"Hello?" Patrick calls, dumping his suitcase on the hallway bench — which David always corrects to an "entryway set" — and putting his guitar case on the special stand David had gotten him for Christmas. There are lights on and he can hear classical music playing upstairs, but there’s no answering call, no creaking of the floorboards above his head to signal David making his way through the house.
They’d bought this place almost a year ago, David falling in love with the original wood floors and Patrick admiring the practical double-glazed windows, both of them entranced with the enormous kitchen and its skylights. Toronto’s housing market being the nightmare that is, it had cost a fortune; but Schitt’s Record’s transition into a musicians’ co-op was already turning a profit in the first few years — for Patrick, if not for David.
The night they moved in David confessed to him, smiling and secret across the bed, tucking his hands under his head, "You know, of all the places I’ve ever owned—"
"This is by far the cheapest."
"Cheapest?" Patrick said, contemplating outrage even as he reached for David, getting closer.
"And favorite," David added hastily.
Patrick laughed, and kissed him. "Nice recovery."
He pulls out his phone as he’s kicking off his shoes; there’s no message from David after the shut up 💖💖💖💖💖💖 sent a half-hour ago, in response to Patrick’s text goodnight and instruction not to pine for him too much.
David always said goodnight with a string of hearts whenever they were sleeping separately, usually hours after Patrick had sent his message; there were days when the first thing Patrick would see on his phone was a screen full of them, sparkling in the sun or the weak light of a hotel lamp.
But today Patrick’s had enough of pink hearts instead of his husband — ACL is fine, but as enjoyable as it is to listen to Alexis’s horrifying character assassinations of various musicians, he missed David too much, hungry for the sight and the sound and the smell of him, the easy slide of his hands along David’s body. So he hitched a trip back to Toronto and now here he is, barefoot in his suspiciously quiet house at midnight.
There’s nothing from David in his emails, either, as he scrolls through them on his way up the stairs. A dozen or so messages from various people at the label, discussing upcoming trips or projects or appearances, an email from Stevie about their upcoming vacation to Majorca titled "if any of the dolphins try to fuck me im leaving," and a handful of notifications from Archive of Our Own.
Patrick grins to himself and clicks on lilliepbliss’s latest chapter of "mysterious way about you," which would probably give David aneurysms if he knew about it.
Mme. Jefferson turned from the fireplace, her eyes no less hot and bright than the flames; Patrick found himself unable to look away. "You insult me, Lord Brewer, to believe me in no danger" she declared, "And you would do well to remember our fates are now entwined, whatever you may tell the House of Lords."
"What danger are you in?" Patrick asked, startled. She could not mean what he thought, what he most desperately hoped. "Melissa—"
But she turned away again, impatient with his confusion. "You called me Lizzo, before," she said.
"Would you have me call you that again?" he asked, breath short in his chest. "I would. I would call you anything you desire, surely you must know that."
She looked up at him, surprise in her lovely eyes, and said—
Patrick has to wait to find out what Lizzo is going to say; he comes into the bedroom to find David lying on the bed, his laptop balanced precariously on his chest with his extremely hipster turntable belting out something by Haydn, probably, on the dresser. "There you are," Patrick says.
The response is just as enthusiastic as Patrick might’ve wanted; David shrieks and sends the computer flying, landing safely on the mattress amidst the seventeen thousand pillows and blankets that David always piles on whenever Patrick’s not at home. "Fuck!" David adds, staring at him. "Okay, hi, you’re home."
"I sure am," Patrick agrees, slipping his phone into his pocket and coming closer. David scrambles for the laptop and slams it shut, which makes Patrick want to grin even though he knows he should probably at least try to look suspicious and disapproving. David is historically pretty shit at keeping secrets. "Whatcha doing?"
"Nothing! Nothing, I was shopping for… credenzas," he says, lofty and nonchalant even while he puts the laptop on the bedside table and reaches for Patrick, pulling him down on top of him, warm and soft and gorgeous.
"You’re hoping to take advantage of the fact that I don’t know what a credenza is, aren’t you," Patrick murmurs, and David laughs into their kiss, his teeth catching at Patrick’s lower lip and god, Patrick loves him, he loves him, loves the joy in his smile and the greed in his hands as he tugs at Patrick’s shirt. "I missed you."
"So it would seem, Mr. I Ditched My Last Concert To Go Fuck My Husband," David says, raking his nails along Patrick’s lower back. "I’m going to let Alexis yell at you for that tomorrow."
"Alexis was the one who got me on Shania’s plane," Patrick points out, even as he struggles to his knees to strip out of his shirt properly. "Apparently I was being 'kind of mopey and whiney and it was killing the vibe.'"
"Mm, yes, the vibe," murmurs David, pulling him back down. "Is that your vibe I’m feeling right now?"
"I mean, we can," Patrick offers, letting his hand drift over toward the bedside table, grinning.
David scowls and bats his hand away, rolling them over toward the center of the giant bed to pin him down. Patrick takes a deep breath, smelling the sheets and the faint whiff of those crackers David isn’t supposed to eat in bed and David, all around him, bringing him home. "I think," David says, "That I should just have you come in your pants, since you were so desperate to get back to me. Seems like you won’t need much."
David’s hand on his dick, his heel grinding down against the denim, makes Patrick’s hip buck — pulls a hiss out of him. David can do this to him, does this to him every time, touching and squeezing and playing him, and it’s perfect, he’s perfect. "David," he says, just to have it in his mouth. "David, please."
"Mm, I like that," David murmurs, "More of that, please what, honey?"
"I don’t know," says Patrick, "Just — please, please," and there’s a little bit of performance, sure, throwing his head back to invite David to bite down on it, his hips grinding up as David’s hand presses down. But Patrick knows what David likes, and he likes that David likes this. There had been such a long, miserable time before David, before understanding himself, where Patrick had thought that any loss of control would mean disaster. He couldn’t imagine himself wanting so badly that he couldn’t contain it and had to beg and plead. But that had been before David, and he’ll beg every night and every day for this.
David spreads Patrick’s legs a little wider with his knees, his hand sliding down to scrape his fingernails along one thigh. "Still in your jeans and you want it so bad, sweetie," he says against Patrick’s jaw, "You’re just desperate, I love it. Come on, honey, what do you want?"
"I want to come," Patrick pants, not much performance now, not with David looming over him and his teeth at his throat. "I need to, please, please—"
"Come on then, come on beautiful, that’s it," and Patrick does as he’s told, feeling it build and swell and break over him. He makes some kind of noise, because he can distantly hear David laughing at him even as his hand presses another jolt of pleasure out of him.
"David," Patrick says, once he can remember words again — that’s the important one, anyway. David’s still braced over him, his hand soothing over Patrick’s ribcage, thumb flicking idly at his nipple. "Come on."
Patrick can tell he’s about to make a joke, but Patrick tugs at him with arms that aren’t entirely under his control yet, fumbles at the waistband of his pajama pants to pull him up on the bed. "Oh," David says instead, gratifyingly husky, "Oh. Okay." He’s careful where he puts his knees, even now, with his cock hard and leaking in Patrick’s hand and Patrick urging him closer. But finally he gets to where Patrick wants him, kneeling over Patrick’s face so that Patrick can open his mouth wide and let David in.
David used to be a lot more enthusiastic about giving blowjobs this way than getting them; it was almost a year before Patrick could convince him that he wanted to try it. Patrick had thought it was David’s hangups-by-proxy; that he was worried Patrick would think it was weird or wrong. Instead it had been David’s own inhibitions, his reluctance to be fully in control; and they’d gotten through it together.
Which is good, because Patrick fucking loves this.
He closes his eyes as both of David’s hands slide into his hair, grabbing hold just this side of painful. Patrick feels himself relax, his neck and shoulders and entire body; everything just floating away as David uses his mouth.
"Oh, my god," David gasps, "You’re so beautiful, fuck, yes, just like that, oh," and he’s coming down Patrick’s throat, hot and sour and too much — Patrick coughs and David’s off him in an instant, scrambling for the tissues while Patrick laughs and tries not to snort come up his nose. "Okay, the dismount still needs work," David says, giggling.
"Yeah, four point three from the East German judge," Patrick agrees, sitting up to wipe his face.
"Honey, were you even alive when there was an East Germany?" David tosses the tissues off the side of the bed and settles them down amidst the wreckage of the pillows and blankets. Patrick really needs to get out of his jeans and they’ll probably need to change the sheets, but for just a few moments longer, he keeps David’s arms around him.
The next morning Patrick leaves David with a kiss on the cheek to go for a run, hat and sunglasses firmly in place. There are still a few people who clock him along his route, stopping to watch him with slightly widened eyes as he jogs past. He waves to everyone he notices, which because he’s back in Toronto means that they all remember they’re Canadian and look desperately in another direction. It’s a weird new wrinkle to his life, being recognized — being noticed, when he’s lived so long blending into backgrounds.
He does his 8K around the park and pulls his phone out to finish up the chapter of "mysterious way about you" on his walk home. It’s good, funny in that way he didn’t really think literature could be — he’d never liked it when he was a kid, preferring the textbooks that dealt in things he could see and measure and quantify. David’s been trying to wean him off AO3 and get him interested in romance novels, but Patrick suspects that’s more to do with his terror that someone’s going to find out Patrick’s got an account on there called baseball_glove_420.
The chapter ends on yet another cliffhanger, which Patrick is starting to suspect is just the author’s way of torturing readers — honestly, he kind of respects it. He leaves a comment as he climbs the steps and opens the front door, though this time instead of classical music it’s David's voice that reverberates through the house, coming from the general direction of the kitchen.
It turns out to be some brouhaha with Mrs. Rose and a guest appearance request; David kisses Patrick distractedly while clattering away on two different laptops and yelling at his mother on speakerphone. Patrick gets himself a glass of water and an apple and leans against the counter to watch the show, happy to be home again.
Until David’s switching between various email tabs and Patrick notices a new message: [AO3] Comment on mysterious way about you.
"Um, David?" he asks — actually, he’s not entirely sure if he’s asking. But he definitely wants an answer.
It takes David about ten seconds to slow down enough to notice the combination of Patrick’s tone of voice and, when he finally turns to glare at Patrick for interrupting, Patrick’s face. Then, like an old-time comedy, he jerks his head to look at the screen, then back at Patrick, then fumbles for his phone and says, "Yeah I’ll call you back bye," and ends the call. Mrs. Rose’s rising "David!" gets cut off mid-syllable.
Patrick slowly pushes off the counter and comes over to the island, where David is still looking wide-eyed, a blush sliding from his cheeks down to his neck. "'Comment on "mysterious way about you,"'" he says. "So. You feel like telling me something?"
"Okay, you know what?" David says, clearly deciding to brazen his way out of this and Patrick bites down on the inside of his cheek as David’s hands start ramping up. "Yes, I may have found some… merit? In the creative outlet of, of, the written word." David folds his arms across his chest, chin held high.
"Right," Patrick nods, agreeable.
"And honestly, some of the fic—"
"I thought using that word was nerdy—"
"Is sadly," David says, his voice rising in volume and pitch, "A bit formulaic in terms of, you know, pairings, and I thought it would be, um, be interesting to write something that wasn’t just Patrick/Hozier."
"That’s fair," says Patrick. For some reason, that’s become the most popular pairing for him, despite the fact that they’ve met all of twice and the second time he mistook the guy for Harry Styles. "Although I do find it interesting that you decided to pair me with Lizzo and not, say, you." One of the main reasons David’s always seemed so irritated is the sad lack of fics that even mention his existence; or if they do, make him out to be the evil bastard standing in the way of Patrick and Hozier or Patrick and Rachel or Patrick and Ed Sheeran.
David’s blush is turning him practically burgundy. "Well, except, this whole—" he waves at his computer, fingers splayed, "Thing is about what you as a writer find, um, compelling. And—" David visibly stalls, and it’s so hard, so hard not to burst out laughing, so hard that it’s in fact impossible and he snorts while David continues, "And it’s not my fault that I find the idea of you and Lizzo, you know! Compelling!"
"Compelling, huh," Patrick says, and sidles closer to him. "And the waistcoats and corsets and everything, those are compelling too?"
"I mean," says David, draping his arms over Patrick’s shoulders. He’s still red in the face, but he’s smiling his lopsided, reluctant smile. "I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to seeing you in jodhpurs."
"Again, just taking advantage of me not knowing what those are." Patrick puts his hands around David’s waist, lacing his fingers together. "So when I left that comment about how 'Lord Brewer' would have brown hair, and then the next chapter was just nonstop references to him being a redhead, that was you just being an asshole."
"No, that was me teaching you a very valuable lesson about self-perception," David says, "Because I got other comments agreeing with me."
"Yes, but it’s my hair," Patrick points out.
"They’re also your pubes, which are the same color as a deeply unfortunate 70’s shag carpet." David kisses him, though. "You’re completely gross, by the way, I thought we talked about making out right after you did your physical fitness… things."
"You’re the one who kissed me, but I can stop," Patrick says, and David laughs and drags him up the stairs, leaving the computers and phones — and everything else — behind.
"Honestly, I’m a little offended you didn’t figure out it was me earlier," David says later.
He’s got his head in Patrick’s lap as they sprawl out on the couch watching… Patrick’s not sure. Tatum Channing is a wolf, or something, and there’s something about a galactic plot to kill the girl from That 70’s Show. They’ve showered and had breakfast and Patrick is idly contemplating a blowjob, so he’s not really paying attention. "Hmm?" he asks.
"My handle? On Archive of Our Own?" From this angle David looks different, not quite a stranger but strange as he tilts his face up to look at Patrick. "Lillie P. Bliss, one of the founders of the MOMA? I’ve taken you there literally every time we go to New York."
"Yes, you have," Patrick says fervently, combing his hand through David’s hair. "I’m very sorry I didn’t figure out your secret identity sooner."
"You’d make a terrible Lois Lane," David agrees.
"To be fair, it took Lois a while to figure things out, too. But hey, if you want me to do some investigative journalism now—"
"Well that sounds kinky—"
"I can see what else lilliepbliss has been writing." Patrick jostles David’s head a bit as he gets his phone out from his back pocket, ignoring David’s muttered, "Oh my God" as he opens up the browser and finds David’s handle. He can feel his eyebrows shoot up. "Well, Superman, looks like you’ve got a whole secret identity here."
"You’re not cute," David mutters, grabbing a pillow and putting it over his face. Patrick laughs at him and resumes scrolling through.
There’s only the one work listed and Patrick feels a weird sense of pride, noticing for the first time how many kudos and comments it has. But lilliepbliss also has extensive bookmarks, meticulously catalogued, of every story featuring Patrick going back to before they were anything more to each other than an infuriated manager and a lovesick musician. All those fics Patrick had sent to David as a way of pulling his pigtails, unable to say these stories, I want them to be about us; David had been keeping track of them all.
Swallowing down the tightness in his throat, Patrick tugged at the pillow still covering David’s face. "Hey," he says, gentle, "You can’t suffocate yourself until you tell me how Lizzo and Lord Brewer get together."
"I hate you so much," David informs him.
"But David, what’s going to happen? Now that the evil Miss Brooks has Lord Brewer in her sights? And by the way, I am absolutely telling Rache that you made her into the bad guy."
"Who do you think came up with the idea in the first place?" David says, struggling to sit up. "Creativity cannot flourish in a vacuum, and she’s been very supportive of my artistic process."
Patrick makes a note to text Rachel and figure out how she kept this a secret for so goddamn long. "You could’ve asked me to support your creative process, you know," he feels obliged to point out. "I’m the one who showed you the website. And, you know, I’m your husband."
"I was writing it in order to annoy you," David says, smoothing back his hair, all pitying patronization. "If I’d asked you to beta for me I feel like that might have ruined the whole thing."
"So this was all an elaborate plot to troll me," Patrick surmises. He shifts and pulls himself closer to David, loving the way his eyes sparkle with amusement and glee and love, so much love. "Because it seemed pretty sincere."
"Of course it’s sincere, honey. It’s a love story," David murmurs, leaning in for a kiss, "Baby, just say yes."