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For Art Reasons

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Pete frowned at his notebook, the messy scrawls of pencil still loose enough to keep the object of his sketch blurred and undefined. He sighed, erased a few places, sharpened a few corners. Then, slowly, the edges of a blooming rose begin to form. Switching out his pencil for a felt tip pen, he blocked out the major lines, using a grey marker to shade. He snapped a picture for Instagram, tagging it with :P #cliche, and glanced down at his course schedule.

Who knew that being a tattoo artist would require so many non-art classes. When would he ever need physics for tattooing someone? Honestly. Let’s be real.

It would make sense to just become an apprentice at a local shop, but millennial life sucked enough to warrant the expectation of a college degree. He ran a hand through the bleached tips of his short, dark hair. At least dorm life wasn’t too bad.

The wifi worked, usually. Being an art major did have its perks (finals were shorter than when he was in political science), and he had tons of free time to listen to music while he drew, when he wasn’t completely broke from buying art supplies (Jesus fucking Christ why were they so expensive?? They were Prismacolors, not platinum).

Pete pulled out his phone to text his roommate.

To: joe, sent 8:28 am
finished ur rose. b&w only. too lazy to color it

Joe looked up at him tiredly from where he was sprawled on the bed across the room. “Dude. I’m sitting right here.” To make his point, he gestured around at his relatively comfortable nest of blankets and textbooks with one hand, cradling an abandoned mug of coffee in the other.

Pete shrugged. “I forgot.”

Joe rolled his eyes, sipping the coffee. He grimaced. “Ew, cold coffee. Well thanks for it, man. Someday maybe I’ll be getting a tat from you, once you open a shop. You can draw me something nice.”

Pete curled up with his sketchbook again. He yawned. The last time he remembered checking the clock, it had read 7:30. It was 8:30 now, and he’d been focused on drawing for a while. He scrubbed at his eyes, smirking to himself. “You should get it on your face. Gotta make it pretty somehow.”

Haha, he was clever when he was tired. At least, Pete thought Pete was clever when Pete was tired. He needed sleep. And to re-bleach his hair. The roots were growing in again. Balancing mental health and college was exhausting. He should tell that to his therapist, she’d love it.

His roommate looked up from his textbook, eyes lighting up with the typical excitement over new tattoos. Everyone who knows anyone who wants tattoos knows the look, trust me, just ask any 16 year old emo what they want their first tat to be. They’ll talk to you for hours on the exact details of the sleeve, right down to the colors of the petals or how the curve of the letters are going to fit between their ribs.

Joe grinned. “I’d actually thought it was for my arm, dude. Everyone’s gotta have at least one tacky rose on their arm. I’ve only just started working on getting my sleeves done, so I have plenty of space. But I’ll take the suggestion.” He sniffed. “Though I think my face is plenty pretty enough.”

To prove his point, he struck a noble pose, one that was slightly tarnished by the spectacular bedhead that almost covered half his face. Seriously, Pete had never seen anyone else with better bedhead (except for maybe Ray Toro, but that guy was a whole category of his own. He was a sweetheart).

“Fuck you, my rose isn’t tacky.” Pete pretended to pout, knowing full well that a rose tat was the epitome of Classic Tattoos. It was right there behind chains of thorns (Pete had that around his neck) and hearts with words on them (he had one of those too, who do you think he was). At least he didn’t have a mom tat, but Andy Hurley had one of those in the middle of his chest so case closed.

Pete drew a cartoon stick figure of his roommate, scribbling next to it, Joe Trohman is lame. Nice.

Joe got up to dump out his coffee in the sink (nasty cold coffee, ew, he grimaced again), avoiding Pete’s and his respectful piles of laundry on the floor. His toes skimmed over several abandoned cans and stacks of notebooks. Maybe a cockroach too, because the dorm was fairly old and had a habit of gaining unwanted tenants (seriously, they always found a way in). He pretended not to notice. Disgusting little fuckers.

He glanced at Pete’s doodle. “Really got my good side."

Pete yawned again. “I know, right? Perfect rendition.” He’d only just started to nod off around 6 am. Fuck his insomnia in the ass.

Joe ignored the cockroach again, but Pete scowled at it. “Did you know that cockroaches can survive over two weeks without a head?” He said.
Pete contemplated an experiment, briefly. Nah, he decided mentally, not worth the effort. Plus, he’d already seen someone eat one on a dare and wasn’t really too interested in touching a cockroach anytime soon.

Joe clapped him on the back before returning to his nest on the bed. “Congratulations, Pete! You and the cockroaches both share something in common.”

“Fuck you I totally need my head.” Pete grinned wolfishly. “I’ve been told I give the best head anyway, so I suppose…“

“Peter Lewis Kingston Wentz—”

“The third,”

“It is too fucking early for you to bring any dick related humor into this house, it is not even 9 am yet, I devote my entire life to Jesus Christ our lord and savior—”

“You’re Jewish.”

“—And you need to either get laid or sleep somewhere because you look like shit and I don’t have the caffeination to laugh at your cockroach, hahah, cock, roach, puns.” Joe concluded, giggling at his own early morning dick humor. Pete groaned.

You look like shit,” He protested, adding devil horns and a mustache to the cartoon Joe. He didn’t laugh, because, “Honestly did you even try with that pun, that was weak, Joseph Trohman. I raised you better.”

Joe flipped a page idly, brandishing a highlighter. His eyes met Pete’s, softening slightly. “You’re gonna try to sleep later, right? No caffeine after 6.”

Pete scoffed. “Of course. You know how over-caffeination fucks up my anxiety. I’ll try, don’t worry."

Joe nodded. He circled all the various latin words he could see relating to bones. “Sounds good. Don’t you have class at this fine time of ass-o-clock?”

Pete’s eyes widened.

“SHIT”

His roommate raised an eyebrow smugly. His loud comment of, “I told you not to take the morning class, asshole,” was accompanied by a slightly quieter, slightly more muttered, “Fuck you, Joe Trohman, you know I only have like one fucking art class in this fucking art major, I should’ve stayed in political science,” answered by a lazy, “No thanks, I’ve got Andy for that, and you’re not my type anyway,” which Pete ignored.

Shoving several sketchbooks and miscellaneous art supplies into his beat up messenger bag, Pete barely remembered his laptop and shoes before he hurried out of their room.

“Have a nice day, honey!” Joe called after him, laughing as Pete tripped over a stack of CDs near the door and almost went down swinging.
Serves him right for using CDs anyway. What year was it, 2005?

Joe went to sip his coffee, remembered the mug was empty, and concerned himself with staring ruefully at the ring stain he had left in his rented textbook.

He should be studying, he told himself, as he opened Netflix.

He really should be studying for his MCATs, he thought, as he opened his queue. House MD was a medical show, he reasoned. Besides, there were only, like, two episodes left in this season.

He’d study when those were done. And it has lots of hospital stuff in it. Totally. White coats and everything. Maybe CPR if he was lucky. Close enough. He clicked play.


Surprisingly, Pete was only late enough to get one of the shitty easels near the back of the art room. No one seemed to notice (or care). Lucky for him, he had left detention slips behind in high school, along with ironed fringe, smudged eyeliner, and Myspace. Not that he’d looked bad in fringe or eyeliner (which he still wore to clubs, just ask his friends, he’d always been a heartbreaker), but thank God that chapter was over.

College was so much more… People. No more shitty preconceptions of who you were, no more awkward we’ve-known-you-since-you-were-born-you’re-just-confused conversations with virtually everyone in your life telling you how you should dress, love, drink, and do your hair. Instead, you could just walk up to someone and let them form their opinions right then and there. Hardly anyone would doubt you when they asked for your sexuality or gender (suddenly your were deemed old enough to “decide for himself,” go figure).

Not only could Pete flaunt relationships, but he also had the freedom to spill his brain into whatever he wanted. Why choose left or right when you can use your whole head? Can’t have smart without art, motherfucker.

No one questioned your fashion choices either (ok, except for the one time Pete wore that horrible blond wig with the mustache, but that was a dare, and fucking Gabe Saporta still owed him $20, and the donuts were worth it).

The irritating screech of charcoal dragged too fast over canvas pulled Pete back to the present.

He sighed. Fruit again. At least it wasn’t nudes, he reasoned, shuddering at the memory of the many, many naked people (over the age of 50) that he had had to draw already this semester (ok, the number was closer to half a dozen, but it was scarring).

The nudity didn’t bother him, he’d seen enough bodies to have no qualms about that. When the people looked like his grandparents, he didn’t need to see any sort of genitalia. He shuddered, rolling his charcoal stick between his fingers. All aboard the nope train.

While Pete was fine with drawing designs, drawing detailed portraits of new people sucked. He could do it, but some people (cough Andy Hurley cough) had one of those faces that were just impossible to draw. Which meant that he had to draw the guy like 5000 times before he could get his face right. Which sucked because if Pete was expected to tattoo people he would have to be able to, well, tattoo people. Pictures of completely foreign, new people that he had never drawn before.

C’est la vie, Pete, welcome to the eternal struggle of designing your own art.

Pete continued to fiddle with his charcoal, tearing his eyes from his paper to wash over the other students around the room.
The Art of Figures was a class just as interesting as its title, meeting a couple times a week in a well-lit room that smelled vaguely of chalk, sunlight, and twenty-something frustration. Mostly, they drew far too many sketches of fruit, vases, and the occasional wooden block. Pete grimaced. He had, like, 15 sketchbooks of fruit already.

At least the teacher was cool. According to local gossip, he’d been in a rock band or something with both a science and english professor. Which was ironic, considering the band name supposedly had to do with green, and science was green, and Pete really needed to get a hobby besides listening to college gossip (which, he didn’t really mind, since the guy was cool. He wore eyeliner. That made him cool in Pete’s book).

The professor’s voice floated through the room. He was correcting some dissatisfied student, pointing out angles with a, “Here, make this softer, it’s a fuzzy peach not a ball,” and a “Jesus, Jamia, just draw the banana like a banana I don’t care if it looks like a dick at first, you’ll manage.”

“Professor Armstrong, I hate drawing fruit.” Jamia protested, rolling her eyes at her girlfriend, Lindsey something or other.

Billie Joe gestured dramatically. “My initials are literally BJ and I went to public high school, but we don’t all get what we want, now do we? Please finish drawing your banana dick.”

Pete snickered at the latter comment, unfortunately unable to hear Jamia’s muttered reply.

He rubbed eyes with a hand, most likely getting the charcoal all over his face. Prof BJA was cool, even if his class was boring as hell.
Pete began to shade his rendition of grapes and an apple, mentally calculating how much he’d slept in the past two days. The resulting number of hours was depressingly small.

He yawned again. Maybe he could get a yoga zen app or something. That supposedly helped with sleep and relaxation, right?

Billie Joe moved to the front of the room, carefully picking his way around easels and small tables containing the various fruit dioramas. He clapped his hands briskly. “Alright, as much as I know you’d all love to draw fruit forever, next class you’re getting a real fuckin’ treat. Starting tomorrow, we’re going to be drawing portraits and life sketches! Everyone will be paired with a volunteer. You’re going to get used to drawing the same person - your challenge is to keep your individual styles while still capturing their persona.”

The students shifted, a couple people whispering to their friends. Pete silently thanked the heavens for finally giving him something else than fruit.

Professor Armstrong was practically bouncing. He grinned. “Try to get to know your partner, however, you don’t have to marry them,”
A few students laughed.

“But at least tolerate each other for a while. Literally, just get used to their face. Maybe they’ll get used to yours, too, iunno. Work it out.” He shrugged. “At the end of the month, you’re going to hand in a portfolio of all art created. Wow me, tell a story, I don’t care. I want to learn your partners through the art you’ve created.”

A kid in the front of the room with shaggy firetruck red hair piped up. “Are these life drawings clothed?”

There were a few titters. Professor Armstrong continued with his blinding smile. “Depends, Gerard, on how well you get to know your partner. Draw their life for the next month. If you play your cards right, you could be included. I mean, you might get to know each other really well.” He laughed. “Unless I’ve accidentally played matchmaker or something… Or if you guys get sick of drawing fruit and decide to get, uh, fruity,”
The class groaned while the Billie beamed at his own terrible pun, “Not that that hasn’t happened before. I don’t really want student porn though. You can keep those. Don’t worry too much! This is a project with very loose boundaries and requirements. Have fun with it. Make art. Make friends. See you guys next class!”


Pete could work with a portrait project. Portraits were fun as long as the model was tolerant. Considering he only had to draw the same person over and over, it shouldn’t be to hard to learn how to draw their face. Once the initial dozen-or-so shitty sketches were done, he could settle into a rhythm. Like a relationship.

But, like, a relationship that consisted of the person sitting silently and Pete staring intensely at their chin. Nothing weird here.
Though, actually, Billie Joe had implied he had to follow his partner around for the next month. That implied drawing quick sketches in various situations, not just pre-posed sittings. Slightly more difficult, but intriguing and definitely valuable practice. Good precursor for sketching tattoo ideas with clients, maybe.

He couldn’t help but hope his partner was cute. For art reasons, he mused. Of course. If he had to stare at them for the next month, it would help for them to be cute, wouldn’t it?


The rest of the afternoon went fairly quickly. He only had one other class, a required english course, but Professor Cool was as chill as his name and didn’t mind letting the students take the time to start the paper he’d assigned earlier that week. Minoring in English was the best choice he ever made in his life.

Pete couldn’t help it. He’d always been born with too many words behind his eyes and in his fingers and practically pouring out his ears, and the frequent poetry slam nights were a great outlet. The other students performing welcomed each other like a warm embrace (except for that one Ross guy, even though he seemed to mean well).

Pete’s words slipped from behind his teeth as if they were charged with electricity. Every syllable was subtle but meaningful, carrying the same amount of weight as the heavy autumn breeze creeping through the windowpane that promised of a cold Halloween.
He grinned. He should write that down. This was a good class.


On the way to dinner, Pete half listened to Brendon tell Andy about ‘this asshole in my music theory class who dressed like a history teacher, and oh my god he was so fucking pretentious, but he was the hot type of pretentious, seriously he was the only guy I’ve ever seen to pull off that many different shades of plaid. Jesus Christ did I mention he was an asshole,’

Andy nodded politely, his eyes screaming SAVE ME to Joe and Pete. “Yeah, you did. A hot asshole, yeah.”

Brendon agreed (with no one) enthusiastically, practically tripping over himself to describe the curve of this guys eyebrow (“Seriously, Brendon?? How long were you staring at this guy??” Joe raised his own eyebrows at Pete), and the exact way the guy’s skinny jeans hugged his butt.
“And they were probably vintage too, the asshole,” Brendon muttered darkly.

Pete glazed over a little, already predicting the stalking that would presume until the guy caught wind of Brendon’s infatuation. Joke’s on him, Brendon also dressed like a history teacher, but with far more glitter, velvet, and lace. And the occasional corset. He pulled it off.

Joe’s loud laughter rippled through the group. Everyone turned to look at him while walked.

“I just realized something..” Joe laughed again. “You’re all so small. Your cute liddle legs, oh my god,”

Pete and Andy sighed, muttering about fucking tall people, he only feels tall because we’re shorter.

Brendon raised an eyebrow, forgetting about his hot history teacher mimic for a moment. He pointed out, “You’re actually short too? You’re like, 5’11, which is actually not super tall?”

Joe shushed him, taking slightly longer strides. “Ssshhh, Bren. No more words. I’m very tall. So tall.”

 

Pete groaned. “Slow down with your stupid long legs, god. I hate tall people. You’re almost as bad as Gabe, except he’s fucking gigantic,”

“Ooh, baby, you’re so big,” Brendon lisped, doing his best porn star impression.

Andy groaned. “I need new friends. I’m gonna become best friends with Spencer and Halsey.”

“I’m taller than Frank Iero? I’m not that small.” Pete protested.

“You only mad because you’re so smol. Sooo smol.” Joe singsonged, almost skipping. He was definitely high. No surprises, honestly.

Andy coughed, smacking Joe on the back of the head. “Pete, everyone’s taller than Frank Iero.”

“…. Alright true.”


Because college, the vegetarian options were fairly good. Pete settled with the vegan lasagna, (which Andy swore by), and a bowl of soup.
As he sat down to eat, he noticed a guy sitting at a table near him, scribbling furiously. Pete recognized Travie McCoy eating quietly near the guy, clearly content with being ignored by his friend. Pete liked Travie, he was anything but soft spoken at poetry slams, yet a complete sweetheart. They were roommates for freshman year, and still talked quite a bit. The guy was like a brother.

Pete couldn’t help but stare at the new guy sitting near Travie. He had reddish-blondish hair that stuck out from beneath a black fedora (thank god, it wasn’t a trilby), and oversized hipster glasses. Coupled with the oversized headphones the dude was wearing upside down because of the hat, he had the look of ‘frantic artist’ down completely. Pete was ready for him to start spouting John Green quotes. No, he was not o-fucking-kay, did you even read the book, he dies at the end, how is that possibly ok-

Joe and Andy sat down, dragging Pete from his argument with himself. He allowed himself to bask in their playful bickering for a minute, before Brendon sat down as well.

“I think it’s time for me to re-dye my hair,” Pete declared. “It’s Wednesday, and I’m gonna wear pink.”

“We’ve raised him well,” Andy said to Joe.

Satisfaction was the looks of disappointed pride from friends, and the knowledge that you made a terribly awesome pun. Rad.

Pete chewed his lasagna thoughtfully and made a mental note to not think rad again any time soon. Gabe was rubbing off on him.


“Jesus, Pete, if you don’t finish styling your hair, I’m gonna shave your head, and lock you out of this dorm.”

Pete tutted at Joe. “Easy for you to say, not everyone can rock a fluffy ponytail.” He raked his stained fingers (again) through his brand new hot-pink hair. It was time for a change, and he’d needed to re-bleach it anyway. Might as well start the new project with a new look. First impressions, yo.

Joe eyed said ponytail in the mirror appreciatively. “True.” He watched Pete wash his hands. “Don’t you start your project tomorrow?” He checked the time on his smartphone and grimaced. “Sorry, today?”

Pete grinned, drying his hands on his paint (and hair dye) splattered shirt. “Yep! Gotta look pretty for my date.”

“Not like you’re gonna be staring at them creepily, or anything.” Joe read the label on the dye bottle. “Cherryblossom? Really fits.”
Pete’s laugh echoed off the tile of the bathroom as they left. “I know right? Really describes me.”

He cracked his knuckles. “It’s not all posed sittings, dude. We’re supposed to capture their persona. I’m gonna be watching them creepily while they’re doing everyday stuff too.” He laughed. “Stop looking so concerned, it’s for a grade.”

Joe still tried to look plenty concerned, but he was smiling faintly. “Oh boy, institutionalized stalking. That’ll definitely land you a date. What out boys and girls and everyone else, he’s a keeper. Not only will he stare at the curve of your ass, because art, but he’ll go fucking Picasso on you too. What a heartbreaker.”

Pete grinned. “Fuckin’ right, dude. I appreciate that Ass Aesthetic™”

“Did you really just say trademark right after saying aesthetic."

Pete rubbed his hair with a towel, unlocking their door. “Yup!”

“Why are we friends again?” Joe sighed.

Pete clapped him on the shoulder. “Must be my charming personality. Or totally bangable face.”

“Oh my God, why are we friends.”


This was probably one of the first times Pete had seen the entire Art of Figures class looking relatively awake.

Slightly separate from the rest of the class were two lines of chairs, filled by a wide array of students. Unsurprisingly, several of his friends were among the faces. From his seat, he could see Brendon, Travie, and Frank Iero, as well as several (fairly attractive) strangers.

Be still, my queer heart, Pete thought, skimming the seats, his eyes settling on a familiar nice looking guy whose orange-blond hair peeked out from beneath a grey beanie. He looked just as cute without glasses. Up until now, Pete had doubted that anyone could look like sin and completely innocent at the same time, but if that guy’s cheekbones were anything to go by, he’d nailed the balance.

No one should be allowed to wear a dress shirt with fingerless gloves, Pete swore. No one. And of course it had to be the fucking hipster John Green guy from dinner the night before. Whoever got paired with that guy was one lucky motherfucker. Unless the guy was an asshole. Personality over bangability, of course.

One by one, Professor Armstrong called students up to the front of the room to meet their partners and take one of the cookies he’d provided for them. “So you get to know each other over something tasty,” he said, drawing out the y. Pete rolled his eyes. What was that guy on? He was always fucking smiling.

Frank was paired with the redhead from the day before. It was amusing to watch them size each other up. They ended up sitting fairly close to him, so he could hear snippets of their conversation (tattoos, batman, Smashing Pumpkins). Judging by Frank’s body language, they seemed to be getting along well. No crossed arms or anything.

Pete snickered as he watched Brendon’s face light up when he was paired with someone in the art class. Due to the clashing old-school fashion style, he realized that the dismayed-looking brunet Urie was partnered with must be the poor guy from music theory. On closer inspection, he realized it was fucking Ryan Ross from poetry. This was going to be beautiful. He couldn’t wait to see how that would pan out. They were gonna destroy each other in a flurry of words and gay-ass angst. He couldn’t wait.

BJA continued down the list. “P Dubbs,” He called. “You’re paired with Patrick Stump.”

Pete rolled his eyes. Apparently, the letter W took to long to say. As well as his first name. Typical Billie.

Pete stood up, hesitating slightly before realizing that Hipster John Green Guy was standing up also, and walking in his direction. Oh no, Pete groaned mentally, he's hot.

“Hi, I’m Patrick. Nice shirt.” John Green Guy said, extending a hand.

Pete shook it, allowing himself to soak up the warmth and roughness of Patrick’s fingers (he did not have a hand fetish, he just had a thing for guys with nice hands, ok?), and the smooth leather of Patrick’s gloves. Oh god, Pete was so fucked, and so, so glad that he had a valid excuse to stare at the curve of Patrick’s mouth for art reasons. For a month. Man, he was lucky as hell. The guy looked like a complete cinnamon roll.
A second to late, he remembered that his shirt read, “my sexual preference is ‘yes’”.

Pete swallowed, ruffling the hair behind his ears nervously. He was consciously aware of Patrick’s eyes following the movement. “Pete. Thanks. Nice beanie.”

Was that flirting? That was totally flirting. Didn’t the professor say he liked to play matchmaker?

Pete couldn’t help but allow himself to look the guy up and down a bit more. He was an artist, goddamnit, he could totally get away with checking someone out. In the name of art, duh.

Patrick seemed to like to dress well, with balancing out the lilac dress shirt and gloves with dark skinny jeans. Of-fucking-course he was wearing converse too. And he was tiny.

“Holy shit.” Pete blurted. “You’re shorter than Frank Iero.”

Patrick looked up from studying Pete’s mouth, bemused. “Uh… Thanks?”

Pete felt his ears burn lightly. The familiar tense of anxiety began to hit him like a wave. Valiantly, he fought the burst of static panic. “Oh god, I made it awkward, fuck, sorry short isn’t a bad thing, I mean I’m short too, relatively speaking, and I was just looking for angles, you know, art stuff, and—“

Patrick smiled, pushing the beanie a little farther back on his head. “Don’t worry about it. It just means I’m closer to hell.”

Pete froze. More like sinnamon roll. He couldn’t stop the loud, braying laugh that burst from him (he pretended to not notice the heads that turned in his direction). “Oh god, I’m so fucked. You’re funny, too. Next thing you’re gonna tell me is that you’re in a band.”

Patrick shuffled from foot to foot. “Well, I’m not in a band, exactly. I am writing an album though.” He pointed to himself. “Music major.”

Pete’s jaw dropped. “Dude. Dude. You write music?? That’s awesome. I write lyrics, but not really the whole music-talent thing."

The shorter man blushed beneath his beanie. Pete filed away the image. “Thank you. Soul Punk’s, uh, my baby. Well it’s my album, or it will be.”

Oh God, Pete was so fucked. He checked the time on his phone, hopefully appearing less flustered than he felt. “Do you wanna go for coffee? To, like, talk about music and art stuff. Planning sittings and such. We do have a month to kill.”

Patrick fiddled with the back of his fingerless gloves, aware of Pete’s eyes watching his every move. Must be an artist thing. His lips twitched, shifting from foot to foot. “So, a date?”

“W-well, an art-planning get-together,” Pete stuttered, hoping that the pinkness of his ears could be blamed on the hair dye. He was supposed to be smooth, goddamnit.


Over their totally-not-a-date, Pete discovered several vital pieces of information about Patrick Stump. The guy was an easy talker, and opened up willingly over a hazelnut coffee. Pete hoped he was walking the line between ‘interested’ and ‘polite,’ and not coming across as desperate. He couldn’t help it. Patrick was cute and there are too many overlaps (“You went to that highschool?? Dude, that’s where I went! Soccer days, man. How did I not know you?” “I tried to blend in,” Patrick shrugged “and I came late to school. Your grade was graduating, I think”).

One, he apparently lived on the floor above Pete. Like, actually right above him. So Patrick was the asshole with the really loud music at all hours. Huh.

Pete groaned. “How the hell did I not know that? Are you the motherfucker that was playing drums at 2am last week?”

Patrick blushed, tapping his coffee guiltily. “Yeah, that was me.” He admitted, laughing slightly. “I always end up playing at odd hours. They’re one of my favorite instruments, and I sometimes forget people sleep.”

Pete blew on his coffee, as if he was that fucking responsible. He burned his tongue anyway. “I know the feeling. Shit dude, you sounded awesome, even at whatever fucking time it was. Don’t worry about it, seriously. I wasn’t sleeping anyway. It’s cool. But, like, Bowie at 3:30?”

Patrick gave him a wry smile. “Shit happens, dude.”

He nodded. “Truth. I’d love to teach you about headphones, though.”

Patrick shrugged. “True.” He succeeded in sipping without hurting himself. “I guess you get along fairly well with your roommate? You two sound fairly close.”

Pete’s laugh was probably obnoxious, but he can’t really give enough of a shit to care. “Joe and I have known each other since, like, oh man at least early highschool.”

Patrick’s face was neutral. “You must get along very well then.”

“Dude, we’re practically related at this point. I love that kid, no romo.”

Patrick laughed. Turned out, he could also hear Joe and Pete shouting every now and then through the floor. Various expletives and pet names seemed to be the best at filtering up through the vent (Pete couldn’t help but privately wonder what else Patrick could hear).

“What about your roommate? I’m sure they must be pretty tolerant of your sound level.” Pete hazarded a guess. “Another music major?”

“Nope!” Patrick looked smug as fuck. “I have a single.”

Pete stared. “You little shit. There’s what, two singles in our dorm? How did you score that??”

The musician rubbed the back of his neck, smiling sheepishly. “Well, I did have a roommate, but Dallon and I both decided that it would probably be best for both our sleep schedules for us to move. He’s also a music major, and we got sick of competing for practice time in the room. He has the other single now.”

Pete shook his head in mock-disgust. “Fuck. I should’ve been a music major. Too bad I can’t sing.”

Patrick sipped his coffee innocently. “I’m sure we’re all thankful for that,”

That startled another loud laugh out of Pete. Several people in the café turned to stare at the source of the noise. Pete smiled awkwardly in return. Patrick didn’t seem to notice. He continued talking regardless.

He was the most sarcastic little shit Pete had met in his life. He thought that Andy had a dry sense of humor, but this guy has him beat by a mile and maybe the Sahara. He was totally Pete’s type, and most importantly, he was free almost every day (except for Wednesdays and Sundays) from 7-9 at night. And Pete really had to find a way to make him blush again, because honestly it was one of the cutest things he’d seen since Ray Toro cooking brownies. How the fuck had he not been in Pete’s life until now. That was a fucking crime. They finished part of their coffees, deciding to walk back to their dorm together.

“Would that work for sittings?” Pete asked. “Grab dinner, then chill for a few hours?”

He rubbed his arms briskly against the windchill. It was early October, still too early for snow, but cool enough for the air to be sharp and smelling faintly of iron and frost. “You don’t have to sit still or anything, just for the first couple of times so I can get a feel for drawing you. After that, you can do whatever you want, I dunno, play music or something, and I’ll just be creeping in the background with my sketchbook.”

He doubted making Patrick laugh would get old. His laugh bubbled out of him like a surprise; unexpected and welcome.

“So basically, do my own thing and look pretty?” Patrick asked.

Pete beamed. “Basically.” Shouldn’t be too difficult for you “When do you want to start?”

To his disappointment, the musician frowned. “I have to record vocals today, but tomorrow I think I’m free. Would that work?”

Mentally going through his schedule, Pete nodded after a moment. “Yeah, that works. I could do you tomorrow.”

The corner of Patrick’s lips twitched. He sipped his latte delicately.

Pete’s eyes widened slightly, realizing a second too late what he’d said after the words escaped from his mouth. “Fuck. I mean, draw, yeah, same difference.” He buried his nose in his coffee, quietly cursing his word vomit. Clinical runaway mouth.

“Well, nothing with letting your mouth run off, Pete.” Patrick sipped his coffee again. “No judgement, man.”

Oh fuck, he’d said that out loud. “Bad habit,” Pete covered breezily. “Slam poetry will do that to you.” Nice save, Wentz.

“Seems awfully fluffy for a future tattoo artist, but I can see you doing it somehow.”

Pete noticed he still has pink hair dye staining the tips of his fingers. “Yeah, english minor, though I started in political sciences. Gotta be able to write poetic shit for people to get tattooed, you know? Might as well translate words from my head, somehow.”

They fell into step, wordlessly matching each other for each pace; Pete silently thanked whatever deities for making Patrick shorter than him. Tall guys were useful for making out and getting items off of tall shelves, but walking next to them (longer legs) tended to get old after a while.

Patrick nodded. “Makes sense. And you said you write lyrics too?” He swirled a finger around the edge of his cup’s lid absently while he talked. Pete’s eyes followed the movement.

“Yeah, lots of vent-y stuff. Again, word vomit. Straight from my head to paper or type.”

Fuck, Patrick had nice hands. Pete didn’t have a hand fetish. He was just noticing. For art. He couldn’t wait to draw them, like, a bajillion times. He definitely wasn’t thinking about them in various Homosexual™ situations. Certainly not wrapped around certain parts of his anatomy, or inside of certain places, or in his mouth, fuck.

“You should show me sometime.” Patrick said idly.

Pete could show Patrick lots of things. Or, maybe not be a complete perv the first day he’d talked to the guy. Self control, man. He willed his dirty thoughts away, flushing, and cleared his throat. “Oh, yeah, uhm. Sure. We’ll see.”

He used his keycard to swipe them into the dorm building, now aware he and Patrick must’ve walked past each other at one point or another. Weird how that worked.

“Imagine,” Pete pouted, “You saw this face and walked right past. Tragic.”

Patrick blinked at him, studying him intently. “Pity. I should’ve walked by twice.”

Pete felt his face warm again. He muttered an incoherent reply. Fuck, the guy was definitely flirting. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d wished on 11:11, but clearly someone had listened. Planning sittings would be extremely easy, knowing that they could literally knock on the others door. They reached Pete’s door.

“This is my stop, room 13. See you at 7 tomorrow?” No doubt Joe was listening through the door. Pete sincerely hoped this wasn’t the case.

Patrick’s eyes lit up. “Ooh, almost forgot.” He pulled out his phone and held it out expectantly. “Do you wanna swap numbers? To make coordinating easier.”

Ok, maybe Pete looked a little too enthusiastic. He tried to tone it down, and settled with a loose smile. “Hell yeah, sounds good to me.” He pulled out his own phone, opened address book, and traded. They pocketed them a moment later, each with one new contact.

“Cool. See you tomorrow Pete!”

“Later, ‘Trick.”

They both paused at the nickname that automatically slipped for Pete’s lips. It hung in the air between them, Pete already forming an apology when Patrick shrugged and said, “As long as it isn’t Pat, you’re fine. By the way, my room number is 27.”

Pete took that as a good sign. “Anything other than Pat? So, like, Rickster, or Stumpy, or lunchbox, or hot stuff —“

“Don’t get too excited, Wentz.” The teasing tone of Patrick’s voice eased the sharpness of his words. Pete took it as a hint to not push his luck too much, considering this person had been little more than a stranger an hour (or so) ago. It was strange to think how fast they’d bonded.

He flicked two fingers at his temple in a salute. “Noted, Rickster.”

Patrick rolled his eyes. “Bye, Pete.”

Pete didn’t ‘check out’ Patrick’s ass as he walked away, he was looking for angles, ok?


Pete changed out of his ‘nicer’ shirt into a more comfortable pair of dark jeans and a loose white t shirt. He’d long given up with getting the paint out of his clothes, (the splatters on the knees and front of his shirt almost matched his hair, so it worked). He hesitated before slinging on his black leather jacket, leaving it open. It was cold at night. The pink hair was a good choice, Pete thought, looking in the mirror and ruffling it. Made him stand out, while screaming, ‘I’m an ART KID. LOOK AT MY AWESOME REBEL HAIR’. He could settle with a pastel grunge look. Whatever that was, anyway. Combat boots all the way, motherfucker.

The walk to dinner was fast paced without the group’s chatter. Once in the dining hall, Pete decided to play it safe with cream of broccoli soup.

Andy was satisfied with a salad, and Brendon and Joe seem contented with pizza and chicken noodle soup, respectively. They were sitting at a small square table, near the table they had been sitting at the day before.

Andy and Joe listened patiently to Brendon and Pete gushing about their unnaturally attractive partners, though Pete was the only one with the prize of a phone number.

“Shit, Pete,” Joe fist-bumped him. “You move fast.” He had been listening through the door, of course, so he’d already heard the whole story (“Fuck, Joe, did you see his mouth,” “Tmi, Pete,”)

The art major couldn’t help but feel that he was paralleling Brendon from the day before. He could feel the rainbows pouring from his face.
“He’s a musician,” Pete said. “And he’s one of the hottest dudes I think I’ve seen on campus.”

Brendon pretended to swoon, clutching at the lavender scarf around his neck. “Your words wound me, Wentz,”

Pete ignored him. “He was wearing fingerless gloves. Did I mention he was tiny?”

“Tinier than you?”

“Shut the fuck up Andy, you’re literally only an inch and a half taller than me.”

“At least one of us was lucky, you had a fucking date, with coffee and everything.” Brendon sulked, chewing his pizza dejectedly. “All I got was a lecture on how the pasteurization of milk has changed throughout history. And then he went on about clocks and oceans and my forehead until class ended.”

“But it’s a beautiful forehead,” Joe said sincerely, sucking a noodle off his spoon. “How could anyone think of anything other than your forehead, Brendon. It’s like a, a fucking, iunno, iceberg.”

Brendon stared. Pete nudged him. “It’s because it’s gigantic and impossible to miss, Bren.”

“Fuck you, Wentz.”

“In your dreams, Urie.”

Brendon glared at the other guys when they all fall into a coughing fit that sounded suspiciously like snickering. “No, but seriously, Ryan fucking Ross knows more about milk than anyone else I have met in my life.”

Andy looked up from his salad and smiled. He waved his fork at the dismayed brunet. “You should have him draw you in a, fuck I don’t know. A bathtub. Full of milk. Yeah, kneeling in a bathtub, super artsy. Should catch his interest”

Brendon put down his pizza in disgust. “Andy. Andy no. Why would you even.”

Joe’s face is pained. “Andy, babe, what the fuck.”

The anthropology major shrugged. “Just trying to help.”

“Ugh, I’m just gonna lock that image away and hope to never see it ever again,” Pete groaned, “The last thing I want to think about is Ryan Ross and milky bathtubs. Did I mention he goes to poetry nights on Wednesdays?”

He rolls his eyes mentally, remembering Ryan’s latest creation, about slamming doors and brides or something like that. Although it was catchy, Pete personally felt that the syncopation would be better sung instead of spoken with Ryan’s strange, heartbroken intensity. He was almost as intense as Jon Walker, and that was saying something.

Pete ignored Brendon’s snappy reply about slamming Ross “Back into Hell where he belongs”, his gaze shifting between Joe and Andy to focus behind them. Patrick was sitting at a table near them again.

He was wearing his glasses again, as well as same beanie from before. To Pete’s disappointment, he wasn’t wearing the fingerless gloves (too hot inside?). Patrick looked up to meet his eyes, The musician gave Pete a little wave and a smile before he refocussed on his own conversation with Travie and Gabe? Since when did that asshole have cute friends? Pete made a mental note to ask the visually appealing string bean all about Patrick Stump later. After all, what were friends for?

Realizing he’d been caught staring (again), he smiled and waved back before breaking eye contact guitily. God, it felt like he was in 8th grade again and Mikey Way noticed him looking for the first time. Good times.

“Pete Wentz is secretly a brony.” Brendon declared. Pete rejoined the present again, completely confused and insulted. “Excuse me?”

Brendon picked at the cheese on his pizza, brooding over milk it contained. “Just checking that you were paying attention.” He sipped his water delicately. “You’re scarlet, Wentz.”

Pete laughed nervously. “That’s bullshit, its just really fucking hot in here.” His soup was very interesting, all of the sudden. He fucking loved soup. His face was only feeling hot because of the soup, obviously.

“Almost as hot as your musician?” Joe asked slyly.

“The pink matches your hair,” Andy noted, chewing his salad like the rabbit he was.

“Shut up, Joe,” Pete muttered, frantically, “He’s sitting right behind you guys.”

Regret.

All three of his friends’ faces lit up as they turned around. Pete briefly considered how likely it would be for the floor to swallow him up. The answer was not very. “Could you guys be less obvious? He’s in the beanie and glasses.”

Apparently, ‘less obvious’ means as fucking obvious as possible, holy shit. His friends sucked ass at subtlety. They were practically tripping over themselves.

“Where?”

“Ooh, is he the cutie between Travie and Gabe?” Brendon asked.

Andy snickered. “I bet he is, he has hipster glasses, Pete I’m so proud,”

Patrick looked up again. Pete was going to die. And judging by the way Joe and Andy (traitors) were frantically waving at Patrick, he was going to drag both of them to hell with him. They met eyes just like the biggest fucking cliché ever; Pete shrugged, in a, ‘I’m sorry man, I know my friends are crazy,’ type of way. To his relief, Patrick smiled back and waved lightly, looking down at his phone for a moment.

From: patrick, sent 7:34 pm
nice fanclub you got there


“You guys suck ass,” Pete muttered. His friends cheered.

To: patrick, sent 7:35 pm
u have no idea x_x


Brendon kicked Pete under the table. “I bet you’d suck his ass,”

Pete kicked him back. “Shut up Urie, you’re so far up Ryan Ross’s ass —“

“Not yet, anyway.” Brendon sighed dreamily, his eyes misting over.

“Oh my god.” Joe put down his soup, disgusted. “I think I’m done eating now.” Andy nodded in agreement. They both hurriedly gathered their dishes and leave the table.

Pete did not run after them, he made an organized retreat. Patrick’s amused eyes burned holes in his back as he walked away.

From: patrick, sent 7:45 pm
do tell

To: patrick, sent 7:46 pm
travie’s chill. gabe is chill when he isn’t a dick. why dont these ppl chill

From: patrick. sent 7:46 pm
you have no idea


It was 7:00 pm the next day, and Pete found himself shuffling from foot to foot outside of room 27. Swallowing lightly, he adjusted the strap of his messenger bag (it was rumpling his purple zip up hoodie he stole from Gabe, revealing the t shirt underneath; black with white lettering, ‘straight above the waist.’ He thought it was clever when he bought it).

Working up the nerve to knock, he’d almost raised his hand when the door opened. Patrick was wearing a dark red button up, dark grey slacks, and a matching vest. A fucking vest. In his dorm room. He was also wearing his glasses, but his blond hair was incredibly rumpled, as if he’d been running his hands through it.

He looked like sin. God, Pete had no idea who taught Patrick Stump how to dress, but he made a mental note to thank them profusely. And buy them a drink, or two. Maybe a Shirley Temple if they didn’t like alcohol. He respected that.

Patrick smiled and gestured for him to enter. “Sorry about the mess.. I’m sure there’s a bed around here somewhere.”

“Holy shit, dude.” Pete’s jaw dropped. The room was a good size for a dorm, well lit by the window, an overhead light, and fairy lights hung on the wall. God, even the guy’s room was some hipster cliche.

There was sheet music everywhere. On the bed, table, floor, and even a couple loose papers on the comfy-looking chair next to the window. Some of it was printed, others scrawled in various colors of pen, including what seemed to be glittery blue gel. There were at least two guitars on the bed, a ukulele, a trumpet, what looked to be a violin case, a saxophone, and a drum kit shoved against the wall. “You play all of these? Man, all I can do is abuse a bass guitar.”

“You play bass? That’s important. You feel basslines in your heart, you know.” Patrick shuffled around the room, collecting papers and stacking them neatly while Pete blushed. “I started with drums, but you could say I got addicted.”

“Fucking talent man,” Pete said. “Kudos to you.”

Though he was facing away from him, placing the guitars against the wall carefully, Pete caught the edge of Patrick’s smile. He again thanked whoever made vests, appreciating the curve of Patrick’s back. He did not stare at Patrick’s ass when he bent to grab a piece of paper he’d dropped. Totally. He felt like a creep. He was an artist, god fucking damnit.

“Alright.” Patrick said briskly. “Where do you want me?”

Everywhere, preferably on the bed, maybe the wall or chair, “Uhm, probably would be easiest for you to be sitting.” Pete flailed his hands. “Just get comfortable somewhere, the chair, I guess.”

Patrick nodded. “Makes sense.”

Pete was hoping his anxiety wasn’t showing on his face. “S-sure, sounds good.” New people were scary, dude, and hot, talented ones were fucking terrifying, ok? Give him a break.

He sat down crosslegged on the floor near Patrick, pulling out his sketchbook and pencils. The musician sat rigidly upright in the chair, watching his every movement. “Is it ok if I take a couple head shots of you?” Pete asked, for strictly Art. “That way, if I do quick sketches I can always draw in your face later.”

Patrick shrugged. “Sure.”

Pulling out his phone, Pete quickly snapped a full front, full back, profile, and ¾ profile. Checking the quality quickly, he gave Patrick a thumbs up. “Sweet. Alright, now we can start.”

He sat back down, flipping to a clean page. When he looked up at Patrick, he couldn’t help but laugh to ease the mood. “Dude, you look as nervous as I feel. I’m supposed to be capturing your personality, not just your smoking jawline.”

To his relief, Patrick visibly relaxed slightly, a sharp laugh bubbling out of him. He rested his hands loosely; the right on his lap, and leaning two fingers of his left against his cheek, his elbow on the armrest. “I’ve never modeled before.” He grimaced, his nose scrunching up a little bit (Pete thought on a cuteness scale of babies to baby rabbits, Patrick Stump would rank very high). “Never had the face for it.”

Pete looked up from his paper. “Patrick. You’re fucking with me.” The guy was gorgeous, with excellent cheekbones (and a nice profile, if you were to ask Pete).

Patrick looked confused. He shifted, unconsciously rubbing his right hand over his knee. “I’m not sure what you mean, Pete.”

“You have a very nice, uh, face.” Pete stumbled, suddenly feeling exposed and not at all as smooth as he’d like to be. He hated awkward. The room seemed stuffy and he could hear his pulse in his ears. “From an, uh, artist’s perspective, it’s, uhm, very pleasant to look at.”

Patrick pinked again, biting his lip in thought. The color cast a warm glow over his cheeks. Pete shaded delicately, telling himself for the millionth time that he’s only watching Patrick’s mouth to make sure he gets the lines right.

Patrick looked amused. “Ah, I see. From an artist’s perspective. Uh, thank you.”

Shit. Pete backtracked, deciding to be frank. “I, fuck, what I’m trying to say is you’re pretty hot, and I’m surprised no one’s asked you to model before.” He darkened a couple lines around Patrick’s shoulder, using the excuse of details to look somewhere else than around Patrick’s eyes.

“Oh.” Patrick laughed again, quieter. “Thanks.”

“I got you fam.”

The atmosphere felt as soft as the light filtering through the blinds. They fell into an easy silence, occasionally broken by Pete asking and Patrick answering, or vice versa. It was peaceful, in a spiderwebby way. The air was slightly stale, yet it wrapped around his shoulders like cotton thread. Each breath felt like it was being drawn out, coaxed by the pink-orange light.

Pete scrawled bring pastels*** in the corner of his sketch. The lighting in the room was insane, and he couldn’t wait to experiment with various muted pinks and blues. He shaded Patrick’s irises, skin prickling under the musician’s steady gaze. It was a tradeoff, really; Pete got to look at Patrick everywhere, and Patrick quietly watched him look.

Personally, although the silence was slightly uncomfortable at first, Pete felt himself settle into a sense of calm as he focussed entirely on his sketch. The white noise in his head was still present, but he’d been good about taking his meds. This quiet wasn't too violent, not today. He darkened a couple lines, writing the date in the corner when he was satisfied with piece.

Pete flipped the page, dividing it into smaller boxes with deft strokes of his pencil. He asked Patrick to think about something that made him happy, capturing the expression in a new bust inside one of the boxes.

Pete did the same for anger, sadness, fear, and several others, drawing a bust of each in individual spaces, labeled by emotion. Surprisingly, Patrick had few qualms about pulling faces. Pete had to restart several times, laughing hard enough to break his pencil lead. By the time he was finished, he felt fairly comfortable drawing Patrick’s face, although his nose was giving him some trouble. He pointed the pencil accusingly. “You’ve got a face like Andy Hurley. He’s the guy with the short hair and the beard who was sitting across from me at dinner yesterday”

At Patrick’s confused look, Pete explained. “Both of you have faces with precise dimensions. For example, although it’s a very nice nose, your nose is fucking impossible to draw.”

Patrick wrinkled said nose. “I’m sorry?”

Pete waved him off. “Don’t be. I’ve got a month to figure it out.”

Patrick still looked bemused, but he decided not to question it. “Okay.”

The digital clock next to Patrick’s bed read 9:00. The sun had long set; Pete couldn’t help but appreciate the shitty lighting; how the fairy lights cast thin shadows over Patrick’s cheek, the light flowing over his jawline and pooling in the hollow of his throat. His hair glowed golden, darker towards the roots, but reflecting the garnet of his shirt. He literally looked fucking otherworldly with his skin practically glowing.
Pete closed his sketchbook, running a hand over his pink hair to rub his neck. He blinked owlishly. From his position on the floor he’d had to look up at Patrick slightly, but it was ok. Pete could think of slightly better situations to be looking up at him (decidedly less G rated), but those could wait for another day (in real life or in his head, he wasn’t picky).

Besides, dirty thoughts aside, Pete really would like to get to know Patrick first. He seemed like a genuinely interesting person, talented, sarcastic, and nice. Fuck.

Somewhere around 7:30, Patrick had gotten up to get them both a drink (coke) and given Pete a pillow and a blanket to put on the floor under him (“The carpet is shitty cushioning for your knees, trust me, I know” Patrick said. Pete struggled to not think about possible situations that would involve kneeling for extended periods of time). Patrick also put on some music, earning multiple compliments from Pete on his music taste (“Fucking Green Day?? Dude, nice, my english and art professors were in that band.” “No shit? I thought they happened to have the same name,” “Yeah, that crazy science teacher, Dirnt, he was in it too,” “Dude, this school is awesome”).

Now, Pete stood up and cracked his back, sighing in satisfaction. He smirked at the face Patrick pulled.

“Sounds painful.” Patrick stood up too, rolling his shoulders. Pete shook out his hand, cramped from holding a pencil, and grinned. “Nah, it feels great. Thanks for sitting for so long.” Patrick murmured a ‘welcome.’

Pete picked up his messenger bag from where it was abandoned on the bed, shoving his sketchbook and writing utensils into various pockets.
“How do you feel about paint in the room?” He asked. “I gotta do color at some point, but we could always go somewhere else if that’s an issue. Or I could just use pastels for a while.”

Patrick considered for a moment. “Would we be able to do that somewhere else? I’d rather not risk it while I have music everywhere. I can meet earlier tomorrow if you wanna paint outside instead, while the sun’s still up. That way, I can clean later.”

Pete brightened. “Sounds good to me.” He loitered at the door for a moment before showing himself out. “Thanks again. I’ll text you for details?”

Patrick sat down in the chair again, picking up a guitar and tuning it. He gave Pete an ‘ok’ sign. “Yeah. Night, Pete.”
“Night, Patrick.”


Pete pointed a finger at Joe accusingly. “You don’t get to say shit.”

Joe flutters his eyes innocently. “Me? Never.” It wasn’t like Pete had ranted about the curve of Patrick’s mouth (and his eyes, and the way the light fell over his hair, or the stupid vest he was wearing) for two hours the night before. Joe’s lips were sealed. Never happened. What are you even talking about.

Pete loved Joe, in a totally platonic we’re-both-queer-but-in-friend-love kind of way. Once more, no romo, bro.

Brendon and Andy met them in the dining hall per usual, but by a stroke of luck it happened that Travie sat with them also. They sat at a larger table than usual, in order to fit everyone (of course, Gabe snuck his way in to sit next to Pete).

“Is that my fucking sweatshirt, Wentz?”

Pete shrugged, rolling up the sleeves of said sweatshirt. “What? No way. Who else owns a purple hoodie? Like, everyone. Duh.”

Gabe narrowed his eyes. “I knew it. You can keep it. For now.”

“Fuck you, y’still owe me money for that bet,” Pete replied.

“Fuck you, I payed you in hoodies.”

“Haha, it’s my hoodie then, string bean.” Pete was about to dig into his veggie chili when Joe kicked him under the table.

Patrick was standing with a plate of food, clearly unsure of where to sit. His eyes landed on their table, lighting up at the sight of Travie (music majors gotta stick together, man) and Pete.

Pete kicked Joe back and waved Patrick over. With an amused smile, Patrick slid into the seat next to him, sandwiched between Pete and Travie. Introductions were made, but to Pete’s surprise, most of his friends seem to know Patrick already (“He lives in our dorm, dude, we’ve seen him around the common room” Joe said, his face the picture of innocence. “He beat my ass at smosh the other day,” “No shit”).

Everyone around the table was busy discussing their various term papers, filling the atmosphere with at least three overlapping conversations. Joe had his MCATs to worry about, Andy had an anthropology final, Brendon had.. well, “Not Ryan’s number,” he moaned. “Not yet, anyway.”
Gabe was busy talking about snakes (“but have you SEEN their little FACES, they got lil snoots"), and Travie seemed content to listen to everyone around him and focus on his pizza, occasionally interjecting whenever he could.

Joe, Andy, and Travie were still discussing finals across the table when Pete became hyperaware of how close everyone had to be to squeeze everyone into one table. Despite the majority of them being short (except for six-foot-fucking-four Gabriel Saporta), they all still had enough shoulders (and elbows, and knees) to make the space feel crowded. Gabe was practically sitting on him on his other side, completely engrossed in a conversation with Brendon about their tragic differences in musical theatre taste. It quickly had developed into dissing one another’s favorite composers.

Patrick’s hand brushed Pete’s when he took a sip from his water bottle. Pete totally didn’t freak out internally. He was in his twenties. He was a legal adult.

“Bach was a complete asshole, Gabe. You play one fucking note wrong an everyone can tell.” Brendon was saying, stabbing a cucumber slice viciously.

“Exactly, Bach takes precision and skill to master,” Gabe said coolly. “But fuck Sondheim! That guy needs to get out of his pretentious ass. How many accidentals could you possibly need in one score?” He declared, almost hitting Pete in the face with an outstretched hand. “He changes key, like, every other fucking measure, and they aren’t even good keys. Oh no, you have to go from four flats to six sharps, back to, guess what, five flats! Because fuck you!”

“Check your limbs, dude.” Pete grumbled, wishing he knew slightly more on the subject. He was perfectly ok with listening, but he couldn’t tell if it was the atmosphere or Patrick’s thigh against his but it was suddenly really fucking hot and he was beginning to feel a familiar shake in his hands. He counted to five, breathed, counted again, and resumed eating his chili. It was just a little stuffy, that’s all. Absently, he noticed five things he saw, four he heard, three he touched, two he smelled, one he tasted, repeat. Breathe.

“You’re the one who likes Bach, and you don’t wanna switch keys?” Brendon snorted.

“Bren, Bach didn’t really switch keys because pianos were tuned to only one key back then, remember?” Gabe wielded his fork like a pointer. “So there.”

Brendon shook his head. “Sondheim is like, the epitome of musical theater composers.”

Patrick’s eyes lit up. “Not to interject, but, Sondheim was a genius. Have you ever listened to his harmonies? That guy works magic.”

Brendon grinned at Gabe, triumphant. “See?” He turned to Pete solemnly. “I like him, Pete,”

I like him too, Pete thought, breathing out again. Joe nudged him under the table, raising an eyebrow in a you ok? type of way. Pete nodded in reply. 

“He can stay.” Brendon declared. “He appreciates good music, he’s cool.”

Patrick blushed. “Thanks, man.”

The conversation stayed through much of the same for the rest of lunch, broken only by Andy deciding now was the perfect time to review for his final (“Have I told you guys about the evolution of humans as hunter-gatherers?” “Yes, Andy”), Joe complaining about his human anatomy final (“Joseph, we do not discuss HUMAN DISSECTION while we are EATING” “Sorry, babe,”) and Pete occasionally cracking a joke. By the time they were cleaning up, it was almost 1:00.

Pete sidled up to Patrick (casually, very casual, ok? the Most Chill). “You still up for sitting today?”

The musician nodded. “Yeah, I’m free. Meet you in the dorm common room around 1:30? That way you can get your paints and stuff.”

Pete ignored Joe and Andy making heart symbols at him from behind Patrick’s back (Joe whispered to Andy that he ships it. They high fived. He flipped them off). “Sure, sounds good. See you then, man.”

Patrick waved. “Sound’s good.”


They ended up finding a quieter part of campus near their dorm. Pete insisted on Patrick bringing work to do (“You’re gonna be hanging out for a while, plus, I’m supposed to be capturing daily life”).

The sun was still high in the sky, warming the air to a temperature comfortable for long pants and a t shirt, but still chilly enough to pink faces and leave hands and noses cold. Pete was appreciative of the two maple trees near a picnic table that were beginning to turn violent shades of red, orange, and yellow. Every now and then, a leaf fell, joining ones already on the grass. The whole campus smelled of leafmold and apple cider, and Pete couldn’t get enough of the fall cliché. Best time of year, hands down. Give him the fucking mums and pumpkin spice latte, he was so there.

Patrick rolled up the sleeves of hoodie (salmon colored today, with washed-out grey skinny jeans) and tugged on his fingerless gloves, spreading out various sheets of music on the picnic table. Pete figured it was because of the slight chill that settled in his fingers, but. Wow. Be still, his poor bi heart. Them gloves.

“So just do my thing?” Patrick asked. “Should I stay still or anything?”

Pete lined up all his pencils neatly. “Nah, don’t worry about it. Do you thing, brah."

“Fair enough.”

Patrick hummed a melody to himself and wrote a few notes, only to erase them them again, hum, and write again. Pete sat across from him, starting his sketches with pencil. He brought his pastels as well, doubting that he’d actually get around to using paint today. He’d only just started to draw Patrick, and figured it would probably be best for him to wait on starting a portrait. Better to play around with colors first.
Pete didn’t know why he liked pastels so much; they were fairly shitty to work with, with a tendency to break in his hands or smudge in the wrong place. Their dust was impossible to get out of fabric (or calluses from playing bass, unfortunately), leaving everything else pastel as well. However, he figured he probably liked them for their soft shading ability. They guaranteed a blurred final product, as if the artwork was a picture taken through a fogged lens. Subtle.


He began with the lightest colors (Patrick’s skin, hair, and fingertips), moving next to block out the base colors of Patrick’s hoodie. Unfortunately, Patrick was looking down. And Pete really needed the shade of Patrick’s eyes. Oops. “Hey Patrick?”

“Yeah?”

“Creepy artist moment, but just need to stare at your face for a minute. Eye color, yo.”

“Oh, ok.” Patrick met his gaze evenly for a few seconds. Pete was right. Patrick had really nice eyes. Not quite blue, not quite grey, not quite green. Fuck. He checked the pastels he’d brought with him, choosing several to blend together.

“Kay, thanks.” Pete said. “I’ll probably ask again in a minute, once I start shading.” Because art, he reminded himself. It wasn’t because Patrick had pretty eyes or anything. He swallowed.

Patrick turned said eyes down to his sheet music once again. His eyelashes were almost too light to see. “Ok.”

Shading went well, but Pete had time and he had to draw Patrick writing music. His hair was rumpled from running a hand through it (said hand was still resting by one ear, as if to help him hear better), and every now and then he sucked in his lip slightly when he concentrated, swiping his tongue over his lips.

Pete glanced down, crossed his legs, hoped the hard-on would go away. He was glad they were sitting at a table. He had a problem with Patrick’s lips. Jesus fucking Christ, he’d known the guy for like, two days, and already he—

Was apparently not focussing and was supposed to be drawing the guy, not lusting over him like a complete asshole. Back on track, Wentz.
He tapped his pastel, only a little guilty, mentally smacking himself.

He could multitask.

The second sketch went faster than the first. Each one was easier. Every new piece allowed him to become more and more familiar. He couldn’t wait to compare his first sketches with his final pieces from the end of the month.

Soon, he added another of Patrick laughing when Pete accidentally got pastel dust on his nose (he crossed his eyes and tried to blow it off). Joe texted him a couple times, reminding him about the physics class that he had at 3. He loved that man.

At 2:30, Pete rubbed his rainbow hands on his pants, forgetting for a moment that light dust colors stand out against black jeans. He groaned. Nice, Pete. He examined his jeans intensely. “Listen, I got class in a half hour. You want like, a coffee or something?” He was smooth, goddamnit. He could do this.

Patrick looked up from his music, intrigued. “I could use a coffee,” He said.


To say Pete was antsy would be like saying that the titanic was only dented by an iceberg. He’d been texting Patrick about random shit all for the past two weeks. He was beginning to feel comfortable with drawing Patrick’s profile, finally. He still didn’t have his nose quite right, but he had time to fix it.

They’d been out for coffee several more times, and had even met up for late night pancakes after a couple of night sessions. Pete was fucked. Andy and Joe had even pretended to give him the talk (he pretended not to know them for a little bit after that. Scarring), and unless he was really bad at reading signals, Patrick was at least interested in being his friend. And they were clicking really fucking well, for some reason.

He was currently watching his phone with a dopey smile that he tried (and failed) to hide. However, he was becoming more and more aware of the attraction that was beginning to fray at his patience. One could only spend so many hours staring at the exact curve of Patrick Stump’s ear before it would be time to act upon his Very Big Gay Crush. Patrick had such a nice mouth. And everything. From the few times Pete had heard him humming during sittings, the musician seemed to be either utterly oblivious of the effect he had over Pete or completely fucking manipulative when he wouldn’t stop biting his fucking lips.

Maybe they were super chapped or something. They didn’t look chapped though; they looked very soft and pink whenever Pete stared at them (for when he drew them, of course). Thinking himself funny, Pete wondered if he should buy Patrick some chapstick. Maybe cherry. It would match his hair, fuck Katy Perry.

Worst comes to worse, Pete would be more than willing to bite Patrick’s lips for him. And his neck, and—

He rolled over on his dorm bed to glare at the ceiling. He needed to score a date with this guy. He was so fucking funny, and nice, and they could talk about anything?

To: patrick, sent 9:28 pm
i AM the frog meme

He crossed his legs, dick suddenly interested in his thought process. Oh God, he was half-hard and thinking about Pepe at the same time. His life had officially gone to shit.

They needed to do some sort of date thing (did coffee and dinner count as dates? probably). Patrick had such pale skin, Pete was willing to bet he would be easy to accidentally leave hickeys on—

From: patrick, sent 9:30 pm
if you mention memes one more time im blocking u

Pete grinned and sent Patrick his favorite picture of Pepe.

To: patrick, sent 9:31 pm
feels bad, man

From: patrick, sent 9:33 pm
oh my god Peter no

“I’m keeping this one,” Pete declared. “I have a feeling.”

“What, beyond the very obvious heterosexual feelings coming from your extremely heterosexual, hm, diqué?” Joe asked.

Pete gagged. “Please never use that word again in my presence.”

“Diqué? Dick? Dong?” Joe cackled. Honestly, who in the world could say ‘dong’ with a straight face. Let’s be real. It’s fucking dong.
Pete rolled his eyes and snorted. “Heterosexual. The horror.”

Joe laughed at him, laying back on his bed. He nodded with mock seriousness. “Of course, how could I forget. Agreed.”

Pete mimicked him, leaning back against the wall. He grimaced and stuffed a couple pillows behind him. Much better. He really wanted a Caprisun from their tiny fridge, but ultimately was too lazy to shift. Lying back onto his pillows, he grabbed his sketchbook from the table next to his bed and settled it in his lap. 

To: patrick, sent 9:40 pm
apparently ryans been dressing brendon up in crazy makeup for their sittings

To: patrick. sent 9:40 pm
would u be willing to do the same? it would be a change

Was that too forward? He hoped it wasn’t.

Pete decided he was too tired to draw. He traded the sketchbook for a notebook, putting down his pencil in favor of a shitty pen he’d stolen from Joe a few days earlier (the guy had good pens, not gonna lie). He began to write, barely registering what was on the page. He hoped Patrick replied soon.

On his own bed, Joe ignored Pete in favor of scrolling on his phone. Probably blogging about dogs again.

Pete didn’t focus on the specific order of the words. He liked to give in to the ebb and flow of his psyche, allowing the ink to move on its own accord. The room filled with sounds of his frantic scribbling while the pages were filled with words.

From: patrick, sent 9:55 pm
sure, why not. some eyeliner and color would be fun. change it up

Oh god, Pete couldn’t wait to see Patrick in a nice smokey eye.

To: patrick, sent 9:56 pm
nic e

To: patrick, sent 9:56 pm
and also jfc i think i know more about ryan ross than ryan does. every time i see brendon its a new fun fact

From: patrick, sent 9:55 pm
i thought he’d turned traitor and changed his major from music to ryan’s ass

Pete laughed. Joe raised an eyebrow, also laughing when Pete read the text to him

To: patrick, sent 10:00 pm
oh my god i crie

To: patrick. sent 10:01 pm
its funny bc its true

Joe put on music. Pete wondered if Patrick could hear it through the floor.

From: patrick, 10:05 pm
u guys got good taste. freddie mercury a++

Apparently, he could.

To: patrick, 10:10 pm
thanks, joe picked tonight

Pete grinned, riding a high, writing down new inspirations. He fell asleep somewhere between 3 and 4 am with ink on his hand and a pleasant buzz in his chest.


Coffee in the afternoons was set in stone by the third week. They went to the same shop, ordered the same (extra sugar and milk for Pete, just hazelnut creamer for Patrick), and returned to their dorm by the long way back across campus. The air was chillier than ever, with the threat of frost on all the sidewalks in the undefined grey period between fall and winter.

Pete didn’t mind; he hoped it would snow soon

However, even though the white stuff made walking to class more entertaining (he recalled a memorable moment freshman year when he’d banded with Joe and Gabe against Andy, Travie, and Brendon. They’d arrived to Calculus shivering and laughing), the slick of the ice added a hazard. Luckily, practically no one was out walking this particular afternoon, so they had most of campus to themselves.

“What sounds better,” Patrick asked. “A minor song ending on a major chord, or a major song ending on a minor chord?”

“Major song ending minor,” Pete shrugged. “It sounds as if it has more to say. When a minor one ends major, it just sounds like the composer couldn’t make up their mind.” He laughed. “I don’t know too much about music, though, so. Whatever you think is better.”

Patrick hmm’d, sipping his coffee. “True. It does create that affect. Don’t need to know music stuff to tell that.” He let his hand swing as he walked, brushing against Pete’s on every downswing. “Anything special planned for today?”

Pete took a mouthful of his own coffee, swirling sickly-sweet warmth around his mouth. He focussed on the smoke puffing from his mouth when he breathed out his nose. “Well, I was hoping to take a leaf out of Ryan’s book, actually.” Coffee finished, he threw it out in a nearby trashcan. Patrick followed suit.

He raised an eyebrow. “Don’t tell me you’ve suddenly decided to start wearing scarves and calico shirts.”

Either Ryan was constantly cold or constantly covering a hickey. Pete wasn’t sure. Judging by Brendon’s sulking at lunch earlier, it was most likely the former.

Pete laughed. “Nah, I like to show off my tattoos too much for that.”

“Dude, it’s too fucking cold for short sleeves.” To prove his point, Patrick flapped a hand at Pete, the red sleeves of his oversized sweater covering his fingers. “Sweater paws.”

Pete made a small noise in his throat. “Patrick, it’s never too cold for short sleeves. I’m not even cold, see??” He shoved his hands in Patrick’s face.

Patrick squeaked and recoiled. “Fuck, Pete, you’re fucking cold.”

Pete pouted. “Does that mean I’m cooler than you,”

The musician sighed. “Don’t. You’ve already said this line five times in the last week—”

“Because you’re hotter than me.”

Patrick groaned. Pete shoved a hand against Patrick’s neck again, laughing when Patrick pulled him away and scrunched up his shoulders like a turtle.

“Your hand is really warm.” Pete said innocently. Take the hint, take the hint.

Patrick rolled his eyes, encasing the hand with his. “Fine, I’ll warm up your stupid hands, asshole. Could’ve asked.” He rubbed it a couple times before lacing their fingers.

Pete grinned, swinging their arms in step.

“Thanks, Lunchbox, you’re the real MVP.” He swiped his thumb over Patrick’s, appreciating the hum Patrick made in response. He took a deep breath, blowing it out with a growling sound. “Look, dude, I’m a dragon.”

“If you quote the Hobbit at me I’m gonna leave you here to freeze.”

“I wouldn’t freeze,” Pete said, swinging their linked hands confidently, he felt great, “After all.” He gave Patrick a shit-eating grin. “I am fire. I am— sorry, what was that?”

Patrick’s face was playfully neutral. “What, me? I didn’t say anything.”

“I could’ve sworn you said ‘a fucking nerd,’ Patrick Stump.”

Patrick shook his head solemnly. “Never. I said, a huge fucking nerd.”

 

“Oh, I see.” Pete said. “There’s a difference.”

“Of course. It’s like a fan instead of a groupie. One’s in it for the thing and the other is practically obsessive.” Patrick already had his card out; easily swiping them into the dorm building.

“Nerd and ultra nerd,” Pete noted.

“You’re a fucking dork.”

“Baby, I was born this way,”

“Don’t you dare quote Gaga at me, Wentz.”

They waved at Brendon in the hallway. He waved back, bit into his apple, and ignored them in favor of returning his nose to his chemistry textbook.

“Gotta stop at my room first,” Pete pointed to door 13. “Art stuff.”

Patrick gave him a double thumbs up. “You do you, dude.”

Entering the room, Pete threw his usual choice of pens, pencils, pastels, and sketchbooks into his messenger bag. He opened the box next to his bed, pulling out several tubes and a bag of brushes, and turned to where Patrick was standing in the doorway. “How dangerous do you want to live?”

Patrick raised an eyebrow. “How dangerous are we talking?”

Pete shook the bottle of black nail polish at him. “Too dangerous?”

“Live it up. I need some danger in my life.” Patrick shrugged. “Besides, who doesn’t love a guy in black nails?”

“My thoughts exactly.” Pete added it to his bag, glancing down at his own (painted) nails. “Alright, sweet, I’m all set.”


“So, I’m assuming you know how to put these on?” Pete held out the makeup to Patrick, who eyed it apprehensively, blowing on his newly-painted nails. Good call, definitely.

“Uh, no, I don’t, sorry.” Patrick said sheepishly, wrinkling his nose at the acetone smell. “I know how to do eyeliner, and maybe smudge some stuff, but that’s about it.”

Pete waved him off, sitting on the bed. “No biggie. C’mere, I got you.” Patrick dragged the chair next to the bed, sitting facing Pete.
“Alright, I’m gonna start with foundation, and then move on to powder and eyeshadow, and finish with eyeliner and mascara.” Pete said. “You ok with lipstick too, yeah?”

“Sure, you seem to know more about this than me.” Patrick laughed, throwing up his hands. “Make me pretty.”

“Prettier,” Pete muttered under his breath.

“What?”

“What?” Pete mimicked. “Don’t worry about it.” He applied some foundation to his fingertips, brushing back Patrick’s hair with his other hand. “Ok, just foundation. Close your eyes, please.”

“Ok.” Patrick eyed him skeptically before obeying. His skin was warm under Pete’s hand, light eyelashes almost invisible against his skin, brushing over a scatter of faint freckles. Pete couldn’t get over how soft his face was; and there were so many freckles, wow.

Theoretically, he could’ve used a brush to apply the foundation, but what was the fun in that? This way, he got to gently caress Patrick’s face. For art, he reminded himself. Obviously. In a totally non-creepy, ‘dude, can I stroke your face for science’ kind of way.

Next was powder. He had to use a brush to prevent it from going everywhere, and that shit was nasty to get out. He wiped his fingers on his pants anyway, not caring about the beige streaks that were left against the black fabric. Honestly, he didn’t really have any clothes without various smudges. It blended right in with the watercolor splatters from the day before. Tapping off the brush, he turned back to Patrick.

“Eyes closed, please.” Pete asked.

Patrick sneezed when Pete accidentally used too much near his nose. Whoops. Pete laughed. “Sorry man, bless you.”

Patrick sniffed. “Thanks.” He wrapped his hands in the sleeves of his sweater, nails now dry, resting his elbows on his knees. Pete definitely didn’t start humming that one Neighborhood song about sweaters and holes and— well, you get it.

He moved forward to the edge of the bed, “To make it easier for you, so you don’t have to hunch over.”

“No problem, you do you. I’m the makeup virgin here.”

Pete pulled out an eyeshadow palette, barking out a laugh. “Thanks, dude. We’re gonna go Rocky Horror on this bitch.” Absently, he realized one of his knees was brushing against Patrick’s. Huh.

Patrick laughed. “Fuck, I love that movie. I’m completely ok with doing that.”

Pete picked up a brush, starting with highlights. He could feel the heat of Patrick’s leg through the fabric of his jeans. “Ok, good. I was gonna say, if you don’t like that movie, its not gonna work out between us.”

Patrick closed his eyes again, still smiling. “Don’t worry, I grew up singing that.”

“Dude, same,” Pete said as he smudged a black and silver around Patrick’s eyes. “Even though I probably butchered it. I was gonna marry Tim Curry after that movie, just ask my mom.”

“Same, to be honest. That outfit, wow.” Patrick sighed dreamily.

The eyeliner was the most difficult part, but Pete managed to not stab Patrick in the eye. He applied it liberally, blurring it with his fingers. Patrick seemed afraid of the eyelash curler at first (“Pete. Pete. That looks like a fucking torture device.” “Trust me, it’s worth it”), but sat through that and mascara patiently.

Pete leaned back to admire his handiwork. “I am an artist.”

“Yes, thank you for stating the obvious, Pete.”

Patrick’s eyelashes were so goddamn light; who would’ve known they were that long? Not to toot his own horn, but the eyeshadow looked really good so far. And, if Pete had anything to do with it, the next time Patrick was wearing eyeliner would be always, because, holy hell.

“Can I see?” Patrick begged, poking Pete’s knee. Pete flicked him back. He uncapped a tube of lipstick, brandishing it smugly. “Nope!”

Patrick pouted.

Wow, he had a nice mouth, Pete reminded himself uselessly for the millionth time. He loved the lighting in this room. It was so nice, and light. That light there.

Pete was going to hell.

“Perfect!” He said, smiling brightly. He congratulated himself; better call his self-control Mjölnir because he wasn’t gonna fucking budge. “I was just gonna ask you to purse your lips for me. You’re halfway there.” Pete steadied Patrick’s face with a hand, two fingers on his cheek, and his thumb on his jawline.

Patrick’s eyelids fluttered for a second. Fuck, were his hands still cold? Of course not, Patrick had warmed them up. He swallowed; not quite touching Patrick’s mouth with the lipstick.

Pete wet his lips, suddenly apprehensive. On the short list of people who could lift the Thor’s hammer of Pete’s self control, apparently Patrick was right near the top. “Uhm, open your mouth slightly?” He asked.

“Sure,” Patrick said, slightly out of his depth, “I trust you to know what you’re doing.” He dropped his jaw, watching Pete through his eyelashes.

Pete realized that he was probably dragging out the makeup application, as well as probably making it far gayer than he needed it to be. But he’d just admitted to wanting to marry Tim Curry. Realistically, everyone wanted to marry Frank N Furter, so that point was invalid. He couldn’t bring himself to care very much; he was damn hot in garters and lace.

Pete started with Patrick’s bottom lip, the drag of the lipstick pulled his lip to the side. The dark red intensified his cupid’s bow, showing off the curves that Pete was already familiar with (because he’d drawn it so many times, ok?).

Pete’s hand slipped, messing up one of the edges. “Fuck, hold on.” He leaned forward a little more, wiping away the smudge with his thumb, still using his other hand to keep Patrick’s face steady.

Patrick opened his mouth a little more. He shifted. The edge of Pete’s thumb grazed Patrick's teeth; he swore he felt the edge of Patrick’s tongue before he automatically jerked backwards.

He sucked in a breath, painfully aware of the damp on his thumb and the tightness forming in his jeans. Down boy. Stay professional.
Patrick laughed, his smile filthy. “Whoops.”

Fuck. Pete regretted wearing skinny jeans.

Composing himself, he took a couple quick pictures so Patrick could see himself; he tilted his head to the side, admiring himself. “Ooh, definitely got Rocky Horror going for me. So?”

Pete flushed, meeting his eyes. “Uhm, yeah.” He said eloquently. Fuck, he was smooth, he was in control of his hormones, and he was definitely sure putting Patrick in makeup was a bad idea.

“Y-you look nice,” Pete stammered. Oh God, he was actually twelve. And Patrick was very close to his face.

Patrick looked at his nails carefully. “I see, only nice?”

Pete licked his lips. “Well, more than nice, actually, a lot nice, but—“

He was cut off by Patrick’s mouth on his, and oh God he was probably going to get lipstick everywhere, but the sound Patrick made when Pete sucked on his lip made it worth it.

For several seconds he ignored everything except for the sensation of Patrick’s warm mouth and Patrick’s hands flowing up his arms to loop around his neck. He fluttered his hands for a moment, unsure of where to put them or what to do, before deciding to rest them on Patrick’s hips. Patrick took this as an invitation to shift forward even more, still awkwardly sitting cross legged in front of him.

Pete sucked his lip again, pleased when Patrick opened his mouth enough for Pete to slip his tongue against his teeth. He tasted like coffee and mint toothpaste and lipstick and just a tiny bit of every amazingly-bad decision Pete had ever made.

Pete wasn’t complaining.

“Goddamnit,” He cupped Patrick’s face with a hand, smiling ruefully. “I’m gonna have to do your lipstick again.”

Patrick laughed silkily. “I think you’re wearing more of it than I am.” He swiped Pete’s lip with a finger, wiping off some of it. Pete, feeling bold, took the tip of Patrick’s finger in his mouth. Patrick’s pupils dilated as he watched Pete swirl his tongue around his fingernail, sucking gently before letting go.

He couldn’t help but feel proud. He heard Patrick’s quick intake of breath; he knew from experience that he was a good lay. Besides, he’d never prided himself as a makeup artist, but, looking at Patrick, he briefly considered dropping tattooing in favor of makeup (before realizing that, yeah, that would be ridiculous. No way he could pull this look off twice).

The makeup around Patrick’s eyes looked amazing, and when combined with his thoroughly-kissed flush, he looked like sex incarnate. They would have to do this again, soon, so Pete could actually draw it. He took a picture at least. He had a project. For a grade.

Patrick dipped his head, sucking on Pete’s neck. He was gonna have a mark later.

He could draw the picture later. Patrick was… sorta art.

Close enough.

Patrick raised his head to kiss Pete again; this time, it was gentle. It would’ve been cute if his hand didn’t suddenly grip against the inside of Pete’s thigh. Purposefully. Very close to his crotch, just out of reach of the visible bulge in his stupidly-tight pants pants. The fucking tease.
Pete had always been a biter. He couldn’t help it. The swollen effect was worth it. He dropped Patrick’s lip with a slight pop, admiring his handiwork.

Patrick blinked at him. His pupils were huge. Pete reached up to peck his nose before capturing his mouth again.

The asshole responded by running his fingers into Pete’s short hair, tugging at the strands near the base of his neck. Pete couldn’t help but whimper at the stinging sensation. Alright, he totally had a thing for hair pulling. And Patrick’s hands. And Patrick’s hands in his hair. And Patrick in general. It was ok. He was cool. He had, like, loads of experience with hot guys. Pete could play dirty too.

He leaned forward, sliding his hands up the back of Patrick’s stupid red hipster sweater; skin warm under his fingers. Patrick squeaked in surprise when he was pulled forward, red-gold hair falling in his eyes. It was a little awkward and uncoordinated, with too many limbs and too much enthusiasm, but they managed. “Fuck, I was trying to be smooth,” Pete laughed.

Recovering quickly, Patrick managed to straddle him and wrapped his arms around Pete’s neck again. He pulled them chest-to-chest, wanting more contact, now, as soon as possible.

Pete could feel Patrick smile against his mouth as he ground down against him, the little shit. He groaned when Patrick swirled his hips again, emboldened by Pete’s responsiveness. “You’re such a dorky asshole,” Patrick said, breath hitching when Pete’s hands snacked around to cup Patrick’s ass.

“Better believe it.” Pete muttered. He stopped worrying Patrick’s lips to instead move to his jawline, grazing his teeth lightly over Patrick’s jugular. Lightly sucking on the spot almost instantly caused a strangled moan from Patrick, intermixed with fuck and Pete and a whining noise.

Ooh, found a spot.

Encouraged, Pete kissed downwards, pulling down the collar of the sweater to reveal more of Patrick’s clavicle. He sucked the skin there, reveling in Patrick’s breathy sighs. Jesus Christ.

“Fuck,” Pete said again, nuzzled into Patrick’s neck. “I hoped you’d be noisy.” He scraped his teeth over Patrick’s jawline, earning another moan. “I was right.”

Patrick squirmed in his lap, still tugging on his hair. “Oh god, Pete, please—“

“Are you ok with marks?” Pete asked, nosing the flushed skin at the base of Patrick’s neck. “I mean, I know I like them, but—“

“Fuck, yes, marks are good, please, Pete,” Patrick ground down again, arching his neck when Pete bit the joint of his shoulder.

“Good,” Pete growled, laving the spot with his tongue. He could already see the beginnings of what would be a fairly impressive hickey. It was stupid, it was possessive, and he fucking loved it.

Sitting up was fine, but Patrick was all over his lap and Pete was worried about falling off the bed. One way or another, he flipped them so that Patrick was lying back on the sheets, with Pete hovering over him between his legs. He guided Patrick’s legs around his waist, who was blinking up at him innocently. Man, Pete was right about smokey eyes. Fuck.

“Sweater off?” Pete asked.

“Sweater off.” Patrick agreed, raising his arms. Pete pulled it off of him, losing his own (Gabe’s) hoodie and shirt shortly after. Wow.

Patrick was really, really pale. Like, flower-petal soft White™ pale. And oh, God, Pete swallowed, he had freckles sprinkled over his chest like a mini galaxy focussed near his shoulders and nipples, left over from summer sun. He looked smooth and unmarked and a little bit self conscious.

“God, Patrick,” Pete kissed his ear. “You’re gorgeous.”

“Mm.”

He stared until he was distracted by Patrick’s warm fingers running up his ribs. Pete wasn’t narcissistic, but he was proud of his body. Even when he didn’t want to, he tried to take care of it, and he was certainly proud of his tattoos. Patrick agreed wordlessly, pulling him down to suck at the chain of thorns around Pete’s neck.

Pete was opening his mouth to comment when Patrick’s fingers found one of his nipples and twisted the dark skin, biting his tattoo at the same time.

Motherfuck,” He shuddered, leaning into the touch. Patrick, the fucking sadist, laughed under him, moving his hands upwards to rest in Pete’s hair. He kissed him again, all teeth and tension and slick promise, eager to please.

Pete pulled back, licking a trace of blood from his lip before biting and sucking his way down Patrick’s torso. He was an artist, remember. No way he could leave all that skin blank.

Turns out, Patrick’s had sensitive skin and nipples, especially, and he was very responsive. Pete silently thanked Patrick’s roommate for moving out.

“Jesus Christ, you are noisy,” He breathed, taking one of Patrick’s nipples in his teeth.

Patrick shuddered and gripped his hair harder when he bit down. “Fuck, and you’re a, ahn, jesus fucking— a smartass.”

Pete grinned against Patrick’s skin, his tongue playing connect-the-dots with Patrick’s freckles. “Yeah, but a cute one.” He hovered over Patrick’s waistband, looking up for approval.

Patrick nodded, watching him through his lengthened eyelashes. Kissing his stomach, Pete undid Patrick’s belt, sliding down his pants and, wow, Patrick might be a little guy standing up but his lack of of height was well compensated. Pete mouthed him through his boxers, smiling to himself when Patrick groaned and arched up.

“Stay,” Pete said, holding down Patrick’s hip with a hand, feeling a little heady from endorphins and anticipation and a little bit of anxiety.
He slid down Patrick’s underwear, taking his sweet time. Patrick rolled his eyes, almost kicking Pete when he unhooked his legs to take off his boxers completely.

 

Pete laughed and kissed him again. “I was trying to be sexy, goddamnit.”

Patrick joined in. “Don’t worry, you already are, goddamn.” He tugged at Pete’s belt. “Your turn.”

Pete didn’t need to be asked twice. He kicked off his own skinny jeans, definitely didn’t get them caught on his ankles (“That’s what you get for wearing jeans that skinny, Pete,” “Fuck you they make my ass look good.” “…Well I’m not gonna argue,”), and resettled himself above Patrick.

Patrick stared at him. “Is that Gabe Saporta’s face on your ankle.”

“Um.” Pete made a strangled noise somewhere between a cough and a laugh. “Long story.”

“Was alcohol involved?”

“Probably” Pete said, breathing against Patrick’s neck. He licked his bite mark from earlier before settling further down, holding Patrick’s thighs open. Aware of Patrick’s stuttered breathing, he slowly licked the seam of Patrick’s thigh.

Fuck, Pete, can you fucking, please.” Patrick shuddered, holding the back of Pete’s neck and rubbing his cheek with his thumb. Pete sucked a mark on his hip.

Holy shit. Begging, needy Patrick was definitely something he needed in his life. Pete kept one hand on Patrick’s hip, loosely wrapping the other around the base of his cock.

Patrick’s “motherfuck of—“ was muffled behind his own fist, the other gripping Pete’s hair tightly when he ran his tongue over his slit. Patrick mewled, barely keeping still. Hell yeah, Pete was a little proud. He knew he was good at giving head, and he wanted to prove it.

He ran his fingers over Patrick’s balls before stroking the base of his dick. He hollowed his cheeks carefully, eyes watering slightly as the end of Patrick’s length hit the back of his throat when his mouth met his fingers. Ok, so maybe he was a little out of practice.

Patrick rubbed his neck encouragingly, spilling praises from behind his fingers. “God, your mouth, Pete, so beautiful, I, God,”

He hummed at the praise, alternating between sucks and licks. He twisted his hand, licking down the shaft, letting Patrick buck his hips a little before holding him down again. If he’d thought Patrick was loud before, well.

Pete ran his tongue over the slit again, licking all around the head, head bobbing up and down, lips glistening with precome. Patrick keened, legs shaking when Pete twisted his hand again. “Fuck, Pete, I’m gonna—“ He shuddered, coming all over his own stomach.

Pete pulled off and stroked him through it, watching in awe at the face Patrick made. He was an artist. He drew stuff. It was his job to notice angles and shit. That included mentally documenting the exact shape Patrick made with his mouth, and the way the black and silver eyeshadow smudged around his eyes when he closed them. And how he looked covered in marks (and his own come) that Pete had put there.
Oh God, if this would condemn him to hell, he never wanted to see heaven.

Patrick blinked sleepily and shifted under him. “Fuck, Pete, that was,”

Pete rested his chin on Patrick’s thigh, kissing the skin there. He licked his lips lazily, not minding the bitter taste in his mouth. Patrick swallowed.

“Alright, your turn.” He shooed Pete off his legs and grimaced at the come on his chest. He wiped it off on the sheet, shrugging at Pete. “Well, I needed to change the bed anyway.”

Sliding off the bed, Patrick placed a pillow between his knees and the rug. He tugged Pete into a sitting position.

Pete spread his legs with no hesitation, dick aching and fairly neglected. He’d literally been picturing this for a month, not to be completely creepy. Who could blame him. He was ready for this. 

Patrick settled between them, kneeling, and started by kissing the tattoo below Pete’s bellybutton. “I think this one’s my favorite,” Patrick murmured, licking the outline of the wings.

Pete’s breath stuttered, one hand bracing himself upright, the other finding its way into Patrick’s hair. He was not ready for this.

Patrick mimicked Pete’s technique, wrapping one hand around the base of his dick. He twisted, pressing against the head with his thumb. He met Pete’s eyes, slowly licking a stripe from the base to tip. Pete groaned, tugging on Patrick’s hair. “And you call me a tease.”

Patrick grinned up at him, lightly biting Pete’s inner thigh.

Pete shuddered, biting back a moan when Patrick kissed the tip of his dick before sliding over the shaft, stupidly perfect lips stretching effortlessly, slick with spit. His head bobbed, nose almost touching the skin of Pete’s belly. He swirled his tongue around the tip before swallowing Pete again, watching Pete through lowered eyelashes.

“Patrick, I’m, ah, really, I’m gonna,” Pete breathed, tightening his fingers in Patrick’s hair. The singer only hummed and sucked harder, holding Pete’s thighs open.

Pete tensed before coming in his mouth with a “Fuck, Patrick.”

He never needed to get high again. He was completely fine with Patrick as his drug of choice from now on.

Patrick swallowed without comment, leaving a milky strand connecting his mouth to Pete’s dick when he pulled off with a faint pop. His lips were red and swollen, still tinted with traces of lipstick. Pete’s brain chanted ‘sin’ at him, unable to tear his eyes away from Patrick licking his lips. He combed Patrick’s hair off his forehead before offering his hand. “I, shit, Patrick. C’mere.”

Patrick allowed himself to be pulled up onto the bed, collapsing half on Pete, half on the pillows. “Just gonna warn you, if this becomes a thing, I’m a cuddler.”

God, his voice was gravelly and wrecked. Pete figured he probably sounded somewhere similar.

He opened his arms, letting Patrick wrap himself around him. Pete tasted himself on Patrick’s lips. “Dude, I would love this to be a thing. I’m the fucking king of cuddling. I’d win in the cuddling Olympics.”

Patrick opened an eye and met Pete’s, challenging. “Prove it.”

Pete kissed the top of his head, wrapping his arms around his shoulders. “Okay.”

Patrick threw a leg over his, snuggling into Pete’s neck and sighing contentedly. “I think I’ll keep you.”

Pete beamed.


“RISE AND SHINE! DARLING! THE SUN IS UP! THE BIRDS ARE AWAKE AND SINGING AND SO SHOULD YOU!”

“Joseph fucking Trohman I’m gonna shave your head.” Pete muttered, slurring in a half-asleep stupor. “How fuckin’ early s’it you m’therfucking—”

He cracked an eye to check the time on his phone. 8:00 am. On a Saturday. What the fuck. He rolled over onto his side, pulling his pillow over his face with an sleepy groan. “There aren’t even any fucking birds, you liar.”

“Pete.”

Pete ignored him. He wondered why Andy has stayed around. Maybe if he could fall back to sleep, he could continue the lovely dream about Game of Thrones. He was Khal Drogo, Patrick was Khaleesi, there was a bed of furs and a couple hickeys…

The real hickey from Patrick had begun to fade over the week, but Pete had plenty of others out of sight. The musician, unfortunately, wasn’t so lucky; he had the palest, easiest-bruising skin Pete had ever seen. After a few more, um, drawing sessions, Patrick had to wear more scarves than Ryan Ross.

That’s a lot of scarves.

It was worth it, for the tentative title of dating. Not much else changed. They still went out for coffee, and Patrick had even played one of his songs for Pete (“Cute, nice, and talented,” he’d said. “How are you real?” Patrick had flushed a lovely shade that Pete insisted on capturing in pastels).

Joe flicked his ear. Pete muttered sleepy gibberish about blue eyes and finding the right Copic markers for Danny’s eyes and hoped Joe would go away.

He didn’t.

“Pete. Pete.” Joe flicked his ear again. “Peter. Petey.”

Pete flipped him off blindly and counted to ten, eyes still closed.

Joe poked him in the side instead. “Peter Lewis Kingston Wentz the third I it is time for you to get your ass out of this bed.”

He jumped on Pete’s bed, bouncing and pushing up and down on Pete’s back. “I know I didn’t get to sleep last night,” Joe sing-songed, “Thanks to the noises I heard through the floor, so this is paaaybaaack.”

Oh yeah, they’d forgotten about the whole noises-through-the-floor thing. Again. Pete dimly remembered walking to dinner with Patrick, wearing one of Patrick’s shirts (a denim button-up, soft from too many washings), and then spending half the night in Patrick’s room. Doing things.

In the room above his, that apparently Joe was in. And listening. “You sick, kinky motherfucker.” Pete grumbled, not really having the energy to be embarrassed.

“Less kinky, more traumatized,” Joe proclaimed dramatically, smacking Pete’s back rhythmically.

His roommate’s outline was blurry through his eyelashes, but Pete hurled his pillow in Joe’s general direction nonetheless. The resulting ‘oof’ wasn’t nearly as satisfying as he hoped it would be, but he was willing to be content with it until another significantly harder strike hit him square in the head.

Alright.

Just before Joe’s third strike would’ve hit him, he lashed out blindly and managed to punch the pillow with a satisfying smack. Joe recoiled to strike for a fourth time, only to be met halfway by Pete, wielding his other pillow.

“Meet!” smack “Me!” smack “In!” smack “The!” smack “Pit!” Pete shouted, accenting each word with carelessly sleep-clumsy precision. Not only did he hit Joe in the face, but he somehow managed to hit himself in the face. Joe laughed at him and managed to hit him again. Smooth.

The fight dissolved into a mess of abused cushioning and a lack of coordination. Pete was still clinging to the last wisps of sleep, but he sighed regretfully when he realized that that was most likely impossible. He tried to slump back onto his bed again, fighting mood gone.

Joe resumed poking his face. “Noooo, it’s time for breakfast, Pete! C’mon, Andy said he’d take everyone out for pancakes. Including Patrick.”

“Why didn’t you say so, asshole??” Pete shot upright, rubbing his face. He puffed out his chest, “I’M ALWAYS A SLUT FOR PANCAKES.”

There was a thump on the floor above them. His phone vibrated.

From: patrick, sent 8:10 am
good to know jfc you’re loud

From: patrick, sent 8:10 am
you asshole you made me fall out of bed

Pete grinned at his phone.

To: patrick, sent 8:10 am
im just too noisy for you ;))

From: patrick, sent 8:10 am
jesus fcuking

To: patrick, sent 8:11 am
u want free pancakes? happy halloween

To: patrick, sent 8:11 am
something sweet at this ungodly hr? (pa)trick or treat

From: patrick, sent 8:12 am
idk u were pretty sweet last night

From: patrick, sent 8:12 am
but ofc dude halloween pancakes why would i ever miss that

Joe read over his shoulder, making cooing noises before pulling a face. “Aww, you’re so domestic… Wait. Oh my god. What was he referencing there—”

Pete smacked him away, flushing scarlet. “Shut the fuck up, Joe.”

Joe’s eyes widened. “Don’t just look at her ass, eat it.”

“Jesus Christ, Joe!”

Joe stumbled off to start the coffeemaker, cackling and texting Andy good morning one-handed. “Yo, make me some.” Pete called, looking down at his phone.

To: patrick, sent 8:14 am
come on barbie lets go party B)) b down in like 20 min?

From: patrick, sent 8:15 am
remind me why we’re dating again?

From: patrick, sent 8:15 am
with tht hair, ur totally the barbie of this relationship

Pete ruffled his pink hair ruefully, ignoring the warm tingling feeling the word ‘relationship’ gave him. It hadn’t been a week yet; he was allowed to dwell in the honeymoon phase for a long while yet.

To: patrick: sent 8:16 am
tru..

To: patrick: sent 8:16 am
u can brush my hair & undress me anywheeere ;))))

From: patrick, sent 8:17 am
oh my god

From: patrick, sent 8:17 am
ill be down in 20

From: patrick, sent 8:20 am
no undressing in front of joe/anyone else pls

Joe made a gagging noise from across the room (“Oh my God, you’ll never guess what Andy just said, he’s worse than me”) but Pete ignored him. He ran his fingers over his collarbone, smiling faintly when his fingers brushed over his thorn tattoo. The bite was almost gone, but he could still feel the impression of lips breathing wetly against his skin. The memory made him shiver; warmth curling in his belly.

He decided to wear Patrick’s button-up again. He’d just gotten laid, it was Saturday, and he had the right to feel comfy. At least, that’s what he told himself when he slipped into worn dark jeans and converse. He totally didn’t smell the shirt (it totally smelled like Patrick, in case anyone was interested). He totally wasn’t thinking gooey romance shit, like boyfriend shirts or the feeling of ownership or anything even remotely close to that. Was it clingy to buy your date flowers if you’d only been dating a week?

He decided he would wait a month. That seemed safe.

He was the biggest fucking sap that ever lived. God.

Patrick held his hand when the walked to Andy’s car, smashing in the backseat next to Gabe and Brendon; Joe had already claimed shotgun. Travie opted out, busy helping to set up that night’s dance.

It was only meant for three across. Wordlessly, Patrick settled himself on Pete’s lap. Pete couldn’t stop his dopey smile, wrapping his arms around Patrick’s waist and resting his chin on Patrick’s shoulder. Patrick leaned back into his chest, making a quiet contented noise.

Brendon made a face. “It’s like watching your parents, oh my God.”

“Yeah, but like, hot dads, hermano,” Gabe whispered, unnoticed by Pete. Brendon groaned.

Joe leaned sideways to look at the four in the backseat. “Okay, so we’re gonna rock out to Nightmare Before Christmas and you’re all gonna like it. Sounds good?”

“Anything you want, babe.” Andy flicked down his sunglasses, turning the ignition. He shifted into reverse just when the first notes of This Is Halloween started to blast from the speakers.

Patrick hummed along, laughing at Pete, Brendon, and Gabe, who were all trying to out-sing the others (he joined in, of course). Joe furiously sang harmony, letting Andy sing all of Sally’s parts.

Pete rested his cheek on Patrick’s shoulder again, counting telephone poles on the highway. He sighed, breathing in the cedar scent of Patrick’s flannel.

Butterflies in your stomach were totally punk rock, obviously.


“So, that’s six stacks of regular pancakes, one fruit salad, two sides of toast, a strawberry milkshake, and a second pot of coffee.” The waitress scribbled on her pad, slightly frazzled from the Saturday morning rush. “Be back in a minute!”

She ran off to tend her other tables, leaving everyone crammed into a wraparound booth.

Denny’s was the kind of place that you usually didn’t plan on going to. You just somehow… ended up there, usually at three in the morning or on misty Sunday afternoons, discussing life and the universe and what makes you sad over slightly stained coffee mugs and spongy pancakes with scoops of butter. It just worked out that way.

The day before, Frank was telling anyone who would listen that the orange and black everywhere was for his birthday (“How does everyone know my favorite colors? It’s like magic”), but everyone else was well aware that Halloween happened to be the same day of his birth.

Andy offered to bring them to Denny’s as celebration.

Pete fucking loved Halloween.

Apparently, the Denny’s did too. There were plastic bats all over the tables, orange pumpkins on the walls, and one foam skeleton on the wall that looked stoked as hell. Andy and Gabe agreed with Pete. That thing was ready for a fucking skeleton rave.

“Or a skeleton war, amirite?”

“Shut the fuck up, Pete,” Brendon groaned, slumping forward on the table. “You’re such a fucking meme.”

As predicted, his fling with Ryan had exploded into a chaotic mess of syrupy promises and electric attraction gone sour. According to Joe, he’d been found wandering around campus Monday night, holding a beer and swearing at the moon, with what looked to be a handprint of paint on his face. He’d supposedly said something offensive to Ryan, winning a slap in the face. While Ryan was painting his portrait. Or maybe it was the other way around. No one really knew the full story.

Pete patted him soothingly. “You’ll understand, my son, one day. Once you’ve been to the war, you’re changed. Forever.”

A chorus of sighs erupted from around the table, broken only by a, “You said it,” from Gabe.

They fistbumped. “You’re the real MVP.” Pete said solemnly, earning anther round of groans. He grinned, reaching for the sugar packets.

Patrick raised an eyebrow at him. “Do you really need more, on top of the ten already in your coffee?”

Pete dumped it in his cup, adding its contents to the others collecting in the bottom. He stirred it with a spoon. “You know me, Lunchbox. I like sweet stuff in my life.”

“Funny, I think you said something like that last night.” Patrick muttered, sipping innocently.

Pete choked on his coffee, spluttering. At the raised eyebrows from everyone who hadn’t heard Patrick’s quip, he coughed out, “Too hot.”

Patrick patted his shoulder. “The sugar’s fighting back.”

Gabe looked pointedly across the table at Andy. “Anyone who drinks coffee black is a masochist and clearly has something to prove.”

Andy sipped his stoically. “Some people actually like the taste of coffee.”

Joe blinked, stirring a creamer into his. “Andy, babe, no one drinks coffee for its taste.”

“It’s like beer,” Gabe said. “Everyone knows it tastes like shit, but they drink it anyway and pretend it tastes good.”

“Just like the bitter taste of life,” Brendon said mournfully, still caught up on hating the moon. Fuck the moon, the moon was the fucking worst, the moon could go to hell

“Oh my God, Brendon, don’t fuck the moon, we’re gonna do something fun tonight. You’re beginning to sound like you’re gonna cry.” Pete said, inching his arm around Patrick’s shoulders. “And we can’t have that! No one wants a northern downpour on a weekend, man. What about the Halloween dance tonight?

Patrick huffed and tucked himself into Pete’s side. “I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t have a costume.”

“We could stop by Party Center on the way back and pick up costumes.” Gabe wheedled, raising his eyebrows.

Everyone ooh’d. Brendon brightened a little. “I…I have a really nice Rocky Horror costume in my dorm…”

Joe poked Andy. “Didn’t you say you wanted to be Hercules? It shouldn’t be too hard to make a Greek costume out of a kilt or something.”
Andy sighed, but his eyes were fond. “Heracles, Joe. Hercules was the Roman version, remember.”

“Ooh, that’s the difference? I didn’t know that.” Patrick said, beginning to build a castle out of the remaining sugar packets. He smacked Pete’s hand when he tried to steal one for his already-saturated coffee.

“Even though the Romans didn’t copy many of the Greek myths directly, lots of it was transferred over through—“

“You’ve done it now, Patrick,” Pete moaned, burying his head in Patrick’s neck, unknowingly knocking over the half-built sugar castle. “Anthropologists.”

Patrick glared down at him.

“Sorry babe,” Pete said, muffled by Patrick’s (Pete’s) hoodie. His boyfriend only sighed, “S’ok,” and began rebuilding the castle.

“—Communication and trade between the two cultures.” Andy continued, nonplussed. “You know, since Greece was older and already more prominent in the world, the Romans simply adapted many of the Greek ideals and molded them to suit their own interests.”

“You could totally pull off Megara, Joe.” Brendon cut in. “You could rock a floofy ponytail like hers.” He said. “If you’re going off the Disney version, I have a dress you might fit into, if you want.”

Andy perked up, turning on the cute charm to maximum. “Megara was Heracles’ first wife. Disney got something right.”

Joe groaned. Andy did his best puppy expression. Well, the closest the tattooed muscled man could get to a puppy. Which, to be fair, was pretty close. Have you seen Andy Hurley? Even the guy’s voice is made of fucking sunshine and kittens. Disgusting. And you love it.

Joe groaned again, covering Andy’s face with a hand. “Alright, alright, turn off the pouty face.”

Andy kissed his palm before ducking away, laughing. “Thanks babe!”

Joe rolled his eyes, messing up Andy’s hair before retracting his hand. The vegan squawked indignantly, almost spilling his coffee on Gabe’s lap.

“Check the hot liquid!” Gabe said, covering his crotch. “I need that!”

“I think the only person who needs that is Bill,” said Pete, chin on Patrick’s shoulder, watching him finish his castle.

“Yeah, and he loves it,” Gabe leered, proudly pushing his hot-pink Ray Bans up his nose (“Where’d he even get those?” Patrick asked Pete, pushing his own glasses up his nose. Pete shrugged. “Who knows, Claire’s probably, most likely fake lenses.”)

Joe almost spat out his cup of, well, joe. “Fucking— we know, Gabe.” He shook his head, curls flying. “Now to un-see that mental image. I love Bill and everything, but like. We’re gonna be eating.”

“SO about that OUTFIT, JOE,” Andy said loudly and deliberately, despite his high voice.

“I don’t have any gladiator sandals, if that’s what you mean,” Joe replied. “Neither do you, actually.”

Brendon threw up his hands in a ‘duh’ pose, melancholic funk forgotten. “Who do you think I am?”

“Oh, right.”

Brendon had, like, millions of shoes. He could open a shoe museum for broke hipster artists. Pete figured he’d probably charge his clients to pay him in rare vinyls instead of cash. Besides, even if he didn’t own the shoes, his friend Spencer had even more shoes than Brendon. Something about his roundish face allowed him to pull off intense makeup and stilettos. Must be the eyes. Pete had drawn him multiple times in both masc and femme outfits. He was a cool dude.

The waitress swooped in, carrying two trays piled with precariously-balanced plates of breakfast food. They thanked her graciously, falling on the pancakes (and in Andy’s case, fruit salad and toast).

“I fucking love pancakes.” Pete declared. “Pancakes are, like, almost as good as sex.”

“Gross, Pete, don’t talk with your mouth full.” Patrick grimaced, wiping butter off of the leather of his glove. Yes, he was wearing them inside. It was cold, and he decided he might as well look hipster as fuck at all times.

Pete shoved another fork full into his mouth, ignoring the possible R rated scenarios Patrick could say that phrase to him in the future. “Don’t tell me what to do, mom.”

 

Gabe licked his fork thoughtfully. “If Patrick’s your mom, does that make you a motherfucker?”

“Shit,” Brendon breathed. “That was… That was legendary. High five, dude.” They did so gleefully, the loud smack of skin on skin attracting the irritated glare of an elderly couple eating breakfast near the stoked skeleton. The couple huffed, returning to their boiled eggs under its grinning stare.

Patrick flushed scarlet. Pete couldn’t help it. He laughed. “That was fucking. Oh my God. How long have you been saving that comeback?”

Gabe finished his coffee proudly. “Longer than your dick, Wentz.”

“Oh my God, Gabe.” Brendon cackled at Pete’s indignant expression, holding his sides. Pete threw one of the tiny plastic bats at him, fistpumping when it bounced off his Alaska-sized forehead (ok, maybe not that big, but it was pretty close). Served him right.

Fucking Andy VeganStraightedgeMcCrossfit Hurley giggled. “Pete Oedipus Kingston Wentz, that’s what we’re going to call you from now on.”

“You’re a fucking nerd,” Joe said, kissing him on the cheek. Andy beamed, popping a grape in his mouth.

I think it’s plenty long enough,” Patrick said into his mug, louder than he intended. Everyone stared before bursting into a coughing fit that sounded really fucking close to giggling. Horrified, Patrick blushed even darker. He hid his face in his hands. “Oh, fuck me.”

“That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, Patrick. Maybe later.” Pete said as seriously as anyone could with syrup on their nose. Patrick whacked him in the arm.

“Ow! That hurt.” Pete waggled his eyebrows. “Do it again.”

“Make sure you establish a safe word!” Andy chimed in innocently. Joe’s eyes were huge.

“Holy shit,” Brendon gasped. He laughed harder. “I’m gonna piss myself. Stop.”

Gabe clapped him on the back. “Try not to fall out of the booth, Bren.”

Patrick looked like he wanted to die, or maybe kill Pete first. “Remind me why we’re dating again?” Pete took pity on him, abandoning his pancake in favor of wrapping his arm around Patrick’s shoulder. He nuzzled his ear. “Definitely for my awesome bed skills and sparkling wit.”
Patrick side-eyed him, still annoyed. “Must be your mouth. And your stupid personality, asshole.”

Pete’s donkey laugh annoyed the elderly couple even more. “What did I ever do to deserve you?”

“Bought me coffee,” Patrick replied, nonchalantly stealing his milkshake.

“It does bring the boys to the yard,” Andy mused, eyeing the drink.“Unless they’re vegan,” Joe pointed out. “True,” Andy said, biting into his butter-free toast.

Patrick finished his pancakes. He licked his lips, rolling his eyes when he caught Pete staring. Who could blame him, Patrick had a fucking great mouth. Pete would never be over his mouth.

Gabe nudged Brendon. “So, about them chickens.”

“What?”

“Nothing, just trying to start a new conversation,” Gabe shrugged, finishing his last pancake. “You gonna eat that?” He asked, pointing to Brendon’s plate.

Brendon covered it protectively with a hand. “Um, yeah.”

Gabe sulked. “Aw, ok.” He brightened up when Brendon sighed and gave him half, muttering, “You’re like, fucking seven feet tall, of course you eat fucking everything.”

“You guys about done eating?” Joe asked, pulling out his wallet. Andy waved him off. “I got this.”

Joe raised an eyebrow. “You sure?”

Andy chewed his cantaloupe, sucking juice off his fingers. “Yeah, I said I would. You guys can give me your first borns later.”

They all shrugged. Seemed fair. They were good pancakes.


Okay, so maybe this was a bad idea.

Pete had almost swallowed the fake fangs five times before finally setting the glue right. And, despite what the package said, the fake blood did not, in fact, taste like cherry, but instead tasted somewhere between death and disappointment. Which was actually surprisingly fitting. At least the rest of the outfit was easy: a red and black flannel, blue jeans, and red converse. The shoes were the easiest part. Patrick had, like, seven pairs of converse.

Seven, Patrick.” Pete repeated, smudging his eyeliner.

“If you get blood on my rug I’m gonna kill you.” Patrick said, spraying his hair with temporary pink hair dye. He’d wanted to get a wig; Pete insisted that it would look awesome styled into a pouf, tinted pink under a yellow trucker hat.

It totally did. He loved being right. Of course, he’d made Patrick sit for a couple quick sketches and snapped a picture for future reference. Technically, the project was due the next day, but he hadn’t forgotten about it. Still plenty of time to add a couple more sketches to the collection.

“But babe,” Pete wheedled, sidling up behind him and sliding his arms around his waist. “I’m already dead, remember?”

Patrick snorted, leaning back against his chest. His hair glowed magenta under the fairy lights on the wall. “You’re the one who had the pink hair, wouldn’t it make more sense for you to be Prince Gumball?”

Pete kissed his neck lazily, mindful of the fake teeth. “I’d been meaning to dye it again, anyway. It’s been fading really quickly. Might as well go black for a little while. Get in the spirit.”

“Mm,” Patrick hummed, tilting his head back to give Pete more access. He practically purred when Pete slid a hand under his pink dress shirt, drawing swirling patterns on his hip.

“Besides,” Pete said, dragging a canine across Patrick’s jugular. “I think I make a pretty sweet Marshal Lee.”

Patrick closed his eyes, sucking in his lip. Pete’s hand dipped lower.

“Wait,” Patrick said, turning around in Pete’s embrace. Worried he’d misread the situation, Pete pulled his hand back quickly. “What’s—??”

He was surprised by Patrick practically shoving him against the wall, mouth on his neck. Oh.

“Fuck,” he groaned, running his hands over Patrick’s back helplessly, toes curling in his -Patrick's- shoes. No way he could risk messing up that hair, but, God it was tempting.

Patrick slid a knee between Pete’s legs, pressing against the hard-on in the front of his jeans, and ok, that was teeth, wow.

He pulled back, leaving Pete slightly dazed. “I, uhm, alright. What?"

Patrick grinned. “Marshall has a bite mark on his neck.”

“Oh my God, you gave me a hickey for a children’s cartoon.” Pete laughed, pulling him into a kiss.

“Y’welcome,” Patrick mumbled into his mouth. He pulled a face. “Ew, you weren’t kidding about this fake blood. This shit’s nasty.”

Pete swapped their positions, pressing Patrick into the wall. “M’sorry. Watch the teeth.”

Patrick wrapped his legs around Pete’s waist, letting Pete support him for a while. “I think we’re gonna be late to that party.”


Gabe swung the rubber snake wildly to the beat, mostly ignored by the other students dancing in the semi-darkness. Though it was cool outside, the air inside the room was almost as hot and stifling as the bodies of the dancers.

He gestured to his outfit; a green muscle tee and basketball shorts, the white of the Adidas logo glowing under the swirling blacklights. “No, dude, I’m not a cobra, I’m a co-bruh, get it?”

Travie stared at him from under his batman mask. “Is that sharpie on your shirt?”

“Fuck you, they’re snake scales, obviously.” Gabe sniffed, almost hitting himself in the face with the snake.

Travie shook his head, laughing. “You’re too much, Gabe.”

Gabe grinned. “I’m the ultimate fuckboy. Think of all the snake dick joke potential.” He lurched forward when someone bumped into him. “Watch it assho— oh, hi, Brendon. Corset and fishnets, nice.”

“Whoops, sorry.” Brendon giggled, covered in probably too much body glitter to be healthy. He smiled despite his heavy makeup. “Thanks, I tried. I had to wear a skirt, though, figured I should wait until after the dance to get undressed. Joe and Andy agreed with me.”

He gestured to where they were dancing behind him, both too interested in each other to really pay attention to anyone around them. It would’ve been funny; tiny Andy Hurley in gladiator shoes and a kilt, but when pressed against Joe Trohman in a purple dress, well, it worked.

Gabe swallowed. It was actually pretty hot, actually. He hoped Bill would hurry up.

“Oh my God, you’re fucking Frank N Furter,” A voice said from behind Gabe. Brendon turned to look for the source, focusing on a tall brunet wearing a white shirt and a Ravenclaw tie around his head.

Brendon cocked a hip. “That’s the idea.”

The guy gave him an ‘ok’ symbol. “A-fucking-plus, dude, that movie’s awesome.”

Brendon’s eyes lit up. He sidled towards the dude a little, feeling his eyes on him. “I agree.”

“Dallon.” The guy held out a hand, meeting his eyes. Brendon shook it, melting a little when his eyes met Dallon’s baby blues.
“Hi,” he breathed. “Brendon.”

Dallon didn’t drop his hand. “You wanna dance, Brendon?”

“Fuck, please.” Brendon disappeared into the mob, trailing Dallon in his wake. Gabe rolled his eyes. “That’s the last we’ll be seeing of him tonight. Wasn’t that Patrick’s old roommate?”

Travie shrugged. “I think so. Guess he’s over Ryan.”

“Brendon’s over Ryan?” Pete asked, flannel shirt hanging open, showing off the ink around his neck. Patrick had rolled up the sleeves of his dress shirt, unbuttoning the top a couple inches. It was fucking hot; the crush of bodies was entirely unappealing for long sleeves.

“Yeah, he just met— holy shit, what happened to your neck, Pete?” Gabe’s jaw dropped. “Is that a hickey or a vampire bite??”

Pete grinned, showing off his fake teeth. He rubbed the spot gingerly, sharing a secret look with his boyfriend. “Both, I guess?”

Gabe laughed. “Nice. Listen, I just saw Bill, I’m gonna go get him. Hasta pronto, amigos.”

“Bye Gabe!” Pete called after him, rolling his eyes when Gabe practically jumped the feminine English major; William Beckett (who was doused liberally in glitter, that Gabe would complain about for weeks). Serves him right for having a boyfriend dressed as David Bowie. Honestly.


Travie watched approvingly, unaffected by all of the relationship drama currently going down. Allosexual people were crazy, man.

His eyes flicked over his friends. “Adventure Time, nice.”

 

Pete slung an arm around Patrick’s shoulders, kissing his cheek noisily. “Every Marshall needs a Gumball in their life, amirite?”

Patrick scrunched his nose. “Shut up, you only like me for my aesthetic value.”

“Patrick,” Pete said seriously. “Your mouth is fucking impossible to draw.”

“That doesn’t keep you from staring at it.” Patrick huffed. He poked him in the chest, ignoring Travie entirely.

“I’m looking for lines, Patrick. Sorry, Prince Gumball.”

Lines, my ass.”

“Listen, the curve of your—“

“Shut up and kiss me, Marshall.”

Pete laughed, pulling Patrick close to him. The light was shitty, the music was loud, but he was almost shirtless and almost invincible and possibly a little in love. He counted Patrick’s eyelashes; counted his freckles; lost count the times his heart skipped a beat. Patrick’s mouth was soft and warm, his hands burning against the tanned skin of Pete’s back under the flannel. Pete held him a little tighter, swallowing Patrick’s moan.

Maybe a little more than almost. Most definitely. Fuck, he loved him already. He was so fucked.


Travie took that as his cue to exit, blurring into the mess of bodies. He ended up with three freshmen; one with a red mohawk, eyeshadow, and a skeleton costume, the other with a red beanie, a floral shirt, and what looked like Willy Wonka glasses, and a punky blue-haired girl holding a gas mask. Tyler waved at him. “Join the skeleton clique, bro.”

Travie rubbed his neck. “I’m too big to be a skeleton, man.”

Tyler waved him off. “Nah, no limit on skeleton size. See, I’m a ghost.”

Ashley shrugged. “I wanted to be a ghost too, but Jishwa and I agreed to let Tyler do his thing. Decided to be Halsey instead. Chocolate?”
She brandished a bucket stuffed with various candies.

Travie’s eyes lit up, definitely sticking around with anyone giving out food. “You got any Milkyways?"

Tyler pointed over his shoulder at two people making out in the corner, near where Lindsey Belatto was showing Jamia how to tie a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue. He shrugged. “Out of milkyways, but if you fight off Ray Toro you can have a Mikey Way.”

Josh tugged on Tyler’s floral sleeve, sucking on a twizzler. “If he fights off Frank, he could have a Gerard Way too.”

Ashley laughed, high-fiving Josh. “Nice one, Spooky Jim!”

He flushed, his eyes crinkling when he grinned back. “Thank you, Spooky… Halsey.”


They were unaware of Pete and Patrick behind them; Patrick pressing his back against Pete’s chest, swaying his hips to the beat. Pete gasped when he rubbed against his jeans, hands around Patrick’s waist and mouth on his neck. “Shit, Patrick,” he laughed breathlessly, pulling the musician closer to him. “We should’ve dressed you in a devil costume, not a prince.”

Patrick threw his head back, grinning up at him. “I have horns back in my room.” He bit his lip. “Maybe you could, um, draw me in them later?”

“Ooh, I like that idea. You’d look good in red. For art, of course.”

Patrick laughed. He shifted so they were chest-to-chest, capturing Pete’s mouth. “Of course, for art. And maybe some of that black lace, too?”
Pete whined. “Jesus, Patrick, you’re gonna be the death of me.”

“Hey Pete.” Patrick poked him in the chest.

“Yeah?” Pete kissed his nose.

“Trick or treat?”

He snickered. “Didn’t I say that earlier? Patrick or treat."

Patrick pulled back, smiling softly. “Only if you ask him nicely.”

Pete grinned. “I got candy corn in my room?”

Patrick hmm’d.

“And Nightmare Before Christmas? On Netflix?”

Patrick grabbed his hand, practically dragging the art major. “You fucking dork, why didn’t you say so.”

“Take’s one to know one, dork,” Pete quipped, allowing Patrick to pull him outside. The crisp night air was a welcome contrast to the claustrophobic stuffiness of the dance hall. His open shirt made it slightly chilly, but the discomfort was worth it for the heated looks Patrick was giving him.

Patrick smirked, swinging their linked hands. “I love you too, Marshall.”

Pete breathed in, laughed, and kissed Patrick’s hand chivalrously.

“Anything you say, Gumball.”

fin