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17 December 2007 @ 12:33 am
All the Space Between  
Title: All the Space Between
Rating: PG
Pairing: Patrick/OFC, Greta/Patrick
Summary: Patrick, he kind of needs someone who has some sort of grasp on why he has multiple motebooks of sheet music on his bedside table at any given moment.
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't know, never happened.
Author's Notes: This is the companion to Don't Forget About. It centers on Patrick and has a happy ending! Title for this and for Don't Forget About taken from Valencia's The Space Between.



Patrick’s girlfriend is pretty; she’s got short brown hair that curls just so over her forehead and big brown eyes, shiny and bright. She volunteers every Sunday at the animal shelter two blocks away from her house. She calls Patrick every other day when he’s on tour and wanders over to his house to make sure it’s still in tact and she can’t help looking at other men, but she would never, ever cheat on Patrick.

So Patrick’s not quite sure why he’s standing here in her kitchen, wishing he had Pete’s way with words so he could break up with her nicely. But he doesn’t, so he’s forced to mumble “It’s not working out” and flee out the door when her eyes fill with tears. And then he gets on a plane and flies back to Chicago, feeling like a supreme asshole.

The girl Patrick leaves behind is wonderful and she accepts but she doesn’t understand why Patrick will spend three days straight perfecting a song and will forget to book a reservation for their date on Thursday night. And Patrick, he kind of needs someone who has some sort of grasp on why he has multiple notebooks of sheet music on his bedside table at any given time.

***

In Chicago, Patrick stays in his old bedroom in his mom’s house, but it’s been made over now. His old posters and pictures from high school have been disappeared. The blue walls he used to wake up to every day have been covered with a pretty, pale yellow. The bedspread Patrick took with him the first time they went on tour has been replaced with a flowered quilt his great-aunt made,

So it’s a little nostalgic and a little new as his aunt bustles around downstairs, putting up streamers and straightening pillows for his mother’s birthday party. Patrick’s mother’s cookies taste the exact same as they did when Patrick and the guys used to eat them at the kitchen table after band practice. Patrick feels both old and young as he opens the door for his grandmother, letting her kiss the top of his head.

***

The day after Patrick’s mother’s birthday party, he goes out to visit people. He stops by to see Joe and Andy first, of course, and then drops by some of his friends from high school and some of his friends from other places. He actually runs into Chris Faller when he stops to grab a bite to eat at some tiny little deli he used to frequent before he was however-famous-he-is-now.

Patrick really wasn’t planning on seeing Greta because they’re friends, yeah, but not real good show-up-at-your-house-randomly friends. But he has to take a detour on his way home and the road it takes him on passes right by Greta’s apartment. So he figures, why not? And pulls his car into the parking lot.

It’s windy and cool outside of the car and the sun is just slipping out from behind a cloud. Patrick stumbles all the way up to Greta’s door because he’s really only been here two or three times. The wood of the door is hard and unyielding against his knuckles as he knocks and the sound reverberates in the empty hallway. Patrick wonders if he could put it into a song.

Patrick’s not really sure how long he stands in the hallway; it seems like an eternity, but the clouds have barely moved outside the window at the end of the hall when he hears movement on the other side of the door. Patrick has to blink when it opens because there’s a lot more light in the apartment than outside it. However, the girl on the other side has dark curls instead of Greta’s light and much more length in her legs.

“Hi, uh, is Greta here?” Patrick stammers out because he thinks this is Greta’s roommate, but he’s not sure.

“Actually, you just missed her,” the girl replies pleasantly. “She was making a grocery run.”

“Could you just tell her I, uh, Patrick stopped by?” Patrick asks. His heart feels like it dropped through his chest to settle next to the sandwich he had for lunch in his stomach. He’s not quite sure why.

***

“I heard you broke up with what’s-her-name,” Pete says conversationally.

Patrick rolls over and presses the phone closer to his ear. “Yeah. It wasn’t working out.”

“You seemed sickeningly happy with her.”

“I guess I wasn’t,” Patrick replies and he guesses he wasn’t as sickeningly happy with her as he had thought when they were together because he doesn’t miss her at all. He misses having a warm body to curl around at night and soft fingers pushing hair out of his face and a pretty voice singing in the kitchen, but she never sang.

“Guess you weren’t.”

***

There’s a message on Patrick’s phone when he wakes up the next morning. It’s 5:43 AM according to the red numbers of the clock on Patrick’s nightstand, but he listens to the message anyway.

It’s Greta, of course. Not that Patrick expected it to be, but it’s not surprising. “I heard you stopped by,” she says, voice floating into Patrick’s ears. She laughs a little, light and airy. “Sorry I missed you. Stop by again, if you get the chance.” And Patrick can hear her fumbling with the phone as she hangs up.

Patrick tries to drop his phone back on the nightstand, but it falls on the carpet instead. It lands with a soft thump and Patrick really hopes it’s not broken. He doesn’t care enough to check, though, so he just pulls the covers up over his head and hums a little as he falls asleep.

He dreams about rooftops and brown eyes and blond curls.

***

Patrick does stop by to see Greta again, but not until his mom starts to get fed up of him sitting around and eating all her food and asks him when he’s going home. He doesn’t go home, but he does drive back over to Greta’s because her songs have been playing in his mind for the past day or so.

Her hallway is just as unfamiliar and door just as hard as before. And once again, her roommate opens the door, smiling a little when she sees Patrick.

“You missed her again,” the roommate says. “She should be back soon, though, you want to wait?”

Patrick hesitates because it’s just Greta, but it’s just Greta so he says yes and trips over the doorframe on the way in.

“You can hang out in here, if you want,” the roommate says, gesturing to the living room.
“Or in the kitchen. Or Greta’s room is down that hall, if you want to hang in there.” She’s pleasant but distant and she disappears behind a door with a smile.

Patrick stands uncomfortably against a wall for a while, but it starts to feel too much like parties in high school and uncomfortable family gatherings, so he wanders down the hallway towards Greta’s room. They’re a couple of pictures in the hallway, of Greta and her roommate and friends and there’s one, right across from the door to Greta’s room of Patrick laughing with Darren about something.

So there’s a picture of Patrick in the hallway and the door to Greta’s room is just slightly ajar and the air inside her room is cooler than the air in the hallway. Patrick feels awkward as he slips his foot in the crack in the door and pushes it open enough so he can step inside.

Greta never really struck him as someone who was particularly neat, but her room was kind of a mess. It takes Patrick a minute to take it all in, but he realizes that there aren’t any clothes strewn across her floor or any books lying abandoned on the carpet. Her bed’s even made up, sheets tucked in tight and pillows perched against the headboard.

It’s just that all around her bed, half spilling under the furniture, are piles and piles of paper. It’s kind of amazing to see: just stacks of notebook paper covered with blue and black ink and pencil and Patrick’s breath catches in his throat a little. He knows he probably shouldn’t, but he wanders over to lean down and investigate one of the sheets of paper.

They’re words, mostly, scrawled across the paper, with bits of music littered in between. And the words, they’re not like anything Patrick’s ever heard of Greta’s before. They’re, well, they’re pretty depressing and this is Patrick, who has to deal with all the shit Pete writes. But they’re a different kind of depressing, hopeless and insignificant.

It’s all kind of amazing, though, Amazing in a way that they kind of perfectly capture what Patrick’s feeling right now, now that his girlfriend’s pretty much gone. And it’s so cliché, but Patrick never knew Greta felt this way. Greta’s always happy and upbeat and taking care of everything, but as Patrick moves farther through the piles, they’re all about as equally depressing.

***

Patrick’s legs are cramped and his head is ringing with the music he’s reading off Greta’s scribbles. There’s just so much material, so much potential here, just sitting in stacks around Greta’s bed and Patrick’s not sure what to do about it. His eyes are starting to hurt from racing over the words and notes and he’s tired, tired deep within his bones.

There’s not much Patrick can think; he feels limited, trapped. He feels far away from the itchy carpet irritating his hand and the uncomfortable way one of his feet is pulled up under his body. He feels far away and trapped inside Greta’s words all at the same time and maybe that’s why he doesn’t notice the apartment door slamming closed.

***

Greta’s humming as she moves down the hall, humming something she just composed in her head on the way home. She’s got a cup of coffee in one hand and a bag of new books in the other. She thinks it’s going to be a good afternoon until she notices that the door to her room is more ajar than she left it.

Greta doesn’t like to close the door to her room; it makes her feel cut off, disconnected. But she doesn’t leave it open as an invitation for people to wander in and sit on her floor, even if those people are Patrick Stump.

Especially if those people are Patrick Stump.

***

The door creaks just a little when Greta pushes it open with one arm and that’s what snaps Patrick awake. The creak doesn’t fit into the music running through his head.

Greta looks beautiful in the doorway; her hair is messy and pulled back just enough to keep it from spilling into her face. Patrick can’t really breathe, watching the way her mouth trembles just a little and the way her shoulders are shaking. She moves one foot forward to take a step, but her leg threatens to give out. She pulls it back, takes a deep breath, and tries again. She makes it the desk, resting her coffee on top of an empty CD case and setting her bag on the chair.

Patrick bites his lip, bites through his lip so he tastes blood. Greta sinks down to the floor, to the cold wood, and rests her head in her hands.

***

It’s silent because Patrick doesn’t have anything to say and Greta’s not talking. This might just be the worst moment of Patrick’s life.

***

Patrick knows he has to make the first move. And he should be brave enough to do it. He is brave enough to do it, he really is.

The first move, it turns out, is more of a crawl, a strange scootch until Patrick’s so close he can feel the heat radiating off Greta’s body. He puts one heavy hand on her back and rubs in light circles, like his mother used to do when he was sick. Greta moves a little so her head is resting against his shoulder.

***

It takes a while, but Patrick finds his voice.

“You know something?” He asks, soft and soothing.

Greta makes some kind of noise against Patrick’s shirt.

“You’re pretty much amazing.” Patrick says it because it’s true.

“I’m not,” Greta replies and Patrick can understand her this time.

“You are.”

“I’m amazing and you have a girlfriend,” Greta says and her body gets kind of stiff and strange, but Patrick doesn’t let her go.

“I had a girlfriend,” Patrick emphasizes because things make a lot more sense now.

“Had?”

“Had,” Patrick confirms.

***

Greta kisses him hard, but not until a couple of minutes later. She kisses him with soft lips and sharp teeth and fingers twisting in his shirt. She kisses him and pushes him onto his back, sending her piles of paper scattering.

***

Patrick’s ex-girlfriend, she was pretty and nice and loyal, but Patrick’s new girlfriend? She’s amazing. She’s warm and soft against him in bed, she sings when she’s making breakfast. She sits at the piano in Patrick’s mother’s living room and plays her own music and some of Patrick’s.

Patrick helps Greta pack her plethora of paper into plastic storage containers and she’s got nowhere to put them, so Patrick stores them in his garage. Greta still feels useless, sometimes, maybe, still feels unneeded and unwanted, but those times are all the times when Patrick’ll call her with a question about a piano part in a song he’s working on or maybe just to ask her how her day’s going.

Patrick, meanwhile, Patrick is happy because Greta is everything he ever wanted and more. She’s soft and sweet and caring and just gorgeous. She’s a little sad sometimes, sad in a way that reminds Patrick just how good he’s got it. She’s more talented than Patrick could imagine and she’s not at all afraid to sing little snippets of songs as their days pass.