Categories > Celebrities > Panic! At The Disco > The Gilded World

Act 10

by GealachGirl 3 reviews

It's party time and everyone's ready for the real party. Viva la revolution.

Category: Panic! At The Disco - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Romance - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2012-07-21 - Updated: 2012-07-21 - 8830 words - Complete

The next three days until the performance day and the party were very uneventful plan-wise. Spencer had effectively turned them nocturnal so they spent most of their days sleeping along with everyone else in the building and most of the nights exploring the city and having sex when that was done. At night, Spencer would come by and check on them and take them to get food and they would leave with him. While he was patrolling or investigating, Ryan showed Brendon around the city.

“When this is all over, I’ll show it to you with all of the people. That’s the really impressive sight,” Ryan said, walking down one of the streets with his arm around Brendon’s waist.

“It’s pretty fucking impressive now,” Brendon answered, looking up at the tops of the buildings. There was a smile on his face and it was clear that he loved all of this. “You know, when this is all over, I’ll have to tell Jeffry to do something so the Performers are more connected with the outside, I love it out here,” Brendon said.

“That’s a good idea. I can maybe see you more often then,” Ryan commented, looking at the side of Brendon’s face.

“What do you mean? Are you not going to come to the building anymore?” Brendon turned to him fast, almost knocking their heads together.

“I don’t really think that I’ll be able to. Since I’ll be present with everything, I won’t be able to sneak in and out anymore because everyone will know who I am. The same goes for the others, too,” Ryan answered, not liking the idea of it any more than Brendon did.

“So you’re going to go back to being a Satisfier all the time?” Brendon looked confused and maybe concerned.

“Well, I am technically a Satisfier all the time. I’m never going to act like it again, though, if I ever really have. During the day I can just meet you somewhere, sometime, maybe and we can spend time together. Or we could spend time together during the night. I don’t know. We can figure something out.” After all, they’d figured out how to put Jon back to power. Figuring out how to meet shouldn’t be too hard.

“I guess…but I don’t like the idea of you having to live around that anymore. Couldn’t you just come to the Performers’ building and stay? That way, you don’t have to worry about sneaking in and out and people noticing.” By the sound of his voice, Ryan could tell that Brendon knew what problems that would pose, but that he was obviously hoping Ryan would just accept it.

“I can’t. I don’t want to be with the Satisfiers, but I can’t just leave. Jeffry flipped a shit when you left, the Head Satisfier probably won’t be okay with losing his favorite either.” Ryan said sadly.

Brendon pressed his forehead against Ryan’s. “But I want you to be with me all the time like you were before. Maybe Jon can do something about it, I’ll bet he would since we’re his friends,” Brendon sounded eager.

“He’s probably got more important things to fix, like the medicine issue between the Medics and the Creators, or the power dispute with the Providers. I’m sure that he would do something, though, if he could.” Ryan suddenly had an idea. “But, when this is all over, what if we just moved out of our buildings and just lived together, the way everyone does when they find someone that they love and that they want to stay with.”

Brendon’s eyes lit up and he drew away a little, then the light died and his head dropped back to where it had been. “Jeffry’s got his claim on me. I can’t be with anyone else. He’ll be pissed enough with me as it is. And you know that there isn’t a way to get that taken off.”

Ryan groaned. He’d forgotten all about all of that. Having Brendon all to himself, finally, made him forget about Jeffry entirely. “I hate that. Jon could maybe do something about that, though, since it’s not really fair at all and Jeffry’s an awful person.”

“Maybe, but hey, let’s not think about this right now. Right now we can be together however much we want,” Brendon said, lightening the mood. The sun was rising and it was time that they go back to the Secret Authority building to meet Spencer.

The one bad thing about sleeping during the day was the fact that they couldn’t go out and hear if everyone got the news of what was going to happen. Ryan wanted to see if people were excited, if they’d started hoping again, or if they even believed it at all. He knew that it didn’t really matter that much because things were going to get better anyway, he just wanted to see what effect the promise had on the people.

Three days seemed like a long time to wait, but it ended eventually. When it came time for the meeting and the performance, Ryan and Brendon went with Spencer and the others that were part of the Secret Authority. Spencer had told them earlier that the best thing to do was just to stick with him, that way they could stay together for a while and they could go over the plan on their way to the party and get into position when they were there.

It was pretty easy to get up in the rafters of the building and they took a place in the back so they could leave quickly. While they were waiting for everyone to show up, Ryan took the opportunity to finally examine all of the people.

There was definitely a buzz going through the crowd. There was also a different energy going through all of them, one that Ryan had never experienced before. He smiled to himself. Word had gone around and there were people who believed and there were people who had hope again. The smile widened. Keeping everything relatively quiet was the most sensitive part of the plan and it was working, everything was working.

Brendon looked over at him and smiled secretly. It was clear that he was thinking the same thing that Ryan was and that he felt the same way that Ryan did. Then his gaze jerked down as the Performers filed into the building below them. Ryan looked down, too, and thought that he could recognize some of the people from this spot above all of them.

Jeffry was the hardest to miss. He was still dressed as he usually was, of course, but he seemed almost angry as he strode down the aisle, leading the Performers to their seating area by the stage. Beside Ryan, Brendon was also tense and he was gripping the metal of the rafters so hard his knuckles turned white. There was a look of pure longing and desperation in his eyes and it made Ryan’s heart ache for him.

He cautiously put a hand on his shoulder and just let it rest there while Brendon stared at his family. That seemed to help a little because some of the tension left his body. The real help was when Ryan was able to see five Performers casting occasional glances up into the rafters.

They were quick looks and there was quite a bit of space between them, but they were still looking and Ryan knew exactly what five Performers were doing it. He smiled a little to himself and he felt even better when Brendon relaxed. He turned back to Ryan with a smile on his face and Ryan returned it, loving the absolute happiness that was radiating out of the younger boy at the moment.

“They know and they’re still thinking about it,” he whispered excitedly.

“Of course they are. It has to do with you and you told them about it. They love you and they’ve probably missed you. Hell, everyone’s probably missed you all week, the same way you’ve missed all of them,” Ryan answered, laughing a little and feeling so much better now that Brendon was better.

"They know that you’re involved in it, too. They told me that they would be here for the both of us. I didn’t tell them the truth about you, though, so they think that we both just ran away together to get here. I didn’t say anything about it but they congratulate us on our relationship, too, they said that it was about time.”

“What did you tell them?” Ryan frowned a little. Why were they so okay with it if they didn’t know the whole reason they were doing it?

“I told them that we were walking together and that you were telling me stories about how things go out here since you’ve lived out here for so long. Then I told them that we were kind of talking about things that could make it better, and then an Assassin dropped down in front of us and asked us what we were talking about. After that, we all started talking and coming up with a plan. I explained that the Assassin—who I didn’t name—was keeping us at his building because it wasn’t safe for us to go home. The truth about you is your story to tell. I thought that it should be your decision when to tell it.”

Ryan was left speechless for a moment. “Thank you.” He couldn’t leave it at that though so he said it again, “Thank you, Brendon. For everything.” A wave of relief washed over him. He was safe with Brendon. Anything that he told Brendon was safe. He smiled a little bit at the other boy and Brendon smiled back. He knew exactly what Ryan was talking about.

“It’s never a problem for me,” he answered. “You would do the same thing for me if I needed it and you’ve done enough for me already that I owe it to you. Besides, you hate everything that has to do with your story, so it’s not my right to reveal that information without your permission.”

“I’m glad you feel that way.”

Then, Spencer nudged him and motioned to the stage where Andrew had taken his place at the voice projector. Both Ryan and Brendon turned their attention to it. “Let’s see what he says and if he mentions anything about Jon being “better” or something.”

Ryan nodded though he doubted that Andrew would say anything about Jon. They didn’t even know for a fact that he would say anything about the party, even if Jon said that he would. If he did say something about it, like he was supposed to, they knew what they needed to do and it was time to get ready for what that was. It was also important that they pay attention to everything that he said so they knew what he had in mind.

“People of our fair city, we regret to inform you that our Head of Heads still isn’t feeling better yet. However, before we get into the meeting, those of us that work for the Head of Heads would like to invite you to a party after the performance. It’s at our building and everyone is invited. The Head of Heads understands that there’s been hardship and he would like to extend his hand to relieve everyone of their worries for a few hours. He will not be able to attend but we all know that even hearing the sounds of celebration would help improve his spirits. You’re not required to come, but we all hope that you would.” He gave the entire speech with the same kind, soft smile, a look that bothered Ryan more than his usual expression.

Ryan looked over and met both Brendon’s and Spencer’s eyes, seeing the same wary expression on their faces that he guessed was on his own. Still, this was a good thing that he invited everyone to the party and that he didn’t know about the fact that everyone had already known about it. Looking over it now, Ryan realized that this part of the plan was also kind of risky. If Andrew hadn’t said anything about the party people still would have shown up but the people at the building for the Head of Heads wouldn’t have known what to do and everything would have gotten messy. So far things were going well, though, and he could only hope that that continued.

When the other two nodded, he relaxed back into the beams and watched the rest of the meeting progress. Brendon tensed up when the meeting ended and the lights went down, signaling the start of the performances. Once again, he was gripping one of the beams tightly and he looked longingly at the stage. Ryan wished that he could do something to help but he knew that there wasn’t anything.

There was a moment, when the first dance started, that Ryan wanted to grab Brendon so he didn’t fall out of the rafters considering how far he was leaning out. He also wanted to make him look away from what was going on so he didn’t have to see it happening without him. Ryan knew that that wouldn’t do much, though, and that it might actually help Brendon to watch the performances. For one thing, he would appreciate being back even more—though Ryan doubted that he ever didn’t appreciate it—and he might learn something from watching.

As usual, he was caught up in every single performance. Everything else faded into a blurry background that he was still aware of but he could easily tune out. At one point he was vaguely aware of Brendon looking at him for some time but he didn’t pay much attention to it. He found that he wanted to be back on the stage, too. It wasn’t probably as bad as it was for Brendon, but it was still there in the background. The performance was the thing that had him transfixed, though, it always would be when he was out here.

There was a hard elbow digging into his side suddenly and he was snapped out of his head. “Ow, what the fuck, Spencer?” he snapped, turning to look at the other boy who was looking at him impatiently. The performance was still going on onstage but now he was distracted by the look on Spencer’s face. Beside him, Brendon had the same sort of look and Ryan wondered what he’d missed.

“Something’s happening. We need to leave, now, to secure everything back at Jon’s building. The performance is going to be over soon and we need to make sure that we’re out and at the building before everyone else is,” Spencer said. He was already half-standing so they could get down quickly.

“Spencer says that if we get there before everyone else we can be ready for what we have to do and we can see people as they come in to see how things are going to go. We also need to see Jon quickly to give him the updates about what Andrew said and what he has to do,” Brendon added. He had a knowing look in his eye, knowing that it was the performance that had Ryan so out of it.

“Okay, sure, let’s go then.” He looked down at the people below to see what this ‘something’ was that Spencer mentioned. There seemed to be less Enforcers in their section but Ryan couldn’t think of why. He figured there needed to be some that stayed at the building so they could keep an eye on the people that were in Holding. Other than that he couldn’t think of anything that seemed disturbed. There was the hum of excitement and anticipation but that was it.

Nevertheless, he followed Spencer down from the rafters and out of the building. They went back to the building where Jon was. They had to tell him what was going on and how Andrew said things were going to work out. Mainly they had to discuss when Jon was going to make his grand appearance to all of the citizens of the city. They were also going to explore the building a little more and see if there were places that they could use to their advantage later on just for added support.

Ryan still stuck by his theory that Andrew wasn’t going to give up his power easily. Sure, once Jon made his appearance and exerted his power to get rid of Andrew and the others who had been assisting him in the theft, Andrew had no right to even pretend he still had a grip on the power. That didn’t mean that they wouldn’t have to fight for it, though.

That was where the rest of the citizens came in. Mason, Mike, Laura, Alistair, and Erik would help to restrain all of the other “advisors” while Jon personally dealt with Andrew after he revealed himself to be the Head of Heads. Spencer also told them that he’d told the other Secret Authority about what was going on and they would be there to provide further support.

Brendon assured them that when the fight broke out, all of the other people in the city would help out any way they could. He said that if they all felt the same way about how things were running and they genuinely wanted change, at the suggestion of it they would work for it if it seemed possible.

Meanwhile, Ryan just ran over and over everything in his mind, trying to find some rough edges that needed to be worked out. As hard as he thought, though, he couldn’t think of any and he liked that fact. All of this needed to work. He’d gotten his hopes up too high for this to not work now.

“Okay, we’ll just go up to his room and tell him about everything. We’ll work out when he’s going to come down, then we’ll go look around a little bit until it’s time for the party to start. When the party starts, Brendon, you’ll be down among everyone to examine how people are feeling. Ryan, you’ll be watching from above and keeping a kind of look out on everything and everyone. I’ll be behind the scenes, watching the “advisors” to make sure they stay oblivious,” Spencer said, even though they all knew what was going on.

“Spencer, we know. We’ve been through this over and over,” Brendon said with his arms crossed. “I don’t know why you feel the need to repeat it all.”

“When we actually made these arrangements we had other ideas. I’m just clarifying what we decided on so there isn’t any confusion. Being reminded also helps prepare you for what you’re going to have to do and it gets you in the mind-set. I’m just trying to be thorough and cover everything so there aren’t any questions,” Spencer defended. He only looked mildly annoyed, Ryan was surprised to note. He really was getting along better with Brendon.

“Fine. I’ll give you that point. Let’s just get going now, though. You were the one that was going on and on about how we had to get out of there right when we did.”

Ryan rolled his eyes and moved to the building, finding the place that was easily climbed to get to Jon’s window. By doing that, it got the other two to stop their argument and they followed him. Ryan was a much better climber now than he was at the beginning of the week and so he got to Jon’s window before too long and it wasn’t too hard. He knocked on the glass and hung onto the wall until it was open.

Jon had been expecting them and he helped pull Ryan in as well as the other two when they came up. There was a smile on his face when he turned back to look at them and it was clear that he’d missed them just as much as Ryan had missed him. It was still strange to think that he already liked the Head of Heads enough that he wished he was around when they’d only really known each other for a day. He knew that the three of them were the only friends that he ever really had, though, no matter the strange circumstances.

“Hey guys. Damn, I’m glad that it’s finally time for all of this to go down. So, how are things going?” he looked ready and Ryan was so relieved. Jon was going to make a good leader, he could already tell. The eager, focused way in which he was approaching the topic made it obvious.

“Andrew said that you’re still sick and that you’ll be up here in your room while the party goes on. He said that you’re simply extending your hand to offer a few hours of relief to everyone,” Ryan said. “So, we were all right about you staying up here until it’s time. The only thing that we really have to do now is work out when it’s time. Everything else is covered. The backup will be there and all you have to do is let everyone know that you’re fine and that Andrew can’t have everything anymore, that he doesn’t, now that you’re back.”

“I’ll come up and get you once everyone’s too busy with the party to be paying attention anymore. Brendon will give Ryan a signal when everyone’s preoccupied on the floor and Ryan will determine just when you should walk out and give your speech. When he gives that signal, you’ll just walk out,” Spencer said.

Jon nodded. He told them the last time they all saw each other that he would think of exactly what he would say and how he would dismiss Andrew and Ryan had no doubts. He smiled at the other man and nodded.

“I’m not telling you what I came up with because I want the first time you hear it to be with everyone else. Trust me, I’ve looked it over and it says exactly what I want it to say.” He paused and obviously noticed Spencer’s look. “It’s fine. Besides, I think that it would be better if the words that I say are words that I actually came up with,” he pointed out.

“Fine.” Spencer was still looking worried, but Ryan knew that Jon was right about the words actually coming from him. So he sent Spencer a look telling him to calm down, that it would be alright. Jon knew what he was doing now.

“Alright, I think that’s all we really had to tell you. Now we’re going to go and explore a little bit so that we’re more familiar with the building. Things will be able to run more smoothly that way,” Ryan said. Jon nodded and he understood but he didn’t look happy about it.

Jon wouldn’t have to be alone for too much longer, he could last a little bit more, of that Ryan was sure. He walked out of the room with Brendon but paused when he realized that Jon was holding Spencer back. Ryan looked back at them through the open door and saw that Jon was actually holding onto the sleeve of Spencer’s skin, talking to him about something that seemed important. Spencer nodded and put a hand on Jon’s shoulder, and then he rejoined Brendon and Ryan.

“Come on. We don’t have much more time. As long as we don’t linger very long anywhere we’ll get through the building before people start showing up,” Spencer said, leading them to another room. After going through a few rooms, Ryan got the impression that Spencer wanted to linger in rooms and explore them thoroughly, see if there were secret rooms or compartments or little trapdoors. Ryan also guessed that Spencer was already coming up with a way to get back in and get all of his questions answered when all of this was over. There were some times, though, when Spencer would stop and examine something, touching it a little bit until they all remembered to keep moving.

Spencer was right about them going through the rooms quickly. They had to cut a few parts short because they had to make sure that they got everywhere whilst still staying ahead of everyone who was coming for the party.

Eventually they got through all the rooms that were accessible and they were barely in their places before the doors opened and Andrew boomed a ‘Welcome’ that echoed off the walls and the ceiling. From his position, Ryan watched Brendon slip easily into the crowd. There was the chance that he might be recognized, especially by Jeffry, but it looked like a non-issue so far.

He was also able to pick out the people that he and Jon had talked to the other day and he could recognize the five Performers that were going to help if they were needed. Speaking of those five Performers, Ryan was able to watch the reunion of Brendon and his family.

For some reason, watching Mason stagger under the weight of Brendon as he threw himself at the skinny dancer made Ryan smile and feel a little guilty at the same time. Brendon had said that it was okay, though, that he was glad that he’d been a part of all of this. To ignore the feeling, Ryan turned his attention away from the Performers and scanned the crowd like he was supposed to.

He was standing in a sort of balcony in order to oversee everything going on below. It was small and it seemed to actually have been built for the use of Workers who might have to do maintenance on the lights or anything else that could be accessed from up here. Ryan was also pretty sure that people weren’t supposed to fit inside of the little niches, they were meant to be more like windows. He was skinny enough to manage it though, and it was a fortunate hiding place if he needed to use it like that.

Everyone was buzzing. They were sticking mostly to their own divisions but the sound of conversation was clearly audible. That’s all that was really happening at the moment, people were talking. Ryan was to wait for Brendon’s signal. Ryan the one that ultimately decided if the time was right for Jon to come out and address his people as their leader for the first time.

It wasn’t going to be for a long time, that part, though. He was also supposed to be looking for Spencer or any other Secret Authority if there was an emergency. Ryan didn’t understand why he had to do anything with that information since the Secret Authority could definitely take care of themselves if an emergency did come up.

He was going to stay in the little balcony thing until Jon was front and center, with everyone’s attention on him. At the first sight of the Head of Heads people might go crazy. They would either want to maul Jon or celebrate his return. Everyone would be resentful regardless. Ryan got to leave when Jon was up. If Jon got overwhelmed or freaked out about anything, Ryan would be there to help him out. That was how they’d decided to arrange everything.

The only thing that made Ryan nervous thinking about this plan was Andrew. It was hard to say what the old man would do or if he had his own people on call. It was also impossible to tell what was going to happen when Andrew made his desperate grab to keep his power. Ryan figured that he was ready for just about anything. He had seventeen awful years to make up for. If he had to fight, he would fucking fight.

Food was being carried around down below and he was happy to see that people were now talking to people outside of their divisions. Ryan had lost track of Brendon but he knew that he was down there, figuring out how peoples’ hopes looked and judging how much they believed in the promised change.

From Ryan’s point of view, people definitely believed now. He imagined what this would have looked like in the streets if they’d been allowed to celebrate when they first heard the news about the change. They might not know how, but they believed that things were changing and that life was going to get better. He smiled to himself.

There was a sudden change in everything that he was seeing, though. Suddenly he was able to see Brendon and catch the signal that he was supposed to let Spencer know that it was time for Jon to come out to meet his people. Along with that, Brendon’s smile was huge and it made Ryan smile back. Things were getting better and Brendon was going to be around to see it, fuck, he was even a part of it. There was no better time to start learning how life worked outside of the Performers’ building.

Ryan turned to where Spencer was supposed to be. He was disguised in green. All of the Secret Authority that were there were disguised as something. Spencer told him that he was going to be looking out from one specific area, so Ryan looked around.

There wasn’t any green, though. Spencer had told him that he would be there and that he would be able to see Ryan, so Ryan wouldn’t have to waste any time looking for him. He frowned and looked closer but there still wasn’t any green in sight on that side of building. Something wasn’t right and Ryan bit his lip, deciding to give it a few more minutes for Spencer to show up.

He kept his eyes trained on the spot, ready to act the moment Spencer came into even partial sight. He remembered Spencer saying that he was going to go up to get Jon when people were socializing more and making sure that he was ready for everything, so maybe he was still there.

Then Ryan saw him, Jon came up and into focus, walking to a certain spot where he was visible to everyone and he would easily be heard. Ryan blinked but left the balcony. Maybe Spencer had seen Brendon’s signal and had decided to send Jon out then. Either way, things were moving and he was looking forward to whatever it was that Jon decided to say.

When he got down on the floor, he looked around and hid a smile about everyone’s inattention to Jon, thinking that he was just another person who worked for the Head of Heads, just another person to feed them bullshit. Jon looked rather confident but there was a little bit of uneasiness in his eyes as he looked off to where Spencer was supposedly standing. Ryan crossed his arms and focused completely on the Head of Heads, waiting for the beginning of Jon’s announcement.

At the top of the stairs where he was standing, Jon cleared his throat. The acoustics must have been really good because the sound echoed around the room and everyone turned their attention to the young man. They all looked curious and Ryan moved just a little closer to the stairs so he could get up faster if he needed to.

After a moment of silence and a deep breath, Jon smiled easily and addressed the people. “Hey everyone, it’s really, really great to see all of you here. My name’s Jon and I’m glad that this idea had this many supporters, I was actually kind of nervous that there were going to be a lot of people who didn’t show up. It’s nice to know that all of you still believe, enough to come here on such a small promise. I promise that you won’t be disappointed, though.

“Before I get further into it, I have to apologize to all of you. My blind-ness led to your suffering and I can’t even express how much I regret that. I’m going to start helping make things right, though.” He smiled again and Ryan could feel the confusion from everyone in the room.

Jon looked like he was surveying the crowd before him, but he didn’t get a chance to say the next thing because there was a loud crash and a bang. It resonated throughout the room and people ducked, making sounds of surprise. There was another bang, this one sounding more powerful, and there was a flash that accompanied it.

Now there were screams and everyone was staying on the ground. Even up at the top of the stairs, Jon had dropped down onto his knees, covering his head with his arms. Ryan ran up the steps instead of going down. He wanted to see what was going on and he wanted to consult with Jon. Already adrenaline was roaring through his veins, carried on by his increased heart rate.

When he got to the top, he dropped to his knees beside Jon and he took a moment or two to breathe. Now there was smoke in the air and it was getting hard to see. It looked like there were figures running through the room, though, and they were all yelling to each other. “Do you have any idea what’s going on?” he asked breathlessly, ducking to avoid being hit by one of the running figures, guessing that it was Secret Authority.

“N-no. This isn’t part of some secret plan that Spencer had, is it?”

“If it was, I didn’t know about it,” Ryan returned, looking around. The smoke was clearing up a little bit and it was easier to make things out. Satisfied that there wasn’t anything endangering either of them, Ryan stood up, dragging Jon with him.

Things were clearer from the standing point of view—or they were for Ryan—and he frowned when he saw that all of the running forms had been Enforcers. They were splitting people up and taking specific people out of the crowd, barring them off in a different part of the room. Alarmed, Ryan started looking for Brendon, but a sudden yelp from Jon made him turn his head away to see what was going on.

Two people dressed in green, neither of them Spencer, were holding Jon by his arms. He seemed shocked but he still struggled. Nothing was breaking their hold, though. Ryan stepped back, surprised by the fact that he could, that no one was holding onto him.

All of the smoke was cleared by now and it was obvious that the main feeling in the room was shock and confusion. Everyone down on the floor were exchanging looks while the room stood divided into two sections, both looking equally scared from behind the shoulders of the Enforcers. Again, Ryan looked for Brendon, but couldn’t find him.

The other most obvious thing in the room was the silence. Everything was still and Ryan could hear his own quickened breathing along with Jon’s. Other than that, there was no sound. No one talked, no one seemed to move. It was like they were all waiting for something.

That was when another figure appeared. It was Andrew and he came swaggering in like he’d just been given the best news he’d ever received. He looked at Jon, who was half-standing, half-kneeling. There was a defiant look in his eyes that was mixed with confusion.

What shocked Ryan even more was the fact that he spoke first. “What is this, Andrew?” he ground out, his face dropping the confusion and settling into anger. He’d stopped struggling and was now just glaring at the older man.

“I’m helping you, boy. I’m taking care of this mess before it even happens. You’ll thank me, believe me.” There was a patronizing smile on his face and he talked to Jon like he was helpless and wasn’t seething in front of him.

“I know what you do, Andrew. I know what you’ve been doing. Let me go. You have no right to do this and you know it.”

“Ah, but no one else knows that, do they? No one else is going to come up and defend you. Trust me, I’ve made sure of it.”

Jon’s face went completely blank. “What are you talking about?” he asked faintly. Ryan was fairly certain that he knew exactly what Andrew was talking about, though, and Jon was, too.

Andrew made a gesture and a large group came into sight. Eight Enforcers were all grouped around one thing and when they shifted to the side, Spencer’s face was clear. He looked murderous and Ryan could tell that the Enforcers had learned the hard way how many of them there needed to be to hold him down. Spencer wasn’t fighting. He just looked up and locked eyes with first Ryan, then Jon.

Ryan saw raw anger in Spencer’s eyes, but he also saw resignation. That would have concerned him if he didn’t feel the same way. Somehow Andrew had found out about all of this and he’d put a stop to it. There wasn’t much of anything that could be done anymore. All of the insurgents would be locked up, possibly executed, and there wasn’t anything to be done because there were too many Enforcers to have to reckon with. It appeared to be over.

Spencer and Jon were simply looking at each other and it looked kind of like they were having a conversation. Jon had come unfrozen and he just looked sad now, also hopeless. He broke his connection with Spencer, though, and looked up at Andrew again.

“Everything will work out, Jon. You’ll be okay and this will all pass. As time goes by you’ll be able to shake off this disturbing event and the brainwashing will wear off. Just feel glad that we got to you when we did or all this could be more permanent,” Andrew said consolingly.

Once again, Jon seemed frozen. Then he shook himself and he looked angrily back at Andrew. “No. No, I’m not going to forget about any of this. Nothing’s going to be fine if you’re still in charge and it’s all going to change. You aren’t going to be left in charge after tonight. You’ll be exposed and I’m going to take my rightful place,” he spit out. A flash of pride showed up on Spencer’s face and Ryan couldn’t help feeling it, too. Jon really had changed for the better.

“That’s where you’re wrong. You see, if you step out of line again…” one of the Enforcers holding Spencer twisted his arm around until Spencer cried out, almost to the point where his shoulder would have been dislocated. “Your Assassin friend is finished. All it takes is a knife stuck in the right spot.”

Ryan didn’t miss the look of horror as it passed across Jon’s face. He felt his own stomach lurch and he looked at Spencer, who was completely helpless at the moment when he was restrained. Spencer didn’t look scared, though, he looked around like he was daring anyone to try to stick a knife in him. Once again, Ryan wondered why there wasn’t anyone holding him, too.

“You choose, boy. Are you going to keep fighting and have your boyfriend killed? Or are you going to follow the rules and let things go back to the way they were?”

Jon held Andrew’s gaze for a few seconds, looking like he was thinking about fighting some more. Then he looked at Spencer and his head fell to his chest, giving up. Spencer protested but the Enforcers holding him cut him off.

Ryan stepped forward to let Andrew know that Jon wasn’t the only person who could fight. But he was stopped by Andrew raising his voice and telling the Enforcers below to start escorting the prisoners out and returning the innocent citizens back to their buildings or their homes.

Instantly, Ryan rushed to the railing and looked down to try to find Brendon in the crowd. One group was smaller than the other and he guessed that they were the prisoners. The chances of Brendon being one of the prisoners were quite high so Ryan started there. He had to know what was happening and in order to get there he had to see what happened to Brendon.

Unfortunately, the group of prisoners was bigger than just a few people and there were more than six Performers in the group. All of them were grouped together, too, so Ryan couldn’t really tell who was who. There were at least three Performers in the group that had black hair and he didn’t even know for a fact that Brendon was in that group.

He let out a frustrated breath of air and watched as all of the people who weren’t considered criminals were all escorted out of the door. There was movement behind him and Ryan turned around to see what was going on.

The two people that were holding onto Jon had jerked his arms so he was looking at Andrew again. Andrew was standing there with that sick smile on his face, “Why don’t we go down so you can meet your people again? Maybe you can tell them that things are definitely changing for them.” He held out a hand, motioning for Jon to go first. The people holding him started walking over to the stairs and were practically carrying him down. Andrew also motioned for Spencer to be taken down, following along right behind. Still, Ryan wasn’t noticed, but he tagged along anyway, even though Spencer was death-glaring at him, trying to get him to stay where he was.

Down on the floor, it really struck him how many people were being considered prisoners. Ryan also felt a sickening feeling when he realized that he recognized some of the people in the group from when he and Jon went around the city. Jon obviously realized the same thing because he looked back at Ryan with a sad look.

“All of these people are being taken as prisoners to Holding because they aided or had some part in this idiotic uprising you decided to hold.” Andrew nodded at the Enforcers, and they started moving around to get the people led out. “I hope you’re proud of what you’ve done, Jonathan.”

“Wait a second. That one belongs in this group, too. Actually, he’s supposed to be dead. For one thing, he stole the Performer that I have my claim on, and I know that he has something to do with this.” It was Jeffry. He came out from where he was standing by the Enforcers and he walked right up to Andrew to deliver this complaint. He pointed right at Ryan while he made his speech and Andrew followed the finger disinterestedly to look at Ryan.

Ryan raised his chin a little and met Andrew’s gaze evenly. He was surprised to find out that he wasn’t scared. It was the exact opposite. He knew about all the things that could happen to him, but he was ready for them if they had to come.

“Jeffry, come on, it’s a Satisfier, you know they can’t do anything but fuck. He didn’t have anything to do with any of this. Don’t be stupid.” Ryan found Brendon. The Performer pushed his way to the front of the group so he was perfectly visible. There was a look of doubt and scorn on his face as he glanced at Ryan, then looking back at Jeffry. The other Performers that were in the group came with him. Mike, Laura, Mason, Erik, and Alistair were there along with some others that Ryan vaguely recognized.

“He’s a Performer, he’s just disguised as a Satisfier. It’s Ryan, Brendon,” Jeffry returned.

Brendon snorted. “No it’s not. Ryan got away. He’s working on something as we speak. That is a Satisfier,” he said, pointing at Ryan again. “Jeffry, you’re paranoid.”

“Enough of this, take the prisoners away to Holding. By the way, Jonathan, would you like to see how we uncovered most of this plan?” Andrew sounded excited again and Ryan went back to being invisible, even though he felt Jeffry’s and Brendon’s eyes on him.

Two more Enforcers came forward, carrying a struggling boy about Ryan’s age. It was Marc. When they finally got him under control, he looked at Jon and Spencer desperately. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. They took me and they were asking me specific questions and I couldn’t not answer them and I couldn’t keep it all a secret for very long. I’m sorry, I couldn’t do anything about it.” He looked distraught and the only thing Ryan could think of doing was giving him a small nod. He saw Jon doing the same and at the sight of Jon’s, Marc relaxed a little bit.

The Enforcers were starting to lead people out and Jeffry was simply watching Brendon. Ryan clenched his fists and bit his tongue to keep from yelling at the Head Performer. Mason apparently didn’t have the same reservations, though.

“If you really loved him, you’d save him. He’s better off with Ryan,” he said directly to Jeffry. It looked like Jeffry was startled by this. When he got over it, though, he looked pissed instead.

“If you loved him you would do anything that you could, make any deal that came to mind in order to keep Brendon safe. Ryan would do that. That’s why Brendon went with him instead.” Ryan didn’t understand what Mason was doing, but it just made him feel worse, though it probably wasn’t supposed to.

Actually, Ryan didn’t understand any of what was going on at all. Everyone was ignoring him and apparently he wasn’t Ryan at the moment. Mason was right, if the situation was different and he actually was observing from somewhere else, he would do whatever he could to make sure Brendon was okay, then he would try to get back to everyone else. As it was, he didn’t think that he was supposed to. They were hinting at the fact that he should stay where he was and go along with everything? Was that it?

The Enforcers were now at the small group of Performers and Jeffry stood there emotionlessly as they were led away. Ryan had to hold himself in place, trying his hardest not to run forward and save Brendon and the others. Instead, he stayed right where he was by Jon. Mason craned his neck back and yelled, “You son of a bitch!” All he got was a hard smack on the head from one of the Enforcers and a huff from Jeffry.

Andrew motioned for everyone to leave the room, and when the room was empty save for the Enforcers who were still holding Spencer, he turned back to Jon. “Now, enough of this nonsense,” Andrew said darkly. “If you step out of line again, the Assassin will be killed. He’ll be kept under heavy lock and key, locked up tight, and as of now his life is in your hands. Go up to your room, do what you usually do, and put all of this from your mind.” Andrew seemed to see Ryan again. “And get him out of here,” he said, motioning toward the Enforcers.

“No! Hey! I met him tonight and he’s coming with me to my room. I think that’ll maybe calm me down a little. It’s been a while, after all,” Jon interjected, putting an arm around Ryan’s waist and pulling him closer. Ryan hid his surprise and just went along with it.

Andrew studied the two of them for a little bit and finally consented. Jon grinned and his hand slid lower down Ryan’s back, a fact that Ryan tried not to react to. He pulled him even closer and started leading him up the stairs. While they went to his room, Ryan noted that even though he liked Jon, the feel of the other man’s hands on him felt sickening. His response to that thought was a pang in his chest because it led back to Brendon and this clusterfuck that had arisen out of the night’s carefully planned events.

Once they were in Jon’s room and the door was shut, Jon let go of him. He stepped away, looking embarrassed. “I’m sorry about that. I couldn’t trust that there wasn’t someone watching from somewhere on our way up. We’re safe now, though.”

“Do you know that for sure? We thought that this whole plan was safe and now Brendon’s being taken to Holding along with a lot of other people. And Spencer’s being locked up in some room somewhere, now,” Ryan said, starting to pace. He hadn’t realized just how agitated he was about all of this until he suddenly had this opportunity to let it out.

When he looked back at Jon, he saw that the other man looked sick. Ryan examined him for a minute, trying to separate all of the emotions that were cluttered together in Jon’s eyes. “You really care about him don’t you?” he asked.

“I care about all of them by now and I feel awful about everyone’s arrest. But yes, I really care about him now. He’s locked up and if I do anything to step out of line, they’re going to kill him. They’d probably make me watch it, too, just to discourage me from doing this again.” Jon looked anxious and drawn tight and he went over to sit on his bed.

“The whole point of all of this is to do that, Jon,” Ryan reminded him, sitting down next to him, letting their shoulders brush. There was a feeling in his stomach that Ryan didn’t think he’d ever have to feel again now that he’d found all of this, but it was still there. It was that sick, emptiness that he always felt whenever he was done with the day and he’d been fucked over and over, before he’d met Spencer and things started changing for him. That feeling seemed pretty normal, though. He didn’t ever get hopeless or sad, he just felt like a shell.

“Right, that’s the point of all of this, just like the point of keeping me isolated from the rest of the city was to keep me from taking an interest in what was going on. Things change, though, and we’re not done yet,” Jon said. His voice sounded distant and the emotions were still piled up in his eyes, but it looked like he was pulling everything back together, way ahead of Ryan.

Ryan looked over at him sharply, frowning. “What are you talking about?” He really didn’t want to play this ‘keep your hopes up’ game. He’d never been particularly good at it and it never managed to make him feel better.

“There’s another part of the plan. Do you still have some fight left in you?” Jon asked tiredly, looking over at Ryan with a heavy look on his face.

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