Spencer Smith had just wanted to get a good night’s sleep and be a normal guy who just so happened to talk to the dead sometimes. That and live with two guys who are force sensitive and a third who’s invincible. He didn’t want to be a hero or save the world like Brendon did, and he really didn’t want to be up in the middle of the night to stop a so-called bad guy who just so happened to be a petty thief. Christ, they’d only just finished high school. Spencer wanted to take a year to travel and figure out what to do with his life, not stay in bed, too tired to do anything really, because he’d been up at early hours in the morning being a “superhero.”
Not wanting to be a superhero aside, Spencer had a pretty fucking cool superpower if he did say so himself. But if he didn’t say so, others would say it was morbid. Sure, talking to the dead could get rather gruesome, but he really didn’t see why everyone had to be so negative about it. For instance, there was a guy who’d been stabbed repeatedly because his murder “was a fucking idiot who couldn’t tell left from right.” (a quote from the dead guy. Spencer had no idea who the murder was.) Gruesome, sure, but also kinda funny. And cool. But it didn’t mean he had to save the world. Besides, what use was his power for that? None. Especially when saving the world means less dead people, which just so happens to be a way to define saving the world.
His friend (and
crush soulmate) Jon Walker had the power of immortality, which ranked Number Two in Spencer Smith’s List of the Coolest Superpowers, following only his own. Well, opposites attract, right? Not that Spencer was dead. It’s just that he can talk to dead people but Jon can’t die. As far as Spencer was concerned, the two of them had the best powers. Even better than Ryan and Brendon, who had telekinesis. They worked as a pair. Practically married. And Spencer was in no way jealous. He didn’t care that he and Jon had opposite powers, or that Jon clearly didn’t return Spencer’s feelings, or the fact that his power was morbid instead of cool. No jealousy whatsoever.
Voices drifted from the living room while Spencer sat alone in the kitchen recalling the previous night’s events, a mug of coffee warming his hands.
Brendon had woken them all up at two in the morning, and as per usual, Spencer had protested (the others would’ve said “thrown a bitch fest.” He thought they were being harsh) while Ryan and Jon had gone along with little complaint. Well, it wasn’t his fault he didn’t want to get out of bed just to stand to the side and be useless. But in the end, he’d relented and gone along anyways. Like always.
It had turned out Brendon was dragging them out because someone had tried to rob a bank. Spencer had rolled his eyes, internally groaning at how fucking cliché the scenario was. One look at Jon said he was thinking the same, but Brendon’s enthusiasm at making a difference was as unwavering as ever. Him and Ryan both successfully cornered the thief, surrounding him with file cabinets within minutes while Jon grabbed the gun (“It was just in case!” the thief had called. Like anyone believed him. Why on earth would you need a gun as a just in case?) from the guy’s hand. Spencer just stood there and then decided to call the police. It had been rather anticlimactic, to say the least. If he had to be “saving the world,” Spencer wanted to be the guy who could interview dead victims to get an inside scoop on what they were up against, he wanted to be the guy who unlocked key information that lead to their victory. Not the guy who stands to the side and phones the police while the others do the dirty work.
“And this is Spencer!” Brendon’s enthusiastic voice exclaims, pulling Spencer from his thoughts. He looks up to see three unfamiliar faces next to Brendon.
“Spencer, this is William, Sisky, and Tom.” Spencer waves a hand as a greeting, and the three mumble a hello in response. Spencer makes eye contact with Brendon, silently asking what’s going on. I’ll explain in a minute, Brendon replies, equally silently. Spencer likes how him and Brendon can communicate like that, no telepathy required. Well, that’s what happens when you’ve known each other before you could even talk, he thinks. He may be no match for Ryan Ross, but he has that, at least, to remind him how deep his friendship with Brendon goes, despite their disagreements.
“Have you seen Jon?” Brendon asks, taking a seat and gesturing for the other three to do the same.
“He went out to get milk.”
When Jon comes back, Brendon leaves to get Ryan from his studying after hasty introductions. Spencer can’t help but notice how Jon looks at Tom differently than William and Sisky. How Jon looks at Tom the way he wants Jon to look at him. He feels immediate resentment towards Tom, and he doesn’t even know the guy’s last name. An all too familiar wave of jealousy swells through him, one that he hasn’t felt in years. Not since Jon broke up with Cassie. Spencer remembers when they first got together, back when they were juniors. Joined at the hip, those two were. Constantly touching and whispering sweet nothings to each other. Spencer had officially become a third wheel with all his friends. Though Ryan and Brendon hadn’t gotten together yet, they’d be constantly circling each other. But hanging out with them was much less painful. At the time, Spencer blamed it on the fact that Ryan and Brendon weren’t kissing every five minutes. Looking back on it, he realizes that no, that really wasn’t why.
“So, Tom, Sisky, William, you all know why you’re here, but Spencer and Jon don’t.” Brendon begins, all serious suddenly. “We all have powers, and we all believe that we should use them for good.” Brendon glares at him pointedly when he says all, to which Spencer feigns obliviousness. “William can inflict diseases on anyone.”
“Wouldn’t want to cross him,” Ryan mumbled, to which William grinned.
“Sisky can teleport, and Tom can read minds.”
“Only if I really want to,” Tom adds. “It gets really loud and annoying if I can hear absolutely everyone’s thoughts all the time, so I avoid it as much as possible.”
Well thank whatever God(s) that exists for humans and their excessive thoughts.
“I can talk to the dead, Ryan and Brendon have the force, and Jon is invinsible.” Spencer sums up.
“We’d make a pretty good team. I bet we could put the x-men to shame.” Sisky comments, “Except I don’t know anything about the x-men except that they’re a group of guys with superpowers or something.” He adds as an afterthought. Spencer would correct him, but he too knew nothing about the x-men. He point-blank refused to watch any movie that had characters with superpowers.
Brendon seemed to be taking the whole “superhero group” or whatever incredibly seriously. Not that Spencer had expected anything less, but he was hoping that they would continue as they had before. A bit unorganized, go with the flow type group. But no, Brendon had set up training exercises, a specific role for everyone, a routine for any time something happened.
Spencer’s job was just riveting. He got to interrogate the dead guys (if there were any), and call the police. But his main role was just to call the police, because the goal of the others was to make sure there were no fatalities. So, he spent hours gritting his teeth and standing to the side as Ryan and Brendon sent objects flying around the room, Sisky pop up in seemingly random places at random times, William pretending to inflict the flu on a dummy while Tom yelled out what the dummy (bad guy) would do next and Jon grabbed the weapons out of his hands, all the while sending flirtatious looks at Tom.
Spencer generally prided himself in not being the mopey, lovesick kind of guy. Except that was exactly who he was coming. It had been years since he met Jon, watched Jon with a girlfriend, watched Jon hooking up with random girls and guys alike, and now it was too much. Especially when his power was so fucking useless. No, not useless, just too awesome for the others. Except they were his friends, so really, it just remained useless. He slipped out of the flat without anyone noticing.
He hadn’t realized how late it was getting until he was outside, the night air cold on his skin, streetlights casting an orangey glow on the pavement. His feet followed the all too familiar path towards the graveyard without him really thinking about it. It was the place where Spencer tended to seek refuge whenever he started to feel anxious. Most people avoided the grave yard at night, which was completely understandable, though Spencer would never be able to relate, despite some of the strange or sometimes terrifying characters he would come across.
The graveyard was rather large, but Spencer frequented it often enough to know exactly where he was wherever he went. He had left with the intent of seeing one person in particular, though it didn’t stop him from chatting briefly with a few people he’d met over the years. There was Andy Mrotek (a.k.a The Butcher), who had refused to say why he was dead but made endless puns about death, Alex Gaskarth, who liked Blink-182 as much as Spencer did, and Victoria Asher, who was full of stories about the world. She kept him company until he approached the plot where Dallon Weekes was buried.
“Dall?” Spencer called hesitantly. Dallon had been part of their group back in high school. He could travel between dimensions. He’d gone out one day and never come back until his body was found on Spencer’s porch. Dallon never said why he died, which was common enough, though he told Spencer to never tell the others that he could talk to Dallon, which mystified Spencer, but he never asked why. Shortly after the incident was when Brendon decided he had to save the world. Even so, mentioning Dallon to any of them except for Spencer was like stepping on a landmine.
“Hey Spence,” came a familiar voice as his old friend came into view. Dallon looked the same as he had when he died, same hair, same face, and didn’t look a day over sixteen, though he would’ve been nineteen in a month.
“How are the guys?” He asked, to which Spencer sighed dramatically. Dallon chuckled. “Same as always, I take it?”
“Yep. Brendon still wants to save the world, and he’s hired some new guys to help or something, but my power’s kinda useless so I’m still police-phoning-guy, and Jon keeps flirting with the new guy Tom.”
“I take it you still haven’t told Jon about your crush?” Dallon asks, his voice laced with mild amusement.
“Well, no.” Spencer replies, “I really don’t think I can do that.”
“Spencer. If you don’t tell Jon, he’ll think you’re not interested. I’ve told you fifteen dozen times. He likes you. So go for it, because if you don’t he’ll move on.”
“But how do you know he likes me?”
“What if I ruin everything?” Spencer laments, interrupting Dallon.
“I can’t believe I died and I am still telling you this. Stop being so impossible, Spencer.” The taller boy says, completely exasperated. Spencer sighs.
It all happens too fast. One second he’s talking to Dallon and the next he’s blinded and gagged, hands all over him. He tries to kick, fight the hands off of him, attract the attention of all the ghosts around him, but his efforts are futile. He can distantly hear Dallon calling his name in the background.
The next thing Spencer is aware of is the flames surrounding him. He has no recollection of leaving the graveyard, though they clearly aren’t there anymore. Four faces loom in just outside the ring of fire, vaguely familiar, though he can’t quite place them.
“Smith. We meet again.” Says the shortest one, clearly the leader, sounding almost menacing, but the voice is so familiar Spencer almost starts laughing.
“Pete?” He asks, trying to contain the laughter that threatens to spill from his lips. Pete looks taken aback for a second before his stony expression returns.
“That’s right. And I want you to tell me where your friends are.”
Spencer wanted to scoff, to ask who the hell Pete Wentz, the weird and frankly, stupid guy, would do against six guys with super powers. Instead words rose from his throat against his will, rattling off the address of their flat.
“Thank you, Smith. You have been very helpful,” and suddenly, Pete Wentz was terrifying. “Stump, Trohman, you watch our impostor. Hurley, you’re with me.” He commanded in an authoritative tone that made Spencer miss Pete’s squeaky, obnoxious voice that he spoke with back in school. The sound of a truck driving away, presumably Pete and the other guy, Hurley or something, filled the silence as Trohman’s blue eyes stared at him unwaveringly, unnerving Spencer, and the other guy (whom he now recognized as Patrick Stump), amused himself by summoning flames in one hand only to douse them with water from the other.
“Run.” Jon’s voice whispered in Spencer’s ear, and he realized he’d blanked out again. Jon grabbed his forearm, tugging, as Ryan and Brendon began to send objects flying at Pete’s gang. Spencer didn’t need to be told twice as fireballs and rocks came flying at them in retaliation. William and Sisky lead the way, followed quickly by Jon and Spencer. Ryan and Brendon were next, trying to knock the rocks off course while Tom brought up the rear, screaming at them to duck every thirty seconds or so.
“We’re almost there!” William calls from the front of the pack, “Try to lose them!” And then Spencer can see a fireball growing bigger and bigger, coming straight towards him, and it’s almost upon him, his heart racing wildly, and this is it, this is the end, he squeezes his eyes shut waiting for the impact, but it never comes because of course Jon has thrown himself in front of him and if he wasn’t so paralyzed with fear he’d groan at Jon for being the cliché hero, but only when Jon keeps going despite the fact that he just took a fireball to the face is when it hits him (no pun intended) that Jon is invincible.
“Gabe! Open your goddamned door!” William shouts down the street, and as if on que, the door attached to the house on Spencer’s left swings open, revealing a very annoyed looking man in pajamas.
“Everyone in!” Sisky commands and the seven of them plus the guy who lives there pile into the house, shutting the door just in time. The man snaps his fingers and immediately a greenish dome surrounds the house.
“Bill, how many times, I don’t want to be your safe house every time you guys decide to get yourselves in trouble.” The man says exasperatedly.
“Love you too,” William returns sweetly, leaning into the man’s side. “Guys, this is Gabe Saporta. He’s a warlock. Gabe, this is Ryan, Brendon, Jon, and Spencer.”
Spencer waves awkwardly, and Ryan mumbles an “it’s nice to meet you.”
“I’d say nice to meet you too,” Gabe says, “But, it’s not really. I was trying to sleep. Try me when it’s not the middle of the night.”
This earns a laugh from Sisky and a scowl from William. “Gabe, be nice.” He reprimands. “Come in, guys. Gabe means well, he’s just a bit of an asshole sometimes.” The others follow William and Gabe through the house, but Spencer hangs back, his conversation with Dallon swirling in his head.
“Jon,” he mutters, “Can I talk to you?”
Jon turns around, a quizzical expression on his face. Spencer’s sure the rest of them have similar expressions, but he’s only focused on Jon, his heart racing, and an odd feeling of déjà vu sets in as Jon motions the others to go along.
“I, um,” Spencer begins unceremoniously, a lump forming in his throat. He takes a deep breath, replaying Dallon’s words in his head. I’ve told you fifteen dozen times. He likes you.
“JonIreallyreallylikeyou,” Spencer finally manages, and then he starts rambling, “I’ve been wanting to tell you for a long time but I couldn’t figure out how and with everything that happened today I realized that I might die before I ever get the chance and Dallon keeps telling me that I need to tell you and I really hated when you were flirting with Tom because-”
“Spencer, you’re rambling,” Jon says in a bemused voice, cutting him off.
“Sorry, I know, I just-”
“Spence, hey,” Jon says, the corner of his lips curling upwards into a small smile. “I like you too, okay? A lot.” And Spencer can’t help the grin that spreads across his face as Jon leans in to kiss him.
“While this is sweet and all,” an unfamiliar voice drawls and the two jump apart, glancing wildly around the room for the speaker, “We really do need to get a move on.”
“Who are you?” Jon asks, his voice confident and unwavering.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Sometimes I forget that you can’t see me like this.” And then a figure with a mass of curly hair and haunting blue eyes appears in the middle of the living room. Spencer opens his mouth, to say what, he’s not sure, but Jon beats him to it.
“Joe Trohman.” He says, and is that hate in Jon’s words there?
“That’s me,” Joe smirks, “You really have to be careful about who you let into your safe house.” He muses. “Anyways, enough small talk. Let’s cut to the chase. PETE!” He calls at the same time Spencer yells “BRENDON!”
The guys come running, and Gabe snaps his fingers, Spencer assumes it’s to get rid of Joe, but instead the protective green sphere vanishes and the door flies open, revealing Pete flanked by Patrick and Hurley.
“Gabriel Saporta,” Pete says, shaking his head, “You really need to strengthen your wards. Especially against mind control.”
And then there’s a frenzy of action, fireballs flying yet again, Ryan sends a table flying, only to be caught by Hurley and thrown aside as if it were no more than a pillow, and Joe is suddenly on the ground, covered in bruises and looking a sickly-pale colour. Hurley steps forward, punching Brendon in the temple, and Brendon crumples to the floor, spurring Ryan into a rage, but then Hurley turns on Spencer and he squeezes his eyes shut as a fist comes flying towards him and-
Spencer’s eyes fly open and he shoots into a sitting position, his heart racing wildly. It was just a dream, just a dream, he reminds himself, trying to get his breathing under control. He habitually reaches across the bed to wake up his boyfriend, to tell him about the dream like they always do, no matter what time it is, but he finds the sheets cold and unyielding, and for a split second, Spencer is confused, before he remembers. It crushes him, forces the air right out of his lungs, shakes his body with sobs.
Today is Jon Walker’s funeral.