Mog (sunsetmog_fics) wrote,

Fic: Swimming Out In The Blue [Panic at the Disco, Brendon/Shane]

Title: Swimming Out In The Blue
Author: sunsetmog
Fandom: Panic at the Disco
Pairing: Brendon Urie / Shane Valdez
Rating: R
Word count: 10,800.

Notes: For harriet_vane, who encouraged me to ramble on and on about this over email, and without whom this wouldn't have been written.

With many thanks to algernon_mouse, raye6 and miznarrator for their really useful comments and notes. That said, any remaining errors are entirely down to me.

If you aren't entirely sure quite who Shane Valdez is, then disarm_d has a great picspam/primer here, which I hope she doesn't mind me linking to.

Title comes from Youth Group's Forever Young.


Summary: Brendon and Shane aren't boyfriends. Everybody thinks they are.

Or, alternatively, the one where Shane and Brendon are faily and then in love.






(i)

Ryan calls Brendon and says, "So, I'm thinking about having a sit-down birthday party, what do you think?"

Brendon's watching reruns of America's Next Top Model. He thinks it might be cycle six, but he's kind of lost track over the years. "Sounds good," he says, wiggling his toes. "Are we going to party like it's nineteen-ninety-nine?"

Ryan grins, loud enough that Brendon can hear him. "Sure. We're going to eat three courses like it's the turn of the millennium. Keltie's sending invites; we're just going to send you and Shane one, yeah?"

Shane's over the other side of the room, fighting Dylan for a chew toy that may or may not have been Shane's favorite t-shirt. Brendon can't be sure, but he certainly waved it under Dylan's nose earlier on; Shane had spilt spaghetti sauce all over Brendon's green hoodie and payback was payback. "Hmm?" he says, grinning at Shane's attempts to wrestle the t-shirt away from their dog. "Oh, yeah. But what about Shane's girlfriend?"

Ryan laughs. "Good one," he says.

"No," Brendon says. "Really."

The invitation arrives and it's addressed to Brendon + Shane. Brendon asks Shane what Regan's going to think, not being invited and all.

Shane shrugs. "It's not like she even knows Ryan, not really."

"Okay," Brendon hums.

When they get to the restaurant Ryan's booked out for his birthday, they're at a table with lots of other couples; Brendon grins at Shane and says, "I think I'm the only single person Ryan knows."

Shane laughs. They build an igloo out of sugar cubes and later on, when Jon's swapped seats so he can tap Shane for cigarettes, they have a competition to see who can keep a straw trapped between their upper lip and their nose the longest.

Brendon can.


(ii)

Shane comes out to stay for a few days while Panic are touring; he's got his video camera and he spends most of his time playing cards with Brendon and Spencer, surreptitiously catching Ryan on camera coloring in his fingernails in purple sharpie.



It's a hotel night and Shane and Brendon are late off the bus because they're playing Guitar Hero to the death. Ryan refuses to play because he says that if he ever, ever has to play that stupid computer game again he's going to break every single one of the guitars by having the bus driver reverse over them. Twice. Brendon covers his ears so he can't hear Ryan's blasphemy.

Guitar Hero Death Match has about a hundred different rules and Spencer and Jon refuse to play any more because they're always infringing one of Shane and Brendon's lesser known codes of play.

(The last time they played, Spencer said it was stupid that he got a time penalty just because he was wearing odd socks.

Shane and Brendon had both raised their eyebrows and then tugged Spencer's t-shirt up and over his arms so he was trapped. "Punishment for talking back," Brendon had told him airily, poking Spencer's belly button with the tip of his finger.

Jon was still smarting because the flowers Brendon and Shane had drawn on his cheeks and forehead in black sharpie hadn't come off, even though he'd had two showers and used some of Ryan's gritty face wash exfoliating stuff. Brendon told him that he had impeded Shane's guitar flow mid-song, and that was just punishment for people who didn't know the rules.)

By the time they make it off the bus and into the hotel lobby, all the rooms have been divided out, and Brendon and Shane are left sharing. Spencer gives Brendon two keycards and says, "See you both in the morning."

Brendon's brow wrinkles. "Aren't we doing something tonight, guys? Room service and pay-per-view? Hitting a bar?"

Jon pats him on the shoulder. "Alone time," he says, with a grin. "Be thankful we're not breaking down your door and bugging you all night."

Brendon shrugs. It's kind of nice that they're giving him time to hang out with Shane; they've both been so busy lately and whenever Brendon's been in Las Vegas recently, Shane's been tied up with Regan. "Cool," he says, elbowing Shane.

Shane grins back. "Yeah," he says.



Brendon unlocks the door to their room and stumbles in, trying to avoid Shane, who's hip-checking him into the wall. "Oh," he says, bumping into the table. "There's only one bed."

Shane lets the door close behind them, dropping his duffel onto the floor and hopping over it to get to the TV.

"They must have gotten the booking wrong," Brendon says with a shrug, dropping down onto the bed with a thump. He kicks lazily at his shoes, hoping they'll unlace themselves. "You don't mind sharing with me for one night, right?" He tugs at the back of Shane's t-shirt, pulling him down onto the bed next to him.

"You kick too much," Shane tells him. "And you hog the blankets."

Brendon rolls his eyes. "I do not." He shifts so he's got his feet in Shane's lap. "Undo my laces, Shane, please."

"What did your last slave die of?" Shane asks, but he's already picking at the knots.



They stay up way too late, watching Golden Girls reruns, and working out what their names would be if they were strippers, and then they end up trying to work out which of them would make the best stripper. Brendon thinks maybe he would be, or possibly Spencer, because like Shakira says, hips don’t lie.

When Brendon wakes up, he's lying awkwardly, twisted with one leg hanging off the bed and his hair brushing Shane's neck. He wipes at his mouth; there's a wet patch from where he's drooled on the covers.

Brendon doesn't want to make a big deal about someone screwing the room bookings up – especially as he thinks it was Spencer, and Spencer hates messing up – so neither of them say anything about there only being one bed in the room. When Ryan asks how their room was, Shane just says, "Yeah, the room was great, thanks."

Brendon nods his agreement and they leave it at that.


(iii)

"Your parents have sent us a housewarming card," Brendon says stupidly, dropping the envelope down onto the counter and stealing a gulp of Shane's coffee.

"Yeah?" Shane picks up the card and steals his coffee back. He opens it, and even though Brendon's just read what Shane's parents have written, he cranes his head so he can see it again. It says, To Brendon and Shane (and Dylan!), Congratulations on your home! May you have many happy times together, with much love, Mom and Dad.

"We've lived here, like, forever," Brendon says.

Shane looks equally confused. "I'll call them," he says.



Shane comes back into the kitchen when he's finished up on the phone.

Brendon's eaten the rest of Shane's cereal and is drinking the remains of the chocolate milk out of the bowl. "So?" he asks. He wonders if he has a milk moustache, and wipes his mouth on his sleeve.

Shane's brow is furrowed. "They said they were sorry they hadn't sent one earlier, but they wanted to say how they hoped we'd be happy together in our home."

"Well," Brendon says, after a beat. "That was nice of them."

"Sure it was," Shane says. "Weird though. You want to play Halo?"


(iv)

His mom calls and says "Is Shane coming over for Thanksgiving?"

Brendon says, "He's got his own family, Mom," but Shane's in the kitchen, getting them beers and chips and tripping over the dog, so he just tips his head back on the sofa and yells through to Shane, "Do you want to come to Thanksgiving at my mom and dad's?"

"Sure," Shane yells back, "And your dog's peed on the floor again." Dylan is always Brendon's dog when she pees somewhere she's not supposed to.

"Did you hear that, Mom?" Brendon asks, turning his attention back to the phone.

"Yes," his mom says. "You're bringing Shane to Thanksgiving. And you should really train that dog to pee outside."

"Mom."

Shane sticks his head around the door to the living room. "You want lime in your Corona?"

Dylan pads past Shane, flopping down on Brendon's feet and looking woebegone.

Brendon nods his yes.


(v)

"You know that Shane's got a girlfriend, right?" Brendon's in the kitchen with his mom and his sister. The rest of the family are out in the garden, playing a crazy version of football that mostly involves his nephew sitting on his brother's chest and his nieces squealing a lot and clinging to Shane's leg.

His mom looks at him. She looks exasperated. "It's okay, Brendon," she says. "You don't need-"

Brendon's brother stumbles into the kitchen from the yard, wearing a fedora covered in feathers. It looks like the kind of hat that Ryan would covet. "Bden," he says, "We are one man down. We need you on the field. Both of you, too," he says, pointing at his sister and his mom.

Brendon salutes him. "At the ready," he says.


(vi)

"Your dad's making Shane a stocking for Christmas," his mom tells him.

Brendon's only opened two windows on his advent calendar.


(vii)

"Can Shane come on vacation with us?" his mom asks, peering at him over her glasses and scribbling something in her diary.

Brendon wrinkles his nose. He's drawing an elephant on the back of a church newsletter. "I'll have to check with him."

"Okay," she says, pulling a piece of paper out of her planner. "These are the possible dates, see which of them he can make."

Brendon takes the piece of paper his mom passes him, folding it in two. He slides it into his wallet, in between a photo of Dylan and some photobooth pictures of him and Shane they'd had taken in the airport when their plane was delayed. Brendon's wearing Shane's hat, the gray one, and it hangs down over his eyes in all the photos. Shane's wearing Brendon's big sunglasses.

His mom never listens when Brendon says that Shane's got other commitments; Brendon thinks it's nice that his family like Shane so much, but sometimes he does kind of think it's weird that any invitation for Brendon is automatically extended to include Shane too. Although, Brendon can't help but think that vacationing with Shane would actually be pretty cool. He secretly hopes that Shane can make it along.



"It's really nice of your family to invite me," Shane says, when they're in the car from the airport.

Brendon's really sleepy, because he stayed up way too late watching Gone With The Wind and pretending to talk like Scarlett O'Hara. He'd woken Shane up in the middle of the night by bouncing on his bed and saying fiddle-dee-dee right into Shane's ear.

"Yeah," he says, shuffling over so he can rest his head on Shane's shoulder. "I think they're just making up for the fact I didn't have many friends growing up."

"You had Spencer and Ryan," Shane says, shifting so that Brendon's head lolls back against the seat.

Brendon shrugs, closing his eyes. He's glad he's got his sunglasses on because it's really bright out and he's sleepy. "And now I've got you," he says, with a yawn. He doesn't bother covering his mouth.



Brendon's family have rented a villa at Disney World. There are so many of them that they've had to come in five separate cars from the airport; Brendon and Shane are the last to arrive.

The villa is already in chaos, Brendon's nieces and nephew racing around shouting at the top of their lungs. Something about their enthusiasm is catching and Brendon joins in almost immediately, tugging Matt to his feet from where he's sprawled on the couch. They pretend to be dinosaurs, stomping their feet and roaring loudly. The kids squeal.

Shane stands to one side with his hands in his pockets. He looks kind of awkward.

Brendon comes and flops over him a few minutes later; he's already sweaty and his t-shirt is damp. "I need to change," he says miserably.

"You two should go on up," his dad says. "Get settled in."

"Okay," Brendon says. He flops more, draping himself over Shane's back. "You should carry me, Shane," he says, "I may expire from the heat."

Shane grins and rolls his eyes. "I'll expire if I have to carry you," he says.

Kara smiles. "You tell him, Shane," she says, and she sounds like she's being careful. Brendon wonders why. "Keep him in line early on."

"Right," Shane says.



"Urgh," Brendon says, face-planting onto the bed. "Looks like we have to share again."

"There are probably no twin rooms left," Shane agrees, and crawls up the bed till he's lying next to Brendon. "You'd better not hog the covers."

"It's too hot to hog," Brendon tells him, moving his arms like he's making a snow angel on the cotton. "I'll just die from the heat instead."

"Baby," Shane says, and hits him with a pillow.



"I've run out of t-shirts," Brendon says, proudly. They have one day to go and Brendon hasn't got any clean clothes left.

Mason rolls his eyes. Brendon's sister-in-law has her feet in his lap.

"Borrow one off Shane," Mason says, lazily. The children are all through in the kitchen with Brendon's mom and Shane; they all love Shane's video camera and they've badgered him into setting up his tripod by the table and interviewing them all about their vacation.

"He's put a combination lock on his suitcase," Brendon tells them sulkily, picking at his jeans.

Matt laughs. "That's a good one," he said, poking his wife in the arm. "Maybe you should try that with me sometime."

She stares at him. "…For when you feel like stealing my clothes?"

Everybody laughs, and Matt rolls his eyes. "There's a couple of spare t-shirts in my closet," he says to Brendon. "Go for it."

Brendon beams. "Thank you," he says, and runs upstairs.



When he comes downstairs again, he's frowning. "You've got twin beds," he says, pointing at Matt and his wife. "And me and Shane have a queen."

Over the other side of the room, Kyla colors. "Shane's part of the family now," she says awkwardly.

"Right," Brendon says. He's wearing Matt's California t-shirt – it's red and too wide across the chest for him.

"Luck of the draw," Matt goes on. "Too many couples, not enough rooms, we couldn't all win out."

Brendon blinks. "Thanks for the t-shirt," he says, and goes to help Shane in the kitchen. Maybe Shane will understand why Brendon's family is so weird.


(viii)

They're back on tour. Brendon's bored, so he calls Shane from his bunk and tells him about how they didn't have any of the good candy the last time they stopped, so he was stuck with the chewy ones that turned his tongue pink instead of the sour worms he'd wanted.

"My tongue is pink," Brendon tells him, sticking his tongue out.

"Isn't it always pink?" Shane asks. His voice is tinny down the phone line.

"Pinker," Brendon corrects. "More pink."

"I've got bagels and peanut butter," Shane says.

Brendon's stomach rumbles. "I want that."

"Tough luck, kiddo," Shane says. His voice is muffled; Brendon thinks he's eating and talking at the same time.

"I'm going to see what I can find in the cupboards," he says decidedly. "Maybe I'll find something better than bagels."

"Never," Shane says. "Not possible."

In the background, Brendon can hear Dylan whining. "Is that Dylan?" he asks. Suddenly he misses his dog a stupid, ridiculous amount. "Shane, put Dylan on the phone."

"Okay," Shane says, after a moment.

Brendon beams and drags himself out of his bunk, wandering into the lounge and opening the cupboards in the kitchen to see what he can find to eat.

"This is so stupid, Urie," Shane says. "She's here. She's listening."

Brendon's rooting through the cupboards. "Hey baby," he says. He thinks he can spy Doritos on the top shelf. "I miss you a whole lot. Miss you like crazy, in fact." He grabs the Doritos and a juice box from the shelf and wanders back to the bunk, listening to the soft whine of Dylan's breathing until Shane takes the phone back.

He talks to Shane while he finishes the Doritos, sucking obnoxiously on the juice box so the noise ricochets down the phone line. "You suck, Brendon," Shane tells him.

Brendon grins. "I try," he says. He bites his lip. "She's not forgetting me, is she? Like, maybe you should show her my picture or something."

Shane laughs. "She's not going to forget you."

"She might."

"She won't," Shane tells him. "I won't let her."

"Good."

Once Brendon's finished up on the phone to Shane, he wanders out to the lounge looking mournful.

Jon's holding a magazine, flicking through the pages without stopping long enough to read. "How's baby?" he asks, with a grin. He shuffles up so there's room on the couch for Brendon in between him and Ryan. "You missing someone, Brendon?"

Brendon doesn't particularly think this is a laughing matter. Dylan might forget him. That would be pretty terrible. Dylan's kind of the love of his life.

"Yes," he says, sadly. He lies down on the couch with his head in Jon's lap and shifts so he can curl his toes under Ryan's thighs. Ryan pats his ankle, absentmindedly, and goes back to typing out a message on his sidekick.

"That's okay," Jon tells him. "We all miss people when we're away." Brendon thinks he might be laughing. "But it makes getting home even better, don't you think?"

"Bet you're not worried about your cats forgetting you," Brendon says, mournfully. Jon's cats are the coolest, they curl up on his lap and purr even when Jon's been away on the road for weeks. "They wouldn't forget the sound of your voice."

Across the lounge, Spencer splutters. He's got his laptop on his knee. "Don't tell me you're comparing Jon's cats to Shane."

Brendon looks confused. "No," he says. He misses Dylan's cold nose.

"Like it's even possible Shane could forget you," Spencer goes on. He's kicking Ryan in the shin. Brendon recognizes the look on Ryan's face; Spencer's got about three minutes before Ryan attacks. "You're calling him every other minute."

"Am not," Brendon says, reaching over and helping himself to some of Jon's coffee. That wasn't precisely true. "Or if I am, it's only so I can talk to Dylan."

Ryan snickers. "Sure," he says.

Brendon's brow furrows and shakes his head. "You're all weird. I'm going to go and call my dog back."

"You do that," Jon says. When Brendon stands up to leave, he thinks he hears them all start to laugh. His bandmates are really fucking strange sometimes.



He calls Dylan and talks to Shane. They end up having a really random conversation about ball-point pens and nail polish and the best episodes of The Simpsons. He walks around the bus with his phone attached to his ear and Spencer and Jon and Ryan just exchange looks and roll their eyes.

Afterwards, Brendon just says "Dylan ripped the throat out of her donkey chew toy," really sadly. "I bought her that. She's projecting the fact that she's missing me on to her chew toys. She hates me."

Spencer coughs a laugh and plays Guitar Hero with him. Brendon thinks that Spencer maybe lets him win.

Brendon wonders if Dylan will forgive him for leaving if he buys her another donkey chew toy.



He calls Shane again later, just to make sure that Dylan's okay and doesn't hate him.


(ix)

"Shane's broken up with his girlfriend," Brendon says, sadly.

His mom exchanges a complicated look with Mason and Kara. "Oh yes?" she says, quietly.

Kara looks at him sympathetically.

"Is – uh – his girlfriend okay?" Mason asks. He's fiddling with the crossword puzzle he's torn out of the newspaper that Kara's reading.

Brendon looks a little confused. "I don't know," he says. "Maybe?" He feels like they should at least ask about Shane.

"Was it something his girlfriend did?" Kara asks, after a minute. "Because maybe his girlfriend can, I don't know, apologize or something. That's usually a good start."

Brendon's brow furrows. "I'm not sure Shane wants her to apologize. I think they just, um, broke up. Like, maybe it was mutual?"

His mom leans over the table and covers his hand with her own. "Do you need somewhere to stay, honey? You can come and stay here, or-" she swallows, shooting a sidelong glance at Kara and Mason, "-if you didn't want to, I'm sure one of your sisters or brothers could offer you a bed if you needed one."

"No," Brendon tells them, utterly and completely confused. "I'm fine where I am."

"If you change your mind," Kara tells him. "We have a spare bed."

"We do too," Mason says.

Brendon nods. "Thanks," he says. He wrinkles his nose. "I'm, uh, just going to go call Shane."

Kara pats his arm sympathetically. "Remember what I said, little brother. Sometimes, um, girlfriends need to apologize if they've done something wrong."

"Right," Brendon says, and escapes outside to where the crazy people aren't.


(x)

Brendon sighs and changes the channel on the TV. He and Shane have blockaded themselves in the house for the weekend; no phone calls, no cell phones, no going out. Guitar Hero Death Match was born of one of their blockade weekends, and Brendon secretly hopes they can better that this time. They plan on spending the whole glorious weekend hanging out in front of the TV eating junk food, or in the back yard with Dylan, laughing as she runs around them in circles over and over again.

They were supposed to be doing a Tim Burton movie marathon, but Brendon's pretty sure he's lent Shane's copies of The Corpse Bride and Beetlejuice to Ryan and he's not so sure that he's ever remembered to get them back – or even told Shane that they were ever gone in the first place. Brendon's hoping that they can just watch Pimp My Ride over and over instead, and maybe catch the episode where they hermetically seal the fish tanks in the back of the headrests.

They're living mainly off cereal because Brendon had gotten a little excited in the cereal aisle at the grocery store and had come home bearing six new boxes of cereal and no chips. They've been leaving the bowls on the carpet all day for Dylan to lick the remains out of. (The weekend they'd invented Guitar Hero Death Match, Dylan had taken to refusing their leftovers, and those times the bowls were left to create new life forms that Brendon proudly named. He has fond memories of the bowl under the couch in the den that they'd christened Lily Tigerlily, and the one down by the playstation that had been known as Baron Frederick Von Liechtenstein.)

They've spent the last hour engaged in cut-throat thumb wrestle battles; they were up to 'best of 42' because Brendon was sure that this time would be his lucky time. Later on Brendon wants to play Battleship so he and Shane can make really bad jokes about sinking your destroyer or whatever.

Shane says they can't play that until he's had at least another two cigarettes though, so he's standing out on the back step with the dog. Brendon's trying not to smoke because he smokes enough weed for him to start worrying about the effect on his voice, but sometimes he just misses the smell and the taste of cigarettes.

Brendon is kind of bored of waiting for Shane to come back, so he wanders into the kitchen and out onto the stoop, hooking his chin over Shane's shoulder and just inhaling.

"That is fucking weird, dude," Shane says.

Brendon grins. "Just like me then," he says, moving even closer.

Shane laughs so that his shoulders shake and Brendon feels the vibrations right down to his toes.

Shane finishes his cigarette, stubbing it out on the wall and dropping it on the floor. "I'll pick it up later," he tells Brendon, who rolls his eyes but doesn't move.

Brendon just stays there, with his chin hooked over Shane's shoulder.

They stand there for a while, watching Dylan run in circles on the grass, chasing the shadows as the sunlight filters through the trees at the edge of the yard. Brendon's toes are getting cold, but he doesn't say anything. He maybe edges a little closer to Shane, though.

Shane doesn't move away. He's kind of got his arms folded but he shifts just a little so that his fingertips are touching at Brendon's elbow.

Brendon's breath catches in his throat, like he's taken an extra breath and his body doesn't really know what to do with it. Things are suddenly weird and everything is still and Brendon can't quite read the situation or when it was that it changed. Shane just tilts his head, like a question, and Brendon's mouth is kind of close to Shane's, which isn't an answer, not really.

When Shane breathes, Brendon sort of feels it, warm against his mouth.

They stay like that until Dylan starts to bark; next door's tomcat is sitting in their tree and Dylan is jumping up at the trunk, yapping furiously.

The moment's broken.

Brendon swallows and rolls his shoulders, taking a step back onto the kitchen tiles. "You'll have to get her, my toes are cold," he tells Shane.

Shane nods – maybe there's a heartbeat of a moment where he just stares at Brendon, but Brendon might be imagining that – and he pads out across their yard. His sweatpants are hanging low on his hips. He pulls up his t-shirt to scratch at his back, and Brendon isn't having an epiphany or anything, he really isn't, because the world's just the same as it was a few minutes ago. Only, he's kind of, well. More aware, or something. Like Shane's there, where he wasn't before.

They bring Dylan inside and then have to spend five minutes on their hands and knees in the living room, trying to find her toy donkey. Dylan's whining piteously and looking so sad it hurts Brendon to look at her. Brendon knows that Dylan is secretly the boss of both him and Shane.

Not so secretly, Brendon doesn't care in the slightest.

Shane finds the donkey under the couch in the corner, and waves it in Dylan's direction. This donkey is just the latest in a series of donkey chew toys that Dylan has systematically destroyed. Brendon still gets kind of alarmed at Dylan's tendency to rip the donkeys' throats out, but Shane just laughs.

Dylan launches herself at Shane and slobbers all over the donkey and Shane's pants. Brendon starts to laugh because Shane's face is so funny; he is pinned down by the tiniest, least ferocious dog in the universe and has pants that are covered in dog slobber. It's funny, even though Shane's trying his best to look fierce.

"This is not funny," Shane maintains, once he's managed to disentangle himself from Dylan.

"It is," Brendon tells him. "It really is. You want a beer?"

Shane nods. "Yes."

Brendon's still laughing when he pulls himself up and off the couch, but Shane's gotten pretty sneaky since he's moved in with Brendon, and he curls his hand around Brendon's knee as he passes, pulling him down to the carpet with a loud oomph.

"Fuck," Brendon manages, and pain lightning-sparks its way up his leg from his knee, before it fades away to a dull ache. "That fucking hurt, you dick," he says as he hits Shane with a balled-up hoodie that's been lying on the floor for weeks.

"Yeah, yeah," Shane says, jabbing Brendon in the side.

It's sort of playful wrestling for a bit because they're always fooling around, but then, all of a sudden it's back to being how it was when they standing on the stoop; something in the air shifts and Brendon's laugh kind of tails off, Shane's too.

Shane has his fingers hooked in Brendon's belt loops and there's a moment where they just kind of look at each other and then Brendon just leans in and presses his mouth to Shane's.

They kiss close-mouthed for a long minute, before Brendon rocks back on his heels and tugs Shane up in to a sitting position. Brendon tangles his fingers in Shane's hair and leans in again.

This time Shane's ready for him, mouth opening beneath Brendon's. His tongue slides into Brendon's mouth and Brendon makes a sound in the back of his throat, pressing closer. Shane rocks up against him and his hands are pressing into the hollow of Brendon's back.

It's kind of- kind of amazing.

"Um," Brendon says, a few minutes later. He pulls back from Shane's kiss, sitting back on his heels. Shane's mouth is red and wet, his cheeks pink. His hair is a mess, sticking up in all directions.

Across the room, Dylan's watching them both suspiciously. She's chewing on her donkey's neck.

"Did you-" Brendon starts. He can't maintain eye contact; his gaze keeps dropping to Shane's mouth and back again. "Did you know?" he asks finally. "That you wanted to do that?"

Shane shrugs, but his eyes don't leave Brendon's face. "Kind of," he says, and his fingers are stroking at the damp nape of Brendon's back.

"Okay," Brendon says, after a while. He moves so he's more comfortable. His hand touches at Shane's arm.

"Do you?" Shane asks. His fingers have stilled; Brendon misses the touch and has to stop himself from arching back into Shane's hand. "I mean, do you want this?"

Brendon thinks for a moment and then nods emphatically. "Yes," he says. He clutches at Shane's t-shirt; the material bunches in his palm.

This time, it's Shane who leans in.


(xi)

Sex is kind of weird because it's Shane. Shane's like, his best friend outside of the band, and it takes a while for Brendon's brain to recognize the change. The first few times they try, Brendon can't stop laughing.

Brendon thinks that Shane manages to be exasperated for about fifteen seconds before he's leaning his face into Brendon's neck and laughing with him.



The first time, Shane has to roll off Brendon and then shrug his shoulders as he points in the direction of the bathroom. "I'm just going to-" he says, and then blushes. It's weird because they've never been shy about jerking off; Brendon boasts about how many tissues he gets through and Shane is always stealing the conditioner out of their bathroom because he's running out of lube.

Brendon nods and then spends the next forever imagining Shane in the bathroom, jerking off into the sink. It's kind of ridiculously hot.



The next time Brendon screws it up by laughing too much – this time they've managed to get their t-shirts off but they're still in their pants – Shane rolls his eyes and pulls away. "I'm just going to-" he starts, but Brendon grabs his arm.

"Don't," he says, and Shane looks confused. "I mean," Brendon shrugs awkwardly. "Do. Just, um, do it here. So I can see."

Shane watches him for a long moment, before sitting back down on the edge of the bed. "Okay," he says. "Then I get to see you."

Brendon nods furiously. His mouth is dry.

Watching Shane jerk off is pretty amazing. He tugs his pants down to his knees and then kicks them off, curling his hand around his erection; Brendon hands him a half-empty tube of Glide and watches as Shane squeezes some onto his palm. Shane's dick is maybe shorter than Brendon's but definitely broader.

Brendon watches Shane's movements carefully; he's always been quick to pick up music and the rhythmic shift of Shane's fingers is no different. Shane concentrates for a moment on the underside of the head; he twists his fingers like that and fists the base. Brendon tends to jerk off dry, more often than not, but there's something pretty hot about the way Shane's cock glistens wet.

"Brendon," Shane gasps, after a minute.

Brendon's lost in the twist of Shane's fingers; it takes him a moment to jerk his head up and meet Shane's dark gaze.

Shane's reaching for him, his hand closing around Brendon's shoulder. He moves so that he strokes his fingers into the curve of Brendon's neck; Brendon presses into his touch and drops a kiss to the inside of Shane's wrist.

Then Brendon's crawling forward so he can reach Shane's mouth; he kisses him open-mouthed, Shane's hitched breathing making the kiss sloppy and loud.

Shane's fist touches Brendon's thigh on every up-stroke and Brendon's hips press forwards, catching nothing but air. He groans into Shane's kiss, dropping down onto his elbow and covering Shane's fist with his hand.

The rhythm shifts; their fingers tangle and there's the wet slide of the lube and the hot, hot heat of Shane's erection beneath his fingertips. Brendon's hips roll against Shane's thigh – he wishes he'd taken his sweatpants off when Shane had, but he hasn't, so the friction isn't as tight or as close as he'd like.

He pushes his knee in between Shane's legs, his hips jerking, kisses shifting from something recognizable to something else; hot, wet breaths against each other's mouths.

Shane groans, and Brendon echoes him. He pulls his mouth from Brendon's; a string of saliva joins their mouths for a moment. "Fuck," Shane gasps, "Shit, fuck-"

"Shane," Brendon groans, because he's close, he's rubbing himself off on Shane's thigh and he's about to come. He arches his spine, hips pressed forward and his cock trapped against Shane's thigh. He comes, loud and breathless, his hips rocking spasmodically as his vision sparks and he cries out.

Shane's still fisting himself, but his eyes are wide and dark and his forehead's damp with sweat. Brendon's hips still press forward, weakly, and Brendon just stops fisting Shane and wraps his arms around Shane's shoulders, burying his face in Shane's neck. "Come on," he says, mouth so close to Shane's skin he thinks he can feel Shane's racing pulse against his tongue. "Come on."

Shane comes with a soft, startled cry, his head tipping back. Brendon licks Shane's pale, exposed neck as they tumble back against the sheets, Shane still fisting his cock, slower now, less urgent. There's come across Brendon's stomach and Shane's; Brendon's underwear is damp and sticky and uncomfortable.

Brendon closes his eyes.

"I came in my pants," he says, a while later.

"Loser," Shane tells him.

Brendon presses closer.


(xii)

Brendon is really looking forward to telling everyone about him and Shane being together. He knows they'll all be happy for them and he's kind of looking forward to not being the only single one anymore. Plus, well. Shane. He doesn't think he's ever been this much in love before and it feels like sparks running up and down his spine every time he catches Shane's eye. It's like he just can't stop smiling. Like, why would he want to? He has Shane to kiss now, Shane to fall asleep next to. Shane to kick out of bed in the mornings to go and make them both coffee and to bring him cereal in bed when he's too lazy to get up.

This morning – okay, afternoon, but they've only just gotten up – Shane's doing his best impression of a hobo; he's all stubbly and he's wearing his stupid gray hat because he needs to wash his hair. He's got coffee stains on his t-shirt and he's in a pair of threadbare boxer shorts that are kind of shapeless and sadly lacking in elasticity. He's scratching himself and yawning as he waits for the coffee machine to finish.

It's all kind of perfect and Brendon thinks he's never been happier.

He tells Shane this as they watch Dylan dance with the sunbeams across the kitchen, and he's kind of amazed when Shane just ducks his head and bites his lip and blushes pink.

"Dude," Brendon says, because his heart's beating loudly and he's sweating even more than usual.

Shane just looks at him and he's smiling and he's still all pink and Brendon just wants to kiss him.

"Dude," Brendon says again. He's beginning to blush too, blush and smile like an idiot.

And Shane just ducks his head again and reaches for Brendon's hand, which is probably the lamest thing he could have done in the whole wide world ever, but Brendon must be a massive sap because his heart feels like it's beating hard enough to break his chest.

He leans in really quickly and presses a kiss to Shane's jaw.

"Lamer," Shane says, hitting Brendon's arm.

"Says you," Brendon grins, elbowing Shane in the side.

"Love you," Shane says quickly. If you say it quickly it totally doesn't count as being lame and sappy. That's like, a rule.

"Love you too," Brendon says, kind of breathlessly.


(xiii)

"Shane's my boyfriend now," Brendon says as Ryan opens his front door. Brendon's beaming.

"So?" Ryan rubs his eyes blearily. "Come back when you've got something important to tell me, I was up till five this morning trying to work out why that bridge isn't working."


(xiv)

"So, Mom, I've got something to tell you-" Brendon starts. His eyes are darting from side to side; he's not sure how this is going to go.

"Okay," his mom says, slowly. "Go on."

"It's about me and Shane."

"Shane and I," his mom corrects.

"Shane and I. We're like, together. Like, I love him and he loves me. He's my boyfriend. Gay boyfriend. We're gay boyfriends who live together."

A furrow appears in between his mom's eyebrows. "Okay," she says again, even slower this time. "Good?"

Brendon doesn't think he quite understands. "Is that it?" he asks.

Both he and his mom look confused.


(xv)

Jon laughs down the phone. Brendon hangs up.


(xvi)

"Shane and I are boyfriends," Brendon tells Spencer, half way through playing the new Star Wars computer game.

Spencer rolls his eyes. "You're telling me this now, why?"

"No reason," Brendon says. He sort of stops trying to win after that.


(xvii)

"I kind of thought it would be different," Brendon tells Shane.

Shane's making him pancakes with chocolate chips. It's really nice of him, but Brendon's kind of not hungry. He feels- mopey. Sort of sad inside. Shane holds out his arm and Brendon scoots underneath, wrapping his arms around Shane's middle.

"You're all warm," he says. His nose is pressed up into Shane's armpit.

Shane kisses the top of Brendon's head. "I'm sorry," he says, "about your friends. And your mom."

Brendon shrugs and burrows closer. "Still got you."

"Yeah," Shane says. He hugs Brendon tighter. The kitchen smells like chocolate.


(xviii)

Shane is going to come out and stay for a few days while Brendon and the others are on tour. Brendon's been really excited all week – he might not have been kissing Shane for very long but he really, really misses it now he isn't waking up next to him every day.

"I miss Shane," Brendon says, flopping down on the couch next to Jon. He pokes him in the thigh. "I miss him," he says again, when Jon doesn't say anything. "Dude, you're not listening."

"I am," Jon tells him. He looks tired, the skin under his eyes is starting to look purple. "It's just-" he shrugs. "I don't know what you want me to say, Brendon."

"We all miss people," Spencer says. He's lying on the couch with a sweater over his eyes. Everyone's exhausted, Brendon included. He doesn't know why this tour is being so hard on them all. "You know that talking about it all the time doesn't make it any easier."

Brendon scoots away from Jon, flopping back on the seat so he could stare up at the ceiling. He blinks a few times, really quickly, until his eyes stop hurting. "I don't know that," he says softly, but he doesn't think anyone's listening.



Shane flies out to Baltimore and meets them at the venue after the show. Brendon's so relieved to see him that he just barrels past the others and wraps his arms around him, holding on tight.

"I missed you," he whispers, and he's got his eyes shut tight. Shane smells like Shane, not like bus or old socks or sweat or any of the other smells Brendon has to put up with every day. He wants to just stand here and breathe in his boyfriend, and he doesn't care if that makes him weird. He just wants it, needs it, even.

"Missed you too," Shane says, equally softly. He's holding onto Brendon so tight that Brendon's lifted off the ground for a moment, toes dangling.

"Urgh," Spencer says, pushing past them. "Come on, guys."

"Yeah," Ryan says, laughing. "Give me a break."



"Coffee?" Shane asks. It's just the two of them in the kitchen; everyone else is still in their bunks.

"Rather have you," Brendon tells him, wrapping his arms around Shane's middle and nosing at Shane's jaw.

Shane laughs into his hair. "I think you get to have both me and coffee."

"Good," Brendon says. He slides his hand into the back pocket of Shane's sweatpants and leans in to kiss Shane.

Shane tastes like pop tart and sugar. It's kind of nice.

"Jeez," Ryan complains, stumbling blearily into the kitchen. "Do you two ever stop?"

Brendon pulls away from Shane awkwardly. "Sorry," he says, looking down at his feet.

"I think I liked them better when they weren't making out in front of us every second of every day," Jon says, following Ryan out of the bunks and into the kitchen. He rubs his eyes, standing barefoot on the linoleum and staring at the cupboards. He smiles lazily at Brendon, hip-checking him sleepily. "Do you remember those days, Ryan?"

Ryan's staring down into his mug of coffee. "Oh yes," he says. "The bus was a snuggle-free zone."

Jon winks at Brendon. "Good times, good times."

"You liked it better when we weren't together?" Brendon asks. He can't look at Shane. His chest kind of hurts.

Jon leans past Brendon to get a bowl for his cereal. He ruffles Brendon's hair. "I liked waking up without seeing the two of you all-" he waves his hand in the air, "-snuggly."

"Yeah," Ryan agrees. "What's with the sudden showing off, anyway?"

Brendon doesn't understand. "I'm tired," he says. "I think I'm going to go and take a nap." He doesn't look at Shane to see if he's following.



Brendon and Shane are up late, a Quentin Tarantino film on in the background with the sound down low. Shane's messing around with his camera and his laptop, scrolling through his video clips lazily. Brendon has his chin hooked over Shane's shoulder, pointing at the screen and telling Shane which clips of Spencer he should edit together for their special end of tour video. The flat of his hand is stroking over Shane's stomach, thumb grazing the cotton.

When Shane laughs, Brendon can feel it all through his body, like at every point their bodies connect they're sharing the emotion. It's kind of cool, and he presses closer.

"Are you guys still up?" Spencer asks from the doorway, rubbing his eyes.

Brendon swallows and pulls away, drawing his knees up to his chest. "Yeah," he says, and he sort of feels cold now he's not sharing Shane's body heat. "Did we wake you? Sorry."

"I just wanted a glass of water," Spencer tells them. "I couldn't sleep."

"Come watch the end of Reservoir Dogs with us," Brendon offers, and he shuffles up so that Spencer can have the warm spot in between Brendon and Shane on the couch.



It's Shane's last day on the bus before he has to fly off to New York.

The weather's pretty awful and it feels like it hasn't stopped raining in days. Brendon finds himself peering gloomily out of the windows and remembering Noah's ark. He wonders if buses float. Everyone's tired and grumpy and feeling the effects of last night's drinking and today's bumpy road. The last time they stopped, Spencer bought four bottles of ginger ale to see if it settled their stomachs.

Brendon's wrapped around Shane on the couch, drifting in and out of sleep as they watch the Indiana Jones films back to back. "Will you miss me?" he says, shuffling up and straddling Shane so they can rub noses. He likes being this close to Shane; when he tries to focus on Shane's eyes he thinks he goes cross-eyed.

"No," Shane tells him, but his hands are on Brendon's hips, thumbs creeping under Brendon's t-shirt.

Brendon nudges at Shane's mouth with his own.

"Oh, for fuck's sake," Ryan says. He throws his book across the room; it hits Brendon on the elbow and bounces onto the floor.

It doesn't hurt but Brendon's startled; he rubs at his arm. "What the fuck was that?" he asks.

"Can you two, just, I don't know, stop?" Ryan groans, lying back against Spencer's crooked elbow. "You're all over each other."

Brendon stills, and then climbs off Shane. He sits on the edge of the couch. Shane nudges him with his knee but Brendon feels sort of closed-off. He pulls away. He swallows; his mouth is dry. "You guys don't seem too happy about me and Shane being together," he says eventually, ducking his head.

"Course we are," Jon says. He's sat at the table in the kitchen, wearing his oldest, most threadbare hoodie. He's got the hood up and the cuffs pulled down over his hands.

"We always have been," Spencer says. He's pale and his eyes are red; he's the most hungover out of any of them and hasn't managed to keep anything down since the previous evening. "Just, like. We like it better when you're not doing it in front of us, that's all."

"You guys kiss your girlfriends when they're here to stay," Brendon says. He's looking down at his hands; he doesn't remember feeling like this since he'd been in high school. Sadness curls in his belly.

"Not the same," Ryan says, waving his hand in the air. Spencer passes him some more ginger ale. "We don't live with our girlfriends."

"I don't see the difference," Brendon says quietly. "I thought you guys would be happy for us."

Shane reaches for his hand but Brendon pulls away.

"I'm just going to-" Brendon starts, thumbing in the direction of the bunks. "Yeah."

He crawls into his bunk and doesn't turn the light on. His pillow smells like Shane; he's fumbling for his iPod and his earbuds when he hears Shane in the lounge-

"If I didn't know that you guys weren't actually trying to be dicks, I'd punch you all in the fucking face right about now."

-Brendon closes his eyes and tries to untangle his earbud wires in the dark.

A moment later, Shane's pulling the curtain back. "Can I come in?" Shane asks. "Brendon?"

Brendon nods and Shane climbs in, shoes and all. He presses himself along the length of Brendon's spine and kisses the back of his neck.

Brendon passes him an earbud and they listen in silence to Brendon's iPod.


(xix)

It's weird for the first few days after Shane leaves. Brendon misses him a lot, but he's careful not to tell the others. They've all been pretty nice to him since they left Shane at the airport; Spencer plays Guitar Hero with him and Jon brings him extra cupcakes when he does the coffee run. Ryan lets Brendon rest his head on Ryan's thigh when they watch TV, and lets him ramble on for ages about minor chords and dynamic shifts.

But Brendon kind of feels weird. He spends a lot of time in his bunk or in the back lounge, watching his portable DVD player. Sometimes he sits in the lounge with his iPod on and the volume up and his eyes closed. When Shane calls him, he doesn't answer the phone until he's in his bunk.

They're all being careful with him. Spencer watches him and Ryan makes him coffee and Jon comes and sits with him and says, "Why the long face?"

Brendon just shrugs and plasters on a smile and talks to Jon about superhero movies.

He doesn't know why no one is happy about him and Shane. He really thought his friends and his family would be pleased about him falling in love, and being happy, and he just can't figure out why no one cares. He starts to count the days until he gets to see Shane again; for the first time he can remember, he starts to count the days until the tour's over and he can go home.


(xx)

Pete's waiting for them backstage after the show in Chicago.

Brendon tries to remember the complicated handshake they'd perfected the last time they'd met. It has seventeen separate moves and he gets as far as fourteen before he stumbles to a halt. Pete only gets to twelve though, so Brendon crowns himself the winner and does a victory dance. Pete grins and slings an arm around Brendon's shoulder. They soft-shoe together until Ryan rolls his eyes and grabs Pete's arm.



Pete's hitching a ride with them on the bus; he's sleeping in the back lounge for a couple of nights. Brendon stays up late listening to his iPod in the lounge with the lights down low.

"You can't sleep either, huh?" Pete asks, sitting down on the couch by Brendon's feet. He wraps his hand around Brendon's ankle.

Brendon sighs, and pulls out his earbuds. "No," he says, shuffling up into a sitting position.

Pete shrugs. He's in a t-shirt and a pair of blue plaid boxers. "Want to tell me why you're all sad?" he asks.

Brendon points at the bag of chips Pete's eating. "Want to share?"

"Sure," Pete nods, and passes the bag over. "So?"

"Shane's my boyfriend," Brendon says.

Pete looks puzzled. "I thought that kind of thing was supposed to make you happier. That's what all the songs say."

"I just-" Brendon fiddles with his fingers. "It's hard. I thought people were going to be happy for me."

"And aren't they?"

Brendon shrugs. "I don't know. Doesn't much seem like it."

Pete hands him the bag of chips. "Your need is greater than mine," he says, and tugs Brendon closer so that he can rest his head on Pete's shoulder. "We should watch late night TV and buy stuff off the shopping channel."

"Yeah," Brendon says. "Let's buy loads of really ugly pictures and have them delivered to Ryan's house."

"He'll probably like them," Pete says. He reaches for the remote and starts searching up and down the channels. "So when did you and Shane finally get it together, then?"

Brendon shrugs. "A few weeks ago. When we were back home."

"Ah," Pete says. He ruffles Brendon's hair. "I'm really fucking happy for you."

"Glad someone is," Brendon says. "It's kind of amazing."

"Best feeling ever, right?"

Brendon laughs. "Yeah."



In the morning, Brendon sleeps late. When he stumbles blearily into the kitchen, Pete, Jon, Spencer and Ryan are all sitting round the table, drinking coffee. Pete looks pretty mad.

Jon, Spencer and Ryan are looking at him kind of oddly.

Brendon takes his cereal over to the couch and watches cartoons with the sound up loud.


(xxi)

Shane's joining them for the last couple of days of the tour. Brendon's excited and he's counting down the hours. He tries to keep out of the way of the others, because he knows that they're not as excited as he is, but they keep seeking him out and asking him if he wants to play computer games with them or plot to take over the world or watch TV.

It's kind of weird, because Brendon is mostly calling Shane and he knows that they would rather he not do that in front of them. He keeps trying to duck out into the hallway but one of them catches his elbow and tries to make him sit down next to them again.

Brendon doesn't really get what they're trying to do so he just leaves Shane a voicemail and goes back to playing Go Fish with the others.



They stop off at a truck stop. Jon and Spencer buy sandwiches and candy and instead of eating on the bus, they stay out in the parking lot, leaning against the side of the bus and sharing out juice boxes.

Brendon's cellphone vibrates in his pocket; it's Shane and he steps away from the others to answer it.

"Turn around," Shane says, without saying hi.

Shane's across the other side of the parking lot, one hand in his pocket. He's smiling.

Brendon sets off across the parking lot without much caring for traffic; he's laughing and Shane's grinning and then he's wrapping his arms around Shane's neck and kissing him there and then. Shane dips him backwards like in the movies.

Brendon laughs and kisses him again; he tastes like coffee and candy.

"What are you doing here?" Brendon asks, a minute later. Shane's pink-cheeked and leaning in for another kiss. "We were supposed to be meeting you at the venue."

Shane grins against his mouth. "Good surprise, though, right?"

Brendon kisses him again, sliding his tongue against Shane's. "Yes. But still."

Shane shrugs comfortably. He puts his arm around Brendon's shoulders; Brendon wraps his arms around Shane's middle and they walk back towards the bus. "Pete called me. He arranged it."

"Pete's the best," Brendon tells him, seriously.

Shane just grins and ruffles Brendon's hair.



Brendon doesn't want to annoy the others, so after the show that night, he takes his portable DVD player into the back lounge and he tangles his legs with Shane's. They manage to stay on the couch only by virtue of the fact that Brendon holds Shane tightly. There's barely any room in the back lounge.

"You should come out and watch that in the lounge," Jon says, leaning against the door.

Brendon tries to disentangle himself but Shane holds him still. "You were playing computer games," Brendon says. "We didn't want to disturb you."

"That's never stopped you before," Jon laughs. "Seriously guys, you can watch that in the lounge."

"It's okay," Brendon says decidedly. He's missed Shane and he wants to curl up with him on the couch and kiss him when he wants to kiss him. He doesn't really care if they end up watching some shitty DVD on a screen the size of a cellphone.

Jon looks- he looks kind of sad. "Okay," he says. "If you're sure."

"We're sure," Brendon says, and turns back to the screen.



"You want to play cards?" Spencer asks, the following morning.

Brendon and Shane are lying on the floor in the back lounge. They've pulled the couch cushions off and it's sort of uncomfortable but at least there isn't the same danger of one of them rolling off and onto the floor whenever the bus goes around a corner.

They're swapping between watching some of the stuff on his laptop that Shane's been filming in New York and sharing earbuds for Brendon's iPod. Shane has his hand in the small of Brendon's back; Brendon's ankle is curled around Shane's.

Brendon pulls himself up onto his elbows. "It's okay," he says. "But thanks. I kind of just want to make out with my boyfriend."

Shane laughs. "Oh yeah?"

"Yeah," Brendon nods, ducking down and pressing his mouth to Shane's.

Brendon doesn't hear Spencer go.



Ryan's making sandwiches in the kitchen when Brendon and Shane stumble in from the bunks the following morning. Brendon's holding Shane's hand and Shane's complaining about Brendon making him get up so early; Brendon's laughing. "We're going to call your mom and get her to put Dylan on the phone," Brendon says. "Our dog is not going to forget us just because we're away."

"Hey," Ryan says. "You're going to phone Dylan?"

Brendon pulls his hand away from Shane's and bites his lip. "Yeah," he says. "I didn't know you were up, though, we can go do it in the back lounge-"

Ryan shakes his head. "You should do it here," he says. "Honestly." He's eating cereal. "Hey, maybe I could say hi too," he says. "I mean, if that's okay."

Brendon nods. "Dylan would like that," he says seriously. "She always chews your hats way more than anyone else's."

"Dick," Ryan says. "You've trained her to do that."

"My dog," Brendon says airily, "is a genius."

"She's got my brains," Shane says, kissing Brendon's neck and leaning past him to reach the pop tarts.

"And my brawn," Brendon says, flexing his muscles.

In the lounge, Brendon leaves space between him and Shane so that Ryan can sit down; Ryan deliberately squeezes himself into the corner furthest from either of them. He concentrates on his cereal and doesn't look at either Brendon or Shane.

Curiouser and curiouser, Brendon thinks.


(xxii)

They've been back in Vegas for less than a day when Brendon's mom phones.

"Hey," Brendon says, rolling over. He and Shane have spent the whole day in bed, only getting up to get more snacks or to let the dog out. Dylan is stupidly, ecstatically glad to see them both and has spent the whole day trying to chase her own tail while running round and round the bed. She's drooled all over their pillows, but Brendon figures they should really put clean sheets on the bed anyway, what with all of the sex they've been having.

His mom sounds – well. Odd. "We're having a barbecue tomorrow," she says, after she's asked how the tour was and how Shane was and how Dylan was and if everything in the house was okay. "You and Shane should come."

Brendon rolls back over. Shane's lying on his side, naked apart from a pair of boxer shorts he'd pulled on to go let the dog out a while ago. "You want to go to a barbecue at my mom and dad's tomorrow?"

Shane grins, and strokes at Brendon's belly with his thumb. "Sure," he says, "sounds like fun."

Brendon smiles. "You get that, Mom?"

"I did," she says. "You sound happy."

Brendon shuffles so that he's closer to Shane. Shane leans in and kisses his arm. "I am," he says.

"I'm really proud of you," she tells him. "I'm really pleased for you and Shane."

"Where did that come from?" Brendon asks. He's playing out a piano part on Shane's arm with his fingers, a steady rhythmic beat.

His mom sighs. "I just wanted to make sure you knew. That we – all your family, Brendon – we're all happy for you both."

"Thanks," Brendon says. He's weirdly touched.


(xxiii)

Brendon and Shane turn up about an hour late to Brendon's parents' barbecue, falling out of the car and bickering about who was most to blame.

The front door is locked, which is weird, and no one answers the bell when Brendon rings. There's noise coming from the back yard though, so Brendon just shrugs and wanders around the side of the house.

In the back yard, there's a huge banner hung between two trees; it says Congratulations Brendon and Shane! in big letters. Everybody cheers when they see them both come around the corner.

Brendon is genuinely, genuinely shocked. He stumbles to a halt, reaching behind him for Shane's hand. Shane's just as speechless. Dylan's running round them both in circles, yapping furiously and jumping up and down.

"What the-" Brendon starts, looking round, wide-eyed. He can see his mom and his dad and all his brothers and sisters and nieces, but right at the front of the group are Ryan, Spencer and Jon, all wearing cardboard crowns and grinning. He's fairly sure Spencer's parents are talking to his dad by the tables of food. "A barbecue, my mom said-"

Shane presses himself closer to Brendon. "Did you know?" he asks.

Brendon shakes his head, still trying to take it all in. He grabs for Shane's hand again, holding on tight.

People are coming over to hug them – Brendon's mom and his sisters and brothers, Ryan, Spencer, Jon- "I thought you were flying back to Chicago?" Brendon says, when Jon squeezes him into a hug and lifts him off the ground.

"And miss this?" Jon says. "Never."

- even Shane's parents are there, coming over and shaking Brendon by the hand and kissing Shane on the cheek.

Brendon's dad calls Shane son.



"What-" Brendon manages, after a while. "What is this?"

Ryan has the decency to blush. "I think we were kind of shitty," he says.

"Yeah," Spencer says, reaching over and squeezing Brendon's shoulder. "Really crappy friends."

Brendon shakes his head as if to say no, but Shane's touching his arm and sliding an arm around his waist. "You threw us a party," Brendon says, stupidly. He leans back against Shane.

Jon smiles. "You like parties and we like you, so."

"A surprise party, Jon Walker," Brendon says. "For me."

"And Shane," Ryan says. "For you and Shane."

"But why?" Brendon is still confused.

Spencer shrugs. "Because we're happy for you. And to say we're sorry. But mostly because we're happy that you're happy."

Ryan rolls his eyes. "You are the only person in the whole world who gets a party to celebrate getting a boyfriend, Urie."

Brendon jabs Ryan in the side. "It's a pretty momentous occasion, you've got to agree, Ryan."

"Yeah," Ryan says. He kind of looks apologetic. "We get that now."

"It's a really nice party," Shane says. "Thanks."

Spencer shakes his hand. "Oh," he says, "we've got a crown for Dylan."

Brendon blinks. He can see Spencer's dogs running around the garden with Brendon's nieces and nephews and Hobo. Pinned to the back wall of the house are two blown up pictures of Clover and Dylan-the-cat. All the animals are wearing crowns and decorated collars; even the photographs have cardboard crowns pinned to them. "You guys are insane," he tells them, and then he lets go of Shane's hand and drags his band into a hug, wrapping his arms around them all.

"Also," Ryan says, "I hate to break it to you, but your family are really fucking weird."

Brendon looks around the yard; his family appear to mostly be in fancy dress. "Did you tell them there was a theme?" he asks, under his breath. "They go all out for a theme."

"We talked about crowns," Ryan says, eyeing Brendon's family oddly.

Brendon grins. His family have a pretty elastic interpretation of any given theme, and the enthusiastic costumes they're all wearing are perfect examples. He thinks his mom might be dressed as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and his brothers and sisters have clearly jumped on the royalty theme bus and run with it. He thinks his dad might be the king from Aladdin, and his nieces are clearly all princesses. He's fairly sure that Mason's dressed as Snow White. Even Shane's mom and dad appear to be wearing crowns.

"This is the best party ever," Brendon beams. He wraps his arms around Shane's neck and jumps up for a piggy-back.



There's a toast later on, to Brendon and Shane, and everybody raises their glasses. Brendon can't stop smiling and he can't let go of Shane's hand; he turns and presses a kiss to Shane's neck, but Shane just tugs him closer and kisses him on the mouth, right there in front of everyone.


(xxiv)

Brendon spies Shane's gray woolly hat on the floor by their couch; it's too good an opportunity to miss. He pulls it on and it's too big for him so it falls down over his eyes.

"Give that back," Shane says, making a grab for Brendon.

Brendon laughs and ducks out of his way, darting behind the couch and out the door into the hallway. "Make me," he says, pushing it out of his eyes and heading for the stairs.

Shane can be quick on his feet when he wants to be; he catches Brendon before he's half way up the stairs, grabbing him round the waist and hooking his fingers in Brendon's belt loops. Brendon tumbles down onto Shane's lap with an oomph.

"Ow," Shane says. Brendon's elbow landed in his stomach.

Brendon rolls his eyes. "Poor baby," he says, and he leans in to kiss him, running his thumbs across Shane's jaw, stubble rough beneath his fingertips. Shane's mouth opens beneath his and his tongue slides across Brendon's.

Brendon kisses him open-mouthed, lazy and loud, just the way Shane likes it. Shane arches up against him, hands dragging down Brendon's back, curving into the nape of his back, sliding down to his ass.

"Dude," Brendon says, pulling back for air. He curls his fingers in the hair in the nape of Shane's neck. "Dude."

"Yeah," Shane tells him, sliding his hands under the hem of Brendon's t-shirt. "Me too."

Brendon grins and leans in for another kiss.

[end]

Tags: bandslash, brendon urie/shane valdez, panic at the disco
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