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

For Good-Wicked

by GealachGirl 0 reviews

Indecision has felled greater men than they. Decisions have done the same.

Category: Panic! At The Disco - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Published: 2013-06-03 - 9286 words - Complete


Life was beautiful. Life and everything about it was blissfully wonderful and Brendon wondered how he’d gotten to this point where he realized this finally or if he could have done it without Ryan. Before, things were messy. Things didn’t work out the way they were supposed to and bad things happened. Now, though, everything worked out and went smoothly. Anything that did go wrong was easily fixed and perfect once it was.

Since that date in the car with the storm, things were fine. Ryan seemed better than ever. He was more relaxed than he ever had been and he was more open. Brendon also felt happier. It was easy to forget about bad things that had happened and to focus on the present. Even Jon and Spencer seemed affected by this new attitude that had taken over the bus.

They were the most supportive friends Brendon could ask for. They teased him and Ryan a little bit but they didn’t seem uncomfortable about anything which was what Ryan had been worried about. They also didn’t feel the need to talk about the elephant all the time or make comments about it unless they were teasing. Brendon appreciated it and tried to make that known without being too obvious.

The relationship was so easy. Not a whole lot changed except for the fact that they slept in the same bunk and they kissed almost all the time. Other than that, it worked like their friendship, further confirming the fact that they probably hadn’t had a “normal” friendship. They sat close to each other all the time, touching in some way, and they talked the way they normally did if not about more serious topics.

All of it was great and Brendon wished that he could have jumped on it earlier. Still, it was better that he was doing this at some point rather than not at all. He knew that Ryan felt the same way about it, letting it be known by always pressing a little closer when they were sitting by or on each other.

Finally Brendon was happy. He was really happy. The days were all better and things came easier. He was with his best friends, doing what he loved, and being loved all at the same time. In his eyes, it was the ideal situation in life. Everyone should try it.


“Hey Kara, you’ll never guess what’s happened,” Brendon said nonchalantly into his phone when Kara picked up. Everyone else was out at the gas station since they were stopped and they were running low on food in the bus.

“I’m sure I won’t because I can’t see you right now and your voice is calm. I can’t get a read on you. Would you still tell me, though?” She sounded interested in this new information and he could visualize her facial expression.

“It has to do with Ryan and me,” Brendon started and when he heard the gasp he stopped, smiling to himself. Kara was one of the best people on the planet and it was moments like these when that fact confirmed itself.

“I know what it is but I want you to tell me,” she said, sounding excited. There was a loud squeal and Brendon guessed that it was Aiden reacting to his mom’s excited tone. It was like when they were growing up again, but reversed. Kara would tell him about any new guy she met and he would be just as excited for her. It happened all the time before she met Mark. He would get phone calls and emails, but when she met Mark she was oddly silent about it all until she called one day to tell Brendon and the rest of the family that she was getting married.

“I don’t really know what to call it, but we kiss and we sleep in the same bed and we’ve been on a few dates when we can squeeze them in. Neither of us thinks that we really need to go out on dates, though, since we already know so much about each other and spend all of our time together. Somehow we always find a way to be alone without having to plan it out.” He stopped himself there because if he kept going he was going to start rambling on and on about that theory and that wasn’t what he was calling his sister to talk about.

Brendon could practically hear the Urie smile in his sister’s voice when she replied. “Brenny Bear! Congratulations! How long? I can’t tell because you’ve always talked about Ryan this way.” The first part was a squeal that was echoed by his nephew and the rest was just said in a breathless tone that let him know she was really happy for him.

“It hasn’t been going on for very long. It’s been about two weeks since we first kissed and it’s been about twelve days since our “date”. Damn Kar, it’s better than I could have imagined it being. It’s everything that I expected but all magnified to a different degree.” It all felt so much more than it had felt with Audrey. He wasn’t sure how to describe it, he just knew that it felt amazing.

“I think I know exactly what you mean. I really want to talk to him and tell him how much I love him for this. But I’ll bet that he’s not there right now, right?”

“He’s with Jon and Spencer getting more food since we’re out of it on the bus,” Brendon responded.

“Which is why you’re calling me now. I’ve only gotten to talk to him once and I’ve never met him in person. You’re going to have to introduce him to the family eventually if this is as serious as it seems to be and I think that I would be a good start since I already love him.”

Brendon tried not to sigh out loud. This was the issue that he wanted to avoid. Of course Ryan was going to have to meet the family eventually. After all, Brendon was in his twenties now and this relationship with Ryan was serious. He didn’t want Ryan to have to deal with all of that drama, though. He wanted it to be a long time before Ryan had to be cast into new family problems. Kara was right about her being a good starting place, though. He knew that much. “I know. I’ll have to arrange a time for the two of us to meet up with you. I’m not sure when that can happen though since we’re still on tour.”

“Isn’t it about time that you all come up with a new album? You could come up to Seattle to write it this time,” Kara proposed. Brendon had to smile at the thought of being with Kara, Mark, and Aiden all the time.

“I have a feeling that we wouldn’t get much work done.”

“Oh, you wouldn’t, but you would have all kinds of fun.” Brendon smiled a little because she was right.

They talked for a lot longer about other things and it was nice because it had been a while since he’d been able to talk to his sister. The others filed onto the bus and they all knew who he was talking to as soon as they came in and they all shouted, “Hey Kara!” They were so used to the phone calls by now that they started talking to her whenever he was on the phone with her and she would talk back if she heard it.

She laughed loudly, loud enough for the others to hear, and returned the greeting. Ryan sat down next to Brendon and kissed him softly on the cheek, lips lingering for a few seconds. “Hi Ryan,” Kara said louder and Brendon knew that the other boy had heard when he laughed a little. He leaned in closer and said back, “Hi Kara.”

Brendon settled back into Ryan and went back to the conversation with his sister while Ryan dragged his fingers through Brendon’s hair. All of the activity around them settled down and Brendon once again lingered on the perfection of everything.

Kara’s mentioning writing a new album reminded him about the current situation gripping the band. The situation only existed when they were all talking about it, though, that was their rule, so Brendon tried not to let it stress him out when he hung up and turned toward Ryan.

“How is she?” Ryan asked casually.

“Good, she offers her congratulations by the way.” Ryan looked surprised.

“You told her about us?” he sounded even more surprised and Brendon suppressed a smile. Ryan knew that he was reluctant to tell any of his family about them and when the surprise wore away, he looked flattered.

“Yeah. She’s the only one so far, and she was really easy because we both know that she accepts everything and is one of the most understanding human beings on the planet,” Brendon said, smiling. Then he looked down at the couch cushion. “She, uh, she really wants to meet you. She thinks that we should all go up there for a little vacation while we’re writing the new record and stay with her.”

He could feel Ryan’s nod as he took in the information. The other boy didn’t comment though on his sister’s suggestion, not that Brendon was expecting a comment because of the rule. Ryan seemed to have something to say, though. “She really wants to meet me?”

Brendon nodded. “Yeah, Ry, she’s been bugging me about it since the night I got kicked out and you got to talk to her on the phone. And every time I bring you up, she tells me that she has to meet you some day. This time I think she’s really serious, too. This time she’ll start making plans of her own, or threaten me until the two of us show up on her doorstep.”

“I’d like to meet her, too, I think. She’s the only member of your family that you haven’t had a falling out with since I’ve known you. You’ve also hinted at the fact that she and her husband are the only ones who will really support the two of us.”

“I’m not sure about the others. I know that they would come around eventually, I’m not sure if they would accept it right away. It’s not like they would openly hate you, though, if that’s what you’re thinking. I don’t think that my parents would necessarily hate you either.”

Ryan let out a slow breath and leaned his head back to rest on the back of the couch. “I think that I’ll just start with Kara for now and work my way up to the parents. You have to tell them about us before I meet them, too, so they can get their chance to react before I’m around to be a possible target.”

“I don’t even really know where they stand on homosexuality anymore. When I was a kid it was pretty harsh, but I think that my not being the perfect, Mormon boy that they wanted has maybe made them open their minds a little more. I’ll make sure they know about it before they meet you, though. I’d really actually prefer that. I know how to handle them when they get the way they can get and I don’t want you to be around for that, or for you to become a target like you said,” Brendon said, imagining the encounter in his mind. There wouldn’t be any feeling out that he could do either, when he decided to tell them, he would have to do it blindly. He couldn’t exactly casually ask them how they felt about homosexuality as that wouldn’t go over well without suspicion.

Ryan nodded but he didn’t look completely convinced that Brendon’s parents could have changed their minds. In all honesty that was a stretch on Brendon’s part, too. He had a feeling that if they saw the two of them together, though, that their opinion would change. Surely if something felt so right it looked right, too.

Then he was being kissed and he snapped back into the present, kissing back. Ryan pulled away quickly though, “Don’t look so worried. It’s all going to be fine. None of it’s happening now anyway. We still have to finish tour, and then we’ll look at all of that.” He was talking in that calm, decisive manner that made Brendon trust whatever he said. In that voice, it seemed like anything that Ryan said was the absolute truth and that everything was going to be okay because Ryan had it covered.

He smiled a little bit and Ryan smiled back at him. The other boy smoothed Brendon’s hair back and bent down to kiss him again. Brendon just smiled and tipped his head back to meet Ryan’s lips. “You’re right, it’s all going to be okay,” he mused whenever the kiss ended. Ryan just laughed a little and rested his forehead against Brendon’s.

When he looked up, he saw a look of pure affection in the lighter brown eyes that were looking down at him. The look made him smile and he pressed his lips back to Ryan’s. Ryan shifted so he was on the cushion beside Brendon instead of up on the arm. Being closer, the kiss deepened a little and Brendon felt that fire climbing up his back. He slipped his arms around the other boy, leaning forward and smiling when Ryan sighed happily.

He wasn’t completely sure what happiness felt like, but he was pretty sure that it resembled this. Ryan pulled away from him and smiled warmly, making it obvious that he was thinking and feeling the same thing.


The band really wasn’t getting anywhere when it came to new material for a new album. None of them could agree on what they wanted it to sound like for one thing, and that was part of how they knew in what direction to take the lyrics. Every time everyone sat down to talk about it, they ran around that issue for what seemed like hours. All of them were careful not to outright argue, but it was obvious that tensions were running high.

The worst part about it was that Brendon and Ryan were on two different sides. Ryan wanted to keep going with what they were doing with Pretty. Odd. and Brendon wanted to go back to a Fever-like sound. Spencer agreed with him and Jon agreed with Ryan. Brendon was careful not to let it leak into the relationship and it seemed like Ryan had the same idea.

It was hard, though, to keep something so important in both of their lives out of thought when they were alone. They managed it, mostly due to the fact that the issue was only ever talked about when band meetings were called to try to work the issue out.

“Come on, the critics acclaim Pretty. Odd. People love it and I’m pretty sure that all of them would be just fine with us putting out another album that sounded like it. Really, I’m sure that we could do just about anything and the fans would love it,” Jon said, looking at Brendon and Spencer. They were gathered in the lounge to have yet another band meeting on their way to the next show.

“It shouldn’t be just about that. It has to be something that all of us want to do. If only you two actually want to do this, the album wouldn’t sound nearly as good as if all of us had our hearts in it. Instead of trying to convince each other to go with the other side, we need to find a middle ground or something,” Spencer argued.

Brendon had to admit that they both made really good points. “I don’t think that we should have to compromise, though. Sure, all of us get our way but there’s going to be some resentment on both sides. It has to be something that we’re all sure that we want to do. Maybe we could find a new sound that all of us like and try that out. Jon was right about the fans loving pretty much anything.” This wasn’t a new point that Brendon was introducing. He really thought that trying a new sound that was a mixture of both sides was a good idea.

“Is there really a new sound that we could even try, though?” That was always what everyone said, this time it was voiced by Jon. Brendon huffed and settled back into the couch. He looked over at Ryan to try and see what he was thinking.

The other boy was being unusually silent during this meeting. Usually he offered his opinion and why he held it, sticking firmly to the belief that they should stick to Pretty. Odd. sounding material. Now it looked like he was completely lost in his own mind, not even paying attention to the meeting at hand. He looked sad about whatever he was thinking and Brendon frowned a little bit. Ryan was sitting across the room from him, so he couldn’t nudge him out of his head and he wasn’t having any success in getting his attention. Eventually he just left it alone and tuned back in to what Spencer was saying.

“Maybe we could do a split album, sort of like the different styles we did with Fever. Half of the album could be like Fever and the other half could sound like Pretty. Odd. It shouldn’t be too hard, and everyone would get what they wanted.”

“That could maybe work. But would the parts just be done by the people who wanted that style? It would hardly be us being a band that way.” Jon and Spencer were the only ones upholding this conversation and it apparently didn’t bother them.

“Well, no. I’m sure that we could all suck it up to do a few songs in a style that we didn’t like.” Spencer rolled his eyes like he couldn’t believe Jon was being so difficult.

“You just said that we all should have our hearts in it,” Jon protested. Brendon sighed loudly.

“This isn’t going anywhere, again. Let’s just give it up and come back to it later, like after the show, or maybe when we’re done touring.” Brendon was sick of all of this. There were two sides to the conflict but sometimes it seemed like no one really knew what they wanted. Without giving anyone time to argue with him on this, he got up and went to go ask the driver when they were stopping again.

At the next gas station, the driver stopped “for gas” but Brendon knew it was because the man must have guessed that he needed to get out of the bus. The driver said that they would stop for a while and Brendon nodded his thanks as he passed the man by the gas pumps. He needed a walk and fresh air and time away from his band mates.

All of this was putting strain on them that they didn’t need. Brendon really didn’t want to have the band be rising in its success, then suddenly end because of fighting. The whole thing was too good for that end and he didn’t want it to join the list of many bands that that happened to. If they didn’t find a solution, though, it seemed to be a very possible conclusion. Besides, he didn’t know what he would do instead if the band broke up since it was his whole life.

Brendon shook his head and walked on. This wasn’t going to plague him while he went out for alone time and time away from all of that stuff. Instead, while he walked, he just let his mind wander and he let himself think more about seeing his sister and nephew and brother-in-law and possibly introducing Ryan to all of them at some point. It did seem that Ryan was willing to do that and actually wanted it, too.

When they got done touring, maybe the two of them could just go up to Seattle and spend a week or so at Kara’s. It would be nice down-time and more time for the two of them to be together without having to worry about things like shows and music and the future of the band. Brendon liked the idea and decided that he would have to run it by Ryan and Kara at some point.

The walk was nice. Brendon actually felt his head clear up a little and he was glad for the time to just be alone. The main reason he went back was the knowledge that they were still on a schedule and he couldn’t stay out for hours or people would start to worry. Apparently, being kidnapped and killed or held for ransom was a real concern of Zack’s and he never let any of them stay out alone for more than a half hour. He always said that there was no way in hell he was going to pay for any of their sorry asses back if they were stupid enough to get kidnapped. Brendon told him that he would make a great dad.

When he got back, it looked like the bus still wasn’t ready to leave. The only person in sight was Ryan, leaning against the side of the bus, smoking a cigarette. Brendon leaned against the bus beside him and Ryan offered him the cigarette. He took it, embracing the harsh burning feeling that flowed into his lungs. Brendon didn’t really smoke, but he did take a few drags occasionally. Luckily for him, Ryan was always willing to let him have those few drags. At first they were concerned that it would wreck his voice but they found out that it really didn’t and Ryan let it go.

“Feel better?” the other boy asked, hands in his pockets, looking at Brendon curiously. Brendon nodded, knowing that Ryan was referencing the walk. Ryan nodded back and let out a sigh. Brendon handed the cigarette back.

“What about you? Are you okay?” Brendon had to ask because of how quiet Ryan was during the meeting. It looked like Ryan was thinking about it for a second and he shrugged, shaking his head at the same time. He bent his head and took another drag, letting the breath out slowly. Brendon considered asking what was wrong, but he knew that it wouldn’t be any use. If Ryan wanted him to know, he would tell him.

“Not really. I had an idea earlier and I don’t know what to think about it. It’s still haunting me.” That was all Ryan said, taking another drag and handing the cigarette back to Brendon. He stuffed his hand back in his pocket and looked out over where they were, letting the breath out slowly again. He looked serious, like he was still mulling over his haunting idea.

Brendon took a few more breaths around the cigarette before looking at Ryan for confirmation that he could put it out. Ryan must have seen it out of the corner of his eye and he nodded. Brendon dropped it on the ground, grinding it out with the heel of his high top. Then he took a breath of the clean air and he put his head on Ryan’s shoulder, looking out in the same direction.

He was sure that they weren’t seeing the same thing, but he figured that if he was with Ryan he had a better chance of seeing the world that Ryan saw. When Ryan put an arm around his waist, he was even more sure of it.

It was a long while before anyone came back and they all got back into the bus. Ryan seemed to be done with thinking about whatever his idea had been and they gathered around to play poker for a while. Brendon was still curious, but he was glad to see that Ryan seemed to forget about it for the time being and he was present and seemed to be okay.

Later, in Ryan’s bunk, Brendon laid pressed back against the other boy. Ryan’s fingers were playing with the hair on his temples while the other arm was wrapped securely around his middle. Brendon was telling Ryan the latest news that he knew about his family because the other boy always seemed to be interested in that.

Brendon was cut off midsentence when Ryan turned him around and kissed him hard on the lips. Surprised, Brendon kissed back and was even more surprised when Ryan broke it off to study his face intently. He wasn’t sure what to think as he watched the intense hazel eyes flick over his face. It didn’t look like Ryan was completely connected to reality and Brendon knew that he could only wait.

Eventually Ryan had returned and he put his arms around Brendon’s back, pulling him closer to his chest and resting his chin on Brendon’s shoulder. Nothing was making sense, but he put his hands on the other boy’s waist regardless. He kissed Ryan on the cheek and just felt the other chest rising and falling with his.

Ryan offered no explanation, and he clenched and unclenched his hands in the back of Brendon’s shirt. Even though it was an agitated action, it made Brendon’s nerves give off little sparks when the fingertips rubbed against his back. Brendon moved one hand up to the back of the other boy’s head to mix in with Ryan’s hair, threading his fingers through the soft brown locks and letting them slip through his fingers before repeating the motion. It seemed to have the same effect on Ryan because he moved even closer, still breathing deep.

There was no telling what had gotten Ryan so worked up because Brendon knew that he wasn’t going to talk about it. Ryan was still pressed up against him when he fell asleep. His grip on Brendon’s shirt didn’t slacken much and Brendon kept moving his fingers through Ryan’s hair because it seemed to relax the boy a little. Needless to say, he was worried about what was going on in the guitarist’s head, but Brendon was glad that he could at least be there with Ryan when the other boy needed him if he wasn’t going to learn what was going on.


Ryan was really quiet when he woke up and he didn’t say a word for a few hours after, either. All day his face looked heavy, but it also sported the expression advising people not to bother him. He spent a lot of time on the laptop and Brendon couldn’t help being concerned. It didn’t seem like he was angry, which was the first emotion that one would guess with Ryan Ross, he just looked unbelievably sad, an uncommon emotion for the guitarist to show.

When the bus stopped for gas and for the bathroom, Ryan grabbed his lighter and cigarettes and left the bus quickly, without a word. Whenever he did that, it meant that he was going on a walk and that he wanted to be alone. Brendon bit his lip and thought about it before deciding to stay on the bus and check how things were going the only way that he knew how.

The poetry website was the first thing that popped up when Brendon opened the laptop and he looked at the list of recently read poems. He braced himself for what he might read and scrolled down to the last one that he saw.

There were only two that he hadn’t seen before. The first one was called To A Lost One by Angela Manalang Gloria. Brendon frowned, not seeing the point. Maybe it had something to do with that disturbing thought that Ryan had talked about having. It was dated a few weeks ago, but Brendon didn’t think that he should be surprised by this considering the fact that Ryan was known to dwell on thoughts close to forever.

The next one was much more recent, earlier that day. It was entitled The Problem by Richard Siken. In all reality, Brendon thought, it probably wasn’t very solid to rely on poetry to get into Ryan’s head. It was the only thing that he had, though, because he was sure that Ryan wasn’t going to tell him anything if he asked. Sometimes it seemed like Ryan was incapable of talking. Words swirled around in his pretty head, but it seemed like he didn’t want to, or couldn’t, let them go.

It had always been like that. Ryan talked, he could carry on conversations and he could communicate with people, but it never seemed like the important thoughts came out. It wasn’t like Brendon was one to judge, though, since he rarely talked about deep, personal things like his family and his fears with anyone. Hell, Ryan was the only one he could talk to about his family and he supposed that it was enough that Ryan had told him everything about what happened with his dad and how it still affected him.

Brendon nodded to himself and shut the laptop after returning things to how they’d been left. He looked outside to see that Spencer was talking to Zack and laughing, Jon was leaning on the edge of the bus, talking to the driver, and Ryan wasn’t in sight. The sky was overcast and the door was hanging open so Brendon got a taste of the cool breeze that was blowing around. He knew that Ryan could be out for a while because this was ideal Ryan Ross weather.

He sighed and sank back into the couch, waiting for everyone to come back and for them to take off again. Tour was almost over with only two shows left and the end was the ultimatum. That was when they all had to truly face the problem of the direction in which to take their next album. Brendon was spared from thinking about that when people came back on the bus, though, a fact that he was extremely grateful for.

Ryan was empty handed save for the lighter so Brendon could tell that the other boy had really been thinking hard. Brendon frowned a little and reached out to pull Ryan down beside him as he was on his way to the kitchen area. He didn’t know what was going on, but he pulled the other boy closer to him and wrapped his arms tight around him, resting his chin on Ryan’s shoulder. The tension went out of the young man’s body and he completely relaxed back into Brendon, something that the singer wasn’t expecting.

Without any warning, Ryan struggled to turn around so they were facing each other. Then he put his arms around Brendon and leaned completely into him, pushing Brendon back into the couch. Brendon blinked as Ryan lay there, head on Brendon’s chest, arms around his shoulders. All Brendon could do was tighten his own hold and lean his cheek on top of the brown-haired boy’s head.

Jon raised an eyebrow when he looked over and Brendon just shook his head, resting it back on top of Ryan’s. Jon nodded and sat down, pulling out his cellphone. Brendon just looked back down at the top of Ryan’s head, wondering what was going on inside of it. He started rubbing the other boy’s back and smiled sadly when Ryan made a small noise and moved closer. Something was wrong, now he knew that for a fact, and it was severely bothering him how much this was wearing at Ryan.

It wasn’t too surprising when the boy fell asleep on him. Brendon just leaned forward and kissed the top of his head, whispering, “I’m going to help you, I promise.” It made him feel better for some reason to say it out loud.


They were done with tour and they were on their way home via bus. Now there was no pressure so they were able to stop at hotels and stay for a few hours to look around or to actually have a sit down meal in the morning. Everyone sensed the fact that they actually had to confront this problem about the next album and they were all expertly avoiding the topic, dancing around it and not saying anything that could lead back to it.

Brendon was lying around in the bed in the hotel, loving the feeling of being able to be on a bed even if it wasn’t his own. Jon was next door, probably doing the same thing. Brendon wasn’t sure because Jon wasn’t texting back. Ryan and Spencer had had one of their silent conversations over breakfast and were now out somewhere, having lunch together.

The laptop showed that Ryan was probably out of whatever mood he’d been in. My Heart by Frank O’Hara seemed to suggest that, and Brendon was going to go by the deeper, artsy side of Ryan’s brain since it judged most of his decisions regarding mood and temperament. Brendon actually decided that he was going to talk to Ryan about all of it when he came back. He didn’t really know for a fact that Ryan wouldn’t answer him since they were in some kind of relationship now. Besides, it was important that they talk about stuff like what happened in Ryan’s head, especially since Brendon was beginning to accept that he was falling in love with the tall, skinny musician.

He swallowed his words when Ryan came in the room, looking sad and reluctant for something. Brendon gave him a questioning look and Ryan merely answered by saying, “Band meeting.” His voice sounded heavy and Brendon got up without question, following Ryan out of room and into Jon and Spencer’s.

“What’s going on?” Jon sounded confused and suspicious as Spencer sat down heavily on his own bed an expression identical to Ryan’s on his face. Ryan went over to lean against the wall while Brendon sat on the bed with Jon. A silence settled over the four of them and Brendon knew that he wasn’t going to be the one to break it. He just watched as Ryan and Spencer exchanged a look.

“Spence and I were talking about what we think the best thing for the band is. It turns out that we had the same idea, too.” Ryan took a breath, crossing his arms over his chest. “We think that it would be best to split the band according to what styles each side wants to maintain. Jon and I would leave and form our own band. Panic! could still carry on, though.” Brendon got the oddest feeling that Ryan was talking to him.

Jon was nodding a little bit, now adopting that heavy, sad look. “I was thinking that this was where it would end up. It seems like the best thing to do for our friendships, too. I really don’t want to hate any of you,” Spencer and Ryan nodded, like they were accepting this explanation along with theirs. Then everyone looked over at Brendon.

Brendon really couldn’t tell what he was feeling about this news. In the rules of democracy, his vote didn’t even really matter because there were already three in favor. Even with that in mind, he couldn’t bring himself to say anything, words weren’t coming to him. As the silence stretched out, Ryan started frowning and everything started to seem awkward, which Brendon hated because these were some of the only people that he didn’t feel awkward around.

The silence broke when someone’s phone went off. The sound also seemed to spark the four of them back into function. Brendon was focused on his lap, still wondering what he was supposed to say to this news. He was saved by a long-fingered hand wrapping around his arm and pulling him up. Ryan just motioned for them to go outside and Brendon mutely followed.

He wasn’t sure where they were going and Ryan didn’t talk to him until they were out of the city, onto some walking trail that was steadily getting less populated. When they were finally alone, Ryan turned to look at him and they slowed down a little bit. “What’s wrong?”

Brendon almost laughed at that. “My family’s splitting up and I just found out about it. I didn’t even get to be part of the decision making process.” That’s when everything clicked and he let it go. “Fuck, the band that’s been my whole life since senior year is breaking up.”

Ryan was focusing on the ground and he only mumbled, “It’s not breaking up. Jon and I are leaving. You and Spence are going to be Panic!”

“That’s something else. Why did you talk to Spencer about it? Why didn’t I even know that this was what you were thinking about doing? Why is Spencer the one that you talked to first? Why can’t you talk to me about stuff like that? I’ve noticed that there was something wrong with you, but I was waiting to see if you were going to tell me about it.”

“What are you talking about, I don’t tell you things? You’re the only person in the world who knows about everything that my dad ever did to me.” Brendon could tell that Ryan was getting riled up.

“Why couldn’t you tell me about all of this, then? Why couldn’t you tell me that you were planning on leaving? What is this going to mean when it comes to the two of us? Why wasn’t I the one that you had this discussion with before bringing it to the rest of the band? Or were you planning on just making up your mind and running away without even asking what I thought?”

“Why the fuck would you think that? What makes you think I would do that? Spencer’s still my friend, you know, remember that I’ve known him longer than you and this band was ours before you were ever part of it.”

“Then why don’t you go ahead and let him fall in love with you?!” Brendon realized that he was yelling now and he turned away, stalking a few more feet down the path that they were on. When he was more under control, he turned back to look at Ryan, stopping when he noticed the other’s expression.

Ryan looked devastated and very hurt. Brendon mentally kicked himself but stopped when he saw Ryan’s mouth move. “What?” he asked, not catching the words. Ryan walked closer and took both of Brendon’s hands.

“That’s why. I couldn’t talk to you about it because I knew that you would—inadvertently—convince me to stay in the band. If that happened, we would all fight about what we should write about for this next album and then there would be too many compromises and resentment would pop up. Bren, I can’t imagine hating you.” Ryan lifted Brendon’s hands up a little and kissed his knuckles lightly before dropping his hands and hugging him instead. “I’m sorry.”

“You didn’t answer one of my questions,” Brendon said quietly. He knew that he should just let this moment take him away, but for once he couldn’t. Ryan pulled away to look at him and Brendon took a breath. “What’s going to happen with us and this?” He almost hated himself for asking it.

Ryan’s expression fell again and he bit his lip, looking back down at the ground. “I don’t know,” he mumbled at the ground. That wasn’t Ryan Ross, though, and Brendon felt his heart sink.

“Yes you do. You always know what’s going on with things concerning you, you make sure of it,” Brendon said firmly. They both knew that it was true and they both knew that there wasn’t any point in refuting it.

Ryan looked up again and his eyes were sad. It was a sight that Brendon had never seen before. He’d seen Ryan look lost, confused, worried, and irritated, but never this. Even when he’d seen him cry, the expression in the boy’s eyes had been anger or frustration. Ryan closed his eyes for a second and opened them back up to look at him. It seemed like he really didn’t want to say what he was going to say and Brendon knew that he really didn’t want to hear it, but he had to. He was going to make Ryan say it and he was going to make himself hear it.

“I think that it would be best if we went with our bands. Th-this would be hard to do with touring in two different bands anyway. We’d barely be able to see each other and, and we’d both be loaded down with work to do.” Ryan was faltering and Brendon was able to see that it was just as hard for the other boy as it was for him. He closed his eyes and let the words sink into his head.

Before he was aware of it, he was nodding. “You’re probably right. It would be hard to keep up with each other and it could also end in that hatred/resentment that you were talking about.” Somehow he didn’t stumble over any of his words and his voice was able to be understood. He opened his eyes and was able to see Ryan nodding, too.

They stepped forward with the same intention at the same time, though. Brendon blinked repeatedly as he clutched the back of Ryan’s shirt. He had to soak up the feeling because no matter how good an idea it was, this sucked and he was going to miss Ryan. Brendon wasn’t the only one who felt that way, he could feel Ryan doing the same thing, drawing in deep breaths.

“Thank you. You’ve done so much for me. Shit, you’ve been better than any therapist could be, way better than any of those court mandated therapy sessions that I had to go to for the first couple of months after my emancipation. Somehow they made things worse.”

“Dude, it’s nothing. I should thank you. You’re the main reason why my life is so amazing now. I fucking owe all of my happiness to you. You’re the person who taught me how to be confident and how to be comfortable doing what I want.” Brendon replied, somehow pulling Ryan even closer. Slowly, he could feel the familiarity leak out of the hug. It was slowly turning back into a friend-hug versus one between two people who had shared the same bunk for the past month or so.

Ryan didn’t seem to mind being crushed against Brendon, in fact, it felt like he was holding on, still. He turned his face in toward Brendon’s neck and Brendon wished it didn’t feel so good. “I’m sorry,” the brown-haired musician whispered. “I’m sorry for everything that I’ve put you through and dumped on you and the times I’ve been bitchy and snapped at you even if you didn’t do anything.”

“I’m sorry for being an annoying little shit and for getting in your way sometimes and for trying to be inside your brain.” He figured he might as well apologize for looking at the poetry now, but still without saying anything about it.

They pulled away from each other and both of them instinctively went in for a kiss before they realized what they were doing. Ryan was the one that stepped back and immediately put his arms around himself, clutching the sides of his jacket. “That’s probably not the best idea,” he said quietly.

“Yeah…” Brendon cleared his throat and looked back up, trying to straighten his spine and hold his head up. “So, should we go back, then?” Ryan nodded, looking down at the ground, closed up again already, and he started picking his way along the path back to the city and the hotel. Brendon followed right behind him.

Back at the hotel, Ryan switched rooms with Spencer because it would be extremely awkward if they shared a room again, even if they would be sleeping in separate beds this time. Both Jon and Spencer were really quiet and they kept their eyes lowered, trying not to make eye contact with either one of the two young men who had just come back. It was obvious what was going on and they were being good friends and not rubbing it in any more.

Spencer looked at him sadly when they were alone later that night. He was sitting on his bed and it looked like he wanted to say something but that he didn’t know what would be appropriate. Brendon appreciated the silence, wanting it so he could focus on how miserable he felt.

He was running through everything in his mind about how he should have known that Ryan wasn’t happy with what he was doing. The Richard Siken poem pretty much spelled that out, and the Frank O’Hara one obviously showed when he decided that he was going to go off and do his own thing. He shook his head and lay down on his back, looking up at the ceiling.

“Bren, don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s got nothing to do with you. I really think that you’re the reason he’s held off talking about it for so long because he sounded really sure of the decision to leave when we were talking,” Spencer said softly. Brendon could feel the blue eyes on him and he just closed his own, not wanting to hear about it.

It was silent for a little bit more and Spencer got up to turn off the lights. When he was in his bed, he spoke up again. “I’m still here, man. We’ll get through it together.” Then he was quiet and Brendon listened to him fall asleep.

He liked the idea of having someone who was also close to Ryan to be with when they were all split up. Fuck, he was just glad to have someone with him who had been through this ride, too, as everything changed around them. Brendon let himself fall asleep on the knowledge that he still had Spencer and Kara and it wasn’t like he couldn’t ever speak to Jon or Ryan again. Things were changing, but it was okay.


The next morning they got loaded onto the bus again and Brendon kept mostly to himself. It felt a little strange to have all of them on the bus together, but Brendon reminded himself that they were all still friends and that it wouldn’t make sense for Ryan and Jon not to go with them since they were going back east too.

Brendon was settled into the couch with the laptop. Cautiously, he peered over the top to make sure that no one was paying attention to him and when he was satisfied he went to the poetry website, just to see if there was anything there that Ryan may have looked at. It was stupid and he probably shouldn’t have, but it was something that was nagging at him and he knew that if he didn’t go, it would drive him crazy.

The only one there that he hadn’t seen was looked at last night. Brendon read it, not even looking at the title. He was just desperate to see what Ryan was feeling and since he couldn’t ask anymore—like he ever did—this was what he had to do. Besides, as soon as Ryan and Jon walked away, Brendon wouldn’t be able to do this anymore either.

Unfortunately, the poem wasn’t what he’d been expecting. It was actually disappointing, and he glanced up at the title, The Sentence by Anna Ahkmatova. Brendon looked back at the poem and decided that he wanted it to mean that it was a sentence like a punishment. That made it better and Brendon was back to being okay.


Brendon sat in his apartment, alone for now. The bus had just dropped him off and was going on to where Spencer lived. Jon was already dropped in Chicago and Ryan had been dropped off about a half hour ago. There was a cold beer in his hand and he was catching up on email on his own laptop.

At the moment, everything felt normal, like the last time they’d stopped touring to write the new album. This pause was going to be much longer, though, and there wasn’t going to be a car accident or a deep conversation in a hotel room, or a huge fight that ended in a kiss when it was over. Brendon shook his head and pushed his glasses further up his nose, reading an email from Pete about some stupid thing that had happened to them on tour while he was drunk. He was interrupted by his phone ringing and he glanced down at the caller ID. It was Kara.

Frowning, he picked it up and put it to his ear. “Hey, is something going on?” He was going to call her about the news in a few days, once it was okay for him, so he didn’t know why she would be calling.

“Yeah something’s going on. I heard that Panic! is splitting up, and that you and Ryan aren’t together anymore. You can imagine my distress at receiving this message since it wasn’t from you but it was still from someone who would know.” Brendon’s frown deepened.

“Who did you hear it from?”

“No, you’re going to tell me about it first. You’re going to tell me if it’s true at all and if it is you’re going to tell me the whole story.” She was using the firm, big sister/mom voice again and Brendon only sighed inwardly. He didn’t really have a choice when she put it like that.

“It is true. We couldn’t decide what sound we should go with for the next album because Ryan and Jon wanted to stay with the sound that we’re using with Pretty. Odd. but Spencer and I wanted to go back to a sound that was like Fever. It’s been going on for a while and we finally decided that it would be better if the band split in the two directions, so Jon and Ryan left.” He said it all in a monotone, careful to keep all emotion out of his voice.

“There’s something that you aren’t telling me,” Kara said knowingly, warning clear. Brendon sighed aloud this time.

“Spencer and Ryan talked it over and they came back to the hotel to make the announcement. Jon agreed with them almost right away and I didn’t really get to say anything because I couldn’t think of anything to say. I didn’t really want to, but it didn’t matter. Besides, now that I think about it, it probably is for the best.” The monotone broke and this was why he hadn’t wanted to mention the part about how the decision wasn’t really a “we” thing. Kara made a sympathetic noise, which was basically telling him that he should continue talking.

“Obviously there was some dialogue for me and Ryan to have, so we went out alone. We had a bit of a discussion about why he didn’t tell me about it sooner and he told me that it was because I would have unintentionally convinced him to keep it up. Then I asked him what he thought we should do, the two of us, and he suggested that we go with our bands. I agreed because it would be hard to keep it up in two different bands, busy with writing and touring. It would all end anyway and it’s better that it ends without us hating each other because I really don’t want to hate him.” Brendon stopped there, coughing a little to cover up the catch in his throat.

“Oh, Brendon.” It sounded like Kara knew exactly what happened, how he didn’t agree with the idea of them splitting up and that he was taking it all hard. “My God Brenny, I’m sorry.” She paused, then she asked, “Did you love him?” It was the same question she’d asked when he’d broken up with Audrey. Only this time he had an actual answer.

He just nodded as the sob broke out of his throat. It didn’t matter that Kara couldn’t see his nod because that was enough to answer her question. Brendon clutched the phone tighter to his ear, squeezing his eyes shut as he fought for control.

“Who told you?” he asked when his breathing calmed down and he could speak without choking up.

“Spencer called me. I’m just assuming that you gave all of them my phone number, I didn’t question him, he just told me about what happened with the band and with you and Ryan. He said that he was worried and that he thought I should try to talk to you.” Brendon nodded to himself, taking that in.

“Spencer’s a good friend. The two of us are Panic! now, you know. I’m glad that I have him.” He really was. Spencer was good at being a support. After all, he’d been doing it for Ryan for years without knowing it.

Brendon’s conversation with his sister ended about an hour later and he only almost cried twice more. When he hung up, he realized just how lucky he was to have her, too. It was all going to be okay and he was going to keep moving forward. As always, there was still music to think of and that was all that mattered in the end.

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