Rating: PG-13, some swearing
Characters: Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton
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.