Scars and Stories



Disclaimer: I made the whole thing up. And if you found it by googling your own name or that of someone you know personally? For god's sake, hit the damn back button. That's what it's there for.

Notes: airinshaw is amazing. She's read this in a million pieces, over and over again, and helped me every time I got stuck. She just rocks. I would never have finished it without her help. Thank you, my dear, so much! Beta help also came in the form of riverlight and fayemeadows. Thank you guys!



wentz- how's it going? ran into andrew the other day and we started talking about you. thought i'd say hey and see how you're doing. i heard the tour's going well. can't wait till you guys get to chi town! already got tickets. gimme a call when you get in.

ps- hey man, i don't know if you heard, but Jeanae eloped. got married last week in Vegas.

===

"Hi, this is Patrick. I can't take your call--" Pete hung up on Patrick's voicemail and called again. "Come on, fucker, wake up," he muttered. That was the problem with two separate tour buses. Especially two separate tour buses that were in the process of moving towards the next venue.

Voicemail, hang up, redial again. And one more time. And then finally, the ringing stopped and there was a grunt.

"Patrick?" Pete asked quietly.

Another grunt.

"...Patrick?" He heard Patrick shifting around, probably sitting up in his bed.

"Pete? What happened?" he asked through a yawn.

"I forwarded you the email. You can read it tomorrow."

"Okay..." And Pete heard the unspoken question on the end of that: So why the fuck are you calling me now, asshole? But they'd been friends long enough that Pete knew he'd never ask out loud.

They were both silent for a little while and then Pete took a shaky breath (he hated that; it was nothing new, but he hated how unsteady he was) and asked, "Will you sing? Please?"

"Now? It's like 3:30 in the morning. Andy and everybody are sleeping."

Pete knew that. He knew the hour was ridiculous and Patrick might end up pissing off everyone on his bus and if Patrick outright refused, Pete would say okay. But Pete really just kind of needed it. So he was quiet for a minute and then whispered, "Please?"

Patrick sighed. "Any requests?"

"No. Just. Anything. Please." He just needed Patrick's voice, needed to know Patrick was there. It wasn't as good as being with him, but he needed something and he'd take what he could get at the moment.

===

Pete slept for a couple of hours, which was way more than he expected, and when he woke up, the buses were parked. He got up and took Hemmy out for a quick walk, careful not to wake up Joe. They went back in and Pete headed right back to his bed. He pulled out his iPod and put it on shuffle, so that he didn't have to make an active decision about what to listen to. Hemingway seemed to get how Pete was feeling because he just jumped up and settled on Pete's chest. Pete kind of dozed a little, in that way where you never quite get to sleep, but you're conscious of how you're almost there.

After a while, he heard Joe get up and start moving around. Joe called Hemmy's name softly and Hem jumped up and ran out of the room. Joe was probably feeding him. Joe was a good friend like that. Pete turned onto his side and stared at the wall. He tried not to think. It didn't really work, but it wasn't for lack of effort.

He wasn't sure how long he lay there. Probably an hour or two. It had to be late enough for him to call Patrick.

Patrick answered, and Pete said quietly, "Hey. Did I call you last night?"

"Yeah, you did."

"Was there an email?"

"Yeah, there was."

"So it's not a bad dream?" Not that Pete had actually believed it was, but there was still that little bit of hope.

"No. Sorry, dude."

"'S okay. Just wanted to double check." They were both quiet for a few moments. And then, "Patrick?"

"Huh?"

"I'm gonna come over, okay?"

"Uh-huh." Pete knew that tone of voice very well.

"Patrick?"

"Huh?"

"Close GarageBand before I get there?"

"Oh, sorry," Patrick said guiltily. "I really was listening."

Pete wanted to smile. "I know. I'll be right there."

"Okay."

Pete left Hemingway in the care of Charlie (i.e., the first person Pete saw when he stepped off the bus), and crossed over to Andy and Patrick's. He wandered in front of the tv and Andy and Joe yelled at him for interrupting their video game, but Pete didn't pay any attention. He knocked on the door of Patrick's room, but just went in before Patrick even answered. Patrick was lying on his bed, hands behind his head. Pete wasted no time kicking off his shoes and climbing into the bed and cuddling up beside Patrick, who shifted to put his arm around him. Neither one said anything for a long while.

Pete finally whispered, "I was going to marry her."

"Pete... Really?" The way he said it wasn't condescending or anything, just...surprised, actually.

"Yeah. I mean, not, like, now, but yeah... I was gonna marry her."

Patrick didn't say anything else, just put both arms around Pete and pulled him even closer.

Sometimes, Pete felt a little sorry for pretty much everyone else in the world. He figured there wouldn't be wars and weapons of mass destruction and crime and corruption if only everyone had their own Patrick. Who'd want to go beat someone up if they could go cuddle with Patrick for a little while instead? Who'd think about stealing shit if they could be listening to Patrick sing just for them?

Huh. He was possibly on to something there. Patrick Martin Stump: The Key to World Peace. He should maybe tell the UN or the president or something. Except they'd probably want to do some scientific tests or experiments or something. Then he might have to share his own Patrick. So, no, maybe not. Better if he just kept that little fact, and his Patrick, to himself.

===

Pete was off. Way off. He knew it showed, but he couldn't help it. Not that night. His band knew. And, god, Pete hated letting them down, hated it so much. But he fucking loved them. Joe stayed on his side of the stage more, so it wasn't so noticeable that Pete wasn't quite as active. And Patrick played even harder than usual, covering any fuck-ups Pete made. It made Pete grateful for the seventy millionth time that Patrick insisted on playing rhythm as well as singing.

The stage banter was kept to a minimum, and a lot of it was actually directed at Patrick. Patrick was pretty much always Pete's favorite person ever, but that night he just redefined the title "best friend." Patrick talked on stage. Into the microphone. Of his own free will. Granted, he mostly just teased Pete, but he made Pete smile and even laugh a little and made it okay for Pete to talk to the audience at all. Basically, Patrick was just incredibly amazing and Pete had no idea what he'd ever do without him.

Patrick made it okay.

After the show, Pete overheard Patrick talking to Joe, asking Joe to watch Hemmy for the night. "I'm going to see if Pete wants to watch movies or something. Maybe see if I can get him to sleep later." Joe quickly agreed, which Pete thought probably had more to do with Joe's girlfriend being on tour with them and the possibility of an empty bus than anything else, even though Patrick had already told Andy and Joe what was going on.

Any other time, Pete might have been a little annoyed with them for planning his evening without even asking him, but he really just couldn't bring himself to be upset. Actually, he thought it was kind of nice. He kind of liked to watch Patrick take care of people, and if it was him that Patrick was taking care of, then life couldn't be all that bad, right?

===

Yeah. Right.

Pete should have known better than to jinx himself like that, but he'd been clinging to that thought all week. Oh yeah, can't be all that bad, can it?

Except for how it was. It was all that fucking bad.

The shows had gotten better since that first night, and that night's was no exception. It was fucking good. They were all on, all four of them and the crowd was incredible. Pete had fun.

He eventually ended up on his bus after the show. He was sitting at the table and checking his messages. And of course there was one from her. Fucking bitch. How the hell could she just call him up and say, "Pete, hey. Itís Jeanae. I was thinking about you earlier," like it was nothing? And then! And then, "I have some good news!" There was that nervous giggle Pete used to tease her about. "Well, I might as well just tell you, since I know you're busy and won't have time to call back." In other words, you might be creepy and weird if you called me back, and I wouldnít answer the phone anyway. So just don't fucking call, okay? "Anyway, I...I got married!" More nervous giggle, then a pause and a sigh. "Um, look, I just. I'm happy, okay? And I want you to be happy. And I really want you to be happy for me. Um. Okay. I just thought you should hear it from me, not, you know, some random person. I, um. I have to go. Good luck with the rest of your tour and everything, okay? Bye."

Pete didn't notice Joe and his girlfriend getting onto the bus, so he was surprised when his phone was ripped out of his hand and replaced with a half-full water bottle. Not surprised enough to hold onto the bottle, though. He threw it across the bus and then looked at Joe. "Thanks," he said quietly. "Would have sucked to have to replace it." Especially since it was his new iPhone.

Joe just said, "Figured. Want it back now?" Pete nodded and Joe handed it over. "Just don't throw it, okay?" Pete nodded again. Joe just looked at him for a second and then led his girlfriend back to his bunk.

About five minutes later, Patrick showed up. Pete was still sitting in the same spot, staring into space, death grip on his phone. Patrick didn't say anything, just took Pete's other hand and pulled him up.

Pete followed Patrick. (And wasn't that just the most concise summary of Pete's life?) Patrick led him to his room. He took the phone and put it down on the foot of the bed, and then he reached for Pete, who was just standing there, waiting to see what would happen next. Patrick went back out into the lounge and came back with a bottle of water. Then he went into Pete's bag and found the bottle of Ambien. He handed both over to Pete and made sure he took it.

Then Patrick tugged on Pete's t-shirt, helped him take it off. Patrick just dropped it on the floor and unbuttoned Pete's jeans. When Pete stepped out of them, Patrick gently pushed him toward the bed and Pete laid down under the covers. Patrick tucked him in (Pete hadn't been tucked in since...okay, fine, since he was twenty-five, but those were special circumstances--he'd just gotten home from the hospital--and it was really to make his mom feel better, not him) and started to stand back up. Pete grabbed his arm and just shook his head. Patrick sighed, but climbed in under the covers too. He stayed fully dressed and whispered, "Just for a little while, okay?"

Pete nodded and cuddled up to Patrick, put his arm around him. He didn't say anything, just kissed Patrick's cheek and closed his eyes.

===

When Pete woke up, it took him a few minutes to figure out what was wrong. He nearly always woke up in a pretty bad mood, but that morning was shittier than usual. And then he remembered falling asleep with Patrick.

That was it. He woke up alone.

His life fucking sucked.

He wouldn't have been able to sleep any more, but he pulled the covers up under his chin and rolled over to face the wall anyway. He rolled his eyes at himself and thought, "Shocker. Pete Wentz is being emo." He hated it, hated it so much that he felt that way. Because the thing was, he knew he shouldn't. He knew it. Because, really, what was the point? It wasn't like he and Jeanae had been together in ages. He moved halfway across the country to get away from her, for god's sake.

Then again, he also knew that he and Jeanae should have broken up (for good) long before they did. And that they should have stayed broken up.

It should have never gotten to that point, where there was absolutely nothing else to be done, nothing left, nothing to work with. That point where it was finally just...over.

Except...

But...

He just...

Except for...how it wasn't. It wasn't just anything. Pete loved her. He still loved her. He couldn't ever picture his future with anyone else, not even Ashlee. He and Ashlee had been good while it lasted, and she was good for him, but they'd both known it wasn't forever. Pete really thought...

He was so goddamn stupid.

Before he could take that train of thought any further, the door opened. When Pete rolled over to see who it was, Joe cheerfully sat on him. "Oof! You're fucking heavy, dude! Get off me!"

"Patrick says to stop being emo and go tell him what the fuck you expect him to do with the shitty-ass lyrics you gave him. And that I am allowed to drag you out of bed and over to his bus if I have to."

"Christ," Pete muttered. Mostly because he knew that Patrick meant it and that Joe would take Patrick's instructions very literally. Wouldn't have been the first time Pete had been dragged bodily out of bed. Or off of a bus. "Okay, okay, I'll get up." He shoved Joe off of him and onto the floor. "Where's Hemingway?"

"Ow! Fucker!" Joe glared at Pete. "Dirty's walking him."

Pete heaved a big sigh and headed for the shower. He'd go see Patrick and they could work on some songs and maybe it'd be better than laying on his bed and staring at the wall. Maybe.

===

There were shows and interviews and golf carts and holes in walls. Life went on. Pete already had plenty of experience in putting up a front and so he put those skills to use. Those that didn't know Pete--and quite a few who did, actually--thought he was fine.

His band knew better. Andy asked once or twice if he was okay. When Pete just shrugged and changed the topic, Andy accepted it. Mostly Andy was just really, really good at being there. His presence was just reassuring. If Pete wanted to talk, he could totally talk to Andy. He just didn't really want to talk at all. He liked that Andy would just go on about all kinds of other random things.

Joe was just awesome. He looked out for Hemingway, made sure he got fed and walked and all. Not that that was a new thing. Actually, Joe would totally have taken Hemmy home with him if Pete would have let him. Which, no. But sharing a bus with Joe was cool. He usually knew when to be quiet and when to be distracting. He did occasionally give unsolicited advice about the whole situation, which was usually followed up with something along the lines of, "Sorry, man. Apparently telling people what they should do isn't a Jewish mom thing, but just a Jewish thing."

Pete frequently replied to that with, "Yeah, your mom seemed to like telling me what to do last night when I fucked her." That was most often followed by some sort of physical altercation, which always ended with laughter or a very loud crash and an "Oh, shit!" And laughter.

Patrick... Patrick was the best friend Pete had ever had and Pete was positive that he'd be the absolute best friend Pete ever would have. Patrick was amazing. He understood Pete. And if he didn't, he tried to. Most people would have just given up and left him alone. But Patrick never really complained. He seemed to like Pete as he was. Pete didn't really get why, but he was definitely not going to question it.

Pete knew how difficult he could be and he wanted to be different, he wanted to be...easier. He just didn't know how. And he knew that he was frustrating Patrick, because Patrick just didn't know what to do anymore. Pete could tell that, even though Patrick never said anything, he just wanted him to get over it and move on. But it was hard.

And then, finally, Patrick just snapped.

"How can you not see how bad she is for you?" Patrick shouted. "And how bad you are for her? How the fuck can you actually believe that it would work out? Jesus, Pete. She doesn't lo--" Patrick cut himself off.

"Don't you dare fucking go there," Pete said quietly. "Don't you fucking dare. You don't know the first fucking thing about it. You don't know what the fuck you're even talking about."

"Then tell me. What the hell am I supposed to say, Pete? 'Of course she loves you, that's why she went off and got married to someone else. Spending the rest of your life wanting someone who doesn't want you is perfectly fine.' Is that what you want to hear?"

"It's not even about that!" Pete shouted back. "It has nothing to do with what I want to hear! You don't fucking get it and you never will get it because you will never, ever be in this situation."

"What situation? I've been in love before, Pete. I've even had my heart broken. You were there, remember?"

"No, just..." That was the point when Pete closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall behind him and slid down. He was so tired. He crossed his arms over his knees and dropped his head down on them.

Patrick just-- He just did not understand. And he was not going to understand, no matter how hard he tried. Because Patrick got angry. Patrick got pissed off. And it could take him a while to get over things. And sometimes he never did.

Yeah, Patrick's heart had been broken. But the thing was, Patrick? Was still mad at Anna. So mad that when he'd told her he never wanted to see her again, he meant it. He still meant it. Pete had never been able to mean it when he said that to Jeanae (or anyone, really, but especially her). He wanted to. He tried. But even when Pete couldn't stand the sight of her, he still wanted her. He wanted her nearby. He wanted to love her. He wanted her to love him.

It was almost impossible for Patrick to grasp the concept that Pete could be so angry with Jeanae, that Jeanae could be married to someone else, that Pete had been in a serious relationship since they'd broken up, that he and Jeanae hadn't spoken in months, that all of that was true and Pete...Pete had still planned to marry her.

Pete wanted so badly to put all of that into words that would make sense to Patrick, to anyone besides himself, really. Pete was supposed to be good with words, but even if he found words, he didn't think he'd find the right ones.

===

"Hey, can I ask you something?"

Pete shrugged. "Sure. What's up?"

Patrick took his time. "You know that night, a while ago? When you had that voicemail?" Pete nodded slowly, but didn't say anything. "How come you didn't call her back right away? I know you haven't called back at all."

Pete narrowed his eyes. "How do you know?"

Patrick blushed just the slightest bit. "I may have been keeping an eye your recent calls list."

"Oh, you jerk!" Not that Pete was actually mad because, well, he'd done the same to Patrick a time or two.

"Seriously though, I kinda thought you would have called her, like, immediately after the message." Patrick paused. "Actually, now that I think about it, I'm really surprised that you called me after you got that e-mail and not her."

Pete thought about that for a second. Huh. The funny thing was, he hadn't even thought to call her, either time. Which was more than a little strange for him.

===

The thing was... Well, the thing was that he was Pete. So once Patrick had pointed out that he hadn't called Jeanae at all? He kind of had to call. Really, what did Patrick think he would do?

Their schedule was busy enough that it was another day or so before Pete actually did sit down and call. And well, maybe he should have waited until the next day, but it wasn't that late. And Jeanae was a night person anyway.

"Hello?" Jeanae sounded a little hesitant, so Pete guessed she had checked the caller ID. He was kind of surprised she answered, actually.

"Hey. Uh, how are you doing?"

"I'm fine, Pete. You?"

"I'm good. Tour's going well. And it's a lot of fun..." he trailed off a little. Seriously, was this the best he could do? Maybe he should have written out a script first or something. Come on, Pete, use your words. "You know, the usual." Oh dear god. Pete was actually physically cringing.

"That's good. So... What's up?" Translation: I don't actually want to know, but I really, really want to get this over with as quickly as possible so that I can pray it never happens again.

"Oh well, I, uh. I got your message, and well. Figured I should call and say congratulations..." Or something.

"Oh. Um. Thanks." Translation: Riiight. Now when are we going to get to the scary-stalker-yelling part of this call?

"Yeah. That's... That was all, really. Just congratulations. I'm glad you're doing well." Pete thought that was pretty generous of him to say. 'Cause "glad" was maybe a little tiny bit strong, but whatever.

"Yeah, I am. And, yeah, thanks." If that wasn't the most disbelieving tone Pete had ever heard from anyone ever...

Then Pete realized something. And, okay, it was weird. Really weird, but he had nothing else to say to her. "So, I've gotta get going now. I'll, uh, I'll see you around?" Theoretically, he might when he went back to Chicago.

"Yeah, okay. Uh, have a good night."

"You too." Pete hung up the phone. Seriously, the weirdest fucking thing ever.

Pete laid back on his bed and thought about it all. About himself and about Jeanae and their relationship and about Ashlee and all of his other past relationships and the fucked-up-ness of everything. Pete was actually getting something out of all that therapy he had gone (was still going) through. He was always introspective, but with therapy and all that, he started putting actual words to feelings and thoughts. He could even make them coherent sometimes. (Sometimes.) It was like, before, he would have all these half-formed feelings and half-formed thoughts, but he just couldn't always do something with them. He finally learned how to let himself complete them and put them into words and concepts and, occasionally, even relay them to other people.

Pete didn't sleep. For a while after he hung up the phone, his mind was just racing, considering all kinds of possibilities and decisions and feelings and the past and the future and the present and there was just so much to think about.

Finally, Pete just... Holy shit. It was...well, it was kind of amazing! It was-- Damn, he had to go tell Patrick!

The buses were stopped, since the next venue had only been a couple hours away. Since they were, Pete was able to run over to Patrick's bus. He had to attempt the combination three times before he finally got it right. (He was a little excited.) He tried to be quiet when he ran past the bunks. He wasn't sure if he actually succeeded, but whatever. This was way too important to worry about something like waking people up. He did manage to shut Patrick's door quietly behind him.

Pete sat down on the edge of Patrick's bed and whispered, "Patrick! Patrick!" He was kind of bouncing a little too. "PatrickPatrickPatrickPatrickPatrick!"

Patrick groaned and rolled over away from Pete. "The fuck? I swear to god, Wentz, this better be a bad fucking dream or someone better be dying. And I kind of hope it's you."

"You can pretend it's a dream if you want. But Patrick!" Pete climbed on top of Patrick and straddled his waist. Patrick rolled over so he was on his back. His eyes finally opened. "Patrick!"

"Seriously, Pete. Did you just come over here to wake me up and say my name eighty thousand times?"

"No." But one more time couldn't hurt. Pete was just so excited. "Patrick! It's over!"

"I'm so glad. I can go back to sleep now. Go away." He tried to roll over again, but Pete put his hands on Patrick's shoulders and held him there. "Whaaaat?" Patrick whined.

"Just listen! I had an epiphany, dude! It was awesome!"

"That's great, Pete. What's your fucking point?" Man, Patrick was cranky when you woke him up in the middle of the night. (It was like tattoos; Pete always forgot how bad it was until he did it again.) But this was important.

"The point is, I don't want to marry Jeanae anymore!"

Patrick was quiet for a minute, but he looked awake for the first time since Pete got there. "Seriously?"

Pete nodded happily. "Seriously!"

"That's--wait. " Patrick looked suspicious. "Then who do you want to marry?"

"No one! Well, at the moment, anyway. But I don't want to marry her! It's like it finally hit me. We'd never make each other happy or anything. We live a few thousand miles apart--thank god--and the whole reason for that is because I wanted to get away from her. She's married. And I'm not that guy."

"No, you're not that guy."

"I know! Patrick! It's over!" Pete was so excited that he leaned down and gave Patrick a big, smacking kiss on the lips.

"Pete. I'm very happy for you, I really am. But we have to be up for an interview in four hours. Can I please go back to sleep now? I'll celebrate with you all you want tomorrow."

"Okay. Can I sleep with you?"

Patrick groaned. "Fine. As long as you shut up and sleep."

"'Kay!" Pete climbed off Patrick and cuddled up behind him. Weirdly enough, he actually did sleep.

===

The first time Pete met Patrick, it had only taken about half an hour (it probably would have been less, if it hadn't been for those socks) for him to decide that he loved that kid.

The first time Pete and Patrick finished a song together, Pete grabbed Patrick's face and kissed him square on the mouth. Patrick blushed like crazy as Pete said, "It's true love, baby! Do you feel it? True love!"

Patrick may have developed a little crush on Pete. Pete (and everyone else in the entire world) may have known this, as Patrick did not hide it very well. Patrick never made a move and Pete did his best to not take advantage of it and not encourage it. It was tough, though, because he loved Patrick. A lot. Patrick was cuddly and fun. He was a musical genius. There was no way to describe the feeling in Pete's stomach when Patrick had turned more of his words into a real song.

Pete probably would have gone for Patrick if it hadn't been for the whole Fall Out Boy thing. When they'd finally gotten Andy for good, Pete knew that they would make it. They just clicked. It worked. Pete wasn't about to fuck up the best thing that had ever happened to him by sleeping with his lead singer/rhythm guitarist/songwriter. His golden ticket. They'd finally gotten Andy, the final element, but Patrick was the reason they'd go anywhere.

By the time they were recording Take This to Your Grave, Patrick seemed to be over his crush on Pete. Which was good because Pete was getting tired of the Stop Leading Him On looks from Andy, which Pete was definitely not doing. He was treating him the way he'd treat his best friend, which Patrick was. And that was all Patrick was. That was all Patrick could be, so Pete refused to think of him any other way.

Until, maybe, just a little, when the Honda Civic Tour was over. Pete felt like he could really leave all that bullshit with Jeanae behind when the tour was done. And that made him start thinking a little, about his...options, for lack of a better word. Between the end of the bullshit and the return of That Look, his list of options was pretty short.

The first time Pete saw it again, he thought he was imagining things. He did a double-take and the look was gone. So he most likely imagined it, but he could have sworn he'd seen That Look on Patrick's face. The one that Pete hadn't seen since before Grave. The one that just said, 'I want you.'

But it was all in Pete's head, and Pete knew it, and that was fine. Unfortunately, it wouldn't leave his head.

The problem was that imagined or not, the look was giving Pete all kinds of ideas. Ideas he should never, ever follow through with. Ever. Patrick was Pete's best friend. He was the reason Pete ever made any sense to himself, let alone anyone else. He would be lost without Patrick. If he tried anything with Patrick, and it didn't work out, Pete's entire life would be fucked. He couldn't afford to lose Patrick in any way, even if the possibilities were even better than what they had.

The whole thing was driving Pete crazy. He kept thinking he saw That Look, but when he glanced back or looked closer, it was gone. Once, when Pete and Andy were the only two in a dressing room, Pete started to ask, "Hey, has Patrick been..." but he didn't know how to finish that.

"Has Patrick been what?"

Pete thought for a moment. "Nothing, never mind." He shook his head.

Andy gave him a hard stare, but said, "Okay," if a bit skeptically. Andy was pretty good at knowing when something was up, but he was even better at knowing when to keep his mouth shut.

Pete kept his mouth shut, too, and fortunately the next month or so was busy for all of them. Between interviews, award shows and appearances, the trip to Africa, and, for Pete especially, preparing for DecayDance Fest, Pete didnít have a whole lot of time to think about Patrick. (Or so he told himself, but that wasnít the point.)

The fact that there was a DecayDance Fest, that there was a DecayDance label was kind of a testament to how Pete worked. If he wanted do something, he went ahead and did it. He wanted to write a book. He wrote one. He wanted his own clothing line. He created one. He wanted a label to sign bands he liked. He started one.

They were in London, and Pete was still riding high on having all of his friends with him. The Paris show had been a success. His bands all rocked. The London show was just ending and the trip had been crazy. Pete was feeling...pretty invincible, actually. His life was good.

Pete walked up next to Patrick and threw his arm around him. He kissed Patrick's cheek. Patrick smiled at him. "We fucking rocked."

Pete beamed back. "Yeah, we really fucking did." He bumped his hips into Patrick's. Patrick wasn't expecting it, and tripped down a side hallway. He pulled Pete along with him, which made Pete lose his balance and accidentally fall against Patrick. Patrick ended up with his back to the wall and his hands on Pete's waist, holding him up.

Pete knew it wasn't his imagination this time. It wasn't. It was right there on Patrick's face. Patrick wanted him.

Pete shook himself out of his daze enough to lean forward and put his lips to Patrick's. Patrick responded immediately, opening his mouth to Pete's, guiding Pete's tongue into his mouth.

Backstage just after a show was not exactly the best place for a first kiss. It took all of fifteen seconds for Dirty and Joe to start yelling, for people to begin celebrating the end of the show. Pete broke off the kiss and hugged Patrick closer. "Hey, so can I come to your room later?" he whispered, punctuating it by biting and sucking Patrick's earlobe.

Patrick inhaled sharply. "Yeah. Yeah, okay." He kissed Pete again, quick and dirty and hot, a promise. Too soon, he pushed Pete back and walked off towards the dressing room. Pete had to take a minute to collect himself. Patrick was hot. And goddamn could he kiss.

===

Before Pete could go knock on Patrick's door, though, there was the afterparty to get through. Pete really couldn't bail on it, since it was kind of his party. Or, for his label, anyway. The point was, he had to be there.

Patrick was there, but made excuses pretty early and disappeared. Pete did his best to pay attention to conversations and eat and drink and mingle, but he kept getting distracted. He was talking to Ryan about the new Panic! album and looking around, just in case Patrick had come back down. "Uh-huh. Sounds great. Let me know when you're going into the studio." He glanced back at Ryan.

Ryan was staring at him. "Pete, I just told you that we're covering the theme from 'The Love Boat' on the new album."

"Oh. Um. Sorry, I must have missed that."

"No shit. Have you heard anything anyone said tonight?"

Pete probably looked kind of guilty. "Maybe? Some of it?"

Ryan shook his head. "Get the fuck out of here, Wentz. You're no good to any of us, just standing there and imagining your lead singer naked." Pete raised his eyebrows. Ryan rolled his eyes. "Dude, you were making out in the hallway backstage. I'm not the only one who saw you."

Pete was used to people knowing everything about him. Hell, his dick was on the internet. Yet, he was a little embarrassed by the thought that everyone might have seen his and Patrick's first kiss. Wasn't that supposed to be special or some shit?

Ryan rolled his eyes again. "It was only me and Joe. Jesus, calm down. I'm pretty sure he told Andy, though."

"Oh." Pete was still trying to process all of that--people knew! Pete didn't even know what the hell was going on, but apparently other people maybe did--when Ryan took the cup from his hand and shoved him towards the door.

"Go get laid."

Pete nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I can do that."

"Thank god, because there's no way in hell I'm going to give you that speech."

"Fuck you," Pete answered mildly. By some miracle, he managed to make it to the door without having to talk to anyone else.

When Pete got to Patrick's room, he stood in front of the door and took a few deep, if slightly shaky, breaths and knocked.

When Patrick opened the door, he looked vaguely surprised to see Pete. "Hey," was all he said as he stepped back to let Pete in.

"Hey." Though Pete hadn't completely thought this all through, he'd kind of imagined that it would involve more grabbing and kissing, and not so much standing awkwardly just inside the door while Patrick retreated to the other side of the room and sat down.

"I didn't think you'd be up till later," Patrick commented.

Pete shrugged. "Ross said he'd cover if anyone was looking for me." They were both quiet for a moment, finding the floor and their shoes much more interesting than each other. "So..." Pete started, but didn't know what to say. Patrick was giving off some very don't-touch-me body language, and Pete just had no idea what he was supposed to do.

Patrick cleared his throat. "Listen, um."

Fuck. No sentence that started like that ended well. He'd fucked up. Bad. Fuckfuckfuckfuck.

"Shit," Pete whispered. "Look," he started talking over Patrick.

"Uh, I just don't think that, um..."

"Just... Whatever you're going to say, don't say it, okay? We can just forget it ever happened and--and, whatever, just forget it, okay?" Pete was panicking. He wanted to cry. This couldn't happen. He couldn't lose Patrick. He couldn't. No. No, no, no, no, no.

"Pete... I... I don't want to be your rebound thing, okay? I can't--I can't do that. I can't handle that. So, yeah, it would probably be better if we just forget it," Patrick finished quietly. He still wasn't looking at Pete.

Pete was looking at Patrick though. He was staring at the top of Patrick's hat and trying to figure out exactly what Patrick wasnít saying. "Patrick..." he murmured. He went and sat down on the edge of the bed, so that he was facing Patrick. "Patrick. This isn't a rebound thing. It's... I would never fuck up what we have or the band for a rebound. This isn't about Jeanae or Ashlee or anyone else. This is me and you. That's it. You've gotta believe me."

"I just... I think it's better if we just..." Patrick finally looked up and met Pete's eyes. "Pete, I can't lose this," he blurted out. "I can't lose the band and I can't lose you. Okay? I can't write lyrics, remember?" Patrick's attempt at a joke fell pretty flat, but Pete knew it was just an attempt to distract him.

"You know me better than anyone else, probably even better than I do. I honestly donít know what would make you think that I would be able to handle that. Losing the band, losing you. Thereís just no way in hell that can happen. You have to know that. And you have to know that I'm in love with you. And, okay, I know you used to have a crush on me, like a million years ago, and that you got over it, but lately I've been kinda feeling like...maybe..." Pete's eyes dropped back to the floor. "Seriously, Patrick, I don't know what to say to prove to you that I mean this. I'm not...used to explaining things to you, I guess."

Patrick nodded, but was quiet as he looked like he was considering what Pete told him. He finally said, "I didn't have a crush on you."

Pete's head snapped up. "Oh, you did too! You--"

Patrick interrupted him. "I didn't. I fell in love with you. I never really got over it. Believe me, I tried. You've fucked up every attempt at a relationship I've had since I met you. Asshole." Patrick's lips were starting to lift, just a little.

"It's not my fault you were jailbait when I met you!"

"Oh, please! Like that ever stopped you!"

Pete had to concede that point. "Well. Then... Oh! Then, it's not my fault you're my golden ticket!"

Patrick rolled his eyes, but he was smiling a little. "I hate when you say that."

Pete beamed. "I know."

"Why the hell am I in love with you again?" Patrick sighed.

Pete couldn't help the big grin as he thought about it. "I have no idea," he said honestly. "But I am going to dedicate the rest of eternity to making sure you don't come to your senses."

Patrick smiled back. "I guess I can live with that," he said as he stood up and then kneeled on the bed over Pete, one knee on each side.

Pete opened his mouth to answer, but Patrick decided that the conversation part of the evening was over. The kiss was hot and wet and dirty and short. But before Pete could complain, he was lying on his back on the bed, his hands pinned above his head, with Patrick leaning over him. Patrick stopped just short of Pete's lips. Pete narrowed his eyes and leaned up that extra little bit. Patrick moaned into his mouth and his hips ground down.

"Hey, hey. Wait." Pete gently pushed Patrick back a little. "Do you think maybe we should go slow?"

Patrick looked at him like he'd just suggested they do a show in Antarctica. "Six years wasn't slow enough for you?"

Pete considered this for about half a second. "Good point."

"Besides," Patrick added between kisses, "I'm not gonna last for slow. Slow later."

"Mmmm... Maybe tomorrow." Pete figured Patrick sucking on his tongue and reaching for his belt buckle was Patrick's way of agreeing with him.

===

The Young Wild Things Tour was the first tour of Pete'n'PatrickTogetherForever, as Panic! at the Disco (and therefore every other band on DecayDance and Fueled by Ramen) had taken to calling them. Although, like Andy pointed out, it's not like there was a huge change: Pete and Patrick were always going to be together forever. So it was all new and different and familiar and the same. Mostly, it was just good. Really, really fucking good.

When the tour ended, Pete and Patrick were in Chicago, staying at Patrick's. The first day back, they'd slept all day. The second day back, they'd had sex all day. The second night back... Well, they were kind of hungry. And Patrick had no food.

Or condoms, which explained why they were at the grocery store at 11:30 pm and not trying to find someplace that was still delivering.

"Patrick, they didn't have the shampoo you wanted. I got this instead, is it okay?" Pete said as walked up from the other end of the aisle. He glanced over at the person standing next to Patrick when he noticed that Patrick wasnít paying attention to him. "Oh, hey, Jeanae. Whatís up?"

"Hey, Pete," was all Jeanae got out before Pete turned back to Patrick. He didnít actually care about what she was up to.

Patrick just and said in a tight voice, "Yeah, this stuff will be fine. Did you get conditioner, too?" His eyes were still cold, but Pete knew (he hoped) they weren't directed at him. Thank god. If Patrick was really looking at him like that, he was pretty sure he'd be apologizing (for what, he had no idea. Getting the wrong shampoo? Being born?) and cowering in fear right then.

"No, I thought we had another bottle under the sink at home."

"Oh, right." Patrick took the bottle from Pete and put it in the cart.

Pete glanced back over at Jeanae. "Good seeing you," he said as he took the cart from Patrick and pushed it further up the aisle. "So, Patrick, I was thinking..."

"Mmm?" Patrick wasn't paying much attention. He was still looking just a little bit annoyed. When they were leaving the aisle, Patrick turned around and gave Jeanae's back a dirty look.

"Ohhh," Pete couldn't help saying out loud. So that was what was up with Patrick.

Patrick looked at him sharply. "What?"

Pete smiled. "Nothing. Hey, you know you're never getting rid of me, right?"

Patrick snorted, but his eyes warmed up and he gave Pete a little smile. "I had a feeling."

"Good. Anyway, as I was saying. I was thinking..."

"Oh god..." Patrick looked over at Pete with comically wide eyes.

"Shut up. I was thinking. We need to buy some chocolate syrup."

"Oh?" Patrick raised his eyebrows.

Pete gave him a wicked grin. "Yeah. I've got a craving."



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06/28/2008