who he was, Show Pony caught him off guard. He wanted to hide himself for the rest of time, though he knew the chances of that were slim. He just didn’t expect it to end so soon. Show Pony showered him with questions until daytime returned. “Oh, and one more thing. Are you glad that you killed yourself? I mean, do you regret doing it or what?” He asked. Kurt snatched the mask from him, putting it over his face. He turned to Show Pony and said, “Yes I regret it. I left my wife and daughter behind without so much as an ‘I love you.’ I left my bandmates, my best friends behind. I hurt a lot of people in the end for no reason at all. Look where it got me.” He turned back around picking up a book. “Let’s just get this done and get Frank home,” Kurt said.

Frank lay curled up with Gerard on the bed, his face flushed from their previous activity. “Do you want to go downstairs?” Gerard asked. Frank shrugged, his face buried in Gerard’s unbeating chest. “I guess so,” he said, his voice calm and quiet. They sat up, gathering their carelessly thrown clothes from the ground. They got dressed again, only interrupted by a couple of small kisses. “Frankie, you’re gorgeous…” Gerard said softly. Frank giggled and shook his head. “Stop it Gee,” He said. Gerard wrapped his arms around Frank’s waist, pulling him close. “I won’t stop, love. I’ll never stop telling you the truth,” he whispered into Frank’s ear. Frank blushed furiously and bit his lip. He would never know how he was so lucky to have met a man as perfect as Gerard, despite if he was alive or not.

They walked down the stairs together hand in hand. “Well good morning boys, did you sleep well or just have fun?” Gerard’s mother joked. Gerard rolled his eyes and sat at the kitchen table. “God, shut up mom!” Gerard whined. His mother laughed and turned to Frank. “I’m only joking, I love teasing Gerard, she said. Frank nodded slowly, sitting by Gerard. “Where is everyone?” Gerard asked. His mother stopped to think. “Um… Mikey and Bob are on a walk, Pete and Patrick went home, oh and Billie Joe literally dragged Mike and Tre out the door the moment he found out that his dad lives just down the block,” she said. Gerard nodded and set his head on the counter. “Mooooommm, I want coffee!” He whined. Frank smiled and pet Gerard’s hair. “You guys actually drink coffee down here?” He asked.

“We do, but it’s not like we need it. And it’s not as good as Starbucks, but it’s coffee just the same,” Gerard said. Frank thought for a moment, and then asked, “How do you get it? Does anything actually grow down here?” Gerard giggled and kissed Frank’s cheek. “Yes you dork! It’s pretty much the same as it is on the surface, I mean we could even have children, but of course, they’re born dead. The kids born here age like normal, but stop physically growing when they hit their thirties or something. And a bonus to that, no one really dies here. Things are kinda similar between the two worlds,” Gerard explained. Frank nodded as it all sank in. “Alright then,” he said.

Gerard’s mom set two mugs of coffee on the table. “I made some for you too Frank, if you want,” she said. Gerard reached forward and grabbed his drink. “Gerard, remember your manners. I don’t want to see you chugging your coffee down,” his mother warned. Gerard rolled his eyes and overdramatically sipped at his coffee. “Happy?” He retorted. As the mother and son bickered with each other, Frank held the mug in his hands. He brought the cup to his lips and took a drink. Gerard was right, it wasn’t Starbucks, but it was good enough. Frank set the cup down and looked at the dispute. It reminded him of how his mother would constantly nitpick at every little thing. To be honest, he almost missed it. Almost.

“Well I just think that if I want to be a good person to Frank, I’m going to be myself. And that includes how I drink my coffee!” Gerard said in a sassy tone. Frank grinned and grabbed Gerard’s hand. The both of them stopped and looked at him. “Please don’t argue, it’s okay,” Frank said. Gerard smiled at him and nodded. “You’re right, I’m sorry hon,” he replied. Frank leaned in and kissed Gerard softly. “You guys are adorable,” Gerard’s mother said, leaving the room then after. Frank rested his forehead on Gerard’s. “I like your mom. She’s nice,” he said. Gerard chuckled and stroked Frank’s hand with this thumb. “She’s very nice, a little overbearing at times, but nice,” Gerard agreed.

“I just think it’s cool how she accepts that both of her sons are gay. My parents could never accept that in me. They aren’t accepting at all. They can’t even accept the fact that I want to be a guitarist,” Frank said. Gerard pulled away and frowned. “Frank, they sound awful, why do you want to go back to them?” He asked. Frank shrugged and leaned back. “Well… I have responsibilities up there. I need to marry Jamia to make them proud of me for once in my life,” he explained. Gerard raised an eyebrow. “For once?” He asked. Frank nodded. “For once. Nothing I do can impress them. When I got straight A’s, they didn’t care. But when I got first place in a band competition, they were actually mad at me because I wasn’t paying attention to my grades. There’s just no pleasing them,” he said.

Saying that basically summed up his whole life. If he did what his parents wanted and did it far beyond their standards, they simply didn’t care, but when he was doing what he loved and to the best of his abilities, they were mad for not obeying them. Nothing worked for him, it was all a mess. So he thought that if he married Jamia, then they’d finally be proud of him. No matter what Frank actually wanted, he had to marry Jamia. Staying with Gerard just wasn’t an option. He’d disappoint his parents another time. All Frank has ever wanted to do was have his parents approve of something he’s done. That’s all he’s wanted for a long time. But then suddenly this beautiful man came along and literally swept him off his feet. Frank fell for Gerard and he fell hard. Falling for him made it so much more difficult to do what he was supposed to do, made it harder to have his parents be proud of him.

“Frankie, I didn’t know, I’m so sorry. Sweetheart I promise, I’ll get you home,” Gerard said quietly. Frank stared at Gerard, tears filling his eyes. He was just so amazed with how sweet Gerard was. No one in his life had ever put his needs before their own. Gerard was giving up the idea of Frank staying with him so that he could go home and seep the approval of his parents. Gerard reached forward and cupped Frank’s cheek, rubbing away the tears with his thumb. Frank leaned into the touch and squeezed his eyes shut. “I just don’t want to leave you Gerard. I… I-I love you,” he said. Gerard smiled and pressed a kiss to Frank’s lips. “I love you too baby, I always will. You just do whatever you feel is right and I’ll be there to support whatever decision you make,” Gerard said. At that, Frank let out a small sob and hugged Gerard tight. He has finally found someone who cared about him more than anything.

They sat like that for a moment or two, kissing each other and basking in the love they shared for each other. But the moment came to as top when the front door flung open and Bob ran inside. “Has Mikey come home?!” He asked in a panic. Gerard pulled back and rose slowly. “No… wasn’t he with you?” He said. Bob stared with wide eyes, nodding frantically. “Yes, but I had left him alone for a minute and when I came back, he was gone! Gerard, what do I do?! He can’t be alone like this! I’m scared,” he said. Gerard whimpered and ran a hand through his hair. All Frank could think about is what would happen to Mikey if Dr. Death Defying got his hands on him. Just the thought made him sick. Finally, Gerard stopped and said, “Let’s round up the others. We’ve got to find my brother.” And suddenly, there were bigger problems than sending Frank home.

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