Pete was totally jazzed after chatting with Ryan. He couldn't believe an hour and a half had gone by so fast. The kid was as serious about his band as Pete could hope for him to be, and his LiveJournal was a scream. Pete scrolled a little, clicked a little, and sure enough, there was Ryan in the soft core shirt, mouth quirked and eyes downcast. Pete right-clicked and grinned. They were so going to get along.
He kept talking with Ryan the whole time he was driving them all home, dropping the others off, pulling up to Ryan's house and parking and slamming the rental's stubborn door until it closed. Ryan got out too and stood still in the driveway looking over at him. Pete broke off in the middle of a Gym Class anecdote and said, "What's up, dude?"
"Nothing," Ryan said. He got his keys out of his pocket and led the way inside.
Pete sat down on Ryan's bed with him, because there really wasn't anywhere else to sit, and threw one arm around Ryan's shoulders. Ryan was talking about instrumentation again, the things he wanted to play and the ways they made shift to play live.
"Which is why we really need a keyboard for at least those two songs," he concluded. Pete turned to Ryan and kissed him, his soft, pliant mouth. For about five seconds Ryan let him.
Then Ryan set his hand on Pete's chin and pushed himself back. "No," he said. Pete giggled a little and felt his heart start to pound.
Ryan glared and added, "You asshole," in that same flat tone. Pete laughed some more. "So that guy that Spencer knows," Ryan picked up again, "he says he's pretty good on keyboards. So we were gonna have him come sit in pretty soon. Or there's a guy at Brendon's school too, but he's really young, a sophomore still, he's, like, fifteen or something. So I'm not sure he'd work out."
"That's pretty young," Pete agreed.
"Right," Ryan said. "And, I mean, it's not like Brendon can't play piano himself, although…"
Pete nodded and put his arm back around Ryan. Ryan's shoulders shifted and swayed as he lifted his hands to gesture, making broad sweeps in the air, ticking off names on his fingers, but he never quite shrugged Pete off again.
Andy was the one who went to get the door, but Pete yelled, "All my pretty bitches!" from the kitchen as soon as he heard Ryan and Brendon's voices. Then came Patrick's rich rumbling laugh, and Brent and Spencer's hellos, and Pete hurried it up so he could get out there too.
He lost a can or two from his armload as he came into the living room. Ryan lifted an eyebrow and said, "Need some help?"
"More than is humanly possible to give," Patrick said, taking some of the remaining cans and setting them on the table.
"But you're welcome to try," Pete said. His arms emptied, he darted at Ryan and caught him in a bear hug. After a minute Ryan began to struggle. Pete just squeezed tighter.
"Fuck - off," Ryan gasped out. He finally freed himself with a vicious elbow to Pete's chest and retreated to Brendon's side, glowering.
"Ooh, feisty," Joe said. Everyone laughed. Pete went and wrapped his arms around Patrick's waist from behind, hooking his chin over Patrick's shoulder. Patrick reached a hand back and scritched comfortably at Pete's hip.
After the first round of drinks, Pete jumped up and said, "Dudes, let's move this party to the hot tub!" An eager chorus of yeahs came back.
Ryan was the last to follow them out to the deck, stripped down to his shorts with a towel hung around his neck.
"Come on in, Ross," Pete said. "The water is, as they say, fine."
"Like I'm gonna take your word for anything," Ryan said, but he pulled off the towel and dropped it on a chair. His chest was narrow and elegant, and the water slid smoothly up his legs as he stepped in.
He sat down in a strategic position on the far side between Brent and Joe, where Pete couldn't quite reach him. Pete grinned and lounged down a little further, letting the water cover his chin. While Brendon was holding forth on the wonders of LA, Pete pulled his feet back and kicked little ocean floor currents over to Ryan's toes. Ryan rolled his eyes.
"Nuh-uh," Ryan said as soon as Pete stepped into the Panic dressing room. He stuck one arm out in front of himself, palm out, swiveling as Pete crossed past him. "Stay back, Wentz, or I'm going to get a restraining order."
"I'm wounded, dude. Wounded," Pete said, and he dropped onto the couch just outside the radius of Ryan's arm.
"Did you just come from the Academy bus?" Ryan said.
"What? Why?" Pete said. He wondered for a second if Ryan could recognize William's cologne.
"You smell like smoke," Ryan told him. Pete pulled his hood down and forward over his shoulder to sniff at it.
"Huh," he said. "Yeah, I guess some of the guys might have been smoking."
"Sounds like a rocking party," Ryan said.
"Yeah," Pete said. "You know it. We're really missing out right now."
"Then why'd you come over here?" Ryan said.
Pete turned his head against the cushions to look over at Ryan. "So we could do this," he said, and reached for him. Ryan yelled out and knocked Pete's hands away. Pete came back for two more surges before subsiding onto his own end of the couch with a grin. He tugged a pillow behind his head, propped his feet up on a crate, and said, "So, what are we watching?"
"Jon is really good," Pete said. He rubbed Ryan's nearer arm a little, petting. "Patrick still wears the 5o4plan hat, you know? That kid has always had potential."
"Yeah, no," Ryan said. "Jon is awesome."
"I mean, no one can ever promise how something will go, but I'm pretty sure that he can, that you guys can do really great things together."
"Sure," Ryan said. "We all love playing with him."
Pete looked up at the ceiling above them and then back over at Ryan. "You know," he said, "when someone's been in your life, like, every day, like that, that doesn't just stop, right? Even if they leave all suddenly and shit, even if you wanted them to leave. It takes a while for them to be gone."
Ryan pressed his lips together and nodded.
Pete turned onto his side and curled up to Ryan's shoulder. He pushed his face into Ryan's hair and pressed a kiss to his temple. Ryan sighed and closed his eyes.
Pete dipped his head again and licked Ryan's ear.
"Pete!" Ryan yelled, shoulders twitching up off the mattress. Pete cackled and threw an arm over Ryan's waist.
"C'mon, baby," he said, "let me cheer you up."
"Get off," Ryan said, twisting around and shoving with both hands at Pete's chest.
Pete drawled, "What I'm sayin'," and bucked his hips again before loosening his arms and letting go. Ryan rolled away and flopped onto his stomach, face pressed into the blankets, and stayed like that for a while. Pete could still see the corner of his mouth, though, and he knew Ryan had cracked a grin.
"It'll be awesome," Pete said. "Best sleepover of your life, I swear. I triple swear. Come on."
"I haven't been on a sleepover since I was ten," Ryan said. The connection was a little staticky, but his disdain still came through fine.
"Then you have no idea how good grown-up sleepovers can be," Pete said. Ryan snorted.
Andy came in and opened the fridge, and Pete threw a wadded-up Doritos bag at him, jerking his chin hopefully. Andy rolled his eyes.
""Never again'," Andy muttered as he pulled out two waters. "'Just join my band and I swear I'll never bug you for a single other thing ever again.'"
Pete smiled his thanks as Andy dropped the cold bottle into his hand. "Come on, I'll treat you like a prince," he said into the phone. "I'll even make you pancakes in the morning."
"You are un-fucking-believable, Wentz."
"Great, so I'll see you next week," Pete said.
Ryan huffed again and hung up.
It was bizarre having Ryan in his house, so bizarre. Choosing outfits with him and putting on eyeliner in front of the mirror with him and driving out with him, posing for the cameras with him just like always, and then bringing him back home to stand in the kitchen like he belonged there.
"Midnight snack?" Pete said, tugging at a strand of Ryan's hair on his way to the fridge.
"It's not gonna be midnight again for hours," Ryan said. Pete laughed and let the fridge door fall shut.
"Then it's definitely past your bedtime, young man. Come on."
Ryan's eyebrows went up, but when Pete started down the hall, Ryan followed him all the way into his bedroom.
"Now like I was saying," Pete said when they got there, "it's high time for you to be in bed." He set his hands on Ryan's shoulders and pushed, and Ryan hadn't been expecting it, maybe. There was no resistance. Ryan tumbled backwards, landing on his back on the mattress, and Pete only just caught himself on his palms, bent low over Ryan's body. Ryan lay perfectly still beneath him.
Pete stared down at Ryan's eyes. Ryan stared back.
Pete kissed the corner of Ryan's mouth, and Ryan made a tiny noise in his throat. Pete licked at his neck, and Ryan trembled. Pete let himself settle flat on top of Ryan. He felt a little dizzy.
Ryan's lips opened readily to Pete's tongue. Ryan's thighs spilled wide around him.
Pete pushed himself back up enough to look at Ryan's face. Ryan was breathing hard, his head fallen to one side. Pete reached for Ryan's belt buckle. Ryan's dick twitched against Pete's knuckles, but otherwise Ryan didn't move except to raise his hips when Pete tugged his pants down.
Pete put Mikey's sad face out of his mind and focused on Ryan spread out in his bed in front of him. He pulled Ryan's dick out and swallowed it. Ryan's hands stayed on the sheets at his sides, but his breath hitched every time Pete moved. After a few minutes Pete drew back and got rid of the boxers, too. Ryan leaned up quickly and yanked his own T-shirt over his head. He gave Pete a small smile as he lay back down.
Pete bent his head to Ryan's cock again and opened his mouth wide. It wasn't long until Ryan was twisting against the sheets, stifling his groans, with two of Pete's fingers pressing into his ass.
Pete pulled off before Ryan came and slipped Ryan's long legs over his shoulders. Ryan reached back to hold onto the headboard and stopped trying to hold back his grunts.
The sound of Ryan's breaths filled Pete's ears, the smell of his sweat filled Pete's lungs, and Pete found himself spilling out of his rhythm, coming in heavy irregular thrusts.
After he resettled himself he wrapped his hand around Ryan's dick, watching the deep red of it between his fingers until Ryan let go of the slats and drew Pete's head up to his with both hands. Ryan's kisses were wet and open and got even sloppier as Pete's hand sped up, till he threw his head back against the pillow and came. He sought back to Pete's mouth immediately after, eyes closed, pressing softer kisses against Pete's lips. Pete stayed there, kissing back, but didn't try to keep Ryan's breaths from slowing into evenness.
Just before Pete was sure Ryan was out, Ryan opened his eyes again and looked steadily at him. Then Ryan turned on his side and went to sleep.
Pete woke up to the sun shining through the blinds and the sound of the shower running. He got up and called, "Ryan?" through the closed bathroom door, but there was no answer.
While he was waiting, Pete went into the kitchen and made and drank some coffee. Then he went ahead and made the pancakes, since he had the mix.
When Ryan came in and sat down at the island, he was already wearing fresh eyeliner.
Pete started a new text, typed hey ross, and then stopped to take a swallow of his Red Bull. There were pigeons pecking at the gravel outside the window; he watched them strutting and bobbing and drank a little more. When the can was empty, he hit Send and headed over to Gabe's.
He was almost dozing, the party long over, when his phone finally buzzed. "Wentz! Wake up, motherfucker, you've got mail," Gabe said. He jabbed at Pete's shoulder with a long, insistent finger. "Don't ignore it, dude, that shit ain't cool."
Pete muttered, "Fuck off," but he leaned down and fished around on the floor till he found the phone in his hoodie pocket. hey, Pete, Ryan had written. Pete looked at it for a moment and then sat up.
"Leaving so soon?" Gabe said.
"Places to see, things to go," Pete said, trying to pull all his crap together. "Get Nate to cuddle you, dude."
"Fuck that blow," Gabe said. "Cuddling me is a three-man job, minimum."
"So get Bill and Travis to help."
Gabe only smirked.
Pete smirked back till he was out the door. Then he made his way to the room he was sharing with Patrick and got into the empty bed.
He didn't try again for three more weeks. behold my awesome pwrs, he typed finally, and attached the picture of Dirty's toes.
gross, Ryan sent back half an hour later.
get a tatoo for me? Pete sent. Ryan was silent. dirty did, Pete added. travie did. Silence. cmon you??
the fuck? Ryan said. hell no.
A peanut clocked Pete squarely on the forehead. "What are you so happy about?" Joe said.
"Hm?" Pete said. He reached up and tugged at Joe's wrist till Joe sprawled down onto the couch next to him with his head on Pete's shoulder. "Oh, nothing."
People had been wishing Pete a happy new year all night, but it wasn't till he caught sight of the Panic guys that it really felt like a party.
"Ryan!" he yelled, advancing on their table with his arms held wide.
"Go away, Pete," Ryan said.
"Aw, baby, don't be like that," Pete said, fluttering his eyelashes.
Ryan looked back at Pete. "You love it," he said in his monotone. "You wouldn't want me any other way."
Pete threw his head back and laughed loud and long. "Would you listen to this kid!" he said. "C'mon, gimme some sugar, sugar."
He slung his arm around Ryan's shoulders, and Ryan's elbow was sharp and beautiful in his side.