Title: Loving You is So Two Years Ago
Fandom: Bandslash (Fall Out Boy)
Pairing: Pete/Patrick, mentions of Pete/Ashlee, Ryan/Spencer, Ryan/Keltie.
Rating: Light R
Word Count: 2,468
Summary: It's been two years since Fall Out Boy broke up, and for all intents and they don't exactly talk anymore, with so many things left unsaid.
Warnings: Annnnggggsssstttt. So much angst.
When they were in a band together, it was so easy, the kisses onstage, the touches anywhere they could. Hotel beds shared, because it was always them, just Pete and Patrick, and no one would argue. Since the first day Pete showed up at Patrick’s house and saw his ugly sweater, he was ready to spend the rest of his life right next to him.
Only not really. Pete knows that it was his fault for messing it up. He knows that he freaked out, and married Ashlee. And had a fucking kid for Chrissake. He knows it’s his fault that he no longer gets to brush his hand along Patrick’s waist, or text him at all hours of the night, tell him all the things he wants to do to him.
For all intents and purposes, they don’t actually talk anymore.
But Pete sees him, while watching TV and feeding Bronx, Pete sees a Patrick he doesn’t even recognize. And it’s his fault, because Pete can only imagine what he must have gone through. Pete promised him forever and then flipped out like he always did, but this time, he didn’t come back. Pete left him hanging, and seemingly forgot all about him in order to go live his life with his new family. Like Patrick was just a phase or something.
But he wasn’t. And Pete doesn’t have the words anymore to tell him that. To explain himself. He is barely able to string together two sentences to talk to Ashlee. Mostly, he just lives in his head, where he and Patrick are still happy together. Because that’s where he feels the most safe.
And it’s not like he hasn’t tried to text him. He’s been there, eight drinks in with his fingers typing out what his brain is scared to send sober. But he doesn’t get anything back. Not even a shut up, Pete, I’m trying to sleep.
That doesn’t stop him from doing it over, and over, until he finally gets the response, “who is this?” and he loses it. He loses himself in a bottle and Ashlee peels him off the floor in the morning, covered in his own half-dry vomit, and sends him to a therapist.
So instead Pete sits and looks at pictures, old ones and new ones, the ones where he’s got his arm around Patrick and his lips on his cheek, and the ones where Patrick is new, all high cheekbones and sharp angles. A Patrick he isn’t sure he likes. But it’s change, he thinks. Something completely different from everything he loved about Patrick.
Like all of the things Pete would tell him, late at night, pressed up against him, all of the things he would tell Patrick he was in love with about him. It made sense, why Patrick would change all of those things about himself, so he didn’t have to think about them every time he looked in the mirror.
Why it hurt so much, what Pete did.
And it isn’t like Pete was leading him on at all. He thought, he really thought, that this would be for the best; that they couldn’t make it. Even when Patrick was screaming and crying that last night, so out of character for him that Pete should have known this was serious, that he was making a mistake.
And now Pete will be paying for it his entire life. But it’s not like he’s not doing anything with that. He’s got a wife, and a beautiful two year old boy. And then there’s his new band, which, they’ve got an album done but they’re still recording, and Pete tells himself it’s not because he can’t stand the fact that he’s made music with someone other than Patrick, it’s not. And let’s face it. Pete’s just talking himself up.
But tonight is just a regular night, with Ash and Bronx curled up on the couch next to him, watching a bad horror movie because Bronx passed out about ten minutes into Blue’s Clues. Pete’s always half in his head, and Ash knows this, but when he’s not, he’s hers, and she knows that too. He’s her mess and she kisses him on the cheek as she makes her way to bed. He hasn’t kissed her on the lips in over a year.
The Netflix screen changed to the “play next” screen about five minutes ago, but Pete is still sitting on the couch staring at the television, picking at his bass-induced callouses.
Ryan texts him that he’s in LA for the weekend, and does he want to meet up, and Pete thinks, why not. “Cool,” Ross says after Pete calls him. “AK in twenty?” And Pete agrees.
It’s been years since Pete opened his bar, and still it surprises him how much it is an exact replica of the manic scenes going on in his head sometimes. Girls with far too little clothing who speak with valley girl accents, and the odd girl that doesn’t recognize him, everyone wearing black, and everyone is on display. Freeze frame, and it’s like a museum.
Pete has to admit, it’s still a little weird for him to see Ryan without eyeliner, looking like he stepped out of the sixties, but we have Keltie to thank for that. And well, Ryan is probably the only person who understands the way he feels, seeing as it’s a replica of him and Spencer, but they don’t talk about it.
They never do. Instead they order cheap drinks and get shitfaced and yeah, there’s a girl with a Chicago accent that Pete lets blow him in the bathroom, and it’s like the old days, and he bites Patrick’s name off his lips.
Ryan’s talking about music to a couple interesting people when he gets back, and doesn’t ask questions. But Pete’s flushed and drunk and has his arm around Ryan’s shoulders and they stumble down the street singing Queen and it’s okay, he thinks. Because he isn’t thinking about Patrick, he thinks. It’s cool, and he says all of it out loud because he has no mental filter.
Except then his heart stops and he throws up into a conveniently placed trash can because Ryan is doing damage control and Pete has to look up because yeah, that was Patrick that he just walked into. And he’s pretty sure that he heard him. And oh, that’s not good.
And Patrick is even more angular in person than he is on TV, or in the magazines. He’s Ryan Ross-skinny and Pete thought he would hate it but it’s so fucking hot that he just wants to slam Patrick against the sleazy bar they happen to be outside of and fuck him right there. But he restrains, and they say their goodbyes, and “they” is Ryan. Pete has mostly been standing there, dumbfounded, taking as many mental pictures of Patrick’s smile as he can because they haven’t run into each other on the street in the last two years.
When Patrick is out of earshot, Pete tries to beat the shit out of the trash can until Ryan pulls him off of it. He goes home to Ashlee and wakes her up to fuck her like he wishes he could do to Patrick. His dreams are haunted by Patrick’s toothy grin and he wakes up screaming.
Two weeks later, he gets a call from a number he doesn’t know and his breath hitches audibly when Patrick asks him to coffee. Pete numbly agrees before he realizes that Patrick can’t see him nodding and says, “Yeah, sure man. Where at?” Like it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Pete walks to the coffee shop and it might be two miles away but he’s got an hour to get there and he needs to get his nerves out somehow because driving would not be sufficient in the slightest, and even when he arrives, his fingers tap out the rhythms to songs he can’t quite place, the other hand gripping his latte so hard his knuckles are white and he’s afraid he’s going to break the mug.
Patrick walks in, sees him, smiles. And gets a small hot chocolate. “How’ve you been?” he starts. Pete snorts.
"Absolutely fantastic. And you?” he bites his tongue after the sarcasm seems to put a wall up between him and Patrick, and this can go one of two ways.
Patrick clears his throat. “So, um. I’m moving to Africa.” And it’s about as believable to Pete as his own response, but he urges him on. “I know you’re going to find this silly, but I’ve found… God a little bit and I know it’s never been a huge thing but I’m moving to Africa to sing and build wells. There isn’t a place for me in the music industry anymore.”
“I think you’ll just be bringing the music industry to Africa,” it’s one of Pete’s usual off-hand compliments, but Patrick grins. It gives Pete fucking butterflies. Seriously? He hasn’t had butterflies in years. Not since before he and Patrick started, well, let’s just say fucking, because there’s no use sugarcoating it. But it makes Pete want to reach over and grab his hand. Pete starts picking at his callouses again instead.
“I just thought we might be able to, I don’t know, talk before I go. I’m sure I’ll come back someday, but a lot of things can change in a couple of years, and I just don’t want—I’m not actually sure what I want,” Patrick rambles.
Pete’s staring at him intently.
He pauses. “I think I just want you to know that I forgive you.” For breaking up the band, for tearing you apart at the seams, for what? Pete thinks. “For everything,” he clarifies, and surprises Pete by clasping their hands together above the table.
“It’s really my fault,” he continues. “I knew that I shouldn’t have—well, you know. I let it happen. And I knew what I was getting myself into. It’s not fair to blame you for everything I let myself think. So I forgive you, Pete. That’s all I wanted you to know.”
Pete hasn’t said anything in so long that he’s afraid his voice might come out as more of a croak if he tried, but he looks up, and Patrick gives him a sad look and pulling his hand away and before he knows it, Patrick’s got his jacket on and he’s leaving. He’s walking out the door after saying words that only sounded to Pete like “Have a nice life” and “goodbye.”
And Pete catches up to him about a block down the road, and that’s only because Patrick had stopped and leaned against the wall because Pete is pretty sure he sat there staring at the empty seat for two whole minutes trying to figure out what to do.
But Patrick has his lower back against the brick wall of an apartment building and his hands on his knees, breathing heavily, something that sounds more like dry sobs as Pete gets closer, and Pete can barely keep them both steady because he grabs Patrick’s hand and pulls him in through the nearest door, the stairwell of an apartment, and pushes him against the wall.
Pete slams their lips together and, oh. Oh, it’s been years and Patrick still tastes like sugar and cotton candy and Pete’s getting intoxicated by his scent, and Patrick was pushing him away at first but then he let out a little whimper and started kissing back, weaving his arms around Pete’s neck, tongue asking for entrance to Pete’s mouth.
And it’s a little weird, Pete thinks, because Patrick is super skinny now, and because he doesn’t think he’s kissed anyone in over a year. But Pete’s tongue meets Patrick’s and Patrick lets out that little whimper again, and it doesn’t matter to Pete, it doesn’t matter who sees them, it doesn’t matter if everything falls to pieces, all that matters is Patrick forgives him, and it doesn’t mean anything because he doesn’t understand, but he will, he will.
Pete pulls away, and whispers, “Just listen to me, Trick. Don’t say anything, and believe everything I say, because I have had two years to think about this.” Patrick is flushed and his eyes are glazed over, pupils blown, but he nods slowly, catching his breath. “I love you, Trick. I never stopped loving you. I don’t just love you like friends. I love you like I can’t love Ashlee. I love you like I want to buy a suburban house with a white picket fence and have two and a half kids and a dog. Like I want to come home to see your smile every day. Like I want to fall asleep with you every night and wake up to you every morning. Like I want to hear you singing in the shower every day of my fucking life. Like I want to fuck you,” he accentuates this with a push of his hips into Patrick’s, “until you’re screaming. I love everything about you, Trick, and I’m not just saying this because I lost you. I fucked up, and I don’t think there’s anything I can do to take it back anymore, but it’s the truth, and it’s all I’ve got. I won’t ever stop loving you. You’re my everything. Even if you move to Africa, and we never talk again, don’t ever fucking forget it, Patrick. I’m supposed to love you. You’re everything, like words can’t even describe.” Pete pulls back from pushing Patrick against the wall, and Patrick’s looking down like he doesn’t believe a word.
He doesn’t say anything, and it scares the shit out of Pete. Then Patrick punches him in the stomach so hard it knocks the wind out of him. And then wraps his arms around him, like he never wants to let go. “I can’t say it back, Pete. That’s stepping backwards for me. You know that…”
“I don’t deserve it anyway. I don’t deserve you, Trick. I just had to tell you.”
Patrick kisses him softly on the lips and oh, this will all be okay. Pete’s still in his head like always, but it’s been so long since he’s been able to smile and mean it, and it’s all so cliché, but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care how he has Patrick, as long as he has something. Anything at all.
The damage done, that’s irreparable. Moving forward is more Patrick’s style, anyway. But maybe there’s something that can be salvaged from the ruins their friendship was left in. It might not be the way Pete wants it, but if it’s with Patrick, he’ll take anything he can get. He’s just sorry what it took for him to realize it.