The World's Not Waiting (For Joe Trohman to Stop Being a Pussy and Start Going For What He Wants) [11/?]Summary:
AU Timeline - Teenage angst and Crayola Rainbows. Or, Joe saw him first.Author: rosiedoesBetas: xdearlin
R at absolute max.Pairing:
c.4,400 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 essentially the second half of the last chapter – we'll be leaping ahead a couple of months after this one!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 BetweenPart Six: My Badge, My WitnessPart Seven: Knocking Boots in the BackPart Eight: The Battle's Only Halfway DonePart Nine: Kiss Safe Thoughts GoodbyePart Ten: Snitches and TalkersThe World's Not Waiting (For Joe Trohman to Stop Being a Pussy and Start Going For What He Wants)Part Eleven: My Reputation's On The Line
"Not as eloquent as I may have imagined..."
"Trohman, you're late."
"I know, sir – I kind of had to do something before school."
"Oh, really? Was it worth having something to do after school, like detention?"
Joe blushed and glanced at the rest of his class; he really didn't want to have to admit this.
"Do you have
an excuse, or are you trying to think one up right now?"
"No – I do, but like – "
"Would you care to share it with us? I'm sure everyone would be fascinated to know why you felt the need to interrupt the class almost twenty minutes into the lesson."
"I got stuck in traffic."
"Traffic. Between your house and school. Mr Trohman, do you or do you not live three streets away from me?"
"Well – yeah, but it wasn't from home, sir."
God, how he wished Luke were at least in this class with him. "Between South Glenbrook and – "
"Mr Trohman, you don't attend South Glenbrook."
"No, but like..." he took a deep breath and figured that he may as well tell the truth, because it wasn't as though everyone from the cafeteria staff to the principle didn't know, anyway, and hey – it might get him a reprieve. "Basically, I had to give my boyfriend a ride to school because he came out to his mom last night and she kind of kicked him out. So, I'm sorry I'm late and everything, but it was kind of important."
Half the room laughed, a few of the girls 'awwed' at him, and one asshole at the back called out, "Fag!"
"Mr Harvey. Congratulations - you just volunteered to take detention on Joe's behalf. Sit down, Trohman."
"I don't like, get detention?"
"Do you want detention?"
"Then sit down, shut up and stop disrupting my class!"
By the time they reached third period and Joe's first class with Luke, Luke had already heard.
"Having a crisis, huh?" he hissed as they settled into their English lesson and the rest of the class filed in.
"Dude. The last twenty-four hours have been insane."
"I heard you were playing the dashing knight or something, rescuing your damsel, and you showed up late for Carter's class and got Kyle detention."
"Kyle got himself detention for like, being a dick. And dude, seriously, unless you want to get like, punched in the throat, don't ever call Patrick a 'damsel' to his face, man."
"So what happened?"
"His mom found out about us because Pete was shooting his mouth off, and like, Patrick totally just let him con him into admitting that we, um," he gave Luke a significant look and gesticulated vaguely, glancing around to make sure no one else was paying particular attention to their conversation.
"Dude. We y'know
"Holy shit! You did? Way to go, Troh, you stud
." Luke reached out for a hi-five. Joe half-heartedly patted at his palm.
"Yeah. Thanks. But like, Patrick's mom heard him saying it and got all pissy... and he's like amazing and everything but he can get pretty pissy about stuff too – I think it's hereditary - and like, she started telling him he couldn't be into guys and
girls and that it's all a phase or something and so he's all pissed with her and like, was gonna go and stay with his dad but it's like an hour away, so my mom made him stay with us and I had to take him to school."
"Man, that sucks. She actually sent him to school
"I know, dude, seriously."
"So, is he moving in with you guys, now?"
"I dunno, man. I mean, my mom would be cool with that because I think she'd pretty much rather have Patrick than me and Sam, but... like, one step at a time, man. We've only been dating since July..."
"Oh, so you got the goods and now you're bored, huh?" Luke teased, smirking.
"No! No way, dude, I just mean – he's seventeen. He's like, way too young to be moving out of home. He totally loves his mom, most of the time, he's just being all stubborn and stuff."
"You sure you're not just having second thoughts, or something?"
, we're like, better than ever basically, but he's not happy and that sucks."
"So, like, are you doing something about it?"
"Joe, man, you can't be a knight in shining armour if your mom is doing all the saving, dude."
"I gave him a ride – "
"Isn't that what got him kicked out in the first place?"
"You are so not funny. So
, so not funny."
"Well, dude – if you're just gonna let your mom do everything –"
"What am I kind of like supposed to do? I'm just this kid who defiled her baby – she's not even gonna want to look at me."
"'Defiled her baby'
!" Luke laughed a little too loudly, attracting some curious looks from surrounding desks. Thankfully, their teacher walked in and distracted the room from demanding to know who was being defiled and how, but Joe spent the entire lesson wondering what he could do to start to put things right.
It wasn't that Joe didn't enjoy spending every evening hanging out with his boyfriend, or getting to sneak nookie (at least, to a certain extent) on school nights
, but Patrick was just clearly unhappy. Joe didn't really have any idea what he was supposed to do. Patrick hadn't even tried
to figure things out with his mom – and she hadn't called, either; apparently, she was just as stubborn as Patrick and that really wasn't helping either of them. Patrick was distracted and quiet most of the time, and clingy all the rest. Joe was perfectly content to play a living teddy bear, but it just wasn't helping.
On Wednesday evening, they were sitting in the den, watching Purple Rain – which Joe had even been to the video store to rent on his way home from school, because he thought it might cheer Patrick up a little - tucked into the corner of the couch, with Patrick slumped back against Joe's chest and both of Joe's arms wrapped around him; he'd wanted them like that. Neither of them had said anything for a long while by the time his mom peeked in on them and Joe had stopped trying to encourage conversation because it was entirely futile. Patrick didn't even look up as she opened the door.
For a moment she stood there with her mouth open, as if to say something, and then finally managed, "Joey, could you come and help me with something, for a moment, please?"
Joe looked down at Patrick and patted at his shoulders, murmuring, "Sit up, dude," and kissing the top of his head as he got up. Patrick just curled into the corner of the couch with a sigh.
"Honey, is Patrick okay?" Joe's mom asked, as she closed the kitchen door behind them. "He's hardly even eating and... well, he seems a little depressed."
"I don't know, it's just like... he's so quiet
, mom. He does eat
, but it's like, candy and stuff all the time... he brings it home from school or work or something. And he's not really sleeping properly... I don't know what to do."
"He hasn't talked to his mother, yet, has he?"
"Would you like me to give her a call? Have a little talk, mom to mom?"Yespleasefixthis
. "No, it's fine... you've already been like, really awesome."
His mother made a soft cooing sound and gathered him into a hug. "You're handling this very well, sweetie."
"I'm not really like, doing anything useful, though."
"You're doing fine. I'm very proud of you."
"No, I am. Your father and I have raised two very sweet and responsible boys."
"You're not seriously
like, including Sam in that...?"
Laughing, his mother pinched his cheek. "Sam's a good boy, too, don't get all jealous first-born, Joseph."
"Sam's a lunatic, basically."
"Oh, go back to the den! But you tell me if you want any help, or you'd like me or your father to give her a call, okay?"
Joe nodded and gave her a hug. He didn't feel very good at doing this adult thing so much when it wasn't walking by the lake or sharing a bed every night. But something still had to change, and Luke had been right: it couldn't be his mom saving the day again.
While Patrick was at work on Thursday evening, Joe decided to be a little more pro-active.
He was almost shaking by the time he rang the doorbell; he had no idea how he was going to be greeted, but for such a tiny woman, Patrick's mom was pretty intimidating.
"H-Hi, Mrs Stumph. I, um, I'm kind of here about Patrick."
Patricia stared at him for a moment or two – he must have looked like a little kid, in his Transformers t-shirt and still carrying his rucksack – and then stepped back and opened the door to let him in.
She guided him into the kitchen and pulled out a stool at the breakfast bar, patting it so that he'd sit down while she went to the fridge and poured him a glass of chocolate milk.
"How is he?" she asked with slightly strained lightness, sliding a tin of cookies toward him.
"Um. Well," Joe began, taking an embarrassed sip of chocolate milk to buy time and not offend her, even if she clearly thought he was seven, not seventeen, "he's kind of miserable, actually..."
"He knows he can come home any time he chooses."
"I... I mean, I know he knows that and everything, but like... he's really kind of like... he's really hurt
, so he's being all awkward and stuff and not doing what he wants because he's too stubborn."
"Well, he would."
"Yeah," Joe laughed awkwardly, "he would."
There was an uncomfortable silence for a few moments, before Patricia sat down opposite him and took a deep breath. "Look. Joe
, you seem like a very sweet boy, but I know my child and I know that regardless of what he thinks he wants, he's very, very young and – "
"Um. Except he's not."
"He's practically an adult. He's eighteen in a few months – "
"That really means very little."
"It means he can vote. And buy a house. And get married without anyone telling him he can. So like, if he's old enough for that stuff, can't he kind of like... be old enough to know if he likes someone, basically?"
"That's not really the point."
"Well, I'm like, even younger than Patrick and I know that I really like him
a whole lot."
"Joe, that's really very sweet, but I'm sure your parents would agree that you're both still children."
Sighing, Joe stared into his glass and started to realise exactly how futile this was and why Patrick hadn't bothered to try to persuade her of this since he'd left. "My mom and dad are actually like, pretty cool. They really like Patrick a lot."
"Well – make sure you thank them for me, for taking in Patrick while he sulks."
"He's not sulking
– he's totally, totally miserable but he won't come home because he thinks you won't accept me so I like, feel pretty bad, because it's like I'm making him unhappy. We kept the whole thing a secret for like, months, because he just like, wanted to tell you properly and not make you mad and the way you did find out was like, seriously, seriously
not how he planned."
"How long have you parents known? I'm assuming they do know
what you're doing."
"Um. They've known for kind of a long time. Almost from the beginning, basically."
"Oh. Well, it's good to feel trusted," she muttered tartly.
"M-Mrs Stumph, I don't want to sound rude or anything, but like... look what happened when you did find out. And if you're kind of thinking that maybe he'll give up what he wants because you don't believe it's for real, then... I don't think the Patrick you know is the dude I'm dating."
She raised her eyebrows at him. "Really? And who is the Patrick you're dating?"
Joe blushed and scratched the back of his neck. "He's like, pretty awesome," he shrugged. "He's one of the coolest, smartest people I know. And he seriously stands up for himself, now, even though, like, Pete's always ragging on him. And he stood up for me, once, when I got found out in school and this dude was like, giving me, uh... problems..."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"It's fine. We kind of like... dealt with it. But it's not the point. Patrick is so, so cool – and just like... some of our friends are like, five years older than us, but he's more mature than a lot of them. I really think that like... he probably knows what he wants and that he's cool with that so it's not really like, anybody else's business to tell him that he's not."
"You really care about him very much, don't you?" Patricia said quietly, as if this was something she'd never actually considered before.
Joe just nodded.
"So what do you think will happen when you leave high school in a few months time and go away to college?"
"We kind of haven't talked about it..."
"Well. What do you think
"I don't know. We kind of like... we kind of made a point of not talking about it, I think."
"You know he applied to a music school in Massachusetts, don't you?"
For a moment, Joe's heart skittered and his stomach dropped. All he could do was to bite his lip and shake his head. That's the other side of the country, almost.
"It's a good school."
"Then he'll probably get on pretty great there."
"But it's a long, long way, Joe. Where were you hoping to go?"
"I don't really care, that much. I applied to like, a bunch of places..."
"What are you going to major in?"
Joe sniffed and shrugged a little, suddenly feeling totally unworthy of her prodigious child. "Sociology."
"People are interesting."
"They certainly are."
"But y'know, like, it doesn't matter if we have to go to different colleges... it's not like we'll never be home. And there's like, the internet and stuff..."
"And there are other people. People you'll both see every single day."Are you trying to make me cry, or something?
"There will be girls there, Joe. Do you really think that Patrick – "
"If Patrick wanted to date a girl, right now, I think that like, he'd be dating a girl. He's way popular at his job... I'm pretty sure any of the girls there would date him if they didn't already know he was with me."
"People at the bookstore know?"
"They've known since before we started dating," Joe admitted. "I kind of like... I turned him down at first, because someone else liked him and I didn't want to like, get in the way or anything... He was kind of gutted a little, and when people asked why, he told them the real reason."
"So... how many people know about this?"
Joe stared at her. "Well – everyone. Except you and his dad... and I think his school, but Simon knows. And all our friends know. And my grandparents think he's pretty much the nicest person they ever met... they gave him a family heirloom when they met him on my birthday, and stuff – it's like, this Star of David on a chain that belonged to my great uncle... and they're pretty old and not used to the whole kind of thing, so it was like... it was cool to have their blessing or something, basically."
For a minute or two, Patricia gazed at her clasped hands and seemed to try to process this information.
"He... I mean, he even has little rainbow stickers on his ID badge from work, and stuff. He's really kind of comfortable with the whole thing. Probably more than me, even."
They sat there in silence again, but it was Joe who broke it, this time; "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure you can."
"If Patrick hadn't like, told you he's bi, or whatever, and had told you he was just gay – just like, exclusively into dudes – would you still think he was making like, a huge mistake?"
Patricia didn't seem to have an answer.
By the time he left to pick Patrick up from work, Joe was fairly convinced that Patrick's mom wasn't quite as evil as he'd kind of imagined. She didn't have any idea what was going on in her son's life, but that was probably more to do with Patrick keeping it from her (and a little case of denial), than not caring. He actually felt kind of bad for her, in a way; she'd seemed pretty hurt when she realised how much she'd been kept in the dark.
But more than that, more than anything else, Joe couldn't help thinking about the other matter they'd talked about; the one he'd been putting off for as long as possible because it kind of scared him.
He didn't say anything until they'd baked themselves frozen pizza for dinner because Joe's mom was at her weaving group, and even then it was Patrick who brought things up.
"You okay?" he asked, prodding a half-eaten slice into a puddle of ketchup on his plate, and not looking up.
"Huh? Oh. Uh... kind of, I guess," Joe shrugged back. "Just, like... just thinking about stuff."
There was a long pause as Patrick's pizza was placed carefully back on the plate and pushed slightly away. "Should that make me as paranoid as it just did?"
"Um... no... I don't know, I just... I kind of have to tell you something."
Patrick didn't say a word, he just sat back a little and chewed at his lip.
"So, basically, while you were at work I kind of like did something that I don't know if you're gonna be pissed about, but I kind of hope you won't be, and like... it kind of... it kind of got me thinking about stuff I've been totally ignoring."
"I guess I should tell you I kind of like... Iwenttoyourmombasically."
"I kind of... I was kind of worried about you dude, and Luke told me I had to do something, so I like... I went to talk to your mom. But that's not the point, right now – "
"Well, it is. But it's not what I was thinking about." You are making such a fucking mess of this, dude.
"So... what's wrong
? You've hardly said anything since you picked me up, man – are you getting sick of having me around, or something, because I can go – "
"No! No, dude, seriously... it's like, the total opposite of that."
"I – I don't get it."
Joe took a deep breath and rubbed his eye with the heel of his hand. "Your mom, um... she kind of told me about you wanting to go to college in Massachusetts."
"So? I'm not gonna get in. There's no way
that place is taking me."
"But like, you'll still go somewhere
"So will you..."
"Well – yeah, dude, maybe, but like... she thinks you'll get tired of not being able to see each other a lot and like – "
"I don't care
what she thinks!"
"Yeah," Joe huffed miserably, with a limp shrug of his shoulders, "but what if she's right or something?"
Sighing, Patrick leaned forward and propped both elbows on the table, scrunching his fingers into his hair. "I seriously wish you'd never gone."
"I was trying to fix things..."
"Yeah? Well, don't you see what she did? Now you're doubting that any of this is worth the trouble because you think we're just gonna break up as soon as we live more than three miles away from each other!"
"No, I'm not – I just kind of... I don't know, dude. I've been trying to pretend it doesn't have to happen, and now, like... well, it's going to, and we're gonna like, have to think of a way of fixing it or something because... I really, really
don't want her to be right."
"Joe..." Patrick sat up and reached around Joe's plate to brush his hand, "we won't even be going for almost a year."
"Yeah, but that's just gonna make it worse, dude. We've been together like three months and... you know, like, how I feel and everything and I don't want you to get bored of me not being there and go find someone else."
"How do you know you won't be the one who finds somebody else cooler?"
"There isn't anyone, though," Joe argued, because the prospect of there being anyone on the face of the Earth more awesome than Patrick was a fucking joke. He looked at the pale hand clutching his, scrawled with faded blue ink reminding him to re-organise the Classical Section, and squeezed it tighter; Patrick pushed his chair back and got up, gesturing for Joe to move back from the table. He sat himself sideways on Joe's lap and wrapped both arms around him tightly.
"We'll be okay," he mumbled into his shoulder. "I kind of had to fight for you, dude, I'm not gonna quit that easily. If I didn't plan on keeping you I wouldn't have bothered."
Joe crushed him so hard Patrick wriggled to make him let go slightly.
tell me we're gonna be okay, and you're not, y'know: gonna just cut your losses or something..."
"As if I'd have the balls, dude."
Patrick laughed affectionately and kissed him on the cheek and temple. "You've got bigger balls than most dudes I know, if you fronted up my mom."
"She gave me chocolate milk."
"Oh no..." he snickered.
"She really like, thinks you're a baby, though..."
"No, really? I hadn't noticed that in the last seventeen and a half years."
"She really, like... she doesn't understand you being into both, dude. But she really wants you home. I kind of like... I just think she panicked when you told her. When I said that like, everyone knew about us, and that you had those stickers on your name tag and stuff, she was all sad and I felt really bad, basically. Like I was rubbing salt in the wound or something."
"She doesn't trust me to know who I am, though, Joe and I just... I'm not gonna keep explaining myself to her, y'know? She can take it or leave it, but until she gets the message that I'm dating a guy and I'm totally cool with that - I'm happy
with that – she can get lost."
"You didn't seem that happy this week, though, dude..."
Patrick frowned at him a little and put his hand on the side of Joe's face as if to make sure he was paying attention. "Hey," he began, softly, "I'd have been a lot worse if I hadn't, y'know: been here. If I'd had to go to my dad's – "
"Yeah, but it's because of me you're like, here at all, man."
"I chose that, though. You know I did. I could have stayed and dealt with her stupid ideas but I have to make a point, y'know? I'm not five."
"Do you think she's like... maybe a tiny bit right about us being kind of young?" Joe asked carefully, rubbing Patrick's back.
"Too young for what? Dating? No. Hell no
. Too young to be kind of doing stuff? No. It's not like we even rushed into that..."
Patrick sighed and pulled Joe closer so his head was pressed to Patrick's chest, stroking his hair. "She really shook you up, didn't she?"
"No... she just got me thinking..."
"Well don't. Bad things happen when you think about stuff. Like almost not getting together."
Joe laughed a little and kissed him until Patrick pulled away and half-whispered, "When's your mom home?"
"Uh... her class finishes in forty minutes or something," Joe muttered, squinting at the clock on the oven. "But she has to collect Sam."
"You want to go upstairs?"
"What f –" Joe began, as Patrick stood up and tried to pull him up by his wrists, but then realised what he meant. "Oh
. Um. Do we have time?"
"You're kind of over-estimating yourself, man."
"Well, I don't wanna like, rush it – it's not like we've practised or anything..." But he let himself be tugged to his feet anyway. "And I mean – I don't, like... I don't have all the stuff..."
, I was gonna leave it at my house for my mom to find."
By the time the front door opened and Sam's footsteps hammered up the stairs and Joe's mom's voice called, "Joey, we're home, honey!" they were practically asleep.
Late the next night, laying sprawled on top of Joe in his single bed after their third ever show, Patrick shook him a little and whispered, "Joe?"
"I think I'm gonna go home tomorrow."
Joe blinked his eyes open and squinted at him in the dark. "You don't like, have to, or anything..." And I'm like, seriously getting used to having you around here every night and every morning when I get up and that is totally selfish and I don't even care.
"No, I know..."
"You want to?"
"I kind of feel like I should at least try
or something, y'know?"
"Okay," Joe whispered, kissing him on the cheek and closing his eyes.
"Will you come with me?"
"Will you come with me? When I go home, dude – it'd be really cool if you came with me. Even for like, a couple of hours, or something."
"Sure, man. Anything."
Patrick wriggled around and buried his face in Joe's neck, settling down to sleep. "Thanks," he whispered.
Joe lay awake for a long time, after, trying to decide if he was glad or not.