fandom: panic! rps.
summary: moments in ryan and brendon's career together. ish.
part the first.
it's everything you want only me to hear.
Three days later.
It was awkward. Just fucking awkward. Everything was wrong and no one was talking to each other. Everyone knew. Like, how was that even plausible? But, jesus, it was and everyone was avoiding one another. Ryan was within reach of a fucking breakdown and Brendon, just. He was like the living dead, for christ's sake. Going through the motions, or something.
They really weren't ready to handle the repercussions. They didn't think there'd be any. But. This wasn't love. There was no handle holding and soft eyes with wide smiles. This was one gigantic mistake. This was awkward silences and meandering glances, half curious and half terrified.
What were they supposed to do?
There was no attraction, as far as Ryan and Brendon knew. They were practically family. They were horny, sure. But it couldn't have gone any further than that, could it? The aftershock was just, god, so terrifying.
It wasn't supposed to happen. You think, hey, yeah. I fucked my best friend, so what? I'll just get over it, pretend it never happened.
Fuck no. Are they. were they really serious?
How is someone supposed to just, get over that?
It really fucking happened.
And Ryan, well. Ryan doesn't like to be used. Not like that. Never again, won't allow it, can't.
They were really fucked weren't they? and Brendon thinks, yeah, yeah they were.
it's all about whispered fights, late nights.
Before anyone knew it, it was Christmastime. It really was Christmas, and god, the boys think, there has never been a holiday so much as this one that has lost it's sparkle.
The tour was over and they were shipped back home, something akin to late day packages rushed to a destination, but jesus, did it feel good to be back.
"First Christmas together as a band, huh," Jon remarks casually in the den of Spencer's grandmother's house. It's the big Christmas Season, and later the next day, Jon would be boarding a plane bound for Chicago. But really. Who would want to travel during the holidays? ("I've got a girlfriend, man," he had said dramatically, like it was the answer to all things holy or some worldly issue. The other three boys just rolled their eyes and smiled, understanding.)
"Technically," Brendon smiles.
"Technically," Jon echoes.
"Don't worry about it man," and Spencer is hearty enough to give Jon a clap on the shoulder, shoving Brendon lightly with his other hand as he reached for his glass of hot chocolate on the coffee table. ("Should you be drinking that?" Jon had asked as Spencer sprayed a decent amount of whipped cream on top, "It's not even cold out." "Should I?" Spencer had countered, and that was that.)
"Christmas here isn't anything special," Spencer continues. "It's like. Okay, you know that movie Christmas with the Kranks, or whatever?"
"That holiday movie with whatsherface?"
"Jamie Lee Curtis," Ryan supplies.
"Yeah, her. Well, it's not like that." Jon made 'duh' face and Spencer pushed at his shoulder. "Shut up. You know what I mean- It's like. Boring. And nobody ever puts up decorations around here or anything. All anyone does is put up a little fake tree and stuff presents under it."
"Yeah," Brendon says, "Vegas is pretty much void of the holiday spirit. Maybe 'cept the strip. But don't like, quote me on that, I just live here. Sometimes. I don't know, what do you call home when you're on a bus?"
"How about 'bus'?" Spencer suggests, dryly if not sarcastically.
"Shut up, that's not what I- well, yeah, okay." Brendon huffs and crosses his arms indignantly, throwing himself back into the cushions of the plush couch.
They spend the remainder of the night watching commercialized holiday movies on basic cable. During the second showing of It's a Wonderful Life, Jon turns to Ryan, who is looking slightly out of place and infinitely tiny, saying, "So, Ryan," and here, Ryan looks up at the sound of Jon's hesitant voice. "What're your plans?"
Generally, the topic of Ryan Spending Christmas Alone has never come up, and honestly, the boys didn't want to bring it up. But there were six days until Christmas, and really. What was a kid to do?
Ryan shrugged, ignoring the gazes of the other band members. "I'm going home." Everyone knew that 'home' meant 'his father's house'.
There was a small 'oh' from Jon and a nod from Brendon, but Spencer was relentless and maybe just a little bit overprotective, but fuck it. He was looking out for his oldest and closest friend, wanted everyone to be happy for once, but given the situations and issues that have arisen lately, it was next to mission im-fucking-possible.
"Hey, Ry. Come have Christmas with us. Like, at my house," Spencer spoke up with sincerity, holding Ryan's stare, "Just like when we were younger. It'll be fun."
Please be okay, Spencer's eyes said.
"I'm fine," Ryan said, looking away. "That's alright. I'm just going to sleep through the day, you know."
And afterwards, when everyone accompanies Jon to the over congested airport, wishing and playing out their goodbye's, Jon will turn to Ryan once more, worn out and just fucking tired. "Merry Christmas, Ryan," he'll say and he'll fit a surprised Ryan in his arms and lean in and give a chaste kiss to his forehead, saying, "Take care of yourself." Jon'll move on down the line, bidding everyone a Merry Christmas and a 'see you in New York, man.'
And Ryan, Ryan will finger the aching spot on his forehead and stare after Jon's retreating figure and softly say, "Yeah, yeah, okay. You, too," and wonder when the hell things had escalated so much into this mess.
celebrations lost my faith.
12.20.2006 - happy holidays
i am sitting in my room, full of empty boxes. what came out of these boxes?
anyway, i just wanted to say hello to all of you and wish you a happy holiday season. i truly hope all of you are doing well. also, thank you to everyone who made it out to the last tour. it was a great success. overall, thank you for making this year unbelievably fun. i can't wait to see what comes next.
p.s. bden on accordion?... god help us.
you wear denial like armor, baby.
The scene was so apocolyptic.
Brendon's walking down a deserted pathway to his house, and fuck. The city is. The whole city was in ruins. It was dark, grey mist swirling overhead, and a rancid aroma of what smelled like brimstone and fire reached his nose, singing his throat as he breathed, in out, in out.
He turns a corner sharply, the path curving and sloping dangerously along a hillside.
He breathes deeply, choking on the stench of decay wafting through the stale air, looks at the chaos of his city, his home, his life. He backtracks, loosing his footing in the rubble uprooted from the damp ground. He trips and he's crashing towards the ground, doesn't want it but he can't fucking stop.
He makes impact with the ground, dead skin and rotting flesh burying itself underneath his fingernails and he scrabbles to his feet desperately. He looks up, horrified, and he suddenly finds himself sitting in a quaint coffee shop on the outskirts of Vegas. He recognizes this place; used to come here back when he was in high school (before he ever knew who Brent was, before he became this total music geek, before he ever knew the smoldering eyes of Ryan fucking Ross).
He also recognizes Ryan's desperate face across from his own.
"Brendon," he's speaking, quietly, bordering on forbidden, "fuck. Brendon. When are things gonna get better?"
It sounds childish and just a little bit hopeful, desperate, but they're both past the point of caring. Brendon looks up, pure instinct, and he's not even in control of his movements, himself anymore. He slides his knuckles against Ryan's cheek, sighs when Ryan grimaces.
"I don't know- Ryan, we-" Brendon says, automatically, and this cant be him speaking, can it? Stop, he tells himelf, Stop! He's on the verge of losing everything. "I- don't. Maybe when you can look me in the eyes again, honestly, and just. Let things be the way they used to. God, I can't-"
"Let things be the way the used to?" Ryan's incredulous, dramatic and all things wrong. "You- you. Just, no. No, I won't. We're gonna die, Brendon. We're gonna fade away. I don't want to just fade away." Ryan's voice goes soft and Brendon stiffens, wanting to just shake Ryan so, so hard, and say you brought it up! You get us out of this mess! But the one in control of himself doesn't, and he won't.
"We're not gonna fade away, Ryan. I'd never let that happen. Stop being so dramatic, okay? We're gonna get out of this."
Ryan laughs, and it's just a little too insane, too loud and too short, mocking.
"You're the one who brought us here. You get us out if it."
Ignoring the exact mirroring of his own words, Brendon leans in. He leans in so far he thinks his neck is going crack and Ryan's not moving or helping the situation any, but Brendon tries anyway. He kisses Ryan, chastely, if not a little desperately.
And like that, Brendon's back to the destruction of the city. He's back on that lonely path towards what he once called his home and he's so fucking lost.
There's a cry ahead of him and Brendon looks up, hopefully sullen, racing until the black lightens and the fog thickens and he's choking down air as he sees Ryan sitting in the dirt.
Please, the air is whispering, whipping through Brendon's hair, drying the marks on Ryan's face.
The ground raises, swallows them both whole, and Brendon can see nothing but black, and hear nothing but the desperate pleas of Ryan as they both fall.
Then he wakes up.
He's shaking so hard and he's never felt anything like this, complete pure, unadulterated terror.
Fuck, he just wants to fix things between him and Ryan so, so bad. But what was there to do?
A few hours later, he's sitting in his kitchen (after making sure his front yard was still there, along with his parents, siblings, and house, thank you very much). He's still shaking from the remnants of his fading nightmare, but it was slowly becoming a memory and just that; a bad dream.
Brendon chances a small sigh, and rubs at his eyes behind his glasses. He thumbs at the small phone in his hand. He closes his eyes, contemplating, wondering.
Ryan, he thinks and then smiles thinly, god, Ryan.
Thinking back on his dream, he knows. Knows what's wrong and why he was freaked the fuck out. Because, well, really. All these things were so trivial compared to what was happening between him and Ryan. But he didn't think anything was happening between them. So Brendon had kind of flipped and his personality took a complete one-eighty. So Ryan had become more withdrawn, and maybe a little more catty then he had before. So Brendon liked to pick fights with his friend more times than he could count, and get Ryan riled up like no other. They were just fucking friends. What was so wrong with that?
Absolutely nothing. They pretty much overreacted, now that Brendon thinks of it. They should be past this kind of mess, this kind of feeling. Being friends had to have something more to it then completely flying off the handle when the slightest problem arose. And that's what it was; a problem. A small ant hill in their mountainside friendship.
Brendon scratches his head absently.
All senses of normality had pretty much left him when he left Ryan alone that one month ago.
Denial has really never looked so good on anyone but Brendon.
This he knew.
and you wear me like a rope; too tight but oh, so right.
Between Christmas Eve and Christmas day, Ryan shuffles his feet to the worn front door, if only to cease the errant knocking. Opens it, just a crack. (Enough to tell whoever it was to just fuck off, because really. He just wanted to be alone, to sleep, to just not exist in this moment.)
Brendon smiles cheekily back at him, holding two bottles of Welch's non-alcoholic Sparkling White Grape Cocktail Juice.
Ryan blinks blearily. Brendon's smile widens.
Ryan opens the door fully and Brendon steps inside, palms the small of Ryan's back with his free hand, and the door shuts softly behind him.
it's awkward stages and hooded feelings as we praise.
(your joy is a loaded fist, and i'm sorry you never got the punch.)
Seventh Avenue, Broadway. 42nd and 47th. Street after street, lined up and down with people, waiting, watching, celebrating in Midtown Manhattan.
Fucking Times Square.
And, god, three years ago they never though they'd be playing New Years, let alone in New York. Go out with a bang and enter the new year just the same, but completely different. There's people, so many people just. Hustle and bustle and five minutes guys, can you hurry it up, please? (Great, thanks.)
"Ball drops in twenty." Spencer notes, surveying the mass attraction from the stage, eyes sharp.
"Eighteen," Jon amends.
"Details, details. You ready?" Brendon cuts in, question loaded with more than the standard implications and fuck, Ryan thinks. This is how things are now. This is where we go. But where. Where are they going to end up? What happens after this?
Ryan plays his life in spades and if he was a safer gambler, he could've had the fucking world in his hands.
But he's not. This is where they are now, where they should be. This is exactly where he's needed, where he wants. And, god, it's just so much better than where he could've been, where any of them could've been.
The ball sits atop it's needle, sixteen minutes to go, and it lights up like a beacon above the city. Ryan looks up, stops, thinks. Thinks of home, thinks of Brendon, thinks of life without words and music. City-lights leave dark spots dancing on the edge of his vision and he looks down, fingers splayed across the thick strings of his guitar. He taps a beat idly, one finger bouncing up and down on a fret, looks at Brendon as he takes place center stage.
Ryan shakes, tremors rattling his mind and he just wants to let go.
The stage set lights are still low, and Brendon swings over, coming to rest behind Ryan. There's fingers on his wrist, smoothing over the pulse point, thumb running over his veins and down his hand, tangling with his own fingers. Ryan breathes (shit, just breathe) and leans back slightly.
"Hey," Brendon says. "Hey. S'alright. We're gonna rock the fuck out, man. I can feel it." He nudges Ryan's shoulder with his forehead, intimate and overtly friendly all at once.
Ryan nods, once, twice, he knows this. He can feel it, too; can taste it (bitter on his tongue), feel the excitement shimmering in the air. This is just them, there's no stage makeup and dramatic performers, just them, the boys and the music, the new year. Free and in fucking tune to each other.
There's a slight tilt to Ryan's lips and Brendon's the one who put it there. For once, he allows this closeness. 'Cause maybe, just maybe, he needs it, wants it (but can never have it). And, shit, how fucked up is it that he wants Brendon like this? Likes them both like this? And it's here, now, that Brendon forgets how much of a dick he's been to Ryan for the past however long, and Ryan. He thinks back to seeing Brendon standing on his doorstep, hopeful and fucking full of life. Ryan forgets his own retaliation; basic third grade insults and pranks alike. He forgets his anger, his hurt, his sense of being used, and just forgets. Things were off balance, have been for the last month. Between them and Spencer and Jon and just fucking everything.
But here, there's no tension, no drama, just them and the people and the rooftops. At once, they know. They're ready, just ready to move past this whole thing because, fuck it, they were on the verge of becoming adults and they could handle it.
For once, they could handle this.
It's then, when Ryan understands why he had hated his friend. Why they had started this mess in the first place, and it wasn't about the sex. It was just sex. They've all done it before. He wasn't hurt, or angry, or fucking used. He was disappointed. Disappointed because (god, he can't believe he's about to think this, because it's Brendon) he actually wanted more. More that Brendon couldn't provide because it was such a mistake, whoever thought it would happen again? And Ryan wanted it to happen again, and again, again, again until he didn't anymore. He had wanted it and Brendon didn't and now there was just a mess of everything.
Ryan may have played his life in spades, but Brendon was the jack of all trades, and they both could never gamble straight. But, now, here on this stage with Brendon pressed up against him, he could bet his sweet dreams on faith and misery that maybe things were going to be okay. Maybe Brendon could move past it too, and then they can go back to normal, back to friend and fun.
Start fresh, new.
"Yeah," Ryan says. "We're gonna- we're gonna be okay."
And Brendon knows he just isn't talking about the performance.
It's eleven forty-five when they start the first song. Ryan let's the music take him, fades away, and picks him back up, carrying him through the same melodies he's played thousands of times before. He's on automatic and he's just thinking, god, happy new year to us.
It's later when the ball drops, people screaming and it's fucking madness all around, couples and friends and laughter and fun, and it's just amazing. Jon runs around, tackling everyone in the vicinity, releasing a very enthusiastic, "Happy New Year, motherfuckers!" Spencer laughs until he's red in the face, coming to embrace Jon and they mockingly sway back and forth, dancing to an unheard tune. Everyone is just so happy, it's wonderful, so uplifting to see this for once, eyes bright and alive with these positive emotions.
Brendon's whooping around the room, laughing and smiling, and trying to fit a small party hat onto his head, and Ryan's just standing there, enjoying this moment where everything feels okay again. There's people left and right wishing him a holiday cheer, buzzing around the small room in excitement.
As Ryan watches through the window to the streets below, Brendon stoops low, unnoticed. He turns around, seeing Brendon, party hat still fit awkwardly on his head (the elastic string too tight). Then there's a hand on Ryan's waist, grasping and curling into the small of his back as another hand tilts his chin up. Brendon is just about the same height as Ryan's long-limbed frame, but he keeps his hold on Ryan's jaw (fucking awkward as it is), smooths over the skin there. He drops his head and kisses Ryan, low on the corner of his mouth and then he's pulling away.
He's surprised, but he won't let this moment go, can't, not after this and everything. Ryan makes an annoyed noise, clutching Brendon's hair on the back of his neck and just pulls Brendon's mouth to cover his own. It's just closed, lip to lip at first, a slight pressure and they're not ready to move into deeper water (just yet), but it's there, shallow, and they're fucking kissing. They pull back, softly and slowly, unlike anything they've ever done, ever been.
And maybe Brendon's ready for this, too. Maybe Brendon wants this just as much as Ryan has. Maybe all along they had been mending this, cleaning up their own mess unknowingly and just dealing, admittedly in the wrong way, but they'd dealt and it's working.
"Happy New Years, baby," Brendon hums lightly, and the tune is all wrong, nothing like Patrick's voice, but it's that song.
"You're so fucking cheesy." But Ryan's smiling, so wide his lips are stretched over his teeth, and they feel as if they might split from the mere gesture. "Happy New Years," he adds.
The hand on his waist tightens and then he's being fit into the curve of Brendon's body, head falling to rest between the junction of white skin at his neck and shoulder, where the collar of his dress shirt fails to cover, and it just feels so right, like nothing, anything he's ever felt.
"Everything alright over there?" and it's Spencer's voice, a little hesitant as he and Jon make their way over.
Ryan looks up, smiles once more, Brendon tangling their fingers together.
"Yeah," Brendon says, happily, and this is just fucking great. "Everything's fine."
Jon nods swiftly, and holds his arms out, joyously exclaiming, "C'mere, boys! Happy fucking New Year!" Everyone moves in at the same time, and they're all hugging, locked in the tangle of limbs and faces, laughing and celebrating and they swing each other around.
Brendon, after escaping a rather invigorating headlock thanks to Zach, claps his hands together, eyes smiling as big as his mouth.
"Alright, kids. We've got a fucking show to finish. Never a better way to bring in the new year!"
There's a rancorous cheer around the room and the boys start heading back outside, ready to take it on, anything, anyone. Ryan catches Brendon's hand as they leave, smiles teasingly, happily.
"After this, I can think of a few things," he says.
"Ross, you devious little rat."
Ryan moves to reply, but he knows Brendon knows what he meant, saying instead, "I'm glad we're okay again, you know."
"Mhm," Brendon agrees, squeezing Ryan's hip and stroking it through the soft material of his shirt. "Nothing better."