Gift AU Idea
The thing about the Gift, is that you never quite know what you are going to get, and what it’s going to cost.
It sometimes cost a lot, and early - for such little payback that it hardly seemed worth it. It sometimes cost nothing anyone could ever know - and changed a whole life. Sometimes it was a gift at birth, and sometimes a curse before death, but it always happened.
When Jack Zimmerman was born, his parents were beyond thrilled. He was a weird looking baby, but my god, they loved him more than they ever thought would be possible. That first night, at midnight, a light filled up the dark room and formed a fae shape, indistinct but instantly recognisable.
“I will take his first last breath.” The solid light said, before fading completely. Bob, who had his ability to grow a beard taken as payment for his ability to always land a solid punch, and Alicia (who lost all her memories before she was 4 so that her smile could light up a room) looked at each other and blinked.
Because what the hell did that mean?
When the light filled the hospital room where one Eric Richard Bittle lay sleeping, both his parents were wide awake and trembling. Susan lost her ability to read at 19, and Coach lost his own name three weeks after his 4th birthday, and both knew the sting of a ‘gift’ that never really lived up to the price they paid. Neither of them wanted their darling baby to suffer - to lose anything. They wanted to give him the world. Coach glared at the light while Susan hid her face in her hands.
“That’s my son and I swear to all that is good in this world if you hurt him, if you hurt my boy-” his voice broke at the end. He’d paid a high price for his gift, lost his name and gained only the ability to write with both hands. Susan had it worse - she remembered words, her love of books, the simple skill of reading labels or instructions - gone now… all for the knowledge of when it was best to pick the ripest fruit.
And god, he feared for his boy.
“I will take his joyous childhood.”
And Coach found out that it was impossible to punch a living light.
Sometimes you met people who had the same gift, or paid the same price. Shitty lost his name, just like Coach, and Bitty was pretty sure thats why he trusted the mustachioed man so much. His gift was never feeling cold. Ransom lost his birthmark and Holster lost his first love - and gained each other, a soul bond so strong that sometimes it was difficult for them to tell who was feeling what. Lardo swapped her appendix for the ability to see in the dark, Nursey lost his spatial awareness for his love of words and Dex lost his calm. Dex wasn’t quite sure what he got, which wasn’t all that uncommon because really… in a world where your sense of smell can be traded for the ability to flip a pancake… sometimes it just wasn’t easy to work out what your gift was.
Chowder lost his baby teeth for his joy of life, Johnson his ability to tell the time for some weird alternative universe only he could see.
Jack lost his first last breath on the bathroom floor of a nondescript hotel room for a second chance - Bitty lost his carefree childhood with every taunt and shove as he grew up.
Bitty figured that the price was okay. He could make the best pies anyone had ever tasted.
Sometimes Jack wondered if it was worth it.
And of course, sometimes… you got it wrong.
Bitty always knew his childhood was going to suck. His mamma and Coach did their level best to make sure that home was safe and secure, but it didn’t stop the nightmares at night, the fear of monsters under the bed or the sheer god-awful time at school. The only time he was ever at ease was in the kitchen, where his mamma taught him to bake using her own way of things, never needing to measure, never relying on a recipe she couldn’t read. So, Bitty, and his parents, always just assumed that he was going through hell as a kid, so he could bake.
Coach hated it. Coach hated a lot of things, but seeing his son scared and frightened one too many times had taken its toll on the man. They moved three weeks after the supply closet incident.
All for the sake of some stupid pies, his son suffered.
He never did eat a single one.
It wasn’t until Bitty got to Samwell that his actual gift turned up…