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these endless days

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Patrick wakes up at precisely two twenty-seven pm to the sound of Pete and Joe’s bus careening down the highway.

His late awakening is forgivable since, one, they don’t have a concert today; two, he stayed up until too early in the next day getting ideas out in Garageband; and three, it’s an on road, travel until we all break down crying from exhaustion kind of day anyways.

He pulls on a cap, brushes his teeth, and stares at his tired reflection for a bit too long before he makes his way to the lounge. He manages a nod at Joe, who’s munching slowly on some kind of cereal and nods back. Pete, laying flat on the sofa next to him, abruptly perks up at the sight of Patrick having arisen from the depths of slumber.

Patrick gives him a wave of acknowledgment, vaguely registering Pete sitting up properly, and blearily starts rummaging through the cupboards for some kind of actual substance. There’s an incredible amount of potato chips, sweets, and Doritos, but very little else.

He’s half-contemplating a Twizzler and Dorito bowl breakfast when Pete calls out to him.

"Patrick Martin Stump."

Patrick turns around to see Pete getting down on one knee.

"Um," Patrick says when Pete makes a grab for his hand. It's clammy and sweaty and gross from being unwashed on this bus tour for three days straight. Patrick tries to shake him off in vain.

"Patrick, love of my life. Beat of my heart. Piss to my penis."


"Patrick." Pete's eyes are practically sparkling. Or maybe they just look that way because they’re watering with dryness from not sleeping ever. It's really gross. Patrick looks at Joe, casually eating dry cereal on the couch, with a desperate glare of why aren't you doing anything. Joe just unhelpfully shrugs like the worst-kind of traitor. "Patrick. Will you go to prom with me?"

Pete's hand is like a crab's claw. Cold and relentless in its vice-grip. "For the last time, you know that Gabe's bus parties should never be constituted as prom nights, right?"

"Come on," Pete repeats, a stupid grin spread across his face. "It'll fucking rock. This can be all John Hughes style. You, the teenage girl. Me, the charming lover."

"I object on the grounds that your jeans show that you're way more teenage girl than me," Patrick says, finally shaking Pete's hand away. Pete pouts and Patrick gives an awkward pat on his shoulder. "I'm not going to another Cobra bus party this week."

"No, that’s not what I’m referring to.”

“What are you referring to then?”

Me," Pete gestures to himself, "taking you to the high school prom you never went to!”

“That’s not— you know, that, like, really doesn’t make sense,” Patrick points out.

“I really, totally want to charm you but you’re not being charmed here," Pete whines.

“Try harder,” Patrick says unthinkingly and then feels the resignation build when Pete seems to bloom with excitement at the challenge. He starts digging through his hoodie pockets with his left hand. Patrick crosses his arms waiting.

The twist comes when Pete, still down on one knee, pulls out a tiny ring box. Patrick flushes. Joe chokes on his cereal.

Patrick stares uncomprehendingly when Pete opens the box to a solid gold colored band. His eyes are still twinkling when he asks, "Patrick, will you marry me?"

"You really just escalated this."

"You didn't say yes to prom so, obviously, we have to elope. It has to be an elopement because Mrs. Stumph judges me for being a bad influence. Also Andy would disapprove of us ditching him mid-tour for the terrible institution of marriage. Probably. That sounds like something Hurley would say." Patrick feels a migraine building underneath his temples. Pete shifts around; staying on one knee is definitely getting uncomfortable. "Trick. Lunchbox. Marry me?"

"Why are you proposing now, anyways.” It’s a rhetorical question. Why does Pete do anything?  “Also, totally not legal while we're in Minnesota. We’re in Minnesota now, right?" He asks this at the same time Joe starts shouting, "Holy fuck, say yes!" from the peanut gallery so he’s pretty sure his words are drowned out.

"We'll get the contract in Canada since I totally want to spend my entire life with you," Pete says as seriously as he can manage with greasy bangs and Sharpie'd black nails. "Also, let's adopt like, a dozen babies. Bill can be the godfather. That way we get both Travie and Gabe along for the ride."

“I object!” Joe yells, still wheezing. “I’d be a way better godfather than Beckett!” Pete flips him off with his right hand.

"You're raising the stakes again." Patrick keeps staring at the ring getting shoved in his face. "Also, I'm so not gonna be Steve Martin in this. No Cheaper by the Dozen situations here."

"We're obviously more of the original film than the remake," Pete says winningly. "Anyways, marriage?"

"I'm good, thanks."

Pete doesn't look at all deterred. "So prom?"

"What prom?"

Pete gives him the saddest kicked puppy look he can manage. It's not very sad. Or it is, but more in the way that it's a sad, pathetic attempt at looking sad and pathetic. Patrick caves anyways, because he is weak and sighs.

"Fine. Sure, we'll go to this hypothetical, already passed prom together. Any prom that’s not just a Gabe Saporta ‘prom-themed’ party’ Because those are not actually proms.”

"Fucking sweet," Pete says, which is a pretty lame reaction considering that he's been busy cajoling Patrick into whatever this is for the last ten minutes of their lives. Pete takes the ring out of the box and when Pete starts making the kicked puppy face again, Patrick resignedly uncrosses his arms to let Pete grab his hand.

Pete manages to slip it on his finger with only minor fumbling and looks up, beaming.

Patrick raises an eyebrow and stifles a grin. He doesn't need to ask how Pete knew his ring finger measurements. He doesn't want to ask why Pete keeps a spare plastic ring in his hoodie pockets. "I didn't agree to the engagement yet, you know. Nobody gets engaged before prom.”

"It's now a prom ring," Pete explains, hand still on Patrick's, and Joe keeps laughing in the background. Patrick hopes he busts a lung and collapses dead. "A symbol of how much I love you. And how we're totally going to elope later."

Patrick dramatically extends his palm in front of him in an artful examination of his newest gift. "This is made of plastic, isn't it."

"You are absolutely correct."

"Alright, fine. You're my future nonexistent-prom date slash husband," Patrick drops his hand. Pete keeps beaming. "You owe me a better ring later or I'm divorcing you."

"After we become Prom King and Queen and then head up to Vancouver for the contract," Pete promises, finally standing back up. "I rigged the vote and everything."

"You better get me a tiara," Patrick demands as Pete wraps noodley arms around his shoulders affectionately. He smells terrible and homeless. "I want to be the prettiest person at the ball."

"You're already the prettiest person in my heart.”

"Ew," Patrick repeats. He scrunches up his nose, partially at the statement, but mostly because of Pete's body odor. "You're disgusting."

"Disgustingly your prom date."

Patrick feels his face twitch into a smile. "I guess I'm, disgustingly enough, yours."