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Carbon and Bad Timing

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The first time Pete tells Patrick to ride him, mouth slick at Patrick's jaw, so much naked skin everywhere under Patrick's hands, Patrick nearly trips over himself to sit on Pete's dick. It is, by far, the greatest night of his life. Pete fills him up and lets him control everything and watches him with huge eyes and- wow. Just. Wow. It's fucking empowering and hot and. Wow.

He comes like a freight train and doesn't even fight when Pete throws him onto his back and tries to fuck him through the mattress. It's fucking phenomenal. He can feel everything into his bones, each thrust making him shake. There's nothing he can compare it to.

When they're done, Patrick curls up on Pete's chest, the stupid sweatbands still on his wrists so, so dark against Pete's skin. He's wondering if Pete's ego will explode if Patrick tells him bouncing on his lap was like a religious experience. All signs point to yes.

"That wasn't really what I meant," Pete says some hazy time later, slicing through Patrick's musing. Patrick blinks up at him. From this close and without his glasses he has to cross his eyes to get Pete into focus. It hurts his head.

"Huh?" Patrick likes to think of himself as well spoken, but half his brain just leaked out onto his sheets. He'll have to wash them before his mom comes home.

"When I said ride me," Pete clarifies. Kind of. Patrick blinks at him again.

"I don't-" He finally throws a leg over Pete's thighs and gives up on looking at him. Too much effort after sex. Sex! He's having sex! With Pete! Life. It's good. "There's another way?"

"Well. Kind of." Pete scratches at the spot between Patrick's shoulder blades until it gets sore, nails jagged from being bitten. Patrick tries to wiggle away from the contact, dick pressing up against Pete's thigh. It's still sensitive, and the thick, wiry hair makes him squirm in a not entirely unpleasant way.

"What, like a horse?" He gets a hilarious mental picture of Pete's huge teeth biting down on a bridle and has to try really hard not to snort. Even Pete's not that weird.

"Yeah," Pete says softly. His hand presses flat against Patrick's back, palm hot and a little painful against the raw patch of skin. "Just like a horse."

"What?"

Patrick sits up, painfully aware of the blankets slipping away from him. He's naked and the room is freezing in all the places that aren't directly connected to Pete, but Patrick can't actually have this discussion without looking at Pete's face. Pete shrugs, the sheets bunching up under his shoulders. He isn't meeting Patrick's eyes.

"You heard me." Pete leers, but it's not the same one that Patrick's gotten used to in the past year. Jesus Christ. He's serious.

"I'm not- that sounds like a bad plan." Patrick shrinks under Pete's watch suddenly aware of just how much of him there is in relation to how little there is of Pete. This. This is not how he saw this situation going.

"Don't worry, Stumph. I won't make you a deviant." Pete pats Patrick's thigh, fingers slowly moving in to touch his dick. Patrick moves away, twists out of Pete's reach. What is wrong with him?

"I didn't mean it that way," Patrick says. He squirms and waves a too-big hand in front of himself. He can feel himself blushing all the way down. That's probably really attractive, he thinks morosely. "I'm kind of heavy. Like. I don't want to break your back or whatever."

This is officially the weirdest conversation he's ever had. Pete's taller than him and wears the same sized pants as him and has wider hands, but Patrick still outweighs him by a good thirty pounds, and no matter what he does Pete always seems so small.

Pete shrugs again. He's tense everywhere they're touching. Pete doesn't get nervous. He's the most reckless person Patrick knows, throws himself in headlong to everything and comes out on top every time. Patrick lays back on the bed, head pounding. He aches when he moves, the afterglow taken away from him already.

Pete, he says, "You're not really that heavy. You just wouldn't be able to ride me fast. Forget about it, dude." He kisses Patrick then, hard and sharp, rolls him onto his back again. He smiles big, with all his teeth on display, and pulls the covers away. "I think it's your turn."

Patrick wants to say that he loves every second of being inside Pete but he's got the other kind of riding on his mind, and it feels more like a punch to his stomach when he comes than a release. Pete curls up quietly around him until Patrick's mom hollers up the stairs about it being awfully late for Pete to still be over.

When Pete's gone, Patrick boots up his computer and does some research. He might be out of his depth, but Pete's one of the best people he's ever met. If he can give Pete something as stupid as a piggyback ride and have it mean something real, he'd be stupid to say no.

---

Patrick watches a lot of weird videos and has a lot of confusing feelings over the weekend. He's endlessly terrified that his mother is going to walk in on him. The search terms all even out to pony play and talk about thought processes and the mechanics of grooming. It's a jangle of information that makes Patrick's head ache.

Pete doesn't call or come over, which Patrick is so stupidly grateful for. He needs to think and Pete clouds his judgement.

The pony thing is weird, there's no denying it. Patrick watches with something like horror as a tiny blonde woman in a riding outfit mounts a round, hairy middle aged man. His gut sticks out of the weird leather get up he's in, the bridle in his mouth making him drool. The woman kicks him and he bounces off with her at a steady pace. Most of the other videos are the same. It's disheartening. And kind of gross.

He eventually drags himself to Pete's place, awkward in his skin. It's stupid. This is Pete, who he's seen on top and at rock bottom and everywhere between. He shouldn't feel so weird about something as small as- as riding him.

"Hey," Pete says brightly when he answers the door. He's stripped down to his boxers, sweat making his skin look shiny. The air must be busted again. "Just in time for ice cream."

Patrick follows him in, blushing when he catches himself looking at the damp hollow of Pete's lower back. He's so out of his depth.

Pete makes them both bowls of cookies and cream ice cream, shoving the cold ceramic into Patrick's hands easily. They don't even bother leaving the kitchen, shoveling spoonfuls into their mouths in silence, trying to get it all down before it melts into a sweet, cold soup. The heat is already creeping into Patrick's skin from outside, sweat gathering up at his back and the hollow of his throat.

Patrick sucks idly at his spoon when he's done, trying to chase the coolness. He's thinking of how to bring it up. It's not like he can just tell Pete to get down and hop on. He'd like to think he's got some sort of tact.

When he glances up, Pete's watching him, lips parted, eyes dark. Patrick pops the spoon from his mouth and raises an eyebrow.

"Can I help you?" He asks.

"Little bastard," Pete says.

They leave their bowls on the counter and retreat to the living room where two floor fans are working to push the hot, stuffy air around. Pete flops onto the couch, sprawls so that Patrick can see up the legs of his boxers if he tilts his head just right. Patrick slumps down on the other side and tries not to linger on how the back of his shirt is damp.

"Where're your parents?" Patrick asks, peering through the hall. Pete shrugs, flipping through the channels. He lands on MTV and doesn't bother turning it off even when the music stops and Real World comes on.

"Mom went to Andrew's camp thing," Pete says. He wriggles a foot under Patrick's thigh, prodding the underside with his toes. "Dad's got a case." He flashes a grin, a leer, and moves his foot from Patrick's thigh to his crotch. "Looks like you're alone with me, Stumph."

Patrick sits very, very still. He likes Pete a lot- a super lot, a crush way lot, a way that makes him go stupid if they're apart for longer than a week at a time- but he doesn't really trust him. It's not an unreasonable thing. Pete rubs the ball of his foot over the seam of Patrick's jeans, presses down far enough to make Patrick whine.

"You'd probably be more comfortable if you took your pants off," Pete says casually. His toes prod at Patrick's stomach, curl briefly around the top of his belt. Patrick bats his foot away, blushing when Pete laughs at him.

"You're so weird," he says.

Pete laughs that giant braying laugh that never fails to make Patrick's chest go tight. He thumps his heel on Patrick's thigh until Patrick shoves him away and reluctantly pulls himself back up. There's a knot in Patrick's stomach as he toes off his shoes, peels off his sweaty socks. He can feel Pete watching him and it makes his fingers shake a little as he undoes his belt.

"Take it off," Pete cheers. Patrick squirms.

"Shut up," he mutters, shoving his jeans off his hips. They fall with a clank of change, belt a soft thump as it hits the floor. Unsurprisingly, he does feel so much cooler without them.

Pete totally ruins whatever relief Patrick had found by crawling into his lap, sticky calves pressing against Patrick's thighs, elbows resting on his shoulders. He grins, all teeth and predator, and then he's leaning in, kissing Patrick like he's been waiting for it all day.

Everything Patrick had meant to say flies out the window. It can wait.

---

Later, when they're both laying on the floor, Patrick's knees a rough red that he can't stop picking at, he remembers the whole point of his trip. Next to him, Pete's laying spread eagle, bitching about the carpet digging into his bare ass. Patrick's being pretty studious about not looking below his chest but it's pretty difficult. Naked is a good look on him.

"Put pants on, dude," Patrick finally says, covering his face with a hand. He can't have any sort of conversation with Pete's dick involved. His jaw kind of hurts, but he resists the urge to massage it. There's only so much embarrassment he can handle at one time.

"Pants are for squares," Pete says cheerfully. Patrick thumps his head on the floor. He's having technically illegal sex with an idiot.

"Anyway," Pete says, waggling his hips, "we're going to get naked again soon. It's totally pointless to get redressed."

"I'll ride you if you put some god damn underpants on," Patrick says before he's even thought it out. And, whoops, that was totally not the way he'd planned on that conversation going. New rule: he's not allowed to talk after sex. He's not allowed to talk about sex or anything related. He's not allowed to talk period.

When he opens his eyes, he's expecting Pete to have whipped on his boxers, but Pete's still naked as a jaybird, his soft dick resting against his thigh. Patrick rips his eyes away and sits up. He needs to not be here right now. He needs to be- somewhere. Somewhere without Pete's dark eyes on him and somewhere where his heart doesn't feel like it's trying to come up through his throat.

"Sorry," he mumbles, reaching for his pants. "I didn't- I shouldn't have said anything-"

"Hand me my shorts," Pete says. He's still laying flat, eyebrows together, figuring things out in his head.

Patrick digs Pete's boxers out from under his jeans, handing them over cautiously. He watches Pete pull them on, almost laughs when Pete nearly doubles over to get them past his ass without standing. Then Pete's looking at him again and the laughter dies before it hits his tongue.

"I put underpants on," Pete says seriously. It's so ridiculous. Patrick does laugh then, coughing as it trips its way out. Jesus, the melodrama is killing him. "So, you uh-" Pete scratches the back of his neck, coughs. Seeing Pete speechless is almost worth the awkwardness.

"I, uh, looked some stuff up," Patrick says. His face is flaming, ears like fire. Kids give each other pony rides all the time, he thinks. It's not even sexual. It's just- He shakes his head and scrubs at his knee with his fingertips. Pete’s his best friend. This shouldn’t be so difficult. "We could, you know. Try it or whatever."

Pete nods, finally sitting up. He curls around his knees for a second. Patrick squirms. This was a stupid idea. He should have kept his mouth shut and just forgot about it. Then Pete leans in, kisses him sweet and quick on the corner of the mouth, and turns over. Last time they'd been like this, Patrick had been getting ready to push in, to fuck him into the ground. He's sixteen. It's hard separating the stimuli.

He swallows and lifts himself up. He has the foresight to drag the living room table out of the way, to shove at the couch until there's nothing but wide open space in the middle of the room, Pete still on his knees in the center of all of it. The websites, they'd said that people can't handle carrying people on all fours for long periods of time. They'd said try shoulders, or backpack style. Patrick glances at the clock and wonders when Pete's parents will be back. They won't be doing it for long, he tells himself. This time, they can do it this way.

"I'm going to-" Patrick touches Pete's shoulder and Pete immediately drops down, fingers sinking into the carpet. Jesus Christ, Patrick's actually doing this. He runs a hand down Pete's spine, more to ready himself than anything else, and Pete shifts on his knees, impatient. "Right."

Patrick feels ridiculous as he opens his legs up and walks over him, as he slowly, slowly lowers himself down onto the small of Pete's back. In the end, he keeps some weight on his own feet, nervous about trying to make Pete support all of him. He loops a hand through Pete's hair, the other resting on the ridge of a shoulder blade to keep himself steady.

The part of him that feels a little hysterical wants to say giddy up. He reigns it in though, swallows back the strangeness of it all. When he feels balanced, he squeezes his thighs around Pete's hips and tries not to topple over when Pete starts moving.

It's awkward, Pete trying to find the right rhythm, Patrick trying to hobble walk along with him. Eventually, Pete lifts up high enough that Patrick startles, jerks his legs up in reflex. Pete butts his head backwards and takes another step forward. Stubborn bastard, Patrick thinks fondly, clinging desperately to Pete's sides.

Then, it's not- It's- It's pretty okay. Pete's warm and solid under him, moving slow but steady around the room. Patrick can feel the way his muscles are bunching, feels them move against the insides of his thighs as Pete moves his knees, can see them working in his shoulders. When he reaches up tentatively to touch, he feels the strain of Pete's biceps, feels the slickness of sweat there.

It's. Kind of hot, actually.

Pete takes him around the room twice, stride getting more confident the longer he goes, the more he figures it out. Patrick stops him on the third go round, nervous about muscle strain and Pete's parents walking through the door. It's totally innocuous except for how the head of Patrick's hard on keeps popping out of the slit in his boxers. Patrick strokes his hand down Pete's shoulder, down to his elbow. Pete’s arms are trembling.

"You did good," he says, sitting back on his heels. "You did good."

It takes a while for Pete to sit down. Patrick's patient with him, biting his lip anxiously as Pete shifts around, eyes closed, head down. He's getting kind of freaked out, if he's being honest with himself. The sites, they'd talked about headspaces, but he hadn't seen anything about how to make them go away.

Oh, god, what if he broke Pete?

Pete finally flops down, head landing in Patrick's lap. He's got a stupid grin on, eyes shiny and bright. He reaches up- and, no, Patrick doesn't miss the way his arms are shaking a little- and drags Patrick down for a kiss. It's sloppy and lazy and makes Patrick's chest feel like it's expanding.

"Thanks," Pete says, like Patrick loaned him a hat or something.

"Yeah," Patrick mumbles. He squirms until he's out from underneath him and half crawls to the kitchen for a bottle of water.

He makes Pete drink half of it, ignoring Pete's complaints. By the time they're done, Pete's mom is coming through the door, arms loaded down with grocery bags. She seems nonplussed by the mess of the living room and even less concerned about them both being in their underwear.

"Let me help," Patrick says, scrambling up to take half the load from her. Pete stays where he is on the floor.

Patrick helps Pete's mom put the groceries away, blushing like he's been caught at something. She offers him ice cream. Guilt sucks up all his insides and spits him back out as a mess.

"No thank you," he stutters out. At least he's still got his shirt on. There's something to be said about that. "I should probably go home."

"You're welcome to stay for dinner," she says. Patrick's stomach twists. He just did weird, kinky things in her living room. There's no way he can sit across a dinner table from her without dying.

"No thank you," he says again. "I'm just gonna-" He backs out of the kitchen, nearly tripping over Pete on his way to his pants.

"Where are you going?" Pete asks. He grabs onto Patrick's ankle, not letting go when Patrick tries to shake him off.

"Home," Patrick answers. He ignores Pete's frown and hobbles to his jeans. Pete bounces along after him cheerfully.

"Why?" He snags them before Patrick can, shoving them under his ass. Patrick sighs. This is the big bad Pete Wentz.

"I've been gone all day, mom'll probably want me to eat dinner with her." Patrick holds out and hand and, when Pete ignores him, plants a foot to the center of Pete's chest, knocking him over.

"We're having lasagna tonight," Pete says. He makes himself as heavy as he can, laughing when Patrick tries to move him. "Think about it. Mom's cooking, Rick."

Dale does make a pretty great lasagna.

"And anyway," Pete says, voice dropping, "if you stay, I'll totally blow you for dessert."

"Oh my god, shut up," Patrick hisses. His head is going to explode from all the blood rushing to it. Pete sticks his tongue into his cheek, makes a lewd noise that has Patrick dropping down onto him to cover his mouth.

Pete laughs until he snorts. It should be gross. Somehow, Patrick can't find it in himself to really be disgusted. He feels Pete grin against his palm, then the broad sweep of his tongue.

"I don't trust you," Patrick says, more a huff of breath than anything else. Pete makes a face at him.

"You shouldn't," he says brightly.

"Give me my pants," Patrick says. Pete kisses the tip of his nose before rolling to the side, scrambling up and into the kitchen, mouth already open to taste whatever it is that Patrick can smell cooking.

Patrick pulls his jeans on, skin already turning sticky hot as the denim clings against his legs. He's going to stay. Fucking Pete. He could ask Patrick to jump off a bridge and Patrick would probably do it.

In the kitchen, Pete's stuffing mostly cooked hamburger into his mouth every time his mom turns her back, fanning his tongue after each bite. The great Pete Wentz, Patrick thinks again.

Patrick elbows him as he walks by and Pete sticks out his tongue, already reaching into the skillet again. Dale doesn't seem surprised when Patrick tells her he's changed his mind, just offers him a spoon and the mixing bowl.

"Peter, if you don't get out of there, I'm going to kick you out," Dale says without turning around. Pete dutifully retreats. He doesn't look all that rebuffed.

Patrick mixes as Dale throws things into the bowl, stomach grumbling. The problem with home cooking, he thinks, is that it takes so damn long. Pete spends most of the time getting in the way. Dale shoos him away with an exasperated huff, shaking her head at him.

"That boy," she mutters. "It's a good thing he has you to put him in line."

"I don't think Pete really listens to anyone," Patrick replies. He isn't thinking about how he's encouraging Pete's weirdness in his mother's house.

"You're a good boy," Dale says. She pats his shoulder with a damp hand and smiles at him. He can see traces of Pete in the creases around her eyes. "He'll learn."

Pete reluctantly sets the table when he's told to, grumbling as he gathers up the dishes. There's a little rug burn on his knees. Patrick can't stop sneaking glances. He wonders if even Pete realizes it's there.

Patrick always sits across from Pete when he eats with the Wentzes. Usually, Andrew is on his right. Tonight it's just them and Dale. It's weird. And quiet. Patrick kind of misses his brother.

"So," Dale says as Patrick's taking his first bite of lasagna. It's delicious, if maybe too hot. Totally worth staying for. "What did you two do today?" Patrick chokes on his food.

"Not much," Pete says. He's grinning around his fork, teeth on display. He's still in his fucking underwear. Patrick hates him. "Patrick totally kicked my ass when we wrestled. He should be on the team." Oh for fuck's sake. Patrick kicks him under the table and tries not to burst into flame.

"Language," Dale scolds. She cuts off a hunk of garlic bread and puts it on Patrick's plate. "You look hungry." Across the table, Pete snorts.

"He's fine, mom," Pete says, stabbing the last of the of the bread with his fork. He's a bottomless pit. Patrick kind of hates him for that too.

Dinner drags on forever. Patrick stuffs himself on pasta, batting at Pete's foot every time it creeps into his lap. They're going to have to have a talk about this. It's weird and totally inappropriate, and good god, that's a freaky level of control that Pete has over his toes.

After, Patrick offers to help with dishes. He's so stupidly happy when Dale shoos them away. Being a good kid is hard work.

He lets Pete take him upstairs, groaning as he climbs the second flight. It's almost a surprise when Pete shoves him, knocks him down flat onto the twin bed tucked into the corner of the room. Almost.

He flails a little when Pete goes straight for his belt. The two girls he'd been with before had needed to be coaxed into touching him, giggling and sweet and soft, their hands small in his as he shyly lead the way. The only other dude before Pete hadn't even touched him. Pete's straightforwardness is strange.

But appreciated, Patrick amends as Pete wraps his lips around Patrick's half hard dick, thumb pulling down on the crotch of Patrick's jeans and underwear. Totally, totally appreciated.

Patrick curls his fingers in Pete’s hair, taking in a shaky breath. Pete’s weight over him traps his legs, holding him down against the mattress. He wants to spread his thighs, wants to rock up into Pete’s mouth, but he can’t move. It’s annoying. When he risks looking down he realizes that Pete’s doing it on purpose.

He looks at the curve of Pete’s neck and the slope of his shoulders. Looks down the crest of his bare back. If he thinks about it Patrick can almost feel the way Pete had felt under him. It shouldn’t be as hot as it is. Pete hums, barely loud enough for Patrick to hear, but the vibration makes Patrick’s thighs shake.

Pete goes slow. The long, wet slide of his mouth is all Patrick can think about, all he can focus on. There's a ball of heat coiling up in his belly, tension gathering in his muscles. He tugs at Pete's hair, tries to control the pace, but Pete holds steady, fighting against the pressure.

"Asshole," Patrick stutters out. He can feel his orgasm just in the distance. If Pete would just go a little faster-

Pete laughs. Patrick wants to feel vindicated but he's too busy trying not to throw Pete to the floor. He bites down on his lip when he comes, noise leaking around his clenched teeth.

There's a weird second when Pete leans over him to spit into the water cup on his nightstand. Pete waves him off when Patrick reaches down, shoving at him until Patrick's flat on his back, sweating and panting. It's almost too hot for Pete to be laying on top of him, but Patrick buttons his lip, curls his arms around Pete's shoulders and tries to catch his breath.

"So," Pete says. His voice is rough. Patrick's too tired to blush but he feels the familiar start underneath his skin. "That, uh. Riding thing."

There's a long silence from both of them. Patrick's remembering the bend and stretch of Pete's muscles, the long, lean lines of his back flexing. He's remembering the way he'd been rock hard when he'd- when he'd dismounted. The way Pete felt between his thighs. He's trying not to remember the awful, terrifying moments of Pete not responding at all to him.

"You think," Pete says some time later, pausing. It's weird seeing Pete hesitate. Patrick's not entirely sure he likes it. "You think we can do it again?"

"Yeah," Patrick answers automatically, already wracking his brain for the sites he'd looked at before. He swallows back his uneasiness and strokes his fingers over the strong line of Pete's shoulder. "I mean- Yeah."

He feels Pete's grin against his chest, lips stretched and slick teeth exposed, and feels like he's given someone the winning numbers to the lottery.

---

Patrick spends his summer sleeping in. He's considered getting a day job, but between the infrequent band practices and Pete and slipping off into the city for shows, Patrick can't really find the energy. He feels kind of like a tool whenever Pete pays for him, but Pete consoles him with the fact that it's not really his money either.

They don't really talk about the riding thing. Patrick has a hidden folder of documents on his computer with weeks worth of research. He doesn't want to bring it up, but part of him is bursting to share everything he's learned. The academia of it keeps his mind spinning at night. The thought of actually going through with things keeps his hand busy at night.

"Earth to Stump." Joe throws a chip at Patrick's head, the sharp edge scraping against Patrick's cheek. "Pool party, Hurley's place. Are you going?"

They've got their guitars on their laps, have played on and off all afternoon, but haven't really done much of anything. Patrick's got scores of music written up, waiting to be used, and he's itching with the need to do something.

"I guess." Patrick taps his thumb against the frets of his guitar idly.

Maybe they can convince Andy to sign on for the long haul. Pete's been talking about a tour for a few days, excitement bursting through the tiredness around his eyes and creeping into his voice. They're mediocre at best, but Pete's got blind faith in them. It's weird and feels like more pressure than fun, but for the first time in his life someone's trusting Patrick with writing music and trusting him with journals that read more like diaries than lyrics.

It's a little overwhelming.

"I'm starving," Joe says, setting his guitar into its rack. Practice over. "Tacos?"

"You're going to turn into a taco," Patrick grumbles. Joe flashes him a grin, droopy eyed and lopsided.

"At least I'll be delicious."

---

“Okay,” Patrick says, rubbing his damp palms against his boxers. “Okay.” Pete’s sitting at the foot of the bed, his leg bouncing up and down. Every time he moves, the bed squeaks a little. He keeps folding and unfolding his hands. “I- Okay. I’m going to trust you not to break my neck.”

Patrick looks at the hardwood floor dubiously. They had spent most of the day cleaning and shoving furniture against the walls. Pete’s room isn’t particularly big, but it’s private and has a mostly functioning lock. The ceiling is lower than Patrick’s comfortable with, but he’s kidding himself if he thinks that’s the most pressing issue at hand.

“You don’t have to do this,” Pete says. The squeak of the bed is driving Patrick nuts.

“I’m doing this because I want to,” Patrick says. He tries to put as much force into it as he can. He wants to. He does. He’s still just a little worried about the ratio of him to Pete. “So. You know. On your knees.”

“Dude,” Pete says, even as he squats in front of the bed. “Too much porn.”

“I’m making you watch the videos,” Patrick says. He smoothes his hands over Pete’s shoulders. They’re broad and warm. Strong. “If you drop me, I’m never sucking your dick again. Just so you know.”

“Strong like bull,” Pete says gruffly, snickering. “Climb on, man. I can’t stay like this forever.”

“Mixed signals.” Patrick scoots forward on the mattress and puts his legs over Pete’s shoulders. He wishes he had something other than Pete’s ears to hold onto. Pete locks his elbows around Patrick’s calves. Now or never. “Okay. Let’s go.”

Patrick squeezes his eyes shut as Pete stands up. He feels like he’s falling in reverse. It’s hard not to shriek a little. When Pete stops moving, Patrick slowly opens his eyes. It’s strange to be up so high. There’s a ton of space between him and the ceiling, but he still has the urge to duck his head.

“You okay?” Pete asks. He still hasn’t moved.

“Giddy up.” Patrick squeezes his calves against Pete’s ribs and pats Pete’s head. He really wishes he had something to hold onto.

Pete walks a neat circle around the room, wobbling a little through the first few steps. It doesn’t feel the same as it did in Pete’s living room- less body contact, less places grounding him- but the solid slide of Pete’s muscles under his legs still feels really- good? He’s not sure that’s the right word for it, but he can’t think of anything else.

He strokes the sides of Pete’s neck as they go around a second time. Under his fingers, he can feel the smooth, deep breaths Pete’s taking. He feels like he should say something, or do something, but he doesn’t know what. All his research hadn’t done much to make that part easier. On the third go around, Pete starts breathing heavier. He’s getting tired.

“Hey,” he says. He rubs his thumbs over the soft spots behind Pete’s ears. He’s starting to get comfortable up here. “One more time, okay? Nod for me.” It takes a second, but Pete does as he’s told.

Pete’s starting to sweat. It makes Patrick’s calves slide against his ribs and his thighs feel damp. After he’s rested for a while, Patrick’s going to wheedle him into the shower and scrub all of it away.

When they come back around the bed, Pete squats down and lets Patrick climb off. It doesn’t go as well as getting on had, but no one ends up worse for wear. Carefully, Patrick leads Pete up onto the mattress and lays him out on his front.

“Thank you,” he says. “You were so good.” He feels silly saying it, but he thinks Pete needs to hear it. “Thank you.”

He runs his hands over the smooth, slick planes of Pete’s back, pressing down on the overworked muscles. Pete groans and shoves his face into the pillow. He feels loose and relaxed underneath Patrick’s hands, even though Patrick can feel the knots built up in his muscles. They’re probably going to be sore tomorrow.

“Quit the band,” Pete mumbles. He groans again when Patrick moves down past his ass and starts rubbing his thumbs into the thick parts of his thighs. “You’d make serious bank as a masseuse.” Patrick laughs.

“I’ll get on that,” he says, and starts in on Pete’s arms.

They still don’t talk about it, but Patrick gets an email a few days later with a picture of Pete’s flexed arms attached. His skin is slick and damp and his back is shadowy and defined. The only thing it says is, i watched the videos. Patrick laughs until his stomach hurts and saves the photo to his laptop.