Night Out

Another one requested by @folkendefanel, who requested Nate getting invited to a party, Pax invited himself and accidentally eating a magic cookie or two and the logical consequences therefrom. Hope you enjoy!

Ao3 Link

“Hold on, wait,” Pax said, tugging at Nate’s arm.


“Maybe this was a bad idea.”

Nate looked at Pax, raising an eyebrow in that distracting way that he did. “I don’t think so.”

Pax wasn’t about to be distracted. “See, that’s how I know it’s a bad idea. Your ideas all suck. Oh, God. I should have stayed home. I wasn’t invited. I can’t come. They’re going to sic their attack llamas on me or something. I’m too young to star in a funeral, Nate.”

Nate chuckled, that chuckle that he chuckled when he was about to nicely tell Pax that there was nothing to worry about. “It’s fine. They’ll like you.”

“Obviously. I’m worried about being attacked before then.” Nate thought that Pax’s anxiety stemmed from insecurity. That wasn’t at all it. It stemmed from his utter lack of confidence in the rational power of other people.

“It’s fine. I told them I was bringing you.”

“Oh. Well, I wish you hadn’t done that, now I have to go.” Nate was very overbearing sometimes.

“You wanted to go. You got very annoyed when you thought I was going to go without you.”

“Yes, but that was the other day. Pax from the other day is untrustworthy and you shouldn’t listen to him. Current Pax is pretty sure this is a bad idea.”

“That sounds suspiciously like you’re subscribing to the theory of linear time,” Nate warned. “Which I’m pretty sure you don’t want to do, if the talk last week is any indication.”

Pax scowled. Stupid observant Nate. “I always forget that you pay attention when I talk.”

“Always,” Nate promised, kissing Pax on the forehead. “Come on.”

“Okay, but I pre-emptively blame you for anything that goes wrong.”

“Of course.” Nate dragged Pax the rest of the way up some strange driveway lined with strange plants—probably food for the attack llamas—and to a doorstep with a little statue of a cat on it. It was very tacky. He rang the doorbell. Pax could hear music in the house. Nate could probably hear it too, even with his substandard hearing. It was kind of loud. Hopefully the neighbours wouldn’t get mad. They might call the police and then everyone would get arrested and Pax’s sordid criminal past would be uncovered and that would be kind of bad.

Just as Pax was wondering how anyone was going to hear the doorbell over all the police-summoning music, the door was pulled open by some cool looking guy who must have been Nate’s friend. “Hey, Seaworthy!”

“Carden,” Nate and this guy did that one arm hug thing that Pax had observed Nate do with his friends and which he interpreted as some strange football ritual, which made him think that this person was probably someone Nate knew from the football team. A hypothesis supported by the fact that Nate had told Pax about the party by saying his friend from the football team was having a party. Carden was probably his last name and he was tall and darker than Nate and looked like someone who would play football in terms of physical stature and presumed ability to snap Pax in half.

“This it the mysterious boyfriend?”

“Yeah.” Nate patted Pax on the shoulder. “Pax. Joe.”

“Hi,” Pax squeaked at Joe. “Nice to meet you. Um. Sorry for just, you know, coming, when you don’t know me and all, I hope that’s not awkward or weird of you. I don’t mind leaving it if is, I can wait in Nate’s car and…”

“Nah, it’s fine.” Pax and Nate were waved into the house. “Come on in. Nate never fucking shuts up about you.”

Pax nodded, stepping inside the house. “That sounds like Nate. He has a bit of an issue with talking too much. Something I’m trying to work on.”

“How’s it working so far?”

“I’m having limited success,” Pax said as they took off their shoes. There was sort of a pile but he put his nicely beside the pile like a normal person, and then let Nate’s friend show them into the house. It was a nice house, though probably nicer when it wasn’t full of teenagers, but that was okay. The lights were low and people were sitting around and standing and mostly talking to each other, with some of them playing games here and there. There was a table near one wall with snacks on it. Nobody was naked or wearing a lampshade or throwing up, so Pax decided that this was a perfectly respectable party and that he would let Nate attend. “You have a very fancy house.”

“Thanks, I’ll let my folks know.” The doorbell rang again and Joe turned around, patting Nate on the shoulder in a friendly way and leaving him and Pax standing there.

“See?” Nate said, rubbing Pax’s arm. “Told you it was fine.”

“That,” Pax told him, “remains to be seen. There are a lot of people here and I haven’t confirmed that none of them is a murderer, though I don’t see any evidence that any of them are wearing hidden knives, so that’s something.”

“Pax.” Nate narrowed his eyes. “You’re wearing hidden knives, aren’t you?”

In fact, Pax was. “They wouldn’t be hidden if I told you that,” he said, taking Nate’s hand. “Come on, introduce me to all your friends.”

Nate’s friends were all very nice and they all seemed perfectly happy to have Pax there, and Pax did his very best to be charming to convince them that he wasn’t a serial killer and/or there to rob them of all their money. Nate got talking to some people he knew and Pax started to get bored, and he felt that he was comfortable enough to wander away a bit. When Nate glanced at him, Pax nodded at the table with food, and Nate smiled, made some vague gesture that probably meant he wanted some too.

Pax was a master of nonverbal communication, so he went over and got a little plate for Nate and one for himself, piling things that looked sort of healthy on Nate’s plate but peering at the food carefully before putting anything on his own.

“You allergic to something?” Pax looked up, one of Nate’s friends was standing there with a plate of cookies, which he set down on the table. His name was Stanley and he needed to wash his hair, but he seemed friendly.

Pax smiled at him. “No, only shellfish but I don’t eat those anyway. I’m just trying to decide if anything on here is kosher is all.”

“Oh.” Stanley frowned at the food. There was a lot of different kinds of meat, and Pax was pretty sure without worrying too hard about it that all of that was out. “I don’t know, not sure anyone thought about that. Sorry, man.”

“It’s okay.” Pax gave a nod upstairs. “I think He’ll be okay with me eating something where grains were blended the wrong way if it means I don’t go hungry.” Pax was no rabbi, but he did know that hospitality shouldn’t be turned down and it was rude not to eat at someone’s house, plus he was hardly the most observant person in the covenant. Also he was hungry.

“Alright, if you’re sure.” Stanley patted his shoulder. “Try the cookies if you’re down for it.”

“Thanks, I will.” Pax smiled back and when Stanley went away, he started to judiciously put some food on his little plate, including two of Stanley’s cookies because they looked safe and he was taking zero of most other things.

Pax ate one of the cookies on the way back to Nate and they were pretty good. Stanley must have used some secret ingredient or something because there was an odd sharp flavour there that Pax thought he recognized, but it was only for a second and he just shrugged it off as being strange party food and handed Nate his plate. “There are no vegetables at this party.”

Nate glanced at him. “You found stuff to eat, right?” he sounded worried. Nate always worried that Pax didn’t eat enough.

“I’m fine,” Pax smiled, showed Nate his plate. “It’s just that you eat too much fried food and I’m worried that you’re going to die of coronary failure at the age of twenty-three.”

“So you didn’t get me any chicken wings, is what you’re saying.”

“I got you two, that’s enough.”

“Your boy’s got you whipped, Seaworthy,” one of Nate’s friends slapped on him on the shoulder.

Nate grinned, one of those grins that suggested he was about to say something Pax would regret. “Only when I…”

“Whatever you’re about to suggest has hypothetically happened will never hypothetically happen again if you finish that sentence, Nate,” Pax warned him, trying not to blush like an idiot.

“Sorry, dear.” Nate’s friends laughed. Pax chuckled along with them to show that he was in on the joke. He wasn’t going to resort to all the hitting that they liked to do because it was way too heteronormative for him, but laughing at Nate he could do.

Pax at the second cookie and the rest of the food he’d taken, and took it upon himself to just sort of enjoy being with Nate. He lost track of the conversation after a while, distracted by the framed photo of some cats hanging on the wall. The cats weren’t hanging, they were playing with yarn, but the photo was hanging, and Pax started to wonder why photos hung instead of resting. Surely there were easier ways to get photos on walls that wouldn’t potentially let them fall if a piece of wire or a hook broke.

The cats seemed like they were having fun. Pax wondered if they belonged to the people who lived here or if they just liked tacky photos of other people’s cats. Was that creepy? If someone was a crazy cat person who thought that their cats were like their children, it was essentially the same as having photos of someone else’s children on the walls, and that was definitely weird, right? And where did the cats for that photo come from? Had they been the photographer’s cats? Did people own cats for the purpose of renting them out for photographs? Were there cat modelling agencies?


“Yes.” Pax heard Nate, and he also heard Nate’s tone of voice, which suggested he may not have heard Nate the first time.

“You’ve been staring at that picture for like ten minutes.”

“I want cats,” Pax said vaguely, trying to focus on the people around him again. “Or babies. We can start a modelling agency.”

Nate chuckled, kissed Pax on the temple. “Okay, but you’re not teaching them how to use knives.”

“The cats, or the babies?”


“How will they cut bread and butter sandwiches if I don’t teach them how to use knives?”

“The cats,” Nate asked back, “or the babies?”

“Both.” These were important questions. Pax wasn’t going to have children with Nate until they’d settled the cats with knives debate.

Another chuckle. “I’m going to go get a drink. Do you want a Pepsi?”

“Yes.” Pax was thirsty. “Thank you. You’re a good boyfriend, Nate. I’m going to keep you.”

“That’s good to hear. I’ll be back in a minute.”

“Okay.” Pax nodded, still looking at the photo.

Nate left, and he was standing there by himself for a minute with Nate’s friends. “So how did you and Nate meet?” One of Nate’s friends was a very tall person named Wes, and he seemed very nice as he asked Pax that.

“Um.” Pax frowned, trying to remember for a strange second. “He ran into me with his bike and then I got a job working for his mom. How did you and Nate meet?”

“He tried out for the football team one day.”

“I guess that makes sense,” Pax decided, nodding along as he tried to work through that. Nate was indeed on the football team. “I’ll accept that story, but only if Nate corroborates it. Where is Nate, anyway? Did he get lost? He’s got a terrible sense of direction, can’t even ride his bike without hitting people with it.” Pax looked around, trying to find Nate in this strange crowd of people. “I should go find him.”

“He just went to go get you a drink,” Wes was frowning at him. “Remember?”

“No, memories aren’t real, they’re just propaganda sent by the past to make you think it existed as anything other than a mess of ink and deteriorating infrastructure made out of cows.” There was a couch there, no Nate, a food table in the back, a small table with some people playing cards, Nate wasn’t there either, a dartboard with a few people around it…

Pax’s eyes narrowed. “I’m going to go play darts,” he announced, turning and setting off in that direction with purpose and determination.

“Okay, have fun,” Wes’s voice got distant as Pax moved away from him, heading determinedly over to the game of darts. There were three people playing, and they were just about to start.

“I want to play too,” Pax announced, looking intently at the dartboard. He was going to poke it with so many darts.

“Sure, you got money?” The person who asked that was not much taller than Pax but twice as wide, and Pax couldn’t remember if they’d been introduced or not. His name was Trevor, Pax thought. So maybe they had.

“Yes,” Pax did. He reached into his pocket for his wallet, then reached again when he missed the first time, and pulled it out. Everyone seemed to have put five dollars on the table there, and so that was what Pax did too, because he was good at intuiting his next action through contextual clues. And contextual clues were telling Pax exactly what he had to do to put all those five dollars in his pocket.

“Winner takes it all,” Trevor said, and the game started. Pax watched them all play, and some of them were okay. Trevor was the best, scoring a hundred and forty-six points. Pax threw last, and scored a hundred and forty-five points. “Too bad, chumps.”

Fortunately, Pax didn’t have to demand the rematch, because someone did it for him. This time they all had to put down ten dollars. Pax lost that game by two points, and the second rematch by one point.

Nate showed up just as Pax was putting down his last money, a twenty, for the fourth game. One of their players had chickened out and they were down to three. “Oh, no.”

“Hey,” Trevor said to Nate. “He started playing of his own volition. Not my fault.”

“Hi, Nate. Where were you?”

“I was talking to someone. I got you a Pepsi.” Nate did indeed have a Pepsi in his hand. That was nice of him, but Pax was busy. “What are you doing?”

“Winning at darts. I’m very good at darts.” Pax grinned at Nate.

Nate held back a smile, looked at Trevor. “You really don’t want to do this.”

“Of course I do.” Trevor smiled. “It’s his money, he can give it to me if he wants.”

“Let’s play,” Pax suggested, gesturing for Trevor to go first.

Nate sighed.

Trevor won with a hundred and fifty-eight points to Pax’s one fifty-seven. Pax smiled at him as he took all the money. “One more game?”

“You’re broke.”

“I’ll give you everything in Nate’s wallet. All or nothing, come on. Masculinity or something, don’t wimp out, you’re a football person, aren’t you?”

“Pax,” Nate said, pleading a little. “Don’t?”

“I already am, I’m committed to this, Nate.”

“Your guy’s got a gambling problem, Seaworthy,” Trevor said to Nate. “It’s working out for me at the moment, but you might want to get it looked at later. I’m in,” he added, looking at Pax. “You get Nate’s money and I’ll play you for it.” Their third player had left, poor and sad. Pax felt bad for him.

“Nate, give me your wallet.”

“Pax, really?”

“Yes, really, Nate. Come on.” Pax fixed Nate with a stare, and after a minute Nate sighed, pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and handed it over. Pax grinned, took out the eighty dollars that was in there and put it on the table. Trevor put down all the money he’d won so far, which amounted to a hundred and forty dollars.

“It’s not an even bet, but I’ll make it,” Trevor said with a grin.

“You’re so asking for this, man,” Nate muttered, as Trevor started to throw.

“Aw, come on. No hard feelings. It’s all in fun, right, Pax?”

“Right.” Pax watched him. He scored one fifty-nine.

“Yours to lose, Pax.”

“I left you alone for ten minutes,” Nate said, shaking his head at Pax.

“I was bored.”

Trevor was counting the money already. Pax took the darts. “It’s just money, Seaworthy, get over it.”

Nate gave his buddy a look, then he turned to Pax. “Just do it.”

Pax grinned, gave Nate a single nod. And without looking at the board, he threw the first dart, and the second before that one had even hit, and the third as the first thunk hit the board.

Trevor was staring at the dartboard. Pax wandered over and took the money out of his hands. “I win.”

“How did you…”

“I was trained by a world-class master of darts in all the seediest bars of the European south,” Pax explained, handing Nate back his eighty dollars with interest and then taking the rest for himself. “They say it’s all in the wrist, but it’s actually the core muscles. Let’s play again at the next party. Bring more money.”

“You totally hustled me.”

“I tried to warn you,” Nate told Trevor, hitting him on the back. “It’s just money, Hargrave. And it’s all in good fun.”

“Can I have that Pepsi now?” Pax asked. “I’m thirsty. Actually I’m kind of hungry. I didn’t get chips earlier. Nate, let’s go get some chips.”

“Okay, okay. See you.” Nate waved at Trevor as Pax led him off towards the chips. “You know you’re frighteningly impressive.”

“I know. I’m also frighteningly hungry all of the sudden.” It was very far to the chips. “Why do you all hit each other all the time? Is it some kind of holdover from the cretaceous past when men had to do that, or are you all just performing heteronormativity on each other all the time? Because I don’t like heteronormativity, Nate, and I think if you thought about it, you wouldn’t like it either. You should perform it less and talk to your male friends like a civilized person. Also, all your friends seem to be male. Did you notice that there are hardly any girls at this party? I hope that Joe didn’t host a boys-only party, because that’s sexist and also might lead to male bonding which I think is code for orgies, and if there’s going to be an orgy, we’re going home. I guess you could stay if you really want, but…”

“Pax, are you okay?”

Pax looked at Nate, sipping his Pepsi. Nate looked worried. “I’m fine. I’m very calm. I’m just hungry. Where are the chips?”

Nate frowned, leaned in. Pax thought he wanted a kiss and tilted his head up, but Nate looked into his eyes. “You…ate one of Stan’s cookies, didn’t you?”

“I ate two,” Pax corrected, because precision was important. He leaned up and kissed Nate, since Nate wasn’t doing it.

Nate closed his eyes for a minute, then opened them. “Okay.”

“Should I not have eaten them? He told me it was okay and I wasn’t eating most of the other food, so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem.”

“Nobody cares if you eat them, but I was counting on your natural suspicion to keep you away from strange foods. So…my bad, and now you’re high.”

“Oh.” Pax thought about that for a bit. He supposed that made sense. He giggled a little. “Okay. I’m probably going to be angry about this tomorrow.”


Clinging to Nate’s arm, Pax grinned some more. “I’m not angry about it now, though. I’m just super hungry. Bring me to the chips, please?”

“Yeah, come on.”

“And make sure I don’t accidentally eat any more drugs, that would also be good.” Pax had assumed that the light feeling he had everywhere was because he was having fun at the party, and because he’d been having fun taking money from people.

“I’ll do that, don’t worry.”

“Why are there so many pictures of cats in this house?” Pax asked, distracted by yet another one. The cats in this one were in a box.

“I’ll ask Joe’s dad next time I see him.”

“Okay. Report back to me, Seaworthy. I expect answers.” Pax giggled again. “Seaworthy. All your friends call you that.”


“You’re like a boat. You even ship things.” Pax thought about it some more. “Your mom is the captain, though. You’re just her first mate. Or maybe I am. We should get your mom a hilarious hat for her birthday, it’s coming up and I think you forgot about it. She could wear it to important meetings to show people how dedicated she is to shipping.” Pax laughed at his mental image of Natalie in a bit pirate hat. “But no parrot. We’re not getting her a parrot because I hate parrots. I’m just going to keep calling you Nate. I’m your friend too, but I like you more than your football friends do. The boy-adjective gives me first name privileges with you.”

“Yes it does, Pax.”

Finally, they arrived at the chips, where Pax took some and put them on another paper plate, which Nate helped him not drop.

“Partying a little hard?” That was Joe again. Pax had something to ask him, but it had to do with cats and he couldn’t remember what.

“He ate some of Stan’s cookies.”

“Only two,” Pax said, mouth full of chips. They were dill pickle, which sucked. “I’m fine.”

“Oh, shit. Sorry, man.”

“He’s okay,” Nate assured him. “He’s just hungry.”

“And a bit dizzy,” Pax reported. “But as long as you don’t get me to tightrope walk anytime soon, it won’t matter. There’s not a tightrope here, is there?”

“There’s not,” Joe confirmed, and Pax nodded.

“Good. That would be strange and it wouldn’t go with the cat theme that you have going on here. And I thought I had to worry about attack llamas.” Pax giggled again. He was funny.

“Yeah, that’s my dad.” Joe laughed.

“Your dad’s a cat?” Pax peered at him. “It must be a recessive gene.”

“Maybe we should go sit down for a bit,” Nate suggested.

“I don’t need to sit down.”

“You’re leaning on me like you’re about to fall through the floor.”

It wasn’t Pax’s fault the house was tilted, but he nodded with another giggle and let Nate lead him to somewhere with a sofa, where they sat together. “There we go.”

“This is a nice sofa,” Pax said, eating more chips. “It’s a nice party. Thanks for letting me come.”

“It would have been boring without you.”

“I’m sorry,” Pax said suddenly. “You probably don’t want to spend all night following me around like this.”

Nate smiled, and he kissed Pax on the cheek. Someone shouted at him to cut out the PDA. Not the best start to an orgy Pax had ever heard. “I’m going to spend my whole life following you around, what’s one night?”

Pax blushed a little, choking a bit on his chips. “You really just say things without even thinking about them, don’t you?”

“Yep. Look, have you met Denver? He likes birds.”

Pax narrowed his eyes at the boy who’d just sat on the chair near them. “You’re wrong.”

“Birds are wicked, dude.”

Pax narrowed his eyes more, which made them close, so he opened them again. “Yes. But in the literal sense of being pawns of some evil deity. Don’t worry, I’ll explain.”

He did, the brief version. Nate started to talk to someone else while he did, but that was okay. Nate had heard it before.

It was a fun party, parties were fun. Pax met lots of new people and hung out with Nate and ate more than he should have and even danced a little bit. Nate was mostly with him through the night, stopping him from standing on tables and unscrewing door hinges and doing backflips to prove he could, and at one point when Pax took a short nap Nate was there when he fell asleep and when he woke up later.

People started to leave at some point, probably because they were diurnal, and Pax scoffed at them even though he was kind of tired. But then Nate started to leave too, so Pax said goodbye to all of Nate’s friends who might have been his friends now too and let Nate tie his shoes and lead him down the driveway with the weird plants and into his car, where Pax snuggled a little into the seat. “That was fun.”

“Yeah, it was.”

“Did you have fun? Me being there didn’t ruin your fun, right?” Pax didn’t want to have fun if it meant Nate couldn’t.

“No, it was a lot more fun with you there, promise.”

“Okay.” Pax believed Nate. Nate was a trustworthy sort, it was one of the reasons Pax liked him. “I had fun too. And not just because of the accidental drugs. I think. I’m still kind of high.”

“Yeah, a little.”

“I hope we can go to more parties,” Pax continued, as Nate started to drive.

“Trust me, there are always more parties. You’ll get invited next time.”

“Good.” Pax was quiet for a bit, watching the lights outside the car. They were pretty. “Maybe I should start going back to school. I know I stopped because of the whole people possibly wanting to kill me thing, but I think it’s safe.”

“I’m sure it is,” Nate agreed.

“I have friends there now. Besides you, I mean. You were already there. But I see you anyway. And then we could get invited to more social events.”

Stopped at a red light, Nate closed his eyes for a second. “You can’t wear your knives to school.”

“I can wear whatever I want. There’s no dress code. I’ve seen what you wear to that school, Nate.”

“I’m going to frisk you every morning so you don’t go to school armed.”

Pax huffed. “Fine. I’m going to frisk you too for fairness.”

“Then we’re going to have to get up pretty early.” The light went green, and Nate started driving again.

“I have knives now,” Pax reminded him. “You should frisk me when we get home.”

“You’re going to go to bed when we get home.”

“I’m not tired.”

“Yes, you are.”

Yes, Pax was. “Fair enough. Tomorrow then. When I’m, you know.”

“Sober and consenting?”

“I was going to say awake, but yes, also that. You’re so nice, Nate. I’m so lucky that you exist and that you like me.”

“I’m the one who’s lucky, Pax. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Nate kept driving. Pax kept looking out the window, for a few minutes anyway. Then he fell asleep in the passenger seat, happy and content and exhausted. Fun was a lot of work.

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