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

Act 12

by GealachGirl 2 reviews

Everything's changing and Ryan's finally got what he deserves, along with a few other people. (Holy shit this makes me sad. Final chapter.)

Category: Panic! At The Disco - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Romance - Warnings: [V] [?] - Published: 2012-08-13 - Updated: 2012-08-13 - 9432 words - Complete

Violence is really mild, I just figured I should since it is in here.

The party was loud and it was happy. This one was actually a celebration and the evidence was everywhere. People were smiling and laughing and talking and they all looked like they were enjoying themselves. There wasn’t any hostility toward anyone. People from different divisions were talking and laughing and dancing with each other. Ryan couldn’t find one person in the crowd who didn’t look happy or relieved.

Jon was going through the crowd, meeting people and talking with people. He didn’t turn anyone who came up to him away and he looked thrilled that everyone had come. Everyone seemed excited and interested to talk to him and it looked like he felt the same way. Spencer was there, dressed in green, right beside him. He looked better than the last time Ryan had seen him, but he saw signs of stitches and if he looked hard enough he could see the scratches. There was a look of happiness and mild discomfort on his face, a look that only he could pull off, but it didn’t look like he was going to leave.

All of the Enforcers were there, completely at ease and also looking like they were celebrating being released from the strict hold of their Head. They almost looked like they were the happiest of everyone and Ryan didn’t blame them. Apparently, the Head Enforcer barely let them talk to each other about anything and they were watched constantly when they were out in the streets so that he was sure they weren’t giving anything away. They were more than happy to be able to keep an eye on him for once since he was on probation and they couldn’t let him out of sight for fear that he would try to do something. The Head Enforcer was constantly surrounded by his own people because they couldn’t put him down in Holding.

The plan that Andrew and the Head Enforcer had involved locking Jon up completely at some point. Once Jon was out of the way, they were going to do something about the Secret Authority to keep them from getting too suspicious about the whole thing. When everything was taken care of, they were going to seize absolute control over the city and once that happened there wouldn’t have been anything that could have been done about it.

Jeffry wasn’t ever going to take a part in it. He would be given a minor position and they would keep him occupied with the appearance that he had power, like what they did with Jon. Jeffry would be allowed to make orders and they would be carried out, but Andrew and the Head Enforcer would be the ones with the real power.

Ryan refused to take the credit for being the one that kept that from happening. Everyone looked at him like a hero for finally exposing the truth and showing Jon what it was that he was supposed to do. All of it made him really uncomfortable and he tried to write it off as a group effort and that he only did what he had to do, but all of those explanations only seemed to make people want to keep piling the praise on.

Brendon tried to get him to accept the praise and accept all of the gratitude. He told him that they were all right. The only reason that it had happened was because Ryan had been smart and had found a way to get done what needed to be done. Brendon repeated that over and over and it was impossible to get him to stop, especially when he got the other Performers to do it, too.

As many people came up to him during the party as to Jon. They all rushed at him with their thanks and their questions about how he’d done it and how he’d figured it out. Brendon also refused to help him, instead directing people to where he was and waving people over when they walked by. The boy said that Ryan just needed to let them thank him and answer a few questions and they would be fine after a while.

“Was it hard to think of what you needed to do?” a Creator asked him, looking fascinated and like he was almost studying him.

“Not really. I pretty much used our original plan, I just modified it a little bit,” he explained, glancing over at Brendon. Brendon only smiled back at him, looking oblivious to the fact that Ryan was begging for his help in getting the other man to go away. He would just have to do what he’d been doing. “You know, Jon might be able to tell you more about some of the inside stuff that happened.” The Creator nodded, obviously thinking that that was a brilliant idea, and he went off to look for Jon.

Ryan breathed a sigh and turned to Brendon. “You’re a huge help, you know that?” Brendon just laughed and put an arm around his shoulder.

“You’ve always wanted to be appreciated for more than being a,” he dropped his voice and moved his mouth so he could whisper in Ryan’s ear, “Satisfier,” he leaned away again, “and here it is.” The other boy said it with such conviction, even though Ryan had never told him that. It was just another one of those things that he perceived, using that strange gift that he had.

Ryan just sighed and put his head on Brendon’s shoulder. “That doesn’t mean that I want to be ambushed all the time.” He turned so he could put both arms around the other boy from the side and turned his face into his neck. “After tonight, it’ll be better though, right? People won’t be so drunk on happiness?”

“Yeah, it’ll be better. You’ll still be able to sneak in and out of the building since no one really knows that you aren’t a Performer. That’s a positive.” That was true. Ryan would be able to go back to the Performers’ building and do what he’d been doing before.

“Actually, I wanted to talk to the two of you about that. Later, when everything’s calmed down a little bit?” Jon and Spencer were suddenly there behind them. Jon looked happy and he smiled at both of them as he looked at them. Spencer also looked relaxed. He was still looking around the room occasionally but it didn’t look like he was planning anything or investigating anything.

“What do you mean?” Brendon asked.

“I want to address that situation where Ryan has to sneak in and out of the Performers’ building. I’m not going to tell you about it now because it’s a little too busy. I want to do it when there are less people around, trust me, you do too.” Jon looked excited and serious about it at the same time. Then he had to go over and talk to someone who was gesturing him over.

“He’s right. It’s good and it’ll make the both of you really happy. You do want him to announce it when there aren’t so many people,” Spencer assured. He offered the both of them a little smile and he followed after Jon, sighing and rolling his eyes at whatever the Head of Heads was doing.

Brendon turned to look at Ryan with wide eyes. “Do you have any idea what they’re talking about?” Ryan shook his head and looked after them.

“I can’t even think of what it might be about,” he said. Brendon just met his eyes and shrugged.

Music started up and voices started singing. Ryan turned to see what it was. Performers were gathering on one side of the room and it looked like they were doing it as their own idea. They were arranging a skit by the looks of it and the musicians were setting up, too. Some of the dancers were warming up while other people started paying more attention to what was going on. Brendon grinned and it looked like the cryptic note they’d just been left with had been forgotten. He took a step toward the scene, looking excited and like he was already preparing himself for a performance.

Ryan just smiled a little. You could take the boy away from the Performers… Brendon turned back and held out his hand. Ryan just shook his head and motioned for Brendon to go. He wasn’t quite in the mood to participate in Performer things at the moment. In fact, he kind of wanted to be alone in the quiet.

He wanted to see the performance, but he couldn’t help wanting to leave the over-stimulation for just a little bit. So, while everyone was paying attention to what the Performers were doing, he ascended the stairs up to the roof.

The night was still and quiet and exactly what he needed at the moment. He sighed and walked over to the edge where there was a stone barricade that he leaned against. There were stars dotting the sky and the rest of the city was dark because everyone was in the one building.

All of the celebration was nice to see and hear and be around, but it was overwhelming. Brendon didn’t mind it, but Ryan wasn’t used to it and he just needed a break. Despite not being used to it, though, Ryan still thought that it was incredible. All of the divisions were together and they were celebrating together and there was actually something worth celebrating.

Suddenly it was like all of this tension was gone. People were able to relax, knowing that they were covered and that they could trust themselves relaxing. Jon had brought security back and the whole city could finally breathe again.

Ryan smiled a little bit thinking about the things that had already changed and the things that Jon had already worked out and promised to get out as soon as he could. One thing that had already changed was that Jon decided that he needed to make a meeting of all of the Heads.

He’d already settled the dispute at the Providers’ apparently and he announced that, in order to know what was going on in every division, he wanted to have all of the Heads meet every other week to bring issues to light or to ask questions. Jon said that performance days could stay, but just for the performances. Having people come up and bring their issues to him once a week, then having a performance after it didn’t seem like an effective idea to him so he changed things. So there would still be a big performance every week and attendance was optional if someone wasn’t feeling up to it at the time. The performances were able to be longer that way, too.

He also suggested that all of the different divisions offer their services at the events. Jon confided to him, Brendon, and Spencer that he wanted to get all of the divisions closer, more united. He also wanted there to be a day when everyone could just lose themselves in what was going on and not worry about whatever was going on.

Ryan thought that it was all great. The best part about it was the enthusiasm that Jon showed when he shared these ideas and the pace at which he came up with them. Already people seemed to be happier and more comfortable and Jon hadn’t even really been in power for a day yet.

A small breeze blew by and Ryan lifted his face a little. He’d been feeling better lately, too. Something made him feel freer. He was still a Satisfier disguising himself as a Performer and he was still living at the Secret Authority building because explaining things to the Head Satisfier didn’t sound pleasant and he couldn’t stay at the Performers’ building, even with Jeffry being guarded under his probation. Brendon was going to go back to the Performers’ building as soon as the week started again. Until then, he was still with Ryan.

Despite all of that, there was something that made Ryan feel like things were okay and not twisted up. He didn’t know what it was, but he liked it a lot because it was the best he’d felt in his life. Things made sense and felt clearer.

Ryan stepped away from the edge of the balcony with a satisfied sigh. Now he felt like returning to the party and joining in with whatever the Performers were doing at this point. Maybe Jon and Spencer would tell him and Brendon about whatever it was that was going to make them so happy.

When he turned to the door, though, he stopped. Jeffry was standing there in the doorway. He wasn’t wearing his mask and he looked furious. Ryan backed up a little bit, suddenly extremely nervous about the events in the immediate future. Jeffry just smirked and stepped closer.

“That’s right, back up, you should be afraid of me.” He moved forward again and Ryan was frozen, not knowing what he should do or what the Head Performer was going to do. Then Jeffry was right in front of him and he looped an arm around Ryan’s waist, pulling them face to face. Ryan’s breath hitched but he still didn’t move. “I know what you really are,” the Head Performer hissed. Then he leaned in and Ryan could feel hot lips on his own.

He squirmed and felt the Performers’ skin melting away, revealing all of the glory of the black and gold skin. Ryan broke away, gasping and pushing Jeffry away, trying to get his breath and his surprise under control. Jeffry was right in front of him again, though.

This time, he held him tighter so Ryan couldn’t get out quite so easily. Jeffry moved him backwards and bent him over the edge of the balcony, so far that the only thing keeping him from falling was the Performer’s hold. Ryan struggled with his breathing and looked back, staying as still as he could. Somehow, he still felt fairly calm. “I could drop you right over the edge here and be done with you just like that,” Jeffry whispered darkly in his ear.

Then the hold tightened and he was pulled away from the precarious position. “Or I could use this.” There was a small, silver knife in his hand and a cold look on his face. Ryan had a sudden, chilling flash back of the first character he’d ever played and stilled. There was no doubt in his mind that Jeffry would use it. He backed up. There wasn’t any more room to back up and no room to run. Ryan reached behind him and untied his mask so he could at least look at everything like himself.

He dropped the mask by his feet and held his arms out from his body. “Go ahead,” he said hoarsely, baring all of his vital parts. Ryan didn’t know what he was doing, he just hoped that he came up with something before Jeffry decided to get it over with and actually stab him. The Head Performer just stopped in front of him and lightly traced the knife down the side of his face, nicking his temple with a smirk. Ryan didn’t flinch or look away. Maybe he was brave.

Jeffry switched his hold on the knife and was holding it so he could actually do damage if he wanted to. Ryan knew that he did and he forced himself to stay still. There was one way away from this, but it was all about timing and he had to stay still until the right moment.

The knife was brought up, then it went down and Ryan went with it. He rolled away and got to his feet when he was on the other side of the balcony. He laughed a little at the simple fact that it worked. Ryan still didn’t have a clear path to the door but he had some more room to work with and better control over what happened now. He turned to face the enraged Jeffry again.

It was no surprise that the Performer rushed at him again, knife raised. The surprise came when Ryan saw a black blur tackling Jeffry away and he was suddenly in the grip of a very tense, very familiar Performer.

Spencer was wrestling with Jeffry and Ryan could still see the knife flashing. Brendon let go of him and took a cautious step forward before Ryan pulled him back by the wrist. He was worried, too, but Spencer was very good at his job.

Jeffry was still bigger and he had a knife. He managed to throw Spencer off despite the other’s best attempts at keeping him down. Jeffry pushed Brendon away and was right there in front of him again. The knife was right under his chin, the point pressing into his throat. Ryan had to tilt his face up and the blade followed his chin so it always rested against it. When the elevation of Ryan’s chin was perfect, Jeffry flicked the knife upwards and catching the underside of his jaw. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Spencer standing up with a little of Brendon’s help.

“What do you want, Jeffry?” Ryan asked. “Do you want my life? Is that it?” He didn’t think that he should feel as calm as he did considering what was happening. If he pissed Jeffry off in the slightest, he would be dead.

In response, there was a flash of silver and he felt a sharp stinging sensation in his cheek. Ryan only gritted his teeth a little and kept his gaze even, not reacting in any other way. That reaction seemed to upset the Performer in front of him and the next thing he knew he was bent backwards over the edge of the balcony again. This time, the knife was at his throat and Jeffry must have been leaning his whole weight on Ryan’s body because Ryan couldn’t move at all.

Ryan heard the sound of struggle and he saw that Spencer was currently trying very hard to keep Brendon away. “What do you want with him, Jeffry?” Brendon asked. He looked pissed off and he was still working at getting away from Spencer, luckily without success.

Jeffry was ignoring the whole scene. Instead, he sneered at Ryan and hissed, “Not so tough now are you?” Ryan just glared back.

“If you hadn’t noticed, I’m not afraid of you. Go ahead, slit my throat. If that’ll satisfy you and you’ll leave everyone else alone, do it.” Ryan tipped his head back further, tuning out the shocked, strangled sounds coming from behind Jeffry.

When the pressure on his chest and the sharp blade left, he smirked and straightened up. Jeffry was backing away, eyes still fixed on Ryan. Everything was calm for the moment but Ryan knew that the fight wasn’t over, everyone knew that. Spencer met his eyes, grip relaxed on Brendon, and understanding passed between them.

The calm was broken in a flash of movement and a yelp. Jeffry now had Brendon crushed against his chest, knife at his throat. Brendon stood there with wide eyes before the shock melted into anger. It wasn’t safe to fight, though, so he had to stay still and that fact seemed to upset him more. Ryan was pleasantly surprised at the fact that Brendon would have fought if he could, but he was frozen at the same time, not wanting Brendon to get hurt because of anything that he did.

Spencer spit a curse behind him but Ryan didn’t have the courage to turn and look at him. The situation was as delicate as it could be and he didn’t want to make a single wrong move. The last time he’d been in this situation, it hadn’t ended well for anyone but Jeffry. Spencer was walking forward, though, and Ryan thought that he saw a glint of metal in Spencer’s hand. “Let him go unless you want a dart in your eye,” he warned. Ryan looked and saw that Spencer really did have a dart in his hand that he was ready to throw.

Jeffry let Brendon go and Brendon went immediately back to Ryan, standing close. He was obviously able to tell that this was all about Ryan to Jeffry. “I don’t care about him, I want the Satisfier. Just give him to me and you can all go back to the party.”

“What do you want him for? What do you think that he’s going to get you?” Brendon demanded, standing his ground. He was tense and completely focused on Jeffry.

“I want him gone,” Jeffry replied, looking bored. Spencer was just as tense as Brendon and Ryan wondered why he didn’t just do something about the terrorist who was standing in front of them, demanding Ryan. Spencer met his eyes, then, and Ryan understood.

The other boy was waiting to see what else Jeffry might say. He also didn’t want to kill him, he wanted to arrest him so Jeffry could actually pay for every shitty thing that he’d done instead of just being on probation. To move things along, Ryan stepped forward.

“Ryan,” Brendon hissed. There were too many emotions in his voice and on his face for Ryan to take a guess at which one he was feeling. Ryan was right between both sides, four feet separating him from each. Jeffry was watching him carefully like he was trying to figure out the trick that Ryan was trying to pull. Ryan took a few more steps toward the Head Performer, head held high.

Jeffry smirked and grabbed him as soon as he was in reach. Ryan tried not to move in the grip to betray the fact that he was in pain. He couldn’t do anything to make this any worse. “You two can leave now,” Jeffry said, still looking at him. It looked like the wheels were turning in his head to figure out how exactly he wanted to go about killing Ryan.

“What are you going to do to him?” Spencer asked casually. “Actually, why are you getting rid of him? I mean, I understand that he stands in your way with Brendon, but you’re the Head Performer, you don’t even have to pay him any mind. Brendon’s yours, you can just take him, lock him up or something. Seriously, Ryan doesn’t seem like much of a threat.”

“You’re his friend.”

“I’m an Assassin. I don’t make friends.”

“You were defending the both of them a few minutes ago.”

“Unfortunate oversight in judgment on my part.”

“So why are you helping me?”

“I’m just trying to call everyone to reason. It’s my job to kill people. I just think that you could do something better with him. Maybe the Head of Heads would be more lenient toward you if you pleaded your case to him. You could get sympathy from plenty of people by telling them about this whole ordeal.” Ryan wasn’t able to see Spencer, but he could tell that it was convincing because it looked like Jeffry was seriously considering an alternative to killing him.

“What do you suggest?”

“Take him down to the party and confront the Head of Heads about him.” Jeffry nodded and Ryan felt better. They could expose Jeffry as the murderous, selfish asshole that he was and something more drastic could be done about him.

“You and Brendon lead the way.” Jeffry stepped to the side, keeping a tight grip on Ryan. Spencer grabbed Brendon’s arm though it didn’t look necessary. Brendon knew exactly what was going on and he played his expected part perfectly. He followed Spencer stiffly and cast his eyes over to Ryan. They looked worried and tense, but Ryan could see the confidence in them.

When the other two had disappeared, Jeffry roughly jerked his shoulder forward to get him to move. Ryan gritted his teeth and held himself back from glaring at the Performer. He was glad that this was going to be over soon. Out in the hallway, Jeffry stopped again and motioned for Brendon and Spencer to go first down the hallway to descend the stairs to get to the rest of the party. Obviously, Jeffry had learned to be careful after seeing all that had happened the previous day. He wasn’t taking any chances.

Ryan wasn’t exactly sure what Spencer was planning on doing when they got down to the rest of the party, but he knew that he was safe. For one thing, Ryan knew that Jon would never do anything that would hurt him. He also knew that the Head of Heads would do whatever Spencer said without question. There was really nothing to worry about.

On the fourth level, Spencer and Brendon stopped abruptly and Jeffry roughly pulled Ryan back so he was right by his side. Ryan heard the approaching steps that the other two must have heard to make them stop. Silence settled around the four of them and the footsteps got closer. Ryan wondered why Jeffry didn’t pull them all into one of the rooms to keep them from being discovered, but it didn’t matter when the footsteps reached the staircase leading to their level.

Mason, Alistair, and a slightly behind Erik stopped short when they saw the four of them. The other three looked shocked, but Mason lost that in a minute and his expression darkened. He looked directly at Jeffry and the grip on Ryan’s arm loosened a little bit. Still, he stayed close to see what was going to happen.

The Lead Dancer raised one arm, revealing the silver and white mask that he held. “You fucking liar. Granted, I’ve always figured that you were lying about being the Head Performer considering the fact that you have next to no talent. Apparently your acting is pretty top notch, though, when you take into account how long you’ve managed to keep this up.” The venom was all directed at Jeffry and Ryan looked over to see that the Performer had stilled completely, gaze locked on the mask that Mason was holding.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Bullshit. I don’t know exactly how you pulled it off with that mask to make it look legitimate, but I know that you’re lying because we found this in your quarters,” Alistair returned, stepping up behind Mason and glaring just as hard as the dancer. Coming from the normally cheery actor, it looked even more threatening.

“It’s not possible to keep a Head away from their position without there being some kind of evidence that they need to be there. We know that you’re making all of this up because when we found this we noticed a little note on the edge. I think you know what it says, but no one else does.” Mason now looked at Jeffry like he was challenging him to something.

Jeffry must have taken the challenge because he rushed at Mason. Mason probably saw it coming because he quickly turned and slid down the stairs on the banister to get down to the third floor with Jeffry going after him immediately. Brendon and the other Performers followed right behind. Ryan and Spencer had no choice, plus, Ryan really wanted to see how this was going to go, so they were hot on everyone else’s tails.

Already, Mason was on his way to the second floor and that’s where the chase seemed to stop. Ryan and Spencer were able to see the whole thing perfectly. Jeffry was really close to Mason as the other Performer seemed to slow a little as he approached the second floor, so Jeffry was able to reach Mason easily with the knife in his hand. The other five saw perfectly how the knife sunk into Mason’s side, ripping open more as the Performer’s momentum carried him forward, then it was ripped out again.

Simultaneously, Mason stopped, staggered, and fell and Brendon cried out, rushing forward. Jeffry bent down to take the mask from Mason but the Performer was still clinging to it stubbornly with his obviously wavering strength and Jeffry kicked him to get him to let it go. Brendon turned on Jeffry then and Ryan could see the absolute anger and pain in the boy’s eyes. Ryan knew that he shouldn’t, but he was tempted to urge Brendon on. Hell, he wanted to help attack Jeffry because Mason had been one of his favorite people at the Performers’ building, and Mason was like Brendon’s older brother/father figure.

Erik and Alistair already had it covered, though. They pushed Brendon aside and launched themselves at Jeffry. Ryan was already there to hold Brendon back because, sure, being angry and having fuel made fighting easier, but Brendon didn’t know shit about fighting and he didn’t feel like chancing anything. The other two had tackled Jeffry and had him pinned to the ground, punching and elbowing him. Jeffry was fighting back, using the knife when he could get that arm free.

Spencer was right beside Ryan and he pulled the other two away from Jeffry. It only took one hard look for them to stop protesting and to just go along with his direction. Jeffry got up and started running, but Spencer simply threw the dart that he’d had earlier, hitting the back of Jeffry’s knees. The Performer fell forward and Spencer went to go get him muttering something about not knowing if that would work.

Brendon had finally stopped fighting against Ryan’s hold and Ryan loosened it a little. Alistair and Erik were kneeling on the ground by Mason, trying to stop up the blood that was still spilling out of the gash in his side. While Erik did that, Alistair was busy straightening out Mason’s legs and pushing them together, then he maneuvered the boy’s arms so they were bent and his right hand was resting on his left wrist over his diaphragm. Brendon pressed closer into Ryan, still watching while Ryan watched, too, tightening his grip on the boy again but for comfort now.

All of the make-up was already gone from the Performer’s face for whatever reason and when Alistair removed his mask, setting it on his chest right above his clasped hands. Brendon dropped his head and Ryan looked up to see that—unbeknownst to all of them—everyone who had been down at the party was crowded around the stairs. Spencer was talking to Jon off to the side, looking like he was explaining everything, and everyone else was looking at the solemn affair of the Performers getting one of their own ready for death.

The rise and fall of Mason’s chest was even fainter than before and everyone knew that it wouldn’t be too long. He was trying to open his eyes but Alistair kept whispering for him to just relax and let it go. Then the Medic that Ryan and Jon had talked to pushed forward. Behind her were a few others and they all stepped closer to Mason, kneeling down and trying to get close enough to look at him.

“Would you just get away? He’s dying, anyone can tell that,” Alistair snapped, shoving one of them aside. There was a large cut on his own arm and some blood up on his forehead just under his hair, but he didn’t seem to notice any of it. Erik, too, had some gashes, but he was busy wrestling one of the Medics away.

“Yes, he is dying and he will die if you don’t let us look at him. There’s still something that I could do to save him if we get him to the Medics’ building right now,” the Medic that Ryan knew snapped back, her arms crossed. That seemed to stun Alistair and Erik and they both stopped fighting, giving the other Medics just enough room and time to move in and prepare to move Mason.

They stood up, supporting Mason between all of them and they started away to the doors. Everyone moved out of their way and Alistair and Erik seemed to still be in shock, just watching them go. “Honestly, you Performers are sometimes dramatic to the point of stupidity.” She looked at all of them in turn, lingering a little on Ryan, before she shook her head and followed the group that had Mason.

Everyone started talking in hushed voices about what had just happened. “There’s a problem with that statement, though,” Jeffry said from where he was restrained on the floor by some invisible thing that Spencer had used. All eyes were on him and he smirked a little, not looking like he even noticed the fact that he was motionless on the floor. “That, is not a Performer.” He nodded at Ryan. “And he isn’t wearing a disguise, I would know.

“You see,” Jeffry carried on, “I’ve seen him in disguise and when he’s in disguise, he looks like a Performer. He was sneaking into the Performers’ building for three weeks, dressed as a Performer and participating in our business and our performances. Not only was he doing that, and not what the lights chose for him to do when he was born, but he also seduced and tricked that boy that’s standing next to him, the one that I love and decided that I wanted, effectively stealing him from me.” People gasped and looked at Ryan as if they’d forgotten that they’d just seen Jeffry stab Mason and almost kill him.

Brendon stepped forward, though, with that same anger that Ryan had seen earlier flashing in his eyes. “Ryan didn’t seduce me, or trick me. I went to him willingly because Jeffry is a liar and a cruel leader. He doesn’t care for the welfare of any of the people in the building and he repeatedly used fear and mild violence to get people to do what he wanted. Jeffry’s a power hungry asshole, that’s all he ever wanted, just like Andrew. He doesn’t deserve to be Head Performer.

“Then there’s the fact that Ryan, Satisfier or Performer or whatever skin he wears, is the one who exposed Andrew and made it possible for Jon to be in charge now. He’s the one who came up with everything that got the city out of where it was. Ryan’s the reason why all of your lives are going to get better so you should still be thanking him instead of standing there and criticizing him because he stepped out of the box to fix his own problems, and everyone else’s.” His eyes were still blazing, but he fell silent and simply looked at the gathered crowd as if daring them to contradict him or raise another problem with Ryan.

Ryan had never heard him sound like that and he was flattered and taken aback that Brendon got that angry over him. He kissed the Performer on the cheek to show his thanks, smiling when Brendon blushed a little and smiled back.

“The whole thing with Brendon and Jeffry doesn’t matter anyway,” Alistair said. He had the mask that Mason had been holding and he stepped closer. “He doesn’t have anything on Brendon because he isn’t the Head Performer.” No one looked surprised, but they all looked extremely interested and invested at this point.

“Brendon was right about Jeffry not deserving the title. Our hypothesis is that Jeffry somehow planned that he would be the one who was there when the last Head Performer died. He made that mask that he has now and hid it somewhere so he could get it when the Head died. It didn’t matter who the Head Performer said was the new one because Jeffry was the only one who heard it. To cover it all up, he hid the real mask that materialized in the late Head’s hands because each mask only fits the one person who’s supposed to wear it. But, the other thing that a Head’s mask does when it isn’t worn by its intended owner for a long time is reveal who it belongs to,” Erik explained, saying more words at one time than Ryan had ever heard. There was a glint in his eyes, too, that proved that he was completely present, there wasn’t a part of his mind that was drifting away.

Alistair smiled. “That’s right. This is the real mask for the Head Performer. We found it in Jeffry’s room, pretty well-hidden and obviously moved around several times. The reason we know that it’s the real thing is because of the name right here on the inside. It’s small, but it’s undeniable what it says.” Alistair tipped the mask so that Spencer could see it and Spencer nodded, confirming the fact that he could read it perfectly. It was the same for Jon. Alistair smiled again and stepped forward so he was right in front of Brendon and Ryan. He held the mask out.

“Congratulations, Bren. It’s long overdue, but here you go, your mask.” Alistair said that all quietly, beaming at the dark-haired Performer as he slowly reached out to take the mask. When it was safely transferred, Alistair looked up and raised his voice. “Brendon is the real Head Performer. It makes much more sense, really. He’s the most talented, most devoted Performer in the building, I think everyone would agree.”

All of the Performers that were gathered nodded and made quiet noises of affirmation. They all seemed excited and were looking at Brendon expectantly. Brendon was still staring at the mask in his hands, looking like he was in his own world. Slowly, he removed the mask that was on his face and Ryan took it from him when he held it out. Again, he studied the mask, much like how Jon had the previous night. There were a few minutes where he appeared to be thinking and finally he lifted it up to put it on his face.

Instantly, the rest of the Performers cheered and swarmed. Ryan smiled a little and touched Brendon on the back before slipping out of the crowd of celebrating, ecstatic Performers. It did look like a mask that the Head of the Performers would wear with the two points that stuck up over Brendon’s head. Ryan smiled as Brendon was grinning again and talking excitedly to the other Performers. It looked right on him.

Jon and Spencer walked up behind him then and Jon raised his voice over the sound of the Performers. Everyone quieted down and turned to see whatever it was that Jon had to say to them. “Now seems like the most appropriate time to make this announcement. Jeffry was right when he said that Ryan’s not a Performer and that he’s actually a Satisfier, right Ryan?”

Ryan nodded a little bit, suddenly feeling uncomfortable. Jon wasn’t going to hurt him or anything, he knew that, but why was he bringing this up? Why did they have to keep talking about this? Jon just nodded back at him, looking like he knew what he was doing when he turned back to everyone else.

“He’s been a Performer, though, a very good one if any of you remember correctly.” There were little sounds of agreement going through the crowd. Jon turned his attention back to Ryan and stepped forward a little to make it seem as if this was just something between the two of them. “You’ve more than proven that you’re more than a Satisfier. You’re probably more than a Performer, too, but you obviously want that life.” Ryan nodded again because he didn’t think that he was even capable of speech. “There is no way to make you a Performer. You can’t trade your Satisfier skin for a Performer skin. There is something that you can do, though. You can live life as a Performer, much like you did for those three weeks only you don’t have to sneak in and out of the building. You can live there and work there and wear the Performer skin that you have all of the time.” Ryan felt his eyes grow and he felt the eyes of everyone else looking at him. Jon smiled a little bit. “The Head Performer and the Head Satisfier have to give you their consent.”

Even though it was unnecessary, Ryan turned to look at Brendon. The boy nodded calmly but the bright spark in his eyes and the way his body shook a little bit betrayed his excitement. Ryan smiled a little bit, but turned around again to see the Head Satisfier, looking like he’d been standing there for a while.

Ryan walked over and stopped right in front of him, looking up solemnly. He took his mask off—as it had rematerialized on his face after all this time having it off—and rested it on the top of his head as the Head Satisfier did the same. They looked at each other and it looked like the Head Satisfier was trying to find words to say what he wanted to. He raised his eyes to look at all of the Performers who were still gathered from their celebration of Brendon, then he dropped his eyes back to Ryan. “You really want to be a Performer don’t you?” Ryan nodded. “I understand that you went through a lot of trouble in order to be one.” He reached out and traced one of the dried cuts that Jeffry had left earlier. “I’ve always known that you didn’t like being a Satisfier. That’s why I called you to me so often, you know. I wanted to help you, to get you used to the idea and show you that it wasn’t so bad. I just wanted to protect you and make sure that you were okay.”

Ryan gave him a look, not wanting to believe it. The Head Satisfier just returned it with a look of his own. “You and I both know that I could have done much worse. I know that you probably hate me, not without good reason, I just wanted to make sure you were okay and that you knew everything that you could get into when you went out.” Ryan nodded, knowing that everything that the Satisfier said was right.

“You belong with the Performers, though. I’ve seen your performances and you really are good and it looks like you really love it. I’ve always liked you, since I first met you I felt like I needed to help you… I give you my consent to be a Performer.” There was a small smile on the Head Satisfier’s face and a soft look in his eye. Ryan put his arms around the other man’s neck and smiled a little when he felt the other man return the hug.

“Thank you, Wyatt,” he whispered, stepping away with a smile on his own face. He didn’t hate the other anymore, now knowing that he was still Wyatt, still the boy who took care of and watched out for him. Really, he should have figured that out before, but there wasn’t much that he could do about it now. Wyatt just nodded and motioned for him to go back to Brendon. Ryan did and looked over at Jon.

“That settles it then. Go ahead.” The Head of Heads motioned for him to take out the disguise cube that he must know that Ryan had. Ryan reached into a pocket and took it out, having picked it up when he dodged Jeffry the first time. He looked down at it and took a breath before opening the cube and releasing the lights.

Ryan could hear the gasps and sounds of awe from everyone gathered and he just let the lights wrap around his body in that way that he’d become so familiar with. Then the lights faded away and he was standing in front of everyone as a Performer again.

People were gaping at him but he didn’t mind. Ryan turned back to Brendon and saw a proud smile on his face. It looked kind of like he wanted to kiss him, but he was holding himself back.

“I think that the party will be over now. I want to go check on the Performer that we saw almost killed here in front of us and I think that it would be best if this Performer was taken into Holding. If anyone else wants to come visit Mason, feel free to come along,” Jon said. He looked happy again and it was great because everything was under control.

Everyone ended up coming along to the Medics’ building to see how Mason was doing. All of the Medics that were there were overwhelmed to say the least. Not everyone was allowed actually in his room to see him, most having to look behind the windows.

Mason was awake when Ryan, Brendon, Jon, Alistair, Erik, Laura, and Mike walked into the room and he brightened up considerably. “I was hoping that I got to see you in that mask,” he said to Brendon, looking extremely happy. “How did Jeffry react?” he turned to Alistair and Erik to get the answer, looking eager.

“He didn’t really have much of a reaction because Spencer had him restrained really well, especially after spouting off about Ryan and how he isn’t really a Performer, which is totally true. It turns out that he’s really a Satisfier and he’s got this little cube that he unfolds and he’s dressed like a Performer again. It’s all okay, though, because Jon said that he could still live and work as a Performer if Brendon and the Head Satisfier said that it was okay and both did so Ryan gets to stay with us,” Alistair rattled off, excitement gleaming in his eyes. “It was really, really cool. Brendon stood up for him and everything when the secret was out, pointing out how he was the one who changed everything and that it doesn’t matter that he’s really a Satisfier.”

Mason looked at them all skeptically. “Prove it, then.” There was a challenge in his eyes and Ryan wasn’t sure if the other Performer was kidding. Brendon, it seemed, didn’t care because he grabbed Ryan by the upper arms and kissed him hard on the mouth. Surprised but not displeased, Ryan put his arms around Brendon’s neck and kissed back, not even paying attention to the lights around him.

“Cool,” Mason breathed. Ryan pulled away to get air and saw all of the Performers staring at him. He remembered that they hadn’t seen that part yet. Alistair was wide-eyed and Ryan could almost see the wheels turning in his head.

“We have got to use something like that for our shows, the dancers could use it, too.” The Lead Actor turned excitedly toward Mason and it looked like he had the same idea.

“Yeah, he’s definitely going to be okay,” Brendon said, resting his forehead against Ryan’s. “Already they’re planning for another week.” Ryan just smiled back.

“I’m glad because I get to be a part of this plan, now.” Brendon just smiled and they both turned back to listen to the three masters planning out another show, exchanging looks with Jon and Laura and Mike and Spencer as he’d somehow showed up at Jon’s side without any of them noticing.


Two weeks later, everything was flourishing. With Jon as Head of Heads, things did start changing, most for the better. He went in and untangled the problems that each division expressed when he’d gone around and asked people about them. There were a few rough spots and some things that he messed up a little on, but everyone was willing to give him time for experimentation.

His idea about meeting with the Heads of each division worked wonders. He got all of his information from the source. That didn’t stop him from going out into the streets and asking people about any concerns that they might have. Quality of life improved, moods improved, everyone felt better now. Jon was the most hands on Head of Heads in years.

The days of the performances were great ideas and great days. All of the performances were able to be longer and they got to showcase some more complicated things. The people in the city also liked having the whole day to talk with each other and interact and not have to worry about working, though there wasn’t much to worry about.

“How’s Wyatt?” Brendon inquired right by Ryan’s ear. It was just after performance day and they were sitting in Brendon’s secret box, watching everyone else and talking.

“He said that he’s alright. He also said that there isn’t anything new going on at the Satisfiers’ building. He always wants me to talk about what’s going on here, says that it’s much more interesting to talk about something that he doesn’t know anything about instead of something that we both know about and neither of us is interested in talking about. Wyatt also said to say hi to you, even though you’ll be going to the big meeting tomorrow.” Ryan could almost feel Brendon’s smile in his hair.

After the performances, Wyatt always came up to talk to him. It was just like the other Performers whose parents or friends from other divisions would talk to them even from before the big change. It was nice to talk to Wyatt as a friend and to actually be his friend. Somehow Ryan had always missed that Wyatt really did care about him.

They were distracted for a minute by Mason impatiently yelling directions at the dancers about the new dance. He wasn’t able to dance himself yet, the Medics said that it would be another two or three weeks, but that didn’t stop Mason from doing things with the dances. Now he watched and directed from a chair. Unfortunately, his direction didn’t always make sense and he had to get Alistair, Brendon, or Ryan to show them how it was supposed to look. Erik was smart enough to stay away and Laura and Mike always claimed that they were busy with their own dance and did Mason really want to interrupt that?

Ryan smiled a little bit at the misfortune of the younger Performers who were subject to Mason’s impatience and perfectionism. Brendon was laughing a little, too, but it trailed off quickly. “What’s up?” Ryan asked, not exactly concerned.

“Remember when you told me about how Laura and Mike were able to tell that you weren’t a Performer?” the other boy asked, sounding like he was thinking of something.

“Yeah. What about it?”

“I know how they were able to tell.” Ryan just made an interested noise and Brendon went on. “They were away from the Performers for a while and they were able to see what other people outside of the building were like. They figured out that Performers act a lot different from other people and they were probably able to see that in you. No one else noticed because they didn’t know that you were any different.” Ryan nodded, it made sense.

“Along those lines, it’s a good idea that everyone kind of has to go outside at some point.”

“I want everyone to know how things work out there.” Ryan smiled and kissed Brendon’s neck.

“You were fine out there, always. No one held anything against you for not knowing what was going on,” Ryan assured him.

“You’re right,” Brendon said absently. The Performers down below were starting to break up to go to bed after the long day and, as per usual, they were wondering where he and Brendon were. Ryan rolled his eyes and Brendon sighed good-naturedly.

“He’s fine and he’ll be here tomorrow when we all come down. Just get a move on,” Alistair’s voice could be heard over all of them.

“That’s one of the reasons why I love him,” Brendon said, getting up from the chair that he was in and extending a hand to Ryan. Ryan took it and they walked to the door together, on their way to their own bed.

“I know exactly what you mean,” Ryan responded. They were crossing the newly vacated practice floor, on their way to the Head Performers’ quarters. Brendon reached out and moved the panel that hid the staircase and they ascended the stairs. At the top was a good sized room that had already been redecorated from when Jeffry was residing there. Everything was black and red and silver. It was an odd combination but Ryan really liked it and thought that it worked.

Brendon sighed happily and went to lie down on the king-sized bed that the room had. Ryan joined him and they just lay there side by side, looking up at the ceiling that was decorated like the night sky. Over in the corner was an exact replica of the fountain that Ryan loved so much. It was smaller, but it looked exactly the same. He still went out to the real one to feel that sensation of time stopping, but this was nice for when he didn’t have time.

Ryan smiled, feeling at home. He turned so he was over Brendon, holding himself up by his arms with his hands positioned on either side of the Performer’s head. Brendon smiled up at him and laughed a little, pulling Ryan down to him.

The Performer skin slid off of his body but it never alarmed him anymore. He just smiled into the kiss and kissed back. Brendon moved up to the head of the bed and leaned away to smile at him and say, “I love you.”

Ryan kissed him again, pressing him a bit further into the mattress and shifting so he was straddling him properly. “I love you, too.”

Tomorrow he was going to see Jon and Spencer, two of his best friends, and he was going to work on the performances that he was going to do, and he was going to be with Brendon. He wasn’t ashamed anymore and he wasn’t scared and he didn’t feel miserable. Now he was happy and he was confident and he had friends that were all very different from each other but that all liked him. Now Ryan had Brendon and a life that he loved and everything was finally good.

Well, this is the end and I didn't think that I would be sad but I am. Also, I was going to kill Mason even from the beginning and I kept telling myself not to get too attached to him because I was going to kill him and I was all set to do it, then I wrote the last chapter and realized that I couldn't do it in this one because I love him way too much. Rate? Review? Thanks for making the first chapter green! I'm still freaking out about that.
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