When he wakes up, the right side of his head feels like it’s been split open. Split open, and then set on fire. Patrick’s not good with words but he is quite pleased with this image. It’s effective. Brings the meaning home. He cracks his eyes open, just barely, in order to establish his whereabouts while letting in the least possible amount of bad, painful, offensive light. He’s relieved to find himself in his own bed, in his own, blessedly almost dark, bedroom. Someone – not him, god knows he wasn’t in any condition to do such strenuous and rational activity last night – must have closed the blinds, taken off his jeans and his shoes, and tucked him in. They have also left a big glass of water and a bottle of Advil at his bedside. Who did this? Who is this mysterious hangover angel?
“Oh, you’re awake,” Pete says, startling Patrick out of his conjectures. Of course it was Pete. “How do you feel?”
Patrick slowly sits up against the headboard, tries to speak, and only manages to moan pitifully while bringing a hand to his temple when something pointy stabs at the right half of his brain from behind his eyeball. When he’s able to look up again, he sees Pete wearing an empathetic wince. “You,” Patrick accuses. “Not hungover,” he specifies. “What the fuck,” he pleads. Apparently, complete sentences are still beyond him. The complete-sentence-making part of his brain must be in the stabbing-pain area and thus unavailable right now. He should try again later.
“Yeah, I’m not, sorry,” Pete confirms. “I only drank, like, two beers last night.”
That’s okay, Patrick, means to say, I probably drank enough for the both of us – but then, as if on cue, his stomach gurgles sickeningly. He feels nauseous and his face feels clammy and the rest of his body feels gross and shivery and he’s never drinking again.
“I’m never drinking again,” he tells Pete, himself, and the universe in general. At least verbs are back, yay.
“Sure, buddy,” says Pete, looking annoyingly unimpaired. Patrick can feel his own face being greenish and grumpy, while Pete is obnoxiously sunny and smiley in his annoying leopard jeans and his unfairly flattering white Ronin t-shirt. The pair of them could serve as the opposite ends of a diagram illustrating the hotness scale in an encyclopaedia, from sickly green zombie (Patrick) to healthy golden vision (Pete).
“Okay, what are you doing here?” Patrick asks, finally. Not that he’s not happy to have Pete here, or grateful for his help, he is, but still. The last time he checked, this was not a thing they did. So. What the fuck.
“Hangover aftercare. It’s in the BFF job description,” Pete says lightly, and Patrick opens his mouth but can’t for the life of him come up with a retort. “You should eat something with that,” says Pete, pointing to the Advil. “Wait here.”
“Where the fuck would I go?” Patrick says, raising his voice to make himself heard while Pete is already walking out of the room and regretting it immediately as the noise jabs at his head like a knitting needle. He lies back down, groans into his pillow, and closes his eyes for a second.
He startles awake when Pete comes back, jostling him a bit as he sits next to him on the bed, and presents him with a plate of toast.
“Hrmph?” Patrick asks. His cat nap must have made him nonverbal again.
“Plain toast is good for a hangover,” offers Pete, with a smile.
This is when Patrick says to himself, fuck it, and decides to go with it. He smiles back helplessly and says, “Thank you,” and sits up again, and eats his toast, and drinks his water, and takes his pills. Pete doesn’t leave his side, playing with his phone and glancing up at Patrick now and then.
Patrick is reminded of being sick as a little kid and his mom taking care of him. She used to put a cool damp washcloth on his forehead to cool him down when he had a fever. He’d like one now, too – not because he thinks it would be particularly effective, but because it’s a symbol of comfort. Pavlovian, trained in. Kind of like smiling back at Pete and curling close as he lies back down, chasing his body heat through the covers. Patrick thinks of Pete twisted around him in tour bus bunks, the faint sounds of traffic singing them to sleep like white-noise lullabies.
Pete sets down his phone and looks at him. He’s so quiet today, none of the usual chatter and fidgeting he always engages him when he has to sit still for more than a few minutes. “How’s your head?” he asks softly, and reaches down to touch Patrick’s forehead, his hand occupying the exact same place and shape of the washcloth Patrick was just wishing for.
“Hurts like a bitch,” Patrick says, closing his eyes. Pete starts carding his fingers through his hair right where the pain in his temple is especially excruciating. Patrick sighs and tries not to fall back asleep.
“Do you remember anything about last night?” Pete asks, his voice still so soft.
Patrick does, up to a point. He went to the after party – he usually doesn’t, but the night before, when Andy had left with his girlfriend, and Joe with his wife, he’d looked at his ringless ring finger and had felt such a pang of loneliness that going home to an empty house had seemed near unbearable. Pete was speechless when he saw that, for once, he wasn’t the only one in the car to the club. After the surprise had set it, he’d looked so happy about it that Patrick suddenly didn’t want to be the depressing maudlin company that he knew he would probably be. So, when they got to the club, he did the only thing he could think of and started drinking. It was a fucking long time since he’d gotten wasted, but he hoped he would still be a happy drunk.
He tries to remember the rest of the night, now, as Pete keeps running his fingers through his hair, and it comes to him in flashes, the bad music and the people staring and him and Pete finally retreating to a corner table in the Vip area and talking, laughing, their heads close together, Pete’s bright eyes, his bright smile, his hand warm on Patrick’s shoulder.
“Yeah, I remember,” he says, and thinks that a night just like that could have happened fifteen years ago, ten, five. The twinge of nostalgia is stronger than the headache for a second, or maybe the headache is receding slightly – either the pills are kicking in or Pete’s fingers are magic. It could have been any amount of years ago, but it was last night. The band is still together, Pete is still here. Some promises are really meant to be kept. Everything has changed and nothing has. He can’t resist anymore; he surrenders and falls asleep again.
The next time he wakes up, he feels almost human. He feels sore all over but the headache is all but gone. He’s slept the day away, but it’s okay. The band has a couple of weeks off and he doesn’t have the kids until next weekend.
He can hear the faint sounds of the tv drifting from the living room – Pete is still here, then, Patrick thinks, and is suddenly so fucking afraid at the idea of finding him on his couch, in this home that still doesn’t feel like one, of Pete looking up at him with the open, trusting smile that he’s been wearing around Patrick nearly non-stop for almost two decades now but has become even more blinding in the past few years. More hopeful.
He goes to take a shower to buy himself some time.
After that, with damp hair and clean black sweatpants and a striped t-shirt, he goes to look for Pete. It is exactly as Patrick feared: he’s watching tv curled up on Patrick’s couch, looking soft and cozy and more like home than all the things Patrick has bought in the attempt of making this place feel like one. It’s dark out by now; Pete didn’t turn on any lights and the darkness makes the whole tableau unbearably intimate. Patricks turns on the lamp on the side table, but that doesn’t make it better – in the soft light, Pete looks like pure gold.
Patrick sits down next to him, and Pete turns towards him with one of his devastating smiles and says, “Hi. Feel any better?”
Patrick doesn’t reply. He does feel better; it’s possible he’s never felt better in his life. He feels warm and soft and so thoroughly cared for that all the boundaries he has so carefully crafted around his love for Pete have been tenderly shot to hell. The next realization to dawn on him is that he’s surprisingly okay with that. He takes Pete’s hand. He says, “You were there the first time I got drunk, and the last. You were there the first time I sang, and the last. You were there when I got married and, and when I got divorced. You were there when my kids were born. You’ve always just been… there. For me.”
Pete looks up at him with eyes so dark and glittering, like little pools of starry night sky, sits up and says, “Patrick, what–”
Patrick rambles on. If he stops, he might lose this thread of courage – he thinks he’s being brave, now, probably reckless, possibly crazy, but no matter, he has to say this, he has to– “What I’m trying to say, I think, is… I just mean, you were there for so many of my first times, of, of the important things. But I think I have one more to give you. If you want it.”
And then Patrick sinks slowly to his knees on the rug in front of the couch and brushes his lips to Pete’s, softly, like a question.
Pete answers immediately and enthusiastically and yes, his mouth opening sweetly under Patrick’s, his arms sliding around his back to pull him closer.
Finally kissing Pete, kissing him for real, feels like a wave and Patrick goes eagerly under. He doesn’t care about breathing or staying alive, the breakers can suck him in and do with him as they please. Pete tastes familiar and yet so utterly new. Gasping, Patrick braces one hand on Pete’s thigh and feels the warmth of his skin through denim – he’s always known Pete ran hotter than him, but suddenly this knowledge has a different power and he wants to feel that warmth over every inch of his skin.
He curls his left hand around Pete’s jaw and strokes there, lightly, guitar calluses scraping against stubble, a soft pressure that extracts a sigh from Pete, his breath hot against Patrick’s lips. He knows what Pete meant when he wrote he only thinks in the form of crunching numbers – that he loves badly, that he’s either too much or not enough. But to Patrick, he’s just right. He took the scenic route to realize this, but at least he got here, and now he’s going to fucking show him.
They kiss endlessly, making out like the kids they were when they met, and there must still be some leftover alcohol in Patrick’s blood because when Pete pulls him up on the couch and close to him until they’re lying down on their sides, pressed together, his head starts spinning and he has to lean back and catch his breath. He doesn’t fall off because Pete is holding onto him (and because the couch is huge – he’s so glad now to have splurged on this ridiculously huge couch that can easily hold two grown men. He never thought he would need this particular feature, and yet here they are.)
The look on Pete’s face is one of naked wonder and desire and such an absurd quantity of love. It’s exactly the same way he’s always looked at Patrick, only unbound.
“You know,” he says, touching Patrick’s bottom lip with light, reverent fingers. “I’m reasonably sure I won’t get punched when I tell you that blowjobs are supposed to be an excellent cure for hangovers.”
Oh god, Patrick thinks. This is his life now, he can see it so clearly: an endless series of terrible sex jokes, delivered by someone who’s just too attractive for Patrick to do anything to put a stop to it. “Oh, really?” he says, perfectly serious.
“Yeah. Wanna put it to the test?” Pete asks, his smile turning dangerous. Heat pools low in Patrick’s gut and he realizes all of a sudden that he’s been hard for a long time and something needs to be done about that very soon. He kind of wants to make up for eighteen years of longing in the next eighteen seconds, starting right now.
It’s Patrick who fell to his knees first but it’s Pete who slides down, rucks up Patrick’s tee and starts pressing kisses on his chest, stomach, above his hips – he looks up, half-lidded eyes gone so dark under his lashes, and Patrick has to reach down to pull the tie from his hair. It’s long past his shoulders these days, and Patrick can admit he’s wanted to run his fingers through it for a while now, maybe even twist it around his hand and pull a little. Which he does, right now, causing Pete to moan and flutter his eyes shut all the way. Patrick doesn’t let go, doesn’t press down, just moves his hand a little lower, to the back of Pete’s neck, and strokes at the shorter hair there. Pete groans and says, “God, Patrick, Patrick, just… Let me?”
There is not a world where Patrick says no to this. He helps Pete where he’s trying to pull down his sweatpants and then there are hot fingers stroking, a hot wet perfect mouth wrapping around him, a wide warm hand splayed on his lower stomach, holding him down. He can’t help his hips jerking up a bit anyway and gasps out, “Sorry,” but Pete just hums around him, takes him deeper, sucks harder, and Patrick is gone. It’s never felt like this, like he’s on fire and really fucking okay with the idea of getting incinerated. He would give anything to Pete if he didn’t stop, and Pete doesn’t – he keeps up this destructive rhythm until Patrick is completely wrecked and panting desperately. He pulls harder at Pete’s hair to warn him but Pete doesn’t budge, keeps going relentlessly until Patrick gives in and is swept up by the sweetest, most blazingly hot orgasm he’s ever experienced. Patrick has never been loud, as a general rule, but this seems not to apply in the case of Pete Wentz going down on him because when he comes down he realizes he was the one making the sounds he was distractedly hearing as his world exploded – whines and moans and a hoarse cry that might have been Pete’s name or maybe god’s.
“Holy fuck,” Patrick says. He’s having some trouble thinking, talking, breathing, staying alive, but– “Pete, come here, c’mon, up here.”
Pete complies, sliding up urgently and cuddling close to Patrick. He looks as wrecked as Patrick feels, flushed and overwhelmed, breathless. Patrick kisses him hard and then says into his neck, “Fuck, Pete, what the fuck was that, you’re amazing, what do you want, tell me what to do, please–”
“Oh god, Patrick, you–” Pete says thickly, and resting his forehead against Patrick’s. “The sounds you were making, swear to god– ah, fuck, just anything, I’m not gonna last–”
Patrick kind of wants to take Pete apart slowly, methodically, with a proper scientific approach – he wants to watch him as he comes apart at the seams, in an entirely different way to the one Patrick’s been singing about since Pete was still wearing eyeliner and girl jeans and an empty smile. And he’s going to do all that, next time and, hopefully, plausibly, for the rest of their lives. Right now, though, he opens the fly of Pete’s hideous leopard print jeans and rubs his palm against Pete’s painfully hard dick through his underwear, up, down. Pete closes his eyes, moans brokenly and clutches hard at Patrick’s bicep. “Please, please,” he begs. Fuck, but Patrick could get used to seeing him like this, so sweetly desperate.
“Pete, come on, look at me, let me see you,” he urges, hooking his hand under the waistband of his boxers and pulling them down. Pete struggles to open his eyes as Patrick wraps his hand around him and strokes him slowly, once, twice and Pete tenses up, makes a soft sound in the back of his throat, and comes all over Patrick’s hand.
Patrick pulls him close and kisses him softly while surreptitiously wiping his dirty hand on Pete’s jeans. Pete kisses him back and smiles up at him. He looks destroyed, his hair an utter disaster, radiantly happy.
“We need to clean up,” Patrick points out. “I can’t imagine the state of the couch.”
“Come on, Patrick, I’m basking here. Let me bask for a minute.”
“Yeah, okay,” Patrick says. Being stupid with sex and love makes it quite easy to come to terms with the idea of his couch being irredeemably stained with jizz. Right when he was finally getting attached. At least the damn leopard jeans are probably ruined as well. Just to make Pete smile some more, he tells him, “I’m so glad I got drunk last night.”
“Me too, dude, me too. You’re so handsy when you’re wasted,” Pete laughs, nuzzling under Patrick’s jaw and settling his head on his shoulder.
Patrick is pretty sure he’s joking, but– “Did something actually happen last night? I think I would remember, but…”
“Nothing happened, but like, you kept looking at my mouth. So I thought, you know, if he’s that out of it, better keep an eye on him.”
“I mean. Your mouth has always been pretty distracting,” Patrick says, and when Pete looks at him in disbelief, he attempts to convince him by kissing him very thoroughly. He knows it’s not going to be that easy, but he’s going to find all the ways to show him. They have time.
Pete breaks the kiss and asks, hopefully raising one eyebrow, “Round two?”
“I thought you were basking,” Patrick says, and gives up all pretence of not being radiantly happy too, and tells him, “In a minute, okay? Thank you for taking care of me today.”
“That’s okay,” mumbles Pete, his breathing already slowing down. “It’s in the boyfriend job description.”