Pairing: Gabe Saporta/William Beckett
Rating: PG-13 'Cause it's so dangerous it stole a car earlier today.
Genre(s): Mild insanity!fic? *shrug*
Summary: ...and then he starts thinking about all the things he's doing wrong; and all the dangerous things there are in the world; and wondering what kinds of germs might be floating in the air around him right at that very moment [so maybe he should see how long he can hold his breath and not pass out]; and how there are 8 clean bowls in the cabinet downstairs but only 7 spoons, so what would they do if company came over and there weren't enough spoons for everyone, and someone got mad that they couldn't eat whatever was served in the 8 bowls, and they started shouting, and Gabe hates shouting [actually, he would probably just hide in his room if company came over]...
Disclaimer: They don't even own themselves. But I own you. Isn't that fantastic?
Notes: I'm tenacious. That's all.
Gabe doesn't talk to anyone--at all, not even his mother--for three days. He manages to get by observing the world around him but never actually getting involved in any of the events he witnesses...until his English teacher assigns the worst thing in the world: a five minute oral presentation to be given in front of the entire class.
Normally Gabe would just skip any assignment that involved talking, or being in front of a large group of people [just the thought of doing both at the same time makes his skin crawl], but he knows he's not doing so well in English, and his grade will plummet below the steady C- he's maintained throughout the semester if he doesn't do this assignment, and then the teacher will call his mother and arrange a conference, and there will be confrontation, and that sends him into such a panic that he stays up all night building a construction paper diorama of a Shakespearian theater and memorizing every little detail about the art form to include in his speech.
He's busy trying to shove the three-dimensional structure into his locker [and he still hates the number and combination so; just about the only good thing about them is that they're both prime numbers], when William Beckett appears at his side.
In his three days of monk-like silence and observation, just about the only thing in the world Gabe couldn't bring himself to look at was William Beckett.
He is so absorbed in his task--turning the model different ways, trying to fit it in the small space without crushing it--that he doesn't even notice William Beckett standing there, staring at him, until the other boy speaks.
"Um, I know you said to leave you alone--"
Gabe startles, slamming his locker door in surprise and wincing as he hears a ripping noise from inside.
"--but I think you're really interesting and stuff--"
He turns away from William Beckett and quickly dials his locker combination in, biting his lip and hoping the sound wasn't what he thinks it was.
"--and I was just wondering if, maybe, um--"
His Shakespeare model, with all its meticulous detail, is crushed. A sinking feeling settles over him as he turns to regard the other boy.
"--if you maybe want to hang out some time?"
William Beckett is wringing his hands and nervously stepping from one foot to the other and back again. Gabe thinks that makes him look like he has to pee or something, and then he concentrates on William Beckett's hands, wondering when the last time he washed them was [again], and by the time he's done thinking about that, he realizes he completely missed the last thing the other boy said.
He fixes him with a hard glare, the anger over his destroyed English project resurfacing. William Beckett looks like he wants to run away and hide--no, worse, he looks like he wants to change his name and move to a different state. [Gabe never knew he could be so intimidating, and this thought bolsters his confidence a bit.]
William Beckett turns on his heel and starts to walk away. Gabe mentally kicks himself for messing up yet another opportunity, and decides, for once in his life, to do something about it.
William Beckett halts, seeming shocked at hearing the other boy speak--Gabe mentally counts the words he's said to him, and the overall total is less than 15. He slowly turns around and walks back to Gabe, keeping his eyes on the ground while Gabe looks right at him with his most piercing stare.
"Um. You. Me. Uh. Hang out? Like. Go do something. Fun. Or whatever. My house?"
He clamps his mouth shut when he realizes he's babbling and stuttering, and then chances a glance up at Gabe's eyes. Gabe looks back at him for a moment, then slams his locker shut again and leans against it.
Weekends are the only time when Gabe's schedule varies slightly from his established and adored routine.
Without school to occupy most of the day, he has nothing to do except sit and think. And then he starts thinking about all the things he's doing wrong; and all the dangerous things there are in the world; and wondering what kinds of germs might be floating in the air around him right at that very moment [so maybe he should see how long he can hold his breath and not pass out]; and how there are 6 clean bowls in the cabinet downstairs, but only 5 spoons, so what would they do if company came over and there weren't enough spoons for everyone, and someone got mad that they couldn't eat whatever was served in the 6 bowls, and they started shouting, and Gabe hates shouting [actually, he would probably just hide in his room if company came over]; and what if a burglar comes into his home and tries to steal his things or hurt him, and is the door REALLY locked, maybe he better go check one more time...
Thus he has to come up with other things to do so that his constant worries and anxieties don't overtake him and cause him to panic.
So, he cleans.
He scrubs every surface his bathroom with bleach and soap, vacuums every inch of carpet in the house, mops all the hardwood floors, washes all the dishes, and rearranges any displaced objects into perfectly organized and symmetrical groups. [He hardly has to touch his own room at all, as he keeps it mostly spotless anyway.]
This is, he imagines, probably one of the few things about his "behavior" [as she refers to it as when she's trying to be polite but subtly hint that something is wrong with it] that his mother actually likes--he cleans the entire house once a week, and she doesn't have to do a thing herself, or even ask/yell at/force him to do it like most mothers have to in order to get their kids to do anything useful.
Saturday's extensive cleaning leaves him so exhausted that he usually sleeps through half of Sunday, waking up around noon and spending the rest of the day organizing and re-organizing his books , CDs , and other things according to different themes--alphabetical, order purchased/received, most-to-least-liked, and so on. If that gets boring, he'll sometimes go for a walk [especially if it's raining; he loves rain because it makes everything feel clean], although that rarely happens because of the potential risk for human contact, and because there are too many things to count and keep track of outside.
Gabe's mind tells him, You don't know anything about this boy, what he's like, what kind of filth and mess and disarray he lives in, who else will be at his house, whether they are nice people or if they will try to make you do awkward things that you don't like, like eating vegetables and actually making normal conversation with them...
William Beckett's hopeful smile shatters, and the kicked-puppy look is back, ten times worse than before.
"Oh...okay. Um, sorry I bothered you."
He turns again and starts to slink away, shoulders hunched up and head down in sadness.
Gabe tries to keep the annoyance out of his voice, but it seeps in anyway. William Beckett turns around again, crossing his arms over his chest defensively and looking at Gabe, maintaining his distance this time.
Gabe takes a deep breath and prepares himself to say the longest and most daring string of words he's uttered in days--possibly even weeks.
"I can't come over to your house because I don't know what's there and that scares me--"
William Beckett opens his mouth to say something, but Gabe silences him with a look, before continuing.
"This may seem unreasonable to you, but it is how I am. I do not like unfamiliar places. However, if you would like, you can come over to my house on Sunday. I'll be done cleaning by then."
Gabe can hardly believe what he's just done. Not only did he actually successfully talk to another human being, a peer of his, no less, but he also just voluntarily invited someone into his perfect bubble of organization and routine.
William Beckett quirks one eyebrow up in confusion at the last bit, but then a new look overtakes his features which makes Gabe so glad he took the chance he did. He thinks, at this moment, that William Beckett really is like a puppy, because when he's happy, it just shows all over his face and in his body language. His grin is so wide it seems like it might split his face in half [Gabe briefly entertains a morbid mental image of half a head lying on the floor in front of him if that were to happen], and he is sure that if William Beckett had a puppy tail, it would be wagging so vigorously that it might become a propeller and lift him off into the sky.
William Beckett steps back next to him, flailing his arms in delight, and Gabe has to remind himself not to instinctively step backwards.
"Really? You mean it?"
Just then the bell rings, and both of them jump in surprise, looking down the hallway as the surrounding students, previously rooted to the ground, immediately begin moving to their classes all at once. Gabe hates this, having to navigate a sea of people, trying to move around them and avoid getting touched by them--he usually arrives in his classes a few minutes before the warning bell to avoid this situation. He briefly mentally curses William Beckett for causing him to have to do this, but then his mind plays back an image of that smile, and he thinks that maybe, just for once, it's worth it.
He turns back to where William Beckett was standing, and sees that the other boy is walking backwards down the hallway, calling after him.
"So, I'll talk to you in math and get directions and stuff, 'kay?"
Gabe nods again, and William Beckett turns and sprints down the hallway to his class.
Gabe shoulders his bookbag and turns to face the wave of humanity impeding his way to science class, with the image of that smile on William Beckett's face permanently fixed in his mind. And, for once in his life, he feels traces of a smile tugging at the corners of his own lips.
I am deadness like a dead thing. I need to sleeeeep. So that thing about getting out of the habit of writing in the middle of the night? A total lie.