[identity profile] rosiedoes.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] damagereport
Series Title: Moving Pictures
Title: Drop A Heart, Break A Name
Summary: Patrick's perspective on the first time he and Joe interact in TWNW.
Author: [livejournal.com profile] rosiedoes
Rating: PG.
Pairing: Joe/Patrick
Words: c. 1,100.
Author's notes: This series is a collection of alternate perspective pieces to accompany the chaptered fic, The World's Not Waiting (For Joe Trohman To Stop Being A Pussy And Start Going For What He Wants).

The short stories in this series will be from Patrick's perspective and will not necessarily follow a linear timeline - they'll be ad hoc and posted when time allows, or for specific reasons, such as part one, which was written as a gift for the lovely distortedmya on her birthday.

Drop A Heart, Break A Name
The songs you grow to like never stick at first.

Patrick's Tuesday had been pretty uneventful: double math that he was pretty sure he'd scrape a D on and be happy with it, and no one had tried to shove him in a locker, so far this week, so that was cool. He'd switched shifts with Lizzie and only been on the shop floor for forty minutes when that kid walked in again. He was skinny and gawky, like he wasn't quite sure what to do with his limbs, with a questionably applied bleach job that was growing out and never the same band t-shirt under his hoodie. Patrick had started keeping count. He was on at least twenty three, now. Which either said a lot about Patrick paying way too much attention or a lot about how much allowance this kid was getting. Maybe both. The boy was perhaps seventeen - definitely a similar age to him but also definitely not at his school - and he usually wandered around the CD racks arguing with a long-haired grunge kid who always tagged along with him. Patrick may or may not have started grinning to himself when he spotted that he was in, always slightly pink-cheeked, with wide, blue eyes that scanned the shop like he was anticipating attack by a band of stationery-wielding ninjas.

He was pretty sure that there was no one on Earth who needed to be in Borders three days in seven, every week, but there wasn't a whole lot else to do in this part of town, so it was entirely possible that these kids were just killing time and not shoplifting, like his supervisor suspected. A few times, he'd come close to going over and introducing himself - he was always in the market for new friends who who owned three different Joy Division shirts - but twice he'd been intercepted by customers and one time he'd walked up behind them and actually been able to hear the kid's voice clearly for the first time. He'd had to duck behind a bookcase to compose himself. He sounded as ridiculous as he looked, and that was saying something. Patrick immediately wanted to be this kid's friend, but by the time he'd gathered himself enough to try again, they'd left.

This time, though, the kid was on his own. He hadn't even come near the music section, because Patrick had spent the whole time re-alphabetising the classical section and he would definitely have noticed - instead, he found him in the self-help section on his way to collect the list of restocks in his pocket.

Okay, okay - this is your chance - just go over, be cool. Just say hi, Ric, he's just a dorky kid, it's not like it's Bowie or something. Do the imagine-them-naked thing. It must work for some people, or they wouldn't say to do it…

He took a deep breath and strolled over as faux-casually as he could, hesitating at the end of the aisle and genuinely considering just walking away and hiding in the store room until the guy left. But no. No, he wasn't going to chicken out, this time. It was ridiculous. It was no wonder he only had two actual friends. This had to stop.

Armed with all the resolve he could muster, he took a deep breath and stepped into the Self-Help section just as the other boy turned around to face him. Their eyes locked and they both froze - a pair of awkward baby deer in headlights. In a split second, Patrick's brain processed the 'picture-them-naked' memo and the book clasped in the kid's whitened knuckles fell to the floor between them. Mortified by the mental image and the pang it created in his stomach, convinced his face must be firetruck red, Patrick quickly averted his eyes and looked down at the book that had landed cover-up at his feet

Growing Up Gay: From Left Out to Coming Out

His heart skipped a beat. Oh. In front of him, the other boy made a strangled sound and Patrick looked up at him, drowning in second-hand embarrassment and empathy. His cheeks were burning up fit to catch fire and his wide blue eyes were glassy, like he might be on the verge of tears. Oh, you poor guy…

Patrick did the only thing he could think of to try to rescue the situation - carefully, he crouched down and picked up the book, holding it out to him as if it was a chemistry textbook. "Um. I think you dropped this." Please take it, please take it - please don't think I'm judging you, just take it. The kid remained motionless, looking at the book in his hands as if Patrick was offering him a burning diaper. "Excuse me?" he tried, desperately, "I said, I think you… um…" he stepped nearer, trying to encourage him to take it, but gave up on the sentence because they both knew what had happened, there was no point pretending. Haltingly, the kid lifted a hand - visibly shaking - and took it from him.

Patrick wanted to say something. Something supportive or kind or anything which would evaporate the utter mortification he could tell they were both feeling, but the boy just mumbled 'thanks' and turned to flee. Don't let him leave like this, Ric. He needs to know you're cool with it - say something!

"Hey," he blurted, taking a step and a half toward where he'd hesitated, obscured by shelves; he gave him the most supportive smile he could muster while he felt like sobbing in sympathy. "Good luck."

The other boy cringed and walked away without responding. Two minutes later, when Patrick had found the composure to walk around the corner in case he was standing there, he found the book hastily dropped on a shelf, face down, alongside the solo travel guides.

He picked it up and thought about putting it back but, instead, he took it to the store room to put on the reservations shelf and then locked himself in the staff restroom for five minutes, trying to reorganise his feelings into something appropriate. Maybe it was the overwhelming empathy or the fact he'd reflexively visualised the guy naked at such a critical moment, but he wanted desperately to talk to him. To say it was okay; but instead, he'd scared him out of the store and away from whatever help he thought he needed with his situation.

Way to go, idiot.

At the end of his shift, he had Carrie put it through the register for him and stored it safely in his locker with the receipt, hoping that the next time the guy came in, he could finally strike up a conversation and give him the book he'd wanted.

Three months later, it was still sitting there, and the only person who'd read it was Patrick.
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