The thing was: it was all supposed to be different the second time around. They weren't the same people they'd been when they'd started Fall Out Boy. They'd both grown in their own ways from doing the solo stuff, and there was no such thing as going back in time, and who would want to anyway? They'd agreed. Pete had been particularly solemn about it, the way he always was when he was bullshitting.
By the second day of their reunion tour, Patrick concluded that absolutely nothing was different—Pete least of all.
"What did you do?" Patrick pointed an accusatory finger. This was the entire history of their relationship in a single sentence and one hand gesture.
Pete lay curled on his bunk, simultaneously painting his nails and trying to post a tweet from his phone—he was the king of multitasking that really should have been single-tasking. His only answer was a vague shrug of the shoulders.
"Why do I have this sudden, overwhelming need for Funions?" Patrick demanded.
Pete's expression turned wistful and dreamy. "Dude, Funions are awesome. I really wish we had some."
"Yes—" Patrick started and then stopped, appalled. "No! You love Funions. I hate them. There is no reason why I'd want Funions."
Pete's stomach grumbled loudly.
Patrick narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "And how is that I have a bruise on my hip the fucking size of Montana when you were the one diving off the speakers like an asshole?"
"Ooh, does it look like this?" Pete scrambled to push his jeans down his legs, because if there was one thing that would never change, it was Pete's propensity to strip off his clothes at every conceivable opportunity.
There on his hip was a Montana-sized bruise identical to the one Patrick was sporting.
"We should get matching tattoos," Pete mused.
But it got worse.
Yesterday, Patrick had moved to the other bus for some peace and quiet after Pete had spent the better part of the morning plotting an epic prank war against their poor, unsuspecting opening band. He'd lasted exactly thirty-seven minutes on the other bus, jittery the whole time, his skin too tight, a rising sense of panic that if he didn't see Pete soon he wasn't ever going to see him again.
What the fuck?
"I repeat, what did you do?" Possibly Patrick's voice rose high-pitched and hysterical on that last word. He was a bit out of practice at dealing with Pete's shenanigans.
Pete regarded him with insistently innocent brown eyes, which was the least innocent thing of all, ever, in the whole history of always.
This was when a frankly terrifying possibility struck Patrick. "Oh, fuck. That whole ritual bonding thing that was supposed to be just a symbol of us getting the band back together was—that was—" An actual bonding ritual, but Patrick couldn't bring himself to say it.
"There were daisies, Patrick," Pete said in a tone that heavily implied duh, as if this explained everything, as if Patrick really should have seen it coming.
He rubbed the bridge of his nose. This was Pete. Fuck. He really should have seen it coming.
Andy and Joe, when they'd finally stopped laughing at the idea of rejoining Fall Out Boy, had at least agreed to come to the symbolic ritual bonding. For luck, Pete had said, when clearly he'd meant, To be our best men. The ceremony had been held on a beach in Hawaii, and the guy officiating had called himself a shaman.
Apparently, he'd actually been one.
"You can't just go around soul-bonding people without their permission!" Patrick insisted shrilly.
Pete sat down his bottle of nail polish with a petulant clatter. "No one forced you to do anything you didn't want to, Patrick, and thanks so much for making it sound like such a fucking chore to be part of my life." He got the wounded look that Patrick would probably still be seeing in his dreams three days after he was dead.
"I—You—but—" Patrick fought off the urge to apologize for being pissed that Pete was a manipulative asshole. It was official. Absolutely nothing had changed between them. "I've got to—" Go anywhere that isn't here.
He'd taken exactly one step away when he felt it: a jolt like feedback from an amp, loud and electric and urgent, a steady beat of want and please and hope and Patrick. He let out a heavy breath. Fucking soul bond.
"I missed you too," Patrick mumbled.
He didn't need to turn around to know that Pete was grinning like an idiot, not when he could feel the ecstatic shimmer of it through their connection, but he did need to turn around to kiss Pete.
Pete made a startled, pleased noise, and kissed back, and then it quickly got crowded and dizzying in Patrick's head, too many pictures and sensations, his own and Pete's, what they were doing, the many things Pete hoped they would soon be doing. This was going to be the rest of Patrick's life, overwrought and complicated and all his. Strangely enough, he really didn't seem to mind.
"You're stuck with me now," Pete murmured happily against Patrick's shoulder.
Patrick tightened his arms around Pete, resigned, and admitted, "I was always stuck with you."