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fic: The Perfect Man

The Perfect Man | PG-13 | 14,000+
Bob/Joe, Brendon/Spencer
(download the soundtrack)

Joe refuses to be charmed. Joe’s neighbor is some sort of drunkard or druggie, okay, and he smells like wood varnish and burnt hair and Joe really, really hopes he doesn’t have an explosive meth lab set up in his garage.

Finally! The Joe fic is done!! Okay, okay, so notes: loosely based on the book Mr. Perfect, by Linda Howard. As usual, massive thanks go to insunshine – who is such a darling - for the awesome beta. Basically, this is for nunshavingfun, because her love of Joe/Bob rivals mine. And for the record, Joe is one tough mofo to write. I have a feeling I’m wildly off base with him here, but I had fun anyway. Title is extremely lame, even for me. Sorry.
By the by, this was technically written for harlequin_bands. I don't know if it actually qualifies anymore.

The Perfect Man

There comes a time, Joe thinks morosely, staring at himself in the mirror above his sink, when you just have to grow the fuck up. He scrubs a hand over his shorn curls and grimaces. He refuses to fucking shave, though, Lacey can kiss his ass.

There’re shadows under his eyes and he yawns, wide, before twisting on the cold water and splashing his face. It’s early, dawn gray and wan, and Joe’s been awake since roughly four in the morning.

Hemmy snuffles at Joe’s bare toes and makes a grunting noise.

“Yeah, okay, buddy,” Joe says. “Give me a minute and I’ll let you out.”

Hemmy ambles out of the bathroom at a typical bulldog pace and Joe grins after him. Pete might be a douche for forcing the dog on him at the last minute just before he jetted off to god-knows-where, but it’s kind of nice having Hemmy around the house; Joe’s never lived by himself before. It’s another sign of fully-fledged adulthood – owning a home, with a mortgage, escrow and all. He’s being raped blind by taxes, but he’s got a patch of grass out back that he actually looks forward to mowing.

Joe eventually snaps off the bathroom light with a huff of irritation – he misses his Jew-fro, it’s kind of tragic – and heads for the kitchen, finding Hemmy patiently sitting on his haunches by the back door.

As he lets the dog out, Joe glances over at the new neighbor’s house, glaring at the porch light that’s still on, the one that shines directly into Joe’s bedroom. Then he slides his glare over towards the piece of shit car that’d come rattling into the driveway at four-fucking-am – the reason Joe had a) been jerked from an awesome sleep, and b) kept awake, grit-eyed, until his alarm buzzed at six-thirty. His neighbor’s a fucking asshole. And probably some kind of drug dealer – Joe’s spotted him exactly once during daylight hours; scruffy, wearing torn and stained clothes, bear of a scowl on his mouth. Joe’s a friendly dude, but he’d swallowed back a greeting when he was faced with whatever bug had crawled up that guy’s ass and died. For all Joe knows, he could be a strung-out coke addict that’s just seconds from a psychotic break with a sharp, pointy knife.

Joe isn’t straight edge or anything, but his lazily lingering college pot habit totally isn’t the same thing as being a crack whore.

It takes Joe a half hour to get Hemmy settled and get out of the house, juggling his work bag, a travel mug of coffee and his keys, an apple clenched between his teeth. He drops his keys twice before getting the car door open, accidentally elbows his horn getting everything into the passenger seat, and gets drool from his open-around-an-apple mouth all down his chin. He knows this day is going to be fantastic.

This is emphasized by the fact that he backs the car right up into his neighbor’s trashcan. Awesome.


Butcher shoves a stack of papers at him and arches an eyebrow. “Nice hair.”

“Fuck off,” Joe says, stalking past reception.

Butcher calls down the hallway after him, “Andy wants to see you!” and Joe flips him off without turning around.

Joe likes Butcher, but Joe is running really fucking late, after he tried – and failed – to kick out the enormous dent he’d put in his neighbor’s trashcan.

Brendon peeks over the top of his cubicle half-wall – someday he’s going to demand an office and an actual dressing room that he doesn’t have to share with Brendon - as Joe drops his bag and thumbs on his monitor.

“What have you done, Joe Trohman?” Brendon asks, eyes wide.

“I look polished and sophisticated,” Joe says.

“You look like a tool,” Jon says, leaning a hip onto Joe’s desk. He takes a sip of his coffee and grins around the mug lip.

Joe screws the lid off his thermos and takes a fortifying gulp, manfully ignoring the burning pain – his travel mug kicks ass, apparently, at keeping his coffee piping hot. “I’m a professional,” Joe says. He’s a fucking professional, and Andy’s going to laugh his damn head off, but if it’ll shut Lacey the fuck up, Joe’ll clench his teeth and bear it.

He’s not actually under the delusion that it’ll shut Lacey up, though, because Lacey is an asshole network patsy and Joe suspects he just wants to get Joe fired already, even though Joe’s the fucking talent here.

“Greta’s going to kill you,” Jon says, and Brendon nods his head a lot in agreement.

“Kill you dead,” Brendon says.

Joe concedes that Greta might kill him. He tugs on the ends of his now-short curls and grimaces. He hadn’t really been thinking about Greta when he’d told the girl at the Hair Cuttery to, “Shred the fuck out of this motherfucker.” He says, “Maybe I should wear a hat.”


Greta does not actually kill Joe, but it’s a close thing. He’s curled into his seat at the end of the oval table, head ducked to his notes, and he’s studiously ignoring the way Greta is sniffling and making wounded faces at him and trying to talk Brendon into an even brighter shirt than usual to take some of the emphasis away from the fact that Joe has, “Ruined the entire aesthetic of the show, oh my god, Trohman, how could you?”

Lacey has an evilly smug smile on his face as he stands off to the side of the stage, mug of coffee between both hands, hunched over like he’s about to break out in a mad cackle. Joe does some rash things. Joe should’ve remembered that Lacey is a douchebag asshole bent on making Joe look like a total fool before, say, chopping off all his signature hair.

Joe sighs.

Ballato, their normal replacement for whenever Pete flakes out on them and disappears, drops into the chair next to him and props her chin on one palm, fingers tapping her cheek. She arches an eyebrow.

Joe says, “I know.”

She smirks. “It sort of suits you.” She reaches out and rubs at his jaw. “At least you still have your scruff.”

Ashlee bounces up on the stage and says, “Guys, guys, I saw the most amazing band last night. The keytar, it’s totally coming back!”

“Was it ever here?” Andy says through a yawn, headset around his neck, leaning into the edge of the table tiredly. “Also,” he points at Joe, “ha.”

“Five minutes, guys,” Jon says. He knocks his knuckles into the tabletop. “Good show.”

Patrick hustles up with Ryan trailing after him, holding about twenty hats, switching them out one after the other and tossing them over his shoulder as each one is rejected in turn. Finally, Ryan settles on a black and white checkered newsboy cap, and Greta tucks Patrick’s bangs up under it as he drops into his seat between Ashlee and Brendon.

“Sorry, sorry,” Patrick huffs. He waves some papers around. “Fucking tone-deaf Frog got signed to Reprise, what the fuck.”

“Twenty seconds,” Jon says, a disembodied voice. The lights are hot and bright, and Joe can’t see anything beyond the teleprompter. Johnson, standing beside it, counts them in from five, the three, two, one just silent ticks of his fingers.

“Welcome to The Morning After,” Ashlee says into the camera. “Today, an epic battle between Joe and Patrick over how cool the keytar is—”

“That’s not in my notes,” Patrick says. He shuffles his papers, brow creased in a way that’s probably giving Greta spasms.

“Ash, the keytar is not cool,” Joe says.

“Well, hang on,” Patrick says, tugging on the brim of his hat, still frowning, and Brendon makes tell-me-more hands, letting Joe relax into his seat, forgetting about his fucking hair, because he’s got the best damn job on the planet.


Every Friday, Joe somehow lets himself get talked into going out for lunch and drinks after the show with Ashlee, Brendon, Greta and occasionally Ballato. He never means to, and always has several awesome excuses lined up to get him out of it, but they’ve never, in the year and a half he’s been on The Morning After, worked.

He doesn’t understand how Patrick always dodges this, but he’s mighty envious. Not that he doesn’t enjoy the tacos and beer, but the girls tend to forget that Joe is mostly gay, but not all gay, and also not actually a woman. Unlike Brendon. Especially when Brendon gets started on Ryan’s best friend, Spencer, the guy he has an enormous crush on, even though they’ve hardly spoken two words to each other. It’s kind of sad.

“It’s kind of sad, dude,” Joe tells Brendon, taking a pull on his beer. It’s maybe his fifth one, but he totally has to fortify himself for these events.

“He’s perfect,” Brendon says with a sigh.

Ballato says, “Yeah, right,” nose wrinkled, but Ballato’s dating Gerard Way, who lives around the corner from Joe, and Gerard Way is one weird-ass dude, all basement-dweller pale and creepy hamster-teeth smiles, so anything she has to say about guys is immediately suspect.

Of course, Joe kind of agrees with her on this one. Spencer Smith is not perfect. He’s hot, yeah, but lately he’s been sporting an extremely unfortunate mustache. “Unless you’re rocking a beard, there should be no hair on your upper lip,” Joe says. Joe’s a fucking sage, here.

“I do miss the beard,” Brendon says, but then he spreads his hands and says, “But you’ve totally seen his arms, right? Right?” and he sighs even more dreamily, and Joe downs the rest of his beer in one long swallow. He snags a passing waiter – he doesn’t even think he’s theirs – and orders another round. He’s going to need it.

Ashlee has her head on Greta’s shoulder, smile vague, hand curled loosely around her pint glass.

Greta pats Ashlee absently and says, “There are no perfect guys, Brendon. None. Not since Trohman here cut all his hair off.” She gives Joe a meaningful glare. Greta is not scary, except for how she totally actually is.

Joe sinks down low into his seat and tugs his glass closer.

“Oh, that’s a lie,” Brendon says. “I’m awesome.”

“Awesome, but not perfect,” Ashlee says with a giggle. “You’re, like, pocket-sized.”

“I’m a respectable height,” Brendon says.

“Next to Patrick,” Ashlee says, and Brendon’s eyes go wide and he looks like he’s trying very hard not to laugh, because Brendon knows and they all know that any laughter at Patrick’s expense is bound to get back to Pete and/or Patrick and that’s never pretty.

Greta narrows her eyes speculatively. That look never bodes well, Joe knows, but he’s too drunk to care at this point. What they need, he thinks, are more nachos.

“The perfect guy,” Greta says, fingers tapping slowly on the table, “has got to be tall.”

“Tall, dark and handsome,” Ballato says, rolling her eyes.

“And solicitous,” Brendon says, then adds so low that Joe almost misses it, “Spencer’s tall,” and Joe snorts a quick laugh.

“With dimples,” Ashlee says. “And, like, long fingers.” She wiggles hers in the air.

If Joe had stopped drinking a half hour ago, even, he probably wouldn’t have bobbed his head in agreement. Probably.

Ballato scrubs a hand over her mouth, like she’s trying to hide a smile. “And he’s got to be kind to animals,” she says.

“To kids,” Brendon puts in.

“He cooks,” Ashlee says, slamming a palm down next to her plate.

“Naked.” Greta’s mouth curls up in a way that Joe can only describe as wicked, which means he’s probably past drunk and well on his way to fucking plastered.

Joe waves over another waiter – they’re all blurring together at this point – and says, “Dude, a round of shots—”

“Grey Goose,” Ballato says. “Chilled.” And then she points at Joe and says, “A generously-sized dick.”

Joe doesn’t know why he’s been pinned down to second this one, but he shrugs. “Well, duh.”

“But not, like, freakishly proportioned,” Ashlee says, with a strangely serious line in between her brows, and Brendon bursts out into giggles and says, “Oh my god.”


On Saturday, Joe gives up trying to sleep in around five o’clock. He rolls out of bed with a groan, flips on his coffeemaker and lets Hemmy out into the yard. He contemplates carving out his neighbor’s heart with his sugar spoon. Or maybe just chucking a rock at his porch light; it’d be less violent and more expedient. Instead, he watches early morning cartoons ‘til nine, then decides he should maybe mow his lawn before it gets too hot out to move.

Joe’s pretty proud of his mowing prowess – he’s managed to keep his grass at a respectable length for going on four months. He’s got a monster of a mower, too, even though his yard isn’t all that huge, because he maybe got a little carried away in Home Depot that one time. Joe never suspected he had a thing for shiny machines until he’d nearly whited-out in the lawn care aisle.

iPod blaring some classic Led Zeppelin, he drags the mower out of his attached garage and starts it up. Hemmy watches him balefully from the side stoop, droopy head on his paws.

Joe’s only gone down the length of his yard twice when a giant hand clamps onto his shoulder and it’s very possible that Joe yelps like a little girl. Very, extremely possible, but he’s not going to admit it.

“Jesus Christ,” Joe says, tapping the mower off and hanging over the handle, panting. His heart feels like it’s about to burst out of his throat. It doesn’t help that Joe’s neighbor is standing awfully close, scowling down at him, because Joe’s neighbor is one scary-ass dude. Big and, okay, kind of totally hot, but scary. He could probably break Joe’s neck with one hand. The hand that’s still a painful vise on Joe’s shoulder.

“Um.” Joe snags the cord of his earbuds and tugs. “Yeah?”

“I’m trying to sleep,” the guy says.

In the distance, Joe can hear the buzz of many folks who had the same idea as Joe – get yard work done before the temp ratchets up past ninety. Joe cocks his head. “It’s not that early, dude,” he says.

The grip on his shoulder tightens even more, and Joe’s sure he’s going to have a bruise there later. Or a snapped bone. The guy doesn’t say anything, though, just narrows his eyes, glaring Joe down, and Joe’s trying to be amiable here, he really is, but what the fuck.

“Seriously, dude, if you’re gonna break my clavicle go ahead and do it already, fucking—” Joe almost calls him a manner-less heathen, but realizes at the last second that it’d totally make him sound like his gamma, and Joe is not that lame. Really.

The guy drops his hand, though, and actually looks taken-aback – which he should – and says, “Sorry,” and, okay, is that a fucking blush? Joe is ninety-eight percent certain the guy is—blushing.

Joe refuses to be charmed. Joe’s neighbor is some sort of drunkard or druggie, okay, and he smells like wood varnish and burnt hair and Joe really, really hopes he doesn’t have an explosive meth lab set up in his garage.

Joe suddenly feels as awkward as the guy looks, watching as he ducks his head a little and rubs the back of his neck. And then he says, “Could you just not fucking mow your lawn right now?” and the entire effect is ruined.

Joe snorts and says, “Yeah, sure, since you yourself have been such a kind and considerate neighbor. Look, big guy, I’ll be done in, like, an hour and then you can pass out—”


“Do you even know how a light switch works? You know, you flip it back down after you’re done stumbling home drunk so you don’t keep the neighbors up all fucking night and, seriously, what the fuck is wrong with your shitty-ass car?” He thrusts a hand into his hair and misses his fro more than ever, tugging ineffectually at the short curls – it’s just not as satisfying at conveying his frustration. “It’s like a fucking tank rolls up at four each morning, Christ. Some of us actually have to get up and work every day.”

Joe, very briefly, ponders when exactly he’d turned into his dad.

The dude slides his hands into his pockets and he actually looks a little bemused now, if no less menacing. “Yeah, you’re on that morning show. Joe Trohman. I’m Bob.”

Joe blinks at him incredulously. Joe normally thinks of himself as a laidback guy. Joe normally doesn’t get angry. He gets vaguely annoyed and, okay, so maybe Lacey has been known to send him into a blind rage – which totally doesn’t count, since it’s Lacey – but Joe feels like he’s dangerously close to punching Bob in the face.

It’s not a good idea, really, since Bob’s face looks like it could probably punch back. And with a hell of a lot more force.

Joe eases away from his mower. “I’m just going to—do this later.” Twilight, maybe, when it cools off again.

Bob grins. It’s not a very nice grin. “Sounds good.”


Monday dawns and Joe’s surprised to find that he’s actually slept ‘til his alarm. He stretches out of bed, hitching his sweatpants higher on his hips, and pads into the kitchen, Hemmy at his heels.

He’s just filled a glass of water at the sink when he happens to glance up and—and Bob doesn’t have his blinds drawn. Bob doesn’t have his blinds drawn, and Bob is standing in his own kitchen, and Bob is very, very naked. Like, epically naked.

The polite thing to do, okay, would be to turn away. Joe is not that polite. Holy hell.

Joe’s throat dries up and he sips at his water, eyes locked on Bob and Bob’s—everything. Bob’s pale and blonde everywhere – and big and muscular and, god, half-hard – but Joe’s willing to bet he fits almost all the other criteria his bat-shit insane cohorts came up with the other night.

He leans into the counter, pressing his dick into the cabinets, and tries to talk himself out of jerking off right the fuck there, Christ. He is not a pervert. Totally not a pervert.

With a deep breath, he makes himself walk over to the phone and dials Gerard’s number – though he still can’t rip his eyes off of Bob, and the way Bob’s gripping his fridge door with one hand, downing a glass of juice in the other, naked – because Gerard knows everybody in the neighborhood, despite being some sort of social hermit.

Gerard’s, “Hello,” is kind of groggy.

“Dude, you know Bob, right?” Joe manages. “My neighbor?”

“What the—Joe?”

“Gerard Way, man, help me out here. I need Bob’s number.”

Joe is going to call Bob and inform him of the fact that he’s flashing the whole world his dick, specifically Joe. Joe feels like this is the nice neighborly thing to do.

“Um.” There’s a noisy yawn. “Cop Bob? Yeah, okay, hang on—”

“Cop Bob?” Joe’s brain stutters a sec while Bob scratches at his stomach and then turns to give Joe an awesome view of his ass.

Gerard rattles off numbers and Joe has to ask him to repeat it twice before he hangs up, because cop Bob? Naked cop Bob? Do cops normally look like hobos living out of their cars? Of course, Bob doesn’t look like a hobo crack whore at the moment. He looks like someone that Joe would very much like to climb. Or something. Joe is so fucked.

He blindly punches Bob’s digits into the phone and watches as Bob’s head jerks up, as he walks over to a phone mounted on his kitchen wall, and Joe swallows thickly at Bob’s gruff, “Yeah.”

“Yeah, so, you realize your blinds are open, right?” Joe says.

Bob looks up and pins Joe with a hard stare and Joe bites back an honest-to-god meep. “Sorry,” Bob says, even though he doesn’t sound very sorry. He keeps eye contact with Joe as he stalks slowly over to his window, and Joe could be imagining the tiny curve of his mouth, but he doesn’t think so.

Bob’s blinds slide down. He asks, “Better?”

Joe nods, even though he can’t see him anymore, and says, “Yeah, uh, thanks.”

“No problem,” Bob says, and hangs up.

Joe’s fingers curl around the phone, white-knuckled, and he thinks what he needs is a long, hot, soapy shower, and then he thinks fucking fuck, because, Jesus Christ, he could have just shut his own shades and avoided confronting Bob altogether.

Joe is officially an idiot.


There’s a piece of laminated paper taped to his monitor when Joe gets to work. At the top, it reads The Perfect Man, and Joe groans.

“Nice,” Jon says.


“I especially like the part about cooking naked.” Jon flashes him a thumbs-up.

“Oh Jesus,” Joe says, pressing his palms into his eyes.

“Joe, Joe,” Brendon says, bounding up behind Jon, waving his own paper around in the air. “How fucking awesome is this?”

Joe doesn’t actually think it’s awesome, especially since, yep, all their names are listed at the bottom of the page. Joe is pretty sure this is Ashlee’s fault, because she’s always pulling this type of shit, like the three months she kept sending everyone e-cards from her dog.

Joe collapses into his chair. “I used to be a guy, you know,” Joe says dejectedly.

“And then you gave up weed for Lent,” Jon says.

“What was I thinking?” Joe buries his face in his hands. “I’m Jewish. I don’t even know what Lent is.”

“Bill wants to put it on the show,” Brendon says.

Joe jerks upright and shakes his head no, no, no, because, “Bill has lost his fucking mind. We’re a music roundtable, dude, what the fuck.”

Brendon shrugs. “I think it’ll be fun.”

“You think ice dancing is fun,” Joe says. “You’re a fan of Vampire Weekend, you can’t be trusted, Brendon, you know this.”

“Hey.” Brendon frowns.

Jon curls an arm around Brendon’s shoulders and tells Joe, “No need to be mean, man.”

Which is a valid point, because this is not like Joe. Joe never has a need to be mean. Joe is argumentative about Death Metal maybe, but he’s never mean.

“Shit,” Joe says. He’s currently having a bad life.

“What’s going on?” Ryan asks, pausing on his way past with what looks like a box full of mittens and scarves.

“Joe’s in a mood.”

“I’m not in a mood.” Joe spins around to his computer and double-clicks Firefox and says, “Busy, busy, busy,” in an effort to make them all scatter and stop torturing him with their voices and opinions. He pretends to surf E! because he’s not actually going to do any research – Patrick is the only one who bothers to do research for the show. Joe’s computer is largely unused, except for playing World of Warcraft with Cash and Johnson.

His deflection doesn’t actually work, though, and Brendon says, “Look at this, Ry,” and Ryan says flatly, “Wow,” and, “This is so not surprising, really.”

Jon clasps Joe’s shoulder and Joe tilts his head back to look up into his truly sympathetic face. Jon’s a good guy. Maybe Joe can get Jon to share a tiny bit of his stash later. Lent was, like, months ago.

Ryan says, “I think I could help you out with number ten here.”

Joe doesn’t want to know what number ten is, he really doesn’t. He peeks over at the paper anyway.

“I don’t know, dude,” Jon says, rubbing at his beard thoughtfully, “what about the freakishly proportioned disclaimer?”

“Oh, gross,” Brendon says, pulling a face.

Joe heartily agrees.


“I’m pretty sure I hate you all,” Joe says around a mouth full of nachos. Another Friday afternoon, another drunken taco fest with the gals. Already, the world’s a little blurrier. “I now know way too much about Ross’s dick and it’s your fault. All of you.”

The week had gone surprisingly fast, and Joe’s neighbor Naked Cop Bob – although Joe is seriously still suspicious about the cop part of that - has been surprisingly solicitous about his late night comings and goings. He hasn’t woken Joe up at all, and Joe’s gotten to sleep until his alarm four out of the five days; Hemmy’d eaten something truly foul he’d found in the yard on Wednesday and spent most of the small hours of the morning hacking up dead things all over Joe’s bedroom floor.

Ashlee giggle-snorts into her hands, eyes dancing.

Brendon is waving his hands around. He says, “I know, I know,” and nods firmly at Joe, because they are of like minds, Joe thinks. There’s just some shit that they should never have to know about.

Greta pokes Joe in the side – Joe should’ve thought twice about taking up the seat next to her – and says, “Speaking of dicks,” – the word seems extra wrong coming from Greta, and Joe feels a little spike of nausea tickle low in his throat – “Jon says you saw your druggie neighbor naked.”

Joe groans. Fucking Jon and his fucking – perfect – weed. “He was just—there,” Joe says. There and awesome. With an impressive ass. And, like, thighs. Right.

Joe definitely hadn’t been peeking out his kitchen window every morning that week, hoping for another look. Joe is not a pervert. Mostly.

“I’m not a pervert,” Joe says.

Ballato laughs. “Oh yeah, right, now that’s the god’s honest truth.”

Joe needs more beer. He steals Brendon’s glass, and Brendon just pouts at him, because Brendon is too good-natured to actually hurt Joe for stealing his beer, unlike Greta or Ballato, who would likely take off Joe’s hand, and possibly his dick – and, seriously, what the fuck.

“I hate you,” Joe says. He feels like this needs to be known. They have to motherfucking believe him about this, and then maybe stop dragging him to Lupe’s every week.

“Oh wait, wait,” Ashlee says. She presses the tip of her finger into the table, sliding it along until it bumps up against the giant plate of nachos. “Wait, have you seen whatshisname, the guy—the new guy. The new guy, guys.”

Brendon says, “His eyes want to eat me.”

“They do.” Ashlee nods. “They totally do, hon.”


Joe tapes all The Soup’s because he thinks Joel McHale is hilarious and he pretty much lives for all the times that he makes Joe look like an ass. Or, like, just highlights the fact that Joe’s an ass, which Joe very neatly proves almost every morning, all by his lonesome.

Joe’s even made a cameo, back when they’d had that one show where he kept bringing up Conway Twitty – and that was the last time Joe ever did the show stoned, seriously, Andy had been pretty pissed about it.

It is indeed a dark day when Joe doesn’t want to watch the latest Soup, because he knows, knows deep down inside, that they’ve clipped the shit out of their fucking perfect man list. He’s sitting in the den with all the lights off late Friday night, Hemmy breathing heavily through his gaping mouth on the couch next to him, and he’s no longer half as drunk as he was when he’d heated up that mac and cheese for dinner. He wishes he were the kind of guy who kept hard liquor.

He should be out. He should be out with Andy and Jon and Patrick and Bill and that new dude, Gabe. He should be watching Brendon flirt, badly, with Ryan’s best friend Spencer. Instead, he’s curled up on the sofa and his fingers are automatically flipping to E! and he’s fully prepared to see the recap of Monday’s complete train-wreck of a show, summed up in a five to ten second clip. He’s not disappointed.

“This week on The Morning After, the gang got a little feisty,” Joel pauses, cocks his head, “and a little introspective.”

Cue a clip of Brendon giggling his ass off and almost slipping out of his chair. There’s a cut back to an inquisitive looking Joel, a hmmm at his lips, and this isn’t so bad. Surprising, considering the fact that what had preceded Brendon’s total hilarity was an unfortunate conversation about Ryan’s penis—and oh fucking god, Joe’d had his head down for most of that segment, so he’d missed Ashlee’s hand gestures, but, apparently, Joel hadn’t. And it’s—okay, it’s some funny shit, Joe will admit that.

Some seriously hilarious shit, especially when they bring out Man-kini and all the sausages.

Bill may be right. This whole perfect man fiasco could definitely spike their ratings.


On Saturday, Joe gets a little high and washes his car, in that exact order. The sponge feels kind of awesome and squishy and it’s fucking hot out, so he doesn’t mind when his jeans get completely soaked. His t-shirt is plastered against his chest and his nose feels crispy, so Greta is totally going to kick his ass on Monday.


Joe jumps and spins and hits Bob in the center of his chest with a spray of water. Which is—just fucking funny and Joe thinks maybe he’s going to throw up, he starts laughing so hard. He reaches out and grasps Bob’s arm and sort of hunches over and wheezes, a hand on his knee, almost gasping, seriously, he can’t breathe.

“Something funny?”

“Something’s—” Joe takes a couple gulps of air and shakes his head, straightens up and tilts back so he can look at Bob properly, because hell yeah. “Something’s hilarious, dude, oh my god—” Bob’s face. Bob’s face is hysterical, water dripping off the end of his nose.

“Watch it, Trohman,” Bob says, growls really, and Joe’s hilarity peters off into a few hiccupy giggles, but he can’t wipe the stupid grin from his face.

“Hey, when you’re being all sneaky, dude, you gotta take what you get,” Joe says. He swipes Bob’s wet chest with the flat of his hand, bunches up the fabric a little. He can feel Bob’s muscles shift under his palm. Cool.

And then Bob crowds Joe up against his car, wraps his hands around Joe’s upper arms to keep him still.

Joe, amazingly, is still. He can feel the heat from Bob’s body and Joe’s mind flashes back to the week before, to Naked Cop Bob, and he’s suddenly extremely conscious of the fact that Bob’s soaked shirt is, like, clinging in awesome places. It’s not so much funny anymore.


Bob grins. “Caught your show on Monday,” he says.

“Oh shit.”

Bob’s grin widens, gets this kind of evil, scary edge. “It was very—enlightening.”

Joe grimaces. “Yeah, okay.” He debates squirming, but doesn’t think he can actually shake Bob off, and it’d probably just make him press up against Bob in embarrassing, yet potentially rocking ways. Joe is in a quandary. He has a dilemma here, almost, especially when Bob takes a step closer.

“Huh.” Joe thinks maybe if he spreads his legs a little, Bob could slide right in. Also, Joe realizes that wet denim is not at all comfortable. He wants to tug at his crotch, but he thinks Bob’ll get the wrong idea. Or the right idea. Whatever.

Chests not quite touching, Bob looks down at him with these fierce blue eyes, and Joe kind of loses all ability to talk, throat dried up and mouth full of cotton. Bob very slowly moves his grip down Joe’s arm, twists the hose nozzle out of Joe’s hand without taking his gaze off Joe’s.

And then he takes a careful step back, aims and fires.

Joe splutters as the water hits his face. “Motherfucker,” he says with a surprised laugh. He lunges for the hose again, but Bob’s quicker than he looks, and Joe’s completely drenched before he gives up, sagging against the garage door. “Yield, I fucking yield, dude,” he says, panting.

“Good,” Bob says, and then—

Then, somehow, Bob’s mouth ends up on top of Joe’s. Joe is, like, stunned, fucking flabbergasted, even, and also—also, he seems to be kissing Bob back. And gripping Bob’s shirt at his collarbones and hitching a leg up against Bob’s side and, like, licking into Bob’s mouth and really. Really.

“Hang on, what,” Joe says, jerking his head back. “What the fuck?”

Bob gives him a level stare, like Joe’s the one who attacked his face. His throat is flushed, though, and one corner of his mouth is quirked up, and he lets Joe go and, like, pats his shoulder before stepping away.

“Later,” Bob says, and Joe swears, swears he’s fucking whistling under his breath as he walks across the drive.

There is seriously something going on with Bob. Fuck if Joe knows what it is.


Tuesday, Patrick and Ballato practically have a smackdown over Justin Timberlake. Joe leans back in his chair, fascinated, as always, with how red Patrick’s face can get when he’s pissed off. It’s pretty impressive. Joe’s waiting for him to storm off the stage, like he did that time when Pete called Ella Fitzgerald overrated.

“Have you heard from Greta?” Brendon asks Joe during a commercial break, while Andy’s trying to talk Patrick down from pop-induced crazy. Brendon bites his lower lip. “She didn’t even call in, dude, I’m worried.”

It’s definitely weird for Greta to just not show up for work, but Joe figures maybe she took a vacation day and everyone just forgot about it.

After the show, though, Joe gets cornered by Bill and Bill’s hand-wringing ways and overly-dramatic pauses and learns that Greta isn’t answering her cell or home phone, either.

And then Joe gets a call from Pete.

“What the fuck, Pete, how are you Greta’s emergency contact?” Joe asks, because, seriously, Pete?

“Her folks are flying in, man, and Morris wouldn’t pick up his fucking phone. I’m, like, number four in her cell.”

Joe is still fucking amazed he’s on there at all, but whatever. That isn’t really the thing to focus on here. The thing to focus on is the fact that Greta’s in the fucking hospital.


Sometimes, Joe misses the old days of college radio. He misses when it was just him and Patrick and two mikes and their extremely insistent favorite caller, Pete Wentz, back before he was Pete Wentz; back when he was just this dude who bugged the shit out of Patrick by daily proclaiming his undying love on air.

Now he’s got fucking paparazzi stalking him outside County General.

“They’re like fucking vultures, man,” Joe says.

Bill ignores him and goes for the front desk, flutters his hands and says, “Miss Greta Salpeter, please.”

Patrick stomps past the automatic doors five seconds later, muttering under his breath, and Ashlee and Brendon show up just as Bill’s waving them frantically towards the elevator.

“Now,” Bill says when they pile in, “now, nobody panic, okay?” Bill looks like he’s panicking enough for all of them, so Joe nods.

“Sure, man,” Joe says, and Patrick arches an is-he-for-real? eyebrow, but nods, too.

Ashlee says, “She’ll be fine, sweetie,” and gives Bill a half-hug and Bill slumps into her, arm draped around her neck, and it looks pretty funny, actually, since Bill’s over a full head taller than her. Ashlee doesn’t seem to mind.

Greta’s in room 304. She’s pale against the white sheets and her hair looks greasy and there’s this big, scary bandage on her head and one on her neck and there’s bruising, a nasty black eye and a cut on her cheek, and Joe doesn’t know what to say. Her eyes are closed, lashes spread dark on her skin.

“She hasn’t woken up yet,” Bill says in a hush, hands clasped together. “They said—they said she hasn’t woken up.”

Ashlee sneaks up behind him and wraps her arms around his waist, pressing her cheek into his back.

Joe hangs back, and Brendon latches onto his wrist, eyes huge.

He whispers out of the side of his mouth, “She’s so still.”

Patrick walks up and curls his fingers over the bedrail, frowning down at her. “Well, fuck,” he says.

Joe’s, “Dude, yeah,” just kind of slips out.


It’s late when Joe finally makes it home. He’s shaky from exhaustion and fear, because Greta still hasn’t woken up and her mom had been bawling and Bill is kind of falling apart and Brendon’s, like, ten times smaller than usual and Joe doesn’t actually want to be alone, but they all left the hospital anyway.

There aren’t any lights on next door, but there’s an orange flare by the porch, like the butt of a cigarette, and then a voice says, “Yo.”

Joe gives the vague, dark shape of Bob a half-hearted wave. He trudges up his front stoop, triggering his motion light. He shades his eyes and unlocks his door, then backs out of the way for Hemmy to amble down the steps. Hemmy heads for the patch of grass right next to Bob’s side door, and Joe follows along behind.

He makes himself at home beside Bob on his porch steps, elbows propped up on raised knees. “So you’re a cop,” Joe says.

He watches Bob arch an eyebrow in the dim light spilling across the driveway. “Yeah,” Bob says.

Bob’s a guy of few words, Joe thinks.

“Huh,” Joe says.

Bob crushes the end of his cigarette against the concrete walk at their feet. “That surprising?” he asks.

Joe shrugs. “Kinda thought you were drunk all the time.”

Bob’s silent. He lights another cigarette before passing the pack to Joe, but Joe just flips it over and over in his hands before handing it back.

“I’m not,” Bob says finally.

Joe nods his head. “Figured that one out.” He taps his head. “I’m not actually dumb. Mostly.”

Bob laughs a little and knocks their shoulders together. “Sure,” he says.

Joe feels weird. Like maybe he’s supposed to do something – make some sort of move here, right. Joe’s awesome at making moves. Bob’s just a little intimidating. He ends up with an awkward hand gesture and stares off into the street, trying to will away the heat flushing up his throat.

And then he feels Bob’s hand clamp over the back of his neck, and it’s awesome and warm and, like, soothing, and Joe doesn’t want to move ever again. He wants to live right there forever.

“Everything okay?” Bob asks.

“Peachy,” Joe says. “You know, just, a good friend was beaten unconscious last night, but other than that.”

Bob’s hand tightens, kind of painfully. “Sorry,” he says, before letting up on his grip slightly, and Joe doesn’t know if he’s sorry for almost snapping his neck or sorry about Greta, but it doesn’t really matter.

Joe says, “Thanks.”

part two


( 5 robots have taken off their pants — Take off your pants )
Dec. 26th, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
Let me just tell you now how excited I am to read this! I'm bouncing! ;D

Be back later, after I've read.

Dec. 26th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
haven't read yet but YUSSSSS
Jan. 3rd, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
So, I show up on eckerlilas doorstep on New Years Eve and go "I must love you or something because I was in the middle of reading skoosie's Perfect Man and there was NAKED COP BOB and I left that UNFINISHED so I could spend NYE loafing around with you". Which is to say, I loved this story so much that it caused a (small) crisis of conscience.
Jan. 8th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
*laughs* thank you, hon! I am jealous of your Shonna-visiting ways :)
Feb. 9th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
Oh God. I found this through a mention on FOB fic finder and this story is AWESOME!

Youre writing is so wicked and funny without being overly done. I love it. I love this rare pairing....

( 5 robots have taken off their pants — Take off your pants )


Lydia has so much leg. Stiles could write poetry to all that leg, they’re epic and they’re all—there. In his face.

“I could kill you with my thighs,” Lydia says without looking up from her magazine and Stiles resists the urge to crack a tasteless joke about Derek and murder.

Instead, Stiles says, “You realize that’s not actually a deterrent.” Lydia is only slightly more out of his league than Derek. Stiles is a TV star to millions of five year olds, he plays Scott’s imaginary friend that’s occasionally a unicorn, he’s under no illusion that this makes him cool.

- This Is How We Go



panic - pants to match ver. 3
master of karate and friendship
pants to match


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