Word Count: ~1300
Trigger Warning: Mentions of abuse
Dedication: Lee. Thank you for reading & correcting.
Summary: Patrick has an asshole boyfriend so Pete beats him up and steals his shoes to give to Patrick.
Pete holds grudges. He can get angry in a nanosecond. But the type of pure raw hatred that makes him plan out and execute an act of retribution is rare.
He's not a big guy, but he can hit and he has to keep reminding himself that the person he's hitting is just barely eighteen. He stops just short of need to call an ambulance, steals his shoes, and leaves.
Patrick is in his room, lying on his bed under the covers and reading a book when Pete comes in. He watches with slightly raised eyebrows as the older boy comes in and wordlessly sets a pair of sneakers on the nightstand.
"I don't want your shoes, Pete." Patrick sits up, the blanket sliding off his shoulders as he does.
"They're not my shoes." Pete leans against the wall next to the head of Patrick's bed and crosses his arms over his chest. "They're Kit's. I think you can probably consider him an ex, by the way."
Pete brings a hand up to scratch his nose idly and Patrick notices the bruises on his knuckles. "What did you do?" he asks, fear evident in his voice. His eyes flick to the shoes.
Pete waits until the blue eyes are back on him and he holds the gaze. When he speaks, his voice is steel. "Nothing he wouldn't have eventually done to you."
The air feels like it's been sucked from Patrick's lungs. His eyes fall, his head turns, and when he finally speaks, Pete can hear the soft tears he's trying to hold back. "He never hit me."
"Fine," Pete says coolly, moving toward the door. "But summer's coming soon and I just saved you from spending it in hoodies." He stops at the door after he opens it and doesn't look at Patrick when he speaks. "Don't fucking do that again."
Patrick can climb out of Pete's window onto the roof and the older boy pretends he's asleep when he hears it open that night. He waits about ten minutes, pulls on a hoodie and shoes over his bare feet, and climbs out after him.
Patrick's knees are pulled up to his chest and the shoes are sitting next to him. He looks up when Pete comes out, but doesn't say anything, just turns his eyes back to the skyline. He's wearing socks but no shoes, pajama bottoms, and a tee shirt. It's chilly out and Pete slowly takes the few steps toward him, sitting behind the young boy and wrapping his arms around him.
"You're freezing." Pete runs his hands up and down Patrick's arms in an attempt to warm them.
"It's okay," Patrick tells him. "Being cold helps me think." He looks down at the same time Pete does and they both see his hand skim over an ugly purple bruise, impossible to miss against Patrick's pale skin.
"Sorry!" Pete pulls away like he's been burnt. "Did I hurt you?"
"No." Patrick means forward slightly to rest his chin on his knees. "They don't hurt anymore." He closed his eyes and inhales deeply l, the cool air burning his nose. "He really never hit me. He sound just . . . grab me."
"That's still not okay," Pete says darkly. He feels the anger he thought he had purged with all the punching boiling up inside him again.
"I know," Patrick says, his voice a soft contrast to the other boy's. "I know, but--" His voice cracks slightly and Pete sees him brush hastily at his eyes under the glasses. "--but he liked me, Pete. No one ever likes me."
"I like you," Pete snaps. "And I'm the only one that matters. You're fucking perfect and if no one else can see that then they aren't fucking good enough for you. You're too fucking good to settle for trash."
Pete's seething and at some point his hands reached out and closed around the shoes. Patrick has turned to look at him, but Pete can't see through all the red. The shoes fly from his hand hand and Patrick watches one land in the road and the other in a neighbor's yard.
Pete can vaguely hear his name but he can't quite place it over his heart pounding in his ears. The. He feels something soft on his cheek and he recognizes the feeling of a kiss on the other. He falls back into his body to see Patrick looking at him with concern and some other gentle emotion he can't place in his current state.
Pete grabs the wrist of the hand that's stroking his cheek. "You're perfect," he insists again, desperately searching Patrick's face for a sign that he understands. "You can't let them hurt you, 'Trick," he pleads. "You can't."
"I won't," Patrick tells him quietly. Then his eyes drop awkwardly. When Pete lets go of his wrist, he crosses his arms over his chest, suddenly aware of how cold he is. "We should probably go back in," he all but whispers.
Pete nods wordlessly and they slip back through the window. He climbs through first and helps Patrick even though it isn't really necessary. When both of the boy's feet are on the ground, Pete pulls him in close, nose in his hair, hands running up and down his back.
Patrick doesn't do anything at first. Slowly, so slow he's sure Pete will pull away before he realizes, the younger boy brings his arms up to return the embrace. Then he's clutching Pete desperately and the tears come. He's crying so hard that Pete has to lead them back to his bed because he isn't sure Patrick will be able to stand. After the tears, there's that awful moment of hiccups and involuntary gasps.
And then Patrick is burying himself into Pete's side and sniffling. "Don't hate me 'cause I'm stupid."
Pete kisses the top of his head. "You're not stupid and I'll never hate you. You're perfect, remember?" He wraps his arms tighter around the boy. "Perfect," he repeats.
Patrick's face is hidden in Pete's chest and he's grateful because he's fighting back more tears. The older boy just keeps stroking his back and whisper that word over & over and Patrick feels like a fake.
"You're the only person who thinks so," he finally mumbles bitterly.
"I'm the only one who matters," Pete says immediately, echoing his words from earlier.
Patrick's getting angry because he doesn't want to cry. He pulls away. "Oh. And why's that?" he snaps.
Pete doesn't even flinch. "Because I love you." He says it calmly, very matter of fact, but there's no doubt in Patrick's mind exactly what he means.
His face goes blank and he forgets how to speak. Then all the emotions hit him at once. Anger. Why didn't you fucking tell me this months ago? Fear. What do you mean you love me? Hope. You love me? Disbelief. You love someone else every other week. Doubt. No, he didn't mean it like that. Self preservation. Don't you say it. Don't you fucking say it back, you asshole.
"I love you, too." Patrick looks more shocked than Pete does at the words. Then he shakes his head once to clear it and leans forward, quickly pressing his lips to Pete's once and pulling back immediately.
Pete smiles. "See? Perfect."