Pairing: Gabe Saporta/William Beckett
Rating: PG-13. 'Cause it's...not dangerous at all. v_v
Genre(s): I've created a new genre [...not really]: Mental Disorder Fic!
Summary: Gabe does a quick glance around and spots the lined piece of paper on the floor under the desk in front of him; he must have knocked it down with his paper when he stood up. It's lying facedown now, and when he picks it up, he notices a row of tiny, almost indecipherable letters running along the very bottom on the backside of the paper:
I haven't given up on you.
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Gabe fakes being sick and stays home from school the next two days. He's not really sure why his mother buys his excuse--he's probably the least likely person in the world to actually get sick--but then he realizes that she can't have missed William Beckett stomping out of their home and slamming the door behind him not a half hour after he'd arrived, and so he figures she's taking pity on him.
When he wakes up Wednesday morning, though, he knows he has to go back to school and face William Beckett--he has a math test today. He won't allow himself to miss it, no matter how terrified he is of what might happen with the other boy.
He goes through his usual morning routine, each increment of 20 failing to cheer him up like they usually do. He dresses in black from head to toe--he wants to be invisible today.
When he goes downstairs to put his lunch together, his mother is sitting in the living room, looking at a piece of paper.
"Is there anything you'd like to tell me about?"
He ignores her, scrunches down the top of the paper bag his lunch is in, and makes his way to the door.
"Nothing at all?"
He rolls his eyes and slams the door behind him.
He does feel a little bit bad about being so rude to his mother, but then he figures after years of him acting thusly, she's probably used to it.
The school day progresses in an expectedly awful way.
He manages to trip up the 24 stairs to the second floor [consequently taking 25 steps, which bothers him, and earning him a snicker from the person behind him, which he ignores]; the unevenness of his locker combination requires him to put it in twice [he always has to "pretend" to mess up the first time so he can do this], which makes him late for class; and he receives his chemistry assignment back with a circled 97 and the words "Great job!" in red across the top. He scowls at the number and resists the urge to tear the paper up; he'd rather have gotten a lower grade if it could have been an even number.
The teacher's lecture on all the uses for hydrochloric acid goes unheard as he spends the entire class period eaten up with anxiety over what's going to happen in math class.
When he gets there, he's surprised to see that William Beckett has already arrived, and even more so that he's once again sitting in the desk right next to where Gabe always sits. He takes his seat and immediately puts up a façade of being completely absorbed in reading his notebook [one of the defenses he's developed over time to use when he thinks people are going to talk to him or bother him in some way and he really doesn't want them to], when in actuality he's completely focused on William Beckett, and every tiny move he makes.
William Beckett, to his credit, is behaving in a very stoic and rather admirably Gabe-like manner. He doesn't even turn to look at Gabe when he enters the room and sits next to him, and he continues to ignore him as class starts and the teacher goes through a quick review and then hands out the test papers.
Gabe studies the paper as soon as it's placed on his desk--it's easy stuff: area and angles and geometry proofs. He cracks his knuckles slowly, still looking at the paper; he already knows the answer to the first question as he fingers the wire spiral of his light green notebook for his pencil, and--
It's not there.
A jolt of panic rushes through him, as he realizes that he left his gray messenger bag, with all his backup supplies, in his locker. This is incredibly unlike you, that nagging voice in the back of his mind says, to be so unorganized.
He considers raising his hand and asking to go to his locker, but how conspicuous would that look, with the test just started and all. He's just about resigned himself to receiving a zero and is consoling himself with the idea that at least the number 0 has neither the ability to be even nor uneven, when a blur of green flashes past his eye.
He flinches away from the movement and grabs the edge of his chair to keep from falling off. With a squint, he brings the object being held in front of him into focus.
It's a pencil.
No, more specifically, it's his pencil, the one he "gave" [more like surrendered at the expense of not being touched any more, and look at how well that worked out] to William Beckett that first day.
A sly glance to the right shows that William Beckett is still ignoring him, except for this--what is it? A peace offering?
Gabe momentarily puts off contemplating the meaning behind it; he's too rushed with relief at having a means to complete his math test now. He reaches for the green number two without a word, and as William Beckett lets go, he reveals a piece of paper wrapped around the part of the pencil he was holding. Gabe glances at the teacher [god, how embarrassing would it be to get caught passing notes? how juvenile] and then quickly unfolds the torn off bottom of a piece of looseleaf and studies William Beckett's sloppy cursive.
You'll have to come to my house to get the other one.
William Beckett's phone number is written in careful, even numbers underneath.
The reminder of the unevenness of having only one pencil jars Gabe, and he picks up his math paper and puts it on top of the note, forcing it out of his mind. He quickly works through the problems, and despite his late start, he's still the first to finish. He stands stiffly, awkwardly, always feeling like all eyes are upon him, and makes his way to the front of the classroom to turn the paper in.
When he gets back to his seat, the note is gone. He looks over at William Beckett, wondering if he perhaps took it back, but the other boy is concentrating on his math paper and doesn't even seem to notice Gabe looking at him. Gabe does a quick glance around and spots the lined piece of paper on the floor under the desk in front of him; he must have brushed it off the desk with his test paper when he got up. It's lying facedown now, and when he picks it up, he notices a row of tiny, almost indecipherable letters running along the very bottom on the back side of the paper:
I haven't given up on you.
A feeling of almost indescribable relief washes over him, and he turns to William Beckett, who is biting his lip and staring hard at his math paper. Gabe keeps looking until William Beckett, sensing his stare, glances up quickly. Gabe flashes a grin, the biggest smile he's mustered in weeks, but William Beckett looks down again before he sees it.
Gabe reads and rereads the note for the rest of the class period, using the green number two to smooth the paper absolutely flat on his desk over and over, until the creases start to look worn and the edges fray.
William Beckett consciously avoids looking at him, save for one fleeting nervous glance when he returns from turning in his paper.
When the bell rings, William Beckett darts out of the classroom before Gabe even looks up.
Gabe, for probably the first time since the school year started, is actually looking forward to lunchtime.
Gabe wasn't entirely sure what happened between the time the police car arrived at Claire's house and when he came to in the lobby of the police department--he didn't know if he actually physically passed out, or if his mind just blocked out the traumatizing memory. All he remembered was the feeling of the cold hard plastic chair under him, the police officer kneeling in front of him asking questions, how he kept leaning forward and touching him, trying to get him to talk, and Gabe kept flinching away and pressing his head harder and harder against his knees, trying to avoid the interrogation, until the pain was so intense he thought he might scream, and then--
His silent scream was replaced by a real one, in a familiar voice, as the door was ripped open and slammed against the wall. Gabe curled up even further and let out a helpless whimper, as the police officer rose to confront the intruder.
"Where is he? What did you do to him?!"
"Ma'am, you're going to have to calm down."
"WHAT DID YOU PEOPLE DO TO MY SON?"
The police officer put an arm around the woman's shoulders and tried to lead her out of the room, but she flailed out of his grasp and ran to Gabe's side.
"Gabey-baby, what happened? Are you okay?"
Gabe finally raised his head when he felt his mother's comforting hand on his arm--she was the only one he allowed to touch him.
"I didn't--I'm sorry--it was an accident--I didn't mean to hurt her!"
"Oh, hush, honey, it's okay..."
She gathered him in her arms and held him as he dissolved into tears again.
"Ma'am, I need to talk to you."
After one last comforting squeeze, his mother rose to talk to the policeman. Gabe wrapped his arms around himself and laid his head on his knees again, but this time without trying to hurt himself or mentally escape the situation.
He wasn't sure how long he sat there--minutes? hours?--but eventually she came out again, looking decidedly more grim, and he rose without a word and followed her out to the car.
The drive home was completely silent.
She didn't ask any questions about what had happened, and he was still too much in shock to say anything. He just kept biting his already raw and sore lips as he stared out the window. When he got home, he went straight to bed, where he stayed for several days.
Finally, almost a week after it had happened, he built up the courage to ask his mother what had happened to Claire.
She told him that because Claire had just been knocked out and wasn't seriously injured, her family had decided not to press charges against Gabe. However, he wasn't allowed to see her again.
It wasn't until another week had passed of him just sitting around the house--his mother had forbidden him to leave it, even to go to school--that he started to wonder if he would ever be allowed to see anyone again.
William Beckett does not join him for lunch as Gabe had thought--maybe even allowed himself to hope--he would. He tries not to let it get him down; tries not to let the anxiety, the constant wondering about the other boy's feelings and motives, cloud his thoughts throughout the day. However, despite this, he's still in a pretty good mood as he walks home.
All of that comes crashing down as soon as he opens the door.
His mother is sitting on the couch, in the exact same place as when he left [he briefly wonders if she's even moved at all today]. As soon as he enters the room, he can just sense that something's wrong. A chilly sort of feeling starts to overtake him.
"You're failing English and P.E."
And then it all makes sense. The paper she was holding earlier was a deficiency notice mailed out by the school.
Gabe winces and looks down at the ground.
"What's going on?"
He doesn't say anything.
"Why are you failing these classes? I know you're smarter than anyone at that damn school, so what's wrong? Why aren't you doing your schoolwork?"
Gabe starts to feel sick to his stomach.
"I mean, it's obvious that you aren't wasting your time with friends or anything."
"So what's the problem? I don't understand. Enlighten me."
Gabe lets out a defeated sigh, but keeps his mouth shut.
"You know, I expect certain things from you. All I ask is that you go to school and pass your classes and get decent grades. That's all you have to do! How hard can that be?! What's wrong with you?"
And that's too much.
"Stop yelling at me!"
He's surprised by his own outburst--he never yells at anyone. His mother stares at him in shock as he does an about face, stomps up the stairs, runs to his room, slams the door, and collapses against it.
He has so much swirling around in his head--the confusion over William Beckett; his slipping grades; a fight with the one person he loves and trusts more than anyone--and he doesn't want to cry, he really doesn't, so he does the only other thing he can think of to take his mind off of everything.
An hour later, all of his CDs are arranged in rainbow order by the colors on their spines, and his books go chronologically by their publish dates, and he still doesn't feel any better. His mother, surprisingly, hasn't come up to interrogate him further, and he's glad, because he doesn't think he can handle any more confrontation.
He sits in the middle of his room and wonders what he should do next. He thinks, despite how it goes against his entire nature, that it would be nice to have someone to just talk to. Someone who will listen; someone who can relate.
Then he remembers the piece of paper in his pocket.
Gabe really hates the phone. He never answers it when it rings [because he knows that it's never for him]--the few times he has in the past, it's always been something useless and irrelevant, like a drunk calling for a cab, or a salesman trying to sell him a new vacuum. And he's never had the need to call anyone--never even had anyone to call, for that matter.
Until now, that is. Now, he wants to talk.
He carefully unfolds the note and reads the numbers, over and over, murmuring them out loud to himself, until he has the sequence memorized. Then he creeps out of his room, down the stairs, back into the living room. His mother, thankfully, has retired to her own room.
He hesitantly reaches for the receiver, stares at it for a minute, and then, with shaky fingers, dials William Beckett's number.
Oh, sup?! I got super wordy with this chapter, huh? To make up for the last one, I suppose...
And I'll try to not be a lamebutt and actually answer comments now. The thing is, I get them, and it's like 'ooh, yay, comment!' and then I'm like 'well, Idk what to say back...' so I wander off for a bit, and then I come back like a week later and I realize I forgot to answer them, and I wonder if the person even still wants/cares about a reply, or if they even remember that they left a comment at all, and then I feel too awkward to say anything... Quite a dilemma, you see.
It's [gonna be] everywhere this time. theacademyslash disasterxtown gabilliam takebackfiction