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extending the deadline

Due to the number of panicked "OH GOD OH GOD I'M NOT DONE" emails I've received from you all, we're extending the deadline for drafts by one week.

That means that drafts are now due on September 22nd

Good luck getting done, everyone!
So, V is GLORIOUS, and gave me the most awesome present the other day: a drawing from a scene in a fic I wrote (Like a Secret In Your Throat, which lives here: http://archiveofourown.org/works/253530 ) of Liza Minnelli as the Virgin Mother. It is at least ten thousand times more awesome than I could ever have hoped for. <3 Check it out: 


Like a Secret In Your Throat - Part Two

Gerard bites his lip until it bleeds in an effort to keep silent when Frank’s hand wraps around him. He’s never liked the taste of his own blood, used and dry and empty, but he digs his teeth in, anyways.
 
“No,” Frank says sternly, licking over the mess and sucking Gerard’s lip into his mouth. It stings, but in the sort of way that makes arousal coil low in Gerard’s gut. “No,” he says again, and, “I like noises. Noises are good.”
 
That’s probably for the best, since Gerard doesn’t think he could help the noise he makes when Frank licks over the head of his cock, even if he’d bitten through his arm. “Frank, Frankie,” he pants, hips stuttering up.
 
Frank doesn’t laugh at him, just pins his hips to the bed and wraps his lips around him, sucking hard, crooking a finger against the soft skin behind Gerard’s balls.
 
Gerard comes embarrassingly quickly. Frank still doesn’t make fun of him for it, doesn’t laugh at him at all. Gerard tells himself that that’s all that’s keeping Frank alive, but he’s pretty sure that the way Frank’s eyes are shining with his own sort of hunger maybe plays a part in that, too.
 
--
 
Frank lets the months of want seep out of him and into Gerard as he kisses him, strokes his hands over him, sucks marks into his skin.
 
He urges Gerard up, onto his hands and knees, and before Gerard can argue with him, Frank is licking him open.
 
Gerard is silent and painfully still, barely balanced on trembling arms.
 
“Gerard,” Frank presses, nipping at Gerard’s tailbone. “Gee,” he says, dragging his nails gently down the backs of Gerard’s pale, pale thighs.
 
Gerard lets out a low, stifled whimper.
 
Frank does it again, a little harder this time, licking over Gerard’s entrance at the same time.
 
Gerard’s voice cracks on a groan. “Fuck,” he hisses through clenched teeth, hands tightening in the sheets.
 
“You like that?” Frank teases, scraping a nail over the tender skin in the crease of Gerard’s thigh. Gerard  mumbles something that Frank can’t hear. Frank scratches over Gerard’s hip this time, hard enough to leave a thin, red line. “Hmm?”
 
“Yes,” Gerard spits out, defensive and venomous at once. “Yes, okay, I like it.”
 
Frank doesn’t let the tone get to him, just licks up the back of Gerard’s balls, sucks one into his mouth, savors the little catch in Gerard’s breathing. He moves down, sucking small bruises into Gerard’s thighs, buttocks, lower back. Mouth hovering over his spine, Frank says, “That’s why?”
 
Gerard’s arms are shaking harder now, barely holding him up. “Why what?” he asks, which is moronic, really, because Frank knows he knows what Frank’s talking about.
 
Frank presses one finger into him, fast and hard, crooking it against his prostate in one fluid motion. It’s too dry, really, barely spit-damp, but Gerard keens, back arching, pushing back onto Frank’s finger. “Why you wouldn’t let me touch you,” he says, flicking his finger sharply.
 
Gerard hisses, sucking a breath in through his teeth, and grits out, “Not just that.”
 
Frank slides in a second finger, curling them, scissoring Gerard open. Gerard’s breathing is erratic, his hips jerking sharply whenever Frank crooks his fingers at the right angle. “What, then, Gee?”
 
“It—it’s personal,” Gerard protests, voice breaking like an overexcited teenager’s.
 
Frank bites the smooth curve of one buttock, grinning when Gerard groans. “Gee. I have my fingers inside of you. It doesn’t get a whole lot more personal than that.” He rubs over Gerard’s prostate again, a reminder.
 
Gerard’s arms finally give out, and his shoulders hit the bed. “If—if I tell you, you have to swear you won’t—“
 
Frank adds a third finger, stretching him wide, and promises, “I’m not going anywhere, Gee.” He pulls his fingers out, maybe a little less gently than he should.
 
Gerard twists around, lying on his back, looking up at Frank. “Come here,” he says softly, and it’s less of an order, really, more of a question.
 
Frank leans down, slanting his mouth over Gerard’s. Gerard’s hand wraps around him, guiding him to his entrance, and Frank breaks his lips away to say, “Don’t you want—“ Lube, Frank was going to say lube.
 
“No, I just—No. Just make it hurt,” Gerard murmurs against Frank’s ear, arching his hips up. “Make me feel it, come on.”
 
Frank drags his nails, hard, down Gerard’s sides, pushes his hips sharply forward, and complies.
 
--
 
Gerard’s teeth graze Frank’s neck, seeking the right spot, and when he finds it, he sucks at it a little, bringing the blood to the surface. “This is me telling you,” he tells Frank’s throat. Frank’s pulse beats, rapid and musical, under Gerard’s lips, and Gerard lets his fangs drop down.
 
Frank nods, lets out a breathy noise of assent, but doesn’t stop moving, not for a moment, hips thrusting fast, nails digging into any part of Gerard he can reach.
 
Gerard bites down on the purpling bruise on Frank’s neck. Frank groans and tightens his hand around Gerard’s hip fiercely. Gerard doesn’t let up, though, keeps pressing his teeth down until the skin breaks, the tang of iron flooding his mouth.
 
Frank makes a long, broken sound and collapses onto Gerard, shuddering. Gerard winds his arms around him, holding him steady, and retracts his fangs so he can suck at the bite. Frank tastes like apples and nicotine, harsh and sweet on Gerard’s tongue.
 
“Gee,” he whimpers, hands clenching and unclenching on Gerard’s sides. “Gee.”
 
Gerard sucks harder, tonguing at the puncture marks  to keep them open, and Frank sobs, hips grinding down frantically, pressing him deeper into Gerard.
 
“This—“ Gerard whispers into the wound, lips bloody, “This is why I didn’t.” He bites gently on the flesh around the wound, keeping the bite from closing. He smoothes his palms down Frank’s back,  pressing him closer, and he circles his hips, just a little bit. Just enough, with the venom working.
 
Frank’s whole body spasms, and he’s sobbing Gerard’s name over and over and over as he goes over the edge.
 
Gerard doesn’t let go, even when Frank’s stopped shaking.
 
--
 
Frank is still reeling from the venom when he says, “You wouldn’t let me—because you wanted—“
 
Gerard’s tongue rasps over the bite, and Frank shudders at the hurtgoodhurt of it. “I want to rip you apart with my mouth and lick your organs clean,” he says, surprisingly mildly, considering the content.
 
“Oh,” Frank says, because he can’t actually figure out through the venom-haze what the correct response to that sort of declaration is.
 
“I was planning on trying to resist the urge, though,” Gerard adds, pressing small, biting kisses into the underside of Frank’s jaw. He’s still hard, cock trapped between them. He rolls his hips a little, lazily, and adds, “Since I’ve gotten sort of vaguely attached to you being alive.”
 
“Is that—I mean, that’s not why you bought—sponsored—me.” He should really be freaking out a little more than this. “To eat me?” That idea should really disturb him, actually. At all. In some way, Frank should really be bothered. The fact that he isn’t is most likely indicative of some horrible mental disorder.
 
Gerard rubs his nose behind Frank’s ear, licks a little over the skin there, and Frank melts closer. “No. I don’t usually want—I don’t bite people other than—“ he cuts off with a frustrated huff. “I just wanted company, Frankie.”
 
Frank can feel stars glittering in his fingertips, his spine, leftover tingling patches of the venom. He’s still inside Gerard, pressed too tightly to him to move. “But—“
 
“The wanting—that wasn’t til I met you.” He nips at the shell of Frank’s ear and rubs up against him again, slow and languid. “You know,” he adds, a little laughter in his voice, “I hadn’t realized vegetarians taste different. Like fruit, sort of.” He bites—a love bite, not a vampire bite—at the other side of Frank’s neck. His hips don’t stop moving, and the motion gets a little more erratic when he says, “It wasn’t. It was never about being gay or not. You just—you’re just Frank.” He hums against Frank’s skin, jerks his hips sharply. “I’ve never wanted to touch someone before. Not since the virus, anyways.”
 
Frank pulls back enough to look at Gerard’s face. For once, there’s nothing hidden, no shadows, and Gerard looks almost angelic. His hair is spread out in black streaks over the pillow, and the only indication that not all is right with the world is the smudge of drying blood on his jaw. “Bite me again,” leaves Frank’s mouth before he really gets the chance to think about it.
 
Gerard doesn’t ask, Are you sure? Doesn’t give Frank a chance to take it back. He just smoothes his thumb over Frank’s jaw, gently turning his head up, out of the way, to bare his neck, and bites.
 
The venom sweeps through Frank’s veins, and he’s hard again so fast it makes him dizzy. Gerard makes a desperate, helpless noise as Frank’s cock stretches him open again. Frank keeps his head down, keeps it still, so Gerard’s teeth don’t rip his skin any more than they already have, and starts to move his hips.
 
Gerard’s hips jerk up and he sucks so hard on the bite that Frank’s head spins, and then Gerard’s cock is twitching between them as Gerard comes before Frank is even halfway there.
 
“Keep moving,” he groans into Frank’s skin, voice wrecked, hips still twitching upwards.
 
Venom-high, Frank doesn’t think he could stop moving. He thrusts blindly into Gerard again and again, more aroused by the lightning in his arteries and the raw, choked noises coming from Gerard’s throat than by the sensation itself. When he finally jerks forward, coming and burying himself deep, Gerard growls, clenching his teeth deep into the wound, and Frank’s vision blacks completely out from the painneedpainmorewant that floods him.
 
When he comes to, blinking back the darkness, Gerard is still sucking gently on the bite. “Gee,” he says hoarsely. When Gerard doesn’t stop, doesn’t look up, he says, a little louder, “Gerard.”
 
Gerard’s eyes flick up, and he pulls back guiltily, licking his lips. “Sorry,” he says, sounding actually contrite. His pupils are still blown, and he’s vibrating, a little.
 
Frank pushes some of Gerard’s hair off his forehead, tucks it behind his ear. “See?” he says lightly, “You’re not gonna break me.”
 
“I want to break you,” Gerard says, and it’s matter-of-fact, not cruel at all.
 
Frank doesn’t really know what to say to that, except, “I’m not actually worried.” He isn’t.
 
Gerard nuzzles against the marks on Frank’s neck. It hurts, but it’s bruise-twinges, nothing Frank can’t handle—if he’s telling the truth, nothing he doesn’t enjoy, really. “You probably shouldn’t be.”
 
Frank feels warm and light all the way down to his toes in a way that has nothing to do with the venom or the blood loss.
 
--
 
The next night, when the sun has gone down and Gerard has left his studio for the night, when Frank has finished classes and finished restoring the house (and more specifically, the bedroom) to some semblance of human living conditions, Frank and Gerard meet on the couch, curling up on opposite ends like they always do. Gerard sets his coffee on the coffee table, then flicks the television on, turning to the SciFi channel and settling in.
 
On the first commercial, though, Gerard looks down at a strange pressure on his leg and finds Frank’s hand there. “Uh. What’re you doing? “
 
Frank isn’t looking at him when he says, awkward and soft, “I just thought, since—“ He cuts off, biting his lip. “But I can just, you know. Not.” A little braver, a little less awkwardly, he adds, “Though it’s kind of not fair that you’ve gotten to touch me and I can’t even—“ 
 
Gerard brushes his fingers over Frank’s lips to quiet him. “I didn’t mean that you couldn’t. I’m just. I’m bad at this, okay? I—you can, you can touch me now.”
 
“Promise not to snap and drink me dry?” Frank asks, teasing and light, like he’s not actually concerned, like he’s sort of maybe giddy, relieved.
 
Gerard snorts and takes a sip of his coffee—another addiction to distract him from the major one. “No.”
 
Frank examines him for a long moment, eyes solemn and considering. “You should show me your studio,” he says, finally, which isn’t actually what Gerard expected at all.
 
“Um,” Gerard says, shifting awkwardly. “I don’t think—“
 
Frank’s hand wraps around his, tangling their fingers together, and for a brief, disconcerting moment, Gerard’s urge to bite him is completely swamped by his desire to curl up in his lap and live there for the rest of his life. “Come on,” he says, smiling encouragingly, eyes bright, like he’d actually rather see the crap Gerard draws than have sex with him.
 
Which, of course, sends Gerard into a flurry of hyperventilating panic that he’s actually as terrible at sex as he’d thought he’d be, and Frank was just being really polite last night. Added to that is the fact that in Gerard’s studio are a dozen sketches, a half dozen paintings, of Frank in various states of bloody disarray, and there is no way that Frank seeing them is going to end well. And then Frank will flip his shit, and Gerard will have to either kill him or let him leave, and he’s not actually sure which would be worse right now.
 
His panic is firmly cut off by Frank’s mouth on his, biting his lips open, licking past his teeth. “If you show me,” he murmurs into Gerard’s mouth, “I’ll blow you afterwards.”
 
Gerard closes his eyes against the rush of blood downwards, and the immediate, harsh snap of his fangs into his mouth. “Fuck,” he breathes, throat tight, hands clenching in Frank’s shirt.
 
Frank trails kisses down the slope of Gerard’s jaw, licks at the skin behind his ear. “Show me.”
 
--
 
Frank’s fingers hover over the oil painting, tracing the lines of his own insides, laid open to the light. “This is—“
 
“Fucked up,” Gerard cuts in, looking anywhere but at Frank. “Now you see why I didn’t want to show you.”
 
Frank turns to look at him, squinting. “You do realize I like gory shit, right? I mean, you’ve seen the movies I watch.”
 
Gerard shrugs, still looking somewhere over Frank’s left shoulder. “That’s not your gore. This is.”
 
Frank looks over the display, gnawing his lip ring a little, considering them carefully. Gerard has them arranged so the sketches are hung between the paintings, spacing them out across an entire wall. There’s one painting of Frank, asleep—or maybe dead—on the couch, veins glowing softly under his skin, stark enough that they shine through his tattoos. One wrist is hanging limply, a stream of blood sliding over his palm to pool on the floor. The lettering on Frank’s knuckles is painted precisely, and the scorpion on his neck is framed with two swollen puncture wounds. He lifts his hand to rub over  the ink on his own neck, and sure enough, the placement of Gerard’s teeth had been exactly to either side.
 
“Come here,” Frank says, voice catching a little on the vowels.
 
Gerard actually meets his eyes, finally. “You’re not freaking out,” he says, a vein of incredulity in his voice.
 
Frank twitches his fingers at him impatiently. “No,” he agrees, rolling his eyes, and when Gerard still doesn’t come closer, Frank gives up and goes to him. Gerard is taut, frozen, under his hands, so Frank slides his palms under the back of his shirt, smoothing over his spine. Gerard stays still, shaking a little, like if he moves, he might just break down completely and tear Frank open until he looks like one of the pictures on the wall. “I could take iron supplements.”
 
Gerard unfreezes a little at that, blinking down at him. “What?”
 
Frank shrugs. “If you wanted to—I’m obviously not down with you actually killing me, but if you decide to, it’s not like there’s a lot I can do about it. But, you know, short of my death, I’m pretty much down for whatever. Just, I should probably take something, if you’re going to be doing that.”
 
Gerard’s hands come up, gripping his hips, harder than is maybe strictly necessary. Frank relaxes into it, presses closer. Gerard leans in, resting his head on Frank’s shoulder, nudging at the puncture wounds on Frank’s neck with his nose. “You’re insane.”
 
“Pretty much certifiably, yep,” Frank agrees amiably, nipping sharply at the skin of Gerard’s throat. Gerard jerks, just a little, hands spasming on Frank’s hips.
 
“We should, uh, go,” Gerard says, hands clenching even tighter as Frank’s teeth sink deeper into the juncture of his neck and shoulder.
 
Frank makes a low noise, licking up the line of Gerard’s throat, sucking a bruise into the skin on the underside of his jaw. “But we had a deal,” he complains, pouting against Gerard’s skin. The thought of shoving Gerard up against his drawing table and—Frank wants, okay, and Gerard said he could. “You said I could,” he adds, because that seems sort of necessary.
 
--
 
"I-- I don't think. I mean, here? The—Frank, there’s a picture of you bleeding out two feet away,” Gerard protests, backing up until he hits the wall. “You’re in, like, my creepy stalker shrine dedicated to me wanting to eat you.”

Frank grins at him, honest and visceral. "It’s sort of flattering,” he says, and then he's on his knees, oh god. “And there’s that one of Liza Minnelli as the Virgin Mother, too. Totally not just a creepy stalker shrine." He thumbs open the button on Gerard's pants, knuckles pressing briefly against the soft flesh of Gerard's belly.

"Frank--" he starts to say, starts to protest again. But then Frank is mouthing wetly at his cock through his underwear, and Gerard clutches at the wall frantically. The feel of paper ripping under his fingertips is secondary to all the other sensations. He can feel Frank’s pulse hammering below the skin of his lips, in the pads of his fingers where they’re touching him. "Frank," he says again, but it's mostly reverent this time.

"Gee," Frank says, and it's not anything, not a question or a response, it's just a confirmation. Then he's hooking his thumbs into Gerard's underwear, dragging them down over his hips, and Gerard only feels the chill of the air for a moment before Frank's mouth is on him, hot and slick and tight. Gerard's hips buck off the wall, stuttering up into Frank's mouth gracelessly as Frank sucks hard at the head.

"Fuck," Gerard hisses through tightly clenched teeth, trying to remember what it's like to have control over his muscles so he doesn't accidentally choke Frank in some sort of spastic fit. It would sort of suck to kill him by accident, and dead blood isn't half as satisfying. If Gerard is killing Frank, he's not doing it with his dick. "Sorry," he adds, face red.

Frank looks up at him with just his eyes, sinking his mouth down over Gerard slowly, so fucking slowly. He brings his hands up Gerard's legs, fingers trailing through the fine hair dusting his thighs, and stops when he reaches Gerard's hands, clenched in fists by his hips. He twines his fingers through Gerard's and then pulls back, off his cock, and says, voice raw and wrecked, "I kind of like it better that way, actually." He guides Gerard's hands up to his hair, and, stroking his thumb over the pulse in Gerard's wrist, he adds, "It's sort of—it’s better if you pull my hair."

Gerard's fingers tighten involuntarily, because fuck. "Frank," he says, helpless and small, and he's thinking that maybe he's just forgotten every other word he's ever learned.

Frank uses his own hands to pin Gerard's hips to the wall, thumbs digging sharply into the curve of Gerard's hipbones, a grounding counterpoint to the soft kisses he's pressing into the crease of Gerard's thigh. "You could just fuck my mouth," he says, and then he's wrapping his mouth around Gerard again, before there's any chance of Gerard responding.

Gerard's hips do it for him as Frank's tongue presses down on the vein on the underside of his cock, and they arch away from the wall as Gerard's fingers tighten again in Frank's hair. Frank makes a tiny, throaty noise of approval, so Gerard does it again, slower, more deliberate. He curls his fingers around as much of Frank's hair as he can and tugs, slow and sharp, and pushes his hips up as he pulls Frank in. Frank whimpers around him, but it doesn't sound bad, so Gerard pushes himself all the way in, groaning when he's against the back of Frank's throat. Frank's throat works around him once, maybe a gag, but he pushes himself closer, nosing at the hair at the base of Gerard's cock.

Gerard sucks a breath in, and another, and then, trying not to just come instantly and completely embarrass himself, he pulls back a little and thrusts forward again, fucking Frank's mouth shallowly. Frank's eyelids flutter, and he slackens his jaw, just running his thumbs over Gerard's hips, anchoring him, as Gerard's hips move faster.

"Frank, Frank," he babbles, and then he's slamming forward, jerking Frank's head close and holding it there as he comes. Frank's fingers dig into his skin, doubtlessly leaving bruises, but his throat moves around Gerard, swallowing until there's nothing left. Panting, Gerard gingerly unhooks his fingers from Franks hair, letting him pull back. He hadn't meant to pull that hard, hadn't meant to--

"Fuck," Frank says, hoarse and gravelly, and then he's pressing his hips forward, against Gerard's leg, jerking unevenly, like he can't even manage a rhythm, as he pants against Gerard's thigh. "Fuck," he says again, and it's desperate this time, needy and deep.

Gerard swallows, once, reminding himself that his limbs and muscles, do, in fact, work, and he pushes Frank back, away from his leg. Frank falls onto his back on the rug, looking stunned until Gerard follows him down. Gerard doesn't waste time, just frees Frank from his clothes as quickly as he can, and he stops worrying about whether he's going to be any good at it and just does it, opening his mouth and licking over Frank's cock, sucking kisses over the head and down the underside. Frank lets out this raw, desperate noise, and his hips twitch forward, sliding his cock against Gerard's jaw, and Gerard stops thinking about anything in the world other than getting Frank to make that sound again.

Fangs withdrawn-- which is not actually easy, when Frank is being all hot and edible and fucking pulsing with blood against his mouth--he wraps his mouth around Frank, moving back and forth in a semblance of the rhythm he'd built with Frank's mouth earlier, and when Frank is panting and whimpering and clutching at Gerard's hair, Gerard crooks a finger behind Frank's balls and presses up, hard and smooth.

The sound Frank makes is strangled and beautiful, and then he's tugging Gerard off as he comes messily over his own stomach, hips jerking off the floor.

"Shit," he hisses when his hips stop twitching, "fuck, Gee."

Gerard ignores him, leaning forward to lap at the pool of come on Frank's belly. He'd-- he wants to taste him, wants the completion of that sound on his tongue. It's thick and salty and a little bitter, but it's nice, it's Frank. Not-- it's not as good as blood, and the black, twisted curl of the virus in Gerard's gut whines at him about that, but underneath the bitterness is that same tang of nicotine and apples, and Gerard lets his fangs drop down, finally.

"Gee," Frank whimpers, tugging at him, "No, no, come on, that's-- you don't have to do that."

Frank doesn't actually sound like he minds, though, so Gerard continues to lick him clean, occasionally letting the tip of one fang scrap over the skin. When Frank's stomach is clean, Gerard licks carefully at his cock. Frank's cock twitches limply, like maybe if he hadn't just come, he'd be hard again against Gerard's tongue, but his body is still trying to make the effort. Gerard strokes over him with his tongue, sucking over the head softly until he can't taste anything but skin, blood beating faintly below the surface. Frank is breathing harshly, open mouthed, and his hand is tight in Gerard's hair.

"Gee," he murmurs, heavy-lidded, when Gerard pulls back, chasing the taste over his lips with his tongue. "Come on, do it.”
 
Gerard’s eyes flick guiltily to the indigo webbing of blood in Frank’s thigh. “Last night, though.”
 
Frank’s legs slide a little further apart, and Gerard can’t resist the urge to lick over the crease of his thigh, feeling blood thrumming against his tongue. “I’m not even lightheaded today,” Frank says, stroking a hand over Gerard’s hair and arching his hips up at the same time. “Just a little?”
 
Gerard isn’t sure he can manage just a little, and says so.
 
Frank shrugs. “If you go too far, I’ll punch you.”
 
“You’d have to knock me out,” Gerard points out, eyeing Frank’s veins with real consideration now. “If you don’t, I think I’d just end up killing you if you hit me.” He runs a thoughtful finger down the length of the biggest vein in Frank’s thigh, scraping a little with his nails. This, he’s never done—necks, it’s been necks and wrists and strangers, or sometimes Mikey, not Frank, not wanting him, getting hard in Gerard’s hand while Gerard sinks his teeth in, panting and whimpering and begging for him, not just the venom. Gerard licks over the thin skin, tracing the blue lines, nipping gently. He wraps his fingers around Frank’s soft cock, squeezing lightly, thumb brushing over his balls.
 
Frank’s hand tightens in his hair, pulling hard, and Gerard’s eyes flutter shut. “Fucking do it,” he rasps, voice ragged. “Please, please, come on.”
 
Gerard ignores him, takes his time, sucking at the skin until he finds a spot, right at the juncture of Frank’s thigh and groin, dark and soft and damp with sweat. Frank makes a sweet, broken noise when Gerard just licks at it, hips twitching.
 
The noise he makes when Gerard bites down is so far from sweet that something in Gerard’s chest aches with the feeble, frantic need in it. Frank’s hand jerks at Gerard’s hair, cock swelling to fill his hand. Gerard tightens his fingers, jerking his wrist roughly as he lets Frank’s blood wash over his tongue, down his throat. Frank groans, jerking against Gerard’s teeth as he tries to thrust into Gerard’s fist, gasping when the motion makes Gerard’s teeth tear a bigger gash in the skin.
 
Gerard squeezes his eyes shut and basks in the suddenly easier flow of blood into his mouth, sucking hard, until he’s dizzy with the taste.
 
And then Frank’s fist collides with his temple, sending Gerard sprawling.
 
--
 
When he blinks the stars from his eyes, he’s face down in the carpet, and Frank has one knee on his spine. “Uh,” Gerard says, a little hazy.
 
Frank snorts. “No killing me, remember?”
 
“Wasn’t,” Gerard protests blearily. “Just tasting.”
 
“Mmmhm,” Frank says, but the pressure on Gerard’s back eases up a little, and Frank is straddling his hips. Softer, he says, “This venom shit is insane.”
 
Gerard hums in agreement and wiggles his hips, grinding up against Frank’s cock. “Sorry,” he says, not really terribly sorry at all. Frank is the one who moved, who ripped the skin more. Gerard has pointed out how not-good he is at self control.
 
Frank’s fingers brush his neck, moving Gerard’s hair out of the way so that one side of his neck is bare. Leaning down, Frank nips at the shell of Gerard’s ear, dragging his nails over Gerard’s shoulder blades at the same time. Blood-high and lazily aroused, Gerard arches into it. “It’s gonna be kind of hard to keep pressure on this and fuck you at the same time, you know.”
 
“Lemme lick it.” Gerard struggles to get up, to flip over, but Frank isn’t moving, and he’s actually pretty heavy.
 
“Uh,” Frank says, and, “no.”
 
Gerard rolls his eyes. “Venom. Saliva seals the wounds so we can save snacks for later. It’s why I had to keep biting, last time.”
 
Frank is still for another moment, and then he’s clambering off Gerard so fast he nearly kicks him in the ribs.
 
Gerard just flips over and scoots over, hovering over the sluggishly bleeding wound in Frank’s thigh. “Oh,” he says, feeling a little sick. The rip in the skin is larger than he’d realized, and for a moment, he sees it gaping wider, revealing blood vessels and muscles. The high, and the desire for more, dissipates in the wake of a pang of sudden regret. Then, closing his eyes against the urge, Gerard laps gently at the gash.
 
Frank is breathing shallowly through his mouth, eyelids fluttering, when Gerard leans back. “I’m sorry,” Gerard tells him, sincerely this time. “I didn’t mean—“
 
Frank’s hands close around his arms, dragging him up, closer, and then Frank’s cock is pressing, thick and heavy, against Gerard’s leg. “Make it up to me.” He’s shuddering, rubbing up against Gerard, dragging his cock back and forth in the crease of Gerard’s thigh.
 
Gerard doesn’t hesitate even a second before rearing back on his thighs and lining Frank up. Frank’s hands clench on Gerard’s thighs as he starts to ease down, working Frank into him.
 
Frank’s hips jerk, driving him into Gerard hard enough that Gerard’s eyes roll back into his head and he groans. Gerard doesn’t have time to rise up, sink back down, like he’s pretty sure he’s supposed to. He’s sort of distantly grateful, because that means he can’t do it wrong. Frank just holds him steady, hips snapping up, harder and harder, until Gerard is seeing white and scrabbling desperately for something to hold onto as he goes over the edge.
 
Frank flips them over, Gerard’s back skidding on the carpet, driving into him again, again, again, and Gerard clings, lost in the sound of Frank’s harsh breathing, the press of Frank’s fingertips into the flesh of his thighs. Frank leans down and latches onto the side of Gerard’s throat with his mouth, sucking hard, biting down. Gerard jerks up, into it, groaning, and the pressure of Frank’s teeth doesn’t let up.
 
“Fuck,” he breathes, and, “Frank, fuck.” And then the skin is tearing, just a thin line of broken flesh, under Frank’s teeth, and Gerard feels all the strength coil and spiral out of him in one moment, until he’s boneless, twitching, breath shuddering, on his back on the carpet.
 
“Gee, fucking fuck, Gerard,” Frank pants into the curve of his shoulder, snapping his hips again, once, pressing himself deep and then collapsing, heavy and limp.
 
Gerard, hands still trembling, smoothes down Frank’s hair, pushing it off his sweaty forehead. “You okay?” he asks, smiling a little.
 
Frank blinks heavy lids. “I didn’t actually mean to break the skin.” His hand comes up, fingers tracing the sore spot on Gerard’s neck. Gerard tips his chin out of the way and leans into the touch. It’s not actually bleeding, it’s barely a cut at all. “I didn’t want to hurt you.”
 
Gerard looks around the room, at the series of pictures of Frank, skin torn and insides exposed, and snickers. “Oh yeah, that’s absolutely what you should be worried about here.”
 
Frank punches him halfheartedly in the ribs. “Shut up,” he complains, smiling against the fabric of Gerard’s shirt. “I have it on good authority that I’m allowed to knock you out, you know.”
 
Gerard turns his head, hiding his grin, and says, “Yeah, yeah, such tough talk.” When Frank goes to move, mock-affronted, Gerard tightens an arm and says, softer, against his hair, “Don’t—can you just stay?”
 
Frank wraps an arm around him and snuggles down against Gerard’s chest. Gerard can’t even pretend it’s not exactly what he wants—even beyond the ever-present urge to bite, to tear, to drink him in, is the desire to just squeeze as close to Frank as he can and stay there. Strangely, foreign as the feeling is, it’s sort of comfortable.
 
As if he’s reading Gerard’s mind, Frank’s fingers tighten on Gerard’s side, dragging him just a little closer.
 
Sighing contentedly, Gerard closes his eyes against the gore on the walls and lets himself fall asleep to the sound of Frank’s even breathing.
 
--
 
EPILOGUE:
 
When Mikey comes home, he finds a smear of blood on the doorknob and a very, very quiet house.
He sighs and opens the door, prepared to scold Gerard about killing people yet again.
 
Except that there’s someone distinctly not Gerard, sitting at the kitchen table, nursing a cup of coffee and holding an ice pack to his neck.
 
“Um,” Mikey says, blinking in consternation.
 
The guy looks up from his coffee and breaks out into a smile. “You’re Mikey,” he says, beaming.
 
Mikey takes a couple steps into the kitchen. He doesn’t look like a vampire, which is only slightly reassuring. “And you’re… in my kitchen.”
 
“I’m Frank,” the guy says, offering his hand. There’s a smear of dried blood over the palm. “Oh,” he says, smiling apologetically, “don’t worry, it’s mine.”
 
That’s doesn’t actually reassure Mikey at all, but he shakes anyways, because once you’ve spent long enough with Gerard, blood stops bothering you. “Where’s my brother?” he asks, because polite as the stranger is, Mikey is worried.
 
“Asleep,” Frank says reassuringly. “Well,” he amends, less reassuringly, “I knocked him out. But he’ll wake up in a bit. You want some coffee?”
 
Mikey stares at him for a long, long moment while he tries to put things into a sensible order in his head. “Uh,” he says, “So, basically I’m going to need you to tell me why I’m not supposed to be calling the cops or strangling you for knocking Gee out.” He sits down. “Also, coffee is an acceptable prelude to convincing me not to kill you.”
 
Frank grins, then winces as he gets up from the table. “Coffee it is,” he says, pouring Mikey a mug. “Black, right? Gee said you drink it black.”
 
“Black,” Mikey agrees faintly, feeling like a chunk of his life has gone by while he wasn’t there for it. “Yes.”
 
“Cool.” Frank sets the mug in front of him, settling back into his own chair and wincing again. “And I knocked him out because he asked me to, so I’d appreciate not getting the cops involved.”
 
“He… asked you to knock him out.” Mikey doesn’t make an effort to keep the incredulity out of his voice.
 
“It’s part of a deal we have. He gets out of hand, I hit him with blunt objects.” Frank shrugs. “If you wait like a half hour, you can ask him yourself.”
 
Mikey doesn’t have to wait half an hour, because just then, Gerard comes stumbling out of the bedroom, blinking blearily and scrubbing his hand over his face. Mikey watches, eyes widening, as he presses a kiss to Frank’s temple and says, “Sorry, Frankie.”
 
Frank smiles at him, the soft, fuzzy-edged smile that Bob gives Mikey first thing in the morning when he’s not bothering to hide what he’s feeling. “S’okay,” he says fondly, “I’ve had worse.”
 
Gerard smiles wryly and mutters something that might be, “Yeah, I know, I did those, too,” and he swipes a fleeting kiss over Frank’s mouth. Then he pulls up a chair and says, “Hey, Mikey.”
 
“Hey,” Mikey says, sounding very far away, even to himself.
 
“This is Frank,” Gerard says helpfully, leaning back in his chair and throwing his legs over Frank’s lap. Frank puts a hand on his knee and squeezes. “He lives here now.”
 
“Oh,” Mikey says, feeling a little dizzy. “That’s, um. That’s great, Gee.”
 
Frank beams at him—Frank’s face is apparently made for smiling; his eyes light up and everything. “See? Not a serial killer.” He doesn’t look at Mikey for long—an instant later, he’s turning the smile on Gerard and grinning up into his eyes.
 
“Yet,” Gerard says teasingly, knocking their shoulders together. He says to Mikey, very seriously, “I’m trying to convince him that the two of us would make an excellent crime duo.”
 
“We would,” Frank agrees, not looking away from Gerard’s face, “except that we’re both really lazy. And crime requires getting out of bed.”
 
Gerard waggles his eyebrows. He says, “Bed. Right, we should really go there.” And then he’s up, dragging Frank to the bedroom. “We’ll hang out later, Mikey,” he calls cheerfully, not bothering to turn around.
 
Frank waves at Mikey over his shoulder.
 
Mikey lets his head hit the table with a reassuringly solid thunk.
 
END
 

Like a Secret In Your Throat - Part One

Title: Like a Secret in Your Throat
 
Rating: NC-17
 
Pairings: Frank Iero/Gerard Way
 
Warnings: blood, bloodplay, consensual violence, sexual violence, vampirism
 
Summary: Frank sells himself as a live-in housekeeper/boyfriend. Gerard is a vampire (and independently wealthy artist) with a deeply unhealthy blood addiction who could use a hand around the house now that Mikey is off at school. …Mostly there’s a lot of porn. Also, guys, this gets kinda graphic, so if blood and Gerard being vaguely creepy (but in a happy-ending way!) bothers you... don't read it? 
 
Author’s Notes: So, this is technically a spinoff (not a sequel) of my Skippy fic, “With All My Best Intentions,” which can be found on my Ao3 page, here: http://archiveofourown.org/works/226870. If you don’t want to READ Skippy fic, you can take a look at it and just read the intro explaining the “vampire virus.” On the other hand, you could just read this and assume a lot of things; it theoretically stands mostly on its own. Still, I’d recommend at least reading the intro to the other. ^_^ Title is from, “Vampires Will Never Hurt You,” by MCR.

You can also read it all in one piece on my Ao3 page, here: http://archiveofourown.org/works/253530

Read more...Collapse )

 
--
 
Frank isn’t doing this because he’s desperate. Yes, he’s poor, okay, and yes, he wants to finish college, but there are lots of ways. He’s doing this because he wants it. Wants the comfort of knowing what he’s supposed to do, of knowing where he’s supposed to be. Wants the reassuring awareness that he has a job he’s not going to be fired from; wants the feeling of someone to come home to every night. He looks through all his potential buyers—sponsors, technically, whatever—for someone he wouldn’t mind coming home to every night.
 
Gerard Way pops out as soon as Frank looks over his file. Mostly because he’s one of the younger ones, and his intro says he’s into comics and art and movies. He’s only a few years out of college, independently wealthy due to his art.
 
Also, he’s beautiful.
 
In Frank’s opinion, wanting to come home to someone every night is a thousand times better than just having someone you’re willing to come home to.
 
He doesn’t hesitate before responding that Gerard’s offer has been accepted.
 
--
 
“We do not want to convert to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We’re Satanists and we practice Voodoo and have orgies every Wednesday and we will curse off your reproductive organs and force feed you the meat of babies and virgins if you don’t go away,” says the guy—presumably Gerard—in one bored breath as he opens the door. He stops, though, once the door is open, blinking down at Frank. “You,” he says, sounding confused and a little disconcerted, “are not a Jehovah’s Witness. You have tattoos. And piercings.”
 
“I’m, uh,” Frank says, rubbing awkwardly at the back of his neck, shifting a little from foot to foot, “I’m—you bought me.”
 
“Oh,” Gerard says, flushing bright red and ducking his head. “Um, I guess I did. Come—uh, come in, I guess.”
 
Frank does.
 
--
 
“I’m not around a lot,” Gerard says apologetically. “Mostly I’m in my studio. But yeah. Here’s the kitchen—eat whatever you want, tell me if you run out of something or want something else, whatever, and I’ll give you my card—and if you could, like. Make dinner sometimes, that’d be cool, cause Mikey says I’m going to burn the house down, living here by myself, and he’s probably right, so—“
 
“Eat, make dinner, no burning house, check,” Franks says, beaming at him.
 
Gerard smiles back, wide and lopsided and so, so sweet that Frank’s chest aches. “Right,” he says, softly, eyes on Frank’s face. After a second, he clears his throat and resumes his tour. “So, down there’s the basement—that’s where my studio is, try not to go down there unless I’m with you, my stuff’s just the way I like it. Here’s the living room…”
 
Frank follows him around the house—it’s not that big, but from what Gerard says, it’s just him and his brother, so it doesn’t really need to be. The arrangement is mostly the same as it would be if he were living at home—free food, free place to sleep, keep things clean, make dinner—but without the shame of living with his parents for the rest of his life.
 
Frank watches Gerard’s mouth when he talks, his hands, his legs, his ass, and he feels a soft, low hum of satisfaction settle into his bones. This is going to be so much better than home.
 
--
 
The first night, Gerard says awkwardly, “You can have Mikey’s room. My brother’s. He won’t be back till the semester’s over, he goes—he’s away.” Mikey is in Atlanta with Gabe and Bill, starting his second semester at college. He doesn’t have the virus, doesn’t have to worry about the weird, sick urges that curl themselves around Gerard’s organs and try to push their way out. He’d thought this live-in student/help thing would be perfect—Mikey normally keeps Gerard from burning the house down by accident, but he’s gone, and Gerard had thought it would be nice to have some company, too. Not that Gerard technically needs to eat real people food, but he does it as something to do, something to keep the cravings, the addiction, at bay—like when he used to chew gum to keep himself from smoking.
 
But there’s something about Frank that’s screaming at all the dark, sharp parts of Gerard, the virus in his veins. Something that makes Gerard want to sink his teeth in and suck him dry.
 
Frank looks at him sidelong. “If that’s where you want me.”
 
“Or you could, you know,” Gerard gestures helplessly, looking away from Frank’s face, not even really sure why he offers, “sleep with, uh. Me.” It’s shitty idea—Gerard hasn’t ever seen someone and just wanted to touch them, break them like this. Everything about Frank is begging Gerard to shred him, to press bruises and bites into him just to see his face contort.
 
Gerard’s offering anyways.
 
Frank’s lips curl up, and Gerard wants to sink his teeth into them. “Lead the way,” he says, voice a little rougher than before.
 
Gerard does, trying to push back the constant, bizarre urge to rip Frank’s throat out and roll in the mess. He’s hard before he even makes it to the bedroom.
 
--
 
Frank pants, open-mouthed, against Gerard’s throat. “I didn’t—I didn’t exactly—“ he sucks in a sharp breath as Gerard’s fist tightens around him, “Can you just—come here?” He leans forward, trying to catch Gerard’s mouth in a kiss.  
 
Gerard bites at his lower lip, and it’s not a kiss at all, just a nip. “Is this—Is this right? I haven’t. I mean—Is this—”
 
Frank’s hips stutter against Gerard’s hand as he comes, startling himself with the suddenness of it. Breathing harshly, blinking back the stars at the corners of his eyes, he says incredulously, “You haven’t done this?” He runs his fingertips over the bulge in Gerard’s pajama pants, tracing the outline of his cock teasingly.
 
Gerard’s hand closes, hard, around Frank’s wrist and yanks his hand away. Gerard doesn’t look at him. “I’m not. I don’t—I’m not gay,” he mutters darkly, turning away. A little less sharply, he says, “I just—I wanted to try.” Defensively, he adds, “You said in your ad that, that—that sexual things were okay, were included, as long as they weren’t, like. Damaging.” He says the last word with a weird sort of emphasis, like it’s somehow hilarious.
 
Frank’s eyebrows come together, but he bites his tongue and says as politely as he can, albeit maybe a little stiffly, “I guess I did, didn’t I?” He’d meant blowjobs, handjobs, sex, sure—but he’d meant giving them, or at least being involved, like a boyfriend, not like. Like a practice dummy, like a blow up doll. “You’re the one paying, I guess,” he adds, and he doesn’t bother to hide the bitterness in his voice.
 
--
 
Gerard waits to jerk off until after Frank is asleep. Then he does it quick and messy, graceless and rough, wiping his hand on one of the various shirts littering the floor around the bed.
 
He has no idea if he’s gay, doesn’t give a shit. He doesn’t like people at all, gender aside. This has nothing to do with that, it’s just the easiest way to keep Frank away. He’s hungry, and normally, normally, he feeds off Mikey, only lets himself feed off Mikey, because he doesn’t ever want to hurt Mikey, won’t hurt Mikey, and that. That’s safe. He found out the hard way, in college, that feeding off anyone else gets to him in a way it doesn’t get to Bill, doesn’t get to Mike or Stone—he can’t stop, can’t hold himself back, even when he drinks so much it makes him sick. Especially then.
 
But he’s hungry, and he’s never seen anything he wanted like this before, girl or boy.
 
So he’s not kissing Frank, not letting Frank in, because Gerard’s never kissed anyone, never let anyone in, and if Frank laughs at him, Gerard isn’t a good enough man that he won’t just sink his teeth in and keep going.
 
So he holds Frank an arm’s length away and breaks him the only way he can that won’t end with Mikey looking at him with tired, disappointed eyes and saying again, “I’ll take care of the body, Gee.” Once was enough of that for a lifetime, and it’s happened more than once already.
 
--
 
Frank has his first day of classes the next day. It’s a Monday, and on Monday, he has Intro to Anthropology and US History. His anthro professor isn’t so bad, but he can’t pay any attention to his history class at all. Gerard’s eyes, dark and shuttered, keep flashing under his lids when he blinks.
Gerard wasn’t in bed when Frank woke up—there was a note, though, stuck to the fridge with a little magnet shaped like a unicorn, that said I’m not around much in the day. Help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge, let me know if you need anything else. There was a phone number underneath, which Frank had programmed into his cheap little flip-phone. He’d made freezer waffles for breakfast and eaten them dry on the way out the door.
 
Now he’s sitting in the back row of Dr. Webbing’s USH course, tapping his pencil irritably, when he should be paying attention, because he’s basically sold himself into indentured, awkward servitude so he can be here. But he’s not paying attention, because he keeps getting distracted by thoughts of Gerard.
 
Which is stupid, because Gerard doesn’t want him—isn’t gay. Gerard is paying for him to go to school so that Frank can. Can clean his house and make dinner and occasionally let him jerk him off when Gerard is feeling magnanimous and experimental.
 
And the thing is, since the second Gerard smiled at him, that first time, all messy and really, theoretically unappealing, Frank has felt absolutely sick with want.
 
--
 
When Gerard is anxious, his art shows it.
 
When he goes down to his studio in the morning, he sits at his drawing table, fully intending to work on this awesome idea for a comic book he’s been rolling around in his head for the last few weeks.
 
Instead, the lines that appear on the paper in front of him turn into an image of Frank, sprawled on the floor of the living room, television still on in the background, mouth slack, eyes shut, twin holes in his neck, a dark patch of liquid on the carpet below him.
 
He sets it aside, starting the comic again. It’s out of his system, now.
 
Except that the next drawing, and the next, and the painting after that, are all studies of Frank—of his hands, of his mouth, of his flesh split open, of his bloody insides shining.
 
After he passes the half-dozen mark, Gerard gives in and lets his urges out properly onto the paper. There’s no danger, if it’s just paint, just ink.
 
--
 
Gerard is sitting crosslegged on the counter when Frank gets home from class and grocery shopping, staring perplexedly at the oven.
 
“You’re on the counter,” Frank says. His hands are full of grocery bags and his school bag is over his shoulder. With Gerard on the counter, he kind of doesn’t actually have anywhere to put them.
 
“Something’s in the oven,” Gerard replies slowly, quietly, not looking away from the oven at all—like if he speaks too loudly or takes his eyes off it, the oven will snap open and try to bite him or something.
 
Frank nods. “Yeah, that’s, uh. It’s a lasagna?”
 
Gerard looks away from the oven, finally, to blink owlishly at Frank. “A…lasagna.” He sounds utterly baffled by the idea.
 
“Yeah, like. With—it’s a lasagna. It’s pasta that you put in the oven. You live in Jersey, dude, don’t tell me you don’t like lasagna?” Frank might have to crawl into a hole and die if Gerard doesn’t like lasagna. Frank may or may not have gotten up for school like three hours early to make it so it could cook while he was out.
 
Gerard looks like he has to think about it. “I… like lasagna.” He still sounds perplexed, but he shakes his head and says, a lot less like a confused child, “Mostly I was wondering how the oven was on without you here.”
 
The bags are starting to make Frank’s arms ache, so he eases the groceries onto the counter between Gerard’s ass—his ass, god—and the toaster, dropping his book bag on the floor with a thump. “Yeah, there’s a self-timer thing. You can program it to turn itself on.” He gestures at the array of buttons on the front of the oven. “Do you seriously not know how to work your own oven, dude?”
 
Gerard’s lips twitch a little, like he’s thinking about smiling. “Not really, no. It just came with the house.”
 
“So, when you want food, you…?”
 
Gerard looks away, biting his lip over what is definitely a smile. It makes soft things skitter in Frank’s stomach. “Order in, I guess. Or I ask Mikey.” He slides down from the counter then, and he’s standing close enough that Frank can feel the heat from his skin, can smell him. “I should probably go back to work.” Actually, he smells sort of like he maybe doesn’t shower that often, and this close, Frank can see grease shining in his hair.
 
Something sharp still jerks in Frank’s gut, and Frank wants. “The lasagna should be almost done,” he says, licking over his suddenly freakishly dry lips. Gerard’s mouth is this close, he could just—“Are you hungry?”
 
Gerard’s eyelids flutter, just once, and his hand spasms a little in midair, like an aborted motion he’s thought better of. “Yeah,” he says, slow and a little rough.
 
Frank leans in a little more, puts a hand on Gerard’s chest to steady himself. Fuck the lasagna, Gerard’s skin is warm under his hand, and Frank can feel his breath on his face, and—
 
And Gerard rocks back on his heels, jerking his head away. “I—uh.” He cringes and ducks his head, rubbing a hand over the back of his neck. “I mean. Right. I need to finish this thing I’m—I’ll be back. Yes. Dinner. I’ll be back for dinner.”
 
He’s gone before Frank can tell him how much longer the lasagna will be; before Frank can ask him to stay, or what he’s working on, or what his favorite color is, or what his favorite movie or holiday or thing to drink is.
 
Even with the heat radiating out from the oven, Frank feels sort of cold.
 
--
 
Gerard gets halfway down the steps before he’s unzipping and bringing himself off with a few rough jerks and a choked off cry. He catches himself against the wall and breathes, hard, through his nose until he’s not dizzy with want and fear.
 
Hungry. Yeah, he’s hungry.
 
He forces himself to finish detailing the knobs in Frank’s spine, forces himself to paint in the edges of ragged, torn flesh around it. Then he lets himself get lost in the shine of light on exposed bone, the elegant folds of broken skin, until he stops feeling like he has to actually do this to Frank anywhere but on paper.
 
Then, Gerard lets himself push away from his desk and make his way upstairs to try the half-remembered entity that is lasagna.
 
--
 
“That smells—good,” Gerard says, a little stilted, from the kitchen doorway.
 
“Yeah?” Frank asks, ducking his head to hide a smile.
 
“Yeah,” Gerard says, smiling a little back. “Do you—I mean, we could—Mikey and I sometimes, we watch movies when we eat?”
 
Frank grins. “Sounds awesome.”
 
When Frank picks The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to watch over dinner, Gerard squints at him. “Seriously?” he asks, pulling a face. “Isn’t that kind of… gross? And creepy? I mean, for eating during.”
 
Frank waves his hands at him, displaying his tattooed knuckles. “I’m a Halloween baby,” he explains, grinning. “I like gross. And creepy.”
 
Gerard’s mouth quirks up. “Well. In that case.” He waves his fork, which is covered in red sauce, at Frank. “Also, this tastes nice.” He sounds sort of surprised by that, and Frank isn’t sure whether to be insulted or pleased.
 
“It’s my ma’s recipe,” Frank settles on. His mother can, like, magically hear anyone talking about her food; she can decide how to feel about Gerard’s commentary on it for herself. “Secret sauce and all that shit.”
 
Gerard sniffs at it, eyebrows up, but takes another bite. “How is it secret?”
 
Frank shrugs. “Dunno. All Italian mothers have a secret sauce, it’s a thing.”
 
“I see,” Gerard says, chewing sort of obscenely. “Okay. Movie?”
 
“Movie,” Frank agrees, taking a bite of his own lasagna and reaching for the remote.
 
--
 
When the movie ends, Frank gets up without looking at Gerard, takes the plates to the kitchen, rinses them and puts them in the dishwasher. When he’s done, his hands are shaking.
 
“You don’t have to sleep in my room,” Gerard offers softly from the doorway. “If you don’t want, I mean.”
 
Frank swallows. “No,” he says, looking intently at his socked feet. “I mean, no, I want.” Jesus fuck, he really, really wants. Just. More than—more than last time. Or less. But he’s pretty sure he’s going to take whatever the fuck Gerard wants to give him, because Gerard’s eyes are dark and shuttered and his smile is sweet and stupid and his hands on Frank’s skin feel suspiciously like a home he’s never been to, never seen.
 
Gerard nods a little jerkily and steps back, heading down the hall.
 
Frank follows.
 
--
 
Gerard jerks Frank off every night for two weeks, intent and focused and almost creepily clinical, and Frank shuts his eyes and tells himself he doesn’t mind that he can’t touch back. Gerard always stays at a distance, keeping a solid foot of space between them except for Gerard’s hand around him. Frank can’t kiss him, can’t press against him. It’s like a very weird sort of bondage, like having his hands tied behind his back, except that there’s no cuffs or rope to help him.
 
In the days, Gerard is mostly holed up in his basement studio, and Frank is mostly at class, refusing to fail out of school because he’s living with some weird recluse who he desperately, stupidly, wants to kiss.
 
In the evenings, there’s a delicate sort of balance between the distance of the day and the frantic not-quite-closeness of the nights. In the evenings, after Frank gets home from classes and does his “chores,” after Gerard shuffles out of his studio, they start to develop something very like friendship. Frank makes dinner—vegetarian food, because Gerard can eat whatever he wants, but Frank isn’t cooking animal flesh, okay, it’s gross—and they curl up at opposite ends of the couch, watching movies or old cartoons in semi-silence, occasionally breaking it to laugh quietly, or pettily judge various characters on screen. During commercials, they talk softly about ridiculous things, about dinosaurs and zombies and what they wanted to be when they grew up—Gerard wanted to be an astronaut until he discovered art, and Frank has always wanted to play music, even if he’s not sure what he’s going to school for.
 
As dull as the days are, and as awkward and frustrating as the nights are, Frank falls into something sort of like a rhythm, and he doesn’t let himself be surprised by how comfortable he’s starting to be. And if Gerard’s eyes are always shadowed, if he always moves away too quickly, if his voice catches when he calls Frank Frankie, well, Frank lets it go for now.
 
--
 
“So you’re an artist?” Frank asks over dinner one night. He’s got his anthropology textbook open in his lap, but he’s not really reading it. Gerard has a sharpie in one hand and is sketching rough lines over his napkin. It might be a pair of lungs; Frank can’t really tell from here.
 
Gerard nods, but doesn’t look up. “Yeah.”
 
“What kind of art?” Frank cranes his neck to try to see what Gerard is working on without being too obvious, but Gerard jerks the napkin back.
 
“Comics, mostly,” Gerard says, still examining his napkin-sketch intently. Tongue poking out of one corner of his mouth, he adds a small detail to a corner. “I do paintings, too, more, uh… marketable stuff, I guess.”
 
Frank is a giant nerd, so his voice is kind of embarrassingly squeaky when he says, “Comics, seriously? Like, do you have finished stuff that I could—oh my god, you work from home, can I see?”
 
“No!” Gerard does look up, then. There’s a sort of pinched look on his face when he says, “Uh, I kind of—I’d really rather you didn’t.”
 
Frank feels kind of stupid when he says, “Oh.”
 
Gerard half-shrugs, just one shoulder, and tucks his napkin sketch into the pocket of his jeans. “I should go.”
 
Frank nods and returns to pretending to read his textbook. “’Kay,” he says softly, trying not to sound as thrown as he is.
 
Gerard pads past him in sock-feet, quiet and still painfully noticeable. He stops in the doorway, though, and says, almost too quietly for Frank to hear him, “Frankie?”
 
Frank bites his lip. “Yeah?”
 
“Another—another time, maybe.” He’s gone, then, down the stairs into his studio, and Frank doesn’t see him again until it’s time for bed, and then it’s just the same as every other night.
 
--
 
Gerard had kind of thought that giving himself that one allowance, that one act of touching, breaking—he’d thought that would be enough, would keep the roaring, dark parts of him quiet. (Failing that, maybe the art would.)
 
It doesn’t. The urge is still yawning huge under his skin, still screaming at him, and he’s hard basically all the time. He waits, always waits, until Frank is asleep, to deal with it. Okay, so there are maybe a couple of (dozen) times he indulges himself in the cool darkness of his studio, leaning back in his desk chair and imagining Frank’s throat under his teeth, his body spread and straining against Gerard’s.
 
When Gerard finishes tonight, though, Frank is blinking at him with sleepy, heavy-lidded eyes.
 
When Gerard meets his gaze, Frank’s tongue darts out, licking over his lower lip, and he says, voice still sleep-rough, “I could do that for you, you know.”
 
Gerard swallows, and feels his fangs drop down from the new wave of arousal spiraling through him. “I can’t—I can’t ask for that,” he mumbles, trying to keep his lips over them so Frank doesn’t see.
 
Frank’s hand swipes over Gerard’s stomach, dragging his fingers through the sticky, cooling mess. Eyes never leaving Gerard’s, his licks his fingers clean. “You don’t have to ask,” he says softly. Before Gerard can protest, he’s leaning in, licking over the white splatters on Gerard’s ribs. He looks up at Gerard with dark, hungry eyes through his bangs, licking a smear of white off the corner of his mouth, and says, “You just have to say I’m allowed.”
 
Gerard’s stomach clenches at that, and if he hadn’t just come, he’d be hard again, willing or no. “Frank,” he says, and it’s not really what he means to say at all. His hands clench ineffectually at his sides, and he wishes, wishes so badly, that he knew what the fuck he was doing.
 
Frank smiles at him, though, and says slowly, “Gerard.” He wraps his tongue around the word like he wants to savor the taste.
 
“I—“ Gerard huffs out a breath. “I’m not—“
 
“Gay,” Frank finishes for him, mouth twisting wryly, and that isn’t actually what Gerard was going to say at all. Safe, he was going to say, or sure what I’m doing, or maybe a good enough person not to want this. Frank’s voice is small, and he doesn’t look at Gerard when he offers, “You could pretend I’m not—that I’m a girl.” He sounds so broken, so low, when he adds, “You know, if you—if you want.”
 
Gerard doesn’t have words for the way his chest tightens, for the guilt that rises up in his throat and chokes him. He wants to take Frank, and Frank’s miserable, ashamed face—wants to take him and tear him apart and put him back together so he can’t look so hurt. Before Gerard has the chance to think about it—to talk himself out of it, really—he’s curling his hands around Frank’s arms and hauling him up, up, crashing their mouths together. It’s messy and violent and totally, totally wrong—Gerard doesn’t know how to do it right, maybe, but he knows he’s doing it wrong.
 
Frank doesn’t seem to mind. He moans, soft and desperate, into Gerard’s mouth. He’s crawling up to straddle Gerard properly, framing his face with his hands, gently using his thumbs to press Gerard’s jaw open wider, to slow the movement of his mouth.
 
“Sorry, sorry, I know I’m—“ Gerard starts to say, a little frantic in his embarrassment at how bad he is at this.
 
Frank nips a little at his lower lip, swipes over it with his tongue. “Shh,” he says, smiling against Gerard’s lips. “It’s good. You’re good.” He curls his tongue into Gerard’s mouth, licking past his lips and teeth to stroke against Gerard’s own, and Gerard feels a spike of want that has nothing to do with hunger, spreading lightning-fast all the way down his spine.
 
--
 
Go to part two: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/14897.html
 
Title: Delivering Just What You Need
 
Author: frankie_ann
 
Bands: Pieces of Fall Out Boy, Cobra Starship, The Academy Is…, and Panic! at the Disco, with background My Chemical Romance and assorted various others.
 
Pairings: Pete/Patrick, Gabe/Bill, Gabe/Vicky-T, Gabe/Bill/Vicky-T, assorted background pairings
 
Word Count: ~25,000
 
Rating: NC-17
 
Warnings: attempted suicide, self-harm, mild violence, mentions of sort-of-successful suicides, hetero (albeit not-entirely-hetero, three-way) love, really hilariously bad fake sex products, really not-actually-legal age differences (that aren’t actually super relevant due to the characters being older than dirt because they’re angels, but I suppose it could theoretically bother people.)
 
Summary: Patrick shows up on the night Ashlee tells Pete she’s leaving him, when Pete is pretty sure he’d be doing the world a favor by leaving it. Patrick—with copious application of ice cream, the Food Network, snuggling, and occasional well-meant not-quite-violence—does his best to keep Pete alive.

Pete, in turn, does his best to convince Patrick that Patrick is, in fact, secretly Pepper Potts, and that Cupcake Wars is not a legitimate form of entertainment.

In the meantime, Vicky-T, all sharp eyes and crocodile smiles, looks after Gabe and tries very hard not to care that Bill is looking after him—and maybe her—too.

Gabe spends most of his time trying to convince Vicky-T that he’s allowed to have two soulmates at the same time.

This story features ice cream, Iron Man references, ridiculous adventures in adult novelty stores, random smatterings of Spanish endearments, and angels. Specifically, angels with lethal legs and mad baking skills, short tempers and absolutely no clue what they’re doing.

--
Chapters and Links: 

Awesome Fanmix: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/14117.html
Part One: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13256.html
Part Two: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13558.html
Part Three: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13814.html
Part Four: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13906.html

Or, you can read the whole thing in one piece (including the two prequels) at Ao3: http://archiveofourown.org/works/252383

I got a BEAUTIFUL fanmix from madguru

, which can be downloaded here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=P9ID8650 

Some of the songs were so spot-on with where I was when I was writing it that it was sort of awesomely gut-wrenching. <3 I highly recommend you have a listen to it as/after you read. 

It includes a lovely piece of cover art, and the tracks included are: 

01 Exercise One by Joy Division
02 No Surprises (Radiohead Cover) by Regina Spektor
03 Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts by Wolf Parade
04 The Magus by Carl Barat
05 Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset by Modest Mouse
06 All the Pretty Girls by Fun.
07 My Boy Makes Coffins by Florence and the Machine
08 The View by Modest Mouse
9 You’re My Waterloo by The Libertines
10 Each and Every Day by Best Coast
11 Death on the Stairs by The Libertines
12 The Warmest Part of the Winter by Voxtrot
13 Blue Moon by The Marcels
14 Paper Planes by MIA
15 Let Go by Frou Frou
16 For Lovers by Pete Doherty and Wolfman
17 Wonderwall by Oasis
18 Stand By Me by Ben E. King


[[It starts without Gabe really noticing. It’s not like, one day, Bill is talking to Vicky-T like she’s there—he slips it in, now and again, slowly. Like he doesn’t just believe Gabe—like he wants to know her, too.
 
Vicky-T, of course, is having none of it, and doesn’t do a damn thing except scowl and roll her eyes when Bill stares in completely the wrong direction and says things that include her. Like, “How did you guys sleep?” in the morning, or, “Do you guys want to go get pizza or something?”
 
Gabe, though. Gabe looks at Bill, at the way he’s obviously taking Gabe on faith, at the way he doesn’t hesitate for a second before he believes, and Gabe feels like his ribs are too tight over his lungs and heart. To make up for Vicky-T’s stubborn, sullen silence, he tells Bill stories of things she does, things she says, the way she’s kicked his ass and made him feel like something other than a waste of space, and then he kindly pretends not to notice when she occasionally turns her head to hide a smile. Bill listens intently to Gabe’s strange version of bedtime stories, smiling when Gabe tells him the especially insane things they’ve done, and doesn’t once question it.
 
When they have sex, Bill puts on the sort of show that Gabe knows he doesn’t put on when he thinks no one else is in the room. Not that Bill doesn’t always show off a little, but this is a step past that, a step beyond.
 
And whenever Bill leaves for work, or to go back to his own apartment, he tips them a lazy salute and says, “Love you guys, see you later.”
 
The first time, Gabe totally reacts like an adult and waits until after Bill leaves, until after he goes and hides himself in the bathroom from Vicky-T, to let all of his insane, ridiculous giddiness at this, whatever the fuck this even is, bubble up and spill out from the corners of his eyes.
 
All the times after that, he doesn’t bother to hide it from Vicky-T.]]
 
--
 
“So why do you get to be an angel?” Pete asks, skimming light fingers down Patrick’s side in the dark. It’s sometime after three am, but that’s nothing unusual when dealing with Pete.
 
Patrick shudders involuntarily and tries to force himself to wake up. “I—what?” he asks, blinking to clear the tremor from his skin.
 
“Why do you get to be an angel?” Pete asks again, his hand settling over Patrick’s stomach, thumb rubbing little circles into the soft flesh there. Patrick squirms a little, but he can’t scoot back, away from it—he’ll just end up pressed up against Pete, and, well. “Like, if I offed myself right now, I wouldn’t be like you.” He pauses, hums a little. “Would I be like Brendon? I mean, would I be a ghost?”
 
“Maybe,” Patrick says, kind of unwilling to really explain it, because if Pete understands, it’s entirely possible that he’ll be even more reckless than he already is. “The ghost thing is kind of a toss-up, really.”
 
“Liar,” Pete accuses, but he doesn’t sound particularly bothered about it.
 
“Mmm,” Patrick agrees, because he’s not going to tell Pete, but there’s no use trying to lie to him, either. “But I’m an angel as kind of—It’s like the idea of purgatory, but kind of less... Cut and dry.”
 
Pete nods, waiting, and after a minute of silence, Patrick huffs and goes on.
 
“It’s like. It’s a chance at a second chance.” He doesn’t like the word redemption, because that has a religious context, really, and it makes him sound like such a martyr. He doesn’t know a damn thing about God or anything that useful—he just knows what Victoria told him on the day he woke up in her dark apartment with big, white wings stretching their way out of aching shoulders. “It’s a chance to see why life is worth living, sort of—I guess, kind of, we see what we missed.”
 
“Then what?” Pete asks, voice just a low rumble of curiosity.
 
Patrick hesitates, then decides that if he’s telling Pete, he might as well just fucking tell Pete. “Once we see—once we get it, whatever there is to get, we get a second chance.”
 
Pete’s arm tightens around him, fingers digging into Patrick’s belly a little. “A second chance how?”
 
Patrick tries to shrug  a little, but he’s not very good at being nonchalant. “We get—can we not talk about this?” he asks weakly.
 
Pete nips at the nape of Patrick’s neck, sending a shiver through him, and says, firmly, “No.”
 
Patrick sucks in a breath and tells him. “We get—we get reborn. Like reincarnation. Like, we start—“ he can’t catch his breath, can’t get the words to come out right. “We start over. From… scratch.”
 
--            
 
“It’s happening, isn’t it?” slips out of Pete’s mouth.
 
Patrick doesn’t say a word, which is all the answer Pete needs.
 
“No,” Pete says without actually meaning to. “No, that’s not fucking—no.”
 
Patrick sighs. “Pete, it’s not like I get to decide—“
 
“Then don’t,” Pete snaps. “Patrick, don’t get it. Don’t, don’t, don’t get whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing this to understand. If—if you don’t, then—“ his voice cuts out, and he has to swallow around the lump in his throat. “Patrick,” he says, quieter this time, desperate.
 
Patrick carefully untangles the hand Pete’s got fisted in the fabric of his shirt. “Pete,” he says, and he sounds tired. “Pete, you know that’s not how—it doesn’t work like that.”
 
Pete knows, Pete knows you can’t just will yourself not to understand something, but. “Trick,” he says, and this time it’s kind of pleading, whether he means for it to be or not.
 
Pete,” Patrick says again, and it’s got a hard edge to it.
 
“What if,” Pete says, seizing on an idea, “What if doing that, what if getting it—what if that meant leaving your charge in danger?”
 
Patrick goes completely rigid in his arms. “Don’t even fucking joke about that, Pete,” he hisses. “Don’t you fucking pull that card on me.”
 
Pete has no problem being an asshole if it means getting to keep Patrick. “I’ll pull any goddamn card I have to,” he retorts, pressing himself tighter along Patrick’s back. “Any fucking thing I have to do, Patrick, I’ll do it, if it means not losing you.” He buries his face in the soft, short hair at the back of Patrick’s neck and reminds himself to breathe. “I can’t, Trick, I can’t.”
 
All the tightness melts out of Patrick with one breath. “We’re supposed to see why being alive is worth it, Pete,” he says softly. “You’re what showed me that. Shouldn’t that be enough?”
 
Pete clings to Patrick, arms and legs wrapping around him and squeezing tight. Patrick winces, a little, but he doesn’t pull away, either, just sighs and leans back against Pete, and that’s. That’s something. “Is it enough for you?”
 
Patrick is still and silent for a long, long time.
 
Pete waits.
 
--
 
[[“You’re a stubborn ass,” Vicky-T tells him.
 
Gabe ignores her and hums thoughtfully while contemplating the fridge. “I’m thinking rice and beans tonight, hmm, querida?”
 
She glowers at him. “Why are you being like this?”
 
“Baby,” he says, looking over his shoulder and winking, “I’m always like this.” He wiggles his ass, because no matter what she says, she likes his ass, and he’s not actually a terribly nice man.
 
“It’s ludicrous. You’re my charge,” she insists, an edge to her voice.
 
“You’re my forever,” he retorts, pulling a beer from the fridge and kicking the door shut. He grins lazily at her, says, “You’re my diamond girl, Vicky-T.”
 
Bill is your forever,” she snaps. “I’m not your diamo—ugh, Gabe, I’m your guardian, and he’s your—it doesn’t work like this, Gabe.” Her nostrils are flaring in that weirdly appealing way they do when she’s really brassed off.
 
“What,” Gabe says, forcing a smirk, “I can’t have more than one forever? That’s terribly restrictive.”
 
“Your other forever can’t even see me,” she says, narrowing her eyes at him. “That kind of puts the kibosh on the weird kinky soulmate threeway plan you’ve got laid out in your head.”
 
“I have nothing of the sort,” Gabe lies smoothly. Gabe is a very smooth liar.
 
Except with Vicky-T, which is really just more proof that they’re destined to be. “You are full of shit,” she says, but she sounds halfway to defeated—probably because she’s realized that she said his other forever. Basically admitting that she’s one of them. And therefore at least partially condoning Gabe’s weird kinky soulmate threeway plan.
 
Gabe smirks. “Want a beer?” he asks, offering her the unopened bottle in his hand. Because he’s a gentleman.
 
“Fuck,” she says, sighing, and, “God, yes, you rat bastard.”
 
Gabe doesn’t hide his shit-eating grin. “Throw your fangs up, baby,” he says, dangling the beer in front of her.
 
She scowls, but puts up a set of very lazy fangs and snatches the beer from his hand. “Ass,” she says, chugging half the bottle in one go.
 
Gabe likes to think of it as a term of endearment. ]]
 
--
 
“Pete,” Patrick finally convinces his mouth to say. He kind of hopes that Pete’s fallen asleep, but it’s Pete, so he’s not going to get that lucky.
 
“Trick,” Pete murmurs into the skin of Patrick’s nape.
 
Patrick carefully, slowly, extricates himself from Pete’s octopus-like grip and turns around to face him. “No,” he says, and the sound cuts his tongue like razors on the way out.
 
“No?” Pete repeats, tongue darting out to wet his lips. There are fine lines around his eyes, Patrick sees, actual grooves, from age or stress he can’t tell. He’s never noticed them before, and he wants, for one, sharp, shining instant, to do nothing more than kiss each and every one of them until they fade into smooth skin. “No--?”
 
“No,” Patrick says, and it’s easier, this time, even if it burns like liquor going the wrong way in his throat, “No, it’s not enough for me.”
 
Pete grins, beams at him, all childish delight, and for a moment, Patrick feels so young. He’s young and reckless in the face of that smile, how can he not be? “Good,” Pete says, pressing his forehead to Patrick’s and kissing his nose, of all things, because Pete is ridiculous. “Then you’re not going anywhere.”
 
“I don’t know if it works like—“
 
Pete’s hand is tight on Patrick’s arm. “If you go anywhere,” he says firmly, “you’ll be neglecting your duty as my guardian, and they—whoever the fuck they are, they can’t do that.” He looks Patrick dead in the eyes. “Because I’ll do it, I swear I will.” Patrick believes him; Pete has never bluffed about suicide—when Patrick first found him, sitting on the floor of his and Ashlee’s bathroom, there’d been no one to impress; he was nothing but calm, miserable intention.
 
“I don’t—It might not work, Pete,” Patrick says, feeling small and helpless in the face of that kind of quiet, sincere meaning.
 
“It will,” Pete says fiercely, and he sounds so sure.
 
Patrick brushes Pete’s hair away from his eyes, studying him, looking for the source of that certainty. It doesn’t take him long at all to find it—Pete’s heart is an open thing, and all its contents are bare for Patrick, at least, to see—and he feels something like helium flood all his veins at once. “If how much I want something has anything to do with whether or not I get it,” he says, pressing his lips to Pete’s, once, lightly, and hoping it says what he means for it to say, “then you’re absolutely fucking right.”
 
Pete nips at Patrick’s lower lip, says, into the corner of his mouth, “I love you, too, Trick.”
 
--
 
Pete wakes up every morning for a week after their conversation and holds his breath, not opening his eyes, until he feels Patrick’s soft snores, or quiet, just-barely-awake-breaths, feathering over the back of his neck, counting the minutes until Patrick shifts, making soft noises, and wakes up. It’s never very long—like Patrick feels Pete’s awareness, and comes up to meet it.
 
Eventually, Pete stops holding his breath, and just wakes up and revels in it, in the heavy weight of Patrick’s arm slung over him, in the slight shift of Patrick’s hand over his abdomen when one of them breathes, in the way Patrick’s lips skim over the back of his neck when he makes sleepy sounds before waking up completely, in the way Pete feels like the sun is sinking into his bloodstream when Patrick murmurs a drowsy good morning.
 
Pete doesn’t stop counting the minutes, though. He likes to know.
 
--
 
[[“What the fuck are you doing?” Victoria asks Bill, making a face. Well, she doesn’t really ask him, since he can’t hear her, but she asks the air. The air doesn’t answer her, either, but she doesn’t really need it to.
 
Bill has a piece of paper and a pen, and, slowly, neatly, he writes, Hello, Vicky-T, and then holds up both the pen and the paper, like he’s expecting her to take it.
 
She doesn’t, of course, because that would only encourage him—not to mention Gabe. Even if Gabe is asleep on the bed, and unable to be currently, actively encouraged. Bill would show him, and Gabe would get smug, and then all hell would break loose, Victoria is sure of it.
 
Bill is undeterred by her lack of response. He writes, Come on, I believe in you. Just give me a sign that I’m not the crazy one here.
 
She doesn’t actually want to, doesn’t want to appease him or make his life easier, except.
 
Except that he makes Gabe’s life easier, and, for whatever reason, Victoria’s own existence has mostly become centered around Gabe’s happiness and continued desire to stay alive. And if Bill isn’t busy worrying about whether or not she’s real, he can focus on doing the things for Gabe that she can’t do, won’t do.
 
So she gives in. Sort of.
 
She doesn’t take the pen and paper, because there are limits to her generosity, and she’s pretty sure she’d have to mock herself forever for acting like a ghost in a crappy movie.
 
Instead, she bites him, hard, on the arm he’s using to hold the pen out for her.
 
He manages to wince and beam at the ring of tooth-shaped indents at the same time. It sort of makes her want to punch him, but she resists, because that would make him even more self-satisfied, and there is no way she’s contributing to that sort of nonsense.]]
 
--
 
They’re folded up on the couch in front of Iron Man 2, because Pete is still insistent upon convincing Patrick that he’s secretly Pepper Potts with wings and a trucker hat.
 
Patrick’s sitting with his wings draped over the arm of the couch, and Pete’s spread out on top of him, wearing nothing but his ridiculous Iron Man sleep shorts, nuzzled into Patrick’s chest. Pete’s eyes are bright, reflecting the flickering glow of the television, and his skin is nearly glowing, gold and smooth in the low light. Patrick is suddenly, painfully seized by this desperate need to touch.
 
He skims his hands over Pete’s shoulders, down his chest, and says, next to Pete’s ear, “Shut the TV.” His voice is strangely hoarse.
 
“If this is just your way of getting out of admitting your resemblance to Pepper—“ Pete turns his head and looks at him, eyes going immediately dark. “Yeah,” he says slowly, thumbing the power button on the remote and tossing it carelessly aside, “yeah, okay.” He turns over, so they’re chest to chest, and watches Patrick’s face.
 
Patrick’s hands, mostly without any permission from him at all, are sliding over Pete’s sides, scraping his nails lightly over skin, stroking his thumbs over curves of bone. Pete doesn’t move, just waits, lids at half-mast, while Patrick feels. If he could, Patrick thinks Pete would be purring.
 
Something about Pete’s skin is calling to Patrick, singing to his bones, begging him to touchtouchtouch. Patrick’s fingers brush over the ink at Pete’s shoulders, his arms, around his neck, Pete shivering and leaning into the touch. There’s something, something weird and inexplicably breathtaking about the way Pete’s skin moves under Patrick’s fingers, moves without Pete himself meaning to move at all, and Patrick watches, mesmerized, as his hands call vibrations up to meet them.
 
“Patrick,” Pete says, finally, softly, when Patrick’s hands run out of new places to touch. He’s shaking without Patrick having to do anything at all, now, and his hands are clenched into the fabric of Patrick’s shirt. “Patrick, I—“
 
“Turn over,” Patrick murmurs, urging him up, around, so Pete’s leaning back against Patrick’s chest, head on Patrick’s shoulder, body tucked neatly into the vee of his legs. Patrick’s hands trace over Pete’s chest, counting ribs, stroking soft shapes between each of them, smoothing over the lines of the ink on his abdomen, digging his nails in a little over the arches of his hips. He licks over the circle of thorns around Pete’s collar, closing his teeth over the place where it intersects his shoulder.
 
When his hands finally make their way to the waistband of Pete’s shorts, Pete is breathing heavily, cock already straining against the fabric, a damp spot spreading from the tip.
 
“You’re so easy,” Patrick teases, kissing Pete’s ear to take the sting out of the words.
 
Pete turns his head, just far enough that he can press a kiss to the curve of Patrick’s jaw. “For you? Always.”
 
Patrick leans down enough for their mouths to meet, sloppy and awkward and somehow perfect, as he slips his fingers under Pete’s waistband and wraps them around his cock.
 
Pete groans into Patrick’s mouth, hips stuttering up, pushing into Patrick’s fist. His head rolls back as Patrick flicks his wrist, eyes slipping shut.
 
“Yeah,” Patrick breathes against Pete’s open, panting mouth, tightening his hand, moving it faster. Patrick is hard, is dizzyingly aroused, but it’s a distant sort of thing, secondary to watching, entranced, as Pete moves under his hands.
 
Pete’s hips twitch with every stroke of Patrick’s hand, jerking up to try to meet his fist. Patrick twists his hand, once, and Pete makes this helpless little huh-uh sound, whole body arching up. Patrick’s wrist slips into the short, smooth, back-forth he uses on himself, and Pete’s hands clench on Patrick’s arms, trembling.
 
“Please, Trick, I—“ Pete’s voice is raw, wrecked, broken, and Patrick just thinks, Mine.
 
Patrick licks into Pete’s mouth again, messy and hard, and Pete leans up to meet him, gasping into Patrick’s mouth. Patrick twists his fist again, hard, and then Pete is crying out, body tensing in one long, gorgeous line, cock pulsing in Patrick’s hand, hips jerking erratically as he comes. Patrick pushes his own hips up, against the curve of Pete’s back, once, twice, and then he’s following.
 
--
 
[[Victoria has spent the last decade holding back.
 
She’s held Gabe—and okay, yes, Bill—at arm’s length, because that’s her job. And maybe Gabe is the reason she cares about her job in the first place, is the only reason she’s ever cared about the job, but she does care, now.
 
And if she doesn’t keep herself at a distance, she runs the risk of ruining everything, for Gabe and herself. If she gives him what he wants, what he’s never held back asking for, either it would work out perfectly, and she’d be blissfully happy, and she’d think life was worth living, and she’d get her second chance—and have to leave him. Leave him alone, leave him and be alone. And if she gives in, and it doesn’t work, and she hurts him—
 
He’d stop listening. He’d stop listening, and then Victoria wouldn’t be able to do a thing against all the miserable, sharp things inside of him when they get too big for him to handle alone, and she’d lose him. She wouldn’t even get the second chance, then, she’d just be reassigned, she’d just have to keep watching over meaningless life after meaningless life, knowing she’d let him—
 
So she keeps herself at a distance. And when he looks at her with those dark, wanting eyes, she swallows down the sharp pain in her throat and reminds herself how much worse it could be. ]]
 
--
 
When Pete opens his eyes, he’s still breathing hard, head tucked into the crook of Patrick’s neck. He licks his lips, swallows. Patrick’s eyes are heavy-lidded, ginger lashes brushing his cheeks with every blink. His pupils are completely blown. 
 
“Trick,” Pete rasps, voice a little rough, and he’s suddenly, blissfully exhausted. “I—“
 
Patrick looks at him, eyes soft, and smoothes his thumb over the slope of Pete’s cheekbone. “Sleep. I’ll let you convince me that I’m Gwyneth Paltrow in the morning, okay?” He’s smiling a little as he says it, like maybe he doesn’t mind being Pete’s very own Pepper Potts if it means it’ll make Pete happy.
 
Pete beams at him. “We should really clean up,” he points out then, voice cracking on a yawn.
 
Patrick nods sleepily. “We should. Just use the afghan, I’ll wash it tomorrow.”
 
Patrick never lets Pete get the afghan dirty. Patrick has very strict rules about the afghan. Already half asleep, Pete drags it off the back of the couch, seizing his chance, and uses it to wipe the mess off his stomach, off Patrick’s hand. Grinning to himself, Pete tosses it to the floor and cuddles close, wrapping himself around Patrick and burrowing drowsily against the warmth of his chest.
 
Patrick slides down as far as his wings will let him, tucking Pete up against the back of the couch and enfolding him in his arms. Pressing his lips to Pete’s temple, Patrick murmurs, “I love you.”
 
And then, before Pete can respond, there’s a small woman with very large brown wings standing in the middle of the room.
 
--
 
[[“I love you,” Gabe says, smiling dreamily, head on Victoria’s lap. He looks pleasantly distant, like he’s drunk, except that she knows he hasn’t had a drink in days. Bill is still asleep, sprawled out over the entire left side of the bed, and Gabe and Victoria are on the floor, ostensibly so they don’t wake him, but mostly because Victoria doesn’t like sitting close enough that she might actually touch Bill—by accident or otherwise.
 
She smiles tightly down at him, stroking the side of his neck, and resists the immediate, painfully strong urge to respond in kind. Instead, she says, “I’ll help you make breakfast for him.” It’s a peace offering, sort of, an, I love you, and an, I’m sorry, all at once.
 
Gabe knows. His smile only falters for a second before it’s back, brighter and more focused than before. “Waffles?” he asks, like he’s testing. They take the longest, out of all the options in the house, but much more importantly, they’re Bill’s favorite.
 
She rolls her eyes and bites her lip so she doesn’t smile. “For you? Waffles.”
 
He pokes her in the side. “Not for me.”
 
She slaps his hand away and stands up, snorting. “Stop pushing.” She turns to glare at the unconscious form on the bed, remembering the pen-and-paper incident. “Both of you. You’re terrible.”
 
He beams at her and draws her close, reeling her in until she’s pressed to his chest. His arms wrap around her, bringing with them that incongruous, still-startling sense of safety. “You know you love us cause we push,” he teases, brushing his lips over her temple.
 
She doesn’t give him anything more than a grumpy noise that could potentially be taken as assent, but she knows he knows it’s true. Smiling a little bit, she lets him lead her to the kitchen, and, subsequently, to endless waffle preparation and good-natured ribbing about how she’s gone soft.
 
She steals bites out of each of the most perfect waffles—because they look delicious, really, not because she knows it’ll make Bill smile to see—and smacks Gabe’s hand with the whisk when he tries to do the same.
 
When he cheerfully smears a streak of batter over her eyebrow and smudges it with a fleeting press of lips, Victoria smiles so hard it hurts.]]
 
--
 
Gabe frowns and snaps his fingers in front of Vicky-T’s face. “Yo,” he says, a little irritated, “are you even listening to me?” He’s trying to explain this idea he has, about forming a band in the image of the Cobra, and teaching the emo kids to wear bright colors and dance.
 
She hums a little, a small smile quirking the corner of her mouth, and just says, oddly, disconcertingly distant, “I need to go talk to Patrick.”
 
Gabe has time to blink, to think, Patrick? and, Pete’s Patrick? and maybe a hint of, What the fuck? before the place where Vicky-T was standing is empty, and Gabe is alone in the living room.
 
Pretty much all he thinks after that is, That can’t be good, and, Well, shit.
 
He gets his car keys and fucking tears out the door.
 
--
 
Victoria shows up when Patrick says, “I love you.”
 
Smiling, she says, “Oh, congratulations, Patrick, it looks like you figured it out.”
 
Patrick looks up from where Pete is still curled around him, says dumbly, “What?”
 
Victoria beams at him. “You get your second chance. I felt the pull to you—you figured it out, you get to start over.”
 
A hand squeezes around Patrick’s lungs. “What—“ He looks from Victoria, smiling, to Pete, stricken and frozen.
 
“Come now,” Victoria says chidingly, “it’s time to go.”
 
Patrick can feel something sharp, tugging at his insides, and he can’t tell if it’s whatever magic is going to send him back, or just bitter, gnawing terror. “I can’t,” he finally manages to push through his clenched teeth. His hands are white-knuckled fists, clenching and unclenching as he tries to push the sensation away so he can stay, so he can speak.
 
Victoria’s smile falters. “Don’t be silly. You’ve been waiting for this for—“
 
“No,” Pete says sharply, shoving Patrick out of the way and clambering messily off the couch. “No,” he repeats, “he can’t go.”
 
Victoria blinks at him. “He has to go. It’s not a choice.” She turns to Patrick, and Pete doesn’t waste a second, just skids around the back of the couch and makes a run for the kitchen. She lets him go, brow furrowed. “Patrick, I’ve never met someone who wanted to start over as badly as you did. What’s—“
Patrick’s shaking his head—frantically, helplessly, and the rest of him is maybe shaking a little, too. The pulling sensation is worse now, a firm grip right under his breastbone that urges him to go go gogogogo. “Victoria, I can’t leave him.”
 
All of a sudden, the tugging sensation lessens, and for one blind, stupid moment, Patrick thinks it’s what he said.
 
Pete says, “He’s not leaving.” There’s an iron undercurrent in the words, and Victoria’s eyes go almost comically wide.
 
“What the hell are you doing?” she demands, striding into the kitchen.
 
Gripped by what is definitely fear, now, Patrick follows close behind.
 
And then he sees Pete.
 
--
 
“This is a gross violation of the intent behind the rules,” Victoria says, crossing her arms and glaring at them.
 
“I could make it grosser,” Pete offers humorlessly, his mouth a flat line. His hand is clenched around the steak knife, the tip digging into the flesh over the vein in his left wrist. His hand doesn’t shake at all, and some part of Patrick is fiercely proud of him for that.
 
A muscle twitches at the corner of her mouth, and if Patrick didn’t know better, he’d swear it was something related to a smile. “Don’t forget, it’s down the road—“ she starts dryly, like she’s bored.
 
“Not across the fucking street,” Pete finishes, and digs in a little harder with the knife. A tiny spot of blood wells up against the steel, and Pete doesn’t even wince.
 
“Don’t be a moron,” Victoria snaps. “You’re happy now, you’re safe, you have a good life—there’s no reason to throw it away.”
 
Pete’s mouth tightens, and he hisses through clenched teeth, “I’m happy because of Patrick.” He presses the knife down a little harder, laughing a little, and it’s somewhere between bitter and hysterical. “My life? My life is Patrick.”
 
Victoria pulls a face. “Don’t be so fucking melodramatic,” she says, but there’s something like fear under her voice. Patrick can feel it, knows why it’s there—if Pete dies while they’re both there, they’ll both lose any shot they have at a second chance, they’ll both be reassigned and stuck in this loop for a damn long time. And Patrick might not give a flying fuck about being reborn if it means having to leave Pete, but he knows that’s not why Victoria’s still around, knows she can’t take reassignment, can’t take leaving Gabe to look out for himself with his life the way it is and then trying to look after someone else, too. “You’re not a martyr, Wentz, you’re just making an ass of yourself.”
 
Pete grins at her, and it’s ugly, all sharp corners and jagged edges. “I can make an ass of myself all over the fucking floor, bitch,” he says, and there’s no bravado there, just raw sincerity and hope squeezed through gritted teeth. “You know I’ll do it.”
 
“Oh, you will not,” she retorts, but her hands are clenched at her sides. “You’ve got everything going for you. You’ve got a wildly successful label, real friends—“
 
“Fucking try me,” Pete dares her, angling the knife down, like he’s getting ready to drag it towards his elbow. “All I want going for me,” Pete says firmly, “is Patrick.”
 
Patrick does not, does not have tears sliding down his cheeks. He doesn’t. “Victoria,” he croaks, voice stupidly hoarse.
 
She doesn’t even look at him. “Shut up,” she tells him, voice flat and icy. “I swear to god if you ruin this whole thing for me because of a stupid infatuation with this jackass—“ she cuts off, breathing hard, and stares at the doorway, eyes wide.
 
“You know it’s not like that, Vicky-T,” Gabe says softly, leaning on the doorjamb casually, for all the world like it’s just another day, like his best friend isn’t standing at the counter, ready to slit his wrists.
 
Her face softens a little, and she says regretfully, “Gabe, these aren’t rules we can just break.”
 
Gabe’s mouth twists into something between a grimace and a real smile. “Baby girl,” he says, shaking his head, like he’s in charge of her, not the other way around, “People like you and me can break all the rules.”
 
She laughs, and it’s wet and a little helpless. “Gabe,” she says, squeezing her eyes shut, and there’s something that might be a tear glimmering on her cheek. “Gabe, you know if I let him stay, somebody else has to—“
 
“Go, querida,” he says gently. “I’ll be waiting when you find your way home.”
 
“What about Bill?” she asks, and there’s a note of something almost bitter in the question. Patrick doesn’t know if she means, What about you being in love with Bill?, or—
 
Gabe’s face breaks out into a real smile, then, and he says, “He’ll be waiting, too.”
 
Victoria’s voice cracks on a sob when she says, “You’re an ass.” She bites her lip and takes a breath, then, and says, in a very small voice, “What if you’re—what if you—“
 
Gabe pushes off the doorframe and crosses the kitchen. Tilting her chin up with his finger, forcing her to look him in the eye, he shakes his head and says, “I swear, I will take such good care of myself, you won’t know a day has gone by.”
 
She snorts. “Liar,” she whispers, tipping her head to kiss the tips of his fingers. “You are such a liar.”
 
“Guilty,” he says, smiling down into her eyes and stroking a thumb over the curve of her jaw. “But I’ll be around, corazón.” He bends down just a little, leaning his head against hers. “We both will.”
 
Patrick holds his breath in the silence that follows. It spins on, and on, Gabe and Victoria searching each other’s faces, Pete holding perfectly, utterly still with the knife digging into his wrist.
 
Finally, Victoria breaks the silence. “Okay,” she breathes, then, louder, “Okay.” To Gabe, she says, “I swear to god, if you’re not there when I come looking for you, I will search the afterlife for your sorry ass and make your eternity a living hell.”
 
He beams at her. “I would expect no less from you.”
 
To Patrick she says, “I don’t actually know what happens to you now, you know. No one’s ever tried to—this is unprecedented.”
 
Patrick nods, mouth dry. “I know.” He’s not really worried, if it means he gets to stay.
 
Finally, she turns to Pete. “I don’t know what they see in you,” she says, but it sounds almost fond.
 
Pete shrugs, not letting the knife even twitch. “Me neither,” he says wryly, “But I’ll take what I can get.”
 
She laughs, a startled, almost unwilling sound, and spreads her tawny wings with one fluid snap. Turning back to Gabe, she says, “Leap of faith, yeah?” and it’s like it means more than just the words alone do.
 
“Jump, baby,” he says, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “I’ll catch you.”
 
Her eyes linger in the room longer than the rest of her, still bright once her skin has faded into shadow. Gabe doesn’t look away until they’re long gone, and when he does, it’s to look at Patrick, which is pretty impressive, since he’s not actually trying to show himself to Gabe, and humans can’t usually see him unless he wants them to—actually, can’t see him even if he does want them to. Gabe can’t usually see him at all, in fact.
 
“You kept him alive when the rest of us didn’t,” he says to Patrick. There’s no regret in his voice when he adds, “I can’t pretend that means anything less than it does.”
 
Patrick feels lighter than he has since he died, lighter than he’s ever felt, really, even in the air. “This is everything,” he says back, because there really aren’t any other words for what Pete is to him.
 
Gabe’s mouth curls a little. “For me, too.” And with that, and with a nod to Pete, he’s crossing the kitchen, leaving the room. Leaving them alone.
 
“Trick,” Pete says, and for the first time today, his voice is shaking. The tip of the knife is still digging into his skin, the blood around it mostly dry and flaking now.
 
Patrick’s at his side before he even thinks to move, one hand curling around the handle of the knife, prying it from Pete’s trembling fingers. “It’s okay,” he says, lips still numb with shock. He drops the knife on the counter with a clatter and reels Pete in, crushing him close. “It’s okay,” he repeats. “We’re okay.”
 
Pete draws in a shuddering breath. “I thought it wouldn’t be—I didn’t—“ He lets the breath out, and it’s no less shaky this time around. “I thought I was losing you.”
 
“You were so brave.” Patrick presses kiss after kiss into Pete’s hair, whispers fiercely, “You were so fucking brave.”
 
“Not brave,” Pete says, words damp against the skin of Patrick’s neck. “Just honest.”
 
Patrick finally lets the tears run down his face, unhindered, and hides his face in Pete’s hair while his shoulders shake.
 
--
 
Patrick has Pete bent over the arm of the couch, two fingers twisting roughly into him, hands shaking.
 
Pete chokes out a dirty, ragged gasp as Patrick shoves gracelessly into him, thrusting hard, panicked, breathless.
 
Patrick’s hands scrabble over Pete’s sides, back, shoulders, frantically trying to memorize, to prove that they’re both still here.
 
Pete’s voice catches on a sob when he comes, clenching hard around Patrick, fingernails tearing thin lines in the couch cushions.
 
Patrick’s mind is still so white with fear, it takes him long, long minutes to follow after, still moving urgently while Pete whimpers, boneless, under him. When he finally goes over the edge, he literally blacks out with the force of it, clinging desperately to Pete’s hips and jolting forward into darkness.
 
--
 
Pete hadn’t known about Victoria, hadn’t known she was Gabe’s—that Gabe even had a guardian. Although it probably explains why Gabe hadn’t thought he was insane, even from the start.
 
“What—“ he asks Patrick when they finally have a quiet moment that isn’t filled with totally unmanly crying or really ferocious I’m-alive! sex. “What even—I mean, Gabe and Bill.” They’re curled up in bed, wrapped haphazardly around each other, and Pete is maybe still clinging, monkeylike, but he almost lost Patrick today, and Patrick doesn’t seem to be clinging any less.
 
Patrick shrugs, rubbing the tip of his nose against Pete’s collarbone. “Bonds with angels are different for different people,” he says, sort of uncomfortably, which Pete takes as his way of saying that he doesn’t know, and doesn’t want to know.
 
That’s kind of fair—Pete hasn’t ever really wanted to see more of Gabe’s sex and/or love life than he gets shoved in front of him on a regular basis. “He saved us, pretty much,” Pete says, and it feels weird, feels wrong. “Not that Victoria was doing anything other than—“
 
“She was just doing her job,” Patrick agrees quietly. “The thing is, she’s never been very good at the job, not until Gabe. She never really got the whole ‘giving a shit about people’ thing down until him. Even then, I think—I think she kind of kept herself at a distance.”
 
“So she could stay.” Pete doesn’t know that’s what he means until he says it.
 
Patrick shrugs. “So she wouldn’t hurt him.” 
 
Pete squeezes Patrick’s hand, tangled up with his. “That’s not how we work,” he reminds him, because no matter how hurt Pete ever is, he’s relatively sure that if Patrick tells him seriously not to do something, he’s going to fucking listen.
 
Patrick presses a kiss to Pete’s jaw. “I know,” he says, and Pete can feel his smile. “I’m just answering your question.”
 
Pete nods, says, “I know, I was just—“
 
“Reminding me,” Patrick finishes, kissing his mouth this time. “Like I ever need reminding about the way you are,” he says, half laughing, half affectionate.
 
Pete closes his eyes, lets himself fall into the warm slide of Patrick’s mouth against his, the softness of Patrick’s skin under his hands.
 
They fall asleep like that, sheer exhaustion swamping them, and Pete drifts off feeling, finally, like the other shoe has dropped, and like maybe they’ve caught it.
 
--
 
Patrick wakes up to Pete pressing his mouth to the juncture of Patrick’s wing and his shoulder, to the smooth, delicate skin that merges feathers and flesh.
 
“Hey,” Pete murmurs.
 
His tongue darts out, wet and warm and careful, and Patrick's whole body jerks.
 
"Sorry," Pete mutters, and backs off. Like it's a bad thing. Like Patrick would have said no, would have pushed him away, even after everything that’s happened today, that’s happened over all this time.

Patrick hesitates, just for a second, then leans back against him, presses close enough to make himself clear without pushing.

Pete's breath catches, and he runs a tentative hand up Patrick's arm, down his shoulder. "You're-- you don't mind?"

Patrick swallows and shakes his head, doesn't trust himself not to embarrass himself if he says anything.

Pete gets it, though, and his mouth is less hesitant this time. His lips graze the thin, translucent skin that covers the place where the feathers fuse with Patrick's shoulder, and his tongue slips out to trace the cord of muscle that runs from Patrick's shoulder into his right wing. Pete's breathing is heavy, and his hands slip down Patrick's sides and around to his chest, skimming over his skin and tugging him closer. Patrick obligingly presses back.
 
This is something different than the mindless, panicked touches from earlier today. This is a process of claiming, of reminding.

Pete pants a little, grinding up against Patrick's tailbone, and his mouth closes over a spot on the underside of Patrick's shoulder blade and sucks. Patrick feels a shudder run through him, down his back and into his thighs, and his neck arches back with the force of it. Pete clearly takes it as a suggestion, because then his mouth is on the side of Patrick's throat, nipping and sucking and tracing nonsense shapes with his tongue, and all Patrick can hear is his own ragged breathing and Pete's muted noises of arousal.

Pete's teeth close around Patrick's earlobe. "Trick," he pants, damp, against the shell of Patrick's ear. "Please, please.” And then his hand is skimming lower on Patrick's stomach, tracing the waistband of Patrick's boxers, and Patrick is suddenly so hard it hurts.

Pete moans, actually moans, when Patrick turns all the way around and presses him back into the bed. "Patrick, Patrick," he whispers, over and over, like it's some sort of safety net, a reminder, and Patrick can't help himself. He rolls his hips, hard, and nips at Pete's lip, licks his way into Pete's mouth. The recollection that he’d almost lost this today, almost never been able to have this—any part of this—again, still makes him frantic, puts a desperate undercurrent into every movement, every instant.

Pete arches up, opens for him, and Patrick can't think anything but, want, want, and, Pete, and, mine. He surrenders to it, and the blood drums behind his eyes and in his ears as he finds his way through Pete's motions and breaths and sounds.
 
--
 
Gabe doesn’t say anything when Bill answers the door, just buries his head in Bill’s shoulder and falls apart.
 
Bill tightens his arms around him and holds on. When Gabe has fallen into silent shakes and the shoulder of Bill’s shirt is soaked through, he says gently, “Bed, Gabe. Come on, let’s go.”
 
Gabe looks up at him with red, tired eyes, and says, “I told her—I said we’d—“
 
Bill kisses the corner of his mouth. “We will,” he assures him. “I’m not going anywhere, and neither are you.” He pulls back just enough to smile, a little wryly. “Except to bed.”
 
“Mother hen,” Gabe accuses as Bill leads him down the hall, voice a little raw.
 
Bill sits him down on the bed and kneels to unlace his boots. “Yeah,” he says agreeably, pulling off one boot, then the other, “But I’m only filling in.”
 
When he crawls into bed beside Gabe, he pulls the covers over both of them, and Gabe huddles uncharacteristically close, curling around Bill and holding on tight.
 
“Not going anywhere,” Gabe murmurs, squeezing a little.
 
Bill shakes his head. “Not going anywhere,” he confirms. Victoria is as much a part of Gabe as his voice, his hands, his smile, and Gabe is the only place Bill’s ever wanted to be.
 
--
 
When Patrick wakes up the morning after everything, he’s lying on a pile of feathers, and his shoulders ache like hell.
 
“Trick,” Pete says, blinking from Patrick to the mess of slightly bloodied feathers and back again. “What the fuck happened?”
 
Patrick lifts one feather, spinning it between his forefinger and thumb. “I guess—I guess this is just what happens now,” he says slowly. He reaches over his shoulder, gropes at his shoulder blades, and winces when his fingers dig into flesh that feels like raw meat. “Fuck.”
 
Pete doesn’t say another word, just gets up and goes to the bathroom, coming back with a pack of gauze squares, a roll of medical tape, and a tube of Neosporin. “C’mere,” he says, tugging a little on Patrick’s arm to turn him.
 
Patrick does his best not to wince when Pete smears the ointment over his—wounds, cuts? Patrick doesn’t know what the right word is for holes where wings used to be. The gauze squares rub strangely, but they don’t hurt as badly as they could, and Pete’s uncharacteristically careful with the medical tape around the edges.
 
“There,” Pete murmurs finally, when he’s done, tenderly stroking a finger around the edge of one neat square of tape and gauze. He follows it with a soft kiss between Patrick’s shoulder blades. “Good as new.”
 
And the thing is, Patrick is.
 
--
 
EPILOGUE:
 
Eighteen years later:
 
Bill is asleep, draped over Gabe’s chest, when the knock on the door comes. Gabe shows no signs of waking up, so Bill grumbles a little to himself, but drags himself out of bed. He doesn’t bother to do more than tug a pair of sweats over his hips—if whoever it is has a problem with his disheveled state, they can talk to Gabe and his mad debauching skills.
 
The girl blinking up at him when he opens the door is seventeen, maybe eighteen, if Bill pushes it, all sharp edges and crocodile eyes. She hasn’t even really grown into them yet, but her legs are already lethal. Bill knows who she is; he’d have to be blind not to.
 
“Bill,” she says, like she’s surprised. She doesn’t sound disappointed, though. She licks her lips a little, a look of worry flickering over her features, and says, “I didn’t actually think—is he okay?”
 
“He’s fine, not dead, just sleeping like it,” Bill says, and before he actually gives himself permission to do it, he’s slipping a hand under her jaw, tilting her head up, licking his way into her mouth.
 
She doesn’t hesitate for even a moment, opening her mouth under his, curling her hand over his and shifting closer until Bill’s pressed up against the doorframe.
 
When Bill manages to pull away, they’re both flushed and breathing hard. “We should maybe wake him up,” he says faintly, and it’s an understatement, really.
 
She grins up at him, and it’s no different than he knew it would be, all teeth and a little too wide. It warms something inside him, tugging at something not even really sexual at all. “Lead the way,” she says softly, threading their fingers together.
 
Bill squeezes her hand and presses a kiss to her temple. “We missed you,” he says, low enough that she can ignore it if she wants to.
 
She doesn’t argue that Bill can’t have missed her, that Bill didn’t even know her, and Bill’s pretty sure it’s because they’re both too old for that kind of bullshit now. Instead, she knocks her hip against his and ducks her head and whispers, “I missed you, too.”
 
END
 
--

Awesome Fanmix: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/14117.html
Part One: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13256.html
Part Two: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13558.html
Part Three: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13814.html
[[“You’re a moron,” Vicky-T tells him, managing to sound supremely exasperated and proud at the same time. She dabs at the bruise around his eye with a cool washcloth, wiping away the small spots of blood from his cheek, the corner of his mouth.
 
Gabe shrugs. “I guess,” he says. His tongue feels thick, and it hurts to move his jaw. He probably is a moron, but he’d still go back and do it again.
 
“He was twice your size,” she points out disparagingly. “Twice your size and brutal.” She turns to his hands, wiping the blood and dirt off the tattered skin over his knuckles.
 
Despite himself, Gabe sucks in a sharp breath at the pain of it. “Shit, that stings,” he admits, looking away.
 
She smiles sardonically. “Well, that’s what you get for getting into a fight without a damn clue what you’re doing.”
 
“He was fucking with Bill,” Gabe mutters, mouth tightening. “I’d do it again.”
 
“Mmm,” she agrees, mouth twitching. “Well, next time you do it, keep a hand up by your face to block with. And for the love of god, learn how to make a decent fist.”
 
He looks at her—really looks, in the way he’s stopped letting himself look, recently. Her cheeks are red, like she’s either embarrassed or pissed off and trying to hide it. There’s always this vibe around her, this aura of Don’t fuck with me. She’s—she’s sharp, all jagged edges and clean lines. “You know, though,” he says, finally.
 
“Know what?” she asks, not looking up from his hand, which she’s now smearing with disinfectant.
 
“What you’re doing. How to make a decent fist.” He flexes his hand, wincing a little at the way the skin tears.
 
She slaps his hand—gently, for her. “I had—it’s something you pick up, if you do it wrong enough times.” Her voice is a little off. “And when you—just. People usually aren’t hesitant about giving you plenty of chances to learn.”
 
Gabe thinks about that, about how many times it takes, fighting off people that are bigger than you, before you learn how to do it right. Not many people are taller than him, but he’s not big, just long. She doesn’t even have that on her side.
 
For the first time, he wonders how she died.
 
He knows better than to ask, though, knows the best he’ll get is silence, the worst he’ll get is a kick to the balls, and he’s had enough violence done to him for one day.
 
“Show me, then,” he says instead.
 
She’s quiet for a while—for a minute or two, Gabe wonders if she’s going to say anything at all.
 
Finally, she wraps her hand around his left one, which is less torn up than the right, and curls it into a loose fist, thumb wrapped around the other fingers instead of inside it. “Like this,” she murmurs, pressing the tip of his thumb to his ring finger.
 
Setting aside his pride and his questions, Gabe listens. ]]
 
--
 
It’s gotten to the point where Pete gets used to—no, really, learns to rely on—Patrick mocking him for his appallingly long showers, arguing with him about the contents of his fridge, bitching about whatever Pete wants to watch on TV.
 
He’s starting to actually record Cupcake Wars on his TiVo. On purpose. Just to see Patrick’s smile when he finds it.
 
He’s starting to cheerfully anticipate waking up to Patrick grousing about Pete being late to whatever he’s supposed to be doing, nagging him about his appointments and his paperwork, being very, very anal retentive about the state of the afghan on Pete’s couch.
 
It’s kind of getting to the point that Pete can’t really imagine living without that.
 
--
 
[[The first time Gabe has sex with Bill, Gabe is nineteen, and sort of hilariously drunk. They’ve been friends for a couple of years now, flirting on and off, but nothing’s ever really happened—Gabe hasn’t let himself think much about it, because as far as his melodramatic teenaged brain is concerned, Vicky-T is the only girl he’s ever going to love.
 
On the other hand, despite his lady-hair, Bill is definitely not a girl.
 
Bill comes up to him after a show, sharp hips protruding from his jeans, hands Gabe a beer, and says, “So, the thing is—“
 
And then Gabe has him crowded up against the wall of the venue, hands curled over the curves of Bill’s hips, tongue sweeping into his mouth.
 
Bill’s head hits brick harder than it probably should, but he’s arching against Gabe and gasping into his mouth like Gabe is the most amazing high he’s ever had, and Gabe doesn’t really think much beyond that.
 
“My place?” Gabe pants into the long, long line of Bill’s neck, steadily rocking their hips together, thumbs tucked into the front pockets of Bill’s jeans.
 
Bill doesn’t bother to actually answer, just wraps long fingers around Gabe’s wrist and tows him to the door.
 
When he has Bill pressed into his mattress, legs wound around Gabe’s waist, head thrown back on the pillows, gulping air and groaning, Vicky-T watches from the dresser, impassive as always.
 
Gabe drives into Bill a last time, meeting her eyes as he comes.
 
She looks back at him, one eyebrow cocked, and utterly fails to react at all.]]
 
--
 
“Stop being emo,” Patrick says, rolling his eyes.
 
“I’m not emo,” Pete retorts, affronted. “Why, Trick? Why would you say such a thing? That shit is uncalled for, man.”
 
Patrick raises an eyebrow. Pete has learned to quail in the face of Patrick’s eyebrows. “Right,” he agrees blandly. “You totally don’t run a label full of emo bands.”
 
“Pop-punk,” Pete stresses, pouting. “Pop-punk, Patrick.” He pokes Patrick in the side to make his point. “There is totally a difference. A massive, very important difference.”
 
“Oh,” Patrick says, face completely straight. “Oh, right, totally my bad.” He kind of ruins it by patting Pete on the head.
 
Pete ignores the head-pat and says, stern, “Damn straight it is.”
 
Patrick huffs out a little laugh and wraps his arm around Pete’s shoulders, tugging him up against his side. Pete snuggles closer, because he can’t actually hold anything against Patrick, even things that are obviously slanderous.  Also, Patrick giving him an excuse to touch is always nice.
 
Quietly, in the darkness before the movie starts, Pete says, “I’m pretty sure the major component in being emo is a deathwish, anyways.”
 
Patrick’s head jerks around, and his face is drawn when he says, “Pete—“
 
Pete shakes his head, hiding his face in Patrick’s shirt. “I’m not, Trick,” he says, and it’s barely a whisper. “That’s what I was trying—I’m not.”
 
The wrinkle between Patrick’s brows smoothes out, and he half-smiles. “Yeah?” he asks, cautiously, like he really hadn’t known.
 
Pete takes a deep breath and double-checks, because he doesn’t lie to Patrick. He sweeps through all the places in him that were cracked, before, that were broken or raw or bruised or missing entirely, and finds them mostly healed, or healing, everything softly new and intact. “Yeah,” he confirms, and this is one of the few times he’s felt like he could admit something good about himself without risking jinxing it.
 
Patrick’s arm tightens briefly around him, and he presses dry lips to Pete’s forehead. “Good,” he says, and it’s firm and commanding, somehow, like punctuation. There’s something in it, too, something like relief, something, maybe, like pride.
 
Pete closes his eyes, reveling in it, and neither of them moves to start the movie for another half an hour.
 
--
 
[[Gabe is twenty when he tries to kill himself the second time. He’s just had his first big concert with his latest band, Midtown. After the show, dozens of teenagers come up to him, thanking him, telling him exactly how right he is about the way people are, showing him the scabs and scars on their arms like they’re badges of honor or something.  He spends the rest of the night drinking himself into a stupor with his guys, and Victoria trails after him, feeling faintly nauseous. He ignores her when she tries to keep him from finishing his drinks, completely unheeding of the death grip she has on his arm. He takes a cab home at about two in the morning, and crawls into bed, eyes red, without saying a word.
 
When Victoria wakes up, she’s not actually as surprised as she should be. 
 
“You need to put that down,” Victoria says, somewhere between sharp and cajoling. It’s not an easy line to walk; she’s not sure she’s managing it. The taste of fear is sort of overwhelming her awareness of tone. It’s not really a familiar sensation; somehow, it’s even more foreign than the recent guilt.
 
Gabe doesn’t look at her, just shakes his head a little and continues to face the wall. His voice shakes a little when he says, “I don’t think I should.” Victoria feels something that might be shame, might be a taste of what he’s feeling. He’s doing this because he thinks he’s making lives worse, but he’s only been singing everything she’s ever told him—that people are hateful, that they want to hurt you, and you need to suck it up and wall yourself off so they can’t do it. Her stomach churns, and for the first time since she died, she thinks, Maybe I was wrong.
 
Victoria eases herself out of bed as slowly as she can, doing her best not to startle him. Sudden movements would be bad; would end with a mess on the carpet, on the wall, and something suspiciously like a hole in Victoria’s own gut. Slowly, so slowly, she rounds the edge of the bed, coming up on Gabe’s right, the side with the gun. He doesn’t move, doesn’t look at her, even when she crouches down in front of him, hands on his knees. “Gabe,” she entreats, stroking her thumbs over his knees. “Gabe, talk to me.”
 
Gabe is silent, eyes fluttering shut, and his hand trembles a little.
 
Victoria’s fingers tighten a little, and she says, just a bit sharper this time, “Gabe. Give me the fucking gun.” He doesn’t, of course, because it’s Gabe, and Gabe never actually listens to anyone.
 
So Victoria sighs and straightens from her crouch, knees crackling like wax paper. Carefully, so she doesn’t jostle his gun hand, she plants one knee on either side of his hips on the bed, settling into his lap. Slowly, still as slow as she can be, she leans in, cheek brushing his, and hooks her chin over his left shoulder, laying her head against his, directly in the line of fire.
 
“Do it, then,” she murmurs into the skin behind his ear.
 
His breath stutters out, tripping over his lips. “You’re dead already,” he says, but it’s uncertain.
 
She shrugs and doesn’t move away. “So pull the trigger. Maybe it’ll stick this time.”
 
He’s silent for a minute. She waits, feeling his heartbeat pounding under her cheek. Eventually, he says, voice so small, so stupidly young, “Why?”
 
She has a hundred answers to that. A thousand, even, starting with, Something about your smile makes me feel alive again, all the way to, I don’t think I could save anyone after this if I can’t save you. But she goes with the most true answer, the answer to all of her other answers, and says, maybe a little helplessly, “I don’t know.” She doesn’t. Doesn’t know why his smile turns her over, why she needs him to want to live, why she cares, this time around.
 
And then she hears the soft click of the safety, the thump of the gun hitting the mattress, and his arms are around her, tight and warm, and he says, “Shh, querida, shh, it’s okay,” and she realizes, with immediate, blinding mortification, that she’s crying.
 
“If you ever do that again, I’m going to bite off all your fingers,” she says, sniffling and swiping angrily at her eyes. “See how well you jerk off with stubs.”
 
He laughs, a little wetly, and leans back, thumbing a tear from under her eye. “I think I’d manage.”
 
She growls, narrowing her eyes at him, and for a moment, she can’t see his face between the gleam of light off the water in her eyes. “I’d just cut to the chase and go for your dick, then.”
 
He smiles, a soft, real smile, and says teasingly, “Oh, baby, I didn’t know you cared.” There’s a note of honesty, there, too, like he didn’t really expect her to stop him.
 
She rolls her eyes, ignoring the way they itch with salt. “That’s because you’re stupid.”]]
 
--
 
Pete waves his hands, gesticulating wildly. “No, no, like, and Patrick says—“
 
“Patrick?” Brendon says, furrowing his brow.
 
“He’s a friend from—he’s from LA, don’t worry about it, he’s just this buddy of mine,” Pete lies. He forgets, sometimes—all the time, if he’s not going to lie to himself—that Patrick hasn’t always just been there, that there was a time in his life when he was Patrick-less, and that basically no one knows that anything has changed. That Pete has changed.
 
It’s sort of sobering and bizarre to realize that Pete has changed; somehow, Patrick sums up this integral part of him that he can’t really imagine himself without, now. It’s not that he’s dependent on Patrick, they aren’t, like, creepy and old and married, just. There’s this big chunk of his insides, of his thoughts and his wants and his fears, and that whole section is just Patrick. He’s as much a part of Pete as talking, as moving, as sleep. Well, maybe more than sleep.
 
“You in there?” Brendon asks, waving his hand in front of Pete’s face. “You were talking about something,” he adds helpfully, looking slightly concerned.
 
“Yeah, no, yeah,” Pete says, snapping out of it a little. “I was saying—“ he goes on, but there’s this weird consciousness, now, of the soft sense of not-just-him in his existence now.
 
--
 
[[“It’s a leap of faith,” Gabe says, beckoning. “Come on, querida, I’ll catch you if you fall.”
 
Vicky-T scowls at him. “This is ridiculous,” she complains, frown deepening. 
 
“Yeah,” Gabe agrees tauntingly. “It’s pretty fucking ridiculous that you have wings and you fly, but you won’t get out here.”
 
She knocks the backs over her rollerblades against the wall she’s sitting on, clacking them obnoxiously. “If I were meant to balance on two thin rows of plastic wheels, Gabe, I would’ve been born with them.”
 
“And if I were meant to fly,” he retorts, “I would’ve been born with wings, but you still made me that one time.”
 
She fake-pouts at him—which, while adorable, is not even close to a match for Bill’s puppy dog eyes, to which Gabe has inured himself. “But the sky was fantastic. There’s nothing fantastic about scooting around an over-polished floor to terrible music and inevitably whacking into people who can’t see me.”
 
“Oh ho, so you say now.” Gabe waggles his eyebrows—he tries for invitingly, but he knows what his eyebrows look like, and that just seems damn unlikely. “Come on, corazón,” he entreats, holding out his hands. “I’ve got you.”
 
Rolling her eyes, she stands, wobbly-legged, on the skates, and scoots her way over to Gabe completely gracelessly. “You suck,” she informs him haughtily.
 
“And I’m damn good at it,” he says agreeably. “Just ask Bill.”
 
She groans and makes retching sounds, but Gabe’s optimistic enough to think that they’re mostly fake ones. ]]
 
--
 
Patrick likes to sing while he cooks. It’s not the quiet, raspy singing that Pete does in the shower. No, Patrick sings like the angel he is, all high and gorgeous and amazing. His voice takes even Brendon’s voice and kicks it in the ass. Patrick can hit notes that make Pete’s bones hum.
 
On the other hand, Pete sort of resents him for making him like songs he’s always hated. Patrick is especially fond of singing horrible 90’s pop and sometimes, when he’s being especially evil, opera.
 
Opera.
 
Pete is starting to like opera. And not, like, rock operas, although Patrick does a kickass rendition of pretty much anything by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but actual opera.
 
It’s some sort of Pavlovian thing, Pete’s sure. Patrick sings horrible, horrible songs while shaking his perfect, perfect ass and cooking food that he then feeds to Pete. No one can resist that sort of conditioning. No one.
 
--
 
[[It’s the morning after Midtown’s last show, after they announce to a stunned crowd that they’re splitting up for good this time. Gabe is slumped at his kitchen table, nursing a cold cup of coffee and a grimace.
 
“Stop it,” Victoria says, smacking the back of Gabe’s head. She doesn’t bother to be gentle; coddling isn’t good for him any more than indulging his moods is.
 
He scowls at her. “I’m not doing anything.” He doesn’t meet her eyes, though, which means he knows as well as she does that he’s full of shit.
 
“You’re moping,” she says. “You’re moping like a fifteen year old girl who’s just been told she can’t marry Edward Cullen.”
 
He pulls a face. “That is a disgusting comparison. I’m wounded.” He doesn’t argue that she’s wrong, though, which, really, after they’ve known each other this long, Victoria knows means he’s waiting for her to ask, waiting for her to pry so he can let all of his new emotional baggage spill out.
 
She doesn’t like to do what he expects of her. It’s bad for his character. “Come on,” she says, tugging at the collar of his shirt and making for the door. He can either stand up or choke.
 
He jerks around, standing up mid-motion. “Jesus, woman, let me the fuck go,” he protests, but it’s halfhearted at best. He knows better than that.
 
“Pizza,” she says, grabbing his keys from the counter and chucking them over her shoulder at him. They jangle in a very satisfying way when they collide with his chest. “Pizza, booze, and then possibly dancing.”
 
He clearly tries very hard to continue to grumble as they get into the car, but Victoria knows his weaknesses. She doesn’t mind letting him drink, a little, now—now that he knows how to do it for reasons other than numbing himself to everything. Not often, but now and again. He especially can’t resist going dancing—he likes that the rest of the club thinks he’s dancing with himself when he dances with her, likes being on display without having to care what’s thought about him.
 
Gabe’s worst weakness, really, is that need to be on display in the first place, that need to be paid attention to and adored. And the thing is, he’s spent so long tied up in vicious, bitter music and people who like him best when he’s miserable that Victoria isn’t sure he believes that people will pay attention to him any other way.]]
 
--
 
“Hey, sexy,” Pete yells into the dark house, “I’m home, gimme some sugar!” He’s home late, but Brendon had wanted to show him a new song he was working on, and they’d ended up playing Go Fish and talking about the merits of accordions versus keytars until after midnight.
 
Patrick pokes his head out of the bedroom. All of the hair on one side of his head is sticking up, like maybe he was asleep. “Pete,” he says warningly.
 
Pete drops his keys on the table and flops down onto the couch. “Yeah, yeah,” he says, rolling his eyes. “Sorry.”
 
Patrick bites his lip, like maybe there’s something else he wants to say, but he eventually just joins Pete on the couch and asks, “Veronica Mars?”
 
Pete shoves his feet under Patrick’s legs and flips on the TV. “Hell yes,” he agrees.
 
They watch four episodes, and Pete spends the time mostly successfully pretending that he doesn’t want to lick the slice of Patrick’s shoulder sticking out of his ratty shirt.
 
--
 
[[“What,” she mocks him, “What, you can make me do stupid things, and I can’t do the same?”
 
Gabe narrows his eyes at her, then looks pointedly at the place where the waves are breaking violently on the shore. “You’ve already made me go flying once. And I thought you’re supposed to keep me safe,” he says, arching an eyebrow.
 
Vicky-T does not give one shit about his eyebrow, because she’s Vicky-T. Which is part of why Gabe loves her. “You’re perfectly safe with me. Wings, remember?”
 
Gabe raises the other eyebrow, just to annoy her. “I dislike you in this moment, Victoria,” he says, as straight-faced as he can manage.
 
“Stop trying to sound like Bill,” she says, rolling her eyes. “You don’t have the hips for it.”
 
Gabe claps a hand to his chest, feigning affront. “You wound me,” he complains dramatically. “I have vicious hips.”
 
She pats him on the head. “Sure you do. Come on, Hippy McGee,” she says sardonically, “Leap of faith, remember?”
 
Gabe grumbles, but doesn’t argue any further. She’ll just make him regret it, anyways.
 
When they’re over the ocean, water skimming under his toes, he doesn’t even mind admitting she was right. ]]
 
--
 
“Pete, you’re going to be late for that meeting with Gerar—oh for the love of god.” Patrick shoves at Pete’s shoulder, rolling him over. Of course Pete is still in bed, twenty minutes before he’s supposed to be all the way across town in a business meeting.
 
Pete flops over onto his back and blinks groggily up at Patrick. “Unnnnghh,” he says, shielding his eyes against the light.
 
“You need to get your ass up, seriously, you are going to be so late.”
 
Pete’s eyes are ringed with shadows, and his skin is a sickly yellow-green. “Paaaaaaaaatriiiiiiiiiick,” he moans plaintively. “Why do you hate me?” He tries to burrow back down into the covers.
 
Patrick peers at him more closely. “Did you take something?” he asks, and his heart starts that trembling race in his chest. He shakes Pete a little. “Pete, seriously, what the—“
 
“Didn’t take anything,” Pete grouses, sitting up a little on his elbows. His lips are greyish, and his hair is plastered to his forehead. “I’m sick. I’m dying.” He coughs miserably.
 
Patrick automatically smacks him upside the head, but he feels bad when Pete cringes. Sighing, he pushes Pete’s damp hair back from his forehead, taking his temperature with the back of his hand. “You have a fever,” he admits, gnawing his lip as he tries to decide the best course of action.
 
Pete pouts up at him. “That’s what I was saying,” he complains, looking ridiculously pitiful. He squirms over so his head is on the edge of the bed, bumping Patrick’s leg. “I huuuuuuurt,” he whines.
 
Sitting gingerly on the bed, Patrick lifts Pete’s head so it can rest on his thigh. “Where does it hurt?”
 
Everywhere.” Pete snuggles closer, still pouting and generally looking forlorn. “I want to pull out all my organs and give them a very stern talking-to.”
 
Patrick bites his lip to hide his smile—it doesn’t do to encourage Pete when he’s like this, but he sounds like he’s six, and Patrick can’t help but think it’s sort of endearing. “You have a meeting with Gerard in—“ he checks his watch, “—fifteen minutes now.” He leans over to grab Pete’s phone from the nightstand, trying not to jostle Pete too much in the process. “You’re going to have to call him and say you can’t make it.”
 
Pete grumbles, but opens the phone and makes the call. While he’s convincing Gerard that he is not, in fact, just fucking off to go get drunk with Gabe, but that he does, indeed, have some variation of the death, Patrick carefully eases his way out from under Pete’s head, padding down the hall and into the kitchen.
 
When he comes back, a quarter of an hour later, Pete is off the phone, lying on his side and looking lost and miserable.
 
“Pete?” Patrick says, setting the tray down on the nightstand and rubbing a hand over Pete’s shoulder.
 
Pete rolls over to face him. “Could you just kill me, please? And not in an emo way. I think my sinuses are turning themselves inside out and you’d just be putting them out of their mise—oh, hey.” His eyes light up. “You brought me stuff.”
 
Patrick ducks his head, feeling his cheeks go inexplicably pink. “Just—yeah.” He busies himself with helping Pete sit up so he can balance the tray on his lap without spilling the soup everywhere. “You think you can eat?”
 
Pete nods eagerly. “I can’t smell very well. But what I can smell is awesome.” He beams up at Patrick. “You’re totally taking care of me, what the fuck.” He doesn’t sound like it’s something he’s complaining about.
 
Patrick rolls his eyes. “Well, it wouldn’t do for you to die by accident, either,” he tries to say, but it comes out an inarticulate mumble, and his cheeks are burning.
 
Pete leans in and kisses his nose. “You are my favorite,” he says, grinning even through the gray cast to his skin.
 
Patrick shoos him off with protests about giving him the plague, making Pete shut up and eat his soup.
Getting off the bed and crouching down in front of Pete’s movie collection, his back to Pete, he lets himself touch the tingling tip of his nose. Feeling weirdly giddy, Patrick hunts for a movie that’s appropriate for lying in bed and feeling like shit all day.
 
When he comes back with Legally Blonde, Pete laughs so hard he nearly dies coughing.
Patrick feels strangely warmed by that, too.
 
--
 
[[“So, wait,” Bill says, waving a quelling hand through the air. He’s twenty, a year younger than Gabe, and they’re sprawled out on the grass in the park. Bill’s got his head on Gabe’s thigh, long hair curling softly over the sides of his face, randomly flecked with shards of bright green from where Gabe has dropped bits of torn-up grass. “Wait, this Victoria you’re already talking about—“
 
“Vicky-T,” Gabe corrects staunchly, throwing extra grass at Bill’s head.
 
Bill rolls his eyes and flaps an unconcerned hand. “Whatever. So you’re saying she’s an—“
 
“Angel, yep,” Gabe confirms, shrugging as nonchalantly as he can manage while holding his breath. He waits, not daring to move, while Bill scans his face. His eyes are bright, but soft with something Gabe likes to tell himself is maybe the start of something more than what they’ve been so far, and Gabe is so caught up in his gaze that it hurts. Bill always manages to squirm into all the broken parts of Gabe that Vicky-T can’t reach—and she always glares when Gabe mentions it, muttering about Bill’s freaky spider arms— and fix them, little by little, from the inside out, until Gabe actually starts to think that maybe he’s not irreparable, after all, that maybe all the things he’s thought about people aren’t entirely true, and not just when it comes to Vicky-T. Bill can think Gabe is crazy until the end of the world, as far as Gabe’s concerned, as long as Bill sticks with him through it.
 
Bill’s long fingers brush the edge of Gabe’s jaw, trailing them up, behind his ear, to the exact place where Gabe can still feel Vicky-T’s lips from a year ago. “You’re serious,” he says, and he maybe sounds a little surprised, but his eyes are smiling.
 
“As a narcoleptic behind the wheel of a semi,” Gabe agrees, smiling a little wryly.
 
Bill grins at him, hand curling over the side of Gabe’s neck. “You know,” he muses, studying Gabe’s face, “the thing is, I believe you, if only because the shit you say she tells you is the sort of shit you’d never come up with on your own.”
 
Gabe swats at him, rolling his eyes, but he feels strangely, stupidly light, and for the first time since he decided to tell Bill, he can breathe again.]]
 
--
 
Pete comes home one afternoon with Iron Man sleep shorts and spends an hour trying to convince Patrick to let Pete call him Pepper.
 
“Come on,” Pete wheedles, sidling up to Patrick and waggling the shorts at him. “Admit it, you’re totally my well-meaning, ginger caretaker. You’re all, like, competent and easily exasperated and grouchy and—“
 
Patrick growls at him. Pete ignores it and sits in his lap, grinning like a psychopath. “I am not Pepper Potts,” Patrick protests, doing his best to scowl. It’s hard, because Pete is wriggling around in his lap and being sort of disgustingly hyper and adorable. 
 
“You’re like a short, squishy, male version of Gwyneth Paltrow!” Pete cackles, poking at Patrick’s chest. “Come on, admit it, I’ve got a point.”
 
Patrick refuses to give in, but secretly, he was always a fan of Pepper Potts, anyways. She kept her shit together and kept Tony Stark from being a giant moron. It is, in fact, something of an appropriate analogy, but he will never, never tell Pete that he thinks so. “No, Pete,” Patrick says, doing his best to sound very exasperated and grouchy. “You do not have a point, I am not Pepper, get off my lap and get your weird little shorts out of my face.”
 
Pete, predictably, does exactly the opposite of that, and Patrick manfully endures the terrible, terrible experience of having an excited, giggling Pete squirming around in his lap for another half hour.
 
--
 
[[Gabe comes back from the desert very different than he left.
 
He wouldn’t let Victoria go with him—not that he could have physically stopped her, but he asked her so sincerely to let him go, to let him do just this one thing alone, that she had to step back and let him. She kind of blames Bill for giving him the idea in the first place, but it’s not like Bill’s going to hear her if she decides to chew him out, so she shuts up and lets Gabe go.
 
But he comes back shiny, like he took all his bruises and put them away, put them somewhere under this new, brightly colored shell.
 
She’s not sure if she likes it, if she believes it’s real, but he seems determined to try to live completely in this new skin, and she lets him, because it’s a skin that has happiness and optimism woven right in, and she thinks, maybe, maybe, if he wears it long enough, he’ll grow into it, and it will be real.
 
He deserves that, so she doesn’t say a word, even when he starts talking about the Cobra.
 
Then, she just smacks him a little.]]
 
--
 
Pete feels like he should maybe be more uncomfortable with his life. Most of it either centers around extreme sexual frustration and/or watching stupid television with his invisible-to-everyone-else guardian angel or drinking beer with his space-cobra-worshipping best friend. The rest of it consists of hanging out with the members of the bands on his label and playing really inappropriate party games that always end up with either Ryan or Bob spitting mad and Chiz red to his ears.
 
Oddly enough, he’s happier than he’s ever been.
 
Which, because he’s Pete, means that he starts freaking out about when the other shoe’s going to drop.
 
“Why are you still here?” Pete asks.
 
Patrick cracks one eye open, scowling. “Pete, it’s five forty two in the morning.”
 
“Seriously,” Pete says, scooting closer. He’s on his side, facing Patrick, who’s taking up more than half the bed with his ridiculous wingspan. “Seriously, Patrick. It’s not like I’m gonna kill myself. That was just, and I’m—I mean, I’m over it, you know I’m not gonna.”
 
Patrick’s face softens. He smoothes the hair away from Pete’s face with one hand. “I know,” he says softly. “I know that, Pete.”
 
“So, why?” Pete asks, and he’s maybe bordering on hysterical now. “Because I’m not suicidal, okay, I don’t even drive more than like five miles over the speed limit anymore, Patrick, which means you’re not here to do your job, and you’ve been really fucking clear that you’re not here because you want into my pants—“
 
Patrick’s mouth is soft, warm, in a way that that’s almost surprising. His tongue darts out, hesitant, just a flicker against Pete’s lips. He pulls back a second later, bumps his nose against Pete’s, murmurs, “Just because that’s not why I’m here doesn’t mean that it’s not something I want.”
 
Pete licks his lips, chasing the taste of Patrick’s mouth on them. “Yeah?” he asks, nudging Patrick’s cheek with his nose.
 
Patrick presses a kiss to Pete’s cheek, squirms closer, enough that he can tuck his hand under the back of Pete’s shirt. “Yeah,” he says, thumb rubbing circles over Pete’s skin. “And I’m here because I want to be. Go to sleep, Pete.”
 
Pete takes a deep breath, breathing in the warmth of Patrick’s skin, the soft smell of clean feathers and the faint scent of Pete’s own laundry detergent mixed with something indefinable but definitely Patrick. “Yeah,” he says, burrowing closer, tucking himself neatly into Patrick’s arms. “Yeah, okay.”
 
Patrick huffs out a little laugh, but tightens his arms around Pete and holds on until Pete falls asleep.
 
--
 
[[“Vicky-T,” Gabe says, “If you bring me a beer, I’ll love you forever.”
 
“You already love me forever,” she informs him, and Gabe swears that if cats could talk, they’d sound just like she does. Haughty and imperious, like she’s far too cool to be talking to you. “You tell me so all the time.” Gabe half expects her to preen, sometimes.
 
He grins at her. “I’ll love you extra.”
 
“You just want to prove to Bill that you’re not insane,” she says, not moving an inch.
 
“Oh no,” Gabe disagrees, completely honestly, “Bill knows and is totally down with the fact that I’m insane.”
 
“It’s true,” Bill agrees, snuggling up to Gabe’s side—also, Gabe reflects, like a cat. It’s entirely possible that Gabe might have a type. It doesn’t really worry him that that type is apparently based on a resemblance to cats. Gabe has far more potentially worrisome personality traits. “He’s definitely insane.”
 
“Keep your pet boy from trying to talk to me,” Vicky-T sneers, “And I will get you a fucking beer.”
 
“She’s being mean to me again, isn’t she?” Bill asks plaintively, pouting in Vicky-T’s general direction. “I can always tell.”
 
Gabe beams. “See?” he tells her. “Soulmates, you’ll see.”
 
“I hate him,” she says blandly.
 
“I know,” Gabe says, rubbing a hand over Bill’s head fondly. “But that’s just because you wish you had his hips.”
 
“That’s understandable,” Bill says equably. “My hips are rather excellent.” He rubs at one sharply curving hipbone like he’s reminding himself of how fantastic it is. Gabe follows, wrapping his hand over Bill’s, because, well, it never hurts to be reminded of how fantastic Bill’s hips are. “To be fair, though, Gabe does keep going on about your legs being spectacular.”
 
Gabe nods solemnly. “I do.”
 
She crosses the legs in question primly, and Gabe cheerfully ogles. “You’re both incredibly stupid. I have no idea why I put up with this.”
 
Gabe strokes his other hand down the edge of one tawny wing. “Yes you do, querida,” he says softly, looking her in the eye.
 
She swallows, but she doesn’t pull away. ]]
 
--
 
It starts with Patrick trying to sneak the remote away from a dozing Pete in an attempt to switch from Comedy Central to the Food Network. Pete’s drifted off with his head in Patrick’s lap, the remote wedged half under his thigh; it really shouldn’t be that hard.
 
However, Patrick is really bad—really bad—about underestimating Pete’s hatred of Cupcake Wars, and just as Patrick manages to pry the remote from under Pete’s leg, Pete’s arm darts out, hand wrapping around Patrick’s wrist.
 
“I swear to god, if you’re about to try to change the channel, I will bite you.”
 
Patrick doesn’t really think about it—he blames the way Pete generally makes him into a moron for this—before he says, “Bring it.”
 
Pete—because Pete is a bastard, Patrick should really stop being distracted by the big, adorable eyes and the stupid, charming smile—turns his head and bites Patrick’s hip.
 
Patrick does not whimper. Patrick is manly and dignified and totally in possession of self control. So he doesn’t whimper.
 
He just maybe lets out this low, strangled whine, and his hips maybe twitch a little.
 
Pete looks up at him with wide, suddenly-dark eyes, and says, “Oh.”
 
Patrick breathes hard through is nose, trying to convince himself that getting hard with Pete’s head in his lap would be way too awkward for his body to allow it. His body doesn’t seem especially interested in that argument, though. “Oh,” he agrees faintly.
 
Pete reaches up, threading his fingers through the hair at the back of Patrick’s neck, and tugs until Patrick is folded over, face barely inches from Pete’s. “Hey,” he says, grinning impishly into Patrick’s eyes, “hey, Trick, guess what?”
 
Patrick can’t help the smile that steals its way over his face. “What?” he whispers back.
 
Pete tugs him a little closer and says conspiratorially, “I’m totally getting laid tonight.”
 
Patrick’s entire face burns red, and he kisses Pete so that Pete will stop laughing. It doesn’t actually work, and Pete just giggles into the kiss.
 
Patrick can’t even pretend it doesn’t warm him to his toes. He breaks away to say teasingly, “Getting kind of ahead of yourself, aren’t you?”
 
“No,” Pete says, voice an octave lower than usual and already rough, eyes shining, “no, I don’t think I am.”
 
Patrick has to close his eyes against the way that, just that, makes his head spin. “Pete,” he says, a little helpless.
 
Pete’s hands are caging Patrick’s face, thumbs stroking over his jaw, and he whispers against Patrick’s lips, “Relax. I’ve got you.”
 
It’s so preposterous, so against how the two of them always are, that Patrick actually listens. His muscles go loose, and then Pete is leaning up, tangling his fingers in Patrick’s hair, kissing him in a way that’s possessive, proprietary, claiming.
 
“Good boy,” Pete murmurs, tugging on Patrick’s lower lip with his teeth. His hands start to wander, then, and it should be awkward, because Patrick’s still bent in half, Pete in his lap, but the hands Pete runs over his throat, his shoulders, his chest, aren’t awkward at all. He’s bizarrely elegant like this, weirdly calm, and Patrick feels suddenly, unbearably clumsy.
 
I’m good at three things, Pete’s voice echoes through his head, dry and sardonic, and sex is one of them.
He pushes Pete away, crawling backwards on the couch and hugging his knees to his chest.
 
Pete blinks up at him from the floor. “See,” he says, furrowing his brows, “see, I wasn’t expecting that, because you kind of said you were interested in me, and there was making out, and yet now I’m on the floor.”
 
Patrick hugs his knees tighter and bites out, “Sorry.”
 
Pete sits up, clambers onto the couch, all ungainly and enthusiastic like he’s supposed to be, like Patrick is used to him being. Studying Patrick’s face intently, he says, “I wasn’t wrong, was I?”
 
Patrick closes his eyes. “About what?” He knows, though.
 
Pete’s fingers trail down his arm, dancing a little over his wrist, his knuckles. “You haven’t done this before.” There’s maybe a small undercurrent of amusement when he says, “You’re a virgin.
 
Patrick squeezes his eyes shut tighter. “Look,” he says, maybe a little defensively, “look, I’ve done things before, it’s not like—“
 
Pete’s mouth is hard over his, harsh and demanding in a way that Pete never is with him. He pushes Patrick back, unfolding his knees and crawling between them, pressing closer. Patrick tries to curl back in on himself, but Pete isn’t having any of it. He slides one hand down Patrick’s chest, his stomach, burrowing back up under his shirt, stroking over Patrick’s side; the other he wraps around Patrick’s neck, tipping his face up. His nails scrape lightly over the curve of Patrick’s ribs, and Patrick can’t help the noise he makes, a startled little mewl, which Pete instantly licks off Patrick’s tongue.
 
“Fuck,” Pete gasps into his mouth, shoving even closer, rubbing up against Patrick’s jeans. He’s not being half so graceful now; his hands are stuttering over Patrick’s skin, grasping and clenching randomly, his hips are grinding hard against Patrick’s without anything like a steady rhythm.
 
It’s a familiar enough sort of gracelessness that Patrick unwinds a little, opens up a little more. Pete takes full advantage, sweeping his tongue deeper into Patrick’s mouth, inching his fingers under the back of the waistband of Patrick’s jeans. He lifts up enough that he can straddle one of Patrick’s thighs, tangling their legs together and pulling Patrick onto his side, his wings dangling off the couch, with Pete pressed up against the back of it, keeping Patrick balanced on the edge of the cushions.
 
The movement of Pete’s mouth slows a little, turns languorous and somehow more demanding at the same time. Patrick lets himself fall into it, running hands down Pete’s back, over his hip, his ass, the backs of his thighs.
 
“Fuck, Patrick,” Pete murmurs, pressing wet kisses into the slope of Patrick’s jaw, the line of his throat. “It’s not like I’ve done this, either.”
 
Patrick startles himself with a laugh. “That’s bullshit,” he says, pulling back enough to glare into Pete’s eyes. This isn’t something for Pete to just smooth over, talk his way around.
 
Pete waves it away. “Not the sex.” He noses his way over the curve of Patrick’s neck, nuzzles at the skin behind his ear, drags his tongue over it. “The—it hasn’t—“ he cuts off, nipping at Patrick’s neck. Finally, breathing hard, he says, “It’s never mattered.”
 
“It mattered with Ash,” Patrick argues, because he’s not going to let Pete charm him into letting his guard down, letting this go. Whatever this is.
 
“Not like this.” Pete does pull back then, looking seriously into Patrick’s face. “You were right, when you said I didn’t—that I didn’t know what happiness was.” There’s no charm, no smoothness, in his voice now. Softly, he presses an open-mouthed kiss against the corner of Patrick’s frown, and there’s so much raw, inelegant sincerity in that one motion that Patrick’s throat goes tight. “Nothing’s ever mattered like you.”
 
Patrick wishes, wishes so hard, that he could call bullshit, could tell Pete that he’s stupid and melodramatic, but. But Pete is just waiting, one hand tucked into the back pocket of Patrick’s jeans, the other wedged under Patrick’s side, eyes intent and almost impossibly genuine.
 
Taking a deep breath, Patrick leans in and lets himself believe.
 
--
 
Pete swallows the low, guttural groan that comes out of Patrick’s mouth and flicks his wrist again.
 
Patrick’s breath hitches and his hips jerk up and he’s coming all over Pete’s fist and his own stomach. “Sorry, sorry,” he says frantically, shying away, inching back, “sorry, I—“
 
Pete bends down and drags his tongue over a smear of white on Patrick’s bottom rib.
 
Patrick freezes, goes completely still, and says, “No, but, I—“
 
Pete licks over another splatter, then another, sucking the salty tang from Patrick’s skin.
 
Patrick’s argument is reduced to thin, broken whines as Pete slides up and licks a nipple, instead, tugging it between his teeth. “Pete,” somehow becomes four syllables all on its own, and Pete is so hard it hurts.
 
He drags his nails gently over Patrick’s hip and doesn’t touch himself. He’s been waiting for this for a while now, he can wait a little more.
 
--
 
Pete fingers himself open, not bothering to start with one, just pressing two slick fingers inside in one go. He likes the burn, the stretch, likes to remind himself that he can handle it.
 
Patrick’s eyes are almost comically wide, breath coming in harsh pants, as Pete slips in a third.
 
When Pete slides down to the floor on his knees, folding himself over the coffee table, Patrick sucks in a sharp breath and just says, “Oh god.”
 
Pete grins to himself, hiding it in the skin of his own shoulder, and says, “What are you waiting for?”
 
Patrick scrambles off the couch so fast that Pete would laugh if he weren’t twice as eager himself.
 
--
 
Patrick is agonizingly slow, pressing in inch by inch, hands tight over Pete’s hips. “Is this—“ his breath catches and his voice cracks. “Do I—“
 
Pete snaps his hips back, hard, forcing Patrick the rest of the way in in one fluid motion. Over Patrick’s low groan, he says, “You’re not going to do it wrong, Trick.”
 
He can hear Patrick’s wry smile. “I might,” he says, but he’s laughing a little. His fingers stroke over Pete’s hips, his thighs—wonderingly, Pete thinks. Like he’s not sure Pete’s real.
 
Actual friction be damned. Pete sits up slowly, spreading his legs so Patrick’s knees fit between them, sitting back on Patrick’s thighs. He takes Patrick’s hands, threading their fingers together, and wraps their arms around himself, leaning back against Patrick’s chest. “You won’t,” he promises, tipping his head back on Patrick’s shoulder. He lifts his hips a little, as much as the position allows, and rocks back down.
 
Patrick’s fingers tighten on his, and he grazes the skin of Pete’s ear with his teeth. Pete lifts up, sinks back down as Patrick jerks his hips. It’s just the right angle, and Patrick thrusts again, again, again, before Pete can blink the stars from his eyes.
 
Patrick thrusts up a little harder, sending a flurry of sparks through Pete’s vision, and wraps one of their twined hands around Pete’s cock. He says, voice low and shaking, “I can’t actually believe something as amazing as you exists,” as he tightens his hand and jerks his wrist.
 
As dirty talk goes, it more than works for Pete. He arches his back, driving himself harder onto Patrick, thighs trembling, and goes over the edge.
 
Patrick sinks his teeth into the meat of Pete’s shoulder, muffling a groan, and follows him down.
 
--
 
[[“You watch him,” Gabe comments softly, hooking his chin over her shoulder and nipping a little at the skin of her neck.
 
Victoria pretends it doesn’t get to her. She doesn’t bother to argue—it would be pointless, since they both know she does. “He’s in your life,” she answers finally. “I like to—I like to keep my eyes open. Just in case.”
 
Gabe laughs a little. “In case what?” he asks chidingly. “In case he snaps and comes after me with a hatchet?”
 
She bites her lip, legitimately tries not to say it, but it rips out of her mouth anyways. “In case he breaks your heart, asshole, and I have to talk your stupid, suicidal self out of drinking yourself to death or trying to shoot yourself again.”
 
All the air rushes out of Gabe’s lungs, his hands falling to dangle limply at his sides, and Victoria’s not sure she’s ever seen him speechless before. “Oh,” he says, like he’s had the wind punched out of him.
 
“I’m sorry,” she says quietly. “I didn’t mean—“
 
“No,” Gabe says abruptly. “No, you’re right.” He’s drawing away, though, and Victoria’s back is cold.
 
“Gabe—” she starts to say, but he’s already left the room. ]]
 
--
 
“You seem different,” Brendon says, furrowing his brow.
 
“Different?” Pete asks, not looking up from the sheet of lyrics that Brendon’s passed him. The words make more sense than the ones on the band’s first album. There are actual stories in the lyrics, bits of truth that Pete likes, strings of honesty that resonate and remind him of things he’s not sure have happened yet. “Different how?”
 
Brendon hums tunelessly, drumming his fingers on the table. “I dunno,” he says, drawing out the second word until it’s almost not a word at all. “Like, maybe, happier? Like, you kind of—you’re all shiny, or something.” He sounds confused, and that makes Pete look up from the sheet of music in front of him, because he remembers, all of a sudden, that as far as Brendon—as far as anyone but Gabe—knows, nothing has changed in Pete’s life.
 
Feeling sort of obscurely guilty, Pete says, “Yeah, no, I am, kind of. Happier, I mean,” he corrects, snorting, “not shiny.”
 
Brendon looks at him, an eyebrow still cocked, like he’s waiting for an explanation.
 
That’s only fair, really, because aside from Gabe, Brendon is one of Pete’s best friends, and also probably one of the few people on the planet who have no room to get their panties in a twist about Pete having sex with a guy who is, technically, sort of, already dead.
 
So, taking a deep breath and gnawing his lip a little, Pete tells him everything. Tells him how it started, tells him that Ashlee left him, that he went off the deep end pretty much immediately, that, all of a sudden, there was someone there to catch him. Tells him about Patrick’s round cheeks and bright smile; about the way he grumbles about everything, especially when he’s being sweet; about the trucker hats and the kung fu movies and his stupid, stupid fondness for Cupcake Wars; about the way his voice makes Pete’s lungs constrict and his stomach flip over.
 
Predictably—not that Pete predicted it, but if he’d thought about it, he could have—Brendon’s only reaction is to pout and say, “How come I didn’t get to be an angel?”
 
Pete rolls his eyes, opens his mouth to retort something witty, and then realizes that he doesn’t have an answer. Not a real one. There are myths, right, myths about virginity and suicide, but it’s not like Patrick’s ever actually confirmed any of them. In fact, it’s not like Patrick has ever explained any of this to Pete at all. For the first time in weeks of being stupidly, awesomely giddy, Pete feels his stomach tighten.
 
--

Part Four: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13906.html
Part Two: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13558.html
Part One: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13256.html

Delivering Just What You Need - Part Two

Patrick blinks awake at seven am to find Pete about an inch away from his nose, peering at him like Patrick has something weird on his face.
 
He’s pretty sure he doesn’t, but he swipes haphazardly at his mouth and nose anyways.
 
Pete’s still staring at him.
 
“What?” Patrick asks, still half asleep and possibly a little snappier than he would be if he weren’t. It’s not like he got a lot of sleep.
 
“Did I dream that?” Pete asks, brow furrowed.
 
Patrick feels all his irritation seep out of him like water into the ground. Without intending to, he reaches out, brushing fingers over the slope of Pete’s jaw.
 
Pete’s eyes flutter closed, and he leans a little into the touch. Sighing softly, he says, sounding almost embarrassed, “Sorry. It—I just have them, sometimes.“
 
Patrick looks at him for a long moment, blinking the last of the sleep out of his eyes. Pete’s own eyes are still shut, and he’s got his head tilted into the curve of Patrick’s hand like he’s afraid Patrick’s going to jerk it away and bolt. Which, alright, isn’t really unfair of him, since that’s Patrick’s first instinct. He holds himself still, though, smoothing his thumb over the skin below Pete’s ear. “It’s fine.” It’s not, really, and that’s not exactly what he meant to say, anyway, so he adds, “Does anything help?”
 
Pete’s eyes snap open, and he draws his lower lip into his mouth, gnawing a little. “I—“ he pauses, swallows, looks down. Softer, like he doesn’t really even want to say it, he admits, “That—I mean. That helped.”
 
Patrick closes his eyes, lets himself smile at the idea of actually being able to fix anything broken in Pete, even if it’s small. “Yeah?”
 
Pete snuggles closer, and Patrick lets him. “Yeah,” Pete says, mouth moving against the indent above Patrick’s collarbone. Even softer, he says, “Thanks.”
 
Patrick lets out a breath he hadn’t meant to hold. Slinging an arm around Pete’s waist and pulling him in a little closer, he says, “Don’t mention it.” What he means is, always, or maybe, anything, or even just, of course.
 
Pete makes a sweet, low noise of assent, and, eventually, they both drift back to sleep.
 
--
 
“No, no more Cupcake Wars,” Pete says insistently, sitting on the remote.
 
“Fine,” Patrick says grumpily, raising his hands in surrender. “What do you want to watch, then?”
Pete grins evilly.
 
--
 
“Shhh, oh my god, shut up, it’s starting,” Pete hisses, clapping his hand over Patrick’s mouth.
 
Patrick raises an eyebrow, which okay, is fair, because usually it’s Patrick telling Pete to shut up. But this is serious business. This is Buffy. This is Once More With Feeling, and that shit deserves respect.
 
Pete takes his hand off Patrick’s mouth when the music starts. “Shh,” he says again, poking Patrick once in the arm for good measure.
 
Patrick doesn’t argue, just makes a face and knocks Pete’s knee with his own. “Can I at least sing along?”
 
Pete doesn’t look away from the screen—it’s enthralling, it’s totally not his fault. “Yeah, yeah, whatever, shut up.”
 
Twenty minutes later, Patrick is singing along with Wish I Could Stay, and when he hits the first high note, Pete goes instantly, painfully hard.
 
Patrick glances over at him—Pete might maybe have made a small noise accompanying his unfortunate physical reaction, and it may or may not have resembled a whimper—and bites his lip. “Sorry,” he says, sounding actually apologetic, “I’ll shut up.”
 
Pete yanks one of the throw pillows out from behind him and shoves it over his lap. “No,” he says, and if his voice is maybe a little higher than normal, well, Patrick doesn’t mention it. “No, no, it’s cool.”
 
--
 
“What are you doing tomorrow?” Brendon asks as soon as Pete picks up the phone.
 
“Uh,” Pete says, and, “Brendon, it’s three am.”
 
Brendon snorts. “Oh, right, like you were asleep.”
 
He has a point, Pete wasn’t, but Patrick’s asleep, passed out with his head on Pete’s thigh, snuffling a little in his sleep. Pete doesn’t mention that, though. “Point,” he says instead, “and I don’t think I have big plans tomorrow, why?”
 
“I want a tattoo.”
 
Pete blinks into the darkness. Then he holds his phone away from his ear and blinks at it, too. Finally, he puts it back to his ear and says, “Brendon, you’re terrified of needles. You fear needles almost as much as Gerard, and he screamed like a girl when Greta sewed up the hole in his pants that one time.” It was necessary—Frank had ripped them in a really inconvenient and obvious place, and the band was due to be on stage in less than ten minutes, and they hadn’t had time to let Gerard take them off first.
 
Brendon sucks his teeth awkwardly for a second, then says, sounding kind of strangled, “I need—look, I mean, I know it’s needles, and no, I don’t like them, but.” He huffs a little. “I just. I need to do this.”
 
Pete knows how that goes. It happened more after his first one, that itch under his skin for more, but he can relate. “Alright, I’m down. You want me to pick you up?”
 
Brendon sighs, presumably in relief. “Hell yes. Like noon?”
 
“Sure. Where are we going?”
 
“Um,” Brendon says, “I have a couple places written down, but there’s the issue of—I kind of don’t want a crowd. It’s not a secret, exactly, just, I’m not—I don’t want my guys to know until after.”
 
Pete rolls it over in his head for a minute, says, “I know a guy. He’s like an hour and a half away, though. But he’s done some of my stuff. He’s good.”
 
“I don’t really care how far it is.”
 
Pete nods, then remembers that Brendon can’t see him. “Yeah, okay. Noon, I’ll be by the house.”
 
“Thanks, Pete. This is—just, thanks.” He still sounds strange, and Pete can’t really place it, but.
 
“No problem,” he says. “Catch you then.” When he flips his phone shut, Patrick’s eyes are open, staring up at him.
 
“He’s dead,” Patrick says, sounding sleepy and confused. “I can tell.”
 
“Yeah,” Pete says, shrugging. “We don’t really let that bug us.” Without Pete really meaning for it to, his hand settles in Patrick’s hair. For once, he’s not wearing a hat, and his hair is soft and fine under Pete’s fingers.
 
Patrick, still half asleep, says, “You’re possibly even weirder than I thought.”
 
Pete smiles wryly down at him. “You’re dead, too, Pattycakes.”
 
“Mmm,” Patrick agrees, “But I have wings.”
 
“Oh yeah,” Pete says, snorting and ruffling Patrick’s hair, “That totally changes everything.”
 
--
 
Brendon gets into Pete’s car with a huff and says, “I am so terrified right now, I can’t tell you.”
 
Pete grins and pats his thigh consolingly. “That happens.”
 
“How much does it hurt?” Brendon asks, rubbing at his arms a little.
 
Pete shrugs. “It hurts a lot. You either want the tattoo, and you deal with it, or you don’t go at all.”
 
Brendon sucks in a breath, nods. “Right,” he says, “Yes, yeah, right. I’m doing this. I need this.”
 
They drive in silence for a while, Brendon fiddling nervously with the radio, Pete tapping his fingers to the beat of whatever’s playing. He can wait, and Brendon’ll get to it when he’s ready.
 
Finally, Brendon says, “Spencer’s mad at me.”
 
“Oh?” Pete says. He kind of doubts it—Smith is a pushover for Brendon, but Brendon doesn’t tend to be as aware of that as everyone else on the planet is. “And getting ink is fixing that how?”
 
“I kind of—“ Brendon stops, frowning. “I just need to show him that I’m not—I’m not his responsibility. I don’t need him to always be there, keeping me real.”
 
Pete glances at him. “I don’t think that’s what he thinks,” he says slowly.
 
“We had a fight, right, just like a little argument, and he just. He walked out. And he came back in like an hour, freaking out, babbling about how he didn’t mean to make me think he was going anywhere.” Brendon is studying his hands. “And so, at first, I thought, we’ll talk about this, and I’ll explain—I don’t think I’m in whatever, like, limbo, anymore. I think I’m just. Just real, now, like, even if everyone forgot I was around, I’d still be around. But then I realized that he’s not going to believe me just saying it.”
 
Pete nods, waits.
 
“And I think, if I do this, if I get this, it’ll be like.” Brendon hums a little, hesitating before he says, “Like proof that I can be alive, be an adult, without him holding my hand through it.”
 
“So,” Pete says, slanting him a grin, “What, you don’t want me to hold your hand?”
 
“Oh no,” Brendon says, face very serious, “you’re going to fucking hold my hand even if I squeeze it blue. But we’re not telling Spencer that. We’re telling Spencer that I was very stoic and manly and not scared at all.”
 
“Oh,” Pete says, mock-solemn, “I see. Of course.”
 
--
 
Spencer’s face when he sees the flowing line of piano keys on Brendon’s arm is not a pleasant sight to witness.
 
“What the fuck,” he says, looking from Pete to Brendon and back again. “Was this your idea?”
 
“Uh, no,” Pete says, waving a little, and, “See you, Brendon. Smith. Bye.” He feels sort of gross and guilty—it’s not like it was his idea, Brendon came to him. But Pete still feels dirty for being in the middle of them, making one more person’s life more difficult.
 
Spencer’s scowl follows him all the way out of the driveway.
 
--
 
Patrick’s hand wraps around Pete’s wrist and pulls the gun away from his temple. Pete doesn’t startle, which is really for the best—both because it means he’s starting to expect this from Patrick, which is a step towards some sort of twisted mimicry of an actual sense of self-worth, and because it means he doesn’t pull the trigger and blow a hole in the wall. Or his skull.
 
“Pete,” he says softly, prying the pistol out of Pete’s grip. “Pete, no more of this.”
 
Pete looks up at him with red-rimmed eyes. “Smith’s mad at me.”
 
Patrick rolls his eyes and wishes he could have a stern talking-to with Smith about the emotional fragility of his boss. “Imagine how much more upset he’ll be if he finds out he’s lost his record deal because your brain is all over the wall,” he says, because Pete’s more likely to listen to that than any actual reasons why he needs to stop trying to kill himself.
 
Pete shrugs. “Someone else would sign them. They’re spectacular.” They are; Brendon’s voice makes Patrick feel like he’s shining from the inside out, like he’s what Patrick had thought angels were supposed to be. That’s really not the issue, though.  
 
“Yeah,” Patrick says, turning the gun’s safety on and setting it on the dresser. Gently, he tugs Pete up, into his lap, and wraps his arms around him. “That’s not the point, Pete.”
 
Pete doesn’t struggle, just leans his forehead against Patrick’s neck and says bitterly, “The point is, I want to die, and you’re not letting me.”
 
“No,” Patrick agrees, pressing his lips to Pete’s temple. “No, I’m not.” He tightens his arms, pulling Pete a little closer.
 
“What,” Pete cracks, sharp and ugly, pulling away, “is this your way of saying you’ve changed your mind? You do want me, now?” He’s edging back towards the dresser, towards the gun.
 
Patrick doesn’t let him get far. He yanks Pete back down, winding his arms around him, pinning Pete’s limbs to his body and holding on. “No,” Patrick says gently, and he doesn’t mean no, I don’t want you. That realization spikes sharp and sickening in Patrick’s stomach, but he pushes it aside for the time being. “No, Pete, that’s not what this is.”
 
“I’m broken,” Pete explains patiently, as though Patrick is a slightly slow child. “I don’t want anyone to have to go through fixing me.”
 
Patrick wants to say, “I just want to feel you whole under my hands. Let me be selfish.”
 
Or, “There’s something about what you think of yourself that makes me want to crawl inside myself and look for a better answer.”
 
Or, “You’re not broken, Pete, just frayed a little at the edges.”
 
Instead, he tightens his arms around Pete, squeezing him close. After a minute or two of quiet, Pete starts leaning into him a little, and Patrick settles on, “Sometimes, you have to let other people make that decision for themselves.”
 
Pete lets out one lone, ragged sob and burrows his face into Patrick’s shoulder.
 
--
 
Pete’s phone blares Part of Your World from the Little Mermaid. “Brendon?”
 
“Dude. You are my hero, Spencer’s totally not mad at me anymore.” Brendon sounds giddy.
 
Pete squints at his phone. “Really?” he asks. Last time he saw Spencer, Spencer looked like he wanted to rip out Pete’s lungs and hit Brendon with them. “Why am I your hero?”
 
“Cause you totally saved me! Oh, oh, and Spencer says he’s sorry for being all growly at you, he thought it was your idea, or whatever. But I explained! And he likes it. Although he says the flowers are dumb.” Pete can hear the pout in his voice.
 
“Told you they were too much to start with,” Pete says. His mouth feels kind of numb. “And girly.”
 
Pete,” Brendon whines, “come on, they’re fancy.  And, like, part of my Hawaiian heritage and shit. You and Spence are just haters. Cause your ink isn’t as fancy, and he’s too much of a pansy to get any at all.” Pete hears a thump—presumably Spencer smacking Brendon upside the head—and an accompanying, “Ow, shit, Spence, I was kidding.”
 
Pete grins a little, despite himself. “So he isn’t going to like, hunt me down for my skin?”
 
“Uh, no. Why would you even think that?”
 
Pete hesitates. “He just seemed—“
 
“He’s a growly manbear, Pete, don’t take it personally. He and Bob need to have, like, a growly manbear club, where they get together for play dates and do manbear things, like, like—“
 
“Like eat berries—“ Pete says, helpful.
 
“Yes! And catch fish in streams with their hands! And steal honey from bees and ouch, Jesus, Spence, stop—owww, Pete, domestic abuse, domestic—uh, Pete, I have to go, Spencer is raping me.” Brendon doesn’t actually sound like he minds.
 
Pete giggles and hangs up.
 
Patrick is peering at him. “See?” he says, edge of his mouth curled into what might be a smile if he didn’t look so sad.
 
Pete bites his lip and looks away. “It doesn’t—it doesn’t change anything.”
 
“No,” Patrick agrees slowly, “no, it doesn’t, because nothing was wrong in the first place. You’re loved, Pete. You’re not making anything harder on anyone else by being here.”
 
Pete shakes his head, but it’s maybe more of an automatic response than a real argument. “Whatever,” he mutters, trudging off to the kitchen just for the sake of being somewhere else.
 
He doesn’t have to wait long before Patrick follows.
 
--
 
The fifth time Patrick catches Pete, he doesn’t do it gently. He yanks the knife out of Pete’s hand and punches him in the face in the same motion.
 
Pete reels backwards with a startled yelp, hitting the counter.
 
Patrick stands over him, breathing harshly, and yells, “I swear to god, Pete, if you this one more fucking time, I’m going to—“
 
“What?” Pete asks hysterically, “What, you’re going to kill me? Cause that would be really fucking—“
 
Patrick cuts him off with another punch, this time to the stomach. “I will fucking break your legs and your arms and you won’t be able to get the fuck out of bed to kill yourself, you complete assface.”
 
Pete shrugs. “Bones heal,” he says blandly, so nonchalant that Patrick could scream.
 
“Pete,” he says, jaw clenched, barely able to hear himself over the thunder of his heart in his ears. “Seriously, Pete.” He means to say something after that, but it gets lost in the rushing loop of fearpanicfear screaming over and over in his chest.
 
Pete looks at him like Patrick is some sort of brand new anomaly, some sort of freak apparition, and says, slowly, like he’s sounding out the words, “You’re scared.”
 
Yes,” Patrick snaps, glaring. “Yes, and I’m supposed to keep—“
 
“No,” Pete says, one hand drifting out to trace the sore knuckles on Patrick’s fist, “no, you’re. You’re not scared because you’re supposed to keep me alive.” He sounds incredulous, awed. “You’re scared—“ he swallows, looking up at Patrick’s face. “You’re scared of me dying.”
 
“That’s what I said, yes,” Patrick huffs, crossing his arms and looking away.
 
A slow, unsteady smile creeps over Pete’s face. “Oh,” he says, the single syllable sounding happier and more confused than anything Patrick’s heard out of his mouth so far. “Oh.”
 
--
 
“Do you believe in angels?” Pete asks Gabe over lunch the next day.  
 
“I’m a Jew,” Gabe says blankly.
 
“So?”
 
Gabe looks at Pete like he’s a moron, which, okay, fair. “I’m a Jew, dumbass, yes, we believe in angels.”
 
“You also believe in the Cobra, Gabe,” Pete points out, “I don’t exactly know how aligned your personal beliefs are with orthodox Jewishness.”
 
Gabe taps his nose, acknowledging the point. “Fair play to you,” he says, taking a swig of his beer. “Why do you ask in the first place?”
 
Pete rubs a little at the spot between his eyes. “I may have been keeping something secret,” he says, a little hesitant. This is a fucking big deal, even if it is just Gabe.
 
Gabe nods, but he doesn’t look pissed. Yet. “How long?”
 
Pete shrugs. “Since Ash.”
 
“Mmm,” Gabe says, palming at the back of his neck a little. “The suicide thing.”
 
“Things,” Pete says softly. “There was—I might have—there were a few times.”
 
Gabe’s hand clenches around his beer, knuckles going white. “Yeah?” he says, voice just uneven enough for Pete to notice.
 
Pete scrubs a hand through his hair. “Yeah—look, Gabe, would you think I was insane if I told you I have a guardian angel?”
 
“No,” Gabe says slowly, drawing out the syllable, and Pete can’t tell if he’s mocking him or just thinks Pete’s being stupid for asking.
 
“Right,” Pete says, and decides he might as well lay it all out on the table, “so.”
 
--
 
[[Vicky-T is all Barbie legs and crocodile eyes, sharp teeth and soft brown wings. She shows up for the first time when Gabe is sixteen, gangly and awkward with his braces just off and his ridiculous hair just learning how to be truly ridiculous.
 
Gabe’s curled on his side in his parents’ basement, wishing for all the world he could make himself puke. When she kneels down and hands him a glass of water, smoothing his hair gently off his sweaty forehead and saying, “She really fucked you over, didn’t she?”, he finally does.
 
Through the whole thing, she keeps one hand on his back, rubbing slow circles, and she forces him to drink enough water to keep him hydrated.
 
“Who are you?” he asks, finally, still hours before dawn, when he can stop for more than ten seconds between rounds of vomiting up gin and vodka.
 
She smiles tightly at him and says, “Victoria. I’m here to look after you.”
 
“I don’t actually want looking after,” Gabe says rudely, and for a second, he almost means it.
Vicky-T squeezes his knee and smiles at him with sharp teeth and sharper eyes. “I didn’t ask if you wanted it, did I, jackass?”
 
While Gabe gapes at her, her face softens, and she hands him another glass of water. “You have wings,” he says dumbly, finally noticing the soft brown shadows draped down her back.
 
She shrugs. “Comes with the territory, I guess.” She settles down on the floor, legs folded under her, and says, “Instead of trying to off yourself with daddy’s liquor cabinet, hmm, why don’t you tell me what happened?”
 
Gabe chews his lower lip for a minute, staring at his hands in his lap, and finally says, “People suck.”
 
“Oh, baby,” she says sympathetically, tipping his chin up so he has to look at her, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
 
Gabe spends the rest of the night curled up to her side, head pillowed on her thigh, sleeping off the alcohol under the curve of her wing.
 
After that, Gabe knows he won’t ever be able to fall in love with a normal girl again.]]
 
--
 
“So, wait,” Gabe says, steepling his fingers and peering at Pete over them. “What you’re saying is that you think you’re insane because you’re in love with your guardian angel slash imaginary best friend.”
 
Pete picks at his nails very studiously. “Something like that, yeah.”
 
Gabe laughs at him. “Pete,” he says, kind of hysterically, “Pete, I worship a giant purple space cobra. The front man of the most popular band on your label is a dead guy. The lead guitarist of that same band has a pet chicken.” He doesn’t mention Vicky-T, doesn’t mention that basically no part of what Pete’s telling him sounds crazy at all. He’ll save that for when Pete stops thinking that Pete’s crazy.
 
Pete looks at him. “I’m not getting where you’re going with this.”
 
Gabe pokes him in the forehead. “I’m not getting why you think I’m going to think you’re crazy.”
 
“Oh,” Pete says, and, “You do kind of have a point there,” and, “But my imaginary friend has wings and wears trucker hats.”
 
Oh,” Gabe parrots mockingly, “Well, then, I’m sorry, clearly I was wrong, and you’re just insane.”
 
“Gee,” Pete says, making a face, “Gee, Gabe, you’re really fucking helpful.”
 
“That’s totally what I was going for,” Gabe tells him solemnly. “Totally aiming for helpful.”
 
--
 
[[The first time Gabe jerks off thinking about her, he’s seventeen and it’s accidental. He’s originally thinking of Maja, the blonde with the really smoking hot legs from his Algebra class, but then that leads his brain to her really smoking hot legs, and then he’s thinking about her bright, bright eyes, and her red, red mouth and coming over his hand before he even knows what’s happening.
 
The first time Gabe jerks off in front of her, he’s nineteen and very, very drunk. She’s sitting on his dresser, flipping through a magazine, and when she looks up and sees him, she doesn’t say a word, just watches him with dark eyes. He pants, open-mouthed, and he when he comes, arching off the bed and groaning, she tilts her head to the side like a curious bird and says, “Hmm.”
 
Gabe wakes up the next morning and doesn’t pretend he doesn’t remember. She doesn’t ask.
It’s not the last time it happens. She doesn’t ask any of the other times, either, even on the times when he isn’t drunk. ]]
 
--
 
Gabe decides that they’re going to test whether or not Patrick is real empirically.
 
“Okay, okay,” Gabe says, “You tell your imaginary friend to follow me out of the room. I’ll go, and I’ll do something, and we’ll come back. Then, he can tell you what I did, and if it’s right, then he’s real.”
 
“Have you mentioned to this guy that he’s a jackass yet?” Patrick asks Pete grumpily.
 
“He knows,” Pete assures him. “Just do it anyways. Please?”
 
“Fine, fine,” Patrick grumbles, crossing his arms.
 
“We’re good,” Pete tells Gabe, who gives him a thumbs up and ambles out of the room. Glaring over his shoulder at Pete, Patrick follows him.
 
Gabe comes back a minute later, grinning triumphantly, trailing a vaguely-ill-looking Patrick.
 
“He did the Time Warp,” Patrick grouses. “His pelvic thrusting was disgusting.”
 
Pete raises an eyebrow at Gabe. “The Time Warp, Saporta? Seriously?”
 
Gabe beams at him. “Well, either your imaginary trucker-hat angel is real, or you’re psychic.” He claps Pete on the back. “Did he like my pelvic thrusts?”
 
No,” Patrick snaps, “no, I did not fucking like his pelvic thrusts, he grabbed his crotch.”
 
“Yeah,” Pete says, grinning. “Yeah, no, Gabe, he totally loved them.”
 
Patrick kicks him in the shin.
 
--
 
[[Gabe spends most of the time after high school in a series of progressively worse, progressively angrier bands, screaming very sincerely into microphones about how terribly unfair life is, how horrible people are. He drinks before he gets on stage, after he gets off stage, when he goes out afterwards with the band. Never to the point he had on the night Victoria arrived, but just enough to take the edge off, to keep all the ugliness in people from getting to him, enough to allow him to let the rest of the attention in.
 
Perched on a speaker, Victoria listens to him breaking, over and over, half to get the anger out of him, half to let the attention in, and wonders if maybe, the way he sees people is a little bit her fault. She’s not really sure if that’s something she’d have a problem with—it’s not like it isn’t all true—but it’s something she wonders about, all the same. Her job is to keep him alive, not to sugar-coat the truth, and for as long as she’s existed, the truth is that people are mostly out to fuck with you.
Gabe, though. Gabe doesn’t really want to fuck with anyone, and that makes her wonder if, by telling him the way she sees things, she’s keeping him safe, or just making things harder for him in the long run.
 
She doesn’t actually have an answer to that, and she doesn’t let herself think about it that often, but after that, whenever she sees Gabe reaching for a bottle, a shot glass, a red Solo cup, she slaps his hand away. Mostly, he even lets her.]]
 
--
 
Pete falls asleep with his head in Patrick’s lap during a Star Wars marathon. He’s snoring, a little, and there’s maybe some drool at the corner of his mouth, but Patrick’s very familiar by now with how hard it is for Pete to sleep peacefully, so he just tugs the afghan off the back of the couch and onto Pete, settling in for a long night.
 
Pete makes a cranky noise in his sleep, shifting a little, and Patrick lays his hand over the side of Pete’s neck, rubbing his thumb in little circles over his pulse point. “Shh,” he says softly, using his other hand to straighten the edges of the afghan so they cover Pete’s arms.
 
“Trick?” Pete mumbles blearily, eyelids fluttering open.
 
Patrick bends down and presses a chaste kiss to Pete’s forehead without really thinking about it. “Yeah,” he murmurs, smiling softly down at him. “Yeah, Pete, I’ve got you.” He tucks some of Pete’s ridiculous emo hair behind his ear. “Go back to sleep.”
 
Pete snuggles closer, nuzzling into the crease of denim over Patrick’s hip. He presses a damp, open-mouthed kiss to the strip of skin exposed between Patrick’s shirt and belt, that little bit of pudge that Patrick’s always hated. Patrick’s skin spangles under his lips, and Patrick sucks in a sharp breath, reminding himself that it’s not anything, that Pete’s affectionate, that it’s not anything for Patrick to jeopardize what they have over. Pete’s a flirt, a snuggly flirt, and Patrick likes it that way, just.
 
Sighing, Patrick tucks his fingers into the back of the collar of Pete’s shirt, thumb tracing over the outline of the bones in his neck, smoothing back out over his pulse. “Goodnight, Pete,” he whispers.
 
“G’night, Trick,” Pete says, soft, barely audible, and the words raise goosebumps as they ghost over Patrick’s skin.
 
He tells himself that that isn’t the part that matters. What matters is that he has Pete, and Pete’s safe, now, and Patrick isn’t going to fuck this up just because he wants Pete’s mouth to do more than tell him goodnight.
 
--

Part Three: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13814.html 
Part One: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13256.html

Delivering Just What You Need - Part One

Title: Delivering Just What You Need
 
Author: frankie_ann
 
Bands: Pieces of Fall Out Boy, Cobra Starship, The Academy Is…, and Panic! at the Disco, with background My Chemical Romance and assorted various others.
 
Pairings: Pete/Patrick, Gabe/Bill, Gabe/Vicky-T, Gabe/Bill/Vicky-T, assorted background pairings
 
Word Count: ~25,000
 
Rating: NC-17
 
Warnings: attempted suicide, self-harm, mild violence, mentions of sort-of-successful suicides, hetero (albeit not-entirely-hetero, three-way) love, really hilariously bad fake sex products, really not-actually-legal age differences (that aren’t actually super relevant due to the characters being older than dirt because they’re angels, but I suppose it could theoretically bother people.)
 
Summary: Patrick shows up on the night Ashlee tells Pete she’s leaving him, when Pete is pretty sure he’d be doing the world a favor by leaving it. Patrick—with copious application of ice cream, the Food Network, snuggling, and occasional well-meant not-quite-violence—does his best to keep Pete alive.

Pete, in turn, does his best to convince Patrick that Patrick is, in fact, secretly Pepper Potts, and that Cupcake Wars is not a legitimate form of entertainment.

In the meantime, Vicky-T, all sharp eyes and crocodile smiles, looks after Gabe and tries very hard not to care that Bill is looking after him—and maybe her—too.

Gabe spends most of his time trying to convince Vicky-T that he’s allowed to have two soulmates at the same time.

This story features ice cream, Iron Man references, ridiculous adventures in adult novelty stores, random smatterings of Spanish endearments, and angels. Specifically, angels with lethal legs and mad baking skills, short tempers and absolutely no clue what they’re doing.
 
Author’s notes: The fact that the Gabe scenes in brackets [[ like this ]] are flashbacks should be relatively obvious, but, you know, in case it isn’t… they are. ^_^;

Endless thanks to sweetnovicane and skinofreality for beta-reading this for me. sweetnovicane, in particular, put up with endless badgering to read and re-read at all hours of the night, as well as a million texts from me saying things like, "OH GOD THE HATS WHY THE HATS," and, "THE PANTY BADGER LET IT ATTACK YOUR BEAVER AND YOU'LL NEVER BE THE SAME." 
 
--
 
Patrick shows up on the night that Ashlee tells Pete that she’s leaving him.
 
Pete is sitting in the bathroom, bottle of sleeping pills in hand, and Patrick says, “Don’t even fucking think about it.”
 
Pete doesn’t look at him, doesn’t even glance up when he says, “I thought we were happy.”
 
“Pete,” Patrick says, rolling his eyes, “You don’t even know what happy looks like.”
 
Pete looks him dead in the eyes and says, “What, you going to show me?” He laughs, ugly and bitter. “Yeah, I didn’t fucking think so.”
 
Patrick studies him for a minute. “Killing yourself isn’t the answer,” he says, finally, because while there are a thousand things he could say, that’s what he’s supposed to say. He tucks his wings in close around himself, a shield against the awkwardness in the room.
 
Pete snorts. “I guess you’d know, wouldn’t you?”
 
Patrick’s mouth flattens into a line, and he says, “You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.”
 
“What, they make angels out of things other than suicidal kids now?” Pete looks him up and down. “Sorry, virginal suicidal kids.”
 
Patrick doesn’t mean to squeak when he says, “I’m not a fucking kid.”
 
“You’re like,” Pete squints at him, “Like sixteen.” He waves his hand vaguely. “Sixteen, and dead, and I’m nearly thirty and married, okay, and you have no fucking room to be telling me what to do.”
 
“I was twenty two,” Patrick snaps. “I was twenty two, and I wasn’t a virgin.”
 
Pete narrows his eyes. “Yes, you were. I’m good at three things, okay, and sex is one of them. And you totally haven’t had it.”
 
“That’s—“ Patrick stops, making himself take deep, calming breaths. “That’s really not the fucking point, Pete.”
 
“Are angels even allowed to curse?” Pete asks curiously. “Because I feel like I’m getting gypped if you’re, like, faulty.”
 
Patrick scowls at him. “I’m a guardian angel, okay, I don’t, like, prance around the clouds all day. There’s no big man upstairs giving me orders.” He waves at his wings. “I’m a dead dude, I have wings, I keep my charge from dying when I can, and I can fucking curse if I feel like it. In fact, I can do anything I want if it keeps you alive, and that includes—“ he hunkers down, leaning in and flicking Pete in the ear, hard, “smacking you around if you’re going to be a dumbass.”
 
“So, if you’re not getting orders,” Pete says, totally ignoring the flick, “How do you know who you’re supposed to be keeping alive?”
 
Patrick sighs and flicks him again. “You just know. Now shut the fuck up and put the pills away.”
 
“If I do,” Pete says slowly, eyeing him, “can I touch your ass? Because you have an awesome ass.”
 
Patrick flicks him between the eyes this time. “No. But if you put them away, I won’t break your arms and beat you with them.” His patience was not meant to extend to this sort of bullshit. His existence is deeply unfair.
 
Pete grins sunnily at him. “That’s a start.”
 
--
 
They end up spending that first night watching the Food Network until dawn.
 
This is supposed to convince me that life is worth living?” Pete asks incredulously, looking from Patrick to Cupcake Wars and back again. “Seriously?” He’s grouchy, blotchy and red, with a ridiculous trucker hat and a faded Blink 182 tee. Pete wouldn’t buy any of this for a second if it weren’t for the wings.
 
Patrick kicks Pete in the ankle without looking away from the TV. “Shut the fuck up, they’re judging the second round.”  
 
Pete blinks at him. “Seriously, are you sure you’re a guardian angel? Because you’re crap at this.” Hemmy is better at comforting Pete, and he’s asleep, drooling, in the kitchen.
 
Patrick looks away from the television to scowl at him. “Fine,” he snaps. “Get over here.”
 
“Uh.” Pete raises an eyebrow. “Get over… where?”
 
Patrick rolls his eyes. “Here. Jesus, you’re a moron.” He grabs Pete’s arm and yanks him around until Pete’s lying with his head in Patrick’s lap, facing the television.
 
“What are we doing, exactly?” Pete asks, trying not to laugh. “Because, I mean, I know you’re all virginal and shit, but usually you have to take off your pants for a blowjob.”
 
Patrick cuffs him on the ear. “Shut up, asshole,” he says, but it’s almost fond this time, and his hand lingers on Pete’s head, carding gentle, only slightly hesitant, fingers through Pete’s hair.
 
Pete totally wants to complain some more about Patrick’s total failure to take into account Pete’s dislike of cooking shows and sitting still when trying to keep him from offing himself, but really, the fingers rubbing circles into his scalp are nice, soothing, and Pete’s always done better with people who know how to ignore his neuroses, anyways, so he stays quiet and lets himself drift off to sleep.
 
--
 
After that night, they share Pete’s bed, because Patrick says sleeping on the couch hurts his wings, and Pete’s not spending however long Patrick decides to stick around exiled from his own bed.
 
--
 
No one else can see Patrick, which makes Pete wonder idly if he’s just gone completely insane and just hasn’t noticed yet.
 
“Pattycakes. Patrick. Trick,” Pete says to him while they’re having a Quentin Tarantino marathon one night, poking Patrick to get his attention. “Are you a figment invented by my broken mind?”
 
“No,” Patrick says, “Also, Uma Thurman is kicking ass, so shut the fuck up.”
 
Pete pouts at him. “Yeah, but that’s totally what a figment of my imagination wou—ow.”
 
Patrick pinches his arm harder. “This is my favorite part, Pete, shut up.”
 
Pete scowls at him, but when he meets up with Gabe for lunch the next day, Gabe comments on the bruise.
 
Pete isn’t convinced that that means anything, really—he could just have some sort of weird variant of MPD, and have bruised himself, like some totally fucked up (more fucked up) version of Fight Club, but this is about as close to proof as he’s going to get, so he leaves it the fuck alone. If he’s insane, he’ll probably get more conclusive proof of that sooner or later.
 
--
 
“You need to get out of the house,” Patrick says firmly. “Seriously, like, you need to be somewhere where you aren’t surrounded by your own piles of filth and stuff to do and all the shit that’s gone on.”
 
“I don’t have piles of filth,” Pete protests, mostly for the sake of arguing, because he does have piles of filth. Well, of clothes. And papers. And some unidentifiable stuff that might be alive. Whatever.
 
“You do,” Patrick says, throwing Pete’s hoodie at his head and pointing very sternly to the door. “Out,” he commands, imperious. “If you are not out that door in ten seconds, I’m going to go without you, and I’m going to come home with cats.”
 
Pete glowers. “Hemmy would eat them. And no one would sell a cat to a dude they can’t see.”
 
Patrick doesn’t back down. “I would steal them from the pound. If they can’t see me, they can’t stop me.”
 
Pete peers at him for a long moment, ignoring the hoodie that’s about to slide off his head. “You’re kind of a bossy fuck, aren’t you?”
 
Patrick’s mouth twists into a wry smile. “Yes,” he allows. “Yes I am, and if you don’t get your ass to the car, I will drive it myself, park it in a tow-away zone, and get it impounded.”
 
Pete pouts at him. “You’re also mean.”
 
“Also true,” Patrick agrees, nodding like this is something he hears all the time. “Come on. I’ll let you have ice cream.”
 
Pete frowns at him. “I’m not a child.”
 
Patrick stares him down.
 
Pete huffs and gives in. “Pistachio?”
 
“Pistachio and hazelnut, even,” Patrick promises. “A scoop of each.”
 
Pete stomps past him, tugging on the hoodie as he goes. “Fine,” he grumbles, being as ungracious as he can manage.
 
Patrick just rolls his eyes and elbows him on the way to the car.
 
--
 
Patrick actually turns out to be surprisingly awesome company out in the real world.
 
For one thing, not only does he let Pete order three scoops of ice cream, with rainbow sprinkles, without making fun of him, he also uses the fact that no one can see him as an excuse to be horrible to everyone for the sake of Pete’s entertainment.
 
For instance, after Pete’s spent fifteen minutes pouting at his slowly melting ice cream tower and pointing out how it’s a metaphor for his life, Patrick sighs heavily and swipes a finger through the scoop of pistachio. Then he leans over to the table across from them and rubs the drippy green mess into the hair of the bubbly, halter-top-wearing coed chattering into her iPhone.
 
Sitting back, he crosses his arms and smirks at Pete. “Feel better now?”
 
Pete watches, mesmerized, as the green slowly drips through her highlighted hair and down the back of her banana yellow halter. “A little,” he admits, trying very hard not to smile.
 
Patrick arches an eyebrow. “That sounds like a challenge, Wentz.”
 
Pete bites his lip, and not smiling is getting progressively harder, now. “It might be,” he says, raising his own eyebrow in response.
 
Patrick’s eyes don’t leave his face as he jerks an elbow out, knocking over the ice cream of the very blonde, very young woman clinging to the arm of an older businessman. The ice cream topples and sticks to the front of his suit, and Patrick’s mouth quirks.
 
“That was mean,” Pete points out, trying not to cackle.
 
Patrick shrugs, not seeming terribly bothered. “That was his mistress.”
 
Pete makes a face. “You can’t know that.”
 
Patrick is unmoved. “I know all sorts of things,” he says, and Pete’s actually pretty sure he’s not lying.
 
Still, some things should be tested. “Alright,” Pete says, narrowing his eyes. “What else do you know?”
Patrick’s smile widens into something kind of wicked. “Oh man. Let me start with the fact that I know exactly what you got up to at Mikeyway’s nineteenth birthday party, and if I told Bryar—“
 
Okay, I believe you,” Pete steamrollers, cheeks flushing. “And he wasn’t even dating Bob then.”
 
Patrick smirks. “I somehow don’t think Bryar would especially care.”
 
He has a point. “Can we go back to the thing where you were picking on strangers?” If Patrick actually does know all of Pete’s past, well. Pete doesn’t like most of it enough that he wants it rehashed, even if he’s the only one who can hear it happening.
 
“Well,” Patrick says, looking around the ice cream parlor thoughtfully, “considering the rest of the clientele… I could either start traumatizing old women, or ruining the days of children. Your choice.”
 
“Oh man,” Pete says, following his gaze, “go for the old lady with the capris. Anyone wearing capris who doesn’t shave their legs is asking for it.”
 
Patrick snorts. “Okay, if we’re talking about abusing people solely because of their taste in clothes… I hate to tell you, Pete, but you’re wearing things that were designed for fourteen year old girls.”
 
“What are you saying?” Pete asks, sticking out his tongue.
 
Patrick flicks it. Pete tries to bite his finger, but he’s not actually fast enough. “I’m saying,” Patrick says, flicking Pete’s nose now, chastising, “that you have no room to talk about fashion.”
 
“I’ll have you know I have a clothing line, a very popular one, for that matter—“
 
Patrick rolls his eyes. “Oh, like that means anything. People will buy anything from a pretty face.”
 
Pete grins. “You think my face is pretty?”
 
Patrick narrows his eyes, and before Pete knows what’s happening, there’s melted pistachio ice cream smeared on his nose. “Much prettier now,” Patrick says solemnly, eyes twinkling. “A hundred times better, really.”
 
They manage to completely drench their table and clothes in ice cream in the war that follows. For the first few minutes, Pete wonders what it looks like to the people around them, but after that, he’s too busy trying not to let ice cream get in his eyes. Or his ears. Or his nose.
 
He doesn’t really succeed.
 
--
 
Pete drags Patrick to the Adult Novelty Emporium after that, as revenge for making him leave the house. Even if the ice cream war made Pete feel lighter than he has in a very long time, Patrick needs to know that Pete takes his self-induced hermit-moping seriously.
 
Pete hasn’t ever actually walked into an adult store covered in ice cream. He’s also never walked into one talking to someone that no one else can see. Until now. He’s fairly certain that everyone in the store thinks he’s insane, but somehow that just makes it better.
 
Patrick protests the entire way, but Pete just grins at him and says, “Dude, you were the one who said I needed to get out of the house. This is where I want to go. Suck it up, be a man.”
 
The clerk behind the counter snaps her gum and looks at him. “You need help or somethin’?”
 
Pete grins at her, his best I’m-a-lunatic-fuck-off-now grin and says, “Probably.”
 
She just snaps her gum again.
 
Then, trailing a very red-faced Patrick, Pete wanders down the aisles, loudly reading out the names and descriptions of all the products and videos he passes.
 
One Flew Over the Cock’s Nest—a brand new video starring the famous Almond Joy and Don Hoe. Watch her gagging for cock, taking it up both ends for your very own viewing pleasure,” Pete reads, completely monotone, in his best impersonation of (a much louder version of) Ryan Ross. “She gets all her joy from your nuts.”
 
Patrick whacks his head repeatedly against the wall. “Why are you doing this to me?” he asks—the universe, not Pete. Pete’s pretty sure he knows why Pete’s doing this to him.
 
Pete ignores him and says, blandly and very, very loudly, “The Vaginal Interloper. Intrudes into your most private places in ways that will shock and amaze you, dazzling your nerves with its roguish charms.” He raises his eyebrows, “Oooh, now with vibrating tentacle attachment.” He takes the garish purple box off the shelf and waves it at Patrick. “Dude, dude, this is totally the one for you.”
 
Patrick just groans and buries his head in his hands. Pete is undeterred.
 
“The Vibrating Anal Slug! Squishy and moist in all the right ways! Come on, Trick, doesn’t that sound fun?” He waggles the package, containing something that does, in fact, resemble a neon pink slug, under Patrick’s nose. “Tell me that doesn’t sound like something you wanna try.”
 
After that, it’s all downhill. Pete kind of can’t stop—half because of Patrick’s face, half because the rest of the store is trying to pretend that they’re not staring at him, and Pete enjoys the attention.
 
“Eco-friendly electric nipple clamps with solar charger and hand crank! Dude, dude, okay, you can save the environment with your nipples!”
 
Interview with a Vibrator! Starring Appaloosa Fancy and Susie B Man-in-me! Watch them get their lesbo freak on with fangs and a sparkly dong! You’ve never seen lesbo vampire action like this!”
 
“Vibrating cock ring with grape-flavored ball bombs! They taste great and they make you burst! Oh hey, there’s a warning—please be cautious and use eye protection while operating this product. Oh man, I’m getting that shit for Gabe.”
 
 “A Midsummer Night’s Wet Dream, starring Eliza Does-You! Watch her pleasure herself, spread and dripping!”
 
“The Pooper Porpoise—an exciting new anal toy! Folks, this ain’t your daddy’s mermaid!
 
“An all new Ginger Snaps film, Ghostbangers! Watch her take their proton packs in all her holes!”
 
Star Trek: The Next Penetration! Featuring Deanna Toy and Lieutenant Fucker! Watch him go where no man has gone before!”
 
“The Happy Otter Vibrating Hand Puppet! Have this furry friend help you use your tool! Let it slide down your muddy slopes! It loves to explore with friends!”
 
Yank My Doodle, it’s a Dandy, starring Betsy Cox and Erecta Bigguns! Featuring Sam Schnitzel and his massive cock!”
 
“The Panty Badger! Let it attack your beaver and you’ll never be the same!”
 
By the time Pete stops, Patrick’s face is somewhere between red and purple, and he looks like he’s either going to cry or kill something. Probably Pete.
 
Pete spends the entire ride home laughing hysterically, waving the present he got for Gabe at Patrick with one hand, driving with the other. He nearly runs four different red lights because he’s so distracted by the totally awesome thundercloud that is Patrick’s face.
 
When they finally get home, collapsing onto the couch and bickering about what they’re going to order in for dinner, Pete feels, for the first time in his life, like he could maybe be at home in his skin.
 
It’s very weird, but he thinks he could maybe get used to it.
 
He’s suddenly kind of terrified that he will get used to it. And what’ll happen then?
 
--
 
Patrick catches Pete the next time he tries to kill himself entirely by accident. Patrick had eaten a slightly-past-good piece of pizza from the fridge—he doesn’t have to eat, but he likes it, okay—and he wants to brush his teeth to get the taste out. When he wanders into the bathroom, he finds Pete sitting in the empty bathtub, a razorblade already halfway down his wrist, blood seeping out and dripping down his arm, staining the knee of his jeans.
 
“Oh, come on, seriously?” Patrick complains, ignoring the sheer, ridiculous terror that’s roaring through his veins, and hauling Pete up, out of the tub. He’s never felt terrified on behalf of a charge, and there’s really no reason for his heart to be racing like this, because he barely knows Pete, hasn’t even really had time to get attached, and Pete is kind of an ass, anyways. “The bathtub? Could you be more melodramatic, Pete?”
 
Pete looks at him with clear eyes and says, “I didn’t want anyone to have to clean up after me.” He’s not just talking about the blood, Patrick knows. With Pete, it’s all metaphors, anyway.
 
“You’re not a mess that needs to be cleaned up, Pete,” Patrick says, briskly wrapping Pete’s arm with an ace bandage from under the sink.
 
Pete just looks at him with dark eyes. He doesn’t believe him; Patrick isn’t stupid enough not to know that. “Okay,” he says simply, which is just his way of shutting Patrick up.
 
“No,” Patrick says through gritted teeth, “No, it’s not—“ and then he’s cut off by Pete’s mouth over his, desperate and messy and demanding.
 
Patrick doesn’t kiss back, doesn’t pull him in or shove him back—whichever he wants to do, this is just another one of Pete’s ways of shutting him up, of ignoring what Patrick’s trying to tell him. He just steps back, pushing Pete gently away.
 
“No,” he says again, firmly, and takes a shadow-eyed Pete into the kitchen, where he spends the rest of the day baking and forcing Pete to eat things so that Patrick can remember that he’s still here, that he’s not dead.
 
Pete doesn’t appreciate it, doesn’t say a word, but this isn’t about him, it’s about Patrick. It’s about getting Patrick’s hands to stop shaking, getting the adrenaline to slow down, so Patrick makes Pete eat the cupcakes and cookies and banana bread anyways.
 
--
 
“No, seriously,” Pete says, “what the fuck is up with the hats?”
 
“What hats?” Patrick asks, clapping a defensive hand over his hat.
 
Pete just looks pointedly from Patrick’s face to his hat-holding-hand.
 
Patrick looks away, feeling a blush rise to the tops of his cheeks. He hates that blush. Keeping his hand firmly on his hat, he says, “I just—“
 
And then he’s falling backwards as Pete tackles him, bowling him over and making a wild grab for Patrick’s trucker hat.
 
“BaHA,” Pete says, triumphant, waving Patrick’s hat in the air over his face. He’s straddling Patrick’s chest, smirking down at him. “Bitch, I am the fucking hat conqueror.”
 
Patrick keeps both hands over the top of his head, scowling fiercely. “What is wrong with you?” he demands. He debates trying to snatch the hat back, but Pete has him pinned, and that would also necessitate uncovering his head.
 
Of course, Pete takes the decision entirely out of Patrick’s hands—literally—by throwing the hat over his shoulder and wrestling Patrick’s arms away from his head, trapping them against the floor.
 
“What are you even hiding under there?” Pete asks curiously, trying to scoot up and peer at the top of Patrick’s head. Fortunately, he can’t get a good view without getting off Patrick’s chest and giving him a chance to escape. “Like, your off-switch or something?” He looks momentarily distracted, and disturbingly intrigued. “Oh my god, Pattycakes, are you a robot?”
 
Patrick growls at him. “I’m not a robot, Pete for the love of god. Get the fuck off of me.”
 
Pete shakes his head, smile playing over his lips. “Not until you teeeeeeeelllllll meeeeeee,” he sing-songs, hands squeezing Patrick’s arms a little.
 
Patrick harrumphs and turns his head to the side. There’s always a chance Pete will get bored and leave Patrick alone.
 
He doesn’t, of course.
 
Finally, when he’s is relatively certain he’s going to have some sort of bruise over his ribs, and that maybe he’ll pass out from air loss or something, Patrick gives in. Low enough that maybe Pete won’t hear it, he mutters, “My hair is kind of—I mean—it’s sort of thin. On top.”
 
Pete stares down at him, brow furrowed. “That’s it?” he asks, incredulous.
 
Patrick half-shrugs and tries his best to hide his burning face in his own arm. “I’m—it’s embarrassing, okay? People are supposed to take me seriously.”
 
Pete brushes a hand over the fringe of hair lying over Patrick’s forehead, pushing it out of his eyes. “Okay,” he says, softly, like maybe he’s even a little bit abashed.
 
It takes Patrick a full minute to realize that Pete has let go of his arms. He doesn’t move them until Pete gets up, anyway.
 
--
 
“They are not,” Pete says, scowling.
 
“They are,” Patrick insists. “Kung Fu movies are moronic. A bunch of people in ridiculous outfits, flying around in slow motion and kicking each other. They are terrible as a genre.”
 
“I don’t think I can love you anymore,” Pete tells him solemnly. “I cannot love a man who dishonors the things I love in such a way.”
 
“Oh thank god,” Patrick retorts drily, “I’m saved.”
 
Pete punches him half-heartedly in the arm. Patrick retorts by smacking Pete across the face with a wing.
 
--
 
Patrick catches Pete the third time because Patrick has realized that, as cheerful as Pete is when they’re watching movies or having lunch or arguing about the merits of Green Lantern versus Green Arrow, Pete isn’t actually better yet. He still blames himself for Ashlee leaving, and has expanded that to hating himself for disappointing all the people he loves, and being quietly, viciously certain that him being alive is making everyone else’s lives harder.
 
The third time, Patrick catches him as he’s about to step off the roof of his obscenely tall apartment building at two in the morning. He grabs Pete’s wrist and yanks him back, dumping him flat on his ass.
 
“How’d you get here so fast?” Pete asks, blinking up at him.
 
Patrick rolls his eyes and reminds his heart to slow the fuck down. “I have wings, jackass.”
 
“Oh,” Pete says, getting to his feet, “Right.”
 
“This needs to stop, Pete,” Patrick says, hearing the tiredness in his own voice. “You need to stop.”
 
Pete grimaces at him. “I was trying to stop.” And then Pete doesn’t wait a beat, just leans in, slanting his mouth over Patrick’s.
 
Patrick gives him a moment, just one, then pushes him back.
 
Pete smiles tightly at him, and it’s a bitter, viciously victorious smile. “See? Even you don’t want me, and you’re the only one trying to keep me here,” he says, and they both know that’s not what he means at all. He doesn’t want Patrick to want him, he wants Patrick to let him die, and Patrick not letting Pete shut him up with his mouth isn’t proving anything.
 
Patrick bites his lip so he doesn’t scream at Pete like he wants to. “Not stop living, Pete, Jesus. You need to stop scaring the shit out of me like this.”
 
Pete snorts and crosses his arms over his chest. “You’ll get over it.”
 
Normally, Patrick does get over it. He’s lost charges before—more than once. He’s always moved on, letting the sick guilt go when he tries to help the next one.
 
With Pete, Patrick’s not sure he’d be able to.
 
“Come on,” he says, wrapping an arm around Pete’s shoulders to reassure himself that Pete is still solid, not a mash of Pete-jelly on the pavement. “It’s the middle of the night, Pete, we should be sleeping.”
 
Pete doesn’t fight him when Patrick takes him inside. Patrick kind of wishes he would, just so Patrick could know there’s some fight left in him at all.
 
--
 
“So, wait, can you actually fly?”
 
“Yes,” Patrick says, busy selecting his trucker-hat-of-the-day from the pile on Pete’s floor. Somehow, there are always new ones—he’s beginning to suspect that Pete is sneaking out while Patrick is asleep and buying them. Except that that would be completely ridiculous, so Patrick tries not to think about it.
 
“Dude, cool,” Pete says, and, “Show me.”
 
Patrick glares at him over his shoulder. “I’m not a monkey, Pete, I don’t do tricks on command.”
 
“Sorry,” Pete says, sounding totally unabashed. “What I meant was, please show me.”
 
Patrick rolls his eyes and does nothing of the sort.
 
--
 
Patrick wakes up when Pete’s hand connects with his face. “What the fuck—“ he starts to snap, except that Pete is asleep.
 
Asleep, and twitching, and moaning in the sort of way that doesn’t sound like he’s having sexy dream fun. Patrick shakes his shoulders, but Pete doesn’t wake up.
 
“Pete,” Patrick hisses, shoving at him a little. “Pete.” He’s actually starting to get a little freaked out now—Pete is whimpering and fucking flailing, and he doesn’t wake up even when Patrick pinches him. “Fucking wake up, fucker.” He shakes him harder, but still no go.
 
When Pete makes a noise like a choked-off scream, Patrick raises his hand and slaps him, as hard as he can, across the face.
 
The second Pete’s awake, Patrick is pulling him close, pinning Pete’s flailing arms to his sides, tucking his chin over Pete’s head and shushing him. Pete doesn’t say a word, just whimpers and hiccups into the collar of Patrick’s shirt while Patrick rocks him and rubs soothing circles into the back of his shirt.
 
When Pete’s finally quiet, has finally drifted back into an easier sleep, Patrick still doesn’t let go.
 
--

Part Two: http://frankie-ann.livejournal.com/13558.html

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