and every breath we drew was hallelujah. (theswearingkind) wrote in bandslash_usa,
and every breath we drew was hallelujah.
theswearingkind
bandslash_usa

Fic: The Last Best Place (Montana)

title: The Last Best Place (I've Got a Fever and The Only Cure Is MORE COW-TIPPING)
authortheswearingkind
rating: PG
pairing, if any: Pete/Patrick (could be read as gen), mentions of Patrick/Spencer, Ryan/Keltie
state: Montana
author's notes: well.  now that i have insured that the mods of this comm think i am deeply, deeply stupid by trying to code for html in rich text mode, there's not much i can say other than that i don't really know all that much about Montana.  so, any factual mistakes are my Wikipedia's fault.  


The Last Best Place (I’ve Got a Fever and The Only Cure is MORE COW-TIPPING)

 

 

“Dude,” Pete says, dropping down onto the lounge couch next to Patrick.  “Dude, did you know we’re playing a show in Billings?” 

 

“Where?” Patrick asks, because, seriously, where?

 

“Hey, see, Patrick doesn’t know where it is, either,” Pete says, which doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, because they’re the only ones in the room, but then Patrick sees the Sidekick in his hand.  “And if it’s worth knowing, man, Patrick would definitely know it.” 

 

“Patrick,” comes a staticky voice through the Sidekick.  It sounds a lot like Ryan, but there’s maybe a little too much inflection for that.  “How do you not know where Billings is?”

 

“Not all of us grew up in the mountains, Ross,” Pete says, and okay, yeah, Ryan it is. 

 

“I’m from Las Vegas, Pete,” Ryan says, sounding exasperated.  “It’s a desert basin.  In a valley.”

 

Pete makes a non-committal noise.  “Details, dude, you were out West.  There are mountains there.  You know your Western geography.” 

 

“But—” Ryan starts to say, and Patrick can kind of see where this going to go.

 

“Hey, Ryan?” he interrupts.  “Where is Billings?”

 

Montana, Patrick,” Ryan exhales, a little frustrated, and seriously, when did Ryan start having different tones of voice?  It’s not like they talk every day, but Patrick likes Ryan, always has, and considers him a pretty good friend; he should have noticed something as big as the sudden lack of monotone in Ryan’s life. 

 

“We’re going to Montana?” he asks, honestly more than a little confused.  “How the fuck did that happen?  Aren’t there, like, more cows than people there?” 

 

“Dude,” Pete says, suddenly wide-eyed.  Seriously?” 

 

And, oh, Patrick does not like the sound of Pete’s voice.  That tone of voice promises nothing but annoyance for days on end. 

 

“Uh,” he starts, preparing to backtrack, but Pete cuts him off.

 

“Trick, man, that’s.  Dude, I don’t even know.  We’ve gotta get, like, cow suits to wear during the show.  And, like, cows to parade across stage or some shit.  To celebrate the native culture or something.  Dude!  It’ll be like Spinal Tap.”  He pauses, gleeful.  “Only with cows.” 

 

Ryan hangs up.  Patrick envies him. 

 

*

 

“Hey, Patrick,” Pete says, throwing himself bodily into Patrick’s personal space.  Patrick’s not sure when he got used to that.  “Patrick.  We’re gonna be in Montana.” 

 

Patrick is on GarageBand.  Patrick is trying to get these rhythms right before they have to soundcheck at four, and Patrick is maybe not feeling all that chatty right now.  “Uh, yeah, I know.  You wouldn’t shut up about it last night.”

 

“No, Patrick, Montana.  Pete punctuates his words by jabbing a finger into Patrick’s side repeatedly. 

 

Motherfuck.  “Yeah, so?”

 

“So, Montana, dude.  And cows.”  He grins hard at Patrick and lets his hand creep a little way up Patrick’s thigh, and creep really is the only appropriate verb, because it’s creepy.  “You and me, man.  We can throw down Brokeback Mountain-style.”

 

Patrick stares for a second.  Pete propositions him at least twice a week, but that’s a new one.  “That was Wyoming, Pete.  And they were sheepherders.” 

 

“Oh,” Pete says, face dropping.  “Still, though—”

 

“No, Pete,” Patrick says firmly.  “No, no, absolutely not.” 

 

Pete pouts.

 

*

 

“Steers and queers, Pattycake, am I right?”

 

“Jesus, Pete,” Patrick sighs.  “Don’t call me that.  I told you already.”

 

“Yeah, but we’re in Montana,” Pete says, like this makes sense. 

 

“What the fuck, Pete, seriously.” 

 

“I don’t know, man, what the fuck kind of state names its capital Butte?” Only he pronounces it like butt, smiling with all of his teeth, too hard but genuine for all that.  “I mean, it’s the ass end of the universe, yeah, but who really wants to advertise?” 

 

“Helena,” Patrick says.

 

“Huh?” Pete asks, forehead scrunching up in confusion.  “Who is Hel—no, wait, dude, why are you talking about Mikey’s dead grandma?”  His face brightens suddenly.  “Was she from Montana?”

 

Patrick actually has to take a moment.  Mikey’s dead grandma, Jesus Christ.  Pete Wentz is, as ever, the soul of inappropriateness.  “The capital of Montana, Pete.  The capital of Montana is Helena.  Helena, Montana.  Butte,” and he says it slowly, correctly, but Pete just laughs, “is just a city.  Did you even, like, pass the fourth grade?”

 

“Motherfucker, I owned the fourth grade,” Pete crows, and Patrick just rolls his eyes, because Pete—   

 

Pete has the grin of a fourth-grader and the maturity level to match.

 

*

 

(This is how they end up freezing in a field in Montana: They’ve been in the state less than an hour, and already Pete is bored out of his mind. 

 

dude, he texts Ryan.  im in montana.  theres nothin 2 do. 

 

In a few seconds, he gets one back: sux 2 b u. 

 

thanx ross.  ur friendshp means alot 2 me.  entertain me pls. 

 

find somethin else 2 do.  is patrick there?

 

i tried that alraedy, Pete replies.  he said no. 

 

no douchebag.  i meant let him entertain u.  im busy.

 

u work 4 me.  this is part of teh job descrption.

 

kelties here.  i will kill u w/ my mind. 

 

Pete grins.  spencer totally told u 2 say that didnt he

 

i mean it tho.  go away.  go cowtipping or something. 

 

…pete?  r u still there?

 

srsly, petey? 

 

i want details ltr.)

 

*

 

“Dude, what the fuck?” Pete yells.  “This sucks.”

 

You suck,” Patrick mutters.  “Jesus, Pete, it’s like ten degrees out here.”  His teeth are chattering.  Chattering.  Patrick is from Chicago, he’s supposed to be immune to this kind of cold-weather shit. 

 

Pete ignores him.  “I’m gonna kill that little bitch, I swear to God.  I’m gonna kill his skinny ass.  Go cow-tipping, Pete.  It’ll be fun, Pete.  I’m gonna fuck my hot girlfriend while you freeze your ass off in a field, Pete.  Little bitch.” 

 

“Pete.” 

 

“Did you know about this?” Pete demands, rounding on him.  “Seriously, Patrick, did you know about this?  ‘Cause if you knew and you didn’t tell me, man, that’s just fucked up.” 

 

“You d-didn’t even tell me what we were coming out here for,” Patrick shivers.  It’s maybe—maybe—fifteen degrees out here, and Patrick isn’t even wearing a real coat.  “Actually, you didn’t even t-tell me we were coming out here at all.  You dragged me off the bus in the middle of the night in—in fucking Montana, and it is fucking colder than a witch’s tit out here, Pete, so I just genuinely do not give a shit that you can’t go cow-tipping, okay?” 

 

Pete doesn’t even blink.  “This is bullshit,” he says, breath coming out in fat white puffs.  “This is bull—no, dude, this is cow shit.  This is a big fat fucking cow patty, Patrick.”

 

Patrick would kind of like to hit Pete.  Kind of a lot.  Especially when Pete (who seriously never learned when to cut his damn losses, and why aren’t they going back to the bus right now?) digs into the pocket of his big, downy, warm-as-fuck coat—and Jesus, Patrick hates him so much right now—and pulls out his Sidekick, and proceeds to call Ryan Ross from the middle of a field in Montana, where there are cows, because apparently Ryan told Pete that they should go cow-tipping at ass o’clock in the morning (and that makes Patrick kind of want to hit Ryan, too, except that then Spencer would probably, like, bitchface him to death.  Patrick’s been on the receiving end of that bitchface more than once, and honestly, it was bad enough when he was getting to fuck an apology into Spencer afterward, but without the sex, it’s just so entirely not worth it). 

 

“Ross!” Pete shouts.  “You little shit, I can’t believe you would—cows don’t even sleep standing up!  How the fuck am I supposed to tip over a cow that’s already on the fucking ground, dude?  Did you know—you knew, didn’t you, you fucker?  They sleep on the ground, and you knew that, dickweed, and you told me to come out here anyway.  Your ass is so fired, Ross, I swear to God, you’re off the label—I don’t even want to hear it, dude, you’re dead to me.  Dead.”  He hangs up and sighs, long-suffering, and digs the toe of his shoe into the half-frozen ground.

 

And, okay, it was a deeply stupid idea in the first place, but Pete’s his best friend and he seems really, genuinely disappointed, like a five-year-old who can’t find his favorite crayon or something, and, well.  Patrick is pissed, sure, but it’s Pete, and he’s not entirely immune. 

 

“What’d he say?” Patrick asks, doing his best to inject some sympathy into his voice.

 

“Voicemail,” Pete replies. 

 

*

 

It’s about an hour later, and Patrick hasn’t quite thawed, even after drinking two cups of hot chocolate and cocooning himself in blankets and putting on three pairs of socks.  Pete owes him so hard, for like the next ten million years. 

 

Montana was the first state to send a woman to Congress,” Pete reads.  “Jeannette Rankin was known for her staunch, unwavering pacifism, once saying, ‘You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.’  Dude.  That’s not bad.  I’m stealing that.”

 

“Go for it,” Patrick mumbles, half-asleep.  The lounge couch really is the best place for naps in the whole world, especially when it’s dark and comfy and mostly quiet, except for Pete’s off-key humming and the occasional snatch of words he throws out every few minutes, tidbits from the wikipedia article on Montana.  He’d be asleep already, except he thinks hypothermia victims are supposed to stay awake.  Or else their blood will, like, freeze in their veins.  Patrick has never really believed that before now.  But. 

 

“You’re not listening, Patrick,” Pete says, but there’s a smile in his voice, something sweet and satisfied behind the consonants.  “This is important stuff.”

 

“Shut up, I totally am,” Patrick yawns.    

 

“You lie,” Pete grins.  “But I forgive you.” 

 

Patrick shifts up so that he can see Pete’s face better, not just the underside of his chin.  It’s kind of a task, since he refuses to emerge too far from his blanket igloo.  “Seriously, though, Pete.  What—” he breaks off, yawning again, long and low.  “What’s the big deal?  I mean, it’s Montana, man.  What’s so fascinating?”

 

Pete’s quiet for a long time.  Like, a really long time.  It’s maybe a personal best.  “It’s just,” he says finally.  “It’s like, we’ve been all over now, right?  We’ve been everywhere, man.  But we’ve never been here, you know?”    

 

Patrick’s kind of confused.  “So it’s just that it’s new?  ‘Cause you definitely did not geek out like this in Tokyo, man.”

 

Pete shakes his head and puts down the laptop, moves closer to Patrick, until their knees are touching.  “Dude,” he says, struggling for words.  It’s new for him.  “No, it’s—I mean, I knew what Tokyo was supposed to be like, right, even if I never got there myself.  But this, man!  It’s just—it’s empty, Patrick.  I never thought about it, ever.  It’s just this big blank space in my head, right?  And,” Pete says, then.  “And I get to find it with you.” 

 

Patrick can feel heat spread across his face, curl down into his fingers and toes, the good kind of warmth replacing the chill.  “Oh,” he says, soft and kind of stupid-happy, lips twitching into a smile. 

 

Maybe—just maybe—he’ll let Pete off the hook. 


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