Gabe and Billy went way back. Bill said he’d even been a Midtown fan as a teenager, gone to see them play and admired Gabe’s taste in shirts. So when the Academy started touring with them, Billy of course found himself tongue-tied like some lame fanboy (Billy was a lame fanboy.) and Gabe thought that was really funny. Billy just went red and laughed along nervously, hoping to God he got the joke. He adored him, it was painfully clear. Blatantly obvious, that Billy thought of Gabe as bascially a god.
But it got better and the tours rolled along, until Gabe and Billy became friends and the words flowed easy between them until the early hours of late, late nights. Then they were GabeandBilly, and nobody saw them apart for entire tours except onstage. (They seemed to see the fact they couldn’t ever share the stage as a real letdown.) Both bands had trouble – Midtown made great music and they were all great guys but the whole major label thing had them trapped in a rut, and Billy was forced to say goodbye to two, then three of his boys. But GabeandBilly were always happy, bubbly, giggling and possibly high, even if Gabe and Billy seriously weren’t.
Gabe called Billy straight away when he decided to quit the band. He never admits it, but Billy knew before Midtown did. He justifies that Bill was his best friend, and at least he’d be genuinely gutted. There was always the risk that the boys would be cautiously overjoyed, and they weren’t good enough actors to fake being sad. Gabe supposed that fact was another reason he made the right choice.
Whether he’d made the right choice or not made no difference to the fact that he was left living with his parents back in Jersey, doing nothing, feeling restless and progressively more miserable without a band and wishing he didn’t have to stay behind and watch on TAI TV as all his best friends went off on tour and had the best time of their lives without him. It was only getting worse as the months went on and nothing to pull himself out of the hole presented itself.
The desert trip worried everyone, even the Midtown boys. Fuck, even Pete. But Gabe said he needed to ‘find himself’, and that was probably a better way than caged up in a hotel room with an ultimatum between writing an album worth of kickass lyrics and death or overdosing on Ativan in a Best Buy car park. So, Gabe packed his bags and a lot of questionable substances, and disappeared into the desert.
The snake appeared when he’d been out there for something like a month. He couldn’t remember a whole lot pre-high, and he was afraid he’d forget what he saw, too. But a futuristic talking cobra is not all that forgettable, it turns out. He stared at it for a while, blinking, but it didn’t disappear.
“What the fuck?” Gabe asked, swaying like a bitch. Shit, the whole world was wobbly except the cobra. The cobra wasn’t blurry or anything – it was HD.
“Fuck! I ssssaid, you are going to become the Messssiah of the sssscene, by teaching emossss to ssstop being whiny and hipssstersss to ssssstop taking themsssselvessss sssso sssseriously. With the aid of your band, Cobra Ssssstarsssshhhip. Got that?” the Cobra said snippily. “The world’ssss ending sssssoon.”
“Dude, like, fuck yeah, dude!” Gabe said, and fell over. He thinks that the main contributor to the following blackout was the Cobra, who looked kind of pissed off. Then again, it could also have been the drugs. Fifty/fifty chance, you know.
The Cobra was gone when he woke up, but there was a note tapped into his iPhone, that would become the Gospel of the Cobra. Gabe didn’t ever remember remember writing that, andhe insisted the Cobra did it. No one believes him, of course, but he thinks that if he managed to remember a space cobra telling him he was a modern day Jesus to the scene kids, sent to guide them to their probably hideous and painful deaths in style, he’d remember writing a gospel on an iPhone.
But at any rate, even if he hadn’t quite found himself, he had found something, so he packed up, went home and called Billy. Things were pulling together.
“Dude, I saw this – this Cobra – and it told me to get a band together and call it Cobra Starship… and I’m gonna start writing like right now man, it’s so amazing – I’m so ready for it right now…” Gabe slurred down the phone, sounding the most excited and the least stoned Billy had heard him in ages.
“That’s great, Gabe, I’m really happy for you and all – but it’s 4 in the morning…” Billy said awkwardly, rubbing his eyes and staring blearily at the roof of his bunk. For Christ sakes, he loved the boy, but he’d gone to bed two hours ago…
“Oh, right, sorry man, I forgot.” Gabe apologized in a rush. “Um, I’ll catch you up when you guys get home, yeah? Night.” He hung up to swear about how fucking huge his phone bill was boing to be, because wasn’t Billy in, like, Japan or some shit right now… fuck.
Billy called him as soon as his flight got in, because it might have been a shaky hope – okay, god, it was a hope based of a drug-induced hallucination, it was hopeless – but he honestly hadn’t heard Gabe sound so hyped in forever.
“What’s up, man, you wanna meet up or something?” he asked, walking out of Duty Free and waving goodbye to Sisky and the Butcher, who were going on an epic quest for giant Toblerone. He covered the phone and promised he’d meet them at baggage claim if they lived.
“Yeah, Billy, I am so stoked about this one man, you gotta come round as soon as you can, alright?” came that excited voice he loved so much.
Billy smiled and nodded nodded, remembered Gabe couldn’t see him nodding through a phone, said “I’m nodding and smiling, man,” and hung up with a grin threatening to make him start skipping, spinning ballerina style and hugging Mike, who was looking alarmed because he knew he always seemed to be the one that got hugged when Billy started looking like that. He couldn’t be happier for Gabe, ever if it was just a literal pipe dream. Whatever was going on, at least there was a smile on the boy’s face when, a few days and a long drive later, William arrived on his doorstep.
“So, I found out aobut this movie that’s coming out – Snakes On A Plane, you heard of it? Yeah, and so I thought why the hell not make a sound track for it, I mean it’s about snakes, and the Cobra’s a snake, so do you wanna hear a demo?” Gabe chattered as they went into the living room, talking a million miles a minute like the old days. Billy nodded, interested, and Gabe put a a CD in the stereo and pressed play. He hovered by the sofa Billy was sitting on, anxious for his friend’s approval, as Billy listened.It was definitely made on Garageband, and William could tell it needed work – actually, it needed some other voices, and he desparately wanted to be one of them – but the song was brilliant.
He grinned at Gabe, whose eyes lit up.
“You like it?” he asked, sitting on the sofa arm.
“Hell yes! Wow, Gabe, all you need is a band behind this and it’s gonna take off. It’s gonna be amazing. I fucking love it.” Billy grinned, nodding along to the beat.
"Yeah, I thought so too.” Gabe agreed, failing completely to be modest the way he generally did. Billy loved that about him. “So, um, I was thinking get together with Travis, and get a girl in too, dunno who though – and do you wanna be in too?” he asked, all nerves again, that stupid fidgetting anxiety that made Billy smile and forget how to talk. After all this time, he’d learned how to act like he wasn’t starstruck by Gabe Saporta, but he definitely still was.
“Definitely. I want to be part of it, man, this is gonna be great – in the studio together, Gabe, it’ll be sweet!” he grinned, already looking forward to that. Some time comparatively alone with Gabe would be much appreciated. He’d missed him. And Travis was a good guy, it would be cool to write with him.
They talked about the song, the movie and Gabe’s time in the desert until it was so late and they were both so drunk there was no point Billy going home, so they ordered in pizza and when it arrived Gabe smiled mischeviously and looped him arm through Billy’s leading him upstairs to his room “It’s warmer.” He said. They spent the rest of the night curled up in bed, nibbling on pizza and talking absently about random things. Billy fell asleep with Gabe’s arms around him, his soul on fire with happiness for his friend, who was finally coming back to the world.
They met up with Travis and Maia, from The Sounds. Maia hadn’t met them before, but she was good fun, and the group got along really well from the start. Billy and Gabe spent most nights writing together, chatting in the studio. The whole time – it took almost a week, despite everything being pretty much sorted long before they hit the studio – was bizarrely devoid of parties for Gabe, and William too.
“I feel like I haven’t gone out in a year, and it’s been so long that that doesn’t even worry me.” Billy said dazedly, one night sitting at a piano sharing the stool with Gabe, who was focussing on the keys intensely, trying to remember a nursery rhyme he’d learned as a kid and play it for Bill.
“I know, it’s fucking shit.” He agreed, looking up. “We’ll have to do something about that when this is done. We can go out together, get fucking wasted and dance for so long we hurt for days…” he dreamed of that, gazing into the distance. Billy laughed, leaning on his shoulder and wrapping his arms around his waist, savoring the warmth. God, it was cold in this studio after midnight.
“It pretty much is.” Travy pointed out, bent over a guitar working out a chord progression for some new Gyn Class material.
“Mmm.” Gabe said noncommitally. He sounded reluctant to do anything about that.
“Not ready to join the real world again yet?” Billy asked, because somebody had to and as his best friend he felt that should probably be him until Gabe had a band to fall back on. A real band. Trav, Billy and Maia were taken.
“Nah, I’m alright, it’s just… shit, this is just nice, you get that?” Gabe said, stopping his halfassed rendition of ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ or whatever the hell it was meant to be to look at Billy, his eyes, burning a message Billy knew he didn’t get.
“Yeah, I get that.” He lied. Gabe nodded slowly, knowing he pretty much didn’t. It wasn’t Billy’s fault, right? Gabe wasn’t usually all that hard to read, but he just didn’t…
“Yeah." Gabe cut his guilty thoughts off, smiling. But, "Yeah, I wish you did.” Billy could have sworn he heard him whisper.
They filmed the vid before the release, because of the release being so intense with all the Snakes On A Plane shit. It was getting ready to shoot that Billy first suspected he ‘got it’. He and Gabe were in front of the mirror in the dressing room, checking their make up and hair just before they did the corridor scene. Billy was studying his hair a little overstudiously, really not feeling like going out and filming because, as with every video, this was a really stupidly stressful shoot, when he caught Gabe watching him, lip caught between his teeth, from the corner of his eye. They were both just a little bit drunk still from last night, and it was that which made the usually shy, eternally coy Bill Beckett decide to make a move.
Gabe saw him looking and their eyes met in the reflection of the glass, Billy trying not to smirk too knowingly [too happily] at Gabe slightly embarrassed and ducking his heard, looking out from under his cap in that dorky way he had. Billy stopped, thought fast and straightened up, turning to Gabe with the kind of confidence you only got from still being in recovery from a night on the town with Gabe and Travvie - Billy hadn't actually slept yet this week. He slid his too-thin body between Gabe and the mirror, so they were pretty much pressed up against each other. Gabe was trying not to just say to hell with the videoshoot and leave with this kid on his arm, as Billy fixed him with a Look and his breathing hitched on the skinny boy's smile. The thing was, if anybody came in right now they wouldn't even have looked twice, because this was just the way it was with GabeandBilly. They were always fake-flirting, always all over each other. It was only Gabe and Billy themselves who knew that this was different, this wasn't their usual game.
Billy leaned in, and brushed Gabe's cheek with his thumb, smiling a little mockingly, never breaking eye contact with him and enjoying the effect his movements had, for the first time he'd ever noticed it in all the years he'd known Gabriel Saporta. Billy almost laughed as he realized he'd been wishing he possessed the ability to make Gabe react just like this since the day he'd met him, and yet he'd been so wrapped up in pretending he didn't think that way about him he'd never noticed that, actually, he did.
"...Is my hair out of place, Gabanti?" he asked innocently. Gabe gave up on trying to look like he didn't know what was going on and grinned - caught in the act.
"Looks fucking retarded, Billy, c'mere." he said and mussed up Billy's hair with a laugh. "Dork." he added, leaning on Billy's shoulders as he turned around to survey the damage in the mirror.
"The make up girls will kill you for this..." he laughed, shaking out the tangles and wondering if it was possible to fix."You'll never frame me," Gabe smirked. Billy started to turn, a smartass reply on his lips, but the door flew open and Travvie burst into the room, pumped on some energy drink/party pills combo.
"Time to shoot, guys!" he called.
"Sure," they replied in unison, and headed out to the set.
Much like My Chemical Romance, Cobra Starship's first truly questionable moment as a straight band was caught on camera and put in their first real music video. Gabe felt that they did it better. Mikey disagreed - Frank and Gee actually kissed, Gabe and William just looked at each other. William argued that there were pictures of Gabe and Billy pre-dating I'm Not Okay even being written. Gerard said that was bullshit and besides it was only because Bert had had him locked in the luggage compartment of their bus for all of 2003 and 4. Gabe retaliated by getting Gerard's brother drunk to the point of remembering nothing then writing It's Warmer In The Basement.
Gabe is unavoidable because his name is in the thank you's on both My Chem's first records, but Gerard likes to pretend he doesn't know who William Beckett is.
At a party after the video was released, Pete wandered past with a tequila in one hand and Mikey in the other.
"You guys are still bad actors." Pete said."Oh, because 16 Candles could have won you an Oscar, Pete." Billy shot back, laughing.
"Ghost Of You could have." Pete smiled, leaning into Mikey.
Mikey, who was definitely drunk and probably on something [bloody poser boy with his mystified expressions, how the fangirls still thought he was so innocent Gabe would never know] looked mystified. [See?!] "Wait, so - you guys were trying to hide it in that video? Fuck, I wouldn't have guessed..." he said.
Gabe politely explained, dong a damn fine job of keeping the blush from his face all the while, that that was probably because he saw the outtakes, not the actual video. Mikey agreed that was fairly likely, and Pete took him away.
"He is actually more spaced out than his brother ever was." Bilvy observed, stunned.
"Yeah." Gabe agreed. "You should see Bert."
The outtakes were mostly Gabe walking so close to Bilvy that his legs got tangled in the sash around his knee and Gabanti fell over.
The premier was awesome. There was no other way to put it. Gabe took to the red carpet and interviewed the fans. They posed for the cameras and Gabe and Bilvy acted like dorks together. Gabe basically groped Bilvy in an interview, and they made each other laugh so hard they wound up doubled over blind. Billy so knew this shit would be all over the net in about two hours and it would be fact to all the fangirls in the world that they were dating. He couldn't actually have cared less if he'd tried.
The next couple of days, they hung out in LA and acted like dorks some more. it was fun. They wanted to get out on the road and find Gabanti a band, and tour. But they also wanted to shut themselves away in a hotel room and never talk to anybody but each other again, ever. And they also didn't have half the guts to say that.
One night they were at dinner and Bilvy dropped a french fry in Gabe's lap.
He leaned over and picked it up with his teeth, hiding that from view under the table. Gabe's expression basically made hiding it the most pointless thing Bilvy'd ever done, but it was still satisfying seeing the boy go that shade of red.
Gabanti got his cellphone out and dialled his hotel's number. "Hi, I'd like to cancel my room for tonight." he said, and hung up. Travvie and Maja smirked. Bilvy smirked harder.
"And where are you sleeping tonight?" he asked, leaning over Gabe and showing off some angles that spelled that one out like a thin-ass neon sign in skinny jeans. Hot neon.
Gabe smiled angelically [not] and Bilvy got up and led him discreetly [not!] of the restaurant [as in, it was a minor miracle nobody snapped a picture of Bilvy with his sash around Gabe's throat dragging him out with the scariest smile in his face anybody present had ever seen. Travis maintains it was because they were too busy staring with their mouths open. He says they're all dumbasses and it had been obvious since the start].
Billy fumbled with his keys, laughing over his shoulder at Gabe, whose hands were in his back pockets, thumbs reaching around to rest on the taller boy's bony hips. They got inside, walking like a train, and Gabe slammed the door, took Billy's waistcoat off from behind and spun him around in his arms to see him smile. Billy leaned in, his arms over his shoulders, and brought that smile closer still. Gabe threaded his own arms around Bilvy's waist and leaned his forehead on Bill's forehead. He walked them to the bed and Billy fell backwards, taking Gabe after him with that smile. Gabe lay on him, legs tangled up like a replay of the outtakes - Gabe laughed, thinking of that, and Bilvy knew what he was thinking and laughed too - and Gabe's hand traced Billy's jaw, pressing their mouths together and savoring his taste, His other hand got tangled up in the back of Billy's shirt, and Billy pushed Gabanti's hoodie back, pulling him closer, breathing hard. He was hard. They were both hard.
"No dodgy shit tonight," Billy said, pulling away just enough to look into Gabe's eyes with that smile ghosting his lips against. Gabe almost laughed again - this wasn't dodgy to him? Wow, Billy had an interesting life...
"Right." he laughed, his fingers trailing around to the front of Bilvy's torso and downward, bringing up shivers of pleasure.
"Seriously!" I don't want it to be like that, okay?" he pressed.
"How many years have we been waiting this out?" Gabe whispered into Bilvy's neck, but he wasn't going to force the issue if Bilvy didn't want him to. "Absolutely okay." he amended and kissed him again, softly. Billy's tongue slipped between his teeth and he ran his tongue over Bilvy's maddening smile.
He pulled away long enough to get them both out of their stupid, tight clothes. "See, this is why gangstas wear baggy clothes - so they don't make dicks of themselves when they're about to get some." Gabe laughed, struggling with his jeans.
"Yeah, but they don't get the pleasure of watching your muscles flex while you're trying to get your stupid skinny jeans off," Bilvy said, lying resplendant against the pillows with no shirt and one finger in his mouth (the other hand vanishing to places that made Gabe jealous), chewing thoughtfully and running his eyes over Gabe in a way that made him shudder with delight.
"True," Gabe admitted, and straddled Bilvy's waist, unbuttoning his jeans and taking them off for him. "That's true." Bilvy only smirked and pulled him down under the covers, pressing their skin together everywhere he could reach and running his tongue all over Gabe's mouth lazily, fantastically, confidently.
"I'll tell LiveJournal they fucked up my rooms, in case anybody misses me." Gabe said later, his arms around Bilvy.
"Only if I can have you here every night till we leave LA," Bilvy said into his shoulder.
"Works for me, baby," Gabe smiled, and kissed him again.
Billy made him tell the truth on his LJ because he said the screaming fangirls didn't deserve to be lied to. He hijacked the keyboard by sitting on Gabe's lap just before the journal was posted, and added 'what?! it's not gay if you don't cum!'. Because they didn't deserve to be lied to, but they also didn't need it handed to them on a plate.
"Why is the most typically 'Gabe' line in that shit written by William Beckett?" Gabe asked in disbelief. "You've made me a public persona, bitch."
William twisted in his lap and kissed the corner of his mouth, smiling again. "Because William Beckett knows you too well." he laughed.
Cobra Starship came together slowly, but they clicked perfectly. There was a brief episode with the absolute wrong keytarist, but Vicky T saved the day. Ryland, Alex and Nate were perfect. They made Gabe happy, and that made Billy happy. Midtown was a forgotten venture, nothing more than a memory, and it was best that way.
The world tour with Panic was one of the best they ever had. At every show they played, they shared the stage.
Ryan Ross laughed at them backstage, but Gabe said it was because Ryland already had a double personality thanks to TAI TV, he didn't need to fake being gay as well.
"You're calling this fake?" Ryan deadpanned, looking pointedly at Gabe's arm around Billy's waist, his fingers tucked beneath the waistband on his jeans. All three couldn't help but smile.
"...No," Gabe said, and leaned his head on Billy's shoulder. "You can't fake love."
Brendon ran past and slapped Ryro on the ass, and from the color his face went, he knew just exactly what they meant.