Ryan said, "All right. You?"
There was a long silence. Patrick said, "Okay, usually when one person calls another person, the person having made the call has something to tell the person he's called."
"Pete did me a favor," Ryan said.
"Was this before or after he made your band a national sensation?"
Patrick rolled his eyes. Ryan could be all too easy at times. "Just checking. Continue."
"He sort of, um-- It's unimportant. The important part is that I wanted to, you know, pay him back."
"Are you looking for suggestions?"
"No, no, see. I sent Joe eyeliner and wrist cuffs, but Joe seemed kind of confused."
"Ryan, can you hold on for a second?"
Patrick put the phone to his thigh and exploded into convulsions of laughter. When he had it under control he picked the phone up again. "Did you explain it to him?"
"Sometimes I'm bad at explaining things," Ryan explained.
Patrick was surrounded by the socially incompetent. They were all sweet, and most of the time he didn't even notice, but wow when it became obvious, did it ever become obvious.
"Um. You know how to apply eyeliner, right?"
Patrick rubbed a hand over his face. "I'm not Pete."
"No, if you were Pete, you and Joe would already be fucking."
Patrick cocked his head. "Astute."
"Look, just. Can you help him with it? Or is this a lost cause?"
"If I blind Fall Out Boy's guitarist, you're finding me a new one."
"Oh, come on, TAI has two. Just take one."
Patrick hung up.
Pete hated Ryan Ross.
He had been nothing, nothing but a good friend to Ryan, pulling him out of Nevada, getting him laid by the boy of his very own dreams, and Ryan--the asshole--just went about carrying out threats against him.
The worst part was, somebody in his own band had to have betrayed Pete, because there was no way Joe had done his own eyeliner. Joe could play the guitar while dead, but everything else? He had trouble getting quarters in vending machines when he was high, let alone operating with pointy sticks near his eyes.
Clearly Ryan had seduced either Patrick or Andy away from Pete with his jailbait lips and hands and eyes and whatever while Pete had been. . .probably designing a hoodie. Or something.
It was depressing.
And if Joe crinkled his black rimmed eyes, cocked his cuffed wrists, and spun one more fucking time, Pete was going to cry. In the middle of Carpal Tunnel.
At least the audience would be happy. There was never quite enough emo going around for them.
Pete was glad to please. No, really.
Joe leapt off the mid-stage platform right into Pete's space, grinned at him, and spun like a fucking dervish.
Pete put his head down and sniffled.
Ryan Ross was going to die.
Joe said, "I dunno, man. I don't think we should do this again."
Patrick sighed. He would really like nothing more in his life than not to do this again. "Sit down."
"Pete seemed kinda pissed that I was stealing his gig."
Patrick reminded himself that hitting his band members was not an acceptable action, no matter what the crime. Joe couldn't help being an oblivious pothead. Or, well, he could--at least the pothead part--but then he wouldn't be Joe, and Pete wouldn't want him and--
Patrick went back to the original thought. No hitting. "He's not pissed, Joe. And you looked good."
"I like the cuffs."
Patrick had sort of figured. Joe seemed to be sleeping in them. "One more night, Joe. Then we'll stop."
Joe looked at Patrick for a long time, long enough that Patrick was pretty sure Joe wasn't even seeing him, just zoning out a little. Then Joe asked, "If he wasn't pissed, what was he?"
"Something else," Patrick said, because Ryan Ross didn't have the worst ideas in the universe, but Patrick was only willing to sell his best friend out so far.
"Because sometimes," Joe said slowly, "pissed and despondent sorta look the same on Pete."
Hugging was a totally acceptable thing to do to one's band members.
Joe patted Patrick's back. "You okay, buddy?"
Pete was going on strike until he figured out who had defected against him. Or at least until Joe stopped sliding his hand up the fucking neck of his guitar with that damn cuff wrapped around his wrist. Pete didn't care that that was how somebody played the guitar.
He didn't care at all.
When they were making their way to the second stage, Joe asked, "You okay, man? I'm a little worried."
"Fine," Pete said without ever once moving his jaw.
Joe touched a hand to his shoulder. Pete outran the touch, because the only other option was to turn into it, luxuriate in it, take it places. Pete might do stupid things like take naked pictures of himself, but breaking up his own band over a bad case of misdirected love was a level of accidental stupidity not even he had in him.
Joe let him have his space when they reached the stage.
On the way back, Joe said, "I'm not trying to steal your thing. With the eyes. Ryan and Patrick both seemed to think it was a good idea."
Patrick. Pete was going to be sick. He just shook his head. "I'm not mad, Joe."
Not at you, anyway.
They had reached the first stage and Pete kicked his brain into gear, because there was the rest of a show to perform.
He rushed off afterward, because if he was super quick he could be in his bunk before any of them were on the bus and then he would be safe. There was an unspoken rule about bunks. They were like rooms on a bus. Sacrosanct.
Joe was a sacrilegious little fucker who did things like break unspoken rules and roll into a guy's bunk to say, "Want some weed?"
Pete just looked at him.
"Okay," Joe said, "but I really think it would help."
"This is my bunk," Pete said, just in case Joe was so high he'd accidentally fallen into the wrong one. He didn't seem like it, but Pete figured it was worth a try.
"Yeah. You seemed sad. Normally I'd let Patrick handle that kinda thing, but Patrick's been putting eyeliner on me for the last two shows and Ryan Ross sent me presents and I thought maybe they were trying to tell me something."
Helplessly, Pete said, "This is my bunk, Joe."
Joe ignored him. "Why didn't you ever say?"
"That it's my bunk? I thought it was pretty obvious."
"That you wanted me?"
Pete hunched over on himself. "Get over yourself, Joe."
Joe pressed a hand to Pete's chest, flattening his posture a bit. "Why didn't you ever say?"
"Because it isn't true."
Joe leaned in and kissed him, a sneak attack. He tasted bitter like weed, and sweet like Mountain Dew or something else chemical and energetic. Pete tried to make himself turn his face, make himself reject the gesture. He could do no better than arching into it.
Joe pulled back. "Why, Pete?"
Pete glared. "Why are you being an asshole, Joe?"
"Is it really not completely fucking obvious?"
"Because I usually sleep with girls?"
Joe shrugged. "Who's stupid enough not to sleep with Pete Wentz if that's what he wants?"
Pete blinked. "Um."
Joe grinned. The eyeliner was smudged from the evening's exertions but Pete couldn't look away.
Joe helped him by leaning in and kissing him again. Pete didn't even try to resist this time, just let Joe have him, let himself take.
Joe shifted until he was further atop Pete and said, "So, I, uh--"
"Haven't really done this before?"
"Not with another cock involved."
"I'll make it good for you," Pete promised.
"I'm not worried," Joe told him.
Pete took Joe's mouth back and rolled a little until they were on their sides, facing each other. Pete sneaked his hand under the hem of Joe's shirt to splay out over his ribs, run down to his hips. While he was there, he undid the button on Joe's jeans. He pulled off of Joe's mouth long enough to say, "Joe, um--"
Joe lifted up a bit and pushed his jeans and boxers down to his thighs. "Better?"
Pete just inched down, curled a little bit so that he could fit his mouth over Joe's cock, hold the head with his tongue, initiate things with a hard suck.
Joe said, "Fuck, Pete."
Pete wrapped a hand over Joe's balls and squeezed just enough.
Joe brought his hands to Pete's head, and normally Pete wasn't into that, but Joe wasn't even forcing, just holding, just touching, and Pete really liked being touched by Joe.
Pete sucked a little more, humming to himself. It would be good for Joe, he knew, but mostly he was just happy, and wow, it had been a while since he'd wanted to hum for the sake of humming.
Joe whimpered a bit. Pete slid all the way down his cock, keeping his tongue flat on the underside. Joe made a noise in the back of his throat.
Pete said, "Easy," appreciatively around Joe's cock.
Joe said, "Pete. Petepete."
Pete let his eyes sink to a closed position so that he could concentrate on the smooth heat of Joe in his mouth, Joe's shape, his taste, all the things Pete had wanted and wanted and known better than to ask for.
Pete totally loved Patrick and Ryan. He was a bad person for thinking mean thoughts about them ever. He would repent later.
Joe was touching him just now.
Pete drew it out for as long as he could, pulling off when he felt Joe getting too close, returning when he felt it was safe, squeezing and sucking and licking in carefully allotted amounts.
When Joe said, "Pete, Pete, please," Pete thought, fine and took Joe all the way down his throat.
Joe made really high pitched noises when he came. It shouldn't have been sexy.
Pete was kind of easy for him.
Pete unfurled when he was done, licked his lips and smiled tentatively at Joe. Joe rolled in a little and kissed him. He said, "You're really good at that," sounding duly impressed.
Pete didn't tell him he'd had a lot of practice. Joe could probably figure it out.
Joe said, "So, I could, um, try that."
Pete said, "Maybe some other time," took one of Joe's hands in his own, opened his pants with his free hand, and wrapped Joe's around his dick.
Joe said, "Oh, okay."
Pete said, "Harder?"
Joe tightened his fingers. Pete threw his head back. The fingers of Joe's other hand came to Pete's throat. Joe said, softly, "Oh, pretty," and pulled a little at Pete's cock.
Pete tried to say, "yes," but it was too many syllables, so he just gurgled instead. Joe seemed to understand. He kept jerking Pete, in any case, and that was more than enough comprehension.
Pete brought one hand up to the wrist Joe had near Pete's throat and closed his palm over the stiff leather of the cuff.
"Ryan sent me those, too."
Yeah. Ryan knew how to say "thank you." Pete let his head drop back down so that he could look at Joe, the corners of his eyes darkened, his hair falling into his face.
Pete couldn't help it--he came.
Joe yawned. "When I wake up, we're gonna have to do that some more."
Pete nodded, his eyes wide.
Joe closed his eyes. "Maybe you can help me with the eyeliner tomorrow. Patrick's fine and all, but I don't think it's really his thing."
Pete said, "If you want."
Joe smiled, clearly almost asleep. "I know how to ask for what I want."
Pete was so, so going to learn.