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Pete’s parents hate him.

That’s what Pete yells at them, anyway.

Deep down, he knows it’s not that. They’re tired of him breaking curfew, they’re afraid of the music he plays, the places he goes. They’re afraid of the meds. They think maybe it’s Chicago – they should have moved to someplace nicer a long time ago, his mother says tiredly – or maybe its just his friends, his father argues, there’s not a good one among them, all those tattoos and angry music. So they’re sending him to Belleville Manor –

“Bumfuck!” Pete shouts. “Northeast Bumfuck!”

-- to live with a cousin of a cousin by marriage. They think a change of scene would be good.

Pete hates his parents right back.

He yells that too.

| |

Brian gets to the train station late because the car refuses to start. Which is more than probably his own damn fault because Bob is always on his ass to change the oil and shit, but Brian’s generally got too many Way-related problems on his hands to worry about the car – at least until it’s too late. But Bob had managed to MacGyver it back together after Brian had promised to bring it to Toro’s shop first thing tomorrow morning.

Anyway, the point is he’s late picking up the kid, who, judging from the scowl on his face, is not particularly happy about it, nor likely to be forgiving, so Brian skips the explanations and shoves the kid’s bags in the backseat.

“Look, kid –”


Brian takes a deep breath. “Pete. Kid. I don’t know what the hell your parents shipped you out here for, and I don’t particularly care as long as its not drugs or drinking – ” Because fuck if <i>anyone’s</i> getting Gerard back into that shit again.

The kid’s – Pete, Brian corrects himself, Jesus– Pete’s scowl deepens. “I’ve got a few prescriptions. Like, from a real doctor. Sleep and anxiety meds, and stuff.”

Great. Another one for the Way’s House of Weird. “Just great,” Brian muttered. “Anyway, there aren’t too many ground rules. Don’t go into any of the locked rooms. Don’t break shit. Don’t bother Greta, or Bob. Greta, because she’s a lady, and Bob because… well, Bob will probably beat you to death with your own limbs.”

The kid was looking a little spooked now.

“Other than that, you’re basically on your own. There’s not too much trouble you can get into on thirty-five acres of bog and fucking creepy-ass forest.”

The face Pete pulls fits perfectly in the rear view mirror. “No one’s died out there, right?”

Brian’s hands tighten briefly on the steering wheel. “Not on the bog, no.”

The rest of the ride is quiet.

| |

By the time they get to Belleville Manor, Pete’s too worn out to do much besides check his email and read over the comments on his last blog entry. He brushes his teeth, pulls on a pair of pajama pants, and stares at his half-naked torso in the mirror. The room’s not doing too much for his mindset – there’s a mural on the wall, a creepy landscape of what may or may not be zombie werewolves. Pete’s not looking any closer at this point.

One thing he does know. He already hates it here.

| |

Pete wakes up the next morning, early – earlier than he’s ever up, at least when he’s not dealing with jetlag. The chronic insomnia either means Pete never hits the sheets, or he sleeps until noon, only two ways about it. He can’t remember the last time he woke up, naturally,




“Hey there,” she says, and smiles at him – like, a sunshine coming out from behind clouds smile. Pete didn’t think people smiled like that in real life.

“Hey,” he says back, warily. “I’m Pete.”

“I know!” she says cheerfully. “I’m Greta. I don’t know how much Brian told you –”

“Pretty much nothing,” Pete interrupts. Which is kind of rude, yeah, but he’s totally off his game here. He’s allowed.

“Sounds like Brian,” she continues, like Pete hadn’t said anything. “He’s not really a talker. Neither is Bob, so if you want conversation, I’m your girl. Technically I’m here to do the cooking, and some of the cleaning, but I can handle conversation too.”

She’s still smiling. It’s really sort of amazing. Pete’s face hurts just looking at her.

“Cool.” He’s not really sure what else to say. “I haven’t, uh, met Bob yet.”

Greta continued peeling apples. “He’s outside most of the time. Belleville Manor needs a lot of upkeep.



“What do you want for breakfast?”

“Uhm. I’m not really a breakfast person. Not really a morning person, usually.”



Pete thinks he likes Greta - quite a bit, even. Doesn’t really think about hitting on her, only partly because Brian would break his kneecaps. Okay, mostly because Brian would break his kneecaps.



Spends most of the first few days downloading music – fucking creepy or not, Belleville Manor has a wicked fast download speed – jerking off, camwhoring, spamming his blog.




He Googles Gerard – which maybe should have been his first move, really, but better late than never. It turns out his an artist. Used to do comic books, mostly, but he’s got art showings in places around the globe, here and there. Good places, as far as Pete can tell. Fucking scary stuff, though, and Pete knows exactly who designed the mural in his room.




Brian looks at him critically. “Gerard wants to see you.”

That’s not ominous at all.




“Settled in?” Gerard asks.

Pete nods. “Yeah, I’m – the wifi here is really fast, so.”

Gerard chuckles a little. It sounds a bit like someone’s scraping a cheesegrater over his vocal chords. It’s kind of creepy, Pete isn’t afraid to admit. “If you’ve got the internet, who needs real people, right?”

“Pretty much.”

Gerard keeps staring into the fire for a few more moments. Pete tries to keep from shifting from foot to foot.

“There are shows, in the town, from time to time,” Gerard says, finally. “Punk, hardcore, a bunch of things. Open mike nights. Brian and Greta know where. Just in case you feel like leaving now and again.”

“I – ” Pete says, surprised. “Thanks, I will.”

“Good,” Gerard says, and stands. “I’m headed for Paris tomorrow morning. Don’t drive Brian any crazier, he’ll have Bob break your knees.”

“So he keeps telling me,” Pete mutters.

| |




"He tortures himself." Greta tsks her tongue and shakes her head. "Trying to remember Frank and forget him at the same time. Won't do him any good until he actually accepts Frank's gone."


Greta pauses, almost imperceptibly. “His husband. Frank Iero. He died, about… oh, five years back, now.” She pauses again, this time to add more flour to whatever she was mixing in the bowl. “After Frank died, Gerard locked himself into the garden, away from everyone. Refused to come out. For a while, we thought we might have to bury him too. But after a week he came back into the house, locked up the garden, and threw away the key.”

“The garden?” Pete asks, intrigued against his will. His parents had failed to tell him they were sending him to live in a gay gothic novel, what the fuck.

“Elena – Gerard’s grandmother, she’s the one who left him the house – had a large, lovely garden tucked away on the grounds she planted herself. When it got to be too much to take care of, Frank took it over. He had an attention span like a moth, but put him near dirt, well.” The corners of Greta’s eyes crinkled. “He’d get dirty as hell, but the flowers, they bloomed all over the place. I don’t think anyone was more surprised about it than he was.”




“You should go outside once in a while,” Greta says, a hint of worry in her voice. Pete should have known she was going to get all surrogate mom on him.





Pete spends his first few days mostly with Greta. Partly because she actually talks about what goes on in the house. She talks about the local high school, where she went, where Gerard and Frank and Bob and Brian all used to go.

Also because she feeds him cookies. Cookies are not to be underestimated.

 She talks about Patrick a lot too, and Pete thinks that maybe he's going to hate him a little, because Greta makes him seem so perfect he'd probably going to be insufferable, but Pete just falls in love, c'mon.




He does a Tom Waits song, a Kanye song, and something sounds jazzy but probably didn’t start out that way. Pete starts out just wanting to talk to him after his set, but moves quickly to wanting to blow him, then marry him and have his babies. He figures it’s probably best to start out with talking, though if Pete’s lucky the blowjob would follow soon after.




“I’m Pete Wentz.”

“Patrick Stump.”

Pete’s grip on Patrick’s hand tightens in surprise. “Greta’s Patrick?” It takes a second, but he remembers to let go of Patrick’s hand.

Patrick looks pleasantly surprised. “You know Greta?”

Pete grins cheekily. “She feeds me.”

“Oh! You’re that Pete.”

“That’s me,” Pete murmurs. “She tells people about me?” Shit, Greta’s Patrick. Perhaps the blowjob will have to wait until after they get married. Which, with the way this country’s going, will be after the move to Canada. He hears Toronto’s lovely.

“You’re pretty much the only new thing in town since… well, ever.












"So is there a garden around here or not?"

Bob put down his shovel. "Wentz. I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of any such garden on the grounds."

"Oh," Pete said, glumly. Just when he thought he'd been onto something.

Bob returned to slowly shoveling. "You could go look though."


"You could go look. If there was a garden, you might find it. You know."

Everyone here is so fucking weird.

| |

Pete spends the day wandering around some of the pathways around Belleville Manor. The place is even more monstrous than he thought.






"I thought I heard music."

Mr. Schechter pinched the bridge of his nose until his knuckles went white.  "The only one making noise at this hour is you, Wentz. Do you require an escort back to your bed?"

"No." Pete peered down the hallway behind Mr. Schechter. "No, I'm fine."

"Good. Now get gone, kid."

| |

Brian Schecter's life. So hard.

| |




Greta gets kind of evasive about the music, shoves a cookie in Pete’s mouth and tells him to go find Patrick.

“Here,” Greta says, and practically shoves a cookie into Pete’s mouth. “Go find Patrick, why don’t you.”



Goes outside one day, finds Bob again. Asks about the garden, sees the cobra with him,

Bob grunts. “That damn snake’s probably the only one who’s seen the inside of the garden in ten fucking years.”



so pete is led to the garden by the cobra! and he goes inside and everything is kind of dead and ick, and he feels totally let down because he had it all built up in his head, how beautiful it was supposed to be, and everything's grown over. there are a few statues scattered all around, a broken swing. Dunno. Something terribly Gerard and Frank, I can't really think of it.


Gets Patrick to help him in the garden, they start pulling out all the weeds, trimming the roses, etc.




Pete is irritable, cranky. Maybe even just mean.

“I can’t sleep,” Pete says, by way of apology. “For days, sometimes. My meds suck, and I… sometimes they make me sick and mostly I don’t even take them, so.” He takes a deep breath. “I’m kind of a fuck up. It’s why I’m here to begin with, you know, because I just get so fucked up I think my parents couldn’t even deal with it.” He thinks that has to be it, sometimes, that…

Patrick looks at him for a second before standing up. “Hey,” he says, and wraps his hand around Pete’s wrist and pulls.



Patrick pulls him into the hammock, brushes his hair back, sings him a song. Maybe when Pete falls in love, or realizes he is, or he could. How perfect and beautiful Patrick is. How beautiful the garden is, how beautiful life is. Sleeps cradled next to Patrick.



He wakes up alone, but rested, in the cool of late afternoon. He’s starving, pretty much. He grabs one of the less diseased looking apples from the tree and chomps into it, biting it nearly in two. An advantage to having big horsey teeth.

“Feeling better?” Patrick asks.


“Good. Now come help me weed out the delphiniums.”

Pete crouches down in the dirt next to Patrick. Thinks, I ain’t even mad, and snickers to himself.

Patrick raises an eyebrow.

“Nothing to worry about, Pattycakes.” Pete grins. “As long as you remind me which ones are the delphiniums again.”

| |





Pete brings Patrick a weed.

Patrick looks at it warily. “How are you trying to get out of work this time?”

Pete ignores the questions and throws himself around Patrick. “Did you know if a rose grows in the middle of, like, a cornfield, it’s still a weed? Because someone said it wasn’t supposed to be there. Isn’t that lame?”

“Lame,” Patrick agrees. He was getting used to the randomness of Pete’s thought patterns.

“You’re my weed, Von Stump. Or maybe I’m the weed, and you’re the only one who still likes me anyway.”

“That’s. You.” Patrick swallows hard. “You’re still not getting out of weeding the roses.”

Pete sighs. “Only for you, Patrick.”



“I need you to bring that to the upstairs gallery.”

“Another painting?"

“What do you think?” Brian snaps. It was a stupid question, but it’s not Bob he’s really mad at. It’s the whole fucking situation. Sometimes he’s mad at Gerard for fucking off and leaving them all behind, sometimes he’s mad at Frank for fucking dying, for jumping around trees and being a goddamn dumbass, and Bob’s just… the only one here.

Bob, in typical stoic fashion, just shrugs, grabs hold of the rope handles in the crate, and heads for the stairs.

Fuck, sometimes Brian’s a dumb motherfucker.


Bob sets the crate on the bottom step. “Yeah?”

“You wanna get lunch after? Take the rest of the afternoon off?” Forgive me? Let’s go to bed?

“Should finish the roof before it rains tomorrow, but it shouldn’t take long.” You’re a dumbass, but it’s okay.

| |

Belleville Manor never stops trying to fall down. It seems to Brian that if it’s not the roof, it’s the plumbing, or its the electricity, or another shutter’s come loose, or another tree on the grounds needs to come down, or there are bats in the attic again. Bob routinely comes home covered in mud, wood chips, cobwebs, and – on one particularly memorable occasion – electrical burns. It makes Brian surly as a motherfucker, the way Bob’s almost died at least times, and probably permanently fucked up his wrists, just trying to hold this place together. Makes for good sex, though. At least when Bob isn’t running a fever or getting rabies shots or is otherwise incapacitated.

Bob’s slow taking off his boots tonight, which means his wrists are hurting but he won’t say. Brian gets on his knees and helps pull them off. Then the socks, peeled off nearly frozen feet. Rubs the inside of one thigh.

“Hey stranger. Bath?”

Bob nods. Brian leans up to kiss him, rucking up Bob’s shirt, then pulling it off. Brian’s already in jeans and a wifebeater, nothing else. Their room isn’t the nicest in the house – it’s a little small, considering the sheer opulence of some of the others, but it was far enough away from Frank and Gerard’s, when that had to be a consideration, and has an absolutely ridiculous bath that nearly makes Brian break down and cry after some of the days he’s had.

Brian gets to his feet, ignoring the creak in his knees because he isn’t that old, seriously. Pads to the bathroom to turn the water on boiling hot, to warm Bob up. Warm them both up. Fills the big fucking tub to nearly the top, so they can both sink into without getting water all over the floor, or squishing any important bits.

Brian can tell that Bob’s standing behind him, looming. Brian points at the tub. “In.”

“I get to be the big spoon today?”

Motherfucker thinks he’s cute.

In,” Brian says again, very I-mean-business, and he does. Bob slips off his pants and settles in. Brian's pulls the rest of his clothes off, and waits until Bob finishes settling in before telling Bob to spread his legs.

Bob does it and grins. “Bossy bastard.”

Brian huffs. Steps into the water and settles in and back, until he can feel Bob's heart thudding against him. Bob’s hands come around to rest on his stomach – not so much a nice, casual touch as it is about Bob soaking his wrists, but it’s still nice. He thinks about dragging Bob to the doctor’s again, though Lord knows what a treat that is. Brian’s gonna have to work himself up to that, because it’s like an uphill battle through molasses. With no sex.

Still. Brian leaning up again Bob, Bob’s hands on his stomach, just about up to his neck in hot water – with bath oils that smell like fucking lavender, which he will fucking get Greta for later – but the rest is Brian’s fucking due, and he’s gonna enjoy it. Brian does not consider himself a sappy guy – he doesn’t have time to moon around and write haikus about Bob’s freakishly blue eyes, and think about how Bob makes him feel. He’s got too much shit to do, okay? But, you know. Life has its moments.

Brian takes deep breathes. Tries to let go of some of the stress. Wants to smoke a cigarette, wants a drink, but not as bad as he could. Lets his head fall back against Bob’s shoulder.


He really doesn’t spend too much time thinking about the way Bob’s eyes crinkle at the corners. “Hi.” The smile’s mostly in Bob’s voice, anyway. And yeah, Brian likes putting it there. The hand on his stomach slips lower, running down the vee between thighs and torso. Bob’s hands are cold in Brian’s hair, but his mouth is hot on Brian’s, the scratch of his beard is just right when he bites.




Greta notes that Pete starts to look better. Patrick says something potentially embarrassing about how Pete seems happier.

"It's all because of you, Pattycakes." He hugs Patrick until he hears something pop. "You and our secret garden."







"I knew someone was playing music, I just knew it!"

The boy blinked up at Pete from where he was lying on the bed.



"We're cousins. Kinda. I guess your grandmother is my dad's aunt, or something? But she married into the family, or whatever."Why didn't anyone tell me about you?"

Mikey shrugged. "I don't really like people. I get, I don’t know, anxious? And if you knew I was here, you would have wanted to come meet me."

This was... probably true. Pete’s curiosity has always been his strong point.




Patrick is generally warm and welcoming, but Mikey is both creepy and really, really beautiful. Mikey’s quiet. He’s always been quiet, but after Frank died, after Gee left – what else does he have? Just the music, and all the things running around in his head. He drifts through school. 

Bob comes and hangs out sometimes, plays video games, shit like that. Brian stops by now and again, smokes for awhile. Mikey has his computer, and his internet connection. Takes the car out to shows, sometimes, but nobody knows who he is, you know? The kid with the weird hair and the glasses who stands in the back of all the shows. And Mikey doesn’t really know what to do with Pete, who is so obviously that guy from the scene, with his ridiculous red bangs, stupid band tees he wears too tight, shitty blog posts that are marginally less shitty than every other kid’s, no concept of personal space, talks about music like it saved his life, and yeah, maybe Mikey understands that part.


Spend one night talking about Morrissey, the next, Pete tries to get Mikey to listen to Kanye. The one after that, Mikey extols the virtues of the Misfits. Mikey usually sleeps through most of the day, and Pete barely sleeps at all, from what Mikey can see.



Mikey becomes jealous that Pete spends so much time with Patrick instead of inside with him. Pete tries to get him to come outside with them. Mikey possibly throws a bit of a fit first -- well, in a Mikey fashion, so he maybe sulks, I don't know. There is possibly some more romantic hanky panky sort of thing going on. Between maybe mikey and pete at this point, because mikey and pete know what they want, while Patrick is kind of shy.



“Why didn’t you tell me about Mikey?”

Sniffs. “Wasn’t supposed to.”

Pete gives Greta a look. He’s pretty sure she does whatever the hell she wants. And has Brian wrapped around her little finger.



“Mikey’s sometimes more fragile than he looks,” Greta says, finally. “He had trouble in school, sometimes. And the last thing he needed was another teenage boy making his life miserable.”

Pete is affronted. “I wouldn’t!”

“You might not have liked him, though. Sometimes that’s just as bad.”

That part Pete can understand.






Pete clings to Patrick, cuddles. Patrick pushes him off sometimes, not because he doesn’t want it, but because he does. And wants more.



“I get bored.” Mikey blinked at him.

Pete rolled his eyes. “Then come outside with me, duh.”

“Stay in with me.”

“I’m not going to blow Patrick off, dude. Not cool.”

Something that might be a Mikey-pout.

“Just come with me. It’s not like you couldn’t go back to the house if you wanted.”




Pete’s pretty sure he’s never spent this much time outside in his life. He’s pretty sure he wouldn’t have spent this much time outside at boot camp. Pete isn’t necessarily anti-nature – the sun feels fucking great with his shirt off, actually – but he’s never actually been around the great outdoors when he wasn’t on a lame-o family vacation to a state park, or some shit. He does like playing in the dirt – go figure – and he likes the smell of the trees, the moss. When Patrick gets red-faced and sweaty from the sun, a dirt smudge on his cheek and Pete has to go tackle him and stuff grass down his shirt, maybe stick his tongue in Patrick’s ear.




“You talk about Patrick all the time.” Soft. Softer than Pete would expect, or like.

He blinks. Oh. “Yeah, well, Trick’s awesome. I tell about you all the time to Patrick, you know. It’s just generally considered weird to tell someone how awesome they are to their face.” Pause. “Which you’d know if you ever went outside and had human contact.”

“Fuck off,” Mikey said offhandedly. Faint blush.

Maybe Pete creeps a little closer, lets their legs brush together, something. “I like you too. For the record.”






“Well, yeah. I’m in love with him!”

Mikey goes blank, hurt, angry. Shoves Pete.

“Hey, hey, hey. I love you too!” Such a cop out, such a crazy thing to say, but its true, it is. Pete grabs for Mikey, to hold onto him, and Mikey makes a hurt sound, more like Pete had punched him in the stomach than declared true love, but at least Mikey’s stopped pushing him. “I do, I really do, I love you both and I’m… I’m sorry, I guess. For making things complicated,” Pete huffs. “It’s all I’m good at, really.”





“I really,” Mikey says. “I really loved Frank, like. He was so awesome. And even if he wasn’t, even if I didn’t like him, he made Gee so fucking happy, you know? School was hell for Gee, twelve years of hell, and then suddenly – Frank. Like a fucking miracle. They were both angry, you know. Freaks.




Bob finally finds out what they have been up to. 

"I used to go in and trim the roses," Bob says gruffly. "Climb over the wall, once or twice every year, until my wrists got too bad."

"Don't tell, c'mon." Pete looks up angrily from under his bangs. "Don't be a dick."

Patrick elbows him in the side. "Pete!" 

"Brian won't like it," Bob says finally.

"So? Don't tell him."

Patrick kicks at the back of Pete's shoe. "You're an idiot," he says. "A complete idiot, sometimes."

Pete kicks back.

Bob stares at Pete, but his gaze was – sharper now, maybe. “I don’t lie to Brian. But I won’t say anything.”

And that was probably as good as it was going to get.

| |





Pete, Patrick, Mikey. Being utterly cute and ridiculous. Probably Pete and Mikey get together first, because Pete knows what he wants and goes for it, and Mikey accepts it, when Patrick blushes or laughs or shrugs it off. So when Pete and Mikey do get together, he gets jealous.



It’s mostly little things. Like Pete’s extra-smirky grin whenever Mikey nudges him, or he catches Mikey looking at him. And Mikey is more aware of his space now, more… lounge-y, Patrick thinks irritably. Slinkier than usual.

A little bit before dinner time, Pete goes into the hut and hurtles himself at Mikey, and puts his head in Mikey’s lap. Mikey looks down at him with a mostly confused expression, but he pets Pete’s head absently, if a little roughly, pushing the hair down flat.

Patrick’s getting those twinges of jealousy again.

Pete notices too, which is even more irritating, and when he grins up at Patrick from Mikey’s lap, there’s one small moment where Patrick wants to smack the grin right off his face.

“You wanna pet me too, Pattycakes?”

“As if I’d want my hands anywhere near that pile of grease,” Patrick sniffed. “I could wring it out and make French fries.”

Mikey snickered and yanked his fingers through one particularly knotty whorl.




“You’re my favorite too, Patrick. You brought us back to life.”

“Us?” Patrick repeated dumbly.

“Me, Mikey. The garden.”




“We’re going to have a party,” Pete says.

“A party?”


“An unbirthday party!” Pete declares.

“Wasn’t your birthday like last month?”

“So? It’s forever until Mikey’s birthday, and I want to do something. It’s either an unbirthday party, or we celebrate Wednesday. Your call.”



The roses are all in bloom, the scent everywhere, almost suffocating.

Mikey has spent most of his time lounging there while Pete and Patrick work on the garden, which they don't mind too much, it's not MIkey's thing, to be outside and plant flowers and dig in the dirt. And he actually is really sick, sometimes, Patrick tells Pete in a lower undertone. Greta told him.

Now, though. Mikey lying back on the pillows, watching Pete dance around the fire like a madman.



The roses have been blooming the past few days – first little buds, but now full-blown roses, some of the petals already dropping to the garden path. The scent of them is overpowering in the dusk heat. Patrick feels out of his head with it.


It’s dark in the garden, mostly. There’s a little light from the moon, a little from the fire that Pete built with great danger to his person, both casting shadows all around the stonewalls of the garden. Pete celebrates by dancing like a crazy person, bouncing around, throwing his arms and legs everywhere to the beat Patrick is keeping on the drums. Later, after they’ve drunk most of the bottle of wine Pete snuck out of the storeroom earlier – Bob was keeping Brian busy outside, but Greta still nearly caught him. It was a great triumph! – Pete gets Mikey to dance with him, loose and easy.


At first, loose and easy, Patrick should say. Patrick watches them open-mouthed, slackjawed, he knows he is, almost too embarrassed to even look away.

Then, like someone flipped a switch, Mikey and Pete give each other this look, and sort of twist-turn their way over to Patrick – Mikey more gracefully than Pete. Get right up on top of him, really. He’s been sitting on a tree stump – the tree stump, from the tree Frank fell off of and Gerard hacked down. 




“Pete. Pete, what?”

“Patrick. Oh, Patrick.” Kiss him, desperately, grabby hands. Love you, don’t be so dense, we both do. Doesn’t say it, just thinks it.

Mikey reaches out to touch… something, and Patrick squeaks and falls off the stump.

Pete snickers.




Pete offers to kiss his head. Which he does, before diving for Patrick’s pants and giggling like the madman he clearly is. At which point Patrick squeaks, gapes like a fish. Which Mikey takes as an invitation to stick his tongue into Patrick’s mouth. It quite possibly goes rapidly downhill after that.

Pete sucking Patrick off, while Patrick spends most of his time clutching Mikey pretty desperately. Mikey petting him the way he pets Pete, trying to calm him down. It’s a little too much for Patrick, the two of them, and Mikey knows Pete’s too focused, too intent on what he’s doing to notice that Patrick’s brains are leaking out of his ears, so he’s taken to murmuring into Patrick’s ear, comforting little nothings, bits of poetry that Pete’s written lately, often so very obviously about Patrick they make Mikey burn just reading them. He can feel the best of Patrick’s heart under his hand, the heaving of his ribcage. Patrick’s lungs are made of brass and leather, Pete said cheerfully once, and the shuttering breaths that wash over Mikey’s face are warm and faintly metallic. Sharp under the smell of the roses.




“I’ll just watch.”

“For now,” Pete pushes, and Mikey nods.

“For now,” he agrees, though he could watch Pete and Patrick in the garden, Pete and Patrick among the roses for the rest of his life.





Pete finishes sucking Patrick off, a little inexpertly, because he and Mikey haven’t really done anything, despite what Patrick’s been thinking. But now he’s going to do everything. Everything, everything. He can’t wait for it. He’s on Patrick like white on rice, barely bothers to swallow, wipe his chin before he’s fumbling with the front of his jeans and –

“Patrick. Patrick, touch me, please, just – ”

-- shoving them down around his knees, hand smeared with wet, some of his and some Patrick’s. One clumsy brush of Patrick’s knuckles across the inside of his thigh, and Pete’s next word dies a swift and horrible death in the back of his throat. Mikey makes another patented Mikey-noise that could mean anything from “you’re so hot” to “you dumbass” to “hey, I just saw a unicorn,” and reaches over to help. Like, literally covers Patrick’s hand in his and slides his palm over the head of Pete’s cock. Patrick’s hand still a little unsteady, sticky from sweat and whatever product Pete slapped in his hair this morning, and fuck. Pete’s eyes want to roll back in his head, but then he’d miss Mikey biting just the tip of Patrick’s ear, the blush that’s pretty much overtaken Patrick’s face.

He grabs Mikey’s hip, the sharp jut of the bone sticking out just above his pants. The other hand creeps underneath the back of Patrick’s head, thumb nestled on the side of his neck. He wants to make out until the end of forever, here just like this. He’s so, so hard right now, just rutting into Patrick and Mikey’s hands, up against Patrick’s thigh and the softness of his stomach, and it’s so good. Patrick picking up a rhythm, surer and surer until it feels just right, Mikey’s hand slipping down to cup Pete’s balls, and Pete comes all over Patrick with a shout so loud he can feel it mangling his vocal cords, just – blindsided by it all, surprised by it, and he can’t stop the way his hips squirm up against Patrick, like they’re moving independently of his body. He’s out of his mind with it. Doesn’t even have the luxury of that normal post-orgasmic haze, not with every nerve ending still on fire, with Patrick so obviously ready for Round Two, and Mikey way overdue for his own Round One.





“Oh. Uhm.” And now Pete sees where Mikey’s other hand had slipped in between his and Patrick’s bodies, what must have been a crap angle but apparently more than enough to get the job done.

Pete blinked. “Man. That’s gotta be uncomfortable. Come on, clothes off! Everybody!” Yanks his shirt over his head and then dives for Patrick’s, ignoring any and all hat-related protests, all while continually kicking his feet in hopes of fully losing his pants. “No clothes in the garden! New rule!”

“Pete!” Patrick whines, slightly scandalized, like Pete had just suggested they eat babies. On pikes.

Mikey slowly peeled his pants off – slinky, Pete thought approvingly. He liked that – and nodded. “I think Frank would approve actually.”

“Sunburn,” Patrick continued irritably, yanking his had back on. “Insect bites and sunburn in uncomfortable places.”

“I’d help you put on sunscreen,” Pete said brightly. “Especially all those uncomfortable places!” Pete wiggled more on top of Patrick, and, wow, that blush really did go everywhere.

Mikey squirmed closer.

Round Two later, Pete thought dimly. He takes his turn kissing Patrick, then Mikey, then watching the two of the kiss until he was cross-eyed. Patrick caught up to the point where he forgets to be shy or nervous, Mikey forgetting to be uninterested – or maybe remembering how to be interested in something again, Pete doesn’t know.



Makes out with Patrick forever this time, for real. Until his bones were liquid, and his mouth was dry. Little flashes of Mikey – Mikey’s hands on his back, in his hair, the curve of his ass, Mikey’s mouth on the side of his ribcage, the curve of his neck, his cheek. Just next to where Patrick’s hands are curled/knotted in his hair. Patrick is sticky beneath him, Mikey warm and wriggling around them, and Pete would go out of his mind with happiness this very second, if he weren’t hoping they could do this every night for the rest of their lives.



Mm. Mikey curled up like a cat around Patrick, twisted up, Patrick pushing his way in between Pete and Mikey the best he could, finding a spot between their elbows, hipbones, knees. Pete just watching. Sleep doesn’t come easily for him, or at all. Not even on a night like this. Mikey’s eyes are already closed, knockknees digging into Patrick’s side. Patrick’s eyes are fluttering, fluttering, sleep flush already on his face.

“Should get home," Patrick says after a while, clearly loathe to leave.

“I’ll make sure you’re home before sunrise.” Peter kisses Patrick’s face, nose, shoulder. Pets his hair, settles the hat on Patrick’s head just so. “Sleep, von Stomp. I’ll have everyone back home for breakfast and baths.”

“Good plan,” Patrick murmured. 



Pete wanted the roses to grow over them, to twine them together forever, always wick and alive, and waiting, just waiting to maybe awaken again.





Next day, Greta stirring up the oatmeal on the stove when Pete comes down. Pete whistles his way to the cupboard to grab maple syrup.

“So. Patrick was home late last night. Or early this morning, really.”

Pete froze with half a piece of toast shoved into his mouth. Motherfuck.

It feels like an eternity before Greta speaks again.

“He looked happy at breakfast.”

“I … hope so?” Pete finally offers, tentatively, and Greta laughs.

“It’s all right,” she says. “I was doing the same thing at his age,”

Having gay threesomes in the garden? Pete wants to ask, and shovels more toast into his mouth.




Patrick spends a lot of time blushing, being awkward and Pete thinks it’s cute. Goes over to tackle him right into the dirt, squish his hands into Patrick’s side. Patrick squeaks, collapses under him. Mikey isn’t out yet – not up yet. Pete can’t sleep, and Mikey needs twice as much as most people. He’ll be out in the early afternoon, after lunch.

“Hey Patrick. Greta said you looked happy this morning.”

Blush deepens. “Fuck off, Pete,” grumbled, and shoved Pete off.

Pete hummed in his ear. “Later. I wanted to finish the roses in the west corner.”




The roses take all morning, but then they’re well and truly done. Nothing left but the upkeep.

Pete starts peeling off his clothes.

Patrick, to his credit, doesn’t even blink. “I didn’t think you were serious about the ‘no clothes in the garden’ rule.”

“I’m going swimming. And you should come too.”

“Swimming where?”

“In the fountain, duh.”

“Fountains are full of germs.”

“So’m I, dude. The fountain and I will bond. We will exchange germs like Mikeyway exchanges Magic Cards.”

“Fuck off.”




Pete comes over, throws his arms around Patrick, squeezes.

Patrick sighs. “Pete.”

“Break time!” Pete sing-songs. “And by break, I mean sex. And lunch.”




“Yes, sweetie?” Greta’s pretty much the only person in the world Pete would let call him sweetie. Anyone else, he’d probably die laughing or punch them in the mouth.

“My intentions towards your brother are honorably dishonourable,” Pete announces. “Just so you don’t come after me with a shotgun.”

Greta puts down a plateful of waffles, topped off with the strawberries that Pete and Patrick picked yesterday, “I’m pretty sure his intention are much the same. And Patrick can take care of himself.”

Pete is unwillingly charmed and devours the waffles, now that he’s sure Greta had no poisoned them.




Pete goes and gets a new tattoo. thorns around his neck.

“No roses?”

“Nah. It was thorns first. Thorns in the spring and summer and autumn and winter too. Thorns last. Thorns forever. It’s probably my favorite.” Pause. “Except for the Bartskulll.”

“You obsession with that thing is unhealthy,” Patrick sniffs, but his fingers are tracing just beyond the edges of the new tattoo.




Pete, because he is sneaky, hatches a plan.



At work in the garden, all afternoon, takes off his shirt. Patrick rolls his eyes, but grins. Pete likes the grin. Waits until they’re almost done for the day. Walks over and throws himself on Patrick’s back, clings like a monkey.


“Hi Patrick.”

Wry. “Hi Pete.”

Pete buries his face in Patrick’s neck. Bites. Patrick promptly drops Pete on his ass.

From the other side of the garden, Pete hears MIkey snort.

“No love,” Pete laments. “The honeymoon is over.” Peter twines his fingers through Patrick’s beltloops. Patrick’s mouth tastes like apples, and black coffee, and his hands fit just right on the sides of Pete’s face.

“Feeling neglected?”

“No,” Pete said, already feeling a little breathless. “Thought maybe you were though.” Pete feels like he’s getting all of the attention. Patrick leaving every night while Pete and Mikey go and sleep in the same bed. “I want…”

“What?” Patrick’s hands are already sliding down Pete’s chest, one nail dragging just over a nipple, one broad hand palming the Bartskull.




“I want.” Patrick breathes. “I want you to. You know.”

Pete’s mouth goes dry,




sexytimes in the garden! Bob maybe walks in on them, oh em gee? Slaps a hand over his eyes, and turns around, all “I’M GONNA PRETEND I DIDN’T SEE THAT.” Patrick blushes so hard he’s going to set himself on fire. Mikey shrugs and pulls his shirt back down, Pete starts laughing his horsey laugh. Probably in the middle of making out, like a big pile of puppies.





Gerard has all sorts of weird dreams about Frank, Frank urging him to go back, to live again, to love again.



"If you start quoting Celine Dion at me, I swear to God, I will wake up through sheer will."


Frank grins. “But Gee, Gee, my heart will go on.”

“I hated that movie,” Gerard mutters.

“Anyway. Keep up with the garden, will you? We had, uh,” Frank’s grin widened. “We had a lot of good times in the garden.”





“I’m home, Brian,” Gerard said wearily. “Home for good, I think.”




“Where’s Mikey?”

Brian scratched his head. “Well. Outside.”

Gerard blinked. “Outside? Outside of what?”

“The house.”




No one’s particularly well-dressed – or dressed at all, uhm. Gerard’s pretty sure the old Misfits shirt Pete is wearing was once his.


Oh. Oh, wow. Gerard really does have some catching up to do. He feels a blush rising, and when he catches Patrick’s eye – poor Patrick, who looks like he’s going to explode from embarrassment – Gerard can’t help the nervous giggle that slips out.


“I’ll, uh, I’ll catch up with you guys at dinner, then.” Time to go and get yelled at by Greta, say hi to Bob and Brian. Go up to his room and cry over some of Frank’s things.

But then have dinner. With his family.