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"Hypothetically speaking—"

"Okay."

Brendon nodded from his position on the floor. He leaned into the couch cushion, elbow up against Ryan's thigh, chin cupped in his hand. "So, hypothetically speaking, are you listening? Hey—"

"Do you even know what hypothetical means?" Ryan asked skeptically, cocking his head.

"Yes. Listen. Spencer."

Ryan stared at him. Stared at him some more. Finally he said, "Dude, that isn't hypothetical. We have a Spencer. He even came with his own drum kit."

Brendon climbed up on the couch. "No, no, hypothetically speaking." He waved a hand. "Do you think Spencer would go out with me?"

Ryan burst out laughing.

Brendon frowned. That wasn't really the answer he was looking for.

Then Ryan gasped, "Oh, wow, yeah, you have to ask him now. I mean, seriously," between giggles, and Brendon fought off the urge to bitch slap him.

"Ryan Ross, you are so mean," he said, and then he slumped down and pressed his cheek into Ryan's shoulder. Mean. Totally, unreasonably mean. Spencer would so go out with him. He was adorable.

*

"Hypothetically—"

"No."

Brendon blinked at Jon. "Um. That was a really decisive no, dude."

"I'm a decisive guy."

Brendon was not entirely sure that was true. He narrowed his eyes. "You don't even know what I was going to say."

"Hypothetically speaking," Jon said without looking up from his book, "I don't think Spencer will go out with you."

"You're lying."

"Hypothetically," Jon smiled, "I'm not."

Brendon scowled and folded his arms on the table, dropping his head to dig his chin into his wrists. "I totally know what that word means, Jon." Brendon was smart.

"I know you do." He ruffled Brendon's hair and Brendon huffed, but leaned into Jon's palm, closing his eyes.

"He's pretty," Brendon murmured. "And he smells nice."

"Both really good qualities, I agree."

Brendon cracked an eye open, just to make sure Jon wasn't making fun of him. Jon gave him his you'll-never-be-able-to-pin-that-shit-on-me grin. "Did you eat all my oatmeal?"

"You'll never be able to pin that on me," Jon said earnestly. He was like a politician, only with better hair and cooler belts, except he wasn't like a politician at all. "You could pin it on Ryan, though."

He could pin a lot of things on Ryan, including his penchant for bedazzling random shit in the back bedroom. Bedazzling was awesome. Especially when Jon didn't realize he'd spelled out "Hot Stuff" on the back of his favorite jacket with glittery pink rhinestones.

*

Although Spencer was almost girl-pretty and had a pleasing aroma, those were not the reasons Brendon wanted to know if Spencer would date him.

Also, Brendon was totally not going to actually ask Spencer out. Thus the hypothetical part in "hypothetically speaking." He just wanted to know if, under certain circumstances, he were to ask Spencer out, would Spencer, in fact, say yes.

Chiefly, he wanted to know this because Pete refused to make out with him.

Or, well. Sort of. In a round about way.

Brendon had said, "Hi," and Pete had said, "Hi," and Patrick had made a growly sound from the other end of the couch, and then Pete had said, "I don't want to make out with you," right to his face.

"You lie!" Brendon'd said, aghast, and Pete had shaken his head and insisted, "I totally don't. I'm like ice. I'm like Spencer Smith."

And that was a challenge if he'd ever smelled one.

*

"Give me your honesty, Ryan," Brendon said, sprawling out on the bed.

Ryan groaned and pulled the covers over his head. "Go 'way."

"But. I just need somebody to agree with me." He tugged the comforter back and wriggled underneath, shoving his feet under Ryan's legs.

"That's the complete opposite of my honesty." Ryan yawned and turned over, narrow back to his front. "'Sides, my honesty and you don't even get along."

Brendon conceded the point. Ryan's honesty was sort of bitchy. He slipped off his glasses and curled into a pillow. "Can I sleep here?" he asked, snuggling close, because he was cold and he hated being cold. Ryan was skinny and cold, too, but he was better than nothing.

"Do I have a choice?" Ryan's voice was muffled.

"No." He'd asked merely to be polite. Brendon Urie: adorable and polite. Seriously, how could Spencer resist him?

*

"Give me a reason."

"What?"

Brendon snapped his fingers in front of Jon's face. "I need a reason. Give me one good reason why Spencer wouldn't go out with me if I asked."

Jon said, "He's straight."

"That's not a reason." Brendon rolled his eyes. "So are you."

Jon stared at him.

"What? Oh, you're saying—dude." Brendon shook his head, giggling.

Jon narrowed his eyes. "Brendon—"

"Wait, wait," he held up a hand, gasping through laughter, "wait, no, seriously. Gimme a real reason."

"You're annoying?"

"But that's part of my charm!" Brendon protested. He was endearing. And cuddly! And—

"You have a problem with observing personal boundaries," Jon pointed out. "Spencer's a big fan of those."

Huh. That was, unfortunately, probably true. As an obstacle, though, it wasn't anything he couldn't work through. For purely hypothetical purposes.

*

Brendon was settled on the opposite side of the room from Spencer, legs pulled up and hands wrapped around his knees. Spencer was eating cereal.

"What're you doing?" Ryan asked, looming over him.

"Spencer-watching."

Ryan arched his eyebrows.

"I'm giving him his space," Brendon clarified, and then Spencer raised his voice and said, "If you don't stop staring at me, I'm going to punch you in the head," without looking away from the TV.

Ryan squeezed into the recliner with Brendon and whispered, "Seriously, Brendon, just ask."

"I'm trying to prove a point," Brendon insisted. "This isn't, like, real or anything."

"Why the hell not?" Ryan hissed, suddenly Spencer's-best-friend Ryan, hackles up. He got all pissy and offended, like he didn't actually believe Spencer would punch Brendon in the head if he tried to grope him.

"This is Spencer," Brendon said slowly. "And me. We have no sexual tension."

Ryan snorted. "Spencer has sexual tension with everyone."

"He." Brendon paused. Huh. That argument probably would've worked better if he'd said Brendon had sexual tension with everyone. Brendon occasionally even had sexual tension with himself. Skeptical but open-minded, he asked, "Really?"

Ryan nodded solemnly. "It's the hips."

"Really?" How intriguing.

"If you don't stop talking about me," Spencer said, this time pinning Brendon with a dark glare, "I will punch you in the head."

Hips. Huh.

*

"Say," Brendon said, "there's this boy—"

"Is he handsome?"

Brendon nodded, realized Pete couldn't see him through the cell and said, "Yes. Yes, he is. And he's totally cool, too, and—"

"Is he me?"

"No. He's funny and smart and—"

"Seriously, is he me?"

"He's not you, okay? He's just." Brendon cut off, frustrated, and he was hardly ever that frustrated, so he wondered what that said about the whole situation.

"Is he Patrick?" Pete asked, and Brendon hung up on him.

*

Spencer had really nice hips. And hands. And he smelled good, even when he was all sweaty. Brendon wanted to push his nose into the crook of his neck, but that would involve invading his personal space, and Brendon wasn't doing that anymore.

Brendon was also suspiciously close to brooding. He did not like it.

"I'm brooding."

"Saying you're brooding negates any actual brooding," Ryan said. He scribbled something in his notebook, bit the end of his pen, then asked, "What rhymes with constituent?"

"Pants."

Ryan looked up at him. "You could try being helpful, you know."

"I'm brooding."

Ryan sighed and dropped his pen. "What's wrong?"

"Everything." He tugged his hood up and curled into the corner of the couch, sock-feet burrowing into the cushions. "Spencer won't go out with me."

"You asked?" Ryan looked startled.

"No."

"Then how—"

"You said he wouldn't go out with me."

"No. No, I told you to ask him," Ryan stressed.

Brendon nodded emphatically. "And you laughed. Like, evilly. I can read between the lines."

Ryan coughed, fist to his mouth and eyes sparkling, then said, "Dude, you really can't. Seriously. I told you."

"What did you tell him?" Spencer asked, ambling into the room. Ambling was a good look for him, what with the hips and everything.

"Nothing," Brendon said, lower lip jutting out.

Spencer sat down next to Brendon, darting a narrow gaze between him and Ryan. "Ooh-kay," he drew out, and then, in a weird, un-Spencer-like move, shifted up against Brendon's side, snaking an arm around Brendon's bent leg. "Hi."

"Hi," Brendon breathed. Wow, Spencer was totally pretty up close. And warm.

"You've been avoiding me."

"Have not," Brendon automatically countered. Watching yearningly from a distance was not the same as avoiding.

Spencer stared at him. Hard. Then he said, "Okay," again and leaned his head onto Brendon's shoulder, fingers tapping soft rhythms against his jean-clad calf.

Brendon's heartbeat matched them, and it took just about a minute for him to relax into Spencer's touch.

*

Jon grinned down at Brendon. A wide, I-know-something-you-don't grin. Brendon hated that grin. Well, when it was aimed at him, at least. "I've changed my mind," Jon said.

"About what?" Brendon was breathing hard, fingers curling into Jon's biceps. Jon had him trapped, but the move he'd made had been clearly illegal, and Brendon was considering sticking his hand down Jon's pants in retaliation.

"About Spence."

Brendon grunted and slid a leg up to wrap around Jon's waist, flattening a palm against his chest and pushing. Jon didn't budge, so he decided to play dead instead and flopped bonelessly back onto the carpet. "You changed your mind about Spencer?"

Jon nodded. "Yep." He still didn't budge.

"What, you don't like him anymore?" Brendon asked. He bit his lip, weighing the pros and cons of kneeing Jon in the balls.

"Um."

Brendon tipped his head back and spotted Spencer over the top of Jon's hair. "I will give you one hundred dollars," Brendon said, "if you pants Jon right now."

Spencer arched an eyebrow.

Fifteen minutes later, Jon Walker was trussed up under the coffee table with his pants around his knees, his t-shirt pulled up over his face, and his hands tied behind his back with something that looked suspiciously silky and Ryan-ish.

Brendon and Spencer made an excellent team.

This, Brendon found, was strangely elating and depressing at the same exact time.

*

"Spencer," Brendon whispered, creeping into the bedroom.

The digital clock flashed 4:32 am. Spencer didn't answer him.

Brendon grinned to himself and padded over to the bed. He was going for some free cuddles. Awake, sometimes, not always, Spencer was prickly about cuddles, and Brendon was close to going into withdrawal. It'd been nearly a week since Spencer had wrapped an arm around his leg, leaning into his side, and Brendon had been so good, too. No hands in inappropriate places, no overenthusiastic squeezes in return.

He said, "I'm going to cuddle with you now," in a low hush before slipping under the covers, fair warning, and Spencer rolled over onto his back and murmured, "Bren?"

"Shhhh," Brendon said. "Sleepy time." He spread a hand on Spencer's stomach and closed his eyes against Spencer's cheek, forehead touching his temple.

Spencer turned his head towards him, his breath minty-sweet and stale and dry and Brendon whispered, "Spencer."

"Hmm?"

Their noses brushed, and Brendon smiled. "Nothing."

*

It was the best idea Brendon had ever had, ever. The best. Sleepy Spencer was warm and malleable and soft and didn't mind having Brendon's nose in his neck or his hands up his shirt, and Brendon was much, much happier during the day.

During the day he could sprawl on Jon and hold hands with Ryan and grin at Spencer from across the room. Most times, Spencer would eye him back warily. Sometimes he'd threaten to punch Brendon in the head - which, you know, lost more and more meaning the more he said it, anyway - but there was an underlying thread of confusion in the words that made Brendon grin wider.

After the third morning of waking up in Spencer's bed, Spencer stopped asking for excuses and Brendon stopped giving them. After the third night of sleeping in Spencer's bed, Brendon stopped waiting 'til the small hours and climbed in whenever he felt like ending his evening.

Spencer was still up, propped on two pillows, reading a book. He watched over the brim as Brendon settled down next to him, curling an arm around his waist and snuffling into the thin t-shirt covering his ribcage. He smelled like downy.

"So," he said, "you're sleeping here now."

"Yep." Brendon patted his hip. "You're comfy. You won't be up too much longer, right?"

"Um." Spencer bit his lip. "No?"

"Good." He sighed and closed his eyes, the lamplight painting the underside of his lids a dark red. Spencer shifted, his book pages rustling, and then Brendon felt a hand fall high on his back, just under his nape, thumb buried in the short-hairs.

*

"So you're sleeping with Spencer now," Ryan said over his steepled fingers.

Jon had his hands on Brendon's shoulders, keeping him in his seat. Brendon squirmed a little, but Jon just pressed down harder.

There was a wolf-whistle and a, "Way to go, Urie!" from Ryan's sidekick.

"You've got Pete on speakerphone?" Brendon asked, incredulous. Why would they have Pete on speakerphone? Pete, Brendon thought, would be wholly unhelpful in an intervention. And he was pretty sure they were having some sort of intervention. Ryan had on hobo gloves and a rosette choker.

Pete laughed, loud, then he said, "I'm here to make sure you don't break up the band with your forbidden love," and, "Can I be the best man?" and, "Oh, no, wait, I wanna officiate, let me officiate. I'll get a collar and everything, or, hold on, is that sacrilege? Patrick," his voice sounded farther away, "would that be sacrilege? You're catholic and shit, right? Patrick's a nice wee little Irish catholic name—"

Ryan groaned and thumbed off his cell.

Brendon grinned brightly. "Are we done?"

"We are not done," Jon said firmly from above. He leaned down and dug his chin into the crown of Brendon's head. "So very not done."

*

There were certain things that Brendon would not do, not even for the band. One of those things was signing a paper that stated he would never, under any circumstances, break Spencer's heart, thanks very much, Ryan, because no one could guarantee something like that. And he was sleeping with Spencer, but he wasn't sleeping with him, and Jon and Ryan didn't seem to get that distinctive difference.

So all the talking-to really did was make Brendon antsy. He stayed up late with Ryan to work on lyrics or whatever, but he mostly just bounced his legs and nodded a lot and thought about the unreadable look Spencer'd tossed him before going to bed.

After midnight, after he'd changed into his pajama bottoms, Brendon stood in the dark, still wired, by Spencer's side of the bed. He worried his fingers in the hem of his t-shirt and stared down at the lump of sleeping Spencer until Spencer's hand shot out and grabbed his thigh and tugged.

Brendon yelped and tumbled onto Spencer and elbowed him in the stomach.

"Ow, Bren—"

"Your fault, your fault," Brendon chanted, scrambling over him.

"Go to sleep," Spencer said, pissy, and when Brendon climbed under the covers, Spencer rolled over and wriggled until he was using Brendon's chest as a pillow, wedged into the crook of Brendon's arm.

It was weird, being cuddled instead of cuddling, flat on his back with Spencer's hair tickling his chin.

Nice weird. Not better, exactly, but. Different.

*

The whole situation started getting wildly out of control soon after the Night of the Reverse Cuddling, and Brendon's daytimes were suddenly not as much fun as they used to be.

Ryan kept sending him dirty looks and dropping notes in his lap that read Ask him or I'll cut off your balls, and Brush your teeth, oh my god, and Pete thinks you're on drugs, but, whatever, it's Pete.

Jon kept locking him in the bathroom and then sending Spencer to let him out.

"Why does Jon keep locking you in the bathroom?" Spencer asked as Brendon spilled out into the hallway for the fourth time in half as many days, pushing back the kitchen chair Jon'd wedged under the doorknob.

"He knows why!" Jon shouted from the den.

"I bedazzled his favorite jacket," Brendon offered. Take that, Jon Walker.

Because Jon was an ass and blatantly eavesdropping, he squawked, "Hey!" and Brendon and Spencer shared a quiet snicker. And then Spencer asked to see, and they spent the rest of the day giggling in a corner of Ryan's room, bedazzling Ryan's sneakers, socks, boxers, ties, jeans, basically anything they could get their hands on, and Brendon thought his days might not really be so bad, after all.

*

Spencer kissed him first. Spencer totally kissed him first. And it was in no way Brendon's fault. Honestly.

He'd been minding his own business in the kitchen, humming Alice the Camel, because Alice the Camel was a tea-making song, never mind that he was making coffee.

Spencer had shuffled in, hair flat on one side and brushing over his forehead, eyes squinty and creases from Brendon's t-shirt slanted across his left cheek, and he'd moved over to where Brendon was hovering in front of the coffee pot, mug already in hand, and cupped his nape. He'd cupped his nape and turned Brendon's head with his fingers pressing just under his ear, the glandular curve of his jaw, and then he'd slid his lips along Brendon's with a soft murmur of, "Mornin'."

It was very clearly not Brendon's fault at all.

*

At some point, Brendon realized the Reverse Cuddling was possibly problematic – not necessarily to Brendon, of course, but to the others - in that Brendon was a known indiscriminate cuddler and Spencer was not.

That was apparently why Ryan, who'd witnessed the Sleepy Morning Kiss with a strange mixture of smugness and must-kill-Brendon-now in his eyes, stepped up his campaign for Brendon to just make an honest man out of Spencer already.

The handwritten notes were replaced with baffling text messages from Pete that involved walruses and blossoming organs and John Mellencamp lyrics, typically without any punctuation, and Brendon thought maybe he was warning him not to knock Spencer up in the backseat of his car. Brendon didn't have a car, though, so he didn't think that'd be an issue.

Then Jon laid out a spaghetti dinner for two and locked them both in the kitchen - although the kitchen didn't actually have a door, and he made a barricade out of the overstuffed armchair and the coffee table – and Brendon finally broke down and said, "Okay, so I wasn't going to do this."

Spencer twirled his fork in the noodles and asked, "Do what?"

"I wasn't going to," he waved a hand between them, "do this."

Spencer arched his eyebrows. "You sleep with me."

"Yes, I know, I sleep with you, but we aren't—" Oh. Oh wait. Hang on just a damn minute.

Spencer had not seemed particularly surprised by the dinner. Spencer had poured Brendon a glass of fruit punch and taken the garlic bread out of the oven. Spencer, Brendon should've remembered, was observant and smart and collected and sneaky and a known finicky cuddler, and Brendon was an idiot.

"Spencer Smith," Brendon asked, brow furrowed, "are you asking me out?"

Spencer's eyes were sharp and intense and he leaned back in his seat, fingers light on the edge of the table. "We are out," he said slowly.

Brendon would argue the fact that they weren't technically even out of the house, except he didn't really want to argue with Spencer. Apparently, Spencer as a sexual being was not solely based on the cock of his hips, but also on his rather nice blue eyes and pretty mouth. His quiet competence was kinda sexy, too.

And Brendon was sleeping with him. Awesome.

*

"So apparently I'm sleeping with Spencer."

Ryan rubbed a hand over his face and blinked up at him. "Okay, um. Have we gone back in time? Seriously, Brendon, what the fuck?"

"So." Brendon shifted back and forth on his feet. "So I'm nervous, all right? It's allowed!"

"I'm going back to sleep now," Ryan said, rolling over and shoving his head under his pillow.

Brendon poked his shoulder. A lot. "Ryan, Ry, Ryan, no, you've got to—"

"Spencer!" Ryan shouted, slapping the wall over his head with the flat of his palm. "Spencer, come get your boyfriend before I kill him!"

Holy shit. Holy shit. "Holy shit!"

Spencer, it seemed, had made an honest man out of him. He really hadn't seen that coming.

*

Spencer clasped their hands together and pulled him from Ryan's room, and Brendon went docilely down the short hall, but stumbled and caught himself on Spencer's doorjamb, fingers gripping the frame.

"Okay, wait."

Spencer rolled his eyes. "Brendon—" he started, stopped, and their second kiss was also all Spencer's fault, even if Brendon was the one who'd leaned forward and fit his mouth over Spencer's, only slightly parted and night-dry, and he licked his lips and Spencer's and Spencer cupped his nape again, tighter this time, and Brendon grinned without letting go.

*

Jon smiled at them over the rim of his coffee cup.

"What?" Brendon yawned, rubbing a hand under his nose. Next to him, Spencer had his bare feet tucked underneath Brendon's thigh, back curved and knees bent, forehead resting on Brendon's shoulder and hands up his shirt, one pressed flat along the small of his back, the other fisted on his stomach. Spencer was bendy. Brendon liked that about him.

"Nothing," Jon said, and Spencer made a sleepy snuffle-grunt sound that was possibly the cutest thing Brendon had ever heard ever and Jon laughed. "No, seriously, that's just," he shook his head, "adorable. You two are a-dorable."

Brendon slipped his fingers into Spencer's hair, tugged lightly. "Dude, I know." Brendon by himself was fucking adorable, puppy-cute, even, because come on, but Brendon and Spencer together? "Kittens would be jealous."

Jon's brows shot up.

"Kittens, Jon," Brendon stressed, and Spencer chuffed a laugh, the hand on his stomach relaxing to tug at the waistband of Brendon's pajama bottoms.

"Baskets of kittens," Spencer murmured, and Brendon could tell he was smiling. "Baskets of kittens and puppies and baby seals."

"That's what I'm saying," Brendon said, and pressed his lips to the top of Spencer's head.