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June 23rd, 2008


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11:18 am
Since it seems my labeling wasn't clear enough:

Part three of three.

Leaving Albuquerque
Part Three: Don't Shake the Walls Tonight
[info]chaosmanor
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, non-commercial work of fiction using the names and likenesses of real individuals. This fictional story is not intended to imply that the events herein actually occurred, or that the attitudes or behaviors described are engaged in or condoned by the real persons whose names are used without permission.

Lyrics of Don't Shake the Walls Tonight belong to me.



The director and camera crew clambered out of the truck, in the clearing on Andy's property, and the director said, "You're shitting me. You recorded an album here?"

"You did bring a generator, didn't you?" Andy said, looking at the equipment on the back of the truck. "I've only got a twelve volt system here."

"No, really, you live here?" the director asked. "This isn't some weird-assed location someone found for you?"

Andy pulled his shoulders back indignantly. "This is my home."

The all-terrain vehicle carrying the stylists and the rest of the crew rattled into the clearing, and Suzy sighed. "Damn. Why did I want to be a woman? Now someone's going to want to curl my hair or something."

Pete kissed her cheek. "Curl yours, straighten mine. It's all good."

The director walked into the barn, where they'd already set up their instruments. "This is unbelievably good," the director said. "Actual kettle drums! And is that a still in the corner? And sacks of wheat?"

"It's a barn," Andy said patiently. "Doesn't everyone have this stuff in their barns?"

Suzy found herself sitting in the front lounge of the bus, make up plastered on her face, her hair back-combed and teased, while a wardrobe tech held up clothes. "Jeans," Suzy said. "Unless you're showing me jeans, I'm not cooperating."

The tech put down the miniskirt and sighed. "Are you sure?"

"We're on a farm!" Suzy said. "Well, it would be a farm if Andy did any work on it. There are snakes and things here, and I'm not running around the orchard in anything less than denim and boots."

The tech held up a sequined bra hopefully, and Suzy glared at her.

"Think butch dyke," Suzy said. "As a starting point. A very shy butch dyke, whose friends have forced her into being in a video."

Pete pushed his way into the lounge, dug through his duffel bag for a moment, then waved a lip gloss and an eyelash curler in the air triumphantly.

He paused to blow a kiss to Suzy, and look critically at the sequined bra. "No, the cut's wrong," he said decisively. "You'll get armpit bulging. Wear your black lace bra instead."

When he'd gone, Suzy sighed, and said, "Okay, a butch dyke whose boyfriend can be so very femme at times."

The wardrobe tech looked speculatively at Suzy's chest. "What cup size did you say you are? He could be right about the armpit bulging. What about a leather bustier?"

"Andy will disown me if I wear leather on his property," Suzy said. "Have you got anything in tasteful plastic?"

When Suzy stepped off the bus half an hour later, wearing her own black jeans and boots, the black lace bra--because Pete had been right--and a black denim lace-up bustier, she hadn't expected the film crew to stop and stare too. The threshold for impressing Pete was pretty damned low, and Andy and Joe weren't exactly connoisseurs, but the lighting guy looked like he was about to drop the floodlight he was holding, and even the camera tech stood up to look over the top of his camera.

The director rushed up to her, beaming. "You look great," he said. "Let's do a lighting check in the barn."

They did three clean run-throughs of Sugar, with a pause in between each to damp down the dust on the floor of the barn, then the director pulled the two inside cameras in for the kettle drum shots.

On the fourth take of the opening sequence, with Suzy and Andy beating the kettle drums, Suzy bitterly regretted ever going near the bloody drums. It was hard work, pounding the damned skins with the mallets under arc lights, and she couldn't pull the strikes or get the timing wrong, or the symmetry with Andy wouldn't work. Andy, fitter, leaner and a whole lot more naked, grinned at Suzy between takes, while she guzzled electrolyte replacement fluid and had her make up fixed.

When she handed her bottle back to the crew member responsible for her not passing out, Pete held his hand up and walked in front of the cameras, across to Suzy.

"Hey babe," he said, hugging her from behind, mouth against her ear through her hair. "Will you let me do something?"

"What?' Suzy asked, then Pete nuzzled his mouth against her shoulder, sliding his hands across her sweat-wet belly, in the gap between her bustier and jeans.

"C'mon," Pete said, kissing her neck. "Give me a little something here, love."

Suzy closed her eyes, shutting out the arc lights and crew, and let her head drop back against his shoulder. "Pete…"

"That's better," he said, his hands moving up her bustier, drifting through the air above the fabric, before his fingers pulled the knot at the top of the bustier undone. "So much better."

"I'm going to kill you," Suzy said. "Really."

"No you're not, you're going to let me do this," Pete whispered, his fingers pulling the lacing loose, so the bustier fell open, then sliding up her skin to find the shoulder straps and push them down her arms. "Then you're going to play the drums with Andy, and I'm going to jerk off to the video footage for the rest of my life."

One of his hands found her chin, turning her face so he could kiss her, then he was gone and she was blinking in the lights while the make up tech fixed the mess Pete had made of her face.

Andy nodded approvingly, and Suzy shrugged. Looked like she was shooting the kettle drum sequence wearing only a bra and jeans.

On the count, she and Andy threw themselves into the opening sequence of Sugar, and for a moment the magic of the day of the reunion was back, the harmonics of the drums hanging together, making the barn resonate, and Suzy found she was laughing breathlessly, Andy's sweaty arm around her back, when the take was done.

The rest of the shoot was easy, comparatively, consisting of the four of them running around the orchard, standing on top of the bus, or crowding into Andy's kitchen, along with the crew, cameras and lights. If Suzy didn't think too hard about Pete persuading her to drum while barely dressed, it was a quick and painless video shoot.


***

The bathroom in the Chicago warehouse apartment, where they'd moved for the winter, was entirely mirrored, so wherever Suzy looked, she saw endless images of herself, pale pink skin, flushing darker on her face and throat, tangled hair falling across her face. Pete's hands were startlingly brown, one on her breast, the other under a thigh, and if she looked down, she could see down the line of his spine, the muscles moving under his skin.

Then there was the feel of what he was doing, his tongue on her labia, teasing her urethra, making her want something inside so desperately.

"Can't wait," she'd said, minutes ago, when the ache had started, but he'd grinned up at her and kept going.

"Really can't wait," she said, letting go of the edge of the counter to grab a handful of his hair. "You listening?"

She wobbled, balanced precariously, and Pete's hands tightened, holding her steady, and he looked up at her.

"'Kay," he said, standing up, pushing her and the towel she was sitting on further back on the counter. The pump pack of lube on the counter was within reach, and he grabbed a handful, smearing it on his cock.

This was new, the feeling of his skin touching her, nothing between them, completely raw, and they both held their breath until the slide had stopped.

"Fuck," Pete whispered. "You feel…"

The incandescent heater in the bathroom was making Pete's skin slippery with sweat, glistening in the mirrors, the muscles in his ass flexing as he pushed into her. He shifted, changing angles, and Suzy stopped being able to keep her eyes open to watch them in the mirror as the ache inside her turned to primal heat, and Pete pushed her hard, straight into coming.

Their bodies slapped together, slippery and slick, and Pete cried out and ground in hard as he came, buried deep inside her.

He hung onto her for a while, both of them panting, then he said, "Fuck, I just came inside you."

"That was the plan, wasn't it?"

Pete chuckled. "Yeah, I know, but it's still worth mentioning."

He pulled out slowly, and they both looked down. "At least you know I'll never get pregnant," Suzy said. "No matter how many times we do that."

Pete helped her down from the counter. "Are you sure? We could keep trying…"

Suzy pushed him towards the shower. "Did you hear the security system chime, while we were fucking?"

"I hope not."

When Suzy had showered and dressed, she found Andy sitting on the stairs to the warehouse space, under the accommodation section of the apartment, his headphones jammed resolutely on, and Suzy poked him with her toe.

"Hi there," she said, when he took his headphones off and stood up. "You're early."

"I drove up this morning, to beat the weather," Andy said. "Didn't think you'd mind, since I had the keys and security codes. Don't you people ever close doors?"

Suzy shrugged. "Um, oops? Guess we're going to have to, if you're here for the winter."

"Please," Andy said. "Please, close the doors. I'll go finish unloading my car, now I can do it without accidentally seeing two of my friends fucking."

Suzy bent down, to look through the balustrade. Andy's drum kit was already set up, in the warehouse space.

"Pete!" she yelled, back up into the apartment. "Andy's here, we need to move his speaker stacks!"

When the stacks were inside, Andy carried boxes of food into the kitchen. "Soy milk," he said. "Tofu pups, my preferred brand of seitan, and organic mustard, which is a bastard to find. Several cereals, bread mixes, textured vegetable protein, and bulk carob and dandelion tea. I'll even cook for you both, as long as no one whines."

Suzy filled the water jug for the coffee percolator and set it to run. "Go for it," she said. "Cook anything you want."

Andy opened the fridge door, revealing a completely empty refrigerator. "Nothing?"

"You were turning up, and you bring food," Pete said.

Andy shoved food into the fridge, then closed the door. "There's a tube of lube on top of the fridge," he said disapprovingly, handing the tube to Pete. "That's not hygienic."

Pete took the tube. "Guess not. You might want to wash your hands before you touch any more food."

Andy washed his hands hurriedly.

Suzy leaned against the kitchen counter. "There's lube in the living room," she said. "And bathroom. Can you think of anywhere else, apart from the cars?"

"I'll have a look around," Pete said, wandering off.

Andy opened a kitchen cupboard at random and began to move boxes of cereal into it. "I realize it's all still new to you both, but it's something of a trial to the rest of us."

"I went four years with nothing except the occasional apologetic fumble, so I think I'm allowed to make up for lost time. Have you ever tried making out with an earnest lesbian? It's all talking about boundaries and attachment issues, and then you get a peck on the cheek. I just wanted to test drive my breasts, not discuss my previous relationships."

"Can't say I've dated many earnest lesbians," Andy said. "Any, actually. Um, why did you?"

"I like girls," Suzy said. "I would have thought that was obvious. And frankly, the idea of trying to negotiate dating men terrified me. So I took to hanging around this dyke café near where I lived, eating dreadful muffins and drinking burned coffee, and trying to work out how to get some action with young women with shaved heads and more tattoos than you."

"What else did you do during that time, apart from chase dykes and write ballads?" Andy asked, sitting on the edge of the table.

"Went to college for a bit, took up running, did the requisite hours of therapy to qualify for surgery, took a bucketful of hormones, went a bit crazy, got a lot sane. Missed all of you more than I could bear."

"Hard times?" Andy asked.

Suzy nodded.

Joe arrived while Andy was in the shower, carrying cases of beer up the stairs, stacking them beside the fridge and filling one shelf.

"Essential supplies," he said, handing a beer to Suzy. "I'll be back with guitars and bourbon."

Suzy popped the top off her beer. "The whole rock-and-roll lifestyle thing would be more convincing if he didn't smell of bubblegum and have glitter in his eyebrows, wouldn't it?"

"And My Little Pony shoelaces," Pete said, wandering back in. "Which are kind of neat."

"What's the plan?" Joe asked, putting two bottles of bourbon on the table a moment later, then lifted the lid off the pan on the stove and peered at the ingredients. "And is Andy cooking?"

"Food, which Andy is cooking at the same time as he's using hot water that lasts for longer than ninety seconds and isn't dependent on the sun," Pete said. "With coffee and beer. Then Suzy works her way through her Albuquerque back catalog, for as long her voice holds out, or until we all want to slash our wrists."

Joe nodded approvingly. "It's about time we did something bleak. Apart, you know, from going on and on about Pete trying to kill himself."

Suzy rabbit-punched Pete in his bicep, making him squeal. "The idea is to start the album bleak, and move the central narrative towards optimism, ending on a positively cheerful note."

Pete rabbit-punched her back. "As your label manager, I'd like to tell you that the album is a career killer, and that you should all go back to making pop music. But, since the lead singer already committed career suicide by having a fucking sex change, you've got nothing to lose."

Suzy plugged her acoustic into the small amp and speaker set in the living room, along with a voice mike. If she was going to be singing for hours, she wanted some amplification.

She started at the beginning, laptop in front of her recording, notebook open beside her, Andy, Joe and Pete sprawled and slouched across the couches, bottles of beer and water on the coffee table. Pete's face was neutral, but she already knew which of the songs he liked. Joe picked at the label on his beer bottle, eyes half-closed, and she knew he was listening closely, letting his imagination play with the arrangements, finding the potential in the songs. Andy watched her, concentration on his face, and she guessed he was listening to the lyrics, trying to find her story in them.

Suzy sang the final chorus of the third song, which Pete wanted on the album, "Some distances can't be measured in miles, some changes can't be undone. The city's hollow, and I'm a pebble. (Don't shake the walls tonight.)"

She put her acoustic down and took the beer Pete held out to her, and looked at the others. Joe was looking at her with something like awe, and Andy was suspiciously damp-eyed.

"Suzy," Joe said, and he cleared his throat. "Um, yeah. We've got to record that one."

"Told you the songs were good," Pete said.

"It's not just that's it's good," Andy said, and yeah, his voice was rough. "It's that it's Suzy, who has just told me how lonely she was, and now Pete's all smug and happy, but where the fuck was he when she was going through this?"

Andy stood up, and Pete pushed himself up out of the couch too, to face him.

"Oh, shit," Joe said.

"Do you think I don't feel bad about that?" Pete asked.

"Do you?" Andy said. "Why didn't you go and find her? She was your best fucking friend, and for all you knew, she could have killed herself."

"Hey," Suzy said. "Still in the room here."

"I failed," Pete shouted. "I know I failed her. It fucking kills me to think about it."

"And then you email Joe and I to say Patrick's been in touch with you, and he's fine, he's just sorting through some personal issues. Only now we find out that you knew Suzy was fucking transitioning by herself in Albuquerque! Do you think of that now, when Suzy smiles at you like you're the center of the fucking universe?"

Suzy glanced at Joe, who was watching Andy and Pete with horror on his face, then reached across for the microphone she'd been singing into.

"Sit down and shut the fuck up, both of you," Suzy said, into the mike.

Andy rubbed at his hair, tangling it further, then sat back down again, but Pete stayed where he was.

"Pete," Suzy said, voice amplified. "Sit down, or leave the room."

Pete sat down, on the edge of the couch, and Suzy pushed the mike away from herself.

"Well, that was unpleasant but necessary," she said. "If this was only a group of friends, I'd tell Andy to fuck off, that what Pete and I did was our own business. Thing is, this is more than that, and if we're about to spend a few intense weeks working on this album, we're going to be right up against my feelings, and it's all going to be raw."

Joe disappeared into the kitchen, and came back a moment later with a bottle of bourbon and glasses.

When Suzy had a glass in her hand, she said, "I guess I should try and clarify things. I didn't want Pete around, for a start. Could you imagine trying to reinvent yourself with Pete in the room? How could I work out how to be a woman, my own kind of woman, with him driving a truck through gender roles just to see what kind of mess he could make? He'd already put me through enough misery inadvertently with the whole cross-dressing thing."

Pete looked up, at Suzy, and said, "Oh, fuck."

"Yeah," Suzy said. "I'll tell Ryan and Spencer it's okay to talk to you about the time they took me shopping for girl clothes, when we were on the Fusion tour. They really tried to help, but the whole experience sent me spiraling down badly."

"So, if Pete had showed up, you would have sent him away?" Andy asked.

Suzy shrugged. "Pre-op, yeah, I would have. Post-op, maybe not, not once I'd moved to New York and started to build a life and career again. I'm not angry at him for not trying to find me, given I walked out on a partially completed album, which was a huge breach of trust with the band. I'm more unhappy that he managed not to notice my songwriting. We were supposed to have some kind of magical synergy there."

"Do you know if Decaydance ever turned down an artist who brought one of your songs to us?" Pete asked. "Just out of curiosity."

Suzy smiled, because Pete was right. "Not that I know of. In fact, my manager said that word among the artists was that I was a good luck charm, and that so many people wanted my songs to take to you that there was something suspicious going on. I never explained to my manager what the connection was, though the email I got from him when this all went public was pretty damned amusing."

"And I'd sit in a sound box in LA, listening to some kid's demo cut, nodding my head, because FOB could have recorded the track I was listening to, in some alternate universe where Patrick hadn't walked out," Pete said.

"Are we done?" Suzy asked. "Andy? Is there anything else you want to talk about?"

Andy shook his head, so Suzy reached for her acoustic and pulled the mike across, back in front of her.

The sun had set long before, and they'd broken for leftover lunch, pizza and coffee, before Suzy flicked the final page in her notebook. She was nearly out of voice, sounding more like her old self than usual, and the room was littered with pizza boxes, plates and coffee mugs.

"The collective noun for me
Has been left behind.
The accounts are closed, returned the key
No forwarding address.
One name, one face, one person to be.
I'm going home,
Leaving Albuquerque,
Finding a place I've never been."

The final verse still hung in the room, when Suzy leaned across, switched off the amp and propped her acoustic against the wall. She stretched her hands and rolled her shoulders, and waited.

"We need to do this album," Joe said. "Not for commercial reasons, but just for us."

Andy nodded. "That last song…" He shook his head. "I need some downtime. Can we have a ten minute break?"

Andy went to his room, Joe down to the warehouse, and Pete finally met Suzy's gaze. "I didn't know Andy thought that badly of me," he said.

"I wouldn't ever ask Joe what he thinks of your parenting either," Suzy said. "But neither of them have refused to be friends with you, which says good things about both their generosity and your ability to persuade people to love you."

"What Yellow Girl rights did you sell?" Pete asked. "Because that belongs on this album too."

"I never sell exclusive rights," Suzy said. "So we can use it. Isn't this a conflict of interest for you, since you release Charyis too?"

"Of course," Pete said. "Doesn't mean we can't do it though."

Andy came back in and stood in front of Suzy, holding his hand out. Suzy took his hand, and he pulled her to her feet, and hugged her tightly.

She hugged him back.

***

Pete was awake and up, when Suzy stumbled out of bed the next day. He was talking on the phone in the kitchen, his laptop in front of him, and he waved at her while she poured herself coffee.

Noises from downstairs, banging and clattering, indicated Joe and Andy were working already, setting up the studio space ready for rehearsing. When Pete put the phone down, Suzy said, "You should have woken me."

"After yesterday, I figured you were exhausted. Claudia has just sent me the upload link for the video for Sugar, which arrived sometime during the night. Want to get the others, and I'll download it and dump it to disk?"

"Coffee," Suzy said. "Clothes. Toothbrush. Let's keep things simple."

"Go, go, go," Pete said, and Suzy shuffled off, back to the bedroom. She could wear grubby clothes, it wouldn't matter if they were going to spend the day working on arrangements in a freezing warehouse. Though, however cold the studio was, it was going to be warmer than Andy's barn would have been.

She could hear Sugar playing while she brushed her teeth, and the finished product sounded good, even after she'd worked on it for more hours than she could bear to think of. The kettle drums were inspired, and her voice came through fine.

Joe, Andy and Pete were sitting in silence, the TV screen blank, when Suzy walked into the living room, dressed and sipping toothpaste-flavored coffee. "How is it?" she asked.

"Um, Suzy," Pete said. "There's, um, footage in there you're not going to be happy with."

Suzy sat on the arm of the couch, beside Pete. "How unhappy?"

"Could you go sit next to someone else?" Pete asked.

"Fuck," Suzy said. "Andy?"

Andy coughed. "Well…"

"Joe?"

"Oh, shit," Joe said. "I can see why they used it, but Pete's right, you're going to be so upset."

Suzy put down her coffee. "Look? Nothing in my hands. Please tell me you left us some kind of loophole for approving the video clip before release, then show me the fucking clip."

"Thing is," Pete said. "Thing is, I don't want to change the clip. Please don't hurt me."

Suzy took the remote control out of Pete's hand and hit play.

The first image on the screen, for the opening seconds of drumming, was Pete's hands on her belly, sliding through sweat, then the image flashed to Andy drumming, and then back to Pete's hand moving up her bustier.

"No fucking way," Suzy said.

Three seconds of Andy and her pounding the kettle drums, and then the screen showed Pete's hands pulling the knot undone on the bustier. A couple of seconds of Joe and Pete leaping around with their guitars, then the lacing was undone, and the bustier was being pulled off her, showing black lace and pale skin damp with perspiration.

More kettle drums, with her and Andy sweating and grinning, then Pete was turning her chin to kiss her, immediately before the camera cut to her standing at the microphone, singing the opening line.

Suzy froze the image and turned to Pete. "Did you know at the time this was being filmed?"

Pete shook his head vigorously. "I held up my hand and walked in front of the cameras, so I thought they'd stopped. That's just about the hottest thing I've ever seen in a video. If we leave it in, this is going to go crazy."

"I didn't know it was being filmed," Suzy said. "If I'd known, I would never have let you touch me like that."

"I barely touch you," Pete said. "Just your belly, and I'm not planning on announcing to the world what that does to you--"

Joe made a choking noise, and Suzy turned to glare at him for a moment then glanced at Andy, who shook his head mutely and waggled his hands helplessly.

"And then your shoulders," Pete continued. "Then we kiss. It's not the touching that makes it so fucking hot. It's you."

Suzy started the video from the beginning again, hitting the pause button every second.

"Fuck," she said. "You don't touch me, do you? It looks like you're groping my tits, until you freeze the image, and then it's clear you're not. How come I keep giving way on these things?" Suzy asked. "No photos, no video, no reunion album at all, I'm sure I said no to all these things too."

"Because you actually want to do them?" Andy suggested. "At least I'm sure you wanted to do The Barn Sessions. It was you who set up the laptop to record the sessions."

"I record everything I play," Suzy said. "I'll be recording all of the work we do for the next few weeks. One thing being a producer taught me is that the only perfect performance you'll have is the one where you don't record. Record it all, dump the rubbish later."

"And there are things you still won't do," Joe said. "Like interviews. How hard did that guy from Rolling Stone beg, when he found out you were in the hotel suite as well, but just wouldn't talk to him?"

"Some things are good business," Pete said. "Like this video. Seriously, with a clip of you smoldering like that, we could do anything we wanted. It'll be played alongside the clip of Sophie B. Hawkins writhing around on the floor in ripped clothes singing Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover forever."

"Wow, doorway to your subconscious, Pete," Andy said.

"What? Sophie B Hawkins was fucking hot in that clip," Pete said.

"I feel cheated somehow," Suzy said. "Fuck, I should have known they'd keep filming if you were groping me. I'd better see the whole damned thing, hadn't I?"

Ten minutes later, having watched the clip through three times, Suzy shrugged. "How did I wind up getting branded this way?" she asked Pete.

"Um, because your old branding didn't work anymore?" Pete suggested.

"Because we always secretly wanted a hot babe lead singer?" Joe said. "And we never knew how to tell you?"

Suzy looked at Andy. "Sorry," Andy said. "My brain is still looping the video. This could take some time."

"The track is fucking good," Suzy said. "Whatever the clip looks like."

"There's a song with the video?" Andy asked.

***

The sound studio walls were closing in, and Suzy had to think hard to work out whether the time on the clock was AM or PM. It had to be evening, they couldn't possibly have been there all the way around the clock.

The tech behind the glass held up his hand, and his voice came over the speakers. "That was a clean record. Want to take a few minutes, people? There's someone here to see you."

Suzy slid off her headphones and put her guitar in its rest, then stood up cracking her neck, while the others stretched and found drinks of water.

"Do we need to eat?" Joe asked, opening the studio door.

"It might help," Andy said. "Or it might not. How many days is this?"

"I don't know," Pete said. "I can't count that far, not without taking my shoes off."

Mike, their manager, was in the foyer of the sound studios, beaming at them. "You sound great," he said. "Just amazing. Suzy's voice is just heart-breaking."

Suzy flopped into the ancient couch, too weary to do anything with the praise.

Pete sat beside Suzy, and they both slid towards the middle of the couch, where the springs had died. "Hi, Mike. You don't do house calls. Studio calls."

"I do for you people, especially when Kelly from the Grammys has been in touch. She rang this evening, to see if Fall Out Boy would be interested in playing the Grammys this year live."

Suzy didn't open her eyes, but she felt Pete tense up beside her. "Fuck, yeah. We'll play the Grammys. Does it time in with the release of Albuquerque?" Pete said.

"Can you bring Albuquerque forward?" Mike asked. "Even just a single and a vid from it would do."

"Which track?" Suzy asked, dragging her eyes open and turning her head to look at Pete. "Don't Shake the Walls Tonight? Or Leaving Albuquerque?"

"Walls," Pete said decisively. "We could get the single out in time, sure."

Suzy closed her eyes again. "Anything, as long as I don't have to produce it and we get to go home now."

"Don't you want to hear what you're nominated for?" Mike asked.

"No," Suzy said, at the same time as the others shouted, "Yes!"

"Pretty much what you'd expect. Best Short Music Video, Best Rock Performance by a Group, Best Rock Album, Record of the Year, for Sugar, Album of the Year, for The Barn Sessions, and Suzy will be pleased to hear Yellow Girl is up for Song of the Year."

Suzy opened her eyes again. "Fuck." Song of the Year was for the songwriter.

Pete squeezed her hand.

***

Suzy never thought she'd go back to Albuquerque, but there she was, sitting on a hotel room bed in the city, case in the corner, guitar beside her.

She flopped back on the bed. Somewhere down the hall, the crew for the video shoot was staying. They'd invited her to their rooms for drinks, if she felt like it, but that would involve talking to strangers, to people who maybe thought they knew something about her.

The concept for the video for Don't Shake the Walls Tonight was good. Suzy was in Albuquerque to shoot the vocals, in a shabby, low-rent apartment the director had found, and around the city. Pete, Joe and Andy would shoot the instrumentals the following week in Chicago, in one of the clubs that Fall Out Boy had started out at, with an empty space on the stage, where she should have been.

A great idea, and the director had insisted she come to Albuquerque alone, that with Pete there she wouldn't be vulnerable enough, that it would show in the video.

Someone knocked on the door, and when Suzy checked the peephole, the wardrobe tech for the shoot, a bubbly young woman called Poppy, was waving at the door.

"Hi," Poppy said, when Suzy opened the door. "We're ordering pizza. Did you want to join us?"

Suzy looked back at the empty room, and her guitar. "Sure," she said. "Just let me grab my phone and wallet."

Poppy's hotel room was crowded with crew, and a middle-aged guy with a ponytail made room for Suzy on the carpet and handed her a beer.

"Hi there," he said. "I'm Leo, camera."

"Suzy, music," Suzy said, and Leo chuckled.

"I know who you are, I've got teenagers."

The person beside Leo grabbed his arm, dragging his attention away. Suzy looked up as the hotel room door open, and people shouted "Pizza!"

The kid carrying the pizza was short and chubby, with strawberry blonde hair and a big grin, calling out, "Get out of my way, you losers!" in a Texan accent to the room as he stepped over people to put the stack of pizza cartons on the bed.

Suzy's stomach flipped, and she took a long drink of her beer and stayed where she was, letting the general dive for pizza hide her confusion. The pizza kid could only be the actor they'd found to play Patrick in the video.

He didn't quite have her old face--his chin was a little too round and forehead was too narrow--but the resemblance was unsettling.

"Pizza?" someone asked her, and she made herself get to her feet and go and find the vegetarian pizza.

The kid sat beside her, a couple of beers later, holding out a slightly greasy hand. "Hey," he said. "I'm Mick."

"Suzy," she said, shaking his hand. "Can I just say how weird this is?"

"You want to try it from my side?" Mick asked.

"Okay, I can see that might be a little freaky," she admitted. "I didn't ruin your career as an impersonator by changing gender, did I?"

Mick laughed. "Actually, no. I'm a fair bit younger than you, so I missed out on that option. I just want to say how cool I think this all is. When I found out what the script for the video was, I was really blown away by the concept of it. I can't wait to hear the track."

"Um, thanks," Suzy said.

The next day, at Albuquerque airport, Suzy sat on an information desk, wearing a freaking dress and freaking high heels, her battered acoustic in her arms, surrounded by a full camera crew and lights.

The director nodded, and Suzy started singing Don't Shake the Walls Tonight, because she'd never learned to mime convincingly, and behind her fake-Patrick walked through the arrival gate wearing a trucker hat, and carrying a pack and a guitar case, acting every bit as terrified as Suzy had felt when she'd made the same journey for real, nearly five years earlier.

It was the only scene she'd share with past-Patrick, in the rest of the video post-production would add his image, like a ghost, following her around the city.

***

The dressing room was thoughtfully equipped with a TV, so when the make up tech had finished fussing with her face, Suzy turned the volume up and dragged her chair over to watch the red carpet coverage from the front of the building.

Minders were herding the arrivals past the fans, towards the red carpet press craziness that Suzy hated. Lisa Rinna and someone Suzy didn't recognize were cornering the arrivals, and she watched as Lisa and Anonymous pestered a long-suffering Brit-pop singer who was falling out of her gown. Rappers, RandBers, familiar faces and newcomers--only the jazz musos got left alone.

Suzy had refused to do the red carpet, despite everything that Mike and Pete had tried. She wasn't putting on some stupid dress and letting loser journalists ambush her on live camera, no matter what leverage Mike and Pete used.

The outfit she was wearing at that moment was bad enough. Her usual jeans-and-cleavage approach hadn't worked, not for the Grammys, but she'd at least managed to be allowed to put opaque tights on under the miniskirt.

The camera angle changed, and showed Joe, Pete and Andy bounding down the red carpet in matching tuxedos, swinging off each other, hugging people they knew, and being idiots.

Pete pushed past the security guards, up to the barrier, to hug people at random, until the security guards removed him, and Suzy had to grin. Pete had been wildly hyper, when she'd seen him a couple of hours before, and it didn't look like he'd calmed down.

"Fucker," she said to herself. She kind of hoped they didn't win anything they were nominated for, because a hyper Pete should never be allowed near a microphone.

"And here's Fall Out Boy," Lisa Rinna said, on the TV. "At least, part of Fall Out Boy. Hi, guys. Where's Suzy?"

"She's backstage, getting ready," Pete said, arms around Joe and Andy's necks. "Since we're performing tonight."

"Your new single, Don't Shake the Walls Tonight, released a couple of weeks ago," Anonymous said, "was a complete change of direction for the band. Tell us about that."

"Badly phrased question," Suzy said.

Andy said, "The whole album, Albuquerque, is like the single, balladic and personal. Fall Out Boy needed to record this album, for Suzy, and for ourselves. After four years apart, we couldn't just make the same kind of music again."

"Pete? You've done it all, in terms of personal life, marriages and divorces, starlets and scandals. Are you planning on coming out in the future, because there can't be much left?" Anonymous asked.

"Don't, Pete." Suzy said, and she could see Andy tightening his grip on Pete.

"Problem is, Donald." Pete said. "That you haven’t done your research. I've tried gay sex a few times, and that's on the record. I'm not sure how much more I can come out than that, without actually identifying as queer, which I don't. I don't actually like boy sex very much."

"But what about Suzy?" Anonymous asked. "You can't honestly say you're not gay if you're with him?"

"Oh, shit," Suzy said.

In a flurry of tuxedoed movement, Pete went for the interviewer and Andy managed to intercept, grabbing his arms and wrestling him aside.

Joe--lovely, weird Joe--snarled, "Please respect the raw honesty with which Suzy approaches her music and her life," as security guards appeared, blocking the camera and bustling Joe, Andy and Pete away.

The camera cut suddenly to another section of the red carpet, somewhere without drama, and Suzy let out a long, shaky breath.

"And that's why I won't do red carpets," Suzy said to herself.

Ten minutes later, the dressing room door opened, and a phalanx of security guards escorted Joe, Andy and Pete in.

Joe still looked angry, Andy worried and Pete defensive, and Pete glanced at the TV screen and said, "Oh, fuck. Did you see what happened?"

Suzy stood up, tugging unhappily at her miniskirt. "Trying to assault the interviewer is never the right answer, no matter what the question is."

Pete threw himself into one of the make up chairs. "I disagree. Sometimes, the only right response is a really solid fist in the face."

Joe shook his head. "In terms of exposure, Pete, that was classic. I kind of wish you'd done some damage, but then you would have been arrested, and we couldn't have played."

Andy pulled his bowtie off. "Which we have to do in, um, a bit over an hour. I don't care if you're both playing guitar in monkey suits, but I'm not drumming in this gear."

Waiting to go onstage, watching the cameras panning across the packed stadium, Suzy said, "It might have been good to done some kind of prep for this."

Pete hugged her from behind, and she could feel the tension jumping under his skin. "We're good, we've rehearsed this track into oblivion, you're warmed up, your voice sounds fucking fantastic, and you might just have the hottest legs ever seen."

"And you tried to assault a journalist," Suzy said.

"Unsuccessful doesn't count," Pete said. "If I'd broken his nose and my hand, it would be a drama."

"It just might have been smart to have done some live gigs before this," Suzy said. "After more than four years break."

Pete squeezed her ass, through her tights, and Joe said, "No, we can see that. Don't."

The stage manager opened the door, and signaled them through, backstage, to where their gear was set up, waiting.

Long seconds, standing in the dark, listening to the noise from the auditorium, and Whoopi Goldberg's amplified voice said, "Now, Fall Out Boy, performing Don’t Shake the Walls Tonight, and if it doesn't make you all cry, then you've got no souls."

The roar shook the auditorium, as the lights went up. Suzy could feel Pete, right in close beside her, and Joe was in her peripheral vision. Behind her, Andy tapped the opening bar, and it was all going to be fine, because she couldn't see anyone anyway, not with the lights in her face, and she knew she could do it.

"Listening to strangers fight," Suzy sang. "They're telling the truth, more than I ever did to you. Left it too late, hid it too long. Some distances can't be measured in miles, some changes can't be undone. The city's hollow, and I'm a pebble. (Don't shake the walls tonight.)"

At the end, Joe's fingering on his acoustic finishing the song, Suzy managed to remember to step back from the microphone and duck her head in acknowledgment, Pete's hand on her shoulder.

The lights went down, and Joe was right beside her, holding her too, while stage techs ran around, lifting guitars off them, rushing them offstage.

In the dressing room, a makeup tech dashed at her. "Two minutes," the tech said. "And you're all due in your seats at the next break."

The usher led them into the front of the auditorium, during the next commercial break, to the seats that fillers had been occupying for them, and Suzy held on tight to Pete and Andy's hands. People sitting in the rows immediately around them applauded, and familiar faces from the past stood up, Brendan and Spencer waving and jumping up and down two rows back, Gabe and William further along.

The ten second warning flashed on the main screen, and Suzy sat down in a hurry, deeply glad of the tights when she felt the warm seat on her ass and thighs. Warm seat and bare skin might have been more than she could take.

Knowing the video for Sugar was nominated was one thing, but it hadn't occurred to Suzy that meant that the when the nominees were read out, the first three seconds of the video, with the footage of Pete's hand sliding across her sweaty belly, would be played in high definition on a forty foot screen behind the presenters.

She covered her face with her hands, while Pete grinned and waved, knowing that they'd be zoomed in on.

Pete whooped and grabbed Suzy's hand, pulling her to her feet, and fuck, he was dragging her out of the seats, after Joe and Andy, up onto the stage, the director they'd worked with bounding up the other flight of steps.

On the stage, Pete and Andy's arms around her, Suzy turned her head so she couldn't see the opening sequence of the clip running on the main screen again.

The director said, "I'd like to thank Fall Out Boy, who were wonderful to work with, especially Andy for living in such an amazing location, and Suzy and Pete for providing me with the hottest twenty seconds of footage I've ever shot." He turned his head to look at Pete, mouth still close to the microphone. "If you two ever decide to make a sex tape, just give me a call."

"Thanks," Pete called out, over the applause from the crowd, then they were being pushed off the stage, ready for the next award.

Suzy stumbled through the evening after that. Fall Out Boy picked up Best Rock Album, and Pete managed to accept the award without swearing or offending anyone, but missed out on Best Rock Performance.

When Justin Timberlake introduced the nominees for Song of the Year, and a fragment of the video screened, Pete put his arm around Suzy's shoulders and whispered, "You all ready to win Song of the Year?"

"It's not going to win," Suzy whispered, as the nominees were read out.

"Yellow Girl, written by Suzy Monroe."

"Go!" Pete said, pulling Suzy to her feet, standing and applauding, and Suzy pushed past Joe and Andy, and out into the aisle, then on trembling knees up the steps.

The presenter handed her the golden gramophone, and Suzy tried not to drop it, despite shaking hands.

"Thank you," she said. "Thank you so much. There's something I need clarify about Yellow Girl." The noise from the crowd quieted down, and Suzy smiled, looking towards where she knew Pete was sitting. "There's a mistake in it. I am his sunshine, and I am his moon in the sky."

Pete met her, running up the aisle, as she came down the steps, picking her up, Grammy still in her hands, and carrying her back to her row. Joe and Andy were waiting, to take the Grammy from her hands when Pete put her back on her feet and kissed her thoroughly.

In the limo, going to the Decaydance after-party, Suzy sprawled across the seat. "Fuck, it's good to be out of those stupid clothes."

Pete's hand squeezed her jean-clad thigh. "The skirt had its attractions."

"Like I want the whole world to be my freaking gynecologist," Suzy said.

"Don't," Andy said tiredly. "No."

"Hey, Andy," Suzy said. "You have a good tattoo artist out here in LA? Someone completely private and discreet?"

"Sure," Andy said. "Jeff does my work when I'm out here, and he's an honest man. Why?"

"I think it's time Pete and I got tattoos. I want a daffodil, on my belly."

The limo was silent, apart from the hum of the late night LA traffic, until Pete said, "Fuck, Suzy, did you just say what I think you said?"

"Yeah," Suzy said. "I did."

Pete cleared his throat, but his voice still sounded choked when he said, "So, Joe and Andy, before you both fly out of here, and assuming we can find a tame judge, think you could make time to be our witnesses?"

When Suzy lifted her head, Joe was grinning at her, and Andy was looking confused. "What happened to never marrying him?" Andy asked.

"Turns out it was the idea of another fucking Wentz wedding I couldn't take," Suzy said. "So we're getting married in private and telling no one. You can't tell anyone, either of you."

Joe said, "Um, the missus?"

"Hint to her," Pete said. "Make vague references to how wonderfully romantic it was, and how you now understand about commitment being such a private and intimate thing, and buy her something with a diamond in it, or a collectible guitar if she swings that way. Just don't actually tell her."

"In that case, yeah, we'll sign the papers," Joe said. "And Suzy?"

"Yeah?"

"Congratulations on making him do something low key, though after tonight's effort from you, I don’t think he's the only one here who makes grand gestures."

END

(Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:[info]caitlen
Date:June 23rd, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
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Damnit, I read this part first. Now, onto the others! (except this is bandslash, & I don't read it... )
From:[info]caitlen
Date:June 23rd, 2008 08:30 am (UTC)
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(I think the labeling was clear - I was reading my RSS feed though, and this one came up first. Sorry about that :) )
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From:[info]msilverstar
Date:June 23rd, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
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Oh Elaine, it's beautiful. It's got a little grit and a little edge and a lot of fabulous dialog, and the story is a Grand Romance. It's a 21st century love story. And I'm all sniffly and teary because it's so sweet and they do live happily ever after.
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From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:June 23rd, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)
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Thank you!
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From:[info]msilverstar
Date:July 8th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
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May I link to it? Or is it going to be a novel?
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From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:July 8th, 2008 04:04 am (UTC)
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This is remaining fanfic, and remaining unlocked, so is available for rampant linking.

I can't actually imagine a market I could send this to, for a start. And my intention was always for it to be fanfic.
From:[info]caitlen
Date:June 23rd, 2008 08:27 am (UTC)
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OK read it all now :D

I loved it. I agree with the statement above, that said it was a love story for the 21st Century. Lovely to see that their lovely transcended what had gone before, and it found a beautiful resolution. Lovely lovely lovely.

You're such a talented writer :)

(BTW, I think this is actually the first piece of band fic that I've read all the way through. I had to go look up FOB... *evasive*)
From:[info]half_elf_lost
Date:June 24th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
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Taken as fiction unrelated to anything I know (old woman here who knows absolutely nothing about fanfic), this is romantic, loving, fun, and captures friendship beautifully.
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From:[info]angiepen
Date:June 24th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)
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This was awesome. Beautiful and painful and sweet and intense -- massively intense -- and it all wove together perfectly. Wonderful stuff. You need to write in hospitals more often. [hugz]

Angie
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From:[info]angiepen
Date:June 24th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC)
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OK, I have to admit I'd never heard of Fall Out Boy and when I read this I thought it was an original story. I skimmed through the comments after posting my first one and saw that it was fanfic -- duh. :P I went poking around and saw some pics of the guys, and that's interesting. I think I still like the images I had in my head while I was reading, though. This is a great story and works beautifully as original fiction.

Angie
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From:[info]laura_iskra
Date:June 24th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
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I think I started to have tears in my eyes after suzy sung Don't Shake the Walls Tonight for the first time..

I love this story about love and friendship, I have no idea about FOB but I love your characters, andy and joe are too precious for words!

so, yeah, whenever you feel to indulge in whatever pleases you, I'll be there waiting for a treat, just like this one!
From:[info]crimson_bride
Date:June 25th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
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Finally free to catch up with reading... *reads*

Wow. It's romantic and real and painful and funny. And very thought-provoking. Good writing.
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From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:June 26th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
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Just letting you know I've screened the thread after this comment.
From:[info]ai_hen
Date:June 29th, 2008 01:04 pm (UTC)
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Wow, I am totally blown away by this story. It's so touching and romantic and about friendship and love and I am all teared up, there is no way to explain how this makes me feel. ♥
From:[info]lyssaphra
Date:July 1st, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
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Very nice. I read it out of order as I'm a wimp and can't stand reading potentially unhappy Pete/Patrick without knowing about it beforehand but it worked really well that way too. :) Really liked the intra-band relationships and how things had turned out for them during those four years. I kind of liked that we never saw the transformation from Patrick to Suzy, but concentrated on the aftermath/fall out. It was heartfelt, really thought-provoking and definitely something I will remember for a while yet.
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From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:July 1st, 2008 06:57 am (UTC)
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Thank you.

I'm no good with unhappy endings myself, which is fine for people that have been reading my fic for a while and know that, but not any good for new folks. I could refine the warnings, to make it clear it's a happy ending, if it matters. (My personal preference is to not use warnings, and make you all take risks, but I'm a big bully.)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 1st, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
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so that was amazing, just to let you know.
The way you handled everything made perfect sense with the images that we have of these guys.

<3
bella
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 2nd, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC)
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Love it love it LOVE IT! Every damn thing was just perfect. I'm just....WOW!I felt the emotions and that's rare for me. So once more LOVE IT!!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 3rd, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
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bandslash and het - you are breaking through all my taboos, elaine!!! i shudder to think what you will make me read next!

this was both lovely and unexpected (Suzy completely took me by surprise)- thank you for a throughly enjoyable read.
From:[info]trinity-clare.livejournal.com
Date:July 4th, 2008 08:07 am (UTC)
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My laptop battery died last night halfway through part 2, and it was the most painful computer-related moment of my life. So when I finally got to finish reading this morning, I hit the part about the video shoot with Suzy and past-Patrick and burst into tears. Sobbing like a baby. I've never cried so hard at a fic before. And I don't know how many superlatives I can get away with, but I know this is the best FOB story I've ever read, and easily one of the best stories I've read ever. I really don't know what else to say.
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From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:July 4th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, m'dear, for your kind words. Feel free to layer on the superlatives; I can be pretty needy about the whole thing.

I must admit I sobbed like a baby while I was writing this fic, but that was because I was miserable and stuck in hospital for ten days and felt the need to share it all around.
From:[info]sarkka
Date:July 5th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
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I'd love to see this video ! And the ref. to Sophie and clueless Pete was so good =D


I had no qualms ? about jumping into this bandom thing when it's written by you. Otherwise I probably would've steered far away from it ;)

I'm so reccing this !
[User Picture]
From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:July 5th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 8th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)

chaosmanor FTW!

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Ooh! So freaking full of awesomeness and win! The entire story line was so original and obscure but sexy and intriguing. Patrick turned girl = AW!
From:[info]crazybutsound
Date:July 21st, 2008 07:44 am (UTC)
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I got so carried away reading this, it was wonderful. There was so much emotion in it, so much fantastic characterization and just... I don't think I can really find the proper words to explain how much I've enjoyed reading this. Thank you for writing it.
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From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:July 21st, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed reading the fic. I must admit I wrote just for myself, while feeling utterly miserable and ghastly, to help me get through the hospital stay from hell, so I'm still surprised when it works for other people too.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 18th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC)
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I'm trying to get my thoughts in order and be somewhat coherent but that's just not happening so yeah, this is going to be a bit of a weird flaily comment...
That was, hands down, one of the best fics I think I have read. And I almost didnt read it because, well, there arent many people who deal with trans issues in their writing and not mess it up.
I think what I loved most was the sense of honesty and deep loyalty, that they had been through so much that they could say anything openly, from Andy and Joe perving on Suzy's new body to Andy yelling at Pete for leaving Suzy alone when she was having such a hard time of things.

OMG Andy. It's hard not to love Andy in any case but I loved EVERYTHING about him in this. Really, no words.

Is it weird that I really wish FOB would do these songs? I so want to listen to Dont Shake the Walls Tonight

Pete was so perfectly Pete, messed up and prone to badly timed outbursts but then totally in love with Suzy. I think the way you handled their sex scenes was beautiful (and hot :D)

But really, I loved this so much. Keep up the amazing writing!
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From:[info]ink_on_the_page
Date:August 24th, 2008 12:18 pm (UTC)
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I just read straight through from the beginning, and all i can do is ~fLAIL~
From:[info]aleathiel
Date:August 24th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
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You are amazing. I can't believe that you wrote this in hospital. I would have been useless and miserable and instead you have produced this glorious, intimate and perceptive fic with perfect characters and a wonderful structure. How did you manage it?

Also, I don't even know what the guys from Fall Out Boy look like, although I think I have heard some of their music.

You shouldn't be allowed to be such a genius. I adored this.
From:[info]gemmi999
Date:December 21st, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)

wow

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So, I've read this story three times now, and each time I swear I'm going to leave some feedback and each time something comes up that prevents it from happening. I loved this story. I loved Suzy. Thank you for writing it, because it means a lot to me. More then you could ever know.
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From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:December 22nd, 2008 08:18 am (UTC)

Re: wow

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Thank you, for commenting.

I'm aware that when I write, sometimes the words mean more than I intend. Trans issues are important to me for personal reasons, and I hope I write from a place of warmth.

I love Suzy too.
From:[info]drunkenzeppelin
Date:January 11th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
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This was startlingly poignant and beautiful. It's really masterfully done, and I'm so...in awe of it. And really, I expected to really enjoy it, but I didn't expect how much I'd come to LOVE this Pete. And this Joe and Andy. But Suzy...what I love about it, is that the others change, in small ways, yes, but Suzy changes in such a huge way...

But it still sounds like Patrick.

If that makes any sense. Like...it doesn't feel like a female OC, but it feels truly like Patrick...in..girl form. Oi. That's still not coming out as well as I want it to.


I find that this is truly...such a love story. Of the highest order to the point that it's so wonderful to watch how things settle. And what I love most is that it doesn't feel forced in any single way. There's a passage that got me and actually made me feel like sniffling.

The sun had set long before, and they'd broken for leftover lunch, pizza and coffee, before Suzy flicked the final page in her notebook. She was nearly out of voice, sounding more like her old self than usual, and the room was littered with pizza boxes, plates and coffee mugs.

"The collective noun for me
Has been left behind.
The accounts are closed, returned the key
No forwarding address.
One name, one face, one person to be.
I'm going home,
Leaving Albuquerque,
Finding a place I've never been."

The final verse still hung in the room, when Suzy leaned across, switched off the amp and propped her acoustic against the wall. She stretched her hands and rolled her shoulders, and waited.


It's so stunning. It's got a beauty to it that's simplistic and it's such...a clear image of Suzy sitting there and singing something so so personal. And the lyrics are amazingly beautiful and fitting, and something about the scene of her sitting there, amidst pizza boxes and the like and singing that gets me in some raw way.

I do seriously think that this is one of the best Trans fics that I've read. Ever.
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From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:January 11th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
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Thank you, for such a gorgeous comment.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 22nd, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
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I've never seen this topic handled in such a graceful way, and certainly not in a fandom where momentary genderfuck seems to be as far as people will go. It's beautiful in it's rawness (I'm a Literature student, can you tell?), and the whole concept is just absolutely gorgeous.

I have my trans boyfriend to thank for linking me to this, but you to thank for making me tear up over a collection of words on a computer screen. I'm bookmarking and telling everyone on my flist to read this. ♥

Claire (ladyrogueevie over on lj)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 22nd, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm going to have to second this, especially since I'm the aforementioned trans boyfriend. I'm nearly crying, I really shouldn't have read this at work, and it's wonderful. It's not the kind of experience I'm that intimately familiar with, except for what little I've gleaned from a couple of friends and some reading, but I feel that everything was handled sensitively and knowledgeably, and I can't express how important and reaffirming that is, in a world that too often wants neither such a character nor a person like myself to exist. Thank you.

-Toby
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 2nd, 2009 11:17 am (UTC)

?

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I read this a while back and i though it was pretty awesome. I was hoping that you wouldn't mind if i recced this in a community over on LJ?
(community.livejournal.com/14vaentines). thank you so very much for the excellent story
-Kellie
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From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:February 2nd, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)

Re: ?

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Hi Kellie. I'm more than happy for you to rec this.
[User Picture]
From:[info]chaosmanor
Date:February 2nd, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)

Re: ?

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Also, I'm glad you liked the story!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 18th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
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This was absolutely amazing. There are tears in my eyes, seriously.
From:[info]jerakeen
Date:October 5th, 2010 11:18 am (UTC)
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(Comment fail. *headdesk*)

I love this story. It's just the right amount of romantic and sweet and angsty, you know? I must've read it at least five times by now.

I just wanted to thank you for writing it. <33
From:[info]lady81bird.livejournal.com
Date:August 13th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, this is amazing. Really, really beautiful and amazing.

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