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Sweet Melody, You'll Be Singing In Your Sleep

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The gods are assholes.

 

(The Greek ones, at least.)

 

That’s an understatement, even objectively. The gods are scheming, manipulative, egocentric, odious creatures. Their powers are immense, arguably infinite, and what do those incorrigible deities do?

 

They sit and plan. Smile and bet. Create recipes of disasters in already horrid circumstances to make the plot this much thicker and this much more enjoyable. In their eons of time, they crudely govern and laze about. The ones that do participate with humans are usually creepy, sexual beasts who leer and harass. Especially you, Zeus, ya’ freaky brute.

 

The gods were useful right up until a few centuries ago. Since then, they’ve yet to create some new element for mortals to master. Sure, they still spin the occasional stars and keep the universe expanding, but you don’t really see them do anything new. They haven’t for awhile. I mean, seriously, when’s the last time you heard about a fleeing nymph or a horny Apollo who wasn’t really just some poor sexual harassment victim running from her perpetrator?

 

Not for a long, long time. The gods have gotten exceedingly boring.

 

But the Muses? They’re just bored.

 

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Pete is trying to write. He’s laying on his stomach of the floor of his bedroom, elbows propped up and face determined. He’s still trying to write. It’s hard. He’s having sort of a rough time if you call not-being-able-to-articulate-a-single-goddamn-thought ‘rough’.

 

He’s been staring at a blank paper for god knows how long and it's maybe starting to get to him.

 

Scratch that, it's really getting to him.

 

The blinding white mocks him in his furious confusion, and the pen laughs at him with its copious amounts of ink. The clock barks a giggle at him every second, tick tick tick , and he thinks maybe he’s losing it.

 

Scratch that, he knows he’s losing it.

 

He taps the ballpoint once, twice, hard, harder , until it tears the paper. Then scribbles the tip into the hole until the paper is a disaster. A crumpled, torn up disaster with not a single word on it. He hates that he relates to such a stupid, annoying inanimate object.

 

He huffs a breath, angry, and pushes his face into the carpet. Offhandedly wishes ‘whatever god of writing should really, awesomely, help him out, thanks!’

 

He doesn’t expect it to actually work.

 

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Erato sits with her sisters, hovering just feet above Olympus on a cotton cloud. She silently watches their graceful antics.

 

Her sister Urania sits on a strange cushion of her own design. It’s covered in brilliant stars and shines like the galaxies do above their heads. She smiles quietly and touches the burning balls carefully, flicking them off and into space. She is the Muse of astronomy. Clio perches on a marble slab and stares down at a divine book she made as a child. It shows parts of the world at different eras in time, like portal-dimension photographs. She remembers every date known and every significant event, as the Muse of history should. Melpomene grins at Erato, bares her teeth behind the frowning mask she wears. The Muse of tragedy lays on her back with her arms crossed like the dead, dressed in black like Nyx.

 

But where Urania, Clio, and Melpomene represent their artistry so effortlessly and well, the remaining muses get a bit more confusing in theirs.

 

You see, Kalliope, Euterpe, Terpsichore, Polymnia, Thalia, and Erato herself have ever-changing, evolving, and usually overlapping talents. All of which regard music, dance, and poetry.

 

This century, Erato is the official Muse of lyrical poetry. Last time it was Euterpe, and the time before that, Thalia. Erato is overwhelmingly pleased. She can’t wait to help out humans in need of her talent.

 

And that is why, when she hears a tinny, whiny, desperate little voice ask her for some guidance, she cannot refuse. The voice, you see, is scared. A boy, he needs help, needs words and to express himself. His voice calls out loudest among her prayers, bleeding with raw emotion. She immediately leaves to check on him. See what she’s working with.

 

She likes to think of her approach as more hands-on. Her sisters like to make fun of her compassion, call her a ‘guardian angel’ instead, but she doesn’t really care. This is important.

 

“Pete, I’m coming”, she quietly assures. She starts to make her way down the mountain, on her way to help that voice.

 

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Pete watches Patrick at practice. It's not news or anything, but.

 

Patrick’s skin is clear and pale like the papers Pete can’t fill with words. Maybe it should anger him, seeing Patrick, but it’s grounding. Patrick makes him wanna be able to write again, makes him want to be able to give his singer the lyrics he deserves. The phrases he wants Patrick to belt out, the dumb thoughts Pete loves to hear Patrick wrap his mouth around.

 

There’s something innately, dangerously satisfying in the way Patrick makes Pete want to do better, good, less stupid.

 

Patrick’s voice is also the most beautiful manifestation of Pete’s feelings he could ever hope to experience. It’s a privilege for Patrick to sing anything Pete makes and Pete should utilize this gift as much as possible.

 

He doesn’t say anything like this out loud. First off, creepy, second off, that’s sorta gay.

 

Not that- There’s nothing wrong with that. Pete thinks dudes can be universally attractive, but. To say, to imply that Pete thinks those things about a band member? A friend? Patrick?

 

That’s weird. It’d make him a shit friend.

 

Plus, Pete rationalizes, it's not even a big deal. Waxing poetry about someone you care about? What poet doesn’t do that? That’s normal. And it just happens to be that Patrick is probably his best friend in the world. Patrick gets Pete in some stupid, cosmic way that Pete can’t explain even if he wanted to. Patrick makes Pete happy, happy-Pete writes better, and a writing-Pete writes about the initial things that made him happy.

 

So what it tends to be Patrick?

 

Patrick is a sunbeam in a musty room. Sunbeams are awesome. Patrick Stump is awesome. It's an indisputable fact.

 

Whatever. It’s not a big deal.

 

Pete just wants to write again, though. For all he’s been trying, he hasn’t been able to for weeks. He’s done everything, prompts, music, random assortments of words, everything. He’s at a wall. He even thought about that time Patrick and him went to the arcade and blew through a collective thirty bucks. Patrick kept beating him at table hockey, but Pete kicks ass at Dance Dance Revolution. It was a good night. Pete’s cheeks hurt from smiling, and he knows Patrick had a good time too. He wrote a song or two about it, the sheer memory is usually enough to write like, sonnets, but now? Nothing.

 

It sucks.

 

Plus, Patrick deserves more words. The band deserves more songs. Pete deserves his job.

 

Otherwise, he’s useless. Who wants to keep around a wordless lyricist? (No one, that's who.)

 

He’s been feeling useless for a while, now.

 

He hopes something gives him the kick he needs. Punches him in the face with intention, pours ambition down his throat and makes his fingers tingle with inspiration. He needs drive to make him sweat and his heart race until he picks up a pencil and jots down the things that come to him until he’s exhausted and spent. Until he’s got pages and pages, songs. An album worth, two, three.

 

Fuck, he needs to start writing soon.

 

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Erato makes it to a city called Chicago, where she had been summoned.

 

She traces the voice back to a house that she assumes is where Pete lives. She goes a mist-like state (she calls it ‘sublimation’) and floats into the house under the front door. She gets pulled downstairs to the basement and guesses that this is where the boy, Pete, was writing when he called for her.

 

It’s cozy. There’s papers on the wall with pictures of people dressed like her sister Melpomene. Black, metal dangling from their clothing, kohl-lined eyes. There’s pictures of people at, what Erato knows to be a microphone, so she knows this boy must really idolize musicians, comedians, or politicians.

 

Judging by the bass in the corner of the room and the stray drumsticks, she determines musicians.

 

Sweet, her work is cut out for her!

 

How hard could it possibly be to inspire such a boy?

 

.......

After two days, Erato grants that this may be harder than she initially would have calculated.

 

You see, this boy, Pete, is stubborn.

 

The first day he was here, he stormed down to the basement and she saw him for the first time. He looked frustrated but subdued, like he’s felt upset for a long time but the last place he was calmed him down a little.

 

She finds out it was band practice. Interesting.

 

But after he got downstairs and she stayed hovering near him, still in a faint fog, he was incredibly dismissive to all of her attempted help.

 

As he lay on the ground, pen in hand and notebook open, he was immovably irritated. She did her absolute best, too.

 

She kept granting him access to good memories that should inspire him, but Pete kept waving them off, grumbling ‘no, not him’ and Erato didn’t know who Pete was talking about.

 

Then, she granted him entry to memories that are romantic in some way or another- crushes, love, adoration, infatuation, etc. Romance is one of the keys to effective writing, because romance can be happy, sad, both, or neither. But Pete got even angrier at this. He was mumbling something about, ‘Jesus, you can’t like him’ and ‘trick ?’

 

The next day, she allowed him entry to memories he deems important for whatever reason in his mind. These types of scenes are powerful and potent to writers. It usually works for even the most blocked-mind, but Pete grew even more aggrieved. He was visibly upset, stressed out and saying ‘no no no’.

 

So, the Muse decides to follow Pete to ‘practice’. In pursuit of his happiness, she proclaims!

 

.......

 

She sees several things once there.

 

Particularly between two boys. One, of course, being Pete, the other a short redhead named ‘Patty’ or something (His voice is heavenly).There’s lots of staring. Lots of watching. Lots of blushing. Lots of nervous fiddling. Lots of sideways glances. Tons of small smiles.

 

Erato comes to the conclusion that Pete is impressively evasive when it comes to his love life. It’s the only way to explain his reactions. She even makes a list-

 

  1. He always comes back from ‘band practice’ smiling like the sun.
  2. He watches his singing-boy more than he even plays his instrument.
  3. He tries to make ‘Patty’ laugh. All. The. Time. It's ridiculous
  4. He crowds him a lot.
  5. The two drift to each other subconsciously like there’s an invisible rope tied to the other.
  6. Pete cares more about what Patty thinks than anyone else in their group.

 

It's a good list, she thinks.

 

She doesn’t even mention that all of his happy, love-filled, significant memories are all full of Patty, obviously.

 

Honestly, this list is also the only way to explain Pete’s inability to write. Someone with that many memories and emotions should have no trouble expressing himself through poetry and lyrics. She’s positive that Pete has a crush on his boy, ‘Patty’ but refuses to accept it. Her intervention in Pete’s life has only served to frustrate him because he’s feeling the memories, but not allowing himself to analyze them. He’s confused.

 

And very, very stubborn.

 

Erato has a lot more work to do here.

 

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Pete is restless.

 

For the past few days, he’s been stuck on a very, very bad realization.

 

The realization that he, maybe, perhaps, likes Patrick.

 

Or, as you might say if you’re a romantic, he’s feeling undoubtedly in love.

 

It’s bad. And painful. Awful, really.

 

He keeps sitting down to write and getting these horrible, sweet, lovely images of Patrick flooding his mind. Which he supposes isn’t such a new thing, he writes about Patrick without consciously thinking about it most of the time, but.

 

But.

 

It’s never been like this. He’s never felt so single-minded and persistent on a person. On the idea of someone. He’s not dumb enough to think he ACTUALLY loves Patrick. Pat. Patty-Trick Stump.

 

That’s be crazy. And very stupid. (Pete likes to think he’s neither, thank you very much.)

 

The worst part was band practice, though. He thought he was being subtle when he watched Patrick from under his fringe and sideways-glancing, but at the end Joe clapped him on the back and grinned, ‘very stealthy, man’. So yeah, that pretty much sucked.

 

He’s like a doting, dopey ninja.

 

Pete even tried staring at Patrick’s cute lil’ red sideburns in hopes of a joke coming to mind (dude, he used to be so good at those), but nothing. No, ‘haha, trucker-boy’ or ‘I think you missed something when you shaved, Patty”.

 

He’s hopeless.

 

Pete can’t do anything without this engulfing, trance-like, daze overtaking him. All these good feelings too, they should be enough to make him write like the madman he used to be- but all of these moronic memories seem to do is focus around Patrick!

 

( Patrick smiling, Patrick singing, Patrick humming a stupid song from the radio that only sounds good when he does it, Patrick tripping over a chord, Patrick playing the drums. Patrick biting his lip when he’s concentrating, Patrick telling Pete he’s a good friend. Patrick when he’s about to pass out but wants to keep talking, not wanting to the next person to sleep at the sleepover, Patrick. Patrick when he calls Pete stupid, calls him reckless. Patrick when he looks at Pete for any reason at all. Patrick when he. Patrick when. Patrick. Patrick. Patrick. )

 

It’s fucked up, seriously. How is he supposed to get any work done with his lead singer doing this crap. It’s like someone, Pete thinks, cast a fucking spell on him. It’s messed up!

 

And it’s not that Pete never looked at Patrick and thought, ‘hey this kid is my favorite person’ because, duh, of course Pete did that. Sometimes he looked at Patrick and thought things like, ‘I’m glad you’re here’ and ‘There’s no one I trust with my words more than you’, or ‘where have you been’.

 

(Pete’s last girlfriend had the strawberry blonde, brassy, reddish type hair that Patrick has. He tries not to think about that)

 

It’s just inconvenient, is all. Pete reasons that there’s no way anything could ever work, even if he did pursue it. Patrick agreed to be in a band with Pete. Then he accepted being friends with him, but Pete knows nothing beyond that could ever happen.

 

Sometimes, when Pete hangs around Patrick for one too many hours on a Friday night or Tuesday afternoon, or any other random time, Patrick starts answering with clipped sentences. He starts not replying, starts trying to do something not involving Pete.

 

Patrick gets annoyed of Pete, he knows this. Pete also knows how to limit their time together so that Patrick never has reason to be. (Pete’s used to people saying he’s a lot to handle, it’s not news, or anything.)

 

So, no. Pete won’t tell Patrick because not only is that weird on its own, but let’s assume Patrick isn’t mortified. Let’s pretend that Patrick is okay with it, even going so far as to be happy with it. Even if he was okay with Pete’s crush, and stupid enough to reciprocate it, he would never be able to deal with Pete.

 

Patrick would get annoyed with Pete, and even worse, tired of him.

 

Pete won’t risk that. It’d be a dead end. He’d ruin their friendship, the band, and Pete would be too fucked up to go from there.

 

Pete won’t say anything. Won’t risk it, because it’s sure as hell not worth it.

 

But, Pete also knows the more he denies himself his feelings, the stronger he feels them. It’s why he won’t write. He refuses to glorify some anonymous boy he’s in love with. Because it’s not some faceless-love. It’s the boy who would sing his lyrics, the boy he’s supposed to face.

 

God, he’s fucked. Did Cupid really feel the need to shoot him in the back like this?

 

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Erato,for the record, is offended he thinks Cupid is to blame for all of this. First off, Pete’s hopeless on his own, and second? The reason he’s finally recognizing his feelings is because of Erato, she’s the one trying to help him, sheesh.

 

Ugh. Her boy is dumb.

 

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Pete goes to band practice again. He stares at his bass for like, two hours. He doesn’t fake flirt with Patrick, because it’s weird now. He watches his fingers on the frets and nothing else.

 

Band practice is kind of awful.

 

Because Pete’s not being bubbly or making jokes, everyone assumes he’s in a Mood. Andy sounds tense and Joe keeps messing up on notes he never does, like he’s nervous. On top of that, Patrick for some reason is frustrated as hell, keeps snapping at Joe and ignoring the glares Andy sends him. Patrick keeps pointing out every mistake and his shoulders are tight at the microphone.

 

Normally, Pete would tell everyone to settle down and smile at everyone with his famous 1000 watt grin. He’d work to distract everyone by doing something stupid like attempting a handstand. Everyone would forget about the heavy mood of the room and focus on Pete’s fail. Then, he’d crowd up in Patrick’s space until he got all flustered and mumbly and the tips of his ears were red. He’d start some banter with Joe until Joe stopped furrowing his brow, then he’d say something about Andy’s mom. He’d dodge the drumstick thrown at him and kneel in front of Patrick, saying some shit like, “to have and to hold you, your sideburns, and your crazy credit-card debt.” Patrick would tell him to shut up, to go to his bass, but when they start playing again Joe wouldn’t fumble and Patrick wouldn’t stress.

 

He doesn’t do any of that.

 

Patrick keeps griping at Joe, Joe keeps getting defensive and Andy is closed off because he really hates the confrontation. Pete doesn’t look up and no one actually involves him, but he can feel everyone’s eyes on him. He knows he’s supposed to fix this but he can’t actually bring himself to.

 

If he tried to calm Patrick down, Pete doesn’t trust himself enough not to make it weird. He feels gross messing with Patrick like that if he weren’t truly kidding. And, as of recently, he’s not.

 

At this point, a fake kiss would be a real kiss.

 

Pete stares at his hands and doesn’t talk for the practice.

 

At the end, he doesn’t drape himself over Patrick on the couch or tackle Joe. He doesn’t tell Andy he liked that roll he did in song #2, and he doesn’t go in for the usual fake kiss. He doesn’t ask Patrick for a ride, and he doesn’t offer to knead his shoulders even though it’s a ritual. Patrick looks vaguely put-out, and Pete would apologize except he’s starting to think their rituals are a little gay, and it's a weird situation for him now. Doing so would raise questions, and that’s exactly what he wants to avoid.

 

He just needs to get over it.

 

He leaves practice as soon as it's over with a small wave and no eye contact. When he gets home, he doesn’t even try to write. Just sits on his bed until dinner, then plays with his food. He sleeps okay, but doesn’t dream of anything in particular, and promptly forgets it in the morning, anyway.

 

He only feels a little hollow.

.......

 

By the time it’s next practice, he’s written a few pages of lyrics. Instead of showing them to Patrick first like he usually does, he shows Joe.

 

“Hey, man, I’m honored, but like. Don’t you usually show Patrick these first? Isn’t that your guys’ thing?”

 

Pete shrugs. He doesn’t look Joe in the eye when he answers, “I guess. I don’t think he cares.”

 

That’s a lie, he can already imagine Patrick’s look of betrayal. But, he reasons, the hurt will be easier to deal with than Patrick looking back up at him disgusted, reading right through the metaphors. Patrick being pissy about coming second is a lot better than Patrick being repulsed by Pete’s crush.

 

Pete can dress his love up in every pretty word in the book, but if Patrick is able to see past them? Then it’s just as bad as telling Patrick how he feels in the first place. Worse even, because it means he’s a coward who hides behind poetry.

 

“Okay?” Joe hesitantly agrees, “but I’m not really a lyric-dude. So, I don’t know what to look for or help you on.”

 

Pete nods, that’s fine, that’s not what this is about. This is about separating himself from Patrick and distancing himself from their friendship. Because Pete made everything weird by realizing his crush. And now he has to totally ignore how awesome Patrick is, which really sucks. He’s like a sunbeam, seriously.

.......

 

Patrick is just as ticked of about the lyric situation as you’d expect.

 

Pete started it by handing him the pages and saying, “Here’s some lyrics I think we could use? Joe said their okay, I think maybe we could make it a heavier sound.”

 

Patrick looked sort of confused, his eyebrows pinched when he took the lyrics. “Joe? You showed them to him first?” And Pete can’t really ignore the angry note in his tone.

 

He scratched the back of his neck, mumbled out a, “Yeah.” and walked away. He also can’t ignore the eyes burning into him when he leaves, but this is how its supposed to go.

 

Pete got too attached. They have a really close friendship, and somewhere in there, Pete misread some signals. Fell too hard.

 

Whatever. He’ll get over it. People write songs about this shit all the time, it’s not new. He’s not special. He just needs to get in front of the problem, stop it from getting out of hand.

 

During the ‘awesome-guitar-riff-song’, Patrick doesn’t answer Pete with anything but those annoyed, clipped sentences. Pete pretends it doesn’t hurt and watches Patrick’s cheeks start to redden. He looks kind of beautiful when he’s furious, and Pete thinks it's unfair some people can look pretty while they yell. He ducks his head when Patrick catches him watching.

 

Pete takes a deep breath and flexes his fingers. This is how it’s supposed to go.

 

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Erato watches Pete with an exasperated expression. This boy, Pete, is a literal dumbass. He obviously cares for his boy (whom Erato has learned is actually called ‘Patrick’) but refuses to accept it.

 

She saw the words Pete wrote, and as the Muse of lyrical poetry, she thinks his inability to do right by his true feelings is absurd. Seriously, she’s been favoring him for over a week and he’s still not embracing her!

 

His words were stilted though extravagant, and lacked the raw emotion he naturally exudes. Pete is a brilliant writer, she can read it from his thoughts, feelings, and his tongue, but he’s so utterly unyielding, she’s actually impressed. No one has made her work this hard for centuries.

 

In absolute fury, she resorts to her human form and summons two of her sisters.

 

Polymnia appears within seconds, wearing what Erato places as trendy attire. She’s clad in a Metallica shirt (seriously? Ride the Lightning?) and black pants. She smiles at Erato and bounces on her heels, whistling a sea shanty from four centuries ago. Erato shakes her head and rubs her temples, because what the fuck.

 

Kalliope takes a few minutes, but she’s the eldest so she silences the other two when they dare complain. She wears a classic Greek gown, a light red, and bears dark skin tone in her human form, like all the Muses. She asks Erato why they’ve been called to help, sounding only a little condescending.

 

“My boy, Pete, needs our assistance.” Erato replies.

 

Polymnia giggles, “Oh thank gods! I love this era, its so fun. I watched him a little when you left to help him, did my homework. He’s quite pretty! That’s where I inspired my outfit!”

 

Erato rubs the bridge of her nose, “So I see. You spied on us? He’s my patron, you know.”

 

Kalliope adds, “well actually? He’s in a band. As the current Muse of melody and rhythm, they are all within my realm. He’s close with Joe Trohman and Patrick Stump, both of which have my blessing. Andy Hurley, too. A very talented percussionist,” she nods.

 

Polymnia frowns. “Then why am I here?”

 

“Because, you are the current muse of religious songs and hymns. As you know, at least two of those boys don’t adhere to any organized religion, but idolize bands, such as Metallica.” Erato answers, pointedly looking at Polymnia’s shirt.

 

She immediately perks up, “Oh! That’s so sweet! Their bands are their religion, how adorable

 

Erato nods and turns into her mist form, with her sisters following suit.

 

They go to band practice and watch the boys interact.

 

Polymnia hovers Pete carefully and wraps around Andy speculatively, while Kalliope watches her three blessed patrons proudly. When Patrick sings, she sighs contentedly and bestows inspiration on all of them.

 

They all note the dynamics in the band, like Pete’s antisocial behavior, Patrick’s irritation because of it, Joe’s isolation, and Andy’s overall stiffness.

 

After the practice finishes, the sisters go to a local Denny’s to meet and discuss, because Polymnia really likes the atmosphere there for some reason.

 

Back in human form and their desired outfits, Erato lazes in the booth in her flowy tank top and worn jeans. Polymnia, to no one’s surprise looks perfectly at home while Kalliope sits uncomfortably, bare shoulders pressing against the cool, plastic-leather.

Erato orders french fries and a milkshake (she remembers she liked those in the 50’s), while Kalliope orders a water and fish n’ chips. Polymnia asks for a breakfast platter even though it's 8pm. The food is pretty good, but the vibe is kinda weird. (Erato struggles to see the appeal, but Polymnia looks happy.)

 

“So,” Erato starts, biting into a fry.

 

“So,” Kalliope agrees, dabbing her mouth with a napkin.

 

“I liked them! Pete was very handsome.” Polymnia offers.

 

“-And gay” Erato and Kalliope interrupt at the same time. Polymnia pouts, but shrugs anyway.

 

“And that’s the issue,” Erato continues, looking at Kalliope. “He cares deeply for his boy, Patrick, but keeps suppressing it. He does it in hopes of forgetting, but inevitably makes it worse for himself,” she explains. “He’s hurt the band’s synergy, too. They work better than this, I can feel it, but Pete and Patrick’s issues are bleeding into everything.”

 

Kalliope hums. “He loves him.” she supplies.

 

“Pete? Of course. And it’s killing him, because he’s scared it’s unrequited”, Erato answers.

 

Kalliope frowns and shakes her head. “No. Patrick.”

 

Erato and Polymnia stare, obviously confused.

 

Kalliope laughs. “Oh, come on! Didn’t you watch him?”

 

The sisters say nothing.

 

Kalliope continues, “Well, I did. He’s one of my brightest, you know,” she boasts. “Patrick was so irritated, as we all saw, but it’s because of Pete. He watched him so closely, waited and gauged every one of his reactions. He glared the most at Pete, but also smiled the most at him. Not that Pete saw, of course. Patrick hides it well.”

 

Erato and Polymnia slowly nod, that’s true, Patrick did check in with Pete more than anyone else.

 

Polymnia claps her hands. “So they’re in love? How sweet! Oh, imagine music they’ll make together!” she enthuses.

 

Erato and Kalliope huff laughs, and the sisters agree to all stay and bless the band some more. They also agree to stay and hang around until the issue is solved, watching their boys lovingly.

 

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Pete’s found that writing has come easier, recently. Like something greater has given him a tiny shove in the right direction, he thanks his lucky stars.

 

He writes a story about a boy who tames lions. The boy is comfortable with the lion, and slowly they slowly trust each other more and more. One day though, the boy makes the mistake of not staying firm and in control, and in turn, the lion mauls him. The boy is saved, but bears enough scars that he gets asked what happened everywhere he goes. He says he doesn’t regret anything but secretly does, and never handles animals again.

 

How emo and totally not a parallel to Pete’s life.

 

Whatever.

 

Pete’s lounging around at his house, and he’s not lonely at all. He counts his cd’s, and alphabetizes them. Washes the dishes, then dries them. Vacuums. Being bored makes him the perfect son, apparently.

 

It’s only then when he hears a knock.

 

He walks over, expecting a Jehovah’s witness or something, and comes face to face with his singer. Patrick. Oh.

 

“Uh. Hey” Pete offers. He’s caught a little off guard, is all.

 

“Hey.” Patrick stands there, making way more eye contact than the two have even shared in days. He’s got a Tom Waits band shirt on, blue, and his thumbs are in jean pockets. He looks good.

 

“Do you. Do you want to come in?” Pete asks, because Patrick is just standing there, making no move to push Pete out of the way like he usually does.

 

Patrick nods, and Pete steps aside so Patrick can walk in. They walk to the kitchen and Pete opens the fridge, mostly for something to do. He ends up pulling out frozen raspberries because Patrick fucking loves them for some reason. They eat half the bag and Pete is careful that their hands don’t brush.

Patrick breaks the silence abruptly. “Do you hate me or something?” he asks, just a little too loud in the quiet of the house.

 

Pete’s head spins. “What? No, no, never. Why? What?”

 

Patrick stares out the counter when he answers, a sure sign he’s upset.  “You’ve been. Like. We haven’t. When’s the last time we’ve hung out?”

 

Pete thinks. “Not, um. For a while. Sorry. I guess that one’s on me,” he sheepishly grins. How do you tell someone you want to be with them all the time. That you love them, all the homo he could possibly entail?

 

Patrick frowns, looks Pete in the eye. Baby blues and the yellow sun surrounding his pupil. Pete’s eyes are hazel. Patrick’s eyes are a mystery. “Why?” he nearly shouts.

 

Pete shrugs, uncomfortable in this interrogation. “We’ve been. I’m. I was busy!”

 

Patrick still staring when he says, “No, no you fucking weren’t. You’ve been. No. You’ve been avoiding me.”

 

When Pete doesn’t deny it, Patrick huffs loudly.

 

“So, you’re what. Done with me? Do you hate me? Did I do something wrong? Pete what the fuck ?” This time he does yell.

 

“Done with you? What the fuck are you on about, Patrick?”

 

Patrick laughs angrily,  “Dude! We haven’t fucking hung out in like, two weeks! You don’t look at me at practice anymore, you never stay afterwards either! You don’t wanna come over, you don’t ask for rides, you don’t hang all over me! What the fuck did I do, Pete!” Patrick looks wild and pissed off in ways Pete’s never seen.

 

Pete still can’t deny that, so Patrick continues.

 

“You don’t give me massages, or jump on my back! You don’t laugh at practice! I keep, fuck, I keep trying to reach out and you ignore me!” he lists. “You,” he takes a shuddery breath, “you gave your lyrics to Joe first. And that. That’s. What the fuck, Pete, ” he breathes.

 

Pete cracks. “No its, I’m sorry, okay? But I’ve been going through something, I promise. I just have to let it go, I swear,” Pete explains.



Patrick’s pretty eyes are red rimmed, and oh fuck, Pete did that, those are because of Pete. Patrick’s face crumples and he says, quieter, “I know. I know, we’ve all given you your space, but Pete. Pete. What is it, what did I do?”

 

Pete takes a deep breath. “You- Nothing. I promise. You didn’t do anything I’m just. I’m stupid okay?” Patrick is still looking so small over there against the counter, so Pete moves closer to hug him. When Pete first wraps his arms around him, Patrick is still and tense. After one second, two, his body melts. He sniffs against Pete’s neck and Pete squeezes him tighter. Breathes out into red hair.

 

They don’t actually hug that much, they never have, but right now Pete cannot imagine why. Patrick feels so perfect against him, their bodies fit so well, but Pete remembers just exactly why they don’t do this. Pressed together, their fronts touching from head to toe, Pete shivers. He starts to move away, pull his body, but to his surprise, Patrick pulls him closer. Tighter.

 

“Patrick,” Pete warns in a small voice.

 

“Hmm?” Patrick hums. He’s pushing closer still, small, constant movements like he wants them to be one entity, and Pete shivers again.

 

Pete tries to ask what Patrick’s doing, but before he has the chance, Patrick’s lips are trailing up Pete’s neck, across his jaw. Fuck. Patrick is still moving closer, but now tiny rocking motions, and it takes Pete a second to figure out why. He’s grinding their hips together, ever so slightly and he moves his hands from Pete’s back to lower.

 

Patrick’s hands wander. One settles on Pete’s lower back, the other palms Pete’s ass, making Pete moan into the empty house. Pete shudders, and rocks against Patrick roughly, revelling in Patrick’s groan. They’re both hard in their jeans and frantically rubbing against each other.

 

Pete’s hands settle on the counter behind Patrick to give him some stability when he thrusts forward and it’s Patrick’s turn to moan. Pete kisses him, chaste, but Patrick grips Pete harder and roughly pushes his tongue past the seam of Pete’s lips. Pete startles, moans, and Patrick swallows it.

 

Pete pulls back, but not far, given Patrick’s death-grip on his ass.

 

“You want this?” he asks. He’s a little breathless.

 

Patrick groans and throws his head back, voice hoarse. “Is that even a question? I like, started humping you. Are you stupid or something?”

 

Pete laughs against his shoulder, biting when Patrick purposely exposes his neck just to hear the sound Patrick makes. He licks it better, too.

 

“Maybe. I’m uh. I really, truly, hella like you. It’s sort of a problem,” he confesses. “I started to avoid you, you’re right. Sorry. But I thought, I thought you would’ve been. Disgusted.” It’s an apology, and Patrick knows that.

 

Patrick pulls him closer, says against Pete’s ear, “Idiot. You would’ve been wrong ,” he scolds, but fondly.

 

“Yeah?”

 

Patrick nods firmly, “Yeah. Hey, hey. We should fuck.”

 

Pete lifts an eyebrow but smiles. “Oh?”

 

Yes.

 

Patrick starts walking off towards Pete’s room and and Pete whispers, “Like a sunbeam, dude. A sunbeam!”

 

“What?” Patrick asks, having heard Pete say something.

 

“Nothing, dude,” he grins.

 

 

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Needless to say, the muses avert their eyes. (Except for Polymnia, but she’s a creep.)