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In the Eye of the Beholder

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Patrick had always wanted a soulmate. 

It'd started when he was little, maybe four or five. He'd gone up to his mom, tugged on her pants and asked, "Momma, what's it like to have a soulmate?" 

His momma had just smiled and bent down, picking him up. "It's the best feeling in the world."

When he was finally back on the ground again, he resolved to himself that he was going to find that person, no matter the cost. 

 


 

It wasn't until he was older, maybe eight, that he learned about how you actually found your soulmate.

One day, he decided he'd had enough with not knowing, and ran up to his teacher and asked her, "Miss! How do you find a soul'ate?" 

She bent down, ruffled his gingery hair, and answered, a bit too slowly for Patrick's tastes, "You know how, when you look into someone's eyes, you just see one color, and how it never, ever changes?"

Patrick nodded eagerly. 

"Well, your soulmate sees your eyes differently than any other person. They see how you're feeling, instead of this solid blue, or green, or grey color that everyone else sees." 

"So..." he said slowly, not quite getting it, "How do you know you've found them?" 

His teacher looked down, lost in thought. "Sometimes you don't, not for a very long time." 

 


 

When he was 11 was when it all changed. 

Kids in his school were already starting to find their soulmates, even at the young age of 11-13, and Patrick was, like always, left out. He'd never been popular, being that short, chubby kid with a bad haircut and an annoying (according to the bullies) sense of humor he was, and when his only friend he'd managed to keep found his soulmate (an absolutely lovely girl with black hair and green eyes and really, if she wasn't his best friend's soulmate, he might've been into her, just a bit), he was absolutely alone.

"Why haven't I found my soulmate?" he asked his mom quietly, through a silent sob he endeavored to keep back and failed. "Everyone is finding their soulmates, mom. Everyone but me."

"Don't worry," she soothed in return, stroking his hair softly, "You have plenty of time. I didn't find your father until I was 18." 

But despite her comforting words, something inside Patrick whispered with sharp, bitter amusement, maybe you're broken, Pattycakes. Maybe you'll never find anyone.

All of a sudden, Patrick wasn't so sure he was ever going to find his soulmate. 

 


 

On his 13th birthday was the day he first cut. 

It hadn't exactly been a nice day; his best friend of the year had, once again, managed to find his soulmate before Patrick and, since then, hadn't even talked to Patrick, too wrapped up in his new boyfriend to even care. Add that to how the gang of bullies who hated him for absolutely no good reason had decided he'd make a good punching bag, both verbally and physically, and, well...

Haven't found your soulmate, yet, huh?

Not surprising.

Kick.

Who'd want to spend the rest of their life with you? 

Punch.

I feel bad for anyone who ends up having to, honestly. You're such a loser.

Kick.

Isn't he, boys?

Grunts of assent.

Another kick.

A dull throbbing sound as his head slammed into a locker.

What, cat got your tongue?

Muffled laughter.

Can't say anything to that, can ya?

Can you?

They were right. No woman or man- yes, he was pretty sure he was bisexual, get over it- would want nerd, loser, chubby, stupid, worthless Patrick Stump. He was sure of it. 

So as he grits his teeth and drags the razor over his hipbone, well... 

It's not like he's doing anything he doesn't deserve. 

 


 

When he's 15, he thinks he might've finally found the one.

Not his soulmate, obviously, but someone he could spend the rest of his life with. 

She's great, really; dark hair, bright eyes, a beautiful smile- and thinks he's worth something, which he disagrees with, but he's not going to fight with her. 

After all, she hasn't seen his legs; of course she doesn't know what secrets his body already houses.

For the first time in Patrick's short life, he thought that maybe, he'd finally made it. He didn't need a soulmate; she didn't need a soulmate, either. They could be happy together, even if, when Patrick looks into her eyes, all he sees is that unchanging brown, and even if, he's pretty sure she only sees his varied green/blue.

Then, of course, of fucking course... She meets her soulmate.

That night, he drags the blade deeper than he ever has before, angry at the whole fucking universe for doing this to him, wondering what colors his (nonexistent) soulmate would see in his eyes if they ever saw him. Would they see dark blue, the color of depression? Royal for sadness?Or would they just see jet black?

Would they just see no emotion whatsoever in his eyes as dead as he wishes his body was? 

 


 

He's 18, the age his mother was when she found her soulmate, and his is nowhere in sight.

He finally accepts it.

No one is made for him; he is made for no one. 

So that night, Patrick digs the blade in deep enough that this time, there's no turning back.

 


 

He wakes up the next morning to a group of sobbing people; his mom, dad, brother. 

No one asks why. It's not like it's unusual for a mate-less person to think they'll never find their mate and that death is better than the painful knowledge you have no one. 

They try to stick him in therapy; apparently the nurses noticed his scars. 

Patrick smiles and shakes his head politely, saying no, he's fine, he was just having an off day, and no, he won't cut again, he promises. 

Next time he cuts, he makes sure it's on his chest, not his legs and most definitely not on his arms.

 


 

His weight's the thing that bugs him the most. Why, he wonders, did he have to be born like this? Why not actually attractive? No wonder his soulmate doesn't want him (if he even exists); he's a fucking walking tree.

Maybe that wasn't the best metaphor, seeing as his last name is what it is, but the point is still there. He's not, by any stretch of the imagination, hot, or attractive, or even cute.

And, to make matters worse, his personality isn't that great, either; he's obnoxious, either too nice or a pervert, makes bad jokes, tends to laugh too much. 

Really, Patrick reflects, it's no wonder he hasn't found his soulmate. It's no wonder he most likely doesn't even have one! Why would God bother making a 'perfect' match for someone so flawed? 

 


 

When he wakes up in the hospital for a third time, at age 20 (second was that nasty time he 'accidentally' overdosed on drugs), it's because of 'severe malnutrition' or some bullshit like that.

Excuse you, he's not thin, he's fucking fat! 

But the nurses disagree, his family disagrees, and then after that, his therapist disagrees, too. 

You're skin and bones, Patrick! they tell him, not seeming to see the bitter amusement and disgust in his eyes as they finish the sentence (what a bunch of liars they are, really). 

He's not, how could he be?

And even if he was, how's that a bad thing? Skin and bones is beautiful, in his messed up, mate-less eyes. 

Maybe, if he can finally lose some weight, his soulmate might finally decide he's worth it.

 


 

The 3rd time wasn't the charm; apparently the 4th isn't, either. He's back in those sickening whitewashed walls with more cuts- in both wrists this time- and a pumped stomach.

No matter how hard he tries, it seems he's doomed to never succeed in anything; not in finding his soulmate, not in his fucking music career that never took off, and not even in doing what should be simple; dying.

He hates himself even more for his continued existence. He's already a fucking failure, and now he's just become more of one. Death should be easy, simple, and he can't even do that. No wonder his soulmate hasn't shown up, not when he's as fucked up as he is. 

No, they've probably found a nice person, also without a soulmate, and married them instead of him- it's not exactly well liked by society, and often ends in abusive relationships or divorce, but it's accepted, even barely, and many people do it (mostly people whose soulmates died, but that's not the point). 

He honestly hopes they did- if they even exist, of course. He wants them, at least, to be happy, since he knows that's not in the cards for him. He wants the one person he's supposed to love unconditionally to be able to be happy without a fuck-up like him in their life.

Patrick slowly stands up from the cold bench he'd spent the last hour or so on, feeling his cheeks burn in embarrassment as it takes far more effort than it should (getting a little fat, there, Patty?). He knows he just got out of the hospital less than a day ago, but he really doesn't see the point in living. Maybe this time, his body will be weak enough they finally won't be able to save him. 

Then he looks over, to his right, and despite himself, a tiny smile fixes on his face. 

Or, he thinks, examining the bridge critically, there's that option, too. 

Almost mechanically, he starts towards it, calculating the drop as he moves (over 100 feet) and smiling bigger when he realizes that, if he jumps off this, there's no going back. There'll be nothing anyone can do to keep him alive.

It's his way out.

10 steps from the edge, Patrick hears footsteps behind him and curses inwardly, quickening his pace. Knowing his luck, it's going to be his parents or someone like that; he just needs enough time to get there and throw himself over the edge and then he'll be done; finally, blessedly done. 

5 steps from the edge, and there's a voice behind him, a male's voice. "Stop! Don't do this!"

There's a weird tingling feeling that spreads through him at the sound of the guy's voice, but Patrick puts it off to the adrenaline coursing through him and ignores both that and the actual words he was saying. 

Never mind the fact that the tone was sort of hurt, like he knows Patrick somehow. Or that something in his voice seemed to say I've been through this, too, don't do it. It's not worth it.

Honestly? Patrick was too far gone to care. He'd been wanting to die since 18- before that, really. No stranger was going to change his life that drastically.

2 steps. The footsteps are running, now, and the man's voice is desperate. Patrick still doesn't care, though. He's in that desperate state of mind where there's only one thing that matters, and that's getting out. He doesn't care if he's being mean, or selfish, or annoying, because none of that's going to matter in just one ste-

Behind him, there's a loud no! and then a body knocks into him and shoves him to the ground.

"What the he-" Patrick glares up at the man-

And freezes. 

His eyes are stark gray, the color of fear, swirling around mixed with violet (pain) and maroon (concern). They're breathtaking, even when the man blinks and they turn solid brown- what Patrick guesses are their normal color- for a moment before going back to their original colors. 

The other man, in turn, looks somewhere between nauseated and horrified, which Patrick totally gets- see, he knew all along, even his soulmate wouldn't fucking like him. 

"See?" he snaps, inwardly wincing at his tone. "This is what you got matched with. You should've let me die, spared you the trouble of ever knowing me."

"Don't you fucking dare," the man snaps back, his eyes flickering deep orange and yellow- not red, which is good, because red means more intense anger; yellow and orange are softer (yellow's betrayal, from what Patrick's heard, but he's not going to think about that right now). "Don't you fucking dare try to do that ever again." 

"I've done it three times already," Patrick retorts, shoving the other man- his soulmate- off of him in a huff. "You weren't there for those, why do you suddenly think you're entitled to saying whether I live or die after saving me once?" 

His soulmate clenches his jaw, his eyes sparking a little deeper orange, but he seems to force himself to calm down because when he speaks, his tone is relatively calm. "If you hadn't noticed, we're soulmates," is his reply.

"That doesn't give you the right," Patrick protests, trying to stand up and being stopped when the other man grabs his arms and pulls Patrick towards himself. 

"Don't," he tells Patrick quietly, a desperate edge in his tone and eyes. "It might not, but I want you alive, I want you okay. I want to be with you, fall in love with you..."

Patrick rips himself forcefully out of his soulmate's grip and stands up. "Then you'll need to find someone else," he hisses.

"But I want you," the other man retorts, standing up also and stepping towards the edge as if trying to make sure he can stop Patrick if he makes a running leap. 

Patrick grits his teeth, closing his eyes and putting his face in his hands, trying to hold back tears- of what, he doesn't know. "Not once you know me," he mutters, turning away from the other man. 

"Give me a chance," his soulmate pleads, turning Patrick back around. "Give me just one chance."

Patrick glares at him.

"A week," he begs, his eyes torn between hurt purple and sad blue and fuck, seeing his soulmate in pain shouldn't hurt that much. Does his soulmate feel Patrick's own pain, too? "A week," he repeats. "Just give me one week." 

Patrick sighs. What difference could a week make?

"Fine," he concedes.

His soulmate's eyes lit up, turning light pink with happiness- Patrick feels half horrified (he was already that invested? This isn't good) and half surprised (how the hell could just one word get that reaction?) with that knowledge.

"I'm Pete Wentz," he announces, holding his hand out to enact the first (ritual) touch of soulmates that's done for the bonding process to begin. 

Patrick meets hands, slightly reluctantly, and a brilliant golden glow spreads out from their joined hands- which Patrick thinks is weird because the normal joining color is white, or maybe pink, but he supposes the intricacies of soul bonds are mysteries even to the mates themselves. 

With another sigh, he answers, "I'm Patrick Stump."