The blinding lights can almost take him away...
this was no accident.
This was a therapeutic chain of events.
The boy stood perfectly still, except for his fingers which danced across the guitar's fingerboard, and his arm which pounded the strings mercilessly. You might almost think he wasn't engaged in the music with the way his eyes were very nearly glazed over, but Ryan Ross heard every word that spilled from Brendon Urie's lips like poisoned honey. Oh yes, he knew those words very well. He had written them, after all.
This is the scent of dead skin on a linoleum floor.
He remembered it all too well.
This is the scent of quarantine wings in a hospital.
And what a nauseating aroma it was.
Just sit back, just sit back, just sit back and relax.
Just sit back, just sit back, just sit back and relapse again.
There were swarms of them, and they were all dancing to the beat, sweat pouring from their bodies. Smiles, shouts, broken lines coming from those in the audience who didn't know all the words or had to catch their breath. They didn't realize, or maybe they just didn't think. But Brendon did. Ryan could tell by the looks Brendon kept throwing his way. Almost as if to reassure himself that this was allright.
But it wasn't really. Night after night he played the cryptic story of his father's struggle with alcohol abuse. The story of his final failure. And it wasn't enough to bare his soul to thousands, night after night. No, that internal battle, those memories of misery, had to be converted into entertainment for the masses.
That's right. They couldn't just hear about something so personal. They had to smile, to shout, to sing. They had to /dance/. Ryan's fingers shook slightly, but he powered on through the song, occasionally looking to Brendon for a quick nod of understanding. As long as someone knew and understood, it was enough. He could go on profitting and letting others profit from the ghosts of his past and the skeletons in his closet.
But he needed to concentrate. Ryan Ross leaned into the microphone.
Can't take the kid from the fight, take the fight from the kid.
That's what it had been. A constant fight, a constant battle that noone could take him away from. His father's death was what finally drained all the fight out of this kid.
Just sit back and relapse again.
He knew it. He knew it was his own words simply being parroted back at him, but the way Brendon sang was so... comforting.
Ryan Ross, guitarist extraordinaire, finally banished these thoughts and gave himself over completely to the pounding of the bass and the flashing lights.
..."Thank you very much for attending. We're Panic! at the Disco, and good night..." Brendon's deep, soothing voice, an octive lower than usual for the crowd's benefit, startled him from his music-induced reverie and sent thrills down his spine. He sighed and swept his eyes once over the screaming crowd before departing the stage behind Brendon, who clapped a hand on his shoulder and pulled him close for an instant before shooting him one last glance and heading for the dressing rooms.
Ryan spent a moment allowing his eyes to adjust to the shrowded darkness of the thick stage curtains before turning and treading the well-worn path back into the light of the dressing rooms, where ghosts and skeletons had nowhere to hide. Where Brendon was.