Pete's always looked after Ryan. He just wishes he'd let him. One-shot.
“I could kill him, you know, for what he does to you. I could kill him and enjoy every second of it.”
Ryan’s eyes flood with terror before freezing into something that I’ve never before seen in those innocent ovals of chocolate; resignation. A degree of coldness too cold for someone under a blanket on my couch and sharing my body heat. Just like he does every Saturday night when there isn’t a party for me to show him off at.
“I could kill myself and enjoy every second of it.” He whispers back, tone so clipped and precise that I know he means it as much as I meant my earlier statement.
I did mean it and I would act on it in a heartbeat, if only I didn’t know that Ryan would hate me forever for it afterwards. I would do anything to keep my Ryan Ross, my fifteen-year-old boyfriend, safe; I have done ever since I started babysitting him way back when I was ten and he was five. So yeah, I’m five years older than my boyfriend, but that’s okay. Mentally, Ryan’s at least a few years my senior so we figure that it kind of balances out in the end. He might be more mature than I am, after all the name ‘Pete Wentz’ seems to be synonymous with water fights and tickle attacks, but at the same time he is so much more, I don’t know, innocent, than me. Then again, that isn’t exactly hard.
Back to the point though; I’ve known him since he was five and I’ve looked after him ever since that first Thursday evening in July when his dad could be bothered to hire someone to keep an eye on his kid whilst he went out to get drunk beyond recognition. Thus leaving me with a very sweet, very shy and very cute little kiddie to spend my evening looking after. To begin with, I thought it was adorable the way that Ryan would go all quiet and nervous whenever I spoke to him, or even just looked at him in the early days of our friendship, but then I realised; he was scared of doing something wrong, of being punished. Punished in the same way that his father punishes him. So I learnt the art of patience, of being gentle and soft with him until he was so at ease with me that he started up tickle-glomps (as he so calls them to this day) without me initiating it. It took me three years to get that far with him, to the point where he was an eight-year-old who understood the concept of having fun without fear.
It took me a further two years, when Ryan was ten and I was fifteen, to see what was going on in the Ross household; abuse. I first saw it in the forms of small, yellowing bruises on Ry’s twig-like arms but I didn’t suspect anything; ten-year-olds get bashed about all the time, most likely from falling out the apple tree down the bottom of his garden. But then, when I was sleeping over whilst his dad spent the night in some sleazy motel with some sleazier hooker, I caught sight of his back. Of the bruises, the cuts, the cursive signature of abuse staining the white skin of his torso. He told me everything that night; about how his dad blames him for his mom leaving, about how he ‘deserves’ to be taught a lesson for ‘ruining everything’.
I’ve hated his father ever since, even if it was his father who I have to thank for making me meet my boyfriend.
My boyfriend who pretty much just told me that he wants to die.
“Shit, Ry.” I bundle him up tighter in my arms and press a kiss to the hours-old gash on his forehead. “Don’t say that, just. You just can’t mean that.” I pause, blinking back tears when I see nothing but a vague form of apathy on his features telling me that yes, he certainly can. “Think of Spence and Brendon. They’d be lost without you.”
Spencer Smith and Brendon Urie, two kids that mean almost as much to my Ry as I do. Something that I guess should probably bug me or make me feel at least a little insecure, but it doesn’t. Because without them looking out for him at school and being two of the best friends a guy could ever ask for, I doubt he’d still be half the person he is now. Which, in turn, is about a quarter of the person that he used to be. That he should still be.
Ryan just nods slowly, considering my words as though he might possibly be questioning them. And that hurts, the idea that he might not trust me; stings like fucking acid, but I can’t hold it against him. Not when the poor guy finds trust almost as scary as I find the absence of it. Almost.
“Pete, do you remember when I was little and I used to get upset?” I make a small noise of acknowledgement, too taken in by the ever-present fear on my boyfriend’s face to point out that he’s changing the subject like he always does. “And you’d make cupcakes with me, even though we both hate cupcakes, just so that I could eat all the buttercream icing?”
“Yeah, I remember, Ry.” I whisper, my lips and breath brushing against his cheek as he relaxes into my hold at the realisation that I’m not going to push about his dad. How can I? “We used to give all the cupcakes to the ducks at the pond. You went crazy over buttercream, used to be the only way I could get you to smile.”
The memory is tinged with pain, a slight hint of agony hidden within my tone like a snake in a bouquet of roses, but it’s one of my most treasured ones nonetheless. Me and Ryan going through all the effort of making cupcakes (or rather me making them whilst Ryan sat shaking on the kitchen counter at my house) so that he could gorge on the icing in a way that made smiles the only option for both of us.
“Until…” He swallows and even though I know what’s coming next, how this story ends, I can’t help but snuggle into him through fear of what his words will bring. “Until I tried to do it for myself at home and fucked it all up.”
I wince at the memory, of how both of Ryan’s eyes were swollen to the point of being damn near unable to open when his dad came home early to find icing sugar covering everything. I’d made Ry sleep over at mine for an entire solid week after that, he was my boyfriend by that time and so he trusted me enough to believe that I knew best how to look after him. But if I truly knew that, then he wouldn’t be like he is now; nothing but raw nerves encased in a bruised and battered shell.
“I remember, Ry.”
He turns his head so that our noses are touching and I lean forward to press a soft kiss to his lips, just taking a moment to taste the mouth that hasn’t had a slight flavouring of buttercream or happiness for a long time now. Too long.
My way of making him smile with buttercream icing and cupcakes stopped working after his own attempt ended in disaster. In fact, the last time I tried the Buttercream Cure, the poor thing had gotten so wound up that he actually vomited before passing clean out. All because he had tried to do something to make himself happy for once instead of me having to do it for him.
“Then you know that it’s my fault.” His voice is cold again, so cold that it makes me shiver and rub my hands over his tiny little tummy as though I can warm up the sadness in his voice. “I messed it all up and now we can’t do that anymore. Because I messed up.”
“No, Ryan. No.”
He looks up a little, feathery hair falling away from his eyes, so that I can see tears starting to bleed down his face in tiny little crystals. My heart all but breaks for the kid right there and then; seeing him so helpless and so full of self-hate… it makes my skin crawl with the injustices of it. Ry’s just a kid, a kind kid who never takes anything for granted and would never been mean to anyone unless seriously provoked; he does nothing to deserve any of this bullshit.
“What d’you mean? Of course I did.” He grumbles something under his breath; he does that a lot nowadays, before burying his marked face safely into my chest where he knows that nothing will ever harm it. “I mess everything up, just like with the buttercream, and that’s why he does it. I deserve it. I need to be punished. I deserve it.” His tone is robotic; his words making me feel physically sick. “I deserve it.”
“Ry, sweetheart, you’re only saying that because it’s been drilled into you. Doesn’t make it right. Not nearly.” He peeks out a little from my chest, giving me all the encouragement I need to smile at him a little before carrying on. “You never mess anything up. What about those songs you write when you think nobody’s watching? You don’t mess them up.” When his face is set aglow with a blush sweeter than sugar, I quickly peck at his nose to let him know that I mean it; that I really do think the world of him because, to me, he is the world. “You don’t mess kissing up, you’re real good at that. And you don’t mess smiling up; you’ve got the bestest smile I’ve ever seen.” He demonstrates my point, the effort behind the gesture overpowering the fact that it’s a clearly forced smile, an empty smile meant only to cause me happiness. “You don’t mess up being a good person; Spencer and Brendon are always telling me how nice you are to everyone.”
All of a sudden, his eyes take on an exhausted quality, an emotionally tiring day finally taking it’s merciless toll on my fragile little boyfriend. He lets out a ginormous yawn, one that stretches his mouth and scrunches his eyes, before nuzzling down into my neck, my hand tracing whimsical patterns onto his back like I always do when I can tell he wants to sleep.
“B-but that’s all relative stuff. Like, the way you see it makes it not messed up to you, but the way he sees it-“
“Then he needs to get his fucking eyes tested.” I say it quickly, sharply even, but with so much love that the slight slice to my tone is nowhere near enough to frighten Ryan. “No. He needs to not be blind; he needs to see the beautiful, kind, smart boy that he somehow managed to produce.” I pause for effect, edging my face closer to Ryan’s so that my jet black fringe is brushing his cheek. “My beautiful, kind, smart boy.”
I know he won’t believe a word that I say when it conflicts with what’s been drilled into him, but just saying it makes me feel at least slightly better about the whole situation. The situation being that my bruised, battered, frightened boyfriend is curled up into me as I try to reassure him that he isn’t the piece of filth that his father is.
He’s almost asleep, thumb resting lightly in between his lips like it always does when he’s drifting off, and his face is the very definition of sweet innocence. Or rather, it would be if it wasn’t for all of those harsh marks of stark reality.
“You didn’t mean it, did you, Ry?” I whisper, just in case he’s already out for the count, as a terrifying thought slams into my mind. “What you said earlier, I mean. About enjoying killing yourself.”
There’s a slow, agonized sigh followed by the most pitiful little whimper that I’ve ever heard coming from a human being. Immediately I feel guilty for asking, for ruining the semi-sereneness of almost-sleep for him.
“Sometimes, yeah, I think I would.”
Shit, Ry. Holy fucking shit.
“But then there’s you, Pete. And Spencer and Brendon, but mostly you. You make me feel like living is good, like the pain of having to breathe through broken ribs half of the time is worth it because if I wasn’t breathing you wouldn’t be able to take my breath away.” I don’t know what to say, not a single fucking clue, so I just let a comfortable silence settle between the two of us for a few minutes. “Is that fucked-up? That you’re the only reason I don’t want to die?”
“No, I-. No, it’s not fucked-up at all, Ry.” I exhale steadily, trying my best not to straight out burst into tears. “Wanna know why?”
He nods, eyes droopy with tiredness, and I cup his cheeks to make him look straight into my eyes. God, he’s beautiful.
“Because you’re the only reason I don’t.”
A/N: I’m really not sure if I like this, but I’ve wanted to write a Ryan/Pete fic for ages now and this is what came out of that. Just out of curiosity, if anyone knows any good Ryan/Pete fics, could you please point me in their general direction?
Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think! :)