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Patrick wakes up alone in the middle of the night (which is not weird) with a small box and Pete's phone on resting on top of Pete's pillow (which is). The box is something Patrick should recognize, and it's right at the tip of his brain, but he's barely awake and can't remember words, much less why magically appearing boxes in the middle of the night should be something he knows.

He's falling back asleep - not by choice, just because he's dwelling on the box question and not getting anywhere and it makes his head fuzzy - when the phone buzzes and jerks him awake. Patrick scowls and sticks his face in his own pillow. The phone is probably what woke him up the first time, too, if he knows Pete like he thinks he does.

Before Patrick pulls his face out, he grabs the phone, if only to make it stop. It buzzes in his hand again, and when he finally looks up and unlocks the screen and winces at the light streaming into his eyes, he can see there's five missed texts. From his own phone. It's all a link to Pete's Twitter, which Patrick clicks. It takes a second for his eyes to catch up, and then he reads:

@petewentz: So proud of my home! Yes. Love should not be legislated. #homestatelove

The link goes to Pete's Instagram and reads "Love is love in Illinois", complete with an Obama logo and rainbow flags. Okay, great. Same-sex marriage can happen in Chicago, which is the point Pete seems to be making with this. So why is the box...

The box.

Patrick's still holding the phone with one hand while he reaches for the box with a shaking hand. Of course he should have known the box. How could he not know a ring box? It's solid in his hand, and it creaks when he opens it, and even with the bluish light of the cell phone screen being the only illumination in the room, it still very obviously contains a gold ring inside.

He slips the ring on the fourth finger of his left hand.

It fits perfectly.

Patrick laughs once, shaky and crying and happy, and then he looks at the phone in his right hand.

He gets out of bed.

Pete's in the living room in his recliner like he so often is in the middle of the night. But his hair's not messy from even pretending to go to bed, and he's not shirtless with his pajamas bottoms, or naked, or one of the millions of ways Pete goes to bed that Patrick loves. His knees are up against his chest, and he has his shoes on, bottoms right up against the soft fabric of the chair. He's fully dressed, too: jeans, probably a t-shirt, jacket. His keys are in one hand, and Patrick's phone is in the other, which is resting against Pete's chin.

He doesn't look up when Patrick comes in. He obviously knows Patrick's there - he takes a deep breath and squares his shoulders as Patrick walks in - but he doesn't look over, and he doesn't say anything.

So it's up to Patrick to start, and random confused anger is sitting in his chest, so he bursts out, "Why would you do that?"

Pete flinches. "Isn't it obvious?"

"No, Pete. I don't know why you would wake me up in the middle of the night to propose to me and..." Patrick would run a hand through his hair, but he has the ring box in one hand and Pete's phone in the other, so he just squeezes the phone instead. "And not be in the room."

Pete laughs. It's a harsh sound, maybe halfway to a sob. He rocks in the recliner a little, and the chair bounces with him. "Because I couldn't see your face if this happened. When you realized..."

"What?" That he wanted to punch Pete in the face? Patrick shakes his head. He doesn't actually want to punch Pete, but screaming at him in the middle of the night doesn't seem like enough, either.

He drops down in front of the recliner, and Pete jerks his head away from him and starts to put his feet down. Patrick grabs the arms of the recliner as best he can with the things in his hands.

"No," Patrick says. "Talk to me. I can't read your mind."

Pete isn't looking at Patrick's face. He's staring at Patrick's left hand, which...right. Patrick stares at it for a second, too. The ring. It looks good there. Like it should be there. Pete holds his hand out like he's going to touch Patrick's ring finger, but he keeps just far enough away that all Patrick feels is the warmth of his hand. Not the actual contact.

"You put it on."

And just like that, Patrick gets it. The clothes, the car keys in hand, the different room. Pete was expecting a rejection, and he thought he could soften the blow if he could run away.

Patrick clenches his jaw and makes himself count to ten. One of the many things they worked out in the course of their relationship - Pete sometimes wasn't physically able to stop himself from acting impulsively, so even if Patrick was justified in being pissed to hell, he had to be the one to draw back and keep their fights from getting too ridiculous. It wasn't lopsided; Pete had promised Patrick to trust himself, and that was a tall order. But it seems like Patrick might have missed something in the shuffle.

"Look at me, Pete," Patrick says.

For the first time since Patrick woke up, Pete does. He looks surprised. Patrick wishes he could be.

"Why don't you trust me?"

Pete's eyebrows go up to his hair. "But I do, 'Trick."

"Really?" Patrick sighs. "We've talked about getting married before. I told you I wouldn't say no. Remember?"

Pete doesn't answer.

"No, I know you remember because I said I wanted a gold ring." Patrick holds up his hand. It feels heavier, in a good way. "You weren't just guessing."

Pete shakes his head, probably in agreement.

Patrick takes Pete's left hand and strokes his thumb over the back of it, waiting until Pete lets the keys drop out of his hand before lacing their fingers together.

"I love you. You, Pete. And despite my better judgment..." He laughs a little at that, and smiles when Pete smiles at him. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

"This is how I should have done it, huh," Pete says, tears glistening in his eyes. But his smile is huge.

"Hey, it's not over yet." Patrick squeezes his hand. "Don't leave me hanging, Wentz."

"Yeah, I guess I'll marry you."

Pete grins, and it gets wider when Patrick gets off his knees, lets the box and the phone drop to the ground, and climbs into Pete's lap for a kiss. Pete hugs Patrick the entire time.

When the happy edge has eased off, and they're cuddling in the chair and each other's arms, Patrick murmurs, "You got a ring for yourself, right?"

"Yeah," Pete says, kissing the top of Patrick's head. "Guess I really am a hopeless romantic underneath it all."