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Co-parenting a Puppy

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The time: 2005. The people: Gabe and Pete. The twist in the universe: one night, when Pete is the little spoon (Pete is always the little spoon, unless Gabe had another fight with Tyler and Heath), he's feeling so open and scared from his last phone call with his parents that he sinks as far as he can into Gabe's embrace.

Then he twists his head just a little and whispers, "I wish we could have... something together," and slides his hand over where Gabe's hand is on his belly.

Gabe's breath is harsh and hot on the back of Pete's neck, and Pete can feel Gabe's heart beating so fast. Or maybe that's Pete's heart.

One of them is freaking out.

"You want to raise a kid with me?" Gabe asks hoarsely.

Pete has to swallow a couple of times to get enough saliva in his mouth, but... "Yeah," he says. "You would be such an amazing dad, I bet."

*

The next day when Gabe finally gets back to the Midtown bus, Rob is the only one sitting in the front lounge. He's watching The O.C. Gabe flops down and leans hard on him and doesn't even have to say anything. Rob mutes the tv.

"I think I'm in love with Pete," Gabe announces.

"Try again," Rob says, and yawns.

"I'm definitely in love with Pete --"

"Correct."

"And... he said he thinks I'd be a good dad."

Rob is quiet for a second, then picks up a drumstick from next to his practice pad and starts spinning it. Finally, he says, "Okay, does Pete have a uterus?"

"No, Pete is a dude."

"A dude who doesn't have a uterus."

"Right."

"So this is, like, theoretical."

"Right."

"So Pete is dirty-talking you with what a great dad you'll be? That's some advanced game."

"Pete has a ton of game, dude, shut up."

"Pete has almost no game at all. But since you actually have zero game, that works for you." Rob grins at him, tosses the drumstick in the air, and catches it perfectly.

"You're a dick."

"Is this you coming to me to ask if I'll have your back on adopting a dog while we're in the middle of tour? Because you seriously will have to walk it, I'm not being a part-time dog dad."

Gabe gapes at him.

"What?" Rob rolls his eyes. "Yes, yes, I'll have your back, but I think you two should start with, like, a cactus first."

"You're fucking brilliant," Gabe tells him, and Rob rolls his eyes again.

"Duh."

Gabe sneaks away in New York to go into Williamsburg and adopt a dog. He brings Rob with him for an in-person vouch, and calls his bank four separate times to make sure he has enough in his checking account to cover adoption fees.

"Don't you think you should have brought Pete?" Rob says for the millionth (second) time.

"No, dude, this is a surprise. I'm going to surprise him."

"Surprise, you're a dad."

"I know he likes dogs! And if he doesn't want to raise a dog with me..."

"You'll lie down and cry and the dog will howl," Rob finishes.

"I will handle it like a mature adult," says Gabe icily.

"Dude, I bet Trav ten bucks and a joint that you'll cry when you find the right dog to adopt. You're going to cry no matter what. Accept it now."

"I'm not going to cry."

"Lies."

"Shut up." Gabe still holds the door open for Rob, though.

*

Rob wins, because he's known Gabe long enough to know that Gabe cries at everything. Like, Hallmark commercials and dogs tied to trees while their owners are in restaurants and anything about the love of a grandma. And stuff about moms, but that's not the same thing and Rob would never bet on anything about a mom with Gabe. Rude.

*

Gabe doesn't know what to do with the dog. It's scared of everything. When Gabe tries to get it to walk on the sidewalk, the dog lies down and cries. Not howls -- cries. Like a sad baby. Which it is. A tiny, sad, abandoned mostly-beagle baby only three years old. Rob kept saying the sob story isn't real -- it's the same story they tell for all the dogs they want people to adopt -- but Gabe doesn't care. It's clear something happened to this tiny, precious baby, something terrible.

Pete is going to love their son, Gabe is positive.

Oh shit, what if Pete is pissed off and was just pillow-talking and/or sad about his dad, and doesn't want another dog, he already has a dog and Joe is the stepdad and Gabe is this interloper, oh god oh god, he just wants to lie down on the sidewalk with the dog and cry together.

"Stop," says Rob firmly, and leads him toward the venue.

Gabe wishes he were famous enough that people would recognize him on the street and take pictures and he'd show up in the one of the magazines Papa stocks in his office for his clients to read. Except he's glad he's not because his eyes are all red and swollen from crying about the dog and how Pete won't love them.

*

Gabe doesn't get how Rob is ALWAYS RIGHT. Always. Like a superpower. He's always right and everyone loves him -- including the dog, who peed on Gabe on the subway but not on Rob.

Pete is cooing over the dog.

"What's his name?" Pete finally asks, looking up at Gabe from under his bangs.

"His shelter name was --"

"No," Pete interrupts. "Not his slave name. His name name. What's his name?"

Gabe sits down, even though the venue floor is gross, and crosses his legs. Everyone is looking at them. And the dog is quivering, its big sad eyes turned on Pete.

"I was kind of hoping you wanted to name him with me," says Gabe, staring down at the dog. He can't look at Pete. He can't.

"Name him with you, like help you pick out a name, or...."

"Or. Or the other thing. The thing where we, um... are dads together."

Gabe hears Trav giggle, and the solid thump of someone kicking him. Gabe will buy that person their beverage of choice later. With his venue tokens, anyway.

He finally chances a look up at Pete. Pete's eyes are all big and shiny.

"You'll be a great dad," he says softly. "You know everything not to do."

"You want me to be a dad with you?" Pete asks.

"I really do." Gabe clears his throat. He's going to cry again maybe.

"Are you sure?" Pete looks down at where he's petting the dog, ragged fingernails with chipped black polish. Gabe knows what that hand looks like on his skin.

"I've never been surer of anything. I went out and adopted this dog so we could be puppy dads together, Pete. I want to be a dad with you forever."

"I, um." Pete takes a deep breath. "I'll ruin this, though. I ruin everything."

"You haven't ruined Hemmy," says Gabe. Maybe not his best argument. "Don't you want Hemmy to have a brother? And, um, another stepdad?"

"I do. But..."

"We can do anything together, Pete. Come on. You know it's true. Between you and me, nothing's getting to Petey Jr."

"Ugh, not Pete Jr."

"Peterpan."

"No."

"Tom Clancy."

"You're awful!" Pete cries, but he's laughing. "Look at this baby. What's your name, baby?"

The dog licks Pete's face and suddenly Gabe is sitting in a warm, wet puddle of dog pee. Ew.

"Stinkbomb," says Gabe. pete doesn't seem to care that he's covered in dog pee.

"Do you mean it?" asks Pete. "Stinkbomb! Stinky!"

"The dog cannot be named Stinky! I was joking!"

"Too late. Stinky, baby," croons Pete, "who's my baby dog?"

Gabe will tell him later that Stinky is full grown. For now he's just enjoying watching his CO-DAD!!!!! cuddle the puppy and have ihs face licked and his shirt peed on.

Also later: Gabe will burn their clothes.

PS, this is Stinky: http://cdn-www.dailypuppy.com/media/dogs/anonymous/savvee_beagle_dachshund_mix_01.jpg_w450.jpg

The End \o/

Timestamp:

"Do you want to go out tonight?" asks Gabe. He cranes his head to look up as Pete walks by, Stinky cradled in his arms.

"Can we stay home and order pizza instead?" asks Pete.

"Dude, YES."

They high-five, and Stinky pees all over Pete.

The end for real!