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31 December 2008 @ 04:04 pm
Bandom RPS Fic: A Wave You Glide In On (1/2)  
Bandom RPS fic: A Wave You Glide In On
Ryan/Brendon, NC-17, 14200 words
Written for the bandom_solstice 'fake dating' challenge. High school AU.

My betas are awesome, awesome people.
murklins: Remember when you got crucified for your Hermione portrayal? Those were some fun times.
oddishly: Utterjerk!Brendon is ... difficult to read.
And this is where they prove their true worth - see, I thought this fic was hilarious. (Mind you, I felt the same about DIY Messiah.) So don't say you weren't warned!
Title from the Anne Sexton poem, Admonitions to a Special Person.





"- you are the most self-centred, egotistical dick I've ever had the misfortune to meet!" screamed Malori (one l, no y). She was pretty hot when she was mad - in fact, Brendon had first hooked up with her minutes after her heated argument with the bouncer of the Lockjaw had nearly come to blows. Brendon particularly appreciated the way she literally bounced with rage.

"And your hair looks dumb like that!"

"What?" Brendon's hand flew to the back of his head. He'd been feeling a little tender about his new haircut, because it left him with a lot of feathery curls that weren't exactly hardcore. Unless you happened to be in a band called Nickelback.

"Huh." Malori's lipgloss was flecked with spit; it was not a good look on her. "I should have known that would get your attention." She wheeled on one graffitied Doc Marten and stomped off.

"Hey, wait!" Brendon called after her. "Did we just break up?"

+++

"We just broke up," said Brendon blankly. He dropped his tray on the table beside Pete and cracked both his knees on the edge as he tried to slide in.

"Wow, didn't see that one coming," murmured Jon, not quite low enough to escape Brendon's hearing.

"Who?" said Pete.

"Me and Malori," said Brendon. He felt slightly insulted at his friends' lack of interest. Jon was building a pasta fort and Pete was finishing his geometry homework with a rainbow pencil. Brendon's rainbow pencil. "You know? My girlfriend?"

"Oh, yeah." Pete glanced at Brendon's tray. "Wow, mint bubble gum and an orange? You must have really liked her."

"What?" Brendon irritably broke open the bubble gum packet. "Well, yeah. Obviously. She was my girlfriend. We had sex and everything."

"Gross, vaginas," said Pete, who had decided gayness was going to be his 'thing' this year. It made a change from the headbands, Brendon supposed, though he'd cherished a secret fondness for the neon green deely-boppers.

"Plus, I totally dug her," said Brendon. He felt himself growing more irate by the second. "I bought her a necklace, you guys."

"It was from Claire's Accessories," Jon pointed out.

"So?"

"So, I don't think it counts," said Jon. "I mean, that's where Pete buys his socks."

"And popcorn," persisted Brendon. "Every time we went out. Popcorn and cola and corn dogs, and I cleaned her car when she threw up afterwards -"

"It was true love, I see it now," said Jon. He spooned a blob of cold tomato sauce over his pasta. "Look, everyone, I made a moat."

"A moat of blood!" said Pete, his eyes lighting up. Taking a Visual Arts class had clearly not been good for him.

As Pete added in bean sprouts to represent the oppressed masses, Brendon brooded. He knew he had a high turnover when it came to girls, which probably explained his friends' currently overwhelming interest in highly processed foods. But he had genuinely enjoyed his time with Malori, short though it was. They'd had some pretty good times - and if he was honest, Brendon was getting sick of chasing girls. He wanted something ... permanent.

He also disliked being broken up with. If anyone was doing the breaking up, it should be Brendon.

There was only one thing for it.

+++

"Nope," said Jon.

"I haven't even said anything yet," said Brendon, in deeply injured tones.

Jon just looked at him, but it was a look that encompassed the bag of cinnamon muffins and frappuchinos Brendon was holding out as well his bottom lip, which was currently larger than the rest of his face.

"Please," said Brendon. "Pretty please with a cherry on top?" He reached into the bag and produced a muffin that did, in fact, have a cherry on top. Glace cherries were worse than disgusting, but it had the intended effect. Jon smiled, despite obviously trying to resist. Brendon couldn't help feeling smug.

"I don't care," said Jon. He took the muffin but didn't do anything with it, and he seemed serious. Serious on Jon was disconcerting; it didn't go with his face. "I know you want me to set you up with someone, but honestly? I'm running out of girls whose hearts you haven't broken. I'm also running out of friends. Girls are like prairie dogs: they stick together, and if you hurt one you hurt them all. I actually like having chicks to hang out with."

"Why, Jon." Brendon struck his chest in mock-angst. "Am I not enough friend for you?"

"You mean in the five minutes between disastrous hook-ups and dramatic break-ups?" Jon shrugged. "Sure. But I'm not - repeat, not - setting you up with someone just to make Malori jealous. The only thing that does that is your mirror."

"I'm not vain!"

Jon just took a bite of the muffin.

"I'm not!"

"True," Jon conceded. "You're more ... self-absorbed. You really aren't ready for a relationship."

"Thanks, Dr Phil," said Brendon sourly. "I guess I'll just go ask Pete."

"Pete's gay, remember?"

"So?" Brendon walked backwards away from Jon, arms spread. "I thought you said I'm running out of girls?"

"That doesn't mean - you can't become gay to fill a quota!"

"Watch me," said Brendon, and fell over a table.

+++

It was with a bruised ass and skinned elbows that Brendon eased himself into one of the worn seats in the school's tiny theatre. Pete - the sole audience member - had his chin propped in his hands and five apple cores ranged on his seat's arm. On stage, the orchestra was being put through its asthmatic paces.

"Are you okay?" whispered Pete.

"Sure," said Brendon. He didn't feel like going over the weird conversation he'd had with Jon, so he said, "Just, you know. Fell over."

Pete nodded. Brendon fell over a lot; it was only a cause for concern when the ER got involved.

"So," said Brendon, after five minutes of listening to a violin butcher the C major scale, "is there much talent here?"

Pete sent him a sharp look. "Considering trying out?"

"What? No! Why would I do that?"

"I've heard you sing. And play the piano practically in your sleep."

"I've got better things to do than play in tweenie orchestras." Brendon waved a dismissive hand. "No, I meant, are there any cute guys?"

"Can't you see for yourself?" asked Pete. "Also, why?"

"Obviously I can't see for myself, I'm straight," said Brendon. Pete opened his mouth, but Brendon hurried on, "I'm thinking of batting for the other team. You know, see what I'm missing? Also, girls find that so hot. Malori would just die."

"Yes, because that is how all gay relationships play out," said Pete.

"It's a good thing I have you to guide me," said Brendon.

"Shh," said Pete, "Patrick's playing."

Brendon followed Pete's gaze. Even to Brendon's untutored eyes, the guy with the flute was nothing special to look at. Besides, who wore trucker hats while playing Mozart? It was like a travesty.

Brendon waited impatiently while Patrick rehearsed. The conductor spent about a million years going over minor points with him and Brendon had had enough musical lectures to last a lifetime. All the orchestra guys were skinny and geeky, like Brendon used to be. He needed someone hot enough to make Malori burn with jealousy.

The door creaked and a guy slipped into the room. Brendon straightened up. True, this guy was also skinny and geeky, but he was wearing a beret. A red beret. In fact, it could be a raspberry beret. Plus a white smoking jacket with braided hems. Maybe he could see hot guys for himself, after all.

"Who's he?" asked Brendon.

Pete flicked the guy a disinterested glance. "Georgie? He's on the school paper," he said. "He comes here sometimes and does reviews."

"Wait," said Brendon, "there's a school paper?"

+++

The headquarters of the paper were tucked away behind the football field, along with the chemistry labs and a lot of other things Brendon's life had no use for. Even the graffiti artists were less enthusiastic this far from the main traffic of the school. One mildly ambitious mural had been abandoned in the middle. Brendon figured the artist had dropped dead from the fumes halfway through.

Classes were over for the day and dust had settled on the seventies parquet flooring. A faint rattling noise came from the far end of the hall. None of the doors had labels, but Brendon tried each experimentally. He discovered a rotting mouse in a trap, two freshmen dressing up a biology skeleton in overalls, a teacher roasting marshmallows over a Bunsen burner, and several empty rooms. It wasn't until he reached the last door, and the rattling rose in pitch, that he found what he was looking for.

The rattling and the conversation of the two boys in the room effectively obscured the quiet sound of Brendon opening the door and slipping inside. One of the boys was Georgie, although that probably wasn't his real name. Pete still called Brendon Sum41 because they had a song called Fat Lip, and Jon was variously 'On the Rocks', 'Bushmills' and 'Coco.' Brendon didn't recognise the other boy.

Georgie had removed his beret, apparently with some violence: his hair was sticking up in soft whorls, like a badly-poured ice cream cone. He was typing on a machine Brendon recognised from 1930s spy films. The effort put in didn't equal the product, which was a few wonky lines on a piece of paper the typewriter reluctantly disgorged every few seconds.

"But, c'mon," said the boy leaning against a rickety desk of computers from about 1993. "The variety show isn't for another three weeks. The point of practise is to get better at things."

"Pain," said Georgie firmly. "It was the aural equivalent of having my leg sawn off without anaesthesia. Actually, that's pretty..." His voice trailed off as his fingers scrabbled through the drifts of paper on his desk. He produced a pencil with a look of triumph and began writing, three times faster than he typed.

"But I thought Patrick -" The other boy looked up as Brendon's sneaker squeaked against a treacherous bit of linoleum. The boy's voice changed when he spoke again, hidden beneath a layer of ice. "Who are you?"

"Um, hi?" Brendon essayed a wave. It was a complete failure; the boy could glare like it was a paying job. Georgie turned in his chair and nearly fell off when he saw Brendon. The pencil made a tinkly noise as it hit the floor.

"You - you," he said.

"Me," said Brendon. "I'm Brendon Urie."

"I know that," said Georgie, managing to combine disdain and terror in one monotone pitch. "Everyone knows who you are."

"Except your friend, apparently." Brendon smiled at the other boy; not his usual blowtorch grin, but a small, tight, approving grimace.

"Sorry," said the boy. "I don't factor in the existence of Barbie clones."

Despite himself, Brendon was intrigued. "Barbie?" he repeated. "Surely you mean Ken?"

The boy didn't say anything, but the glance that swept over Brendon's bright pink chucks and Minnie Mouse t-shirt was expressive enough.

In the meantime, Georgie gathered himself. "Can we help you?" he asked. "All the positions on the paper are closed -"

"Oh, I'm not here for that," said Brendon. "Jeez, talk about lame. Also, I might have to learn to spell. No, I came here to ask you out."

"Out where?" said Georgie blankly. The other boy's cheeks puffed before he startled spluttering helplessly.

"On a date," said Brendon helpfully. He didn't mind if Georgie were a little slow. God forbid he think this was serious. "I really want to make my ex-girlfriend jealous." Georgie's eyes went wide. Brendon noted inconsequentially that they were a really dark shade of brown. "I'd pay and everything."

"Okay, okay, where's the camera?" the other boy demanded.

"I'm not going on a date with you to make someone else jealous," said Georgie. "That's sick. And demeaning."

"More demeaning than lying to you?" Brendon shrugged. "Whatever. What about you, Snark Boy? You up for it?"

"A date with you? I'd rather eat my shoe," said the boy. He appeared to consider this. "Or at least, your shoe."

"Cool it, Spence," said Georgie. "Look, Brendon, I'm sure there are better ways of dealing with this -"

"Horse tranquillisers, maybe," said Spence.

Brendon put up his hands. "Look, it was worth a shot. Jon did warn me, I guess -"

"Jon?" Spence's face went funny; spots of colour were being suctioned off his cheeks. "Walker? The guy who does the sports photography?"

"He does?" said Brendon. "I wondered why he always brought a camera to games."

"You - are you seriously that clueless?" demanded Spence. Georgie put his hand over his mouth to hide a smile. Brendon caught little white glimpses of it through his fingers.

"I think so," said Brendon. "I mean, people are always saying it to me. Did you guys get robbed or something?"

"What do you mean?"

Brendon pointed at the desk behind Spence. "They look like the shit Bill Gates donates to Africa."

"Yeah, well." Spence's face went tight. "The money for the new gym had to come from somewhere."

"You should fundraise," said Brendon. "You know, naked carwashes and stuff."

"It's winter," said Spence flatly.

"Yeah," said Brendon, "so?" Georgie's shoulders were shaking, just a bit. Brendon raised a hand. "Well. It's been - something." As he reached for the door handle, he spotted a scrap of paper on the floor. It was just a few lines of dense, spiky handwriting, but the words 'To Keltie' jumped out at him.

Before he could say anything, Georgie snatched the paper from his hand. "That's mine," he muttered, when Brendon raised his eyebrows.

"That's cool," he said. "Hey, Keltie's a friend of mine. I could totally introduce you to her."

"When? On our date?"

"Keltie loves to double date," said Brendon. "In fact, I went out with her once and she ended up hooking up with a guy her friend was with on a double date. You could be that lucky ... but you turned me down."

George exchanged glances with Spence, whose mouth was hanging open. "Maybe," said Georgie slowly, "I could ... reconsider."

"Awesome!" said Brendon brightly. "Listen, if you're agreeing, could you maybe tell me your name?"

Behind him, Spence started choking.

+++

Next morning, as soon as he saw Jon, Brendon went up and poked him in the chest. "Ha! I did it and you said I couldn't."

"Ow," said Jon.

"Do you think these jeans are tight enough?" asked Pete, looking at his own ass anxiously.

"That depends," said Jon. "Were you planning on having children?"

"Listen to me," said Brendon. "I have a date. With a boy."

"Really?" said Jon. "How much did you pay him?"

"Nothing!" said Brendon indignantly. The fact that he was taking Ryan out didn't count; Brendon was still the boy, after all. Even if the girl was another boy. "I bowled him over with my charm and stuff."

"Sure." Jon's smile was a little too indulgent.

"He's friends with Spencer Smith," added Brendon. "You know? He writes the sports section of the paper." Spencer hadn't told him any of this, but Brendon had located a copy of the paper before he went home the night before. George Ryan Ross was the editor. Reading his column reminded Brendon of analysing Virginia Woolf in English class, but he planned to learn a few quotes to throw into the conversation on their date. If he wasn't literary, he could at least pretend that he was.

"Oh my god," said Jon, "you're going out with Ryan Ross?"

Brendon frowned. He'd hoped for the tiny jolting reaction he got from Spencer every time Jon's name was mentioned (which, after Brendon witnessed said reaction, was often). "Yeah. So?"

"Did you know about this?" Jon asked Pete.

"Georgie? He's cute," said Pete.

"Oh, this is so fucked up," said Jon. However, despite Brendon's needling, he refused to be drawn. He only betrayed emotion when Brendon coyly suggested he and Ryan could double date with Jon and Spencer, at which point Jon snapped, "I'm late for class," and stormed off.

Brendon and Pete shared a glance. "Since when does Jon care about being on time?"

Brendon didn't have long to ponder this conundrum. He spotted Ryan, leaning against a locker beside Spencer. Ryan was wearing a forest-green waistcoat and jeans tight enough to put Pete's to shame; for some reason, Brendon's breath caught. Instead of thinking about it, he bounded over. Spencer's change of expression suggested a puppy had just pissed on his loafer, but Brendon was pretty used to that reaction.

"Hi, George Ryan Ross," said Brendon. "Listen, I think I'm gonna kiss you now."

"What? No!"

"You can't say no," said Brendon patiently. "We're dating."

"We're going on one date," said Ryan. "One. It is not the same."

Talking was Ryan's mistake, though. If he'd really wanted to avoid being kissed, he should have run first. Before Ryan could even take a step, Brendon leaned in and pressed his mouth to Ryan's.

Brendon was, if he said it himself, a fucking great kisser. He'd had a lot of practice. (And yet, even after all this time, his knees still got hot and shaky.) He kept his hands wrapped around his books and moved his mouth over Ryan's, pushing just a little. Ryan's fingers moved to wrap lightly around Brendon's wrists, as if to balance himself. Brendon could feel Ryan's pulse pounding in a way that meant he was really enjoying it, even though his mouth barely quivered under Brendon's.

"Guh," said Ryan, when their lips parted, faintly sticky.

"Awesome," said Brendon, smiling broadly. "We should definitely do that again later. Bye."

"Bye," echoed Ryan. "Later. Huh."

Brendon felt pretty good about himself until he saw Jon, who apparently had not gone to class at all. Instead he'd hung around the other end of the hall while Brendon kissed Ryan. The look on his face was scarily like the one he'd had after his first kitten was run over.

"Jon," Brendon started, but Jon shook his head.

"Don't," he said, "just, don't." He stalked away. Brendon tried to dismiss the sinking feeling in his stomach, but it wouldn't leave. He thought about the kiss instead - as kisses went, it had been seriously great - but for some reason, that just made him feel worse.

+++

Brendon sometimes went home and sat in his bedroom, pretending to do his homework. Occasionally, he actually did it. Other times, though, he slipped in through the back gate and climbed into his old tree house. Their back garden was long and wild; before his brother Jacob went away to college, it had been his job to mow it. For some reason the task never fell to Brendon, which he was certainly not complaining about. The tree house was far enough from the back door that he could play his guitar and sing the stupid lyrics that sailed through his head every day without being heard.

Sometimes, though, he was nearly caught.

"Brendon!" It was his mom calling. "Brendon! Are you home?"

Brendon scrambled out of the tree so fast he skinned his hands. He raced to the back door just as his mother opened it. She smiled at him, puzzled.

"There you are. I wasn't sure if you were even home. What are you doing out here?"

"Looking for a tennis racquet," said Brendon promptly. His heart jumped when he saw who was standing behind his mother - lurking, actually, and picking at his buttons. "Ryan? Why are you here?"

"Ryan came over to give you a homework assignment. Isn't that kind?" His mom beamed at Ryan. She liked Jon and tolerated Pete, but never in her experience had they visited with the express purpose of sharing homework. Brendon could tell she was already calculating how many cookies it would take to feed Ryan up. (Pete probably would have fit into his jeans more easily if he ate fewer of Brendon's mom's ginger snaps.)

"Yeah, sure," said Brendon. He felt weird. Nervous. Although it was clearly nothing to Ryan's embarrassment; he looked ready to sink through the floor.

"Why don't you take him upstairs, then?" said his mom, and Brendon nearly laughed. Instead, he aimed a shrug in Ryan's general direction and started up to his room.

"So," drawled Brendon, as soon as the door was closed, "Ryan who is not in any of my classes, what do you want?"

"I just - I'm not sure." Ryan raked a hand through his hair, which looked silky. His hands were nice too - at least, Brendon had never been with a girl who had fingers that long. "You kissed me."

So that was what this was about. Brendon looked at Ryan a little more closely. His cheeks were flushed, his mouth damp as if he'd been biting his lips. He wanted to be kissed again.

This was not how it usually played out. With girls, it either required alcohol or the promise of other things - gifts and stability and holding hands in the parking lot. Still, he wasn't concentrating on that as he stood up and moved to face Ryan. Ryan flushed, refusing to meet Brendon's eyes. He was apparently fascinated with Brendon's Audrey Hepburn poster. Brendon grinned - it wasn't like Ryan could see - and ran his knuckles down Ryan's neck. Ryan gasped. Brendon walked him backwards and pressed Ryan's shoulders against the door. Ryan swallowed repetitively, but his hands remained clenched by his sides. Brendon took this as all the permission he was going to get.

Brendon turned his head, nuzzled into Ryan's cheek. Their mouths touched briefly, all the heat from quick, shared breaths. Brendon smiled to himself as he felt Ryan's thin shoulders shake, and abruptly deepened the kiss. His tongue scraped along Ryan's bottom teeth and between his lips, flickered against the soft warmth inside. Brendon felt Ryan's tentative hands on his waist at the same time their tongues met, and surprised himself by moaning. Kissing Ryan made him feel deliciously light-headed and he wasn't sure why. Sure, Ryan was hot, but Brendon had kissed plenty of hot girls who'd never made him feel like this.

He pulled away. Ryan whispered, "What?" but Brendon just shook his head, smiling. He licked at Ryan's shuddering Adam's apple and grabbed both his wrists, guiding Ryan's hands to the swell of his ass.

"Better grip," he said, and Ryan almost laughed. It died a choking death as Brendon rolled his hips upwards. He got a shock on feeling the hard curve of Ryan's cock instead of smooth girl planes, but it was a good shock. So was Ryan's ragged gasp. Brendon plunged his hands into Ryan's hair - yeah, really soft, with no gel or hairspray or mousse or rough bits from overdyeing - and kissed him harder, tugging at his lower lip with his teeth. Ryan bucked a little, his fingers digging into Brendon's ass. His grip was strong and sure and Brendon got hard so fast he felt dizzy.

He dragged his mouth away from Ryan's, noting happily that his eyes were too bright and his face was blazing. "Hey, hey, I've got a great idea. You should totally blow me."

"What?" Ryan's expression went from dreamy to flinty in two seconds flat. "Why should I blow you? Why don't you blow me?"

"Because, duh, I've never done it before."

"Well, neither have I!"

"Dude," said Brendon, with a pained expression, "I thought you were gay."

"I thought you were."

"That's dumb."

"May I remind you that you asked me out, not the other way around."

"To make my girlfriend jealous. You know, with boobs."

"You're fucked up," said Ryan in disgust, and made to push Brendon away. The movement only brought his thigh flush against Brendon's cock, and Brendon was grinding down before he knew what was happening. Ryan's escapist wriggles melted into tiny jerks of his hips, which made Brendon want. Want things he could barely imagine, but which definitely involved pinning Ryan down and slowly removing all his clothes until he was naked and still wriggling around, and probably blushing, and -

"Fuck it," Brendon mumbled. Both of them were breathing too quickly. He fumbled at Ryan's fly, which was stupid and button-down, you'd think the guy didn't want his dick touched -

"What?" gasped Ryan, mouth wet on Brendon's ear. Brendon didn't answer, just dug his fingers into Ryan's underwear - blue and lycra, god, he'd mock Ryan forever in other circumstances - until he found the head of Ryan's cock, shiny-wet under Brendon's palm.

Ryan banged his head against the door and groaned as Brendon began to jack him in earnest, long smooth tugs that burned his palm. "I - oh, Jesus, oh Brendon -"

"Hmm?" Brendon lightened his grip, stroking with his fingertips and just the edge of his nails. Brendon's hand was coated with sticky precome, and he slicked it down the length of Ryan's cock before squeezing him hard, the way he liked it himself. Ryan's babbling turned into one continuous moan, and Brendon could tell - he could just tell - that Ryan was on the brink.

Which was, of course, the moment his mom knocked at the door. "Are you boys all right? I thought I heard shouting. And I have cookies."

"Just a second, Mom!" shouted Brendon. He shoved Ryan into his desk chair and grabbed his comforter, holding it against his erection like a shield. And not a moment too soon; without permission, Mrs Urie opened the door, letting in a delicious waft of gingersnaps.

"What are you doing?" she asked Brendon. "Making your bed? Is it that time of year already?"

"No," said Brendon vaguely. "I'm looking for a racquet."

She glanced at him strangely, but she set the cookies down on his bedside table. "Getting much done, boys?"

"Oh, totally," said Brendon. "No rest for the wicked, etc." He picked up a cookie and shoved it whole into his mouth. Ryan was immobile in the chair, his rapid breathing the only indication that he was still alive.

"Leave some for your guest," she said, and backed out.

"Now, where were we?" murmured Brendon. Ryan looked up at him, his eyes wide and slightly disbelieving. Brendon tucked the rest of the cookie into his mouth, dropping a few crumbs into Ryan's lap, and carefully straddled him. He kept one hand on Ryan's shoulder for balance, his thumb brushing the deep hollow above Ryan's collarbone. Ryan was wearing a V-neck t-shirt and what looked like a crystal on a chain. It should have made Brendon laugh; instead, he wanted to kiss his way up Ryan's throat. He compromised by getting his hand on Ryan's cock again, drawing it out roughly. Ryan bit his lip and hissed, and that was hotter than it needed to be.

"Just so you know," said Brendon, teasing the slit with the pad of his thumb, "I still think you should blow me."

"Fuck off," said Ryan, but without much conviction. Brendon kissed him hard, ignoring the fact that he was enjoying this way too much.

+++

The date was a disaster.

Ryan and Brendon sat opposite each other in a booth in Dairy Queen. Spencer glowered at them from a table nearby. Pete and Jon were three booths over; every so often, Pete popped up his head to holler an encouraging comment or throw bits of his veggie burger at them. Brendon got really tired of picking it out of his hair. And that was only the start.

When the waitress came over to take their order, Ryan asked for a soy milkshake. Nothing else. Brendon urged him to order a full meal, or even a dessert; the waitress, taking in Ryan's elbows, also urged him to order, but in her case suggested half a cow and enough fries to feed a small town.

"Just a milkshake, thanks," said Ryan. He managed to make the plastic pages of the menu clang as he slammed them shut.

Brendon shrugged, and proceeded to order a large Dr Pepper, chilli fries, potato wedges, a hamburger, a chicken burger, onion rings and a medium rare steak. "And come back with the dessert menu later," he called after the bemused waitress.

Ryan's milkshake arrived long before any of Brendon's order. He slurped it loudly and didn't offer Brendon a taste, not that he wanted one. The glass was half empty by the time three wait staff came over with Brendon's meals.

Ryan paused mid-slurp to observe Brendon taking a large bite of his hamburger. A mulch of wilted lettuce, mayonnaise and onions slid over his fingers en route to his lap. "Just so you know," said Ryan, "I'm a vegetarian."

"Really?" said Brendon, mouth full. "Wow. Sucks to be you."

Ryan's eyes got very small. "Animals have rights too, you know."

"I never said they didn't," protested Brendon. He lathered his wedges with tomato ketchup. "Just because I eat them doesn't mean I don't think they have rights."

"The fact that you're eating one directly contradicts that statement," said Ryan. He was staring at the chilli fries with something like love in his eyes.

"Yeah, well, animals have the right to get eaten, too," said Brendon. He smirked. "You can eat me if you like, Ryan. Would that make you feel better?"

"Strangely," said Ryan, "no." But his cheeks went a little pink as he said it.

"You can have one if you want," said Brendon.

"One what?"

"One chilli fry. Or a couple. I don't mind."

"I don't want any of your disgusting fries," said Ryan haughtily, and resumed chewing his straw.

Brendon was slightly hurt by that, but on the other hand he had a lot of fries. It took him about fifteen minutes to eat all he wanted, during which time Ryan finished his milkshake and stared moodily out of the window. At one point Brendon pushed the fries closer to Ryan, but Ryan pushed them back so hard they spilled all over the table. Brendon took the hint.

Brendon waved over the waitress with a windmilling gesture that knocked Ryan's hat off. When he picked it up, the feathers were coated in ketchup.

"My bad," said Brendon sincerely.

"Fuck you," said Ryan.

"Look, I'll buy you another one," said Brendon. "Or kill another magpie, whatever."

"I think you've killed enough animals tonight," said Ryan.

"I didn't kill any, actually," said Brendon. "I just enjoyed their meaty goodness."

Ryan's reply was cut off by the arrival of the waitress, who raised her eyebrows at the debris littering the table and asked, "Do you want the cheque?"

"Not yet," said Brendon cheerfully. "Could I get one of those double chocolate sundaes, with raspberry topping and, like, chopped nuts?"

Apparently fascinated by the capacity of Brendon's stomach, the waitress asked, "Do you want anything else with it? Cinnamon sticks? Chocolate flakes? Mint sauce?"

"Yeah, all of those," said Brendon. "Ryan, you want anything?"

Ryan just looked at him.

"He'll get another milkshake," said Brendon.

"I don't want another milkshake," said Ryan.

"Oops, too late," said Brendon. "Thanks." He beamed up at the waitress and, as soon as she left, scooted out of his seat and into Ryan's. Ryan looked at him like he'd turned into Gregor Samsa.

"What are you doing?"

"Holding hands and snuggling," said Brendon. "Also, making out. I think we have time before my dessert arrives."

"I am so not making out with you! You just consumed a dead animal."

Brendon ran his tongue along his teeth. "Yeah. Yum. Trust me, it'll taste better than if I'd eaten a raw animal. But seriously, can we drop the animal thing? I'm bored of it."

Ryan's mouth dropped open, his eyes narrow lines of rage. Brendon took advantage of his distraction to grab Ryan's hand and wind their fingers together.

"Wow," said Brendon wonderingly. "Your hands are so cold."

"I - what? Of course they are."

"Mine get hot really easily," Brendon confided. He lifted their joined hands on to the table. Across the way, Spencer thumped his forehead against his fist. Ryan stared at his fingers, long and smooth-nailed between Brendon's shorter, bitten ones. Brendon was grateful for finding at least one thing that got Ryan's mind off the slaughter of pigs.

The waitress was pretty quick on the uptake, because when she brought over the milkshake and Brendon's sundae, it was with two spoons. Without letting go of Ryan's hand, Brendon handed him a spoon and said, "Okay, dig in."

"I don't want any," said Ryan.

"Oh, I get it," said Brendon. "You want to be fed." He swirled a chocolate flake in ice cream and shoved it into Ryan's mouth. Most of the ice cream ended up on his chin, but he swallowed the chocolate - although it was basically that or choke. Brendon wasn't going to pretend that the feel of Ryan's lips moving against his fingers didn't feel really, really good.

"Open wide," he said, loading up a spoonful of raspberry sauce and diced hazelnuts.

"Fine, fine." Ryan hastily grabbed his own spoon and chipped off a tiny piece of ice cream. "There. Satisfied?"

"Not yet." Brendon smirked and rubbed his thigh against Ryan's. Ryan jumped so hard the booth squeaked. "I was thinking we could head to the Lockjaw next. Malori usually goes there on Saturdays, so it's the perfect opportunity."

"Malori?" said Ryan, absently sticking his spoon into the milkshake.

"My ex? You know, the one you're making jealous? I was thinking, we could do the whole grinding on each other thing again -"

There was a small wet noise as Ryan's spoonful of soy went all over Brendon's sundae. "Well," said Brendon into the silence, while Ryan stared at the table with hot cheeks, "that's gonna taste gross."

+++

For most people, getting into a popular joint like the Lockjaw was difficult. Brendon was not most people, because he knew the bouncer and the bouncer loved him - after much persuading on Brendon's part that this was so, at least. Brendon could see Zack now, his tough expression bleached by the neon light from the sign.

Brendon pulled Ryan's arm around his waist. Ryan was shivering, although the night was far from cold. Brendon could see the outline of Ryan's nipples through the silver silk shirt he was wearing, which made Brendon's stomach jump excitedly. He wondered what it would be like to just lie on top of Ryan when they were both shirtless and stroke each other. Or have crazy hot sex, whatever. Of course, the most important thing was what other people saw them do. Brendon didn't know why he kept forgetting that.

"Act couple-y," he instructed Ryan, who grunted and squeezed his fingers around Brendon's waist in a way that was probably meant to hurt. Brendon liked it, though.

"Who's this?" asked Zack, a forbidding frown on his face.

"My boyfriend, Ryan," said Brendon. "We were just on a date."

"Our first date," stressed Ryan.

"What happened to the red-haired girl?" Zack's muscles rippled as he crossed his arms, but his mouth was twitching.

"We had a difference of opinion regarding my general awesomeness," said Brendon airily. "Is she here, by the way?"

"Yep. Came about an hour ago. Your friend Pete is here too. Remind him about the no dancing on tables rule, huh?"

"I can but try," said Brendon. "His feet were made for dancing."

"They'll be made for breaking if Brian sees him above head-level again," said Zack, and waved them in.

Brendon felt Ryan's shoulders move as he looked up and around. The Lockjaw was a nineteen twenties ballroom, complete with gilt angels and peeling plaster. The walls were currently sweating and the floor was sticky with spilled beer, but it didn't take from the startling first impression.

"You've never been here before?"

"Obviously not," snapped Ryan. Brendon would have been confused that Ryan was insulted by the question, if he hadn't already decided that Ryan was insulted by everything, especially Brendon. Instead, he glanced around, spotting Malori's bright flame of hair near the bar. Before he could position Ryan in her eyeline, Pete swooped down on them.

"Georgie!" he crowed. Ryan didn't look entirely taken aback, but there was something weird in his face. "Good to see you. I was starting to get worried about Brendon's taste, to be honest. It's finally looking up."

"Where's Jon?" asked Brendon. He felt Ryan's hand slipping away from his side and stepped closer to trap it under his arm.

"Oh, he went home," said Pete. "He was in a totally pissy mood all evening, muttering to himself and shit. I think he made a bad batch of brownies or something."

"Right." Brendon turned to Ryan, catching his hand as it made another break for freedom. "Do you want a drink? Pete has fake ID."

Ryan's mouth contorted. "Yeah, no thanks."

"Straight edge too! I like it." Pete tried to high five Ryan, to no avail.

"What about a soda, then?" Brendon wanted to get Ryan away from Pete. In other circumstances he'd have been happy to let Pete babble - it was a good acid test for the longevity of any of Brendon's relationships - but that wasn't going to make Malori even slightly jealous; she'd hated Pete.

"Look, let's just get this Hollywood makeout scene over with so I can go home," snapped Ryan. Pete began to frown.

"So Jon was telling the truth?" he said. "Is this some kind of set-up -"

In desperation, Brendon dragged at Ryan's hand and pushed him up against the nearest available wall. Throwing out a random hope that Malori could see them, he took Ryan's face in both his hands and pulled it down.

Ryan's lips were hard and thin, his body stiff against Brendon's. It's all going wrong! his mind wailed. Brendon broke away and scowled. "C'mon, go with this, will you?"

Ryan said nothing, staring at the ground with a mutinous expression. Brendon wanted to hit him. He wanted to kiss him more. And - he wanted to kiss him more than he cared about Malori seeing them. He'd liked Malori, but she wasn't Ryan.

The thought was faintly sickening, but just then a cloud of sweet perfume engulfed him and shiny pink fingernails dug into his arm.

"Brendon!" cried Keltie. "Long time no see. And - hey, Ryan?"

Ryan mumbled something that might have been hello in Swahili. Even though Keltie was looking very fetching in a clingy blue dress, Ryan seemed to be more interested in glaring at Brendon.

"Hi, sweetie," said Keltie. "I've been meaning to get in touch with you. That poem you wrote for me was perfect. Derek was so impressed he asked me to prom."

"Er, thanks," said Ryan.

"Wait," said Brendon, "you didn't write that poem for Keltie?"

"Sure he did," said Keltie. "He does poems and stories on commission - didn't you sell one to the New Yorker? It's a good thing Derek doesn't read anything published after 1975. He says literary accomplishment ended after the Beat generation." She giggled. "Listen guys, I've gotta bounce. We should hang out some time, B." She waved her fingers at them before drifting off.

"You just blew your chance," said Brendon. "Why didn't you ask her out or something?"

Ryan stared at him, in what seemed like genuine amazement. "Didn't you hear her? Some guy called Derek is taking her to prom."

"I didn't say take her to prom," said Brendon. "Just bring her to the movies and bang her in the back of your dad's car."

Ryan's mouth opened, lips wet and inviting despite the scowl on his face. "You little shit."

"Oh, I'm sorry." Brendon simpered. "You wanted to write her sweet, sweet poetry and deflower her in a field of daisies. Whatever."

"Look, I don't even care. I never wanted -" Ryan fidgeted, frowned, and started over. "You shouldn't talk like that about your friend, anyway."

Brendon rolled his eyes. "Whatever."

"I'm leaving," said Ryan.

"Blow me."

Ryan rolled his eyes and made to shove past Brendon. Brendon grabbed Ryan's hand and held it to his cock, which had been half hard since Ryan touched him outside the Lockjaw - hell, since Ryan sat down in the booth in Dairy Queen. He said, lips to Ryan's earlobe, "Seriously. Blow me."

"Seriously -" Ryan shook off Brendon's hand "- fuck off." This time, Brendon let him go.

"Aww." Another vat of perfume, this one cheaper and more cloying, singed Brendon's nose. "Did baby get dumped?"

"Why does that keep happening?" Brendon wondered aloud, watching Ryan's slim form eel through the crowds, a shot of silver in the grey.

Malori put her head on one side. "Maybe because you're an asshole?"

"Yeah, well," Brendon stuck out his lip sulkily, "most people like that at the beginning."

"I know." Malori sighed.

"Would you blow me?" Brendon asked, without much hope.

"Buy me a drink and I'll grope you for five minutes," said Malori. "How does that sound?"

"You've got yourself a deal," said Brendon, and lead her to the bar.

Her hand wasn't cold.

+++

Brendon lay on the sun-rusted bleachers, listening to the faint beat of the camera shutters as Jon posed, shot, clicked and posed again. The football team had a big game next week and they were pounding across the field as if their lives depended it. Brendon wasn't sure why the game was big, or who they were playing; he only kept up with the schedule by the parties that followed each game.

"Are these for the paper?" he asked, when the sun failed to dampen his energy.

There was a brief pause before the shutters clicked again. "I didn't realise you even knew there was a paper," said Jon mildly.

"Ryan wrote for it. Writes for it, whatever." Brendon opened his eyes, shading them with his hand. Everything was too bright; Jon was just a blot with a halo.

"I know that, actually," said Jon. He took a shot of Brendon's foot, hanging out of one purple flipflop. "He's the one I submit my pictures to."

"Right." Brendon had nothing to say to that, even though he was the one who'd brought up Ryan in the first place. He kept doing it - mainly around Pete, who fortunately didn't notice. Jon wasn't quite so oblivious.

"How are things with Malori?"

"We didn't get back together, I told you." Jon was trying to take a photo of Brendon's knee now; Brendon kicked him away irritably. His knees were his least photogenic feature. "We just hooked up a couple more times. She's hooking up with Gabe as well. Good luck with that - if she thinks I'm a bad boyfriend, Gabe is a billion times worse."

"There's no accounting for taste," Jon agreed. "Did Pete tell you he's going in the variety show?"

"Pete can't play an instrument," said Brendon, with utter certainty. He'd let Pete play his guitar once, for exactly five minutes. Afterwards he'd spent an hour cuddling it and promising he'd never let Pete touch it ever again.

"He's reciting freestyle poetry. Patrick's gonna accompany him." Jon sent Brendon a sideways look. "I agreed to do up some programmes. You should volunteer - it's for a good cause."

"How good? On a scale of one to ten." Brendon pulled his foot towards his face to examine his toes. Jon took a picture.

"It's to raise money for the paper to get them some new equipment - tape recorders and keyboards. Maybe Photoshop so I can finally edit my pictures properly."

"Sounds like a blast," said Brendon. Jon just pinched up his mouth.

"You know," he said quietly, "I liked you better before you turned into the popular asshole. With the glasses and the dorky laugh -"

"I remember," said Brendon. He jumped to his feet. "You want a smoothie?"

Jon shook his head, looking exasperated. Brendon looked around for his second flipflop and realised it had fallen down between the benches. Annoyed, he stomped down the stairs and through a rickety board that lead to the musty space beneath the bleachers. He and Jon sometimes smoked up in here. It was a lot more fun when they did that, and for some reason the spiders were scared away. Brendon shivered as he felt something brush his shoulder. Where the hell was his stupid flipflop?

The boards above him creaked, sending down a shower of dust. Brendon's eyes lighted on a patch of purple; he was about to grab his shoe and go when he heard a familiar voice.

"Hey, Jon." It was Spencer. Brendon deeply wished he could see Spencer's face, because it actually sounded like he was smiling. "Get any good pics?"

"A few," said Jon. "Mainly of Brendon being goofy, which isn't much good to the paper."

"Oh, I don't know," said Spencer drily. "I'm sure Ryan would appreciate it if you accidentally sent them along by mistake."

"Is he still hung up on Brendon? They went out ages ago."

"Are you kidding? Ryan's liked Brendon since eleventh grade." The boards creaked again. If Brendon squinted, he could see shadows move above his head. It looked like Spencer was sitting beside Jon, a little closer than he really needed to. "I'm so pissed; I was sure that date would cure him. Brendon was such a jerk."

"Brendon's always a jerk," said Jon. Brendon had to squash the urge to yell 'Hey!' "But when he doesn't think about it too much, he shows his decent side. I'm really sorry about Ryan, though."

"Don't be," said Spencer. "He just loves the idea of love, the more unrequited the better. I haven't seen him write this much since he first started having a crush on Brendon."

"Ryan has a crush on me?" said Brendon, everything finally clicking into place.

"Who said that? Brendon, are you down there?"

"What? Where's Brendon? I can't see him!"

"He's - never mind. Brendon, get out here."

Brendon crawled into the sunlight, squinting. Jon glared at him; Spencer, surprisingly, didn't. He looked completely stunned, but Jon could have been feeding him brownies while Brendon couldn't see.

"What were you doing?" demanded Jon. For a short smiley guy, Jon could sure look threatening when he wanted to.

"I had to get my flipflop," explained Brendon, holding it up for proof. "It fell. You didn't expect me to walk all the way to the Smoothie Hut in just one flipflop, did you? I'd be shunned."

"Did you listen to that entire conversation?"

"Not on purpose," said Brendon. "But it's not like you guys were being quiet. Besides, I have a right to know that Ryan's actually a creepy stalker dude."

"You little -" Spencer's expression changed from stunned to murderous in the blink of an eye. "Ryan never stalked anyone."

Jon sighed. "You of all people should understand having feelings for someone inappropriate. I mean, that includes every single one of your exes."

"Yeah, I understand it," said Brendon. "But he never acted on it. He refused to blow me even once."

"Oh my god." Spencer shook his head. "You are actually stupid."

"Whatever." Brendon shoved his flipflop on to his foot. "I'm really getting a fucking smoothie now, so you can talk about me and Ryan behind my back all you want, okay?"

"Hey, Brendon." The only reason Brendon stopped was that Spencer had never said his name before. "Please - please don't tell Ryan we were talking about this."

"Ryan pretends I don't exist," said Brendon flatly, "so I can't see that being a problem. Last call for smoothies."

"I'm fine, seriously," said Jon. Brendon looked at Spencer, eyebrows raised.

"No, thanks," said Spencer slowly. "I'm good."

There was a poster advertising the variety show on the main door to the school. Brendon tore it down and stamped on it. Afterwards, he just felt more thirsty.

+++

Brendon lay on his bed, his guitar at his feet. Every so often he strummed the strings with his toes, a skill he'd practised for years. He sometimes entertained fantasies of becoming the Famous Travelling Toe Musician, usually when he'd got detention for singing in class. That happened less recently of late, because girls didn't like weird guys, and Brendon liked girls liking him.

He had the curtains closed, so it was a little chilly in the room. Sunlight filtered through the light blue stars in the dark blue cloth, splashing dots of brightness across the opposite wall. Brendon thought about how long it had been since he'd kissed anyone - his mom so did not count. He liked kissing. He often got the urge to just grab someone and make out with them, but Jon had been right about how few girls were left who wanted anything to do with Brendon. It was stupid, because Brendon knew that he was, objectively speaking, hot. He was too short, but he had a killer smile and cute hair and big eyes. No one had ever mentioned that you were supposed to have a perfect personality as well.

"Are you all right in there?" It was his mom, tapping at the door. In two seconds she'd open it and barge in, but you could do a lot in two seconds. Brendon shoved himself into a sitting position and grabbed a book.

On cue, the door slowly opened, its trajectory hampered by the piles of clothes and crummy plates stacked against it. His mom made a noise halfway between a growl and a sigh.

"None of your brothers were ever this messy," she informed him, as if he didn't know. Brendon rolled his eyes, but carefully. His mom wasn't a fan of what she called 'fresh attitudes,' and she was after all the person controlling his allowance.

"Is it dinnertime already?" he asked instead. "Do you want me to set the table?"

"Brendon, darling," she said, with fond exasperation, "it's four o'clock in the afternoon. We never eat till seven. But sure, feel free to come and do some chores if you're bored."

"Actually, I'm hugely absorbed in -" Brendon glanced at the title "- 'The Molecular Biology of Fruit Flies'? What?"

"Oh! I didn't know you took biology."

Brendon refrained from mentioning that it was news to him too. The book might be Jon's; he'd pursued a secret career in tabloid photography, what was to prevent him being an AP science student on the sly? "Well, what did you want, then?"

"Does a mother have to have a reason to visit her son?" she said. "Don't answer that. As it happens, I was cleaning out the attic, and I found something you might like."

"The attic?" repeated Brendon. "What's up there?"

"About a hundred years' worth of old Christmas decorations, for starters," she said. "But there's also a bunch of stuff from my parents' house. Including this." She disappeared into the hall and returned lugging an old box, its brass hinges coming away at the corners. "It belonged to my father; I'd forgotten all about it."

She lifted the lid just as Brendon was about to remind her that nowadays they used electricity and didn't kill buffalo with their teeth. Inside, gleaming dull crimson, was an accordion.

"I know you don't want to take any more music lessons - which reminds me, Mr Zuckerman called again last week, he said he'd take you back for free - but. Well." She made an aimless gesture, trying to marry the seeping mess and lack of daylight with the antique instrument. "You're the only one who's ever been musical. I thought. I don't know what I thought."

"I can't play the accordion," said Brendon.

His mom sighed. "Well, do me a favour and try it out. If it works, it might be worth something. The Lord knows we could do with a little extra cash for Bethany's wedding."

Brendon didn't say anything. His eyes were drawn to the accordion, which seemed to be staring back at him in a faintly malevolent way. Brendon wasn't about to be intimidated by a musical instrument. He slid to his knees beside the box, staring into the corners to see how the accordion was packed into it. He didn't notice his mother leave.

part ♥ ♥
 
 
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: beautiful :: the smashing pumpkins
 
 
 
oopsoddishly on December 31st, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
Psst! screamed Malori (one l, no y)

:)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: owlsscoradh on December 31st, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah! I changed it, because you - it was you? - said it was usually spelled with two Ls, and it is. This Malori is speshul.
oopsoddishly on December 31st, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
I meant you've still got it written in there!! Take a look! :DDD
dontsaveme52: Bden suitdontsaveme52 on January 7th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC)
This is soooooo funny! I was laughing the whole way through!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands PATD Spencer sports jerseyscoradh on January 7th, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
Yay! I can't help trying to write funny things, so it's great to hear when that actually succeeds.
not just posh nosh!yellsurprise on March 19th, 2009 12:05 am (UTC)
I haven't read part two yet, and there's a lot of commenting to be done, but:

"Ryan pretends I don't exist," said Brendon flatly, "so I can't see that being a problem. Last call for smoothies."

"I'm fine, seriously," said Jon. Brendon looked at Spencer, eyebrows raised.

"No, thanks," said Spencer slowly. "I'm good."

There was a poster advertising the variety show on the main door to the school. Brendon tore it down and stamped on it. Afterwards, he just felt more thirsty.


I don't know what is up, but I felt like I've read that line somewhere. Not just somewhere. Like, five somewheres. Gah. Maybe I've read this before :/
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Disney: Twilightscoradh on March 19th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
Oh ... do you mean you think I stole it from somewhere? It's possible, but it certainly wasn't intentional! Let me know if you figure it out and I'll change it.
not just posh nosh!yellsurprise on March 19th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
Oh god no!

I just had this inexplicable feeling of deja vu. I'm pretty sure what happened was, I read something similar or thought I read something similar so I convinced myself that I'd read it before.

If that makes sense. I re-read the quote just now, and it's not ringing any bells. Just leave it XD
bethanykenddybethanykenddy on September 21st, 2012 01:48 am (UTC)
Haven't read part two yet, but I hope that I get to figure out who Bethany is ^-^ It is my name after all :P <3 Great job on all of your fics, I love them all.