Fandom: Bandom RPF [there are too many bands in here, let’s just go with: most bands in bandom are represented in this story]
Pairings: Pete Wentz/Patrick Stump, Jon Walker/Greta Salpeter
Word Count: 10,115
Disclaimer: I do know that this didn’t happen. Really I do. Please don’t send ninjas to break my legs.
Copyright: Title is some lyrics from The (After)Life Of The Party by Fall Out Boy.
Warnings: This is unashamedly silly and there’s a lot of Twilight in here. A lot. I did the research and everything.
Summary: In which Pete decides Edward Cullen is his lifespiration (with all the glitter and stalking that that implies), Patrick has no idea what’s going on, Jon experiments with teenage angst, and Greta decides to take matters into her own hands.
Author’s Notes: Ok, although I’ve completely moved location so it’s barely related, this is set about a year after Door Locked From The Outside (three ghosts in a lighthouse) and just before the start (and a little bit during) Sheepish Wolves (just don’t put your teeth on me). Yes, you may have noticed a pattern in the titles. And I’m tentatively calling this the Sheepish Wolves ‘verse, should you or I need to reference it, which we won’t. And yes, there are vampires in this, but it’s not a Sixteen Candles verse. So, with no further ado... part three of That Bandom Series I’m Apparently Still Writing.
Blood cells pixelate and eyes dilate
And full moon pills got me out on the street at night.
– Fall Out Boy
It all starts with something Greta and Pete did almost four years ago.
It was the summer they turned thirteen, and summer is always pretty crap when you can’t actually go outside until the sun goes down. They spent most of their time sitting around in the dark, playing on Pete’s Nintendo and watching movies and getting increasingly bored. When bored, Pete has a tendency to come up with really, really stupid ideas but the difference was, on that particular August day (seven in the evening, and in the winter they’d be outside already), Greta was just bored and curious enough to say yes.
They were both only children who’d grown up together, inseparable as their smiling parents called it. Most adults in their lives assumed that they’d be getting married one day, ridiculously old-fashioned as that idea was, but then they didn’t know what Pete had told Greta when they were twelve.
(She hadn’t really been all that interested in the I’m gay speech, and they’d wound up going to a movie instead of talking about it. They didn’t need to talk about it, after all.)
“You’re like my sister,” Pete said that afternoon, warm and drowsy.
“I know,” Greta said, because she did.
Pete rolled onto one side and looked thoughtful. “It just sucks that we’re not actually related,” he said, tone suddenly serious. “Not in blood.”
Greta froze, because she knew what he was saying without him explaining it. Of course she did. It made her stomach twist with something like fear and something like hunger; the promise of doing something that they were really, definitely not allowed to.
“Ok,” she said.
“Do you want to go first?” Pete asked, eyes warm and bright, but he was scared too, and that made her smile, suddenly calm.
“No,” she said, “you should.”
She held out her left arm, clenching her fingers to stop them shaking. Pete stared at her for a moment and then took her forearm in both hands, leaning in to sink his teeth into the skin beneath her elbow. It hurt for a moment and then it didn’t; she could feel her blood seeping through the holes and into Pete’s mouth, could feel him swallowing it down, and she shut her eyes and breathed in time.
When he pulled away his mouth was glossy red and shining, a crimson mess.
“You taste... Jesus, you taste cherry coke,” he said, sounding pleased and surprised. A bubble of blood popped on his lips. “Your go.”
Greta pulled his arm to her mouth, nearly freaked out, and bit down hard. His skin split beneath her teeth and Pete gasped but she sucked anyway, drinking deep. Vampires weren’t supposed to do this anymore; not until they were older, anyway, laws confining it just like sexual consent. Who or what they were trying to protect was kind of hazy.
She couldn’t place the sweet-bitter taste of Pete’s blood until years later, when she realised it was like mojitos.
“Here we are,” Pete said, grinning, his fangs coloured pink, his mouth and chin still stained.
Greta knew she looked exactly the same. “Here we are,” she agreed, a matching grin on her own bloodied mouth.
And that’s where it all begins really. Because Greta and Pete did that when they were thirteen and now she doesn’t know how to say ‘no’ to him; she doesn’t think she ever will. They’re bound by blood or experience or something epically stupid like affection, and so when Pete comes into school one morning with hearts in his eyes, waving a book with a black cover and a picture on the front that involves an apple, Greta is helpless to do anything but go along with it.
Do I dazzle you? Yes or No? the note Pete has just chucked into her lap says. There are boxes for ticking and everything.
It’s nearing 3 a.m. and they’re in third period Spanish. Greta has been conjugating verbs into the pluperfect for what feels a bit like forever, their teacher sitting sombre and quiet at the front. He’s one of those vampires who’re trying to overcompensate by being as boringly human as they possibly can be. He’s wearing a very neat tie, and a very crisp shirt. It’s tragic.
She glances over at Pete, who is resplendent in body glitter, sparkling under the classroom lights. He grins at her with too many teeth, and his mascara is blue today, thick and electric. Greta twists her mouth, ticks the ‘no’ box with a flourish, and throws the note back.
Jon, sat beside her, laughs softly. He’s got a trail of biro on one cheek and his hair needs cutting and he isn’t wearing any make up at all, and Greta is suddenly overwhelmingly grateful for him. For whatever it was that made Jon Walker’s parents pack up their shit and move him across the country for high school.
Like Jon knows what she’s thinking, he glances at Pete and then murmurs: “my old life involved a lot less glitter.”
Greta giggles, glancing nervously at their teacher, but he doesn’t look up. “Didn’t everyone’s?” she asks.
Jon’s smile is like what she imagines real sunlight would be like.
Pete’s next note says Twilight party today, my place after school? The tick-boxes are labelled Yes and Hell Yes.
When she looks up, she sees Tom (in the row in front of Pete) has a similar note, and Pete is in the process of getting one over to Travis and Cassadee. Jon has read it over her shoulder, and his expression is a mix of resigned and amused. He takes the paper, ticks the second box, and throws it back over at Pete.
“Ever think we should stage an intervention?” Jon whispers, and this time Greta’s giggles get her told off and asked to stay after class. It’s sort of worth it.
Pete’s obsession with a poorly-written and woefully inaccurate series of vampire romances has never ceased to confuse Greta, but because he’s Pete she’s never tried to do anything about it. Anyway, Pete’s always had this thing where he’s tried to live up to society’s expectations of vampires; when they were little he turned up to kindergarten every day with a white greasepaint face, painted carefully by his long-suffering mom, decorated like a small human child on Halloween, red paint dribbles down his chin. It made sense to him at the time, swishing about in a little crimson-lined opera cape, and in the end Greta joined in, acquiring a long black wig and a set of plastic fangs to use until her own grew in.
They’re older now, and she’s coped with Pete’s need to watch what are possibly the world’s stupidest movies by inventing a complex and awesome drinking game. Pete’s parents are pretty lax about their liquor cabinet provided they clean up their own messes and keep it in the house, so everyone piles onto pillows and couches with glasses and laminated copies of the rules to humour Pete, to laugh their asses off at what humans think vampires are like, and to get really, really drunk.
The game crumbles towards the end of the movie; Keltie’s fallen asleep with her head in an equally unconscious Tom’s lap, Cassadee is curled into a contented little ball, Travis is slumped against the wall, and Jon seems to be dozing at the other end of the couch, occasionally waking up to glower at the screen. Greta’s not sure where Andy is, she’s sure he was here when Edward started sparkling, because seriously, that scene is a classic.
Pete crawls off the floor, working his body between Greta’s and the arm of the couch, and she lets him. His eyes are too shiny but at least he’s washed off the worst of the body glitter.
“Hey, Greta,” he says quietly, and then drapes himself across her, his head coming to rest against her breasts. He sighs happily. “Mmm, Greta, your boobs are the best ever. Seriously. I’m like in boob heaven.”
Greta laughs, doesn’t say you should see Victoria’s. “I know,” she says, and: “if you were straight, I would punch you so hard right now.”
Pete doesn’t reply, just snuggles closer. Greta smiles and slings her arm around him, still half-watching the end of the movie. When she glances sideways Jon is conscious again, attention apparently divided between the epic fight happening onscreen and Pete, an unreadable expression flickering on his face. She doesn’t ask.
Greta thinks that Pete dozes off for a while, though he does wake up eventually, mumbling: “is this the prom bit? With the unflattering cardigan?”
“Yeah,” Greta says, watching Pete’s eyes struggle to focus. His eyelashes are still blue, mascara creeping down his cheeks.
Pete sighs. “I want a prom,” he murmurs, drunk and barely coherent, “with the twinkling and the... the... twinkling.”
Greta smiles, but she knows what he’s actually saying. “I know,” she replies, threading her fingers into the dark mess of his hair. “I know, Pete.”
“But no unflattering cardigans,” Pete decides, just before he passes out again.
Jon catches Greta’s eye. “Shall I change the movie?”
She giggles, short and sharp. “God, please.”
He sticks on 10 Things I Hate About You, which Pete owns because it’s one of Greta’s favourites, and then comes to sit beside her on the couch. Greta keeps stroking Pete’s hair, glancing at the time on the TV – it’s nearly midday, fuck – and then leans her head into Jon’s shoulder. He rests his cheek against her hair and she bites her lip to swallow down a smile, eventually drifting off to sleep, feeling Jon solid and secure beside her.
The first time Greta saw Jon, he was standing awkwardly in the cafeteria, doing that I’m The New Kid expression, clutching at his tray.
“That’s Jon,” Darren said, following her gaze, because that was the time when they were still dating, rather than the uncomfortable better-off-as-friends thing they’ve got going on now. It’s ok. They’ll work it out, Greta knows they will. “He’s moved here from... somewhere, he was in math this morning.”
Greta opened her mouth to say something like maybe we should invite him to sit with us but Pete had already bounced to his feet and was on his way over. Greta knew some of her doubt must’ve crept onto her face because Keltie, sitting opposite her, laughed.
“If he can handle Pete’s invitation he might just be able to handle hanging out with us,” she said, grinning.
Keltie had a valid point so Greta sat where she was and watched Pete overwhelm Jon with words and arm gestures, grinning like a maniac the whole time.
“No one’s gonna rescue the new kid?” Travis asked, dumping his tray down between Tom and Keltie.
“It’s an initiation thing,” Tom explained, failing miserably at subtly peering over his shoulder. “Don’t you remember, we all went through it.”
Greta thought about pointing out that a lot of the time Travis seemed kind of hazy about the previous week, but didn’t.
Finally, Pete said something that had Jon laughing, and his whole face lit up with it. Greta looked away, leaning slightly into Darren’s shoulder.
“This is Jon Walker,” Pete said not that much later, arm slung casually around Jon’s shoulders like they’d known each other for way more than five minutes. “And he’s my new favourite, bitches.”
Jon looked faintly awkward but mostly amused, sitting in the empty space Pete indicated. There was something at ease about him, despite the first day nerves thing, and also he was wearing flip-flops in December, which was... well.
“Can we keep him?” Pete asked Greta in a not-at-all-subtle whisper halfway through lunch.
“Did you check his collar for a name tag? An owner’s address?” she asked. “Are you going to take him for walks every day?”
“Yes!” Pete said earnestly. “And I shall love him and look after him and I shall name him Squishy.”
When Greta risked a glance at Jon, he was laughing. “I can cope with that,” he said.
Greta grinned. “You do know he’s not actually kidding, don’t you?”
And that was how they acquired Jon. Two years later, and Greta’s still struggling not to feel a flutter every time he smiles. But that’s fine. Really.
“I’m in love,” Pete says after school on Friday.
“Shit,” Jon says with feeling, but it’s on the breath of a whisper and Pete either doesn’t hear or chooses not to.
Greta kind of wants to echo Jon, but she pulls herself together and says: “what’s his name?”
Pete breathes out: “I don’t know,” like it’s actually a name.
Greta rolls her eyes. It never ends well when Pete falls in love with someone before he’s even got a name to try and find rhymes for in his endless reams of almost incomprehensible love poetry.
“Tell me all about it,” she says patiently, exchanging a significant look with Jon, who bites his mouth together.
Pete launches into how he and Tom went before school to that bar where they let amateurs play half hour sets, and how he saw this guy, and how he is the most talented thing ever, seriously, Greta, he’s talented, it’s kind of amazing and now Pete is definitely and absolutely in love.
“He is human,” Greta points out; not that this has ever stopped Pete before.
Pete shrugs. “He’s perfect. We’re going to be the new Bella and Edward.”
Greta’s head snaps up, and sees her own look of horror reflected on Jon’s face. She’s got to play this carefully, though.
“Which one of you’s going to be the girl?” she asks.
“Ha ha ha,” Pete says dryly, rolling his eyes. His eyes are framed in green glitter today, crawling in streaks down his cheeks. Greta will be glad when Pete gets over his Vampires Must Sparkle So I Will Fucking Sparkle, Ok phase; glitter spreads easily, after all, and her parents are starting to tease her when she comes home with her skin and clothes shining.
“Seriously,” she adds, “you could do so much better than Bella and Edward and their staring at each other in meadows thing. We don’t even have meadows.”
Pete just shrugs, looking blissfully happy. And that’s fine, really, because Greta knows what happens when Pete isn’t happy and it kind of tears her apart a little.
Jon seems to be choosing his words with care. “You do know that Twilight isn’t a how-to manual, don’t you?”
Pete just grins and them and then bounces off to inform Travis that I’m in love, Travie, did you know?
Greta watches him go, biting her lower lip.
“This might be better than the Vampire Lestat thing,” Jon says tentatively.
“It might,” Greta agrees. She doesn’t really hold out much hope.
“I’m moving,” Victoria says, and her voice is sad and flat.
Greta aches with the need to hug her, but they’re too many miles apart and anyway, even if they were having this conversation face to face instead of over the phone, Victoria can get kind of defensive about things like personal space. Greta sometimes thinks that being friends with Pete for so long has made her forget what personal space even is.
“I thought you hated your school,” she offers instead.
“I do,” Victoria agrees. “The jocks are bastards and the cheerleaders are bitches and everyone’s under the impression that I’m a goth. Seriously, I don’t even know why they think that.”
Greta laughs. “You are a Creature of the Night,” she points out, inserting the capital letters easily.
“I don’t think I’ve worn a single black thing since I arrived at this school,” Victoria protests, “where are they even getting the goth thing from?”
“You’re asking the wrong girl,” Greta points out. “We don’t have goths at my school.”
Or maybe they do; it’s hard to tell when someone’s made a valid lifestyle choice and when someone’s just wearing black because they’re teenagers with fangs.
Victoria sighs. “I want to go to your vampire school,” she says. “You can’t be as horrible as normal people.”
“Not all vampires are as awesome as I am,” Greta tells her, grinning.
“Well of course,” Victoria says, though whether she’s humouring Greta or genuinely agreeing, Greta can’t tell. “But you can’t be as casually evil as most normal teenagers.”
Her voice is light but Greta aches with it anyway. Greta’s grown up among her own kind, around people who know exactly what it feels like to be a vampire. Victoria has never met another werewolf – her dad might be one, but her dad isn’t in the picture and Victoria doesn’t like to talk about it much – and her mom keeps moving for her job and maybe to keep Victoria from slipping up and telling anyone. Victoria is lonely and bitter with the world and Greta wants to badly to fix this for her, but she can’t, so she does what she can do, and tries to always be there for her on the end of a phoneline.
“We’re technically capable of ripping people’s throats out,” Greta reminds her.
“Well,” Victoria says, “so am I.”
For no reason at all, they both burst out laughing, infectious and lingering.
“This maybe makes us psychopaths,” Victoria muses, when they’ve both calmed down.
“Hey,” Greta protests, “it’s a life skill. It might look good on a CV.”
They both start laughing again and this is good, Greta likes it when Victoria laughs. Her life is a strange disjointed mixture of fear and resentment and she deserves more than that, so much more.
“I should go,” Victoria says, and she sounds happier, looser, relaxed. “It’s like one a.m. and I have school in the morning. Actually, don’t you have school now?”
“It doesn’t start ‘til two today,” Greta explains.
“Your life is so weird,” Victoria remarks, but there’s no abuse in it.
“So’s yours,” Greta points out, “yours involves actual sunlight.”
“Sunlight’s overrated,” Victoria mumbles.
“Hey,” Greta says brightly, “maybe that’s why your classmates think you’re a goth.”
“You’re no help at all,” Victoria says, but Greta can hear her smiling. “Have fun at school.”
“You too,” Greta says, and: “sweet dreams.”
“His name is Patrick,” Pete says over lunch.
“How did you find that out?” Jon asks, looking impressed.
“That’s what google is for,” Pete informs him cheerfully. “And then facebook.”
Pete’s facebook profile is mostly fake, seeing as how you can’t take a photograph of a vampire. The vampires-don’t-have-a-reflection thing is a total lie – which is good, because otherwise Greta suspects their school would be full of people wandering about with lopsided eyeliner – but you can’t capture their image, so a profile picture is kind of out of the question.
“I’m not sure that is what facebook is for,” Cassadee offers quietly, but she’s smiling.
“Pete and Patrick,” Pete says happily. “Alliteration is on my side.”
Andy turns his laugh into a cough, looking intently at the table. Vampires don’t actually need to cough, but no one calls him on it.
“We’re going to be desperately in love,” Pete says dreamily, “and people will try to stand in our way, there might be evil vampires who try to kill him, but it’ll all be fine and I’ll turn him and we’ll live happily ever after.”
Pete isn’t actually crazy; Greta knows this. She chews her lip for a moment, trying to formulate a reply that won’t upset or insult him.
“Where are the evil vampires going to come from?” Travis asks. He sounds very interested. Pete waves a vague hand, like the fine details aren’t important.
“Edward doesn’t want to turn Bella,” Andy provides unexpectedly.
“He does, though,” Pete protests.
“Yeah, ‘cause the evil weird baby with the stupid name basically kills her and he has no choice,” Keltie says, rolling her eyes. “I’m pretty sure that you won’t be able to knock Patrick up with demon spawn, no matter how hard you try.”
“You also don’t know how to turn him,” Tom points out, because Tom is so frequently a voice of reason. Greta needs more voices of reason in her life.
It’s true; vampires aren’t taught how to turn anyone until they’re over twenty-one. Greta assumes this is so stupid lovesick teenagers can’t make their human crushes into vampires and then go off them a week later, which is fine, because God knows Pete would have a string of attempted conquests by now. She’s not even legally allowed to drink blood yet – she and Pete may have been kind of breaking the law that afternoon, but it’s not like she’s ever told anyone – so she doesn’t really mind not being able to make new vampires.
“We can wait,” Pete says contentedly.
Greta grimaces, hates herself for saying it, and then says: “have you had a conversation with this guy you’re going to spend eternity with?” anyway.
Pete pouts. “Not yet,” he admits. “But he’s got a show tomorrow night. Facebook told me.”
Jon has arrived just in time to hear the end of the conversation, sliding into the seat next to Greta’s. He shouldn’t make her chest feel tight, she doesn’t breathe and her heart doesn’t beat. She can’t do any of the clichéd things that songs claim can happen.
“Mind if we tag along?” he asks Pete, and flickers Greta a look that plainly says damage control.
Pete shrugs. “If you want.”
Andy has been looking thoughtfully at Pete for a while. “Are you going to turn up on his porch looking like a male model in an advertisement for raincoats?”
Cassadee buries her laughter in Travis’ shoulder. Greta knows that she and Jon distributed copies of Twilight to all their friends when Pete decided it was his new Bible, but she didn’t expect them to read it quite as diligently as they all did.
“Yes,” Pete says firmly.
“You don’t own a raincoat,” Greta can’t help pointing out. “And why does everyone have an encyclopaedic knowledge of these books?”
“You can sing all the songs on the High School Musical soundtrack,” Pete reminds her, even though he promised he wouldn’t tell anyone, “you are in no position to judge, Miss Salpeter.”
Ok, so maybe Greta might have a weakness for any and all high school movies, ordinary lives laid out onscreen, but she isn’t using it as a guide to get herself a boyfriend. She resolutely doesn’t look at Jon as she thinks that because, well.
“Touché,” she says, and Pete grins.
Winter is great because the sun sets earlier and this means they get more time to go outside. Greta chooses a pretty dress, adds a scarf and a thick coat she doesn’t technically need, and goes over to Pete’s house.
Most of his wardrobe seems to be on the floor of his room, and Jon is already there.
“You don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard,” Jon is offering, looking faintly helpless.
“Of course you don’t,” Pete says, “you’re wearing flip-flops. It’s October.”
“I can’t get frostbite,” Jon points out mildly, lounging on Pete’s bed. “Seriously. All five of the t-shirts you’ve tried on since I got here have been fine.”
“Tell him, Greta,” Pete says, rounding on her. “The right outfit is really important.”
“It is,” Greta agrees mildly. “Are you really going to wear that much body glitter?”
“It makes me look pretty,” Pete tells her, and goes back to rummaging in his wardrobe.
It’s less obnoxiously shiny than usual, Greta has to concede; his skin has a soft golden shimmer to it, rather than the actual flakes of glitter she’s gotten used to. She doesn’t ask when or where Pete went make-up shopping; at least he’s stopped stealing her stuff out of her bathroom, that really sucked.
Jon looks like he can’t decide whether to laugh or cry, and Greta realises that if they want to get out of here and not be late for Patrick’s show, she’s going to have to take charge. She picks a t-shirt out for Pete and hands it over; he puts it on and then spends far too long fussing over his hair until eventually Greta and Jon take an arm each and drag him out.
It’s not until they get to the bar that Greta notices that Pete isn’t the only one wearing eyeliner. Ok, so Pete’s is very thick and very black and kind of looks like he put it on with an industrial-sized paintbrush, so it can’t really be compared to the thin dark lines around Jon’s eyes, but it’s enough to confuse her. Jon doesn’t wear eyeliner, he’s one of the only guys Greta knows who doesn’t, and she’s always been kind of relieved about that.
“Why are you wearing eyeliner?” she blurts out.
Jon just looks faintly uncomfortable, saying they need to stick with Pete so he doesn’t disappear, edging past her and ignoring the question.
Patrick, as it turns out, is a short guy with a hat pulled low over his face, messy red-gold hair escaping from underneath it. He looks sweet, Greta thinks, but nothing particularly exciting; there’s no reason for Pete’s eyes to be that wide, no reason for him to be hyperventilating (especially seeing as how Pete doesn’t actually breathe). He sits down on a stool, cradling a battered acoustic guitar in his lap like a shield, and says awkwardly into the microphone: “So, uh, hi. I’m Patrick, and I’m going to play some songs for you.”
He’s nervous, and that’s endearing; Greta smiles and digs her nails into Pete’s leg as he opens his mouth to call something, because Patrick looks like even a whoop would terrify him into silence. Pete sinks mutinously back into his chair.
A moment later, Patrick starts singing. And Greta can kind of see why Pete has this whole complicated Bella-and-Edward style romance worked out after all. She glances sideways at Jon, who is nodding along with the song, a smile twitching over his mouth, and looks around to see that everyone is staring at Patrick like they’d quite willingly have his children. Pete is all but vibrating in his seat. She reaches out a hand and Pete takes it, his fingers crushing hers. She imagines his palm would be sweaty, but vampires don’t sweat either.
Patrick finishes his set half an hour later with an embarrassed little smile and the whole bar bursts into applause and cheering. Pete is on his feet immediately, darting through people to get to the stage just as Patrick leaves it.
“Here goes...” Jon murmurs as Pete manages to corner Patrick.
“Please don’t touch him,” Greta whispers urgently, “please God don’t touch him.”
Patrick looks surprised but not necessarily averse to Pete talking to him, and Pete must’ve remembered some of the lecture Greta and Jon gave him on the way over here because he doesn’t leap on Patrick or try and molest him in the slightest. Greta is proud of him; Pete has definitely learned since that whole thing with Bob.
“Patrick’s good,” Jon observes after a moment, when they both turn around and stop watching the conversation. There’s been no slapping or throwing of drinks, so Greta counts this as a victory.
“He is,” she agrees, “I’m almost jealous of Pete.”
She laughs and Jon does too, though he sounds a little strained.
Pete comes practically bouncing over a little while later, looking elated and waving a slip of paper at them. It’s got a string of numbers that could, plausibly, be Patrick’s telephone number. Jon grins and holds up his hand for an adorably dorky high five.
“Phase one achieved,” Greta says.
“Phase two: a lifetime of bliss,” Pete adds cheerfully.
“...yes,” Greta agrees, “but you might want to, you know, have coffee or something first.”
“Or save his life a few times,” Jon suggests, and Pete’s eyes light up.
“You’re not helping,” Greta tells him, but Jon just grins. Then something seems to occur to him.
“I’m pretty sure if you got body-slammed by a car you’d actually die,” he tells Pete quickly. “Or have to spend a long time in physiotherapy, anyway.”
Pete nods, like this is inconvenient but he’s sure that some other way to prove himself with fewer broken bones will turn up.
“He seems nice,” Greta says, putting an arm around Pete’s shoulders, and watching him laugh, white and wide.
“We have a problem,” Jon tells her, sounding frantic.
Greta only left school an hour ago; family dinner night is tonight and there is never any way of missing it. She checks her watch; nearly six a.m.
“What’s going on?” she asks.
“Pete just called me,” he says. “I’m on my way to yours now, ok?”
“...ok. What did Pete say?”
Jon sounds uncomfortable. “Well, you know how Edward always manages to get into Bella’s room to watch her sleeping?”
“Oh no,” Greta breathes, “no. No, he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t be that stupid, that’s a felony.”
“I know,” Jon says, and: “we’ve got to find him.”
He gets to her house maybe ten minutes later; Greta’s already managed to beg her way out of dinner. Pete is usually a pretty good excuse; her parents know that he frequently needs saving from himself.
“What do we do?” Jon asks, urgent, as they leave her house, out on the streets. At least it’s still dark, Greta thinks, but they’ve only got a couple of hours until sunrise.
“We’ve seen a lot of Patrick’s number,” Greta says, thinking aloud, “the amount Pete was waving it around. Maybe we could... call him? Text him and warn him?”
“He can’t know,” Jon points out, and he’s right, of course. “And anyway, telling him to sleep with his bedroom windows shut just sounds like a threat.”
Greta grimaces. “Do you know where Pete is?”
“He just said he was going over to Patrick’s,” Jon shrugs.
“Why wouldn’t he call me?” Greta asks, ignoring the sting of hurt.
Jon smiles slightly. “‘Cause he knew you’d talk him out of it?”
Greta smiles back but there’s more going on right now. “Ok,” she says, “well, now we need to find out where Patrick lives. And our resident expert in stalking people is unfortunately the person we need to find.”
Jon looks thoughtful, then pulls his phone out of his pocket. “Hi, Spence? Yes, yes I do know what time it is. I know. I’m sorry. Yeah, I’m really sorry, I’m trying to keep Pete out of prison. Yes. Yes. Yes, seriously. Look, do you know anyone who would be able to get someone’s address out of the internet or something?”
Greta curls her fingers into her palms, trying to keep calm. Pete isn’t stupid, Pete isn’t crazy, but he’s not always good at thinking about consequences.
“Oh, you do? That’s amazing. Right. His name is Patrick Vaughn Stump, his date of birth is the 27th of April, he’s seventeen. Oh, and he’s somewhere in Chicago. Will that do it? Ok, ok, brilliant. Speak to you in a minute.”
He hangs up.
“Well,” Greta says, “I now feel like I’m misspending my youth.”
“Because you don’t know how to actively stalk people?” Jon asks.
Greta smiles. “Something like that.”
She thinks she might actually be shivering, which is stupid because she can’t feel the cold. Jon puts an arm around her shoulders and she leans into it. “It’s going to be fine,” he says, “and we’ll probably get a really funny story out of it.”
“I’m going to punch Pete in the face,” Greta murmurs, but she doesn’t think she means it.
Jon’s phone rings and he answers it quickly: “Spence? Oh, ok. Ok. Ok. Oh, that’s amazing, thank you so much. And thank Mikey as well for me, yeah? Speak to you soon.”
“Well?” Greta asks.
“We’re lucky,” Jon says, “it’s only a few blocks away. And I haven’t heard any sirens, have you?”
“It’s probably only a matter of time,” Greta observes.
“So then we hurry,” Jon says. He’s great in a crisis, and Greta is ridiculously grateful for him. He offers her his hand and she takes it, and they both start running.
With hindsight, she thinks that this will make a good story; her and Jon running hand in hand through the almost-empty streets in the hour before the dawn to try and stop Pete breaking the law and terrifying the guy he’s crazy about.
Patrick’s apartment block has a fire escape, and Greta can see Pete on it. Well, she thinks, this could be worse. She opens her mouth to shout up to him and Jon shakes his head, quietly reminding her that that will wake everyone up.
Greta sighs, and resigns herself to climbing the fire escape. Jon offers to do it, but she points out that he’s wearing flip-flops and he’ll only slip and fall and no one wants that.
“Pete,” she hisses urgently, running up the metal stairs as quickly and quietly as she can, “Pete, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Pete turns, startled. “What are you doing here, Greta?”
“Keeping you from breaking the law,” she whispers. “Get down. I mean it.”
Pete looks faintly hurt; Greta hardly ever gets angry with him, but right now all she can taste is stale adrenalin and something like panic. “This shit ends now,” she snarls. “I can cope with the glitter and the constant movie watching and fact that Edward Cullen is apparently your new idol, but I’m drawing the line here. This is breaking the law, this is going to terrify Patrick, and if you don’t get the hell down I’m leaving now and I’m not coming back, ok?”
It’s fear fuelling her anger, but she’s not sure that Pete can tell that; he looks crushed.
“His window’s closed anyway,” he mutters.
“Thank God for that,” Greta says. “Come on.”
Pete trails after her; they’ve just gotten back to street level when someone’s window opens above them. Jon and Greta flatten themselves against the wall and Greta claps a hand over Pete’s mouth because it’s Patrick who peers out, looking sleep-ruffled and confused. She’s really shaking now, she notes detachedly. When Patrick goes back inside, slamming his window shut again, she lets Pete go.
“You’re an idiot,” she says quietly. “You’re an idiot. You could’ve gotten arrested. It’s barely an hour ‘til sunrise. Patrick’s not worth dying for.”
“Maybe he is,” Pete mutters, and she can’t tell if he really thinks that or if he’s still trapped in a fantasy world of Stephenie Meyer’s making. She’s not sure which would be worse.
“I can’t do this right now,” she sighs, and she knows how much saying this will hurt Pete but she’s tired and frightened and she really can’t. “I’m out, ok? I’m out.” She turns to Jon. “Try and get him home without breaking any more laws, all right?”
She walks away and doesn’t look back, not even when Pete shouts her name loud enough to wake up half the block.
Pete doesn’t call her all day. Greta sleeps badly, a mixture of guilt and anger keeping her awake. Pete is Pete; he’s wonderful but occasionally misguided and he sometimes doesn’t think through his actions, but he never sets out to hurt anybody.
Jon turns up at her door just after sundown. “Pete didn’t say anything all the way home,” he offers. He, too, looks tired, and he’s still wearing eyeliner for no discernable reason. Greta wants to ask him why, but she can only worry about one person at a time, and that one person has to be Pete right now.
“We’re in over our heads here,” Greta says, trying to smile. She came up with an idea while she wasn’t sleeping. “We need to go and get some advice.”
Jon looks confused but willingly accompanies her to the Starbucks nearest their school. His expression clouds over when they get there, however.
“Why are we here?” he asks, sounding almost angry.
Greta shrugs. “Who better to ask for advice than someone who’s already been stalked by Pete Wentz?”
She pushes past him and walks in. Bob usually works the late shift and he’s there now, making lattes and scowling at the customers. The awesome thing about Bob Bryar is that he looks like he could cause you serious physical damage without any effort at all but he isn’t right now because you’re not worth it, but he’s actually a really nice guy underneath that. Greta maybe had a not-particularly-subtle crush on him at the time Pete was stalking him, but it wasn’t like she was ever going to act on it.
For some reason, Jon has never liked Bob.
“Greta!” Bob’s face splits into a smile when he sees her, leaning over the counter to pull her into a hug. Greta maybe still has a little bit of a crush on him, but she buries the grin into his shoulder. Bob’s twenty, anyway; way too old to be dealing with adolescent vampires. He lets go of her and directs a distinctly less shiny smile at Jon. “Hey, man, long time no see.”
Jon shrugs non-committally.
“We kind of needed some advice,” Greta says quickly, because Bob is working, after all, and they have to go to school later.
Bob nods and turns to the guy at the other end of the counter. He has the biggest hair Greta has ever seen on another person before, and she’s friends with Travis McCoy.
“Hey, Ray, I’m taking my break, ok?”
“You don’t have to-” Greta begins, but Bob just smiles.
“It’s fine,” he says. “And I’m guessing you want free lattes, right?”
Jon finally smiles; coffee is, after all, the way to his heart and all that.
“So, what can I help you guys with?” Bob asks, when they’re all sat at a table in the corner. “I haven’t seen Pete in a while, he still trying to wear see-through mesh shirts like that guy in the movie?”
Greta thinks about correcting him to Stuart Townsend in Queen of the Damned, but decides in the scheme of things it’s not really worth it.
“No,” she says, letting her relief show in her voice. “He’s moved on to Twilight.”
Bob grimaces. “Does he sparkle?”
“Yes,” Greta says, a laugh trickling out before she can stop it. “It’s, um, interesting.”
Jon smiles slightly, but he’s staying mutinously silent with his coffee.
“Well, I’m not really the person to come to for fashion advice,” Bob points out.
“Yeah...” Greta stares at her coffee for a moment, and then says: “so, Pete’s found this guy called Patrick.”
Bob bursts out laughing. Half the customers turn around to look; some of them look startled, some of them look terrified. It’s kind sad, Greta thinks, how she’s a blood-sucking murderous inhuman creature, and Bob Bryar will always be scarier than her.
“Don’t tell me,” he says, “you’re here to ask what it’s like being stalked by Pete?”
“Something like that,” Greta agrees. “Like, would you find it creepy if you got a text from an unknown number telling you to sleep with your windows shut?”
Jon hides a smile behind his mug.
“Probably,” Bob says. “You’ve got a phone number for this guy?”
“Pete does,” Greta explains.
“So he’s already doing better than he did with me,” Bob observes, looking amused. He is a great guy, Greta thinks; most people wouldn’t be quite so laid back about being stalked by a teenage vampire for a couple of months. “Maybe Pete has a chance with this one.” He frowns. “He got given it, right?”
“Yes,” Greta assures him quickly. “Patrick willingly handed it over.”
“Wow,” Bob remarks.
“So... got any ideas as to how we can stop Patrick being scared off before Pete calms down?” Greta asks.
Bob looks thoughtful for a moment. “Tell him,” he says at last. “Just... take him aside and tell him that Pete isn’t always like this, that he’s just really overenthusiastic, and let him know what’s going on. It’ll make the whole thing way less creepy.”
Bob has a good point. “Would that have helped you?” Greta asks him.
“Maybe,” Bob shrugs.
Greta grins. “Thank you, you’ve been really helpful.”
Bob pulls her into another hug; Greta hears a chair being scraped back and when she lets go, Jon’s gone. She sighs.
“Why is everyone in my life crazy?”
Bob is looking like he’s trying not to laugh. “Probably comes with the supernatural territory,” he remarks.
“So...” Keltie says slowly, “both Pete and Jon aren’t talking to you.”
Greta groans, letting her head drop onto the desk. “How is this my life? Seriously, how?”
“Men are idiots,” Keltie sighs.
“Hey,” Andy says from the other end of their table.
“Apart from Andy,” Keltie concedes. “Because he’s awesome.”
He grins, and turns his attention back to his biology textbook.
Keltie is Greta’s lab partner, and she’s actually good at biology which is probably the only reason Greta is passing. Biology confuses the hell out of her; half the things about sunlight and plants and things are just... incomprehensible, and most of the bits about human biology don’t actual apply to vampires. Greta still has no idea why they have to learn about the circulatory or respiratory systems.
“So why aren’t Jon and Pete talking to you?” Keltie asks.
Greta shrugs. “Pete isn’t talking to me because I shouted at him, but I’m not sure about Jon. He’s started wearing eyeliner and brooding, which is confusing, because he was basically the only guy here who did neither of those things.”
“Hey,” Andy protests again.
“Apart from Andy,” Greta says, “because he’s awesome.”
Keltie is looking thoughtful. “Have you asked him about it?”
“He avoids the question,” Greta replies. “Why is everyone in my life crazy?”
Andy doesn’t say anything this time, and Keltie starts giggling. Greta resolutely doesn’t look at where Pete is sulking in the corner, shimmering with silver glitter, hair a miserable mess and purple eyeliner smudged. At least Jon isn’t in this class, she reflects.
“Jon Walker has discovered teenage angst?” Keltie asks, sounding amused. It is ridiculous; Jon is the happiest person Greta knows, the most laid-back about everything. He can’t become as introspective as everyone else, it would be wrong. He needs to be her bastion of calm when everyone around her is insane and sparkling.
She manages to catch Jon and Pete after school; they both look ludicrously emo, and at any other time Greta would find this funny.
“Look-” she begins.
“No,” Pete says, “you’re out, remember? You’re done.”
Jon doesn’t say anything at all, but turns and walks away with Pete.
Something in Greta snaps. “We are not a How To Be A Clichéd Vampire school!” she yells after them. “We do not have classes in Advanced Brooding or Excessive Make-Up Application or Stalking People For Fun and Profit! Why am I the only one who knows this?”
They don’t turn around. She wasn’t really expecting them to.
Patrick studies her carefully from beneath his hat.
“You’re one of Pete’s friends, aren’t you?” he says carefully.
Well, at least he’s observant, Greta thinks.
“Yeah,” she says, “I’m Greta. Can we talk?”
If Patrick is freaked out by her meeting him after his afterschool orchestra practice – and, ok, maybe she did do a little bit of online stalking, but desperate times call for desperate measures – he doesn’t mention it. They walk until they get to the nearest Smoothie Hut, where Greta chooses the orangest drink that she can so it doesn’t look even remotely red.
“There’s something I need to tell you,” she begins.
Patrick takes a sip of his dark purple smoothie. “If it’s that Pete’s a vampire, I already know,” he says.
Greta is maybe a little bit startled. “You do?”
Patrick smiles. “You guys aren’t that difficult to spot once you know what you’re looking for.” He taps his incisor. “The fangs are kind of a dead giveaway.”
“Oh,” Greta says, “right. Well, that’s going to make the next bit considerably easier.”
She lays it out in the least damning way possible; Pete’s love for Edward Cullen, his decision to use Twilight as a dating guide, that kind of thing. She very carefully does not use the word stalking in any capacity at all.
“Hmmm,” Patrick says. He looks thoughtful, but not freaked out. “That explains why you guys were hanging out underneath my bedroom window the other night.”
Greta puts her head in her hands. “Pete’s awesome,” she says, the words coming out muffled, “just... sometimes misguided.”
“I’ll bear that in mind,” Patrick says, and when she risks a glance at him, he’s smiling. Confused, but smiling. “Are you all right?” he adds.
Greta frowns. “What?”
“Last time I saw you, you looked a lot happier,” Patrick explains. He’s flushing a little – which is kind of fascinating; it’s been too long since Greta hung out with anyone who blushed – but resolute in his observation.
Greta finds herself fervently hoping that he and Pete manage to work out. “I’m having a fight with two of my friends,” she says, shrugging.
“Is this to do with the other night?” Patrick asks. Greta starts to shake her head, but he adds: “I heard everything; you guys woke me up.”
“Shouldn’t you be more freaked out?” Greta asks.
“I am,” Patrick says evenly. “But since you’ve just told me Pete isn’t trying to kill me, I guess it’s a bit less scary.”
“You’re awesome, Patrick Stump,” Greta says, with feeling.
They talk until they run out of smoothie and then Patrick starts looking awkward. “I should probably get home before my parents start worrying,” he says.
“Right,” Greta says, trying not to sound regretful.
“You could come for dinner if you wanted,” Patrick offers, staring resolutely down at the table. “You know, since Pete and Jon aren’t talking to you.”
Greta thinks about refusing, but she likes Patrick, and if she’s now closer to dating Patrick than Pete is, well, that’s Pete’s problem for not letting her apologise.
“I’d like that,” she says.
Patrick, as it turns out, has an awesome amount of stupid high school movie DVDs and, all in all, it’s a lovely evening.
When Greta gets home, she calls Victoria, who starts at her new school tomorrow. Victoria sounds tired so Greta doesn’t burden her with her own problems, and leaning back on her bed listening to her friend talk, she manages to feel a little bit less lonely.
“So, Patrick says you hung out with him yesterday,” Pete says at school.
“...yes,” Greta says warily. Pete has his hands shoved in his pockets. He’s wearing his favourite Team Edward t-shirt and is maybe looking sheepish, though it’s hard to tell under all the glitter and mascara.
“I’m sorry,” Pete blurts, and practically launches himself at her. Greta wraps her arms around him and lets him bury his face in her shoulder, even though he’s going to get glitter all over her coat.
“I’m sorry,” she says, “I shouldn’t have said all that.”
“You were right,” Pete mumbles into her shoulder.
“It’s all right,” Greta tells him, “I mean, it’s hardly the first time you’ve tried to break into someone’s house to watch them sleeping. At least you didn’t have a screwdriver this time.”
Pete’s laugh is muffled but real. Greta pulls back and kisses his cheek, even though she knows she’s going to wind up covered in glitter.
“We’re ok,” she assures him. “But run these ideas by me first, yeah?”
Pete nods. “So, I was thinking of throwing myself in front of a speeding truck to save Patrick’s life,” he says, face solemn, though his eyes are sparkling.
“Asshole,” Greta says, elbowing him.
Pete laughs all the way to English.
Sometimes, being friends with Pete is more like being a parent, and sometimes it’s more like being a parole officer, but Greta doesn’t think she’ll ever give it up for anything.
Jon requires a little more work. Greta tracks him down at lunch – he isn’t at their usual table – and won’t let him just walk away.
“Are you at least going to tell me what I did?” she demands.
Jon sighs, and he looks sad, and it’s horrible seeing Jon look sad. Jon isn’t one of those people who were made to look sad. He opens his mouth, and Greta can already tell what he’s going to tell her.
“If you say ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ I might scream,” she adds.
“All right,” Jon says. He sighs again. “I just... I’ll get over it, ok?”
Greta has no idea what he’s talking about, and nearly says this, but doesn’t. “Does this mean you’re going to stop wearing eyeliner?”
Jon’s smile is much more real. “Are you saying it doesn’t suit me?”
“Of course it suits you,” Greta says, and has never been more grateful that vampires can’t blush, “but seriously, it was kind of nice that you didn’t.”
“Are you saying I’m not allowed to have teenage angst?” Jon asks, and his grin is widening. Greta kind of doesn’t want to look; it makes her stomach twist.
“Yes,” Greta says, but grins as she does. “You are not allowed to have teenage angst, Jon Walker.”
Jon laughs, and pulls her into a hug. It’s less glittery than her hug with Pete and it’s nice, leaning into him, tucking her head under his chin. If this is all she gets of Jon then this is all she’ll have; Greta thinks she can cope with that.
It really was all too good to last, Greta reflects almost a week later, Saturday night, watching Patrick shout at Pete.
She buries her face in Jon’s shoulder and his fingers come to rest in her hair, carefully following her curls. They’re too far away too hear the words, but Patrick’s face is flushed and Pete looks desperately defensive and miserable.
“I kind of thought it was actually going to work out this time,” she admits to Jon’s shoulder.
“So did I,” Jon admits, “but Pete always has to push.”
“Do we even know what he did this time?” Tom asks. He’d accompanied them to Patrick’s show tonight, but even his lovely calming presence isn’t making this any less horrible.
“No,” Jon says. “But for all we know he’s been turning up at Patrick’s house every single night.”
Greta groans into his shoulder; she still doesn’t want to look.
“I told him,” she mumbles, “I told him to stop using Edward Cullen for dating advice.”
“I guess we should be grateful he didn’t try and look physically sick every time he looked at Patrick,” Tom offers, “that could’ve been misinterpreted.”
Greta smiles into Jon’s shoulder; his fingers stutter a little in her hair.
“He could’ve tried dying his hair bronze,” Jon adds. “And that could’ve been tricky, because what colour even is ‘bronze’?”
Greta laughs but raises her head in time to watch Patrick storm off. It’s not his fault, she thinks, though she’d like to make it his fault. She really would. Pete is left standing alone, shoulders hunched, looking small and lost. Greta pulls away from Jon and walks over to Pete.
“Come here,” she says quietly, sitting on the edge of the abandoned stage. The bar is noisy around them, and Pete sinks down beside her, burying his face in her chest. Greta puts an arm around his shaking shoulders.
“Are you crying?” she asks after a while.
Pete makes a thick noise. “No,” he says. She doesn’t believe him.
Given how much make-up he’s wearing, Greta knows her white shirt is going to end up covered in mascara and coloured eyeliner and body glitter, but she doesn’t even mind.
“It’s going to be ok,” she offers quietly.
“No,” Pete mumbles, “no it isn’t. He thinks I’m weird and creepy and he wants me to leave him the hell alone.”
They sit in silence for a while, as Greta resolutely doesn’t ask him what exactly it was he did.
“You’re not going to go and try and kill yourself in Italy, are you?” Greta asks.
Pete makes a muffled noise against her breasts that could be an attempt at a laugh. “No.”
“Well,” Greta sighs, “I guess I should be thankful for that, at least.”
Jon and Tom trail over; Jon sits on Pete’s other side, running a soothing hand up and down his back. “I’m sorry, man.”
Tom sits down next to Jon, expression grim, and though it’s usually his job to be the voice of reason, he doesn’t say anything at all, and Greta is grateful for that.
It’s three days of Pete not saying very much and looking tragic, wearing a lot of black and a lot of body glitter.
“Shouldn’t you be wearing a light beige leather jacket and an ivory turtleneck sweater?” Andy asks over lunch.
Pete gives him the finger.
Greta opens her mouth to ask why Andy seems to know all of Edward’s clothing choices off by heart, then decides that she really doesn’t want to know.
The next day, at sundown, Greta gets a call from a unknown number.
“Hi, it’s Patrick. Look... I, I need your help.”
Greta and Jon meet him at the Smoothie Hut. Greta picks a berry smoothie, as vividly red as she can get, though she’s willing to admit it’s not much of a threat.
“I messed up,” Patrick says. “He just... he started talking about how he was going to turn me and we were going to live together forever, and it freaked me out. We’ve been on one date.”
Greta hums in sympathy, while Jon says: “you do know that Pete has no idea how to turn people, don’t you?”
Patrick looks surprised.
“We don’t get taught how to turn people until we’re twenty-one,” Jon explains. “Pete’s never even drunk blood before.”
Greta thinks about correcting him, then decides that this isn’t the moment.
“Oh,” Patrick says in a small voice. He’s fiddling with the menu, eyes downcast.
“It’s ok,” Greta says, “I know Pete can come on a bit strong.”
Patrick papercuts himself. He stares down in horror at the blood welling out of his index finger and then at Jon and Greta.
“Do you want a band-aid?” Jon asks.
“Yeah, I think I’ve got one,” Greta says, rummaging in her bag.
Patrick looks confused. “Shouldn’t you be... attacking me? Drinking my blood?”
Greta shrugs. “We’re not legally allowed to drink blood.”
“This isn’t the beginning of New Moon,” Jon adds, grinning.
Patrick looks awkward and a little bit sad for a moment, and then sticks his hurt finger in his mouth.
“You’re lucky, really,” Greta says. “Most people’s friends would be being really bitchy to you right now.”
She glances sideways at Jon and he smiles at her, sweet and soft.
“Well, that’s good,” Patrick says, taking his finger out of his mouth and pressing it against a napkin. “Because I really need your help.”
Jon and Greta recruit Travis because he’s really tall, and then talk Pete into coming out with them instead of hanging around at home being sad and worrying his parents and repeatedly googling Robert Pattinson.
Pete tries to run away once he finds out where they’re going, but Jon takes one of his arms and Travis takes the other and Greta looks fierce until Pete reluctantly lets himself be dragged along.
He tries to leave when Patrick takes to the stage, but Travis has been briefed for this and so sits heavily on top of him. Patrick looks nervous and his eyes flicker over them for a moment; Greta tries to smile reassuringly.
Patrick clears his throat, and says: “I’m not supposed to be on tonight, but, um, this is a song that I wrote, for once. I, um... yeah.” He looks nervous and scared, but starts strumming his guitar.
Pete shoves hopelessly at Travis when Patrick starts singing, but he’s watching intently anyway. He goes stiff all over when Patrick sings that he can’t sleep in the wake of Saturday; by the time Pete’s own name comes up, he looks absolutely rapt. Greta turns to Jon, who is grinning in something that might be relief.
Travis obediently gets off Pete’s lap when Patrick finishes singing; Pete all but launches himself at the stage. Greta laughs as he flings himself at Patrick and Patrick doesn’t pull away; just hugs him back, tight and earnest. Travis is laughing and Greta leans into Jon, feeling his smile as he presses it against her hair.
Travis mumbles something about going to get a drink, and Greta looks away from Pete and Patrick. Patrick doesn’t seem to mind that he’s getting his face covered in glitter as he kisses Pete, and it’s kind of ridiculously adorable.
When she glances at Jon, she sees something almost wistful on his face. And she thinks about Patrick, who turned it around and did his own wooing when Pete couldn’t anymore. Really, Greta reflects, she kind of needs to be more proactive here.
“So,” she says, and Jon turns to look at her. She swallows, and tells herself to man the hell up. If Patrick can sing to a room of strangers, she can talk to Jon. “If I said I really liked you and I thought you really liked me too, and asked you to maybe go out with me sometime, what would you say?”
Jon frowns slightly. “I’d say that I had this whole plan for wooing you.”
Greta laughs. “Was this a whole plan where I didn’t at any point notice it was going on?”
She thinks Jon would be blushing, if he could be. “Maybe,” he offers. “I was going to ask for Ryan’s help with some terrible emotional poetry and everything.”
“Right,” Greta says, and she can kind of forgive Pete the body glitter thing because right now she feels like she’s sparkling all over. “Well. I’ve kind of ruined that plan now, haven’t I?”
Jon is smiling now, real and huge. “You have,” he says, leaning into her a little bit, “but I think I’ll forgive you.”
And then Jon Walker is kissing her, warm and sweet and fierce, and Greta reaches up a hand and curls her fingers into his too-long hair.
“Um, guys?” Travis says at some point, “adorable as this is and everything and, you know, fucking finally and I’ve just made a load of money off Andy, I’m pretty sure Pete isn’t supposed to be doing that to Patrick in public.”
Greta pulls away from Jon laughing so hard it kind of feels like it hurts. She glances over and sees that Travis has a point. “Seriously, parole officer,” she mutters to herself, smoothing her hair and getting off her chair. “Hold that thought,” she tells Jon, who is grinning, and walks over to tell Pete to go find somewhere a little more private.
“You do know that Twilight is basically a metaphor for chastity, right?” she tells a guilty-looking Pete. Patrick is blushing, and it’s still stupidly cute.
“I can’t get Patrick pregnant with hellspawn, Keltie said so!” Pete protests, like that’s an argument of any kind.
“Oh,” Patrick says quietly, “well, good.”
“Take this somewhere else, boys,” Greta instructs, putting a hand on each of their shoulders and pushing.
“You’re not my mother, Greta,” Pete says, but his eyes are fond.
“I feel like it sometimes,” she smirks. “Now go away, I have a boyfriend of my own to deal with.”
Pete’s wearing false eyelashes, Greta belatedly realises, and Patrick either hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care. Most of his face is covered in glitter over the blush and he looks sort of shell-shocked but happy. And she thinks that maybe Pete’s managed to get a happy ending anyway, without having to go through four books of angst beforehand.
She turns back to Jon and thinks that maybe she has too. As she starts walking back over, she hears Pete behind her saying:
“So, do I dazzle you?”
From the soft sound of pain he makes after that, she thinks Patrick might have punched him. When she glances back, though, he seems to be kissing it better, so she doesn’t try and intervene.
“So,” Jon says.
“If you’re about to ask me if you dazzle me, this is over,” Greta assures him.
Jon grins. “I was going to ask if you maybe wanted to get breakfast somewhere, but that question works too.”
Greta rolls her eyes, but as they’re walking out she maybe mumbles: “always, Jon Walker.”
Jon, because he’s awesome, doesn’t call her on it.
[This is it for the moment; the other thing I want to write for this ‘verse at the moment is the Epically Epic Story of How Ryan and Brendon Got Together, with extra stuff around the edges on How Bill Beckett Learned To Love Being A Ghost and How Nate Novarro Became A Werewolf And Ended Up In Gabe Saporta’s Basement. And that’s going to take longer because it could get really messy and sad and I don’t want that. So Give Up The Ghost (with just a little more poise) is there but will take a little while longer. Uh... yeah. That’s me done with world building for now, feel free to play around in this universe if you like. But I will be back! And thank you for the lovely feedback; I honestly thought finkpishnets was going to be the only one reading these :D]