Send My Love to the Playground
RATED G FOR "GABE YOU TINY LITTLE STALKER"
Pairings: Teeny!Gabe/Teeny!William, (Ryan/Z, Sisky/Butcher)
Warnings: Ignoring age gaps completely, tiny first grade antics.
Summary: Gabe loves Bill. Bill hates Gabe. Flirtation in the form of rubber snakes ensue.
Disclaimer: THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN, DON'T GOOGLE YOURSELF, THAT MEANS YOU.
Bill hated Gabe.
He hated his stupid light-up shoes, and his stupid sunglasses, and his stupid snake. Especially the snake. There had to be a rule about bringing snakes to school—they couldn’t bring fun things, like Pokémon cards and yo-yos, so why would they let them bring nasty, evil, bitey things like snakes?
It had gone something like this.
It was math time, so they all had to get out their math workbooks. Bill flipped up the top of his desk to look for it. There was a snake on top of his pencil case. He yelled (he didn’t scream, only girls scream, and Bill was not a girl) and jerked back in his chair until he fell over backwards. Mr. Wentz rushed over from behind his desk to make sure he was okay. Bill was crying and pointing at his desk, shouting, “Snake! Snake!” Mr. Wentz picked up the snake. It flopped around a bit. A few of the girls screamed (because that’s what girls do). Mr. Wentz asked, “Does this belong to anyone?” Gabe raised his hand. “It was a present for Billvy!”
Bill hated Gabe a lot.
Gabe loved Billvy.
He was pretty, like a girl, but he was cool, like a boy, so obviously this meant that Billvy was perfect. And in all the movies his mom watched, whenever someone said “You’re perfect,” it meant that they loved the other person, and they should be together forever and ever. So Gabe was in love with Billvy. He just had to prove it.
The first snake he ever got was named Nina. She was in a plastic bin at the toy store with a bunch of iguanas, salamanders, and other snakes. But Nina was black and red and yellow and her tongue was sticking out; all the other snakes were boring green, who would want a snake that color? His mom said he could have one toy, as long as it wasn’t expensive, so he ran up to her the second he had pulled Nina out of the bin and begged for her to buy it now.
When he got home, he’d already named her, after one of the ladies in those TV shows his mom watched on the Spanish channel. He slithered her all over the house, and she met his dinosaurs, and he was already thinking of a name he’ll give to her snake-friend, once he got another one.
That was a year ago, when he was still in kindergarten. Now Gabe had a whole collection of snakes, but Nina was always his first. So, of course, when he realized that he loved Billvy, he decided that the first present he’d give him would be the most important snake he’d ever owned.
He didn’t know people could be afraid of snakes.
The day after the snake incident, Gabe spent most of recess chasing Bill, not even stopping when Bill threw dirt at him. Gabe kept shouting that he just wanted to talk, but Bill didn’t believe him. He probably just wanted to wave another snake in his face.
But eventually, they both got tired and ended up collapsing under the jungle gym. Gabe kept making a noise like he was about to say something, but every time he would just take a few more deep breaths. Bill didn’t even bother trying to speak.
After a few minutes, Gabe finally sat up. “Why didn’t you like my present?”
Bill looked over at him, not moving. Woodchips are pretty comfortable to lie down on, once you get used to it. “I don’t like snakes.”
“Why not? They’re cool.”
“No, dogs are cool. Dogs and tigers. Snakes are just gross.”
“They are not, you take that back!”
“Are too! They’re slimy and slithery and bite you, and then you get sick and die.”
“They’re not slimy! I touched a real one once, at the zoo.”
“Really? And it didn’t bite you?” Bill sat up, looking impressed.
“Nope. The guy said it wasn’t even poisonous, it just curls around you and squeezes until you don’t have any air.”
“So snakes kill you by hugging?”
“Yeah, yeah! You’re right! Isn’t that cool?”
“...Maybe a little.” It was cool, Bill just didn’t want Gabe to think he wanted another snake in his desk.
“Snakes are the coolest. And I gave you my favorite snake. So I thought you’d like it.”
“But why did you want me to have it? It’s not my birthday. Or Christmas.”
Gabe looked a little confused. “Well, I just. Wanted to give you a present.”
“Yeah, but, why?” Not that William wanted to argue with free presents, but it was just weird.
“Well. You’re pretty.”
Bill stood up all the way, glaring down at Gabe. “I am not!”
“Yes you are! And I’m in love with you, so I’m supposed to give you presents. That’s how it works.”
“Is not. I’m a boy.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“So I can’t be pretty. Duh.”
“But you are.” Gabe stood up and reached out to grab Bill’s hair. “You have pretty hair.”
Bill yelped and pushed Gabe away, hard enough that he stumbled and fell back down onto the woodchips. “I do not, leave me alone!” And before Gabe could stand back up, Bill was running away toward the slide. He could hide under there until Gabe stopped looking for him.
Gabe begged his mom to take him to the toy store the next day. “Not for me, I need to get a present for someone!” His mom agreed pretty quickly after that, mumbling something to his dad about a crush. Whatever, Gabe didn’t care what it was called, it was important.
The plastic bins with all the animals were in the back corner of the toy store, next to the big table with the train set. He looked there first; toys that were on the table had been played with before, which meant they were already kid-approved. But there were only a few elephants and camels on top of the train cars, so Gabe went to look in the bins themselves.
Dogs, Billvy had said, dogs and tigers. Either one of them would work. Maybe a dog with tiger stripes, but he doubted they existed. Then again, unicorns didn’t exist, and they were in the bins. And dragons, but dragons might have existed, they were probably just snakes before they lost their wings or something—
Oh, hey, and there was a tiger. That would work.
Bill opened his desk the next day to find a plastic tiger lying on his science book.
He picked it up, squinted at it, and then looked over at Gabe. He was grinning.
Bill put the tiger back, shut his desk, and went back to watching Mr. Wentz teach them about subtraction. He might have seen Gabe pout, but he couldn’t tell out of the corner of his eye. Not that he was paying attention or anything.
Gabe chased Billvy at recess again, and this time, Gabe caught him by the hood of his jacket. “I thought you liked tigers!”
“Not that much! I just said they were cool, everyone thinks tigers are cool.” Billvy wiggled around, but his jacket was zipped and buttoned, so he couldn’t take it off to get away from Gabe. Good.
“Well, what do you want? I could pick you flowers.”
“I’m not a girl, I told you.”
“It doesn’t matter! I can still pick you flowers, I’m in love with you.”
“Are not. Only grown-ups fall in love.”
“Uh-huh. Only grown-ups can fall in love, because only grown-ups are allowed to get married.”
“Z and Ryan got married! Remember, in kindergarten?”
“That was fake married. When you get real married you have real rings instead of pipe cleaners.”
Gabe pouted and let Billvy go, watching him run as far away from Gabe as possible. “We never even got fake married,” Gabe muttered to himself as he stalked over to the swings.
Billvy obviously liked him. If he didn’t, he would’ve punched Gabe in the face by now, so this had to be just a test. He wouldn’t return Gabe’s affections until he had proven his love in the most awesome way possible.
The rules of love were kind of stupid.
Bill opened his desk the next day to find a pack of gummi bears.
He looked over at Gabe, who was fidgeting nervously and grinning.
Bill looked back at his desk, sighed, and shut it again.
At lunch that day, Bill bought pizza, milk, and a cup of fruit salad, and then pulled the pack of gummi bears out of his pocket.
He looked over at Gabe while he ate them. Gabe was smiling, even as he watched Bill bite the little bears’ heads off.
Gabe was winning. He had to be. He didn’t even have to chase Billvy for half of recess; they just sat on the swings together.
“So, you like gummi bears?” It had just been a guess, he didn’t want to give him chocolate (he’d just get the but I’m not a girl whine again) and everyone loved gummi bears, so he took a chance.
“Yeah, they’re all right.” Billvy was concentrating hard on his swinging. He was good at swinging, with his long legs that made him taller than everyone else in the first grade.
“What’s your favorite candy? I could get you that.”
“Do you still think you’re in love with me?”
“Yes. You’re perfect and I love you more than the whole world.” Or was it more than anything in the world? He needed to pay more attention when his mom watched those movies.
Billvy stopped swinging his legs, dragging his feet on the ground to slow down until he stopped. “The whole world?”
“Yep. I love you more than pizza and kickball and Ninja Turtles and—“ He had to think about this next one. “And…snakes. I love you more than snakes.”
Billvy made a bug-eyed fish face. “More than snakes? You?”
Billvy shut his mouth and looked away. “I don’t believe you.”
“You don’t love anything more than snakes. You even said so, at show and tell.”
“Yeah, but. I changed my mind! You can do that. Apples used to be my favorite fruit in the whole world, and then I tried strawberries.”
“So I’m a strawberry.”
“You’re better than strawberries.”
Billvy looked back at him through his hair, which was all over and in his face from the hardcore swinging. He was really, really pretty.
“…Can I push you on the swing?” Gabe asked.
Gabe had to stop himself from doing his victory dance (the one where he sings that song in that funny language that isn’t English or Spanish and claps his hands a lot) so he could run up behind Billvy and start pushing.
Bill gave Gabe a few Jolly Ranchers he took from a bag of old Easter candy in the pantry the next day. He watched Gabe open his desk, pick out the candy, and smile at Bill like he’d just given him Disney World.
Bill looked away, but he was smiling. His face felt kind of hot.
At recess that day, Gabe gave him a kiss on each cheek. His lips were purple from one of the Jolly Ranchers.
Bill shoved him away. “Boys don’t kiss boys.”
“It’s okay if it’s on the cheek. Gerard kisses boys.”
“Yeah but, I think Gerard’s actually a girl.”
They discussed this for a while, sitting on the swings again, trying to figure out who in their class was or wasn’t a girl. Eventually, Bill decided it was okay if it was on the cheek. Gabe said that’s how his parents greeted everyone.
It probably only seemed weird because Gabe’s tongue was still purple.
Once he knew Billvy was okay with it, Gabe kissed him as often as he could.
Sometimes the kids around him would stick out their tongues and make gagging noises. Sisky Biz just copied him and started kissing Butcher.
Gabe felt like a trendsetter.
One day, Bill didn’t find anything in his desk. He frowned, but he didn’t look over at Gabe—it’s not like he was supposed to leave him presents every single day.
Gabe didn’t look at him through all of math and English. Okay, now it was getting a little weird.
At lunch, Gabe sat at a different table from Bill, picking at his spaghetti instead of actually eating it. Maybe he was sick. But the last time he was sick, he made a big deal out of how loud he was sneezing and kept trying to go to the nurse so he could get out of school. Gabe just looked like he wasn’t hungry.
When lunch was over and it was time for recess, Bill went straight to the swings and pouted. Maybe Gabe had stopped loving him. Which was no big deal, he wasn’t going to cry about it like some girl. But still. Weird.
Then Gabe walked over to him, holding something behind his back and smiling nervously. Bill scraped his feet in the wood chips and waited. Gabe stopped a few feet in front of him, got down on one knee, and held out his hand.
He was holding a purple pipe cleaner, twisted up into a circle.
“Billvy Beckett, will you fake marry me?”
Bill stood up, looked down at him, and giggled.
Then he bent down and kissed Gabe on the nose. “Sure.”