The first (and only, thank you) time that Spencer hit him, it was because they’d woken up in the middle of a fight neither one of them can remember instigating. That doesn’t happen often, but when it does, they’re usually some of the stupidest and the most intense fights they have. To top it all off, Spencer had been having another nightmare, and Brendon had been yelling to try to snap him out of it, and then he had but he’d gone right from screaming about insurgents to screaming at Brendon.
About what, Brendon’s still not entirely sure. He was still pretty much asleep, at the time. Asleep until Spencer fucking hit him, of course, because this morning was just dying to be one for the history books, or at least the stories they told to the kids when they were all old and needed a laugh.
Brendon’s first instinct was to stare at Spencer, wide-eyed and hurt, because what the hell? But he went with his second instinct, because it was just one of those mornings, and he hit Spencer back. That snapped Spencer out of it (whatever ‘it’ was) and then, due to a series of events that Brendon’s still not entirely certain about, they’re in the car headed to the hospital, because Brendon is bleeding profusely from his eyebrow (head wounds bleed and bleed and don’t stop) and his hand hurts like a bitch.
They called Ryan and had him come over to watch the kids, though they called Ginger too and told her to check up on them in a little while, because Ryan was probably the worst babysitter ever, but he wouldn’t ask questions about what happened when Brendon walked out the door with a dish towel pressed to his head and a scowl.
Honestly, he married an idiot.
The nurses and doctors at the ER are good but seem kind of flustered, though that may be due to the fact that Brendon is ranting incessantly about anything that comes to mind because it is one of those days. Then one of them is stupid enough (or smart enough, Brendon can’t be sure) to ask him what happened.
“My idiot husband hit me,” Brendon says, a little incredulous still, because this is the kind of ridiculous situation that would be his life.
The nurses sort of look around blankly for a moment before their eyes catch on Spencer, standing next to Brendon with an expression that makes him look either constipated or psychotic, which doesn’t help. Then one of them tries to be covert, or something, while another flusters about his head wound, and says “Sir, we’re going to need you to step back—”
“Oh, please,” Brendon says. “Don’t go all battered-wife on me, he’s not stupid enough to do it again,” Spencer blanches at that, but the nurse seems to back off and let Spencer hover wherever he damn well pleases. “Besides, I hit him back,” Brendon continues conversationally, and it’s possible he’s feeling kind of funny and light-headed, which is why he’s talking so much, but he doesn’t really care enough to stop. “Or tried to, anyway.” He holds up his hand, which is throbbing and kind of discolored. “I swear, the man’s head is actually a block. Made of cement. Or something harder. What’s harder than cement? Diamond, but it’d be stupid if his head were made out of diamond. Expensive, though, so maybe I could sell him and get a different husband, but the kids wouldn’t be too happy, considering they thought he was dead and you know, diamond is pretty—pretty and shiny and maybe I’ll…I’ll keep him…around.”
At that, everything sort of gets fuzzy for awhile. It feels good, though. Kind of…floaty. He doesn’t think he blacks out, not really, just sort of spaces for awhile. His life is ridiculous, honestly. And his husband is an idiot.
When he finally decides it’s a good time to come to, Spencer is hovering nervously over him, and one of the nurses has hawk eyes all over them, glaring at Spencer whenever he gets too close. Brendon rolls his eyes and then sits up. Spencer sort of startles, and he takes a few steps toward Brendon’s bed and then rocks back and forth, unsure. “What—” Brendon asks, but his mouth is sort of dry. Spencer’s there in moments with a cup of water, which Brendon takes and gulps down in three swallows. He takes a moment or two just to orient himself, and then he’s confused as to why he’s passed out at all. “Why’d I pass out? I did pass out, right? This isn’t like…I’m not just having blackouts and going on rampages or—or—”
“No,” Spencer says, the hint of a grin pulling at his lips. “Um, the nurses don’t like me much but they said something about your blood iron level, they say you’re anemic.”
“Again?” Brendon sighs, exasperated. He’s been ‘anemic’ since the first time he went to a damn doctor, and then he’d fixed it and it had been fine and then it has just kept happening again and again and again, and it doesn’t actually mean anything anymore. His blood iron level just hovers somewhere between anemic and not-anemic all the time. It’s getting a bit old.
Spencer hums in response and looks away, and he’s got that unhappy twist to his mouth, like he’s beating himself up, and why would he be—oh, right.
“You’re an idiot,” Brendon declares loudly, “Why did I marry you?” And then he grabs Spencer by the front of the shirt and yanks until Spencer practically falls over him. It was meant to be a kiss, but Spencer kind of leaned the wrong way, and then fell on top of Brendon, and seriously, this day, what? So he just starts laughing, so hard that he has to catch his breath, and the nurses all stare with wide eyes and Brendon just—just can’t even. His idiot husband, my god.
“You—oh my god,” he laughs, and guides Spencer’s face until he can kiss him, and Spencer’s so shocked that he doesn’t even respond, and besides, the kiss devolves into laughter again too quickly for it to be anything.
“Are you—um—Are you okay?”
“Okay!” Brendon roars, because this is—how is Spencer not laughing his ass off? This is funny. This is golden, like little gnomes with pointy hats armed with yellow crowbars and wow, really, brain? Where the hell did that come from? “It’s okay,” he assures Spencer heartily, “it’s definitely okay.” And then, to the nurses, because they look like they want to sedate him and Brendon is not going down that road, “I’m okay!” He gives a cheery little wave to some of the panicky ones, and they skitter off, and Brendon just keeps laughing and pulls Spencer back down for another attempt at a kiss.
“Take me away, soldier,” he says warmly, a little seductively, and he doesn’t give a shit if anyone hears. Spencer sort of stutters his way through a conversation with a nurse, and then a doctor, and then there’s paperwork and then they’re going home. Spencer drives, and Brendon sits in the passenger seat and checks out the two stitches he’s got in his forehead, poking at them gleefully and chattering about how he’s totally cool, he’s got battle scars now, it’s awesome.
Spencer doesn’t think it’s cool, but Spencer is also an idiot, so.
Ryan gives Brendon the stink eye on his way out, but Brendon is just plain unflappable right now, so he grins manically until Ryan starts skittering away like the nurses had, and Brendon laughs and lets the kids poke at his forehead and ooh and aah over the stitches. They ask how it happened, and Brendon says it was an accident, and leaves it at that, because there are some things that kids don’t need to know too much about, at this age.
Spencer hovers at least ten feet away from him at all times, and his eyes are all tight and he’s got this perpetual frown, and Brendon lets him drive himself mad for a little while until he just can’t stand it anymore. They put the kids to bed, and Brendon has to literally drag Spencer bodily to their bedroom, because he’d been making up the couch with a pillow and a blanket, and that’s just—no.
“Hey,” he says, and he’s still kind of giddy—it’s a weird feeling, but it’s mostly fading back to normal now. He can’t really explain it. “Hey,” he tries again, firmer, and turns Spencer around to face him before placing one hand on each of his cheeks, holding his face forward. It’s kind of cute how terrified he looks, but it’s very not-cute with the guilt, so Brendon rolls his eyes and then kisses the deepening line between his eyebrows.
Spencer basically flinches.
Brendon just cocks an eyebrow at that, a silent jab, and then mocks “What, Big Scary Marine doesn’t like to play rough?” He tries to keep it light, because Spencer is freaking out about this a good deal more than Brendon is, or ever was, or ever would be, and that won’t stand.
“Not with you,” Spencer gets out, and he sounds strangled and wrecked, and Brendon’s grin almost slips right off his face. Instead, it just softens, and he can feel the warmth in his eyes, and he just kisses Spencer again, this time on the lips.
It’s better—he doesn’t flinch, at least—but he doesn’t really respond, either. Brendon sighs against his lips and pulls back a bit farther. “Hey,” he says again, and waits until Spencer’s eyes meet his. “Stop freaking out?”
“I hit you,” Spencer says, incredulous and disgusted with himself, and Brendon rolls his eyes.
“I hit you back.”
“How?” He challenges, staring Spencer down. He doesn’t get an answer, and Spencer just keeps on looking skittish and guilt-ridden, and so he changes tacts and rubs his thumb over the edge of Spencer’s jaw, turning his head just a bit and saying “Hum. I actually left a bit of a mark. Cool.”
Spencer flushes at that, and Brendon can feel his resolve breaking, so he tries to go for gentle again to see what it gets him.
“Not your fault, you know.”
Spencer shakes his head and his eyes dart to Brendon’s forehead, where the stitches are. It doesn’t even hurt. Barely a scratch, the doctor said, but enough to need stitches just because it’s on his face, and he didn’t want it to scar. Brendon’s done worse to himself, honestly.
“Not,” he repeats firmly, and when Spencer still doesn’t accept it, he sighs and guides them both until they’re sitting on the bed, Brendon’s legs folded up under him as he faces Spencer, still holding his face. “Look, you were having some sort of nightmare-flashback-blackout thing, right?”
Spencer’s eyes flit up to his and then look away again, and he nods, and swallows.
“Exactly,” Brendon punctuates. “Thus, not your fault.”
Spencer still doesn’t look convinced. Brendon just sighs, put-upon, and kisses him again. And again. And again. “Will you stop it?” he asks impatiently, but he can feel Spencer loosening beneath his hands, so he’s getting there. Then he gets up, abruptly, and grabs Spencer’s hands to try to pull him off the bed. Spencer frowns in confusion for a moment, and Brendon says “Up, up, come on, I wanna look at your jaw in some real lighting.”
“It’s fine, you don’t have to—” Spencer starts, but Brendon narrows his eyes and gives him a look, and moments later, Spencer follows him wordlessly to the bathroom.
Spencer’s eyes water when Brendon flicks on the bright lights, and then he grabs Spencer by the jaw and tugs until he can see the dim red mark along the ridge, half-hidden by stubble and the shadow of his face. Brendon brushes his fingers over it gently, makes a mental note to bitch out the nurses the next time he gets the chance, because they didn’t so much as spare Spencer a glance, and then says “Not too shabby, all things considered.”
It’s not fair, really—Spencer is a Marine, and Brendon sits in an office and writes for a living. He didn’t stand a chance, but it kind of turns him on how strong Spencer is. How he could really hurt Brendon if he wanted to, but that he holds himself back. Brendon’s not into pain, but he likes the idea of Spencer having that kind of power, anyway. Knowing that Spencer could take whatever he wants, and he doesn’t, because he loves Brendon.
Now if the stupid lug could just figure that out for himself.
Spencer is staring at his forehead again, and Brendon doesn’t say a word when Spencer brushes two fingers, feather-light, over the thick thread of the stitches. “Sorry,” he says, barely a whisper, and Brendon’s kiss catches him by surprise, but at least he responds before it’s over.
“Nothing to be sorry for,” he reiterates, and then blows out a quiet breath and admits “Is it weird to find it hot that you can make me bleed with your bare fist?”
That gets a half-chuckle out of Spencer, and then a pause, and then he says “It was the ring, actually.”
“Huh?” Brendon asks, because he doesn’t get it.
“The doctors said it was the ring,” he says sheepishly, holding up his left hand, where Spencer’s wedding band glints in the light.
And that’s about the time that Brendon loses it, devolving into hysterical laughter, holding on to Spencer’s shoulders for support as his stomach clenches and he runs out of breath, because “Oh—God, that is priceless, that is just—”
Spencer manages a brief laugh, and Brendon straightens up and pins him with wide eyes and says “Hey, hey, you know what we should do? We should pull the stitches out early to make sure I get a battle scar, this is just too perfect, it’s like, what is our life, Spencer?”
Spencer scrunches up his face at the idea, but he at least seems to be looking less guilty now, and he says “I don’t think so.”
Brendon pouts, exaggerated, and says “Aww, come on, you’re no fun. I bled for our marriage, Spencer. That is hardcore, don’t deny it.”
And Spencer doesn’t, because he finally cracks open a real, honest grin, and starts laughing at the same time Brendon does, and they press each other’s faces against each other’s shoulders, and it’s okay again. They’re still them, which is good, because Brendon wouldn’t know what to do without them, to be honest. He’d tried that once and it hadn’t worked out too well.
So he laughs, and his fingers press bruises against Spencer’s hips, and he wonders if he can get a pair of scissors close enough to snip the stitches just a day early, hoping maybe Spencer won’t notice the little white line right over his eyebrow, showing everyone exactly how strong they are when they’re together.