Spencer is tired. Tired of lying.
When he got to the doorway into the living room he stopped. The sight that greeted him was something for the record books. They had dragged out his Rock Band stuff and were playing. Zack (Zack?!) was busting out his best Axle Rose impersonation on Guns n’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” Ryan was behind the drums playing pretty well. Jon and Brendon were on guitars and somehow Brendon had found a top hat and was wearing it, even though he was definitely playing the bass part.
He waited for them to finish and applauded with the “audience” from the game. “Not bad,” he said, checking out their scores. “Ninety-nine on hard for Zack.”
Zack grinned and twirled the microphone is a very Brendon manner.
Spencer moved to pat Ryan on the shoulder. “An impressive Ninety-seven for Ryan on drums set at…” He squinted at the television. “Expert? Nicely done!” He then moved to take the hat off of Brendon and moved to place it on Jon’s head, keeping as far from him as possible as he did so. Brendon whined, but Spencer shushed him. “You weren’t playing Slash’s part, Bren. Jon was, so he gets the hat.”
Everyone laughed, Brendon included.
Spencer’s laughter turned into a serious face. “Um, Bren, you’ll have to sit out for a while. We’ve got to get back to the hospital.”
Everyone froze. Ryan and Jon watched Brendon’s reaction. Zack was moving closer to the door so he could block it in case Brendon decided to flee. However, Brendon’s shoulders just dropped and he sighed, pulling the guitar strap over his head. “My parents are there?” he asked sadly, placing the guitar back on the rack Spencer had.
He nodded. “And your in-laws. Matt and Kayla are there, too.”
“Okay,” he replied in a tiny voice.
Spencer felt really bad. Brendon looked so small standing there, just like he had when he’d gotten him in his car. He looked up and saw Jon putting up his guitar and Ryan moving the drums before going to Brendon’s side. “We’ll come with you,” Ryan said, putting an arm around Brendon’s shoulders.
“Right,” Jon echoed. “Friends have to stick together.”
Brendon looked up, smiling softly. He reached his arms out towards Jon, who smiled and moved into them, letting the younger man wrap him in a hug. “Love you, Jon Walker. Love you, Ryan Ross.”
Jon and Ryan both chuckled and wrapped their arms around Brendon. “I think someone’s missing,” Ryan said, glancing at Spencer.
Spencer hesitated for a moment then came over to join the hug fest. He glanced at Zack, who was rolling his eyes. He raised an eyebrow and Zack sighed dramatically and came over to wrap his arms around all of them.
Ryan was the first to get uncomfortable, of course. He wiggled out of the hug and headed for the door. “We better go,” he said.
Zack was next, heading into the hall to check if there was anyone about. Jon slipped out and Spencer was trying to leave, but Brendon pulled him closer. “Thanks,” Brendon whispered into his ear.
Spencer smiled and relaxed a little. “Always, Bren. You’re my best friend.”
They took Spencer’s car because, well, his was the largest between Zack, Ryan and his. He drove a hybrid SUV. His excuse for having a SUV was because of hauling around his drums, even though he really didn’t have to do that himself anymore. He still did it. He watched Zack put Brendon in the back seat and slide in beside him.
On the other side of the car, Jon opened the back door to get in, but Ryan slipped in ahead of him. “Aw, thanks, Jon,” he said with a grin. Jon rolled his eyes and closed the door before moving to get in the passenger seat.
Spencer climbed behind the wheel and buckled his seatbelt. He looked up, figuring Ryan would be sitting beside him and locked eyes with a pair of honey brown eyes that were not Ryan’s. He froze for a moment, but shook it off quickly and started the car. He looked in the rear view mirror to see Brendon poking and prodding Zack and Ryan to get comfortable.
It wasn’t a long drive to the hospital. Spencer found a parking space and pulled in. Zack dragged Brendon out and Ryan followed. When Spencer was certain they were all far enough away from the car, he sighed and lowered his head to the steering wheel. He was tired and worried.
“Are you okay, Spencer?”
The voice was soft, but he jumped nearly to the roof anyway. “Fucking hell, Jon. I thought you’d gotten out with the others.”
“I was worried about you.” Jon looked very worried, too. It made Spencer feel bad. He never wanted anyone to be worried about him. He was the one who was supposed to worry about everyone else. “Brendon told us. He told us why Sarah left. He told us why he’d been drinking.”
Spencer couldn’t stop the sarcastic laugh that bubbled up and out of him. “Try being the only single guy in a room full of couples.”
Jon reached over and placed a hand on his arm. “It’s not your fault, Spence.”
He stiffened slightly and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to hold back tears. “If I hadn’t left…” he said in a very small voice.
“It’s not your fault,” Jon repeated very adamantly. “It’s not your fault. It’s not Brendon’s fault. It’s not Sarah’s fault. It’s that fucker who was stupid enough to drive with so much alcohol in his system.”
Jon shook his head. “No ‘buts’. Not even Brendon’s cute one waggling all over the place.” He saw the corners of Spencer’s mouth tug upwards ever so slightly. “It was not your fault.”
Spencer had to admit that Jon was right. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t Brendon’s or Sarah’s fault. It was a dumb ass accident that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. He ran a hand over his face, trying to calm himself. He had to keep it together for Brendon.
“We probably should go before they begin to wonder.”
He nodded and unhooked his seatbelt. Jon still had his hand on his arm. He looked up into his eyes. The worry behind them was palpable to him. He took a deep breath and nodded again. “I’m okay,” he said softly.
Jon smiled and squeezed his arm gently before letting go and getting out of the car. They walked side by side up to the hospital, bumping into each other like they used to do on tour. Spencer felt a lot better by the time they walked into the lobby.
He looked around to see where people were. Ryan was talking animatedly with Shane. Brendon must be in the middle of the group of people Spencer recognized as his family. And Dallon was headed right for them. Jon nudged him and motioned with his head towards where Ryan was. He just nodded and waited for Dallon to approach.
“Walker,” Dallon said with a nod as he passed Jon, who also nodded in greeting. Spencer knew how Dallon felt about replacing Jon in the band. He’d been worried, probably still was, how people would react, how Jon would react. And now Spencer knew how Jon felt about what happened. He was pretty sure they’d both be nice for Brendon. But what about later? What if he could talk Jon into staying? Then what?
Dallon’s voice pulled him out of his thoughts. “You made it. I was just about to call when they walked in.”
“Yeah, sorry about that.” He ran a hand through is hair.
“It’s okay. I’m glad you called Ross and Walker. It’s good that they’re here.”
Spencer nodded absently. He wasn’t really paying attention. He was watching Jon talk with Ryan and Shane, then turned his gaze to where Brendon was climbing up on Zack’s back. He saw Matt roll his eyes and reach up to ruffle Brendon’s hair.
“Dude, have you slept at all?” Dallon looked at him with that same worry that Jon had. “Seriously, you should just go home. We’ll get Bren back to your place.”
He blinked and looked up. “Huh? Oh, yeah. Um, yeah, I’ll go after I talk to Brendon’s family.”
Dallon put a hand on his shoulder. “Just make it quick. You need your strength in order to handle him, you know. We’re putting his folks and Sarah’s up at the house. Pete’s arranging security, y’know, just in case. Probably should have Zack go and stay until they show.”
He nods. “That’s a good idea. The dogs, though… maybe they should come to my place. Bren might like that.”
“Oh, that’s brilliant. Zack can bring them when he comes back. He probably should pick up some clothes for Brendon, too.” He pulls out his phone and starts making notes.
Spencer watches him and realizes just how much Dallon is doing. “Thanks for this,” he said, gripping the taller man’s shoulder firmly. “If it wasn’t for you, this would be one hell of a mess.”
He shook his head. “You don’t give yourself enough credit, Spence. You’re the one who’s kept Brendon sane. Now, go speak and then go home and get some rest.” He pats his shoulder and shoved him towards Brendon’s family.
He stumbled a step or two, but smiled as he did. “Get off Zack, Bren,” he said as he came up behind them.
Brendon jumped down and Kayla moved to give Spencer a hug. “Thanks for looking after my baby brother,” she whispered in his ear.
He smiled at her and was immediately engulfed by Brendon’s mom. “Spencer, so good to see you. We’re glad you’re here to take care of our baby boy.”
“Moooooom,” Brendon rolled his eyes but was quickly cuffed on the back of the head by Mark.
She held Spencer at arm’s length and frowned. “You look tired. You should go on home and get some rest. I know how much energy it takes to keep up with Brendon.”
“I will,” he replied with a soft smile. “I just wanted to say hello first.”
“And you have,” Zack said from beside him and he felt a familiar hand on his elbow guiding him away. Well, that was Zack’s normal job. He waved as Zack led him away from the group. “She’s right. You need someone to drive you back, though.”
He finally felt the exhaustion hit him. “Yeah. I’ll… I’ll get Jon to take me. Will you make sure Ryan gets a ride?”
Zack smiled. “Of course. I remember how to take care of skinny boy.”
He chuckled. “Thanks, Zack. Glad you’re here.” He disengaged himself from Zack’s grip and walked over to where Ryan, Jon and Shane were still talking. He flopped down in the chair beside Jon and leaned on his shoulder.
“You okay, Spence?” Shane asked, head tilted at he looked at him.
“He hasn’t slept,” Ryan said. “You can tell. He’s getting bitchy.”
Spencer lifted a hand, flipped Ryan off, then dropped it again.
Jon nudged him with his shoulder and held out a hand in front of Spencer. “Keys. I’ll drive you home.”
Spencer didn’t move. He was too comfortable. He felt someone kick his shin, Ryan obviously. “Fuck, okay.” He dug his keys out and dropped them in Jon’s hand. “Zack said he’d get you back, Ry.”
“Fuck you,” Ryan replied, grinning. “Get him home safely, Jon. Bren and I will be back sometime.”
“I will.” Jon stood and pulled Spencer to his feet. “Come on, lazy. Let’s get your ass out of here.”
Spencer was surprised at how tired he was, but he walked out of the hospital under his own power and back to his car. “You really don’t have to take me. I can drive.”
Jon snorted. “You can barely keep your eyes open. Get in the car, Smith.”
He did as he was told and slumped down in the seat as Jon drove him home. He didn’t know why he’d suddenly gotten so tired. Maybe his body was rebelling. Regardless, he was going to get into bed and take a nice, long nap.
Jon helped him in the apartment and back to his room. Spencer sat down and kicked off his shoes before falling back on the bed. Jon smiled down at him and turned to leave, but he reached out and grabbed his arm. “Don’t go,” he said softly. When Jon turned to look at him, he looked back into his eyes. “I don’t want to be alone.”
Jon stood there for a moment before nodding and let himself be tugged onto the bed beside him. It wasn’t like this was the first time they’d been in a bed together. They were on tour for months at a time. This wasn’t unusual. But it was.
Spencer rolled to face Jon. It was time; he needed to tell him how he felt. He had to restrain himself from reaching out to touch his face. “Jon, there’s something I need to say.”
At the same time he spoke, Jon said, “Spence, there’s something I need to…” He laughed and saw Spencer smile. Well, they both had something to say. That was good. “Go ahead.”
Spencer shook his head. “No, you first.”
He nodded and pursed his lips. “Well, um, I wanted to tell you why Cassie said no to me.”
“You don’t have to,” Spencer argued. “That’s personal, just between you and Cassie. I have nothing to do with it.”
“Actually, you kinda have a lot to do with it.”
Spencer’s eyes widened and saw Jon’s face turning red. “What?”
He took a deep breath. “Cassie said no because she knew I was in love with someone else. She knew that I would never be able to give her my whole heart. She said no because she knew I was still utterly and madly in love with you.”
Spencer couldn’t breathe. Did he really hear Jon correctly? “You… you’re in love with me?” he asked, his voice sounding so tiny.
“I have since the first time I saw you backstage on your first tour.”
“When you were working for Academy?”
Jon grinned. “You guys had just finished your set and you came bouncing off the stage with this huge smile. I couldn’t help but get caught up in your enthusiasm. I remember Tom asking me when we were setting up what had me in such a good mood. I just shrugged him off.”
“Shit,” Spence breathed.
“Yeah, I know. It’s kinda weird. But I thought I needed to tell you. Finally.” He paused for a moment then looked in his eyes. “So, what did you want to tell me?”
He really didn’t know the best way to respond, so he did the first thing that came to his mind. Spencer leaned towards Jon and kissed him. When he broke the kiss to breathe, he leaned his forehead against Jon’s. “I’ve loved you since then, too.”
It was Jon’s turn to be surprised. “You… you have?”
He nodded and leaned back to look in Jon’s eyes. “It’s why I couldn’t commit to Haley.”
He laughed. “Not yet. I do need some rest, but I really would like to kiss you again.”
Jon joined him in laughing. “I would really like for you to kiss me again.”
And Spencer did, languidly, soft at first then quickly deepening, hands entangling in hair, beards scraping against each other. Spencer was so relieved that it had finally happened. He’d be able to rest a little easier now that he had gotten that off his chest.
Jon pulled back, smiling at him and smoothing his hair down with his hand. “We have plenty of time for more of that. Right now, you need sleep.”
He nodded, feeling the exhaustion hitting him again, but his heart felt much lighter. “Stay with me?”
Spencer smiled and rolled over, pulling Jon’s arm around him and easily fell into a deep sleep.