Actions

Work Header

Theoretical Maximum Tolerated Dose

Work Text:

Patrick always knew when he committed to a job at a research hospital, that it was going to do a number on his personal life. His fiancee maybe didn’t understand. And to be fair to her, Patrick didn’t expect to wind up running a lab with four post-docs and teaching two classes a year, on top of his regular anesthesiology rounds. And he definitely didn’t prepare her for Dr. Wang to quit in a fiery rage and Dr. Lowry to break both legs in a fluke skiing accident in the same week, leaving him the only obstetric anesthesiologist in the entire school of medicine, because who could have seen that coming. Or for his NIH funding to run out in the middle of clinical trials.

And thus when Alyssa breaks up with him, he fully admits fault. But he accepts no blame for laughing hysterically in her face when she chooses to do it after he’s been awake for 48 hours and can hardly think straight, let alone summon up the mental wherewithal to act appropriately at getting dumped.

He feels a little bad about it when Alyssa’s face closes up and she pulls her suitcase to the front door with a hearty yank, practically slamming out the door. Patrick’s so exhausted he just wants the interaction to be over so he can get some shuteye.

So that’s how his ten year relationship ends—with a hastily tossed off “okay, cool bye” and the slam of a door.

He imagines he’ll feel really shit about it when he wakes up.

*

Of course he acts like a totally adjusted person when it’s finally sunk in and does not start spending every waking moment at the hospital—that’s basically what he was doing before—so he doesn’t know why his admin, Felicity, keeps popping up with sandwiches and chamomile tea and brochures for Hawaiian vacations like he’s some invalid. This is perfectly normal behavior. He’s pretty sure she’s started lying about his OR schedule when patients call in asking for him to be their attending anesthesiologist. She finally corners him at the end of his on-call period in the department kitchen to tell him he looks like death.

“No, I don’t,” he says, like a totally reasonable adult. She glances over at Panarin, one of his post-docs, and Panarin shakes his head like a traitor.

“You look death and beyond,” Panarin says. Patrick catches his reflection in the shiny chrome surface of the Nespresso. He’s pretty sure the machine is lying about those dark circles.

“Just, you need to leave, take a break,” she says plaintively. When Patrick stares at her, she says, “I’ll set Dr. Toews on you.”

“Hah,” he says, because he’s a person full of excellent comebacks.

*
Dr. Toews, Jonny, is a dual PhD and not an MD, much to his mother’s eternal suffering. She wanted a neurosurgeon, not a biologist and biochemist. Patrick can relate—his father calls him a glorified nurse.

They met when Patrick first became faculty at Stanford. Some asshole in shorts on a 55 degree day in February nearly ran him over on his bike when he was on the way to a meeting. At the time he was doing research on the negative long-term effects of opioids on athletes. One Jonathan Toews, also of Stanford, had just written a convincing article in the medical journal, The Lancet, about the positive outcomes of managing pain with THC in patients with traumatic brain injury. It seemed natural to contact him about his data, especially when Patrick could wander right over to his office in the Clark Center.

He’d gotten a terse three-word reply that Patrick decided to take as an acquiescence and arranged a meeting at the Peet’s in the Clark Center. Lo’ and behold, the asshole who almost ran him over on the bike was also the person waiting for him at the table with a tea in a douchey “green” sustainable bottle.

Patrick never expected to befriend such an egregious person. He’s an autocratic tyrant about nutrition, always instructing Patrick not to eat refined carbs or cheese or anything fun. And he’s a ridiculous player, always has some new boytoy every other week, even though he’s closer to 40 than 30. Jonny’s specific niche is climate science and the biochemistry of ecosystems, but he also moonlights as a consultant to a couple of labs in the marijuana industry, hence the article that started it all. Patrick assumes that this is primarily so that he can legitimize his pothead ways to his mother. But somehow, in between assuming control of labs 1 and then 2, he and Jonny had become close.

It sort of made sense. They both played hockey as kids. They were both from snowbound wastelands they swore they would never return to. It helped that he made Patrick’s research better, a good person to bounce ideas off of and to expand his own practice. And It was nice to have somebody outside the medical school sometimes.

Dr. Sharp, the lesser Patrick, was his other closest friend, and he liked the guy, but he was a typical asshole surgeon. There was only so much of his big head that Patrick could take. It would make Jonny laugh himself sick to hear Patrick say it, but sometimes he got really fucking tired of the petty hierarchy the hospital enforced, doctors lording their degrees over nurses; residents terrorizing the interns; everybody being shit to the administrative staff—it was enough to make a person ill sometimes. In the context of needing some kind of lifeline, friendship seemed inevitable really.

He’s just gotten off the phone with his mother who started crying when he informed her that Alyssa would not be available to attend his cousin’s latest offspring’s christening, or for any other future occasions either. And then once she started, he couldn’t help but follow.

“10 years wasted,” she said to him, sniffling, and Patrick had winced. When she put it like that it sounded about a thousand times worse. But she wasn’t wrong. There really had been an inevitable quality to it all. They’d just been treading water for so long, between how busy he was with research, and her with her own pediatric practice at Lucille Packard. He’s heard she’s staying with some friends he’s never even met, which says it all really. He’d gotten comfortable, they’d become like roommates. At least Alyssa had had the wherewithal to end it. Patrick might’ve made it to 40 before he realized something was wrong.

“Knock knock,” Jonny says, making Patrick jump at his desk. He’s so bleary he never even noticed him walk in. “I hear you’re trying to murder yourself with work.”

“Fuck off, I’m being perfectly reaso—”

“Nope,” Jonny says, not letting him get another word out. He walks over to Patrick and practically tugs him out of his desk chair, scanning the walls interestedly as he shuffles him to the door. “Nice office, by the way.”

“Thanks,” Patrick says automatically. He’d decorated it with all the sports memorabilia Alyssa hadn’t wanted in the house. His jersey signed by Sakic and the one from Pat Lafontaine are both framed and hung up on the walls. “How did you even get back here? Your badge doesn’t work.”

“Felicity called the biochem department, told the department admin that it was some horrible emergency, and they called me out of the lab. She badged me in when I got over here.”

Patrick groans. Fuck that’s embarrassing.

Jonny grips his shoulder, giving him a solid shake. “C’mon, let’s hit the gym.”

“The gym? Your solution to my exhaustion is to work out?”

Looking back over his shoulder, Jonny slants him a knowing-glance that pierces him down to the quick. “You’re having trouble sleeping, aren’t you?”

Patrick opens his mouth to deny it and then gives up. He hasn’t managed to sleep at all since Alyssa left. “What of it?”

“Well, I could give you something to help with that, but I think we both know what your answer to that will be.”

“I don’t need weed to sleep!”

“Mmhm,” Jonny says. “To the gym it is.”

He doesn’t like admitting that Jonny is right because it’s a bad habit to get into with him, but by the time Jonny has forced him through half an hour of cardio that would ordinarily be easy as pie, and what felt like 200 sets on the weights, he’s so bone weary, he’d probably be able to curl up like Rip Van Winkle on the floor the locker rooms.

“Don’t you fucking say it,” he says, when they’re out of the showers and Patrick can barely keep on his feet, yawning repeatedly.

“Wasn’t going to say anything.” Jonny takes his keys from him in the parking lot and drives him to his place.

“How will you get back to the office?” Patrick asks, blinking sleepily when Jonny’s ushers him inside his own home, no doubt making sure he doesn’t put his scrubs back on to make some kind of running dash for the hospital.

“I’ll walk. It’s not that far.”

“Ugh, take an Uber like normal people.”

Jonny narrows his eyes at him. “It’s barely two miles. Uber is for lazy shitheads who don’t care about their carbon-footprint.”

“You’re—” Patrick’s too tired to come up with a good riposte. He goes with: “The worst.”

“Mmhm,” Jonny replies. “Just FYI? We’re going out tomorrow night. You need to climb back up on the horse.”

“Oh, jesus, no I don’t,” Patrick replies grouchily. What he needs is for one of the other doctors in the department to write him a scrip for sleeping pills. “What is wrong with you?”

“How long has it been, Pat, since you even touched someone else?” Jonny asks.

Patrick glares at him. He and Alyssa hadn’t had sex in months when she left him, which Jonny knows. Fair guess that was part of the problem. If Patrick had had the energy, maybe they would’ve, but he didn’t then and he doesn’t now.

“Not interested!”

“Get some sleep, man,” is all Jonny says before he slips out the door, leaving Patrick yawning in his wake.

*
Patrick hates Nola. Well, that’s not true. It’s a perfectly decent bar, with a good bourbon selection and a menu to match. He hates Nola when he’s there for the stated goal of taking somebody home to get laid. Jonny is having more success than him with the ladies anyway, young twenty-somethings throwing themselves at him left-and-right. Patrick meanwhile, hasn’t tried to pick someone up in ten years, because, oh yeah, he’d been with somebody that whole time. He thinks he can be excused for being a little rusty even if he was interested. Which he isn’t.

When Patrick points this out, Jonny laughs at him.

“Maybe if you’d stop scowling,” he says.

“What? I’m not scowling,” Patrick replies.

“You look ready to do murder, buddy,” Jonny replies. In which case, Patrick thinks that’s an entirely legitimate facial expression and suits his current mood perfectly. It wasn’t his choice to come here tonight. Jonny dragged him. Patrick would be glad to be back in the office worrying over the IRBs his RAs were supposed to have filled out, but of course, didn’t, leaving the lab under the impending hammer of ethical doom. He has far better things to do than waste his time hitting on jailbait coeds.

Patrick watches astonished as a beautiful woman actually buys Jonny a drink. He’s not that handsome. Okay, he kind of is. Continuous pot consumption aside, Jonny’s in fabulous shape, and he’s got a decent face. Okay, so it’s more than decent. It’s a really good face. But it’s not like a Ryan Gosling face, or whoever it is that the ladies are into.

“Oh no,” Jonny tells the woman, she’s so young that she’s more of a girl, possibly still an undergrad, holding out what looks to be a gin and soda, “Not for me. Try my friend, he was recently dumped and needs some comfort.” When she looks over at Patrick, her eyes running over him like he’s a prize horse, Jonny says. “He’s a very successful doctor.”

She grins at Patrick, a charmingly sweet smile that has him raising a quizzical brow, because he’s become a black-hearted bastard forever looking for the hidden angle. She looks abruptly back at Jonny. “What about...the both of you?”

Patrick chokes into his beer and Jonny laughs heartily. “I like the way you think,” he says, as he slaps Patrick on the back a little too heartily, “but I don’t think that’s Pat’s style.”

Patrick stares at him incredulously. It’s not his style? Jonny doesn’t even like women, what the hell is he playing at.

Patrick shakes his head. “Take me home. Gimme the weed. I give in.”

“Sorry.” Jonny shrugs at the girl. “That’s my cue.”

“Maybe I’ll see you around sometime?” she asks hopefully.

“Cheers,” Jonny says.

Yes. Jonny is the worst.

*

Patrick hasn’t smoked up since his first year of med school. Alcohol has always been his vice of choice, but he can tell after his first inhale of Jonny’s fancy PAX 2 vape that it’s good shit.

“Is it organic?” he asks snidely.

Jonny laughs and sprawls out on his lounge chair. They’re sitting outside in Jonny’s beautifully landscaped backyard. His other hobby: gardening. The night is unusually warm, the sky clear and bright, and the yard itself lit by the faint glow from Jonny’s black bottom pool.

“Oh no, there is no weed found like this in nature. Only the very best genetically engineered marijuana for you, my friend.”

Patrick laughs, the warm tingle of his high setting in. “At least I have you.”

“Of course, Pat,” Jonny says.

When Patrick looks over at him, he has a serious expression on his face that Patrick can’t decipher. Patrick made friends during his sub-specialization fellowship, and during his residency, and obviously he’s got his boys back home. Somehow it’s strange to think he and Jonny have only known each other for six years.

“You weren’t really going to say yes to that chick at Nola were you?” Patrick asks. “I mean, if I had.”

Jonny holds his hand out for the PAX and then takes a hit when Patrick hands it over. He exhales out a cloud of vapor in a stream, making it look unfairly suave, and then says, “I dunno, I’ll try everything once.”

“C’mon, aren’t we a little old for that kind of experimentation?” Patrick asks, unsure why the answer makes him feel hot all over, stomach fizzing. It must just be the marijuana buzz setting in.

Jonny holds Patrick’s gaze, his eyes dark and shining. Patrick runs his eyes over the curve of his muscular shoulders, the proud line of his throat as he takes a deep inhale, before shrugging again. Patrick’s breaths are now coming a little short in his chest. Patrick’s a fucking doctor whose job it is to give patients the good stuff. This, to his well-trained senses, feels a little irregular.

“Fuck,” Patrick says placing his palm down on his own lounger and running his hand against the rough canvas fabric. It feels good against his fingertips. “What’s the THC content levels of this stuff?”

“About 80 percent?”

“80 percent? 80-fucking-percent?” Patrick demands, voice going high. “What’s normal weed? 40?”

“Ah, around 15 usually.”

“15? 15 PERCENT?” Patrick demands. “How could you do this to me?”

“Shh, Pat, you’re fine,” Jonny says, climbing up off his chair and coming to stand over Patrick. He smooths a palm over his shoulder. “You’re good. I wouldn’t give you anything you couldn’t handle.”

Jonny’s hand feels so good he finds himself leaning into it. The next thing he knows, he’s running his own hand along Jonny’s shoulder up to touch his silky dark hair, sinking his fingers into the short strands. Jonny chuckles and detangles himself gently from Patrick’s grip.

“Damn, I should get you like this more often,” he says.

“It’s just the weed,” Patrick mumbles, staring up at him. Jonny’s all lit up from the moon and the stars and his own pool. He looks gorgeous. Huh. Maybe he gets why that girl bought him all the drinks.

“I know, buddy,” Jonny replies, his hand squeezes around Patrick’s.

“It’s just the weed making me want to kiss you.”

Jonny freezes. He lets out the shallow huff of a laugh. Patrick wrinkles his nose. “Okay, I think it’s time to get you to bed now.”

“I’m not a child,” Patrick replies. It comes out petulant.

“C’mon, Pat,” Jonny says softly, tugging on his wrists to pull him up from his chair.

When Patrick straightens up, he’s unexpectedly deep into Jonny’s space, scant inches between their bodies, close enough to make out the scar that cuts into Jonny’s top lip. Patrick considers licking it and for a minute, with Jonny’s head bent to meet his eyes, he thinks Jonny’s leaning in to kiss him.

Jonny clears his throat instead. “You can crash in my guest bed.”

*

When Jonny wakes him up the next morning with a protein shake, Patrick expects to feel like garbage, but he feels decent actually. That is until he looks at the clock on the nightstand and realizes he has to be at the hospital in less than an hour.

“Why didn’t you wake me up sooner?” he gripes, gulping down the shake and then making a face. It’s strawberry, his favorite, but it still tastes like garbage. At least it’s not the horrible vanilla shit that Jonny prefers.

Jonny shrugs at him, unrepentant. “You needed the sleep.”

Patrick thankfully drove to Jonny’s, so at least he can easily stop by his place to change, but still.

“You’re a terrible influence.”

“Don’t I know it,” Jonny replies with a grin.

He has to rush getting in to work, practically sprinting from parking his car in F Lot to the hospital in order to make the first surgery he’s scheduled for, but he feels strangely unstressed. The feeling continues throughout the rest of the day.

“Did you finally get laid?” Dr. Sharp asks when he’s elbow deep in a splenectomy.

The nurses all turn to look at him.

“Jesus h,” Patrick says. “Have some class.”

“You have a bounce in your step,” Sharpy replies, pointing at him with a fifteen blade.

“We’re not fucking talking about this,” Patrick growls.

Sharpy’s eyes dance over his surgical mask. “I’m taking that as a yes then.”

Jonny texts him asking if he wants to get dinner, so he figures at least there’s no weirdness for whatever happened last night. Which is good, because at 36, Patrick thought he was done with nights to hastily forget the next morning.

He replies saying he’s down for sushi, and then agrees to meet Jonny at Jin Sho. By the time he gets there, Jonny’s sitting at the bar with a bottle of Sapporo in front of him.

“What happened?” Patrick asks by way of greeting. Jonny teaches undergrads, half of whom are probably madly in love with him, and you never know what’s going on there.

“Just some departmental bullshit,” Jonny says, rubbing at his eyes. “Saad got denied tenure and it’s getting kind of messy.”

“Isn’t he some kind of genius?”

“Yeah, but we’ve already got three other recently tenured cell biologists. You know how it is.”

“Were you on his committee?” Patrick asks, stealing a sip out of Jonny’s bottle.

Jonny sighs. “I was. I argued for him, but at the end of the day, Bowman said we had to go with somebody else. So, he’s unhappy.”

“Yeah, jeez, I bet,” Patrick says. Patrick knows what that’s like better than Jonny who did his undergrad at University of Toronto, but then got hired right out of his PhD program here at Stanford. It’s been smooth sailing for him all along. Patrick, on the other hand, did med school at University of Michigan, his residency at Pritzker, and his fellowship in OB anesthesia at Feinberg. He’d wanted to stay in Chicago when he’d completed his fellowship, but it hadn’t worked out that way. Not that he’s crying over it now, or at least not beyond wondering if he and Alyssa would be married now if they’d stayed there. He really likes California, especially the weather.

“Uh oh, what’s that face about,” Jonny asks, interrupting his musings.

Patrick sighs. “Nothing, man, just wondering about what could have been.”

Jonny thumps him on the back. He doesn’t bother with any of that stupid plenty-of-other-fish-in-the-sea talk that Sharpy has leveled at him on a revolving basis ever since Patrick first admitted his engagement was off.

“I’ll have to sell the house,” Patrick says. “We got it so that we’d have room to have kids one day. Don’t know what we were thinking. It’s way too big for just me. I feel like I’m rattling around in there.”

He doesn’t realize until he says it how much that’s been driving him to hang out at the hospital at all hours. His office in the Boswell wing is at least his own little kingdom, completely under his domain. The house is still covered with all the furnishings Alyssa bought. Their bedroom is decorated in soft-hued beige, the last thing he’d ever choose for himself.

“You can come crash at mine for a little bit, if you need,” Jonny says, correctly interpreting the suddenly morose direction his thoughts have taken.

Patrick opens his mouth to tell him that it’s a very kind offer, but unnecessary, and what comes out his mouth instead is, “Thanks, man, I really appreciate it.”

Jonny nods. When Patrick’s beer arrives, Jonny holds his own out for Patrick to clink.

*

He doesn’t mean to move in to Jonny’s place. That’s just kind of what happens. Obviously it’s only temporary. It makes the realtor’s life easier, he reasons, to have him and his stuff out of the way. Jonny has the space for a few people anyway. He lucked into a beautiful split level on Lathrop Drive that looks over all of campus when some mad emeritus at GSB kicked the bucket. Patrick had been trying for years to get a home on campus, because even if he isn’t a crazy cycling devotee he’d still have liked the option. Of course Jonny has always had no trouble cycling out to his place in Menlo Park and lording his superiority over him.

He settles into Jonny’s guest bedroom easily enough, and they work well as temporary roommates. When Patrick comes home at the odd hours his schedule mandates Jonny’s usually awake grading or writing, the TV on in the living room to sports and leftovers for Patrick to eat in the kitchen. They’re healthy as fuck, a lot of chicken breast and brown rice and blanched spinach, but he loads up on so much salty carb-heavy food at the medical school cafeteria it certainly can’t hurt.

The one thing he didn’t quite anticipate is Jonny’s sex life. He comes home after pulling a full 24 hours in the OR, bleary-eyed and out-of-it, and it takes him a while to realize something’s off: there’s an extra pair of shoes by the door and some hastily discarded clothing at the foot of the stairs. Jonny’s a slob known to take his workout stuff off inside the door as soon as he comes home from a run on his way to hitting the showers. Tired as Patrick is he doesn’t think anything of the fact that it’s not workout gear he’s looking at, but a pair of jeans. The noises should also probably have alerted him, but he’s too busy counting the number of hours of work he still has to do to get his lab ready for it’s next study to pay attention to anything.

He gets it loud and clear though when he hits the second floor landing. Jonny’s door is wide-open, giving him an HD view of Jonny riding some guy, head bowed between his shoulders, thighs flexing, as the guy groans out a continuous hoarse soundtrack of “oh fuck yes.”

“Jesus, shut up,” Jonny says, brow furrowing like he’s annoyed, even despite his engorged cock bouncing against his belly, which Patrick should never in his life be seeing ever. Patrick watches, frozen dumb, as he shoves his fingers into the other guys mouth and says, “Suck.”

The guy does with a hearty moan as Jonny speeds up, other hand jerking himself like he’s close now.

Oh my god, he thinks to himself. Oh my god. This is definitely not knowledge he needed in life. He finally stumbles away from the doorway, heading for his own bedroom and slamming the door to let Jonny know he’s home. He should have had at least some idea that his poor houseguest might stumble past his mid-morning fuckfest and had the courtesy to shut his doors. Jonny’s such an ass sometimes.

He throws himself in bed without bothering to change, annoyed at the weird sympathy erection he has pressed up tight against his thigh. He’s not even into stuff like that. What the hell is his body up to?

*

He wakes up to find it dark outside and the house blessedly still. If Jonny’s hookup is around now they’re being quiet. When he gets downstairs though, he finds Jonny by himself in the kitchen, pouring over lab notes, a cup of tea and his vape at his elbow, nobody else in sight.

“Hey,” he says when he sees Patrick, looking sheepish, “Sorry about that. Thought you were doing a 48 hour call.”

“That’s next week,” Patrick says wearily. “Dinner?”

“Black bean soup on the stove,” Jonny says. He taps his pen on his notebook. “We okay?”

Patrick makes a face at him, confused and annoyed about why Jonny looks ready for Patrick to spring at him. “Yeah of course, man. I know you fuck men. I’m not pretending that that’s not something you do. Just didn’t need courtside seats.”

Jonny’s expression melts into relief. “Good, and yeah, I really am sorry.”

Patrick shakes his head and goes to dish himself some soup into a bowl. He has a thought suddenly. “Was that a member of the basketball team?”

Jonny leans back in his seat, lips quirking with a grin. “May have been.”

“You’re unbelievable.” Patrick has to shake his head in sheer wonder as he takes a seat at the breakfast bar across from Jonny. “What are you, fifteen years older than him, old man?”

“He was built, great recovery time,” Jonny says with an easy laugh. “But I think that’ll be my last foray into the undergrad population. The inexperience is killing me. These kids, they grow up on online porn and think that’s what sex is. Just no clue.”

“I didn’t realize that you—” Patrick says.

“Took it up the ass?” Jonny says with a raised brow.

“Bottomed,” Patrick corrects. He’s not an asshole. He and Jonny maybe don’t talk about stuff like this a lot, but he does pay attention. Jonny chews at his lip like he’s weighing whether or not to say something. This entire conversation went off the rails somewhere and Patrick doesn’t know why or how.

“I do both,” Jonny says finally, shuffling his stuff around.

“I uh—what’s that like?” Patrick asks.

Jonny cocks his head. “I dunno, what’s sex like for you?”

Patrick shrugs. “Okay, point taken.”

“I’m not trying to put you off,” Jonny says. “Just, I don’t know what you expect me to say. Depends on me, and depends on the other person. Like straight couples and pegging.”

Patrick wrinkles his nose.

“Not your idea of fun?” Jonny asks.

Patrick shrugs. “More the mechanics of it? Not that I wouldn’t have tried it if Alyssa wanted to. But she was so much smaller than me. I imagine the two of us, and it looks like slapstick, not hot.”

Jonny raises a brow. “I let smaller men fuck me.”

“Now when you say smaller—” Patrick starts with a laugh.

“Smaller and shorter—I’m not some size queen,” Jonny corrects, narrowing his eyes. “Why, Pat? You worried you wouldn’t make the cut?”

Patrick ducks his head at that briefly, before looking up with a cocky smirk. “Well, I may be shorter,” he says, voice coming out a little more flirty than he meant it to, “but I don’t know about smaller.”

Jonny’s eyes drop down to where Patrick’s lap is hidden by the marble counter before rising back up to meet Patrick’s eyes. In answer, Patrick’s cheeks heat. He doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing right now, but it should probably stop. He clears his throat.

“I have some shit I need to do. Stuff left over at the hospital,” he says quickly. He raises up his empty soup bowl. “Thanks for dinner.”

“My pleasure,” Jonny replies and Patrick thinks he’s probably imagining the way it sounds like some kind of invitation. He hightails it back to the hospital like somebody lit him on fire.

*

He’s thinking about it now is the thing. Shorter men fucking Jonny. Him fucking Jonny. In other words, things he should not be thinking about. He blames it on the fact that—even though his house is officially on the market, and all his stuff is moved out, and work has calmed down a little so that he’s not at least shuttling back and forth between the children’s hospital and the medical school every time they need an OB anesthesiologist—he’s still not sleeping all that great, and after what happened the last time that he did some of Jonny’s weed, that’s not a solution that’s really up for consideration.

Sharpy keeps making some noise about a guys night with some of the other doctors at the hospital, and then after he says no too many times, enlists Jonny’s aid to goad Patrick into going, because they’re back to that ‘get Patrick laid’ plan that worked so well the last time.

“I do fine enough,” Patrick tells Sharpy. Which is to say nothing ever. He’s too depressed for sex.

“Jon says you haven’t gotten laid since you moved in with him.”

“Like he would even notice!” Patrick protests. While Patrick has not stumbled upon Jonny amidst any further amorous acts after that one time, there is definitely evidence of some hookups. Jonny does seem to be making an effort to take his conquests elsewhere though, for which Patrick is grateful, because the walls aren’t all that insulated and he can remember the last time all-too-perfectly.

“Peeks,” Sharpy says, like he’s disappointed. “C’mon, it’ll be fun. You’re like a ghost. We never see you anymore.”

“You just saw me in the OR for six hours,” Patrick points out.

“Yeah well, I’m not really counting the time I have my hands in the patient’s large intestines.”

“So sad,” Patrick replies, “when those are the best moments I spend in your company.”

“Hah hah,” Sharpy replies, sarcastically. “You’re going. Even if I have to drag you out of your office myself. Felicity will probably help.”

The whole world is conspiring against him.

*

They wind up going to the Old Pro, and in the middle of watching the Bills downing the Browns, Patrick actually finds a girl to talk to. She’s from Cleveland and has incorrect thoughts about Manziel, but she knows her stuff, showing him her picks for one of her fantasy leagues on her phone. And she’s cute—fine-boned and dark-haired, works in tech down in Mountain View. Sharpy keeps waggling his eyebrows whenever he makes eye-contact.

Jonny’s also doing well, chatting up some twink in a backwards Giants cap, the both of them laughing over something into their beers. Suddenly Patrick just feels tired and irritated. He could be knee-deep in her tonight, he’s sure of it, but for whatever reason, it seems like too much effort. At the end of the game when she talks about maybe heading somewhere else, he begs off.

“It was nice to meet you,” he says sincerely. “I have to be up early tomorrow.”

It’s true enough. He has thirty students to lecture about clinical pain management bright and early. He says goodbye to the rest of the guys, and when Sharpy starts trying to convince him to stay, Jonny elbows him in the side.

“Let him go, Sharpy, he’s tired,” he says.

“See you in the morning?” Patrick asks, eyes drifting over to the guy still hanging out at Jonny’s shoulder.

“Sure thing,” Jonny says with a smile.

Patrick smiles and rolls his eyes. Well at least they can be assured that Jonny’s sexual appetites have remained unchanged. “Peace,” he says turning for the door.

“That guy’s a doctor?” he hears the twink say as he walks away. “He doesn’t look like a doctor.”

“Nah we just call him that to stroke his ego,” Sharpy replies. “He’s a used car salesman.”

“I fucking heard that,” Patrick yells back over his shoulder. Not that he considers that much of an insult. His father is a used car salesman. For years after he injured his wrist and it looked like hockey wasn’t going to be an option, he thought he was going to be one too. Funny how one human life histories class he was taking as a gut for a science credit can completely change your life. He should find that professor and punch him in the nose.

When he gets home he decides to take a shower, trying to jerk one out fast, keeping his mind blank. Of course his thoughts inevitably turn to Jonny in that bed, the way he’d sunk down onto that guy’s cock like he’d been doing it all his life. He comes imagining what it would feel like from the other side, Jonny’s weight braced over his hips, sinking deep into that ass.

Afterwards, breathing hard, the sweet buzz of orgasm still echoing through him, he punches the wall in frustration. Surely he’s too old to be having some kind of sexual crisis, and for Jonny no less.

Padding down to the kitchen in his pajamas for a glass of water, he finds Jonny bent down in front of the fridge, moving piles of fresh vegetables and carefully labeled tupperware (Patrick’s handiwork. Jonny would just throw the pan in there with some plastic wrap over it if Patrick would let him) until he finds a healthy greek yogurt and pulls it out.

“Hey, you came home?” Patrick asks, wondering what the hell he’s doing here. He clearly had an in with that guy at the bar. He has no idea why Jonny would cut and run on him.

“Struck out,” Jonny says, pulling a spoon out of a drawer and sticking it directly into the carton.

Patrick blinks at him for a long moment trying to picture what Jonny did wrong, because that kid was all over him. Jonny can be an asshole, but he’s good at pulling. Patrick’s seen him in action more than once. A horrible thought occurs to him. “You didn’t—you didn’t follow me home did you?” he asks, voice rising.

“Patrick,” Jonny says quellingly.

“Jesus christ, can all of you just take a fucking step back? I’m not some mental patient you have to tiptoe around.”

Jonny straightens up, setting the yogurt down on the counter with an unreadable expression. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Patrick repeats, knowing he sounds a little crazy. “Okay?!”

“Yeah, okay,” Jonny replies, “I don’t know what you want from me. There’s no conspiracy here, man. I didn’t come home to babysit you.”

Patrick deflates. Jonny sounds so reasonable and bewildered; he feels like a totally over-reactive asshole. “I’m going to go to bed.”

“Okay, night,” Jonny says easily, turning back to his yogurt.

Patrick pads back up the stairs, wondering the whole way why the hell that interaction was so unsatisfying. It’s not like he wanted Jonny to say that he came after him. That would’ve been insulting and infuriating. He wishes he’d never bothered to go downstairs. Or better yet, that he hadn’t gone out at all.

*

“Gonna be out late tonight,” Jonny says the next morning when he comes into the kitchen. “You’re on your own for dinner.”

Patrick slept like crap, restive and filled with weird anxiety dreams that slipped away from memory as soon as he woke up. It feels like a deliberate poke after last night, which Patrick supposes he deserves. He did tell Jonny to get off his case.

“The guy from last night?” Patrick asks, wondering why his voice comes out sounding so dull.

Jonny shakes his head. “One of my post-doc’s got hired. He’s going to Wash U. We’re throwing a goodbye party for him.”

Patrick’s awash with relief. “Okay, well, have fun.”

“Aye aye, captain,” Jonny says, knocking off a dorky salute with a sweet smile that makes Patrick’s chest feel tight.

He leaves the kitchen in a hurry. At this rate, Jonny’s going to start wondering what happened to his sense of common civility. Which he does have. His mama raised him right, even if Jonny’s clearly let him run around like a vegetable-growing heathen.

He goes into work early just to get out of the house. He’s not scheduled for the OR, but he’s got plenty of stuff to do between pre-ops with patients, preparing lectures for his class, and work in the lab, like figuring out how his fucking RO1 grants are going to get assigned and peer reviewing the 500 papers that seem to have cropped up while he wasn’t looking. Would it be bad to just dump all of that on Panarin? Of course, before he can get to any of that, he gets stuck dealing with some assholes who claim they’ve invented a pain detector and won’t stop harassing the department about it.

It looks like a weird headdress doohickey that they’d jerry rigged to a laptop. Dr. Savard, the head of the department, had been trying to get them off his back for weeks, and when Patrick unsuspectingly asked about it what it was, Savard hastily pawned them off on him.

“Consider it punishment for monopolizing all of Felicity’s time,” he said to Patrick before hightailing it to the door.

He’s technically supposed to share Felicity with Dr. Kesler because the department doesn’t have the resources for one admin per doctor, but Dr. Kesler is always off in Timbuktu or Kuala Lumpur or wherever it is that he goes, doing weird experiments with pressure pain and coconuts. That’s probably not what he does at all, but Patrick mostly doesn’t pay attention to him, so he’s got no idea.

As for the device, he can tell it’s almost certainly garbage, there’s no way these yahoos have any clue what they’re doing. But they must have a friend or a funder somewhere that Savard (mostly) doesn’t want to offend, so there goes the rest of Patrick’s day.

At least they take him out to lunch at Madera and ply him with an expensive bottle of wine that’s mostly wasted on him. Patrick is not a wine drinker, but Jonny would’ve appreciated the vintage, and definitely the view from this place. They got a table on a balcony with an uninterrupted panorama of the Santa Cruz mountains, and as they talk gibberish about their stupid machine at him, he very nearly feels bad for how little they seem to realize it’s an exercise in futility. He’s grateful for the lunch, even if he can’t stop tallying up the ridiculous mound of work that still needs to get done in the back of his head.

When they get back to the hospital, feeling a little harried despite (and because of) the idyllic lunch, he racks his brains trying figure out how he can despatch them politely. It finally occurs to him to inquire if they’d be willing to let him run a few trials with hospital staff. It’s a little unethical to show up in the doctor’s lounge and ask his direct subordinates to agree to be experimented on, but it’s been a rough week, and Patrick’s patience is stretched thin.

“Just take some baseline readings for each of you, and then try it again with their machine-thing on. You can use the thermal stimulator to induce pain,” he instructs three of the interns, Motte, Hartman, and Hinostroza in private.

He chose each of them because they looked bored, which given that he himself can’t seem to get ahead of all his work, offended him on a personal level. He imagines Jonny laughing at him for subjecting them to the thermal stimulator just because they were irritating him and scowls. Jonny has been known to prank the one guy in the biochem department who still has the audacity to mouth pipette by regularly smearing it with chili oil. Mouth pipetting is garbage and nobody should ever do it, but he’s not quite sure why Jonny has made it a mission to get this guy to stop. The interns leave in a hurry, misinterpreting his glower as directed at them and rushing to do his bidding. Yeah, so maybe definitely unethical.

When they swing by his office afterwards, exuberantly shouting about who could handle the thermal stimulator better, the pain detector guys nowhere in sight, he starts to regret his genius plan a little. They’re in good spirits at least, although Hartman, he notices, bears a red patch on his arm where the stimulator would’ve been.

“What happened?” he asks.

“Oh, nothing,” Hartman and his two compatriots rush to say.

Yeah right. Patrick wasn’t born yesterday.

“Did you try to be macho about it?” Patrick asks, gloving up and lifting Hartman’s arm to inspect it. It doesn’t look worse than a first degree burn, but that’s not the point of the thermal stimulator. Patrick looks back up at him, raising an unimpressed brow. “Put some bacitracin on that. I don’t want Savard to beat my ass if it blisters and he asks how the fuck you have a burn in the shape of the goddamn stimulator on your arm.”

“Tyler bet me coffee for a week if I could handle it at the max setting,” Hartman says sheepishly, going to pick up one of the ubiquitous foil packets they have all over the hospital and squeezing it out onto his arm.

Patrick groans, knowing he’s getting only part of the story. The thermal stimulator, even at max heat, is supposed to induce pain without leaving lasting damage. Which is exactly why they fucking use it during human trials. But if they’d been using it on him for a while, dicking around trying to test his pain threshold, that would definitely cause burns like the one Hartman currently has.

He can imagine all too perfectly how it must’ve gone down, the machine didn’t work, and somehow with these glorified frat brothers, it must’ve inevitably devolved into a dumb contest rather than a simple methodical trial to prove that the hospital wasn’t going to be interested in a non-viable product, which is what he most certainly told them to do. He set himself up for this. “How much do those pain detector guys want to kill me right now?”

“Well…” Hinostroza shrugs. “They’re gone at least?”

Patrick shakes his head. “How badly did you embarrass them?”

The three of them stare back at him with faux-innocent faces. Yup, he’s going to be hearing about this one from Savard later. Patrick should learn to listen to his better angels.

“I don’t know what they expected,” Motte says. “Their magic brainwave sensing device didn’t work. Who ever would’ve guessed?”

“Ugh. Take your sarcasm elsewhere,” Patrick says. “I’m tired.”

They laugh at him like he’s joking, but when he narrows his eyes at them, they leave his office at a run. He puts his head in hands and groans aloud. How did he get here—overworked, underslept, surrounded by maniacal interns, and somehow questioning his sexuality in his mid-thirties. Patrick should quit. He should move to Hawaii. One of the remote islands. Set up a practice on the ocean, anaesthetizing seagulls. Leave all this madness behind. There’s a real chance that could be fulfilling.

*

When he gets back home that afternoon, Jonny’s bike is still leaning against the side of the house. He hasn’t left for the party yet. There’s a good view of the yard from the windows, and when he gets inside, he spots Jonny hauling himself out of the pool. He must’ve been swimming laps. Patrick stops in front of the bay windows, oddly mesmerized by the water cascading down his abs. The late afternoon sun limns his skin in gold. Fuck, Jonny’s something else. Why is Patrick even fighting this so hard?

He straightens up with resolve, stepping out into the backyard, closing the french doors with a deliberate sounding snap.

“Hey, Pat,” Jonny says, dripping water, as Patrick strides to meet him. “What’s up?”

Patrick shakes his head. He’s done dancing around this. Before Jonny can say anything else, he reaches up, deciding to be unconcerned about getting soaked, and draws Jonny’s head down to brush their mouths together in a kiss that’s as filthy as he can make it. The brush of his mouth is hot, wet, and perfect, everything that Patrick wants right now.

Suddenly, Jonny draws back, Patrick making a noise of protest. “Pat, no,” he says, rueful but firm, brows furrowed despite his flushed cheeks. “This isn’t a good idea.”

Patrick swipes his tongue over his lower lip, gratified when Jonny's eyes follow the motion. They’re still pressed close together, the front of his shirt growing damp from Jonny’s body. He’s so confused. “I thought you’d try anything once.”

“Pat,” Jonny sighs, leaning away from him, “it’s not just a one time thing for me.”

“What?” Patrick takes a step back, putting some more space between them. “You’re not saying—”

Jonny raises his brows.

“But you can’t have—” Patrick stumbles over the words as he watches Jonny’s expression grow pained. “—feelings for me,” Patrick finishes dumbly.

“Well,” he says, looking past Patrick rather than at him, “Guess what.” He clears his throat. “Look, I gotta get to that thing, we’ll talk later?” He leaves without waiting for an answer, abandoning a stunned Patrick in the garden. Through the windows he watches Jonny swiping a towel he’d left draped over the back of a chair and calmly toweling off his hair like he didn’t just turn Patrick’s day upside down.

“Fuck,” Patrick says to the empty yard, feeling strangely bereft.

It doesn’t make sense. He wants to demand when or how or even why. He’s known Jonny for a while now and he’d never betrayed even the slightest hint of being interested in Patrick. It seems surreal somehow, that Jonny with his revolving door of one-night stands, could want him that way. His heart hurts. He presses his hand over it.

*

In the most backhanded revenge possible, he orders Pizza Hut for dinner, knowing that Jonny will be “very disappointed” when he finds the boxes out by the trash, and after eating what felt like a pound of cheesy breadsticks, goes to bed still feeling unsettled. He wakes up only a few hours later, discombobulated from fitful, anxious dreams, and pulls his pillow over his head and screams into it. He still can’t fucking sleep, Savard wants to set him on fire for the pain detector incident, and Jonny—well, he wonders when it was exactly that everything started to get so complicated.

He goes down to the kitchen to get himself a glass of water and finds Jonny already in there, leaning back against the counter, eating his fat-free sugar alternative raspberry sorbet directly from the carton. He looks up guiltily like Patrick caught him in the middle of snarfing down deep-fried oreos or bacon-wrapped twinkies.

“Did I wake you?” he asks.

Patrick shakes his head. “Having trouble sleeping.”

His bedroom is nowhere near the kitchen, and Jonny’s always fastidious about shutting the door softly when he comes home after Patrick’s already gone to bed. The tightness in his chest from earlier has returned. Jonny’s always so generous with him. He may be a self-righteous eco-sustainable blowhard, but he gets Patrick, and Patrick gets him, occasional sharp-edges and shitty jokes and Himalayan rock salt lamps and all. And Patrick doesn’t know if it’s the exhaustion or what, but Jonny still looks like the best thing he’s ever seen, soft sweater clinging to the muscles of his chest and hinting at the definition in his abs.

“Look,” Jonny says carefully, “about earlier today—”

And suddenly, heart in his throat, Patrick realizes how much he doesn’t want to hear whatever rationalization that Jonny has to play off what happened earlier. What pithy ‘don’t worry about it’ saying he’ll dole out so that they can go back to way everything was. He doesn’t want to go back to the way everything was.

“You’re not alone,” he blurts out, realizing even as he says it just how true it is.

Jonny gazes at him, lips parted in astonishment.

“You’re not alone,” Patrick repeats more firmly.

“Since when?” Jonny asks, incredulous.

“I don’t know? A long time?” Patrick shrugs. “I think maybe even before me and Alyssa split up.” Jonny looks immediately suspicious, and Patrick rushes to continue, “I was never around. Not just because of work, Jonny. Think about it, when I wasn’t at the hospital, I was with you. I was always with you.”

“Patrick,” Jonny says, giving him a smile, soft and rueful, “I never doubted that you cared about me. But that’s not the same as being in love with someone.”

“So I’m an idiot. I’m tired and overworked, and it never—I was already in a relationship when I met you.” Jonny still looks unconvinced, spine straightening into a tense line like he’s preparing for a fight.

Patrick changes tacks, asking, “How many of your students want to fuck you?”

Jonny barks out a laugh, expression taken aback. “What? I don’t know—”

“Yeah you do,” Patrick says, moving in close, forcing Jonny to hurriedly put down the carton of sorbet or risk it getting crushed between their bodies. “You know exactly how many of them like you. They must be so enamored of Jonathan Toews, dorky biologist, they don’t even know what an operator you are.”

“I’m not an operator,” Jonny protests, sounding affronted, still not pushing Patrick away.

“You are,” Patrick says, unable to keep back a grin at what a bold-faced lie that is. They’re nose to nose now. “You know you are.”

“And what about you, eh?” Jonny asks abandoning all pretense, voice dropping to a husky whisper. There’s only the barest few centimeters left between their lips now, tantalizingly near.

“I just got out of a ten year relationship. I don’t know how to operate anything,” Patrick whispers back.

“You got a point here?” Jonny asks, even as his hands come up to frame Patrick’s hips, holding him close rather than pushing him away.

“Oh, just that shouldn’t you know when somebody’s into you?” Patrick replies, lips so close now they stroke over Jonny’s as he talks. “Why would I fake this?”

Jonny draws a breath in, like he’s digesting that, and then exhales in a rush. Spinning them both around to back Patrick up against the counter, he seizes Patrick’s lips in a hungry kiss that picks up right where they left off in the yard. He puts everything he has into it, trying to communicate how much Jonny means to him and how much he needs him. From the softening line of his shoulders Patrick thinks that Jonny’s beginning to get it.

Patrick’s toes curl in his socks as a sweet heat builds in his belly. Fuck, he could honestly go at it right here in the kitchen.

“Not an operator, my ass,” Jonny says, breaking the kiss, his eyes darkening as he strokes over Patrick’s lower lip with his thumb. “Like you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.”

“I don’t actually,” Patrick says, clearing his throat. It’s been a little while since he had sex, and for years, it was only with a person he knew very well, on top of which he has no practicum on having it with a man. He wraps his hand around Jonny’s wrist, twining their fingers together so they’re holding hands. “I’ve got no clue.”

“Remember that time you walked in on me?” Jonny asks, the hint of a smirk on his mouth.

“Uh no, I did not walk in on you,” Patrick protests, blushing fiercely, “you left the door wide open for the whole world to see.”

Jonny kisses him a second time, and Patrick sinks himself into it, pleased by the soft moaning rumble in Jonny’s chest when he sucks on his tongue. Again Jonny breaks it off.

“So I have a confession to make,” Jonny says, bracing both of his hands on either side of Patrick’s hips on the counter. “I could see you in the mirror over the dresser, and you definitely stayed and watched.”

“Oh god,” Patrick says, mortified now.

“I was thinking about what it would be like with you that time,” Jonny says earnestly. “And he just wouldn’t shut up, totally breaking the fantasy, and suddenly there you were, watching me as I fucked myself on his cock.”

Patrick’s insides turn molten. “You son-of-a-bitch,” he breathes.

“I’ve thought about you fucking me a lot,” Jonny tells him, slow smile spreading across his mouth. “I got this part covered.”

Jonny grins at him, turning away and heading for the stairs. Patrick watches him walking away, tight jeans clinging to his ass.

“You coming?” Jonny asks, tossing a cheeky smirk back over his shoulder.

“Don’t we have to do some prep stuff?” Patrick asks when he gets up the stairs to find Jonny stripping out of his clothes.

Jonny looks up from unzipping his jeans. “Ah, that’s taken care of.”

Patrick goggles at him. “Did you plan this?”

“Had no idea,” Jonny answers, pushing the jeans down off his thighs and stepping out of them. He kicks them aside and then easily shoves his boxerbriefs off to follow, comfortable in his nakedness. And why wouldn’t he be? He already knows that Patrick’s seen it all. “But whenever I go out I try to take care of it. Because you never know, right?”

“You...never...know?” Patrick repeats incredulously. “Sweet baby jesus.”

“Well? I was right, wasn’t I?” Jonny tells him, raising his arms over his head in a lazy stretch. Patrick’s eyes drop to his cock, balls hanging soft and full below it, everything shaved bare. Jonny saunters over, perfectly aware of how good he looks. “Take your shirt off, Pat.”

When Patrick’s down to just his boxers, Jonny meets his eyes like he’s checking for Patrick’s permission before curling his fingers in the waistband. Patrick nods and holds Jonny’s gaze as his fingertips skim over his hipbones, carefully drawing the elastic down, revealing Patrick’s cock. Patrick lifts his chin and Jonny’s eyes dip down, taking him in.

“You’re gorgeous, Pat,” he says softly, trailing his fingers over Patrick’s abs, stopping just above his cock. It’s not that Patrick doesn’t know what his body looks like. He keeps in good shape and he’s naturally built to retain muscle. Jonny has to work at it, super strict with his diet, and constantly exercising to keep himself in peak condition, while Patrick can easily take a day off to eat as much Pizza Hut as he wants. But he really hadn’t quite anticipated how strange it would be to have somebody visibly appreciate his naked body after years of only one person seeing him.

He sucks in a breath when Jonny gets a hand around his cock, grip sure and practiced, giving him a few pulls so he starts to fill up.

“Shorter but not smaller, eh?” Jonny says.

Patrick quirks an eyebrow at him, feeling a little bit more in his element. Alyssa used to tease him for being arrogant about it, but being the shortest guy in the locker room growing up, being hung was his only advantage. He walks Jonny back towards the bed, waiting until Jonny has settled himself against the pillows to climb on the bed between his thighs.

Jonny reaches for the night stand, rummaging around in the top drawer until he finds condoms and lube. While Patrick rolls the condom on and slicks himself up, he watches fascinated as Jonny squeezes out enough lube to coat his fingers, and then reaches between his thighs, easily guiding them inside. Jonny flexes his fingers in and out a few times, eyelids fluttering like he enjoys just this, and Patrick’s breath catches in his throat.

“You gonna let me do that next time?” he asks.

“Next time, eh?” Jonny teases, but there’s something vulnerable in his face, like he’s still not sure how to believe Patrick. He pulls his fingers out and widens his thighs, tilting his ass so Patrick gets the picture.

“Yeah, next time,” Patrick says, dipping his own fingers just past Jonny’s rim, testing the tight slick warmth, belly a tight knot of heat just watching them disappear inside. Jonny’s breaths in and out stutter silent for a moment, watching Patrick. It crystallizes in his head just what he’s about to do, what Jonny’s about to let him do. He doesn’t want to sound like a goddamn teenager by being grateful, but fuck is he grateful. He draws his fingers out after a few more thrusts, and shifts to lean over Jonny. The soft sounds of them moving to accommodate each other, shifting on the mattress, sounds uncomfortably loud. This is a big thing they’re about to do. Patrick still can’t quite get his head around it.

“Okay?” Jonny asks, face full of concern.

“‘Course,” Patrick replies, smile coming unbidden to his lips. Lining his cock up with Jonny’s hole, he bumps the head against Jonny’s rim a few times, unable to keep from teasing a little.

“C’mon, Pat,” Jonny breathes as Patrick starts to push inside, tongue between his teeth, slowly giving Jonny all of it. Still so tight inside, Jonny makes an appreciative noise in the back of his throat, like he can’t believe how good Patrick’s cock feels. It makes Patrick go hot all over.

Keeping his eyes on the place where they meet, Patrick draws back for a few shallow testing strokes, hand around his cock so he doesn’t slip back out.

“Pat,” Jonny says warningly.

“Shh, baby,” Patrick tells him, stretching himself back over Jonny’s body, “just getting a lay of the land.”

Patrick may not have done this before, but he’s more than familiar with the anatomical structures inside. He’s a fucking doctor for christ’s sake. If he can keep his head together past the obscene clutch of Jonny’s body, a good thrust on an s-curve should get Jonny’s prostate. He tongues at his teeth, making himself go slow as he rolls his hips forward rather than using a driving straight thrust, and is pleased by the way Jonny’s lips part as he arches his neck back on the pillow.

“Yeah?” Patrick asks, nudging Jonny’s cheeks with his lips. It feels so fucking good inside him, he’s a little awe-struck. There’s a beautiful flush starting on Jonny’s chest that spreads up to his cheeks as he nods a wordless ‘yes.’ Patrick patiently works his hips in in that same motion over and over again, living for each of Jonny’s moans.

“Ah god,” Jonny slowly exhales, his own hard cock rocking on his belly as Patrick gets the power of his thighs behind his thrusts. Patrick’s rewarded with a full body shiver when he gets in deep. Jonny sinks a hand into Patrick’s curls, drawing him down until he’s blanketing Jonny’s body. Wrapping his legs around Patrick’s hips, he nips at Patrick’s ear and whispers, “You’re fucking me so good, Pat.”

Patrick groans and has to pause for a moment, squeezing his eyes shut tight. He doesn’t want to come before Jonny does, a real possibility at the moment. But the weight of everything that’s been pent up inside of him is heavy. Helpless, he speeds his thrusts up, until Jonny’s clutching at his back and arching underneath him. There’s a naturalness to this that’s overwhelming and strange and wondrous. The notion that he could be good, so good even, at fucking Jonny gets him where he lives in a swooping rush heat. He’s struck by all the places they’re touching, how they fit together, and the wired shaky energy of wanting this to be amazing. Jonny’s knuckles brush Patrick’s belly, and it takes him a moment to realize what he’s trying to do. Patrick sucks a breath in and pushes his knees down into the mattress, angling his hips so that Jonny has the space to take his cock in hand and stroke. Tongue caught between his teeth, he watches rapt, as Jonny’s hand drags down his shaft, the flushed head drooling precome that Jonny smears back into his skin with every pass of his fisted grip.

“Unh, just a little bit harder,” Jonny instructs. Patrick nods and draws out just a little further on his next stroke. Lingering for a moment, he savors the way Jonny’s rim clutches at him so tight, like it doesn’t want to let him go. Fuck. He snaps his hips in a thrust that reverbs through Jonny’s body, the sudden squeeze of his thighs tighter around Patrick’s hips an instant reward. Biting at his own tongue, the edge of pain keeping him focused, he’s unable to look away as Jonny’s belly dips concave between big gasping breaths and his hand speeds up on his cock.

“Fuck, you gonna come?” Patrick asks, hoarsely, all gentleness lost as he punches his cock back inside Jonny.

Jonny nods his head rapidly in another yes, and Patrick feels it shake through him right before he comes, shooting up his chest, thick and white. Patrick blinks, the evidence of it somehow astonishing. It catches up to him, cock shoved in deep, his own orgasm coalescing in the base of his spine. He buries his face into Jonny’s neck, reaching for Jonny’s free hand to tangle their fingers together above Jonny’s head. It sweeps through him, an overwhelming unnameable feeling hooking through his heart and brain before it hits his middle. He plunges himself inside one last time, squeezing at Jonny’s hand like he needs a lifeline, tensing up tight as he empties himself into the condom. That wasn’t sex, he thinks, that was in a whole other category.

The world fuzzes over to black.

*

He wakes up to the sun shining bright in the room, the sound of birds and cars outside. He blearily blinks his eyes open, trying to make sense of the clock on Jonny’s night stand. 11:00 AM? That can’t be right. When was the last time Patrick slept for eight whole hours straight, 2006?

He rolls over to find Jonny on his side, face practically buried in the pillows. He must sense Patrick moving because he cracks a single eye open before shutting it again, like he’s not ready to be awake yet.

“Is the clock right?” he asks, voice still thick with sleep. It’s his off-day, he doesn’t have anywhere to be, and Jonny doesn’t have lecture until tomorrow, but he still can’t believe he slept that long.

Jonny makes a face, before sleepily nodding. “Yup.”

Patrick yawns and arches, stretching his back muscles leisurely. He feels great. Like the days before he discovered Nodoz could effectively keep him awake for days on end and thus ruined his life.

When he looks back over at Jonny, he’s yawning but his eyes are at last fully open. “You, my friend,” he mumbles, “passed the fuck out.”

“What?”

“Last night. You came and next thing I knew, lights out,” he says with a laugh interrupted by another yawn.

Patrick covers his face with his hand. “No, je-sus,” he says enunciating the second syllable. Apparently he’s just doomed to unman himself around Jonny at every opportunity.

“Mmhm,” Jonny says, voice rich with amusement.

“Arg,” he groans out, he can’t believe himself.

Jonny pushes himself up on his elbow to brush his lips across Patrick’s cheek. “You must’ve needed it,” he says.

And that is undeniable. He’s got enough sleep debt that he’ll be dead before he catches up.

“Any chance of round two?” Patrick asks, aware of how hopeful it sounds.

“Hmm,” Jonny says before he pushes himself up to swing a leg over Patrick’s waist. “You looking for a chance to redeem yourself?”

“Well that and—” Patrick searches for the right words and can’t find them, “fuck, Jonny, that was—”

“I know,” Jonny says like he understands, already stretching out to reach for the lube.

*

Patrick snorts out a laugh, high as a fucking kite after a long day in the OR, and sprawled out on Jonny’s couch (their couch?). Jonny’s looks at him over the exams he’s grading, amused. Jonny smokes up so often that Patrick can’t even tell when he’s high or normal.

“How are you not fucking stupid?” Patrick asks. “You should be a vegetable from how high you get all the time.”

“Maybe I’m just that smart,” Jonny replies, looking back down at the exams and absently knocking the cap of his pen against his lip.

Patrick snorts, rolling a little on the couch, taking in the materiality of it. He always gets so damn tactile when he’s high. Jonny’s insufferable enough as it is, dulled by pot as he may be. Patrick can’t even imagine what he might be like without that mitigating factor. An ecoterrorist, probably. “I’m still not convinced that this is going to help me sleep. That first time was a fluke.”

“Well,” Jonny says, raising his brows. “I’ve got another idea how to help you with that if it doesn’t.”

Patrick shoots him a lopsided smirk. “Can’t I have both?”