William gave a faint sigh as he leaned back against the dusty side of the bus, his mind buzzing with a million things at once, seemingly not catching up to the current moment of stillness. The sky was a spectrum of oranges and pinks, and it wasn't exactly the most amazing sunset he'd ever seen (especially out on the road) but it felt like it was, in that moment.
That was the thing with touring, everything always felt louder, funnier, more invasive, more beautiful, more enraging, more significant and meaningful- every emotion and thought and feeling was amplified, probably due to sleep deprivation and inhumane amounts of caffeine and alcohol, but William always liked to think that the road brought him to life. Made him appreciate the insane amounts of energy he was surrounded by and expected to keep up with.
"You look like death," Gabe commented casually as he walked up, took his rightful place next to William and turned his gaze to the sky. He didn't seem as enamored by the sunset as William was, but he also looked freshly showered and shockingly sober, all bright eyes and easy smiles, so he couldn't be trusted.
William didn't answer, knew he didn't really need to, because he noticed that Gabe was finally paying attention to the sky.
That was thing with Gabe and William; their friendship, their whatever, was built entirely on tour. They only knew how to operate in the sleepless haze and exhilarating energy of touring together, not that they didn't see one another outside of that atmosphere.
It was their comfort zone, really.
They synced up then, forgot their real lives, if they even had real lives. Maybe touring was their real life, and whatever they did on break was just make-pretend. For show.
He wished that, sometimes. That he and Gabe could just be stuck in an endless loop of traveling and getting drunk and being late for bus calls because they were pretending to argue about whatever insignificant thing.
They were used to being exhausted together, and touring had this knack of bringing people impossibly close, but that's where William had fucked up along the way.
The shared smiles, knowing glances, for-the-camera kisses- it all felt very real, and William wasn't sure where they'd gotten the lines crossed between real and pretend.
Well, he had. He couldn't speak for Gabe… no one could speak for Gabe, really.
He remembered telling himself, early on in the band, even before Gabe, not to ever develop feelings for anyone on the road; mostly because he'd heard other bands talking about that, in the very early days, when they were still clueless teenagers.
Oh, but he went above and beyond that call of duty. He fucking fell in love with the guy.
He guessed. William wasn't a heart-eyes-and-picket-fences kind of guy, but whatever sort of companionship he and Gabe had fallen into felt a hell of a lot like love.
They could play pretend together, right? Didn't it seem like they did anyway? Gabe playing with him onstage, in front of fans, in front of friends. Wasn't that all pretend, all a show, a running joke?
What everyone else didn't see, the thing that had gotten William into this mess in the first place, were the deep conversations into the late night. The early mornings awake-before-everyone-else-or-never-went-to-sleep coffee "dates" and watching the sunrise as the interstate zoomed by. The hidden naps behind curtains.
They moved seamlessly together, two wholes dancing in sync. He didn't need another half, and Gabe sure as hell didn't either. He knew Gabe. He liked to think that he knew Gabe better than anyone, and the opposite was absolutely true.
His heart was heavy, maybe in that melancholy way it always is when you're watching a sunset. Or thinking too much. Both was just plain masochistic.
"What's up, Billiam?" Gabe asked suddenly, gently elbowing him, and then not very gently elbowing him when he hadn't responded in a proper amount of time.
He didn't know, not really.
They had a few dates of the tour left and then a few weeks to go home and rest, he should be happy about that, the way everyone else seemed to be.
His skin was itching with some of sort of restlessness, some desire and homesickness for something that wasn't his actual home.
It was exhaustion, of course, but it didn't feel like that was the root of it. He was a child fighting sleep and swearing up and down that tiredness wasn't the cause of his meltdown.
Typical tour shit.
"I don't- I don't know," William admitted with a laugh, and prayed to whatever god would hear him that the unexpected sob hadn't been as obvious as it felt.
"Hey, guillermo- hey, look at me," Gabe cooed as he reached a hand, seemingly scorching the skin of William's cheek to urge his gaze upward. He obeyed, of course. It was Gabe.
His eyes were earnest and caring and warm, the way William liked them.
"I'm going to miss- this tour, I don't know. I like being on the road," he admitted pitifully with a shrug, grateful that the word 'you' had not followed the word 'miss'. Only for the sake of his own pride.
He laughed at himself for good measure.
Gabe didn't say anything, and his only reply was a sympathetic smile and a nod before he pulled William to his side, kissing the top of his head and turning back to the sunset.
William could have sworn he heard Gabe sigh with some kind of longing.
The next to last night of tour, they were camping the buses for the night, meaning a party was in store for more than one reason.
William was warm with alcohol and had successfully drowned whatever melancholy he felt with whiskey. Everyone was laughing, happy, celebrating the end of a successful tour.
It felt light, there was a magic in the air that only the very beginning or very end of a tour could bring.
He was giggling at Butcher's and Sisky's attempts to ping pong against the bus, realizing he'd lost track of Gabe some time ago when the man had promised he'd be back with Ryland's last joint. It felt ages ago, though it could have been five minutes for all William knew. Either way, he hadn't returned. Probably smoking it on the bus. Bastard.
So, naturally, William stumbled after him, as he always seemed to do, and when he finally weaved his way through a few jokes and passing drunken grins, he was clambering up the steps to S.S. Cobra. (Named in a drunken rant by Nate)
Gabe was, surprisingly, sitting alone in the front lounge. But not so surprisingly he was sitting in front of his laptop, pupils blown and seemingly on a mission.
"Gabe Saporta missing a party, wonders never cease," William said with a sigh, falling into the seat next to Gabe and hooking a chin over his shoulder to see the computer.
"Oh, shit- I got distracted, I was checking my email and then I got caught up checking the band's page and- oh, anyway- Pete sent me a video of foxes jumping on trampolines," Gabe replied very seriously, and surely enough he was halfway through a twenty minute compilation.
The joint lay forgotten on the table.
"Hmm," William replied vaguely, but they both laughed when a pair of foxes jumped simultaneously.
"It's gonna be weird- touring without you guys. Vicky is the only person who can actually help me trim my hair," William pouted slightly, leaning back lazily and looking to Gabe.
"I'm gonna miss you, too, Bilvy," Gabe said knowingly in reply, but he was smirking as he looked back up and patted a hand on William's.
William grabbed the hand, playing idly with the thick fingers of it and watching that stupid fucking cobra ring, glinting around in the (albeit dim) lighting.
"Hey, you should come to Chicago," William said suddenly, an overwhelming weight settling on his chest at the realization that tour was over and they'd soon be parting ways again.
"Yeah? What the hell's in Chicago?" Gabe asked with a sly smile before adding with a playful eyeroll, "Besides the obvious."
"We'll make a Bears and Bulls fan of you, yet, Saporta," William warned with a grin, meeting Gabe's eyes and making it clear that he actually expected an answer. "Once you rest and detox all the vodka, of course."
"Detox just to retox," Gabe referenced with a laugh and then gave a slow nod, gaze never leaving William's. "Hell yeah I'll come to Chicago. Mike's setup at his place is pretty fucking cool, maybe I'll record some rough tracks. Fuck the pizza, though. I don't fuck with that bullshit, Bilvy. Or the Bulls. Fuck it, I'll just leave with you tomorrow instead of going all the way to New York first."
Gabe Saporta was boundless energy. He was fast-paced conversation, all wit and charm wrapped up in an incredibly overly energetic package. He was… hell, Gabe Saporta was fire.
When he was a smoldering pile of coals, he was always just chasing whatever bits of tinder he expected would ignite that roaring fire within. Booze, weed, pills, impromptu dance parties on a bus full of sleeping bandmates, silly jokes and then immediately after heated confrontation with a stranger, mischief of whatever brand he could find. He was restless energy, bouncing knees and twiddling thumbs and sleepless nights. Stuck in whatever the self-psycho-analyzation of the week was.
Oh, but when the flames caught. Blazing, burning, scorching everything in its path. Unstoppable by all means, too hot to get close but too beautiful to look away. Mesmerizing, but terrifying in all its might and uncertainty. Watching with bated breath- will the flames dim, or will he destroy himself in his blaze? Confidence, power, and charisma beyond measure.
William, though. William ignited a different sort of fire within Gabe. It was soft, licking flames, crackling and popping as white noise instead of a main event. Warm, safe, inviting. Giving off a kind of heat you wanted to curl up in and never leave. And the heat seeped into the very core of William himself.
Like he said.…whatever sort of symbiotic dance they'd fallen into, it was their own sort of love.