Ryan/Brendon, PG-13, 4000 words
Ryan gives kissing lessons. Sort of AU HS!era fic.
a/n: Pretty much dedicated to oddishly, blindmouse and softlyforgotten, because they are AWESOME. Also because guilting them into reading always works!
Brendon's hands were sweating way more than usual. He was used to moving through a filmy layer of sweat at all times, but right now he could actually feel moisture beading on his palms, making his fingertips slide where they wanted to clench.
He shortened his strides as much as possible, wanting to drag out the distance between the pavement and the front door of the pretty but ramshackle little house. There was no way he could dither on the doorstep, not when the occupants could be watching. Not that he cared about more than one particular occupant, but the girls he'd overheard talking in study hall had said that Ross kept a lookout between four and six. Brendon was already enough of a tool for even doing this; looking nervous at the same time would only cube his fail.
He started listing everything he saw in his head, which was a habit he'd developed to avoid actual thinking. He was well practised in it by now. Gate, he said, peeling paint; silly Celtic name-plate. Cracked paving stones with curious moss poking through the gaps. Pretty purple flowers slowly being choked to death by weeds. White wooden steps, sagging in the middle like they'd been jumped on by an angry giant. Matching white railings on the porch, dangling a few neglected hanging baskets displaying nothing but dust. A scuffed welcome mat. Peeling flyscreen. Door. Bell.
Brendon took in a long gasp of breath, wiped his hands quickly on his pants in case Ross was right there, and knocked. In the pause, he rubbed the sweat off more thoroughly, then was struck by a fear that his pants now had sweat marks. He was busily inspecting the knee of his jeans when Ross opened the door.
"Hi?" said Ross. Brendon gaped, still balanced on one leg. Ross' face went from mildly questioning to hostile. "Can I help you?"
"Um." Brendon could not stop staring. His mom had drummed it into him how rude it was to stare, and Brendon had learned from bitter experience that staring at jocks and girls who were too pretty for you and guys in general could only end unhappily, but - he couldn't help it. Behind the flyscreen, Ross crossed his hands over his chest, tugging up the tiny t-shirt he was wearing to expose even more of the flat stomach and jutting hipbones than were already on display. Under the frail curtain of his hair, Ross was frowning fiercely.
"I'm here. That is, I heard - you do kissing lessons? Um."
All at once, Ross' face cleared. He dropped his arms and opened the flyscreen. "You heard right," he said. "Come in."
Ross threw a couple of amused glances over his shoulder as Brendon followed him up the stairs and concentrated on not tripping over his own feet. The interior of the house bore the same unloved look as the outside. Framed family portraits hung in the stairwell, but they were crooked and dust was caked in the corners. The carpet hadn't seen the business end of a vacuum cleaner for longer than Brendon had been questioning his sexuality.
"Through here," said Ross. He gestured at a door painted black with white stripes, as if Wolverine had tried to claw his way in. "I'll be right back."
Brendon wanted to ask where he was going, beg him not to bring a camera, but his tongue was frozen to the roof of his mouth. He just nodded tightly and hoped he could get his tongue unstuck before the lessons started. If Ross was going to use tongues, that was. Brendon felt a cold-hot shiver race through the pit of his stomach and quickly started cataloguing things in his head again.
Ryan's room was pretty typical of a teenage boy's. It wasn't all that different from Brendon's on a given weekday, although it was abundantly clear that Ross had no mom scolding him to tidy his room on Saturday evenings in preparation for the Lord's Day. The bands featured most prominently were Blink 182 and Green Day, although Taking Back Sunday and Fall Out Boy had their fair share of representation.
Brendon was drawn to the corkboard, wading through drifts of odd shoes and abandoned clothing (most of it small and brightly coloured) to get there. There was a mess of concert tickets pinned up, one of them signed 'Petey.' Brendon's parents wouldn't let him go to concerts. He took in the photographs, which seemed to be a timeline of Ross (plus one fierce, chubby boy) through the ages. Brendon wondered if the boy was Ross' boyfriend - he hadn't looked surprised to see that Brendon was a boy, after all - and felt simultaneously relieved and sad.
His musings were interrupted by Ross' return. Ross was chewing noisily on gum, and he proffered the packet to Brendon. From his insistent waving, Brendon took it that refusal was not an option.
"Bad breath is an occupational hazard," said Ross.
"Oh," said Brendon quietly. He folded the Wrigley's in half and laid it on his tongue. Ross half-heartedly pulled at his striped duvet until it was approximately on the bed and not the floor. Brendon could see a few food-encrusted plates peeping out from under the bedframe.
"So." Ross plumped himself down on the bed, patting the space beside him invitingly. His sprawl was just a bit too calculated. Brendon fixed his eyes on Billie Joe Armstrong's eyeliner'd scowl as he perched on the edge of the mattress, carefully ignoring the fact that he could see a tidemark where Ross' tan ended a little way above the top of his jeans.
"What's your name?" asked Ryan, when the silence started to unravel. "You don't have to tell me your real one," he added.
"Brendon," said Brendon. "Brendon Urie, I'm a junior and I heard these girls in my class say - say -"
"Hey, chill. Brendon." Ryan put one hand on Brendon's knee, making him immediately tense. Ryan kept his hand there until Brendon started to relax; the idea that he knew what he was doing helped. "If I knew which class you were in, I could probably tell you a lot about the people in it who've visited me. Not that I would." His large thumb started rubbing small circles around the inside of Brendon's knee. "But you're not the first guy, if that's what's freaking you out."
It was only one of many things freaking Brendon out, not least of which was how much he liked Ryan touching him. He hadn't been sure what to expect - some sleazy college student with a handlebar moustache and a leopard print thong, maybe - but he also hadn't banked on actually finding Ross hot.
Ross abruptly took his hand away. Brendon followed the movement till he was looking Ryan full in the face, artfully styled bangs and heavy lids not disguising the piercing look he was giving Brendon. "How do you want to do this?"
"I don't know," said Brendon. "That's kind of what I came to you for."
"Touché." Ross sat up and stretched. He caught the way Brendon's gaze guiltily flicked from his face to all that skin and back up again, and he almost smiled. "It's twenty dollars for half an hour. You good for it?"
Brendon fumbled for his money, cursing the impulse that made him shove his cash in his back pocket. He passed over a crumpled twenty, which Ross tossed on to the desk. Brendon could see a few other bills there; he wondered how many other clients - customers? - Ross had had today, and realised the reason behind the gum. Ross was two steps ahead, handing him a Kleenex and pitching his wadded-up gum in the direction of an overflowing wastebin.
"Nice place you keep," remarked Brendon. Ross snuffled a laugh.
"Sorry, my team of maids is off sick," he said. Before Brendon had fully checked out of the conversation Ross was twisting on the bed, arranging his long limbs so that his legs were bracketing Brendon's back and his knees. One large hand turned Brendon's face to Ross'.
"Have you kissed anyone before?"
Brendon felt a heatwave rush up his face, but he figured there was no point in lying. "No."
For the first time, Ross looked surprised. The slight change in expression was quickly replaced by a professional frown. "Okay, then. Just do what I tell you for now. You can start throwing your own moves later."
Brendon jerked in a breath, the air staggering around his lungs. Ross' hand was still on the back of his neck, one finger scratching lightly at the tufty hair there. He took each of Brendon's hands and placed them on his body: one atop his shoulder, the other on the jut of his hip. Brendon started when he felt warm, bare skin, but if he moved his hand down it would look like he was trying to grope Ross' ass. Not that he wouldn't like to, it was just - Brendon wrenched his mind away from that thought just as Ross cupped his free hand around Brendon's upper thigh. It was around then that Brendon had to start reminding himself to breathe.
"Three basic types of kisses," said Ross, sounding bored as if in direct counterpoint to Brendon's galloping heartbeat. "Closed mouth, open mouth, tongues." Brendon made a little noise at that - he couldn't help it - and Ross' eyes flattened in bare amusement. "Yeah, thought you'd like that one."
The hand on the back of Brendon's neck became a weight, pulling him in. Brendon wanted to beg for more time, a countdown maybe, but it was too late: Ross had angled his face to the side and pressed his lips to Brendon's.
Brendon wasn't sure if he should close his eyes or not, afraid that if he did he'd end up breaking Ross' nose or something equally horrifying. Ross' eyes were practically shut, but Brendon could see that his lids weren't all the way down. Ross seemed to move on instinct - well, he's probably done this a lot, Brendon thought - sort of ... petting the back of Brendon's head and pressing on Brendon's thigh, not squeezing, just reminding him he was there.
Ross pulled back a little to whisper, "Two," and leaned back in with his lips parted. It was slightly wetter, now, and Ross' lips nudged Brendon's apart until they were rubbing together. Ross' hand slid higher on Brendon's thigh, as if they were playing a game of 'How High Can You Go'. Brendon liked this kiss better than the last, which had been the greatest thing to happen to him before the second kiss. When Ross moved away to lick his lips, Brendon huffed in protest.
"Three," said Ryan. His hand moved, cupping Brendon's jaw. He swiped at Brendon's lower lip with his thumb. He kind of looked like he was enjoying this, an expression of deep concentration on his face. Brendon was glad, glad he wasn't the only one getting something out of it.
At first, the third kiss was a lot like the second, hot and dampened with their shared breath. Brendon's hand was twisted in the cloth at Ryan's shoulder and he was sure he was leaving sweat on Ross' waist, but he started worrying about actually hurting Ross when his tongue slipped between Brendon's lips, teeth, soft and warm against his own. Ross gasped when Brendon's fingers dug bluntly into his sides and Brendon immediately let go. Ross didn't let him, though; he clamped his hand around Brendon's wrist and pulled it back, further even, so Brendon was less sitting beside Ross than ... lying on top of him.
It was pretty uncomfortable, tongue in his mouth notwithstanding, so Brendon wriggled a little till he got one foot off the floor and bent his knee. Denim rasped as their thighs met and Ross hitched another gasp into Brendon's mouth. Brendon couldn't make a sound, already too aware of how raggedly his breathing stripped through his nose.
All the way through - as Ross' tongue licked and flickered against his own, explored his mouth; as his teeth tugged at Brendon's bottom lip in a burst of pain-pleasure; as his hands found Brendon's ass and anchored themselves there - Brendon kept his hands solidly where Ross had put them. He wanted to stroke Ross' long neck, feel it moving as his tongue slid in and out of Brendon's mouth. He wanted to coast his fingers over those crazy hipbones and hitch up Ross' leg until he was straddling Brendon, winding them into a tighter embrace. He didn't, though.
Brendon heard a little buzzer go off. Ross grunted and disentangled himself. Brendon got the hint and shuffled away. He wasn't sure he could walk just yet, not with the really distracting and really obvious boner going on in his pants.
Ross got up in a creaking cacophony of bedsprings and futzed around with his computer while Brendon got his breath back. His eyes wandered to a broken guitar sitting in the corner. It was a pitiful sight, curling strings wrapped around the splintered teeth of frets. It had been hidden behind the door when Brendon came in.
"So, Brendon -" started Ross. Then his eyes fell on the guitar. Clearly Brendon's face spoke louder than words, because Ross half-shrugged and said, "That's where your money is going."
"Oh," said Brendon. "Well, I'm glad."
"Did you have fun?" Ross was all briskly professional again. Brendon considered the question. Fun? It had been hot, and overwhelming, and terrifying, and wonderful, and also really, desperately sad, because he could never have it again. But fun?
"Sure," he said. "Thanks, um -"
"Ryan," said Ross. He darted in, pressing a wet, messy kiss to Brendon's cheek even while he propelled him up and towards the door. "That's my name. And send up the next, would you?"
Ryan was at a party with Spencer when he met Brendon again. He hadn't given much thought to him in the intervening weeks, besides using the memory of his plump, reddened mouth as a fifth-string jerk-off fantasy. He was surprised to see him, but then again, this was a party of kids from Spencer's school. They had won some big homecoming game and Josh Greben, whose parents owned a Mercedes dealership, threw open his house to all comers. Brendon was lurking on the edges of a group Ryan recognised as being in band with Spencer; Spencer gave Brendon a half-nod of acknowledgement.
It made things slightly uncomfortable. Spencer knew what Ryan was doing - he was Spencer; he couldn't not. He didn't approve. If he were anyone else, Ryan knew, he'd be getting a lecture about STDs and some application forms for McDonald's. He was lucky that Spencer had a Ryan-sized blind spot, and Ryan only used it to his advantage on occasion.
It took him a few seconds to place Brendon correctly. He was wearing a cheap navy t-shirt advertising some summer camp and straight-leg jeans of the kind that were bought in packets of three at K-mart, and his hair was smashed flat to his skull. He kept pawing at it nervously. The Brendon Ryan remembered was more ruffled, rougher around the edges. He wondered if Brendon had seen him; when Brendon shot a glance in his direction, turned scarlet, and patted down his hair even more viciously, Ryan had his answer.
Ryan hid a smile in the rim of his plastic cup. That was more like it. He was always drawn to boys who blushed and girls who didn't.
Some nights, Ryan didn't even have to try. The eyeliner (swirling into a tiny flock of birds by his right eye) and the flat-ironed hair, the skinny jeans and skinnier t-shirts - they helped, but once in a while he had an on night for no reason. Tonight was one of those nights. Girl after girl - with the occasional boy - drifted past him, catching his eye or smiling, stumbling into conversation. He let the flow of the party current separate him from Spencer and Brent's intense discussion of Jimmy Moon, and ended up by the stairs watching three girls compete in the hair-flipping, lip-gloss-flashing Olympics for his benefit. It was only when he looked around for somewhere to set down his cup that he spotted Brendon.
Brendon looked like a sad little monkey, the stair railings his cage. He had one hand wrapped around a bar, knuckles fading to pale. Ryan stepped back from the girls, subtly detaching himself, and knocked his hand against Brendon's.
"Hey," he said.
"Ry - hey," said Brendon, clearly trying for smooth, and failing utterly.
"Having a good time?" It was a stock line, but Ryan didn't expect Brendon to answer honestly. When he did - "No" - Ryan was slightly taken aback.
"Why don't you -" Ryan waved a vague hand "- mingle?" Wickedness entered his soul and prompted him to add, "Use your new-found skills?"
"Shut up," Brendon growled and, in the minute where Ryan was deciding where to go next, "Can we - I. I have twenty bucks."
"Oh, really?" Ryan turned around fully. Brendon looked about ready to jump out of his skin, but he held Ryan's gaze defiantly. Ryan shrugged mentally - twenty bucks was twenty bucks, and Brendon was cute, if geekish - and swung round the curve of the stairs. He sat down on the step below Brendon, crowding him a little bit. Brendon didn't seem to mind; he just drove a hand into his pocket and wordlessly passed over a crisp twenty-dollar note.
Ryan was glad the stairwell was in darkness, glad there was another, bigger staircase leading up to a row of empty bedrooms. There were deals going on all over the house, most of them less savoury than this one, but Ryan lived his life not dwelling too much on the small hurtful details.
Instead, he reached up for Brendon, fitting his hands around the hook of his jaw. Brendon's pulse fluttered under Ryan's palms and he leaned forward before Ryan was expecting it, pressing tongue-wetted lips to Ryan's.
Ryan'd kissed a lot of people, more than ever in the last two months. He didn't remember Brendon's kissing style: tentative and sweet with an edge of hunger. He was happy enough to let Brendon nip and suck at his lips, getting his money's worth. Ryan got his hand in Brendon's hair, tugging slightly; he always relished the reluctant tingle and hoped for a return. He dropped his other hand to Brendon's waist, sliding it not-quite-accidentally up under his t-shirt. Brendon was practically falling on him and Ryan needed an anchor, but he also needed to skim his fingers over the top of Brendon's ass, because he remembered that.
Despite all that Ryan had or had not taught him, Brendon kissed like the lead of a silent movie. His arms wound tight around Ryan's neck and whenever the kisses really got going, got filthy, tongues grinding together, he pulled back and soothed Ryan's lips with little, light, feathery kisses. Ryan kind of liked it and kind of wanted the usual jaw-aching mouth-fucking - but. He was on Brendon's dime. If Brendon wanted to stop in the middle of an awesome make-out to sigh and bury his head in Ryan's neck, breath tickling his throat, Ryan pretty much had to let him. And in the spirit of fairness, Ryan admitted he didn't really mind.
It wasn't an awareness of time passing that roused Ryan so much as a large number of people yelling their goodnights in a manner designed to ensure that anyone already sleeping wouldn't have one. He petted Brendon's hair, harder when Brendon seemed disinclined to detach himself from Ryan's mouth, and mumbled, "Gotta go."
"No," said Brendon, his arms squeezing convulsively around Ryan's neck. But he did pull back, as if he knew he couldn't keep Ryan - that no one could keep Ryan. Ryan smiled and pressed his thumb to Brendon's pouting lower lip before fleeing.
Spencer had caught a ride home with Brent hours ago; unlike Ryan, he had a curfew and parents who'd enforce it. Ryan wandered out to his car, cheerful in the thought that he was definitely sober enough to drive, thanks to a long time on the stairs with Brendon. If he shivered a little, well, the night air was a slap of cold after the overheated house.
A small, forlorn figure was hunched on the curb by the bus stop. As Ryan slowed for a yield sign, he recognised the sleek bangs and the reddened spot he sucked on to Brendon's neck. The street was quiet, the rowdy party-goers far away at the other end, and buses in Vegas only came on the hour at this time of night.
Ryan yanked on the handbrake and leaned over to bat open the passenger door. Brendon looked up, fearful and then wondering. "I'll give you a ride," said Ryan, "unless you'd rather take the bus." Brendon scrambled to his feet.
Brendon didn't live that far away, as a car drove, although it would have been an unfair walk. Ryan was busy concentrating on co-coordinating his pedals and working around the lack of power-steering in his heap of junk car, but he looked over at a set of traffic lights. Brendon's face was bathed in amber.
"Why were you catching the bus?" he asked.
Brendon looked straight ahead when he answered, "I spent my cab money."
Ryan maybe smiled.
The porch light was on when Ryan drew up in front of Brendon's house. Brendon babbled his thanks, hands going for his seatbelt, but Ryan effectively paused him by leaning over and catching his mouth. Ryan swallowed Brendon's gasp, could feel where his lips were rubbed raw from heavy kissing. Ryan liked it, Brendon flat against his seat, opening his mouth as if in prayer.
"I don't have any more money," said Brendon, glassy-eyed, when Ryan drew back. Ryan felt a twist of - not guilt, but a feeling closely related.
"This one's on me," he said. Another light came on in the house and Brendon snapped from lust-addled to fearful. All the same he didn't move, as if the touch of Ryan's lips had frozen him, leaning across the chasm between the seats with the handbrake poking him at what had to be a painful angle.
Ryan raised his eyebrows. A downstairs light came on, this time. Brendon took his lower lip between his teeth, reminding Ryan that he hadn't done that - why hadn't he done that? Brendon's mouth was made for rough love. A faint cascading sensation in the back of Ryan's head told him this was a bad route to go down if he wanted to make money kissing anyone else, ever.
"Um," said Brendon, "I - I have a guitar."
Of all the things Brendon could have said, Ryan had not predicted that one. The cascade became a waterfall. Brendon blushed and threw out, "If you wanted to come over and maybe, maybe use it - till you get your own again -"
A ghastly yellow light poured out of the fake stained glass panels on the front door. "Brendon?" called a tired, female voice. Brendon scraped his fingers across the back of Ryan's hand and tumbled from the car.
Ryan watched Brendon pelt up the path to the front door and hustle the woman - his mother? - back inside. He kept staring long after every light was extinguished and only then caught his own eye in the rearview mirror.
He was smiling.