Pairing: Gabe Saporta/William Beckett
Rating: PG-13 'Cause it's so dangerous it went to prison. Pahaha.
Genre(s): Mild insanity!fic? *shrug*
Summary: "You okay?"
Gabe considers shaking his head no [actually, what he really wants to do is lock himself in the bathroom and lay on the floor and count ceiling tiles until William Beckett gets bored and leaves], but he doesn't want his distress to be so obvious; he doesn't like the idea of the other boy figuring him out.
Disclaimer: I may not own them, but I definitely pwn them. Oh snap!
Notes: Given that each update has taken exponentially longer than the one before it, one could surmise that this story will in fact never actually be finished. D: However, this part is kind of a little ridiculously long [compared to the others, anyway], so hopefully that makes up for the belatedness a bit.
Gabe sits on the edge of his bed with his head in his hands, trying to ignore the shaky feeling in his chest.
It's just after noon on Sunday, he has finished his ritual cleaning for the weekend, and now he's waiting for William Beckett to come over. He closes his eyes and flashes back to the events that lead up to this...
After an uneventful science class [their assignment had been to balance chemistry equations; easy busywork for Gabe, but better because it didn't involve talking to anyone], he'd made his way to math to find William Beckett already sitting in the seat next to Gabe's usual; the same one he'd chosen the first time he talked to him. Gabe had made his way to his usual seat and sat down, staring straight ahead, as William Beckett immediately launched into a breathless rant.
"So, you still want me to come over? I mean, you didn't change your mind or anything? What are we going to do? Man, I don't even know what kind of stuff you're into. Should I bring some CDs over or something? Maybe a movie?"
Gabe slowly turned to look at William Beckett, fixing him with his usual stony look. This brought on a sort of sheepish look from William Beckett, which Gabe was surprised to find quite satisfying; however, it failed to dam up the verbal flood spilling from William Beckett's mouth.
William Beckett hesitated, seeming torn over the next thing he was about to say.
"Maybe, I know you don't really like people, but, uh, we could go out and get coffee or something? Or if you don't like coffee we could--"
Gabe licked his lips slowly, and then gritted out two words.
William Beckett's jaw dropped. He blinked a few times, looking absolutely bewildered.
"What did I..."
Gabe turned away, opened his notebook, and started writing, completely ignoring William Beckett.
William Beckett fidgeted nervously, entirely unsure of what to do, as more kids began to stream into the classroom. Gabe showed no sign of emerging from his notebook-induced trance.
The shriek of the bell signaling the beginning of class was paralleled by the sound of paper being ripped from metal rings. William Beckett looked down at his desk just as a piece of paper was thrust awkwardly in his direction. He took it, being careful not to touch Gabe's hand, and examined it.
It was a carefully drawn map of a neighborhood, with an X in the middle signifying what he assumed was Gabe's house. Upon closer inspection, he decided "careful" wasn't a strong enough word--the map was drawn in exquisite detail, with attention given to the smallest bits. The lines of the streets matched up perfectly with the light blue lines of the sheet of notebook paper, and he had no doubt that everything was drawn in perfect scale to its real life counterpart.
He turned to find Gabe thumbing through the remaining sheets in his notebook, mouthing the numbers silently to himself as he counted.
Gabe made a face, tore out the last piece of paper in the book, and quickly scribbled his first and last name, his house number [which he'd neglected to put on the map], his phone number [as if he would ever answer the phone--but just in case William Beckett turned out to be severely directionally challenged], and "Come over any time after noon on Sunday." He placed the paper on William Beckett's desk, and then turned to the front to tune in to the teacher's lecture about the quadratic formula.
"Why only after noon? You got church in the morning or something?"
Gabe was annoyed at being torn away from the lesson; he shot William Beckett only the most fleeting glance, then turned back to the front, and bit his lip nervously. A distant, hazy look came over his eyes as he replied.
"No. ...Other things."
William Beckett gave him a questioning look, but he didn't reply. In fact, he didn't say another word for the rest of the class.
The sound of the doorbell echoing through the house tears Gabe from his reverie and snaps him back to the present; he finds he's bolted from his bed, across his room, down the hall, and has arrived at the top of the steps before he'd even consciously realized that he'd moved.
He sees his mother heading for the door, and he runs down the stairs [mentally counting all twenty steps on the way down, then four more] to the door. He throws his back against it just as his mother reaches for the handle, effectively blocking her from opening it.
"What the heck is wrong with you?"
She stands with her hands on her hips, staring him down. He stares straight back at her with all the resolve he has.
Normally the look she's giving him would be enough to break him and get him to do pretty much anything she asked, but today is a special day, and he doesn't want her to ruin his time with William Beckett with her annoyingly cheery hospitality and her faux Martha Stewart antics.
The doorbell sounds again, echoing off the high ceiling of the living room.
"Are you going to answer the door?"
Gabe nods, and his mother rolls her eyes, before turning and walking away, shaking her head and muttering. Once she's gone, he turns and sticks one eye to the peephole in the door.
William Beckett looks smaller than real life [where he's only an inch or two shorter than Gabe] through the distorted glass; he looks small and scared, clutching his jacket to his frame to block out the cold, and Gabe feels a jolt of nervousness spike through his own stomach.
He turns the handle and swings the door open, placing a finger to his lips in the universally understood "shush" gesture as William Beckett immediately opens his mouth. He sticks the same finger out towards William Beckett, and then crooks it toward himself in the universally understood "follow me" gesture. William Beckett steps inside, looking around, a conspiring smirk on his face. Gabe shuts the door and points up the stairs. William Beckett glances up them, and then turns back to Gabe. Gabe fixes his usual compelling glare on his face, and points upstairs again. William Beckett quirks an eyebrow up, the earlier smirk turning to a full on grin.
"Gabey-baby, who's at the door?"
His mother's singsong voice floats out from the kitchen, and Gabe winces noticeably. He fixes William Beckett with a harsh but pleading look, but the other boy absolutely refuses to move, so Gabe decides drastic measures must be taken.
He gives him a hard push on his lower back, causing William Beckett to stumble up the first few stairs.
"Whoa! What the hell?"
Gabe flutters his hands behind William Beckett's back and urges him up the rest of the stairs, not stopping until they're just outside the open door to his room.
William Beckett steps inside, and turns around slowly, taking in every detail of the room, while Gabe looks down at his hands, realizing he just voluntarily made physical contact with another human being. He fights down the urge to run and wash his hands immediately, and after a quick glance at the boy in his room, he also has to fight down a blush rising to his cheeks. He waits until William Beckett's back is turned, then casually rubs his hands against the thighs of his jeans, knowing that that's not really getting them clean, but it's going to have to do for now. He steps into his room, shuts the door, and leans against it with a sigh, as William Beckett completes his third and final rotation in the center of the room and stops, facing Gabe with that same damn smile.
William Beckett's voice is soft, almost a little shy, but no amount of shyness could cover up the fact that he actually has a personality and knows how to talk to people, and suddenly Gabe feels like he's in way over his head; he can't deal with this. He stares at his feet and counts the seconds, feeling the silence stretch unbearably long.
William Beckett takes a few steps toward Gabe, crossing his arms over his chest and affixing an exaggerated 'thinking' look on his face.
"So, what was that about?"
Gabe feels his blush coming back.
"...My mom. Is crazy."
"Crazier than you?"
Gabe opens his mouth, but he honestly has no idea what to say to that, so he just ends up staring at the floor some more.
"Hey, don't take offense. I was just messin' with ya."
William Beckett takes the few final steps to close the distance between them, and then turns and leans against the wall next to Gabe. He drops his arms to his sides, and after a moment of fidgeting, sticks his hands in his pockets. Gabe has absolutely no clue what to do, and he starts to mentally question why he ever thought this would be a good idea, inviting a stranger into his home--into his life--when he obviously has no social skills and no idea how to deal with the situation.
He closes his eyes, squeezing them shut hard, before slowly prying them open again. He glances sideways and sees William Beckett regarding him with a serious look on his face.
Gabe considers shaking his head no [actually, what he really wants to do is lock himself in the bathroom and lay on the floor and count ceiling tiles until William Beckett gets bored and leaves], but he doesn't want his distress to be so obvious; he doesn't like the idea of the other boy figuring him out. He walks over to his bed and sits down, patting the space next to him. William Beckett comes over and plops down next to Gabe, turning towards him and continuing to just look at him, concern radiating from his eyes.
Gabe looks down at his lap, breathing deeply in an attempt to calm himself down. He takes several deep breaths, sucking in air and holding it, finally letting it out as a deep sigh. Finally, he meets William Beckett's eyes and speaks.
"I... This is hard for me. The last time I had someone over..."
He reconsiders that line of thought.
"The last time I had someone I would actually consider a friend was in elementary school."
Ever since he was a kid, Gabe had known he was different from his peers.
While the other boys in his neighborhood found fun in pretending to be cops or cowboys or astronauts and making all kinds of noise and pushing each other down in the mud, Gabe had always sought solace in the written word.
He spent all of his time reading books, including during recess at school. The fact that he declined to participate in their impromptu football and soccer games got him labeled a 'sissy', and the fact that he always had his nose stuck between a set of pages made him a 'nerd', according to the kids in his class. He tried to feign nonchalance when these insults were thrown at him, but he couldn't help occasionally letting them get to him [this was back when he actually still cared about what other people thought of him].
As each day went by, another book was devoured, and he became more alienated from his peers. He could feel himself closing up, shutting out any contact he could possibly avoid, drawing into himself. This continued on until one day he was approached in his regular reading spot [against the wall by the door to the school] by a short blond girl. She flashed her copy of Harry Potter, and a genuine smile [something he hadn't seen directed toward him in a long time], and sat down next to him.
"I see you reading here every day. I hope you don't mind me joining you. I feel like I don't really fit in with the other girls. All they care about is nail polish and hairspray and what's hot in the latest issue of Teen People. Me, I prefer to read something a little more substantial. Something with actual literary value. Oh, by the way, I'm Claire. Let's be friends."
Gabe was impressed by what she said, but even more by the charismatic way she said it, so he nodded and scooted over a little to make room for her. After that the two of them met up at the same spot every day during recess, where they would sit and read in silence, reserving the last few minutes before the bell rang to discuss what they'd read during the time. Over time they grew closer, and eventually they began spending the weekends at each other's houses. Gabe was glad to finally have a friend, someone to relate to who wouldn't make fun of him for being shy and obsessed with books, like the other kids at school did.
One day, they were hanging out in Claire's backyard. Claire was reciting poetry from a big dusty book she'd found in her attic, and Gabe was standing in the middle of the yard, contemplating the sky and the words he was hearing. Suddenly Claire slammed the book shut and set it on the ground. Gabe watched, wondering if he'd done something to upset her, as she stomped over and stood right in front of him, staring hard into his eyes.
"I like you."
Gabe blinked, taken aback by the admission.
"I really like you a lot, and I want you to be my boyfriend."
Claire continued to stare at him, and he felt himself crack under her intense scrutiny; he dropped his eyes to the ground bashfully. Claire, anything but shy, grabbed him by the shoulders and started to lean towards him. Oh my god, she's going to kiss me, he thought.
He yanked her hands off his shoulders and gave her a rough push backwards, forgetting that he was bigger and a lot stronger than her. The force sent her reeling backwards, until she tripped and fell, landing sprawled on her back on the concrete patio. Time seemed to freeze as Gabe watched her still form; he felt paralyzed, unsure of what to do. He crouched down next to her and began to count the seconds that she didn't move, each mental tick making it more apparent that he'd actually seriously hurt her. He began to shake a little. A single tear rolled down his face before he ran inside her house, yelling for help.
"I like you."
The familiar words snap Gabe out of his memory [everything today seems very deja vu to him], and he slowly brings the room back into focus. William Beckett is looking at him nervously.
"I mean, I don't want you to be, like, scared of me, like you seem to be with everyone else, because I'm not going to hurt you or anything. I'm...what's the quote? Oh yeah--mostly harmless."
Gabe delivers the name deadpan.
"What? Um, sure..."
Gabe gets up and goes over to his bookcase, picking out The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and tossing it in William Beckett's general direction. He then stoops down to examine the rows of books, and decides he doesn't like the order they're in, so he starts pulling them out and placing them in piles on the floor.
William Beckett gives the book at his feet a cursory glance, then looks up and watches Gabe.
"...What are you doing?"
"Oh. Well. Come back here. There's more I want to say to you."
The only thing Gabe hates more than things that are out of order is a task left only half finished, but he doesn't want to upset William Beckett, so he goes over and sits back down next to him on the bed.
William Beckett turns his upper body to face Gabe. He presses his hands flat on the bed, splaying his fingers apart and examining the spaces between them as he contemplates his next line. Gabe turns towards him, his hands awkwardly folded in his lap.
William Beckett leans forward.
"...really like you."
The sense of deja vu washes over Gabe again as William Beckett keeps leaning in, and to deal with the panic that sets in from being so close to another person, Gabe does his favorite thing: he counts.
He counts the lighter flecks of brown in William Beckett's eyes [he gets to ten before they slip shut]; he counts the freckles sprinkled scantly across William Beckett's cheeks [six]; and he's just started to count William Beckett's eyelashes when he feels the other boy's lips lightly brush against his own.
Sloganator: Enumerationatagonism. The same old fic with a new angst twist. Now new and improved with 'pimped to everywhere and anywhere that will take it' flava. theacademyslash gabilliam rareslashpairs secretsxfriends takebackfiction fueledbyslash. This is for my own reference.
Sleep is for yes! At