Categories > Celebrities > Panic! At The Disco > Every Little Thing

It's Not My Time-Three Doors Down

by GealachGirl 2 reviews

Delayed on their way to write their second album, Ryan's stuck holding on and Brendon's still sorting through his feelings.

Category: Panic! At The Disco - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Romance - Published: 2012-12-25 - Updated: 2012-12-26 - 9399 words - Complete

IT’S NOT MY TIME-Three Doors Down

Touring was over. They decided that it was high time to come up with a new album so they stopped planning tours out and made the announcement on their website. Writing was hard on the road but they did have the basis for a few songs. To expand upon what they had, they went back to Vegas and Ryan’s house. The four of them spent quite a few summer nights in the backyard, talking about what they wanted to do and building on what they already had.

They all wanted something completely different from the first album. It had to be something that matched the point they were at in their lives and they wanted to just mess with the fans by turning the style completely around.

Songs came out easily enough but they were still having some difficulties. They got distracted easily, so as a group, they decided that they should isolate themselves from the rest of the world. After some looking around, they found a cabin in the mountains that suited their needs perfectly. It wasn’t completely inaccessible so if something went wrong they weren’t completely on their own, but it was well away from the rest of society. They would hopefully be able to get a lot done up there.

They made plans along the lines of how long they were staying, when they were leaving, what they were taking with them equipment-wise, and what they would try to accomplish once there. After just a week or so of planning they were all set to leave on Friday night.

“For the last time, we have everything now, right?” Spencer asked, standing by the door with his suitcases. For the last half hour they’d been ready, then they realized they forgot something and they went back for it. It had happened at least three times. The worst part was that after each time, they stayed inside for a while to make sure they had everything. To be perfectly honest, it was kind of sad.

“Yes, I’m positive,” Jon said, carrying the bag that was what they’d gone in after.

“Yet, that’s what somebody said last time, too,” Spencer pointed out, looking back at Brendon.

“Hey, it’s not my fault that Jon forgot his precious whatever it is that’s in that bag,” Brendon said, walking by Spencer, through the door. “I thought that we were done.” He walked to the van and took the keys out of his pocket. They were driving to the airport where they would get a plane to take them as close as they could get to the mountains. Then they would take a helicopter up. This sabbatical was exciting and expensive.

“Ryan, get your skinny ass out here, we’re ready to go!” Spencer yelled inside.

“Coming, mother,” the older boy replied, walking through the door. Spencer visibly rolled his eyes and shut the door, following behind Ryan.

Ryan got in the passenger side and got settled in, flashing Brendon a quick look of amusement at Spencer’s antsy-ness. Brendon returned it with his own and he turned his head, “Hey, Spin, calm down a little. Everything’s going to be fine. The helicopter isn’t allowed to leave without us and there’s plenty of time before the plane leaves.”

“I just want to get going,” the younger boy grumbled.

“Really? We hadn’t guessed,” Jon commented, looking over at Spencer with an amused and exasperated face, a look that Jon Walker could pull off very well after all the practice that he’d had.

Brendon turned the key in the ignition, smiling. This was the life. He backed out of the driveway and pulled out onto the road while Ryan turned the stereo on and conversation started up around him. Not too much later, they were on the highway, on the way to the airport.

The stereo was really loud and they were all singing along to the Blink songs that were pouring out of the speakers. It was a mix tape series and they were on the Blink 182 section of the first disk. There was a total of seven CD’s with a large variety of bands on them. It was perfect road trip entertainment. The loud music didn’t stop them from having conversations under the music, though, it was hard and probably pretty stupid but they couldn’t care less. It was one of those moments where Brendon felt that everything was perfect. They were doing the right thing and everything was going the way it was supposed to. He smiled bigger and sang along louder, drumming along on the steering wheel.

They were coasting downhill and past a side road when the world exploded, descended into chaos. There was a shattering sound and a crunching sound and a cracking sound. Brendon couldn’t make head or tail of anything, except to know that they’d been hit and the car was rolling. He felt things hit him, none too hard, and he could hear a yelp from the back.

When the car finally settled, it was on its roof and he was hanging by his seatbelt. His eyes were wide and he was breathing raggedly through his mouth. There was pain but it felt distant to him, he figured it was the fear and adrenaline that masked it. “Oh-oh my God,” he panted, reaching up and feeling his head. His fingers dipped into a large cut and came away bright red. He could feel glass specks in his face, and he gently wiped them away, feeling the thin lines of blood coming away, like the kind that came from razor nicks. There was more but he heard a groan from the back and was jerked back into the seat to whip his head around. “Jon? Spencer? Ryan? You guys okay?”

“Brendon?” Spencer’s voice yelled up; edged with hysteria and panic. “Oh God, I-I’m fine, are you okay?”

“Y-yeah I think so. I’ll be okay for now, anyway. What about Jon?” he asked, as Jon had been sitting on the side of the car that had been hit.

“Bren?” came a hoarse voice from the back.


“Yeah, oh thank God you’re okay,” the voice was still weak.

“How you doing, buddy?”

“Oh you know, blood loss, possible head injury, some lacerations, and there’s a broken bone or two,” came the reply through gritted teeth. “Spin, you can reach your phone, wanna call the ambulance for us?”

“Yeah, yeah, hold on,” Spencer said, voice gentle, not returning the sarcasm for once. Obviously he was worried.

Brendon looked over toward Ryan, realizing that he hadn’t tuned in yet, worry climbing. “Ry? Ryan?” It was really dark in the ditch where they rested and he couldn’t see the other boy very well. “Ryan Ross! Goddammit, answer me!” Tears were welling up. He reached out, painfully, toward the other side of the car and felt something sticky, pulling his hand away, he saw much more blood than he had earlier, enough to completely coat his fingers. “Fuck,” he breathed, then he whipped his head to the back, in Spencer’s general direction. “Hurry up with the ambulance. I don’t think Ryan’s conscious and there’s a lot of blood.” He wasn’t going to voice the possibility that the other boy might not even be alive.

“They’re on their way,” Spencer said, snapping his phone shut, sounding just as worried as Brendon was. There was nothing from Jon but Brendon knew that he was worried too, probably just in too much pain to answer.

“Ryan, come on, come on. Wake up and say something, please,” he muttered as they were all silent and waiting. It was tense and the atmosphere was heavy with all of their worry. He could feel the blood trickling down his head but he couldn’t make himself care about anything other than his friend who was unconscious on the side of the car that had been hit.

“Brendon, calm the fuck down. You’re not helping anything,” Spencer reprimanded from the back, voice tight.

He nodded to himself and tried to move his legs, but found that they were trapped under the whole steering column. Oddly, he didn’t panic about it at all, he just accepted it. Perhaps it was his brain shutting down, like it was already done with emotions for the night.

Sirens came wailing and suddenly everything around them was lit up red and blue. He could hear the shouting and suddenly there was a paramedic kneeling down by his broken window, shining a flashlight inside. The man saw that his eyes were open, squinting against the bright light and said, “Sir, are you okay?” He was eyeing the gash on his head and his trapped legs and seemed to be taken aback by his calm composure.

“I’m fine, we’re all fine, but my friend,” he pointed to his left. “He needs help, he’s not conscious and there’s a lot of blood.” Now the hysteria was bubbling up again.

The man briefly shone his flashlight past Brendon to where Ryan was. Brendon couldn’t look. “I’ll be right back, Sir. Don’t worry, we’ll get you all out of this just fine,” the paramedic said, getting up and calling more people over. Brendon breathed a small sigh.

“You two still doing okay back there?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Just wonderful,” Spencer answered. “Not sure about Jon, but it sounds like he’s breathing okay and everything.”

“Great,” he muttered. In the light, he looked over at Ryan and his mouth dropped open, eyes widening to the size of dollar coins. There was blood everywhere. It was in the other boy’s hair, on his forehead, pooled up around his right ear and dripping down the side of his face, and he was practically lying in a pool of it, his cheek and left shoulder in a dark red puddle, the rest too dark to see. The twenty one year old’s eyes were shut and he was completely limp, turned on his side in the seat, lying against the roof that had become the floor since the seatbelt seemed to have snapped. Brendon strained his eyes desperately to look for the rise and fall of his friend’s chest.

The paramedics came back. The one from before knelt down beside him again, saying something that he couldn’t hear. All of the windows were mostly broken and the trained professionals were breaking the rest of the glass out of the frames so they could safely put their arms in. The first guy’s voice broke through his concentration.

“Sir, we’re going to get you out of the car, okay? Just stay calm, alright?” he asked, calmly. Brendon nodded his head.

“My legs are trapped. I can move, but my legs are trapped.” The paramedic nodded and opened the door, reaching inside and probing down to see how crumpled the column was, to see if it was possible to remove him. He shook his head and shoved the man away though. “Don’t worry about me, I’m conscious, obviously I’m fine. He’s the one you should be getting out first. He’s actually in trouble. Please, listen to me,” he pleaded, pointing to Ryan.

“They’re helping your friends right now. Let me help you out of the car. We don’t know that your legs are fine.”

“They are. I’m not on the side that got hit. Ryan was though. Go help your people, the more the better.”

“Brendon, let him do his job. Calm down, they’re taking care of it,” Spencer’s voice drifted up to the front.

“How the fuck can you say that?! Ryan’s in serious trouble!”

“Sir, shield your face,” the paramedic said. Before questioning, Brendon did as he was told and there was the screaming sound of tearing metal that made him cringe. When he took his arms away from his face he saw that the car door was torn off. “Okay, this is going to be pretty easy. The steering column wasn’t crushed much and your legs are only caught on the side of something else.”

There were arms reaching in, supporting him entirely and working his legs out of the car before sliding the rest of him out. They put him on a back board and into a neck brace. “I don’t have a spinal injury, I can move just fine. The only thing I really know that’s wrong is my head,” he protested, trying to sit up. He was only pushed back down.

“It’s just a precaution, sir,” another paramedic said to him, kneeling in front of him and examining his head wound. She put a loose bandage on top of it and secured it. “We’ll clean it up when we get to the emergency room. Now, we’ll do a quick test to make sure that your brain wasn’t damaged.”

He listened mindlessly; doing whatever it was that she told him to do. Brendon wasn’t sure of everything that he did because he was busy watching Spencer and Jon be extracted in much the same way he was. Spencer was absolutely fine, except for a few cuts, and Jon was handled much gentler because he’d been right about the blood loss and broken bones. Ryan was the last one they extracted though, and Brendon knew it was because they didn’t think he was alive.

Brendon watched with bated breath as they tore that door off with the same screeching noise. Very carefully, they reached into the car and there was another backboard on the ground with a stretcher right beside it. Three pairs of arms pulled the long and skinny Ryan Ross out of the demolished passenger side of the car and put him on the backboard. Someone put their fingers to his artery in his neck and waited a long time before finally confirming that he was still alive.

Brendon still couldn’t breathe out, but watched as they hooked his best friend up to IV’s and monitors and an air mask. Then they strapped him, very tightly, to the board and lifted him gently onto the gurney. The blue-clad paramedics lifted the gurney and wheeled it as fast as they could to the back of the ambulance. He was still bleeding a lot and they were doing the best they could to take care of it while they loaded him in.

The brown-haired man’s head was split open somewhere and the whole right side of his face was covered in blood with some glass shards sticking out. His whole right side was cut up pretty bad and his legs actually had been trapped under the dashboard and were bleeding, a little less than his head, but still bleeding. He was completely still and even in the light, Brendon had to look closely to see the faint rise and fall of his chest.

Brendon felt sick to his stomach as he watched. The medics were yelling orders and rushing around because the man was alive and in critical condition, he couldn’t hear a word they were saying though. All of his focus was on the skinny, dying boy. He could feel the tears running down his face and something like a choked sob leaving his throat.

He was vaguely aware of being lifted up into a different ambulance. Spencer was getting into the one with Ryan by himself because he’d somehow convinced the paramedics that he was fine. Jon was bound up tightly and lifted in another ambulance. Then doors slammed shut and he was alone with the medical people who were busy buzzing around him, checking things, hooking him up to machines, and trying to keep him okay.

He had to know though; he reached up and tugged at someone’s sleeve. “Is Ryan okay? W-will he be okay?” he croaked out, voice choked.

A lady smiled down at him. “We’ll know more when we get to the hospital.” At that answer, he wanted to scream and ask what kind of answer that was, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it, things were slowly fading away. He wasn’t going unconscious; he was just fading into an odd feeling of detachment.


They were finally at the hospital, he’d been awake for the whole trip but he couldn’t remember much. Being there though, it made him remember everything that was going on, how Ryan was almost dead; possibly was now. He shook his head, telling himself that he couldn’t think like that.

The paramedics wheeled him out of the ambulance and down a hallway, moving quickly, and putting him at a spot by the wall in the emergency room. They drew the curtains around him so that no one could see him, then they set to work on his head. The people cleaned the gash, and by that point he was so numb to the constant pain that it didn’t really hurt much, just enough to make him grit his teeth and whine a little. Then they did the stitches. That pain was a little more obvious and harder to tune out, but he managed and exhaled fully when they left him with a bandage around his head and his arm hooked up to a small IV that they said would promote blood production since he’d lost a bit more than was okay to let go.

While they were checking and fixing up everything else, he again asked what was happening with Ryan. It took some work before he finally got someone to listen to him, and even then it didn’t help much. All he found out was that they were waiting for results. Results from what? Waiting, why? That was what he wanted to know. Immediately his mind jumped to conclusions, thinking that if they weren’t going to tell him, it meant that Ryan was going to die, or he already had .

With that in mind he lay back down, putting his head on the pillow and he closed his eyes. Brendon tried to remind himself that he had an overactive imagination and they hadn’t said it yet, but there was the part of him that also reminded him of what he’d seen when they’d torn the passenger side door off and told him that it wasn’t that far-fetched of an idea.

They were convinced that he was okay after a while of examinations so they stepped away to go look at other people. Spencer pushed the curtain aside and walked into the space. “How you doing?” he asked quietly, eyes downcast.

“I’m good. How’s Jon?” He didn’t know if Spencer knew, but it was worth asking.

“While they were working on you I was with him. He’ll be okay. He was right about the broken bone and he had quite a bit of blood loss. You know him though; he’s still in a good mood about the whole thing, making jokes and all while they were teaching him to use his crutches and giving him more blood. It was really pretty spirit lifting. We’re all still worried about Ryan though. Do you know anything that’s going on?”

He shook his head. “I was hoping that you would know, since you were in the ambulance with him and all, and not strapped down while people hovered over you and poked things into you.”

Spencer was too worried to roll his eyes. “He was in really bad shape in the ambulance. I couldn’t really understand much of what they were saying. Right now I think they’re waiting to get him into surgery.”

“Why the fuck are they waiting?!” Brendon was outraged.

“They have to get the room set up, Bren. And they have to get all of the doctors. I know that he has to have surgery though, obviously if you saw him. He’s not going in yet, but he will be as soon as they can get him in.” Spencer rushed to soothe him, especially since he was trying to get out of the bed, disturbing the IV that was stuck to him.

“So, he’s not dead?” Brendon asked. He couldn’t get past the fact that his voice sounded pathetically desperate. It didn’t matter much though.

“No, God no, he’s not dead. Though, Brendon, it’s not looking wonderful.”

“Don’t say that, Spencer. Don’t fucking say that,” he said through gritted teeth, squeezing his eyes shut. Spencer just had to say that didn’t he? He could just leave off with ‘no’. He couldn’t let Brendon hope.

Spencer was about to respond when the curtain was swept aside by a paramedic. “Are the two of you with a Mr. Ryan Ross?”

“Yes,” they replied at the same time. Brendon was bolt upright, stiff and alert. Spencer had immediately tensed up to attention as well.

“We’re going to take him into surgery now for his injuries. He’s holding on, but there’s a high chance that he won’t make it. I suggest that you make the necessary arrangements. Surgery will be on for a few hours. Feel free to get anything that you need from the cafeteria,” the tall, dark man said, emotionless. It was like he was used to saying these things to people.

Brendon started to panic again. There was a high chance that Ryan wasn’t going to make it out of surgery alive. There was a high chance that he was going to die. Spencer looked grim as well. “I’m going to go tell Jon,” he said quietly.

When he was gone it was easier to choke back the tears, for some reason. Then a chilling thought entered his mind, trickling down his spine and sending a shockwave of cold through him. It was his fault. He’d been driving and they got hit. They were hit when he was driving. He should have seen whatever it was and avoided it.

He buried his face in his hands and set his elbows on his knees. If Ryan died, he was responsible. The thoughts were enough to shut him off to the rest of the world for a while.


Ryan had been assigned a room while he was in surgery and the three of them moved up there so they weren’t taking up space in the ER. It had been two hours and fifty-two painstaking minutes since he’d gone in and they hadn’t heard anything, the only thing that Brendon knew was that he was going to have an anxiety attack before much longer.

Jon was sitting in a chair, twirling one of his crutches in his hand. “Brendon, do you really think that pacing is going to help anything?” he asked. There was no sarcasm or negativity in his tone, he just sounded sad and probably concerned.

“Yes, it’s going to help me by keeping me from going crazy,” he answered, pausing a second before resuming his pacing across the room. It was the only thing that he could think of doing that wouldn’t drive anyone else out of their minds. It wasn’t working the way he wished it would.

Spencer came back in the room with the requested items from the vending machine. He sat down with his own water and tossed Jon his bag of chips. Brendon was afraid that if he ate something he was going to throw up, but Spencer still got him water, even if he didn’t ask. “I see he’s still at it,” he muttered to Jon.

Brendon didn’t care; he just ignored it and kept going. Then the door opened and a bed was wheeled into the room. The nurses steered it over to the wall and immediately they began to hook Ryan up to two IV’s, a heart monitor, and finally they fixed an air mask over his nose and mouth, turning on the machine that would help him breathe. All three of them froze, eyes fixed on the scene.

The nurses hovered around, doing other checks of his vitals, probably not for the first time. Ryan had a big bandage pad on the right side of his face that went up to wind around his head. There were dark blue and black bruises on his face, around his eyes and nose. His right arm was wrapped in a white gauzy bandage as was his left shoulder and wrist. He could also see the top of a bandage wrapped around Ryan’s chest, visible behind the part in the hospital robe. There was definitely more but he couldn’t see the rest, it was either hidden under the hospital gown or the blanket.

One of the nurses, one in green scrubs, turned to address them. “Well, after quite some trouble, he’s still alive. He’s a stubborn one,” Spencer rolled his eyes a little. “There’s still a chance that things could go bad from here, but we’re all quite sure that by this point he’s going to survive. In the collision, we’ve determined that the other driver crashed directly into him. His ribs were broken, some snapped by the collision or the seatbelt, they punctured his lungs in several places, we went in and reattached each rib and repaired each hole. The glass embedded itself in the side of his face and his arm; we extracted the shards and stitched up any serious cuts. On the left side of his body he dislocated his shoulder and fractured his wrist, both have been fixed. Something hit his head, creating a gash approximately three inches long that we’ve stitched up. His legs weren’t bad, only cut, deeply in some places, and we fixed that all up. Miraculously, he didn’t have any other broken bones, internal organ problems, or internal bleeding. After a very nerve-wracking surgery, he’s come out alive, quite against the odds.” Her eyes were shining and it was clear that she was rather proud of this operation.

“Well, we have been known to defy the odds,” Jon said quietly with a grin that almost split his face in two.

Brendon could only gape, eyes wide, mouth hanging open. He could feel a hysterical laugh rise up in his throat but he swallowed it down. Ryan was alive. He was alive after all that had happened, all of his injuries. He was alive and he was going to recover and he wasn’t dead. Brendon was so suddenly ecstatic that he couldn’t get his thoughts in order.

The nurses were still talking but his own thoughts had become loud enough to drown them out. In happy relief, he dropped back into a chair and held his head between his hands, all of the worry and nervous adrenaline rushing out of his body. He didn’t have the strength to stand anymore. The nightmare was over for now.

Eventually the nurses did leave, after doing one last check on everything with Ryan. At that point, Brendon looked up again to survey his friend without the people hovering around him and after a few minutes of actually being able to see him again. This time, what he saw made him gasp.

It was a miracle that Ryan had survived and that he was okay for the most part, but the sight was breathtaking, and not in the good way. The other boy was bandaged up from head to toe, his skin was deathly pale, his eyelids were almost translucent and Brendon could swear that he saw almost all of Ryan’s veins anywhere under his skin. His heart dropped out and he was struck with his earlier thought.

“It’s my fault,” he whispered aloud, to no one in particular. Spencer whipped his head around though and Jon repositioned himself in his chair so they were both looking at him.

“Brendon,” Spencer said softly, going over to him. “Do you honestly think that?” he gestured to the whole hospital room. He knew that he was going to get a lecture but he nodded anyway. It was undeniable.

“It’s not, Bren. It really isn’t,” Jon supplied.

“I was driving. I should have seen that guy coming; I should have been able to avoid it. It’s my fault that we’re here and that Ryan is on the edge of death and we’re not going to be in the mountains at the right time. And Jon, you have broken bones and cuts. It’s my fault,” he said, dropping his head back into his hands. Facing the truth hurt.

“Hey. The police have been going over it, getting reports and stuff because, surprisingly, there actually were witnesses. They said that the man was drunk and driving way over the speed limit when he crashed into us,” Spencer said consolingly.

“You’d have had to be psychic to see him coming and avoid him. Brendon, it would have happened to anybody who’d been driving. If anyone else had been driving it could still be Ryan in that bed; or it could be you, or Spencer, or me. B, it’s not your fault,” Jon said, looking at him sadly.

He shook his head. “It’s still my fault.” Spencer grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him around to look him dead in the eye.

“This is not your fault at all. It was a freak chance that we would be in just the right spot for the speeding drunk to hit us. It’s even more freaky that our car was in the exact position that Ryan would be the one getting most of the impact. There is nothing about that scenario that you could control.”

Brendon really wanted to believe the other boy. He really did. But glancing over at Ryan and taking in the air mask that was helping him to fucking breathe; he was having a hard time. He just closed his eyes and rubbed one hand over his face. “I don’t know,” he muttered. The other two left him alone after that, but they didn’t let him actually go anywhere alone, saying that it was just a precaution.


Several hours had passed since they’d been in the hospital and word had started leaking out to their friends and family. The first person to call was Cassie and Jon had taken his conversation out to the hallway. Then Pete and the rest of Fall Out Boy called and asked if they were alright, wanting a detailed explanation of everything that had happened and what was going on. Spencer’s family was right behind Cassie; and Haley right after them so Spencer went out in the hallway as well.

Brendon had already talked to Keltie and told her about what happened, lying and saying that Ryan was just fine, sleeping. She sighed and sounded reluctant when she said that she couldn’t make it right away but she would be there as soon as she could get there. Brendon told her not to worry about it and after a few minutes of trying to convince her, she finally agreed. He did tell her to call later though, so Ryan could maybe talk to her. That seemed to make her feel better.

Then his phone lit up again and he picked it up without looking at the screen. He figured that it was finally Kara, but he was surprised when his mom’s tense, almost hysterical, voice was on the other end.

“Oh, Brendon, are you okay? Sweetie, is everything alright?” she sounded desperate.

“I’m fine Mom. Really, of the four of us I was the second least wounded. I just had some cuts and some stitches for my head.” He found himself answering before he could think. Lucky for him, his voice didn’t betray any of his surprise or the overwhelming relief that he was finally hearing his mom’s voice after so long.

“Oh, my sweet baby. How is everyone else doing?” she asked, still sounding worried.

“Spencer’s absolutely fine. Jon’s on crutches and he’s got some bruising and cuts. Ryan, R-Ryan’s not doing so good though. He made it out of surgery fine, but he’s still unconscious after several hours and he was really injured.” Suddenly he was pouring his whole heart out to the woman who he hadn’t spoken to in months.

“Oh, Brendon,” she said sympathetically. He could picture her hugging him. “I’m sorry. Not only did you have to go through that whole experience, but now you have one of your friends in bad shape. From what you’ve said though, it sounds like he’ll be okay. I’m sure that he’ll wake up soon, honey. And I’m just so glad that you’re okay. As soon as your father and I heard about what happened we waited a while to call, in case there were things going on at the hospital. We were so worried.”

He tried not to smile quite as much as he was. The feeling of relief made him realize for the first time that he’d subconsciously been afraid that his parents had stopped caring about him, and now he was finding out differently. “I’m absolutely fine. The paramedics weren’t too worried about me after they got my head stitched up.”

“I’m glad to hear it, baby.” He wasn’t even tempted to roll his eyes at any of the embarrassing pet names; it was that nice to hear them. It was a little awkward after that, though it really shouldn’t have been. Luckily the two of them were saved by some timer in the background on his mom’s end.

“Oh, sorry sweetie, I have to get that. I’ll let you go now. Call me soon, let me know how your friend is,” she said. Brendon assumed that it was dinner in the background.

“No problem. Talk to you later, Mom.” Then he hung up.

Brendon sat back in his chair and ran a hand through his hair, breathing out slowly. That was something. It was wonderful and strange and reassuring all at the same time. He was sitting beside Ryan, on his right side, watching him and making sure nothing was going wrong as both Jon and Spencer were still in the hallway. He reached out and took the other boy’s hand in his, interlocking their fingers.

As usual, the guitarist’s hand was cold so it didn’t alarm him at all. If he really paid attention he could faintly feel Ryan’s pulse in his hand, and it seemed steady enough, also indicated by the beeping heart monitor that he’d learned to tune out. He removed his thumb from the little net of fingers and slowly traced the letters tattooed on Ryan’s wrist to calm himself down.

Absentmindedly, he looked at the boy’s face, letting his mind wander. Suddenly though, he saw something that he realized he’d been desperate to see. Two hazel eyes blinked toward him, two brown eyebrows scrunched together and the eyes narrowed against the bright light. As soon as he could see that, he was yanked out of his thoughts and he was staring.

“B-Br-Bren-don?” the skinny man on the bed asked, his voice not sounding familiar at all, very rough and faint, and muffled because of the air mask. Brendon wasn’t able to respond. The grip on his hand tightened a little as the man was dragged slowly back into the living world.

“Ryan!” he yelped happily. And suddenly he couldn’t get himself to stop talking, reminding him of his mother just a few minutes ago. He even stood up. “I can’t believe it. You’re awake and you’re okay, you’re still alive and you’re talking. You didn’t die. You’re okay and you woke up,” he rambled in a fast rush before Ryan’s weak but amused smile stopped him and he sat back down, grinning.

“Wh-what exactly happened? Why do I feel like I’ve been gone for weeks?” Ryan asked, putting a hand up to his head, but stopping when the tubing stopped him. “What’s all of this?” He put a hand over the air mask and tugged that off, letting it hang around his neck.

“We were in a crash. The other driver slammed right into your side of the car. We went in the ditch and you almost died,” Brendon explained in a hushed voice. “You’ve been unconscious ever since, even after the anesthetic wore off.”

Ryan closed his eyes and leaned back on the pillow with a soft groan. “Good God.” Then he opened his eyes again and looked down at himself. “It does look like I almost died doesn’t it?” He was trying to pull the hospital gown open so he could look at his chest and Brendon reached over to help a little.

After a few minutes of inspection Ryan sighed and relaxed back into the pillows again. “I fucking hate hospitals,” he muttered.

“They did work really hard for almost three hours to save your life though. Before you went in, some guy told us that you probably wouldn’t make it, then when they wheeled you in here, the head nurse told us that throughout the operation there were times when you could have died but you were really stubborn,” he said in response. Ryan rolled his eyes.

“Well yeah, I’m stubborn. Anyone could have told them that.”

“Spencer did roll his eyes when she said that.” Ryan smiled.

“I assume I’m on some strong pain medication,” he said, looking down at himself again and reaching up slightly to feel the bandages. Brendon looked at the IV’s, guessing that one probably had pain medication in it.

“Probably. They didn’t tell us what was in the bags, or maybe they did and I wasn’t paying attention.” Brendon paused for a moment, looking again at the wounded body of his friend. “I’m really sorry, Ryan.”

Ryan’s eyes grew serious again. “There’s nothing to be sorry for Brendon. Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m just fine. Nothing happened to me.”

“That’s not true. There’s a bandage on your head. What happened?”

“I got a cut on my head. That’s it. Everything else is fine.” Ryan looked at him skeptically. “Really. I’m okay. Here, I’m going to go and get a nurse to check you out since you’ve been unconscious for hours.”

He got up and removed his hand from Ryan’s, then he turned to the door. Ryan’s hand shot out and his fingers wrapped around his wrist though. “Just stay here, please,” he said, an uncomfortable look in his eyes. Brendon sat back down and Ryan breathed a sigh of relief.

“I don’t like hospitals, they bring back painful memories. Stay here?” Brendon looked carefully and decided that the look in Ryan’s eyes was fear. He nodded and settled back down. Ryan didn’t let go of his wrist. “Thank you.”

Brendon looked into the other boy’s concerned eyes and smiled a little. “No problem. Oh, and Keltie’s on her way. She said that she would get here as soon as she could, and you’re going to be here for a few days at least, so you’ll get the chance to see her and have her worry over you,” Brendon said with a weak smile. He hated the idea, but it was Ryan that mattered at the moment.

Ryan’s eyes flickered for a moment before he smiled. “Great! Did she say when she would be here?” The words sounded genuine, but the eyes still didn’t sell it. Brendon shook his head and the other boy nodded, deflating a little.

There was a comfortable silence for a couple of seconds before Brendon’s phone rang again. “Hello?”

“Brendon? You told me to call back later. Are things okay right now?” It was Keltie.

“Yeah, things are looking good. Ryan’s awake now…if you want to talk to him.” He heard an excited little gasp on the other end.

“Yes! Please?” He nodded and handed the phone over to Ryan who was looking at him quizzically. Brendon mouthed who it was and Ryan smiled as he put the phone to his ear.

Keltie was talking so loud that Brendon could hear the sound of her voice from the cellphone and he studied Ryan during the conversation. The other boy’s eyes were a little brighter and his smile seemed easier as he talked to his girlfriend.

Brendon didn’t really want to be there, granted, he wanted to know what they were saying but he didn’t want to stand there and listen for it. He gestured to the hallway so Ryan could see him and the other boy’s smile faltered a little before he nodded. Brendon wondered if he should stay for Ryan but it became increasingly harder for him to be in the room.

When he was out of the door he saw the other two, still talking to their girlfriends, leaning against the wall. They looked up at him, wide-eyed, when he came out of the room and it was clear that they were desperate for information.

“He’s awake,” he muttered. The other two said quick ‘hold on’-s to their girls before taking their phones from their ears and looking at him bug-eyed.


“Really. He’s talking to Keltie right now though. I’m going to get something to eat. You guys want anything?”

“Where are you going?”

“Just down to the cafeteria,” he said. He wasn’t going to leave the hospital, there was no way. He just had to get away for a few minutes, and he really was hungry.

“Just pick something out,” Jon said. Spencer nodded.

Brendon walked to the giant elevators and went down to the floor with the cafeteria. On his way to the room of food, he ran into a familiar face.

“Hi Brendon.”

“Keltie! I…I thought that you were coming later.” Brendon was silently freaking out, not totally thrilled to see the blond woman.

“I know, I was planning on it. But, after I hung up I had to come to see Ryro. If something happened to him and I wasn’t here to know about it I would feel so terrible. So, I just decided to come.”

“Does Ryan know?”

“No, I was going to surprise him. Where are you going?”

“Cafeteria, we’re all pretty hungry. Staying at the hospital all night and doing nothing but watching your friend hang onto his life doesn’t do much for that.” Brendon sighed inwardly. It was bad, she shouldn’t have been there. He continued to freak out silently.

“I’ll come with you. I don’t know where the room is.” Brendon nodded. There wasn’t really anything that he could do about it anyway.

When he got all of the food, he went back up in the elevator to the room where Ryan was. Jon and Spencer were out of the hallway, and he went up to the door, turning the handle and pushing it in with Keltie right behind him.

“Back,” he said, holding the food out in front of him. Jon held his hands up from his seat and Brendon threw his chips and pudding to him. Spencer looked over from where he was leaning against Ryan’s bed, talking to the brown-haired man.

“Keltie!?” Ryan asked, eyes flickering from Brendon to the blond woman coming through the door behind him. “What are you doing here? I thought you wouldn’t be here for a few days.”

“I got worried and I wanted to come before then. Oh, Ryro, it’s so good to see you!” she said, walking over to hug him. He moved his arms as much as he could to return the hug, smiling a little.

“It’s nice to see you too. I’m glad that you came early, I was wondering what I was going to do without you here.” Brendon could puke.

“No offense, baby, but you look terrible,” she said, eyeing his face and the bandages all along his right side and all of the tubing and wires coming out of his skin.

“Well, I did almost die. I’d say that I look pretty good for that fact.” Keltie laughed and Brendon sank into a chair, sighing to himself again. It was going to be a long next couple of days.

Eventually a nurse came back in and when she saw that Ryan was awake she asked how long he had been. They told her for about a half hour and she asked why they hadn’t called a nurse to tell them. None of them knew they were supposed to and Brendon had forgotten after Ryan stopped him. She sighed and started administering the treatment that was meant for when Ryan was awake. The whole time she muttered about how lucky they were that Ryan was somewhat recovering on his own and didn’t have to depend on the medicine she had, otherwise they’d be screwed.

Not long after that, Ryan went to sleep again because his body was really working overtime to fix him up. Brendon and the other three just watched his breathing even out until the only sound in the room was the heart monitor and his deep breathing. They’d taken the breathing machine away, saying that for how bad his lungs had been, they were working just fine now.

Spencer and Jon were talking to Keltie but he couldn’t bring himself to join in the conversation. Instead, he watched Ryan’s chest move up and down, much more visible than before. Brendon figured that they were some of the luckiest people in the world.


After five days at the hospital and the gradual removal of equipment and bandages, Ryan was able to leave with his chest still bandaged and his fractured wrist. Keltie had left the day before, having to get back home for a job. Through a lot of work, and much more money, they were finally in the helicopter that they were supposed to be in, on their way to the mountain retreat.

When they were let off in the front yard of the cabin, Brendon breathed a bigger breath than he had since the night of the accident. Ryan had made an incredible recovery in an incredibly short amount of time. Somehow he’d sustained no brain injuries and all of his motor skills were spot-on. The doctors were even reluctant to let him go, sure that something was going to suddenly go wrong. Everything was okay though and they were on a deadline so the doctors had to let him go.

The four of them got out of the helicopter and worked quickly to drag all of their bags and equipment out of the back. A lot of the equipment had been sent before them but what they had been carrying had to be replaced, costing over a thousand dollars, because of how fragile it was. Their bags that had clothes and other things in them were able to be recovered from the car, mostly because the back hardly got any damage at all.

They waved the helicopter away and went into the cabin to look around and claim their space. Brendon found a room with a window that looked out over a valley where three mountains—including the one they were on—met. He quickly set his bag down on the bed, claiming it as his own. There was no way he was going to miss a view like that.

It didn’t take long to learn the layout of the whole cabin. It wasn’t large, but it did have plenty of rooms with different hallways that connected them. The kitchen was already stocked for them and it was just a matter of figuring out how to run a gas stove.

After laughing again at Spencer’s inability to keep it lit, Brendon looked around and noticed that Ryan wasn’t there anymore. Confused, he left the kitchen, too, and looked around. When he passed a window that showed the back, he saw the tall figure walking slowly away from the cabin. He went to the back door and followed after, wondering how he hadn’t noticed the sound of the back door opening. It didn’t seem like Ryan was going anywhere in particular, but that didn’t stop him from following. They hadn’t been alone much in a while and he was missing it.

“Ryan!” he called as he got closer. The boy stopped and turned to look at him, arms wrapped lightly around himself in his jacket. Brendon caught up to him. “Hey, I noticed you slipped out. Something wrong?” Ryan shook his head and resumed walking, Brendon keeping pace beside him.

“So why are you out here walking all alone?”

“I’m not all alone am I? Unless I’m talking to myself right now and my mind is being stranger than usual.” Brendon wasn’t sure exactly how to respond to that. It was obvious that Ryan wasn’t going to tell him what was on his mind right now and he knew enough not to push for the information all at once.

“Do you mind if I walk with you, then?” he asked quietly. Sometimes Ryan and his silence intimidated him, made him more self-conscious and quieter. Ryan shook his head and shoved his hands in his pockets, walking on.

Brendon tried to read the other boy’s expression, but Ryan had experience with covering it up when he wanted to and it was hard. His face looked completely passive, and Brendon had to give up. If he wanted to find out he was going to have to ask and hope Ryan felt like talking about it. Most people would have given up by that point and decided it wasn’t worth it, but Brendon had always been a persistent bastard.

“Ryan, what are you thinking about?” The boy turned his head to look at him, face still masked, then he looked away. Brendon was about to accept defeat when Ryan sighed and stopped walking. They’d stopped on the edge of an overhang that looked out over another valley and Brendon looked around while Ryan considered what to say.

“I almost died. Trained fucking doctors were convinced that I was going to die,” Ryan said. “Yet here I am. I wonder what they have to say about that.” Ryan turned to look at him like he expected an answer.

“I don’t know. They’ve probably seen a lot of cases similar where the person did die. Maybe they’ve learned to stop hoping,” Brendon proposed. He wasn’t sure what Ryan wanted to hear though he knew exactly what he meant by what he said. Ryan just sighed and didn’t respond, looking out over the overhang.

It was silent again and Brendon was wondering if Ryan was going to say anything else because it didn’t look like he was. “Keltie and I broke up,” he muttered, glaring down at the ground they were standing on. Brendon felt his eyes widen.

“What? Why? When?” Brendon couldn’t believe it. The two of them had been together for about a year and a half, usually relationships didn’t end without at least a few days of warning. “What happened?”

Ryan laughed without any humor. “It was when you, Jon, and Spencer were out getting food away from the hospital the day before she went home.” Brendon thought about it. He remembered them being further apart when they got back.

“She told me to tell her all about the night, everything I remembered. I was telling her about how long it took to pack the car and everything. I mentioned that you were driving and she started in on how it was all your fault.” Brendon suddenly found it a little harder to breathe.

“I told her to stop saying stuff like that because it wasn’t your fault; there was absolutely nothing that you could’ve done to keep it from happening. She wouldn’t let up though and it turned into a big fight that actually branched out to touch on other subjects unrelated to the original one. A lot of it had to do with the band and oddly enough things kept going back to you. It ended with us agreeing that we weren’t going to work anymore. That’s what happened. But, I couldn’t just let her blame everything that happened on you.” Ryan seemed to notice the look that Brendon had accidentally let onto his face and he looked seriously at him. “Brendon, it’s not your fault, what happened to me. Sure you were driving, but it was the other driver’s fault. I remember that much. You were just driving and he hit us.”

Brendon shook his head. “I can’t believe you and your girlfriend broke up, over me. Why did you let that happen?” he asked, turning to look at Ryan with furrowed brows. It didn’t make sense. And why had he been part of the fight when they stopped talking about the crash?

“You’re my best friend B. I wasn’t going to let her pin the whole accident and me almost dying on you. Besides, there were a lot of other things that got brought up.” Brendon shook his head again.

“But why?” Brendon was afraid that the answer would be something like him mattering more than Keltie, though part of him wished that that was what Ryan would say.

Ryan only shrugged though, looking back down and rubbing the back of his neck. “My girlfriend can’t just go around saying things like that about my friends. She was furious Bren, she was actually planning on yelling at you about it when you got back, I could tell by looking at her. I couldn’t let her do that to you so I insisted that it wasn’t your fault.”

Brendon was speechless after that and it was his turn to look down. “Thank you.”

“Like I said, you’re my best friend,” Ryan responded with a small shrug.

“Ditto. I did do the same kind of thing whenever Audrey said mean things about you,” Brendon responded and Ryan laughed.

“I know all about the things she said about me.”

“You do?”

“She made sure of it,” Ryan said with a sarcastic nod.

“Are you serious?”

“You have no idea.”

“Wow.” Ryan nodded. “Well, it looks like we just have each other again. And Spencer and Jon.” Brendon had guessed that the death thing was what Ryan was thinking about, but not the break-up with Keltie.

Ryan smiled, though it was small. “That’s right,” he said, putting an arm around Brendon’s shoulder and turning out to the view of the valley. He sighed and rested his head on Brendon’s. “I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.” Brendon swallowed at the contact; it had been awhile since they’d been close like that and it sent sparks shooting up from his stomach again. Apparently he wasn’t over his feelings.

He put his arm around the other boy’s waist. Maybe that was okay though. “I don’t think so either,” he replied.

Hope everyone's had a good holiday season and good tests. Next year.
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