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Joe Thornton

Heart in a Box, 11

Title: Heart in a Box
Author: Mae
Rating: PG-13, some swearing
Characters: Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton
Archive: http://maefic.50webs.com/slash/heart.html
Dedication: The Vegas girls. :D
Disclaimer: It's all lies!
Author's Notes: This is set just after Joe Thornton was traded to the Sharks in November 2005. I started writing this in 2007 but only picked it up again recently and it's finally done! The idea came from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but I went a different direction with it.

Heart in a Box, 11

The Sharks beat the Bruins easily even though they didn't have Joe for almost the entire game. Patty had a goal and two assists and was named first star of the game. Joe patted him on the back when he came into the locker room and he gave him a rare smile in response. There were the obligatory questions from the media about the hit and whether he agreed with the call, how it felt like to come back to Boston. He answered questions about his former teammates, his new teammates, and the gory details of the day of his trade. He answered everything that they asked and he was exhausted when he was done, even though he still wore his easy smile and casual demeanor.

When they got back to their room and Patty started to undress, his bloodstained shirt falling to the floor, something in Joe snapped and he grabbed Patty by the shoulders and shook him hard. It wasn't his life and it wasn't his decision but he couldn't stand back and do nothing anymore; he would never forgive himself if he did.

"I know that I might not be able to get through to you, and I know that maybe nothing can ever get through to you again, but I believe that I can; I believe that there is something left inside you that still wants to live, maybe as much as I do. I know we're different, but I also know that we're the same. I know that I'd do anything for you on the ice and that you'd do the same for me. I would take a thousand hits, and I'd lose more teeth and I would keep coming back for more.

"But none of that means anything unless I'm truly alive; nothing I do means anything unless I'm alive. I've fallen in love and I've been dumped so hard it hurt in my guts; I'd fall in love again even if my heart gets broken again twice as bad. I want to feel every ounce of pain because without that I can't feel the good. I want to travel the world; I want to ski down every mountain range, I want to scuba dive in every ocean. I want to spin a globe and close my eyes and fly to wherever my finger falls to stop it. I want to see every wonder in the world and I want to go on safari and I want to snowboard down a sand dune in the Gobi desert and feel every grain of sand stinging my face as I do it. I want to learn how to surf, and I want to swim with dolphins and swim with sharks, and I want to shiver with the fear that courses through me.

"I want to go to Vegas and lose everything but my pants, then win it all back. I want to go to space and be weightless. I want to scale a mountain and plant a Canadian flag on top of that fucker. I want to have sex in the champagne room. I want to learn how to draw and paint because I'm terrible at art, and I want to struggle. I want to crash a protest so I can feel what it's like to be on a team of thousands.

"I want to have kids and give them everything that they need because that's what my parents gave me. I want to hold them in my arms and look at them and love them so much that I want to cry. I have so much I want to do and feel and experience, and I'll never have enough sunsets. I want everything I can possibly get in my life and it breaks my heart that you're throwing all of your sunsets away every fucking day.

"Maybe you're complicated, and I'm simple, but I believe that you want life as much as I do, and even if you won't say it, this does."

Joe traced his finger down the bloody trail along Patty's torso, then realized that he'd been shouting--trying to drown out the loud pounding that was echoing around in the room. It wasn't muffled anymore, and it was clear what it was now, what Joe had always known it was, deep inside: a heartbeat. He stood up, taking a few steps to the wall, trying to figure out where it was coming from. He moved to the dresser, opening the drawers one by one, and when he opened the one at the bottom...


He took the wooden box out of the drawer and lifted it into the light to get a better look at it. It was a wooden box with a lid that you could slide into the top. It was painted with animals that looked like they belonged in nursery rhymes, although it was hard to be sure what they were for sure as the paint was chipped and fading. He could barely make out writing on the lid; he thought that maybe it was a name. The box throbbed in his hand, the light wood vibrating gently.

"I think this is yours," Joe said, and he held the box out.

Patty took it from his hands and smiled.


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Oh, oh oh oh. This was so beautiful. I love how, in a way (I think) this is almost more Joe's story, about him coming to accept where and how his life has taken him, and then bringing that to Patty.

*squeaks* Thank you so much, Chrissy!!! :) Yeah, it definitely became more about Joe along the way... not really intentionally! :P But that very last part was always going to be the ending. :)

For the record, I wouldn't have told you to change a thing.

On the other hand, I think I need to read the whole thing through a few more times to have something other than flaily hands to give you, so.

You are my safety net, like you were way back with Supernova. :)

Flaily hands are good!!! :D

... I still love Supernova so much :(

Oh man, I was so terrified to post that.

It's a little bit out there. And also this is back when everything posted was so awesome!!!

And now... it is not so much awesome? ;)

I do have to say I've read some gems.

I don't think anything will ever beat Marshmallow Fluff.

This is true, partly because of the epic scope!

Ah, KitKat, how much we have to thank you for.

I really liked how in this one even though his last speech is about doing everything and having everything, that they both seemed to have grown up a bit and realised the things they can and can't have, and the things they are absolutely going to fight for.

Yeah, the prevailing idea is that nothing is impossible and people can do anything, but the truth is that we are limited. But that should be more, not less, inspirational because it means whatever you want, you should do it now, because you have limited time.

Thank you so much, Bernie! :D

oh mae this was lovely! I caught up again! :D im so happy you finished :D

Thank you!!! *cuddles* I am nothing if not stubborn, hahaha.

This was one of the most interesting things I've ever read. I love how the impossibility of it all isn't a factor and everyone just accepts what Patty did, until Joe. Great job! I love what you write. :)

Thank you!!! It was interesting to write too, haha. I'm glad you liked it. :)

Oh, wow. This is so cool. I love the idea of mixing hockey fic and magical realism and you did it so wonderfully here. Reading this kind of made my heart ache. But in a good way.

Also "I want to have sex in the champagne room" made me lol. =D

Thank you, Alex!!! :) I'm glad the concept worked for you. That's one of the nice things about hockey fandom, it's so broad you can write a lot of different types of stories.

Hehe, that one just popped into my head!

MAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEE. This was so good. :') I loved Joe going back to Boston, and the ways it had changed for him, and him opening up to Patty -- how he'll keep that failure in him somewhere, forever. It sounds weird, but that's one of the reasons I've always liked him! When he played in Boston he drove me (as a Habs fan) nuts, but I also always respected him and felt for him there, and it was why I tried to pin it down in fic afterwards. You always do it so much better and with ten thousand less words though, which is why I love your fic. :)

Um, anyway! I did get alarmed when Joe took Patty's shirt off, but I trusted that your love hadn't reached terrifying levels when I wasn't looking, so it's all good. :P And them both finding that losing something and losing yourself don't have to be the same thing, and just the super interesting format, and ... yeah. Flail flail you're amazing.

*giggle* I guessed it was you!

I think seeing him with the Sharks made me realize what a bad fit he was in Boston. That's probably why he was so grumpy all the time, because he thought that's what they wanted and needed from him.

It's hilarious how much Habs fans hate him! I love how he still gets booed.

I REALLY ALARMED MYSELF with the shirt thing. :( And Patty really alarms me too with all the talk about SPECIALLY REQUESTING to be roommates on the road and being all smiley when he talks about Joe and... that's enough love!

*sniffles* Thank you so much, Abby!!! You make me all blushy and weepy at the same time.

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