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Mock Rock

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They're at Monday Night Dinner when their visitors arrive. They have on their suit jackets, their ties, and they all sit up straight when the two girls walk into the room: black dresses, heels, Kappa Delta pins. They've got a poster between them, white paper and colored marker, a large shamrock in the corner edged with green glitter, and Travis sits up even straighter, saying, "Oh hell *yeah*," before slapping Beckett's hand.

The girls giggle, and that sets the rest of them off, and Spencer looks across the table to where Ryan's sitting, raising an eyebrow, a 'huh?' and Ryan just, well, smiles. Which actually makes Spencer a little nervous, because once upon a time, he and Ryan could have *whole conversations* with twitches of their eyebrows. And the fact that Ryan's *not*--

"We're here from Kappa Delta," the first girl says, a freshman, and Spencer's seen her a few of the times he's been over at the KD house, visiting Haley, but he doesn't know her name. Alison, maybe? Quite possibly Alison. The second girl Spencer does know: Keltie. Blonde curls and wide smile, a sophomore, and she's Haley's Big Sis. She waves at him, winks as Alison talks. "And we're here to announce our annual philanthropy."

"Mock Rock," Keltie says. "Our lip synch contest, which raises money for Prevent Child Abuse America." And Spencer looks over at Ryan at the words 'lip synch contest', because now he gets why Travis and Beckett were so excited and he wants to share his amusement, but now Ryan is looking forward, completely fucking entranced.

"And I would go into details about the performance," Keltie continues, "but I don't think I ever remember a year that you all haven't participated, am I right?"

"Damn straight!" Pete says from the head of the table, and all the rest of the guys are nodding too.

"You were the guys that did that 2+gether performance a few years ago, right?" she continues. "I saw the video. It was awesome!"

Pete, Spencer sees, is ducking his head, and Travis and Beckett and Gabe are slapping each other's hands across the table, and Joe is saying, "Video? Wait, you have video?" and Keltie points at Joe and says, "Talk to me later, Troh. We'll work something out."

Spencer risks another glance at Ryan, and he is pretty much frozen in his chair. He thinks, huh.

Then Keltie and Alison are giving final details and doing little curtsies and Pete is leading them in a round of applause, and they are left at Monday Night Dinner with a glittery poster and a sign up sheet for Mock Rock.

"Dudes," Travis says before they all turn back to their meals. "We are going to *kill* this."


Haley, of course, wants to know what song (or songs! she says, lots of houses apparently do mixes!) they're going to do, because Keltie won't tell her and the door to the living room was closed when she walked by earlier, and through the basement ceiling, they can hear the repetitive thumping of dancing feet.

They'd tried to get Spencer to join--Brendon had gone so far as to curl around Spencer's side and *cling*, *pouting*, and Pete had said, "Brother Smith! You cold heartless bastard! How can you resist that face?"--but Spencer had been sitting in his and Patrick's room at the time, next to Patrick, listening to Patrick's latest Garage Band creation, and he'd just raised an eyebrow in Pete's direction until Pete had sighed and said, "Okay, fuck, fine." Then he'd turned to Patrick, shaking his head sadly.

"Stump," he'd said, "you're supposed to be bending the freshmen to our will, not making them *more* stubborn."

"Uh-huh," Patrick had said, before turning back to the computer, but even though it was hidden behind the bill of his hat, Spencer had been able to see Patrick's smile.

"Sorry," Spencer tells Haley, grinning in a way that Brendon has dubbed really fucking annoying (aka, the one that made Travis say, "Fuck, Smith, never let me play poker with you. Even if I'm really fucking high, okay?"). Haley just punches him lightly in the arm, then rests her head on his shoulder, and they go back to watching the afternoon repeat of The Daily Show.

"Just tell me it isn't Justin Timberlake, okay?" Haley asks a few moments later. "I hear, like, at least two houses are doing Justin Timberlake."

Spencer shakes his head, because oh, god, no, *so not Justin Timberlake*. Although Gabe had suggested it during the brainstorming session. "But not SexyBack," he'd said. "No, we'd need to go old school. Like 'Cry Me A River'. And Beckett could play the Britney clone, right? You got any problem walking around on stage dressed in a towel, Billiam?"

But then Jon had said, "Actually, Tom and I were talking about it, and we think it might be sort of fun to do something a little different this year."

"Oh?" Pete asked, but after Jon told them, they were all laughing and nodding and Travis said, again, "*Kill. This.*"


They put Ryan in charge of costumes, because he doesn't want to be up on stage, but also because it gives him a reason to talk to Keltie about the show. Spencer, apparently, was not the only one to pick up on the fact that he *did not move* for a good thirty seconds after Jon had ushered her and Alison out.

So, since Ryan is in charge of costumes, he drags Spencer (and Brendon, because Brendon does not like to be left behind, like, ever) to fucking Target (which Brendon pronounces Tar-*jey*), and they spend a good ten minutes in the undergarments section, flipping through every pair of tights in the store.

"I'm thinking multiple greens," Ryan says, holding up two bags, both extra-large. "They wouldn't have all had the same color, would they? I mean, with, like, variations in materials and dyeing techniques--"

And Spencer is pretty sure that he is well within his rights to say, "Oh my god, Ryan! We are not taking part in a documentary! The movie wasn't a documentary!"

"But it should have been!" Brendon says, and Spencer just pinches the bridge of his nose and wishes that this was their one and only stop for the day. And that they didn't still have to go to the fucking *fabric store* for about eight gazillion yards of brown cloth, and also something to make *belts* with. Because if this continues, and Ryan starts talking about textures and weaving practices there, Spencer is *truly* going to bring out the Bitch Face (tm) and they will *all* be lucky if they make it back to the FBR house in one piece.


(And also, just FYI, Spencer did *not* join a fraternity so that he could spend his Saturday night *sewing*, thank you very much, and no matter that Ryan's been his best friend since forever, he now owes Spencer so fucking hard, it isn't even *funny*.)


He will admit, though, that Ryan knows what he's doing, because when the costumes are done, and everyone that's participating in the show is dressed and assembled in the front room, the rest of them crowded onto the couches to watch the dress rehearsal, well.

Well, they all look good.

And by the time the performance is done, Spencer is literally wiping tears of laughter from his eyes.


There are ten of them who aren't performing who go to the show, staking out most of the first two rows of the theater. Spencer sees guys from every house, some already in costume--he sees Men At Work costumes, a few Justin Timberlake's, a few sorority girls dressed up as Britney, and the Pussycat Dolls, and the Spice Girls. There are maybe a few Eminem-wanna be's, and, like, half of Sigma Chi dressed up in lumberjack outfits.

Haley slides into the seat next to him, the one on the aisle, and says, "I was just backstage, Spencer, and Jon Walker *still* won't tell me what you all are doing for your performance."

"Because it's a surprise," Spencer says. "And no, I'm not going to tell you either. Believe me, you'll be glad when you see everyone walk on stage."

"Keltie knows, though." Haley's lower lip pushes out just a little, so Spencer is forced to lean over and kiss her. Darren makes a gagging noise behind them, so Spencer reaches over and slaps at him, missing completely. When Haley leans back, though, she's smiling again.

The lights are already starting to go down by the time Ryan makes it to their row, and as he slides past Spencer to get to his seat, he says, "Sorry." Then Spencer grins, because Keltie's following right behind him.

"We were just trying to get everyone into their costumes!" she whispers. "It took a little longer than we thought it would."

Spencer glances over at Haley, who's looking past him, watching Keltie and Ryan with a bright look in her eyes, and Spencer would kiss her again, except the music for the first group has already started and so he just reaches over into her lap and grabs her hand.


Phi Beta Rho goes last. Spencer's pretty sure that Keltie pulled some strings for them, or maybe Pete had sent Brendon to pout at the Mock Rock chair, or something. What he does know is that he's seen far too many performances of Top 40 hits, and none of them have lived up to what he saw in his living room the night before.

The lights dim again, and Spencer can see the shadows of his boys walking on to the stage. And then the lights go up and everyone in the room starts *howling*, because there are 15 men from FBR on the stage, all dressed in green tights (in varying colors!) and roughly made brown tunics, white collared shirts underneath. They've got belts around their waists and pointed green hats on their heads, and next to him, Haley's clutching his arm.

"Oh!" she says. "Oh my god! They're--"

And then William and Pete are swaggering forward, and Pete turns his back to Beckett and bends down to brush off his tights, then his tunic vest, then his arms, and then he says, "Will? How are my seams?" and William looks him up and down (which elicits all sorts of catcalls) and says, "Perfect!" and Pete turns forward, putting his hands on his hips, and says, "Every time!"

He and Beckett slap hands and then the music starts and the rest of Spencer's guys--Brendon and Jon and Tom and Travis and Gabe and Siska and Joe and Andy Hurley and all the rest--are walking forward, mouthing, "We're men! Men in tights!"

They must have watched that scene in the movie approximately 500 times in the last two weeks and Spencer knows every word of the song, every move of the dance: from looking around the forest to Tom's deliberate missteps, to punching each other in the face, to the fucking *can-can* line.

His boys are, perhaps, even more on than they were in the FBR living room, and Spencer is laughing just as hard as he did the first time he saw the completed routine, except maybe harder, because the rest of the theater is almost screaming with laughter, too. Literally.

And then comes the final formation, and they all strike different body-builder poses as the last phrase--"We're butch!"--comes over the sound system *and* out of half the guys on the stage's mouths, too, and then what feels like half the theater stands, clapping and screaming, and the guys do their bow before running off stage, and next to him, Ryan and Keltie start chanting, "FBR! FBR!" and the rest of their row picks it up, Haley, a lot of the other girlfriends, a lot of girls from other sororities, Spencer sees, and he's standing, too, his voice getting lost in the mix.

"FBR!" he calls. "FBR! FBR!"