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The Possibilities Remain

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Patrick's over Joe's house and he's getting his ass handed to him at Mario Kart. Joe wins his third straight game and Patrick sets down his controller.

"Ready to admit defeat?" Joe asks.

"Fuck you," Patrick says. "I could kick your ass if I really wanted to."

It's totally not Patrick's fault he sucks. It's just that -- he's been distracted, okay? Joe keeps shooting him these -- these looks, like he wants to break their "not talking about that time we hooked up" agreement. And that's just. It's just not cool. Because the point of not talking about it was to not have to deal with it. If Patrick's going to have to freak out about this every time he sees Joe, well, then. They may as well have just talked about it in the first place.

"Uh huh," Joe says. Patrick's not looking at him but he can fucking hear the smirk in his voice.

Patrick kicks at his controller. He hates feeling like this. He's gotten used to the fact that he's always going to be awkward with girls, but it's not supposed to be like this with Joe.

"C'mon, Rick. Don't be a sore loser."

Joe scoots closer until their shoulders are almost touching. Patrick stares down at the floor, scowling. A moment later he feels Joe's fingers brushing lightly over his neck. Over the still very new, not at all faded hickey. The one that Joe gave him two days ago, in the back of the van.

Patrick flinches. He shoves Joe's hand away and mumbles, "Quit it."

"Sorry," Joe says. "Does it hurt?"

"Yeah," Patrick says, way bitchier than he means to. "It's a bruise, Joe. Of course it hurts."

"Sorry," Joe says again. His shoulders slump as he looks away and Patrick feels like an asshole.

"I didn't mean to -- "

Joe cuts him off before he can finish apologizing. "Dude, don't worry about it. We're cool."

Except that it doesn't feel that way. It feels worse than it did before and Patrick is ready to do anything to make the weirdness go away.

"Joe," Patrick says quietly. He can already feel his face starting to heat up. "I don't. I don't want things to be weird."

"Neither do I." Joe shrugs. They're both quiet for a while before Joe finally says, "Are we talking about it or what?"

Patrick sighs. "I guess we should."

"So is this like, some kind of belated gay freak out or something?"

"What? No. I mean. I haven't really -- " Patrick feels like his face is on fire. There's no need to bring up his complete lack of experience with either gender to prove his point. "Nevermind. I'm not freaking out about that."

"What is it then?"

"I don't -- I don't know." Patrick fidgets nervously and adjusts his hat. He's being totally honest. He wishes he did know. This would be a whole lot easier if he did.

"Maybe I'm just not used to hooking up with someone I'm friends with."

"Maybe," Joe says. He sounds unconvinced. Patrick sighs and looks down at his shoes. Tries to remember how it how it happened in the first place, and why he couldn't he say no then and there and prevent all this.

"Hey," Joe says softly. Patrick turns to look at him and as he does, feels Joe's mouth pressed against his.

Oh. Patrick thinks as the knot in his stomach begins to disappear. Joe slides a hand around the back of his neck, pulls him closer, doesn't stop kissing him. Patrick feels like his heart is going to beat right out of his chest.

When Joe finally pulls away to breathe, Patrick stares at him with wide eyes and Joe stares back for a second before breaking out into a laugh.

"You like me," Joe tells him, still snickering a little.

"Shut up." Patrick shoves him as hard as he can and Joe topples backward. "I do not."

Joe looks up at him from the floor, propped up on his elbows.

"Dude. You so do." Joe gives him a shit-eating grin that even Pete would be impressed by. He wriggles forward and tugs on bottom of Patrick's t-shirt. "You totally want all of my kisses."

Patrick smacks his hand away. He crosses his arms over his chest and doesn't look at Joe. There's no part of this that's fair. He should have been able to figure this out on his own. They're his fucking feelings after all. Joe shouldn't have had to be the one to tell him.

"C'mon, don't be like that." Joe's fingers sneak underneath the back of his shirt, draw tiny circles that tickle and make Patrick squirm away. Joe makes an exasperated noise. "Stop that."

Patrick feels a hand tightening in the back of his shirt and then he finds himself being yanked backwards and down onto the floor. Joe climbs on top of him and breathes against his neck. Patrick can't help the shiver that runs through his body.

Joe props himself up on his arms and looks down at Patrick.

"I like you too, dumbass."

"Oh," Patrick says quietly.

Joe rolls his eyes before he leans down and kisses him again. Patrick's hands find Joe's waist as he kisses back.

"Fucking finally," Joe breathes. He kisses his way down to Patrick's neck and Patrick tangles a hand in his hair.

"If you give me another hickey, I'll kill you."

Joe lifts his head and asks, "Can I tell everyone you're my boyfriend instead?"

Patrick pauses, bites his lip. He nods a moment later. "Yeah."

Joe grins. "Deal."