Pete wakes up from his fitful van-nap and there's something blurry and red dangling above his face. He's about to scream and smack it out of the way when it jiggles menacingly. He recoils in horror and manages to get his eyes to focus on what is a packet of Red Vines and not a giant red furry attack spider.
"I got you Red Vines," says a voice that sounds suspiciously like Patrick's.
Pete remains recoiled against the back of seat, unable to move. Patrick's head pops up over the middle seat, looking confused. "I had to check three gas stations to get them."
"Oh," Pete's voice sounds weird. He's still trying to convince his hands that Patrick's offering him candy and not a carnivorous spider. He reaches for the bag hesitantly, "Uh, thanks."
Patrick shrugs, "You like them, so I got them for you. They're your favorite." He looks a little pink, it's probably sunburn. Pete tries to smile at him, but it's more a baring of teeth. Patrick smiles back anyway, because he's Patrick and then hesitates a moment. He almost looks like he's going to say something, but then Andy and Joe get back from the gas station, climbing noisily into the van and yelling at each other about Slayer versus Anthrax. Patrick turns back around in his seat and they head back onto the highway.
Pete's hand closes around the bag of candy and he tucks it protectively inside his hoodie. His brain is still only booting up, no welcome screen yet. Patrick got him candy. Patrick didn't get anyone else candy. And he didn't get just any candy, but Pete's favorite candy.
Pete's fingers tighten around the bag. Something must be wrong. Patrick is giving Pete candy to pre-emptively placate him, to sweeten him up for some bad news. But what news? Maybe Patrick slept with someone he shouldn't have. Maybe he's got a degenerative illness. Maybe he's finally wised up and is leaving the band.
Sometimes Pete's brain really hates him.
They get 20 miles down the highway when Pete can't contain the questions anymore. He leans over center seat and tugs on Patrick's hoodie. Patrick turns to him with a small smile that could burn Pete's retinas and Pete hates that he has to ask. But he has to.
"Are you leaving the band?"
"What?" Patrick's expression switches from angelic to confused in a heartbeat. "Pete, what the fuck?"
"Look if you've got bad news for me I really think you should just tell me, instead of letting me get all wound up trying to figure it out."
"What? Who said I had bad news? The hell, Pete?"
Pete just pulls out the Red Vines and shakes the bag at Patrick.
Patrick looks at Pete, then at the candy, then back at Pete. Then he hits Pete in the arm and turns back around, not speaking to him for at least another 20 miles.
Pete gets to keep the candy though.
A few days later, when Andy and Joe are god-knows-where, Patrick brings his acoustic into the dressing room.
"I need you to listen to something," he tells the carpet under Pete's feet.
Pete doesn't push, just says "okay" and tries to sit still while Patrick perches on the edge of the sofa and settles the guitar in his lap. Before Patrick's three chords in Pete's already searching his mind for what scraps of lyrics he's given Patrick that he might have written music for. Except when Patrick starts to sing, it isn't Pete's words.
Patrick sings Pete a song he hasn't heard before. It's about love, of course, but not just that. It's also about longing, and wanting, and realizing the one thing you want is right in front of you. Pete's fingers dig into the couch as he listens, his chest going tight, his breathing getting shallow and rough.
It's a good song. So good his eyes get a little foggy. Patrick doesn't look at Pete when he sings it. There's a fierce red blush in his cheeks, and his voice sounds thicker, rougher than usual. He strums out the last chords and Pete closes his eyes, listening to the final note ring out. He doesn't say anything, just sits in the darkness and silence, trying to corral his thoughts.
"So?" Patrick is the one to break the silence.
Pete opens his eyes, and Patrick's looking at him with so much hope it's almost heartbreaking. Pete sucks in a breath, opens his mouth and lies. "It's really good Trick, it's just… I don't think it's really us."
"But did you get the message?" Patrick says, serious in a way he can only be about music.
"I get it," Pete says, rocking back in his seat, "I just, I don't think it's ri-"
It's too late, Patrick's already on his feet, shouldering the guitar with a deadly kind of care. "So you didn't like it." Patrick's tone is dead, stone dead.
"No, it's good it's just-"
"Don't worry about it." Patrick tosses the words over his shoulder and Pete tries not to read too much into how loudly the door closes behind him.
The problem is, it's a damn good song. But Pete never, ever wants to hear it again. Because he's a selfish asshole, and can't stand that it's not about him.
Pete's sidestage before their show in Louisville, flexing his fingers and pushing up and down on his toes as they count down the minutes until they go on. Pete's not sure yet if this is going to be one of those shows he just has to get through, or one where he'll be so high he's in danger of floating off if he takes his bass off his shoulders.
Patrick looks nervous too. Nervous but determined.
Pete's been half-expecting him to bring up the song again for the past day. He hasn't. It's weird, he doesn't usually give up so easily.
No more time to think about it now, it's time to get out there. Pete sucks in a breath and heads out on stage with his boys, 90 percent sure this is going to be a hard show.
Oh boy is he right, but in a totally different definition of hard.
They're halfway through the first song when Pete feels a hand on his ass. He looks up from the strings to see Patrick smirking at him, wearing the kind of dirty grin he only wears in dreams Pete pretends he doesn't have. Pete can't hide his shock as Patrick raises an eyebrow at him in an exaggerated leer, before raising the mic again and strutting away. Pete nearly fumbles the next chord and he's pretty sure he's going to get dry eyeballs from staring.
What the fuck was that?
It's only the beginning. The show is like a sex-soaked, Patrick-flavored orgy. Pete can't turn around without Patrick touching him - a light hand brushing across the back of his neck, a lingering touch to his shoulder. He leans on Pete during Joe's solo and pretty much rubs himself on every available part of Pete's body at every opportunity.
Thank fuck Pete's got a bass to hide behind. He's uncomfortably hard, sweaty and distracted and he has no idea where this sexpot siren version of Patrick came from. This is so far from the Patrick he's used to that his brain can't even compute the data. All he can do is concentrate on his fingering and fight the overwhelming urge to throw his bass aside, tackle Patrick to the stage and devour him.
By the time they finish the last song Pete is a wreck. Patrick actually licked his neck in the last chorus and Pete had to think about unsexy things and try to remember where to put his fingers all while Patrick continued to sway his hips in ways that should be illegal. Pete is shaking when he gets offstage, and reluctant to relinquish his bass because his jeans are pretty fucking tight and his boner doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
"Good show, huh Pete?" Patrick is sweaty and flushed and glowing like he needs a post coital cigarette. Pete's fingers itch to grab him, haul him close, and taste the sweat from his mouth. He clenches his hands into fists.
"What was that?" He chokes out. It comes out a lot more demanding than he means it to.
Patrick shrugs, "Trying something different." Like it's nothing major. Like it's a small change - like he was merely experimenting with a different mic technique, rather than the life changing display of sensual Patrick-ness that's going to ruin Pete forever.
"Did you like it?" Patrick seems to be standing closer all of a sudden. Close enough that Pete can see damp strawberry-blonde hair poking out from under his trucker's cap. Close enough that Pete can't stop looking at his mouth, how his lips look shiny and so fucking soft. So close that Pete's brain is fucking haywire and he's actually thinking about taking that half step, grabbing Patrick by the shoulders, and completely ruining his life.
"I don't. I can't-" Pete very rarely loses his words, but when he does it's pretty damn spectacular. "I need a bathroom," he manages to choke out, before he turns and flees.
He needs a fucking bathroom so he jerk off thinking about Patrick, which is something he swore he'd never do again.
It's all Patrick's fucking fault.
There is a naked Patrick Stump in Pete's hotel room. No, really.
At first Pete thinks it's some kind of waking dream or hallucination, but he closes his eyes and opens them again, shakes his head and focuses again and he can still see Patrick.
All of Patrick. Every inch of pale skin that Patrick usually hides under baggy hoodies and loose t-shirts is on show, and maybe it makes Pete a bad person, but he can't stop looking. He can't stop his eyes from roving Patrick's body from head to feet, lingering on the curve of his ass, the slope of his back. He's standing by the bed, looking through his backpack, his movements as casual as if he were clothed, like it's no big deal that he's butt-naked somewhere Pete can see him.
Pete lets the door slip from his grip and it closes behind him with a thump, announcing his presence. Patrick makes no move to cover up, he just says "Hey Pete," like he's been expecting him.
And then he turns around.
If Pete thought he was gorgeous from behind, he's not entirely sure his heart can cope with full frontal. He can't help looking though, his eyes dancing over the lines of Patrick's skin, cataloging every detail, how his arms are paler at the shoulder, the exact shade of pink his nipples are, the small fold of flesh at his waist. The flush of red that starts at his navel and goes right up his chest and over his face. Patrick's skin has never kept his secrets. It screams that he's desperately uncomfortable, but his expression gives nothing away. Patrick meets Pete's eyes with hint of defiance.
Pete wants. Pete fucking wants to trade looking for touching. Right now.
Patrick puts his backpack down, and slowly sits on the edge of the bed, not once breaking eye contact. He reaches out a hand beside him and pats the sheets, a clear invitation.
Pete fights the urge to hyperventilate. He's not sure if he's dreaming, or if there's been some kind of supernatural event, but suddenly he's got the one person he never let himself want right in front of him, inviting him to do everything he never let himself dream about.
He stumbles backwards, groping for the door handle, yanks it open and runs out of the room.
He's got his phone in his hand before he even registers it, thumb on Mikey's speed dial. Before Mikey even gets to say hello Pete babbles at him, "There's a naked Patrick in my hotel room you have to help me."
"Wait, slow down," Mikey interrupts, "Why are you calling me if you've got naked Patrick? Naked Patrick is like, one of your ultimate fantasies, put down the phone and enjoy the fucking moment already."
Pete has to lean a hand to the wall to fight back a wave of dizziness, "I'm kind of freaking out here, Mikes."
"Oh," Mikey sounds more concerned, "Where are you?"
"I'm in the hallway." Pete admits, feeling mildly hysterical.
"You have naked Patrick in your room, but you're in the hallway." When Mikey says it that way it sounds really nonsensical.
"Because…" Pete scrubs a hand over his face, trying to slow his breathing, "because I'm going to fuck it up."
"Pete," Mikey says, with that tone that's somehow incredibly patient and mocking at the same time, "Patrick's in your room, and you're in the hallway. What do you think you're doing right now?"
Pete takes a breath and lets it out on a sigh, "I'm fucking it up, aren't I?"
Mikey spares Pete the embarrassment of saying yes outright, "I think you being in the hallway right now has a much higher fuck-up value than you being in the hotel room with Patrick, but that's just my opinion."
Pete leans back against the wall and breathes, "Fuck," because of course Mikey is fucking right about this. "I need to go back in there, don't I?"
"Yep. Call me later, tell me how it goes. Go get 'im tiger." Mikey doesn't even say goodbye, he just hangs up. Pete stares at his phone in his hand for a long moment before shoving it in his pocket and heading back to his room. He knocks first this time, but when he doesn't get an answer he just goes in.
Patrick isn't naked anymore, he's swathed in baggy grey sweats, curled up on the bed, and typing violently into his computer. His face is flushed, but Pete can't figure out if he's blushing or angry.
"I'm sorry," Pete says, because it's easier to just get that part out there.
"Sorry for what?" Patrick says, in the tight tone he only uses when he's livid. His eyes don't leave his computer screen.
"About before," Pete says, walking towards the bed and then hesitating when he gets within two feet of it.
"You mean the part where you saw me naked and ran away horrified?" Patrick asks, still not looking at Pete. He punches a few more keys.
"I wasn't horrified," Pete counters immediately and wow has he fucked this up. He takes the last step and drops onto the bed beside Patrick, his hands automatically coming up to rest on Patrick's shoulders. "Trick-"
Patrick shrugs him off, "It's okay, I get it. I give up. Can we just forget this ever happened?" He shifts on the bed to put his back to Pete. Pete curls himself around Patrick's back. Patrick tries to wriggle away, but Pete is good at hanging onto Patrick when he's wriggly.
"What if I don't want to forget about it?" Pete presses closer, feeling Patrick's warmth through his clothes. He can handle grumpy Patrick a lot easier than surprise-sex-siren Patrick, it seems.
Patrick finally turns his head to look at Pete, "Pete, I'm kind of epically pissed at you right now. Back the fuck off."
"You know, you're really fucking sexy when you're pissed." The words slip out easily, but it doesn't make them any less true.
A flicker of hurt crosses Patrick's face and Pete hates himself for it, "Don't, Pete. Don't even joke, all right? I can't deal with this right now."
"I'm not joking," Pete says, totally fucking serious, and this time when Patrick meets Pete's eyes, Pete lets himself do something he's wanted to do since the first time he ever met Patrick. He dips his head and kisses him.
Patrick, amazingly, doesn't fight him. Quite the opposite, he opens up, giving Pete his mouth and god what a mouth. Pete always knew if he ever got to do this that Patrick's mouth would be sin itself and he's so, so right.
Pete pushes it further, licking over the seam of Patrick's mouth and then pushing inside. For one hot, brilliant moment their tongues tangle, then Patrick breaks the kiss, pulling away from Pete. "Stop it. I don't need a pity fuck."
Pete's doesn't let that stop him. "Trick, this is so far from a pity fuck, you have no idea." He rearranges them on the bed, putting Patrick's laptop on the floor and crawls into his lap to kiss him again. Patrick lets him, but he's holding back this time.
Pete breaks the kiss and rests his forehead against Patrick's, just breathing for a moment. He leans back a little so he can see Patrick's face, his flushed cheeks, his wet lips. Fuck, this is actually happening. "I've wanted to do this since the moment I met you."
"So why didn't you?" Patrick still looks doubtful, and Pete can't stand it.
"You were sixteen," Pete points out.
Patrick snorts, "Like that ever stopped you with anyone else."
"Yeah, but Patrick, everyone else doesn't matter. Not like you matter." Pete's hand slides up to cup Patrick's face, "I never even let myself think about this, cause I'm a fuck-up who fucks this stuff up." Pete's voice breaks and he can't swallow around the lump in his throat.
"So why now?" Patrick's voice is gentler now, curious more than angry.
Pete groans and drops his head onto Patrick's shoulder, remembering the sight that greeted him the first time he walked in this hotel room, "Dude, you were naked in my hotel room. I only have so much self control." His face is pretty close to Patrick's neck, so he nuzzles him, nibbling at the spot behind Patrick's ear. Patrick shivers and Pete smiles into his skin. "So, can we do this now? Can we please, please, please, please do this?"
He wriggles down against Patrick. Patrick's body answers the question for him, hard against Pete's ass and fuck, that's hot. Pete grinds down some more and Patrick gasps in a shaky breath. God, Pete wants to hear so many more of Patrick's sex noises. He's got to have prize-winning moans.
"Pete…" Patrick breathes, tangling a hand up into Pete's hair and holding on, so tight it's almost painful. He tugs Pete's head up, meeting his eyes, hot with want. He leans in and kisses Pete, soft and sure, and he doesn't stop.
Pete knows it means yes, and that's all he needs.