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Better Off As Lovers

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Two weeks into the tour, and Brendon and Spencer have been locked in two closets, three storage rooms, the bus’s back lounge, and a walk in freezer.

“You f-f-fuckers,” Brendon says, once Ian and Dallon have unlocked the door and they’ve tumbled out, fingers locked up, lips tinged blue. “Give me your fucking hoodie, you shitface.”

“Temper, temper,” Ian says, but he tugs off his hoodie – “Dude, that’s fucking mine”, Spencer snaps – and hands it over.

“Sharesies,” Brendon says. He pulls it on and more or less climbs Spencer, trying to pull the edges of it around him. It doesn’t quite work – it’s a good hoodie, not a magic hoodie – but once they’re out of the freezer Spencer starts warming up pretty quickly. Brendon teeth are still chattering though, so Spencer lets him hang off his shoulders and runs his hands over Brendon’s back in broad, sweeping motions until Brendon stops shaking.

:::

“I don’t understand,” Spencer says. “Is this like, a thing?” He tries the door again, but it’s just as locked now as it was ninety seconds ago. “Because it’s a weird thing to have. I don’t like to judge, but locking people in places is a weird character trait.”

“Seriously fucking weird.” Brendon’s voice is muffled by the stack of boxes he’s clambered over.

Spencer rattles the doorknob. “Do you think it’s because you keep trying to sleep in Dallon’s bunk? Maybe he, like... doesn’t like that? He’s a pretty tall dude, Bren.”

“I don’t respond to passive aggressive closet trapping,” Brendon says, and then “Fuck yes! Fucking peanut butter, Spence.”

Spencer halts his escape attempts. “The fuck?”

“Peanut butter,” Brendon says again. He emerges, hair stuck together in dusty clumps, and waves a fistful of small red pouches at Spencer. “Food!”

“We’ve been in here like, twenty minutes.”

“I know.” Brendon rubs his stomach. “But you don’t know, dude, last time—”

The door clicks open and Dallon sticks his head in, grinning. “Guys? You’re missing sound check.”

Spencer flicks Dallon’s ear when he passes and takes the packet of peanut butter Brendon passes him without comment.

:::

“There’s fucking… fucking peanut butter all over my pillow.”

Spencer rolls over and pushes his grin into his blanket.

“Who the fuck… Brendon Urie, I swear to God— ”

“Shh,” Brendon stage whispers. “Dallon, people are sleeping here.”

A moment later, Spencer’s phone buzzes beside his ear.

v nice

Spencer grins and twitches his curtain open to wink at Brendon. Brendon makes hearthands at him and then rolls over and starts snoring loudly.

:::

“So,” Spencer says, pushing his fingers into Brendon’s hair. “I’m thinking, the peanut butter? Maybe not such a good idea.”

“This doesn’t make any fucking sense,” Brendon grumbles. He’s sprawled out on the floor of the linen closet, head pillowed on Spencer’s thigh. The only light in the room is coming from Spencer’s phone, which Brendon is shaking. Spencer can’t even remember which state they’re in. “How am I supposed to get to that damn thing? I need like, Spence, I need one of those birds that shits bombs.”

“Here,” Spencer says. He tugs the phone out of Brendon’s grasp and beats the level with the mighty eagle. Brendon scowls up at him.

“That’s cheating,” he says. He snatches the phone back. “Don’t be a cheater, Spencer Smith. It doesn’t become you.”

“Call Zack again.”

“I’ve called Zack eleven times,” Brendon says. “His phone is off.”

“They must have snatched it and shut if off,” Spencer says. “Fuckers.” He leans back against the wall and puts his hands back in Brendon’s hair. Objectively, he’s glad that the place Ian and Dallon chose this time is stuffed with blankets and sheets and pillows. “I’m hungry.”

“Bet you’re wishing you had some of that peanut – YES, get it you fucker.” Brendon does a victory shimmy and holds the phone up for Spencer to see.

“You’re a champion,” Spencer says. “For real, how long has it been?”

“Like… I don’t know. Like, two hours I think? Are you hungry hungry or are you angry hungry? Do we have a blood sugar situation on our hands?”

“I’m bored hungry,” Spencer says. He curls the longer bits of Brendon’s hair around his fingers and tugs a little. “Want to braid my hair?”

“Dude.” Brendon lifts his head and grins. “Dude. Yes.”

They shuffle around, trying to switch places, and wind up curled together toward the door, knees drawn up and legs slotted together. Brendon isn’t braiding Spencer’s hair so much as he is just playing with it, but since that’s what Spencer was going for in the first place, he doesn’t mind.

“What are we going to do?” Spencer asks, pushing back against Brendon’s hands.

“To Dallon and Ian?”

“Mmmhmm.”

“Dunno yet,” Brendon says. He rakes his hands down the back of Spencer’s head, nails scritching at his scalp. “We’ll think of something.”

“Something awesome.”

“The best something.”

“Yeah,” Spencer says. He nudges Brendon’s ankle. “The best something.”

Spencer doesn’t even realize he’s fallen asleep until the shaft of dusty light cutting into the room wakes him. He groans and buries his face into the nearest thing, which turns out to be Brendon’s arm.

“What the—” Brendon grumbles. He curls his arm protectively around Spencer. “Spence?”

“Uh.”

Spencer lifts his head a fraction, just enough to be able to see Dallon and Ian staring down at them with confused expressions.

“What?” he says, and then, “Hey. Oh, what the shit, you guys. What time is it?”

“Late.” Dallon says. He gestures vaguely. “You’ve got a… a Brendon stuck to you.”

Behind him, Brendon stretches and then drapes his arm over Spencer’s hips. Ian’s eyes widen comically.

“How long have we been in here?” Brendon asks. His breath is hot on Spencer’s neck and Spencer shivers a little. He thinks they should probably untangle themselves and get up, go and find somewhere decent to sleep, but he’s so warm and comfortable that he can’t really be bothered. These sheets are seriously fucking soft. Spencer rubs his nose against Brendon’s arm.

“Uh,” Ian says again. “A few hours? We didn’t mean to leave you that long, we just…” He trails off and looks at Dallon helplessly.

“Got distracted?” Dallon offers. He rubs the back of his neck and glances down the hallway. “You guys maybe want to get up before housekeeping finds you in here?”

They climb out of the nest of blankets and pillows they’d made in the floor, grumbling, untwisting their clothes and raking fingers through their hair. Brendon grabs two extra pillows and tucks one under each arm.

“I’m fucking sleepy,” he says, leaning into Spencer’s shoulder so that Spencer is forced to half-carry him down the hallway.

“Don’t forget to take your contacts out,” Spencer says, dumping Brendon on his bed. “I don’t want to spend all day tomorrow listening to you bitch about it.”

“Okay,” Brendon says. He drops the pillows on his bed and climbs in after them, shucking off his clothes as he goes.

“I’m fucking serious, Bren.”

“Right,” Brendon says. He flings his shirt at Spencer, who catches it and tosses it toward Brendon’s suitcase. “Night.”

Spencer rolls his eyes. It’s not his problem if Brendon’s eyes are scratchy all day. “Night,” he says. “Night, Ian.”

“Yep,” Ian says. He’s hovering by his own bed uncertainly.

From the pile of pillows, Brendon grunts and then mumbles, “Spencer.” When Spencer looks over, Brendon is waving Spencer’s phone in the air. “Forgot your…” He trails off and waves it again.

Spencer doesn’t really know why Brendon is bothering, since they have one another’s phones more than half the time anyway, but he walks over anyway and goes to grab it out of Brendon’s hand.

And then— it happens like something out of a dream, maybe Spencer is actually still asleep on the floor of the Marriott’s linen closet— Brendon closes his hand around Spencer’s wrist and pulls him into a kiss. It’s soft, barely there and so quick that it’s over before Spencer’s brain has even gotten past what the fu—, but it’s a kiss all the same.

Spencer goes still all over. He knows his eyes are wide and shocked and he’s about half a second from putting his hand on Brendon’s forehead to see if maybe he’s developed a fever in the last seven seconds, but Brendon’s hand tightens around his wrist meaningfully, fingernails digging in. His eyes are clear; he doesn’t look half as sleepy as he did a minute ago.

Spencer pauses and takes in the situation: Ian standing by his bed, shirt half-off, gaping at them; Dallon by the door, mouth flapping open. Dallon’s cheeks are so pink they’d probably be hot to the touch.

Spencer bites the inside of his cheek. God, he fucking loves Brendon Urie. “Evil,” he whispers, leaning in even closer so that he can push the word up against the curve of Brendon’s ear. He drops a kiss there, one on Brendon’s cheek, one on the tip if his nose. Ian makes a squeaking sound. “See you in the morning,” he says. He rubs his thumb over Brendon’s mouth and kisses him one last time, just to drive the point home, and then walks out of the room, leaving Dallon to trail wordlessly behind him.

“First shower,” Spencer says, crossing the hall and opening the door to his and Dallon’s room. He grabs his toiletries bag out of his suitcase and shuts the bathroom door behind him, giggling once he’s got the shower on. Steam pillows out around the plastic shower curtain.

Spencer leans against the sink and pulls his phone out of his pocket.

dude

Not even a minute passes before his phone buzzes.

lol did you see their faces? epic Ian keeps looking at me and squeaking

Spencer bites down on his lip, tamping down the hysterical feeling in his chest.

im in the shower. leaving dallon to ruminate

wtf ruminate. don’t make a lot of noise when you jerk off. youll blow our cover

Spencer rolls his eyes, texts back, take out your fcking contacts and shucks off his clothes. He sticks his hand under the shower spray, adjusts the water, and then climbs in. It’s pretty late, and Spencer is still a little groggy from the long nap he took with Brendon, so he makes quick work of washing his hair and his face and then slides his hand down his stomach and reaches for his dick. He thumbs the slit a little and rubs two fingers under the head of it, right over the spot he likes best, sighing a little at the first tingle of arousal in his stomach.

Then he thinks about Brendon’s text; he jerks his hand off his dick and curls it into a fist, dropping his chin to his chest and breathing deeply. Water runs down his face, drips off the end of his nose and slips into his mouth. He presses his forehead against the cool tile of the shower.

His dick is mostly hard now, heavy between his legs, and it’s been a long time since they had a hotel night and all the hot water they could want, and he seriously wants to get himself off, but now he’s thinking about Brendon and he can’t seem to stop. And it’s not like he’s never banged one out thinking about Brendon before, he’s not blind, but it feels different now. Dangerous, somehow.

He turns the water as cold as he can stand it, waits until his erection subsides, and then climbs out of the shower and towels himself off.

Dallon is sitting in the middle of his bed when Spencer walks out of the bathroom, clutching his pillow in front of him.

“Your turn,” Spencer says, shaking the water out of his hair.

“Thanks,” Dallon says. “I. Uh.”

Spencer quirks an eyebrow at him. “What?”

“You,” he says. “And Brendon.”

“Yeah,” Spencer says. He knows that he needs to talk to Brendon and sort out how far they’re going to take this, but right now he just wants to go to sleep. Besides, this was Brendon’s idea anyway. He’s sort of obligated to go along with it. “Is that a problem?”

“No!” Dallon squeaks. “No, not at all. I’m just… surprised. Ian said...” He trails off and shrugs. “Never mind.”

“No,” Spencer says. “If you need to get something off your chest, go for it.”

“I don’t,” Dallon says. “Swear to God, I don’t. I’m… that’s awesome. You guys are awesome, I’m happy for you. I just didn’t know…” he waves his hand. “That it was like that between you guys.”

“Yeah,” Spencer says. He pulls a pair of boxers on underneath his towel and then drops the towel onto the floor and kicks it toward the bathroom. “We didn’t either, you know? But we were talking today and just.” He shrugs. “I don’t know. We realized there was more there, and we want to give it a shot. It’s not going to be weird, is it?”

”No,” Dallon says quickly. “God, no.”

Spencer smiles. “It’s really thanks to you guys, so…”

Dallon smiles weakly. He says, “Awesome.”

:::

The next day, Brendon bounces up to Spencer on the bus wearing a t-shirt with a hole in the collar, pink sweatpants and flipflops. His hair is smashed down to his forehead, and Spencer suddenly can’t remember why he felt so awkward in the shower last night. This is Brendon.

“What?”

Brendon holds his hand up for a high five and says, “Up top.”

“What for?” Spencer says, slapping Brendon’s palm.

“Dallon. Dude, I don’t know what you said to him, but he is freaked.”

Spencer hits the pause button on the remote and grins up at Brendon. “Seriously?”

“Yeah,” Brendon says, bouncing up on his toes and then flopping down on the couch beside Spencer. Spencer jams his thumb under Brendon’s flipflop and wiggles it around until Brendon giggles and kicks him off. “It’s awesome. I tried to get him to jam out with me and he kept watching the door the whole time, like he was waiting for you to come in and pin me to the couch.”

“Awesome,” Spencer echoes, picking up the remote again. He rubs his stomach absently and thinks that maybe those taquitos weren’t such a good idea. His chest feels all weird.

“What are you watching?”

“Sixteen and Pregnant,” Spencer says. “But I’m fast forwarding all the birth parts.”

Brendon makes a gagging noise and reaches for the remote. “You’re so nasty.”

“Says you,” Spencer retorts, but he gives up the remote without a struggle and shoves at Brendon until he scoots down enough for Spencer to get his head in Brendon’s lap.

“So what did you say to Dallon?”

“Hmm? Oh, I just told him we wanted to give it a shot between us, that it was thanks to their locking us in places campaign, feelings, you know. Yada yada.”

Brendon grins. “Dude,” he says. “I just wanted them to think we hooked up.”

“Oh,” Spencer says, stilling the way he’s butting his head up into Brendon’s hands. His stomach pitches again, and seriously, no more gas station food.

“That’s even better, though. No way are they going to lock us up if they have to spend the whole time we’re in there thinking about what we’re doing in there. Neither of them wants to have to think naked thoughts about us. I bow to your superior plan.”

“Damn right you do,” Spencer says.

“Brendo— oh, hey.”

Spencer rolls his head up a little to see Ian standing in the doorway, one arm braced on the wall.

“Hey,” Brendon says, curling his hand around the nape of Spencer’s neck. “What’s up?”

“Dallon said you, uh. He said you wanted to jam? But if you’re—”

“Yeah,” Brendon says. “Yeah, awesome. In like, five minutes?”

“Ten,” Spencer says. Brendon’s fingers dig into his skin a little.

“Ten,” he repeats. “Or like, fifteen.”

“Please don’t fuck on the couch,” Ian squeaks. He flushes bright red and then turns on his heel and sprints to the back of the bus. Once the door to the lounge is shut, Brendon snorts and does a little triumphant fistbump.

They watch half of an infomercial, order a leopard print Snuggie (with free InstaSlim Slimming Tee, just pay separate shipping and handling!) for Ryan, and when about twenty minutes have passed, Brendon stretches and groans, back cracking.

“You coming?” he says, nudging at Spencer’s head.

“Nah,” Spencer says. He shifts off Brendon and stretches out, thinking about his pillow and his bunk and a long fucking nap.

“Okay,” Brendon says. He makes to stand up, then leans back down and presses his mouth to Spencer’s.

It’s instinct that has Spencer pushing up to meet him, sliding his hand into Brendon’s hair and using his grip to tilt Brendon’s head a little. Their mouths fit together softly, almost chaste. Spencer catches Brendon’s top lip between his, then his bottom, loving the way the soft dip of it fits against his mouth.

“My shirt too,” Brendon says, and Spencer pulls his hands out of Brendon’s hair long enough to get the top button of his shirt undone. He curls his fists into the collar and pulls Brendon to him, brushing their mouths together again.

Brendon’s lips are indecently soft.

“Good?” Brendon says, straightening up.

Spencer levers himself up onto his elbows and gives Brendon a once over. His hair is sticking up at odd angles and his mouth is pink and puffy and slick from Spencer’s kisses. The collar of his shirt is twisted and wrinkled.

“Good,” he says. “Very debauched.”

“C’mon,” Brendon says, holding out a hand. Spencer laces their fingers together and lets Brendon pull him up off the couch. He stumbles to his bunk, collapses face first into his pillow and falls asleep to the steady thrum of the road falling away behind them.

:::

Brendon is already awake the next morning when Spencer drags himself out of his bunk. He looks up from his cereal and smiles, offering Spencer his coffee. “Morning, sugar plum,” he says. “Did you sleep okay?”

Spencer grunts and flops down beside Brendon, taking the coffee cup out of his hands. He drains half of it in one deep gulp and then hands it back and drops his head to Brendon’s shoulder.

Dallon mimes vomiting into his fruit loops and Ian says, “Okay, look, we need some rules or something. Not that we’re not happy for you guys, because we are—”

“Totally happy,” Dallon chimes in.

“…but like. I don’t need to see that.”

“Oh,” Brendon says. He shifts under Spencer’s cheek. “Wow. Okay, sorry. We just…” He moves away. “It’s just been sort of a long time that we… you know. Were waiting, I guess. I wasn’t thinking.”

Dallon swallows and cuts his eyes to Ian, who is rubbing his knuckles over his chin. Beneath the table, Brendon’s fingers are digging into Spencer’s thigh.

“Sorry,” Spencer says. His voice is still sleep rough and awkward. “We weren’t thinking.”

Ian winces. “Uh.”

“We don’t want to make you uncomfortable,” Brendon says. “We weren’t trying—”

“Shit,” Dallon says, and Spencer wants to grin. He should have known he’d be the one to break. “No, guys, it’s… whatever. It’s fine. You should like…” He trails off and makes a vague poking motion with his hand. Ian chokes on his toast. “You know.”

“Really?” Brendon says, eyes wide. He’s too good of an actor, Spencer can’t believe he didn’t even know. “That’s awesome, seriously. We just—“

Spencer sees it coming for him like a train on rails. He wants to warn Brendon off, because his mouth tastes like stale sleep and coffee, but Brendon kisses him before he can, cupping Spencer’s cheek and pulling him in, and Spencer can’t think of what to do except to kiss him back.

So he does.

:::

They’re somewhere flat, on the edge of one state and almost into another when Brendon pushes his burger away and says, “I’m so sick of food that comes in a bag I could vomit.”

“Ugh,” Ian says. “Same.”

There’s a short period of grumbling and bitching before they all pick their food up again, because this is what they have and this is the way it is, and they have to eat something. Spencer waits until they’re all occupied with ketchup hockey before he slips out, grabbing Zack’s elbow when he walks past. Zack slides out of his chair and follows him.

“I need help with something,” Spencer says, pulling out his wallet and handing Zack his credit card.

“I’m not ordering you strippers again.”

Spencer goes to punch Zack’s arm and then thinks better of it. “Food,” he says, pulling his fist back. “I need some food.”

When they get to the venue, there’s an entire spread of Brendon’s favorite wings set up in their dressing room, thick cut french fries, beer so cold it makes Spencer’s fingers hurt to hold the bottle.

“You did this,” Brendon says, staring at Spencer, something soft and happy at the corners of his smile. Spencer shrugs and ducks his head. He feels exposed and too obvious, and it makes something a little scary curl up his spine, it’s so fucking stupid

“You said—”

Brendon launches himself at Spencer and kisses him, wrapping his arms around Spencer’s shoulders. Spencer catches him, laughing a little into Brendon’s mouth and then sobering abruptly when Brendon slides his tongue into Spencer’s mouth. None of the kisses they’ve traded before have been anything like this, and it’s really the tiniest thing, but it feels huge and shocking and the wrong side of too much.

When Brendon finally pulls back, his eyes are wide and dark. He blinks slowly, like someone has turned time down to half-speed, and then turns back to the food. Spencer sags against the wall, feeling like a puppet that’s been cut loose of its tethers.

Much, much later that night, Brendon climbs into Spencer’s bunk, smelling like cheap cigarettes and expensive beer.

“I can’t believe you did that,” he whispers, tucking his head in under Spencer’s chin. “Spence, you didn’t— ”

“It was nothing,” Spencer says. Brendon’s shirt is a little damp, and he tugs it up so that he can get to the skin underneath. Brendon has always liked being touched after a show and Spencer likes that he knows the way to touch him to make him go quiet and still.

“It wasn’t nothing,” Brendon says. He turns his head and props his chin on Spencer’s chest, shifting over a little so that they’re lying half on top of one another. He squeezes the arm he has thrown over Spencer’s waist. “Seriously, you should at least let me pay for half of it.”

“Seriously, no,” Spencer says. He fans his fingers out on Brendon’s back. “I wanted to. That wasn’t like… that wasn’t fake boyfriends, or whatever.”

Brendon’s mouth twitches, the corners curling up a little. He bites at his bottom lip; even in the dark of the bunk, Spencer can see where his teeth are pushing into the soft pillow of it. “Oh.”

“Smith, you asleep? Zack said—ahh!”

The absolute best part of Dallon jerking Spencer’s curtain back and then jerking back is the way his arms pinwheel out to the sides, flapping uselessly. His eyes go wide and he overbalances, crashes into the opposite bunk and slides to the floor.

“God fucking dammit,” he groans, rubbing his head. “Can’t you put a sock over the… okay, you don’t have doorknobs, but like. I don’t even, you can’t put up a sign or something?”

Brendon is giggling into Spencer’s shoulder, so Spencer just glares and says, “Dude, we weren’t even doing anything.”

“You’ve got…” Dallon gestures at the hand Spencer has under Brendon’s shirt.

“Oh, for God’s sake,” Spencer says. He pulls his hand free and pushes Brendon’s shirt down. “Better?”

“Whatever,” Dallon says, clapping a hand over his eyes. “Zack wanted to talk to you about some interview for… somebody.”

“You’re great with details, Weekes,” Spencer says. “That’s what I like about you.”

“One of your many good qualities,” Brendon says. He rolls out of the bunk so that Spencer can climb out. “I’ll miss you,” he says, tilting his face up for a kiss.

“You too,” Spencer says, dropping a kiss on Brendon’s mouth. Brendon grins up at him and Spencer… god, Spencer’s chest hurts. He ruffles Brendon’s hair and goes to find Zack. As he walks away, he hears Brendon sigh and tell Dallon that he’s, “never felt like this before.”

Spencer thinks that should probably be funnier than it is.

:::

One of Spencer’s most vivid memories of Nothing Rhymes with Circus is coming off stage after a show – he thinks it might have been Detroit or Chicago – and finding Brendon leaning against the cinder block wall, forehead pressed against his arm, breath ragged in his chest. His shoulders were a tense line, and he wasn’t jerking off, but his fingers were curled tight around his erection. When he looked up at Spencer, his eyes were almost black.

“It makes me want to fuck,” he’d said, voice shredded and shaking. “Doesn’t it make you want to fuck?”

Spencer had gone hard in an instant and nodded and wanted so badly his eyes watered.

He was nineteen; everything made him want to fuck.

For years, that’s been the thing he thinks of when he thinks of Brendon and sex – that whizz bang pow! kind of feeling, the kind that grabs you like a riptide and won’t let go until you scratch and bleed and fuck your way loose. He can’t figure out how he got from there to here without reconciling that Brendon with this one: the guy who shares his coffee when he has the last cup, who lets Spencer crash in his guest room for months on end, who laughs too loudly and smiles too brightly and loves loves loves harder than anyone Spencer has ever known.

Spencer rolls toward the wall and punches his pillow into shape. The ache in his chest is back.

:::

There isn’t a lot of privacy to come by on a tour bus, so Spencer waits until they get to the next venue and everyone has gone to fuck around while the crew loads in before he sequesters himself in the back lounge and does the only thing he can think of.

He calls Pete.

“What is up, Smith?” Pete says as soon as he answers the phone. Spencer can hear the sound of running water in the background.

“Hey,” Spencer says. He rubs his palms over his thighs. “What’s up?”

“Nothing at all, man,” Pete says. “I’m washing dishes. I am a domestic god.”

“Awesome,” Spencer says. He feels like he’s going to throw up.

“So what’s up? You okay?”

“Yeah,” Spencer says, and it actually sounds like he’s lying. He winces. The water shuts off.

“Spence?”

“Yeah?”

“You okay?”

“No...ah. Not so much.”

“Okay,” Pete says. A door slides open and then shut again. “What’s going on?”

“I, um.” Spencer laughs a little hysterically. What is he even doing? “I can’t believe I’m about to ask you this.”

“Dude,” Pete says. “I’ve cleaned your vomit out of my hair, all right? Twice. There’s pretty much nothing you can say that–”

“If you had to guess,” Spencer says, cutting in. “Like, if you were just estimating, how long would you say I’ve been in love with Brendon?”

For the longest time, Pete doesn’t say anything. Spencer wants to start up the bus, get it really moving down the highway and then fling himself out the door. He seriously wants to die.

“Wow,” Pete says eventually. “That’s. Um.”

“Oh, God,” Spencer moans. He pinches the bridge of his nose.

“You finally got there.”

Spencer squeezes his eyes shut. “Finally?”

“That’s... wow,” Pete says. “Yeah.”

“That long, then?”

“Pretty much as long as I’ve known you, dude.”

“Fuck,” Spencer says. His eyes are squeezed so tightly that he’s dizzy, but he doesn’t want to open them. He doesn’t want to see anything.

“Fuck,” Pete echoes.

“I am so–” Spencer’s breath catches in his throat. “Pete, I am so fucked.”

“Spence,” Pete sighs. “Don’t.”

“No,” Spencer says. “I’m like... oh God, not only am I in love with my lead singer, which is bad enough, I’m also in love with my best friend. With fucking Brendon. He doesn’t want...” Spencer trails off and shakes his head. “Jesus Christ.”

“He doesn’t want what?” Pete says. “What, Spence?”

“Brendon doesn’t want to be... I don’t know. He wants to be desired, that’s all. He doesn’t want to nailed down. He doesn’t want to belong to anyone.”

“And that’s what you want?” Pete says. “Brendon to belong to you.”

“Yes,” Spencer chokes out. He leans back against the back of the couch; he’s got that horrible stinging feeling behind his eyes. He’s so fucking stupid – so fucking stupid.

Pete sighs. “When I was younger,” he says, “like, I don’t know, sixteen? I bought this piece of shit guitar from a pawn shop. I mean, it was gorgeous, but it was a piece of shit. It wouldn’t hold tune for anything. I must have changed the pegs on that thing four times, but I never could get it fixed.”

When he doesn’t say anything else, Spencer says. “Seriously? Pete, seriously? I tell you I’m in love with Brendon and you’re giving me out of tune guitar anecdotes? I don’t even know what you’re trying to say.”

Pete laughs. “My point is that if you guys could get it together, if you could figure it out, dude. You guys would be... you’d be gorgeous. And that’s not a word I just... it’s like, you know those couples, you see ‘em together and you think, those two, that makes sense. Those two are good together.”

“Yeah.”

“You guys are that turned up to eleven, Spence. You’d be good with each other. You’d be good for each other.”

Spencer presses the heel of his hand against his eye and pushes down until his vision blurs. “Okay,” he says finally. “Okay.”

“Okay,” Pete says. He sounds embarrassed, now that the words are out there and he can’t get them back. “You uh, you don’t have to tell Brendon I said hello.”

“Yeah,” Spencer says. “Yeah, probably not. Listen, Pete–”

“Yep,” Pete says. “Anytime, you know? I um. You know, you guys are... anyway, have a good show tonight.”

Spencer sighs and tosses his phone on the couch, then sprawls out with his arm flung over his eyes until Zack comes to yell at him that he’s late for sound check, to hurry the fuck up, no, I’m not carrying you, come up, lazy ass, up, up, move, move, move.

After the show, Brendon is too keyed up to do anything except lay on the couch in the dressing room in his boxerbriefs and smoke up, which suits Spencer just fine. The show was insane, the audience screaming their heads off, and after they’d left the stage, Brendon had grabbed Spencer’s arm and pushed up against him, pressing his forehead to the back of Spencer’s neck. His breath had been hot and wet against Spencer’s skin, and Spencer had thought, it makes me want to fuck, it makes me want to fuck. He’d wondered if he pushed his hips back, if Brendon would be hard.

Dallon disappears to the bus for half an hour and then comes back, redder and more flushed than he’d been on stage.

“Dude,” Spencer says. “Could you look less like you just had phone sex?”

“Dude, are you seriously giving me shit?” Dallon says, nodding his head at the way Brendon is sliding off the couch and into Spencer’s lap.

“Fuck you,” Brendon says easily and drapes his legs over Spencer’s thighs.

“I need this conversation to end about four minutes ago,” Ian says. “Or I need to smoke more.”

Brendon passes the joint over to Ian; he makes a soft, happy sound and sprawls out along the floor. “I feel awesome,” he says. “Except for how Dallon is staring at me. Spencer, is Dallon staring at me?”

Spencer looks over. Dallon is indeed staring at Brendon.

“Whoa, hey,” he says. “Get your own.”

“I have my own,” Dallon says. He narrows his eyes at Spencer.

“Then stop staring at mine.”

“Whatever,” Dallon says. “I’m going to take a shower.”

“Awesome,” Spencer says. “You smell like spunk.”

“Oh, God,” Ian moans. “So much weed. So much.”

Spencer curls and uncurls his hand around Brendon’s ankle. His palm is sweaty and slick, slipping over Brendon’s skin.

:::

In hindsight, Spencer is a little surprised it takes Brendon so long to get to yay free makeouts! (Spencer is starting to wonder if this is how it is for him -- that he can’t see things clearly until there are a hundred little moments stacked up against one another.) but once he finally does get there, he starts crawling into Spencer’s lap at every available opportunity, whether Dallon and Ian are around or not. A week ago Spencer would have been all for it, because he likes making out as much as the next guy, but now that he’s figured out his feelings for Brendon go past hey bro, i love you but stop downloading gangbangs to my computer and edge into hey bro i love you let’s take a moonlit walk on the beach and maybe you could put your dick in my mouth, he’s torn between enjoying it, because Brendon is a fucking excellent kisser, and trying not to enjoy it, because that’s probably taking advantage and it probably makes Spencer a fucking creep. He can’t seem to help it though; whenever Brendon climbs on top of Spencer, Spencer puts his hands on Brendon’s neck or his back or the rise of his hips and just leans into him.

“I think,” Brendon mutters, climbing on and settling himself with one knee on either side of Spencer’s thighs, “that we need to up our game. I think Dallon is getting suspicious.”

“Yeah?” Spencer says. He slides his hands down Brendon’s back, cups his ass and lifts him a little so that he can slide down on the couch, taking Brendon with him. Brendon pitches forward a little, catching himself with a hand on either side of Spencer’s head, against the back of the couch. It’s been three days since they’ve had proper showers with hot water and lots of soap and fluffy towels, and Brendon smells of coffee and cigarettes and sweat, and it should probably be gross, but he smells like home, like a thousand moments that have slipped past when Spencer was barely paying attention, and Spencer can’t stop himself from pushing in and nosing at Brendon’s neck. He brushes his lips over the point of Brendon’s jaw and hates himself.

“Yeah,” Brendon says. “He keeps like, stealing my clothes? And this morning he yanked the curtain of my bunk open at some godawful hour –I don’t even think the sun was up – and he yelled AHA!”

Spencer frowns. “The hell?”

“I know,” Brendon says. “It’s fucking weird. He asked where you were and then told me I was a bad boyfriend when I said you were sleeping in the back lounge because you were hungover.”

“You are a bad boyfriend,” Spencer says. “You didn’t even hold my hair back when I threw up.”

“Whoa,” Brendon says, pushing himself up and sitting back on Spencer’s thighs. “You threw up? Were you that sick? Spencer, you should have—“

“I’m joking,” Spencer says. He slips his hands under the edge of Brendon’s shirt and tries not to pull him back in. “I was joking, Bren.”

Brendon narrows his eyes and gets as far as, “You are such a fucking—“ before Spencer pulls him down for kissing. Brendon grunts and makes an unhappy noise into Spencer’s mouth, but he kisses back, all soft and slow and easy, and Spencer wonders if this is how he’d kiss in the mornings, if they could fuck and sleep and wake up like this, Brendon’s skin bed-warm and—

“Oh for God’s sake,” Ian says, turning around and walking back off the bus; Spencer can feel the curve of Brendon’s grin against his mouth.

The door to the bus snaps open again and Zack pokes his head in. “Hey Spence,” he says. “Did I give you your room key yet?”

“Um,” Spencer says, wrigging his hips against the couch. His breath catches when Brendon giggles and shoves a hand between Spencer’s ass and the couch cushions.

“Yep,” Brendon says, plucking it out of Spencer’s pocket. He holds it up in the air.

“Awesome,” Zack says. “You maybe want to use it?”

“Rude,” Brendon says. He makes an exaggerated frowny face and Spencer laughs, burying his face in Brendon’s neck. He can’t help it; he’s so fucking fond of this asshole.

“Yeah, yeah,” Zack says. He grabs the nearest suitcase and tosses it out onto the sidewalk. “Ian needs to get his shit and you guys are in here fucking.”

“We’re not fucking,” Brendon says. He pauses. “Yet.”

Zack rolls his eyes, walks over to them and picks Brendon up, just plucks him right off his Spencer’s lap and flings him over his shoulder, like Brendon is washing he’s taking off the line. Brendon squawks; Zack smacks him on the back of the thigh. “It’s like you guys don’t remember the rules,” he says. “Stop wriggling, dude, I don’t need to feel your dick on my shoulder.”

“Then fucking put me down,” Brendon says indignantly. His face is bright red. “And there are no rules, what are you even—”

“No fucking,” Zack says. “Anywhere, ever, where I might have to see it, hear it, sit on or sleep in the place where it might have occurred. Ever.” He drops Brendon, who sways on his feet and then says, “Whoa, headrush. Zack, awesome, do that again. Also, that is not a real rule.”

“It is now,” Zack says. He grabs another suitcase and salutes Spencer. “I’m serious,” he says. “You have a very nice hotel room upstairs. Go make use of it.”

The door isn’t even shut behind him before Brendon is grinning and saying, “Oh yes. I believe, Spencer Smith, that I have a plan.”

:::

“Okay, just so we’re clear? Fake shower sex is not a plan so much as it is a really stupid idea.”

“It’s an excellent idea,” Brendon says. He’s sprawled out on the bed nearest the door in just his underwear, eating a stack of pancakes he convinced room service to deliver, even though it’s after midnight. There’s syrup all over his chin. “Don’t be mad you didn’t think of it.”

“Yeah,” Spencer says. “No. I don’t even understand what we’re trying to accomplish here.” He leans back on his bed and rests his head on his arms. He’s been trying to figure it out for two days now, what game he and Brendon are playing, exactly, and why it matters so much. He feels like he lost the threads of it somewhere and he can’t pick them back up. “Besides, have you ever had shower sex? It’s a lot better in theory than in practice.”

“Okay,” Brendon says. He swirls his finger in the syrup left on the plate and slurps it off. “First of all, it’s fake shower sex, so I don’t think the logistics matter that much. Second of all, shower sex is awesome. It’s all slippery and hot and—”

“Exactly,” Spencer says. “Slippery.”

Brendon grins and lifts an eyebrow.“Who did you drop?”

Spencer groans and covers his face with his arms. “I am not having this discussion with you.”
“Hmm,” Brendon says. He pushes his plate aside. “Well, clearly you’ve been having shower sex with the wrong person.” He stands up and dumps his plate onto the room service tray. “Come and have it with the right person.”

Spencer’s dick jerks in his pants. “Uh,” he says. “Fake shower sex.”

Brendon tilts his head and looks at Spencer, head tilted to one side, like he’s a painting that needs straightening. Spencer stops himself from covering his groin with his hands, but only just. Five seconds pass, then five more. Eventually, Brendon shrugs. “Semantics,” he says, and walks past Spencer into the bathroom.

“Yeah,” Spencer says. He stands up, feeling a little relieved that his legs aren’t shaking. “I don’t think the difference in pretend shower sex and actual sex is semantics, but whatever.” He doesn’t think Brendon hears him though, over the sound on the shower cutting on. Spencer gets up and walks into the bathroom, feeling awkward and wrong-footed.

“Hi,” Brendon says, looking up from the shower knob. “Nice of you to join me.”

Spencer rolls his eyes, still standing in the doorway. He rubs one bare foot over the back of his other ankle and watches as Brendon pushes the little button that flips the shower on.

Brendon stands up. “Wanna make out?” he says.

Spencer hesitates. The honest answer is yes, yes, he does; he always wants to make out with Brendon, but he feels like every time he does, he’s showing too much, giving too much away about himself. He shrugs. “I guess.”

For probably the first time since they’ve started this thing, Brendon looks uncertain. “Unless... I mean, if you don’t want to...”

“It’s fine,” Spencer says. “C’mere.”

“Don’t sound so enthusiastic,” Brendon says, but he comes anyway, letting Spencer pull him in and press their mouths together.

For long moments, they stand just like that, half in and half out of the bathroom, trading soft kisses that sound loud in Spencer’s ears, even over the sound of the running shower. Then Brendon says, “In here, the sound will echo more,” and then he’s pulling Spencer further into the bathroom, pushing the thin plastic shower curtain aside and tugging Spencer in under the hot spray. Spencer starts to protest – he’s still fully clothed, these jeans were expensive, what the fuck – but Brendon just keeps on tugging at Spencer’s hips, his shoulders, the waistband of his jeans, until Spencer has no choice but to climb in after Brendon and push him up against the cold shower wall, kissing him so hard his mouth hurts. He thinks about setting his teeth into the curve of Brendon’s neck, but that’s too close to what he really wants, so he doesn’t. The water slips into their open mouths and drips down their chins.

Spencer’s clothes get soaked through pretty much immediately, which should be seriously fucking irritating, he fucking loves these jeans, but instead it just feels… sexy, almost, the way they cling to his body, the way they drag low and thick and heavy on his hips. And Brendon, fuck, Brendon is practically naked, and his skin is so slick under Spencer’s hands that he can’t stop himself touching everywhere. He knows he’s taking liberties and he needs to fucking stop, but Brendon’s underwear is soaked through and Spencer doesn’t have to look down to know that Brendon’s dick is hard against the wet fabric and he’s making these sounds, fuck, these sounds and Spencer...

Spencer squeezes his eyes shut and presses in harder and wishes more than anything that this was real.

:::

Spencer doesn’t know how much time passes between Brendon crawling into bed and turning out his lamp, and Brendon snuffling into his pillow and falling asleep, but it’s a while. Spencer counts off the time against the rapid thud of his pulse in his temples and his palms and between his legs. He aches; it feels like he’s been hard for hours, and he has to hold the sheets away from his hips when he rolls over so that he won’t make a noise and wake Brendon. He peels the edge of his boxers away from his skin and slips his hand under, pushing his face into the pillow.

It’s so quiet in the room, quiet and cold. Sweat prickles at Spencer’s forehead anyway, and for a moment, he misses the roadside motels they used to sleep in, misses the sleepy rattle of the air conditioning units tucked under the windows and they way they’d mask the sounds of rustling sheets and wayward grunts. As it is, the only sound in the room is the rise and fall of Brendon’s breathing and that’s really not at all helpful. Spencer presses his teeth against his bottom lip and curls his fingers around his dick. His toes curl; this is going to be over quickly.

Spencer slides his hand down the length of his dick and then back up again, rubbing his thumb in a tight circle over the slit. The inside of his boxers is sticky and damp, and Spencer wants to yank them down and shove his hips forward, wants to fuck into the circle of his fist, wants to wake up the whole hotel, wants to tear down the walls and fuck Brendon on top of the ruins. He can’t, though. He can’t do anything except squeeze his fist tighter and squeeze his eyes shut and think of Brendon under his hands, skin hot and slick and everywhere. His orgasm is already building on itself, and Spencer, christ, Spencer wants to fucking come. His hips jerk forward a little.

The rustle of the sheets is too loud, seriously too fucking loud and so obvious that Spencer winces. He’s breathing quick and shallow, trying to hold the sheets away from himself with his free hand, but it’s not working as well as he’d hoped. He pauses, squeezing at the base of his dick to hold back his come...

The sound doesn’t stop. Spencer chokes on his own breath and then the room goes silent, silent except for Spencer’s ragged breathing, and, now that he’s listening for it, Brendon’s. Spencer feels dizzy, which is fucking stupid, since he’s lying down, but it takes him a few good seconds to open his eyes and orient himself. He’s still curled on his side in a dark hotel room with his hand down his pants, but now Brendon is an oppressive presence on the other bed and he’s... christ, he’s touching himself. Spencer wants to scream at the unfairness of it.

And then the rustling picks again, a little more slowly but unmistakable all the same. Spencer swallows hard; he doesn’t know what to do. His cock is hard and dripping everywhere, and Spencer is pretty close to the point where he’s not going to be able to stop himself. He’s about to come all over himself whether he’s trying to or not.

He swallows down the moan that’s trying to climb out of his throat and slides his hand over his dick.

“Shit,” he whispers, pressing the shape of the word into his pillow. Behind him, Brendon lets out a soft, shuddery sound and Spencer, fuck, Spencer is about to come so fucking hard. He’s not sure what the rules are, everything is so twisted up and fucked, but he doesn’t think he has to be silent any more, not now that Brendon knows what he’s doing. Not now that he knows what Brendon’s doing.

Spencer reaches down and cups his balls with his other hand, stroking his fingertips over the soft skin just behind them. It’s a little awkward, both hands down his boxers, and he wants to roll over and kick them off and sprawl on top of the sheets, but his courage doesn’t extend that far. It’s enough to turn on his back, just a little, just enough to see the way Brendon’s knees have fallen open to make room for him to jack himself off.

“Fuck,” Spencer chokes out. It’s right there, right fucking there...

“Fuck,” Brendon echoes. His voice is wrecked, sounding like he’s been on his knees all night.

Spencer’s orgasm hits him like a cliff falling away under his feet. His breath catches and he jerks the come out of his dick, hand going slick and fucking filthy, christ, christ...

“Shit,” Brendon moans; his hips arch up off the bed and Spencer knows he’s coming too. Spencer gasps, thinking of that sharp pleasure slamming through Brendon’s body, and his dick jerks again.

He comes down slowly, panting softly up at the ceiling. Across the room, Brendon is moving under the sheets, kicking his pants off and reaching for the tin of lip balm he keeps on the nightstand. Spencer wipes his hand off on the sheets and slides to the other side of the bed, waiting for things to get awkward, for Brendon to laugh and blow it off. Instead, Brendon just settles back down and sighs, once, and rolls over onto his side.

“‘Night,” Spencer whispers, soft, so that Brendon can pretend not to hear him.

“Good night, Spence,” Brendon says, and Spencer falls asleep.

:::

Spencer wakes in the morning with a sick lurch in his stomach. He’s sweating, heart pounding, mouth filled with the metallic taste of adrenaline. It takes a few seconds for his brain to catch up to his body, and when he does he jerks upright in the bed, clutching the sheet to his chest.

His phone is ringing.

“Yeah,” he says, fumbling it off the night stand and smashing the answer button with a clumsy finger. “We’re up, we’re up.”

Zack grumbles something intelligibly and hangs up. Over the sound of the running shower, Spencer can hear Brendon singing about how if you like it, you should have put a ring on it.

“Shit,” Spencer says. He runs a shaky hand over his face, trying to wipe the gummy feeling out of his eyes. He can’t see his phone well enough to see what time it is, but it’s too goddamn early by any measure. Spencer drops his hand from his face and grimaces. The inside of his boxers is pretty gross and he’s got a morning hard on that he is in no way prepared to deal with. This is seriously fucking bad.

Then the shower cuts off and it gets even worse. Spencer panics, grabbing for his suitcase and the closest pair of pants he can get his hands on, which turns out to be a pair of Brendon’s jeans. Spencer is still standing by the bed, clutching them uselessly and Brendon steps out of the bathroom, his chest still damp, towel knotted loosely around his waist.

Spencer opens his mouth and... nothing happens. Nothing comes out. There are no words, oh God, this is mortifying. Spencer is about to just throw the jeans at Brendon and run when Brendon grins and drops his towel. Spencer’s face flames.

“Good morning,” Brendon says, reaching for his suitcase. “Sleep well?”

“Uh,” Spencer says. If the inside of his underwear wasn’t filled with nasty, day-old come, he’d wonder if he hadn’t dreamed that shit up.

“Was that Zack on the phone?”

“Uh.”

Brendon tugs on a pair of boxer briefs and a white t-shirt, and then bends over, shaking the water out of his hair. Spencer watches the play of his muscles helplessly. Are they just not talking about this? Because that would be outstanding, if they could just never, ever talk about this..

“Yeah,” Spencer says finally. “Yeah, that was Zack.”

Brendon rolls his eyes and reaches for a pair of sweatpants. “We’re not even late,” he says. “Shower’s free.”

“Right,” Spencer says. “Yeah. Right, shower.”

Brendon grins, reaches over and tugs the jeans out of Spencer’s grasp. And then he just steps right into Spencer’s space and kisses his sleep-thick mouth. It’s so brief, there and then gone again, but when Spencer manages to get his eyes open, Brendon is grinning at him like he means to split his face open.

“It’s going to be a good day, Spencer Smith,” he says, and he swats at Spencer’s legs with the jeans. “Shower now.”

“I’m confused.”

“Are you?” Brendon cups Spencer’s cheek and kisses him again and Spencer, even though his mouth feels like it’s been stuffed with cotton balls, can’t help but kiss him back.

Somehow -- Spencer has no idea how -- he winds up under the hot spray of the shower, hair hanging wetly in his face as he jerks his dick and thinks about the feel of Brendon’s mouth on his, of the sound he made when he came last night -- so soft, and so sweet.

:::

Brendon finagles his way into a piggyback ride down to the bus, which...whatever. It’s not like Spencer even made him work that hard for it. They normally hate bus days, because there are only so many times Ian can kick everyone’s ass at Mario Kart before it just gets embarrassing, but today Spencer feels light and loose in a way he hasn’t in ages and even though he doesn’t know what this is and that whatever it is that he’s wanting, it’s probably not what Brendon is after, but there’s possibility now. Spencer hitches Brendon higher up on his back and gallops towards the bus, laughing when Brendon whoops and clings tighter to his shoulders.

Brendon throws the door to the bus open and bursts into a chorus of Oh What A Beautiful Morning. Ian groans and buries his face in the couch. Zack scowls and throws a sock at Brendon’s face.

“You’re late.”

Brendon tsks and boogies up the steps. “You know the party don’t start ‘til I walk in,” he sings, shimmying up to Zack and shaking his chest. Zack rolls his eyes.

“Sorry,” Spencer says, climbing in after Brendon. “He woke up in the morning feeling like P Diddy.” Brendon barks out a laugh throws a grin over his shoulder at Spencer, then turns and bounds back to him, throwing his arms around Spencer’s shoulders. Spencer hides his grin in Brendon’s hair and breathes him in. He knows he’s being too obvious, but whatever. He doesn’t really give a fuck. Brendon is singing in his ear and shaking his hips and Spencer feels like he could walk across air right now. He pushes his nose against Brendon’s neck and thinks, yeah. Yeah, he can start from here.