pete/patrick, pg13. 5,135 words.
sequel to correspondence course, set around two years later for those of you keeping score at home.
cheers to, uh, everyone i've harassed while writing this. hope it's turned out worthwhile. ♥
Pete yawns, leaning over the arm of the sofa to look down at Patrick. Patrick's lying on the floor, sheets of paper spread out in front of him, a book or two held open with empty bottles.
"What're you learning today?"
"Not learning, going over stuff. I've got an idea," Patrick says. "For the engine. I've been trying to figure how to increase fuel efficiency."
"She's state of the art!" Pete's defensive, loves his ship like a child. She is new and young and beautiful, all gloss and shine inside and out. Inside, most of the furniture doesn't match, was brought over from the older (smaller!) ship so she is full of echoing spaces. There's a whole extra cargo bay not in use yet, and empty quarters for a crew bigger than the one onboard. "She should be pretty much totally efficient, right, like as efficient as you can even get?"
"Yeah, well, but that's by factory regulation standards. She's got the max currently allowable specs. Best of the pre-fab best." Patrick scribbles something down in the margin of one of the books, then adds something to an equation on a sheet of paper. "Alright, I think I've -- have we got any rubber tubing, do you know? I don't need it yet. Just I'll need some if I wanna finish this mod."
"We can get some," Pete says. This is as close to permission as he's going to give, and no one else would get even this much. "Seriously, I'm not going to get this even if you explain, am I."
"Probably not." Patrick's biting his lower lip now, shuffling through his pages of notes, now reading and underlining something in one of the books, now scribbling something in the margins, now going back to his own notes. He's got this coy little almost-smirk, and his legs are bent at the knee, toes curled ceilingward.
Pete says, "You know you could use the little table in here."
"Too low, floor's bigger," Patrick says. He frowns, tapping the pen against his forehead. "Huh."
"Okay. You can have part of the mess table. Just make sure to keep it cleared when you're done."
"Really?" Patrick says, looking up at Pete through his eyelashes. Pete nods, and Patrick's smile is clear and bright. "Wow, thanks, that's better than the floor."
Pete thinks, well, shit and wishes he was still writing cryptic messages to Patrick. He needs to find somebody else to bother with cryptic messages, because no way is he going to be straightforward about this. Whatever this is. Maybe the fact that his best friend is inexplicably hot, sometimes. Pete turns and twists so he's lying on his back, head resting on the arm of the sofa and not looking at Patrick. He folds his arms across his eyes.
Gabe says, "Wait, wait, what is this? Pete!"
Pete yawns. "There's enough of the table to eat at."
"You ended a sentence in at," Patrick says. "And so did I. Shut up. It was your fault. Ended a sentence in a preposition."
Gabe says, "I don't care about prepositions, what's all this stuff?" and pushes a pile of papers to the side to set down his plate on a clear spot.
Pete says, "Patrick's stuff, don't worry about it, he's being a genius again, oh my god, did you just hear him bitching about grammar," and Patrick says, "Sorry, I was making plans, I'll clean up."
Gabe shrugs. "So long as I don't starve," he concedes. "So long. As. Yeah, exactly."
Gabe's on a different schedule and the only one eating dinner, and Patrick works around him, is by now making diagrams, making light marks on top of printed-out plans of the ship. Pete has other things he should be doing besides watching Patrick and occasionally asking "do you need anything? Like, I don't know, some sleep?" but he has nothing better to do.
Patrick finally says, "Oh my god, what is wrong with you, I can't concentrate. Don't you have captainy things to be doing?"
Pete says, "Like sleeping, yes." Patrick snorts. "I'm going. I'm going. I swear."
"Swearing's fucking rude, bitch."
Pete stares. Patrick stares back. Pete stares some more. "Wow."
"Yeah, that's what I thought," Patrick says, sitting down in a chair with his arms resting on the seatback and his legs sprawled wide. "Exactly. I can be a real person, too."
"Shit," Pete laughs, and he throws a paperclip at Patrick before ducking his head down and running away. He's really, really grateful, right now, for having taken individual quarters.
He refrains from mentioning this to anyone except Gabe, which of course means the next day the whole crew is giving him funny looks. Patrick's as confused as he is, at least, which is a relief. His crew is crazy, not malicious. No one says anything to him out loud, but Joe and Andy stop talking when he comes in to steal some food from the mess.
Pete frowns. He taps his fork against his plate to get Patrick's attention. "Seriously, stop that."
Andy says, "Seriously, what?"
Joe says, "He's eating dinner."
Andy says, "Patrick, you're not allowed to eat now. I guess you missed the memo. Pete wants you dead."
"Oh, sure," Patrick says, holding his fork between the palms of his hands, points pressed into skin on one side and the handle digging its own shallow indentation on the other. He finishes chewing something, swallows, and with his teeth pulls at some dead skin on his lip. He says, "Shit, I eat too much anyway."
"Oh my god, no, no, that's not it," Pete says. "I hate you all. Just, seriously." He keeps staring at Patrick's hands, and not just because the fork handle is bright red and attention-getting. Mostly because of the permanent ink-stains and the pen-callouses embedded in his skin. Mostly because he really likes Patrick's fingers, and is only just noticing this fact. "Patrick, you're fine. Go ahead and eat dinner."
"You're special, huh. Did your parents opt not to fix the mental deficiencies, or what?"
"Seriously," Joe says, nodding.
"I just really," Pete says, then, "... like these pancakes, good job, Andy." What he does not say is want to fuck Patrick senseless, or at least suck his dick. Even he knows a little better than that.
Patrick basically disappears for a day and a half, taking a supply of protein and vitamins with him -- he can hold off on food, he says, wants to get this job done as quick as possible. The only person to see him is Andy, and this is only because Andy is in charge of supplies, and apparently Patrick needs a new pair of goggles. The old ones, which Andy shows to Pete, are scorched and covered in soot.
Pete's not entirely expecting it when there's a clunk and a rattle somewhere in the ship's depths and an hour later a Patrick in the lounge looking out of breath and proud. "I did it," he says, by way of explanation. "I hope. I mean, we won't know for sure until we've completed a run and can look at fuel consumption over time, but I mean, the engines are still fully functional. Just better-functional. Hopefully." He's breathless and still has goggles on, pushed up on his forehead, because this once he's not wearing a hat; his hands are almost black with grease and there's stains up to his elbows and a few on his cheek, but mostly he is smiling and proud and Pete's thinking, well shit.
"Oh, sweet," Pete says.
Patrick says, "I am going to take the world's longest shower ever. Ever."
"It'll be good clean fun," Pete agrees. He tries to think of silly archaic references, and not of Patrick showering. "Cleanliness is next to godliness or whatever anyway. Go forth, my lamb; cleanse thyself from the defilement of, uh, engineering work."
"Yes, sir," Patrick says, and he's still grinning and he salutes, and it's not like Patrick's usually depressed, not like he's unsure of his skills, but Pete's not sure he's ever seen him this self-confident. Pete grins back.
So eventually, and this sort of thing always happens, eventually Patrick comes back (hair still damp and clean) and he's tidying up the last few notes he'd abandoned on the table, straightening things up. He sits down to do one last write-up of what he did.
Pete says, "Dude, you're even writing down a procedural log, you are so awesome." Patrick shrugs and keeps writing. The ship kept records, not that Pete's bothered to check either the text or video logs, because with the first he wouldn't really understand and the second he'd probably get inappropriate thoughts about his second in command. "I mean it, we'd be screwed without you. Not that -- like, I think it's the text records -- you actually remember what we do and don't have to check."
"Well, yeah. It's not that hard. You do too?" It should be a statement but at the end Patrick's tone rises a little, questioning, making sure of what he already knows.
"Okay. Yeah. But you do it better. All I'm good at is being sexy."
"What, you don't think so?" Pete says. He finds another paperclip -- they've got a lot of them -- and flicks it at the back of Patrick's head. Patrick twists around and looks at him over the back of the chair. Pete bares his teeth in a crooked snarl. "C'mon now. I'm totally hot, you know it."
"If by hot you mean crazy."
"Crazy-hot?" Patrick ignores him, Patrick just snorts and waves a hand at him, dismissive, and Pete says, "I'm tired of being so sexy, I'm going to go do some work and de-sexy myself."
"Okay," Patrick says. "You have fun with that."
Patrick says to him, "No, seriously Pete, what?"
Pete looks up from his book. Again. "What?"
"You're being weird. It's kind of making me nervous. I mean, not that you're ever not a complete goddamn freak, but, what. Just what."
"Oh," Pete says.
"If you want me to stop wasting my time on engineering shit, I can. I mean, the ship's in perfect condition, it's cool if you'd rather I, I don't know. I can do other stuff though."
"You keep staring when I'm," Patrick says. "When I'm writing stuff. Huh." He says, "Pete, you're not allowed to be fixated on me just because I write stuff by hand, seriously."
Pete says, "Write for me?"
"Pete. Pete. Come on." Patrick rolls his eyes and Pete leans over the back of the couch, wide-eyed and curious, watching Patrick sideways. "Hi, Pete. No. I don't exist to indulge your weird writing fetish. Get someone else to do it. Hell, get Gabe to do it, he's weird enough he probably would."
"That's not it," Pete says.
"No." Their eyes are open when they kiss, vision blurring at close range. Patrick doesn't so much kiss as bite Pete in return.
"I know you, Pete," Patrick says, "I know you, I know you."
"See, and that is it."
"Right, whatever. Can I get back to work?"
"Okay," Pete says. "Okay."
So what happens is Pete doesn't talk to Patrick for a week. "What the hell," Andy asks him, "why are you being such a dick?"
Pete shrugs. "I'm playing hard to get."
"Is that what you call ignoring the head engineer?"
"Oh, okay, that's practical," Andy nods. "You know he's been trying to ask you permission to fix some glitch in the security program. And he keeps telling me about this idea, and it sounds good but it's not like it's my ship and he'd explain better anyway. Maybe you should try listening."
"So why don't you --"
"Tell him it's fine."
"You tell him," Andy says.
"Okay," Pete says. "When he admits he wants me."
They stop to refuel and Patrick corners Pete, says, "Hey, Pete."
"Hi." Pete leers. "You finally come 'round?"
"No. I was researching something when I was in school."
"Oh, okay," Pete says, pushing at Patrick. "Cool." Patrick won't let him by, and Pete doesn't want to get violent. "Hey."
"You're going to listen. Look. I know you don't give a shit about science, but this could save us money."
"Let me go."
"If you can be a dick to me, I can be a dick to you."
There are exactly three wrinkles on Pete's forehead when he frowns. "I wasn't being a dick."
"See? I'm glad you understand." Pete grins, pushing the brim of Patrick's hat so it turns around sideways. "I missed you, 'Trick."
"You missed me," Patrick repeats. "While you were ignoring me. Oh, that's cool. I was trying to talk to you the whole time."
There's not much Pete can say to that.
"So no, look. I was thinking, why do we have to refuel?"
"Uh," Pete says. "I thought we'd been over that before. So we don't die? It's nice, not-dying. Going from place to place is pretty fun too."
"No. I mean. The fuel for the propulsion system is based on a hydrogen isotope, right?"
Pete lets himself lean against the wall. He nods, letting one shoulder rise and fall a little first.
"Pretend you know how your own ship works. We could just -- there's hydrogen everywhere, we could improvise an intake system and there's room in the hold for -- we could just synthesise our own deuterium and not have to bother with any of this bullshit," Patrick says. "Also, it'd be cheaper. And if we like. Got in trouble. We wouldn't -- no one would -- like, we wouldn't have to stop anywhere while on the lam."
"Oh," Pete says. "I'll pretend I got the science part. That's cool. That's actually. Yeah. What do you need to do that?"
"I'll tell you if you agree not to be a dick anymore."
"Okay. Promise. Pinky-swear, even," Pete says, holding out his hand, and even when he finds out how absurdly expensive this is going to get he says yes.
Ducking his head around the door to the bridge, Patrick says, "Hey, Pete, I'm going to need some more paper. Can I, that can be included in the ship's budget, right?"
"I don't know, Andy's in charge of that."
"I thought I should check with you first," Patrick says. "And I'm almost out of ink."
"Oh," Pete says. "I'll, uhm. Yeah," he says. "Yeah. I'll make sure -- even if Andy says he can't fit it into the budget or something, which he totally can, I'll make sure you get that."
"Hey, thanks." Patrick grins and ducks his head, hat-shadow not enough to hide the creases around his eyes.
Pete waits until Patrick is gone to bury his face in his hands. He's pretty sure he's doomed.
Pete's been sitting on the sofa watching different news feeds for the past three hours with his feet up on the little table, and Patrick's only been here thirty minutes or so, sitting on the floor.
Patrick's humming to himself, doodling something in the margins of a piece of paper, not actually working at the moment. Pete's pretending not to watch.
Patrick stops humming and leans to the side a little and Pete twitches his leg away then settles still. The side of Patrick's head is pressed against Pete's knee and Patrick's hat rests a little askew and Pete stops pretending, just watches Patrick's back, which is about all he can see.
The inside of Pete's mouth is dry, tastes like he's bitten down too far into a pencil, weird and dry and semi-metallic. "Hi."
"Hi," Patrick says, not looking up. The tip of the pen drifts lazy river paths down Pete's bare ankle and he is very glad, very aware of the fact that he didn't wear shoes or socks today; he can feel ink space-cold against his skin and has to use effort not to shiver.
"So," Pete says. "So what're you doing?"
"Making plans," Patrick says.
"Oh. Oh, right."
Pete presses his eyes shut tight, pushing down on his eyelids with his fingertips. He lets his breath out slow between barely-parted lips. "So."
"So," Patrick says, shifting his weight. He turns to look up at Pete, this coy little smile on his face. With one hand, he moves Pete's foot a little, with the other, he adds a final finishing flourish to some text, the last few letters curling around the jut of bone and Pete's ankle. He says, "Hand?"
Pete holds his hand out, mute, and it's maybe shaking a little but Patrick holds it steady. Patrick says, "I know it'll never be relevant, but this pen totally works in zero gravity. I mean, what would I be writing by hand if the gravity was out? I don't know. It just seemed like a cool thing to have. The flow's perfect. Any surface. See, I mean, look." He says, "This pen I used to have would stop up the second you tried to write on somebody. It was really obnoxious." Even with Patrick's fingers pressed against the side of his hand and Patrick's thumb warm against his palm, Pete's paying more attention to the hand with the pen. He closes one eye, and watches with the other squinted near-shut. From this angle he can't read the letters. "Kind of expensive, though. Thanks for covering the cost."
"I hate you," Pete decides. "You're evil."
"Oh, yeah?" Patrick says. His eyes are wide and bright and he's not smiling but there's a twitch at the corner of his mouth. "I mean, I can totally just go home and get back to, you know, my education. I never did get that graduate's degree. All kinds of research I could be doing planetside," he says, putting the lid back on his pen and using Pete's knee for stability as he stands up.
"You cannot be that much of an asshole," Pete says.
"Well, I mean, obviously I can if you hate me." Patrick grins and waves from the doorway. "I'll just go be my evil self now, 'kay?"
"Get back here."
"Is that an order?"
"Is that a -- yes, it totally is. I order you to get back here, Patrick Martin Stumph."
Patrick tosses him the pen and leaves.
The moral of the story is, Patrick Stump is evil. Or that would be the moral, if the story was over.
"So I figured the cheapest place we could get that paint-job you wanted done," Patrick says. He's still, as far as Pete knows, working on the problem of that fuel collection thing, whatever that is; Pete still doesn't understand even though Patrick's explained over and over. "You up for a little vacation?"
"Always," Pete says.
"We'd better not be going to New Brunswick," Gabe says. "I think I'm wanted."
"Oh, is that what the arson thing was about," Andy says. "I don't know if you'd still be wanted for that. It's been a while."
"Not that much of a while."
Patrick says, "Seriously, though, Pete. Valencia's where it's at. Kid I knew back home moved there, dude."
"Watch where you put your prepositions."
"Did I -- dude, that was ironic," Patrick says. "I swear."
"No. You can't use prepositions ironically. That's not how English works, dude."
"Shut up," Andy says.
"We're having a very pointed debate here, Andy, and you have no room to complain. Go eat some plants."
"Was that supposed to be -- what was that?" Patrick asks, mildly horrified. "Were you trying to come up with an insult or what? You'd better mean like vegetables and not my plants."
Pete says, "Oh, you'll see what I meant. You'll see."
There's an awkward silence that Gabe breaks with, "I have no idea what's going on, but as long as we're not going to New Brunswick I think that's okay."
"Yes, Gabe, yes it is."
Gabe says, "Seriously, you guys."
Pete's standing with his hands on his hips, looking up at his ship, which has been brought in to dock planetside. There's this guy Patrick knows, kind of shady, with his own dock and his own patch of world and even Pete doesn't want to think about how much money this facility must have cost. Seeing his ship from the outside is nice, though; she's huge and glossy-black, her skin reflective enough that her hull is stained with tree-shadows and sometimes dark bird shapes slide across her smooth fish curves.
And now, and here's what Pete is really pleased with, here's what Pete just dropped ten grand on: bats. Metallic gold-paint bats, some with hearts in the middle and others with fake windows, line the side; on the bridge area at the ship's nose there's one huge silver bat design. The guy who did the job says the paint should stand up to the temperatures of reentry and leaving atmosphere both.
"So are we good, Pete Wentz?" Patrick asks. Pete's not sure when he showed up; the crew's been wandering around a little, since they've been docked for just over a week now. Pete is pretty sure, for example, that Joe and Gabe went into town to get some stuff two days ago. Patrick's been in and out of sight sporadically; Pete himself has mostly written correspondence and slept a lot.
Pete turns. Patrick's standing with his hands in his back pockets, head listing to the side a little.
"Yeah, sure," Pete says. "What, were we not good?"
"Oh, no, we're golden," Patrick says. There's a gust of wind that makes him have to hold on to his hat. "Just making sure."
Patrick says, "Okay then. Cool," and makes like he's going to walk off.
Pete says, "Hey, now."
"Hey, yeah." Pete says, "I, you know, you're still interesting, you know that, right. Like. Yeah. You. Yeah. You're smart and stuff."
"Aren't you supposed to be playing hard to get?"
"I'm not hitting on you!" Despite the wind the air's really warm, though the balance is a little off. Pete feels kind of breathless, can't get quite enough oxygen or something. Maybe he's just making excuses; he's been fine all week.
"Oh, right," Patrick says. "I believe that."
"Okay, dude, so maybe I was. Shut up."
"Thought so." Patrick says, "Did you say I was smart and stuff? What happened to eloquence, Pete Wentz?"
"Eloquence is overrated. So okay. I was, I mean, I'm not just propositioning you, now, is that what you wanted?"
Patrick shrugs. His face stays calm but Pete can't help but think he's really, really amused right now. "You think we could raise tomatoes on the ship? We've got room. I could always grow shit in my quarters even if we didn't."
"I -- what?"
"It's just an idea. I mean, they've got some on-world. I could get a hook-up."
"Okay, sweet," Patrick says, "I'm gonna go do that." Pete stares after Patrick as he walks away and really can't think of anything to say.
So on their next trip they have, after a few weeks, fresh tomatoes with dinner, because Pete can't say no to Patrick's ideas. This is another thing: Patrick's little hydroponics project started out as a tiny pot with a flower in it in the corner of his room on the Patron Saint, which wasn't even hydroponics. Now they've sectioned off part of the Decaydance's second cargo bay and put in actual equipment and have a fairly steady on-ship crop of edible plants running the gamut from basil to weird shit Patrick's found on barely-explored planets to tomatoes. It's an interesting mix. It also means the artificial life support is eating a lot less power than it used to; another one of Patrick's weird little efficiency issues taken care of.
"Hey Stump," Pete says.
"Got any other ideas on how to make my ship bad-ass?"
"It's already pretty bad-ass. It was pretty bad-ass right off the assembly line."
"Yeah," Pete says. "Okay, yeah. Still. I mean. You've."
"You've had some pretty good ideas."
"So, uh. Thanks?" Pete says, "Thanks. Dude, wait, have I not said -- shit, dude, I'm sorry."
"Yeah, you're welcome." Patrick gives Pete the thumbs up and goes back to trimming dead flowers off one of the older plants. "I kind of wish we could have actual dirt, a real garden, but you know. That's not practical. I just miss living planet-side."
"You can," Pete says. "Uhm. If you wanted to go home."
"No," Patrick says. "No, I think that's okay."
Patrick smiles and ducks his head, and Pete's beginning to think maybe that move is intentionally disarming. "I don't miss it enough that I want to leave."
Patrick sits down, his back pressed against the transparent plastic curve of one of the hydroponics units. The air here is cool and damp and sweet against skin, and Pete thinks he should spend more time down here, maybe. The leafy green plants stand in regimented rows above and around them, multi-levelled and multi-coloured. "Here, sit down," Patrick says, and Pete does, so Patrick says, "Take off your shirt."
Pete says, "Wait, what?"
"You keep saying I've got all these good ideas so I figured I should act on a bad one for once. I mean, dude, we wouldn't want my ego getting as big as yours, would we?"
"Oh, 'course not. I'm not sure that's possible, since it's pretty much my ego powering this ship," Pete says. "I get my strength by robbing lesser souls of their self-esteem, what with being so sexy and all. Or something." He says, "I'll just take off my shirt now, how's that," and keeps good to his word.
"Yeah, that'd be good," Patrick says. He sits down next to Pete, looking sidelong at him. "Unless I'm completely misguided and you secretly hate me or something, which is possible, I guess, but doesn't seem too likely. Now that I've said it it's probably true. Fuck."
"Look, you're almost as good as I am at sticking your foot in your mouth."
Patrick says, "This isn't just a bad idea, it's a horrible idea." He says, "Here, let me," and leans over across Pete's lap, one elbow digging into Pete's thigh.
"Here, here," Pete says, shifting a little. "There, less leg-stabbing." The words scrawled on his hand and foot have long since faded away (Pete's ears are still ringing, part of his hearing dying in the wake of those words which he doesn't let himself remember) -- they're long gone but Patrick pulls his pen out and sets to writing right on the jut of Pete's clavicle, letting his pen skip to avoid the tattooed thorns as best he's able while still keeping the pen just above where bone and skin meet, letting letters sink into the dip in the middle.
Pete lets his eyes close and hopes Patrick won't run off this time. To make sure he curls an arm around, letting his fingers curl into the thin soft hair at the nape of Patrick's neck. He keeps his breathing slow and steady, tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth. The only hitch in his breathing is when Patrick first presses his lips up against the words, consecrating whatever secret messages he's writing. Pete thinks maybe he'll avoid the mirror, maybe he doesn't want to know.
"Hi," Patrick says out loud, and Pete can hear it but opens his eyes to see Patrick's smile. "No words today, sorry. Law of Total Currents; Law of Special Relativity; Ohm's Law; Higgs' Law," he says, slowly, pausing between each phrase to write. The last is made of large looping lines, sweeping elegance over Pete's sternum.
"What, I don't get poetry? Just math?" Pete asks, suppressing a shiver as Patrick goes back to writing. He laughs and rubs a thumb against Patrick's cheek. "Write me something beautiful."
"You're insane if you think this isn't, isn't, shit, seriously," Patrick says. "Your skin will explain the universe. On you, like, I'm writing the stuff that makes infinity on you. If that's not beautiful I don't know what the hell is."
"Yeah?" Pete's never liked his own smile but he doesn't bother fighting it when it comes. "Aw, you're being poetic."
"I am not." Patrick mumbles, "You wanted to know how big infinity is, right, back then, so I figured." He says, "Stop talking; let me write."
"Shit." Pete lets out his breath, chest shaking with held-back laughter, and Patrick has to wait for him to calm down again before putting the pen back to skin. Patrick's eyes go narrow with concentration and his tongue is sticking out of the corner of his mouth, just a little. Numbers and symbols form equations that scale and crawl down the shallow valleys of Pete's ribcage, down to his stomach where the pen nib presses further into softer skin.
Pete says, "You know, okay, you can't blame me for this," and kisses Patrick (for the second time in ever, because kissing the top of Patrick's head doesn't count, nor does kissing his cheek). This time Patrick doesn't bite, doesn't glare at him, just watches him through squinted eyes and takes a moment to think before kissing back, slow and warm. He tries to whisper "hi" again, but his voice cracks and comes out too-loud.
"Hi." Patrick's sharp almost-laugh exhalation is hot against his chest. "Hi, you big dork." He snaps the lid back on his pen, putting it carefully into his pocket as Pete kisses his neck. Patrick tilts his head back and, for a moment, lets his eyes close as Pete's breath ghosts against the thin soft skin of his neck. "Hi, hello."
"'Lo." Pete says, "So you gonna take your shirt off or am I going to be alone in my tragic shirtless state?"
"Uhm," Patrick says.
"It's fine," Pete says, "I'm messing with you, dude, dude, it's fine," and Patrick nods but shifts his weight back and scrunches his eyes shut and pulls his shirt off anyway. "Hey. Hey."
"Hey," Pete says, and he hugs Patrick and they sit there like that for a while, in a shady part of the second cargo bay, the air fresh and crisp with plant-smell. "You don't have to do anything you don't wanna."
"I know," Patrick says. "That's why I want to."