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

Hanging By A Moment-Lifehouse

by GealachGirl 0 reviews

The working out of a relationship and some fantastic lightning.

Category: Panic! At The Disco - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Romance - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2013-05-24 - 9612 words - Complete


All was well on the bus. Ryan and Spencer had made their peace and were sitting on the couch beside each other, talking. Jon was texting his girlfriend; and Brendon was half on the internet and half watching the activity of everyone else.

After Ryan got out of the shower earlier, he’d taken his own. Neither of them talked about anything while they were getting ready and while they went downstairs to meet up with everyone else. Instantly, Ryan went over to talk to Spencer, but he had lightly touched Brendon’s lower back as he’d walked past. Jon and Spencer had no clue about what had happened between Ryan and Brendon in the hotel room, and really, neither did Brendon.

He wasn’t sure what was going on between the two of them. Brendon didn’t know if they were in some kind of relationship now or if they were just going to move on like it hadn’t happened. Not only did he not like the latter, he also didn’t think it was likely because of the way Ryan kissed him. And it wasn’t just one kiss. So he didn’t know what to do or what to think and it bothered him because even though he’d remembered to take his medicine, he was jerky and was having trouble focusing. What he really needed was to talk to Kara.

Around midday, they stopped in a town to stay the night since the next show wasn’t until the end of the week and they were ahead of schedule. While everyone got out at the gas station to get stuff, Brendon moved to get off the bus to call his older sister. Ryan passed by him though and pressed a piece of paper in his hand before moving to the doors of the gas station.

Brendon continued in his original intended direction and looked at the paper before opening his phone. The note read: ‘Bus, when everyone’s sleeping.’ It was Ryan’s jagged hand writing and he took a breath in. Maybe he would hold off on calling his sister. He put both things back in his pocket and joined everyone else in the gas station.

When he walked through the door, Ryan looked up and made eye contact with him. Once it was held for a few seconds, he nodded and looked back at whatever he was standing in front of. Brendon nodded to himself and went to an aisle to find the candy.


Back on the bus, he sat there with his food and the computer. Ryan was sitting beside him with his notebook, absentmindedly eating while he wrote. It looked like he was really engrossed in what he was working on, like he was making a lot of progress. Brendon couldn’t help but watch, it was honestly that entertaining.

The older boy would write, then pause and check it back over, making corrections or crossing stuff out. Then he would read it over again and chew on the end of his pen as he did so or as he thought of something else to add. Sometimes, when he remembered, he would reach into the bag of pretzels that he got and eat some of them. Brendon didn’t know why but the routine always fascinated him. Watching him, he had the urge to just lean over and kiss him. Now that he’d had a taste he couldn’t go back. It was kind of disconcerting but he couldn’t shake it.

At the hotel that they decided to stay at, they went up to their rooms. Brendon was sharing with Jon for the night and Ryan was with Spencer. When all their stuff that they would need for the night was transported, they all congregated in the lobby.

They decided to walk around and look at the city they were in since they didn’t usually have the time to sightsee and it seemed wrong to pass up the chance. The whole time, the note and the meeting were on Brendon’s mind, though. The thought was at the back of his mind, almost haunting him.

The rest of the day passed fairly quickly and it wasn’t too long until Jon was sound asleep, snoring happily away. All of the hours had seemed to drag by to him, but finally Brendon was going down the stairs, pulling his hood up over his head.

The bus was behind the hotel in a private parking lot and it was easily accessible from the back of the building. No one could get to it from outside of the building and it was a comforting thought that he and Ryan had complete privacy. Brendon made his way across the pavement and wondered if Ryan was out yet.

At the bus, he found that he was alone and he leaned against the cold metal, his breaths making little clouds in the air as he exhaled. Before too long, he heard a door shut and he saw a thin form walking toward the bus. Brendon slid into the shadow at the back of the bus so he could make sure it was Ryan.

Sure enough, it was the skinny, brown-haired young man. He stopped in front of the bus and looked around with his hands in his pockets. It was obvious that he was wondering the same thing Brendon had been. After just a moment of observation, Brendon left his hiding spot and softly cleared his throat so he didn’t scare Ryan too much.

Ryan jumped a little but he looked happy to see him. Brendon walked toward him and opened his mouth to speak. It was in vain though, as Ryan put his hands on his shoulders and pushed him against the side of the bus, attaching their lips.

The kiss was hot and it sent the waves of fire up his back again. All that Brendon could do was kiss back, his thoughts obliterated until Ryan broke away. He held himself an arm’s length away and Brendon was able to see the excited gleam in his eyes. After the moment’s break, the older boy leaned in and kissed him softly on the lips.

“I’m glad you came.”

“I’m glad you invited me. Do you need to talk?”

“Yes, we need to talk. We need to talk about this,” he motioned between the two of them and how close they were standing to each other. Brendon could see an intensity in Ryan’s eyes that was only there when something serious was going on and it was extremely important to him. The look made Brendon smile and shiver at the same time.

“I agree, I was actually thinking the same thing,” he responded quietly.

“Good. That’s good. Here, come on.” Ryan turned away and walked around to the back end of the bus. Confused and curious, Brendon followed. At the back, the other boy was climbing up the ladder onto the roof and, once again, Brendon followed him.

The top was pretty wide and easy to walk on. He only knew this because of all the times he’d done it before. Sometimes when they were stopped, the four of them would get out and sit on the top of the bus to talk and look out at where they were. It definitely provided a different perspective.

When they were both sitting in the perfect spot in the middle, they just looked at each other. Brendon wasn’t sure what to say and it was clear that Ryan was searching for words. For once, Brendon realized, he had the opportunity to kind of make this go the direction he wanted to. So he decided to start talking.

“I don’t know about you, but, that kiss, or, I guess, those kisses, felt right. Even now. Ryan,” he paused to look up at the other boy and found him looking right intently back. “Ryan, I don’t want it to just be a one-time thing and I don’t want it to be completely secret for too long,” he said, trailing off at the end. It was an awkward statement, he realized when he looked back over it, but it did what he wanted it to do.

Ryan nodded once and there was a pause before he started talking. “I know what you mean, about it feeling right. Every time I look at you I feel it again, and it’s weird but I like it.” He stopped talking and Brendon was about to prompt him when he looked back up, meeting Brendon’s eyes. “What do you want?”

Admittedly, the question had him taken aback. He figured that Ryan was going to either oppose it and it would be done or he would agree and would then come up with their solution, not being afraid to say it out loud the way Brendon was. All he could do was blink before opening his mouth. “Aren’t we going to talk about it?”

The older boy shook his head. “I’ll be okay with whatever you suggest. I want it to be your way. Whatever you want,” he said quietly. “I just mean that, it should be up to you this time.”

All of that was very much unlike Ryan. He didn’t give up his control over anything. It either meant that he was serious or something was going on. Brendon wanted to find out which one it was but he didn’t think that Ryan would answer if he asked; he also wanted Ryan to be the one to say the words or make the request. Obviously that wasn’t happening though, so he nodded to himself, bringing words together in his head. “I-I want us to be something. Like, you know, like…dating or something. I don’t know. Just, you decide, I want you to decide.” He said the whole thing so quickly that he wondered if Ryan actually heard or understood him.

When he looked up to see Ryan’s reaction, he was looking at him softly. The brown-haired boy leaned forward and kissed him. “I think that your idea sounds fine. I want you to say it again, though,” he whispered with a little smile on his face.

Brendon swallowed but he couldn’t help his own smile, for no reason at all but for the fact that Ryan was smiling and Ryan was there and he was getting what he wanted. “I think that we should date,” he said more confidently than the first time. It was something about Ryan—it was always something about Ryan—that made him feel better.

Ryan’s smile was bigger now and his eyes were shining a little, even in the dark. He nodded and just looked happy. “Like I said, I agree completely.” He was resting his hand on Brendon’s shoulder, looking at him, and it looked like he was thinking about something. Brendon took the opportunity to move forward and kiss him.

It broke Ryan out of his thoughts and he jumped a little. He kissed back though, then it ended with Brendon leaning away. “So,” Ryan said quietly, “will you go out with me?” His eyes were back to their more serious color and tone.

Brendon had to smile at that because it was next to impossible not to. He nodded, “Like on a date?” Ryan nodded at that. “Yes, I will.” The smile was stuck to his face. “When? I mean, I’m assuming that you’re taking me out.”

“I’ll figure out the when some other time and let you know. But yes, you have that right,” Ryan answered, looking like he was thinking again.

“Should we get off of the roof and go back inside?” Brendon asked, looking around and finally returning to the reality where they were sitting on the top of the bus in the parking lot behind the hotel they were staying at. Not necessarily the absolute safest thing they could possibly be doing in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar city.

“Mmm, probably should,” Ryan said, looking around them. He stood up and stretched his back out, then reached down to pull Brendon up. Brendon let him and stretched as well before moving back to the ladder and going down to the pavement. Ryan stepped down just after him and they looked at each other. It seemed like enough and Ryan reached down, taking ahold of his hand, and they started walking to the back door.

Brendon used his key card to open the door and they went inside together, up the stairs, and they paused in front of their respective rooms. The slight bit of awkwardness didn’t last because they were kissing again. Or, rather, Brendon had leaned in at the same time Ryan had with the same intention that Ryan had, so they ended up with a deeper kiss than was originally planned. Brendon wasn’t complaining though. It ended the soft sweet way it was supposed to be the entire time and they both went into their rooms.

Jon was still oblivious to everything when Brendon closed the door behind himself. Still, he went over to his bed by the window slowly. He crawled back into his bed and pulled the blankets up around his chin. His chest felt like there was a fully inflated balloon in it, but it was one of the best things he thought he ever felt.


The next morning brought checking out, complimentary breakfast, and mediocre hotel coffee. It also brought the start to another day spent on the bus and snuck glances between Ryan and Brendon. Every time he looked at his thin band mate, Brendon got the irrepressible urge to break out in a smile. He was bursting.

All throughout breakfast Spencer had been giving them weird looks, looking like he was thinking about something or suspicious about something. Brendon could see that Ryan noticed it too and that the old friends had a few silent conversations where Spencer asked a specific question and Ryan refused to answer. Fascinated, Brendon watched, but not without slight worry in his stomach.

On the bus Spencer’s suspicions seemed to be confirmed and he had a brief sidebar conversation with Jon while Brendon and Ryan sat beside each other on the couch. Brendon tried to ask what Spencer was doing but Ryan only shrugged and watched.

When they came back, Jon looked amused and sat down on the arm of one of the chairs. He flashed a grin to the two of them and looked back at Spencer, eyes betraying the fact that he was totally falling apart on the inside. Spencer shot a look at him and turned back to them. “There’s still no sex on the bus.”

“What?” Brendon asked the question a second before Ryan.

“I mean it. Not even when the two of us,” he motioned between Jon and himself, “are gone. We don’t want to come back, wondering if you did it on the bus.”

Brendon looked at Jon, who shrugged and mouthed, ‘I only kind of agree’. He looked at Ryan who was currently looking at Spencer with a mixture of shock, possible embarrassment, and mild irritation.

“I can’t believe you just said any of that. Really, my brain’s not processing the fact that my best friend just said that to me,” he said tonelessly.

“Ry, it’s true. I don’t want to have that insecurity in the place where I spend most of my life for the rest of the year.”

“What makes you think you need to tell us that?” Brendon asked. Ryan nodded.

“Yeah, how did you figure it out?”

“The two of you aren’t exactly trying to hide it, or you’re doing a piss poor job if you are. You’re just looking at each other a lot and there’s something different between the two of you,” he answered.

“I can tell, too, the thing between the two of you. I don’t know how to explain it either, though,” Jon inputted. “It’s cool and all but I kind of agree with Spencer and the whole sex thing,” he said, shrugging at the end of the statement. Brendon could feel Ryan rolling his eyes.

Spencer and Jon sat down. “So when were you going to tell us that the two of you were hot for each other?” Jon asked. Brendon took the weight of answering on himself as Ryan was currently shaking his head in his hands.

“When it was less new for us, I guess. We just figured this out ourselves.”

“The two of us have suspected something for a while, but now, I guess there’s nothing more to wonder about. Just for clarification, there is something going on between you two, right?” Spencer asked, looking between Brendon and Ryan. Ryan looked up and squinted at Spencer.

“Did I hear you right? God, Smith we’ve answered your question in the conversation, you know,” Ryan said, an eyebrow raised at his best friend since the age of five. Spencer looked a little indignant.

“You two are like this all the time. I want to know for sure what’s going on. Sorry for asking instead of just assuming everything.” Spencer was looking at Ryan the same way, like he didn’t understand what he was saying or why he was saying it. Jon just made eye contact with Brendon and shook his head. Brendon offered a shrug in return, not understanding the relationship between the two anymore than Jon did.

Ryan shook his head a little bit then looked back up at Spencer. “Yes, for the sake of your poor oblivious head. There is something going on between the two of us relationship-wise. That’s all I’m going to say about it.” Spencer glared at him.

“Prove it,” Jon said. He sounded more amused than doubtful, and maybe he made the demand for clarification. More likely, though, he just wanted to mess with them.


“Because the two of you do this kind of stuff where you sit next to each other and you hug and you sit on each other, and it looks like you’re dating or something, but you always deny it when you’re asked about it. I think that you should prove it this time so that we know for a fact that you’re telling the truth and you aren’t just fucking with us.” The same shit-eating grin was splitting his face.

“I don’t understand why you’d think that we were fucking with you,” Ryan muttered, but he turned to Brendon nevertheless and raised an eyebrow. Brendon interpreted the look and nodded, leaning forward with Ryan and closing his eyes.

When their lips were pressed together Brendon felt the normal stream of sparks shooting up his spine and shooting up from his stomach. He was sure that it was only supposed to be a soft pressing of their lips but he couldn’t resist putting his hand up on the back of Ryan’s head. The kiss stayed closed, if it didn’t they wouldn’t even be allowed to kiss on the bus. It was still long and it still ignited that fire that started its way up his back, though.

They leaned back at the same time and looked at each other. Brendon forgot about the other two and the fact that it was a kiss to prove to his band mates that he and Ryan were, indeed, in a different relationship. Ryan and Brendon reconnected, then and what it turned into for Brendon was just another kiss, not the best one they’d shared so far, but still pretty fucking great. Ryan seemed just as into it and they just kissed until the sound of someone clearing their throat broke through.

Brendon pulled away from Ryan again without wanting to and looked at the other two across the bus. Ryan was looking at them too, looking less irritated than before.

“Okay, I think we get the point. The two of you really are together or something,” Spencer said, looking shocked. His eyes were wide and he was looking between the two of them like he didn’t really believe what he’d just seen. Brendon wasn’t surprised that he hadn’t really believed them until then and he only nodded at him.

“So this conversation can be over?” Ryan asked, looking at Spencer in particular.

“Unless you two want to keep talking about your relationship,” Jon said, opening his phone.

Brendon really didn’t want to, so he got up and went to get the laptop while Ryan took out one of the books in his never-ending supply.


Spencer and Jon really were cool with the whole thing. They generally ignored it unless Brendon and Ryan were in close proximity to one another, then the two exchanged a look and went back to what they were doing, leaving Ryan to roll his eyes and Brendon to just carry on.

Brendon didn’t care that much. The secret wave-length that Ryan and Spencer were on at least eliminated the need for Brendon and Ryan to actually come out about their relationship. Even if they had to do that, things probably would have been okay, just more awkward and embarrassing.

Things didn’t even feel that different. Ryan didn’t really seem to be acknowledging it at all, confusing Brendon a little. Last night, Ryan seemed to be just as open and wanting of it as Brendon had been for the last however long. Now he wasn’t even paying any attention to what had happened between them, what they’d talked about. Everything was how it had always been.

Before Brendon started feeling bad about it he decided to wait and see if it would get better. They had a show to focus on that night, after all.


The show was more fun than usual. It wasn’t just the energy of the crowd and the energy of the music, either. The screwing around that he and Ryan did was full force. This time, though, Ryan was the one who initiated almost all of it. He even went up to Brendon and did one of the almost kisses that Brendon was famous for doing.

Ryan didn’t corner him or anything when he did his stuff though. No, he was too good and too original to do that. Instead, he would come right up to Brendon and, while they were playing while facing each other, he would lean in and kiss him on the cheek. He would also, when they were singing together, move in randomly and get close enough that the microphone blocked the view of the centimeter or two of space between their lips, and then he would go back to where he was at the end of the duet. It drove Brendon crazy, and that was probably part of the reason why Ryan did it.

It turned out that it didn’t matter how it was done or who did it, as long as there were stage antics, the fans didn’t care. They screamed at everything all the same. That was another reason Ryan did it.

Brendon was having too much fun with Ryan initiating everything that he didn’t even attempt to do anything himself. He just responded to whatever Ryan was doing and everything seemed to be fine that way.


“So what got into you?” Brendon asked when the show was over and the two of them were sitting together in the restaurant. Jon, Spencer, and Zack were all trying to decide what to get and not paying any attention to them.

“I was doing the same thing you used to do. I was teasing the fans,” Ryan answered, shrugging and taking another drink of water. “And you by the looks of things sometimes,” he observed, looking at Brendon over the edge of his glass. Brendon just narrowed his eyes at the brunette, making the boy smile.

“I’m fine. It was nice to not have to do it for once. You finally took the initiative,” Brendon replied, returning the shrug. Ryan only laughed. “What?”

“I finally took the initiative? Brendon, I’m the reason this whole relationship got started. I mean, who kissed who first? Was that you?”

“No, but who fake kissed who? That was all me. I was the one that put the idea in your head all those years ago. I started it.”

Ryan smiled but he shook his head. “No. I don’t remember anything happening between the two of us after those. I’m still the reason why we’re here. If I hadn’t kissed you, who knows how many more years it would be before you did it.”

Brendon couldn’t exactly argue that point. It had been a while that he’d known that he even wanted to kiss Ryan. He hadn’t ever had an idea as to when to do it, kiss his best friend and suggest that they give it a chance. In no world could he let Ryan ever know that though.

“So do you know anything about this date, yet?” he asked. Ryan picked up on the subject change but didn’t say anything, he only smiled.

“No, I’m still waiting. You probably won’t know until the day of, by the way.” Then their appetizers came to the table and the conversation was over.

Brendon thought it was odd and he wanted to know more, but he couldn’t ask because he knew that Ryan wasn’t going to tell him. Besides, he was hungry.

After the restaurant, they were back on the bus, on their way to the eastern part of the US. Ryan was sitting beside him, really more like pressed against him, reading the book that he’d been earlier while Brendon read his own book.

A while ago, he’d lent Brendon a book. Brendon had started it but got bored and stopped reading it. He brought it out now, though, since there was nothing else to do. Spencer had the laptop and Ryan had proved that he wasn’t going to be bothered from his reading.

When he’d walked into the room with it, Ryan looked up and smiled when he saw the book, then he went back to his own book to leave Brendon to it.

After a few minutes of reading, Brendon realized that the book was actually better than he remembered it. He also noticed that every now and again Ryan would look up at him with a little smile on his face before he turned back to his own book. Really that was a large reason for Brendon continuing to read it, just to make Ryan happy.

Night caught up to all of them faster than Brendon ever remembered it coming before. Spencer and Jon got into their bunks, Spencer reminding them that nothing was to be done in the bunks but sleep. Jon just smirked at them before climbing up to his bunk.

“I’m assuming that we’re going to sleep together,” Brendon said, still on the couch with Ryan.

“We don’t have to.”

“Right, but it’s not like it’ll even be that weird. We sleep near or on each other all the time,” Brendon answered, shrugging. It was a little weird talking about it because before it had just happened, it wasn’t planned.

“That’s true. And I guess that the girlfriends always slept, or sleep in some cases, in the bunk with their boyfriend,” Ryan observed carefully. “So, whose bunk?”

“That’s what I was going to ask. Maybe mine since it’s closer to the ground, so it’ll be easier for two people to get in and out of without making as much noise.”

Ryan nodded, looking like he was really considering it. “Though, getting up into the top bunks isn’t that hard. Jon and Cassie manage it easily.” Brendon was grateful that Ryan didn’t mention Keltie. “I see your point though. Let’s try your bunk tonight.” Then he motioned for Brendon to lead the way.

Brendon ducked into the little curtained space, and settled himself near the wall, giving Ryan plenty of room. The curtain moved a moment later and the skinny young man was crawling in in front of him. There was a doubtful look on his face, like he was maybe less sure of this working than he’d said. It worked in the end though and Brendon only got jabbed with an elbow and a knee once each.

Besides, both of them were laughing by the time Ryan was actually settled in front of him. They found out that there really was plenty of room for the two of them without having to grope each other—not that that stopped them from lying on top of each other—it would just probably work better if Ryan went in first. Ryan’s long limbs apparently needed their room to move and as Brendon was shorter, they decided to try Ryan going in first the next day.

Brendon liked his position, though, even if he was closed in. There wasn’t much room for them to turn around so he was able to put his arms around Ryan and there was nothing that the older boy could do about it.

Sleep crept up quickly, faster than Brendon had ever, in his life since his teenage years, experienced. It wasn’t a bother though, he just tightened his arms around Ryan and rested his face against the back of Ryan’s neck. Ryan leaned back into him, settling a little. Something about it was obviously weird—once again, it was probably because it wasn’t happening while they were unconscious—but more than anything, it felt right, more than right, it felt like it fit and Brendon really couldn’t be more satisfied.


He woke up before Ryan. He always did, without fail. Today Brendon couldn’t get up for his cereal and coffee, though because he was trapped at the back of his bunk. It didn’t bother him. He was okay with lying there, arms still around the amazing person trapping him in his bunk, and watching said amazing person sleep.

Brendon used to think that the idea of watching someone sleep was kind of creepy, but with Ryan it didn’t seem that way. He was only looking at the side of Ryan’s face, head resting on the older boy’s shoulder in order to do this, and he let his thoughts drift off wherever they felt like. There was no urgency to anything, though it wasn’t like there was something that they were supposed to be doing anyway.

It was a long time before Ryan stirred, but Brendon still didn’t mind. That was strange since he hated sitting still and being quiet, but it just seemed that being around the older boy made it more tolerable. During the time, he absently played with the hair lying on Ryan’s temples. Eventually it made the boy wake up, though, and his eyes blinked open.

For a moment, he looked confused, then he turned and saw Brendon and he smiled. Ryan didn’t like talking in the mornings, but he did prop himself up and kiss Brendon before moving out of the bunk so Brendon could get out.

“About time you woke up.”

“It’s your fault for being warm and comfortable. Besides, I need my sleep.” Brendon was about to argue that but he decided against it, knowing that Ryan really did need his sleep. So instead, he pecked him on the cheek and moved out to the “kitchen” to finally get his food.

Jon was sitting on the couch, drinking his coffee. When they moved into the room he looked up at them and smiled a little. Ryan stopped where he was and sat down while Brendon moved on to where the food was. “What are you smiling about?” Ryan asked Jon suspiciously.

“You two. How did you sleep last night?”

“Fine. Ryan’s skinny enough that he hardly takes up any room,” Brendon replied, reaching up to get his cereal. He glanced at Ryan on the couch and laughed at the look that Ryan shot him. It was only a fond and mild ‘really?’ look and Jon chuckled.

“It’s true,” the brunette said with a shrug. He was waiting for the laptop to load up and didn’t look up when he replied. Brendon just smiled and moved into the area, handing Ryan his coffee and sitting down with his own and his cereal.

“Yep, the two of you are good together. Maybe the fans have been right all these years,” Jon observed, looking at them with a smile and taking another drink of coffee. Brendon just looked over at Jon and rested his head against Ryan’s shoulder. Jon nodded and smiled again.

“Wish Spence was as supportive.”

“He is. He’s thrilled,” Ryan said, still not looking up as he started clicking around. His eyes were moving back and forth so he was probably reading the news.

“It doesn’t seem like it,” Brendon said, turning his face toward the other boy.

“Trust me. I’ve known him forever. He thinks that it’s great.” Ryan looked up and over at Jon and Brendon. “Believe me,” he said when he was looking at Brendon. Brendon nodded and smiled.

“That’s why,” Jon said. “That’s why you two are good together. The way you look at each other, it’s easy to tell.”

“Really?” Brendon asked, looking at Jon while Ryan turned his attention back to whatever he searching for on the computer. Jon nodded at him, knowingly. Suddenly, from the bunk area, there was a small thud and Spencer came into view, a little unsteady on his feet. Spencer always woke up like that, falling into the other side of bunks when he got out of his.

“I see the love birds are already up,” he observed in a groggy voice, making his way directly to the coffeepot. Brendon smiled to himself. Ryan was totally right and he knew it. Brendon turned back to his morning fuel and ignored the smirk on Ryan’s face.

A few seconds later, Ryan poked him in the side and Brendon turned his head to him. Ryan leaned forward and whispered, “Tonight. Date’s tonight. It doesn’t matter what you wear either.” There was a wicked smile on his face and a strangely excited gleam in his eyes that made Brendon just a little nervous. He nodded anyway.

“Got it.”


In order to go on their date they needed a rental car. They were stopping in a town anyway because apparently someone needed to look at the bus about an oil change or something, so they were stuck in the city for the night. When this was announced, Ryan didn’t look surprised at all, just triumphant.

The rental actually didn’t take very long, which was a nice surprise. There were still a few hours before the date, but Ryan was being Ryan and was getting things taken care of early and Brendon was leaning against the wall in the parking garage where all of the cars were kept. While he was doing that he watched Ryan talk to one of the people who worked there. He couldn’t hear anything that they said, but he watched the exchange.

Finally, Ryan was walking away with a key and a guarantee that he could come pick the car up whenever it was that he needed it. Brendon watched him approach with that self-satisfied smirk on his face that meant he’d gotten what he wanted.

Upon arrival, Ryan kissed him on the cheek and took his hand, walking with him out of the garage. Brendon couldn’t help but smile and wonder what was going on in the other man’s head.

“So, what’s going on?” he asked. Ryan was being really secretive about what it was that they were doing later on and it was killing him.

“I’ve told you before, you’re going to wait and see. And it won’t do any good to ask Spence or Jon since I haven’t told them either. Just hold on, it’s not that long of a wait.”

“But I’m going to die. Before I even find out I’m going to die of having to wait. Why can’t you just tell me where we’re going? Are we going to eat somewhere?” Brendon begged, knowing that it probably wouldn’t do any good. There was no harm in trying though.

“Sucks to be me, then, and no, I’m not going to tell you where we’re going. As for eating, that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re meeting Spencer at some pizza place that’s, according to him, the best fucking thing in the universe. Jon’s on his way, too.”

Brendon scowled at nothing, but he tightened his grip on Ryan’s hand a little, just for a second. He hadn’t expected much more than that. It was kind of sweet, too, that Ryan was so adamant about keeping his plans a secret. So, Brendon dropped it and went along with Ryan to this pizza place.


Finally. It was finally time, or so Ryan told him as they walked back to the rental place. Brendon was finally going to find out what this big secret surprise was and he was excited. Ryan endured his ecstatic jumping around with a slightly exasperated smile on his face that he was trying to hide. It was obvious that he was trying not to laugh, too. Brendon was very familiar with that expression so it didn’t bother him.

“This better be worth the suspense that you’ve created all day long.” Brendon said, coming back to Ryan’s side as they walked into the garage and went where the guy told Ryan the car would be parked. “Like, this better be on par with Jasmine and Aladdin’s first date.”

“Yeah this rental place rents out magic carpets. I got the best one they have and we’re going to India and Egypt,” Ryan said, moving toward a black car that was apparently the one he’d rented earlier. “Come on, get in.” Brendon flashed him a smile and did.

The inside wasn’t fancy, it was just regular cloth. The car itself wasn’t shiny new, but it was nice, really nice, and it was really comfortable. Brendon smiled to himself as Ryan turned the key and turned to smile at him. “So, are you ready to go?”

“I don’t know where we’re going, but sure,” Brendon said, shrugging. Ryan backed out and drove out of the garage. They’d gone out to eat with Jon, Zack, and Spencer before all of this, so Brendon didn’t even have any guesses. Before, he’d looked at movies in the area on the internet and hadn’t found anything that looked like it would interest Ryan.

“That’s good,” Ryan said, sounding distracted. He was leaning forward a little, looking up at the sky. He was frowning and looked kind of impatient or worried, but Brendon wasn’t exactly sure which one.

“So now can you tell me what we’re doing or where we’re going?” he tried. With Ryan distracted, it might actually work this time.

“I’ve told you, you’ll find out when we’re there,” Ryan answered, still staring up at the sky. Brendon sat back in his seat and crossed his arms. That was his last try. Nothing was going to work and it was time that he stopped and just accepted the fact that he wasn’t going to know until it was happening.

Ryan was biting his lip now, still scanning the skies and glancing down at traffic every now and again. It was a good thing that they were in a relatively small city and traffic wasn’t extremely heavy or busy, especially at eleven at night. Brendon looked up and saw that the sky was covered in thick, heavy clouds. He frowned, too. What was it that Ryan was looking so stressed for?

“Weather not working for you, honey?” he asked semi-sarcastically. “Were you planning a picnic under the stars or something?” Then the rain finally decided to come pouring down, hammering against the windows and the roof. There was a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning. “Because that really looks like it’s not going to happen.” Brendon looked back down at Ryan.

He was grinning now, though, and he looked back at the road. He actually started driving in a direction with a purpose. Brendon was confused and he really was finally out of guesses about what it could be that they were doing.

They were pulling out of the city, onto some road that led into darkness or a more sparsely lighted area. There was another clap of thunder and Brendon sat back in his seat, frowning. “Ryan, it’s storming,” he said. He didn’t think that it was probably necessary to point this fact out, but he couldn’t be sure.

“Very good, Brendon,” Ryan answered in one of those voices that parents use with little kids when they figure something out. Brendon scowled.

“Okay, okay, God. I was making sure that you knew that since you’re now driving with this weird enthusiasm that you didn’t have before it was storming,” Brendon said.

Ryan didn’t answer and it stayed silent and the storm kept it up as they drove. It thundered and lightning lit up the sky every few minutes. The car finally stopped at some kind of park. Brendon just frowned and looked around, still confused. This was either the beginning of a horror movie or some idea that Ryan had come up with for their date. The whole murdering him in the rain didn’t sound like Ryan, it was too cliché, so the last one was a good bet.

Brendon was going to ask a question but Ryan had reached up and was opening the screen that covered the window that was on the top of the car. It wasn’t some tiny little thing either; it probably took up a third of the roof. Then Ryan sat back down and leaned back in his seat, smiling over at Brendon.

“So, sorry for being slow, but, what are we doing exactly?” Brendon asked, hating that he had to ask because he knew that Ryan wanted him to get it.

Ryan rolled his eyes. “Haven’t you ever watched a storm before? You know, where you go to your room and watch from the window, or you go someplace away from home?”

Brendon frowned a little. “I guess I’ve seen storms and sort of stayed around for a while but I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched a storm.” Ryan nodded in response and was quiet. Brendon wondered how this was Ryan’s idea of an incredible date.

“It’ll pick up in a minute, then you’ll see why I came up with this idea,” Ryan said, giving Brendon a look that told him to shut down the track that his train of thought was on.

So Brendon settled into the seat and looked at the sky, watching the storm increase in its ferocity. The wind picked up a little but the real change was in the fact that the rain pounded harder against the car and the space between lightning and thunder shrank. Also, the lightning started to really fork across the sky, big and bright, followed by flashes of cloud lightning amid rumbling thunder. Quickly, Brendon found that watching storms actually was kind of…peaceful in a way. It was also kind of intimate, just the two of them, safe in their little car while all of this raged around them. Unconsciously, he reached out and took Ryan’s hand. He could practically feel the other boy’s smirk after he’d done that and he worked hard to ignore it.

“You know, when I was still living with my dad, whenever it stormed I would sneak out and go to this old shed that was in the yard of this abandoned house a few blocks away. It probably wasn’t the safest place ever, it was probably close to coming down around me several times, but it was nice. I would sit in there with the door open and I would watch the storm and feel safe. While it was absolute chaos outside, I was safe inside. When I was freed from my dad, living on my own, I would still watch from the front step or from the open window in my bedroom,” Ryan said quietly. He broke off there and was back to looking at the sky. Brendon started tracing the letters on the older boy’s wrist with his thumb in an effort to show his support.

“Of course, it didn’t rain nearly enough in Vegas for me to have developed this dependency on storms to keep me sane. That’s probably why they’re such an anchor. They never came often, but they always came at some point and their effects lasted a long time afterwards.” He broke off to watch a particularly big flash of lightning and listen to the answering thunder. “On tour, being able to experience rain more often, it’s wonderful.” He was smiling wistfully, looking out the windows and obviously seeing another thing in his mind.

“Is that why you disappear when it storms?” Brendon asked quietly. He was sure by now that it was, but he wanted to hear Ryan talk about it.

Ryan nodded and turned his head to look at Brendon. He seemed to focus in on him and Brendon tried to make it obvious that the attention was returned. “I’ll go to a building nearby, usually. When we’re in a city it’s not nearly as good. I always do like the view from the car or bus, though, when we’re on the road. That’s why I thought this sounded perfect. I looked at the weather forecast just to see if the rain it promised was finally going to be in a thunderstorm. Luckily, the meteorologists got it right.”

“So that’s why it took so long for you to actually set the date,” Brendon observed. He was still quiet, sensing that there was more to come. There was more Ryan Ross that was going to be uncovered, he could tell. Ryan nodded again, still looking at him as if he were an interesting test subject. Brendon reached out and put his hand on the side of Ryan’s face. He just returned his gaze for a second before he leaned in and kissed him. Ryan gave into it completely and that made Brendon want to smile.

“And during that first tour with The Academy Is…, do you remember how much William and I talked? Do you remember how we would either sit down and talk or we’d disappear and give all of you panic attacks?” Ryan asked. He was still looking at Brendon intently.

“Yeah. Spencer said that he was going to get a tracking collar for the both of you, or something like that,” Brendon said, smiling a little at the memory. Spencer had always been completely protective of Ryan. He didn’t know what shit he’d gone through with his dad, but he knew that it was something bad and he always made sure that Ryan was okay.

“It turns out that he had problems with his dad when he was younger, too. It wasn’t like what my dad did, his just yelled at him or around him a lot and that’s why he stutters and everything. Anyway, once we figured that out about each other, we talked a lot. It was nice, you know, to be able to talk to someone and almost compare stories. They made up, of course, and William gets along with his dad, or he doesn’t have hard feelings or something like that. There were times that we talked where I wished that I’d gotten what he had, though,” Ryan admitted. “William was great. Talking to him helped me sort of, I don’t know, come to terms with that shit. It was mostly because he completely understood since he’d had a bit of that himself. It was nice.” Brendon took that in and nodded, moving his hand down to rub Ryan’s shoulder. He understood, he just kind of wished that that had been him and Ryan must have caught on to that, too.

“But Brendon, the only reason that I was able to talk about it was because I told you about it. I didn’t even go into details with him. He doesn’t know about the nightmares either. William helped, you’re the one that still helps, though,” Ryan said, moving the hand that wasn’t holding Brendon’s to the back of Brendon’s neck and he pressed their foreheads together, looking at him. “You know everything about it. Well, just about everything.”

“What’s the rest?” Brendon asked. “I mean, if you want to tell me even.”

Ryan smiled weakly. “So you know about the nightmares and everything when I go to sleep, and you know how exhausted I was when I came back from the funeral arrangements, right?” Brendon nodded, wondering where this was going. “When I was back in Vegas I had to stay in my dad’s house, the one that I lived in with him.” Brendon felt his eyes widen and his mouth open just a little bit. Ryan nodded at his response.

“It was awful. I couldn’t sleep at all. All the time, everywhere I went in the house, I could remember the different things that happened in those different places. There were times where I swore I heard his footsteps or I smelled the alcohol. My adrenaline was always up because I kept having those memories and it reminded me of what it meant when I was little. The adrenaline always kept me in the fight-or-flight mode that was instantly sparked whenever I heard those noises or smelled that when I was younger. Once I was able to sort of fall asleep with the aid of a sleeping pill, and I wasn’t even trying to fix my nightmares then. I woke up, though, in the middle of the night, and I could swear that I heard my younger self crying. The only room in the entire house that they kept furnished so I could stay there was my old bedroom so it brought back all the memories of cowering under the bed or in the corner or the closet, crying and shuddering when I was little, and trying to stop the bleeding when I was older. It was the worst time in my life haunting me and you would not believe how good it felt to be with you guys again. Seeing all of you standing there, waiting for me, I just felt like I could finally relax and just collapse and be perfectly safe.” Ryan stopped there and Brendon could feel him shaking a little while he relived these awful memories.

Brendon dropped Ryan’s hand and put both arms around him, pulling him most of the way into the passenger seat with him. He didn’t do anything but hold him, let him relive that moment in the airport where he was back with them, when he could drop into their arms and be totally supported. Brendon rubbed his back slowly, rocking just a little bit, and singing really softly, barely audibly under his breath.

“When my parents kicked me out, I was shocked at first and I was a little scared because I had no idea where I could go. It didn’t take me long, though, to remember that I could go to you and that you wouldn’t turn me away, especially not since it was storming. You were kind of like my relief, my safe protection that I knew I could go to,” Brendon whispered, closing his eyes as Ryan calmed down again.

“I know that none of that was as bad as what you went through, I just wanted to let you know that you’re my first choice of someone to go to. I knew that you wouldn’t judge, I knew that you wouldn’t turn me away and I knew that you would help take care of me. I mean, I can’t think of many people who would swim to the bottom of a pool and pull my stupid, unconscious body up. I always knew I could trust you,” Brendon added.

Ryan leaned away and Brendon loosened his grip. The look on Ryan’s face was hard to read, but it wasn’t long before his expression relaxed and he leaned forward to hug Brendon. “It doesn’t matter how bad it was in comparison to me, it was still the worst night of your life. Everyone has their own pain and they should be allowed to feel it and call it pain.”

“That’s one of the things I love most about you. You don’t do the whole pity-party thing and you let people feel the way they feel without guilt,” Brendon said over Ryan’s shoulder.

“What can I say?” Ryan asked, smiling a little bit. He moved away again but leaned back in to kiss him. “You’re just as entitled to feeling bad as anyone is,” he said.

Brendon wondered if he should say it and, after looking into Ryan’s calm eyes, decided that he should. “The night I got kicked out was not the worst night of my life,” he said quietly. At Ryan’s surprised look he continued. “It was one of them, but it wasn’t the absolute worst. The worst night of my life was the one where you almost died, the one when everyone was sure that you were going to die. I was terrified of losing you,” he admitted, leaning his forehead against Ryan’s and tracing the letters on his wrist again.

Ryan just pressed forward more, closing his eyes. He didn’t say anything, just sat there, eyes closed, breathing in and out. Brendon was surprised to see a single tear pooling up underneath the other boy’s eye. He reached up and brushed it away. Ryan breathed out shakily and pressed even closer, he whispered something, then, that sounded like, “I know the world’s a broken bone, but melt your headaches, call it home.” Brendon soaked that in and wondered if it’s what he really heard.

It was completely quiet but for the sound of the rain on the window and the thunder. Underneath it, Brendon could barely hear Ryan’s soft breathing. He closed his eyes, too, and just let the sounds leak into his ears.

Slowly the storm calmed down and all that was left was a light rain. That was when Ryan stirred and looked up, blinking slowly and stretching out a little. Brendon looked at the clock on the panel and saw that it was well past midnight. Ryan was settling back into his seat and he was rubbing his eyes. On an impulse, Brendon grabbed him and pulled him back to kiss him.

Ryan made a startled sound against his mouth, but he relaxed and kissed back regardless. It was long and slow and wonderful. There was a very little bit of lust but it mostly just had that soft, comforting element that the whole atmosphere in the car was comprised of.

Eventually it had to end and Ryan drove them back to the rental car place to return the car. They walked back to the hotel and Ryan looked lost in thought. Brendon smiled a little to himself and kissed Ryan on the cheek. “Thanks for tonight,” he whispered.

Ryan reached down and caught his wrist, obviously jarred out of his thoughts, “Do you really think that it was okay? I mean, you had a good time?”

Brendon thought about the way he’d learned even more about this boy that he’d been in love with for who knew how long. He thought about the way they somehow connected even more. He nodded, meeting Ryan’s eyes. “I did, I really did.”

They walked up to their hotel room—one that they were sharing this time—and they both got into bed. Ryan fell asleep almost instantly and Brendon just wrapped himself around the older boy, humming a little. Unconsciously, Ryan pressed back into him a little more and Brendon kissed him on the temple before closing his own eyes.

He was in love, he was so in love.

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