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Keeping a Lid on It

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Patrick's life was very, very hard. He lived in a VAN (not a particularly new or nice van), he never got to shower (and BOY did he need to shower) and, worst of all, he had to live with Pete, who believed that everything was magic and science didn't come into it (he also had to live with Andy and Joe, but Andy was very into ecology, which is all science, and Joe was too cynical to believe in magic - in fact his sarcasm made magic run away and hide).

So, despite living in a world that was ALL about modern machinery and science, where the only remaining hold-outs of the old beliefs were in marginalised churches and societies that Patrick's world mostly liked to look down on, Patrick had to HIDE EVERYTHING.

Most people (over the age of about seven, when the lessons from school had seeped into their brains and monsters were no longer real) just explained away the things that sometimes happened when Patrick didn't quite have a lid on things as sunspots or strange clouds or an electrical storm or a trick of the light or NOTHING AT ALL (because people are very good at filing the unexplainable into the forget this folder in their brain) but Pete...Pete didn't do that. Pete claimed that his finding Patrick was magic (it might have been Patrick's godmother's blessing coming into full force, possibly. It did kind of look like Fall Out Boy were going to actually make a little bit of money someday) and he noticed when Patrick accidentally started to glow on stage (it was not his fault; he was excited when those girls in the front started singing along) and declared that Fall Out Boy were going to be huge because Patrick was magic on stage. Pete was also convinced that magic meant that the van would never run out of gas five miles from the venue (he was right, except that one time when it spluttered to a halt just next to a gas station. That kind of magic was really hard work).

So, Patrick had learned science, starting with meteorology because of the lightning strike thing, and branching out into physics and chemistry (chemistry was actually less useful for explaining than he'd hoped, but it was really good for making things explode, and explosions were the absolute best for distracting Pete), but not biology (because you couldn't spend any time with Andy and not learn enough biology to realise that it really wouldn't help with Patrick's problem) so he could explain why, say, there was this strange golden light on the stage (altocumulus clouds and refraction). He kept his swearing to a minimum, and he kept an actual, physical, lid on it.

Patrick knew that Pete thought that he wore his hats all the time because he was worried about his thinning hair (he wasn't really, it wasn't thinning that much), and Patrick totally encouraged him to think that, so that Pete would protect the hat rather than trying to pull it off all the time, and everyone thought that Patrick's not-swearing was cute (Patrick had long-since given in to the cute thing. He was five foot and air, children were taller than him, and short, prone-to-roundness people were cute, not hot. He could work with cute). But still... hard.

He was a teenager in a band, a band on tour, and he could only fucking swear inside his fucking head, or the curses would fucking manifest around him. He couldn't even swear when he dropped an amp on his foot, or when Pete jumped up and attacked him on stage. It was so unfair and his hats made him so hot and that made him so grumpy (which just made Pete jump up and attack him more. Peter was not great at giving people space to be annoyed in).

And then there were Pete's lyrics.

Pete's lyrics were amazing, and painful and wonderful, and utterly terrifying because at least half the time when Pete handed over a new batch for Patrick to work his magic on, Patrick was convinced that Pete knew, that Pete had seen through the brilliant disguise of slightly nerdy ginger highschooler and seen the secret, hidden, magic user underneath. It wasn't even as if it was particularly useful or powerful magic (other than keeping the van gassed up). It was mostly embarrassing, useless magic that showed up inconveniently, like when his voice used to crack and go high and low and weird all the time, or when he got inappropriate boners because the wind changed or there were half-naked people or... Patrick was aware that his mom didn't have the same issues with her magic (she mostly used it to make amazing pies), so he was kind of hoping that the embarrassing side of his magic was mostly puberty, but.... Pete couldn't know. He just couldn't. No one could, if anyone knew then bad things happened. Patrick had grown up knowing that no one else could know, had grown up with the stories of his ancestors being burned, of his great-aunt Jeannie being taken away and locked up because she was different. Patrick's dad didn't even know until he and Patrick's mom had been married for a year.

But it was Pete, his weirdo best friend, and Patrick hated keeping secrets from him and hated it when they were fighting because Patrick was tired and hot and grumpy and Pete was clingy and Patrick's life was just hard.


One night, when Andy had gone to sleep on a beach, because... something to do with rebalancing to the ocean? And Joe had met someone after the show and said he'd see them in the morning, and it was just Pete and Patrick in the van, and Patrick was fantasising out loud about the amazing shower he was going to take next week, when they got home, and how amazing it was going to be to have a clean body and clean clothes, all at the same time, when Pete stopped him dead.

"And you won't need to hide away anymore."

"I, what?" Patrick felt sick.

Pete sat up on his bench seat and leaned on the back of Patrick's, looking down at him. "You can take off your hat, and swear and not worry anymore." Pete looked so sad.


"It's okay Patty-cakes, your secret's safe with me, I know I, like, kinda, talk a lot? But I've known for ever and I've not blabbed. I won't, I promise." Pete reached down and grabbed at Patrick's hand. It was hot and sweaty and strong and fierce.

"I, but, ummm, how?"

"You glow, all the time, and I know that people do that when they're happy, but you do it more, and you keep it hidden under your hat, but I can still see, when I'm up close, and it's beautiful. I can't stop watching you, you're amazing."


"And you're my best friend and it's so fucking cool." Pete grinned down at him, the real grin, not the demented chipmunk one that meant he was 3 seconds away from losing it completely.

"Yeah." Patrick smiled back at him, the nausea in his chest lightening and letting him breathe. It felt better, not to lie to Pete.

"And when we're home, you're totally going to show me everything. Can you fly?"

Patrick snorted out a laugh. "Uhh, no, I'm not a fairy. I, uh, I can mostly make things? Like gas and M&Ms and new guitar strings? Makes me really hungry though."

"Cool. I'll bring you food and you can make me a baby jaguar."

"Pete! I am not making you a wild animal!"

"A puppy?" Pete looked like a very hopeful five year old.

"No. I can maybe make you new sneakers like the ones Joe destroyed. But I'll need a lot of pie."

Pete fist pumped with his free hand. "Awesome. I fucking loved those sneakers."

"I know."

Pete let go of Patrick's hand and bopped him gently on the nose. "That's 'cause you're my best friend." Pete sat back to where Patrick couldn't see him anymore. "S'time for Patricks to go to sleep now, got to look pretty for the show tomorrow."

Patrick laughed, "G'night Pete."

"G'night 'Trick."