It’s mid June in Las Vegas and the boys are in Spencer’s backyard lying in the grass, legs intangled messily with each other. They’d just finished practicing and it had been Brendon’s magical idea to venture outside of the basement and into the 98 degree mid-day Las Vegas sun.
Brendon, Ryan thinks, is full of marvelous ideas. And of course, because what is Brendon Urie if not thourough, Brendon is the first to complain.
“Ry-annnnnn.” Brendon whines from his place in between Ryan and Spencer. Brent makes a move to look at the singer but winds up flopping back down onto his back before he actually sees what Brendon is complaining about this time. It’s just too damn hot to care about Brendon’s bitching.
Ryan has his arm thrown over his eyes to shield them from the murderous UV rays that threaten to wreck his beautiful hazel orbs. He only half hears Brendon’s dramatic expression of grief.
“Ry-ANNNNNNN!” Brendon is burrowing into Ryan’s side now, trying to either permanantly attatch himself to or become a part of Ryan’s body. Either way it is way too hot out for it and Ryan snaps.
“What the fuck, Brendon? What do you want?” Ryan is gradually scooting away from the singer and Brendon is following inch for inch. Spencer is hiding a smirk behind aviators that he stole from Ryan’s bedroom.
Brendon gives a broken sob. “Ryan, I think I’m dying.” He whispers like it’s a secret.
The three boys all turn their heads in Brendon’s general direction and come to the conclusion that Brendon is in fact very alive. Albeit slightly red and sweaty, but alive and nowhere near death.
“You’re not dying, Brendon.” Spencer says absently.
“But, Spencerrrrrr. My skin is melting off! I’m going to turn into a pile of boiling man meat.”
Brent gags. “Urie, that’s disgusting. Shut up.”
“But, I’m dying. If I die, how will you go on? Who will sing? Not Ryan.” Brendon’s voice is bordering on hysteric. “And then we’ll never get famouis and we’ll be stuck in Vegas and I’ll have to go on that stupid mission and-“
“First of all-“ Ryan is sitting up on his elbow staring down at Brendon with exasperation. “-Shut the fuck up, I sing fine. Second of all, just because you die doesn’t mean we can’t find another singer. Finally, and perhaps most importantly. If—in the case that you were actually dying right now—you wouldn’t be forced to go on your mission because you would be dead.”
Brendon pouts, all full lips and big brown doe eyes. Ryan only caves in a little bit. “But-“
“No buts, Brendon. You aren’t dying, you’re just hot from the sun.” Ryan cuts in. Brendon doesn’t look convinced and for a split second Ryan wishes that he’d have run in the other direction when Spencer brought the singer into the basement for his first practice.
“It’s not the sun, okay! I know when I’m dying and when I’m not and if you were a good friend you’d- what are you doing?” Brendon is yanked from the ground by a very irritated Ryan Ross and literally dragged through the sliding doors of Spencer’s home. The central air conditoning hits them both like a wall off utter happiness and Brendon. Well Brendon moans a little.
It’s totally and completely not at all attractive.
“Now, do you still feel like you’re dying?” Ryan asks but the younger boy has managed to stretch himself across the sofa and is writhing around and making very inapproriate noises.
“Leather…so…cold…yessssss.” Brendon seems to be in a complete state of bliss, very far from dying and Ryan counts it as a win.
The very first week of tour, Brendon get’s the flu. It’s October and kind of cold and the van is kind of not the best place if you’re trying to avoid germs. And because Brendon does everything to the excess—even getting sick— he catches a temperature of 102 and is now using the sickness to his full advantage.
“Spencerrrrrr…” Brendon is in the passenger seat of the van while Ryan and Brent sleep in the back. Spencer grips the steering wheel already knowing where this conversation is going. He doesn’t want to go there.
“What, Brendon?” The drummer keeps his voice level as he takes the exit into some small town in Idaho. Brendon has his feet propped up on the dash, dingy blanket wrapped tightly around his body like a cacoon. The only visible parts of his body are the mop of messy black hair and his watery brown eyes.
“I think-“ Brendon’s breath hitches and then he sneezes, loud and wet. Spencer only cringes away slightly. “-I’m dying...”
The rhythm of the road underneath the bus allows Spencer’s brain to drift and he winds up completely forgetting that Brendon had said anything at all. Leave it to Brendon to spoil Spencer’s quiet time.
“Spencer, are you listening to me?”
Spencer looks over and Brendon is looking back at him, eyes wild and pleading. “Huh?”
“I said I think I’m dying! My chest hurts, my nose is stuffy, my throat is burning and I think I’m dyinggggg.” Brendon groans as he curls in on himself impossibly more.
“Bren, I assure you, you aren’t dying.” Spencer tries, hoping it’ll be sufficient. Half of him knows it’s nowhere near sufficient.
“How would you know? You’re fine. Driving and breathing and alive. I’m dying Spencer. We need to go the hospital before it’s too late. If I die the fans will be devistated and-“
Spencer sees something white flying from the back of the van and landing on the dashboard with a loud thump. It’s followed closely by, “Shut the fuck up, Brendon, fuck!”
Spencer directs his attention to the object Ryan has so elegantly thrown up front. It’s a bottle of NyQuill Cold and Flu and Spencer smiles at it with satisfaction. Brendon will be out like a light if he takes this.
“Bren, grab that medicine and take a cup. It’ll help with the pain and stuff.” Spencer tells the singer who is actively molding himself into the door of the van in a failed attempt to get away from the NyQuill.
“Noooo, it’ll be gross. I don’t wanna.”
Spencer literally has to pull the van over before turning to look at Brendon. “I’m sorry are you four?” He asks, sarcasm dripping from his voice.
Brendon has the bravado to look offended. “I’m 18 and damn proud of it, thank you very much.”
“Well, I’m sure eighteen year olds don’t say I don’t wanna when you tell them to take medicine.” Spencer reaches for the the white box containing the cold medicine and hands it to Brendon. “Take the medicine, Brendon.”
Brendon is shaking his head furiously and okay, Spencer has had it. He opens up the bottle and fills the plastic cup to the top. Brendon looks like he’s about to jump out of the car so Spencer makes sure to press the child lock before he’s on top of the singer, prying the blanket away from him.
“Take…the…fucking…NyQuill…Brendon.” Spencer and Brendon are wrestling for dominance and Spencer leans down and bites Brendon’s shoulder. Hard. Very hard.
“Ouch! You fuck-“ Brendon is yelling, mouth wide and it’s exactly what Spencer wanted. The drummer pours the green liquid into Brendon’s mouth and cups one hand over his big pink lips to keep the medicine in.
Brendon is writhing and grunting and being all around disorderly beneath Spencer. “Swallow it.” Spencer orders and Brendon just groans but doesn’t make a move to swallow the liquid.
“I said, swallow it!” Spencer shouts and there’s a groan from the back of the van.
“Spencer, if you and Urie are going to fuck in the van at least have the decency to keep it down.” Brent says and yeah, Spencer is blushing furiously. But even more, he’s fed up with Brendon.
“Swallow.” Spencer says before clamping Brendon’s nose shut, stopping the air flow. Brendon only struggles for about twenty seconds before Spencer sees his Adam’s apple bob signifying that the medicine is down.
“Good boy.” Spencer crawls back into the driver’s seat and starts the van up. Brendon is making exagerrated gagging noises but is otherwise at ease.
Spencer gets about two miles down the highway before he looks over at the singer who is fast asleep in the passenger seat, very far from dead.
Spencer counts it as a win.
Audrey and Brendon are a match made in hell. Ryan knows it. Spencer knows it. Brent knew it. And Jon knows it. Even Zack can see the pair is destined for a firey ending.
It’s just Brendon who doesn’t quite get the picture.
It’s late one night in May, they’re at a hotel in Alabama, and Jon is in his and Brendon’s hotel room packing his bowl.
Brendon comes in around 2 am, soaked to the bone from the rain and Jon gives him a WTF look.
“What the fuck?” Jon asks, setting his bowl on the night stand. Brendon isn’t making eye contact and okay, that is not a good sign. “Brendon, what happened?”
Brendon is shaking his head absently and goes into the bathroom. Jon can hear shuffling and maybe a little sniffling before the singer exits in only a pair of Hello Kitty pajama bottoms.
Jon watches as Brendon paces the hotel room, sits on the edge of the empty bed and then throws himself onto Jon’s bed, face pressed into the pillow. He stays this way for what seems to Jon like forever. Jon doesn’t press at it though. If anything, he knows Brendon will talk when he’s ready.
After a good thirty minutes Brendon flips over, staring at the plain white ceiling of the hotel room. “Jon…Jon I think I might be dying.”
Jon stares at Brendon, not entirely sure how to take that bit of information. “Uh, are you…are you sick?”
Brendon shakes his head. “Nah, I feel fine. It’s just…Audrey broke up with me. Just like that, no warning or anything. I feel like my whole heart is crushed. I cant fucking breath, Jon. I’m dying.”
Jon relaxes a bit. Okay, so he isn’t sick or otherwise in any kind of danger. Okay. “Brendon, you’re just hurt. You cared a lot about her but I don’t think you’re dying.”
Brendon shoots up in the bed, face red and hair bushy. “How would you know? You’ve got Cassie and your wonderful world of cats back at home! And you’re all cool and handsome and everyone loves you and it’s not fair! I’m dying and you’re just sitting there and not taking it seriously. I thought you were my friend, Jon Walker!”
Jon let’s Brendon rant because really, what is he gonna do about it? “Listen, Bren. I do understand what you’re going through. Cass and I have broken up tons of times and every single time I thought it was the end of the world. I thought I couldn’t go on and I thought my heartbreak was going to kill me. Trust me Brendon, you aren’t dying. There are so many girls out there. Smarter girls, prettier girls. Girls that will love you for you. Don’t spend your time grieving over Audrey. She isn’t worth it.”
Brendon looks a little more relaxed but nowhere near contented so Jon reaches for his bowl. “Here. Let’s get really fucking stoned and I promise you, you’ll feel more alive than you ever have.”
Brendon looks skeptical but grins at the bassist before taking a long, deep hit. Jon follows suit and they go back and forth until Brendon is a giggling mess and Jon’s eyes are half lidded.
“How you feel, Bren?” Jon asks and Brendon giggles uncontrolably. Jon counts it as a win.
Being in South Africa is sort of beautifully tragic. You’re seeing the astonishing work of mother nature while being exposed to what humanity is at its worse. It’s a real wake up call. A place for revalations. A place for life changes.
Apparently Ryan and Jon had thought so too.
From the day they’d stepped off the plane things had been awkward and tense. Jon and Ryan quarantining themselves to empty rooms, speaking in hushed tones. Brendon doesn’t see it, just keeps smiling, god bless him. But Spencer notices right away. Ryan is his best friend after all.
So when he and Jon come to Brendon and Spencer’s hotel room two weeks before they’re set to head back to the U.S. and begin work on the third album, Spencer already knows what’s about to happen.
Brendon is thrown across the foot of the bed playing Halo and Spencer is on his phone playing Angry Birds when the bassist and guitarist enter. Jon looks first at Spencer then at Brendon who is cussing at some kid online.
“Guys, we need to talk.” Ryan says and Spencer knows. He just fucking knows. He puts his cell on the nightstand and Brendon nods but keeps playing.
“Jon and I have been working on some music. Music that isn’t exactly Panic material.” Ryan starts. Brendon’s attention is half on the game and half on the pair of guys standing awkwardly in the center of the room.
“It’s not like it was planned. It just sort of happened. We just let the music take us where ever it wanted us to go and-“ Jon sighs. “Guys, we’re leaving the band.”
Spencer doesn’t say anything, he isn’t even surprised. He just picks his phone back up and starts up another game of Angry Birds. Brendon though. Brendon is looking up at Ryan with burning distain in his brown eyes. The only thing that breaks the stare down is the loud gunshot of Brendon’s character being killed on the game.
“Are you joking?” Brendon asks voice barely above a whisper. “This is a joke, right. Tour prank, ha-ha.” He picks his controller back up and starts to play again. He dies six times before he throws the controller at Ryan. Ryan manages to dodge it before it hits him in the head.
“What the hell, Brendon?”
“No, you! What the hell to you, Ryan! How can you fucking do this to me?! To us?! Spencer is your best friend and I’m…I’m something, right? It’s like you don’t even fucking care that you’re ruining other people’s lives here too!” Brendon is off of the bed and crowding into Ryan’s space. Jon holds out an arm to keep the two separated.
“Brendon, don’t-“ Jon’s arm is shoved away by the singer.
“Shut your fucking mouth Jon. Just…” Brendon flails his arms. “Fine.” He says and he’s gone completely expressionless. “Fine, whatever. You’re leaving the band. Go then. Just go. We’ll finish up this tour and you two can go do whatever bullshit you want to do. I’ll go back to Vegas to the family that I don’t have and you can just…go fuck yourselves.”
Brendon is out of the hotel room before anyone has the chance to stop him. He’s walking way too fast to be considered casual and he just doesn’t give a fuck right now. He leaves the hotel and wanders in the general direction of where he remembers a park being.
The park is empty except for a couple of late night joggers and Brendon finds a bench next to a pond. With a defeated sigh he flops down, elbows on his knees, head in his hands and he’s crying. Sobbing.
“Fuck.” He mutters to himself. He can practically feel himself breaking. The band is all he has. He doesn’t have a beautiful girlfriend and a stockpile of cats back home. He doesn’t have an amazing family that loves and accepts him back home either. He doesn’t have the propensity for blatant disregard like Ryan so he can’t just shake this off and move on.
He gets that aching in his chest like a knife twisting into his heart and he knows this feeling. This feeling like his life is ending, like there is no way he is going to be able to go on. He hates it.
Brendon is just about ready to go to the airport and just leave. Go somewhere far away like fucking Antarctica or something, when his phone rings. He doesn’t bother looking at the caller I.D. It doesn’t matter.
“What?” He answers and there’s shuffling on the other end.
“Brendon, its Pete. I heard what happened. Spencer texted me. Look, Brendon…are you alright, man?”
Pete’s voice feels kind of like home to Brendon. Like a time when things were simpler. “No, I’m not alright.” Brendon tells the older man. “I feel like I’m dying. I can’t fucking take this. I’m…”
Brendon trails off, unable to finish what he’s saying. He’s crying again.
“Listen, Brendon. Trust me when I say this, you aren’t dying. I know it feels that way but you are gonna be alright. When all of us decided to give FOB a break I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t have anyone. But you…Brendon you’ve got Spencer. Did you forget about Spence? You and Spence can come back to L.A. and just take a little break. Maybe see if you guys can work to fill in for what Walker and Ross took away. And come touring time, I know some guys that can play bass and guitar. Just-“
Pete is silent for a while before he says anything else. “It’s not the end of the world, okay? Bands break up all the time. Bands get new members all the time. This isn’t the end, Bren, this is the beginning of something new and totally exciting. I know you guys can do this but you have to stop being such a pussy, dude.”
Brendon chuckles at Pete’s frankness but his shoulders relax a bit and he can breathe a little easier. “Finish this tour, alright? Leave on a good note. Fighting the last weeks of tour is bad luck.” Pete says. He sighs once. “Love you, kid.”
Brendon nods to himself. “Yeah, I love you too, Pete. Thanks.”
When Pete hangs up, he starts skimming through a mental list of bassists and guitarists he knows. When he gets two of them in my mind he gives them a call.
Spencer is watching Brendon pace back and forth in the small room, shiny leather shoes reflecting the sun coming in from the window. Brendon is dressed in a black tuxedo, traditional. His hair is gelled and styled perfectly by a French hairstylist that costs a grand per hour and the little fucker is pacing, sweating it out.
“Brendon sit down, you’re gonna sweat through your tux.” Dallon says texting someone—probably Breezy. Ian is messing around on one of the guitars the wedding band has in the room but he does look mildly concerned at how Brendon is buzzing so much he looks slightly blurry.
“Dude, my entire fucking family is out there. I haven’t seen them in years. And…Sarah’s entire family is here. What if they object?” Brendon stops pacing and his eyes grow ten times their normal size. “What if Sarah doesn’t say ‘I do’? What if she says she doesn’t want to marry me? What if-“
“Brendon, you are ten minutes away from getting married. I’m pretty much positive if Sarah wanted to run off she’d have done it by now.” Spencer says, tone the epitome of boredom. He’s dealt with seven years of Brendon’s panic attacks; he’s learned to ignore them.
“You don’t know that! She could have just realized what a fucking spaz I am! Oh my god, I think I’m going to pass out. Oh fuck, I’m dying. I’m dying on my wedding day.” Brendon is breathing too quickly, hyperventilating and Dallon rolls his eyes before getting up.
“Come with me, you idiot.” He yanks Brendon out of the room and into the hallway. Looking around to make sure the coast is clear he leads the groom to the double doors that lead into the actual place the wedding is going to happen.
“Do you see that?” Dallon points at the packed room. Nearly two hundred people. “If anyone was against you and Sarah getting married—your family or hers—do you think they’d all be here right now? No. They’d be at home plotting ways to break you up. And Sarah loves you, man. I’ve never seen a girl that loves a guy more. She wants this just as much—if not more—than you do. Plus I just texted Breezy and she said Sarah is buzzing with excitement.”
Brendon is listening to the older man while watching his family and Sarah’s family co-mingle.
“The day Breezy and I got married I was a mess. I was yelling at people, pacing, being an all around dick. All because I didn’t think she wanted to marry me. But then I realized; if she didn’t want to marry me, she wouldn’t have said yes. Brendon, everything is going to be fine. You’re going to go out there and see your wife, see how beautiful she looks and you aren’t going to have a doubt in your mind.”
Dallon pulls the singer in for a long hug that goes on until Spencer and Ian are there. “Dude, it’s time.”
When Brendon takes his place at the end of the aisle next to Spencer he tells himself everything is going to be fine. When he looks around at his family and Sarah’s family smiling back at him, he tells himself that it’ll all turn out great. When the pianist starts to play and the big double doors open and there she is, the embodiment of all that is beautiful in this world, Brendon…well maybe Brendon dies from the complete and utter perfection of the moment.
And he’s alright with that.