Title: The One Where Spencer Smith Is An Idiot
Word Count: 8500-ish
Summary: He can't fucking believe he's somehow managed to acquire a "thing" for Brendon. Worse, he can't believe he didn't notice it happening.
A/N: Mild canon-fuckery. Exists in some vague present-day timeline where Spencer and Haley are a thing of the past, and for some reason everyone owns houses and lives alone. *shrug*
The first few days after touring are always the weirdest. Spencer invariably spends the last three days of any given tour eager to the point of giddiness for the chance to actually spend some time alone in his own quiet house, and the first three days after the tour feeling grouchy and disoriented and just generally sort of wrong, like he's missing several pieces of his actual brain. Well. Three pieces. But, like. Important ones.
He's such a girl sometimes, Christ.
It's even worse than usual this time. Normally, the weirdness is sort of generalized at least, like the thing that's missing is ryanbrendonjon, like it's the band and the bus and the whole arrangement that he's feeling so lost without. Those times, Spencer can fix it, can call Ryan and make him come over and lay around on the couch watching America's Next Top Model and talking like Tyra Banks, all life-or-death gravity and lengthy dramatic pauses. ("Dude…I am going to say a restaurant and…I think we should order takeout. I will only name one restaurant.")
And that usually fixes it, or at least makes it more bearable. They all try not to bother each other for awhile right after a tour, when everybody needs some down time to de-stress and whatever, but rules like that don't apply between Spencer and Ryan, so it isn't like he ever really has to be lonely.
This time, though…it's weird. He does miss the band, misses ryanbrendonjon, feels out of sorts and put together wrong just like always, and it should all be so, so normal, but…
For some reason, this time, Spencer can't stop thinking about Brendon.
He's kind of driving himself a little bit nuts, actually. It started with little stuff--he sat down to dick around on his kit for awhile, and ended up sounding pretty fucking awesome if he did say so, himself, and he just sort of automatically found himself glancing up to make sure Brendon had noticed, and…Brendon wasn't there.
Well. Obviously Brendon wasn't there, that was stupid. And anyway, since when does Spencer even care about Brendon noticing he's awesome? Like, okay. Brendon actually plays the drums, and yeah, he's always the one who gets it when Spencer manages to really rock it, but Spencer hadn't even really noticed how accustomed he's gotten to that bright, beaming grin of approval. Hadn't even noticed he'd started looking for it.
It's irritating, and it's starting to pop up everywhere. Last night, Spencer ate an entire huge bag of Skittles in front of the TV and then went to bed. This morning, he'd found the careful little pile of red ones he'd set aside on the end table for Brendon, who can--if you let him get going--deliver a passionate forty-five minute soliloquy on why the red ones are clearly the best, and how unfair it is that you can't just buy them one color at a time if that's the lifestyle choice you want to make.
Spencer always sets aside the red ones for him. It's just a habit by now, is all, but…still. The sight of the lonely, abandoned little pile on the end table makes Spencer feel squirmy and uncomfortable. He still hasn't thrown them away or eaten them, though, and at this point, he isn't even sure why.
I'm a fucking idiot, he tells himself, rolling his eyes, because this all so fucking stupid. Brendon is twenty minutes away from Spencer's house, he's not dead.
He does what he always does when things get stupid. He picks up the phone.
Ryan answers on the first ring. "Hey."
Spencer sighs. "I'm a fucking idiot, and everything is stupid," he explains.
Ryan doesn't miss a beat. "Ten minutes," he says mildly, and hangs up on Spencer.
Spencer already feels a little better.
Their usual Top Model routine gets derailed by the accidental discovery of an all-day Project Runway marathon, which is sort of like the kryptonite to all of Ryan's powers of cool. He gets really, really into it, which is pretty hilarious and awesome to watch, even if the show itself makes Spencer want to claw his eyes out a little bit. They settle in to watch comfortably.
Ryan doesn't mention the pile of red Skittles, even though he has to look right at them every single time he goes to set his drink down, and it isn't like he doesn't know. He can't not know, it's so fucking obvious and ridiculous, and Spencer's face and neck feel hot and scratchy every time he even thinks about what Ryan must be thinking about him.
Eventually, Ryan takes pity on him. "We should call and invite him over. He loves this show."
Spencer has a brief mental image of Ryan and Brendon, curled together in the back lounge on the bus, flailing at the TV and fiercely debating the benefits and drawbacks of, like…chiffon, or some shit. He has to swallow a laugh.
Then what Ryan actually said catches up with him, and he flushes uncomfortably. "Dude, he has a TV. Leave him alone, he just got rid of us, like, two days ago."
"So?" Ryan eyes him quizzically. "What exactly do you think he's busy doing right now? I mean, Jon has all his friends and family and stuff in Chicago, but Brendon's family is…well. And like, we're his friends. You didn't make it three days without calling me, and if you hadn't, I was like half an hour from calling you. Why are we assuming he doesn't get lonely?"
That…has honestly never really occurred to Spencer before, exactly that way, and he doesn't like the way it makes him feel. Brendon--bright, bouncy, enthusiastic Brendon--and loneliness just shouldn't ever go together.
Christ, he's such a fucking girl, sometimes, what the fuck.
He hunches his shoulders. "Call him, then," he says, and it's meant to be off-hand and careless, but he actually sounds a little gruff.
Ryan rolls his eyes, and calls Brendon. On speakerphone.
"Hello?" Brendon's voice is hard to read. Spencer can't for the life of him figure out when he suddenly started trying to so hard.
"Hey. All-day Project Runway marathon at Spencer's," Ryan says.
"Oh." And that, at least, Spencer can decipher--that's relief, maybe even gratitude. "Uh…okay. Cool! I mean, are you guys sure?"
Brendon sounds uncharacteristically uncertain, and Spencer feels a little sick that he and Ryan have, yet again, managed to give off the impression that they are their own exclusive two-person club inside the greater whole of the band. It might feel that way sometimes--they can't help that, they've been friends since they were five--but knowing that Jon is in Chicago and Brendon has been essentially alone in Vegas feeling like he wasn't welcome with Spencer and Ryan…. That's....
Even Ryan looks disturbed. "Dude," he says bluntly, and Spencer can see it coming an instant before it happens; he lunges, but he's too late to stop Ryan. "Spencer's got this sad little Brendon-pile of red Skittles on his end table, I'm staring at them right now. Of course we're fucking sure. Jesus, just come over."
Spencer is frozen, his hands still extended from his mad lunge for Ryan's throat, and he stares at the phone in mortification while a hot blush sweeps up his face.
There's a long pause--probably not actually all that long, but it feels like it to Spencer--before Brendon says "I'm…um. I'm on my way, then," and he sounds a little bemused, maybe, but not like he's laughing at Spencer, so. Whatever, it's fine. It's not like it's a big deal anyway, he just always eats his Skittles that way. He's just used to Brendon being around, that's all. There's nothing to be embarrassed about.
Obviously, Ryan still has to die, there's no way around that. But, you know, whatever.
Brendon shows up beaming all over his face, and the sense of wrongwrongwrong Spencer's been battling for the last--holy fuck, has it seriously only been two days?--sets itself right again, and just like that, Spencer feels reasonably normal for the first time since he's been home. If Jon weren't off in Chicago having a real life, it would be perfect. But this...this is pretty good, too.
For some reason, the pile of Skittles seems to make Brendon feel as weirdly shy as it does Spencer, so there's an awkward moment when he first sees them where they're just sort of standing there blushing at each other like idiots, and Brendon ducks his head but he's still grinning a little, and Spencer is wildly uncomfortable for reasons he can't even name, but he can't imagine there is anyone in the world capable of not smiling back when the full force of that grin is directed right at them, so he's sort of grinning stupidly, himself. Ryan is standing about a foot to one side, grinning at both of them half-incredulously, and a lot like they are the funniest thing he has ever laid eyes on.
Spencer refuses to think too deeply about that, and mentally arranges for Ryan's impending death to be considerably more painful.
Just before the awkwardness threatens to really stretch out forever, Brendon suddenly snatches up the pile of Skittles and pops them all into his mouth at once. He looks up at Spencer with dancing eyes.
"…w--eeeeeng," he says thickly, through a too-full mouth, or something like it.
"What?" Spencer says blankly.
Brendon would be grinning again if he could, Spencer can tell. "Dw-eeeen--guh?" he articulates carefully, adding in a helpful hand gesture to illustrate.
Spencer watches him mime picking up a drinking glass and pouring something into his mouth, which involves an up-close-and-personal glimpse of some partially-chewed-up Skittles that Spencer could have lived without, and rolls his eyes.
"Oh, of course, your Highness. I'll just bring that right out to you, shall I? Sit down, let me just go find my silver serving tray…"
He's still muttering to himself as he stalks into the kitchen, where he pauses abruptly as soon as he's out of sight, drawing a deep breath and pressing his forehead against a cupboard door. In the living room, he can hear Ryan snickering at him, and Brendon's answering laughter, muffled by the fucking Skittles, and Spencer sort of wishes he was dead.
He can't fucking believe he's somehow managed to acquire a "thing" for Brendon. Worse, he can't believe he didn't notice it happening.
He is such a fucking idiot. Seriously.
He resists the temptation to bang his head against the cupboard door for awhile, and grabs the drinks he came in for, instead--a glass of juice for himself, a can of Fresca for Ryan, who is on some weird obsessive kick for it lately, and two Capri-Suns for Brendon, who will down the first one in one long, obnoxious gulp before he is ready to sip the second one like a normal person. He doesn't meet anybody's eyes as he goes back into the living room, just tosses them their drinks and folds himself into a corner of the couch with his eyes locked firmly on the TV screen like Project Runway is his life.
Ryan sprawls unnecessarily in the opposite corner, leaving a thin wedge in the middle for Brendon to squeeze into, right next to Spencer, because Ryan is a little bitch who just happens to know Spencer better than he knows himself, and God, he is so completely screwed.
Actually, the whole thing could go a lot worse.
They watch Project Runway for what feels--to Spencer--like one million years, and Ryan and Brendon bicker amiably about colors and styles, and then abruptly almost come to blows over the issue of whether faux fur is elegant or tacky. Spencer smacks them both and threatens to tell the internet, which seems to alarm them both into submission.
Even Spencer starts developing opinions after awhile, although he cannot remember ever having had any particular opinions regarding evening gowns before, and he is halfway through speculating aloud about the maximum number of silver sequins one gown can reasonably include before the model starts to look like she's wearing a disco ball, when he registers what he's doing, and stops mid-sentence.
"Dude. I fucking hate marathons," he says mournfully. "I swear I was cooler than this when I woke up this morning." He pauses. "Manlier at least, for sure."
Brendon pats his arm. His hand is warm against Spencer's skin. Spencer is still an idiot.
"You were never really that manly," he tells Spencer gently. When Spencer glares at him, he just shrugs. "What? Have you seen your shoe collection? Whatever, like Ryan and I are lumberjacks. We don't judge."
Ryan leans forward slightly, peering at Spencer around Brendon. "I judge," he says flatly. "I mock, and I laugh, and I talk about it behind your back."
"While wearing two or three silk scarves and full eye makeup," Brendon points out mildly.
"I'm comfortable with my masculinity."
"Raging as it clearly is," Spencer mutters dryly. Ryan flips him off.
"Jon is our only real claim to a Y chromosome," muses Brendon. "We should do something about that. Let's give him a makeover."
Spencer snorts, and Ryan rolls his eyes, settling back into the sofa cushions as the show comes back on.
Brendon drops his head until his temple is propped against Spencer's shoulder. Spencer wishes Brendon's every move didn't feel so significant all of a sudden.
"I think Jon would look fetching in Ryan's old rose vest," Brendon murmurs thoughtfully, and Spencer laughs in spite of himself and finally manages to relax.
In the morning, Spencer wakes up to the sound of something horrible happening in his kitchen. Possibly an industrial accident of some kind. He flies out of bed way too fast for someone who has only been awake for seventeen seconds, and sort of half-staggers, half-falls down the stairs, skidding around the corner to find Brendon humming cheerfully in front of Spencer's blender, surrounded by various mutilated fruits. Spencer's borrowed pyjama pants hang precariously low on his hips, and Spencer's breath sort of whooshes out of his chest.
The sound catches Brendon's attention, and he turns around. "Spencer!" he says brightly.
Spencer swallows thickly, and forces his face into something resembling his normal early-morning scowl. "There is no Spencer," he mumbles crabbily. "Only Zuul. What the fuck are you doing, and why are you doing it at the ass-crack of dawn?"
At the counter, Ryan snorts blearily into his coffee mug, and shoots Spencer a commiserating glance. Last night, it had seemed perfectly reasonable for them to just crash here--Spencer has two guest bedrooms, even after having turned one of his extra rooms into an office--but they should have known better. It's amazing how two days apart can suddenly make you forget things like Brendon's little tendency to be wide-awake and noisy at unholy hours of the day.
"I'm making smoothies," Brendon retorts, entirely unfazed by Spencer's grumpy greeting. "Breakfast of champions. Sit down and shut up, yours is done."
Spencer sits, because hey--a smoothie is certainly better than anything he would have come up with to eat this morning. It only takes a minute for Brendon to push a tall glass across the counter in Ryan's direction, and Spencer's isn't far behind. Apparently Brendon's own smoothie is the one still in the blender, but fortunately, he seems to be finished grinding up whatever it was he put in there.
Spencer sips cautiously at his own smoothie, and then glances up at Brendon in surprise. Brendon smirks at him. "Raspberry and vanilla, extra thick," he recites, a little smugly. "Strawberry-banana for Ryan, heavy on the banana. Thank you for visiting the Smoothie Hut, and have a lovely day."
Ryan is gazing at Brendon affectionately, or at least as affectionately as Ryan's facial expressions ever get. "You're such a loser," he says.
"You're welcome, asshole," Brendon returns wryly. He glances at Spencer again, and suddenly Spencer thinks maybe this is like the drum thing--maybe Brendon wants Spencer to notice he's awesome. Something weird happens in Spencer's stomach at the thought, but he kind of likes the idea anyway.
He grins at Brendon, and just flat-out says it: "You're kind of awesome, Brendon Urie."
Brendon rolls his eyes, but his cheeks are pinker than they were a second ago, and when he says, "Easy to impress, aren't you, Smith?" he sounds happy about it.
Spencer studiously avoids Ryan's gaze.
Spencer spends the afternoon and evening with his family. He, Brendon, and Ryan all parted company after the smoothies this morning, but it doesn't feel weird and wrong anymore, now that the seal has been broken, so to speak. It's like they've sort of acknowledged their weird co-dependence and just collectively said "fuck it," so there's no more pretending they need some arbitrary amount of time away before they can call and hang out again.
It's sort of stupid how much of a relief that is.
"I have a thing for Brendon," he tells his mom, when he's helping her wash dishes after dinner. He isn't sure why he says it.
His mom hmm's thoughtfully. "I didn't even know you were gay," is all she says. "Brendon's a good choice, though. He's cute."
Spencer's mom is kind of awesome.
"Yeah." He clears his throat, awkward-after-the-fact and wishing he hadn't actually said it out loud after all. It makes it seem more real somehow. "I don't...I mean, I like girls. I've...I mean, there was Haley and everything..." He trails off.
Truthfully, the gay thing has honestly been the one part of this that Spencer hasn't been freaking out about. 'Gay' is so much a part of their band dynamic that it feels like something they all just sort of are, even if they aren't, like...practising members. Really, how many times can you cuddle and hold hands with and nuzzle and occasionally hip-thrust a bunch of other guys before you are morally obligated to stop referring to yourself, even mentally, as "totally straight," regardless of your specific motives for doing those things at any given time? If Spencer was going to have a problem with the idea of boy-touching, he'd have been having it a long damn time ago, is all.
His mom shrugs. "Gay, straight, bisexual. Whatever. Brendon's a good choice, that's the point I'm trying to make here. Why didn't you bring him to dinner?"
Spencer winces. "Uh. I have a thing for Brendon."
"Oh." His mom's expression turns sympathetic. "I'm sorry, sweetie."
It's Spencer's turn to shrug. "Whatever," he mumbles. "I mean, I haven't, like, done anything about it. I don't even know if he knows. I'm not sure why I even told you."
She sets her plate down and wraps him in a hug. "For permission," she informs him wisely. "Which you don't need. Or maybe for my blessing, which you should have already known you would have. " Then she goes right back to washing the plates like nothing has changed. "It seems odd that it wouldn't be Ryan," she muses a second later, and Spencer chokes on his laughter.
"Yeah," he says, "no. Ryan is...Ryan."
His mom flashes him a grin. "And Brendon is...what? Brad Pitt?"
Spencer flicks dish bubbles at her face. "Shut up or I'll break all your fancy plates. I know where you keep the china."
Her laughter is soothing to Spencer's frayed nerves. He sort of loves his mom.
Brendon calls him just as he is letting himself back into his empty house that night. Spencer's stomach jumps when he sees Brendon's name flashing on the screen, because he is still an idiot.
"Hey, dude," he says casually when he picks up, and then worries. Was that too casual? Like, obviously fake-casual? All of a sudden he can't remember how he would usually answer the phone, back when it would have been legitimately casual, and he's inches from the world's most ridiculous panic attack when he realizes that Brendon is totally talking to him, and he hasn't been paying attention to a single word.
"--in your living room? I don't even know. I've checked everywhere else, though, and this is my last good guess."
"Sorry," Spencer says, "say that again? Your phone was cutting out a little."
He winces at the lie, walking through the first floor of his house and flipping lights on aimlessly as he passes through each new room.
"My wallet," Brendon repeats. "Did I leave it over there? Maybe in your living room, by your couch somewhere? I can't find it anywhere, and if it's not at your place, I am officially going to go insane."
Spencer snorts, and makes his way back to the living room. Brendon's wallet is on the floor in front of the couch, half-hidden by the edge of the coffee table.
"I've got it," he tells Brendon.
"Yes!" Spencer can practically hear the triumphant fist-pump Brendon is doing right now. "Dude, that's awesome. I seriously thought I was losing my mind. Hey, I'm gonna come get it, is that all right?"
"I'll bring it to you," Spencer disagrees. "Your driver's license and shit are all in it."
Brendon huffs a laugh. "You're such a mom sometimes. Fine, dude, but please hurry. My credit cards and all my cash are in it, and I didn't do any grocery shopping yet, so I haven't eaten all day today. I kept wanting to order pizza, but all my money was at your place."
"I will drive like the wind," Spencer promises.
He doesn't drive like the wind, exactly. What he does instead is call the pizza place on his way over and place a carry-out order, which he stops to pick up on his way. It sets him back a few minutes, and by the time he turns up at Brendon's door, pizza in one hand and wallet in the other, Brendon has texted him three different times with variations on the theme of, You suck.
Spencer hands him his pizza and his wallet, determinedly ignoring the beaming grin of happy surprise that Brendon gives him, and any all associated butterflies it might cause in Spencer's stomach.
"Eat fast," he says firmly. "We are going grocery shopping."
Brendon already has a gooey slice of pizza halfway in his mouth, gnawing happily on long stringy threads of cheese. Spencer would like to lick the tomato sauce from his lower lip. He totally won't, though. Brendon would probably think that was pretty weird, even for them.
Most of what Brendon says in response the shopping announcement is so garbled by the pizza that Spencer doesn't even try to figure it out. He just pushes Brendon over to his couch and makes him sit down like a human being instead of eating his dinner hunched over the box in the open doorway like the uncivilized savage he apparently is. Brendon continues to voice his objections around the pizza he can't seem to stop shoveling into his mouth. He must not have been kidding about being hungry, Jesus.
"Your arguments are meaningless to me," Spencer tells Brendon gravely, which is the literal truth. He hasn't understood a single word out of Brendon's mouth since he showed up here. "We're shopping and that's final. Shut up and eat your pizza."
Brendon rolls his eyes, grumbles several more incomprehensible protests around his third piece of pizza, and seems to concede defeat. He belatedly offers Spencer the open box with raised eyebrows and a full mouth.
"I had dinner with my family," Spencer says, but he is eyeing the pizza speculatively in spite of himself. Driving over here with that smell filling up his car was torture. How do pizza delivery people do it every day?
Brendon sees his expression and grins—a gross, messy, cheese-and-tomato smile, Christ, what does Spencer see in this guy?—and nudges the pizza box closer again.
"Nnngggh," he says encouragingly. He's not even trying to make real words anymore, Spencer can tell.
"Fine," Spencer mutters crabbily, like they have actually been having an argument about this and he has somehow lost, and takes a slice of pizza. Brendon beams at him again. It's hideous.
Spencer's stomach flutters. He rolls his eyes at himself, and nibbles dejectedly at his pizza.
He's so tired of being an idiot.
Jon comes to Vegas a week later, with Cassie temporarily in tow. It's time to start working on writing again, and Spencer is relieved. His "Brendon thing" is not only still in full effect, it is starting to feel as if it maybe always was, and Spencer does not quite know what to do with the idea that this could possibly be more than just a "thing." A thing will pass. A thing is stupid, something that just happens sometimes, like the time he developed a short-lived but rabid obsession with that girl in his World Civ class because her eyes looked almost purple in the weird fluorescent classroom lights, but then a week later all he could see when he looked at her was the disgusting layer of almost-black lipstick she apparently caked on with a trowel every morning, and the whole creepy obsession pretty much dissolved in a cartoon puff of smoke. Like that. Things just sort of come and go, and they're weird while they're happening, but then they pass, and everything is cool again.
This is apparently more than a thing.
Spencer already knows plenty of disgusting things about Brendon, like how he's forever cleaning his ears out in the lounge on the bus and then just leaving his nasty Q-tips laying around on tables where other people have to eat. And the thing where he can, like, belch the alphabet or whatever, but so now he thinks it's hysterically funny to belch out snippets of lyrics to the sexy parts of Lying at the breakfast table. That kind of thing should be a turn-off if anything is going to be.
None if it is having the slightest effect Spencer's shaky hands or fluttery stomach or flushing neck every time Brendon is anywhere nearby. And now that they've all stopped pretending to be too cool to need each other around, Brendon is nearby kind of a lot.
Spencer needs something else to focus his attention on before he goes insane.
Writing music seems like a good distraction. Spencer is convinced there is no problem in life that can't be escaped from by climbing behind a kit and just really banging the shit out of things for awhile.
It would work here, too, Spencer knows, but first they have to get to that point, and right now, all they have is a pile of lyrics. Spencer sifts through several pages, looking for something that sparks a beat in his mind, something that maybe might turn into a melody. It's always kind of a tedious process, at least until they get the first big inspiration. After that it smoothes out, flows a little easier for all of them, but this part...well. This part isn't helping Spencer very much at all.
"... paper-lantern city lights and empty promises of..." Brendon murmur-sings his way through a line or two, searching for the melody, and breaks off in frustration when he doesn't find it. "—paper-lantern city lights—paper-lan—urgh. Ross. Seriously. Some of us actually have to wrap our mouths around your unwieldy metaphors, dude. It would kill you to tone it down a little?"
Ryan throws him the finger and otherwise ignores him. Spencer wishes he could ignore him, too, but tragically for him, Brendon is lying sprawled on his back in the grass with his head propped up on Spencer's thigh, and Spencer still hasn't gotten over the mental image of Brendon "wrapping his mouth around" pretty much anything at all, so he's probably going to be basically useless for awhile now. Not that he was getting all that much done before.
"Hey, Spence," Jon puts in suddenly. "Were you still looking at the one about the sex tree? Because I have something here that might go with it."
"It's not a sex tree—" Ryan cuts in, indignant, and Brendon snorts.
"Whatever, dude, 'broken branches coaxed to bloom beneath the sun's insistent hands,' or whatever the fuck—"
"—it's about growing as a person, you dick, not that you would know anything about—"
"Oh my god, that is such bullshit, there is totally an orgasm metaphor later in that same song—"
"Enough," Spencer says mildly, and is flattered when both Ryan and Brendon subside. Spencer hands the sex tree lyrics to Jon, who discreetly rolls his eyes. Brendon's head shifts restlessly around on Spencer's thigh, and Spencer thinks he might be done for today.
"Maybe we should call it a day," he suggests, and Ryan clearly wants to object, but Jon's eager expression stops him short. Cassie's only here for a week, after all.
"Fine," he concedes with poor grace.
Grateful for the reprieve, Spencer pokes Brendon until he sits up, and instantly shoves himself to his feet.
"I need to go make a whole bunch of noise," Brendon says to Spencer. "Wanna come beat up my drum kit while I play something loud and obnoxious on the piano?"
Spencer grins. He should be running away from Brendon, far away, that was the whole fucking point of calling the day short—but he really does want to go make some fucking noise.
"Ryan?" Brendon offers, knowing Spencer is already in.
Ryan wrinkles his nose. "I want to keep working on this for awhile," is all he says.
Brendon shrugs. "If you change your mind..." He turns to Spencer, suddenly all sparkling eyes and beaming smile. "Let's go," he says brightly. "Also, I have decided that, out of the goodness of my heart, I will allow you to cook me dinner."
Spencer groans, but he's still smiling in spite of himself as he allows Brendon to drag him away. "What an honor," he says dryly. "Again."
"You were the one who made me buy real groceries," Brendon points out reasonably. "I could have a freezer full of Hot Pockets right now, and then you wouldn't be in this mess."
Spencer continues to grumble, but his heart isn't in it, and they both know it. Ryan knows it, too, Spencer can tell. His speculative stare burns into the back of Spencer's neck the whole way back up to the house.
Spencer has been "allowed" to cook dinner for Brendon four out of the six nights since he'd dragged him out and made him buy actual food for his house. Brendon has yet to stop being fascinated by watching him do this.
Spencer is an okay cook. He's a pretty far cry from, like, gourmet or anything, no matter how obsessed he might be with the Food Network, but he's an oldest child. Between all the babysitting, and just generally being drafted to help his mom out with dinner and stuff, he knows his way around a kitchen pretty well. Brendon, though, is a youngest child, who then moved out on his own when he was so broke that he literally could not afford more than ramen and mac-and-cheese, and then basically graduated straight onto tour buses and whatever, with all the associated junk food that goes along with it. To him, the kitchen is a vast unexplored wilderness, fraught with danger and mystery and adventure.
He sits on the counter next to the stove, kicking his feet against the lower cupboard and watching attentively while Spencer slices up vegetables for a simple stir-fry.
"What's that?" he asks, after a moment.
Spencer snorts. Brendon asks that question roughly every two minutes. Spencer hopes it's supposed to be a joke, because if he really doesn't know some of this stuff, Spencer is dragging his ass over and locking him in a kitchen with Spencer's mom for like three hours. Brendon's life will never be the same.
"It's a zucchini," he says patiently, playing along.
Brendon scrunches up his nose.
"You like zucchini," Spencer informs him. This is true; Spencer's mom always has the entire band over for dinner at least once when they're all in town, and Brendon always eats at least three servings of everything she makes. Including zucchini. In fact, including this exact stir-fry that Spencer is making right now.
"Huh." Brendon seems skeptical, but doesn't argue the issue.
"Dude. Trust me."
"Always, Spencer Smith."
Spencer rolls his eyes, tosses the zucchini in with the rest of the sliced vegetables, and starts heating up a skillet and fishing out the ingredients for the sauce.
"What's that?" Brendon asks brightly. Spencer eyes him narrowly.
"Are you going to ask me that every five seconds? It's corn starch. Hey, the broth's in the cabinet behind your head. Grab it for me."
Brendon digs through the vegetables and pops a carrot piece into his mouth. "Get it yourself, lazy ass," he suggests through his mouthful. "You're supposed to be cooking for me. I didn't volunteer to help in this mission."
Spencer throws him the finger. "Fine. Move your ass so I can reach it."
Brendon refuses to budge, so a small scuffle ensues. Spencer eventually manages to get the cupboard open by wrestling Brendon's head down practically between his own knees. He's pretty sure he scrapes Brendon's shoulder with the door in there somewhere, but Brendon is laughing through his struggles, so Spencer decides not to care.
"Dick," Brendon laughs, breaking free of Spencer's hold and sitting upright again in front of the open cupboard. "No more video games for you. You're getting violent."
"Getting?" Spencer mutters dryly. He shoves at Brendon's shoulder, trying to wriggle his arm far enough past Brendon to reach the stupid broth. "I'm about to get way more violent if you keep blocking the broth, fucker. Let me—just—if you could just move for one second, Jesus—"
Brendon, being Brendon, immediately moves his body so that it blocks as much of the open cupboard as is physically possible. Spencer is well and truly stuck, now, the edge of the counter digging into his stomach where it's pressed between Brendon's thighs, balanced on his toes with his arm wedged between Brendon and the shelf of the cabinet, his elbow hooked awkwardly over Brendon's shoulder as he fumbles for the can. He can feel it, but he can't quite get a grip on it with his arm at this angle. He shoves at Brendon again.
But Brendon isn't fighting him back anymore. He's gone suddenly, eerily still, and when Spencer drags his eyes away from the arm he's been tugging at to see what the problem is, their faces are unexpectedly close together. Like. Really unexpectedly close together.
Spencer sort of forgets to breathe.
Brendon's expression is hard to read, which would freak Spencer out a little even if they weren't suddenly in the middle of having some kind of Moment. Brendon's face is never hard to read, he wears his every thought like a tattoo on his forehead, but right now....
Right now, he's just staring at Spencer, his features blank and smooth and his mouth so close, and it would take nothing for Spencer to kiss him, nothing at all. Just...a tilt of his head, that's all he would need, he could push their mouths together and it would be so easy. So fucking easy.
Brendon isn't moving.
I'm going to do it, I'm going to kiss him, Spencer thinks a little wildly, because Brendon isn't moving, and surely if this was all in Spencer's head, he'd be moving away? He'd be—he'd be laughing or something, maybe he'd even be laughing at Spencer, because there's no way this isn't written all over Spencer's face right now, he has to know what Spencer is thinking. But he isn't, he isn't laughing, and that must mean—that must. It must mean.
Spencer clears his throat, makes one more half-hearted grab at the broth, and since Brendon isn't fighting him anymore, he manages to get it. He tugs his arm free of the cupboard with little effort, and backs carefully away.
He couldn't do it. He couldn't risk it.
"Ha," he says, a little unsteadily. "Got it. Fucker."
Brendon continues to stare at him for what is probably only about a second or two, but feels to Spencer like one thousand years. Then his mouth quirks up in a smile that takes another second or two to reach his eyes, and he snorts. "Only because I let you." He drops his gaze briefly, and then glances at the broth in Spencer's shaking hand and grins crookedly. "What's that?"
Spencer huffs something that vaguely approximates a laugh, and resumes his place at the stove, feeling weird and a little sick inside. He's practically vibrating with leftover adrenaline, and he still doesn't know what to make of that whole scene. What must Brendon be thinking right now? Does Brendon even know what was going through Spencer's head? What if he hadn't known, and Spencer had actually gone for it, and then Brendon had been horrified or freaked out or something?
Spencer dumps the vegetables into the now-heated pan, and pretends his hands aren't still shaking a little as he turns to start the sauce.
This situation is getting so far out of control.
Keltie comes in to spend the weekend with Ryan, and somehow the six of them all end up going out to dinner together. Spencer would never in a million years have thought of this as a "date" before, but he finds himself suddenly adrift in a sea of Awkward Implications now that he and Brendon have become the kind of people that totally almost made out in Brendon's kitchen yesterday. It's probably all in his head—hell, the whole "almost-made-out" thing might be in his head, he still doesn't know if Brendon even had a clue that was going on—but it's enough to make him twitchy either way.
And the difference must be visible, at least to a certain extent, because Keltie and Cassie and even Jon have all been shooting them covert, curious glances all the way through dinner, and Ryan keeps biting his lip and staring at his water glass in a way that suggests strongly to Spencer that it is requiring all of his attention to keep from bursting into laughter.
Spencer seriously hates him sometimes.
Brendon seems cheerful and comfortable and, once again, entirely oblivious to the entire situation, which is exactly how Spencer would like to keep it, so Keltie joins Ryan on his shit-list the moment she reaches over and lightly touches Brendon's arm, smiling. "So, you two!" she says brightly. "When did this happen?"
Ryan chokes on his water, and Spencer tries really hard to sink through his seat and melt into the floor of the restaurant. He can feel a hot, scratchy flush sweeping up his cheeks. Fleetingly, he misses his beard. His bright-red cheeks feel naked.
For a minute, Brendon seems equally flustered, which actually makes Spencer feel a little bit better about life, but Brendon isn't one to let a little thing like total humiliation stand in the way of a good time. His expression turns mischievous.
"Well, you know," he says modestly, reaching out to cover Spencer's hand with his own. "I've been throwing myself at him forever, but Spencer can be a little slow on the uptake." He turns to Spencer, eyes glinting. "Can't you, baby?" he adds sweetly.
Spencer glares. Ryan's choking has progressed into an actual coughing fit, and Spencer thinks this might be what people mean when they say someone "died laughing." Whatever, Ryan is a bitch, he totally deserves it.
"Wow, seriously?" Jon asks guilelessly. He's not usually this stupid. Cassie's presence must be addling his brain. "Dude, why didn't anybody tell me?"
Ryan has, unfortunately, finally managed to get his choking under control. "Spencer was pining," he explains to Jon, still slightly hoarse. "That's how I found out. He made this weird little pile of love-Skittles, and—ouch, you fucker!" He glares at Spencer, who glares back and kicks him again.
"Love-Skittles?" wonders Jon, ignoring the byplay. Cassie snickers into her plate. Spencer hates them all.
The mention of love-Skittles actually makes even Brendon falter, a faint blush sweeping up his cheeks. His fingers twitch where they cover Spencer's hand, but he recovers quickly. Certainly more quickly than Spencer, who will never stop kicking Ryan, Jesus Christ.
The waitress chooses that exact moment to show up with their bills, distracting everyone from the goddamned Skittles, for which Spencer is almost grateful enough to kiss her. Brendon beams at him and inches his own bill in Spencer's direction.
"The nicest part of dating Spence," he tells Keltie earnestly, "is that he always pays for everything." He shoots Spencer a coy, playful glance. "After all, I don't put out for boys who don't buy me dinner."
Spencer's entire face is about two seconds from bursting into flame, even as the entire table erupts into laughter. Keltie seems to have caught on to the fact that this is all a joke, and Cassie obviously already knew. Jon might be catching on, or he might just think it's funny to think about Brendon putting out for Spencer. Spencer doesn't care. Someone will explain it to him later.
He manages to laugh along with everyone else, although even he can tell it's weak, and goes ahead and just pays for both bills anyway. Whatever, it's easier than letting the conversation go on any longer, and it isn't like he can't afford it.
Brendon really hams it up, making Spencer pull his chair out before he'll stand up from the table, and then hovering expectantly around his side of the car in the parking lot until Spencer clues in, rolls his eyes, and walks around to open his car door.
"You're the best date ever, Spencer Smith," Brendon tells him happily. Ryan and Keltie, who are parked next to them, are still laughing as they pull away.
Spencer turns the radio up in the car on the short drive back to Brendon's house, unable to bear the idea of trying to make conversation with Brendon. Brendon doesn't object, singing quietly along with the Beatles.
In Brendon's driveway, Spencer turns to say goodnight, only to find Brendon making no move to open his car door. He is watching Spencer with cheerful anticipation, darting little pointed glances at his door handle.
"Oh, my god," Spencer says, amused and exasperated in equal measure. "Seriously?"
Spencer huffs through opening his own door and walking around the car, but he's laughing in spite of himself, and he opens Brendon's door with a dramatic flourish.
"Now you walk me to the door," Brendon orders, and this is beyond ridiculous—there's no one even around to perform for, anymore—but he's beaming at Spencer with that huge fucking smile that Spencer has never been able to say no to, even before all the craziness set in.
Spencer walks him to the door.
Brendon unlocks the door, but doesn't immediately open it or go inside. Spencer's getting ready to open his mouth and say something like, "As long as I'm here, wanna play some Guitar Hero?" when he glances over at Brendon and finds him staring back, expectant again and strangely intent. Spencer's stomach flips.
"What?" he manages to say, pretty evenly, he thinks. He's proud of himself for that. "Am I supposed to be opening this door for you, too?"
Brendon cocks his head to the side and meets Spencer's gaze directly. "What kind of date doesn't end with a goodnight kiss?"
What. The. Fuck. The words slam into Spencer's stomach with the force of a solid punch, and he can't even work up a weak laugh or a comeback to break the sudden tension. "What?" he hears himself ask blankly, in a voice he barely recognizes as his own.
Brendon isn't smiling now.
"You heard me," he says simply, and then just stands there, head tilted up invitingly—invitingly, holy fuck—and waits.
Spencer can't breathe. "Brendon—"
Brendon doesn't say anything, doesn't laugh this off or make a joke, doesn't push forward and just kiss Spencer himself. Doesn't let Spencer off the hook.
Spencer doesn't know what the fuck he's supposed to do. Can Brendon possibly be seriously—seriously—asking him to kiss him? Is he expecting a kiss on the cheek? Is Spencer being Punk'd? Are Ryan and Keltie lurking somewhere in the bushes with a video camera, laughing their asses off right now?
Brendon looks uncharacteristically patient, like he's willing to wait forever if that's how long it takes Spencer to decide between kissing him and running like hell.
Spencer kisses him.
He doesn't even know he's going to do it until it's already happening. It isn't very graceful—he sort of lurches forward and just kind of bangs into Brendon's mouth with his own—but it's a kiss, and it's Brendon, and Spencer's heart is pounding out a chaotic rhythm in his chest, and oh-my-god--he's-going-to-punch-me-he's-going-to-kill-me-he's-going-to-leave-the-band, and then Brendon does...something...and everything sort of softens and gentles, and then they're actually kissing, and Spencer has no idea what's going on anymore.
Brendon's mouth is soft and hot and sort of unbelievably perfect, and the kiss spirals quickly into something much less innocent than Spencer would have expected of a first kiss. A first kiss ever with a guy, Christ, and this should feel weird at the very least but it doesn't. It really, really doesn't. In what seems like no time at all, he's got Brendon backed against his own front door, one thigh sliding, pushing forward between Brendon's, and they're panting hotly into each other's mouths, and Spencer's head is spinning and his heart is racing and everything is BrendonBrendonBrendon, and fuck, how can this possibly be real?
Brendon shifts and arches forward, grinding his hips against Spencer's, and he's hard against Spencer's thigh, and—oh—there's pressure, and friction, and Spencer needs to pull away, needs to breathe and think and not fuck this up, but Brendon makes this sound, halfway between a whimper and a groan, into Spencer's mouth, and all Spencer can think is, God, fuck, more.
Brendon fumbles blindly behind himself and the door swings open abruptly, nearly spilling them both to the floor inside. They break apart as they catch themselves, and Spencer means to say something sensible, but all he can do is stare at Brendon's swollen mouth while his brain checks out and his breath gets stuck in his throat.
Brendon's eyes are hot and dark in a way Spencer's never seen them before, and he takes one big step backward over the threshold, reaching out to fist his hand in Spencer's shirtfront and drag him inside.
Spencer finds the presence of mind for one long, searching glance, and there—there it is, all over Brendon's face, and how the fuck could Spencer not have noticed this before?
Fuck, he's such an idiot.
He pushes Brendon back against the nearest wall again, and wordlessly kicks the door shut behind them.
His phone starts going off at some ungodly hour of the morning, and Spencer nearly manages to dislodge Brendon from his chest in the course of fumbling aimlessly around for it. Brendon wakes up just enough to bite him in retaliation, then promptly resumes his full-contact cuddle and closes his eyes again.
"Gah," Spencer says into his phone, hatefully.
It turns out to be Ryan, so he doesn't feel bad. He actually does hate Ryan.
"Dude." Ryan sounds bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, in the way he only gets when Keltie is around to wake him up with morning sex. Spencer has not had any morning sex, because he was busy sleeping, so he does not approve of this cheerfulness. "So how was your big date with Brendon?"
The fucker is laughing at him, and seems to have called specifically to laugh at him, which only solidifies Spencer's intention to punch him in the face at the next available opportunity.
"Fuck off," he mutters. Maybe Brendon would be willing to go for some morning sex. Spencer could get behind that idea, assuming he can remember how to work all his limbs.
Ryan just laughs at him again. "Oh, come on. Don't tell me he didn't put out after all? You paid for his dinner and everything!"
His tone is mocking, and Spencer doesn't know if Brendon can actually hear him through the phone, or if the God of Perfect Comedic Setup Lines has just chosen this moment to pay them all a visit, but deliberate or not, this is the moment that Brendon chooses to mumble groggily, "Mmm... Fuck, who is that? 'S too early," from his position on Spencer's chest, approximately an inch and a half from the phone. His voice is gravelly and sleep-rough.
There is a short silence, and then,
"...Spencer?" Ryan sort of yelps. "Is that—did you—is that Brendon?"
Spencer clears his throat. Brendon grumbles wordlessly into his chest, and squirms even closer. "Dude," Spencer says, and can he help it if he sounds a little smug, himself? "I gotta go."
"Spencer," Ryan says again. "What the fuck, did you guys actually—?"
Spencer hangs up the phone, laughing in spite of himself. Against his chest, Brendon's head shifts until he can look up at Spencer, and his eyes are bright and clear and amused.
"Fucking faker," Spencer tells him, grinning. "How long have you been awake?"
"Awhile," Brendon admits shamelessly. "I was comfortable."
Spencer tugs him up until he can capture his mouth in a kiss. His phone starts ringing again almost immediately, and Brendon laughs breathlessly against his mouth. "Don't answer that."
"Not planning on it." Spencer slides his hands down Brendon's sides, still marveling that he can actually do this now, and then reaches out to toss the phone carelessly somewhere on the floor. "So, listen. How do you feel about morning sex?"
Brendon moves until he's lying on top of Spencer, his legs sliding down to straddle Spencer's thighs. "I feel pretty good about it," he says thoughtfully.
Spencer snorts, and pulls his head down for a kiss, while in the background, the phone continues to ring.
The One Where Spencer Smith Is An Idiot