Title: If There Is a God, I Thank Him Every Day for Bringing Us Patrick
Notes: Written for besquared in the popoffacork New Year's challenge. She requested boys in buses, MCR, and Pete/Patrick. I attempted to oblige. Rated R, because MCR fucking curses.
Summary: Pete Wentz thinks MCR's second drummer is perfect, and he's not sure how he missed Patrick in Chicago, but he's out to get him now.
Bob laughed at him over the phone. Brian felt a migraine coming on. "Fuck no. Matt and I just moved in together. I'm making, like, crazy money at the House of Blues and I have a king-sized bed that isn't on wheels." Brian took a deep breath. He had two weeks before they had to play a show, two weeks to replace Otter. He thought that being in My Chem was the best job ever, so he hadn't actually come up with a second choice.
Bob, like always, came through for him. "I know a guy you'll like."
Patrick taught us never to take shit from anybody.
"Patrick!" Frankie screamed as he flung himself from his bunk. Patrick went down like a sack of bricks.
"You almost fucking killed me!" he screamed.
Frank smacked a kiss against the side of his head. "You love me."
"No, I don't. You smell like ass, Iero. Get off me." Frank pouted at him and Patrick just ignored him. If it was anyone else, they would have gotten punched in the mouth, but it was Frank, and Patrick loved his band, even when they were being douchebags.
Gerard jumped up the stairs to their bus clutching a giant cup of coffee. "Warped Tour!!!!"
It was going to be the longest summer of Patrick's life.
"Okay," Ray said. They were playing Goldeneye because it was easier to think when they were slapping the shit out of each other. "There's got to be a way to get them over there." They were both still wet from the "speed shower," a hose plugged into the backside of the venue. As two people who slept in close quarters with the Ways, Patrick and Ray had a vested interest in keeping them clean.
"They need to be lured. We have to use Brian and that girl Mikey's been following around."
"It's not a girl. Or, maybe it was, but now he can't shut up about Pete Wentz from FBR." Ray twisted his whole body, like that was going to make his dude not fall off the narrow ledge when Patrick slapped him across the face.
"Oh, fuck," Patrick said, grinning as he won the round. "Those FBR guys are always up for a prank."
Patrick found Pete and Mikey sitting too close together under a merch tent, talking about literature or some shit. Patrick was not aware Mikey read literature. Patrick was not aware that Mikey read anything besides text messages. "Hey, Mikes. Gerard needs you. He said it was 'brother stuff.'" Patrick used air-quotes and rolled his eyes. "He's over by the bathrooms."
Mikey, predictably, immediately got up. They were halfway over when the short (hot) guy with Mikey stuck his hand out. "Mikey is clearly shitty at introductions. I'm Pete."
Patrick shook his hand. "Patrick..."
"Stump, I know," Pete said, grinning. "I've seen you play. You're awesome."
Patrick felt a little uncomfortable in the face of Pete's manic stare. "Um, thanks." He grabbed onto Pete's hand and held him back a second, letting Mikey, who was of course texting again, get ahead. "Get his phone, ok?" Patrick whispered. "We're gonna hose them." Pete's eyes glittered with mischief. He nodded and ran to catch up.
"Mikey, lemme borrow your phone? Mine's dead and I gotta find 'licia." Mikey caught sight of Gerard and Ray and handed it over without thinking.
Mikey had barely gotten out his "What's up?" to Gee when Frank jumped, screaming, from behind the Greenpeace bus and sprayed them with the hose. Gee screamed like a girl and tried to run, so Patrick and Ray, heroically, threw themselves on the Ways. Frank kept cackling as he jumped into the fray. Mikey called Patrick a traitorous fucktard and held him down under the cold spray. Patrick just laughed. He caught sight of Ray, soaked and grinning and pouring soap on Gerard's head, and leaving Chicago to join this band felt like the best decision he'd ever made.
After that, Pete developed a habit of hanging out on their bus. Patrick thought it was weird. "Are we getting courted by FBR?" he'd asked Brian.
Brian had laughed. "They can't afford you, sweetheart." Patrick was forced to conclude that this guy did no work at all. But, Pete bought Patrick coffee if he slept through rest stops, and that was damn gracious of him.
Patrick sat in the lounge on one of those bleary mornings, sipping Dunkin' Donuts coffee. "So, Chicago next," Pete said.
"I get to sleep in my own fucking bed," Patrick mumbled.
Pete looked surprised. "You don't live in Jersey?"
Patrick shook his head and drained the cup. "I'm home, like, six days a year. Too much trouble to move. Besides, I fucking love Chicago."
Pete looked borderline rapturous. "I know! Me too! My boss keeps trying to get me to move to Florida, but Chicago, man."
Patrick grinned. "God, it's a great town. Good music, good schools, good people."
"Yes," Pete said, firm and leaning closer. "Like, remember 504 Plan?"
"Jesus, yes! I used to go see their sets at Lakeview on my break."
"Where'd you work?" Pete asked, shifting closer.
"Jewel. It was super glamorous. I was there, like, three years in high school, then I got an apprenticeship at the House of Blues."
"Dude, yeah? Doing what?"
"Mixed sound. Was gonna do that for a living, but..." Patrick drained his coffee cup.
Pete looked amazed. "So you drum *and* you do sound?" Patrick nodded.
Pete's amazement only grew when he hung out on their day off. Patrick and Ray and Gerard had been fucking around on a new song, trying to figure out how it was going to work when they started properly writing the follow-up to Three Cheers. Patrick had been strumming a riff with Ray, subbing for Frank, who was sleeping off a bout of illness. "Like, I see what you're doing," Patrick said. "But how about this?" He proceeded to bust out a riff that he thought was okay and that Pete thought could have launched any band into megastardom. Ray nodded and took notes and Pete gushed at him.
The thing of it was, Pete was a pretty cool guy. He was just around a lot, and he didn't seem to sleep, so when Patrick's head got all addled with whatever he'd been listening to, he could talk to Pete about it. Pete liked Lifetime and Midtown and let Patrick teach him about Prince and the Minneapolis scene. They fell asleep on the couch together so often that Frank stopped commenting on it.
Patrick loved his band, a lot, but his friendship with Pete was like they'd always been friends and just never met. Who he didn't see anymore was Mikey. "He's banging Alicia," Frank said over veggie hot dogs one night.
Frank shrugged. "Pete knows."
Patrick still asked him about it the next time they were up at four AM, the rest of the bus passed out drunk (Frank and Brian) or collapsed from the caffeine crash (Gerard and Ray). Pete shrugged just like Frank had. "They like each other."
"No, fuck that!" Patrick said. "Fuck that! He can't just steal your girlfriend!"
"I let her go," Pete says. "But I met you, so I'm still coming out ahead." He grinned then, his big winning grin, and Patrick didn't smile back.
Mikey and Alicia got lunch with Pete and Patrick the next day. She was teching for the three FBR bands and they'd all been on first thing in the morning that day. She smiled at Mikey, warm and adoring, and Mikey smiled coyly back. Pete just kept talking about how he and Patrick had been learning to play bridge. Pete slept in Patrick's bed that night, snuggled under all the blankets after a whispered discussion of their siblings and Christmas traditions. Pete looked younger when he slept, fragile, and Patrick thought he might understand.
Pete was probably not doing any of his actual job, but he sat in the back lounge while My Chem worked on a song that was tentatively titled "Hospital Bed," but which Frankie referred to as "Dead!", with exclamation point inferred. "I think you're going to have to belt it," Patrick said to Gerard. "Just like, 'Have you heard the news that you're dea-a-ad." The whole bus rang with Patrick's singing and the band was just nodding and moving on, but Pete was astonished. He wanted to hear more. He needed to hear more.
That night, he lured Patrick out away from the party and laid on the grass while Patrick hesitantly sang a Saves the Day song to him. He knew Patrick was only humoring him, but by the end, Pete felt tears in his eyes. "Run away with me."
Patrick laughed. "Can't. We both have jobs, remember?"
"Patrick," Pete said, rolling onto his knees. "You sing, you play guitar, you play drums, you do sound, and you're good. You need to shine."
"I shine plenty," Patrick said, getting huffy.
Pete looked at him, working up a rage on Patrick's behalf. "No."
"Yes," Patrick said with finality. "My Chem takes up way too much time to start up a side project."
"Well," Pete said, lying back down. "Keep me in mind."
At the end of Warped, Pete went back to wherever he came from and Patrick just kept touring. Pete started texting him . When Patrick was in Asia, it was the perfect time zone difference for his boring days to match up with Pete's sleepless nights. He'd never intended to stay friends with Pete, but Pete was clearly going to bug him enough that Patrick couldn't forget him. He was also getting used to Pete's peculiar combination of shorthand typing and deep thought. snowing here. makes me wish i still wlkd home from school. nothing 2 care about.
buck up, little soldier. fuck off work tmrw and go sledding. blast thursday on the ipod.
When Patrick got back to the states, Pete started calling. Patrick would curl up in his bunk and talk. They talked about the most random assortment of things, but they talked. Patrick had been talking to no one but the rest of his band for so long that it was kind of refreshing to have a friend on the outside. That was probably the reason that Pete's laugh made Patrick hide his face in the pillows and smile.
Pete found out from a fan translation of a Japanese magazine article. He totally had a LiveJournal just to join the MCR communities. The interviewer had asked them about their queer fanbase. "I don't think it's because our drummer is bisexual," he said. "I think it's because we want to create a safe space for everybody to be themselves, no matter what."
Patrick was bi.
Pete had never actually done anything more than make out with a guy, but this felt momentous. He could have feelings for Patrick, and he did, the sort of deep ones that were making him write lyrics again. He was pudgy and ill-tempered and fucking perfect. Pete closed his laptop and laid on his back, thinking. How did he miss that kid in Chicago? Being in a band with Patrick probably would have made Pete stick to music, instead of jumping to management at the first chance.
Instead of watching videos of My Chem on YouTube (his new favorite insomnia activity), Pete texted Mikey. "When are u guys home agin?"
Mikey, as always, replied in a flash. "10 days. coming to help alicia pack. got a place in bklyn"
Oddly, hilariously, Pete didn't even remember to hurt at that.
Pete called the moment Patrick and Mikey got to Chicago. "The conquering hero returns," he said as soon as Patrick picked up.
He could hear Patrick's grin. "Hey, dumbass. What's up?"
"Figured your fridge is empty. Wanna go for deep dish?"
Patrick moaned. "Fuck, yes. Lemme call you back after I shower."
Their relationship proceeded like that. They hung out in Chicago, they texted and phoned, and Pete was secretly in love. It was fine. Patrick loved it. He called Pete whenever he was feeling frantic or nervous or desperate, and as the recording sessions loomed, that was more and more often.
Patrick was in Jersey, writing, and he had Pete on speed-dial. "How calming is smoking?"
Pete laughed. "I dunno. Why?" He was sorting out details for an Academy tour and thankful for the reprieve.
"I think Ray and I might kill each other." It was an understatement. They'd been arguing (read: shouting) over melodies when Ray had finally told Patrick to mind his own business and stay behind the drums. Patrick had responded with, "If I'm not an equal member of this band, tell me now and I'll go." That's when Frank had stepped in. They were pretty much done for the day.
Frank came out to the parking lot with his guitar and keys and Patrick talked to Pete about nothing important all the way back to Frank and Jamia's, where he was staying. "I feel fucking wrecked," he said, going into the messy little guest room.
"Take a nap," Pete said. He was back in bed now too. He loved talking to Patrick from underneath his blanket fortress.
"Yeah, I might. I'm putting you on speaker." Patrick got undressed for bed while Pete told him about a recent trip to Ikea for a real, grown-up dining table. In the end, Pete had purchased a bunch of orange chairs and a child's easel. He forgot the table. Patrick was laughing, soft and warm, when he got into bed.
"Hey," Pete said softly, whispering like they were in bed together. "These guys are your friends. Don't let band stuff come between that."
Patrick smiled. Pete was right. "I promise. I'm gonna get some shut-eye. Talk to you later." Patrick hung up and Pete curled into a ball to sleep.
Frank fired up the grill that night, excessively fond of pretending to be an alpha male while waving tongs. Ray came over and they played Evil Dead 2 while Frank cooked. Neither of them apologized, but the air was clear anyway.
Pete started worrying on their first day in LA. He'd gotten a text from Mikey that just said i hate this place. He talked to Alicia later in the week and he could tell she was trying not to cry when she said, "I just don't think Mikey's well enough to deal with this right now." He tried to read through the lines during his nightly two-hour call with Patrick, but knew he was failing.
Patrick needed those conversations. He counted down the minutes until 10pm, the earliest he could possibly call and not look pathetic. Pete's voice made him feel better, made him feel smart and valuable. He never felt like Pete regretted meeting him, and Patrick couldn't say that about his band.
Fourteen days in, there was an explosion. Gerard and Patrick and Ray screaming about the direction of the album, Frank storming off, Mikey staring into space, emotionless. Patrick was much less surprised than he should have been the next night when there was a knock on his door and Pete Wentz walked in. "Hey," Pete said, smiling like he was worried Patrick was going to send him away. "Mikey called me."
"I figured," Patrick said scooting over on the bed. He'd been lying there for a day. Pete sat down and picked up Patrick's guitar. In his rage, Patrick had snapped the neck over his knee. "I didn't think it would be this hard," Patrick whispered. Pete made his living shepherding kids through their first albums, but Pete's heart shattered at the wetness in Patrick's eyes. He'd have done anything to fix that.
"It's your first album," Pete said.
"It's not. It's not going to be mine. They won't let me have any say. I'm just the drummer."
Pete didn't know how to respond to that, so he pushed Patrick over and slid under the blankets with him, pulling Patrick against his chest. Anyone who talked to Patrick for more than ten minutes knew that he had strong opinions about music, and Pete had heard the snippets of songs that Patrick had recorded himself. He was a fucking genius. How could someone not want his input.
Patrick usually wasn't much for physical comfort, but Pete had come four thousand miles because he'd heard that Patrick was having a hard time, so Patrick let him stay. He maybe even curled in a little closer.
Pete waited a few minutes until he had the courage to whisper, "I bought us a van."
Patrick leaned back so he could stare at Pete. "What?"
Pete sat up. "I bought us a van! For our band to tour in!" Patrick looked more than a little skeptical. "Look," Pete said, dropping his hands into his lap. "You're my best friend, and I care about you. And I don't think this is going to work, this 'Black Parade' thing. Gee and Ray are used to working together, and you're you. You need a whole album's worth of songs just to introduce yourself. You need to get your sounds out there. There's no room for that here."
"But this is my band," Patrick said.
Pete sighed. "They're also your friends, and you'll lose that if you stay here."
Patrick sat up, looking angry. "This is my fucking dream, Pete."
"No, it's not. Arguing and then having to play songs in concert that you got overruled on? That's a nightmare. I'm offering you the dream." Patrick ground his teeth and Pete deflated. "I didn't actually think you'd say yes. But I'll stay as long as you need me." Patrick stared and Pete didn't look away. Eventually, Patrick sighed and got back under the covers, rolling over to sleep. Pete curled up behind him, knowing that Patrick was used to the way Pete got touchy.
The room was silent for a few minutes, until Ptrick whispered, "Did you really buy us a van?"
"Yeah. It's mauve."
"Mauve?" Patrick asked. Pete was essentially crazy.
Pete snuggled in tighter. "Yeah. I parked it at my mom's. The neighbors kind of freaked."
Not leaving his room meant that Patrick hadn't eaten anything all day except the granola bars in his backpack. He got up at five AM, hungry as hell. It took him five minutes to dislodge Pete without waking him. He knew the guy hardly slept anyway.
There was a soft blue glow from the kitchen and, when Patrick came in, Ray was sitting at the counter in front of his laptop, headphones on and eating cereal. He looked up and smiled, pulling the headphones off. "Hey, Patrick. What's up?"
Patrick let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding. Ray clearly wasn't going to hold a grudge. Then again, Ray was physically incapable of being mean, so Patrick shouldn't have worried. "Getting a snack."
"There's more Cocoa Crisp if you want to share," Ray said, lifting his bowl.
Patrick grinned and got a clean bowl from the shelf, along with a jumbo spoon, then sat beside Ray. "What are you watching?"
"I dunno, man. Flaming Lips playing somewhere in Italy last summer. I'm totally in a phase right now." Patrick's music obsession was no match for Ray's. If he was in a 'phase', he'd probably already downloaded three gigs of concert bootlegs. "I still don't get how Wayne Coyne can play like this and sing at the same time." Patrick sat with Ray and watched for half an hour while he ate his cereals and thought, "I could do that."
Patrick got back into bed and waited until Pete got cold and woke up. "Trick, what's up?"
"Ok," Patrick said with more than a litlte finality. "Let's start this band."
Pete sat up fast. "What?"
"You're right. I need more room or whatever. Ray and Gerard have this vision and there's something else in my head."
Pete stared at him until Patrick got nervous and shifted. "I didn't ... holy fucking shit!!" Patrick laughed hard. Pete looked like a kid at Christmas. Pete pounced on him, rolling him onto his back. This once, Patrick would tolerate it.
Pete suddenly stopped. "Um, okay," he said, sitting on Patrick's thighs. "So, if we're gonna do this, if I'm gonna write lyrics for you and stuff, then I should probably tell you that I'm in love with you."
"Most guys wouldn't have said that while sitting on my crotch.
Pete grinned, glad that Patrick hadn't just decked him. "I'm not most guys, Stump." Patrick smirked and the silence grew. "So, you're okay with it?" Pete asked. "Because I tried and I can't turn it off."
Patrick propped himself on one elbow. "You're a fucking idiot, Wentz," he said, then fisted a hand in Pete's shirt, pulling him down for a harsh kiss. It was exactly as vicious as Pete thought their first kiss would be. Patrick pulled his mouth away and panted, and Pete's eyes were glued to his wet, sinful mouth. "You had kind of a shit reputation, but now, I know you. I trust you." Pete looked confused. Patrick smiled. "I can't turn it off either."
Three days later, Pete's friend Joe showed up in the mauve (seriously) van to get Patrick and his equipment. He also brought a present for Brian. "Holy shit. Bob Fucking Bryar! Boyfriend let you off the leash?"
Bob gave him the finger. "He's recording and touring this year. Got bored at home by myself." Brian hugged him.
Patrick said his goodbyes to Gerard in whispers, their foreheads pressed together. Pete waited nervously by the band while Frankie sized him up. He finally stormed over, flicking his cigarette to the ground. "He's still ours, Wentz. You got that? We take care of our own."
Joe looked genuinely scared. Pete just grinned. "He can look after himself. He'll kill me long before you show up." Frank laughed at that and went to hug his drummer goodbye.
Ray pressed a cassette tape into Patrick's hand. "Awesome singer/guitarists. To get you inspired." Patrick knew he'd regret not having been able to work with Ray.
Patrick climbed into the middle seat with Pete and waved as they drove away. His other hand was in Pete's. Pete rested his head on Patrick's shoulder and Patrick kissed the top of his head. Joe looked at them in the mirror. "If you start making out, I'm putting on Mastodon."
"Fuck you!" Pete said. "My van! I'll kiss who I want!" Their fight turned to slapping and Patrick thought, probably oddly, that this might just work out.