nearlylauura (nearlylauura) wrote,
nearlylauura
nearlylauura

/Posts a crap load of unfinished fic cont.

But wait, there's more.


The Hairdresser
This is old, like really old.

The cold breeze is harsh against the only small slither of skin along my cheek unprotected by my tightly drawn scarf. My black coat is also fully buttoned for maximum heat protection except the very top button, which had to be left open to accommodate the scarf. Compromise has to be made.

Compromise similar to that of my current situation. I had compromised with Pete that he would give me the $20 I needed in return for not going ape shit on his ass. And the $20 problem is currently covered by my fluffy red hat; multifunctional on a day like this.

My converse pad along the pavement as I hurry to escape the cold winter breeze. It’s almost Christmas so the streets are busy but they’re all heading in the opposite direction towards town, unlike I, who is escaping to the outskirts of the busy shopping area.

No snow has settled yet, which is rare for New York. It’s cold enough for snow. Almost too cold for snow. Can it be too cold for snow?

My distractions are wearing thin as I approach my destination, turning towards an intimidating glass door. I push and hear a small bell tingle and I step slowly inside, closing the door hastily to stop heat escaping.

I glance around the room, searching for some kind of reception, and my eyes land on a small desk behind which a bored looking woman sits. I stride over to her, taking in my surroundings. Most of the walls are pure white, except the one opposite the entrance, which is painted a startlingly bright blue. White lines criss-cross the colour, forming something similar to a face with hair lashing out behind it. It’s a show to pull the customers in and I’ve fallen for it.

Several mirrors are dotted around the room and only one door at the opposite end, which is camouflaged against the wall. The large glass wall behind me has blinds hovering above it, ready to be pulled down at the day’s end.

I clear my throat. ‘Hi.’ I say to the girl with a small smile. She glances up at me, pink hair falling in strands over her small shoulders. Instantly her tight red lips are drawn into a warm, sincere smile but there is something else there too. Something all too familiar.

‘Hello. How can I help you?’ She replies with a perky voice, allowing the magazine she was previously focused on to drop onto the desk.

‘Uh, I need… a haircut?’ I ask. I’ve never done this before. I’ve always managed my own hair even if I’m not awfully good at it.

‘Of course, sweetie.’ She giggles, obviously taking my stupidity as a joke. Awesome. ‘You want a blow-dry or just a dry cut?’

‘Um, a dry cut will be fine, I guess.’

‘Just take a seat for a minute hun, one of the guys will be right out.’ I give her a brisk nod, managing a real smile at the realisation that at least it will be a man with his hands all over my precious hair, and not some other giggling girl.

I sit on the black lather sofa in the corner and cross my legs with a sigh.

The place is basically deserted. It’s seems quite modern. It would be. Pete’s the one who recommended it to me. He’s all about now.

Pete. The motherfucker who landed me in this situation. And Jon. The accomplice. Well fuck both of them.

‘Calm down man,’ I remember Jon chuckling when I had first woken up and burst into his room. ‘It’s not that bad.’

Yeah. Not that fucking bad.

‘It’s actually horrific.’ Spencer had said when I’d entered the living room. ‘Do something about it before I puke.’ He threw a hat at me. Spence loves me too much to lie. Jon was too drunk to remember how much he loves me. Pete was hiding like the cowardly bitch he is.

‘Sir?’ I look up to find the girl stood in front of me. ‘This way please!’

I rise and follow her over to one of the chairs. She’s surprisingly short, although it could just be that I’m pretty tall. ‘Bren will be out in a minute.’ She says, biting her bottom lip. Her eyes give me a once over before she walks back to the desk, waggling her hips in a well-practised way.

I always smile at how oblivious she is.

I plonk into the chair and idly unbutton my coat and unwrap my scarf. I gaze into the mirror and see the girl making her way back over to me.

‘Can I take that for you?’ She says, motioning to my coat and scarf. I nod and hand her the articles. ‘Audrey, by the way.’ She smiles pleasantly.

‘Ryan.’ I say, returning the smile. She chews on her bottom lip again before walking towards the door situated at the back of the room.

I sigh and rub the bit of my forehead not covered by my hat with my hand. I hate being here. I hate the reason I’m here. I hate Pete. I hate everything.

I love this hat. Nice hat.

Suddenly I see a blur drop onto the stool behind me through the mirror. I instantly swivel around to face the newcomer.

My eyes widen and I’m sure I blush a little bit because, damn, that’s a handsome guy.

I clear my throat in an attempt to regain my composure. ‘You must be Bren.’ I say with a sheepish smile.

‘Brendon, fully. But yeah, Bren. You must be Ryan.’ He replies with a deep, earthy voice. I watch his full lips part with each word before concentrating on his dark, brown eyes and I feel myself melt just a little.

His nose drops just a centimetre too low but it doesn’t matter because it’s perfect anyway and his hair is absently scraped back off his forehead with only a few strands escaping which should be worrying because he’s a hairdresser but it doesn’t matter because it’s perfect anyway.

‘So what disaster are we solving today?’ He asks with the arch of a bushy eyebrow. I startle slightly at how he already understands the situation. He must have read my expression because the next thing I know he’s pointing towards my hat. ‘Usually people wear terrible hats like that to cover up bad hair days.’ He smiles and it’s a beautiful smile.

‘Oh, right yeah.’ I let out a small, nervous laugh.

‘So let’s see it.’ Brendon says, reaching out towards my head. I jump backwards slightly making him halt.

‘I don’t think you really want to.’

‘Come on, I’m a hairdresser; I’ve seen it all. Plus, I’m a hairdresser, so I need to see it to fix it. You with me?’

‘Really it’s hideous; you might run off screaming or something. The sight could haunt you and then it’d ruin your Christmas.’

He lets out a puff of air. ‘Please?’ He asks and I can’t help but feel lost in his stupid puppy-dog eyes. My hand unconsciously reaches towards my hat and pulls it off quickly, throwing it onto the floor by my chair.

I watch Brendon’s eyes widen slightly at the sight. ‘That bad, right?’ I ask with a grim laugh.

‘Why are there chunks missing?’

‘It’s a long story.’

‘Awesome. It’ll give you something to talk about for the next hour that it’ll take me to sort that out.’

‘Hour? What.’

‘Afraid so.’

I sigh and Brendon grins. I swivel back around the face the mirror but purposefully avert my eyes away from the damage. Goddamn Pete.

Out of the corner of my eye I see Brendon rise and begin to walk away but not before he shoots a thumbs up in Audrey’s direction and gives her a wink. What?

I relax into the chair and glance around, waiting for Brendon’s reappearance. My fingers tap idly on my thigh with nerves. Suddenly a hand clamps over them, halting the movement.

‘You seem a bit nervous.’ Brendon says, peering at my face as he crouches in front of me.

‘I’ve never let anybody else cut my hair.’ I admit, gazing at his face but avoiding looking him in the eye so I my brain doesn’t collapse or something.

‘You did that to yourself?’ He asks, arching his eyebrow again.

‘What? Oh, no… well I said I never ‘let’ anybody else cut it, I wouldn’t say this was voluntary.’

‘Oh right.’ He laughs in glorious chimes and leans over me to tie to stupid black gown thing at the back of my neck. He pauses for a minute, his breath hot on my face and I feel my heart beat quicken uncontrollably.

It seems as though he leans in slightly, his gaze fixed on my mouth before he suddenly jumps back up. He steps around me and starts to pick up utensils from a small cart, placing them in the pouch tied around his waist. It’s covered in zebra print. I smirk.

I let my eyes roam over his slim figure, taking in the slight curve of his back covered by a red, plaid shirt tucked into tight blue denim jeans. I almost laugh when I see his worn, brown loafers but he’s probably the only guy in the world who actually looks good in them.

I notice that the slight shudder in his back as calmed down as he turns back towards me, not looking me in the eye with a slight blush on his cheeks. He steps behind me and places his hands carefully on both sides of my face, holding it in position. They feel soft and warm against my skin.

I turn my attention to the mirror where I watch Brendon observe the damage. He slowly twists my head back and forth, taking in every inch. I catch Audrey’s eye in the mirror as she sends a smirk our way.

After a few minutes Brendon seems happy with his assessment and so starts combing through my hair. I let my eyes slide closed and lean slightly into his touch.

- - -

I sit in silence for a while, the quiet snip of the scissors being the only noise, before Brendon speaks up. ‘So you gonna tell me what happened or leave me to my own theories?’ I open my eyes and glance up at him. He’s still concentrated on his hands.

‘Hmm, as intriguing as sharing my story sounds, hearing your theories sounds better.’ I say, chuckling.

‘Savaged by bears is one,’ I watch him smile as he stays focused on my hair, ‘Or maybe you got caught in a train wreck.’

‘Close, but not quite.’

‘I’m listening.’ I sigh and think of a way to begin.

‘Right. Well. Me and a few friends got invited to this Christmas house party so we thought ‘hey, that sounds fun’ and so we turned up at this party and had a couple of drinks and then somebody cracked out the drinking games.’ He nods and waits for me to continue.

‘I’m a complete sucker for drinking games so I was basically under the table within a couple minutes. I mean literally, I passed out under the table and then my good friends were pissed out of their minds so Pete, one of my best friends, decided it would be funny to assault my hair with a razor they found in the bathroom. It would probably have been even worse if Spencer, my other friend, hadn’t walked in halfway through.’

So yeah, I woke up this morning with this shitty excuse for a haircut. I cornered Pete and demanded he did something about it so he gave me $20 and the address of this place.’

Brendon glanced up and met my eyes in the mirror for a second before dropping them back down onto the back of my head. ‘Why didn’t you just go to your usual hairdresser?’

I give him a pointed look. ‘Oh yeah, you cut your own hair.’ He mutters.

The silence continues for a while so I busy myself with concentrating on the small furrow between his eyebrows that slowly deepens and then eases up with every cut of the scissors. I don’t risk a glance at myself in the mirror so I have no idea what exactly he is doing.

Eventually he moves round the sides of my head and slowly lifts a section of hair up and snips at the ends, a few at a time.

‘Your bangs seem intact.’ Brendon says, stroking his hand through them.

‘Yeah, well I guess Pete has some sense of self preservation after all.’ I mumble and Brendon gives me a half smile, warmth lighting up his eyes.

- - -

‘All done!’ Brendon says, clapping his hands together in excitement. ‘I think I did a pretty good job.’ I examine myself in the mirror and note that, yeah, it looks pretty good.

‘Not bad, not bad.’ I tease. He gives me an adorable pout before standing in front of me and pulling the robe off.

‘Now get out of my chair so I can sweep up your ruined hair.’ He gives me a smile and a joking shove as I rise from the seat.

‘But thanks seriously. You’ve like, saved my life.’

‘No problem. It was a pleasure to meet you, sir Ryan.’ I laugh and give him a warm smile. I walk over to the desk and watch him fetch a broom and begin to clear up.

‘Hope to be seeing you again soon.’ Audrey says as she hands my change over, a knowing smirk on her face. I give her a nod before walking over to the door. I tug it open and glance back. Brendon gives me a shy wave, tugging on his bottom lip with his teeth, and I smile before tucking my scarf into my coat and stepping outside into the cold New York air.

- - -

‘Spencer!’ I call as I rush through the door, ‘Spencer!’

‘In here!’ A familiar voice calls from the living room. I kick my shoes off and tug at my scarf while leaping towards the sound.

The living room walls are a soothing cream, picked out by Pete’s artistic eye. Painted along the wall next to the CD case is a pattern similar to his favourite tattoo. It doesn’t look that bad in all honesty.
I throw my coat onto the back of the sofa Spencer is lounging on and drop down next to him, instantly curling up to his side.

‘Let me guess. Your in love right?’ He asks with a mocking tone, scratching his beard absently.

‘Yes Spencer.’ I reply dreamily.

‘Who with this time?’

‘The Hairdresser.’

Spencer let’s out a short chuckle and then something soft hits me in the side of the head. A pair of socks. I hadn’t noticed Pete was in the room too.

- - -

I bury my nose further into my scarf, avoiding the cold. Only 2 days earlier had I been walking this exact route. I shoot Pete a warning glance but he’s too busy grinning like an idiot to notice. It was his plan and normally I would have rejected it instantly but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now however, it really doesn’t.

Pete keeps shooting me knowing looks and speeding his steps up gradually. I’m taller so my long legs have no trouble keeping up with his stubby ones.

‘I regret letting you do this.’ I murmur, focusing my eyes straight ahead.

‘Well I need a haircut so.’ Pete replies with a smirk. I shoot him a glare, pointedly looking at his short and ridiculously immaculate hair. ‘Hey, I need a new look.’

‘It’s a stupid plan Pete. It’s not going to work.’

‘That’s what you think.’

We reach the familiar entrance and Pete eagerly skips inside, almost allowing the door to slam in my face.


I'm Not In The Band
Shrugs. This was fun.

Ryan doesn’t usually work this late. In fact, he tries to avoid working Saturday’s at all but here he is, at ‘Joe’s’ at 11:23pm on a Saturday night. And yeah, he does need this shift in all honesty if he wants to be able to pay the rent this week but it doesn’t mean he has to enjoy it. He was just lucky Brent had called in sick (Ryan really suspects that he hates this shift almost as much as Ryan does).

The reason it’s so unpopular is pretty simple really. Firstly, it’s a 3 hour shift lasting from 10-1 instead of the usual 2 hours and it’s around the time that the late night club-goers that were kicked out start to congregate. It also means that Ryan doesn’t get much needed sleep before he his 8am class the next day. And no, he doesn’t really understand why he has class on a Sunday either but that’s just creative writing for you.

He’s wiping down the counter when the door swings open and a large group of people stumble through the door but they’re not drunk, just sort of high with energy. There’s a large guy at the front who looks at Ryan with a ‘don’t fuck with me’ expression. Ryan hurries to avert his eyes.

The rest of the group is made up of 4 guys dressed in slightly eccentric suits and Ryan thinks they might be wearing make up, a group of girls all wearing what looks like the basics of some kind of costume that they had stripped of the more detailed pieces earlier and then another couple of guys all in plain regular shirts and jeans. They were all sweaty and giggly and generally happy looking as they swung over towards a booth at the far side.

Ryan’s eyes trail after them, until a man asking for a beer catches his attention. He pours one out and slides the glass over before Jac comes back with a tray full of dirty glances. He starts idly scrubbing at them, watching the clock by the door and humming aimlessly along to the music quietly playing.

‘Try to be more discrete, Ry.’ Jac says, appearing behind the counter and sliding an order slip over to him. ‘The boss could be watching you know.’ She winks and smiles as she starts gathering up glasses.

‘I’m sure he has more shit to do than to watch me stare at the clock.’ Ryan replies although, to be fair, it was probably a complete lie. Jac laughs and pats Ryan’s ass as she walks past, causing him to jump and send a glare in her direction as she starts preparing drinks.

‘They keep looking at you.’ Jac comments and Ryan shoots her a confused look while filling up each glass in turn. ‘The big group.’ She says and nods over to the full booth.

Ryan looks over and sure enough they are all looking in his direction but they all simultaneously avert their gaze as soon as they realise he has noticed. His brow furrows and he says, ‘um,’ before turning back to the work at hand.

It’s quiet for a moment before Jac speaks up again. ‘They’re a band you know.’

‘What, all of them?’ Ryan asks. There must be about 20 of them.

‘Oh. No. The four dressed up guys are the band and then theirs the dancers and the crew.

‘Dancers?’ Bands don’t usually use dancers. At least not the bands Ryan’s into.

‘Yeah. Some big cabaret inspired show thing. They just played a show down the road. Party at the disco or something I think.’ Ryan laughs and Jac soon joins in as they both glance incredulously towards the ‘band’.

They pile the drinks onto the tray and Jac sweeps away to deliver them while Ryan returns to glaring at the clock, trying to get time to move faster with his mind alone.

He hears the tap, tap, tap of heels against the floorboards approaching him and he looks up expecting to see Jac but instead he sees a woman he vaguely recognises as being a part of the group. She comes to a halt in front of him and smiles sweetly causing his brow to furrow while he glances over to the booth where the occupants are pretending not to watch.

‘Can I help you?’ Ryan asks cautiously, bringing his focus back to the woman in front of him.

‘I was wondering if you had anything that was a little more exotic?’ She inquires in a sweet voice, gesturing to the bottle in front of her.

‘Sure.’ Ryan says and ducks beneath the counter, pulling out another bottle and settling it on the counter before wrenching the lid off. ‘Australian.’ He slides it over the counter and turns his eyes back to the clock as her fingers wrap around it.

‘It’s good.’ She says and Ryan glances back down to her and frowns because she’s still here and she’s still smiling when really there is nothing to smile about. It’s beer. ‘You really know your stuff.’

‘I work in a bar.’ Ryan says in a dry tone but the girl starts laughing as if he made a joke.

When she calms down she holds her spare hand out and says, ‘I’m Keltie.’

Ryan eyes the hand cautiously before taking it and muttering, ‘Ryan.’

‘So how long have you been working here, Ryan?’ She asks and perches on the barstool directly in front of him.

‘About a year.’ Ryan replies. Keltie leans forward on the counter and Ryan thinks he’s about to choke on cleavage.

‘Cool. How long have you lived in LA?’

‘Um. 2 years. Almost 3. I’m not sure.’

‘So you must know this place really well then yeah?’ Ryan nods hesitantly. ‘I’m only here for the night. We have to move to the next city in the morning, you know. I’m on tour with Panic! At the Disco as a dancer.’ She says and points over her shoulder towards the booth but Ryan’s not sure if he’s supposed to be impressed or interested because really it means nothing to him.

Ryan glances up at her nodding and smiles sheepishly and this time Keltie seems to get the message that he isn’t interested. ‘Uh. Well. Thanks.’ She says standing up and smiles slightly put out before heading back to her friends.

Ryan shakes his head and chuckles a bit before glancing back to the clock. Half an hour and he’s free. He grins and begins wiping down the counter as Jac starts stacking stools in the background.

‘Hey.’ Comes another voice and Ryan’s eyes dart up. He holds back a groan as he realises it’s one of the four guys that supposedly make up the band. He’s pretty small from what Ryan can tell. Thick, dark hair that’s thoroughly tousled and deep, brown eyes that peer at him with something that looks like amusement.

‘Hi.’ Ryan says shortly and ignores how the guy leans on the counter, pushing himself further towards Ryan.

‘Someone’s in a bad mood.’ The guy chuckles and Ryan’s expression darkens.

‘What do you want.’ Ryan asks, chewing on the inside of his cheek to stop himself from yelling.


Coma Fic
I tried to be depressing and it didn't work.

Brendon isn’t usually the sentimental kind, but this is kind of a crappy situation for him so he thinks he has the right to huddle up in this hard, metal chair and clasp the stupid bear to him (the bear he bought Ryan last month just because the colour of its fur reminded him of Ryan’s eyes) while he stares at Ryan’s idle face with tears in his eyes. And that expression makes it all the more unbearable. Brendon knows that Ryan hardly ever wears any emotion on his face, he uses make up for that, but this is different. It’s like he is blank. It’s lifeless. A clean slate. Dead almost. But Brendon won’t think about that, no he doesn’t need to think about that.

There’s a quiet knock on the door and the nurse (Stacy, Brendon thinks) bustles in, shooting Brendon a sad smile before grabbing the chart and looking over the machines, writing down the vitals. But it’s useless, or he thinks so, because nothing has changed. Nothing ever changes.

Ryan always used to say that. Things may be different, but nothing ever changes. Brendon never really understood that. But maybe he never really understood Ryan. He wanted to. He wanted to know Ryan inside out, what got him hot, what made him think, what made him smile, laugh, cry, blush, everything, and they were supposed to have forever for that.

The steady beeps continue and the scratch of pen against paper halts. Stacy replaces the chart at the end of the stereotypical, white bed and shoots Brendon one last smile before leaving them alone once again.

Brendon let’s his eyes wander over Ryan. He takes in the frail, skinny arms and the shallow raise of his chest and the brittle set of his shoulders and the tubes, all the tubes, and his soft wispy hair, freshly washed this morning because Brendon knows how much Ryan hates it when his hair is greasy. He can just imagine the look of disgust on Ryan’s face as he brushes a long hand through the sticky strands and the small choking noise he would make in the back of his throat.

And then Brendon looks at his face again, the sweet, innocent face. The beautiful face that Brendon wakes up to each and every morning. And he thinks this could be the last time he sees it. But he still remembers the first.

- - -

Class sucked. In fact, high school sucked in general. At least that was what Brendon thought. But can you really blame him? I mean, he was a 16-year-old kid with braces, red glasses and a hairstyle that nobody understood. He wore sneakers and jeans so tight he could barely fit into them and too small t-shirts that finished about an inch before the waistband of his jeans even started.

Obviously his appearance, added to the fact that he was ridiculously ADD riddled and had a tendency to sweat buckets when he got nervous, didn’t help to diminish his reputation as ‘the weird Mormon boy with no friends’ which totally wasn’t true because he had Spencer and Spencer was his best friend.

Spencer Smith was the only good thing about high school.

Spencer Smith and his blinding smiles and his comforting cuddles and the little bit of extra weight he held around his waist were the only things Brendon really lived for. As well as red bull. And skittles. And maybe Fall Out Boy. Or just music in general. And now that you mention it he liked ice-cream too.

But the point is that Spencer was all Brendon had. So you can understand that when he heard Spencer talking about his ‘best friend Ryan’ he felt a little bit betrayed and a little bit jealous. What was worse however, was when Spencer mentioned how this mysterious Ryan character was transferring schools because of financial troubles.

And then Brendon got all moody because he was ultra possessive of Spencer and he didn’t want to loose the only person that really cared about him to some guy he didn’t even know except for the short snippets of information Spencer would disclose.

And that wasn’t much really. Brendon knew his name was Ryan. He was pretty tall. He was a year older than Brendon and Spencer, which sucked because that just made him cooler than Brendon, and he had known Spencer since they were 6 years old.

And because Spencer was Spencer he immediately understood what was going on almost like he could read Brendon’s mind so he wrapped the boy in a tight hug and said, ‘Don’t worry Bren, I’m not gonna leave you.’ And then everything was fine because Spencer Smith never lies.

So Brendon lived through the weekend and hid in his bedroom as much as possible until Sunday morning when his parents came to drag him out of the house for church and then they cam back and he went upstairs and his again.

And then it was Monday and Brendon was in English, the period before lunch and he always spent lunch with Spencer. He watched the arms on the clock swing aggravatingly slowly and he tapped his fingers on the desk and tapped his feet on the floor and hummed under his breath until the teacher (sour old bag of hate) told him to cut it out. And then he started it back up again within 5 minutes.

The bell rang and Brendon leapt to his feet, shoved all his stuff into his backpack which he slung over his shoulder and raced out the door. He made his way over to his locker and started shovelling his books in while he waited for Spencer to come meet him.

He slammed the locker door shut and turned to his side and there stood, not only Spencer, but another tall, skinny guy.

‘Hey Brendon.’ Spencer said cheerily with one of his signature smiles, ‘this is Ryan.’ He said, gesturing to the other boy.

And wow, Brendon thought. Because yeah. Ryan was. And. Yeah. Just. Wow.

‘Uh, hi.’ Brendon replied feeling his face flush slightly as a nervous smile spread on his face.

‘Hi.’ Ryan said and lifted a long-limbed hand in a small wave and then used it to push dark brown hair over his eye and wow, Brendon thought again, because his eyes were wide and like honey and they were beautiful like Spencer’s crystal blue ones but in a different, less intimidating kind of way. Almost like he could just melt into them.

And it wasn’t just that. Ryan was all long and lean and kind of perfect and Brendon had always known he was gay but he had never really been attracted to anyone before so of course Brendon didn’t understand what was going on at the time. All he knew was that Spencer had a beautiful best friend and that he had a weird feeling in his stomach.

‘You like Fall Out Boy?’ Brendon asked, slightly astonished that he had recovered the ability to speak, after spotting the boy’s t-shirt as well as the tight jeans, almost (but not quite) as tight as Brendon’s.

‘Uh, yeah,’ Ryan said in a deep, smooth voice that Brendon also kind of liked, ‘they’re my favourite band.’

And then conversation flowed and Brendon couldn’t remember why he ever had a reason to dislike Ryan because he was kind of perfect.

- - -

The cars below streak through puddles, sending torrents of water onto the innocent passers-by and Brendon almost smiles because that’s the kind of trivial thing he would find amusing and would cause Ryan to roll his eyes but in an affectionate way.

He sits on the small, white plastic window ledge at the far side of the small, impersonal room where the beeps are the faintest but not far enough away that he can’t hear Ryan’s gentle breathing. He can keep an eye on the boy by watching the faded reflection on the glass.

He hears the same quiet knock and the tap-tap-tap of high heels against linoleum and then a pause and a clank as the nurse places the familiar tray of food on the small table by the bed, just like every other day.

There is silence for a moment.

‘I bought you dinner, sweetie.’ Comes a soothing voice and Brendon would say thanks, he would, but he doesn’t. He just keeps staring out the window, barely acknowledging Stacy’s presence. But she’s used to it too. She’s watched him become gradually colder as the days passed. She’s watched him as he stayed resolutely by the boy’s side. She’s watched his smile fade and his hope waver and his personality and charm and bounce disappear. He’s different, but he hasn’t changed. And she knows that.

He’s still the same sweet, young man that came in almost a month ago with tears glistening in his mud brown eyes and streaming down his pale cheeks saying, ‘He’s going to be alright though, yeah?’ and he was smiling because that’s who he is.

Stacy knows that Brendon is still smiling, if only on the inside. Because that’s who he is. So she doesn’t press him any further she just nods, smiles and says a quiet goodbye and exits the room, catching the door and pulling it closed quietly so as not to disturb the silence.

And Brendon, he just watches through the window. Watches as strangers rush down the streets, carrying on with their everyday lives with the reassurance that the people they love are fine. They are living their lives to the full, like how it should be. The everyday routine in action.

And Brendon thinks that used to be him.

He watches as a man in a top hat hails a taxi and as a woman rushes down the road, murmuring into her cell phone. He watches as a couple on the corner by the small bakery embrace. He watches as they kiss and he thinks that used to be him.

He thinks about the times he pressed his lips against Ryan’s and he thinks of perfection, love, home. He thinks of the first time he felt that.

- - -

Brendon thought it was the perfect plan. A night curled up with his 2 favourite people in the entire world, taking full advantage of the fireworks display Spencer’s neighbours were putting on in celebration of their 20th wedding anniversary.

The biggest window in Spencer’s room was located on the same wall that his bed was pushed against giving them the best possible viewing experience, especially when Spencer’s mom bought them popcorn and soda.

They all sat in a line, Ryan squashed in the middle, facing the window and curled up in a giant, blue blanket that smelt like sleep. Ryan’s fingers were curled around a cup of coffee, using the heat to fend off the breeze weaving in through the slightly ajar window (‘The sound effects are the best part guys,’ said Brendon, ‘how can we listen with the window shut?’).

And then the fireworks started up and Brendon felt his eyes widen as he took in each explosion of colour and sparkle as they danced through the night sky and Brendon thought wow.

He glanced to the side and saw Ryan and Spencer with identical grins on their faces as they watched. Ryan sensed his gaze and turned slightly, smiling even wider as his eyes caught Brendon’s. And then Brendon remembered how nice Ryan’s smile was and how beautiful he looked when he smiled so he blushed and turned back to the colours.

And then Brendon felt a comfortable weight on his side as Ryan leant against him slightly. He glanced down and saw the small smile inhabiting Ryan’s face and then he looked up and saw Spencer’s subtle smirk and that just made Brendon blush more.

‘Spencer, could you come down a minute honey!’ Spencer’s mom called from downstairs and Spencer jumped up and raced out the door, leaving Brendon and Ryan alone, curled up in each other.

It was one of those times when Ryan was a little too close and those times made Brendon nervous and that made him strangely quiet. So the silence around them settled while Brendon tried hard not to shiver or squeal or something that might make Ryan move because he did not want that at all.

‘It’s beautiful.’ Ryan whispered after a while and Brendon glanced down at him, eyes widening slightly and found himself unable to look away. The colours were reflected onto Ryan’s face, highlighting the dips and curves and the shadows and the honey of his eyes and the plump of his lips and Brendon stopped thinking when he got there.

And then Ryan looked up but Brendon still couldn’t tear his eyes from Ryan’s lips and he half expected Ryan to make a snarky remark or raise an obnoxious eyebrow because that was so Ryan, but he didn’t. He just sat completely still and watched Brendon with curious eyes.

And then Brendon knew it had to happen because he couldn’t restrain himself anymore. He leant forward slightly and paused when he heard Ryan draw in breath but didn’t move away so Brendon continued.

Ryan’s lips were soft and perfect against his like he had always imagined they would be and then he pulled back so fast it was almost like they hadn’t kissed at all.

They sat like that for a minute, Brendon searching his brain for something, anything, to excuse or explain what just happened to a clearly freaked out Ryan while their faces were still a mere inch away from each other.

But then Ryan smiled and released a breath and leant upwards and into Brendon, pressing their lips together once again.

He tasted bitter, like what Brendon supposed coffee to be, but like cinnamon too and he tasted like Ryan so Brendon smiled and moved his lips against Ryan’s, not taking the time to consider what he was doing and what it meant or any of that crap because that, right there, was perfect.


Coping
Another attempt at being depressing and also serious and that didn't work clearly.

‘We think you should move out.’

Ryan stands in front of his parents and doesn’t react, just looks blankly between them. But that’s okay because that’s all they expected. All they ever expect.

‘It’ll be better for you.’ His mother continues with the careful smile she saves for her son.

Better for the baby Ryan thinks.

‘We think you’ll be safer.’

The baby will be safer.

‘It might help you get better.’

It might stop the baby getting worse.

‘We just want to help.’

And Ryan pauses because he knows that part is true. All they ever want is to help. And Ryan appreciates it, he really does, but that doesn’t mean they are actually helping.

‘We’ve already found you an apartment,’ his mom says and his dad just stands there. Just fucking stands there.

Ryan nods and walks upstairs to pack his bags and his life.

- - -

The apartment is nice. It’s closer to school. Closer to the library. Closer to the music store. Closer to the fountains. Further from home.

The kitchen is small, and the living room and dining room are incorporated into one large, main room but there are 2 bedrooms, a big one and a small one, and 2 bathrooms as well as a small laundry room and really Ryan is impressed that his parents splashed out this much on him.

What they failed to mention was the carer/psychiatrist who comes around 6 days a week for an hour to make sure Ryan isn’t dead and has remembered to eat and to keep up the weekly appointments he had been subjected to before.

But he doesn’t care that much because he has nothing to hide. His life is laid bare for all to see but nobody understands. A whole year and, still, nobody understands.

- - -

Spencer comes round a week later on Sunday afternoon to see his new place.

‘Nice place,’ he says watching Ryan closely.

‘Big bedroom.’ Ryan says nodding and he doesn’t mind that Spencer watches him because he’s Spencer and Spencer cares. Spencer tries to understand.

And it’s a regular thing. Every time they see each other, Spencer will spend a minute assessing Ryan. Checking if he’s gotten worse. But not better. He won’t fill himself with false hope.

‘So you got the Xbox hooked up yet?’ He asks relaxing a little bit and letting loose an easy smile.

Ryan smiles a little in response as he shakes his head. He doesn’t play video games without Spencer and Spencer knows that. But this is his way of telling Ryan he knows. It doesn’t even matter what he knows, just that he does.

Later that evening, shortly after Spencer left and just as Ryan is curled up on the sofa in a pair of boxers with a book, the his mother rings.

‘How’s Daisy?’ He asks.

‘She’s doing really well actually!’ She replies, tone laced with excitement, ‘She’s grown a couple of inches since last week! And she doesn’t cry as much.’

Depression isn’t contagious Ryan thinks but he just tells her that’s great and changes the subject.

- - -

He goes to school next week even though they tell him he doesn’t have to.

What else am I going to do.

He walks to school and spends lunch with Spencer. No teachers call on him in class and nobody tries to talk to him. Spencer drives him home and he spends the rest of the night curled up on the sofa. He barely acknowledges the arrival and departure of Dr B (his parents gave his psychiatrist a key) and forgets to eat again.

The next day he wakes up and staggers out of his bedroom and into the adjoining bathroom thinking wash, rinse, repeat.

- - -

Friday night Spencer doesn’t drop him off at home but goes inside with him. Ryan scavenges come diet coke from the fridge and they spread out on the sofa, idly watching TV.

‘So me and Jon are going to the fountains tomorrow to meet up with some other guys.’ Spencer says and Ryan doesn’t react.

He remembers Jon. Jon is Spencer’s boyfriend. They have met all but twice before, both times Jon seemed overly cautious, both times within the last year though Spencer has been dating him for almost 2.

After a long pause Ryan nods, glancing towards Spencer and then back to the TV.

‘I think you should come.’ Spencer says and Ryan doesn’t react.

Spencer simply sighs and thinks I know before turning back to the TV.

Half an hour later Dr B arrives.

Spencer waits until the doctor looks like he is about to leave before he pounces.

‘So I thought Ryan could go out with me tomorrow, just a day down at the fountains, you know. Fresh air would do him some good right?’

‘Yeah. That sounds good. You should go Ryan.’ Dr B replies with a serious expression before disappearing through the door.

Ryan glares but doesn’t disagree so Spencer counts that as a win.

- - -

It’s not the fountains Ryan minds. In fact, he loves the fountains. He loves the varying patterns of dances the waters perform and the way the small spotlights cascade amongst the spurts and streak through the waves.

He loves them at night when it’s quiet and they take on a whole new life.

But the people, the noise, the energy he can’t stand.

Spencer and Jon find their friends easily enough and Ryan curls up at the edge of the group on the ledge of one of the grass verges surrounding the fountains.

He doesn’t get out his book or his iPod like he would anywhere else but he sits and watches the water.

‘Hi,’ and suddenly there’s a shadow looming by him. He glances up, takes in the fact that a guy is stood next to him. Quite small. Dark hair. Dark eyes. And then he looks away and refocuses on the water.

Ryan thinks the guy will go away but he doesn’t and the silence only lasts for a minute. ‘So what are you doing?’ The guy says and Ryan’s eyebrows furrow slightly because, a, isn’t that quite obvious and b, why does he care.

He looks up again and at the guy and then over his shoulder. But then Spencer’s there and Ryan breathes a sigh of relief because Spencer can always handle these situations.

‘Hey, the guys are gonna go get coffee, you coming?’ Spencer says to the guy with a restraining hand on his shoulder, eyes flickering over to Ryan.

‘Uh, sure, you wanna-‘ the guy says turning back to Ryan but Spencer cuts him off with a small shake of the head while Ryan inclines his.

The guy pauses for a minute, confusion on his face and eyes trailed on Ryan before he nods and follows Spencer back over to the group.

Spencer looks over his shoulder and Ryan sends him a grateful smile.


And that, ladies and gents, is that.
(If you really want to see any of this stuff continued then leave a comment or send me an ask)


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