Shane gets Brendon's miss u! text while he's standing forty-deep in line at security, trying to hold on to whatever patience he has at six in the morning. He hasn't moved in five minutes, so he figures it's safe to call.
"B, we just saw each other fifteen minutes ago, you can't miss me yet." The older woman ahead of him in line turns and smiles indulgently at him, like she knows what he's going through.
"I can, too, Shane. I'm still trying to get out of the parking lot."
Shane chuckles softly while moving forward three steps. "Did you get lost again?"
"Ass. One time!" Brendon laughs loudly and Shane's heart clenches in his chest. "Where are you in line, man?"
Shane looks ahead of him at the winding line, listens to Brendon slurp his coffee. "I'm just about to take my turn. I should go."
The old lady turns around again, her eyebrow cocked. Shane flushes, glances away.
"Yeah, okay," Brendon sighs. "I'll see you in three days, right?" Brendon sighs again, louder, like they haven't been apart for longer before.
"Yeah, B, three days," Shane says roughly. Brendon says good-bye, but Shane continues to hold the phone to his ear. "Love you," he says, and the woman smiles at him again before she moves ahead two steps.
"You want me to what?" Shane stops loading the dishwasher (cereal bowls, coffee mugs and spoons--maybe they should stop getting take-out) and stares at Brendon.
"We want you to come to the cabin with us!" Brendon's practically bouncing, not in that hyperactive five-year-old way that people seem to think he does, but in a "I'm so excited right now!" way. The cabin, though, that's--that's a lot.
"To do what, exactly? Watch you guys grow beards?" Shane reaches under the sink, grabs the soap. Anything to keep Brendon from seeing how excited he is.
"While that would be awesome, I would totally lose," Brendon says. "No, we want you to document it for us--photos, videos, y'know. What you do." Brendon waves his hands around. "For, like, a thing. A DVD, maybe."
Shane can't help but look up at that. A DVD. For Panic. That would be great for his career. And he wouldn't have to be away from Brendon for more than a month.
"Wow, B." Shane grins and Brendon launches himself into Shane's arms.
"I'm taking this as a yes, Shane! You can't say no!" Brendon squeezes him tight, and Shane buries his face into the crook of Brendon's neck, breathing him in.
"It's a yes, Christ." Shane pulls away, runs a hand through his hair. "Thanks. It's--thanks," he says quietly.
Brendon grabs his hand. "If it weren't you it wouldn't be anyone, you know that, right?"
Fuck. Shane nods. He knows. Brendon leaves the room, pulling his phone from his pocket as he goes.
"Same for me," Shane mutters. "No one but you."
"Put that down, please." Brendon glares at Shane through the lens of the video camera.
"Hey, I'm 'documenting the process,'" Shane replies, repeating the phrase Ryan's so fond of. He zooms out a little, off the tightness of Brendon's jaw to take in the tense frame of Brendon's body, his hands fisted by his side.
"Yeah, well the process fucking sucks," Brendon spits out. "This whole album fucking sucks and this cabin definitely, definitely sucks."
Shane coughs and turns off the camera, setting it on the kitchen table before pulling Brendon into a hug. He can feel the shuddering breaths Brendon takes, can feel the tension slowly leaving his body before Brendon rests his head on Shane's shoulder, hands loosely on his hips.
"Yeah, now," Brendon whispers. "I just need best friend Shane, not video guy Shane."
Shane swallows, hard, but holds on, running his hands up and down Brendon's back. "Hey, I'll always be best friend Shane for you, always. Okay?" Brendon nods against him and Shane can't help it, he kisses Brendon's temple, right next to his eye.
It's Brendon's twenty-first birthday and Shane can tell that Brendon isn't as drunk as he's letting people think. His family left a bit ago, even hugged Shane before they took off, and Shane's standing in the corner, nursing a vodka tonic and watching Brendon dance around shirtless with random girls. And boys.
"You ever gonna tell him?"
Shane jumps a little, reflexes dulled, but calms once he sees who it is. "Hey, Spence," he says, turning away from the courtyard. "Tell who what?"
Spencer rolls his eyes and leans against the wall next to him. "Him," he says, nodding behind Shane. "That you're in love with him."
Shane chokes then, wishes he hadn't taken that fortifying sip of his drink. "Of course I love him, dude. He's my best friend." It occurs to him that maybe he should've asked who, but it's too late now.
"Yeah, sure," Spencer agrees. "But I've seen you look at him when you know he's not paying attention. You're in love with him. In the way that makes you want to fuck him, not just go shoe shopping together."
"Shoe shopping? Is that what you and Ryan do?" Shane asks.
"Yes, and don't try to change the subject." Spencer tilts his chin up, indicating something behind Shane. "You're in love with Brendon and you need to take your head out of your ass and do something about it."
"I do, huh?" Shane laughs, even though he doesn't feel like it, even though his heart is pounding and he can feel a bead of sweat make it's way down the length of his spine. "What will you do if I don't tell him how I feel?"
Spencer just grins, kind of maniacally in Shane's opinion. "Then I'll tell him for you." He looks over Shane's shoulder again before nodding once and walking away.
Shane swallows the rest of his drink and turns around to head back to the bar. But Brendon's standing right there, biting his lip and Shane knows he's heard. Fucking Spencer Smith, Shane thinks. "Fuck."
He looks at Brendon for second, thinks about saying something, but just then some guy Shane doesn't recognize comes up and drags Brendon back to the dance area and Brendon just goes with him, looking back only once.
"Fuck," he says again.
Weeks later and neither Brendon nor Shane have said anything about Brendon's birthday party. Shane's not sure who'll break first, but his money is on Spencer, who continues to give him sinister glances and meaningful nods in Brendon's direction.
Shane wants to say something, wants to make Brendon understand that just because he's stupid enough to fall in love with his best friend doesn't mean he can't be Brendon's best friend anymore. He just doesn't know how to say that without Brendon apologizing for not feeling the same way. Shane's stupid, but not a masochist. Well. Not an emotional masochist, but he doesn't object to a little pain now and then.
The point is that he's let his guard down and he's sitting on the floor in the back lounge, minding his own business and futzing around with Lightroom, when Brendon is pushed through the door wearing pajama pants and Shane's old My Chem shirt that he thought he lost ten states ago. He's clearly just woken up, hair sticking up all over and his eyes still sleepy behind his glasses.
Jon sticks his head in the door and looks at them both. "Talk," he says before backing away. "Oh," he shouts through the shut door. "You're locked in."
Shane doesn't say anything, choosing instead to let his blush speak for him. Brendon stands there awkwardly for a minute, not looking at Shane directly before he sighs and flops face-down on the couch behind Shane's head.
"Jon is a douchebag traitor," Brendon mutters into the cushions. Shane agrees, but stays silent.
And fuck, now Brendon sounds like Shane killed his puppy. Which is pretty much like Shane killing his own puppy and, ugh, Shane's brain is starting to hurt.
"Yeah, B?" He tries to sound upbeat and as if nothing is bothering him, but he thinks he just sounds tired.
Brendon shifts, curling up on his side so his head is even with Shane's. "You're my best friend, right?"
Shane puts his laptop on the floor and turns to lean his side against the couch, facing Brendon. "Always, Brendon. You know that."
"You're mine, too." Brendon smiles slightly. "Always. But." He pauses, and Shane tries to prepare to hear the words but nothing more come out of Brendon's mouth. It might kill him, but he thinks he can get through it if he keeps digging his fingernails into his palms.
Brendon reaches out and brushes Shane's hair back from his face. The better to see you with, my dear, flits through Shane's mind without warning and he has to bite his lip to keep the hysterical laughter in check.
"But," Brendon repeats. "I've kind of been in love with you for years." Shane blinks and shakes his head slightly, but Brendon's hand is still there.
"What," he croaks out. "Years?"
Brendon grins and nods. "Years, Shane Valdes. Since, like, the week we met and you gave me that Blow-Pop."
Shane can't help it, he starts laughing. Brendon's face starts to fall and he pulls his hand away, but Shane stops him, holds on to it with both hands and pulls himself closer to Brendon. He moves onto his knees, leaning up over Brendon and Brendon pushes up on his elbows to meet him. Their mouths meet briefly, moving against each other a moment before they stop at the same time, and Shane grins.