The World's Not Waiting (For Joe Trohman to Stop Being a Pussy and Start Going For What He Wants) [5/?]Summary:
AU Timeline - Teenage angst and Crayola Rainbows. Or, Joe saw him first.Author: alfirin_kirinkiBetas: fayemeadows
R at absolute max (over all).Pairing:
c.4, 000 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 a bit of a conduit chapter, with less plot progression than development, so... connect the dots.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 DefeatedThe World's Not Waiting (For Joe Trohman to Stop Being a Pussy and Start Going For What He Wants)Part Five: Put Your Hand Between
"And I'm feeling young and reckless..."
"What if he, like, wants to break up the band, dude?"
Patrick snorted into his coffee and almost spilled it down his shirt. "Yeah, sure. He'd totally do that."
It was fairly lucky that by the time Sam charged up the stairs and straight into Joe's room, yelling, "Joe! Joe – mom says you have to come down and have something to eat or she'll send Patrick home!" that Patrick was no longer practically in his lap, but sitting on the floor by Joe's feet, struggling his way through Super Mario 3 on the vintage SNES.
Joe still chased him out and half way down the stairs, yelling at him about coming into his room without knocking again
. He'd done that one morning on a weekend and left Joe having to convince him he just had a really bad itch right there
. He still wasn't sure Sam believed him.
"You want something to eat?" Joe asked, pushing the door shut as Patrick climbed to his feet.
"Um. Yeah, sure, if that's okay... I went to work straight from school. I haven't gotten around to eating since lunch."
"Dude, it's like, after nine!"
"It is?!" Patrick looked at his watch. "It doesn't feel like I've been here that long... Should I leave? I mean, it's pretty late and, y'know..."
"No, no – it's cool, dude. It's not like we have school. C'mon, we'll get a sandwich or something."
They were sitting at the kitchen table, arguing the relative merits of crunchy vs. smooth peanut butter with empty plates in front of them, when Joe's mom walked in.
"I guess you're feeling a little better, honey," she said, stopping to kiss him on the top of his head and stroke his still yellow-blond hair wistfully, as if she missed it being its natural brown.
"You should have seen him on Sunday, Patrick. Wouldn't say a word, wouldn't eat, just stayed in bed all day sleeping... Barely left his room at all this week – usually he's out every night at these shows, or -"
"MOM." I swear to God you're like, doing this deliberately
"Oh, there, you see? He's too old to have his mommy talk to his friends, now."
Patrick grinned and turned pink, but didn't say anything. He wasn't wearing his glasses or his hat and his bangs were sticking out in slightly odd directions in places; he looked like a shy twelve year old.
"Mom – seriously. Do you make a point of humiliating your kids?"
His mom pinched his cheek and laughed before heading to the drawer to collect whatever she had come into the room for, and then left them with the reminder that Sam would be going to bed soon and to keep the noise down if they went back upstairs.
There were a few moments silence after she left, while Joe listened to make sure no one was left in the hall outside the kitchen. When the coast seemed to be clear, he mumbled, "You didn't hear the part about Sunday, okay?"
Patrick smiled a little and pulled apart the crusts on his plate, absently. "I did."
"Yeah, but pretend you didn't."
"You weren't sick, you were depressed
. It's... I feel kind of vindicated."
"What, because I was feeling crappy you feel good?" Joe asked, only slightly indignantly. "Thanks, dude."
"I didn't mean that, I mean that now I know what happened Saturday sucked for you as much as it did for me."
Joe nodded reluctantly. "It sucked big time. It was like... I dunno. Cutting off my balls and feeding them to Pete's dog or something, pretty much."
"Well, it was your choice, so don't expect my sympathy."
"I thought I was doing like, the 'right thing' or something, dude."
"You kind of need to stop doing that. But, hey, it wasn't even a week and I'm glad you changed your mind," Patrick said smirking and kicking his foot under the table. "I was gonna have to re-wire Pete's amp with 10,000 volts, otherwise."
Between Thursday night and practice on Wednesday, they spent every day except Monday hanging out; and on Monday night Patrick called after work, just to say 'hi'. It was a 'hi' that took over half an hour and a debate over The Empire Strikes Back
vs. Back to the Future 2
Andy had finished college for the summer and taken his mom out of state to see family, that weekend, so they'd barely heard from him, aside from an email confirming he'd be at practice; Pete was doing his own thing and had left them entirely to their own devices. It had been nice – Joe hadn't needed to worry once whether he was going to have a chance to hang out with Patrick, or if Pete was going to hog his attention all week. It was a given that on work days, Patrick would come to Joe's in the evening. On non-work days, they would spend the time in Patrick's basement, writing music. And making out quite a lot.
The first week had been filled with clumsy, awkward moments when neither of them really knew what they were doing, or what was okay and how far beyond kissing it was cool to go so soon. As it turned out, the answer was 'not that far', as one or other of them would panic and scramble for a diversion the moment hands wandered below belt-level. After the first few occasions, Patrick deftly grabbed Joe's hand as they lay together on the couch, and held it, instead of letting it rest on the curve between his thigh and his hip; he pulled back and grimaced, mumbling, "Sorry, Joe, sorrysorrysorry."
"No, dude, it's like – it's cool. I mean, how many times have I freaked out?" He really hadn't meant anything by it, anyway.
, but. It's just, y'know: kinda new. Kinda weird."
"Oh, hey, man, you're like, preaching to the choir on that one," Joe assured him, letting him sit up and tentatively tugging down the hem of Patrick's t-shirt to cover where his jeans had ridden down slightly.
"It's not like I even had a religious upbringing or anything dumb like that, dude, I just... I've never even had a girlfriend."
"Yeah, and like I have – you know that, dude." Sitting up and leaning slightly against his shoulder, Joe added, "I don't see what the rush even is. We haven't even been, like, dating a week." Well, actually, kind of parts of me really, really get what the rush is. Really.
"Well," Patrick began, sounding frustrated, "it's not like I don't want
to do stuff, dude..."
"Seriously, like, me too, but y'know... it's all good. Whatever. I don't want you taking advantage of me or anything... Ditching me right after I put out. My mom totally like, warned me about dudes like you."
Patrick actually laughed a coy, adorable laugh and bundled into him, almost knocking them both to the floor. "Well, nobody's ever gonna want you just for your mind, dude."
"I'm going to pretend that was supposed to be a compliment."
Andy was early, not having to pick up Joe on Wednesday night. He appeared in the basement before either of them had realised he was there, and gave an amused, "Aw, that's cute," when he found Joe laying with his head on Patrick's lap and his guitar in his hands. Patrick was scribbling down words from scraps of paper in both his own barely legible scrawl and Pete's mostly capitalised slashes, trying to create something coherent.
Joe blushed as he sat up, insanely glad that it was Andy and not Pete who had interrupted them – even though it would have made telling him a whole lot easier.
"I guess you kids figured things out," he observed jovially, taking off his hoodie and draping it over the bass drum.
Patrick just grinned.
"Does Pete know?"
"Um. Like, not entirely," Joe mumbled.
"That would be... no," Patrick admitted, collecting together his pieces of paper and folding them into his pocket. "We were kind of, how can I put this –?"
"Pretty sure he's gonna, like, throw a pissy girl-tantrum, possibly say he's gonna quit the band, or something, and maybe kick my ass?"
"I was just going to go with 'nervous', actually."
"Apparently, Patrick's like, Master of the Understatement."
Patrick sniggered and stepped on Joe's toes.
"But, you're going
to tell him, right? Eventually."
"Maybe when I can like, say it, and then run away," Joe offered.
"Okay, I understand you guys are worried about how he's going to react, but the longer you leave it, the worse it's going to be. Because if he finds out from somebody else – "
"Oh, no way – nobody's finding out. Not yet," Patrick blurted out, and Joe was pretty glad he hadn't had to be the one to say that. "I haven't even told my mom
, man, and I don't think the guys on the scene are gonna be exactly asking for invites to the wedding, y'know?"
Joe stared at him. "That's a figure of speech, right?"
"Yes, Joe, that's a figure of speech," Patrick assured him, looking at Andy as if to say, 'You see what I have to put up with already?'
Andy didn't look comfortable. "I don't want this to be more drama than it needs to, that's all... I've known Pete even longer than I've known Joe, but my loyalties have to be pretty even. I'm happy to help you guys out, but I don't want to wind up with him thinking I'm picking sides or anything..."
"Fine, then we deny everything," Patrick told him, "we're not dating."
"We're just, like, really comfortable with each other."
Andy laughed as they nodded firmly and Joe leaned on Patrick's shoulder to prove their point. "Remind me not to ever leave you two alone again when I go on vacation. I'll probably come back to babies or something."
"Not unless I have some really fucked up biology," Patrick replied doubtfully, prompting an appalled 'OH MY GOD – UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!' from behind the hands Andy had pressed to his face.
"That was kind of more information than I even needed, dude," Joe agreed.
"What's unclean?" Pete asked, almost knocking Andy over as he kicked open the basement door, lugging his amp and bass. "Did you offer him a hamburger again?"
They all laughed nervously.
"Something like that..." Patrick mumbled, adjusting his glasses and pretending Joe hadn't just been hanging off of him. "No arm candy today?"
Pete flipped him off with a smirk. "Jealous?"
"I can barely contain myself."
"Hey – don't feel you need to for my benefit, or whatever."
Patrick quirked an eyebrow at him and flatly replied, "Oh man. I am so jealous. The arrogant fuck who pretends to play bass in my band is boning some under age scene chick. Woe."
Pete blew an air kiss at him while flipping him off again and unzipping his bass case.
Joe cleared his throat and reminded himself that Patrick had chosen him, not Pete. "Can we, like, practice or something?"
It kind of had a tendency to slip his mind.
The day after practice, they went on their first real, official 'date'. Joe didn't even know where they were going until he stepped back into the '50s and was met with the sound of the Supremes and pictures of rosy-cheeked kids drinking bottles of pop laced with cocaine.
"I figured, y'know: we could get it right this time," Patrick explained self-consciously when Joe stopped in the doorway and blushed.
"Is that okay? ...I mean, this is
okay, right?" He suddenly seemed worried and started to reach for the door, but Joe grabbed his hand and pushed it back down.
"I'm pretty sure if I was a chick I'd be, like, asking you to meet my parents or something for this..."
"I've already met your parents. And I know from limited experience that girls don't have hairy stomachs, so you're not one of those."
"So yeah, before I eat, I like, try not to think about gross stuff. You should try it out or something."
Patrick jabbed him in the waist with his fingers and pushed him towards a booth. It wasn't the same one they'd had before, but closer to the back, with less passing traffic from other diners. They tucked themselves right up to the wall, enjoying the moderate privacy of both being short enough that the backs of the seats and the dividers between the booths almost covered them.
Joe tugged the menu out of its stand and opened it on the table, trying to remember what he'd had before. He looked up a moment later to find Patrick gazing at him with a half-smile on his face and his chin perched on his hand.
"Nothing," Patrick blushed and picked up the triangular cardboard dessert menu.
?" Joe asked again, nudging him under the table with the side of his Converse.
– it's just, y'know... the only thing you read is fast food menus and music magazines and we met because you were buying a book
"I'm not reading it, dude, I'm looking at the pictures," Joe replied archly.
Chuckling, Patrick tugged the menu out from under his elbows. "Is it cool if I eat bacon?"
"I don't think it's like, any cooler than eating beef, generally, dude..."
"Wiseass. Is it okay
if I eat bacon in my burger?"
"Why would it not be okay?"
Patrick turned crimson and mumbled something that ended in 'goodnight, or something...' and Joe just stared at him.
Patrick ordered a burger without bacon.
"So... like, about Pete," Patrick began awkwardly, halfway though his apple pie and ice cream, spoon still half in his mouth.
"About Pete..." Joe nodded slowly, taking a deep breath and pushing his own dessert away from him slightly.
"About Pete and, y'know: us."
"Yeah, I kind of figured, dude..."
"Are we ever gonna tell him straight out, or whatever, or... I dunno. Just gonna leave it and let him figure it out?"
Poking his spoon at the melting blob on his plate and frowning, Joe shrugged, "I guess as, like – a courtesy or something, we should maybe, tell him..."
"But it's a case of how
"So, not like, 'Oh, hey, Pete, by the way, we're like da – '"
"Dude!" Patrick hissed, eyes wide and ducking his head slightly to look around the diner from under his hair. It was several miles from either of their homes, but it was also summer and kids spent more time in the city when they didn't have to get home early for school the next day.
"Shit. Sorry, dude..." Joe blushed, checking that none of his own school mates happened to be sitting nearby. He and Patrick attended different schools so neither of them would recognise the other's friends. Thankfully, he didn't see any faces he recognised, and carried on. "But like, I don't seriously have any fucking idea how we bring it up, man. Pete can be really extremely cool, but like, there are times when he just... totally reacts the exact opposite to what you expect, basically."
"You still seriously think he's into me?"
Joe watched Patrick pull his napkin into measured paper squares and pile them on a left over cardboard ketchup saucer methodically. "Oh, c'mon, dude – even you said that he had something to prove at practice by bringing whatever her name is! He kind of... I mean, while we were on tour, he like... I dunno. He started talking to me about how the band was gonna be, like, huge or something and how me meeting you and introducing you to him was kind of supposed
to happen... He said I'm like his and Andy's kid, but he talks about you like, this totally different way." Joe shrugged and stared down at his own plate. "I dunno, I can't even explain it, dude."
"Yeah, I kind of noticed... Weird, intense conversations at y'know: four in the morning or something kind of proved that point," Patrick admitted, scrunching up the rest of the napkin and tossing it on top of the pile. "I guess Pete's just different to normal people, y'know?"
"Different..." Joe agreed, nodding. He sucked the last few drips of Coke from the end of his straw and began tying it in knots for something to focus on. Different like, cooler. Better looking. More popular. Smarter...
"Y'know, this isn't your fault, dude," Patrick told him, almost reaching out to grab his hand but pulling back as a waitress walked past; he settled for bumping their legs together under the table. "Even if you never looked at me twice, I wouldn't have dated him. He's too old, too cool, too... Pete
Joe looked up and tried not to grin like an idiot. "He figured when I was acting weird it was because I like, had a crush on him. But seriously, dude: no way."
Patrick snickered into what was left of his shake. "Cool... I guess that means we've established that Pete's not gonna be a problem in one sense..."
"Yeah..." Joe was infinitely glad that Pete wasn't in the vicinity, because it ensured he could not make smug, triumphant noises like a five year old and embarrass himself.
"So, then... if we're cool with us and, y'know: this; and cool with where that leaves him... do we tell him?"
For a minute, Joe considered this; Pete was one of his closest friends, and it would be better to get it all out in the open from the start, so... he took a deep breath. "Let's go for it, dude."
"Seriously. First good chance, right?"
Patrick grinned at him. "Deal."
On the MetraRail back, Patrick held his hand. It wasn't a big deal; there was no fuss, they didn't talk about it, they didn't flaunt it. The carriage was mostly empty and Joe was just rambling on about his parents being cagey and saying 'seventeen isn't an important birthday' and how that should mean he didn't have to go to grandma's – especially on a Saturday! – and suddenly, there were warm fingers pushing themselves between his own and Patrick was reminding him that they could still go to the show in the evening, so it wasn't exactly going to ruin it.
Joe kind of forgot what was going to be ruined in the first place.
They didn't risk holding hands as they walked from the station to Joe's house, but once they were onto the quietest residential roads they tried it for a few blocks, letting go whenever they caught sight of headlights on the road. He wasn't sure if he was more concerned about getting his head kicked in or his parents finding out from one of the neighbours. His parents let him get away with murder – they pretty much always had – he didn't have a curfew, they let him do things like tour with a bunch of hardcore dudes
and when he came home drunk from Luke's party one time, they made him drink another double of whisky before bed and acted smug when he had the worst hangover in history the next day (which had been a success, because he hadn't been near alcohol since). They didn't trust him not
to do anything stupid, per se – they knew their eldest child well enough for that – but they seemed relatively convinced that a combination of straightedge friends and dumb luck would always get him home one way or another.
But he didn't know if they would be as chilled about the fact that the first person he brought home to meet them was going to be a short, redheaded, non-Jewish dude
. Admittedly, it was his grandparents who were more bothered about the Nice Jewish Girl part, but still, a dude of any race or creed was still a dude.
At least his parents (or his mother at any rate) liked Patrick. She'd kissed him as well as Joe on the cheek when they'd left the house that afternoon, and left him flushed and slightly awkward until they were well away from home and thought of something to talk about. Then again, when Pete flirted with her she squished his face like he was an adorable grade schooler and kissed his forehead, so that wasn't saying much (but Pete had taken to flirting with Joe's dad instead, and that was just too funny for Joe to object to).
Joe looked over at the boy walking beside him. It was pretty hard to imagine anyone not liking Patrick; he still wouldn't quite figure out why, even if Pete wasn't his type, Patrick was wasting his time on Joe. Sure, they had fun and they got along great, but he could do that with a friend, couldn't he? He didn't have to actively date
Joe for that (and while Joe had tried to argue with him about it, Patrick had refused to let him even pay his own his share and then insisted on walking him home, so it couldn't have been more of a date if they'd gone to a drive-in). Whatever madness had possessed Patrick to want to date him, Joe was more than happy to live with it. And in an oddly fierce sense, he'd have done pretty much anything to protect it.
He probably should have considered that when they reached the Trohman home and he pulled him into the shadows by the side of the garage for a kiss, before he went inside.
Patrick pulled away a little and looked wide-eyed at the living room window, where light was visible through a crack in the curtains, but Joe clapped a hand over his mouth so he couldn't say anything Joe's parents might hear.
When he was convinced Patrick would be quiet, he pulled his hand away and kissed him quickly on the lips, whispering, "Shh, dude. They'll be watching TV or something... too busy to think about us."
Patrick half-smiled and allowed himself to be nudged up against the wall (which made it a whole lot easier not to just over-balance in humiliating fashion). "What if your neighbours are watching, dude?" he whispered back.
"Well," Joe shrugged, "you're cute and small so they'll think you're a chick and that I'm a dude with no like, morals or something."
He received a sucker punch to the stomach (or more accurately, sort of near his hip) for his trouble, but Patrick kissed him back so he couldn't have been too offended; he actually had one hand tucked up the back of Joe's t-shirt by the time the kitchen light blinked on, two feet from their heads.
They jerked away from each other in shock as Joe's mom twitched the net curtain aside and peered out into the darkness.
"Joe, sweetheart, what're you doing? It's late," she called through the glass and Joe tried not to look too mortified.
"Uh... sure, mom. One sec..." he called back, trying to subtly wipe his mouth with the inside of his wrist.
Patrick gave her a small wave and hissed, "TV, huh?" He kicked Joe in the ankle as she waved back and dropped the curtain. "If she calls my mom..."
"She won't, dude, it's like, totally not her thing," Joe promised, because it wasn't. His mother was very much of the opinion that if the was no risk of immediate maiming or death, it wasn't her place to raise other people's kids. Only to feed them excessively. Patrick still looked worried. "Dude. I swear, she won't."
"I so hope not," he muttered, adjusting his shirt. "I gotta go, man... I'll see you tomorrow, right?"
Joe nodded and risked another quick peck on the cheek before giving him a light shove down the driveway. "Right. Go."
Patrick didn't seem to know whether to give him an outraged glare or a grin, but he turned to wave from the sidewalk and then stuffed his hands in his jacket pockets and set off home.
Joe took a long breath and a moment to try to shake off any lingering vibes of, 'I was totally just making out with a dude on your doorstep, mom', and then pulled out his keys and prepared to face an interrogation.