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[personal profile] ohnoitsshirley
as things change
basically, four people brendon didn't hook up with, and one that he did.
featuring: panic at the disco (bonus brent!), chris carrabba and justin long (!) (brendon/spencer)
for [livejournal.com profile] ericaplease on her most important 21st birthday. ILU, erica sue. please accept this gift in the form of unbetaed fic.
idk, i totally just pulled this title from the song playing RIGHT NOW. I hope you like it.
don't own them.


The first time Brendon meets Ryan Ross is the first time he thinks that maybe he's never going to want to marry a nice girl and have a white picket fence and a bunch of kids any time in the near or distant future.

They're in Spencer's grandmother's garage, and Brendon's standing awkwardly next to Brent, who's saying, "This is Brendon, the guy I was telling you about." Spencer's looking at him with curious eyes, twirling a drumstick in his fingers.

Ryan is giving him an intense look of curiosity, considering. Brendon feels like he's being silently interrogated, and then Ryan says, "Well, let's hear him play."

Brendon picks up his guitar, and plays something random that he taught himself last month. He focuses on Ryan as he plays, and Ryan stares back at him, face unreadable. Brendon gets the feeling that Ryan looks like that a lot. Brent had told him that Ryan was kind of strange but really cool. Brendon had wanted to get into the band, but as he plays all he really wants is to impress Ryan.

He finishes up his song and puts his guitar down. Spencer and Ryan whisper to each other, and Brendon is bouncing on his heels. He wishes they were bad at whispering too because he wants to know what they're saying. They pull apart and Spencer says, "So, you're in." Beside him Ryan says, "Think you can sing back up?"

Brendon shrugs but thinks, yes, yes, yes, I will do whatever you want me to do.


He comes back to the bus one night, a lot more than a little bit tipsy. Jon Walker is a terrible influence, and Brendon plans to tell him that tomorrow, if his head doesn't hurt too much. Of course, Jon wasn't the one feeding him beers. That had been Bill. But Jon had invited him over to the Academy's bus in the first place with his easy smile and stupid non-shoes, and Jon had been one of the chorus of people screaming "chug! chug! chug!" when Brendon downed that last beer. When he stumbles on to the bus Ryan raises an eyebrow and Spencer rolls his eyes, he mutters something that he thought sounds like, "Jon Walker," and goes to the back and falls into his bunk.

Except there's already somebody in his bunk, and that somebody isn't himself. He feels around and accidentally pokes the someone in his bunk in the eye. The person in his bunk says, "Jesus Christ, what the fuck," and then, "Brendon? What are you doing in my bunk?" It's Brent, and he must be confused.

"This is my bunk," Brendon says. "What are you doing here?"

"Your bunk is over there," Brent says, vaguely pointing at the bunk across from his, and Brendon says, "Oh," but doesn't go anywhere.

"Brendon, you're laying on top of my arm," Brent says. Brendon shifts a little so Brent can move his arm, but he doesn't go anywhere.

"Hey, Brent," Brendon says, and then, "I never said thank you for asking me to join the band." Brendon doesn't know why he thinks about that now, but he does, and he feels guilty.

"No need," Brent says, and Brendon thinks he hears something in Brendon's voice that isn't so happy, but he can't place his finger on it, and he's too drunk to care that much. He just hopes he can remember it later, so that he can ask Brent about it.

"If you say so," Brendon says. He settles his face into Brent's neck and swings an arm around his middle and scoots in as close as he can. "I'm just going to stay here."

"This is my bunk," Brent says, but there's no force behind it, and he doesn't actually as Brendon to leave, so Brendon just says there, unmoving.

"I'm just going to pass out now," Brendon says. Brent mutters something else but it's quiet and in the morning Brendon won't remember to ask him about it.


Sometimes Brendon thinks about how long it's been since he stepped into Spencer's grandmother's garage and since Bill Beckett got him drunk for the first time and he can't believe it. Now they're headlining arenas, and they're doing it with Jon instead of Brent. Sometimes Brendon thinks about that and he needs another beer. It's not that he doesn't love Jon, because he does, but then he remembers that he wouldn't be here without Brent and feels something like regret. He knows that Brent is happy now, but sometimes he thinks Brent should have been happy here, and fuck him if it wasn't good enough. Their lives are fucking amazing.

"Hey kid," Someone says behind him, and he turns to see Chris Carrabba standing behind him.

"Don't call me kid," Brendon says. "I'm not a kid."

"No," Chris says. "I guess not." He stands next to Brendon and says, "What are you doing out here? Don't you have a soundcheck to get ready for for or something?" Dashboard just wrapped up theirs. Brendon could hear them outside.

"I guess," Brendon says. He really hates getting reflective. He's too young to think about things like what if this and why did that happen. He's 21 and single and a fucking rockstar, and there's nothing in the world that could be better than that.

"Someone was looking for you," Chris says. "One of the Alexes, I think." Chris takes a drink of the beer in his hand and adds, "Christ they make me feel old. Touring with 18 year olds," He says, and shakes his head.

Brendon laughs at that and says, "You're not that old. I mean, you were only, what? Thirteen when I was born?"

"Fuck you, I was 12," Chris says. He doesn't sound as offended as Brendon thinks he means to. "Anyway, my point was, people are looking for you."

"I'm hiding," Brendon says.

"Not very well," Chris says.

Brendon is really just hanging out at the back of the venue. The buses aren't that far away, and yeah, he's pretty much hiding out in the open, but he figures that while everyone is scattered doing their pre-show rituals, no one will look for him here.

"Anyway, what I'm saying is," Chris says. "You should get back inside."

"Hey," Brendon says, ignoring him, and then, "You've been doing this rockstar thing for a long time. Well, longer than me anyway."

Chris laughs and says, "I probably wouldn't call myself a rockstar, but sure."

"Whatever, the point is, it's weird," Brendon says. "Sometimes I think about it and wonder if it's all going to go away."

"Yeah well, that's because it could," Chris says. That hadn't been the answer he was expecting, and he thinks his face probably reflects that. "Not that it will, but it's good to remember that it might not last forever."

Brendon nods. "I'm going to go find the rest of my band," He says. And then, "Thanks." Chris nods, drinks his beer and looks out at the buses. Brendon wonders if the only reason Chris talked to him was to get the back of the venue to himself. He considers staying out and letting Chris talk at him. He's really good at pretending to listen when people need it. Instead he just shrugs and goes back inside.

This is the beginning of tour. There'll be plenty of chances to bug the crap out of Chris Carrabba. Brendon plans to take advantage of all of them.


Brendon doesn't even understand why they're at the VMAs this year. They haven't released their first single from the next album yet (don't know when they're going to, don't know what it's going to be, can't decide on a tracklist for the album), and they haven't had a video out in a year. They're not nominated and they're not performing. They're not even presenting, but somehow they're here. They're walking the red carpet, and it makes Brendon feel twitchy and wrong. He doesn't feel like he belongs here.

People keep stopping to ask them questions, when is it coming out, will it be different from the last one, when are they touring, and Brendon lets the other guys field them all. He throws in the occasional, "yeah," But other than that, he doesn't feel like answering questions that they don't actually have answers for. Maybe he's just antsy, needs something to do.

The thing he loves about the VMAs is the open bar, and once they get inside and find their seats, he excuses himself to go find it. He doesn't need a beer, but he really wants one. He walks up to the bar and orders a Corona. The guy next to him looks vaguely familiar from the side, but it's not until he turns around that Brendon actually places him.

"You're that guy," Brendon says. "The Mac guy, and from Zack and Miri." Brendon thinks his name might be Jason or Justin or something like that.

Justin or Jason or Whatever just laughs and says, "Yeah, that's me. Justin."

"Oh cool," Brendon says. He was leaning towards Jason. "I'm Brendon." The bartender hands him his beer and he downs half of it in one drink.

"You need to be drunk for these things too, huh?" Justin says, and then, "I don't even know what the fuck I'm doing here. Well, I know I'm presenting some award for best cheesy dance sequence in a pop video or something stupid like that, but you."

Brendon laughs, but he's not really sure if that's a fake category or not. They get more and more ridiculous every year. He says, "I'm not even doing that. My band doesn't have anything going on right now." Which is a total lie. It's not like they're not working. It's just going really slow, and this feels like a waste of time. They could be working right now. "But Pete said this would good for us, or whatever," He says, waving a hand around.

"Am I supposed to know who Pete is?" Justin says, and Brendon shrugs. Sometimes he forgets that people don't usually recognize him and that everyone doesn't really know Pete.

Brendon finishes the rest of his beer and orders another. It's in front of him in record time. Justin says, "So, going to any after parties?"

"Pete's having one at his bar," Brendon says, and then remembers that Justin doesn't know who Pete is. "Angels and Kings."

Justin nods like that means something to him, even though Brendon can tell that it doesn't. "Well, in case you decide to get away from Pete, here," Justin says, jotting down some numbers on a napkin. "I can get you into pretty much any party you decide to go to." Justin laughs as soon as he's said it and says, "Okay, that's a lie. But seriously, here." He shoves the napkin and then waves and walks away, and Brendon's left at the bar wondering what the fuck just happened.


The third album finally comes out in January, and Brendon feels rushed. He loves it. They're getting ready to go on tour, and they're doing press (which Brendon doesn't love nearly as much, but sometimes he actually gets to talk about music, and he loves those times). Brendon loves this part. It's all anxious excitement getting ready to go play their music for thousands of people, and it's basically all he's ever wanted.

"Would you stop bouncing?" Spencer says, laughing. "My mom is going to think you're on drugs." Brendon opens his mouth to make a smart ass comment about how sometimes he is on drugs, but Spencer fixes him with a look and he thinks maybe that's a really bad idea.

"It's no big deal," Brendon says. "I've met your mom millions of times." He practically lived here when they were first starting out.

"It's different," Spencer says. "See how you act tomorrow when we go to your parents'." Brendon doesn't even want to think about that. Yeah, it is different now. Especially since their parents didn't actually know.

It had been kind of weird at first. Shane and Regan had gotten their own place in July, and Brendon had just said, "Hey, now you don't have to sleep in the guest room anymore." And Spencer was officially his roommate. It was the same as always at first, and then it just became not the same.

The first time Spencer kissed Brendon it was the day before Thanksgiving. Spencer was yelling at Brendon to hurry his ass up because they had to go now or they'd miss their flight, and Brendon was complaining that it was Spencer's idea to fly in the first place when they could have just driven and they wouldn't have to worry about anything, "Except for fucking traffic because everyone is going to be trying to get out of LA," Spencer had said.

And right after a supremely lame comeback about Spencer's mom, Spencer had grabbed Brendon's shirt and kissed him.

And then they didn't speak for three days, but Brendon had started to think about everything and concluded that, wow, they'd actually been dating for about 6 months, and wasn't that a strange thought, just without all of the kissing and fucking, and then he thought, sex with Spencer would probably be really amazing.

He told Spencer this in great detail when they got back to their house. And then he showed Spencer.

Now they're standing in front of the door, not going in and, yeah, it's fucking weird. It's two months later, and it's not that they've been lying to anyone or anything. They've just left out the part about all the sex. Brendon lets out a puff of air as Spencer squares his shoulders and mutters, "Okay," and then opens the door.

"Hey mom, we're here!" He says and squeezes Brendon's hand.
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my sweetest downfall

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