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Where is your boy -My picket fence book 3-

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

I sit criss cross apple sauce in the closet. Its dark and I don't like it. Devin from daycare says monsters live in closets. Mommy says that’s not true, Mommy says that monsters look like people and that if I open the door I'll see a monster. The monster sounds like a man. Mommy calls him sugar. He comes home with mommy at night. Mommy and me share a room because we don't need anything fancy as long as we have each other. But when sugar comes over I have to stay in the closet. It's really dark in the closet.

Sugar is mad at mommy tonight. He's yelling at her and calling her bad names. I cover my ears. I don't like it. There’s a really loud sound, like the fireworks that mommy took me to see earlier in the summer. There’s a hole in my closet now. It’s not so dark anymore. Maybe mommy knew I was scared of the dark. I move my hands cause sugar is quiet now. I hope mommy will let me out soon. I get to start school in the morning.

[Pete]

"Peter stop pulling" Papa orders yanking on my arm. I don't wanna walk slowly; he told me we get to go to the park today. "Come on papa we're gonna play!" its cold out but I don't mind. Papa lets me wear his coat when it gets really cold. It reaches past my knees and my hands get lost in the sleeves cause they're so long.
He and mama fight a lot now. We're homeless now. That means we live in our car. I get the whole backseat all to myself. I haven't had to go to school for a few weeks. That’s really cool cause school is boring. And now papa is home all the time. He plays games with me and tells me stories.

We got to take the train today. It took a long time. I don't know where we are but papa said he's taking me to the best park ever. He stops outside a big building. I think it’s a police station. "Wait here peter" He makes me sit on a bench. "Okay papa" I wonder where he's going. Maybe to get us hot chocolate. Papa kneels in front of me and gives me a big hug that squishes me. "I love you peter panda" he says "I love you too papa." He kisses my head then lets me go. "You’re a good boy... remember that. You’re a good boy and your mama and I love you so much"

"Okay papa. I’ll remember. Are we gonna get hot chocolate?" He smiles at me and nods "all the hot chocolate you want"

"Really?"

"Yeah buddy. Just wait here and I’ll be back soon" Papa is crying. He never cries. I wonder whats wrong, He walks away. I watch him until I can’t see anymore. He said I’m a good boy so I won’t move from this spot. I pull my knees into his coat and wait, and wait, and wait. The hot chocolate must be hard to carry. I love my papa so much. He's the best.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

 

“Patrick, come in here please” Father Calls from the living room. I’m trying to do my homework in the kitchen but I don’t mind stopping. I just started middle school and math is really hard. I get up and go to them. They are sitting on the couch side by side. They aren’t really my parents but I’ve lived here so long that I’d like to think of them as such.

My social worker mms melody is sitting in the recliner. Ms. Melody is great; she’s been my social worker since I was really young. “Hello Ms. Melody!” I say cheerfully, going over to give her a big hug. “Hi patty” she puts an arm around me. She has her hair braided today but normally she has a big poofy afro. I loved to play with it when I was younger. I take a seat on the arm of her chair even though I know father doesn’t like it when I do.

“Patrick we’d like to discuss something with you” Mother says.

“What is it?”

“Well Patrick I’ve got another boy that I’m in charge of. His name is peter. I’ve been trying to find a good home for him but his luck hasn’t been as good as yours was.”

“Why not?”

“Peter is… He’s a very sad boy. You know how sometimes when you get upset you don’t want to be around people?”

“Yeah”

“Well peter is like that a lot of the time. He tries to push people away because he doesn’t want them to see how sad he is. So far he’s done a good job at it. I thought that maybe you could help him”

“I can do my best. How old is he?”

“He’s thirteen. He’s in middle school like you”

“So we can go to school together?” This makes me happy. I don’t have a lot of friends at school and maybe he could make the eighth graders stop picking on me.

“Yes he will”

“Your father and I have discussed it and as Christians we can’t turn him away. You and him will share a room since you already have bunk beds” Mother says. I’m okay with that as long as I still get the bottom bunk. The top one is scary. I nod my head and look at Ms. Melody.

“Can he come today?” I ask. I’d really like to meet him. I’ll finally have a brother. Ms. Melody laughs. “He’s actually waiting in the car. He didn’t want to come inside.” I smile and run out to her car.

The boy, peter, is sitting in the passenger seat with his eyes closed. He doesn’t notice me right away so I take the chance to look him over. He has dark black hair that looks a bit like he straightened it and dark eyeliner all around his eyes. He’s wearing a black misfit’s hoodie. I’ll have to warn him to hide it from mother and father. His kind of looks like the Goth kids from my school. I’m a little worried because they don’t really like me, but I’ll try harder to be friends with him. He’s my new brother after all.

I raise my hand and knock on the window. He doesn’t hear right away so I try again. This time he opens his eyes and looks at me. He seems startled for a moment then composes him and rolls down the window. “What?” He asks with a scowl. Ms. Melody said that he wants to be alone because he’s sad. But when you’re alone the sadness gets so much worse. I put on my biggest smile and wave at him. “Hi I’m Patrick. You’re peter right?”

“It’s Pete” He grumbles.

“Well it’s nice to meet you Pete. We’re going to live together from now on”

“I give it a week tops”

“Really? Why?”

“You wouldn’t understand”

“Mother and father are really nice. They have a lot of rules but there are a lot of fun things to do here”

“Mother and father? What are you some kind of serial killer in the making?”

“Well they aren’t my real parents so calling them mom and dad would feel weird… Oh and you have to call father sir. That’s a rule”

“Great a house of weirdoes” I want to argue that we aren’t weird but I want him to like me. I won’t let him get to me. “Come inside I’ll show you our room” I say remaining cheerful. He looks at me and raises an eyebrow.

“Seriously? A house this big and we have to share a room? How many kids live here?”

“Just me… Oh and now you” I open his door and step back. “Come inside.” He lets out a big sigh then gets out. I’m surprised to see that he isn’t much taller than me. I hold out my hand to him and smile waiting.

 

[Pete]

I have no idea what to make of this kid. He’s standing in front of me with a goofy grin on his face. Not to mention he’s got like the worst fashion sense ever. He’s wearing tan slacks with a dark brown button up and black shoes that look like they’re freshly shined. I look from his outstretched hand to his face. I have to admit he could be kind of cute. He has chubby cheeks and big dorky glasses. His light brown hair is neatly parted in the middle and slicked back. If he had better fashion sense I might actually be attracted to him.

“What do you expect me to do with that?” I ask pointing at his hand. He rolls his eyes. “Come on” He repeats for like the millionth time. He grabs my hand and pulls me into the house. What the heck is up with this kid?

I don’t have the energy to fight him right now so I let him lead me through the house and up a winding flight of stairs. He stops outside a door and smiles at me. The kid has an infectious smile and I almost feel the urge to smile back. Almost but not really.

He opens the door like he’s presenting a prize on a TV game show and motions for me to go first. I walk inside and look around. The room is huge. Bigger than some of the houses I’ve lived in. There are bunk beds against one wall. The bottom one is a full sized bed. It’s obviously the one he sleeps in but I’m sure I can get him to change his mind. At my last foster home I had to sleep on a beat up old couch. I am going to sleep in luxury while I can. There’s also a desk with a fairly new looking computer and a large flat screen TV hanging on the wall with a futon in front of it along with some bean bag chairs. The wall opposite has shelves full of books pictures and trophies that are probably from chess club or something lame. He said that they aren’t his real parents but he has way to much stuff to be a foster kid. “Are you adopted?” I ask as I go to get a better look at the video games I just noticed under the TV. “No I’m a foster kid like you.” He is nothing like me.

“How did you get all this good stuff?”

“I’ve been here a long time. So you know… birthdays and stuff” He looks down at his feet. I wonder if he knows how lucky he is. “Guess they have commitment issues” I say as I put a game in and plop down on a bean bag chair to play. He continues to stand there awkwardly for a few minutes as I watch the opening of the game. Finally I sigh and look at him. “What is your issue?” I ask

“Well you should probably change before you meet mother and father.” I look down at my clothes and raise an eyebrow. “Why?”

“Well it’s like I said. There are a lot of rules”

“Even about clothes?” He nods. This is so stupid. Maybe I should run away from this one. I could say they hit me or something. But then this kid would have to leave too. Do I really want to ruin his life? Why do I care what happens to him anyway?

“Yeah… they won’t really like your hoodie… I do! I think it’s really cool… but the rules… you know?” He’s trying really hard to stay on my good side. It’s cute but not going to work. “Well if they have a problem with my clothes they’re going to have to buy me new ones”

“Okay. I’ll let them know.”

“Are you serious?”

“Do… do you not want new clothes”

“That’s not what I meant”

“Oh” He looks really confused. “What did you mean?”

“They’d seriously buy me new clothes?”

“Well yeah… if you don’t have anything they find acceptable…” he looks around and spots my ragged backpack where I dropped it by the door. “Do you have more in the car? I could get it for you”

“Nope. I’ve only got three other shirts. And a pair of skinny jeans”

“Just jeans? Then what do you sleep in?”

“My boxers dude” He seems surprised.

“Don’t you get cold?

“That’s what the blankets for genius”

“Oh… right” He scratches the back of his head and looks around the room awkwardly.

“I get the bottom bunk” I announce. Mostly just to see his reaction. He wants to make me happy then let’s see how much I can get out of him.

“I… That’s…. It’s just…” He gets flustered and doesn’t seem to know what to say.

“Spit it out kid I don’t have all day” I’ve got important things to do like sit here and melt my brain with video games.

“I’m afraid of heights” He mumbles so I can barely hear. I can’t help but laugh. “Guess we’ll have to share then” I wink at him. Hopefully he’ll leave me alone now so I can spend the rest of my stay here in peace.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

It’s late at night but I can’t sleep. I can hear Pete tossing and turning above me. It’s weird having someone else in here. I never realized how quiet it was before. I want to ask if he’s awake but maybe he’s just a restless sleeper. I don’t want to wake him up if that’s the case especially since it was almost midnight before he actually got in bed. I woke up as he climbed into the top bunk.

“Why is it so freaking cold” He grumbles.

“Mother gets hot a lot so we keep it cold” I say. I wonder if he wants to borrow some pajamas. “You’re still awake?”

“I woke back up”

“Did I wake you?”

“No” I lie. There’s a dull thud as his feet hit the carpet and suddenly he’s climbing into my bed.

“What are you doing?” I ask. He pulls the blanket over himself and puts an arm around my waist pulling my back against his chest.

“P…Pete?”

“I’m cold and you’re warm. Feel” He presses his hand against my cheek, his hand feels like ice. “Why are you so cold?!” I ask rolling over and putting more of the blankets over him. “How should I know? Stop moving so much.” He pulls me against him again.

“Do you want pajamas?” I ask. He shakes his head. “No I just need sleep.”

Now that I think about it. Even when he washed his eyeliner off he still had dark circles around his eyes. I wonder if he has trouble sleeping. I don’t want to disturb him so I stay ass till as I can and just listen to his steady breathing. His grip on me relaxes after a bit and his head falls my shoulder. It’s weird having someone so close to me. I can’t remember the last time someone hugged me. Well Ms. Melody hugs me but it’s always quick one armed hugs. I guess if he really wants I wouldn’t mind sharing this bed with him

Mother says that sometimes you have to make compromises in life in order to get along with people. I want to get along with Pete. I want to be his friend as the night goes on I start to like the sound of his breathing. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. And the feel of his arms around me makes me feel secure and soon the combination of the two lulls me to sleep.

[Pete]

It takes the kid forever to fall back asleep once I’m in bed with him. I wasn’t lying. I am cold but honestly I just prefer sleeping next to someone. It’s comforting and I hate being alone. This kid may be a little naïve but its nice having someone trying too hard to win me over. I’ll never admit it to him though.

He stirs a bit in his sleep and pulls away from me. I let him go and watch him as he curls up and hugs himself. I place my hand on his arm and realize his whole body is shaking.

“Patrick” I shake him gently “Patrick” He doesn’t wake. I turn on the light that he’s hung above his bed and shake him again. “Patrick wake up” I tell him. He sits up quickly and knocks my hand away. I watch him surprised as he backs into the corner and hugs his knees. What the hell is up with that? I sit up and watch him for a moment as his shaking subsides and he relaxes.

“You okay there?” I ask. He nods his head and blinks the tears from his eyes. “What was that about?”

“S…sorry. Please don’t tell”

“Tell what?” He’s silent for a moment. “That I have nightmares” I lie on my back and stare at the top bunk. “Why does that matter?”

“I lied… I said they stopped so I wouldn’t have to go to therapy anymore.”

“You don’t want to go?”

“My therapist has a son who goes to my school… He told everyone and they picked on me.”

“So tell them to fuck off” His jaw drops. “I can’t say that it’s a bad word.” I can’t help but laugh. “Come on just try it.” He shakes his head vigorously. I chuckle and pat his leg. “Alright alright. Let’s go back to bed” I suggest. He sighs and lays back down facing me. I close my eyes and wait for him to say something else.

“You won’t tell will you?” He asks. He’s still on that?

“Let’s make a deal”

“What kind of deal?” He asks hesitantly.

“I won’t tell if you share this bed with me”

“Okay” He says after a moment. I pull him back against me and rest my head on his shoulder. “I’ll keep your nightmares away too” I tell him. I don’t know why. “You’d do that for me?” He sounds so innocent and trusting. “Yeah why not” I say with a shrug. He turns to face me and wraps his arms around me tightly. “Thank you Pete” This time I’m not sure which one of us falls asleep first.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

This is the first time i've ever been really excited for school. I mean I like school. I love learning about new things but this time I have a friend with me. A friend who is still sound asleep when we have to leave in ten minutes! I go to the bed and shake him but he just rolls over. The blanket falls away revealing his bare chest and a thorn tatto around his neck. I didn't think people our age could get tattoos. I reach out and run my fingers over the green ink.

Pete's eyes shoot open and he grabs my wrist startling me. He looks me over then sighs and lets go. "Why are you waking me up?"

"We have to go to school soon"

"Screw school" He mummbles pressing his face into the pillow. I take hold of his hand and pull him out of the bed. "Wake up!"

"I don't want to go" I can already tell this is going to be an everyday thing. "Come on pete" I pull on him again. He sighs and sits up pushing his bangs from his eyes. "If i have to wear a uniform i will strangle myself with the tie" He threatens. I hold some clothes out to him and smile. "our school doesnt but mother and father do. I usually change at school" He groans and falls back.

"Please pete... I don't want to be late" He shrugs me off. "I'm not going patrick" I sigh. It's not fair. I thought i was finally going to have fun at school. Pete pulls the blanket over his head and turns his back to me.

"Fine. I didn't want to go to school with you anyway!" I toss his clothes on the nightstand and stomp out slamming the door behind me. I feel bad right away. I didn't mean to get mad at him. I just thought that things wouldn't be so bad after last night. I thought we would be able to be good friends. I want to go back and apolgize but i'll miss the bus if i do.

[Pete]

Damn. I hate mornings

[Patrick]

The bus rounds the corner and makes its way towards me. I clutch my backpack close to my chest. My palms are sweaty and i feel sick. I hate the bus. Its just a chance for the other kids to pick on me. The bus driver never does anything either. Its like a pick on patrick free for all.

The doors swing open and i get on board keeping my head down as i sit in the first open seat i see. The bus hasn't even started moving before the first paperball hits the back of my head. I take out a book and do my best to ignore the calls of fatty patty that come from the back. Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow i'll get pete to come with me. I'm sure he'll make them leave me alone.

****

[Pete]

The next morning comes to early. Patrick is shaking my shoulder and telling me to get up. I shrug him off but he keeps trying. Why does he care if i go to school or not? I bet melody put him up to it. I turn to the face him and open my eyes. "Are you going to come?" He asks his eyes hopeful.

"Yeah totally" I say my voice oozing with sarcasm His eyes light up and a big smile spreads across his face. He is really freaking cute. "if i go today you don't for me to wake up for the rest of the week" His face falls. I really don't get why he wants me there so badly.

"I... I guess just today is okay. But mother and father will get mad if you don't start going regularly" He warns me. I don't care. Maybe they'll send me to a new foster home. It doesn't matter to me. I'm used to people not wanting me.

"How long do i have to get ready?" i ask as i sit up. I notice his eyes linger on my tattoo. I raise an eyebrow at him and he looks away. "A half hour... I thought it would take longer to wake you up" He admits. I sigh and stands up. The clothes he wanted me tow ear yesterday are still sitting on the nightstand. I ignore the tan slacks in favor of my black skinny jeans and put on a black tank top then the white button up he left there.

"If mother sees-" He starts.

"She can suck it up" I cut him off. He looks down at his feet. He's definitely mastered the kicked puppy look. I wonder if they brain washed him or something. Once i'm dressed I lay on the futon and turn on the tv, watchin him wander around the room out of the corner of my eye. He would probably never survived in the foster homes i've lived in. He's to soft, (and cuddly)

I feel myself starting to doze again and know i should sit up but the idea of going to school just doesn't appeal to me enough. I close my eye just for a second. "Pete come on its time to go" Patrick shakes me and i blink my eyes trying to wake my brain back up. "What?" I say looking up at him. He puffs his cheeks out. I've noticed he does that when ever he gets frustrated. "Alright alright quit it with the chipmunk cheeks" I sit up and stretch.

"Come on" He smiles and pulls me to my feet. I decide it doesn't really matter so i let him pull me down to the front door. We put our shoes on and he picks up two backpacks holding one out to me. "Here you go" He says proudly. "fathers secretary went and picked everything up that you would need. I got your schedule. I didn't know we were in the same grade" He really is excited about this. I shrug my shoulders and ake the bag from him. "I missed a lot of school" I say heading out the door before he can ask anything else and leave him scrambling to follow after me. Of course I don't actually know where i'm going so i have to let him catch up. When he does he's a bit out of breath but he keeps on chatting happily about school and what teachers i have. I kinda tune him out.

He stops walking and sits on a bench so i assume this is the bus stop. I'm kind of surprised he takes the bus to school. This seems more like the kind of family that would hire a private driver or some shit like that. Since we're waiting I take out my eyeliner and sit next to Patrick. He looks at me and just as i expected i can see my reflection in his glasses. I use it to put my eyeliner on trying not to notice how mesmerizing his eyes are.

When I've finished I put it away and close my eyes. He's silent for once which is weird. Normally he asks me a million questions. Well not normally. Somehow i forget that i've only known him for three days. I bump my shoulder against his and he jumps a bit. I look at him and frown. He looks like he's seen a ghost. I follow his gaze and see the bus coming towards us. He's scared. He begged me to come with him because he's scared. Does he want me to protect him or something? I'd really rather not. I can hold my own sure but i'm not one to pick fights.

He stands up as the bus pulls to a stop. I yawn once more before i stand. Not really eager to start at yet another new school. "Do... Do you want to get on first?" He stutters. "Its all you" I'm sure it can't be that bad. Thats what the bus driver is for after all. The doors swing open and patrick gets on with me following behind him. As soon as we're on a boy in the back stands up and yells. "Its piggy patty" and several kids throw things at patrick. for some reason he lets them hit him. I want to make him sit but i realize that he's keeping them from hitting me.

Annoyed i push him into the first open seat and catch an orange that was thrown. I scan the crowd and see the boy that started this. I throw the orange as hard as I can, thankfully my aim doesn't suck balls today, It hits him right in the nose. I sit next to patrick who is sitting with his knees pulled up to his chest and his head down. Now i know why he wanted someone with him. I put my arm around his shoulder and pull him close to me. He curls into my side and hides his face.

"Hey look everyone fat pat's a fag!" someone yells.

[Patrick]

Pete stiffens beside me. I can see the anger plain on his face. "Pete?" I say his name quietly. His eyes flicker towards me so i know he's heard. "What's wrong?" I ask. "Nothing" He grumbles pushing me away. I don't know what they just called me but it really made him mad. I hope i didn't do something wrong.He's quiet for the rest of the car ride sitting with his arms crossed and glaring silently. I want to ask him what it means but now is probably a bad time.

The school day floats by normally. I don't see pete again until lunch. I'm standing in line when he comes into the cafeteria. I can't help but smile when i see him. I have a friend. I raise my hand and wave to him. He raises an eyebrow and walks out the door to the courtyard. My arm drops and i notice some people snickering at me. I don't think i'm hungry after all. I move out of the line and leave the cafeteria. My eyes start to water so i keep my head down. I don't want anyone to see.

I get upset at school a lot. It's hard not to. I'm on my own here. The kids like to pick on me and the teachers don't care about me. I'm sured to it, really I am. Sometimes i just need to be alone. That's how i found my closet. Its at the very back of the library behind the reference section. No one ever comes back there. I slip into the closet and close the door behind me. It's dark in the closet, just a sliver of light coming in from under the door. I sit in a corner and hug my knees to my chest. Here in the closet its okay to let the tears fall. I should have known he wouldn't want to be my friend. No one ever does.

[Pete]

I sit at a picnic table outside and rest my head on my hand waiting. I'm sure patrick will come join me soon.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

It's hard to sleep tonight. Pete is restless, he keeps getting up every few minutes. I pretend to stay asleep. We haven't talked much the past couple days. I keep waiting for him to start sleeping in the other bed but every night without fail he climbs into my bed and wraps his arms around me. He's wandering around the room now, picking things up and setting them back down. He takes a deep breath then walks over and sits on the edge of the bed.

In the moonlight that streams through window I can make out a scar that spreads across his back. I never noticed it before. How did I miss it? I reach out and run my finger over it gently. His skin is cool to the touch. He shivers and looks back at me. "I fell out of a tree and landed on a toy truck" He lays down facing me and puts his arm around me. I don't mind. I'm used to it now. It's nice to have someone hold me when I'm sad. Not that he knows i'm sad. I don't want him to be my friend just because he feels bad.

We lay there in silence for a bit just looking at each other. It doesn't feel weird. I like looking at him. I still want to ask him what that word means but I don't want to ruin this yet. "Go ahead and ask" He sighs. How does he always know? "Ask what?"

"whatever you want to ask"

"I don't want to ask anything"

"Dude i can see it on the tip of your tongue"

"You'll get mad at me if i ask"

"I wont"

"Are you sure?"

"Patrick just ask" He says sounding annoyed. I didn't mean to annoy him. I sigh and focus on his tattoo.

"The first day on the bus... What they called me." He stiffens. I should stop. "Why did it make you not want to be my friend?" the words slip out before I can stop them.

"what?"

"you... you pushed me away and you haven't talked to me since" He laughs and pulls me closer. "I thought you didn't want to me my friend" I look at him surprised. Of course I want to be his friend. "Why wouldn't I?" I sit up and look down at him.

"Because I'm a fag. If you're friends with me they'll think you are too"

"Whats that?" He furrows his brow, "Seriously?

"Yes seriously... I don't know what it means"

"I'm gay"

"So?" He seems confused. "So if you're friends with me they'll think you are too"

"Maybe I am" I say. I consider it, I could like guys. Its not like I have any experience with either. I like when pete is near me. Pete sits up suddenly hips lips crashing into mine. He closes his eyes as he kisses me and... oh his lips feel really good against mine. I close my eyes enjoying the feeling. I know i'm supposed to do something but i'm really not sure what. He moves away from me his eyes scanning my face.

[Pete]

Holy hell did I really just kiss him. He was just being stubborn when he said maybe he was. He looks confused now. He reaches up and touches his lips. Damn he's going to hate me. He lays back down besides me and bites his lip. I shouldn't have kissed him. Now i just want to do it again. He looks at me his eyes shining in the moonlight.

"I think I'm gay" He mutters so quietly I barely hear him. I lean down and brush my lips against his gently. He pauses for a moment before kissing me back. His lips are soft and he's hesitant and inexperienced, but the fact that he's kissing me makes my heart swell.

"Did... Did I do that right?" He asks once he's moved back. I just smile and pull him close kissing his nose. "I didn't do bad did I?" He asks obviously still not sure.

"You did perfect. We can practice more in the morning."

"I was bad wasn't I" He's panicking. I can't help but laugh. "You were fine. I just meant I want to kiss you again" I explained to him.

"Can we do it now?"

"We need to sleep"

"I don't want to sleep I want to practice kissing" He's so adorable.

"I'm tired Patrick, we have to get up in the morning"

"of course. Now you want to sleep." I chuckle and lay my head on his chest. "Why do we have to get up early?" Tomorrow is Saturday. Saturdays should be sleep in days. Patrick starts to card his fingers through my hair. Its making me sleepy. "I have lessons tomorrow... I guess you could sleep in. I just know mother and father want you to get involved in something"

"Lessons?"

"Music lessons. Piano then vocal then trumpet"

"that's to many"

"will you come with?"

"I guess I can" I yawn. He really makes me comfortable. The way his fingers glide across my skin and the soft sound of his voice. It feels nice. "Sing for me" I tell him. His hands pause and he looks down at me. "What should I sing?"

"Something to help me sleep" He starts to move his hands again and sings a lullaby. Like this its easy for me to fall asleep.

[Patrick]

Pete sleeps soundly. His head resting on my chest and his arm wrapped around my waist. I can feel his breath on my chest through the fabric of my shirt. I kissed a boy. I really liked it but father says its wrong. The people at church say its wrong. But if its wrong why does it feel so good. Why do I want to keep kissing Pete?

The next day comes quickly. Pete comes with me to my lessons and sits off to the side watching me. It makes me nervous and i'm sure I mess up more than usual. Which is bad cause I already mess up a lot! He doesn't say much throughout the day. just follows me from lesson to lesson. He says a few words to mother when she asks him questions but doesn't pay her much mind. She's frustrated by this so she fusses over me. Telling me to stand straight or fix my clothes. Speak properly. I keep a good distance between Pete and I. I don't want her to notice anything. What if she can tell we kissed.

When my lessons are over mother takes us to a department store. Pete and I sit on a bench and wait while she buys him clothes. He sits with his arms crossed and his knee bumping into mine. I like this... But its so confusing. Its wrong to like boys isn't it? I wont stop liking Pete. I don't think I could. In just a week he's grown on me. I like being around him. Besides its just kissing. That's not so bad right? Its just like practicing for the future. I bump my knee against his and smile at him. He looks at me out of the corner of his eye.

We're both lonely. Maybe that's why we were brought together. Now we have each other. It feels good to know I have a friend.

Chapter Text

 

[Patrick]

The room is quiet. Its always quiet. Especially now that Pete and I haven't talked since the night before school started two weeks ago. I'm so mad at him. He made friends this summer. He barely comes home. He even got new tattoos and never told me. I hate it. I hate him not talking to me. I hate how cold it feels to sleep alone. The night before school started he went to a party with his new friends. I wasn't invited. Why would I be?

I saw the pictures online though. I saw them every time he got tagged. I saw him dancing with her. Kissing her the way I thought he only kissed me. My heart broke. I thought I meant more to him. I thought i meant more to him. Now they're dating. Him and Ashlee. I see them around school when he's ignoring me. I see the way she hangs on him and whispers in his ear.

I sleep on the top bunk now. I'm not afraid anymore. Its better than sleeping alone in the big bed. It doesn't matter really. He doesn't come home.

But its different tonight. Father made him come home. They had a talk. I know its wrong but I listened. Father called Ashlee a hussie. He told Pete he needs to date a proper girl and then he grounded Pete for the rest of the month. He's been sitting on the futon playing games for a while now. He stops to text every now and then. Probably texting her. I wish father had taken his phone. I try to focus on my homework, after all I don't need him. I was fine before him and I'm fine now.

Time passes way to slowly. It seems to take hours for him to turn his game off and go into the bathroom. When the shower turns on I quickly change into my pajamas. I try really really hard not to think about him. About the water running down his body or the way he smells right when he gets out. I turn off the light then climb into the top bunk and pull the blanket over my head.

I lay there silently listening to the water running. I turn onto my side trying to ignore my issue. This has happened a lot recently. Everytime I think about him really. I know what it is obviously, and I know why it happens. I sort of wish Pete would teach me how to handle it. Of course thinking things like that doesn't really help at all. I consider trying the way I saw online but if Pete came in...

The shower turns off and I hold my breaht. Will he say something to me? The room lights up when the bathroom door opens. I peek out from under my blanket and look at him. He's wearing nothing but a towel and water still slides down his body. He looks around the room then goes to the dresser. I can't help but stare as he takes the towel off and uses it to dry himself. He turns to face the bed for a moment. I bite my lip to keep from making any sounds. HIs eyes linger on the bottom bunk. As quietly as I can I turn my back to him and stare at the wall. I hate this.

[Pete]

I look at the bed and frown. Patrick's not there. I feel like I haven't slept in weeks. How could I when I haven't had him to sing me to sleep. But it was for the best. I needed to distance myself from him. I realize that i've grown to rely on him after all this time. I'm a foster kid. I should never do that. At any second I could be ripped away from him. I had to know I could make it without him. I'm not sure I can. I pull on a pair of boxers and go over to the bed. I was looking forward to sleeping next to him tonight.

I hear a sneeze and stop. He's on the top bunk. I step on the bottom rung of the ladder and look at him. His back is to me but i know he's not asleep. I know how he looks when he's asleep. Of course normally he's curls into me. I know he's mad at me. I've seen the way he looks at me at school. It broke my heart. I wanted to go to him and wrap him in my arms til his smile came back. Let him know how much I love him. I look at the bed. There's enough room for both of us if we squeeze together.

Quickly so he has no time to stop me I climb up and slide in next to him. He lets out a squeek of surprise when i wrap my arm around his waist and pull him to me. "Why are you up here?" I ask pressing my face against his neck. He tries to wiggle away. He must be really mad at me. "Patrick?" I whisper his name in his ear the way that makes him shiver. I feel it go though his body as he tries to shrug me off.

"Go turn off the light" He grumbles pushing me away from him. "Maybe I want them on"

"Then go sleep in the tub... why are you here anyway"

"They said I have to stay home remember"

"I don't mean that... Why are you in my bed"

"because I always sleep with you"

"Oh really? Could have fooled me. Why don't you cuddle your girlfriend or something" Aw he's jealous. I feel bad. I know Ashlee's kind of grabby but I've told her numerous times that I'm gay. Granted it doesn't help that I'd make out with a pineapple when i'm drunk. I prop myself up on one arm and turn him onto his back. His cheeks turn red and he looks away from me. I look him over and quickly see why. I can't help but chuckle.

"It's not funny" He says trying to turn back over. I move over him, holding him in place. "I didn't mean to laugh." I kiss his cheek gently. "Stop Pete"

"Please talk to me" I beg, He scoffs at me.

"oh now you want to talk"

"Patrick I'm sorry" He tries to push me aside and I let him. "Just leave me alone" I watch him lay there, see the sadness in his eyes. I'm horrible. I can't believe I made him so sad. "Patrick" I say his name and he turns his back to me. I kiss his neck, He doesn't respond so I do it again. "She's not my girlfriend" I tell him. He glances back at me. "I saw" He says.

"Saw what?"

"I saw the picture of you guys kissing"

"That didn't mean anything"

"that doesn't make it any better pete!" I'm surprised. I don't think he's ever yelled before. He turns to face me his eyes filled with tears. "Tricky..." I put my hands on his cheek and kiss hem gently. "You mean everything to me." He doesn't push me away so I take that as a que to continue. "YOu mean so much to me it scares me. I don't know what i would ever do if i had to leave you" He frowns. "You wont have to leave me"

"I will. Eventually. I always have to leave. Soon enough they wont want me anymore."

"I want you. I'll always want you" He says placing his hand on mine. I run my eyes over hisbody and can't help but smirk, even after all that he's still turned on. He follows my gaze and even in the dim light i can see his face flush red. He tries to turn away but I hold him close. "What were you thinking about?"

"N...nothing" He stutters. I slide my hand under his shirt and rub his back making him shiver. "Nothing at all?" I ask.

"Pete don't tease me" He whines. "I'm not teasing Patrick" I kiss along his neck and he tilts his head to the side taking a deep breath. This isn't new. Making out we've gotten good at over the years. Kissing every chance we had to be alone. But its never been more than kissing. I was always careful to keep my hands above his waist not wanting to pressure him into something he wasn't ready for.

But tonight is different. I can feel him pressing against my leg and my body feels like its burning. I slide my hand down his chest and palm him through his pajama pants. He lets out a breathy sigh and puts his hands on my shoulders. "P...Pete" He says my name his voice shaking. I try my hardest not to get to turned on. I want to make up for the shitty way I treated him. 'Tonight its just about him' I think as a slide my hand under his waistband, looking into his wide blue eyes.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

We sit at the table silently eating our breakfast. We aren't allowed to talk at the table unless we're asked a question. Its always really awkward, the only sound in the room is that of our forks scrapping against the plate. I hate the sound. I think Pete does it just to mess with me.

"Peter" Father says a few minutes after we started eating. Pete looks up from shoveling his food into his face. "Yes sir?"

"I think you're forgetting your table manners" Pete sits up straight and moves his elbows off the table. "Perhaps if you kept better company you would have an easier time rememebering them" I do my best not to snicker. I really don't like Ashlee either. Pete's foot bumps against mine under the table. I look up and he catches my eyes, silently pleading with me. He always has trouble sitting quietly when he's being scolded. I rub my foot against his leg and smile at him. He seems to relax a bit but I know if father goads him much more he'll snap.

"Mother may we please be excused?" I ask in my sweetest voice.

"Yes you may. Don't miss the bus" She dismisses us. Pete stands up and puts his plate in the dishwasher then leaves. I take my time being sure to rinse my dishes. We decided years ago when we first got close that we would [retend not to get along that well. Mother and father would never approve of our relationship. Pee says its against the rules for foster siblings to date.

I put on my shoes and grab my backpack then head for the door. Like always Pete is waiting for me at the stop sign down the street. He makes a goofy face at m e and I can't help but smile. Everytime I see him a et butterflies in my stomach. It's been almost three years now and he's become the most important thing in my life.

I didn't really think of it until now. We are foster kids. If anything happens we could be separated. I don't want to think about that. When I reach him I wrap my arms around his waist and press my face into his shirt. He doesn't say anything. Just wraps his arms tight around me and kisses my forehead. "Hey there's no need for tears" He says bringin up a hand to cup my cheek. I hadn't realized I was crying. He wipes away my tears and presses his lips to mine. "I'm not going to leave you okay. No matter what we'll always be together I promise."

"Really?"

"yes really. You're stuck with me for the rest of your life patty cakes" He says flashing a big toothy smile. I can't help but smile back. "Now lets hurry or we'll have to walk to school again" He takes my hand and heads towards the bus stop. He's really the best thing thats ever happened to me.

Chapter Text

[Pete]

Annoying. Super annoying. The most annoying thing on the whole fucking planet. I hate visiting Melody. She's always so sickiningly sweet, and obviously faking it. No one and I mean no one smiles as much as her. Patrick and I are alone in the waiting room. I'd love to pull him onto my lap and kiss him, but right now its to risky. Anyone could walk in at any moment seeing me with my hands all over him would definitely make them seperate us. I can't let that happen.

The sound of the clock is super annoying and I'm glad when patrick lets out a yawn. It gives me an excuse to speak to him. I look at him and raise an eyebrow. "You know if you didn't stay up half the night studying you wouldn't be so tired right now" His face flushes red and I know he's caught on. "Well if you had let me study when I wanted to it wouldn't have kept me up"

"If i had let you study after school you would have studied straight through dinner"

"It's not my fault you last forever" He mumbles under his breath. I chuckle and he hits my arm playfully. "It's not funny"

"Sorry sorry you're right" I ruffle his hair gently. He tries to look mad at me but i can see the sparkle he gets in his eyes when he's happy. A thought crosses his mind and he looks at me curiously. "Does that mean you study a lot?" He asks a worried look in his eyes. I know it bothers him that I've remained friends with Ashlee, but she's a good cover. Since she's always got her hands on me no one suspects I'm gay. That's really important. Once they know that they'll question letting me stay with patrick. He's watching me expectantly and I know better than to tell him a lie. He always knows right away.

"I studied a bit before I met you I admit"

"But that was sixth grade"

"I'm two years older than you"

"so?"

"Its not that odd"

"Yes it is"

"If you say so"

"I do. Now continue" He puffs his cheeks out and crosses his arms. I swear everything he does is so fucking cute I can't stand it. I just want to hug him tight and never let go. "I studied a little but a week ago was the first time I've studied since" I flash him a smile "I definetly prefer studying with you" I wink and he has to look away. It's so easy to get to him.

"Well I'm glad to hear you're starting to take school seriously" Melody says. We both jump. I hadn't noticed her come in the room. Hopefully she didnt catch on. "Its hard to get him to focus on one subject for very long" Patrick pipes in. He loves melody. I can't understand how.

"Well at least he's trying right" She smiles that god awful fake smile and Patrick smiles back. But its not the smile he shows me. Its not the smile that lights up his whole face and makes my heart race a thousand miles a minute.

"So which of you boys would like to go first today?" She asks.

"I will!" Patrick chirps. We have a silent agreement that he always goes first and talks for as long as he can. The longer he talks the less I have to. They leave the room and its completely silent, like eerie silent. I hate quiet. I take my phone out and put my headphones in blasting my music.

The parentals are going away fro a week on some mission trip. Thankfully patrick and I can't go out ofthe country. It'll be just the two of us just for a week and I'm really looking forward to it. Especially now that we can study whenever he's up for it. The idea of being with him makes me grin and my face feels warm. After my first few foster homes I swore I would never get attached to someone. But then this dorky little kid knocked on my window and changed my whole life. I will never give him up.

Its going to be a challenge keeping this a secret. we have to be very careful with everything we do. Its next to impossible when I want to kiss him every time i see him. I will protect this relationship.

Nearly forty minutes passes before patrick comes back out. His eyes are red rimmed and he's stuffed his hands deep in his pockets. We're alone so i stand up and wrap my arms around him and kiss his forehead. I hate to see him sad, I wish I could do more for him right now. He rests his head on my shoulder and takes three deep breaths. Just like I always tell him to. It was just some bullshit I made up one day when he was crying but he still sticks to it.

I run my fingers through his hair and press my lips to his forehead one more time before I let him go. He looks at me longingly but I can't do anything. It's to risky here. "twenty minutes tops" I tell him before heading down the long white hallway. Seriously it's like one of those dreams where you're walking and walking but you never get closer to the end. Except I don't want to reach the end.

I could choose not to go. I could turn back around and grab patrick. We could use the money the parentals gave us to get home. I could, but I wont. Because everything I do is being judged. One wrong move could rip me away from the life I've grown to love. So I ignore my instinct that scream at me to run and hide. I raise my hand and knock on the door where her name hangs. I wish I hadn't.

Chapter Text

[Pete]

I sit in the lumpy arm chair and try not to look at the clock to often as melody asks me all the usual questions. How is school? How are your friends? Are you having any problems at school? How are your foster parents? (I point out that patrick already answered that) Are you and patrick getting along? Does he still sleep in my bed? (patrick let it slip a few years ago. I told her he was scared of storms

I answer her questions with as few words and as much sarcasm as I can hoping to speed things along and get back to Patrick. She flips through my rather thick file. I can see the name on one of the pages. The name I will never speak about. "Is there anything you want to talk about?" She asks oh so innocently. She's far from innocent. I try to swallow past the lump in my throat. "No" I manage to say. I think of patrick. His smile, his laugh, theway I always catch him watching me lke I'm the most interesting thing in the world. It helps.

"Alright" She looks at the file. "there is one more thing we need to talk about before you can go" At this point I'll tell her whatever she wants to hear just to get out of here. "What is it?" There a three word answer. Its a new record.

"Well I wanted to speak to you because." She pauses "because we found your parents"

The clock stops. my lungs stop. The room grows smaller and I feel like I'm drowning. My parents. They found my parents. I need to get air. I get up quickly and run from the office. I need to find a way out. I stumbe into the waiting room but everything is tilting to the side and I cant stay straight.

Arms. Arms wrap around me, warm and comforting. I hide my face and breathe in the familiar scent. "It's okay. It's okay" His voice fillys my head as his hand cards through my hair. It's okay. It's okay. I rest against him and squeeze my eyes shut. "Breathe. Just breathe" He says. His voice is melodic and soothing and his hands feel so nice in my hair. I turn my face towards his neck. "Not now" He whispers. Thats right melody probably followed... My parents. They found my parents. I didn't know they were looking for them.

"what happened?" He asks. I don't answer because he's not talking to me. He sounds angry. It's kind of nice, he's protecting me. Thats a nice feeling. someone wanting me safe.

[Patrick]

He's so upset. He didn't even think about who might see before he threw himself into my arms. I wish I was stronger. I couldn't hold him up and now we're sitting on the floor and i'm holding him close to me. He's always so good at controlling his emotions but now he's shaking and holding me so tight I feel like I'm going to pop.

"What happened?" I ask melody as she stands there looking unsure. "What happened?" I say again a bit more forcefully. "You know I can't discuss what we talked about Patrick"

"He's shaking!" She looks shocked. Good, I hope she feels bad for upsetting him.

"I didn't think he would react this strongly. He hardly ever shows emotion"

"He's still human. What did you tell him?"

"We located his parents" Pete stiffens. Seriously? She thought that wouldn't brother him His parents told him they love him then left him. He sometimes dreams about them and wakes up crying. Melody lets out a sigh. "I'll get him some water then talk to the both of you" She leaves the room. Oh no oh no oh no we've been found out. I said something wrong and now she knows. She'll separate us for sure.

I clutch pete to me and try to keep calm. The last thing we need right now is both of us panicking. I take three deep breaths then move Pete back and force him to look at me. "Breath" I order him. His eyes meet mine and I see the panic begining to melt away. I brush my lips against his for a quick second then move away again. "You're alright" I tell him "You aren't alone" He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. I have to help him through this.

Melody come back into the room but I keep my hands on Pete's shoulders, I don't think he's ready to let go yet. SHe holds out a paper cup. I take it from her and hold it to pete's lips. He drinks keeping his eyes closed. "You boys seem a lot closer than I thought" Melody says. She did notice.

"We're brothers" I lie "We might not get along all the time but we're there for each other." Pete looks at me and I flash him a smile. Ms Melody has been there for me most of my life. But I'll lie to her if it means I can keep Pete.

[Pete]

It's been a few days since my meltdown in Melody's office. I haven't gone to school. I haven't really gotten out of bed much. Patrick tries his hardest to make me happy and I'll admit I don't mind letting him baby me. It's nice. I know that I shouldn't be letting this effect me so much but it does. They abandonded me. I was cold and lonely and so so afraid.

Patrick comes into the room and drops his backpack onto the couch. He rushes home from school every day. I know he's really worried. He sits on the edge of the bed and runs his fingers through my hair. I roll onto my back and smile up at him. He brightens up as he leans down to press his lips to mine. He tastes sweet like candy. I place my hand on the back of his neck and deepen the kiss, sliding my tongue between his lips. He puts a hand on my chest to steady himself and kisses back. I want to tell him how much he means to me. Tell him that I love him and want him to be mine. I want to. But my brain wont let me.

I pull him all the way onto the bed and kiss along his neck. He tilts his head to the side and grips my shirt tightly. I love this. I love how easily I can affect him. How with just a look I can make his heart race. The way he curls into me when we sleep at night like he needs me. He makes me feel wanted and loved. He gives me reason to exist. I haven;t had that in so long. When I met him I had given up on life. He's my reason to exist. But I can't tell him yet.

"I... I'm glad you're feeling better" Patrick stutters. I slide my hands over his body. "Much better now that you're home" I say. I can tell he's trying hard to form his sentances.

"we... we don't have a lot of time now pe-ah" His voice cracks as I nibble at his collar bone. "We've got all the time in the world tricky" He manages to wiggle away and sits up a bit. "You have to get ready pete" I groan. I don't remember what he's talking about but I want to skip it and keep him in bed with me all day. "Ready for what?"

"The meeting Petey. With melody and..." He doesnt say it. He doesn't have to. I agreed to it. I don't know why. The idea of seeing them makes my head hurt and my vision blurs and the last thing I hear is Patrick's voice yelling my name.

Chapter Text

[Pete]

"Peter... Peter it's time to wake up" Mama says gently as she brushes my hair from my face. I like when mama wakes me up. She's nice about it. Papa likes to honk the horn. I rub my eyes and turn to look at her. "Come look Pete. It's snowing" She smiles. I love mama's smile. Papa says I have the same one. I look outside and see athat its still dark outside and see that its still dark outside. That's okay, I don't go to school anymore so I can stay up all night. Mommy helps me put on my snow pants and I try to put my boots on but they're really really tight. Mommy gets sad when I ask for stuff so I just put my sneakers on and get out of the car. There is lots and lots of snow.

"There's so much snow!" I yell kneeling down and picking up a bunch. Its so cold my hands sting. Mama and Papa are laughing and throwing snow balls at each other. It looks like a lot of fun so I make one and throw it at papa. "Peter you rascal" He runs towards me so I laugh and run away. The park is really pretty at night. The lights make the snow all sparkly. We play for hours and hours until the sun starts to come out. Some other kids come and I play with them while mama and papa sit on a bench. Papa has his arm around her and they're talking. Its serious talk so I don't bother them even though my hands are cold and I'm really really hungry. I wish I could go to school and eat lunch.

I play and play until I don't feel good. I'm cold and shivering and hungry. But I hear mama and papa complain at night that we dont have a lot of food. I'm really really hungry and sleepy. I think about going to the car but its far away. So I sit on the playground steps. It's cold here but thats alright..

When I wake back up i'm in the car and it's wamr. I have lots of blankets around me and the car is running. Papa doesn't like to run the car cause gas is expensive. "Pete! Pete he's awake" Mama says. She hits papa's arm and they both look at me. They look sad.

"Hey buddy how do you feel?" Papa asks putting his hand on my head. Am I sick? I feel sick. "I'm hungry papa" I say rubbing my tummy. It hurts.

"We got you lots of yummy food" Mama says giving me a bag. I sit up and its really really hard and makes everything spin. In the bag there's a banana and a sandwich and an apple. I like bananas. I take that out first and eat the whole thing in like three seconds! Mama and papa watch while I eat all the food them papa gives me some water and tells me to drink. I don't like water but he says I have to drink it anyway to help me get better. I still feel yucky so I drink it. Papa is always right.

----------

Papa has been gone a long time. I wonder if the hot chocolate was far away. He said to stay here. I should, but maybe he got lost and cant find me. I stand up and walk the way he went. Papa wouldnt go far. I look and look and look for him. I walk forever and ever. I don't know where I am anymore. Me and papa are both lost now. Its dark out and scary. What if i never find papa. I dont want to be lost. I sit on a bench and try not to cry. Big boys don't cry. I stand up and look around. "Papa! Papa! Papa I'm here!" I yell as loud as I can. I should have been a good boy and stayed where papa told me to stay. "Papa!" I yell for him until my voice hurts.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

"Pete. Petey, wake up Pete" I beg him pressing kisses to his face. "Please wake up" He sits up suddenly gasping for air. His whole body his shaking.I pull him against my chest and rock him gently. "It's okay Petey" I tell him. "I've got you" He presses his face into my shirt and holds onto me sobbing. I stroke his hair and whisper things to him hoping I'm able to comfort him. I hate it when he cries. This was a bad idea. A bad bad Idea. We should have told Melody no. I don't want to see him like this.

"We don't have to go Pete" I tell him. "we can just stay here all day and not worry about anything" I was sure he would be all for it but he shakes his head and sits up. "No... I have to know why" He speaks quietly, without the confidence I'm used to hearing. He doesn't have his usual 'I couldn't care less' personality. He's like a scared kid who doesn't know where his parents went. I'm scared. Its already upset him so much. I hope he can handle it.

"I'll be right beside you the whole time" I promise him. He sniffles and nods hishead. "I love you Pete" I tell him as I brush my hand against his cheeks. He doesn't say it back. He never does. But I don't need to hear it to know. I can see how much he loves me whenever he looks at me. Thats all I need. He leans forward and presses his lips to mine convaying all the emotion he can't say outloud.

He gets dressed in his own clothes, skinny jeans and a white time top that shows off his tattoos. He straightens his hair and puts on just a smidge of eyeliner. I'm glad he's not changing his looks he's prefect just as he is and his parents should see that. I decide to change out of my school clothes and put on jeans and my black button shirt that Pete says he likes. Its short sleeve so its not as stuffy as the ones mother and father make me wear. Pete picks up my fedora and plops it down on my head then brushes my bangs to the side. "Very handsome" He says kissing my nose. He's trying his best to act normal but i can see the way his hands shake.

"Are you sure Pete?" He nods his head and walks to the front door. Its not easy but its best if I just support him. I promised to be there for him

[Pete]

I have never been more nervous to sit in an office than I am right now. I can't stop my leg from shaking. I ust want to get up and pace. My parents. Some where on the other side of those doors they're waiting to speak to me. Under the table Patrick places his hand on my knee. I look at him and he gives me a smile. I couldn't do this without him. I grasp his hand tightly and take three deep breaths. I have to admit it helps a little. Or maybe, its just him being here.

There's a knock on the door and I think I'm going to be sick. I'm sure I'm practically breaking Patrick's hand but he doesn't complain. Melody comes into the room and holds the door open for the two people that walk into the room. They look like strangers. But just barely I see the familiar traits from my dreams. I can't speak. I can't breathe. I force myself to focus on Patrick's thumb as he gently rubs cirlces on my hand. We shouldn't be holding hands right now. If I let go I think I might fade away.

The woman, my mom, covers her mouth when she sees me. Her eyes well up with tears. "Peter!" She calls out. I can't say anything. I look at Patrick silently begging him for help. "He prefers Pete" He snaps. When did he get so sassy.

"Oh... oh of course" My mother seems confused. Maybe melody didn't tell them about my sassy little friend. "Who is this?" My father asks looking at melody.

"I'm his brother" Patrick says proudly. I almost believe him myself and I've studied with him. Wait that sounds weird. Ignore me... I must be really losing it.

"Patrick and Pete have been in the same foster home for almost four years now" My parents look relieved. It was just four years. A lot more happened to me. The years before I came here were hell. I shiver just thinking about them. "He finally got a good one after all the bad things that happened to him" Patrick grumbles loud enough for them to hear. My mother looks really sad but my father hasn't said anything. ust watches me. I wonder if he knows. If he knows how long I searched for him. How I yelled his name until I lost my voice and cried myself to sleep on a bench in some unknown city. I feel the tears trying to form but I wont let them out.

"You left me" I say. My voice sounds hoarse. " I was just a little kid and you left me all alone in a big city"

"We left you outside the police station Pete... We thought the-"

"You were fucking idiots then!" I yell. It feels good. 'The cops didnt give two shits about me!"

"Peter we-"

"Its Pete, I was alone for three days before anyone bothered to check on me.I searched and searched for you" The tears break free but I'm beyond caring. "Why did you do it? Why didn't you want me anymore!?"

Finally my father speaks. "We wanted you Pete. We loved you thats why we had to do it."

"That doesn't make sense!"

"Pete" Melody warns.

"No! I need to know why!"

"You were sick!" My father raises his voice and I feel like a kid again. Melody shoots him a waning look and he clears his throat. "You were sick Peter. You slept for days and you could barely walk. You were getting worse and we couldn't afford to help you. I'm sorry. We never wanted to give you up. We loved you so much. We still love you" There's a lot of tears falling now. I can't stop them.

"There were other ways" I say. My voice is weak again. I'm tired now."Why are you here now? After all these years why bother finding me?" I have to know.

"We love you Pete. We're in a better place now. We're both wroking and we've got a really nice apartment"

[Patrick]

No, don't take my Pete away. I need him.

[Pete]

They... They want me back. They want me to go live with them. I can see Patrick looking at me with wide eyes. Could I do that? Could I leave Patrick and this life. "I... I can't answer that... Not now" I finally have a place where I'm settled. I have friends, I'm in clubs. My foster parents are strict but nice" I sleep in the arms of the guy I love every night. I can't. "I can't leave" him. But they look so sad. I look down at our hands under the table. I'm afraid. I'm afraid that if I go back to them I'll be alone again.

"I want you both to be a part of my life... I... I'd like you to get to know me now... But I can't live with you. I'm sorry"

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

Pete chose me. He chose me over his own parents. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. What if he misses out on a relationship with them. Its been bothering me since we met with them a few weeks ago. Everything is mostly the same except now he talks on the phone with them from time to time. He never says much and he's quiet afterwards. Today is one of those days. He talked to them a half hour ago and hasn't said anything since. We're laying on the couch in our room. He has his head on my chest and his arm around my waist. Our legs are tangled together. I love this. I love how comfortable I am with him. I used to feel so insecure about everything, but he makes me feel like I'm the most handsome guy in the world. I know it sounds cheesy but its true. Just the way he looks at me like he wants me. I've never been happier in my life.

I press my lips against his head and whisper. "I love you" He looks at me then props himself up on his arms looking into my eyes. They aren't lying when they say the eyes are the windows to your soul. I can see everything in his clear as day. I can see the love he has for me, I can see how attracted to me he is. How much he want to protect me, and I see the fear thats holding him back.

I caress his cheek gently and smile at him. He's really my whole world. He leans forward and connects our lips. I love spark I feel every time we touch. He pulls away and looks into my eyes once more. "I love you" I tell him again. He smiles and puts his lips against my ear before whispering. "I love you too Tricky" I swear my hearts beating so fast its going to explode out of my chest.

Chapter Text

[Pete]

Whenever the Parentals call for a family meeting its always a pain in the ass. Last time Patrick and I ended up working a vacation bible school with a zillion children from hell. So of course it makes us both a little anxious as we sit on opposit sides of the table waiting for one of them to speak. We make sure we look like we aren't touching but our feet are tangled under the table.

"We have something to tell you boys" Sir says. We stay silent knowing betterthan to interupt him. "Melody has a fellow social worker that is looking for a home for a young man about your age. We've agreed to take him in as he's going through a very rough time right now" Shit.

"For now he'll sleep on the futon in you boys room. If that doesn't work out then we'll consider converting one of the other rooms. Patrick since you've been here the longest you'll get the new room"

"The new guy can have the extra room sir. I'd rather not go to all the trouble of moving my things if I need to." Patrick sounds so cute and proper when he alks to sir. I nudge his foot under the table and he glances at me before returning to the Parentals.

"We've already decided Patrick" He says. We don't argue when he uses that tone.

"When is he coming?" Patrick asks. I pretty much tune them out after that. It sounds like this kids just a temporary case. With any luck he'll be here less than a month. The only problem is that Patrick and I might not be able to hide it. Unless he gets his own room we'll have to sleep in seperate beds. I'm not sure I like that idea. The only time I can sleep without him is when I'm passed out drunk and I know that worries him. He always gets upset with me when I go out and party. It's kind of annoying but I still love him anyway.

Patrick talks to them about this new boy forever and ever it seems like. By the time they dismiss us I swear my butt is numb from sitting on the hard wooden chairs. Patrick and I leave the kitchen at the same time and head to our room. We don't speak until the door is closed and locked. The second I turn away from the door Patrick's arms are around my waist and his head rests on my chest. I wrap my arms around him and rest my head on his. We stay that way for a while, neither of us speaking. Just enjoying the warmth of his arms around me. Its comfortable and makes me feel loved and wanted.

My parents haven't called in a month.

[Patrick]

I could tell Pete wasn't listening while mother and father were talking. He had this dazed look on his face and just stared at the wall behind my head the entire time. I was going to scold him but as soon as I turned to look at him I realized I might only have a few days left until we couldnt be alone anymore. If I was to get my own room it would be easy for Pete to sneak over. As long as the new guy can keep it a secret.

I hold onto his shirt and pull him towards the bed. We lay like we always do. His legs wrapped around mine and his head resting over my heart. He says the sound of my heart soothes him. Whenever he says it I just want to hug the life out of him. Sometimes he looks so alone and sad. I wish I could prove to him that he has nothing to worry about but our relationship is full of what ifs. It makes me worry about everything. Pete makes me feel like I'm an amazing person. He makes me feel whole. I realy really love him with all my heart.

"I love you" I tell him, kissing his head. He smiles and slides his hand under my shirt to rub my chest. It makes me shiver and close my eyes. His hands always feel so good on my body. "I love you too" he whispers. I swear my heart beats ten times faster whenever he says it. He must feel it because he chuckles and presses kisses against my collar bone. nibbling at the sensitive skin. He really makes me feel amazing.

"How long do we have?" He asks.

"Til when?"

"the new guy"

"three days"

"and the parentals?"

"Going to Wisconsin for two days. They wont be back until Ryan gets here"

"Ryan?"

"the new guy" I explain. Pete's hand trails down to my waist.

"we'll have to keep busy until then" He's so crazy. but if he keeps touching me like this I might just let him have his way.

----

Three days pass really quickly. I ended up giving in to Pete's big toothy grin, how could I not really. We spent those three days in bed geting up only to eat and use the bathroom. We showered a few times too but I wasn't really focused on washing at the time. I managed to wake up early the day of. I put new sheets on our bed and made up the futon. We decided to give Ryan the top bunk. That way if Pete has trouble sleeping I can just climb in his bed until he sleeps. Pete's being a bum right now. He hasn't gotten out of bed and he's slept through everything even when I vacuumed. It's getting close to time now so I shake him awake.

"Come on Pete get up and get dressed" I think I've told him to get up like a million times. I'd let him sleep but he's naked and I dont think Ryan would appreciate that sort of first impression and if he would then I definitely dont want him to see because... well Pete's mine.

[Pete]

It didn't even take a day. He knows. How could we have been so stupid. I know he says he wont tell and that he says he has a boyfriend but I'm not ready to trust him. I don't like the idea of someone else intruding on the life Patrick and I have so carefully maintained.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

Ryan's gone. Its a little nervewracking since we haven't been told much since we left the house. His social worker came and got his things. Pete and I... well mostly me, threw a few presents in for him. Along with both our phone numbers. I hope he lets us know when he gets settled.

Mother and Father are away. As usual Pete and I don't mind. It means we can be ourselves and make out whenever we feel like it, like right now. Right now is a great time for it. I was trying to make us dinner when Pete came down from his shower only wearing a pair of gym shorts with water still dripping from his hair. I wasn't that hungry anyway.

So thats what we were doing. I was sititng on the counter with him standing between my legs. His hands were on my hips and mine were tangled in his hair and running over his back. We'd been making out for a while and we were running out of breath. Thats how we were when they walked in. They came home early.

Mother dropped her purse when she saw us. We broke apart when we heard it. It was to late. The damage was done. We'd been caught. I don't know what to feel. I feel sick., numb and scared all at once. They both saw. They know our secret. Pete. I can't lose Pete. My body is shaking. I'm so so scared. My eyes water and I don't know whats going to happen. I cant stop the tears from falling.

"I want you both out of my house now" Father says. His voice is scary. I need Pete. "Sir y-" Pete tries to speak but mother cuts him off. "Get out! I will not have sinners in my home. I am calling Melody right now!"

I'm scared I'm so so so scared. Pete has my hand and he's leading me upstairs to our room. "P...Pete"

"I know" He pulls me into his arms and hugs me tightly. "It'll be okay Tricky" He kisses my head.

"No...No Pete I can't be alone" I press my face into his shirt and cry. "I'll be there Patrick" When he moves back I can see the tears in my eyes. He doesn't say anything. I know he's trying to be strong for me. I press my lips to his then go in the room and look around. I don't know what to do. I have a lot of things. Pete Follows me in and Grabs two duffel bags from the closet and tosses them on the bed.

"Pack clothes and only a few important things" He says. A few? I look around the room. My pictures my trophies my instruments. How can I just pick a few. I can't do this I can't. I sit on my knees crying. I can't do this I can't.

[Pete]

Patrick. He's breaking my heart. his whole world is being destroyed because of me. If i had never come here. He wouldnt be going through this. Its all my fault. I go to him and place my hands on his cheeks. "Patrick look at me" He looks into my eyes. I can't let him go. I stroke his cheek and kiss his forehead. "I'll be eighteen soon Patrick... I would have to leave anyway. It will only be a little while. We'll pack up all your things and I'll buy a car and you can keep them in there." He lays his head on my shoulder and grips my shirt.

"I don't care about my things... I want you... I want to be with you. I don't want to go"

"They can't kick us out right now. Melody has to come get us. We have time to be together." I pull him onto my lap and cradle him in my arms. I have to make this work for him.

"Don't leave me Pete"

"I love you patrick. so so much"

"I love you too..."

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

I feel sick. Like I'm going to throw up. This car ride is bad. The road feels bumpy. I don't like the music melody has playing on the radio. I want to go home. I start to cry again. I don't care anymore. Mother and father threw me away without a second thought. I thought they cared about me, I thought we were a family. But just because I love a boy they throw me out. And Pete... Pete will be eighteen this year. What will happen to him? What will happen to me when I turn eighteen? And what if I end up in a bad foster home like the one's Pete's been to? I don't want that.

"Patrick please don't cry" Melody says glancing at me in the mirror. "Take me home" I tell her. But she can't. I know that. I don't want to accept it. I want to wake up and have this all be a bad dream. I want to wake up and have this all be a bad dream. I want to wake up and have Pete beside me. Comforting me, telling me he loves me. I don't want a new home. I don't want a new family. How am I going to survive this.

"Patrick please talk to me" Melody says. She's asked me that a few times now.
"Tell me where Pete is" I've asked that a million times now.
"You know I can't"
"is he safe?"
"Of course he is. Patrick you need to stay away from Pete for a bit. It will be good for you."
"Pete is my boyfriend"
"Please Patrick?"
"Fuck you" she shuts up after that. Good. I hate her. I hate them all. Why did they throw me out.

We drive in silence for the rest of the afternoom. We're heading back into the city. To my "new" home. I wish I could call Pete. I'm worried about him. It's dark by the time we stop. I can just barely make out the house. It's small and run down. There's a chain link fence around a hard filled with little kids toys. Melody looks at me and plasters on that ugly fake smile on her face. I make a face at her and get out of the car putting my backpack on. She opens the trunk and I yank my suitcase oit. It's really heavy and hard for me to lift. Pete carried it out of the house for me. He helped me pack as much as I could fit into it. He only took the clothes he originally has and a few things I had given him over the years.

The thought of Pete almost brings the tears back but I'm to tired to cry anymore. I need to lay down and not get back up. Melody heads to the door. I wish I could run away, find Pete and never look back. Instead I just follow her dragging my bag along the ground. Melody knocks on the door. There's some noise inside that sounds like children plahing. The door opens revealing a girl with bright red hair. She can't be much older than seven.

"Hello Hayley" Melody says. The little girl puts her hands on her hips.
"What do you want melody?"
"I'm here to drop off your new brother Patrick. Are your parents around?"
"Duh she's in the living room" the girl turns and hops up a set of stairs. Melody leads me into the house. I consider leaving my bag on the floor by the door but I think better of it, Pete warned me not to trust anyone.

A woman sits on the couch wearing a robe and watching the tv. There's a baby sitting on the floor chewing on a blue plastic ring. When the woman sees melody she stands and smiles. They greet each other and start to chat. I don't care. I want a bed. I want sleep. I want Pete. I don't want to be alone.

[Pete]

This is utter bullshit. I'm stuck at yet another crappy group home. Worst of all its one I've been at before. I ignore everyone as I make my way to my assigned room. Melody claims this is only temporary but obviously I'm not going to trust a word out of her mouth. She even took my phone. We're not living in the same house anymore there shouldn't be any problem with me talking to Patrick. He needs me now more than ever.

I throw myself down on the empty bed in the room and stare at the ceiling. I don't plan on sleeping, not until I'm back with Patrick. How can I? He could be in danger. I just hope he's smart enough to tell melody if something is wrong. Not knowing if he's safe is killing me. I need to find a way to get a hold of him. I need to know he's safe.

I haven't heard from my parents in several weeks either. I wonder if they've given up on me. It wouldn't surprise me. They probably realized what a disappointment I turned out to be. They gave me up once why wouldn't they do it again. I'm on my own. I let myself grow soft over the years. That was stupid of me. I need to rebuild the walls that I let Patrick take down. I won't survive living here without it.

I don't know how long I laid there stewing in my own thoughts and plotting a few murders. The room is pitch dark. The door opens and two guys walk into the room. One is a scrawny guy with big bug eye glasses. He doesn't say anything, just scurries to his bed and hides under the blanket. He's probably pretty new here. The other guy is older. He's not bad lookimg, I'd probably mistake him for a holster model or something if it wasn't for his tattered skinny jeans and faded asking alexandra shirt. I'm not sure what to make of him.

"Hey newbie" he says as he sits down on my bed. Judging by his voice he's probably younger than me. I've decided he's obnoxious. "Fuck off dude" I turn my back to him. I'm sure he's a troublemaker and that's the last thing I need right now. If I play nice they won't expect me to try getting in touch with Patrick.

"Come on I'm just being nice. I'm Benn. Benn suede" yeah because last names mean so much to kids like us. "I told you to fuck off. Now do it and if you touch any of my shit I will end you." I warn him. He gets up and goes to his own bed. We're left with nothing but the sound of bug boys sobs. I can't trust anyone in this place. It's weird. For the first time since I was a little child I feel like I'm alone.

Chapter Text

[Pete]

Three days. Three fucking days stuck in this hell hole. I want to tear my hair out. I need a phone. I need to speak with patrick, I need to know that he's okay. I haven't slept more than an hour or two each night. and I've been worrying so much I even have trouble keeping anything down. Geez I'm more like a parent worrying about their child rather than a boyfriend. Patrick's made me way to soft. It's like he's a drug I'm addicted to, being away from him is making me go through withdrawl.

"Dude you need to get out of this place. You're going to end up worse than mr sniffles over there" Benn says. nodding in the direction of our third roommate, who's name we don't even know.

"Well gee maybe you're right. Except thats a horrible idea because A I'm broke, and B I have no where to go." I snap at him. He's always talking about getting away from this place. I've met kids like him before. All talk no action. He's good looking so I'm sure he'll find himself a foster home soon and forget all about his crazy ideas of running away.

"What if you did?"

"Quit bullshitting" He sits down on my bed. He's got this bad habit of invading personal space.

"I'm not bullshitting. I'm leaving tomorrow night. You can join me if you want. I'm sure they wont mind"

"They who?"

"My friends. They've got a place. I'm going to stay with them"

"Yeah cause that will go over well"

"It will. They're like us. Foster kids tired of the crappy system. My girls there already. She called me this morning."

"Good for you... Wait she called you?" I sit up quickly, "Do you have a phone?"

"yeah of course. I work part time washing dishes" He takes his phone out and I snatch it out of his hand before he can say another word and dial Patrick's number. He made me memorize it before he left.

"Pete!" His voice calls out halfway through the first ring. His sweet angelic voice. "Patrick" His name rolls off my tongue like a sweet peace of candy.

"It's you... It's really you" His voice breaks as he speaks.

"Yeah It's me. Are you alright? Are you safe?" God I miss him. Miss the feel of his arms around me. The sound of voice and his sweet smile.

"I'm okay... Tired but okay" He says with a sigh.

"Tired? Why?" I ask. My mind instantly jumps to the worst case scenario.

"There's little kids here... I have to watch them while the mom goes out" So they got an older kid so they could have a babysitter. Definetely not as bad as i was thinking. "How old are they?" I ask relaxing back on my bed.

"Well there's a girl... She's six. She's super hyper but she helps out a bit... of course she gets these crazy ideas..." He says with a sigh.

"what kind of ideas?"

"she dyed her own hair bright red... and since she liked it so much she decided to dye one of the little ones hair too...: The mother yelled at me for it..."

"aw baby that sucks"

"The younger ones are brothers. Gerard, he's four and mikey is one I think. Gerard is a little devil or something... if i leave him alone for even a second he breaks something or colors on everything. He's so strange." Patrick goes on telling me abouthis new house and the kids. It's so hard to be away from him. Maybe Benn isn't lying. Maybe I can get away and go to these people. Maybe they can help me get to Patrick.

"Pete?" Patrick's sweet voice interupts my thoughts. He seems worried about me. "I'm here." I reassure him. I hear him sniffle and mentally scold myself for worrying him. "Hey... Don't cry Patrick. Please. Don't cry when we're so far apart" It's probably a bad idea to show Benn this side of me, but I need to keep Patrick happy. I need him to stay calm and keep it together.

"I'm sorry... I'm sorryPete I'm trying to be strong... Like you said but I'm... I'm so lonely. It's so hard to sleep without you next to me and then mikey wakes up all the time and I...I just... Please please Pete I need you" He starts to cry and it breaks my heart to hear him so sad, knowing I can't do anything to help him.

"Shh shh It's okay baby, Everythings is okay. I'll be there soon. As soon as I can I promise." I swear it. I'll be with him. Even if it means running away from thisplace. Patrick and I talk for a few minutes more. I manage to calm him down and tell him a bit about the group home. I tell him to take a bath to relax and he promises to as soon as he gets Mikey to take his nap. As soon as we hang up a text comes through from him with the address of the house he's staying at.

I meet Benn's gaze as I hand the phone back to him. "Alright Benn. How the hell are we going to get out of here?" I ask him. A grin spreads across his face and he starts to tell me about the plan in detail.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]
“Tick! Tick!” Gerard’s voice rings through the house. I squeeze my eyes shut and wish I could just tune him out and sleep the day away. Except I know that if I don’t go to him soon he’s going to ruin something and I’ll get yelled at. Margie, the mom, didn’t come home last night. Hayley says that sometimes she goes away for days at a time. I roll off my bed and groan as I stretch my arms above my head before heading down the hallway to Gerard’s room. There are three bedrooms in this house. One is Margie’s, Hayley and Gerard share one room and I share the third with Mikey.
Gerard and Hayley’s room is pretty bare, furnished only by two small beds and an old dresser that’s missing the middle drawer while the others are constantly getting stuck and it takes a few minutes to pry them open. Gerard is standing on his bed in nothing but his underwear His bright red hair sticking out in all directions. “Breakfast plllleeeaaassee” He says hopping off the bed and wrapping his arms around my legs. “You have to get dressed first” I tell him as I try to flatten his hair a bit.
“No I want to be a superhero” He says matter of factly. I sigh and root through the hamper for clean clothes. “No clothes” He tells me again as he watches me.
“Superheroes wear their underwear over their clothes” I remind him. He ponders this for a second before nodding his head and walking over to me. I get him dressed then pick him up and go to the kitchen. “My underwear!” He cries out as he attempts to get down. I hold him tight and manage to seat him at the table without too much trouble. “You can play superhero after you eat breakfast” I tell him. I can hear cartoons coming from the living room so I know Hayley’s already eaten. I look in the fridge and sigh, there’s not much left and the milk’s gone bad. Margie didn’t leave any money for groceries. I find an egg in the door and I hope that it’s still good. I set it on the counter and get out a frying pan.
Gerard is getting antsy and I know he won’t sit still for much longer without a distraction. While I wait for the pan to heat up I find him a blank paper and some crayons. I’ve only been here a week but I’ve already learned that coloring is the only thing that calms him down. He takes them from me and goes to work on the paper. He’ll be occupied until I finish cooking. I crack the egg into the pan and am very glad that it’s not rotten. I put some bread in the toaster. When Margie comes back I’ll have to ask her about groceries.
Mother and father worked a lot; they hired nannies to take care of me. Clean the house, do the laundry and buy food. I don’t know why anyone would willingly take a job like this. Maybe if they were my own kids.
We’re on winter vacation right now. Three weeks off from school. I hope they aren’t all like this. I’m trying hard not to think about Pete; whenever I do I can’t help but get sad. I miss having him in my life. His big toothy grin and that small sincere smile that he shows me, the way he laughs at my joke’s no matter how lame and how he makes up any excuse he can to touch me. I feel tears start to prick at my eyes. I can’t cry in front of the kids. I give Gerard his breakfast and watch as he absently picks up his Toast. “Hayley watch Gerard” I tell her before hurrying to my bedroom. I have an air mattress that I sleep on. Margie told Melody that she’s ordered me a bed. I guess this is fine for now but I always wake up with a sore back. Mikey doesn’t have an actual crib either, he sleeps in a playpen but it’s not like he’s complaining.
He’s awake now. Standing up and holding onto the edge of the pen, babbling to him. I lift him up and hold him close to me. He wraps his arms around my neck and plants a kiss on my cheek. I’ve never been a fan of kids but somehow Mikey makes me feel better. I sit on my bed and try my hardest not to cry. Pete told me to be strong. Pete told me he would find a way to meet with me. I believe in him. I just need to wait it out. I lean back against the wall and close my eyes trying to relax.
“Tick! Tick! Tick hurry!” Gerard’s voice yells out.
[Pete]
The plan should have been simple. It’s not like we had to act like super spies or ninjas. They weren’t breaking out of a jail for crying out loud. I should have known Benn would find a way to fuck it up. We were supposed to meet at the corner store near our school once we got away. Two hours after the meeting time and he still hasn’t shown. I don’t have time for this crap. I need to be making my way to Patrick right now. I jot down a quick note and stick it in a crevice on the bench and hope that Benn can find it. I stand and pick up my backpack before finding the bus stop. I used a computer at the group home to print out directions to Patrick’s house. I can’t stay there for very long. It will be the first place Melody will look for me. I know I shouldn’t even be going there now but I need to tell him whats going on.
I get on the bus when it pulls up and manage to find myself a seat near the back. It’s going to take a while to get to the next stop so I allow myself to relax. I’ll be seeing my Patrick soon. The thought warms up my whole body and makes me forget about all the shit I’m going to be in soon. I switch buses twice before I get to Patrick’s. It’s not the worst house I’ve ever seen but it’s nowhere near the luxurious mansion that Patrick is used to. I go up to the door quickly and knock excitedly. It only takes a second for the door to fly open. I expect it to be Patrick but it’s a tiny girl with crazy hair. She must be Hayley. She crosses her arms and looks me over.
“What are you supposed to be?” She asks. I just roll my eyes; I don’t have time for little kids with too much attitude. “Tell Patrick that Pete’s here” I tell her.
“Make me” She puts her hands on her hips. Pesky brat. I move her out of the way and go into the house looking around. “Hey you can’t do that!” She yells at me.
“Patrick?” I call out ignoring the girl. Patrick walks into the room and stares at me. “P…Pete!” He runs to me and throws his arms around my neck. I wrap him in my arms and press him close to me. Fuck I missed him. I bury my face against his neck and breathe deeply taking in his familiar scent.
“Pete… Pete you’re really here?” He asks looking into my eyes. I bring a hand up and cup his cheek pressing my lips to his and reveling the taste. Patrick presses his body to mine and tangles his fingers in my hair deepening the kiss. We’re together again. This is how it should be. Right here in his arms is where I belong. He’s the only thing that can make me happy. I hate to break this moment but I need to speak and I don’t have much time. I put my hands on Patrick’s shoulders and move him back looking into his eyes.
“Patrick” I say, “I don’t have long they’ll be looking for me soon”
“Looking? Pete why are the looking for you?”
“I ran away. I had to find you”
“Pete… Why did you do that? You need to go back.”
“I can’t Trick… I hate that place. I can’t stand these damn foster homes anymore. All this moving… I thought I was finally done with it I can’t go back to that life. I could… I could end up in one I’ve been in before and I….”
“It’s okay. I understand you’re scared Pete. I know you’ve been through a lot but you need to go back” He places his hand gently on my cheek and kisses me gently.
“Patrick I can’t go back there” I whisper to him. “I can’t be away from you” I need him. I can’t keep living without him. Patrick holds me close and runs his fingers through my hair gently. “Go back to the group home Pete. Go back and I’ll call Melody. I’ll tell her I begged you to come see me. I’ll make sure you won’t get in any trouble”
“No… No it’s okay Patrick. You don’t have to take the blame” I tell him quietly. He’s right this was a stupid idea. I don’t know who these people I was supposed to meet are. They could be fucking weirdoes for all I know. I wish I could just go back and sort all this out but it’s too late now. They’ll move me into a new home right away. I don’t tell Patrick this though. I don’t have time. If I get caught here I won’t have a second chance to come back.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

        I try to stay calm as Margie and Melody talk. I know why Melody is here. She's going to ask me about Pete's visit. I don't know what he told them about it. I'm worried I'll say the wrong thing and get him in trouble. God I wish he had called me. Gerard calls out from the other room and Margie goes to take care of him. Now we're alone. Oh god I'm going to screw this up. I'll get Pete in trouble.

        "Patrick" Melod says with a much more serious voice. If her reason for coming was important why did she spend so much time chatting with Margie. "Yes?" I ask hesitantly.

        "Patrick I need you to tell me when you last spoke to Peter"

        "You... You know. It was when you pulled us apart" I suck at lying. She studies me closely and I can feel myself begin to sweat. "This is serious. Has Pete contacted you at all?"

        "Why does it even matter?"

        "Pete is missing Patrick. He could be in danger. Now I need you to tell me if he's contacted you at all"

        "No..."

        "He hasn't contacted you?"

        He promised. He told me he was going to go back to the group home. I don't understand. We've never kept secrets from each other. These people he was going to meet with... What if they're bad. What if they hurt him or get him involved in something bad. I should tell Melod he was here. Tell her what he told me. Maybe she could use it to find him. But there's also a chance he could be safe. Maybe he's well taken care of and happy where he is. I can't take that from him. I need to find him first. I'll find him myself and if it's bad then I'll tell Melody everything.

        "No... He hasn't. You made sure he couldn't. Do... Do you think he's hurt? What if he got kidnapped?" I may be bad at lying but at least I can act worried. Well mostly because I am really worried but thats not the point. "It's going to be fine Patrick, okay? Odds are he ran away. He's done it before. He'll turn up again soon. Please keep in touch with me. If you hear anything from him call me right away" She says placing her hand on my shoulder.

        "I will" I shrug her hand off. I used to think she was the only person who ever cared for me. But I can see the truth now. I know i'm just another kid. Another case and once I turn eighteen she'll be done with me. The only person I need now is Pete. We'll always have each other. I know no one would believe me if I told them, but if I had a chance to go back and do it over I wouldn't change a thing. I love Pete. I will do whatever I can to be with him.

[Pete]

        By the time I make it back to the corner store Benn was there waiting for me with an impatient look on his face. He was the one that was late in the first place. "Benn" I call out to him as I hurry across the street. He looks up and smiles when he sees me. "Shit dude I thought you got caught or something" He says hopping to his feet. "LIke I'd get caught. I went to see Patrick. As long as we're careful I'll be able to keep meeting with him. I'd never be able to do that if I stayed." I tell him.

        Seeing Patrick gave me a new sense of purpose. I'll find a way to get a job and I'll start saving. As soon as I'm eighteen I'll get a real job and an apartment. It's not going to be anything fancy but I can bring Patrick to live with me. We can make a home for ourselves, just the two of us.

        "Hellloooo Earth to Pete" Benn says waving his hand in front of my face. "Knock it off" I warn him. "Sorry you had a weird smile. I was just making sure your brain hadn't gotten fried or something." I just shake my head. I have to admit, even though this kid is annoying he is kind of growing on me. Like an annoying little brother or something.

        "We better get going before they start looking for us." I remind him as I look around the area for anyone that might recognize us. "Oh yeah. You're right" He's kind of scatter brained. I hope he knows where we're going. 

        We start walking towards wherever it is that we're going. Benn sticks to the back roads and alley ways. I realize I don't know much about this kid, but he knows the streets well and he doesn't seem at all bothered by any of the gross things we come across. Odds are this isn't the first time he's run away. He probably got caught and put into foster care. It happens to a lot of kids. Normally it makes them untrusting and mean. They don't chat away and as they walk. I wonder how he turned out so differently.

        It's dark by the time we reach our destination. A large abandonded factory looms ahead of us with boarded up windows and graffiti painted all over it. "This is it" Benn says proudly "This is home"

        "Its kind of..." I'm not really sure how to explain it to him. The whole place seems to be devoid of life except of an old beater truck parked next to it. "I know its not much on the outside but the inside is great. Come on you can see for yourself." He goes towards a hole in the gate. Its to late to turn back now. I follow him through the gate and into the factory through a broken window. I can hear music and voices coming from somewhere in side. A smile lights up Benn's face as he quickens his pace and heads towards it. I feel a bit nervous. I always do when I meet new people. Which is really dumb with how often I've moved.

        The room that we enter was clearly once the area where all the work was done. Most of the equipment had been moved to the side and the parts that couldn't had been turned into furnature. There are people of all ages scattered around the room. At least twenty. The youngest person I see is a small boy that can't be older than five.

        "Bennet!" A voice calls out excitedly. A girl runs across the room and throws herself into Benn's arms hugging him tightly. "Hey Dez" He says with a big grin on is face. He puts his hand on her cheek and kisses her. Great now I'm gonna have to stand here awkwardly while they make out. I let them have a few minute then I clear my throat to remind Benn that I'm here. He detaches himself from his girlfriend and looks at me smiling. "Sorry about that. Its been a few weeks since we saw each other" I just nod. I get it, I mean its only been a few days since I saw Patrick and I never wanted to let him out of my arms. I can't imagine how it would be if I had to wait any longer.

        "Come on I'll introduce you to Zack. He's the man in charge here." He says as he walks across the room. His girlfriend walks with him holding onto his arm. I look around the room taking in everything as I follow. The music I heard when we came in is coming from a few of the younger looking members sitting off in a corner. They've got a different assortment of instruments and a boy with long black hair sits in the middle singing. I wonder how all these people got to be here.

        "Well if it isn't Benn" A man, Zack I'm assuming, stands up from the couch he was sitting on and smiles. "Hope you didn't miss me to much" Benn jokes. Zack rolls his eyes "Please I just wanted you back so Dezzy would stop whining about you being gone." He ruffles Benn's hair affectionatly. He seems like a pretty intimidating guy but its easy to see that he cares about Benn. I guess thats what makes him different than most street kids. He's had someone to take care of him. "Zack this is Pete" Benn says suddenly making me start paying attention again. Zack looks me over then holds out his hand with a smile.

        "Nice to meet you Pete. How old are you?" He asks. 

        "Seventeen for a few more months" I say shaking his hand. Zack nods. "Well make yourself at home kid. I'm sure Benn wants to spend some time with Dezzy. I'll get someone to help you get settled." He looks around the room. "Hey Travie come here" He calls out.

        A tall man with tons of piercings and crazy hair comes over to us and does some complex handshake with Zack. "what's up man?" He asks. "Give the newbie a tour. Get him a mattress and a blanket. see if someone will spare a pillow for a couple nights." Travie nods and looks down at me. "Come on. Times a wasting" He says before walking off. I follow after him still a bit overwhelmed by this whole place.

         "First things first. We've got some rules around here that you gotta make sure you follow" 

        "Nothing crazy I hope" I say absently.

        "Pretty simple. No drugs, no alcohol, no sex in the common areas, someone will set you up with a job and we have some lessons during the day if you're still supposed to be in school. Zack wants everyone to at least have a ged"

        "Why? What does he get from all this?"

        "Nothing. We ain't supposed to talk about it but Zack grew up in the system just like all of us. He got shuffled from abusive home to abusive home and then got sent back to live with his drug addict of a mom. He understands why some kids need to get away from that and he gives them the best life he can. He got out and he made money. bought up this place and puts everything he gets into it."

        "And the police and stuff just let it happen?"

        "They don't know. Zack's a cop. He keeps them away from this place for the most part. As long as everyone follows the rules we don't have any problems. I mean we've got a fight every now and then but everyone is scared shitless of Zack. which is weird because he's a total teddy bear." 

        I don't really understand why the guy would give up everything to take care of a bunch of runaway kids. But whatever floats his boat I guess. This place will keep me safe and off the streets until I can get everything figured out and can be reunited with Patrick. I have to keep trying for him. I can't go back. I'll never let that happen again. I have to take care of myself.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

        It's six in the morning but so far this has been the best christmas ever. When I woke up this morning I thought that I was home at first. The familiar feeling of Pete sleeping on my chest, his arms arms wrapped around my waist and a smile of his face. This was perfect. This was happiness. I want to watch him sleep forever. Sadly its only a matter of time before the kids start waking up. I wonder how Pete even got in here last night. 

        Pete shifts a bit and presses his face to my neck taking a deep breath. He's so weird when he first wakes up. He presses his body closer to mine pressing kisses along my neck that send shivers through my body. I really wish there wasn't a baby in the room. I run my hand up his back and tangle my fingers in his curly black hair. When he's more awake I'm sure he'll be annoyed that he doesn't have a straightener.  "If I'm dreaming never wake me up" He says his lips brushing against my skin. His morning voice is always so hot.

        "You're not dreaming sweetie." I press my lips to his forehead. "Merry christmas"  I feel him smile against my skin. "Merry christmas. I am never moving from this spot." He says. I really wish that was possible but I can already hear Mikey begining to wake up. "whats that sound? " Pete asks. I can't help but laugh a bit, clearly he didn't look around my room when he came in. "How did you even find my room last night?" I ask him as I play with his hair.

        "My Patrick sense's were tingling" He laughs at his own inside joke. Oh man his laugh. "its Mikey..." I tell him. "I share a room with him"

        "what? how did I not notice that" He says making sure the blanket is covering him. Like always getting him to put clothes on was a losing battle. I kiss him nose before sadly untangling myself from him and getting up going to the playpen. "You didn't notice cause there's no bed." I explain. Mikey gets to his feet when he sees me and smiles holding out his arms. I can feel Pete watching me. "you share a room with a baby?" He asks. "It was either that or the crazy four year old." 

        Pete sits up and stretches his arms above his head then sits with his back against the wall. I'm glad that my bed got here yesterday. He probably would have complained about me having to sleep on it. Its still quiet outside so I'm sure Gerard and Hayley are still sleeping. I sit down next to Pete and rest my head on his shoulder. He puts his arm around me and kisses my forehead. I missed this so much. 

        "What's his name again?" Pete askes as he ruffles Mikey's hair. "Mikey." Pete takes Mikey from me and raises him up in the air. "Hey Mikey you're taking good care of my pattycakes right?" he ask. Mikey laughs and holds onto Pete's hair. I watch them play together and can't help but smile. I never knew how good Pete was with kids. One day we could have a life together. A family of our own. We could wake up in each others arms every morning.

[Pete]

        I'm not one to admit it but I've always had a soft spot for kids. They don't bullshit you like everyone else. If they don't like you they'll tell you to your face. Not to mention they're cute as hell. I set Mikey back down on the bed and return my gaze to Patrick. The look on his face makes my heart skip a beat. I'm not sure what it is but he makes me feel like I'm perfect. I put my hand on his cheek  and bring my lips to his. I love him.

        "It's christmas!!!" a childs voice yells. 

        "Pants. you need pants" Patrick says breaking the kiss and getting up. He digs through his clothes and pulls out a pair of. "Hey are those my pants"

        "That is besides the point" He throws the pants at me. "Find a shirt and come to breakfast" He has a big smile on his face. "alright you goof go play baby daddy" Patrick blushes a bit at my words and goes out of the room. I put the blanket over Mikey's head and stand up pulling on some clothes. Mikey just laughs and tries to escape from the blanket as I finish. I wish I could stay here forever. Once I'm dressed I pull the blanket off of Mikey and pick him up. He wraps his arms around my neck and holds onto me. Little kids are so trusting. I leave Patrick's room and look for the kitchen. 

        The girl that I met last time I visited sits at the table with a small boy who is talking animatedly about something I can't quite make sense of. Patrick is standing by the stove making what smells like pancakes. I make my way over to him and put one arm around his waist pressing a kiss to his cheek. He and turns to face me a smile on his face. "Hey Mikey mouse did you make a new friend?" He asks as he pokes Mikey's nose. Mikey giggles and hides his face. 

        "Who are you?" The small boy asks. Patrick reaches up and runs his fingers through my mess of hair. "Gerard, Hayley this is my boyfriend Pete" He says proudly. "Can I braid your afro?" Hayley asks. I can't help but laugh at that. "Don't you want to open your presents first?" Patrick asks as he puts their plates down in front of them. "I doooo" She says as she starts to pour syrup over her pancakes. "You can play with Pete's hair afterwards"

        I put Mikey down in a high chair and sit down taking the plate that patrick gives me. The pancakes smell delicious. I can't remember the last time I ate something that didnt come out of a can. I drown them in syrup and start to scarf them down. Patrick sits next to me and cuts up a pancake before putting it on mikey's tray. I notice that Patrick hasn't made any for himself. I stop eating and look at him. "Tricky' I say brushing his hair back. He looks at me with a slight blush on his cheeks.

        I put a piece of pancake on my fork and hold it up to him. "Eat" I tell him. Like I expected he opens his mouth to protest so I stick the piece in his mouth. He pouts and eats it. I lean over and press a kiss to his forehead. "The rest is all yours" I push the plate in front of him. "You're not going to let it go are you" He says. I nod and put the fork in his hand. He rolls his eyes and starts to eat it. Taking care of my Tricky always makes me feel good. He's so important to me.

        "Presents?" Gerard asks as he bounces in his seat. Patrick pretends to think for a moment then nods. "Alright presents" He says. The children both cheer and run to the living room. Patrick gets up. "Go ahead tricky I'll get the squirt." I stand up and kiss his cheek. Patrick smiles at me his cheek turning pink before he goes to join them. I pick up the plates and put them in the sink then pick Mikey up and go to the living room. 

        The kids are sitting in front of the scarcely decorated tree opening presents. I sit on the couch next to patrick and put my arm around him. He leans against me his head resting on my shoulder as he watches them. The presents are okay, mostly the lame generic presents that get donated every year. I remember how excited I used to be to get new toys. Patrick seems excited as he watches them. Gerard crawls under the tree and pushes out some presents that had been stuffed way in the back. Hayley reads the names on them then puts one in mikey's pile and gives gerard another. I recognize the paper they're wrapped in, Patrick used the same one for our presents last year. "You got them presents?" I ask him keeping my voice low. Patrick smiles a bit and whispers in my ear. 

        "I couldn't help it." He says. I can hear the happiness in his voice. He never could resist making other people happy. Gerard opens his present first. Patrick got him a coloring book, colored pencils and water color paints. "No way!" Gerard yells hugging the coloring book. Hayley opens her present. "Oh my gosh" She says taking out the mp3 player. Its Patrick's old one. She turns it on and looks through the songs. "All my favorite songs are here!" She yells. It doesn't take her long to put the headphones in and start dancing around the room. 

        Patrick takes Mikey from me and sits on the floor next to his presents and starts to help the toddler unwrap the gifts. Mikey seems really excited with the the new toys. The last present he unwraps is the one from Patrick. I know what it is right away. A small stuffed bear with a bow tie. Patrick has had that bear since before I met him. He even kept it on our bed and would get mad at me when I hid it. He looks up and his eyes meet mine. He went out of his way to do this for the kids. He hasn't been here for very long but he already cares about them a lot. I lean down and kiss the top of his head. This puts a flaw in my plan. I'm not sure if he would leave them willingly. 

        Mikey starts to play with his toys so Trick puts him down and moves to my lap putting his arms around me. I hold him close and kiss his forehead. He rests his head on my shoulder and sighs happily. We belong together. I never want to be away from him. Never want to let him go. Never want to sleep without him in my arms. I will love him forever and always.

[Patrick]

        Safe. He makes me feel so safe. So warm and so happy. His arms around me make everthing so much better. I want to stay with him forever and ever. I want to celebrate christmas with him every year. I want to marry him and be with him. Its not fair. Not knowing whats going to happen to us. Not being allowed to even see each other. He's not just my boyfriend. He's my best friend. Pete cards his fingers through my hair. I can't help but drift to sleep.

        When I wake up again my room is dark. I feel around for my glasses and put them on. I can hear Mikey breathing softly in his playpen. No... No it can't have all been a dream. Its not fair. Pete, I want Pete. I pull my knees up to my chest and hug them tight, hiding my face as tears begin to fall.  The door creaks open but I pay it no mind. I'm tired. so tired. I just want to sleep forever. 

        "Patrick... Patrick sweetie what's wrong?" Pete's arms wrap around me. I press my face into his shirt and take a deep breath. He's here. "shh shh its okay baby." He whispers into my ear as he rubs my back. "Don't leave Pete. Please please dont ever leave me" I can't stop crying. I want to be with him. "Trick... Trick hey look at me" He puts his hands on my cheeks and makes me look at him. "I'm right here Patrick. I am here. And I'm yours." He wipes the tears from my face. 

        "You're going to leave. You wont be here. I wont be able talk to you and I wont know where you are or if you're safe. Melody told me you were missing and I was scared Pete... I was so scared that you had gotten hurt or kidnapped and..." He cuts me off pressing his lips to mine. 

        "I'm sorry Patrick. I know I lied to you and I'm sorry for it." I don't care about that. Its the last thing on my mind. I don't want him to leave me. I don't want to be alone. "Don't leave me" I beg him once again. "I've been so lonely with out you. Its like there's a hole in me when we're apart. I feel cold and empty and I just... I'm trying to be strong. But I just... I don't know if I can Pete." 

        "Oh Tricky. Trick please please don't cry." Pete puts his forehead against mine and closes his eyes. "I love you Patrick Stump. I swear I'm doing everything I can to make sure we can be together. Three days... Just give me three more days to figure everything out. Three days and we'll never be apart again." 

        "Three days..."

        "Just three more painful days" He wipes another tear from my face gently and smiles a bit. "We'll celebrate the new year just like we have the past couple years" I feel my face heat up as I remember. Its hard to believe that was a year ago. "Just three days..."

        "I promise" He kisses me. Three days. I can last three more days. 

        "Where are the kids?" I ask snuggling closer to him. "Some of Hayley's friends came. They all went to go sledding. I hope that was okay. There was a parent or something driving them. Mikey and Gerard are both asleep" 

        "Hayley's friend is having a christmas sleepover so she wont be back until tomorrow. can we go watch a movie?" I ask looking up at him. I'm not sure when he has to leave. I wish it was never. "Of course we can" He stands up and picks me up bridal style. I blush and put my arms around his neck. "Pete you don't have to carry me I know I'm too heavy"

        "Patrick you are not heavy." He rolls his eyes and goes to the living room laying me down on the couch. "so what are we watching?" He asks as he sits down next to me. I go over to the tv and look through the small collection of movies they have here. I smile and hold up home alone. "Does this work for you?" Pete just laughs and nods. I pop the movie into the vcr and hit play then go back to the couch and cuddle up with Pete. He pulls a blanket from the back of the couch and puts it over us both. I didn't get anything for christmas this year. But as long as I have Pete I don't need anything else.

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

                Three days. That’s what Pete promised me. I know with all my heart that he would keep that promise. It’s been five days now. Something is wrong. Something has happened to him. I have to find him. He could be in danger. But how can I do it. I can’t leave the kids alone. I’m so scared for him. I’ve tried and tried to call the number that he called me from but it’s been disconnected. I'm trying really hard to trust him but I'm scared. If anything ever happened to him... He's my whole life. Please please let him be okay.

                The kids are all in their beds asleep, but I can't sleep. He could be hurting or in danger and I'm just sitting around doing nothing. He promised we would be together for New Year’s. Taking a deep breath I grab my phone and call Melody. Pete will be mad at me for this, he'll probably be pissed. "Melody Thatcher speaking" She answers.

                "Melody, I... I'm worried about Pete."

                "We're working hard on finding him Patrick. If I find anything out I'll let you know. But I still don't think it’s a good idea for you and him to see each other."

                "Why not? Why is it so wrong to love each other? Why does everyone think we're bad for it?"

                "Patrick" She sighs. I can tell she's going to lecture me.

                "No Melody. There is nothing wrong with it. I've found someone that cares about me. Someone that will love me forever. Who doesn't want to change me? Pete makes me feel good about myself."

                "Patrick it isn't healthy to rely on someone so strongly." I let out a frustrated sigh at her words. She doesn't even want to understand me.

                "I'm not calling to argue about this... I think Pete's in danger."

                "What makes you think that Patrick?"

                "He... He was here on Christmas. He promised me he would be back in three days... but it’s been five now... He said we would be with me on New Year’s and... And that’s tomorrow."

                "Patrick you told me you would call me if you heard from him."

                "Why so you could take him away and ruin Christmas?"

                "Patrick"

                "Look just... look for him harder okay…”

                “Did he tell you anything about where he’s been?”

                “No he didn’t say anything… Just that his friend knew people… “

                “How did he look when you saw him?”

                “Dirty… I made him take a shower and I washed his clothes”

                “Alright we’ll look into it.”

                “You’ll tell me if you find him right.”

                “Get some sleep Patrick” Is all she says before she hangs up. How the hell am I supposed to sleep like this? It’s not possible. I pace around the living room again trying to think of some way I can find Pete. I start to tidy up the living room hoping to take my mind off it. As I pick Hayley’s scarf up off the floor it hits me, Ryan. Ryan and Brendon could help me. I take out my phone once again and send him a quick text, praying he’s not asleep yet.

                Ryan’s response comes quickly. They’re on their way. Thank god. They have more resources like a car and doctor walker. Oh god what if Pete’s in the hospital. I sit down on the couch and hold my head in my hands taking three deep breaths and trying to remain calm.

                “Tick” Mikey says before running over and holding onto my legs. I’m not sure how he keeps getting out of his playpen. I pick him up and hold him close to me. He’s like a little teddy bear. He holds my shirt with one hand and puts his thumb in his mouth. “Sing” he asks softly. I nod and think of a song to sing to him. Someone sang to me once, when I was really small. I can remember the sound of the soft voice comforting me and making all the bad dreams go away. I start to sing to him as I think back to that time. It’s been a long time since I thought about my mom. I miss her so much. I wish that I had more things to remember her by.

                Mikey falls back asleep in my arms his hand falling from his mouth. I stand up and bring him back to our room. I don’t think I’ll be getting much sleep tonight so I put him in my bed instead of the play pen. I’m sure it’s a lot more comfortable. Maybe I should talk to Margie about him getting a real bed soon. I’ve just finished tucking him when there’s a light knock on the front door. I hurry to the door and open it. Ryan rushes into the house and wraps me in a tight hug. I hug him back and despite everything I can’t help but smile a bit. He looks a lot better than the last time I saw him. He’s got a bit more color and he’s a healthier weight

                Brendon clears his throat and Ryan step back looking me over. “Aw Pattykins you look really tired” he says with a pout. I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to respond to that. “Ryan that’s not nice” Brendon chides him. Ryan smiles shyly and holds onto his arm.

                “It’s really good to see you guys.” I tell them. I haven’t had much contact with anyone my age other than Pete. Brendon reaches over and puts his hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry. We’ll find him okay.” I nod my head and try to keep myself from tearing up.

                “Dallon and Spency and Doctor Jon all said that they would help us look. And the cop that arrested my dad gave me his card. I’ll call him and we’ll all work together to find Pete.” Ryan says giving me another hug. I hug him back and take a deep breath. We’ll find Pete. I won’t give up until he’s safe and in my arms.

[Pete]

                I open my eyes and looks around me. Shit I feel awful. I roll onto my side and throw up into the bucket that was placed next to my mattress. I haven’t been able to keep anything down, or stay awake. I don’t know how long I’ve been lying in this stupid bed. Every now and then Dezzy or Travie will come and pull me to my feet and help me to the bathroom. It’s embarrassing but I don’t have any other choice.

                Someone kneels next to my bed and rolls me back onto my back placing a wet rag on my forehead. Its feels nice against my burning skin. I miss Patrick; Patrick always takes good care of me when I’m sick. “Patrick!” I sit up quickly, panicking. Patrick, I promised to be with him on New Year’s.

                “Pete? Pete calm down” Dezzy says as she tries to make me lay back down.

                “No… No I… Patrick, I gotta get… new year’s”

                “I know Pete. But you need to lie back down. You’re only going to make yourself worse.”

                “I gotta… I got to get… to him…” I promised him. I promised that I will take care of him and be there for him. He’ll be so hurt if I’m not there. My stomach churns and I have to lean over the bucket again. Dezzy wipes some sweat from my neck and sighs. “I know you’re worried about him Pete, but he wouldn’t want you to get even sicker because of it. Every time you remember your fever goes up.” When I finish throwing up she lays me back down again and puts the rag on my forehead. Patrick.

[Dezzy]

                Pete falls back into a fitful sleep and I let out a sigh. He’s so stubborn and it’s hard to keep him in bed. I take out the thermometer and put it in his mouth. By the time he made it back to the hideout he’d already gotten a cough, only a few hours after that and he had a fever. He’s just gotten worse the last few days. He needs a real doctor, not just cold medicine. I stand up and pick up the bucket trying not to gag as I bring it to the dumpster outside to empty it. Pete’s probably going to be against it but I think it’s time for us to take him to the hospital.

                I go back inside and look around the factory. Zack should be here tonight. I’ll find out how he feels about this idea. Maybe he knows someone who can help us. I find him in the kitchen baking. He’s the strangest guy I’ve ever met. He’s big and tall and really intimidating but he’s a big softy. He loves kids and he’s always baking. He’d rather hug someone than hurt them. I hop over and steal a little bit of the cookie dough and pop it into my mouth.

                “hey you brat don’t eat the cookie dough.” He says smacking my hand. I stick my tongue out and then quickly flee to the other side of the kitchen as he picks up a wooden spoon. He eyes me for a moment then moves the bowl closer as he continues to place the dough onto a pan. “Has Pete eaten anything?” He asks.

                “No he can’t keep anything down”

                “I’ll make him some soup”

                “I don’t think that’s going to help Zack… He’s throwing up and he hasn’t eaten since yesterday. He’s dehydrated and the fever is just getting worse… “

                “How bad is it now?” He asks. I hope he’s actually considering bringing him to the hospital now.

                “Over a hundred… I’m really worried”

                “he’s going to be alright. I’ve got an old friend from school that might be able to help him out.”

                “Zack he needs a doctor.”

                “I know. He is a doctor.” He says putting the cookies in the oven.  “He’s helped me out a few times before. I’ll bring Pete to him. Watch the cookies” He leaves the room. I hop up onto the counter and pick up the bowl eating a bit more cookie dough. I really hope that Pete will be okay.

Chapter Text

[Pete]

                I don’t move right away when I first wake up. My head is spinning and I still feel really hot. But at least I don’t feel like I’m going to throw up again. I open my eyes and let them adjust to the bright lights. I’m lying in a big bed with a fluffy comforter over me. There’s a cold compress on my forehead and an IV in my arm. I’m really confused. I’m not sure how I got here but the IV has me really worried. They couldn’t have brought me to the hospital.

                I pull the IV out of my arm carefully and get out of the bed letting the cold compress drop to the ground. I’m wearing really lame Christmas pajama pants. I make my way out of the room. I’m not sure where I am but it’s a pretty nice apartment. I hear Zack’s voice so I head towards it. He’s standing in the kitchen with another man. “Zack” my voice cracks a bit as I speak. I really need some water. Both of them turn to look at me and the guy goes to the fridge and takes out a blue Gatorade. “Here you go Pete, you were pretty dehydrated. The electrolytes will help you” He says holding it out to me. I take the Gatorade from him and glance over at Zack.

                “Pete this is Andy. We’ve known each other for a long time. He’s a doctor.” That explains it. At least it’s not a hospital. “What day is it?”

                “It’s the 31st

                “Shit I have to go. Where are my clothes?”

                “Pete I wouldn’t advise going anywhere you’re still pretty sick.”

                “Look I don’t care. I made a promise and I’m going to keep it.” Andy sighs and scratches the back of his head. “I’ll get your clothes I guess” He walks down the hallway.

                “Pete I really think you should reconsider and stay at least one more night” Zack says. I shake my head a small smile on my lips. Everything is perfect. Patrick and I are going to be together.

                “No Zack I can’t do that.”

                “Alright. You’ll take care of yourself right?”

                “I will. Thank you for everything Zack”

                “You’re welcome; you’ll always have a place to stay with us.” Zack says before walking over and giving me a hug. I smile a bit and hug him back. “Thank you”

                “Now get out of here.” He ruffles my hair as Andy comes back into the room with my clothes.

                “Here’s your clothes. Finish the Gatorade and I’ll make you some food to take with you.” I take my clothes from him and go to the other room to change, taking a few sips from my Gatorade. I’ve got to get to Patrick before midnight. I will not start this New Year without him. I change quickly and finish the drink before going back to the kitchen.

                “I’ll give you a ride if you want” Andy offered. I nodded my head and took the bag he handed me. He leads me out to his car. I climb into the passenger seat and buckle up. I’m so excited to see Patrick again. It’s been more than the three days that I promised him but he’ll understand. With how sick I was. Andy starts driving and I give him the best directions I can. Patrick is waiting for me. I’ve missed him so much his eyes, his smooth skin, his lips, the little laugh he lets out when he’s embarrassed. God how is it possible for one guy to be so adorable.

                “What’s got you so giddy?” Andy asks. He keeps both hands on the wheel in the proper positions and doesn’t take his eyes off the road. He kinda drives like my grandpa, you know if I had one. Or maybe I do. I can’t remember much from my childhood except for my parents. I should ask them next time I talk to them. If I do have a grandpa I’m sure he doesn’t drive as slowly as Andy does. He glances at me for a quick moment then turns the radio on to some boring talk show, dork. I look at the clock and bite my lip. It’s almost eleven. We still have a ways to go. Hopefully traffic isn’t too bad tonight.

[Patrick]

                I’m exhausted, physically and mentally. I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever. We tried everything. We searched jails and hospitals. Officer Saporta and his partner searched all the areas the police know runaways like the hang out. There was nothing. Not a single sign of Pete. We’re all back at my foster home now. Hayley sleeps soundly on Spencer and the TV is playing the live celebration from New York. It’s already new years in some parts of the world.

                Ryan snuggles into Brendon’s side and they keep their eyes on the screen. He’d suggested sending Dallon to buy some champagne from the nearby convenience store but a stern look from Officer Beckett shot that idea down quickly and we got some sparkling cider instead. Though I’m pretty sure Officer Saporta would have been up for it. I’m pretty sure that they’re sleeping together. Officer Beckett had brought his daughter Evie with them and she seemed really comfortable around Saporta. I wonder what their first names are. It seems kind of weird not to know after they’ve done all of this to help me.

                “Do you want another soda?” Dallon asks as he stands up. “No thanks… I’m okay” I wrap my arms around my knees and stare blankly at the TV. Dallon heads to the kitchen stepping over Spencer where he’s sprawled out on the floor. It’s nice having them all here. To know so many people care about me. I wonder if this is what it’s like to be a part of a family. We don’t know much about each other. We’ve been brought together by bad situations but we’re making the best of it.

I stand up and go out onto the front steps. I can’t get rid of this feeling of dread. Pete, where are you. Please come back soon. It’s cold outside but it’s refreshing, it makes me feel and recently I haven’t been able to do much of that. The air is filled with the sounds of people’s voices from the houses all around as they celebrate the New Year. Everyone is so happy. I wish I could be too. I glance at the watch on my wrist. Eleven fifty eight. It’s not going to happen. Pete’s not going to be with me. He’s out there somewhere I know it but I can’t see him. I was stupid, thinking that everything could be fixed as long as we were together when the clock struck midnight. Nothing will be different. Tears fall freely from my eyes as voices fill the air starting the countdown.

Ten…. Nine….. Eight…. Seven…. Six…. Five…. Four…. Three…Two

“Patrick!”

Chapter Text

[Patrick]

                I know that voice. I leap to my feet as I run towards him. “Pete!” I yell his name as we collide into each other and fall to the ground. Pete crashes his lips into mine and holds me tightly. I wrap my arms around his waist and return the kiss. “Happy new year!” The shouts ring out from all around us as fireworks explode filling the air with beautiful colors. But none of that matters. Outside of Pete and me nothing else exists, none of the problems, none of the sadness or the confusion. Just Pete’s lips on mine, our hearts beating in tandem as his tongue slips between my lips and explore my mouth. I’m so happy in this moment that tears begin to slide down my cheeks.  “Patrick” He says my name into the kiss and everything is just so perfect. All of my earlier worries have been erased.

                “Pete” is all I can say as I place my hands on his cheeks and look into his beautiful eyes. “You’re late” I scold him without much conviction. He laughs his amazing infectious laugh and I can’t help but return it. I don’t care that we’re lying on the sidewalk, or that everyone’s come outside and is now watching us. I try to ignore the flash from Ryan’s camera phone, but make a mental note to ask him to send it to me later. “I lost track of time.” He teases as he presses kisses all over my face. I bury my face in his neck and take a deep breath inhaling his scent. At least he’s clean this time. “Next time you’re late you don’t get any kisses I warn.”

                “You would deny me the most amazing thing in the world?” He asks me in mock horror.

                “Yes, yes I would.” He sticks out his bottom lip in a pout and I can’t help but lean forward and capture it between my teeth. He groans a bit and kisses me again. “No public sex we’ve got coppers” Ryan teases us. Pete flips him the bird and kisses my cheek. “please tell me there’s some champagne in that house” Pete asks. “No just sparkling cider… there really are two cops here”

                “Why does everyone hate on the cops?” Officer Saporta asks as he puts his arm around Beckett’s waist and pulls him close. Hah called that one.

                “Because we uphold the law and don’t let minors drink champagne.” He reminds him.

                “But its new year’s”

                “Gabriel”

                “William” Guess I know their names now. Pete gets off of me and pulls me to my feet. He kisses me one more time then leads me back up the path to my house. “What are all you fuckers doing here?” He asks as he pulls Ryan into a hug and ruffles his hair. Ryan grins and shoves him away playfully. “It’s a party!” Brendon yells jumping onto Pete and knocking him off balance. The two boys fall to the grass laughing.

              “Brendon, don’t hurt my boyfriend” I tell him. Brendon waves me off as he and Pete begin to wrestle. They’re clothes are going to be covered in dirt.

              “You didn’t wake me up!” Hayley yells as she stomps outside. Her anger is directed at Spencer. When he had suggested she take a nap she had made him promise four times to wake her up before the ball drops now he would have to face the wrath of a tired and disappointed seven year old. He looks incredibly awkward as she yells at him.

             Brendon and Pete finish their game and get back to their feet. I walk over to him and just as I expected there’s dirt all over his clothes that I am pretty sure were freshly washed. I dust some of it off his back as he grins at me. We all make our way back into the house hand in hand. Everyone resumes their positions in the living room Pete sits in the arm chair and pulls me onto his lap; he wraps his arms around my waist and hooks his chin over my shoulder. Everything seems so right.

             Everyone stays for a bit longer, the last of them leaving around probably two in the morning. Pete stays laying on the couch with a blanket over him while I get an overly tired and cranky Hayley back into her bed. I get him a change of clothes from my room and go to join him. He’s put some old silent movie on and is drifting off staring at it. “Come on Petey let’s get you into some more comfortable clothes.” I tell his brushing his bangs from his face. Pete grins up at me lazily. “I’d rather you get me out of my clothes.” I feel my face warm at his words and hit his shoulder. Pete lets out a laugh and gets up.

           I lay down and get cozy as he changes into the sweatpants that I brought him. I’m glad he enjoys putting on a show for me. When he’s finished changing he gets back onto the couch and awkwardly manages to wiggle behind me and put his arm around my waist. “Did you really have to go through all that?” I ask him. He nods and presses his face against my neck. “You’re my little spoon Trick” He says. I can already tell his drifting to sleep. He pulls the blanket over both of us but it’s extremely warm. I reach back and put my hand on his cheek.

            “Oh Pete, sweetie you’re burning up” I say turning to face him. He kisses my nose. “Don’t worry about it Trick. I’ve been sick but I’m getting a lot better. Now stop moving so I can cuddle with you” He orders holding me close. He’s like an electric blanket and it’s much too hot but I don’t want to upset him and being able to hold each other is such a rare treat. I don’t know how long we’ll be together this time, and I really should be used to this. Every time he gets sick he gets clingy. It’s adorable really. I hold him and rub his back gently. His breath softens and I know that he’s asleep. We’ll have to talk about everything in the morning. We’ll have to figure out what the future holds for us.

[Pete]

           I’ll never understand how Patrick always smells so good. But he does, even sweaty and with morning breath, of course the sweat is probably my fault. I’m sure my body heat could run a sauna right now, although the idea that we both need a shower is definitely something to look forward to. I look at the angel sleeping on my chest. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. I hope he realizes how perfect he is and how much I love him.

         He lets out a soft sigh and opens his eyes a bit. His lips turn up into a smile and he snuggles closer to me. He hasn’t noticed I’m awake yet so I let my eyes close most of the way and watch him through my lashes. He presses his lips against my chest then sits up a bit. “Wakey, wakey Pete” He whispers in a sing song voice. I try my hardest to keep a straight face. He trails kisses down my chest occasionally stopping to nibble on the sensitive skin. He moves so he straddles my lap and presses his lips to mine. I put my hands on his waist and return the kiss. I can already feel him pressing against my thigh. “You’re up early” I tell him laughing at my own joke. He smiles and rubs my chest.

        “I’m behind on my studying.” He says with a blush. I can’t help but laugh at that. It seems like it was such a long time ago that we lived together. That every day woke up together. That was the best time of my life. I put my hand on the back of his neck and pull him down kissing him.

       “Tick, Pet” Gerard says as he walks into the living room. Patrick lets out a whimper and lies on top of me tucking his head under my chin. “Hey Gee. Good morning.” I say to him, really wishing he had slept for at least another hour. “Why don’t you go take a shower Trick” I say patting his back. Patrick mumbles and gets up before hurrying to the bathroom trying to hide then tent in his pants. I sit up putting a pillow on my lap. Gerard hurries over and climbs onto the couch. “Pet” He says again happily. I smile at the name and turn the TV on to one of those crazy annoying cartoons he likes so much. I’ve truly grown to like these kids. I want to let them be happy and in a good home. No kid should get treated badly just because they’re unwanted.

        I used to think I was one of them. I used to think I was unwanted, that I was nothing but a nuisance that had to be gotten rid of. I used to believe that I would always move from place to place and never know the true meaning of home, that I would never be loved or wanted by anyone. But Patrick changed all of that. Patrick changed the way I see the world, made it brighter. He found all my broken pieces and glued them back into place with his love. He made me believe again.

      The night I left Patrick I went to see my parents. They knew about my disappearance, and they had been waiting for me. They had presents under their tree with me and Patrick’s names on them. They had a room set up with things that they thought I would like a mixture of soccer and band memorabilia. They wanted me to be able to call their house my home.  I told them everything then, and then I let them help me come up with a plan. I knew it would never work if Social services knew I had seen my parents so despite the heavy downpour and their insistence that I stay I left and walked back to the factory. That’s how I got sick.

        Tomorrow I have court date set. I’ll be getting emancipated. Then the court can’t control what I do or where I go. But they can control Patrick, and that’s why my parents will be getting custody of him. He’ll live in their house. In the room they prepared for me. And I’ll be living in their attic, which they’re currently preparing for me. When social services come to check the attic will be closed and they’ll never know. I can’t wait to tell Patrick. Maybe we can still work as babysitters for the kids so that Patrick can be a part of their lives.

       “Alright Gee let’s make breakfast!” I tell him getting up.

       “Pancakes!” He yells running to the kitchen. “Alrighty then I guess we’re having pancakes again.” I chuckle as I get out the ingredients and start to cook. Gerard sits at the table and colors while he waits. I flip a pancakes and smile a bit as Patrick’s arms snake around my waist and he rests his head on my shoulder. “Strawberry, watermelon shampoo?” I ask him. He chuckles and nods. “It’s Hayley’s” He admits. I put the pancake on a plate and pour some more batter into the pan. He’s silent for a few minutes just watching me make breakfast.

       “How long are you going to be here this time?” He asks hesitantly. I smile and turn to face him, placing my hands on his cheeks and kiss his forehead.

       “We’re going to be together forever Patrick” He smiles at my words.

       “I know we are. But… how long are you going to be staying here?”

       “Trick I told you I’d sort everything out, and I have.”

       “You… You did?”

       “Yes Tricky. Tomorrow I have a court hearing. I’m going to get emancipated. And you are going to go live with my parents.” I tell him.

        “I… wait… what’s happening?”

       “We’re going to live together with my parents, just until you’re old enough of course. Then we’ll get our own place.”

       “We’re really going to be together?”

       “Yes Patrick. This is going to happen I promise. I’ll do everything in my power to make this a reality.” I kiss him gently and smile. We belong together. We’re a perfect fit.

       “It’s going to take time isn’t it?” Patrick asks. I sighs and nods his head.

      “It might take a few months for you to move in with my parents. But we’ll make it work. We’ll be together for a long time and I’ll come visit you every chance I get”

      “If you don’t I’ll send out a search party” Patrick promises.

Chapter Text

[Pete]

“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Patrick. Happy birthday to you” We all sing as my mom comes into the dining room with the large ice cream cake. Patrick sits at the head of the table with a big goofy grin on his face. When my mother sets the cake down he blows out the candles.

“What did you wish for?” Ryan asks as he gets some frosting on his finger and pops it into his mouth. Spencer hits his arm lightly. “Come on Ryan you know he can’t tell or it won’t come true.” Ryan sticks out his bottom lip in a pout just like he always does when Spencer scolds him. Brendon just laughs at his husband and pulls him close licking a bit of frosting that he got on his lip. Ryan blushes and lays his head on his shoulder.

I look at the crazy bunch surrounding the table and smile at the motley bunch. Ryan and Brendon have been married for a total of three and a half weeks now. They spent the first three weeks in Europe doing god knows what and they got back just in time for the party. Spencer has unofficially moved in with Jon and Marie has gotten into the habit of calling him Papa Spencer, which makes him blush like crazy every time. Gabe and William have become great friends of ours as well although I think they’re secretly using us as their babysitter.

We do that a lot now. We’ve started an unofficial day care and I’ve begun taking online classes at Patrick’s insistance. I cut him a large piece of cake and set it in front of him before I start cutting pieces for everyone else. There’s quite a lot of people here now, and many more children than before. Mikey is sitting in a booster seat near us while Gerard, Hayley, Marie and Genevieve all stand around waiting for their cake. I cut the pieces as fast as I can to keep them from getting impatient. The sound of the front door opening makes all of us look over.

Dallon comes into the room out of breath. “We are not late” He says pointing his finger at all of us.

“You’re totally late. We already sang happy birthday” Brendon tells him.

 

“Well then, we’re just in time for cake” Jackson says as he comes in and links his fingers with Dallon’s. Dallon smiles at his husband and presses a kiss to his knuckles. This is my family. This is my home.