The first time Brendon jerks off thinking about a guy, he doesn't think anything about it. He thinks: whatever.
The third time, he calls up Shane and says, "Dude, I totally just had a hot gay fantasy about you." He didn't actually have a hot gay fantasy about Shane, but Shane's fun to fuck with.
"Sucks to be you, Bren. I'm saving my ass virginity for Spencer Smith."
"That's what all the girls say."
"It's his magical mystery beard. Sex-ay."
Brendon nods, says, "Spencer Smith's beard turned you gay."
"Flaming, dude," Shane says, and Brendon laughs until he's got his face pressed into the couch cushions in the back lounge, until he starts coughing, until he smells something so foul that he thinks maybe it's time to trade buses with Ryan.
Spencer Smith's beard is sort of ridiculously awesome, this is true. It has inspired countless adventuring songs. At soundcheck, Brendon sometimes sings a little number he likes to call Spencer Smith: Bearded Maiden of the Sea. He shakes a tambourine and his fantastic ass and the techs all cheer.
So it's totally not out of the ordinary when Brendon bounds up onto Spencer and Ryan's bus and says, "Spencer, give me your face," and then he tackles Spencer off the couch and shoves his hands into the mountainous scruff all over Spencer's cheeks. It's getting really out of control. Brendon would've suspected some sort of secret beard growing contest was afoot, except Ryan always looks like maybe he'd fallen into a cactus with his face whenever he tries to grow one, so he isn't much competition.
"Brendon, fuck," Spencer says, but he doesn't immediately push him away when Brendon starts rubbing all over him like a cat.
Spencer's mountainous scruff is soft. Brendon says, "Spence, for serious, your beard has magical powers."
"Get off me," Spencer says. He's shoving at Brendon's hips.
Brendon's into full-body cuddle mode, though, so he just goes limp, letting Spencer shoulder all one hundred and fifty pounds of him. He rubs their cheeks together and hums Sexual Healing.
Ryan says, "I'm moving in with Jon," and that's a total score. Brendon has the best plans ever.
The fifth time Brendon jerks off to a guy, he calls up Shane and says, "Spencer Smith's beard made me gay."
"Flaming. Seriously, have you seen yourself? It's pretty obvious you think girls are going to eat you."
"I'll eat your mom," Brendon says. Mutters. Almost under his breath, and kind of petulant.
Shane ignores him and says, "And not in the good way, either. Like, in the with a nice Chianti way. It's awesome."
Shane is totally a sucky friend. Brendon doesn't know why he puts up with him.
At soundcheck, Brendon sings this new song, Spencer's Up In Them Thar Hills, and it's hilarious. Brendon totally comes up with some funny shit. Ryan is red-faced and Jon's giggling and Spencer's hiding a smile, biting his bottom lip.
Brendon makes guitar tech Larry feel up Spencer's beard.
Brendon says, "You're a man now, tiger," to Larry, and Spencer says, "Stop pimping me out," but he still looks like he's trying not to laugh.
Spencer's got this whole beard grooming kit that Brendon's sort of fascinated with. The same way he's fascinated with Spencer's endless supply of black button-downs. Occasionally Brendon steals one to wear, and he leaves the bottom open so his belly button can say hello. And then Spencer steals some of Jon's flip-flops and Jon takes Ryan's favorite hobo scarf and it's a whole circle of awesome, all because of Spencer's beard.
"Seriously," Brendon says, sitting on the counter next to Spencer's beard kit in the dressing room. "Seriously, your beard kit is amazing. I'm going to save up all your beard trimmings and make Ryan a fake mustache."
"Go for it," Spencer says, using his tiny beard comb.
"Don't think I won't," Brendon says, nodding. Brendon would totally tape that sucker right on Ryan while he was sleeping. And then he'd leave, like, a giant JON WAS HERE marker, like an O.C. DVD or a Chicago style pizza, because those are always falling out of Jon's pockets.
Spencer grins at him.
Brendon feels his stomach flip over, because he is no match for the beard, and the way the beard sort of makes Spencer's eyes sparkle.
The sixteenth time Brendon jerks off to a guy, he calls Shane up and says, "So I figure if we got into some sort of beard battle, it'd cancel out all Spencer's magical beard powers."
He hears Shane breathing, but that's, like, the only indicator that he hasn't hung up on him. Then Shane says, "You'd lose."
"But I totally"
"You'd lose, dude," Shane says. "It'd be a humiliating loss, second only to that time you tried to battle Ryan at amateur porn."
Brendon tries to protest. He says, "Oh, come on, I was amazing at amateur porn. I held my own," but it's kind of a weak argument. In retrospect, porn battling with Ryan had been ill-advised. He blames Pete. And girls.
"Plus," Shane says brightly, "your beards would totally get tangled together when you tried to make out."
"You have a beard," Brendon says to Jon.
"Yes. Yes, I do."
Brendon's not exactly sure if he should ask How come your beard doesn't have magical powers of the gay? even though he kind of feels it's an important question. Jon is made of special win, so logically his beard should be just as potent as Spencer's.
Brendon finally goes with, "Your beard," and stops again, because he thinks saying that Jon's beard isn't awesome enough to turn him gay is kind of rude. Jon doesn't deserve that. Jon deserves adventuring songs, just like Spencer. "Do you like Vikings?"
"I'm partial to their Nordic good looks," Jon says.
"They sure can grow a mean beard."
Jon nods. "I'll drink to that."
Brendon sits down later with one of Ryan's notebooks for the express purpose of writing an ode to Jon's awesome beard, possibly about Vikings, but he ends up creating another Spencer masterpiece that involves an epic showdown with Chuck Norris.
Seriously, he should put this shit out on a CD.
"You just got that off of one of those random Chuck Norris fact generators," Spencer says after soundcheck, after Brendon's wowed everyone with the ballad of Spencer, Texas Ranger.
"Scandalous lies! Do you doubt my commitment to your beard, Spencer Smith?" Brendon asks.
Spencer laughs. "I don't think that's possible."
"Exactly. Exactly." Brendon curls up next to Spencer on the couch, smushes his face into the crook of his neck, where all the tickly shorthairs of his beard live. "Your beard-fu delights all ages."
"You know it," he says, and then Jon ruins everything by swinging open the door and calling out, "Bus trade!"
"No," Brendon says, clutching at Spencer, because he doesn't want to trade buses! "No, no, Jon Walker, we're cuddling."
"Beard brothers gotta bond," Jon says. Jon and Spencer have some sort of secret beard society going on, but that's okay. Brendon's tried growing a beard before, but it itches like a bitch. He understands the need to commune with other bearded guys who have manned up and worked through that pain.
Jon flops down in front of the TV and flicks on the Xbox. "Ryan said something about learning how to macramé."
Spencer pokes his side. "Go macramé me an owl."
"An owl," Brendon echoes.
"Like," Spencer says, "one of those owl plant hangers. A couple even."
"For all your plants," Jon says, nodding. He pushes the controller towards Spencer.
"Oh, I see how it is." Brendon bounces to his feet. He tries to be all pissy, but he's actually really excited. Maybe he can macramé himself a super cool vest.
The twenty-third time Brendon jerks off thinking about a guy, he's not actually thinking about a guy.
"Are there bearded women?" Brendon asks Shane.
"Totally," Shane says. "There are totally bearded women. In, like, the carnival and shit." That's not actually as relieving as Brendon had hoped. He's kinda scared now.
Brendon slips on his super cool macramé vest - it's black with big loops and bigger buttons, ones that he stole from Ryan's special button tin - and hops up onto the counter next to Spencer's beard kit and leans back against the mirror. "You should let me style it," Brendon says.
Spencer arches an eyebrow and fires up his mustache trimmer.
"No." Brendon scoots closer to be heard over the buzzing. "No, really, how do you feel about ribbons?" He reaches out and Spencer stabs at his hand with his trimmer.
"No," Spencer says, and Brendon pouts.
It totally would've been cool. Like when the Beast gets all fancied up for Belle, only slightly less hairy. "I bet Jon would let me."
"Go ask him then," Spencer says, like he doesn't care, like he wouldn't be so jealous if Brendon all of a sudden started hanging all over Jon during Jon's pre-show beard grooming ritual.
Brendon says, "You'd miss me too much, Spencer. I'd never do that to you." Plus, he doesn't think Jon actually has a pre-show beard grooming ritual. He thinks Jon just rakes his fingers though his scruff, sniffs his armpits, tosses on a white t-shirt, and then he's ready to go. It's kind of sad.
"Thanks," Spencer says. He's doing some sort of deadpan Ryan impression, so Brendon doesn't know if he's being serious or not, but Brendon totally deserves accolades and meaningful backslaps for his love and devotion to Spencer's beard.
He says, "You are very welcome," and plays with Spencer's mini scissors until Spencer smacks them out of his hands.
The first time Brendon kisses Spencer, he just sort of kisses Spencer's neck, only it's more of an open-mouthed press of lips, and it's a little too slow and lingering to be brushed off as merely friendly. He tangles his fingers in Spencer's beard and keeps his mouth there and breathes.
Afterwards, Spencer holds him down and rubs his beard all over Brendon's face and seriously. Seriously, that is so unfair.
"That's dirty," Brendon gasps between giggles. "You're totally using your beard for evil."
"I'm using my beard for awesome," Spencer says. He flops down and full-body cuddles Brendon, but Spencer's totally heavier than Brendon, so Brendon starts running out of air pretty quickly.
He pinches at Spencer's sides until Spencer rolls over and pulls Brendon on top, which is so much more comfortable. Brendon shoves his hands up Spencer's shirt and sighs.
The twenty-eighth time Brendon jerks off thinking about a guy, he doesn't call Shane. He just gives into the lure of the beard. The siren call of the well-groomed mustache.
It's three in the morning, but they're not set to take off for another hour, so Brendon slips off Ryan's house o' macramé and sets out across the parking lot to the other bus.
He yells, "Bus trade!" and Jon doesn't even twitch from his sprawl on the front lounge couch. Brendon's tempted to let him stay, but he'd openly declared a bus trade, and bus trade rules can't be broken. Jon must go.
Brendon pokes at his shoulder and Jon breathes through his mouth and clutches a pillow to his chest and doesn't wake up.
Spencer comes up behind him. "Hey."
"Hi." Brendon likes the way his beard compliments his rainbow unicorn sleep shirt. "Bus trade with Jon."
Spencer nods. "You might have to get Zack to carry him."
"Jon, Jon." Brendon pokes his shoulder some more. He thinks about tickling him, but that could lead to knee-jerk kicking and bloody noses. It's happened before.
"Come on." Spencer tugs on the waistband of Brendon's pajama pants. "Come on, leave him. The buses'll be starting up soon."
Brendon should protest. He should call up the Bus Trade Manifesto, reference the bulleted list of Bus Trade Declaration Etiquette - Ryan'd had them all laminated - but Spencer's all sleep soft and beard mussed and Brendon reaches out and rubs his palms on Spencer's cheeks. "It's like a layer of pure sex," he says.
Spencer laughs. "Okay."
"It's magic, Spence," Brendon insists. "Your beard totally turned me gay."
"I'm pretty sure your irrational fear of girls turned you gay," Spencer says, still grinning. His beard sort of tufts out when he grins. He looks like a young Kenny Rogers, before he went crazy.
"Girls can't grow beards," Brendon says. Or, if they can grow beards, they still don't have dicks. And if they do have dicks, Brendon sort of suspects they aren't girls. Or something. Shane's an asshole.
The important thing is that Spencer has to take responsibility for his beard.
"You need to take responsibility for your beard," Brendon says.
Spencer rolls his eyes and says, "Fine," and grabs hold of Brendon's t-shirt and pulls him up and kisses him. Full on the mouth.
Brendon almost forgets how to breathe.
At soundcheck, Brendon finally sings the tale of ghost Vikings and Jon and a legendary beard growing contest for the ownership of one Ryan Ross. This is mainly because he can't think of any new songs about Spencer that don't involve him being naked, or Brendon being naked, or them being naked together, or Spencer's beard tickling inappropriate for public places.
They're totally still hilarious, though. Brendon's a freaking genius. He'll just save them for later.