This has been sitting around un-edited on my computer for a while, and I finally decided to just post it and have done with it, because I'm not getting anywhere trying to fix it. The title is from a Stereo Skyline song, because I should be at their gig right now, but am too ill, so this is my way of protesting germs. Or something.
Title: For Every Grain of Sand
Summary: Bandslash. In which Patrick is pissed about Pete overdosing, and there is finally a wedding ring.
Rating: Um... PG-13? Maybe?
Warning: Oneshot. Slash, of course. Reference to Pete's attempted suicide. Language?
Author's Notes: 2,215 words. Part of my as-yet-unnamed 'verse to which I've Seen 'em on the TV, the Movie Show... belongs - i.e. the 'verse in which Pete and Patrick got married in 2004 when Warped stopped in MA. Also, I know G.I.N.A.S.F.S. wasn't released by the time this particular ficlet takes place (in 2005). That is on purpose.
Patrick goes to see Pete the day they get back from Europe. He’s not sure what he’s going to say, doesn’t know if he wants to punch him or kiss him, isn’t really sure he’s ready to see him, face to face, at all, but. But he knows if he gives himself time to think about it, he might not do it at all, and he can’t risk that. It’s Pete.
Patrick lets himself into Pete’s house without even knocking – glad he has a key and so fucking grateful Pete’s parents aren’t home – and goes straight up the stairs. He doesn’t knock on Pete’s bedroom door either, just pushes it open and steps inside, shutting it behind him, but not moving any farther into the room.
Pete’s on his bed, curled around his laptop, headphones plugged in. He jerks a little at the sound of the door shutting, looks up with a frown, mouth open like he’s going to snap, but he freezes when he sees who it is.
“Patrick,” he says after several long moments, voice rusty like he hasn’t used it in a while. His eyes are wide and a little wary as he pulls out his headphones and lays them on top of his computer – too-carefully, like they might break.
“Hey, Pete,” Patrick says, forcing the words to come out clearly, loud enough to carry. His fingers twitch and he shoves them deep into the pockets of the hoodie he’s wearing – the hoodie he wore on the plane, the hoodie he stole from Pete months and months ago.
“I. How are you?” it’s so desperately want-to-be normal that Patrick almost gives in, almost plays along, almost lets them both pretend that nothing’s wrong. But he can’t. Can’t do it. Can’t let them. It’s Pete.
“My husband tried to kill himself and then let me go four thousand miles away without him, to play really shitty shows with our band, without telling me why I was four thousand miles away playing really shitty shows with our band without him.” Patrick’s not entirely sure any of that made sense in any kind of technical way, but he knows Pete – thought he knew Pete, anyway, knows him well enough for this – and he can tell his point got across from the way Pete’s face crumples. It kind of makes Patrick feel like someone’s just punched him in the chest, but he can’t take it back – doesn’t want to take it back.
“Patrick,” Pete says again, and his voice cracks halfway through. His fingers are clenched tight in the knees of his sweatpants, and Patrick kind of hates the pleading in his tone. It’s not fair. It’s not. Patrick has a right to be angry about this, even if it makes him feel like shit.
“Your mother went to the hospital with you.” Patrick wishes his own voice could be steadier, stronger, the way it gets on stage, when he’s singing Pete’s words, the way he’s learned to speak his own words. “She was there, and your dad, and when they released you, you came here, to their house, to live with them, and I was on another continent when I found out why.”
Pete’s mouth moves, but no sound comes out. Patrick can see his knuckles turning white.
“Do you realize that if you hadn’t called your mother, if she hadn’t been there – if they’d had to look you up in the computers to find your next of kin – they would have called me? They should have called me? You should have called me?” And that’s the crux of the matter, right there. “Why the fuck didn’t you say something, Pete?” Patrick wants to grab him, shake him, punch him in the face, doesn’t think anyone would blame him, or even be surprised, if he did, but. He can’t. Pete looks as fucked up as Patrick feels, even smaller than usual in the hoodie Patrick’s only just realized is his, and Patrick. He can’t do this.
He turns and kicks the doorframe, hard enough to make the door rattle, swears violently – at the wood, at the pain in his foot, at Pete, at himself, he doesn’t know – and squeezes his eyes shut tight, because fuck this shit, he is not going to cry.
There’s a rustle of bedclothes, and the soft pad of feet, and when Pete touches Patrick’s shoulder, Patrick doesn’t think, just whirls and shoves Pete away from him as hard as he can. “Don’t you fucking touch me,” he grits. “Don’t you fucking dare.” He can feel his eyes sting, and he hates it, hates it. “I was so fucking sick worrying about you, and no one would tell me a goddamned thing.”
“I didn’t want you to worry,” Pete says, soft, hovering just out of reach, body so tensely still he’s almost vibrating. “I was dealing with it – I was – and then I wasn’t and I didn’t know what to do, but you put up with so much and I didn’t want you to have to deal with –”
And Patrick just cannot listen to that. “I am your goddamned husband, Pete,” he hisses, clenches his hands tight to keep them from shaking. “And maybe no one else gives a fuck, but I do. I fucking do. So excuse me if I care what happens to you, and excuse me if I don’t want to find out from our fucking manager that you’re in the hospital for attempted suicide.”
“I wasn’t,” says Pete, and he’s shaking his head, hands out a little like he wants to touch, wants to feel, wants to connect, but doesn’t quite have the tenacity to go through with it. “It wasn’t. I didn’t.”
“What, Pete?” Patrick’s got his back pressed against the door, and he maybe wants to sink down it, maybe wants to sink backwards through it, maybe wishes he hadn’t come here at all, but it’s Pete, and he couldn’t leave if he wanted to, can’t even make himself look away.
“I just wanted it to stop,” Pete whispers, takes a half step closer, and Patrick can’t get any closer to the door, doesn’t bother to try. Pete takes another half step. “I wanted to sleep, wanted my head to be quiet, just for a little. I swear. I never wanted to leave you.”
Patrick swallows hard. “Fuck you,” he says, but he doesn’t move when Pete reaches out again, touches Patrick’s arm, shoulder, fingertips against his throat, jaw. And he doesn’t move when Pete pushes in closer, curls his whole body around Patrick’s, nose pressed to the skin just under Patrick’s ear.
“Missed you,” Pete breathes, ragged and broken. “Missed you so much, didn’t think about anything else.” And that’s a lie, Patrick knows it is. But Pete believes it, and Patrick doesn’t have the heart to call him on it, not this time – maybe not ever, though he knows this isn’t over yet – just lets his arms wrap themselves around Pete like they’ve wanted to, hands fisting in the back of his shirt and hanging on.
Later, when they’re curled up in a pile of pillows and blankets and tangled limbs on Pete’s bed, Pete whispers, “I got you – I know it looks like bad timing, now, or an apology, or something, but it’s not, it’s really not, I got it months ago, before any of this – and I know I probably shouldn’t have, which is why I didn’t – but I wanted –” and he pulls away, freeing himself gently and almost falling off the edge of the bed for the effort.
Patrick blinks at him, wrung out and sleepy, and says, “What.” It’s not even really a question, lacks any kind of energy, just a hint of curiosity, because, really, all he’d like is for Pete to just come back and be the warm presence against him that he’s missed so much more than he would ever admit.
But Pete’s fumbling through one of the drawers in his dresser, clearly looking for something, and when he turns, he’s holding a little tiny box cupped in both hands. “We never got them, last year, when we –” he doesn’t say got married, doesn’t look up, just keeps his eyes fixed on the black velvet pressed to his palms. “And we didn’t really have the time to do it then, and when we talked about it, after, I know we decided not to, decided we couldn’t wear them without people making a big deal about it, decided we didn’t want that, so it wouldn’t make sense to, but.” Pete fidgets for a minute, feet shuffling, inching closer and closer to the bed, fingers clenching and flexing against the box, then finally he looks up, meets Patrick’s eyes. “I just. I just wanted to, you know? It sounds stupid, but I wanted something traditional.” And then he actually drops down onto one knee, flips the tiny lid, and holds the box out to Patrick.
“What,” says Patrick again, then tries to untangle himself from the mess of blankets and sit up properly, because Pete is holding out a jewelry box with a small, simple gold band sitting snug inside, and Patrick’s pretty sure he shouldn’t be buried in bed at a moment like this.
Pete shifts a little on his knee, and Patrick wonders for a second if it’s bothering him again, but he doesn’t get up, just continues to watch Patrick with an almost surreal patience, like he trusts that Patrick will understand. And Patrick. Well, he sorts of does.
“You got me a wedding ring,” he says, knows it’s probably too obvious to say aloud, but feels like it ought to be done anyhow.
“Yes,” Pete’s still watching him, still holding the box.
Patrick reaches out to touch the ring, half expecting Pete to snap the box shut on his fingers and laugh. But Pete doesn’t, of course Pete doesn’t, and the gold is cool and soft under his fingertips. Patrick pulls his hand away slowly, bites his lip, and looks back at Pete. “You going to put it on me properly, then?” he asks, and kind of loves the way he can feel the heat all the way to his toes when Pete’s face breaks into a real, true smile.
“Fuck,” says Pete, and then he’s launching himself up off the ground, tackling Patrick backwards onto the mattress, pressing kisses to his cheeks, chin, nose, mouth, and Patrick can’t help but laugh, and it feels so fucking good to hear Pete laugh, too. “Love you, love you, love you,” Pete breathes against Patrick’s mouth.
“Love you so fucking much,” Patrick whispers back, tries to, anyway, words lost on Pete’s tongue, but he doesn’t care, because he’s pretty sure Pete knows what he’s saying, knows he means it.
And then Pete has to go hunting through the pillows for the dropped box, and they’re both laughing again when Pete finally finds it. He pulls the ring out and tilts it a little in the light to show Patrick the engraving on the inside – tiny little numbers and letters proclaiming the date of their marriage, their initials, and the words True Blue. Patrick’s eyes sting again, but he doesn’t really mind it, thinks it’s okay, this time, thinks Pete’s eyes look a little brighter than usual, too.
Pete picks up Patrick’s left hand and very carefully slides the ring up over his knuckles, settling it firmly against the base of his finger. “‘Til death do us part,” he says, soft, kisses the ring on Patrick’s hand.
Patrick catches his chin with his other hand, tilts his head up. “Don’t,” he says when Pete meets his eyes, and Pete swallows, but nods, leans in a little to kiss Patrick’s lips just as softly as he’d kissed his ring.
“I got you a chain, too,” he says after a moment, pulls away just enough to tug the bottom of the box up to reveal a plain gold necklace. “So you can wear it that way, if you want.” His mouth twists a little, before he says, “There will be questions, otherwise, so I figured it might be better –”
“Yeah,” Patrick cuts him off. “Yeah. It’s probably. Yeah.” He nods.
“I mean,” Pete says hastily, “If you wanted to –”
“No,” Patrick says, just as quickly, knows what Pete was going to say, and, no, no, still no. “Not unless you want –”
“No,” Pete says, even more firmly than Patrick. “Everything else is for them,” he doesn’t say who ‘they’ are, but Patrick gets it, anyway. “I like that this is ours.”
“Yeah,” Patrick says again, links his left hand with Pete’s, ring pressing warm against their skin. “Me, too.” And he knows it might not last forever this way, knows information has a way of getting out – and it’s not like they’re hiding it, never that, they’re not ashamed of it and wouldn’t want anyone to think they are – but. But this is the one thing that’s theirs, that they don’t have to share with anyone if they don’t want to. And if they can hold onto that for a little longer, well, then, they’re luckier for it, and Patrick isn’t about to give it up yet if he doesn’t have to.
it's so sad and yet sweet at the same time. I kinda wanted to shake pete or making patrick feel like that. even if it is just in the story; though i'm pretty sure in real life something like this happened. or at least it aught of.
There was originally more to this - more turnover time, sort of - but I don't actually think Pete's overdose is something either of them will get over any time soon - if ever. And I'd been planning from the beginning (when I started thinking about this 'verse) for Pete to give Patrick a ring then, so... yeah. I guess I just figured that not only are they best friends in this 'verse, they're actually married, so Patrick does have legal rights in a case like this, and they were sort of skipped over. I think he might have been a little relieved he wasn't the one there, and maybe mad at himself for that little bit of relief, and also really upset he wasn't the one there, and angry with Pete for not letting him help, even if there wasn't actually anything he could do. Helplessness is one of the most awful things ever, especially when it's about someone you really care for. /ramble
I adore this so much, you don't even know. I love their relationship, how important the marriage is to Patrick and how scared/sad/hopeless he was about what Pete did. And how significant it is that they want to keep their marriage for themselves for as long as they can.
Pretty much everything about this was wonderful and exactly what I needed to read right now ♥
I admit, I have a serious soft spot for writing this 'verse. Partly because I can stay fairly close to canon, and partly because it always seems to have a sort of raw energy, whatever the emotions are, good or bad. With this, I will always remember Patrick saying he would never tour again without Pete, after that European tour, and it made me think what they all must have gone through, and how much more affected Patrick would be if he were actually married to Pete. I didn't want to change who Pete had called, or what happened there, which meant I had to deal instead with how Patrick would react to not being the one to get the call, even though they're married.
And I'd meant from the beginning for Pete to give Patrick the wedding ring right after, partly because it solves my need for a happy ending, of sorts (though, really, if this were one long fic instead of a series of ficlets, it would take ages for them both to get over this, if they ever do, which might not happen, because how do you get over something like that? You move on, but the fear still stays with you). And partly because the bad timing of it is darkly hilarious in my brain. The fact that Pete would have gotten the ring months ago, and didn't know what to do, or if he could give it to Patrick, and then he just goes for it, at this awful moment... it seemed very human, to me. We do tend to have shit timing for a lot of stuff. So... yeah. I'll stop rambling at you about this now. I clearly think about these things way too much.
Thank you for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it. ♥
So, obviously, it didn't take me that long time to realize reading this while listening to "Maps" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs wasn't the best idea I've had, but it certainly added to the excellence of this fic.
And frankly, the entire thing was my favourite part.
Music can really affect the mood of other things, can't it? Whether it's something you're reading, or anything else you're doing, it's a pretty powerful influence, whether we realise it, or not. Wonder what would happen if you'd been listening to, like "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham! or something. Probably would have been odd. (I have a weird brain, sorry.)
I am glad you liked it so much, though! Thank you!
It's on his new album, Cradlesong. I'm a bit obsessed. Sorry.
Here's Someday, if you want to listen.
Well, I've posted two ficlets, thus far, and I have a third maybe halfway done, set before they got married. And I have ideas for shorts all the way through, from when the band first started, to when it finally breaks in the media that, yes, they have actually been married for, like, 10 years, no, they weren't actually joking when they said they were. I'm trying to stay close to canon with it, which means all the crazy 'breaking news about FOB' stories get to be set in this 'verse, and other stuff, besides, so... I have a lot to work with. I just have to actually get around to it. :)
I'll definitely have a listen (or two) to it.
Oh, I see. So I reckon this is the second, correct? I was just about to ask you for the link to the first one, but then I realized it's in the description at the top of this page, hah. I must say it sounds very promising. :)
It's a good song. Though I am biased, because it's Rob Thomas. :)
This is the second I've posted, yes, and chronologically the second of the two, as well. If I actually finish the one I'm working on now, it will come before either of these two, chronologically. By all of which I mean that I'm not really writing chronologically, which is why I tend to refer to it as a 'verse, rather than a series. I write a lot in 'verse, lately. If I ever have enough of these ficlets to make it worth the effort, I'll post links in chronological order. :)
Hahaha. Sorry! 'Verse is short for 'universe' - which, I guess, is short for 'alternate universe' (AU). I'm just incredibly lazy, and though I try not to use text/chat speak, I do shorten some things, and I have a bad habit of using nicknames for both things and people. ::shameface:: I should not assume people know what I'm talking about. I'm glad you asked! Only way to learn, right? Also, possibly the best way to kick me in the rear and remind me that not everyone is used to my lazy habits. :)
firstly let me just say g.i.n.a.s.f.s. is one of my favorite songs.
secondly, i really like how patrick was torn about coming back to him and how betrayed his voice felt. maybe i'm all for the dramatics but i love that it wasn't all sunshine and flowers.
1) Mine, too, which is partly why I used it (also, the 'True Blue' is a thing in this 'verse, at least in my head, so it made sense to use it).
2) I'm glad it worked for you. I guess that's maybe how I would feel, in a similar situation? Hurt and betrayed and so fucking scared, and a little relieved at the end of it all, because Pete's still alive, but... Yeah. I can overdo the drama, but somehow, it felt right in this case. But, hey, happy ending!
I'm glad Patrick was relatable. That's always something I struggle with, when I write. I like my characters to be real, and that's not always easy for me.
(Also, I don't think I said it before, but your icon makes me giggle.)