[ Patrick/Pete, shades of Pete/everyone, Panic, Cobra | PG-13 | 3,310 words | 2008-02-27, 28, 07-26 ]
In which Gabe Sporta is a stalk of corn, Brendon just wants his tomatoes fondled, and Spencer will shank anyone who tries to make food out of him. “If that chick hadn’t been trying to kill me,” Pete told Patrick later, burrowed into his lap for comfort, “it would have been kinda awesome.”
Fueled By Chlorophyll
When Pete turned down a pissed off fourteen-year old’s offer to come live in her basement as her personal slave, he expected the hissy fit she threw, sure. And the unreasonable demands and wheedling weren’t really much of a surprise. And the name-calling and melodramatic threats? Totally par for the course. Pete had dealt with way freakier proposals than that before; he didn’t even bother with signaling security, it was so routine.
What he hadn’t expected was that when she pointed her finger at him and promised him he’d regret this that a motherfucking bolt of lightning would strike the table just in front of him. Or that when the smoke cleared, she’d be gone, but that her freaky evil cackle would still be echoing in the room. Seriously.
The rest of the signing, all the fans that had brought their cell phones showed him the shots they’d snapped of what happened. None of them turned out. (Except the ones where Pete looked like a scared little girl, of course).
When they asked him what the fuck had just happened, he didn’t have any answer for them. The black scorch mark on the table kind of spoke for itself.
“If that chick hadn’t been trying to kill me,” Pete told Patrick later, burrowed into his lap for comfort, “it would have been kinda awesome.”
He spent a week waiting for the other shoe to drop, because he figured if the girl was crazy enough to—well, to do whatever it was she’d done—that she’d make good on her promise. Night after night he stared at the ceiling, tossing and turning, sure that lightning was going to strike him in the balls. He started typing up a few blog entries, liberally abusing the phrase crazy supernatural shit, but it seemed like tempting fate so he deleted them and took pictures of his sleep-deprived face instead.
But when the paranoia began to interrupt his bodily rhythms—i.e. his jacking off schedule (anxiety and erections don’t mix)—he decided enough was enough and stopped looking over his shoulder, stepped on every crack he could find in the sidewalk, and petted a black cat. Nothing happened, so he took that as some kind of sign. He figured as long as his dick didn’t shrivel up and fall off, he’d be fine.
The call came at 3AM, naturally, because he was actually asleep for the time in weeks.
“The fuck?” He mumbled into the phone, desperately trying to grasp onto the last sweet bits of the blow job Christina Aguilera had been giving him in his dream, but she slipped out of his grasp. He sighed gustily, burrowing his head deeper into the pillow.
“Pete, man, sorry to call so late.”
“Suarez? The fuck? Don’t you assholes ever sleep?”
“I’m really sorry, but—it’s kinda important. It’s Gabe.”
“Shit, dude.” Pete rolled over, pawing the blanket off his chest and sat up, forcing his eyes open. “Is he okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, he’s totally fine. Well. Kind of. He isn’t hurt or anything. But I think that you need to come out and see this.”
“What the hell’s going on?”
“I… you wouldn’t believe me if I tried. Just, seriously, get out here as soon as you can.”
“Okay, okay. I’ll be on the first flight out.” He looked down at his forlorn dick, half-hard but mostly fading. “And you tell that fucker Gabe that he owes me an Aguilera-worthy blowjob or I’ll have to kick his ass.”
Alex laughed, the sound verging on hysteria. He wouldn’t explain to Pete why.
“Dude.” Pete sat down on the couch, unsure whether to laugh or look around for the Punk’d video cameras. “Dude, what the fuck.”
Apparently, Gabe Saporta was a stalk of corn.
“Dude, what the fuck.” He repeated, because it bore repeating. A lot. “How the fuck?”
“He was like that when we woke up,” Ryland said. He was sitting, elbows propped on his knees, fingers steepled under his chin. “We—he—” Ryland closed his eyes, and gestured, like what he was about to say pained him. “Say hello, Gabe.”
“How’s it goin’, Pete?” The stalk of corn said brightly in Gabe’s voice. It was tall, skinny, and did look uncannily similar to Gabe in stature and size. Then it shook, greenery soughing. “Do you think these leaves make my ass look fat?”
Pete put his fist to his mouth to stifle his explosive, disbelieving laughter. “Dude, you’re a plant. You don’t even—Jesus.”
“Tallest stalk in the field, motherfucker,” Gabe said, and it sounded like he was grinning.
Alex had his arms crossed over his chest, not quite frowning, but every one of his lines vibrated with tension. “So what are we supposed to do with him? We can’t go onstage like this.”
“Hey, don’t talk about me like I’m not here, man,” Gabe said, affronted. “I still have feelings, you know.”
“Sorry, sorry.” Alex went to sit next to him. There was an awkward moment where he reached out like he was going to hug Gabe, but then he settled for gently petting his stem. “This is just so fucked up.”
Gabe rustled under Alex’s touch. “It’s cool.”
“He can still sing,” Ryland said. “We ran through half the setlist and it sounded fine.”
Victoria laughed. “Fine? We sounded rad. Gabe should have tried this years ago.” She crossed one stockinged leg over the other, leaning back on the couch.
Nate shook his head slowly, eyes fixated on Gabe. “So weird.”
“We’re scheduled for four shows this week.” Alex said, looking at Pete imploringly, “Can we…? Would it be too weird…?”
Pete stood up and crouched in front of Gabe, staring at him thoughtfully for a moment, trying to wrap his brain around the reality that this was the same guy who’d given Pete carpet burn from fucking him so hard into his basement floor.
Only one way to know for sure.
He rocked back on his heels. “Sing for me, Saporta.”
“Now you’re speakin’ my language, Pete.” Gabe laughed, and fuck if it didn’t sound just like him, slightly too high-pitched and everything.
He started in on Kiss My Sass, replacing lyrics here and there as he went; Alex rolled his eyes at they say that corn has got flavor.
“Okay, dude, enough,” Pete said, because that was all the proof he needed—only Gabe would think that shit was funny. He put his hand over the top of the ear since that seemed like the general vicinity of where the noise was coming from. The silky tassels tickled his palm.
He looked at Alex. “Tell management to get you double the security so none of the fans, like, walk away with his pot. And then…” He smiled, “put him up there, give him a microphone and rock the fuck out the place.”
“Hell yeah!” Victoria cried, jumping up and hugging Pete; he grabbed a little tighter to the ear of corn for balance. “You won’t regret it, Pete, I promise.”
“We really appreciate this,” Ryland said, putting a hand on Pete’s shoulder. Nate nodded in agreement behind him and even Alex looked relieved.
Pete ran his fingers through the tassels. “What do you say, fucker? You ready to face your adoring public?”
“I can dig it. ¡Viva el maíz!” The tassels were warm under Pete’s fingers. “But, uh, if you keep doing that, I might accidentally spray some flowery shit on you.”
“Seriously,” Alex said, and Pete yanked his hand back when he noticed the fine dusting of yellow pollen on Alex’s shirt. “It won’t come off.”
“I bet he tastes delicious,” Ryland sighed.
3AM the next night Jon called and told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to get his ass out to Vegas and, seriously, he was so sorry, but there was no way he could explain. Pete, who hadn’t even been home long enough to unpack his bag, grabbed it and caught another flight out.
“They were supposed to pick me up at the airport,” Jon said, a slightly dazed look on his face, “I had to use the spare key to get in.”
“Yeah, answering doors is not so much an option right now,” Spencer said, his pink-purple cactus flowers trembling a little like he was rolling his eyes.
“I cracked my pot trying,” Brendon said sadly, and Pete leaned in and saw evidence of a jagged line of glue where someone—he was assuming Jon—had patched it up. “But my tomatoes are fine,” Brendon continued cheerfully, jiggling them happily.
“I need to be trimmed,” Ryan said, his voice hollow and distant like he was speaking through the other end of an empty reed. “I have little leaf buds everywhere, and I’m going to grow all crooked if they aren’t pinched.”
“Still the same whiny little bitch, aren’t you?” Pete said, running two fingers up Ryan’s smooth green stem, mapping each section of bamboo until he got to the leaves.
Pete tore a few of the stray ones off, and Ryan twitched, like he was flinching, but then he sighed, a whistle through a pipe. “Much better. Thank you.”
“Anytime, baby.” Pete fondled one of Ryan’s larger leaves, grinning. Jon looked vaguely alarmed, so Pete just grinned wider at him, running his index finger along the underside of Ryan’s leaf.
“You should have been a botanist, Pete,” Ryan said lazily, his leaf curling tighter around Pete’s finger.
“I wonder what my tomatoes taste like,” Brendon said. “Gabe is corn, right? Oh, dude, we would make some awesome salsa together.”
“If anyone tries to put me in salsa I’ll shank you,” Spencer said. “Jon found out. These little bitches are sharp.”
“I bet if you practiced you could throw them like ninja stars,” Brendon said. “All I can do is, like, drop my fruit when it’s ripe.”
“They’re sharp, all right. I’m going to have a hard time playing for awhile.” Jon held up his bandaged hand. Then he looked back at the counter, utterly forlorn. “Not that it really matters, I guess.”
“Awww, Jon. Johnny Walker. We love you even if you aren’t one of our plant brethren.” Brendon’s tone of voice was the equivalent of an aural hug.
Jon smiled fondly. “Thanks, buddy.” He picked up the can on the counter and watered Brendon’s soil.
“So did you guys just wake up like this?” Pete asked, sitting on the stool in front of the countertop. He watched the kitchen lights shine off the round fullness of Brendon’s tomatoes; he shuddered when he found himself imagining a pair of black jeans over them.
“Yeah, I rolled out of bed this way,” Ryan said dryly.
“Well, see, that’s what’s strange.” Spencer said. “None of us fell asleep on the countertop, but when we, um, realized what was going on, we were all here.”
“And we all had the same dream last night,” Ryan added, off-handedly, but there was a slight tremor in his voice.
“We were in this basement and, dude. There was this girl, and her evil cackle, Pete, it’s going to haunt me for years.” The tomatoes shuddered. “She’s some kind of evil scientist, isn’t she? She’s going to use us for nefarious schemes, I just know it.”
“Fuck.” Pete reflexively dropped his hand down to his crotch, remembering how very much he didn’t want his balls electrocuted. “I think I know the chick you’re talking about.”
“Pete.” Ryan’s voice had a dangerous edge to it. “What did you do?”
“Pete.” And Spencer’s tone was somehow even more threatening, like the combined force of his and Ryan’s disdain was distilled into pure vocal menace. “What did you do?”
“What did Pete do?” Brendon asked, and if he had eyes, Pete was sure he’d be swinging his head around wildly, trying to figure out what was going on.
“Hey.” Pete stopped petting Ryan and crossed his arms. “This isn’t my fault. She wanted me to be her personal slave, what was I gonna do?”
“Personal slave?” Brendon perked up. “Like, her sex slave?”
“Ugh, dude, I don’t know. And I wasn’t going to stick around to find out.”
“And she didn’t, you know, tell you she was going to turn your friends into plants?” Spencer asked, like Pete was mentally challenged to have missed the obvious signs.
“Oh, whatever. How was I supposed to know she’d go all Circe on your asses?”
“We’re not pigs, dumbass.” But Ryan’s tone had softened back to regular levels of disaffected condescension.
“You have to fix this,” Spencer said. “Banging my pot on the drums? Not going to work so well.”
“Major cramping on our lifestyle,” Brendon agreed.
“And unless you can get Jon turned into an apple tree or something, this is going to fuck with group cohesion,” Ryan said.
Pete sighed, letting his head roll back. “I know, okay? I know.” He pulled out his phone. “I’ll fucking fix it.”
And he pulled out his phone to call Patrick, because, seriously, he needed help, and what that really translated into was needing his Patrick.
Pete stormed back in just long enough to grab his jacket, hardly seeing anything around him; he threw some hopefully comforting statements at the peanut gallery and stormed right back out, waiting until he’d closed his rental car door to start shaking and banging his fist on the steering wheel.
“Not Patrick, not Patrick, not Patrick,” was all he could say for a few minutes, punctuating each repetition with a slam of fist on plastic.
Ten minutes later, he was on his way to the airport in a taxi, because there was no way he could drive and use his phones with both hands; he made calls with one and typed with the other.
“Travis? Yeah, man, I have a huge favor to ask—yeah, Disashi and Matt aren’t the only ones, wait until you see Greta, she’s this giant fucking willow tree, it’s awesome—anyway, that’s exactly why I’m going to need you to get me a few buckets of holy water—”
“—no, dude, don’t even think of moving him. Touch Patrick and die. Just, like, watch and make him comfortable and, fuck, I don’t know, water him or something. Get him some fertilizer. Just keep him happy until I get there—”
“—yeah, this fangirl in Texas gave me a name, you think you could track this chick down for me? Wait, wait, I have Bill on the other line—”
“—hey, trust me, I’m glad Butcher and Sisky are making the most of the situation, but you need to break that freaky pollination up right now, because if one of them is pregnant or something weird when he turns back I am so not dealing with that shit—”
“—2456 Chamberlain? Sweet, man, you don’t even know how much I owe you for this, can you call everyone who can still answer their phones and tell them to meet me there tomorrow morning? Fuck, yeah, dude, we’re taking this little bitch down—”
“—Patrick, Patrick, calm down, you can yell at me all you want in a few hours, please, just, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m going to fix all this, you just wait and see—”
“Fucker!” Patrick screamed before he’d even opened the door all the way, because if there was ever a time Patrick was psychic, it was when Pete had done something wrong. “I’m a fucking pumpkin! How do you even—what the fuck—you are so fucking—you’ll wish you were some little fangirl’s sex slave, because by the time I’m through with you—kill you so dead—”
“Patrick, I—” Pete started, but angry vines wrapped around his ankles and yanked his feet out from under him. He fell flat on his back, wind knocked out of him, the bag of miracle gro he’d brought with him slamming him right in the face. “Ow.”
“Serves you right, dumbass,” Patrick said, but the vines started to retreat.
“Wait,” Pete said, tossing the bag aside. He quickly swiveled around and flipped onto his stomach all in one move, reaching out to one of the vines before it got out of reach. “Wait.”
“What?” Patrick sounded wary, but Pete could hear it waver, could hear his opening.
“It’s good to be home.” He wrapped his fingers around the vine gently. “I missed you.”
“Fucker,” Patrick grumbled, but his vine wrapped around Pete’s wrist, and that was all he needed.
“At least you’re a hot pumpkin,” Pete whispered, sliding his palm along one of Patrick’s orange curves.
“Kill you,” Patrick mumbled sleepily, leaves nestling closer into Pete’s neck.
The few remaining members of DecayDance left standing gathered out front of 2456 Chamberlain the next morning, their supersoakers full of holy water and their already-indecent jeans stretched to full capacity with silver crosses, garlic, and crudely fashioned stakes. (According to Andy, homemade bombs plus plywood were the answer to all their weaponry needs.) Joe was looking especially fetching in his bright pink “Buffy’s got nothing on me” spandex tights.
“Now wha’?” Joe asked, muffled because his ski mask was only half-aligned with his face, pivoting his body around so he could scope out the house with his one good eye.
Pete pumped his soaker, once, with feeling, and jerked his chin towards the house the way he’d seen Bruce Willis do in—well, everything he’d ever starred in, actually.
“Let’s get her.”
Mr. and Mrs. Edgerton turned out to be very nice people who didn’t appreciate being soaked with water—no, they didn’t care that it was holy, thank you very much—and, oh, had their daughter caused Pete and his nice friends undue trouble? Well, they’d be sure to ground her for the week and confiscate all her spellbooks, and, really, they were so very sorry, they hadn’t realized that her budding powers had gotten to quite this level, and they held themselves completely responsible.
Mrs. Edgerton gave Pete a glass of milk and the most amazing peanut butter cookies he’d ever tasted in his life. When he started to thank her, sheepishly tucking his ski mask into his back pocket, she waved her hand, said “think nothing of it,” and when he opened his eyes, he was standing at home in front of a very human, very perfect looking Patrick.
“For you,” Pete said, holding out the second cookie Mrs. Edgerton had given him. He smiled so hard it hurt, because there was no way he could look at Patrick and not.
“If this isn’t, like, the best fucking cookie in the world, I’m probably going to punch you in the face.”
“Trust me,” Pete said, stepping forward and putting his arm around Patrick’s waist, pressing his forehead to the spot just below Patrick’s ear where he could feel Patrick’s pulse, where he could breathe along. “It is.”
Things went back to pretty much normal, after that.
Well, almost. Ryan had a new, vaguely horrifying haircut, Brendon’s ass was rounder than should have been humanly possible, and Sisky couldn’t sit down for a week because of something Butcher had done with one of his branches. Gabe missed his projectile pollination abilities, but Alex went so far as to send Mrs. Edgerton a thank you card.
(And Patrick still turned that special shade of red-purple-blue when Pete did something really fucking annoying, like replacing Patrick’s shampoo with pumpkin pie, or kissing every inch of his newly-restored skin, especially the ticklish spots.)
Pete was pretty much happy with that; his friends were his friends again, his bands were back in business, and he’d inspired Patrick to come up with fifty inventive new ways to maim and torture him in just the last hour.
The way Pete figured it, if Patrick wasn’t threatening his life, he wasn’t really living.