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part 1
part 2

Spencer wakes up with the distinct feeling that he's not where he's supposed to be. First of all, it's comfortable, a lot more so than his air mattress in the guest room, and second of all, there is a warm body next to him. Strike that, a warm body curled into him, with an arm stretched across his chest. He blinks a few times and realizes that he's in Brendon's room, and then remembers falling asleep in the middle of the movie last night.

He considers waking Brendon up to go get breakfast, and then he considers just staying put until Brendon wakes up. He does neither of those. Instead, he opts to move slowly, pushing Brendon's arm off of him and trying to get up and out of bed without Brendon noticing. He doesn't make it though. He hears a soft groan and then, "Spencer?"

"Yeah, sorry," Spencer whispers. "I was trying not to wake you up."

"S'okay," Brendon says, pushing up onto his elbows and rubbing at his eyes. "I was mostly awake already." He yawns and stretches, pushing himself into a sitting position.

There's a quick, loud knock on the door. "Hey, Brendon, have you seen Spencer?" It's Ryan.

Brendon puts his fingers to his lips to hush Spencer, and says, "Nope, haven't seen him."

Spencer rolls his eyes at Brendon.

"He disappeared at, like, midnight and never came back to the room," Ryan says.

"Curious," Brendon says. "Maybe he met a nice girl and went back to her place. Did you try calling him?"

"Yeah, his phone is still on his bed," Ryan says. "I'm sure he'll be back. But I need to talk to him."

"Well, if I see him, I'll tell him," Brendon says. The look on his face is manic, and Spencer is trying his best not to speak up or laugh, or both.

"Yeah, okay," Ryan says, and after a few seconds of silence on the other end, Brendon starts laughing.

"That wasn't very funny," Spencer says, but he's smiling.

"Oh, come on. Ryan's going to go crazy looking for you. It's hilarious."

"Yeah," Spencer says. "Until I come out of your room, and then he either a, gets really pissed that you screwed with him or b, thinks that we spent all night having wild sex and then proceeds to tell Jon, Pete, Zack and everyone else we know." Specifically since that might lead to Jon revealing what happened in Florida, Spencer would rather that not happen.

"Oh, I didn't think about it like that." He waves a hand and says, "Eh, whatever. Doesn't matter. It was still funny."

"You're kind of a dick," Spencer says, but he betrays his words by laughing.

"Yeah, maybe," Brendon says. "Hey, we should make him wait, though. Let's hang out in here for a while."

Spencer thinks he should probably at least tell Ryan he's alive, but hanging out with Brendon seems like a much better plan, so he says, "Yeah, okay." It feels relaxed and comfortable and normal. For the first time Spencer thinks that maybe he has been making things harder than they should be.


Two hours later, Brendon and Spencer are still in Brendon's room. They've mostly been flipping through the channels, not watching anything, and talking about random things, whatever comes to their minds. Spencer thinks they should probably get out of bed and go tell Ryan he's been here the whole time, but he can't bring himself to leave Brendon's room.

Brendon's bed isn't huge, so they're almost touching, and Spencer could get used to it. He's telling himself not to, that whatever he wants, Brendon doesn't want it, so it's stupid to even entertain the idea. But he can't really help himself.

"Hey, so, I have an idea," Brendon says. "And you have to hear me out." Spencer doesn't like the sound of that, but he nods anyway. "You should definitely let me find someone for you."

"I thought I made it pretty clear the other night that I really don't want that," Spencer says. He knew he wasn't going to like whatever Brendon was thinking.

"I know, but look, if you're clinging to me, then what you really need is someone to just have a casual thing with, and I could help you find that." Brendon seems really excited about this, but Spencer isn't convinced. "You need a rebound person. Let me help you find that rebound person, Spence."

"Why don't you go find yourself a date and leave me out of it," Spencer says. He doesn't really want a rebound person, and if he did, he could find his own. Brendon's helped enough.

"Fine, but I am going to find an awesome date, and you're going to be jealous when you realize they could have been yours," Brendon finishes proudly. And then promptly loses it. Spencer follows him into laughter, and a few minutes later there's a knock at the door.

"Brendon?" Ryan says. Spencer clamps a hand over his mouth and Brendon tries to stifle his laughter. "Is Spencer in there with you?"

"Nope," Brendon says.

"But I just heard you laughing, and it sounded like he was." Ryan sounds really confused, and for a brief moment, Spencer feels really bad for him. But just for a brief moment.

"Nope," Brendon says again. "Sorry, I don't know what to tell you."

Spencer thinks Ryan's gone, but a few minutes later he sighs, and then there are footsteps down the hall. "That's kind of mean," Spencer says. "I should go find him."

"Whatever. He's been an elusive fucker ever since he got here," Brendon says. "Now it's your turn."

"Are you holding me hostage, Brendon?" Spencer asks.

"Yes," Brendon says, nodding. "That's exactly what I'm doing."

Spencer laughs again, and then he looks at Brendon. Brendon is smiling, and then settles back against the headboard. Spencer follows suit, and they lie, stretched out, just right next to each other.

Spencer can't help himself.

He moves in closer to Brendon and presses their lips together. Once again, Brendon doesn't stop it. He doesn't do anything to deepen the kiss, but he doesn't pull away, and Spencer takes that as an invitation. He moves even closer to Brendon, pushing their bodies together.

"Spencer," Brendon whispers.

Spencer says, "I know," but he keeps going. Brendon still doesn't stop him.

Spencer moves so that he's on top of Brendon now, one hand playing with Brendon's shirttail, the other moving to play with the hair at the nape of Brendon's neck. It's a lot shorter than it used to be, but it feels soft on Spencer's fingers, softer than he had expected. Just when Spencer thinks, yes, this is going to happen, yes, I want this to happen and Brendon does too, Brendon says Spencer's name again, but this time it's different.

"Yeah, I know," Spencer says, sighing. He presses his forehead to Brendon's. "This is stupid."

"I'm sorry," Brendon says, and Spencer can tell that he means it. "It's not. I mean, it's complicated, is the thing."

Spencer rolls over on his back. If he never hears the words it's complicated again, it will be way too soon. "I should go find Ryan," Spencer says.

"Yeah, okay," Brendon says, and then, "This just got weird again, didn't it?"

"Yeah," Spencer says, which is a lie because it never stopped being weird in the first place, not really.

"Spencer, look," Brendon says, but Spencer doesn't give him the chance.

"No, it's fine," Spencer says, and he leaves the room.


Ryan is in the guest room, scribbling something in a notebook. Maybe lyrics, Spencer's never really sure with Ryan. It could be a note reminding himself to pay his fucking bills on time this month.

"Hey," Spencer says.

"Where the hell were you?" Ryan demands. "I was looking for you, like, all morning."

Spencer shrugs instead of giving an actual answer. "What's up?" He asks. Hearing whatever Ryan's problem is sounds like a much better idea than having to explain that he's sort of falling for Brendon, and Brendon is mostly being a tease about it and won't tell him why. As Jon had said, Ryan would probably just rant for an hour about how shit like that fucks with the band dynamic. Spencer wonders if that's Brendon's reason.

"So, I have this problem," Ryan says.

"Did you forget to pay your phone bill again?" Spencer says, because seriously. Ryan is always forgetting to pay his phone bill, which is stupid because Spencer told him how to set up automatic payments six months ago.

"No," Ryan says. "There's this girl."

"No," Spencer says. "No, I didn't hear that. I'm not involved. Not. Involved." Ryan is Spencer's best friend, and there are a lot of things he would do for Ryan, but being involved with his love life isn't one of them. He likes Keltie, and he doesn't want to have to lie to her when she calls him and asks him where the fuck Ryan is now. He wants to know as little as possible when the shit hits the fan and Ryan gets caught. Again.

"Fine," Ryan says, crossing his arms at his chest. "Then I don't want to hear about you and Brendon."

"Fine, because I wasn't going to tell you anything about me and Brendon," Spencer says. And oh shit. Ryan's got this slight little smirk that Spencer figured out a long time ago is Bad News.

"So there's something to tell, then?" Ryan asks, and for the briefest of moments, Spencer hates him. Hates Ryan and wishes he'd never met him because he's a terrible, sneaky best friend when he wants to be.

"No," Spencer says, and it's obvious that he's lying. Ryan just stares at him, this really creepy intense stare, and Spencer wants it to stop. "Dude, that's creepy, and it's not going to change my answer."

"You were in his room this morning," Ryan says. "Which means you probably slept there last night."

"Yes, but not for whatever dumb reason you're thinking. We were watching a movie, and we fell asleep." Spencer can see Ryan thinking about pressing the issue, but he decides against it and drops his arms to his side.

"If you say so," Ryan says. "I'm going out. Not that you want to know where."

Sometimes Spencer really hates his life.


"So, it's just you and me," Brendon says. "Awesome. Booze, movies and pizza all weekend. How does that sound to you?" Valentine's Day is a couple of days away. Ryan's headed to Vegas to see Keltie, while Shane and Regan have gone off for some romantic weekend.

"Not great," Spencer says solemnly, Brendon looks surprised, and then Spencer grins. "I was thinking more like Chinese. Possibly Thai."

"I like the way you think, Spencer Smith," Brendon says. He goes into the kitchen and pulls all of the take out menus from the drawer closest to the fridge.

"I'm a smart guy. What can I say?" Spencer follows Brendon into the kitchen and sits at the table, while Brendon flips through take out menus.

"Found it!" Brendon says. He sits on the table top next to Spencer, kicking his feet in the air. "What do you want?"

"Regan would freak if she knew your ass was sitting where she eats," Spencer says.

"Regan's not here, is she?" Brendon says. "I know what I want, so you make a decision and tell me."

"Chinese or Thai?" Spencer says. Brendon holds up the menu and Spencer says, "Sweet and sour chicken, two eggrolls. Oh, and some lo mein." Spencer taps his fingers on the table, waiting for Brendon to finish on the phone.

"Should be about forty-five minutes," Brendon says, setting the phone down on the table next to him. "I'm going to watch TV." Spencer follows Brendon back into the living room and plops back on the sofa next to him. Brendon settles on an old black and white movie that Spencer can't remember having ever seen before. They sit in silence for a while, but Spencer can tell that Brendon's starting to get a little restless next to him. "Okay, so," Brendon says, and then, "I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I talked to Haley yesterday."

"Oh," Spencer says, and he's surprised at how little it bothers him that she talked to Brendon. "Okay."

"Okay? That's it? Just okay?" Brendon stares at Spencer like he's grown a second head or just told Brendon that he's got a week to live. It's comical, actually, and Spencer wants to laugh.

"I told you," Spencer says. "I'm really over her. Do you think I was just saying that to get you off my back?"

"Well, yeah." At least Brendon is honest. "Don't you want to know why I talked to her?"

Spencer really isn't freaked out that Brendon and Haley talked, but he can admit he's curious about what they had to say to one another. "Yeah," he says. "I want to know why."

"She called me," Brendon says, and then, "She wanted to ask how you were." Brendon looks at Spencer, and when Spencer doesn't say anything, he goes on. "She wanted to know if you were seeing anyone, man."

"Oh," Spencer says, and for the briefest moment he considers it, thinks about how he could call her right now and ask her to come home, and he could go back to Vegas with the dogs, and they could be just like they were before. Only, Spencer is shocked to realize how much that's exactly the opposite of what he wants.

"Are you going to call her?" Brendon asks. He's looking at Spencer like he already knows the answer is yes, like Spencer is going to excuse himself and go upstairs right now and have a heart to heart with Haley.

But Spencer says, "No," And then, "Well, probably. Eventually, but not now." Spencer shakes his head. "She was right about something. We needed to be apart. She did it for herself, but I think it was the right thing."

"But maybe she didn't mean for it to be forever," Brendon says. "You should call her."

"Brendon," Spencer says, almost in a whisper. "I want-" But Spencer stops himself. He doesn't exactly know what he wants. He knows it's not Haley. Not anymore. Sometimes he thinks it's Brendon, but he's pretty sure that Brendon doesn't want to hear that.

"You should talk to Haley," Brendon says. "Before you do anything stupid." Brendon looks back at the TV, concentrating on it, ignoring Spencer completely.

Spencer excuses himself.


It takes him half an hour to actually dial Haley's number. He took her out of his contacts a month ago, but he still has the number memorized. He probably won't ever forget it. It rings three times before he hears the click and then, "Spencer?" Haley sounds happy.

"Yeah, hi," Spencer says. He tries not to pace too much. "Brendon said he talked to you yesterday."

"Yeah," she says. "I know I should have called you, but I wanted to ask him if you, I mean, if there was someone else. Or something." Spencer hears her suck in a deep breath and then let it out, and then she says, "He said you're not seeing anyone. You're not, are you?"

"No," Spencer says. He almost lies. It'd be close enough to the truth. He spends most of his time with Brendon, and the time he's not with Brendon he's thinking about how he would like to be with him. Even if they're not exactly seeing each other, Spencer thinks he'd like there to be more between them than there is.

"Good," she says, relieved. "That's... good." There's someone talking in the background. Haley's parents, friends, Spencer's not sure. "Spencer, can we, I don't know, I want to come out there, talk. I want to- I miss you."

"Haley," Spencer whispers. "Look, I," he says, but he doesn't know where to go from there. He misses her still, sometimes, but not the way he thinks she misses him. "There's someone else."

"But you said you weren't seeing anyone," she says. Spencer's glad he can't see her. He can just picture the look on her face, her eyes going big and glassy with tears. She's probably biting her lip right now.

"I'm not," Spencer says, and then, "It's complicated." He fucking hates those two words together, but it's the only way he can possibly describe the situation.

"Oh," Haley says. "Right, yeah. It was stupid of me to think that you would - I mean, I'm the one who left, right? I guess I just thought that we would- when everything was over with, I thought we could be okay."

"Yeah," Spencer says. There were times when he felt the same way. "I know."

"I'm sorry about all of this. I never meant to- I never wanted to hurt you," she says.

"I know," Spencer says. "This is going to sound stupid and cliche, but I do miss you. Maybe we could talk sometimes, just, you know, as friends."

"Yeah," Haley says. "Look, I have to go. I call you sometime, Spence." And then Spencer hears the other end of the line go dead.


When Spencer finally goes back downstairs, Brendon is sitting in the floor, surrounded by boxes of Chinese food, and the TV has been replaced with the classic rock station, and Brendon is reclined with his head on the couch, listening to it. He hasn't touched any of the food.

"How long ago did this come?" Spencer says, and Brendon jumps at the sound of his voice.

"Oh," Brendon says. "I don't know, ten minutes? Maybe fifteen."

Spencer sits down on the floor next to him, grabbing a set of chopsticks and the lo mein. "You turned off the movie?"

Brendon shrugs and says, "It was boring. Anyway, the food came, and then I really needed to listen to The White Album, right now, but I was too lazy get up and put it in, so I just turned on the classic rock station and thought, hey, maybe they'll play something I want to hear."

"And has that worked?" Spencer says, mouth full of noodles. Brendon just shrugs. "You're not hungry?" Spencer asks, and Brendon shrugs again.

"Did you talk to Haley?" Brendon asks.

"Yeah," Spencer says, nodding. He doesn't elaborate, and for a brief moment, he thinks Brendon might not ask him to. But eventually, he says, "And?"

"And nothing," Spencer says, putting down the lo mein. "There wasn't really anything to talk about."

"She doesn't want to get back together?" There's a hint of something in Brendon's voice, but Spencer can't quite place it.

"She wanted to talk," Spencer says.

"So, there was something to talk about," Brendon says. He seems to be carefully avoiding all eye contact, but Spencer can't be sure about that.

"Not really," Spencer says.

"But she was the love of your life or whatever," Brendon says. "You pretty much said that, like, ten minutes after you two started dating."

"That was a long time ago," Spencer says. "That's not what I want anymore."

"Oh," Brendon says. "What do you want now?"

"I don't know," Spencer says. It's a lie. "I guess I want to keep playing music with my best friends, and after that... I don't know." Brendon just nods.

"Don't eat all the lo mein," Brendon finally says, taking the box of sweet and sour chicken.


For some reason, Brendon and Spencer get up before noon. They' sit on the sofa, and Brendon watches some early morning talk show. The reporter is overly perky for this early in the day, as she talks about her personal secret to keeping her whites white and her colors bright. Brendon seems really interested.

"I'm bored," Spencer says. "This isn't at all interesting."

"Can't you see I'm watching this?" Brendon says seriously, but there's a hint of a smile on his lips, and then he starts laughing. "Okay, yeah, you're right. I can't even pretend."

"We should do something." It's early, and Spencer doesn't even know if there's a lot to do, but he feels like he needs to get away from the talk show.

"Dude, we should go get something to eat. I'm starving. I really want, like, I don't know. Pancakes or, ooh, waffles. I could seriously scarf down some waffles right now." Brendon stands up like he's already decided. "There's this great place a couple of streets over that serves brunch all week. Let's go."

"You want to go to brunch?" Spencer asks.

"Well, it's too late for breakfast and not late enough for lunch. So yes, that is the exact definition of brunch. Let's go!" Brendon is apparently really excited about pancakes.

Brendon drives to the restaraunt. It's pretty crowded for a Friday morning, and they end up sitting at a small table at the very back. They order mimosas and pancakes. Spencer hasn't ever actually had an official brunch before, and now that he is he thinks it's basically breakfast with alcohol, which is actually kind of amazing.

Spencer glances around and notices that it's mostly couples sitting around the restaurant. He hadn't realized that this was a thing that people who were together did. He wonders if Brendon knew that when he suggested it.

"So, are you okay?" Brendon asks. Spencer hadn't even noticed that he put down his fork. He's looking at Spencer like he's afraid of the answer, maybe.

"What? Yeah, of course. Why wouldn't I be?"

"I don't know. Because of Haley," Brendon says.

Spencer shrugs. He was actually content to not talk about it, but apparently they've stopped ignoring it now. "I'm good."

"Okay," Brendon says. "Just, you know, tell me if you're not."

"I am." Spencer isn't really good, but it has nothing to do with Haley. Brendon doesn't want to hear about though. The rest of brunch they stick to talking about stupid things like how Brendon is going to kick Spencer's ass at Guitar Hero later. It's pretty awesome.


"So, we should go out tonight," Brendon says. Spencer quirks an eyebrow and says, "It's Valentine's Day. You want to go out on Valentine's Day?"

"Oh," Brendon says, face falling. "I guess I hadn't really thought about that." He shakes his head and then shrugs. "Whatever. There's nothing wrong with two dudes going out for some food and maybe a movie on Valentine's Day. It'll be, like, a dude solidarity night. Or something."

"Yeah," Spencer says. "Whatever." Because the alternative is ordering Chinese or Thai or pizza and watching some movie that they've seen a million times for the third night in a row, and Spencer could stand to get out of the house.

"Cool," Brendon says. "Let's go."

"It's not tonight," Spencer says. "It's barely this afternoon."

"I'm bored," Brendon says.

Spencer just rolls his eyes and says, "Yeah, okay. Let's go."

Brendon drives, and they end up at a bowling alley. Spencer hasn't been bowling in years, and he's not sure he was ever any good at it, but Brendon pays for the lanes and the shoe and ball rentals and insists that they play a game to the death.

"Winner buys the loser two beers," Brendon says, holding up two fingers.

"Yeah, only because you know that I'm going to lose," Spencer says. "Why bowling?"

Brendon shrugs and says, "It was that or the beach, and that's bound to be crawling with couples today." Spencer knows that Brendon has a point, and decides not to argue anymore.

As predicted, after eight frames Brendon is way in the lead, and Spencer has picked up two spares the entire game. No strikes. "This sucks," Spencer says. "I'm bad at this game."

"Two more frames and you owe me two beers at the bar," Brendon says. He lands another strike, his fourth in the game, and Spencer sighs.

Two frames later, Brendon comes out victorious. Spencer could have gotten two strikes and still lost. Brendon does a dance at the end of the lane and then goes up to Spencer and says, "Suck it, Smith. Now buy me my beers."

Spencer orders them each a beer at the bar, and even springs for an order of disgusting chili-cheese fries for them to share. They find a booth in the back of the bar and sit opposite each other. "These are the grossest fries I have ever had," Brendon says, and then, "I love them."

Spencer laughs as Brendon stuffs a ridiculous amount of fries in his mouth. There's chili at the corner of his mouth and spread over his lips, and Spencer can't believe for a moment that this is the guy he wants. It doesn't change anything, though. "That's really gross," he says.

"What can I say? I'm a gross dude," Brendon says. "What are we doing next?"

"I don't know," Spencer says. "This whole thing was your idea. What do you want to do next?"

Brendon shrugs and says, "I hadn't really thought about it." Brendon sits for a moment, thinking, and then says, "First, you owe me one more beer," he says, downing the the last of the first. "After I drink that, we should go get something to eat."

"You just ate almost all of those chili-cheese fries," Spencer says.

"Merely an appetizer," Brendon says. "Now, go get me another beer. We had a bet."


They end up at Chili's, where Brendon orders boneless buffalo wings and more beer. This time he's paying for himself though, so Spencer can't really complain. Brendon is talking about the last time he bowled, six months ago against one of his nephews.

"I wiped the floor with him too," Brendon says. "I considered letting him win, but that wouldn't be fair to either one of us, you know?"

"Brendon, he's seven," Spencer says.

"Exactly!" Brendon says. "He was on the next lane over, and he got those stupid bumper things and everything." Spencer lets out a laugh, and Brendon just stares at him. And then starts laughing too. "Okay, maybe I'm kind of a douche."

"Kind of?" Spencer says, and Brendon kicks him lightly under the table. "Hey, that hurt."

"It did not," Brendon says, and then, "So, where do we go from here?"

"What?" Spencer says, unsure of what Brendon means.

"After dinner, man," Brendon says. "What's next?"

"Oh," Spencer says. "I don't know. We could go home?" Brendon's home, Spencer corrects himself mentally. He doesn't actually live there.

"You are not thinking very creatively, Spence. I guess I have to do everything around here," Brendon says with a sigh. "Let's go to a movie. I think the new Friday the Thirteenth is out."

"That movie looks dumb," Spencer says.

"Exactly!" Brendon is kind of lame sometimes, Spencer realizes, but that's really part of his charm, and after a minute Spencer finally says, "Yeah, okay."

They finish their food, and then Brendon pays for it. Spencer tries to get them to split the bill and then Brendon says, "You paid for the chili-cheese fries." It's hardly the same thing, and Spencer tries to say that, but the waiter has already taken the check and Brendon's credit card. "Just get the movie or something," Brendon says.


The movie, predictably, is really terrible. But Brendon and Spencer basically spend the whole time pretending to be scared of the lamest things and pointing out all of the parts that look really fake, all the while making fun of the couples that are sitting around them. When the movie is over, Brendon looks at Spencer and says, "Okay, so decision time. We can a, go home or b, go get ice cream." Judging by Brendon's face, he really likes option b, but this is all starting to feel a lot less like two dudes hanging out and laughing in the face of Valentine's Day and way more like a date, and Spencer's not sure how he feels about that or what Brendon would say if he pointed it out.

"I'm kind of tired," Spencer says.

Brendon looks disappointed. "Oh," he says. "Well, okay. Let's just go home then."

"No," Spencer says. "We'll go get ice cream. That's cool. It's not that late."

"Awesome," Brendon says.

They end up sitting in the back corner of Cold Stone, surrounded by couples of various ages. There is one group of girls in the corner that seems to recognize them, but they're just glancing over a lot and then whispering to each other.

"So, this has been a good day, right?" Brendon asks.

"Uhm, yeah," Spencer says. "It was nice to get out after a few days stuck inside."

"Yeah," Brendon says. "So, we should go home after this."

Spencer nods, and they finish their ice creams in silence.

They fight their way through the crowd of people in Cold Stone and make their way back to the car. Brendon turns the radio on quietly and sings along under his breath for a couple of songs before he starts fiddling with it and then turns it off. Spencer doesn't ask why, just goes with it and lets Brendon do what he's going to do. He wonders if maybe Brendon caught on to the date vibe of the evening and if everything is going to feel crushingly awkward between them for the next two weeks. Again.

"So, here's the thing," Brendon finally says. "I've sort of had this thing for you for, like, years." Spencer doesn't know what to say to that, so he just lets Brendon keep talking. "And then you met Haley and I knew that I was just being a dumb kid, and I let it go, especially when she moved in with you, and it looked like you guys were actually going to make it, like, forever." Brendon takes a deep breath before continuing. "But we're friends now, and that's cool with me, you know. When you and Haley broke up, I'll admit, I thought about what would happen now, but I let that go a long time ago, and so I pushed it away."

"Then why are you telling me this now?" Spencer says, so quietly he's not even sure that he says it.

"I don't know," Brendon says. "The last thing I want is to fuck up what we do have. The last thing I want, after that, is to be some rebound fling. I mean, as much as you probably need someone to take your mind off Haley, I don't know if I could handle that. Because, dude, you have no idea."

Spencer thinks that's probably true. He has no fucking idea what's going on with Brendon, what's been going on with Brendon.

"So, yeah," Brendon says. "That's why I keep, you know. I just can't be that person for you. So find that person, move on, and then if you still think you want... I just can't."

They pull into the driveway, but neither one of them makes a move to get out of the car. Finally, Brendon says, "Would you say something? Because I really don't know where your mind is right now."

"I don't know," Spencer says.

"Okay," Brendon says and then gets out of car. Spencer stays outside until he sees the light in Brendon's bedroom go on, and then he gets out of the car and goes inside and straight up to his room.


It's four in the morning and Spencer can't sleep. He just keeps thinking about what happened tonight with Brendon. He closes his eyes, but he can't shut his brain off. He feels like he needs to talk to Brendon right now or it will be too late.

He rolls over and tries to count sheep or sing the alphabet or whatever it is people say you should do to get to sleep, but it doesn't work. So he does the only thing he can think of. He slips out of bed and walks down the hall to Brendon's room.

He knocks on the door, but Brendon doesn't say anything. He goes in anyway and walks to the bed, sitting down at the edge. "Brendon," he whispers, checking to see if Brendon is awake.

There's a long pause before Brendon finally says, "Yeah, I'm awake," in response.

Spencer doesn't know what to say. He doesn't have a speech planned or anything, but he wants to get it out. He needs to say something about this to Brendon.

"Look, I know what you think, but-"

"Spencer," Brendon says.

"No, let me talk, okay, Brendon? I know you think you know what I need, but you're wrong. I don't want some random person to help me get over Haley. I don't need some rebound fling. The fact that you think I would use you like that is actually really fucking insulting. I want you, not because I need to get my mind off of her but because of you. Also, I need you to stop thinking you know what's best for me." Spencer doesn't really feel better, but he feels like he could sleep now, if he tried.

Brendon doesn't say anything. Spencer stands up and walks to the door. He turns around to look at Brendon, but Brendon is lying on his side, facing the opposite wall. Spencer goes back to bed, and he sleeps.


It's stupidly early when Spencer's phone starts ringing. He ignores it the first, second and third times, but on the fourth phone call it's hard to shut his eyes and go back to sleep. He looks at the display and inwardly curses Ryan, answering the phone, "This had better be really fucking good."

"Keltie dumped me," Ryan says.

"Oh," Spencer says. "Shit. What the fuck happened?"

"There was this text message, and I was sleeping. I guess she thought it'd be you or Jon or something, and it wasn't, so."

"Jesus Christ, Ryan." Spencer is starting to think Ryan will never learn. "Well, I don't want to say--"

"You told me so, okay. I fucking know you told me so." Ryan sounds a little broken, and Spencer's pissed at him for acting like the victim, but Ryan's still his best friend, so Spencer just says, "How long are you in Vegas?"

"I don't know. I was supposed to stay for the week, but I don't fucking know now. Maybe I'll come back tonight," Ryan says. "I need to get moved in and settled before Jon gets in anyway."

"Yeah," Spencer says. "And when you get here, I have to tell you something."


"So he actually said that?" Ryan and Spencer are lying next to each other on Spencer's, much bigger than Ryan's, air mattress. "That he's had this thing for years?"

"Yeah," Spencer says. "It's so fucked up, Ry. I guess he wants me to go find someone to fuck for a while and then let him know when that's out of my system."

"So why don't you?" Ryan studies Spencer for a moment. "I mean, he could be right, you know. He's been there since Haley left, buying your groceries and making sure you didn't smell like shit. Maybe you're just clinging to him because he's there."

Fuck Ryan for being so god damned level headed about this. "It's not about that," Spencer says.

"Then what is it about?" Ryan gets this intense look sometimes that a long time ago Spencer found a little creepy, but now it's just something Ryan does when he's trying to figure something out.

"I don't know. It's about him. It's about me. It's about, fucking, I don't know. But I know I don't want to go find some random person to string along for a while because Brendon wants me to," Spencer says.

"What if he's right, though?" Ryan says. Spencer hates it when Ryan tries to use logic on him, especially when it comes to relationships. Ryan knows better than anyone that relationships are rarely logical.

"What the fuck do you know? Didn't you just get dumped for cheating on your girlfriend of two years?" It's a really low blow, and Spencer knows it, but he's tired of talking to Ryan now. Even though it was his idea to bring this all up in the first place.

"Yeah," Ryan says. "Yeah, okay. I'm going to go sleep on the couch."

"Ryan, wait," Spencer says, but he doesn't have the energy to get up and follow Ryan downstairs.


Spencer hasn't actually spoken to Brendon in two days. He's managed to avoid him by staying in his room, unless he knows that Brendon's not home, or Brendon's sleeping. Unlike the last time, Brendon's been avoiding him too, so it's working out very well. Ryan's avoiding Spencer too, but that's not going to last much longer, and Spencer knows it. He was the one who was out of line, but he doesn't feel like apologizing to Ryan.

There's a tap on his door, but Spencer doesn't answer. If they think he's asleep, whoever it is will probably go away.

"Spence?" It's Regan, and she's got her nurturing voice on. "Hey, so, I was talking to Ryan,
and he told me what's going on. Can I come in?" Spencer ignores her, but she opens the door anyway.

"Why did you ask, if you were just going to come in?"

Regan shrugs and says, "It seemed more polite that way. You should come downstairs. Shane made pancakes."

"Is Brendon downstairs?"

"You can't avoid him forever," she says. "You've still got a record to make."

"That's work. It's different," Spencer says.

"Yeah," Regan says. "He's not happy either, you know."

"It was his decision," Spencer says. "I'm not the one who told him to back off. Remind him of that."

"Yeah," Regan says. "Maybe you should be the one to do that." She sighs, walking back to the door. "He thought he was doing the right thing." She leaves without another word.


Spencer wakes up the next day, and he's tired and hungry and forgets that he's supposed to be cautious about when he goes downstairs. When he gets into the kitchen, Ryan and Brendon are sitting at the table. Ryan is staring at his phone, and Brendon is saying something about giving her time. Spencer's not sure which her Ryan is concerned with, and he doesn't find out. Ryan gets up and says, "Yeah, I'm just going to go try her again." He nods at Spencer as he walks out of the room.

"Hey," Brendon says. He's looking very intently at his Frosted Flakes.

"Hi," Spencer says. He goes to the fridge and pours himself some juice, grabs himself a muffin from the counter and sits down opposite Brendon at the table. They sit like that, Brendon stirring his cereal around in his milk, but not eating it, and Spencer picking at his muffin, for a few minutes before Brendon finally says, "This fucking sucks." Spencer puts his muffin down and pushes it away. He's lost his appetite. "I just don't want to fuck it up," Brendon says.

"There's nothing to fuck up," Spencer says. "You turned me down, remember?"

"It's not like that, Spence," Brendon says. "It's not about turning you down. You have to understand that."

"Yeah," Spencer says. "I get it, okay. But I don't think you get it. I don't need a rebound period. I'm over Haley. I have been for a long time."

"You don't know that," Brendon says.

"I do know that," Spencer says. "I know that, and I want you to stop trying to push me to do something I don't want to do. I don't need it."

"Okay," Brendon says. "I'm still afraid that I'm going to fuck it up."

"That's okay," Spencer says. "Sometimes you'll fuck up. And sometimes I'll fuck up. And sometimes we'll spend three days living in the same house avoiding each other because we're both douchebags."

Brendon laughs and says, "How do you know this is what you really want? What if I'm just-"

"You're not 'just', okay, Brendon? I know that," Spencer says. "Now would you stop with that shit already? You know that I'm going to get my way, so just stop fighting with me about it, especially when, in this case, we actually both want the same thing."

"What about the band?" Brendon says.

"What about the band? You think Jon or Ryan are going to care? And we just don't let it affect the band. When we walk into the studio, we're working, and that's it." It sounds easier than it is, and Spencer knows that, but right now he doesn't care.

"Okay," Brendon says. "You know this is probably the biggest mistake either of us is ever going to make, don't you?"

"It might be, and it might not be. We won't find out unless you stop being so god damned stubborn and get the fuck over here and kiss me again," Spencer says. "And don't run away this time."

Brendon nods, standing up and walking to the other side of the table. He leans down and kisses Spencer, just a press of lips at first. Spencer puts his arms around Brendon's waist and then pulls him down to straddle Spencer's lap. It's not as comfortable as it would be if Spencer weren't sitting in a hard, dining room chair, but Brendon is moving to kiss his cheek and his jaw and then his neck, and Spencer doesn't really care how comfortable the chair is. Brendon kisses Spencer's lips again, pressing their mouths together more desperately this time.

Someone clears their throat.

"Jesus, get a room, you two," Regan says.

"We have to eat on that table," Ryan adds, making a face.

"We wanted this to happen?" Shane asks.

"Well," Regan says, "it's better than them moping around like they lost their dogs all the time."

"Not if we have to see that every day," Ryan says.

"Whatever, man, you're out of here on Friday. We have to live with it," Shane says.

"Shut the fuck up, all of you," Spencer says. "Or we'll make an effort to make out in front of you all the time."

"All the time," Brendon says, nodding.

"I'm not hungry anymore," Shane says.

"I'm going to have to be on a tour bus with them at some point," Ryan says. "You two are getting off easy."

Spencer decides to ignore them all, looking at Brendon instead. "What do you say we get the fuck out of here?"

"Where are we going?" Brendon asks, standing.

"Somewhere without an audience would be ideal," Spencer says.

Brendon tilts his head, like he's giving it serious thought. "Hm, yep. I think that is the best idea you've had pretty much ever."


Spencer spends the entire rest of the day in bed with Brendon. He thinks it sucks that if Brendon hadn't been so fucking stubborn they could have been doing this a long time ago. He's just glad that Brendon is completely worth the wait.

"I don't think I'm ever going to leave this bed," Spencer says. "Forget Ryan and Jon. Forget the band. Let's just do this all the time." Brendon smiles smugly and laughs in Spencer's ear. It's annoying in the way that it's also endearing, and Spencer hates Brendon a little for it. "What?" Spencer asks.

"Nothing," Brendon says. He kisses Spencer's jawline, just below his ear. "I told you this would be awesome," he whispers.

Spencer laughs loudly. "Yeah, sure," he says. "You're such a douchebag, seriously."

"Yeah, whatever. You think I'm awesome." Brendon grins.

"Yeah, yeah. I think you're awesome," Spencer says. "An awesome douchebag."

Brendon laughs, and Spencer thinks, yeah, definitely worth the wait.
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my sweetest downfall

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