The World's Not Waiting (For Joe Trohman to Stop Being a Pussy and Start Going For What He Wants) [6/?]Summary:
AU Timeline - Teenage angst and Crayola Rainbows. Or, Joe saw him first.Author: alfirin_kirinkiBetas: shinko
R at absolute max (over all).Pairing:
c.4, 300 this chapter.Author's notes:
This fic is written in a slightly AU timeline, where Andy joins the band straight away. One or two formerly key players may also be conspicuous by their absence...
This is also the last chapter with a present-day intro, for a while, so make the most of it.Disclaimer:
Get me a Dolorean and I'll make it real; until then, sadly not true. Previous Chapters:Part One: Paperbacks and SexualityPart Two: My Heart is On My SleevePart Three: Your Secret's OutPart Four: No Less DefeatedPart Five: Place Your Hand BetweenThe World's Not Waiting (For Joe Trohman to Stop Being a Pussy and Start Going For What He Wants)Part Six: My Badge, My Witness
"And I'm always the last to know..."
Leaning against the windowsill, Joe blinked and mumbled, "Huh?"
Patrick looked up at him from the sofa and held out a hand, this time. "Stop freaking out and come here."
"He's late, dude," Joe complained – although it wasn't really a complaint, because the calm before this particular storm was one he was quite keen to hang on to – but still climbed over the arm on the couch to sit beside him.
Patrick immediately shifted to lean against him and tugged Joe's arm over his shoulder. "We've been here before, haven't we?"
Joe grimaced before he realised Patrick wasn't going to look at him and did his best to repeat the action aloud.
Patrick twisted to look up at him, frowning. "I thought we were stopping with the freaking out." Joe grimaced again and Patrick's nose scrunched up in a playful mock-frown. "No. No freaking out. Bad!" he insisted, punctuating his words with little jabs at Joe's cheek with his index finger. It was impossible not to laugh at him, so Joe responded by grabbing his hand and gently chewing his finger until Patrick yelled with laughter and made him stop.
They settled back down with Patrick half-sitting in Joe's lap, his leg tucked over Joe's knee and Joe's arm hooked affectionately around his neck. "Only freaking out because you're actually kind of awesome," Joe murmured, pressing tiny kisses to Patrick's temple, "and this is kind of important to you."
The grin that spread across Patrick's face was much more reassuring than the, "Yeah, it kind of is. Y'know: almost as much as you, Froboy."
"And she didn't say anything at all?"
"Nope. It was like, 'Hi, honey, nice day? Did you eat?' and I said was just going to bed."
"And that's all that happened?"
"Unless you count frantically jer – " Joe stopped mid-sentence and scrabbled mentally for a way to save it without experiencing epic embarrassment. They really hadn't addressed that matter, yet. "Um. I mean, like... nothing else happened, dude."
Patrick's socked toes curled into the cushions of the couch and he seemed to be bowed more closely over his guitar; pensively fingering out chords without actually strumming it.
"So... this is kind of awkward," Joe said, lightly, trying to cover the fear that his boyfriend (boyfriend
!) now thought that he was some kind of sex manic. He wondered if it would make things better or worse if he admitted that Patrick really was the person behind his eyelids at that point; it had to be better than letting him think it was someone else, right? "Dude... I know we've like, just been together or whatever for... a few days, basically... but, like... I liked you for months
Patrick sat where he was for a few moments, and then carefully put down his guitar and stood up, dithering uncertainly and wiping his hands on his jeans. Then he headed for the basement door.
"Patrick?" Joe began and leaned forward, starting to panic. "Dude?" Oh man. Oh man, you have fucked this up so bad, dude... What the hell were you thinking? It's way too soon for this... you don't even have the chutzpah to do anything more than kiss the dude!
He was relieved, but slightly confused, when Patrick didn't open the door and leave, but instead dragged the biggest amp in the room in front of it, and then took a deep breath and walked back over to stand by the side of the couch where Joe's arm was resting. Not sure what was happening, Joe gazed up at him and waited for an explanation.
"Do you, um..." Patrick cleared is throat and started again. "Do you want something to work with?"
Joe's eyes bulged so wide he half expected them to fall out. "Um..." Dude! Are you insane?! Yes! Yes, you do want. Seriously.
"'Cause I... I kind of thought about it, quite a lot, after the other day... and I think it would be cool. To... I dunno. Turn it up slightly? Not to, y'know... eleven or anything, but... maybe... five?"
Joe had no idea what the 'Tap scale had them on at the moment, but five sounded good. He could do five. "Seriously?"
"Yeah... I think so."
"But... a couple of days ago - ?" Joe began, uncertainly.
"I was being a girl about it, dude. You're totally right: this isn't just about a week or two weeks or anything. It's been about eight months
or something since I first y'know... saw you. It's... I mean, it's not like it's something I don't know how to do. It's not like we haven't both been practicing since we were thirteen."
"Twelve..." Joe mumbled, without thinking about it.
"Details." The other boy replied, flapping a hand dismissively and looking at him so resolutely that Joe didn't know what else to say. He felt a tiny bit railroaded, but being railroaded into something he'd been considering in one form or another since before Christmas wasn't really something he was going to object to.
"Okay... If you want, then just. Okay
Patrick gave him an awkward, relieved grin and climbed onto the couch beside him. The kiss was oddly chaste for someone who had just propositioned him so insistently, but Joe didn't mind; he responded by kissing him much less chastely, and trying to encourage Patrick to climb into his lap. It took a little enticement, but he finally gave in, murmuring, "Don't make me the girl in this relationship, dude..."
"What, you wanna switch?" Joe demanded impatiently, well aware that the answer would be 'no'. Patrick pinched him in the shoulder and shifted so that he was kneeling either side of one of Joe's thighs. They stayed that way for a while, just making out with hands above belt-level, as they were used to, until Joe tentatively let his hand drop from under Patrick's shirt to settle neatly on his ass.
One of them had to do something or they were going to be there all day. They didn't have
Patrick's response was to mumble something indecipherable and press closer, his own hand, which had been resting innocently on Joe's shoulder, suddenly and somewhat surprisingly dropped to run up the inside of his thigh, instead. Joe was so surprised, in fact, that he almost knocked Patrick off his lap and onto the floor.
"Is that not cool?" Patrick asked uncertainly, drawing his hand back as if Joe was going to bite it off.
"Dude. It is... so
cool, just..." he reached out and pulled Patrick's hand down to the general vicinity, once more, "wasn't expecting it..."
"Oh. Sure. Sorry." Patrick's hand went back to his thigh, gingerly – as if he thought he might burn his fingers on it – and then purposefully ran his fingers much, much higher than they had been. Joe was extremely careful not to knock him off his lap this time, in case he didn't try again. The next thing he knew, the hand was somewhere altogether more surprising, which really wasn't a problem, it was just a little embarrassing how eager – or, oh God, desperate
– he must have seemed, to have reacted accordingly in approximately 0.03 of a second.
Patrick's hand stilled and he pulled back to blink at him, "Um... cool?" he asked.
"Dude. I'd say that was like, a pretty massive clue that yes, it is cool!" He could feel his face burning.
Patrick scrunched up his nose contemplatively, "Hmm... not that
"You're pretty lucky I'm not like, totally paranoid about that, dude," Joe informed him, airily, and disguised his nervousness about reciprocating by wrestling him down on to the couch, so that Patrick was pinned half-under him and he could make a joke out of it. The joke didn't last long. It deteriorated into wet kisses and fumbled touching and awkward, occasionally fruitless rubbing and suddenly, there was a hand inside
his pants and, holy shit, he almost froze until Patrick made a point of undoing his own jeans and pointedly took Joe's hand and placed it where he wanted it. Which was quite enough encouragement, really.
Later, gazing at the basement ceiling, with Patrick half-asleep and snuggled against him, Joe kind of realised that things were different, now. Not in a bad way – if anything, in a pretty damn good way – but still different. It wasn't as if it had really been any more than clumsy fumbling, and they still had a lot of stuff to work through (or, he hoped they did) but it had kind of started, and they were moving on and definitely
together and that made him feel a little bit like he wanted to burst. Or tell people. Although maybe not his parents. But Pete... yeah. Now he knew that he had something worth telling, and maybe defending, he was pretty sure he could do it.
"Hey, dude?" he asked quietly, nudging Patrick.
Patrick murmured, "Huh?" and lifted his head to look at him.
"At the show tonight, I think we should like, go ahead and tell Pete, dude."
Grinning, sleepily, Patrick lay back down and muttered, "Sure... Just... not in detail..."
It seemed fairest to wait until after the set, just in case Pete turned out to be really pissed about things. Neither of them wanted it to end with more smashed equipment.
After Andy's vacation and most of the bands they usually went to see at local shows taking a collective hiatus for a few weeks (possibly because Andy was in most of them), this was the first show they had been to since the argument in the alley. They had already agreed that there were to be absolutely no PDAs and to avoid talking about their new status as an item, in case the wrong person overheard them. The hardcore scene wasn't exactly known for welcoming queers.
It was actually kind of hard. He hadn't expected that. Since that afternoon, Joe wanted to reach out and touch him every couple of moments. He didn't want to have to shove his hands in his pockets and keep an extra six inches away in case anyone became suspicious. They'd spent so much of the last week or so holed up either in Joe's bedroom or Patrick's basement that absent little touches had become pretty much normal and he forgot he was doing them, most of the time. Patrick kept side-stepping them and flashing him semi-amused glares. At one point he gave in long enough to squeeze Joe's fingers, and eventually, much later, they snuck down to the unused office corridor, past the restrooms and cut off by a fire door with a small window in it, just so they could take a couple of moments away from everyone else.
Joe was mildly abashed by the fact that all he really wanted was a kiss and a short snuggle to be sure that all the distance really was an act, and that there were no second thoughts. He wasn't a girl. He wasn't even a particularly romantic person. He figured it was because it was all new and special and that it would fade a little in a few months. His parents certainly didn't spend all their time groping each other, anyway.
As they ducked into the corridor, the first thing Patrick whispered was, "We're totally gonna get caught!" But then he had Joe against the wall before he'd even finished saying it which really kind of raised questions about how concerned he was.
"Well, that would kind of suck," Joe told him, tucking his arms around Patrick's waist and kissing him quickly, just in case.
Unfortunately, he wasn't quick enough.
They turned to the door quickly to find the enormous silhouette of one of Pete's friends standing in the doorway. Joe didn't even have time to mutter, "Shit
!" before Charlie had disappeared without another word.
Even in the limited light from the window in the door, Joe could see how pale Patrick had turned. He looked mortified.
"Dude? Are you okay?" he asked, grasping his hand.
"We're so fucked."
"It was just Chuck, dude... I can like, go after him, if you want... try to explain or something."
"Explain what? 'Oh, hey, yeah – so what you saw? Exactly what it looked like.' That'll work."
Joe guessed he had a point. Charlie wasn't exactly stupid.
Barely a minute later, Pete burst through the door looking utterly horrified. Outside, Charlie stood with arms folded, as though playing a bouncer.
"Pete –" Patrick started, pulling away from Joe to move toward him.
"I like... don't know if I should be freaked out that you almost got your faces pulped, or whatever... or if I should be pissed that you didn't fucking tell me, again
"Dude, it's like, totally not like that... We were gonna talk to you after..." Joe tried, suddenly feeling like a jerk for not telling him as soon as Andy figured it out. Pete's reaction to finding out Joe was gay should have been a lesson.
"What, 'after' you got you fucking brains smashed out on some asshole's boot, sort of thing?" Pete asked, sounding somewhere between horrified and infuriated.
"Oh, c'mon, Pete – " Patrick tried, reaching out to him placatingly.
Pete shook his head and turned to Joe. "Dude. I though we
were cool. I thought that like, on the tour, we had like... an agreement or whatever."
"We do, dude..."
"So why the fuck did I just have Chuckie come find me to tell you two to like, get a room, or whatever? Why wasn't I in a fucking place that I could be the one to kind of warn you
before this fucking happened, dude? And you are so fucking lucky
he only cares that he got his eyes burned with people being cute!"
Joe opened his mouth to explain, but he really didn't know what to say – so Patrick got there first.
"Okay, you know what? We were going to tell you, dude. We were fucking going to tell you tonight, but we were waiting until after the fucking set because last time, you smashed shit up because I told you I liked him. That's why you don't fucking know, okay? Because we totally knew that this would be all your fucking problem! Poor fucking Pete."
"Oh, Trick, c'mon..." Joe said softly, surprised by the outburst and pulling him back a little so he didn't end up smacking Pete in the mouth. "It's not like that, dude..."
"Bullshit! You were the one being all, 'Oh, what if he hates me for it?'"
"Thanks, dude..." he murmured, not wanting to look at Pete, too ashamed of himself. Because it was true. He'd betrayed one of his closest friends' trust, questioned his loyalty by expecting him to be anything but pleased for them. What a fucking jerk.
Pete just looked between them, and finally gave a heavy growl of a sigh. "Didn't you think I'd be fucking happy
"Happy like the end of the tour, when you, y'know: smashed shit to pieces?"
"What?" Pete demanded coolly.
"See, I totally didn't get it, before. He
did," Patrick replied, pointing at Joe, who just wished the shadows would swallow him up. "He totally figured out what your problem was and I thought he was being paranoid, dude."
"You. Your problem with him and me and always fucking wanting my attention and getting pissed when I told you that actually, no, the reason I wasn't interested in you wasn't because I like chicks, it was because I liked him
. It's as transparent as fuck. I can't believe I didn't see it."
Pete's eyes narrowed. "Dude, like, get over yourself or whatever. You can't seriously think I'm jealous, because of you
? I have a girlfriend." He snorted and folded his arms, and did his best to look disdainful, but even Joe wasn't buying that.
"Dude..." Joe sighed, "seriously – I like, almost turned him down because I didn't, like, want to fuck things up with us, basically. Because I, like... I mean, it's been pretty clear since day one, dude, that you... kind of. Y'know. And I mean, on the tour... you were all 'me and Patrick' and talking about him all the time, and when I gave you the phone you were just, like... totally so happy
..." he tried, afraid that this would force him to choose between his boyfriend (and he still couldn't get over that concept), one of his best friends, and maybe even his band. The band hadn't even played a single show, yet, but he was pretty sure Pete was right and they were going to be amazing if they just stuck at it and worked things through. "Please don't, like... Please don't be mad, dude."
Patrick pointedly grabbed hold of Joe's hand and lifted his eyebrows, as if to say, "What're you going to do about it?"
"I'm only mad
that you couldn't like, trust me or whatever! Do I have a sign on my back that says 'Asshole' or something?"
"No, dude... you have to believe us..." Patrick told him, apparently softening to the dejected pull of Pete's voice. "You're totally the second person who knows. Andy just walked in one day when we were hanging out. That's the only
reason he knows, man. We didn't choose to tell him."
"We just literally got together," Joe added as earnestly as he could, hoping Pete would believe the truth and not ask questions about what exactly that meant.
"We're supposed to be a band
, kind of. Like, a team? Just... stop keeping shit from me..." Pete demanded, scuffing sulkily at the floor. "It's not like I can't say 'best man won' sometimes, or whatever."
Joe cast Patrick a glance; he thought that may just have been a confession, but Patrick's face was inscrutable.
"He did win," Patrick said quietly, but with a warning hint beneath it which caused a soft swell of self-importance somewhere in Joe's chest. "It's taken us an age
to get here, dude. Now we are. We want it to be okay with everyone. Including you."
Some small voice at the back of Joe's head was still trying to wail, Woah, shit – dating like, ten days! Too heavy. Stop now. Abort conversation
, but he ignored it and felt mildly smug at his new-found maturity. Must be the whole Really Nearly Seventeen Thing.
There was a long silence in the corridor, and outside Joe saw Charlie duck slightly to look through the little window, wondering if they were done. Finally, just as things reached the point of awkwardness, Pete announced, "I'm happy for you. Like, seriously. Whatever makes you kids happy, kind of. But if this screws with the band in any way, ever, then I'm going to cut off your dicks and make some earrings."
It was a fairly remarkable feat on Joe's part that he didn't just blurt out, "Well, they wouldn't match..." but somehow he managed it. And this was a good thing, because he was fairly sure Patrick would have disembowelled him with a teaspoon if he had.
The entire way home, or at least until he and Chris were dropped off at their apartment, Charlie gave them shifty glances to make sure they weren't being 'fluffy'. Joe wasn't entirely sure what he'd have done if they were, but he thought it better to be safe than sorry, and was relieved when they finally hopped out of the van with a flurry of affectionate obscenities at Pete, and disappeared.
Just the four of them remained.
Patrick took this as a cue to yawn loudly and slump against Joe's shoulder. Joe obligingly tucked an arm around him and echoed the yawn just as he caught Pete's eye in the wing mirror.
"It's past his curfew already," Pete observed flatly, looking away.
"'M staying at Joe's," Patrick informed him, through another yawn.
"Does Mommy know?"
Patrick flipped him off and made himself more comfortable.
"Nobody's mommy knows like, anything, dude," Joe reminded him. He had a funny feeling that if they didn't keep a careful eye on Pete, a lot of people's mommies might accidentally overhear.
"If you two just like, only got together last week or whatever, how come you have him 'staying over'?"
"'Cause we're capable of being in the same room without needing to pretend we're in a porn film..." Patrick muttered.
"Speak for yourself, dude!" Joe teased, flicking his ear.
Andy glanced at them in the rearview mirror and smirked, shaking his head.
"You know not all the guys on this scene are like me, Chris and Charlie, though, kind of? Right? You do that in front of some of those guys, they'll be like, pulling pieces of your teeth out of venue walls for a week, y'know what I'm saying?"
They climbed out of the van a few minutes later, no equipment of their own to transport inside, and let themselves into the house, waving Pete and Andy off from the step. Joe's father was snoozing contentedly in front of the television when they got in, his mother already in bed. They made their way upstairs quietly; she was a light sleeper and even though he was pretty much allowed to have anyone he wanted stay over whenever he wanted, he felt oddly secretive about having Patrick stay. She'd know in the morning, but then it wouldn't be so weird, because she'd just ask if they'd had a good time at the show and shuffle them off to the kitchen to have breakfast and that would be it. If she saw them now, she would ask about the show and try to make their sleeping arrangements, and that was about to be awkward enough as it was.
Joe closed the door behind them quietly and watched Patrick hover nervously in the middle of his room like he wasn't sure what to do with himself. He always felt embarrassed, thinking about how... not 'cute', Patrick would hate being thought of as 'cute', and 'hot' wasn't right, either, because hot was still Anthony Kiedis wearing a strategically positioned sock and... Joe made a point of not thinking about that mental image in too much detail, and instead forced himself to ask:
"So, like... where do you want to sleep?"
Patrick blinked and shrugged, adjusting his glasses. "I don't mind."
Helpful. "Like... I have a sleeping bag if you want, dude. Or..." he shrugged casually and picked up a He-Man action figure standing on the bookshelf next to him, for something to fiddle with, "y'know... If you want you can sleep there..." He waved the toy in the direction of the bed.
"Well, I mean, last time I stayed over I slept on the floor, so, I mean..."
"Last time was before
Patrick grinned self-consciously at that. "Yeah." He paused and chewed his lip for a moment. "There doesn't seem much point getting out a sleeping bag when we're just going to be, y'know: sleeping."
"I figured that was like, exactly the point of a sleeping bag, but whatever, dude," Joe replied, sitting down on his bed and grinning at him as he put down the action figure on the cabinet.
Patrick tapped him on the head, but he was smirking affectionately. "Jackass. Just... okay." He took off his jacket and folded it up before bunching it into a ball in his hands. "We can both sleep here. If you want. But, y'know: we're just going to sleep, right?"
"Yeah! Yeah, totally... I mean... it's going to be kind of squished, but yeah. Cool, dude. Whatever."
Patrick was oddly matter of fact about getting ready for bed. He unlaced his sneakers, folded his jeans and put them on top of his shoes and then sat on the bed and waited for Joe to be ready. Joe's idea of getting ready was stuffing his t-shirt and jeans in the laundry basket.
"Aren't you kind of going to be warm wearing your shirt?" he asked, climbing under the covers and waiting for Patrick to crawl in beside him.
"No," Patrick insisted quickly, laying down and shrugging the comforter over his shoulders.
Joe didn't dare ask again; he seemed pretty certain. Instead, he climbed back out of bed to get the light, and then stumbled back across the room, nearly tripping over Patrick's sneakers. Patrick giggled at him as he climbed over the blankets and settled back down, tucking one arm around him before he was even really comfortable. Joe tried not to show how self-conscious he felt as he tucked his own arm around Patrick, because this was really kind of weird. He was in bed, with his boyfriend, with his mom in the next room, his brother across the hall and his dad downstairs. Patrick may have been wearing a shirt, but Joe wasn't. Joe was mostly naked
and in bed with his boyfriend in his parents' house. And actually, that was even more weird.
"You okay?" Patrick asked quietly.
"Yeah." Joe kissed him to prove it. Mostly to himself.
"You sure you're not freaking out?"
"No, dude, I promise, I'm cool." In fact, it was an outright lie.
"Okay, honestly, I feel like my cat just sat up and asked me the time, but apart from that, I'm like, totally cool, dude."
"Good." Patrick shifted so they were pressed more closely together and nuzzled into his neck. "Go to sleep."
Joe wasn't sure there was any way he could go to sleep, because that would mean waking up and waking up in this position was going to be awkward to say the least. Especially if Patrick continued to insist on tangling their legs together and make contented humming noises. There were already parts of him wondering why the hell nothing was going on.
Joe took a deep breath and prepared himself for a very restless night.
He really hadn't thought this idea through.