disclaimer, don't own.
william is without heart, really, and gabe is gabe.
in small brown paper handbags near the porch.
i wished i'd known that you were bleeding while i sat
and watched you reading with the lord;
i read with him, too." -
where have you been, manchester orchestra
William thinks warped tour is karma from another lifetime coming back to steal his soul. It’s hot and he’s damn tired and he doesn’t think he has it in him to play another set because god forbid it cools down a few degrees, really.
William also thinks he’s without a heart. Everything’s kind of hazy and he can’t remember the last time he felt its steady beating throughout his chest, the last time he felt his body pulse and hum because he’s alive and feeling great. Right now, he’s withered and dry, and the skin on his palms are crackling from lack of moisture, and it’s so unpleasant it almost hurts.
Seeing as he’s without a heart now, William thinks that maybe it’s supposed to hurt, isn’t it? Then again, maybe not, because Bill’s been feeling that empty space for a good while now and he’s so sure he’s used to it.
The sun set a while ago and the humidity is declining; fall is coming and things are changing. William kicks dirt up underneath his feet and watches people mull around the field, packing the last of today’s assortments into their trailers. The tour is almost over and while it was another memorable summer, Bill just really wants to curl up somewhere and spend the rest of his days with his empty chest and maybe a six pack; twelve if he’s feeling frisky, which, hi, he just might.
He’s not sure why he feels the way he does, or doesn’t feel he should say, but he knows it must be significant if it has him this off balance. But, huh, there's no way his heart was lost all on it's own so William comes to the conclusion that someone must have stolen it, oh my god, and what bastard would do that?
William sighs and rubs his sweating hands on his thighs.
“What’s got you acting so little boy blue?” he hears, and he doesn’t have to turn around to see it’s Gabe.
“I think I’m heartless,” William says, and yeah, he really does, but Gabe’s there in all his colorful brightness and he at least looks like he has perfectly functioning and all-there organs.
Gabe just makes a sound in the back of his throat and sits next to William, stretching his legs so they bump into Bill’s on the downswing. William clears his throat and shifts, and he swears his chest is radiating this dull ache every time he talks, or moves or even fucking breathes.
“I’m for-fucking-serious. Someone stole my heart,” he says. "I'm empty, and I can feel it, Gabe, I can feel it. Who would do such a thing?" William's wide-eyed and awkward and Gabriel Saporta understands.
“Ah,” Gabe nods sagely, “do you want some chocolate, then?”
William just blinks and asks, what?
“Chocolate,” Gabe’s looking at him like he’s an idiot now, “for your heart. What’s that saying? A way to a man’s heart is his stomach or whatever? Think, man. If you don’t have a heart, maybe you should get a full stomach instead.”
William stares, “Huh.”
“It’s like, the gateway to your heart and soul.”
William stares some more, because actually, there’s too much simple logic in that thought and it kind of really, really makes sense, what the hell. He doesn't think a piece of confectionery candy is going to fix this, but alright, okay then; why not? Bill props his chin up on his knee, lanky and bony and all long limbs and he just sits there and thinks, thinks and breathes and sort of sighs, and if he concentrates hard enough, he thinks he can feel a buzzing taking up residence in the cavity of his chest that's probably mold from being vacated so long.
“’Kay,” William finally agrees, smiling slightly, and it ends up looking like more of a grimace but he tried and it's okay. Gabe's brightness intensifies at the effort and pats the back of Bill’s neck, rubbing lightly at the junction where his shoulder meets. He stands then, tossing William a backwards glance as he walks towards wherever he feels he's needed at the moment.
“Cheer up, Bilvy,” he calls, and William almost laughs, but he doesn't cause he's somewhat similar to a barren wasteland inside right now, but hold up— “Gabe!” he reaches his hand out and he feels his chest twist again, sharp, but Gabe keeps walking and William’s so dull and colorless again, “... I don’t have any chocolate.”
Gabe doesn't hear him and William crumbles just a little bit more.
The next morning, William wakes to an individually wrapped piece of chocolate and a note,
eat enough of these and you'll have the fairest ♥ of them all,
The buzzing in William's chest increases a bit, enough to make him grasp at his shirt as he whimpers, willing the fungus to grow into grass and plant a seed to sprout a nice, fresh, fully alive heart. It doesn't stop, but it subsides.
He eats the chocolate.
Later on, William decides that he is going to find out who stole his heart (that bastard), and he won't tell anyone about it, 'cause then it will just defeat the purpose and if it's stupid who cares, really, it's the principle of the thing that matters. You can't steal someone's heart without telling and leave them to wither and die and just think it's okay. So day after day, William Beckett sits and waits and watches and he subtlety asks Butcher and Chislett and even Travie, but it just doesn't feel right and he knows they don't have his heart.
William finds more chocolate after that, every day, in his bunk, underneath a book, in Mike's shoe, in the lounge, taped to the tv, and one actually found it's way in the shower, all with a note and a promise of something bigger and better and so fulfilling it makes William weak in the knees to think about and he aches and wishes against all reason that he could feel right again, whole even.
He texts Gabe, hungry + heartless in cali, send help.
Gabe writes back, butcher's pillow, and William's chest thrums uncomfortably when he finds the chocolate.
After that, William didn't find anymore. His chest is tight when he wakes up in the morning now and he has yet to find a person who has seen or heard of his missing heart. It's alarming, actually and Bill is almost tempted to invest in the the infinite wisdom of Alex Suarez.
But he doesn't.
When he finally sees Gabe nearly a day later, the dull hum kicks up to a painful roar. William is hit by it so suddenly, he loses his footing and stares at the sky from the ground until he gets the desert storm to downgrade to a manageable flash flood. Fuck, William thinks it'd be such an awesome moment to have his heart back and he feels like he isn't any closer to finding out where it went and it was actually making him sad. Like, he felt empty and colorless and kind of like that movie Pleasantville where those kids landed in that reality where everything was back and white and so not cool.
Gabe just smiles when he approaches, hands behind his back.
"You look lost, little Bill," he says, and William wants to wither up and die, he's in so much agony.
"No, no, not lost," William assures, "I-I'm, I think I'm lifeless, Gabe. Everything's black and white and I'm so cold."
"Here," Gabe's still smiling, like William didn't just confess he's probably dying. He takes one of his hands from behind his back and holds it out for William. William tries to peer into Gabe's closed fist, mouth rounded and concentration evident, so Gabe opens it and laying there is... nothing. William's eyebrows furrow and he glances at Gabe, "Oh."
Gabe just grins.
William clutches his chest, looks away and says, "Well," and stops. He doesn't know what he was thinking, what he was hoping for, doesn't know what he's asking and he probably never will and William thinks, this is not okay.
"Bilvy," Gabe says. "Bilvy, look."
William cranes his head to look at Gabe, look at Gabe as he holds out a heart, a fucking heart in his other hand. It's red and plush and it's one of those valentine's day toys where it's stuffed and has feet and arms and a big fucking smile on its silly red face, and taped to the front of it, tucked inside it's bended arms, is a chocolate bar.
Williams chest bursts and he feels it pick up a steady rhythm, beating and beating and he loses his breath and he wants to just reach out and touch it, cause, "Oh. Oh. Gabe."
"I found it," and Gabe's still smiling that amazing fucking smile and William wants to smile too, and he thinks, maybe, maybe he can, so he does and, yes, because it's his heart. It's his fucking big, sloppy heart and Gabe had it this whole time and William feels so full and whole and happy and he just wants to laugh and live and love and never return it.
So William smiles, and it's blinding, and he says, he says, "Keep it."
Gabe stops and William pushes it towards Gabe's own chest and says, "Keep it, you can keep it for me, okay?"
Gabe goes kind of breathless and he leans down to put his forehead against William's.
"Yeah?" he asks, and William, with his heavy chest and lifting heart says, "Yes."
Because he trusts Gabe enough to keep it safe and never let it get stolen again.
Gabe leans down and brushes his lips against William's, "Okay," he says, "Okay. I can do that."
William just smiles.