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02 April 2008 @ 02:15 pm
fic: Football Is The Gayest Profession... (2/3)  


PART ONE

* * *

Frank Iero wanted Gerard dead.

It was the only explanation for why he was sitting with Mikey at their usual table. Gerard stood behind Mikey's chair glaring for almost a whole minute before Mikey finally looked up and said, "Oh, hey Gee."

"What is he doing here?" Gerard hissed.

"You remember Frank, right?" Mikey asked.

"You told me you were going to put your fist in my face last Thursday," Frank said cheerfully. It really made Gerard want to follow through on the whole fist-in-face promise.

"You can't sit here," Gerard said.

"He's okay," Mikey shrugged. Gerard gaped at him. Coming from Mikey, that was almost ridiculously complimentary.

"You heard the kid," Frank grinned. "Sit down. You want some Bugles?"

"What? No," Gerard sputtered. "Why are you here?"

"Mikey and I were just hanging out," Frank shrugged. Mikey blinked in agreement. "Sit down," Frank repeated.

"Aren't you worried your friends will see you?" Gerard scowled.

"Are you?" Frank countered and waved across the room at Pete Wentz, who appeared to be hassling some kid Gerard vaguely recognized as being from the band. It was clearly some kind of conspiracy.

"This is clearly some kind of conspiracy," Gerard said, just as Bryar and Toro hulked by.

"Dude, Frank, is this guy being a dick to you again?" the fro asked.

"Me?" Gerard squeaked. "What?"

"Nah, he's okay," Frank said, waving his hand dismissively. "He's just being a little overprotective." He made a face at Gerard. What was his deal? "We're making progress," he said to the jocks. He sounded proud.

"Okay," Toro said, eying Gerard distrustfully as he started to move away. "Halo tonight?"

"Sure," Frank said and waved them away. "You play Halo?" Frank asked him, eating Bugles off the ends of his fingers.

"Not with you," Gerard said, bewildered.

"I didn't ask you," Frank pointed out smugly. Gerard stared at him. "Sit down," Frank said again. "Please?"

Gerard couldn't refuse good manners; they rendered him completely powerless. They were his kryptonite, his yellow light, his freaking Mary Jane, or whatever. He slumped into a seat as far away from Frank as he possibly could.

"So," Frank said, still annoyingly chipper. "Mikey says you like horror movies."

"So?" Gerard glared in what he hoped was a menacing way.

"I'm a total horror movie fan," Frank said. "Dude, I totally met Romero once."

"Shut up, you did not," Gerard said immediately.

"Well, like, not technically but I saw him on the other side of the street once and it was awesome. One of the top five moments of my life, seriously. Have you seen Diary of the Dead yet?"

Gerard really didn't want to get into a conversation he might actually enjoy with Frank Iero, so he said nothing.

Mikey, the bastard traitor, said, "Yeah, we saw it last week."

"Awesome, right?" Frank said. He was bouncing in his seat, jiggling his foot or something. He was exhausting. He was. Well, he was kind of entertaining. In a way that Gerard still totally hated him! But, you know. He wasn't so bad. "I saw it with Ray, like, the day after it came out. He said he liked Zombie Diaries better." Frank rolled his eyes.

"But, like, nobody died!" Gerard protested before he could stop himself. Frank raised an eyebrow at him. "Not, like, it wasn't just about the total lack of gore, it was just not even threatening, it wasn't even psychologically scary! It was a bunch of people running around in the woods. It didn't even have the mystery bullshit that Blair Witch had! It was bad."

"That's what I said," Frank said cheerfully and ate a Bugle of his thumb. "So, The People Under the Stairs..."

Once he'd gotten started Gerard just couldn't stop. He really did like horror movies and he didn't get a chance to talk about them much, that was all. And he was kind of alarmed to find that Frank had surprisingly good taste (except for the part where he refused to admit that Evil Dead II was clearly superior to Evil Dead) and was funny and not really quite so much of an asshole as Gerard had (with good reason!) suspected. It was... kind of fun.

So when Frank said, "I have to go to class, but tomorrow I am totally going to give you a bulleted list of reasons why you need to see Flight of the Living Dead ," Gerard just smiled and said, "Bring it on."

Frank grinned at him. "Number one is going to be because it's Snakes on a Plane with zombies," he said, and practically skipped away.

"I told you he was okay," Mikey said.

"He's... not awful," Gerard agreed, and left it at that.

* * *

"Hey, Trick!"

Only one person had ever called Patrick 'Trick' in all his life but he still kind of couldn't believe Pete Wentz was shouting at him across the cafeteria, elbowing freshman out of his way as he hustled toward Patrick with his arms full of... milk cartons?
"Hey," he said, "I didn't know if you liked chocolate or 2% or skim or whole so I got one of each and then I didn't know how thirsty you were so I got you, like, four of each." He was beaming at Patrick. It was as worrying as it was endearing.

"Um," Patrick said.

"Oh, fuck, are you lactose intolerant? I only got three orange juices and one apple."

"Why exactly are you bringing me milk?" Patrick voiced his question slowly, already afraid of the answer.

"Because we're having lunch together," Pete said simply, rocking on the balls of his feet. "I couldn't show up empty handed. What kind of gentleman would I be if I didn't shower you with beverages?"

Patrick laughed. "Are you really a gentleman if you do?"

"Yes," Pete said solemnly. "I am the gentlest of men. So stop looking so terrified of me and give me a bite of your sandwich."

Patrick couldn’t really think of an argument for that (or at least one that he thought would convince Pete) so he found himself seated at a table with Pete Wentz and a truly staggering amount of beverages.

“So, that song you were singing the other day-”

“Can we not talk about that?” Patrick said, shifting uncomfortably.

“Why not?” Pete said, mouth full of Patrick’s sandwich. “I told you, dude, you have an awesome voice.” He gave Patrick a level look. “We’re going to have to work on that self-esteem issue of yours.”

“I think you have enough ego for both of us,” Patrick mumbled.

Pete let out a braying laugh. “So you admit we’re perfect? You’re the peanut butter to my jelly?”

“Nobody said anything about peanut butter,” Patrick protested. “Stop putting words in my mouth!”

“How about sandwiches?” Pete asked and shoved Patrick’s sandwich into his face without waiting for reply.

“You’re horrible,” Patrick said finally, when he had swallowed and Pete had stopped laughing. “How does anyone put up with you?”

“It must be because I’m so pretty and charming,” Pete said with a grin, and Patrick had to admit that he was probably right. “So that song you were singing… Saves the Day, right?”

“Yeah,” Patrick said, surprised. He didn’t know why, but he just kind of assumed that all the jocks listened to was, like, shitty rap and bad pop-punk.

“Yeah, dude, I wore that album out. You heard the new Refused?”

Patrick usually spent lunch in the publications room with his headphones on messing with GarageBand, not having actual conversations about music with Pete Wentz, of all people. Somehow, by the time the bell rang for the next period, he had promised to make Pete a mix CD and Pete had promised to come check out a band playing at Metro that Saturday. Patrick didn’t want to say it was a date, but, well, it kind of was.

“I gotta go to Bio,” Pete said grumpily, “but, listen. Um. You write music right?”

“Well, I mean, I kind of, well. Yeah, I guess. Not good or anything, but-”

“Ego, Pattycakes,” Pete said admonishingly. “Listen, I kinda write lyrics sometimes and I was just wondering if you would look over them maybe?”

For the first time since Patrick had known him Pete actually looked a little nervous. “Uh, yeah. Sure. Anytime.”

“Sweet. I’ll e-mail you later.” Pete grinned at him. “I’m gonna find you after class, okay? So don’t go hiding from me anymore.”

“Nobody’s hiding,” Patrick protested, but Pete had already disappeared in a crowd of his friends and admirers, shuffling off to class. What the hell.

* * *

When he walked into the gym, Brendon immediately kind of regretted the whole calling-out-Bill-Beckett thing. All the girls were glaring at him.

Alicia said, “If I have to pay Beckett so much as a penny I will murder you, Brendon Urie.” She wore almost as much eyeliner as Pete and when she threatened people she meant Serious Business.

Yeah, Brendon really had thought this through.

“Relax, guys,” Ashlee said, and Brendon felt another surge of love for her. It was a love he felt was best expressed by cowering behind her shoulder, just in case Alicia attacked. “Beckett and his girls are just getting by on sex appeal. We have the moves to beat them, we just need to vamp it up.”

“We need a theme,” Brendon said immediately, forgetting for the moment that he was in mortal peril from Alicia’s combat boots. “Oh my god, we really need a theme. It’ll be awesome.”

“Actually,” Alicia said, “that’s not a bad idea.”

“Really?” Brendon allowed himself a celebratory step away from Ashlee’s shadow. “Sweet.”

“It’ll definitely add a little spice to the routine,” Ashlee said.

See, Brendon would totally be the best head cheerleader ever. Ashlee knew it, even if she wouldn’t admit it.

“Any ideas?” she asked.

Brendon opened his mouth to wow them all with his genius theme and then realized he didn’t actually have one.

Crap.

* * *

Frank Iero was probably a murderous stalker, Gerard reflected.

It was the only excuse for why he was lurking shadily in Gerard’s favorite comic book store. Or, like, okay, not ‘lurking shadily,’ exactly. Technically he was bounding cheerfully… right up to Gerard.

“Hey,” Frank said brightly.

“You’re probably a murderous stalker,” Gerard informed him.

Frank considered this. “I was here first, so, probably you’re the stalker, which is cool with me since you don’t seem like you’re particularly murderous.”

“I might be,” Gerard said, shifting awkwardly. Again, with the being terrible at threatening people…

“I think I’ll be okay,” Frank said and grinned.

“So,” Gerard said. “Comic books, huh?”

“Yes, that is what they sell here,” Frank agreed blithely.

“I meant you’re here. With them. The comic books. You know. Why?” Gerard apparently failed at threatening and conversing. He blamed Frank. He somehow couldn’t string two words together when Frank was beaming at him like that. It was unsettling.

It was kind of adorable.

“Well, see, at stores, like this one, people put comics on display and people who want them can pay for them and then take them home and read them. It’s very complex,” Frank added, patting Gerard’s shoulder understandingly. “It’s cool if you don’t get it.”

“I just didn’t know you liked comics,” Gerard said. He was confused. Why was Frank touching him?

“I guess you never asked, did you?” Frank shrugged. “Newest Legion came out today,” he added. “I thought I might die if I didn’t get it, so, you know. Here I am. You?”

“I just come here. You know. Sometimes.” What Gerard had meant to say was that the comic store was, like, his turf. Frank-free zone. Whatever. It was weird to have Frank Iero there. Frank, as usual, didn’t seem to be aware of just how awkward he was making Gerard’s life.

“Doom Patrol?” he said, grabbing the comic book under Gerard’s arm. “What’s this?”

“Give that back,” Gerard said and snatched it away.

“Looks like X-Men,” Frank said. And, well, Gerard couldn’t let that stand, so he had to launch into his Doom Patrol manifesto and then that became a discussion about genetics and the sociological commentary implicit in mutant-powers-based comic books, and then wound up back at X-Men and the casting for the latest movie and somehow, during this time, the sun had set and Gerard had missed six texts from Mikey and they had wound up at a coffee shop, on their second cup each.

What?

“Um,” Gerard said. “So, wow. I should probably be going.”

“Oh, really?” Frank looked disappointed. Suddenly, he grinned his all-consuming and deeply disturbing (and, alright, adorable, Gerard was man enough to admit it) grin. “Hey, I have an idea. You know Pete, right?”

“The quarterback,” Gerard said.

“Yeah, him,” Frank agreed, gaining enthusiasm with every word. He was doing that almost-vibrating thing again, Gerard noted, like when he got really excited about something. “Well, he’s having this party this weekend and you should come.”

“I don’t really know him.”

“So? You can come as my date,” Frank grinned.

Wow, Gerard really did not like the way his stomach heated up when Frank said that.

“I don’t really like parties,” he said. “I have to go home now.”

“Oh,” Frank said. “Well. I guess tell Mikey then? Maybe he wants to go.”

Gerard would rather be tortured with knives than admit that he was a little disappointed. He’d thought that maybe Frank had meant, like – well, whatever. Frank and Mikey could go and hang out with Pete Wentz and drink beer and vomit all over each other, Gerard didn’t want to be a part of it.

“Yeah, I’ll tell him,” he said, shouldering his backpack and standing up.

“See you at school?” Frank asked, sounding almost hopeful.

Gerard just shrugged. He simply did not get Frank Iero, that was all there was to it.

* * *

"I got this for you."

Spencer nearly fell out of his chair. He had come to the library to lose himself in work, not to be crept up on by Jon Walker. Well, honestly, he had planned to creep up on Jon at Starbucks, but Ryan had firmly nixed that idea, so Spencer was killing time until Jon's shift ended, at which point he was planning to casually walk by on his way to somewhere completely not where Jon Walker happened to be. Which reminded him, what was Jon doing here?

"What are you doing here?" Spencer asked, eying the venti Starbucks cup Jon was offering.

Jon shrugged. "I heard you were swamped so I got someone to cover my shift and brought you coffee. I know you said you were cutting back on caffeine, but I saw you drinking a Red Bull at lunch today so I figured you weren't all that serious about it," he said, grinning.

Spencer stared at him.

"I made it myself, just the way you like it," Jon said, waving the cup enticingly under Spencer's nose.

"We're not supposed to have beverages in the library," Spencer pointed out dully. Was he dreaming this? It seemed far more likely that he was drooling all over his history text book than that Jon Walker was offering him coffee.

"I know," Jon said, "but I'm in with Mrs. Carver. She thinks I'm cute," he added in a conspiratorial whisper. Spencer laughed and Jon threw a hand over his mouth. "Don't laugh or she'll come over here and ask me if I've read Madame Bovary again."

Oh my god, Spencer thought, Jon Walker is touching me.

"Come on," Jon said and swept up Spencer's books, leading the way out of the library.

He was carrying Spencer's books.

Ryan was a genius and absolutely the best friend ever. Spencer made a mental note never to laugh at his mystery meat articles ever again.

Jon led Spencer into the courtyard and dumped his books unceremoniously on the grass, quickly following them and kicking off his flip-flops. "Much better," he sighed, wiggling his toes.

"I really have a lot of studying to do," Spencer valiantly said.

"I think you'll forgive me," Jon said confidently, holding out the coffee.

Spencer gave in.

"I am the best barista ever," Jon informed him. "My service is unsurpassed."

"Your service is technically unsolicited."

"That's the beauty of it," Jon argued. "I have anticipated all your coffee needs. Like I said, best barista ever."

"Except you abandoned your shift."

"Abandoned is a very harsh word," Jon protested. "I set my shift free, I'm letting it have its independence."

"As long as you didn't get Brendon to cover for you," Spencer joked.

Jon looked guilty.

"Oh my god, Jon, he'll burn it down!"

"On the positive side, all that time I would have spent making coffee can now be spent doing better things,"

"Like what?" Spencer snorted.

"Like hanging out with you," Jon smiled.

Spencer blushed and grinned into his coffee.

Jon did a ridiculous celebratory fist pump. "I win!" he declared. "You smiled at my coffee offering, I knew you would."

"Well, I really like coffee," Spencer shrugged, still smiling. Fuck it, it was too hard to be mean to Jon. Ryan didn't have to know.

"Is that all you like, Spencer Smith?" Jon asked, wiggling his eyebrows flirtatiously.

Spencer laughed and Ryan said, "Spencer!"

At first Spencer thought his guilty conscience had imagined it but then Ryan came skidding into view, looking annoyed.

"Ryan?"

"Spencer, publications emergency, now."

"I'm not on the staff," Spencer pointed out.

"I don't care, I need you to come with me NOW." Ryan's eyes were narrowed at the coffee cup; Spencer clutched it protectively.

"It's okay," Jon said, standing and brushing grass off his jeans. "I'll see you around, Spence. Bye Ryan." He waved cheerfully as he walked away.

"How did this happen?" Ryan demanded. "I thought you were working in the library!"

"I was! He found me," Spencer said mournfully. "I can't escape. He's amazing.."

"You're ridiculous," Ryan corrected.

Spencer sulked and Ryan continued to glare.

"You really suck at this," he said.

He was so, so right.

* * *

“Brendon, stop doing jazz hands!” Ashlee yelled for about the millionth time.

“I can’t help it,” Brendon wailed, “I have naturally spirited fingers!”

“It doesn’t fit the theme,” Ashlee said, again, for the millionth time.

It really didn’t fit the theme, Brendon could admit that, and it was an awesome theme too, it was so good, seriously. Brendon had asked Ryan Ross.

Well, technically, he had asked a surprisingly cheerful Spencer Smith, who had referred him to Ryan and said he had the best ideas ever and Spencer was right, he was so, so right about Ryan’s ideas. It was the best theme in the history of ever and Brendon was just a little excited, okay? And if he should show that excitement with jazz hands, well, it really just couldn’t be helped.

“This isn’t going anywhere,” Ashlee sighed. “Let’s take five guys.”

Brendon sulked away to get some water, passing a giggling Frank Iero on his way, who – ew - was he talking to that scary Way kid? Weird development. Brendon made a note of it, because he liked to be on that shit. He perked up when he saw Jon Walker, camera glued to his eye as usual.

“Jon Walker,” he said happily and made his way over. “Jon Walker, you are just the man I wanted to see.” This wasn’t particularly true, but Jon was the kind of guy everyone always wanted to see, so, whatever, it kind of was.

“Hey, Brendon,” Jon said, lowering his camera. “How’s practice going?”

“Jazzy,” Brendon said honestly.

Jon nodded understandingly. “You guys look like you’re stepping it up.”

“We’re bringing it on,” Brendon corrected. “The cheer-off is coming up, you know.”

“Cheer-off?”

Brendon was surprised. He thought everyone knew about The Epic Showdown. “We totally called out The Cobras,” he said. “It was awesome.”

“Huh,” Jon said, scratching his jaw in his manly Jon Walker Way. “I just saw Bill last week. He didn’t say anything about it.”

Brendon was worried. Jon knew everyone and everyone told him everything. It was, like, his job, or something. If Beckett wasn’t telling Jon what he and the Cobras were up to it must be Top Secret. It must be the most secret, awesome thing ever.

Brendon was really worried.

“Bren? You okay?”

“Cheer emergency, gotta go,” Brendon said and dashed away. It was time to get serious. It was on.

* * *

Gerard wasn’t quite sure when he and Mikey started regularly having lunch with Frank, but he wasn’t exactly bothered by it anymore. Sure, Frank was kind of, like, insane, but he really wasn’t that bad and he actually listened to Gerard, which was more than most people at this stupid school did.

“So,” Frank said, beaming at Mikey as he settled down with his typical feast – three cheeseburgers and a side of nachos today, “Alicia says hi.”

Mikey smiled.

Gerard actually did a double take.

“What?” he asked.

“You should have come to the party, Gee,” Mikey said simply. “It was fun.”

“Dude, Mikey and Alicia got on like a fricking house on fire,” Frank said, doing his excited bouncy thing.

“Alicia? Alicia Simmons? The cheerleader?” Gerard asked. That was insane. “That’s insane.”

“I am the greatest matchmaker ever,” Frank informed him.

“You didn’t do anything,” Mikey said. “Pete introduced us.”

“Pete Wentz?” Gerard babbled. This was high school. Dorky freshmen like Mikey didn’t get hooked up with hot cheerleaders by quarterbacks. “Are you fucking with me?”

“You can be very narrow-minded and prejudiced,” Frank said primly.

Gerard actually felt a little ashamed of himself. “It’s just so weird.

“Pete’s a good guy. You should come next time,” Frank said. “It would have been more fun if you were there.” He smiled at Gerard and Gerard’s stomach twisted a little. For about the fifth time that week Gerard refused to let himself develop a crush on Frank Iero.

“Gerard doesn’t really like parties,” Mikey said.

“It wouldn’t be so bad,” Frank promised. “I would protect you.”

Gerard hated his stupid twisty stomach.

“You could come over to our house sometime you know,” Mikey offered, between spoonfuls of yogurt. Gerard stared at him.

“Yeah?” Frank asked, looking cheerful. He glanced at Gerard, like he was looking for confirmation.

“Uh, sure,” Gerard said.

“We could have a horror movie night,” Frank said. “I can show you Flight of the Living Dead, you still haven’t seen it and you promised you would.”

“I, um. Yeah, okay,” Gerard said, even though watching movies with Frank Iero in his basement seemed like a terrible idea, and probably a harbinger of the apocalypse.

“Sweet. How about Friday?” Frank suggested. “I’ll supply the zombies, you supply the popcorn?” Gerard just nodded, because there were seriously no words for how bizarre this situation was. “So it’s a date,” Frank said, and grinned at Gerard.

Gerard’s stupid traitorous stomach twisted again.

* * *

"Spencer."

Jon's slight lisp never failed to take all the air out of Spencer's lungs, especially when inflicted without warning, which was inconvenient when Spencer was in the process of sucking milk through a straw. He coughed and choked a little, which was probably not the coolest thing to do.

"Hi," he managed to sputter eventually. Jon was standing over him, smiling.

"Can I sit with you for a sec?"

"Uh, yeah, sure," Spencer said, and then, coming briefly to his senses, added, "but, um, I'm going soon, so -"

"Sure, of course," Jon said. "Just saw you, you know, wanted to stop by, say hi, and oh, quick question, what are you doing Friday night?"

"Friday?" Spencer kind of squeaked.

"Yeah, the day after Thursday? Before Saturday?"

"I know what Friday is," Spencer said.

"Good. Do you know what you're doing then?" Jon was looking as happy and laid-back as he always did. There was no way he was seriously asking Spencer out.

"Um..."

"Because Pete's having this party and I thought you might want to go."

Spencer hesitated, wondering how he could ask 'with you?' and not sound like a total, desperate tool.

"If you don't like parties, that's cool," Jon added. "I'm not, like, peer pressuring you. I've seen the movies, you know. I know that older, more experienced seniors sometimes make cute sophomores do things they shouldn't do. This is not one of those movies. This is not peer pressure, I just want to make that clear. This is peer offering."

"Did you just call me cute?" Spencer asked. He was getting lightheaded. He might need to see the nurse if this conversation continued much longer.

"Maybe," Jon grinned. "So?"

Spencer was having trouble breathing, seriously. Oh my god, he was so desperate. "Can I get back to you on that?" he asked. He stood without waiting for an answer. "I have to go. See you later?"

He made his escape with a total lack of dignity, but, in his defense, Jon Walker might have possibly, maybe asked him out! He was lucky he hadn't exploded, or proposed marriage on the spot.

Spencer was seriously ridiculous. Completely ridiculous.

* * *

Brendon’s thighs were cramping.

This was because he was crouched under the bleachers at Evanston High, sneakily watching the cheerleading practice.

Or, at least, that had been the plan.

It was a really great plan too. He had cunningly posed as a new student interested in cheerleading and had been pointed to the team’s usual practice space. He had very cleverly assembled an all-black spy ensemble and army-rolled to the best available vantage point – the bleachers. It was the perfect plan, except for one minor detail.

The Cobras hadn’t shown up.

There was a patch of field where they should clearly be. Pompoms and mats were laid out but there was no one there.

Brendon was pissed. He’d skipped sixth period to take a bus over here and get some serious dirt on the Cobras and all he was getting was grass stains.

Fuck this, Brendon hadn’t come out here for nothing. “Listen all of y’all,” he said to himself. “This is sabotage.

*

Brendon peed in the Cobra team’s water cooler.

He totally got away with it too.

* * *

Pete was waiting for Patrick at his locker after seventh period, leaning up against it like he owned the school, which, okay, he kind of did. His face lit up in one of his manic grins when he saw Patrick. “Well, if it isn’t my favorite musical genius. It’s like fate, running into you here.”

“You’re at my locker,” Patrick said, “so actually, it’s not really fate.”

“Sometimes,” Pete said seriously, “people have to take fate into their own hands.”

“Sometimes, people have to get restraining orders,” Patrick said, but he smiled. Pete was kind of annoyingly irresistible that way.

“I’ll restrain your order,” Pete leered.

“You don’t make any sense,” Patrick said, and nudged Pete out of the way so he could get into his locker.

“So, listen, that song you sent me-”

“Pete, I did that at like, three in the morning, I know I changed your lyrics a little, I was just messing around-”

“Why do you never let me finish a sentence?” Pete said. “It’s kind of frustrating. I was trying to tell you it was the awesomest thing I ever heard.”

“Really?” Patrick said, honestly surprised. He’d been regretting sending it all day. He’d never showed anyone his music before, let alone people like Pete Wentz. “Are you kidding?”

No, it was, like – you made it all make sense,” Pete said earnestly. “It was amazing. Seriously, Trick, this is proof. We are Meant To Be.” Patrick could hear the capital letters. “That’s why you have to come on Friday.”

“Come where?” Patrick asked, feeling overwhelmed, which, actually, was pretty par for the course when it came to conversing with Pete.

“This party I’m having. It’s gonna be awesome, but only if you come, so you have to come, okay?” Pete bounced on the balls of his feet and beamed expectantly at Patrick.

“Pete, I don’t really -” Patrick started to say automatically, but then he realized that this was Pete Wentz he was talking to, and Pete didn’t exactly take no for an answer. And, surprisingly, Patrick actually wanted to go. “Okay. I’ll see you there.”

“Awesome,” Pete said. “Seriously, just. Awesome. Patrick, Trick, we’re gonna make such beautiful music together, I know it.”

Patrick laughed, but when Pete smiled like that it was really hard to doubt him.

* * *

Spencer's car was broken.

He usually told people that all the time, but now it was seriously broken, not just a partially functional piece of crap. There was something wrong with the tire pressure, as near as he could tell. Or whatever, Spencer wasn't a freaking mechanic.

He kicked one of his stupid tires and dug in his pocket for his phone to call his mom. He'd barely flipped his cell open when he heard someone say, "Car trouble?"

It was Jon. How did he do that, always creeping up on Spencer like that when he least expected it? It always took a few seconds too long for Spencer to compose himself.

"Yeah," he sighed. "It's a piece of crap, but it usually fucking drives." He kicked the tire again.

"Do you want a ride or something?" Jon asked, jingling his keys.

"Uh," said Spencer, "I was just going to call someone, you really don't have to..."

"No, it's okay," Jon said. "I've been thinking about starting a chauffeur service anyway. This'll be good practice." He smiled his ridiculously irresistible smile and before Spencer knew what was happening he was buckling himself into the passenger's seat of Jon's car. "You live kind of close to Pete, right?" Jon asked.

"Um, yeah," Spencer said, too thrilled to be weirded out. "I'm two streets down."

"Sweet, now I can stalk you all the time," Jon grinned.

"You know, you should be way more terrifying than you are," Spencer said.

Jon laughed. "Probably. But it's not like I go around stalking everyone." He glanced over at Spencer and smiled. "You're just special."

Spencer beamed at him and thanked god that Ryan wasn't here to witness this shameful display. "You would probably be the best serial killer ever. No one would suspect you."

"And because my charms have you totally in my power, right? I knew it. I'm like Dracula. Or Freud. I'm hypnotic.."

"You're insane," Spencer corrected and laughed, because apparently he was also insane and so, so, so unbelievably desperate for Jon Walker.

It was probably the greatest fifteen minutes of Spencer's life. He made Jon laugh and Jon smiled at him and Spencer thought they were really getting somewhere, until they pulled up outside his house and he remembered exactly where they were actually getting.

"So, this is me," Spencer said, feeling more depressed than he had ever felt about getting home from school. "Thanks for the ride." He moved to get out of the car.

"Wait," Jon said, grabbing Spencer's hand. "Have you thought about Friday?"

"Friday?" Spencer repeated. He couldn't really think about anything while Jon was holding his hand.

"You know. Pete's thing? I know where you live now," Jon said. "I can totally pick you up. Maybe nine-ish?"

Oh fuck it, Spencer thought. "Okay," he said. "Okay, Friday at nine."

"Okay," Jon repeated, grinning and squeezing Spencer's hand before letting go.

Spencer was smiling like an idiot the whole way to his door. And for about three hours after that.

He had a kind-of date with Jon Walker, oh my god.

* * *

Frank turned up with his usual grin and three DVDs (Flight of the Living Dead, as promised, with Axe ‘Em and, even though Gerard was obviously already very convinced of its awesomeness, the original Night of the Living Dead). He also came bearing a worryingly large bag of candy.

“I couldn’t count on you to supply me with Raisinettes,” Frank explained when he caught Gerard looking. “I’ve heard rumors about the Way house. You guys might be, like, barbarians who don’t understand about chocolate-covered fruit.”

They were definitely making progress, Gerard realized. He had learned not to take anything Frank said seriously. “Do you have M&Ms?” he asked instead.

“Do I have M&Ms,” Frank scoffed, pushing past Gerard into the house. “I have plain, peanut, crispy and peanut butter. But you can’t have all of the peanut butter ones because they are my very, very favorites and I need them. Nice place,” he added. “I’m a little disappointed there are no cobwebs and, like, sconces, but I guess that family portrait is creepy enough.”

“The torture chamber and the TV are downstairs,” Gerard said, and thought it was pretty weird that he didn’t find it weird to be joking around with Frank Iero. Fucking, Mikey, man, this was all his fault.

“Sweet,” Frank said and led the way, jumping the last three steps. “Hey Mikey Way, you gonna make room for me on that couch?”

“No,” Mikey said, not looking up from his cell phone or budging an inch from his comfortable sprawl on the couch.

“You are not a very gracious host. I’m taking my candy elsewhere,” Frank said.

Mikey looked up, vaguely interested. “Do you have Sour Patch Kids?”

Frank waved a box enticingly and Mikey grudgingly folded up his ridiculously long legs a little. Frank bounced his way onto the couch, tossing the first DVD to Gerard as he made himself comfortable.

Gerard wasted time fiddling with the DVD player while he tried to form a strategy. The only piece of furniture in the room was the couch and, with the way Mikey was still sprawled out, he would literally have to be on Frank. Gerard’s brain said that was a very bad idea but the stupid swoopy feeling in his stomach disagreed.

It turned out he didn’t really have a choice. “Hey, Gee, get over here,” Frank said, patting the sliver of couch next to him enticingly. “I need to make commentary.”

“It’s a zombie movie, it’s not complex,” Gerard said, but he sat down anyway. He was practically in Frank’s lap.

Frank grinned at him. “Oh Gerard. It is so, so, so much more than that.”

Frank’s commentary mostly consisted of “wait, wait, pay attention, this is awesome” and “see, I told you, awesome” but Gerard didn’t particularly mind. He was trying to focus on movie but, seriously, Frank was whispering in his ear and he smelled like peanut butter and chocolate and it was distracting.

After the movie ended Mikey, who had spent the whole time typing away on his phone, said, “I want popcorn.”

“Kettle corn?” Frank asked hopefully.

“I’ll see,” Mikey shrugged and disappeared up the steps.

“I am the best matchmaker ever,” Frank said as soon as Mikey was out of ear shot. “I snuck a look when I was grabbing some Sour Patch Kids, he was totally texting Alicia.” Frank was way too smug about it.

“I thought Pete introduced them,” Gerard reminded him.

“Yeah, well, he would have had a hard time introducing them if I hadn’t brought Mikey in the first place, wouldn’t he?” Frank replied, undeterred.

“Is that what you’re going to do if I show up at one of those things? Get Pete Wentz to set me up with cheerleaders?”

“Of course not,” Frank said. “You’re too good for cheerleaders.” He smiled at Gerard, a quieter smile, different from his manic grins and playful smirks. He almost looked unsure, which was unusual for Frank. “You’re too good for most people in general, actually.”

“Yeah right,” Gerard laughed, feeling uncomfortable.

“No,” Frank said. “I mean it. You’re actually awesome.” He cocked his head and studied Gerard. “And you don’t even know it, do you?” Gerard didn’t know how to respond to that, but he didn’t even get a chance to because Frank kissed him.

Frank kissed him.

What? Just. What?

Gerard opened his mouth (to protest, he’d swear it in court) and Frank took that as an invitation and leaned into him, one hand on the back of Gerard’s neck and the other on his thigh. Gerard overbalanced (no, seriously, he did) and wound up on his back with Frank on top of him. It was a total accident. He must have been dizzy from, like, a sugar high or something. He clearly had to twist his fingers in the belt loops of Frank’s jeans, just for stability.

Oh, fuck it, Gerard thought. He was totally kissing Frank Iero, football-playing, Pete-Wentz-befriending Frank Iero in his basement, and it was the best thing that had maybe happened to him ever.

He was just getting into it when he heard Mikey’s footsteps coming down the stairs saying, “No kettle corn, sorry Frank.”

Frank leapt away like Gerard had shocked him. His eyes seemed bigger and brighter in the dimmed basement lights. “Um,” Frank said and laughed. Gerard just stared at him. He’d never seen Frank look so awkward.

“Is extra butter okay?” Mikey asked, appearing in the doorway. He silently took in the scene - Gerard on his back at one end of the couch and Frank still half-crouched on the other – and blinked.

“Uh, yeah, actually, I just remembered,” Frank said, getting to his feet and practically backing away from Gerard like he was going to attack. “I promised Pete I’d go to his thing tonight, you know, he’s really excited about it, it’s a big deal because that Patrick Stump kid is gonna be there and, yeah, so I should probably, you know.” Frank made a fluttery half-hearted gesture up the stairs and, carefully avoiding eye contact with Gerard, made his escape. “You can keep the candy!” he called. “And, uh, I’ll just get the DVDs from you sometime this week, okay Mikey?”

Gerard and Mikey stared at each other, perfectly silent, even for several seconds after the front door slammed.

“Huh,” said Mikey, and ate some popcorn.

“What. The. Hell,” said Gerard.

* * *

Friday rolled around and Spencer started to panic. Ryan clearly suspected something, which was apparent when he turned to Spencer in the lunch line and said, "What's up with you, Spence? I’m beginning to suspect something.”

"Oh god, okay, okay, so, Jon asked me to come with him to Pete's party tonight-"

"Spencer, this is perfect!" Ryan said, which was not at all the reaction Spencer had anticipated.

"It is? I mean, I know it is, but - what?"

"This is the grand gesture," Ryan said. "This is the climax. You blow him off here and then he'll be dying to go out with you."

"Blow him off?" Spencer repeated.

"Yes! Obviously! You can't let him win this easy."

"Easy?" Spencer repeated. "Ryan, he brought me coffee and drove me home and asked me out. He won fair and square!"

"No, he asked you to go out with him, he didn't ask you out."

"I'm not really seeing a difference," Spencer said.

"Look, this could be a one-time thing, but if you blow him off one more time all your sick little Vermont-wedding China-baby dreams can come true." Spencer's skepticism must have been clearly written on his face because Ryan sighed and added, "I was right before, wasn't I?"

He had a point there.

*

That night, when Jon came by to pick him up, Spencer was with Ryan at a movie and Spencer wanted to die.

"Trust me," Ryan said, not taking his eyes away from the subtitles of whatever foreign film he had taken them to.

"Okay," Spencer said and tried.

* * *

Patrick followed Pete’s barely legible directions and arrived at, sketchily enough, an abandoned bowling alley. He would have thought he’d gotten it wrong, but there were already about twenty cars parked out front and the heavy bass of some top forty song thrumming out from inside. Also, Pete was sitting outside on the curb, waiting for him.

“Where do you find these places?” he asked Pete as he walked up. “I feel like we might get murdered at any moment.”

“Is it sexy?” Pete asked as they went inside. “Does the fear of impending death turn you on?” He sounded hopeful.

“Not as much as the fear of tetanus turns me off,” said Patrick, eyeing the dubious rusty seats.

“I just thought it was kind of cool,” Pete said sheepishly. “I didn’t really think about that.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Patrick said kindly. It was getting to be a real problem, he realized, the power that Pete’s pout was beginning to have over him. “It suits you,” he added, just so Pete wouldn’t get too full of himself.

Pete beamed at him, clearly not fooled. “Come on,” he said. “There’s beer and people. I want to get you a drink and show you off.”

Patrick didn’t really know what to say to that, so he settled for blushing a little and letting Pete drag him deeper into the bowling alley. He was immediately waylaid by Joe Trohman, the mascot. It was pretty unusual to see him with his incredible fro flowing wild and free (a complex application of sweat bands and hairnets and duct tape kept it mostly under control when he was wearing his Mongo the Mongoose costume) so Patrick didn’t quite recognize him at first.

“Yo, Stump, you’re friends with Spencer Smith, right?” Joe asked.

“Uh, yeah? I didn’t know you knew him,” Patrick said.

“I don’t, or, like, we’ve never met, but I know that his favorite color is blue and he drinks vanilla lattes and wears, like, girls’ hoodies or something.”

Patrick blinked at him. “That is oddly specific.”

“Dude, have you ever hung out with Jon Walker for, like, five minutes?” Joe asked, looking long-suffering. “I can’t even count the number of times I’ve listened to Spencer Smith’s Greatest Hits.”

Interesting, Patrick thought. “We,” he said to Joe, “should definitely talk.” Patrick glanced at Pete who grinned and waved his hands in a ‘run along and play’ gesture and disappeared into the crowd, presumably to find them some drinks. “Are you aware that Spencer is a one man Jon Walker fan club?”

“Could have fooled me,” Joe said, looking honestly surprised. “The way Jon tells it, the guy’s breaking his heart.”

It was Patrick’s turn to be surprised. “Are we talking about the same Spencer Smith? Or is there, like, another Jon Walker somewhere?”

“They’re supposed to be here tonight,” Joe said. “Jon’s been freaking out about Spencer finally succumbing to his charms or whatever, but I haven’t seen them anywhere.”

Patrick was about to suggest that they were too busy staring lovestruck at each other to drive over when an arm snaked across his shoulders. “That was fast,” he said. He planned to turn and smile at Pete but found himself frowning at Gabe Saporta. “Um, hello. Have we met?”

“Not… in this life,” Saporta said, doing something strange with his face. Patrick tried to extricate himself, but the Cobra quarterback had some kind of iron grip on him. “But I feel a real connection here, don’t you?”

“Um, what?” Patrick found himself longing for Pete, who, yes, was frankly just as creepy as Gabe Saporta but was at least endearing enough to make up for it.

“Do you want to get out of here and really get acquainted?” Saporta said, still making that strange face. “I have a basement,” he added. Then he either winked or had a small seizure.

“Oh my god,” Patrick said, the realization dawning slow and horrible. “Are you hitting on me?

“Duh,” Saporta said, looking a little wounded.

“Wow, okay,” Patrick said, using Saporta’s shock to wriggle out of his clutches. “I kind of came here with Pete, so…”

“Oh, come on,” Saporta said. “You’re telling me you’re gonna pass up all this-” he gestured expansively at himself, “for Wentz?. He’s, like, five foot nothing!” Patrick could admit that Pete was definitely shorter than Saporta, but he made up for it by not being dressed like a character from a seventies exercise video. It was hard to look at the neon track suit, but it was even harder to look at the medallion around his neck. It looked like it contained a picture of Justin Timberlake.

“Sorry?” Patrick offered weakly.

“Oh, fuck this,” Saporta said. “This stupid bet’s off, nobody told me you were blind.”

“Bet?” Patrick repeated.

“Uh, yeah? Why did you think Wentz asked you to come to this thing? Haven’t you seen any teen movie ever? Quarterbacks only take out the pudgy band geeks when there’s a bet riding on it. What kind of uncultured dump is Glenview anyway?”

“Are you seriously telling me you and Pete had a bet about me?” Patrick said, feeling his stomach sink as his anger rose. “What the fuck?”

“Dude, whatever, I’m so done. Tell Wentz congratulations, I’m still gonna kick his ass across the field next week.” And with that Saporta disappeared as suddenly as he had slunk up.

“Um, dude, you okay?” Joe asked. “You’re looking kind of… um.”

“Hey, is Patrick going to explode?” Brendon Urie asked as he passed, sounding more interested than concerned.

“I don’t know,” Patrick said, his voice going a little shrill, “why don’t we bet on it?

“Um,” Brendon said and then, his eyes going wide, added, “Oh. Oh. Oh shit.”

Pete Wentz, with his typical horrible timing, picked that moment to come back with two red plastic cups. “Dude, all there is is, like, Keystone Light. It’s gross, but-”

“Fuck yourself,” Patrick snapped.

“Um, wow, I know it’s shitty, but beer’s beer, right? I can get you, like, a soda or something, I think there’s some around here-”

“You had a bet going with Gabe Saporta?” Patrick got a kind of sick pleasure out of the way Pete’s face lost all its color.

“Um. Maybe?”

Patrick fumed. He couldn’t believe Pete wasn’t even going to try to deny it. “Seriously,” he said, “fuck yourself.”

“In Pete’s defense,” Brendon said quickly, “there was no money involved! It was all for, like, honor.”

Oh, hell no.

“You couldn’t even drop a couple hundred bucks on me?” Patrick yelled.

“I didn’t want to put a price on your affection?” Pete tried feebly.

“But it’s totally okay to stalk me and pretend to like me just so you can beat Gabe Saporta?” Patrick was kind of dimly aware that everyone was staring at them, but he was too pissed off to care.

“Whoa, whoa, who said anything about pretending?” Pete protested. “I seriously like you Patrick, I wasn’t lying!”

“Yeah fucking right,” Patrick growled. “I’m so done.”

“Trick-” Pete made a move towards him but Patrick shoved him back.

“You’re a fucking asshole, Wentz,” he said, “and I hope you lose your stupid football game.” He shoved past a crowd four people deep, left the bowling alley and didn’t look back. He was aware of Pete shouting after him, even after he pulled out of the parking lot. He didn’t mean to, but he caught a glimpse of Pete in his rearview, still pale, still clutching two red plastic cups, and looking a little bit like he’d just been shot.

“Fucking asshole,” Patrick grumbled and drove faster.

* * *

PART THREE

 
 
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: Spanish Bombs - The Clash
 
 
 
blackeyedwicca on April 3rd, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
OMFG, is it possible to fall in love with a fic?

If it is, I so have... all my OTP's(besides Ryden) in one fucking amazing fic?!?!

*flails before sprinting over to the next part*
a rock'n'roll Jesus with a cowboy mouthtremblings on April 6th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're enjoying it so far! Thanks. :)
ieroaddictionxieroaddictionx on April 3rd, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
*Gasps*

THIS IS AMAZING!

Frank and Gerard kissed HELL YEAH!
Although stupid Frank for leaving like that..

And what the hell? I think Ryans going to wreck things between Spencer and Jon.

AND AND AND AND awwww patrick! just listen to pete, he really likes/loves you.
a rock'n'roll Jesus with a cowboy mouthtremblings on April 6th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
Haha, thanks! I'm glad you're into it. :)
(Deleted comment)
a rock'n'roll Jesus with a cowboy mouthtremblings on April 6th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying it. :)
jessi watsonbowiscute145 on April 3rd, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
i love mikey having friends. *sigh*

oh dear lord. SNAKES ON A PLANE REFERENCE.

pete with his millllkkkkk.

brendooooonnnnn and his theme!!!!

gerard's stomach! *hearts*

oh i love ryan's spencer!attack so much.

i should not have gotten as excited as i just did by the idea of ryan and brendon /i/talking/i/.

i think i just ate some glitter.

oh brendon. how does he make peeing in water coolers adorable?

spencerrrrrr. jon's going to think you hate him!!!!

nooooooooooooooo. ITS NOT REALLY A BET PATRICK. PETE LOVES YOU. STOP.

nooooooooooooo.
*rushes to part three*
a rock'n'roll Jesus with a cowboy mouthtremblings on April 6th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
Hey, if you'd ever seen Flight of the Living Dead, I think you'd totally agree with Frank: it's Zombies on a Plane and it's awesome.

Glad you're enjoying it so far! Thanks. :)
jessi watsonbowiscute145 on April 6th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
unfortunatly i don't really do horror films (i suck. i know).
to tell that truth i haven't even seen snakes on a plane.
my sister and i planned to steal it from the hospital to watch.
but then we realized we would be stealing it from a hospital.
so didn't.
how could i NOT enjoy it?
and every breath we drew was hallelujah.theswearingkind on April 4th, 2008 08:47 pm (UTC)
“I can’t help it,” Brendon wailed, “I have naturally spirited fingers!”

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD BEST LINE EVER.
a rock'n'roll Jesus with a cowboy mouthtremblings on April 6th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
jessi watsonbowiscute145 on May 29th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
*dies*
Tinakarluvmost on August 11th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC)
The way you write Gerard is killing my. I'm laughing out loud everytime he opens his mouth! :)
sabienne.: ♥drunknballerina on September 19th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
Laughter and pain, dude, laughter and pain.
Ouch ♥
HAAAAAAAAAAY~makenoapology on January 1st, 2011 08:44 am (UTC)
omg! omg omg DD:
that makeout, tho. dang. daaaang.
spencer, wtf is wrong with you.