"We're not going there tonight" A Ryden oneshot for my Song Challenge. Based on Framing Hanley's Photographs and Gasoline
"Oh, hey." Ryan smiles, opening the door the rest of the way. Brendon slips inside without a word. He knew this wouldn't be easy. When were things with Ryan ever easy?
"It's um, 2 am… Is everything okay?" Ryan asks after a few silent minutes, glancing at the clock on the wall. Brendon walked further into the dark house, taking everything in for the last time, or at least the last time like this. Ryan followed him, his arms crossed over his chest. It was easy to tell when Brendon was upset; he didn't talk. "Brendon, what's going on?" he asked again.
Brendon turned around to face him, but still didn't talk. He just stared into Ryan with these eyes. This look that Ryan wasn't used to. Had he come here for a quick fuck? Because Ryan was no where near in the mood for that. Well… he could be if he tried… but it would take some serious convincing.
But those eyes were doing a hell of a lot of convincing on their own. Ryan closed the gap between them a little more, uncrossing his arms, and reaching out towards Brendon. His hand wrapped around Brendon's arm.
"Brendon…" and Ryan says it in a way the he knows Brendon will understand. Brendon will know exactly what he's suggesting. Brendon bites his lip, and slowly shakes his head, but his gaze doesn't drop from Ryan's.
"No uh… we're not going there tonight." Brendon finally speaks. Ryan drops his hand, frustrated, and cocks his head slightly.
"Well then, what are you doing here?" Ryan huffs.
Brendon takes in a deep breath, "I need to talk to you."
"Okay, then talk."
Brendon plants his feet on the ground, and shoves his hands into the pockets of the jacket he has yet to take off. Apparently this discussion won't take very long. Ryan taps his fingers against his arm impatiently.
"Ryan… we…" The words are getting caught in his throat, but he swallows hard and continues, "We can't do this. Anymore."
Ryan's eyes grow a little wide.
"What do you mean?"
"You know exactly what I mean." Brendon doesn't flinch. He just lets the words hang in the air around them.
"You don't… where the fuck did this come from?" Ryan asks, suddenly panicked. Everything had been fine yesterday. Sure, things were a little fucked up between the two of them, having to keep their relationship, if you could even call it that, on the down low. Hiding from the public, not wanting to raise questions about the band split. But that had never bothered them before. No matter how much shit they got thrown into, they always came crawling back to each other.
"Isn't it obvious? It's going to kill us if we keep up like this." Brendon shakes his head, his eyes finally tearing away from Ryan's and looking towards the floor.
"No, it isn't obvious. We've been fine. Totally fine! Something must have changed." Ryan's grip tightens around his own arm, trying to hold himself together. Brendon can't really be doing this. He wouldn't just throw this all aside for no reason.
"What changed?" Ryan persists.
"Nothing I just-"
"No! Something changed, I know it! What the fuck was it?"
"I'm in love with her!" Brendon lets it settle, thick, on both of them, "I'm in love with her…"
Ryan's mouth runs dry, "Sarah?" Her name tastes like metal on his tongue.
"Yes… I'm in love with her, and I can't… I can't keep doing this knowing that I'm betraying her." Brendon is dead serious.
"So, what about me?" Ryan croaks out the words.
"What about you?"
"Were you not… you're not in love with me?" He feels like he might crumble. His bones are turning into dust inside of his body.
"I love you. I really do…" Brendon looks back to Ryan, hating the look of anguish written on his face. But he can't give Ryan what he wants, not anymore. He reaches into his pocket, and takes out a folded picture. He stretches out his hand and passes it to Ryan, "Take that. It's yours."
Ryan looks down at the black and white photo of the two of them, sitting out at the beach, sunglasses on and smiles on their faces. He blinks a few times, and tries to settle his breathing.
"I can't… It's been years. Years of us, Bren. And when we're together…" Ryan looks up at Brendon, "You're telling me you don't feel that? That heat?"
"We've got chemistry, I'm not denying that… but it's only because we're a couple of liars. We fit together well." Brendon sounds harsher than he intended.
"You…" Ryan's at a loss for words again, "You won't be able to let this go. I know you. It'll just haunt you, just like it'll haunt me, and then you'll come back. That's how it always happens."
Brendon tightens his jaw, and shakes his head, "Not this time. I'm not coming back."
"You can't be doing this to me." Ryan can feel the tears building, but holds them back. He can't be weak now.
"I'm sorry, but I have to." Brendon walks around Ryan, towards the door. Ryan swivels around, clutching the picture in his fist.
"It'll always be me. You fucking know that. This is more your home than anywhere else! I'm more you're home."
Brendon turns back to face him, "No you're not, Ryan. You don't have any claim on me, as much as you'd like to. With her next to me, that's when I'm home. That's when I feel normal, unafraid. Fuck," he runs his hands through his hair, "I know I've fucked things up. But things are too twisted right now, I just need to sort out my shit. And if I'm going to do that, I can't be having some secret affair with my ex-bandmate."
"So, let's not keep it a secret!"
"Oh, that's funny. Sure, let's just throw it out in the open so I can look like a cheating asshole, and our fans can fucking explode and never leave us alone again. That sounds like a lot of fun." Brendon laughs coldly. He pushes his glasses further up his nose, and glares at Ryan condescendingly.
"People will understand. They have to." Ryan tucks his bottom lip between his teeth, and tries to break Brendon. If he looks pathetic enough, Brendon will collapse.
"I don't want people to understand. I don't want people to know. I don't want this anymore. I don't want… Fuck, I don't-"
"What?!" Ryan lets tears escape.
"I don't want you anymore!" Brendon says it, and it's the last nail in the coffin. It hits Ryan right in the chest, almost making him stumble backwards.
"Fuck you." Ryan whispers.
"I told you I would break your heart." Brendon doesn't look away from Ryan for a few long seconds, before he turns to open the door. His hand is around the knob, when he's whipped around and slammed into the doorframe. Ryan's lips are crashing down on his, his hands gripping at the collar of his jacket. Brendon can't stop himself from kissing back, heat pooling in his stomach, and sweat forming in his palms. He grips the bottom of Ryan's shirt, as Ryan's tongue forces it's way into his mouth. He can feel the hot tears on Ryan's cheeks, smearing onto his own.
But Ryan rips away from him, and pushes him against the door hard. Brendon's head slams back onto the wood painfully, as he watches Ryan take a few steps from him.
"Get the fuck out of here." Ryan nearly spits at him. His eyes are burning, filled with some kind of emotion that Brendon can't read, not that he'd want to know.
"I'm sorry." Brendon says again, turning around and gripping the door knob.
"Yeah, me too." Ryan says softly, as Brendon steps outside and closes the door behind him.
Brendon quickly lights himself a cigarette on the way back to his car, fumbling with the lighter a few times. He takes in a deep drag, and blows it out into the night sky. He doesn't feel relieved like he thought he might. He doesn't feel better… in fact he feels like screaming, or crying, or setting this whole fucking place on fire. But he controls himself, dropping his cigarette to the ground, and climbing into his car. He watches as the house, Ryan, and the second half of his life disappear in the rearview mirror.