SO. Spencer has just broken up with his girlfriend, and he's sad. He doesn't even know why they broke up, which is the worst thing about it. Spencer was a good boyfriend. He remembered her birthday and their anniversary, and he always took her out on Friday evenings and paid for food. He was a really good boyfriend. All of Haley's friends said so, but that still wasn't enough for Haley to still want to date him, apparently. The whole breaking up thing just came out of nowhere. One minute they were having dinner at this little Italian place just by the campus where Haley was a student, the next minute Spencer was suggesting that maybe they move in together after Haley graduated, and what did she think about getting a dog, and the very next thing Spencer knew was Haley was calling for the bill and saying that she didn't think this was working out anymore.
Spencer still didn't get it. He'd tried sending her flowers, and chocolates, and meeting her after class, but she didn't return his calls and left by a different exit.
Spencer refused to give in. He has a life plan, okay, and it involves marrying Haley and settling down and having a nice house and a couple of kids and two vacations a year. It doesn't mean getting dumped when he's a year out of college.
It just doesn't.
Which is why he decides to buy them a puppy anyway, because Haley won't be able to resist coming back to him if there's a puppy involved.
Spencer looks up animal rescue centers on Wednesday evening after work. He's supposed to be at the gym, because Spencer goes to the gym for two hours on Monday evenings and Wednesday evenings, and he goes swimming on Sunday mornings followed by five miles on the running machine. Spencer had looked at his diary and decided to skip Wednesday's gym session to organize the new puppy, provided he could reschedule gym for Thursday. There are a couple in the area, one with a bright and engaging website that looks like a kid put it together, with three branches across the city, and another, which is small and looks like it's run on a shoestring.
Spencer rolls his eyes and calls the larger, brighter company, but they don't open late and Spencer doesn't want to wait until the weekend to get this organized. He wants Haley back so they can get back to being a couple. In the end, he drives across town to the other pound, which is kind of scruffy and tired looking. When he parks up and goes inside, there's just one guy there, listening to his iPod and humming along.
"Hey," Spencer says. Then, "Excuse me?"
The guy looks up, grinning, and pulls out his earphones.
"Sorry," he says, ruefully.
"We spoke on the phone," Spencer says, "about a dog?"
"Ah, right," the guy says. "I'm Brendon."
He holds his hand out to shake and Spencer has no option but to take it. Spencer's not really big on shaking people's hands. He hates being hugged, too.
Brendon seems really nice though, and he makes Spencer sit down while he makes him a drink and asks him about how big his apartment is and what the outside space is like and how much time Spencer has each day to walk a dog.
Spencer hadn't really thought about any of that stuff, and he's kind of pissed that Brendon's getting in the way of him getting Haley back.
"I just want a dog," Spencer says, eventually. "A puppy."
"Okay," Brendon says, but he's watching Spencer. "Do you work long hours? Because if you're going to be leaving a dog alone, well."
"Not really," Spencer lies. He can probably come home in his lunch breaks and maybe bring some work home from the office if he has to. But Haley will be around too, so. She'll be looking after their puppy too. "I can look after a dog," Spencer says, bristly.
Spencer is really good at looking after things. He'll get a book about the breed, and another about training, and he'll figure it all out and his and Haley's puppy will be the best behaved puppy. He'll always remember to feed it, and take it for walks, and he wishes Brendon would just get on with it and let him pick one out.
"I know," Brendon says, nodding. "I can tell. You're a dog person."
"Hmm," Spencer says.
"No," Brendon says, "I'm really good at picking out who's good with animals. I always have been, even when I was a kid. You're going to be really good, I can tell."
Spencer just nods a bit and drinks the rest of his coffee down really quickly. Normally Spencer doesn't have coffee after work in case he can't sleep, but Brendon didn't really offer anything herbal when he made Spencer his drink, so Spencer drinks up and doesn't think about not being able to sleep.
The dogs are nothing like Spencer imagined. Brendon keeps on chattering, telling him about training and the dogs' stories, and Spencer doesn't want to hear anymore. He wanders away from Brendon and crouches down so he can look into the cages, at one in particular, at an ugly as fuck dog with one ear sticking up and the other down. The dog looks back, and barks.
"That's Ben," Brendon says. "He's been here a while, I don't think people like his ears."
"What happens to the dogs that don't get picked?" Spencer asks. He sticks his fingers into the cage, willing the dog to come closer. Ben ignores him and chews at a raggedy old toy.
Brendon shrugs. "They stay here and I look after them," he says. "We don't put any dogs down."
"That's good," Spencer says, but Ben doesn't look up at him again.
"Ben doesn't like many people," Brendon says. "He's kind of a loner."
"Hmm," Spencer says again, and looks across at Ben, biting his lip.
He spends a long time wandering around the kennels, looking into all the cages and at all the dogs. He doesn't know how he's supposed to pick; none of the dogs are like the ones he'd imagined. Now he's here, he doesn't really know what he thought he was going to pick out.
Brendon follows him around, telling him the names of each of the dogs. He makes faces at some of them, and the dogs bark and rush up to the edge of their cages so they can lick his hand and jump up and down.
"I'm sorry," Spencer says, after a while. "I'm taking too long to pick."
"No," Brendon says, with a smile. "Honestly, I get more worried when people pick out the first dog they see. Like, the dog's going to be part of your family, right? For years. You want to make sure you've picked the right one. That your dog picks you back."
"Right," Spencer says, awkwardly. Brendon's really nice. He doesn't seem to mind wandering around after Spencer, even though Spencer says he knows that Brendon's probably got lots of work that Spencer's keeping him from.
Spencer finds his dog by accident. He's a scruffy, small mongrel with stupid hair and big brown eyes. Spencer crouches down and the dog comes over and noses at Spencer's hand, and Spencer wants to scratch him between the ears and take him home.
"That's Arthur," Brendon says, crouching down next to Spencer. His knee touches Spencer's, and the whole time Brendon's talking, Spencer can feel Brendon touching him, everything concentrating on that one tiny point of contact. "Arthur's normally pretty shy," Brendon goes on, as if he wasn't leaning up against Spencer. "He doesn't say much."
Arthur's sniffing Spencer's fingers and leaning up with his paws against the front of the cage.
"I think—" Spencer starts. Arthur barks as Spencer stands up. "Arthur, you said?"
"Yeah," Brendon nods. "Is he the one?"
"I think so," Spencer says. "Can I meet him?"
"Sure," Brendon says, and he opens the cage and clips a lead onto Arthur's collar. Spencer kneels down and Arthur clambers into his lap, trying to lick Spencer's cheek.
"Hey," Spencer says, embarrassed. He runs his hands down Arthur's back, and Arthur barks and scratches at Spencer's pants.
Brendon just grins. "He's never like this with anyone," he says, "not even me."
"Uh-huh," Spencer says, because he doesn't know what to say.
They spend a few minutes by Arthur's kennel, until Spencer regretfully climbs to his feet, holding Arthur close.
"We should go sort out the paperwork," Brendon says, with a grin.
They put Arthur back in his kennel and go back out front to the office. Brendon talks to Spencer about how Arthur is up to date with his shots, and how old they think he is, and all the other stuff that Brendon seems to think Spencer might like to know, like how he seems to like red chew toys better than blue ones, and other stuff that Spencer pretends to listen to but doesn't. He's thinking about Arthur, a stupid ball of scruffy fluff, who's part terrier and Scottie dog and spaniel and something else, and who has dark brown eyes and who Spencer kind of loves already.
It's only when Brendon's piling up a new dog bed and some chew toys and a water bowl and a food bowl and a lead and a blanket and a carrier on the counter that Spencer glances at his watch. It's really late, well after eight, and Spencer's kept Brendon here well after closing.
"I'm really sorry," he says quickly, "I've kept you here really late."
"Oh," Brendon says, shrugging. "That's okay. I would have only gone home and eaten old Chinese food in front of the TV or something. And I'd much rather be making sure Arthur has a home. I think he'll have a good home," he goes on.
Spencer blushes. "Yeah?" he says.
"Sure," Brendon says. "I think it's amazing. I've never seen him like that with anyone before."
Spencer bites his lip. "Thanks," he says. He doesn't know what he's saying thank you for.
"You can bring him back, you know, if it doesn't work out," Brendon says. He shrugs, sadly. "Sometimes it doesn't."
Spencer thinks about Ben, the ugly dog he'd seen first, the one who was sitting by himself in the far corner of his kennel. He rolls his shoulders and concentrates on the forms Brendon's filling in for him and Arthur.
Brendon helps Spencer to his car with all of his stuff for Arthur, and then they go back inside to put Arthur into his carrier. He whines as they put him inside, and for a moment, Spencer sees Brendon look terribly sad as he says goodbye.
Spencer clears his throat awkwardly. "Um, thanks," he says, as they carry Arthur out front. "I could, um, let you know how he gets on, if you'd like?"
Brendon brightens up. "That would be great," he says, "I love giving them homes but I hate saying goodbye, you know? Most of the time I just have to hope they're living good lives after I say goodbye to them here. Hang on." He goes back to the desk and scrabbles through the drawers until he comes up with a scrap of paper. "Here's my number, and my email address. Then you can email me if you have any questions about him, or whatever."
"Okay," Spencer says, "thanks."
"You're welcome," Brendon says, with a grin.
He comes outside to wave them off. Spencer waves back before he pulls out into the street.
Spencer leaves for work late, comes home in his lunchbreak and doesn't stay after 5pm for the first time since he started working in his office. Arthur is miserable when he comes home at lunchtime, and he can hear his whining from out in the hallway. Spencer feels really bad, and spends the next forty minutes playing with him. When he gets back in the evening, Arthur is excited to see him, and they go out for a walk in the park with Arthur jumping at his heels.
He's bought a little brush to try and neaten up Arthur's scruff, because Haley will probably like him better if he's neat, but Arthur is decidedly not happy at the idea of being brushed. In the end, Spencer gives up. It's Thursday, and he still hasn't gone to the gym, and he thinks that tomorrow, date night, he'll go around to Haley's apartment with Arthur and see if they can't work things out.
No one can resist a puppy.
Spencer gets home from work the following day and takes Arthur out for a walk. Arthur tugs on the lead and gets in everyone's way and barks a lot and runs around in circles; he's clearly a crazy dog and Spencer already thinks he was stupid to imagine that he could train him out of a book and have him be the best behaved dog on the block.
He goes home and gets changed and tries to explain to Arthur about his life plan and how Haley is a part of that, but Arthur doesn't listen much and concentrates on chasing his own tail around Spencer's living room.
"You are a crazy dog," Spencer tells him. "A crazy, crazy dog."
Arthur barks at him and stands on his back legs with his front paws on Spencer's knees.
"Excellent," Spencer says. "Are you ready to come meet Haley?"
Arthur flops onto his side in front of the TV.
"Hmmm," Spencer says, and clips Arthur's lead on. "Come on."
Haley shares an apartment with five other girls, and they've all known Spencer since Haley started college. Haley and Spencer had been dating for three years; Spencer wasn't about to let all that time be wasted.
Haley answers the door when he knocks; she's already laughing when she opens the door, she tails off when she sees Spencer.
"Spencer," she says, shaking her head.
"Haley," Spencer says, smiling. "I bought a puppy."
Haley blinks, and looks down at Arthur, who is happily peeing against the wall. "That's not a puppy," Haley says, rolling her eyes. She doesn't look mad, though, which Spencer's thankful for.
"He's kind of... naughty," Spencer says, tugging on Arthur's leash.
"Oh," Haley says, kind of sadly.
"Oh?" Spencer asks. This isn't going how he expected it go.
"Well," she says, shrugging her shoulders. "You like things to be orderly, Spence. Where does a naughty dog fit in with that?"
Arthur's nosing at her feet, trying to push past her to investigate her hallway. Spencer thinks he's kind of adorable, really. "We work," he says, because they do.
"I'm glad," Haley says, "I'm glad you're not lonely."
She shakes her head. "I've got to go," she says.
Spencer swallows. "Haley, I bought a puppy."
"I can see that," Haley says. "But I'm not getting back together with you."
"I thought—" Spencer tails off.
"I know," Haley says, softly. "But no."
"I want you," Spencer says, sort of desperately. He thinks about his plan. He doesn't know what to do without Haley.
Haley shakes her head. "I don't know that you do," she says, after a moment.
"I do," Spencer says.
Haley just looks sad. "You should stop calling me," she says. "And you can't come over anymore."
"Haley," Spencer says.
"Goodbye, Spence," she says, softly, and closes the door.
Spencer bundles Arthur up into his arms and carries him down the stairs and down the street.
Spencer goes back to the pound ten days later.
"Hey," he says, when Brendon looks up from the desk.
"Hey," Brendon says, grinning. His smile falls when he sees Arthur on a leash, following Spencer through the door. "Is there something wrong?" he asks.
"No," Spencer says, shaking his head. "Definitely, no."
"Then?" Brendon shrugs.
"I'm sorry I didn't let you know how I was getting on," Spencer says. "How Arthur was."
Brendon bites his lip. "That's okay," he says.
Spencer squares his shoulders. Brendon's all sorts of good looking, but Spencer still harbors some hope of getting back together with Haley. He shouldn't be thinking these sorts of thoughts about some guy who helped him pick out a dog. "My girlfriend broke up with me," he admits, before he can stop himself. "So I kind of spent a lot of time with Arthur. Moping."
Brendon nods. "How's that going for you?"
"Pretty well," Spencer says.
"How can I help you today?" Brendon asks, after a moment, shifting into professional gear.
"I'm here for Ben," Spencer says. "If he's still here. I want to give him a home."
Something in Brendon's expression shifts, and it isn't into the grin that Spencer was expecting.
"Oh," Brendon says, dully. "Yeah, he's still here."
Brendon stays quiet even when they're pulling together Ben's forms and paperwork.
"Are you okay?" Spencer asks, awkwardly.
"Yeah," Brendon says, "fine. I'm glad he's getting a good home."
Ben is quiet and doesn't even look at Spencer when Brendon brings him out of his kennel and out into the office. Spencer pets him and scratches him behind the ears, but Ben just blinks and curls up on the floor between Brendon and Spencer.
"It might be hard work," Brendon says apologetically. He doesn't look at Spencer.
"I'm dedicated," Spencer says. "Me and Arthur, we're dedicated."
"Good," Brendon says, softly. He finishes up with Ben's forms, and takes Ben's leash to come with him and Spencer and Arthur across the parking lot.
At the car, Brendon buries his face in Ben's neck and hugs him tight. When he stands up, his eyes look suspiciously pink.
"You okay?" Spencer asks, gruffly.
"Sure," Brendon says, brightly. "Take good care of this one."
He doesn't stand outside to wave this time, and Spencer feels really weird.
Ben doesn't fit in at home. He's quiet and he pines, and he doesn't respond well to Spencer, or to Arthur. Spencer arranges time off from work to try and make him feel more at home, but it doesn't work. Ben isn't eating and he just looks so sad.
After a week, he gives up and drives over to the pound at the end of the day.
"It's not working," he says, as soon as he gets inside the door. "Ben, he-"
"So, you're just giving up?" Brendon looks fierce. "He doesn't fit in so you just want to return him?"
"No," Spencer says. "No. I just wanted—he's sad. Ben's sad and I don't know how to make it better. I wondered if you might help, that's all."
"Oh," Brendon says, dully.
"So," Spencer says. "Can you help?"
"Yeah," Brendon says, nodding.
"Do you want me to bring him in?" Spencer says.
"No," Brendon says, shaking his head. "I mean. It would be better for me to come see him at home. I mean, if that's okay."
"Sure," Spencer says, nodding. "Whatever's best."
They arrange for Brendon to come by after he's finished up that night.
Spencer goes home and tries to tempt Ben with fresh steak from the butchers, but Ben just drops his nose to his paws and whines. Arthur runs around Spencer's feet and jumps up and down, trying to reach Spencer's hands so he can lick them. "You," Spencer says, "you are a pain."
He kneels down and lets Arthur lick his face and jump up and down on his lap. Afterwards, he sits by Ben and scratches him between his ugly ears, but other than moving so that his nose bumped against Spencer's thigh, he didn't look any less sad.
Spencer feels desperate, and looks at his watch how long it was going to be until Brendon came over.
The doorbell goes just after eight, and Arthur darts straight out of the living room, barking at the front door.
Ben just flops down onto the floor.
Spencer bites his lip and goes to open the door.
"Hey," Brendon says, awkwardly.
"He's through there," Spencer says, pointing to the living room. Arthur's dancing around their heels, and Spencer scoops him to stop everyone else tripping over him.
In the living room, Ben takes one look at Brendon and jumps up; Brendon drops to his knees in front of Ben and wraps his arms around Ben's neck. Ben tries to push him over and lick his face. It looks like Ben's trying to sit in his lap.
Spencer swallows, and sits down on his couch.
"I took your dog," Spencer says, softly, a minute later. Arthur keeps trying to jump off his lap so he can go join in with Ben and Brendon on the floor, but Spencer keeps a tight hold of him. "I took your dog away."
"He's not my dog," Brendon says, but he's scratching Ben's belly and stroking his ears and Ben's looking a hundred times happier than Spencer's ever seen him. Brendon's looking about a hundred times happier than Spencer's ever seen him.
"Why did you let me take him?" Spencer asks. He lets Arthur lick his nose.
"He needs a home," Brendon says, without looking at Spencer. Ben whines happily and flops onto his back with his paws in the air so that Brendon can rub his belly.
"He needs you," Spencer says. It hurts to say it, because he loves Ben even if Ben doesn't love him back.
"I can't have dogs in my apartment," Brendon says, scratching Ben's tummy. "I can't give him a home. You can."
"Hmm," Spencer says, and holds on tighter to Arthur. "He's miserable without you," he says.
Brendon just looks really sad. "It doesn't matter," he says. "I can't take him."
Spencer doesn't say anything, because there's nothing to say. He slides off the couch and goes to sit on the floor next to Brendon. Arthur tries to climb onto Brendon's lap next to Ben, and Spencer's left leaning over and scratching Ben's belly.
"He likes that," Brendon says. "See?"
"Yeah," Spencer says.
Brendon stays for a couple of hours, and they play with the dogs and don't say much.
"This isn't right," Spencer bursts out, after a while. "Ben's your dog."
"Not according to the paperwork," Brendon says lightly.
"But the dog picks you, that's what you said," Spencer says. His chest feels all tight. "Ben picked you." He wants Ben to have picked him.
Brendon just looks desperately sad. "It doesn't matter," he says. "And he's got a really good home here."
Spencer swallows. "Maybe you could come over and see him," he says.
Brendon looks hopeful. "Really?"
"Sure," Spencer says, and the more he thinks about it, the better it sounds. "Come over and see Ben, and he'll be happier for seeing you, and you get to hang out with your dog, and everybody wins."
Brendon bites his lip. "Are you sure? Ben's your dog."
"I'm sure," Spencer says, nodding. He is, he really is. "Come over as often as you want."
"Okay," Brendon says, and he looks happy, and so does Ben. Even Arthur's doing a victory lap of the couch.
Ben starts being a little happier after that. Brendon comes over three or four times a week, and Ben grows more sure of Spencer when he comes to sit beside Brendon while he plays with Ben. Arthur loves Brendon, and he hero-worships Ben too, and after a while, Ben starts to like Arthur too. When the weather gets better and it starts getting darker later, Spencer holds off Ben and Arthur's walk until Brendon gets off work. They meet at the park and let Arthur and Ben off the leashes for a run. Brendon usually comes back to Spencer's apartment, after, and sometimes Spencer cooks, and sometimes they hang out in front of the TV and throw chew toys for Arthur and Ben to catch.
Spencer thinks that they sit closer on the couch than they used to do; sometimes their knees brush or they sit so close that their thighs touch. When they eat their dinner at the table in Spencer's kitchen, Brendon's elbow knocks against Spencer's, and Spencer doesn't move away. He feels comfortable with Brendon in a way he never did with Haley—with anyone since Ryan actually, who'd been his best friend from high school, but who he'd argued with when Ryan had dropped out of college and they hadn't spoken since. Spencer missed him a lot, and Brendon was the first person since then that Spencer had felt able to relax with.
"Hey," Brendon says, when Spencer's doing the dishes. "It's my birthday this weekend."
Spencer grins. "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah," Brendon says. "My friend Jon's having a kind of party for me. Do you want to come? It'll be cool."
Spencer bites his lip. Sometimes he doesn't like meeting new people much, although he's gotten better.
Brendon elbows him and reaches for the towel. Behind them, Arthur skids across the kitchen floor and yelps; Ben following close behind. They chase each other in circles and then dart back out into the living room. "Say yes, Spencer," Brendon says. "You'll know me, at least."
"Okay," Spencer says, uncertainly. "Sure."
Brendon's birthday is on Saturday, and on Thursday, Spencer still can't think of what to buy him. He's thinking about it when he gets to the park; Brendon's car isn't in the lot so he lets Ben and Arthur out of the car and clips on their leashes. He wanders over to the entrance and lets Ben and Arthur run on the grass a little, all the while thinking about what Brendon might like as a gift.
He doesn't see Haley until she's standing right in front of him, and then it's too late to pretend he hasn't seen her. She's with some of her friends, some of the girls from her apartment and some of their boyfriends. Spencer never got on with these particular guys; he always thought they were dicks and they could never seem to find anything good to say to him.
"Oh," Haley says, awkwardly. "Hey."
"Hey," Spencer says, equally awkwardly.
"That's one fuck-ugly dog," one of the guys, Chris, says.
"Hey," Spencer says. "Shut up about my dog."
One of Haley's girlfriends raises an eyebrow. "Two dogs, now, Spencer?" She giggles, in a way that Spencer does not particularly think is friendly. He feels fierce and sad, all at the same time.
"Yeah," he says. "Two dogs." He holds on to their leads tighter.
"I thought you only bought a puppy to get Haley back?" she goes on, unkindly. "What's the second one for?"
"Leave my dogs alone," Spencer says.
"Spencer—" Haley starts, uncomfortably, but then Brendon comes over, still jangling his car keys in his hand.
He come over, leans in and kisses Spencer on the corner of his mouth. "Hey," he says, unconcernedly, and slides his hand into Spencer's back pocket. "Remind me my keys are in your pocket, okay?"
"Sure," Spencer manages, because his lips are tingling.
"Cool," Brendon says, and wanders over to Ben and Arthur, who both jump up at him, trying to tell him all about their days.
Spencer stares at Haley, and Haley stares back.
"Um," Haley says.
"That's Brendon," Spencer says.
"Oh," she says. "Right." Her friends look kind of startled. Haley leans in and presses a kiss to Spencer's cheek. "I'm really pleased for you," she says, softly. Then, "We should go, guys. Come on."
Spencer doesn't watch her leave. Instead, he bites his lip and walks over to where Brendon's unclipping Ben and Arthur from their leashes. "What was that?" he asks. He swallows.
Brendon shrugs. "Was it okay?" he asks. "I mean—"
"It was okay," Spencer interrupts. "It was more than okay."
"Oh," Brendon says, looking across at him. "Good."
"Yeah," Spencer says. They're standing across from each other, and Spencer thinks he's smiling really stupidly. "Really good."
"Yeah," Brendon echoes, and he absently pats Ben's head as he runs around him, trying to get him to play.
"Haley thought it was real," Spencer says, after a moment. Brendon's head shoots up. "She said she was really pleased for me."
"Okay," Brendon says.
Spencer takes a deep breath. "We share a dog," he says.
"Uh-huh," Brendon says, awkwardly.
"I wouldn't say no," he goes on, speaking too quickly, "if it was real."
Brendon keeps on staring at him.
"If Haley was right about us," Spencer can't stop talking, because Brendon's not saying anything, "then I wouldn't be sad, that's all I'm saying."
"You wouldn't be sad?" Brendon repeats.
"The opposite, actually," Spencer says, lamely.
"Right," Brendon says, and steps over Arthur so he can lean in and kiss Spencer again, cupping Spencer's cheek in his hand as they kiss. Ben and Arthur run around them, barking, and Spencer kisses him back.
"So," Jon says, "you're Spencer."
Spencer looks worried for a moment, before Jon laughs and claps him on the shoulder.
"Don't look so worried," Jon says. "Brendon's talked about you a lot, that's all."
"Oh," Spencer says, "right. He's talked about you, too."
Not much, to be honest; Spencer knows that Jon looks after the cats like Brendon looks after the dogs. He knows that Jon's kind of Brendon's best friend and that Jon's the messiest person Brendon's ever met. But Jon's short, with a beard, and he's also clearly a little buzzed. He's nice.
"Don't scare him," Brendon warns, coming over and hooking his chin over Spencer's shoulder. He wraps his arms around Spencer's chest and kisses Spencer's ear. "It is my birthday and you don't get to scare my boyfriend."
Spencer bites his lip to keep from grinning, and Brendon kisses his jaw. "And you," he goes on, his hand stroking Spencer's stomach, "don't get scared of Jon, either. He's like a bear, honestly."
"A bear?" Spencer says, as Jon groans. "Because I'm pretty sure bears are scary."
"A fuzzy bear," Brendon explains. "A cuddly bear."
"Oh," Spencer nods. "I understand now."
"You're such a freak," Jon says, rolling his eyes.
Brendon just presses closer to Spencer's back.
They leave the party early and go back to Spencer's to check on the dogs.
"You left your birthday party early," Spencer says, looking at his watch. It's barely midnight.
Brendon shrugs. "Would rather be with you," he says, and Spencer ducks his head.
Arthur and Ben are sprawled across the couches, and they raise their heads sleepily when Brendon and Spencer come in.
"Hey doggies," Brendon says, smiling.
"Sleepy dogs," Spencer says, softly. He scratches Ben between his ears, and Ben whines happily and shifts so he's more comfortable. Arthur sleepily clambers on to all fours, but Spencer just grins and scoops him up so that Arthur can lick his nose. Brendon leans in so that Arthur can lick him, too.
"You should be in your beds," Spencer admonishes gently, and Brendon shoos Ben off the couch and into his bed by the radiator. Arthur whines, and Spencer strokes his ears and lets him lick his nose once more time.
"We should be in bed, too," Brendon says, as Spencer puts Arthur down and watches him get comfortable.
"Yeah," Spencer says, and Brendon leans in to kiss him. "You want to stay?" he asks.
Brendon rolls his eyes. "Yeah," he says, and kisses Spencer again. "Come on, come to bed."
"Okay," Spencer says, and follows Brendon down the hall.
[Notes: of course Spencer and Ryan make up at some point in the future and become BFFs again; Jon most likely brings a new boyfriend around one evening and it's Ryan.]