Deep Down You Know I Ain't Even Worth It
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Schitt's Creek
Patrick Brewer/David Rose, Patrick Brewer & Rachel
Patrick Brewer, David Rose (Schitt's Creek), Stevie Budd, Marcy Brewer, Clint Brewer, Ray Butani, Rachel (Schitt's Creek)
Additional Tags:
Alternate Timelines, Angst, Angst with a Happy Ending
Published: 2021-10-15 Words: 6,910 Chapters: 1/1

Deep Down You Know I Ain't Even Worth It


In a moment of insecurity, David wishes Patrick had never met him. That he'd had the opportunity to meet someone clearly more suited to him, instead.

And David gets his wish. Sort of.

Angst with a happy ending // TW: Alcohol abuse, strong language


Title from the James Arthur song You Deserve Better

Takes place around (and canon compliant through) something like 5x02

Spoilers for 4x07 (The Barbeque) and 5x11 (Meet the Parents)

Deep Down You Know I Ain't Even Worth It

It starts with an argument over body milk.


David looks up from the cream he's demonstrating to a customer at Patrick, appearing from behind the curtain to the back room with his phone held against his shoulder.

He looks even more exhausted now than earlier this morning, which David reminds himself is because he'd been sick for a few days, and Patrick had somehow managed both the store and a tax conference by himself over the past week, getting up early to deal with online orders and coming back late in the evenings to run store numbers for the day, and fixing all of the mishaps that Alexis had caused during business hours, and then somehow finding the time to care for David at night.

He feels guilty about it, even though he knows it's not his fault. He didn't choose to get the flu and spend nearly a week confined to bed, his chest on fire and his head spinning every time he moved.

Besides, Patrick had insisted on working today, over David's objections. "The store's closed tomorrow," he'd said. "I'll rest then."

"Excuse me," he tells the woman, who nods dismissively as she picks up another jar.

"David, can you go pick up the body milk? Mr. Wilson is on the phone asking about the order that we couldn't send out yesterday because we were out, and the new batch should be ready by now, so if you can grab it now, we can get his order sent out this afternoon."

David suddenly realizes he'd forgotten to make the call yesterday. "Right. The body milk. The..."

Patrick stares at him for a second. "You didn't order the body milk yesterday." It's a statement, not an accusation, although it feels as much like one as David has ever heard.

"I was about to, but then someone came in and asked about the cheese, and I just..."

Patrick turns around, holding the phone back up to his ear as he disappears into the back again, and David wants to chase after him, to apologize. But the woman tugs on his arm again, and he pushes aside the words stuck in his throat, and his indignation at her touching his sweater, and plasters on his best customer service smile instead.

Patrick doesn't come back out for a while, and David struggles between giving him space and finding him to apologize, even though it means leaving the customer alone. He's about to head into the back when the curtain opens again.

"Okay. They said they could have the body milk ready this evening, but I think we're not going to have it in time to make the post office today. If I leave around 5, and eat in the car, I can get it and we can..."

"You're in no condition to drive, Patrick." He says it automatically, concerned about his boyfriend.

"Oh, now you're worried." Patrick throws up his hands, suddenly upset. "I've been running myself ragged all week, and you had one job. One job, David. And you couldn't do that."

Rage bubbles up inside him. "In case you didn't notice, I'm selling products to our customers! Isn't that my job?" He notices the woman put down the jar of cream and slowly back away from the two of them, but he can't bring himself to care.

"That's the only thing you do, David! I handle all the books. I deal with all of the regulations and permits. I arrange the inspections. I installed these fucking lights because you couldn't be bothered to call the electrician. And you couldn't find the time to make one phone call to one fucking vendor?"

"I thought you wanted me to handle what I did best! I thought you wanted me to leave you to handle all of that stuff! I thought you wanted me to just be me!"

"Well maybe sometimes I just wish you weren't so... you!" Patrick starts, and his eyes grow wide as he realizes what he just said.

David's vision is blurring now. He can't be here. He needs to not be here.

He doesn't even hear Patrick's stammered apology as he storms out the door.


"He deserves better," David slurs, taking another swig from the bottle. "Than me."

He can feel Stevie frown next to him before giving him an uncoordinated shove that almost sends him tumbling off the bed and onto the floor. "Idiot."

"It's true." His cheeks are flushed and his mouth is loose now.

"You forgot to make one call. He understands." She gulps from her own bottle and he suddenly realizes, despite his inebriated state, he hadn't marked down the wine. Patrick would run inventory later in the week and find that the bottle count was off, again.

It's yet another thing he can't do right.

"He asked me to do one thing. He's been doing everything over the past week."

"You were sick."

"I wasn't sick yesterday when he asked me to make the call."

Stevie pushes him again before falling onto her back onto the bed, wine sloshing from the bottle into an angry red splot on the bedspread. "He understands."

"He deserves better," David repeats, his insecurities rising. "He's been miserable this week and it's because of me."

"Patrick would take all the misery in the world for you."

He grows angry at that, for some reason. "Why?!"

"He loves you, idiot."

"He'd be better off loving someone who was better at the store. Better at responsibilities. Someone better than me."

Stevie moves to push him again but misses, and her arm falls uselessly on the mattress. They're quiet for a bit.

"I wish he'd never met me. So he could find someone who would actually deserve him."

There's no response to this, and he looks over. Stevie seems to be passed out on the bed.


David feels like death. His head throbs and his mouth tastes like something died in it. From the retching sounds coming from somewhere nearby, Stevie doesn't seem to be faring much better.

He slowly sits up, head spinning, trying to force his eyes to focus. "We are never doing that again, Stevie."

There's no response, and as his vision clears a bit, and he looks around, he realizes he's in Patrick's bedroom, in Ray's house.

Maybe that's a good sign?

He stands, wobbly and suddenly feeling extremely nauseous himself, and stumbles against the wall as he slowly makes his way out of the room and into the hallway, using it as support to make his way to the bathroom.

"How did we get h..."

He stops at the door to the bathroom. Patrick is hunched over the toilet, his skin tinged with gray and his forehead wet with sweat. He looks even worse than David feels, at the moment.

He opens his mouth, about to say something, when he hears footsteps approaching.

"I'm so sorry, Patrick! If I had known that the eggs had gone bad just because they were stored in the pantry..."

"It's okay, Ray," Patrick croaks out, before dry heaving over the toilet again and gratefully taking the glass of water Ray holds out. "But maybe you should reschedule my appointments for the day."

"Absolutely, Patrick. No problem at all. Please let me know if you need anything."

"Thanks." He takes another gulp of water. "I'm probably just going to rest."

Ray nods and he can hear his footsteps heading back downstairs as he focuses his eyes on the man in front of him.

"Patrick..." David starts, but Patrick doesn't seem to hear him. "I'm sorry. About yesterday."

He watches as Patrick stands, looking unsteady on his feet himself, and flushes the toilet before leaning against the sink and splashing water on his face.

"Patrick..." He reaches a hand out to rub his boyfriend's shoulder, and in his current state, it takes a second before he realizes it's passing right through Patrick's shoulder. "What the... fuck?"

He tries again, his head suddenly spinning not from the hangover but from confusion. Patrick groans and turns off the bathroom light, walking right through him.

"What the fuck?"

He follows Patrick back into his bedroom, suddenly more sober and focused than he has any right to be at the moment, watching as Patrick climbs back into bed, staring up at the ceiling before he closes his eyes.

"Patrick?" He sits on the edge of the bed and tries to feel his boyfriend's forehead, or take his hand, but his own hand passes through as if Patrick was thin air. Is this a dream?

It doesn't feel like a dream. He pinches himself and the tinge of pain is convincing enough. Maybe a hallucination?

Ray, he suddenly thinks, standing and slowly making his way downstairs.

Ray is sitting at his desk, dialing a phone number on his phone, so he stands, steadying himself with one hand on the desk that used to be Patrick's, while he waits.

"Hello? Can I speak with David Rose, please?" David's ears perk up at this one. "Hi, David! This is Ray Butani. How are you doing today?"

He expects to hear Ray telling him that Patrick is sick. That he should come by to take care of him.

"Well, I was calling to see if we could reschedule your appointment for today."

What the fuck?

"Yes. There has been an unfortunate case of food poisoning, but these things usually pass within 24 hours."

He wonders what David -- he -- is saying over the phone, but Ray just nods.

"Yes, of course. Same time tomorrow. Thank you very much, David Rose."

"Ray?" David starts when Ray hangs up. "What's going on?"

But Ray doesn't seem to be able to hear him either, instead typing away at his keyboard for a bit before picking up his phone again.

"Hello? Can I speak with Martha Williams, please?"


It doesn't occur to him to check his phone until he's most of the way back to the motel, but when he pulls it out, he finds it won't turn on.

He makes a mental note through his throbbing headache to charge it immediately when he gets home. But as he stands in front of his door, pulls the key out of his pocket, and sticks it in the door, it passes through too easily, until his entire hand up to the wrist is buried in the wood.

He stares at it, not quite processing what he's seeing. He draws his hand back and experimentally pushes on the door, instead. His palms go right through.

"What the fuck," he says again, wondering how his entire vocabulary has been reduced to only the three words. But he takes a cautious step, and when his foot slides -- phases? -- through the door as well, he walks into the room.

Alexis is thankfully out, and his head hurts again, so he collapses into his own bed, which thankfully feels solid enough.

He must still be drunk.

He'll deal with whatever is going on here when he wakes up.


He wakes up with another massive headache that he'd think was a hangover until he blinks and finds himself once again in Patrick's room.

Maybe that was just a dream? he thinks to himself, smiling as he sees Patrick's eyes flutter open, his short hair still somehow tousled in the back.

He could never get enough of early morning Patrick.

"Good morning."

Patrick doesn't respond. Doesn't seem to see him. Instead, he stretches, fumbling for the glass of water he'd left on the nightstand the night before, and cursing when it tips over and spills on the floor.

"Good morning," he repeats, a little louder, in case Patrick hadn't heard him the first time. There's still no indication that Patrick knows he's there, and he watches as Patrick rubs the sleep from his eyes and sets to work cleaning up the water.

He waits in the bedroom as Patrick showers, unsure of what to do, and watches as Patrick gets dressed again. It's nothing he hasn't seen before, so he isn't sure why it feels so invasive, but it does.

Patrick starts the day with a run, because of course he does, and David sits in the living room until he returns. Watches as he grabs a banana and a bagel and quickly scarfs them down. Watches him walk upstairs and then back down in another blue button-down and jeans with that brown belt.

He opens his mouth to speak, but he's afraid of what might come out. Afraid of the repeated confirmation that yesterday wasn't just a dream.

Instead, he follows Patrick into the office portion of the building as he sits at his desk and pulls up his list of appointments for the day.

"Oh, Patrick?"

Ray appears without warning in front of them, causing David to jump. Patrick seems used to this, because he just looks up at him. "Yes, Ray?"

"I wanted to let you know that David Rose has cancelled his appointment for today."

What the fuck?

"Thank you, Ray. Any reason why?"

"He decided he didn't want the store space after all. You know how it is."

David very much doesn't know how it is, because this was not how things were supposed to go, but Patrick just nods.

"Thanks for letting me know. Maybe I can take an early lunch."

"I'll make burritos!"

"I'll just order something, but thanks, Ray." David knows he's remembering yesterday.

Ray walks off, and David watches as Patrick clicks on the calendar entry with David's name on it and deletes it. He watches it disappear, his chest suddenly too tight.


He's not sure what exactly he's supposed to be doing here, in this weird ghost-like state and thrown a year into the past, but he can't shake the feeling of needing to be around Patrick. To watch over him.

Even this Patrick, who didn't meet him and insult his store plans in a way that was actually affectionate and complimentary. Who doesn't even know he exists beyond the calendar entry that has since been delegated to the digital trash bin.

This Patrick just looks tired, he realizes. He's not sure he's seen it before. It's not the kind of exhaustion etched into the lines of Patrick's face that he remembers from what feels like yesterday. It's different, like Patrick is weary and has the weight of the world on his shoulders.

He wants to ask why, but Patrick pulls out his phone and thumbs into the messages app. He can see the new message over Patrick's shoulder, an unintelligible string of characters. The name at the top of the screen fills David's chest with a sudden, unwelcome sense of dread.


Patrick closes the app and tucks the phone back into his pocket. He looks pained now, his brow furrowed in the way that always causes David to do whatever he can to smooth it away.

He reaches out for Patrick, instinctively, cursing to himself as his hand passes through Patrick's back, and feeling more helpless than he ever has in his life.

"I didn't mean it!" he yells to no one in particular, his eyes tearing up. "I just... I want him back. I want us back. Please."

He squeezes his eyes shut, hoping to wake up from... whatever this is. But when he opens them again, nothing's changed, and he watches as Patrick sighs, pulls a form out of a folder, and gets to work.


David Rose doesn't do outdoors, or physical activity. So when he watches Patrick wake up early and bundle himself into hiking boots, a t-shirt, and hoodie, he surprises himself by following Patrick into his car.

He's thankful that he seems to be able to sit in the passenger's seat, at least, although he isn't surprised that he can't interact with the seat belt.

"So we're going on a hike?"

Patrick doesn't hear him, he knows, but saying it out loud helps somehow.

It's not a long drive, and he watches Patrick's face the entire time. Patrick seems sad, he decides, and he wishes he could kiss that look away.

"Is this what you were like? Before you met me?"

He tries to tell himself that it's only temporary. That Patrick would meet someone else... someone better for him than David was. Than David could be.

He needs to believe it.

He needs for Patrick to be okay.


He's pleasantly surprised by the view at the top of the mountain. His legs don't hurt at all, which he supposes is a benefit of... whatever's happening to him. He watches as Patrick sits on a rock and takes a swig from his water bottle, staring out at the view in a way that David knows is actually just staring off into space.

"What am I supposed to do?"

"Patrick..." David starts, automatically, before realizing Patrick isn't talking to him. Of course he isn't talking to him.

Patrick doesn't say anything else, but he pulls out his phone, and David can tell he's reading Rachel's last text again.

Then Patrick's face changes. It's that determined look he gets when he's set his mind to something, but with none of the affection David usually sees with that expression.

David realizes then, with horror, what Patrick has decided. And when Patrick starts typing out a response, his heart breaks.


David has never seen Rachel happy, he thinks. At the barbeque, the brief glimpse he had caught had been of a confused woman. An upset woman.

He'd had other things on his mind then, but this Rachel is clearly happy. Cautious, but happy.

And he hates it. He hates it because Rachel's happiness comes at the expense of Patrick's, even if she doesn't realize it.

Patrick has a smile on his face, but David can tell it's forced. It's forced, and his eyes are dull.

He wants to grab Rachel and force her back into her car. He wants to grab Patrick and shake some sense into him. He wants to do something, anything.

But all he can do is watch.

"Hey, Rach."

She kisses his cheek, and it's such a small thing, but it makes his blood boil. "So this is where you ended up."

Patrick stuffs his hands into his pockets. "Yeah. I just needed some time away. To think."

"And?" It's hopeful.

"Thanks for driving all the way out here to see me, Rach." David knows that tone. He knows Patrick is stalling. But Rachel seems too overjoyed at seeing him again to notice.

"Of course, Patrick."

Tell her you're gay, David wants to scream, but he knows it wouldn't do any good anyway. He's pretty sure this Patrick hadn't come to that realization. That this Patrick hadn't found what he came to Schitt's Creek to find.

"I'm sorry," he says as he seems to deflate, but Rachel just smiles.

"It's okay, Patrick. I'm sorry I was pressuring you about the wedding. I know work had been stressful, and I know you didn't really want to think about wedding plans, and..."

David listens as she makes excuses. Watches Patrick nod and apologize at the right times. He wants so much to not be here right now.


Tell her no, he wants to scream.

"I missed you." David would almost believe it if he didn't know Patrick so well.

She laughs and he wants to slap her. "I missed you, too. But I knew you'd come around. You always do."

"I do." He hates how much he winces at the words.

"So, this is a little unusual, but..." David watches as Rachel pulls something out of her pocket and kneels. "I still have the ring. So do you want to be engaged, again?"

"Yes," he says, voice shaking and full of false sincerity. David can't believe that Rachel can't hear it. He wonders if she's taught herself to not hear it.

He has to look away as they kiss, and he can hear the happiness in her voice as she thanks him, apologizes to him, tells him it will be different this time.

He notices that Patrick doesn't say anything at all.


He shouldn't be here, he thinks, watching Patrick slowly undress and climb into the motel bed with her. Even if he isn't really here, this intimacy isn't for him.

But he can't tear his eyes away as Patrick slips inside her. As he thrusts, mechanically and disinterested, as if he was filling out a business form or putting together a spreadsheet. Checking off another box on his list for the day.

She's moaning, her hands everywhere, begging him for more. Patrick's face is stretched into a grimace that could pass for a smile to anyone but David.

"Don't do this, Patrick," he whispers.

He thinks back to the last time he and Patrick had sex. The teasing. The feeling of his hands everywhere on him. His lips and teeth trailing down David's neck and shoulder. The tender way he'd looked into his eyes with such love and affection. The desperate, messy kiss they'd shared as they'd found completion together.

He turns around and walks through the door.

He can't be here right now.


"It's been great working with you, Patrick."

"Thanks, Ray. For everything." This is genuine, and David smiles as Ray pulls Patrick into an awkward hug, realizing how much he'd missed this Patrick. How so many of Patrick's recent words had been strained, or forced through gritted teeth.

He's sure now that Rachel is ignoring it. Telling herself that this was normal.

He's sure too that Patrick doesn't know that it isn't. That this Patrick expects moments of joy to be a reward for suffering through the "everything else" of life.

"And it was very nice to meet you, Rachel."

The pleasant feeling is gone, and David watches as Ray shakes hands with Patrick's girlfriend -- no, fiancée -- bile rising in his throat.

"Thank you, Ray, for taking care of him for me." She smiles so softly and affectionately that David wants to hit her.

"We should probably go, babe." David doesn't miss that the last word is forced, so unlike the ease with which it usually flows from Patrick's mouth.

Rachel just nods, grabbing his hand. Patrick allows himself to be pulled toward the car, his eyes scanning the room. Searching for... something.

He must not find it, because he swallows and nods, resolute, and disappears through the door.


David remembers, when they pull up to a large, comfortable looking house, that he'd never actually met Patrick's parents before. They'd talked, of course, over the phone, but he has no idea what they actually look like.

"Are you sure you don't want to come back to our apartment, Patrick?" Rachel asks, and Patrick shakes his head. David's thankful for that, at least.

"No. I think I need to get back into things slowly." He's trying to smile. "I'm sorry," he adds, almost as an afterthought.

"Well, we'll have the rest of our lives for that," she says instead, and David doesn't miss the brief panic that crosses Patrick's eyes.

But then the front door bursts open, and a woman is coming toward the car with arms outstretched, and Patrick seems to truly relax for the first time since all of this had started.


That relief is short-lived, David finds, when they're sitting in the Brewers' living room with a plate of fresh-baked cookies. Rachel is chatting with Marcy with the practiced ease of years of conversation as Clint sits in a corner, studying the two of them. But Patrick -- Patrick is staring off into space again, lost in his own thoughts.

"So, we're engaged again!" She holds out her hand to show off the ring and David feels sick.

"Oh, sweetheart," says Marcy, but it's flatter than it should be. "Congratulations."

"It'll be different this time," Rachel says, as if she was trying to convince herself. "We talked it over, and decided that the stress of planning was just too much, last time. So we're getting married tomorrow, at the courthouse!"

David remembers this conversation, in the car, and that the "we" had been mostly Rachel throwing out suggestions until Patrick had given in and agreed to whatever she was saying to get her to stop.

Patrick looks panicked again, and David wonders if he hadn't realized what he was actually agreeing to.

"Can I have a moment alone with my son? To congratulate him?" David doesn't think he'd heard Clint speak yet today, but his voice is much more strained than David has ever heard it on their calls.

"Sweetheart, let's go to the kitchen and we can get another batch of cookies in the oven."

Rachel lets herself be dragged out of the room, and there's only silence. Neither Clint or Patrick seem to be willing to speak first.

"Son," he says, eventually.

David watches a tear roll down Patrick's face. He wants to wipe it away. He wants to wrap his boyfriend up in his arms and console him.

He wants to fucking wake up from whatever this is.

"Son. This isn't right."

"Dad." Patrick's voice breaks, and David's heart breaks all over again at it. "It's what I have to do. I can't keep running. It's not... it's not fair to... her."

It's not fair to you, David hears too, knowing how stubborn Patrick can be, and how much he hates disappointing the people in his life. How much he doesn't want to disappoint his parents.

Marcy, David knows, would object. She would tell him that Patrick could never disappoint them. That this thing isn't fair to Patrick. Clint, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be willing to start that kind of emotional discussion.

"Do you love her?" he asks instead.

"I do," Patrick says, and David realizes that he means it, at least as much as he could. This Patrick has never known any other kind of love.


"Dad. I have to do this. I need you and mom to understand."

"We love you. We'll always love you. We just want you to be happy."

He's not! David wants to scream. You know he's not!

"I am happy," Patrick says, and David knows that he's saying it to convince himself. "I could be happy. With her. That's why I keep coming back to her."

"If you're sure..."

"I'm sure." There's a finality to it, and David hates it.

"Then congratulations, son. I hope you have a happy marriage. And I hope she eventually makes you as happy as you seem to make her."

Patrick just nods, and Clint slaps his shoulder before heading into the kitchen to join Marcy and Rachel.

And then, when Patrick thinks he's alone, he buries his face in his hands and sobs.


He doesn't want to see them get married. But he forces himself into the car, sitting awkwardly between Patrick and Rachel in the backseat with one leg inside each of theirs and their hands interlaced through his stomach.

He's holding out hope that Patrick will change his mind. Will say no. He needs to see the finality of it all before he can give that up.

There's always divorce, he tells himself, but he knows that Patrick would never do that to her. That Patrick, forever dependable and responsible, so used to keeping things inside and avoiding problems, would do what he had to do for her.

Even if it was killing him.


David knows now that this is hell. He drank too much with Stevie and died and this is his punishment for not being a good enough boyfriend. For not being the kind of person that Patrick needed. For not appreciating what he and Patrick had.

He watches as Patrick takes another gulp from the bottle of vodka before slamming it down on the table with more force than necessary.

His punishment is to watch the person he loves more than anything as he slowly kills himself. As he spends each day going through the motions.

And yet David can't bear to drag himself away.

"I'd do anything. I'd go on every hike with him. I'd run the store on my own. I'd drop everything and order another shipment of body milk. Please. Just stop doing this to him." David has long since given up on being able to change anything, but the words still help.

"Honey?" The front door opens, and Patrick hastily stuffs the bottle behind the couch.

"In here."

Rachel enters, smiling, hands gently cradling her belly and giving him an affectionate peck on the cheek. She has to smell the alcohol, but ignores it, like everything else.

"Are you feeling better since this morning?"

Patrick nods, looking anywhere but her. "I'm sorry I wasn't feeling well enough to go to the appointment with you."

She doesn't respond to that. She never responds to his apologies, he's noticed, as if she's afraid of the conversation that would follow. "Do you want it to be a surprise?"

"Dammit, Rachel. I don't..." He stops himself, swallowing the words. "I'm sorry. Of course I want to know."

"We're having a girl!" There's such joy in Rachel's voice that David almost gets caught up in it. But he forces himself to look back at Patrick, who treats the news with the same disinterest he treats everything coming from her these days.

"That's great, babe."

"I know! I'm going to call your mom!"

David watches her drop her purse by the couch and walk into the bedroom. And watches Patrick pull out the bottle again.


David expects a fight, an argument, when Rachel comes home one day and Patrick is passed out on the couch, the empty bottle shattered on the floor instead of stuffed in its usual hiding spot behind the couch.

She looks him over, sighs, and cleans up the glass before tucking a blanket over him and setting a wastebasket by his head.

It would be loving, he thinks, if it wasn't for the fact that she too seems utterly disinterested in this. How he knows it's just another thing that she and Patrick won't talk about and will sweep under the rug under the guise of making their marriage work.

He understands now why Patrick never told him about Rachel. Because avoiding difficult conversations is what Patrick does, and what Rachel does, and he thinks for a bitter second that they're perfect for each other, at least in that way.

His mind jumps back to the argument that now feels like a lifetime ago. To the body milk. How upset and disappointed Patrick had seemed.

He hadn't realized until now how much he needed the bad alongside the good. To know that Patrick cared enough about what was going on to be disappointed. To know that Patrick wasn't just shutting out the world.

He hadn't realized it until he saw this Patrick.

Patrick rolls over and vomits, missing the trash can. Despite himself, he runs his fingers through Patrick's hair (and head, really, because incorporeal and all). And wishes with all his heart that he could fix this.


David wakes up with a headache again. It's been a while since that happened, and he wonders what it means as he rubs his throbbing head.

Someone -- Patrick? -- stirs next to him and groans. Then there's a knock at the door, the sharp sound drilling through his skull, and he realizes it's what woke him up.

He grumbles and walks toward the door, running straight into it with a loud thump.


He grabs his head again, the blunt pain joining the throbbing, until something clicks in the fog of his brain.

He ran into the door.

Not through it.

As he looks around, he realizes that he's no longer in Patrick and Rachel's apartment. He looks over at Stevie passed out on an obnoxiously red bed, and realizes he's in the love room at the motel.

"Stevie?" There's a groan from the bed and the head of hair shifts slightly. "What the fuck."

He tears the door open, suddenly desperate to see what he'll find. And on the other side is Patrick, standing there and looking utterly destroyed.


He doesn't even register at first that Patrick is looking at him. Talking to him. He turns away from the door, cursing whatever deity had condemned him to this fate that he has to go through all of this again.

"David. Please..." Then Patrick's hand is on his shoulder, and it takes him a second to realize.

Patrick's hand.

Is on his shoulder.

On his shoulder.

"What the fuck," he says again, spinning around, and Patrick's face falls and he jerks his hand away as Patrick misinterprets the words, thinking David was still upset.

He doesn't even remember why he was upset.

"David. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I was tired, but that isn't an excuse. I wasn't thinking. I just..."


He stops talking at this, looking desperately into David's eyes before starting again. "Babe. I was so worried. I couldn't..."

But David doesn't hear the rest. Babe, he thinks, letting the word sink in before he grabs Patrick and kisses him.

Patrick yelps in surprise before melting into his arms, and David knows he looks like death and probably tastes even worse, but Patrick doesn't seem to care at the moment.

"Get a room," Stevie groans from the bed, causing them to break. He holds Patrick at arm's length, staring into those worried eyes. Then he starts to laugh.

Patrick seems surprised by that, unsure of how to interpret it, and a thrown pillow hits David in the back.

"Jesus, David. You're being really loud right now, and my head is being crushed by a fucking pack of elephants."

"'Herd', Stevie," Patrick offers, seemingly unsure about the words, but he leads David out of the room and shuts the door behind him.

"You're here."

Patrick's face falls again, and David realizes he's misunderstanding everything.

"I'm here. I was looking everywhere for you. I should never have let you leave like that. It wasn't fair of me to explode at you like that. David, please, I'm so..."

"No, no, no. You're... you're here." David is sure his face has a ridiculous smile on it now, and he doesn't even care that Patrick is looking at him with utter confusion.

"Okay, I think you're still drunk. Let's get you home."

David laughs again at that. Home. But he doesn't complain as Patrick ushers him into his car and tucks him into the passenger seat.

He notices the warmth that spreads through him when Patrick presses a kiss into the side of his head before leaning over him to buckle his seatbelt.

He wants that feeling every day for the rest of his life.


The shower helps a lot, and he doesn't try to say anything else until he's lying down on the couch in Ray's living room, his head in Patrick's lap as Patrick lovingly runs his fingers through his wet hair.

His hair is going to look terrible afterward, and he doesn't even know if Ray is home, but he can't bring himself to care.

"I'm sorry," he says, breaking the silence, and Patrick looks down at him so fondly that he almost starts to cry.

"No. You have nothing to be sorry about. I overreacted. There's no excuse for what I said. I'm... I'm sorry. David, I'm so sorry. I..." He's desperate again, the words flowing together the way they do when Patrick is starting to panic. David cranes his neck up and kisses him, to shut him up.

"No. You were right. I should have called when you asked me to. You were doing so much. You are doing so much."

Patrick shakes his head. "Even so, that gave me no right. David, I hope you can know how much I thank God every day that I have you. That you're mine. That I don't want anyone else. I don't want you to change. I don't want you to be someone you're not."

"I know," he says, and he knows that now. The experience of what feels like a lifetime of watching this man break apart has taught him that.

"David, what can I do?"

"I had a dream," he starts. The word doesn't feel quite right to describe the experience, but he isn't sure how else to describe it. Patrick is looking at him with bated breath, not sure of where this is going, and he wants to kiss away the creases in his brow.

He wants to, and he can now, so he does, and it isn't until Patrick is laughing at David's lips all over his face that he feels comfortable enough to settle back into Patrick's lap and continue.

"I wished that you'd never met me," he starts again, and presses a finger to Patrick's lips to shut him up as he starts to speak, "because you deserved better. Than me."

Patrick is shaking his head so vigorously that David worries he's going to give himself a headache, too. "Never. David, please..."

"And then I passed out. And had a dream."

Patrick doesn't interrupt this time, and by the time David finishes describing the experience to him, Patrick is looking at him with such concern and love that he's starting to regret sharing it.

"David, I..." he manages to choke out, before breaking eye contact and staring off into space. "Actually, that's probably how it would have gone. Rachel texted me the day after I met you, but I didn't respond. I didn't think I'd ever told you that, before, but I must have."

David just nods, taking Patrick's hand in his, but also sure that Patrick had never mentioned it.

"Do you remember what I said to you after she showed up?"

They never talk about it, which David realizes is something he has in common with Rachel. He makes a mental note to talk through that day with Patrick, now.

Well, not exactly now.

"You said that I made you feel right."

Patrick's hands are running through his hair again. "I also said that I didn't know what right was supposed to feel like, David. Before you. And I didn't. I thought Rachel was right. I thought that if I just tried harder..." He trails off, unwilling to finish the thought.

"A relationship shouldn't be like that, Patrick."

Patrick wipes away a tear and nods. "I know that now. God, I know that now."

"I'm sorry I didn't call the vendor." Talking about Rachel still makes him uncomfortable, and he wants to bring the discussion back to the issue at hand. Patrick laughs at that, for some reason.

"I don't care about the vendor, David. I care that I've been telling you that I love you for you. I care that I've tried to show you every day how much I mean that. And I care that I threw all of that away in one stupid argument over something that didn't even matter."

"You didn't." David feels like he should be more upset, but he knows how much Patrick means that.

"I did, though."

David frowns. "Okay, we are not doing this. I'm not trying to minimize your feelings, but you were worried that you hurt me. And you did..." he notices Patrick still at this. "But it's okay. I know you didn't mean it. We're good. I promise."

"But I..."

"Nope. You're not allowed to tell me how I feel. Feelings aren't spreadsheet formulas."

Patrick looks like he wants to object again, but holds his tongue.

"I know I'm not the easiest person to get along with. And I know I could do more for you, and for the store. So I'll try, Patrick. You deserve the best of me, and that's not what you've been getting."

"You haven't been getting the best of me lately, either."

David shakes his head. "You've been exhausted, honey. I don't know how you did it, honestly. And I'm sorry that I didn't help when I could. I'm sorry I didn't properly appreciate how much you were doing."

"My parents don't know about us," Patrick blurts out, and David wonders if he was thinking back to David's dream again.


"It's not okay. You deserve someone who doesn't keep things like that from you, David."

He looks so panicked that David needs to comfort him again, and he kisses away the tension until Patrick is soft and relaxed again.

"How do you do that?"

"It's easy with you."

Patrick hums at this, a gentle smile on his face, and David knows he echos the sentiment.

"We are going to talk about this. All of this. About the barbeque, and about your parents, and about how the next time one of us is sick we're going to close the store for the week, loss of sales be damned..."

"I can get behind that," says Patrick, immediately looking shocked that he'd agree to such a thing.

"But right now I need you. It feels like I just spent a lifetime without you and I need you."

"I need you too, David," he says, pulling David up and claiming his mouth fiercely, as if he wants to try and pour every bit of his guilt and regret through the kiss.

Then David stands, and pulls Patrick upstairs and into the bed, and as they lose themselves in each other, he knows everything will be okay again.


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