nearlylauura (nearlylauura) wrote,

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Imagine Knowing Me (1/4)

Title: Imagine Knowing Me
Author: nearlylauura
Rating: PG-13 (for this part)
Pairing: Ryan/Brendon (+additional side pairings)
POV: 3rd, Brendon-centric
Summary: 'He doesn’t really have visitors so.’ Spencer replies, concentrating on pawing his pitchfork through the soil and disposing of any unearthed rocks with a flick of his wrist.
‘Why not?’
‘Because, it’s just. Well. He’s Ryan. He’s, yeah.’

Brendon thinks completing his Experience Project is going to be a breeze and he'll be out of Agricultural College before he knows it but then he meets a certain mysterious and reclusive Ryan Ross and suddenly begging his best friend for coffee isn't the most important thing in his life anymore.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, nor anything else and it is entirely fiction (unfortunately maybe)
Beta: drag_melody
Author Notes: This actually came from a dream I had which made absolutely no sense but I managed to mould it into a decent storyline. I realise there is a distinct lack of Ryan is this part and I apologise but that's just how it worked out. I do actually like this story and I hope you enjoy it to. That is if you decide to read it.

- - -

‘For all those of you who haven’t yet done their Experience Project, there is one last opportunity available during the next month of term. Yes, the project is mandatory, so yes, this is the last option you have. And this includes you, Urie.’

Brendon startles at the sound of his name. He had been too preoccupied drawing flowers on Gabe’s arms to pay attention to Mr Stump’s lecture on the ideal sowing patterns for root vegetables. It is 2 months before Brendon could finally graduate from Hurley Agricultural College and start up that landscaping business he had been planning for forever with Gabe.

However, in order to pass the course, he had to complete an ‘Experience Project’, which is basically doing work in somebody’s garden or farm or whatever off campus. But Brendon has been too wrapped up in planning his new business that he hasn’t made the time or effort to complete that particular project. It is manual labour and it would take effort meaning less time for himself. But it has to be done.

Gabe rolls his eyes at Brendon with a cheery smile. He’s in a similar position, although he hadn’t spent his time planning the business (because Brendon wouldn’t let his inferior mind anywhere near the paperwork in case they ended up with a name like ‘The Cobra Crew’) but rather out partying or getting high and playing videogames.

‘So the information you’ll need is at the front here. The project starts tomorrow and it counts towards 40% of your grade.’ Mr Stump says, shooting a pointed look at Brendon and Gabe, who just sends him a toothy grin in return.

‘Sucks to be us right now, ey?’ Gabe says, wiggling his eyebrows and aiming a pointed elbow to Brendon’s side. He rubs the sore spot as he gathers up his belongings, shoving them haphazardly into his backpack.

‘I’ll just drag Pete into it. He can’t resist some good, old fashioned hard work.’ Brendon says with a smile before bumping shoulders with Gabe. ‘Coffee?’

‘Mm, please.’ They head down through the rows of seats and each grab a sheet from the front under Mr Stump’s careful gaze before heading out through the door.

- - -

‘You guys are late. How dare you.’ Pete says with a fake glare as Brendon and Gabe slide into their seats around him. It’s their usual Starbucks table for their usual post-lecture coffee break.

‘The line was long.’ Gabe says with a dismissive wave of the hand.

‘Bullshit, I could see the line.’

‘Well we’re not as late as Jon apparently.’ Brendon says, propping his feet up on the couch next to him, usually occupied by his best friend, and taking a sip of his cappuccino before settling back into the seat and listening to Pete and Gabe’s quarrelling begin.

After a few minutes of waiting for Jon to emerge from the back, the door opens and a man with long brown hair and a trim beard pads in slightly wet from the drizzle outside. He walks over to the counter and makes his order to a girl with blonde hair and pretty eyes. He remembers her name is Keltie from when she had tried flirting with him only to discover that he wasn’t into that. And by that, he meant girls.

Only now does Jon appear from the back, scratching his beard absently with a wide grin on his face. He walks over to the man who just arrived. This must be Spencer. Jon talks about Spencer sometimes. They start up a conversation during which Jon rests his elbow on the counter and his chin in his hand while Spencer leans against the counter with his hip cocked out, getting ever close together.

Jon laughs with a wide smile and Spencer scratches his neck nervously. Brendon rolls his eyes. Jon has always been too good at flirting.

Jon stands up abruptly when the girl returns with Spencer’s drink and he sends him a shy smile before Spencer turns around and heads for an unoccupied table.

Brendon beckons Jon over by kneeling on the couch and waving frantically before he takes his feat down from the couch, leaving space for his friend who then flops down next to him with a sigh.

‘So how was Spencer?’ Brendon asks, wiggling his eyebrows but Jon doesn’t see it because his arm is stretched over his face, only just covering the slight downturn of his mouth. His ridiculous Starbucks apron has scrunched up around his middle and his jeans are upturned at the bottom, just how he always wears them.

‘I don’t even know.’ Jon replies, voice slightly muffled. Brendon attempts to pry him arm from his face but fails and falls back onto the couch.

‘What do you mean you don’t even know? You were like getting it on back there!’ Brendon asks with a frown.

‘Yeah, well I don’t think he’s, yeah. I mean. He started talking about his girlfriend. Which fucking sucks. But before I could ask him anything else Keltie came out all cheery and, ah, god. Why.’

Brendon rubs Jon’s back comfortingly. Finally, Jon removes his arm from his face before glancing over at Pete and Gabe who are still deep in discussion. His eyes trail over to Brendon’s almost untouched coffee.

‘Is that coffee? You know you’re not supposed to have coffee Bren. Your bouncing off the walls without it.’

‘But it tastes so gooooooood.’ Brendon whines, stretching out to protect his drink but Jon’s already snagged it and is walking back towards the counter.

‘I have to get back to work. I’ll bring you a hot chocolate as compensation.’

‘You are so mean Jon Walker.’ Brendon cries.

‘Extra cream!’ Jon shouts back as he disappears into the back room once more and Brendon’s face lights up.

- - -





‘Pleasey please?’


‘Pleasey please with a cherry on top.’

‘I said no Brendon!’ Pete cries and Brendon pouts into the phone.

‘Come on! It’s only a little bit of work and you’ll be helping your bestest friends in the world out! We’ll pay you!’

There’s a slight pause before Pete’s reply squeaks through the receiver. ‘Pay me?’

‘With love!’

‘Fuck no.’

‘Please! I’ll pay for your coffee for a month!’ Brendon couldn’t really afford to pay for his own coffee but he’s sure Jon will help out.


‘YAY! Come meet me outside lecture hall 4 tomorrow at 2 and I’ll get you a sheet thingy, okay?’

‘Yeah sure whatever.’

‘Bye!’ Brendon calls before the call cuts off. He’s still smiling when he runs out into the living room of his and Jon’s apartment and pulls him in for a hug. It isn’t that big a space, but it’s enough for both of them. The kitchen is based in the corner of the living room with a small dining table at the side and enough room for 4 chairs. There is a sofa and 2 recliners in the middle of the room all angled towards a small television with a glass coffee table separating them.

‘Hey there little buddy. What exactly are you doing?’ Jon asks with a chuckle.

‘Pete agreed to help me out with the stupid experience project thingy. You know you love me right Jon? Because I didn’t ask you to help out because I love and respect you too much for that!’

Jon’s eyes narrow and his arms loosen their hold on Brendon slightly.

‘What do you want Bren?’

‘IpromisedPetefreecoffeeforamonthoractuallythatI’dpayforitbutI’mpoorsoyouknowokaybye.’ Brendon rushes out before Jon has the chance to react and hides under the covers in his bedroom, laughing to himself.

- - -

According to his information sheet, which he spends the entire of Stump’s lecture reading instead of listening, the first meeting was at 4pm at the address provided. It didn’t say much else except that they are expected roughly 4 days a week, although the garden is open everyday. It’s a private house but the garden itself is open to the public.

Gabe leans over and prods Brendon in the side. His head snaps up and he glances around to find the other students packing up their equipment while some are already filing out and Stump is sat back in his chair with his feet on the desk.

‘Coffee time hermano?’ Gabe asks, holding out a hand to help pull Brendon from his seat.

‘Uh, actually Pete’s supposed to be meeting us to get an information sheet. But after yeah?’

‘Whoa!’ Gabe says, holding his hands up with widened eyes, ‘you got Pete to agree to manual labour? Like how?’

‘I bribed him with coffee.’ Brendon replies, scraping his belongings into his backpack and trooping down the steps towards the door.

‘Sneaky Urie. I like it.’ Gabe flings an arm around his shoulders and flashes their teacher a smile.

Pete is leaning idly against the wall next to the door with his eyes closed and his head tipped back. His black hair droops over his eyes. Brendon uses the back of his hand to hit Pete in the stomach, causing him to startle awake and drop his shoulder bag to the floor.

‘Hey Petey Pie!’ Gabe cheers, engulfing him in his endless arms.

‘Shall we?’ Brendon says, motioning back into the classroom.

‘And then coffee right?’ Pete queries as him and Gabe follow Brendon back inside the lecture theatre.

Pete catches sight of Stump relaxing in his chair and comes to a halt, eyes widening slightly, before picking up the pace again. Gabe narrows his eyes slightly and studies Pete now nervous looking face. The 3 of them reach the desk and Pete gazes down at his shoes, Gabe’s arm still slung over his shoulders.

Brendon clears his throat before saying, ‘Mr Stump?’

Stump blinks his eyes open in shock. Brendon Urie has never stayed longer than necessary at one of his lectures. His eyes float from Brendon’s warm brown eyes over to Gabe’s tired looking figure and then finally land on Pete’s avoiding gaze. His eyes widen slightly and he clears his throat, quickly directing his attention back to Brendon with a slight flush on his cheeks.

‘Yes, Mr Urie?’ He enquires, trying to prevent his voice from shaking. Stump lifts his feet from the desk.

‘Uh, well we were wondering if we could have another one of those sheets for the, uh, Experience Project?’ Brendon says with a sheepish smile.

‘Did you lose it already?’ Stump replies with a tut.

‘Uh, no it’s actually for my friend Pete,’ Brendon replies, motioning to the appropriate person, ‘he said he’d help out.’

At the mention of his name, Pete glances up and catches Stump’s eye before redirecting his gaze to the floor. Gabe’s grin widens. Pete’s blush deepens.

‘Of course.’ Stump replies with a small smile before he begins shuffling through the drawers of his desk. Eventually he pulls out a small pile of papers, handing one to Pete. Their hands brush slightly and Pete flinches back. Brendon gives them a confused look while Gabe continues to smile. What the fuck is going on?

‘Thanks.’ Pete mumbles with a small smile, catching Stump’s eye again causing his cheeks to grow redder but his smile because more genuine. Stump gives him a warm smile.

‘And please,’ Stump continues, turning his attention back to a confused Brendon and an overly excited Gabe, ‘call me Patrick.’ And he gives them a smile so wide it almost conquers Brendon’s signature heart-warmer.

‘Alright, well, we’ll see you tomorrow Patrick.’ Brendon says with a nod and starts towards the door.

‘Later Pat!’ Gabe follows with a grin while Pete gives Patrick a sheepish smile and bites his lip.

‘Nice to meet you, Pete.’ Patrick says with a sly smile.

‘Uh yeah, you too Tri-Patrick.’ Pete smiles and hurries out the door, dragging Gabe behind him. As soon as they’re out of the room Gabe breaks out in hysterics and Brendon’s eyes narrow on Pete.

His cheeks flush a brilliant red once again under Brendon’s scrutinising gaze as Gabe slowly regains control. ‘What the fuck was that?’ Gabe asks, clapping Pete on his back.

‘Nothing. Coffee?’ Pete replies in a hurry and begins speed walking down the hall and away from Patrick. The others exchange a confused look and follow after.

- - -

‘I thought I told you no coffee!’ Jon says, snatching the hot porcelain cup away from Brendon’s eager grasp. He lets out a pathetic wimp and pouts up at Jon.

‘I need it for all the work Jonny!’ Brendon whines and Jon raises an eyebrow.

‘Work?’ He asks, quirking his head.

‘Yeah, that Experience Project shit starts today. At like 4.’ Gabe puts in, interrupting his conversation with Pete.

‘Uh, well it’s like 3.30 so should you like, leave?’ Jon asks.

‘Nah. It’s only a 10 minute walk from here.’ Brendon adds, snatching his coffee back and sipping at it eagerly despite the fact that the hot liquid burns his tongue with every gulp. ‘So where’s your toy boy anyway?’

Jon raises his eyebrow again.

‘Spencer.’ Brendon clarifies.

‘Oh, um. I don’t know. I think he said he had some stuff to do when he came in yesterday but, I wasn’t really paying attention, because, you know.’ Jon says and looks down at his lap.

Brendon pats his legs comfortingly and Jon sends a grateful smile his way.

‘Do you think ‘stuff’ is code for ‘girlfriend’.’ Gabe adds in while Pete snorts out coffee.

Brendon throws a cushion at his face.

- - -

The usual rain clouds covering Scientiam A Sapientibus House have dispersed, leaving the sunlight to flood the neglected gardens. The wispy branches of grey trees clawing at overgrown bushes are no longer hidden by shadow, revealing the true damage of the area. There is doubt regarding whether it can be fixed. But there is also hope.

Brendon thinks otherwise.

‘This place is wrecked.’ He says, earning a nod from both Gabe and Pete.

‘A little hard work never killed anybody, ey.’ Gabe grins and throws his arms around his companions, both quite short by comparison.

‘Who are you and what did you do with Gabe?’ Pete asks, a look of horror on his face, earning a clap around the back of his head by Gabe and a chuckle from Brendon.

‘But really though. This is going to take more than a month to tidy up. More like a year.’ Brendon eyes the dead plants and yellowing grass with distaste, anticipating the hard labour ahead.

‘Be strong Brenny.’ Gabe says and leads them over to a small gathering of people, congregating by a large set of marble steps leading up to a some sliding glass doors. The sunlight bounced off them making it impossible to peer inside the house.

‘The more the merrier then.’ Chirps a guy with light hair and a young face. ‘Sisky.’ He holds his hand out and Gabe takes it eagerly, pulling him in for a hug, which startles the boy a bit.

‘Gabe mi hermano!’ He cheers before gesturing to Brendon and Pete, introducing them in turn. The other men previously watching the exchange then joined in with the introduction.

‘Gerard,’ says a man with red hair hanging down past his chin, ‘and this is my brother Mikey.’ The other man has dark hair swept back from his face. He gives a shy smile and then turns back to talk to his brother.

‘I’m Frank.’ Introduces the man with an eager smile. He also has dark hair, even blacker than Mikey’s.

‘And I’m Joe.’ Says the final man with frizzy curls surrounding his head.

The conversations are soon interrupted by a man sliding through the doors of the house and out onto the steps where he drops down and perches on the edge of one.

Brendon’s eyes widens as Pete leans over and murmurs, ‘Is that the guy from Starbucks?’. Brendon gives a shaky nod and adds, ‘Spencer.’

Everybody has quietened down and turned towards Spencer who is examining them all with sharp, blue eyes. ‘Afternoon.’ He says, breaking out into a stunning smile.

A chorus of greetings respond before he continues. ‘I’m Spencer Smith, the leader of this project at SAS. I assume you’ve all read the information sheets so I shouldn’t have to tell you much else. The equipment is held in the shed at the East corner and schedules are pinned inside it. There are a few rules. Firstly, no entering the house. It is private property. Secondly, don’t talk to anybody going in or out of the house except myself. Thirdly, all questions are to be directed to me. Um, I think that’s all.’ He says with another bright smile. ‘So, are there any questions?’

‘Is it your house?’ Joe asks.


‘Whose house is it?’ He continues.

‘A friend’s.’ Spencer answers bluntly.

‘Why can’t we go in the house?’ Sisky adds.

‘Because it’s not your house. Now are there any work related questions.’ Several hands fall leaving only one still stretched in the air. ‘Yes?’ Spencer asks, pointing to Gabe.

‘So what are we doing today?’

‘Ripping all the crappy plants the fuck out of this place.’ Spencer answers with an easy smile, earning a laugh from a few of the men.

- - -

If Brendon’s honest with himself, the whole work thing isn’t as bad as it could be. Although at the back of his mind he still recognises the fact that it’s unpaid labour, he’s still hanging out with the guys and he’s doing something he enjoys which is more than he can say for some people.

Like Jon for example. The poor old fucker is stuck serving brain dead, drooling adults in the early hours of the morning, constantly surrounded by the rich but often sickly smell of coffee beans and vanilla syrup, the shop favourite. Of course Jon says he’s grown some kind of immunity to the musky scent but Brendon sees how his nose scrunches up every time he opens up a fresh pack.

But Brendon also knows how much he loves coffee, even if it’s not his dream of spending a year in Europe, just him and his camera. Yes, he’s a photography nerd. He’d probably take pictures of the stupid coffee he serves if it weren’t for the fact that coffee is, indeed, fucking boring,

There are upsides to his job. Like Spencer. Brendon knows that Jon whole existence at Starbucks is centred on Spencer’s daily arrival and sometimes it’s like his soul leaves along with the guy. A few months back Spencer had made his first visit and, of course, his stunning, crystal blue eyes had caught Jon’s attention almost instantly. They’re still stuck on small talk but Jon insists their (non existent) relationship is going somewhere. And Brendon has to admit that on the odd occasion that Spencer appears while Jon is absent from the store, he will ask after him. Not that Brendon would ever tell Jon this. Better not to get his hopes up.

So it’s a surprise when, while Brendon is absently pondering Jon and Spencer’s mysterious relationship and plucking weeds from the cracks between the stone pavement slabs, the man in question appears behind him.

‘It helps if you spray them with weed killer first.’ Spencer says, smiling down at Brendon with a hint of amusement.

Brendon instantly smiles back and stands up, dusting his hands off. ‘Not if you want your vegetable patch produce edible goods.’

‘Ah.’ Spencer says with an accepting nod, ‘I knew I hired Agricultural Pre-Grads for a reason.’ Brendon laughs and gives Spencer a small shove.

‘Brendon.’ He says, holding his hand out. Spencer grasps it firmly and gives it a sturdy shake with a friendly smile still plastered on his face.

‘So I’ve heard.’ Spencer retorts. ‘I’ve seen you around the coffee place. With the freakishly tall, tanned guy and his young minion.’ He says, gesturing over to where Pete is attempting to pull a small tree straight from the ground while Gabe is bowed over next to him, laughing hysterically.

‘Ah. The terrible twosome. Feel free to give them a quick slap if they screw up too bad.’

‘Will do.’ Spencer says, giving Brendon a pat on the back and a wink before heading over to the pair in an attempt to save the miniature tree’s life and some of Pete’s dwindling dignity.

- - -


‘Ye-ow!’ Jon groans as Brendon tackles him on the sofa and curls up against his chest, burying his head in his neck.

‘I love you dearest friend of mine.’ Brendon purrs.

‘Yeah. Okay. What the hell is going on.’ Jon says, attempting to wrestle Brendon off himself.

‘You do love me don’t you Jon?’

‘Of course. Now seriously…’

‘Say it.’ Brendon prods a sharp finger into Jon’s ribs.

‘I love you, Bren, now get the fuck off me.’

Brendon slides off him and skips into his bedroom, turning back quickly to yell, ‘you’ll thank me soon enough.’ Before disappearing into his room, leaving a dazed and utterly confused Jon slumped on the sofa.

- - -

Brendon loves the sun. And plants. He loves Spencer too.

‘I love you Spencey.’ He says and rolls onto his front, shielding his eyes with his hand so he can look up at Spencer who is busy digging up the plants that are technically Brendon’s responsibility but, really, he’s the one who came out with the lemonade and nobody should be expected to work while sampling a delicious refreshment such as this.

‘Uh, that’s great Bren. But you’ve only known me for, like, 3 days.’ Spencer says throwing a sceptical but adoring glance at Brendon.

‘What can I say. I’m a lover.’ Brendon replies with a sigh before jumping to his feat and grabbing one of the pitchforks to assist Spencer in his plant digging.

Sisky’s chuckle sounds from where he’s working by the big okay tree as he begins to sing, ’all the lovers…’ and before they know it the entire work force is enjoying a Kylie Minogue karaoke session.

Joe uses his shovel handle as a pole for his erotic dancing while Mikey looks on laughing. Gerard and Frank have gathered a few leaves from a dying fern and have created improvised hula skirts that sway with the wind and the exaggerated movement of their hips, which makes absolutely no sense because this song is Hawaiian in no way whatsoever but it still makes Brendon crack up.

He attempts to hide his fit of hysterics by gathering a few more black bin liners from near the bush behind him in order to dispose of the few remaining dead plants he and Spencer had plied from the ground that didn’t fit into the other bags.

He comes to a halt however when he notices a slim figure stood watching them through one of the windows on the second floor. A small smile plays on his young face, framed by soft curls, held back by a floral bandana. He only catches a flash of the honeycomb eyes as they meet with his own dark brown pools before the man has scurried off, leaving Brendon with a wondrous expression, only barely registering the laughs bellowing behind him.

‘Hey Spence?’ Brendon calls, still focused on the window.

‘Yeah?’ Spencer returns, turning his back on the scene.

‘Who was that?’ I ask, pointing to the window while moving my gaze to his confused face.

Spencer stalls a moment before he opens his mouth, getting out only a short, ‘Uh,’ before Gabe is bounding over.

‘Coffee break hermanos!’ He yells and begins dragging them both away by their arms.

Brendon hears the others still joking around behind him as he looks behind him at the empty window once again before they round a corner and it falls from view, blocked by a large tree. Blocked from his life.

- - -

‘To happy coffee times!’ Pete declares, raising his Starbucks mug to clink with those who followed his example.

‘And to some guys crappy gardening skills for giving us this crappy job.’ Sisky adds with a sly smile towards Spencer who just shrugs and laughs it off.

Brendon’s legs are resting on Spencer who has wrapped himself into a ball. Brendon thinks it’s the disappointment from Jon not being on shift, though he knows Spencer would never admit it. He hasn’t even told the poor guy he knows Jon yet He certainly hasn’t told him that Jon is due in to work in approximately 30 seconds.

The bell dings and Brendon smiles. Right on time.

He sees Spencer cast a hopeless glance towards the door and then tensing up slightly as his eyes widen at the sight of one Jon Walker. He strides towards the counter, hops over for effect, and pulls out his ridiculous apron from under the counter, replacing it with his shoulder bag.

He straightens up and Brendon waves to him, signalling for him to join them. They had to take up a different table seen has their usual number had tripled. Jon calls out to Alex who pokes his head around the staff only door and frowns before replacing Jon at the counter. Jon smiles and ruffles his workmates hair before heading over to his friends.

Alex glances over, eyes skimming over the familiar and unfamiliar faces before landing on Brendon. He sends a shy smile, which Brendon returns with a gleaming grin. Alex blushes just a little. If it were anybody else it would go unnoticed but it’s Alex and Brendon knows he has a giant crush on him. And to be honest, Brendon doesn’t exactly shy away from it. Alex is pretty cute. He has nice hair. And a sexy last name. Suarez. It sounds like suave but with a little bit of Latin thrown in. Brendon likes them exotic. He’s just waiting for the kid to make the first move. He’s hard to get like that. Sometimes. Okay rarely. Well, only with Alex, but that’s because he’s just generally adorable.

Jon hands wrap around Brendon from behind and pull him into a tight hug before Brendon shoves him away. Jon just laughs, unaffected by the lack of affection.

But then Jon looks over to his usual spot on the sofa, which is currently occupied by Spencer, and Spencer looks up to see who just embraced the boy beside him and their eyes meet and if it were a movie they’d be making passionate love by now but it’s not a movie so instead they just stare like the idiots they are. Idiots so clearly in love.

‘Hey Jonny, have you met Spencer?’ Brendon asks with a sly grin, tugging on Jon’s wrist until he sits on the arm of the couch. Jon breaks the eye contact and glances down at Brendon, lips set in a thin line with a raised eyebrow.

‘Uh yeah.’ He says with a small, shy and unbelievably nervous smile. Brendon frowns; he thought they were good friends by now. They should be overjoyed by the opportunity to jump each other but instead they’re both having anxiety attacks.

‘Yeah.’ Spencer echoes and looks down at the floor, curling in on himself further.

‘Oh that’s cool!’ Brendon enthuses, ‘Spencer’s running the gardening thing!’ He tips his head back to give Jon a pointed stare.

Jon’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise this time and he turns his focus to a blushing Spencer. ‘Really? You never mentioned an interest in gardening before!’ He says.

‘Yeah,’ Spencer laughs nervously, ‘Well I’m not really. It’s just, helping out a friend, you know?’ He looks up for the first time and gives Jon his attention.

‘I would have come down to help, but, you know, coffee and stuff.’ Jon says with a sheepish smile.

Brendon frowns. ‘I thought you said you would neve-‘ He’s cut off by Jon’s hand making contact with the back of his head sharply. He narrows his eyes and sides off the sofa, watching as Jon discreetly takes his place and starts up an enthusiastic conversation with Spencer about gardening, of which, neither of them know anything.

He still means to question Spencer about the man in the house but for now it’s better to let Jon have his way.

Instead, Brendon walks over to the counter, resting his elbows on the surface and cradling his head in his hands. ‘Hey,’ he says in a slightly flirtatious way, snapping Alex out of his daydreaming. His eyes shoot to Brendon before his cheeks begin to flush. Brendon loves his reaction. It just makes him even more adorable.

‘Hi.’ Alex says with a slight stutter and it’s adorable.

‘So how’s the coffee biz treating you?’ Brendon asks, pouting his lips a little while raising a questioning eyebrow.

‘Oh, it’s, uh, it’s good. Lots of, uh, coffee. Yeah.’

‘That’s good.’

‘It is.’

‘Is it a busy week?’ Brendon asks.

‘Uh, not really, I mean, I have the day off Friday, well, the night off because I still have to work the, uh, lunch shift.’

Brendon smiles. This was the reaction he’d been hoping for. The silent question of a date lingering in the chair, ready for Brendon to grasp at any given moment but he wanted to see the kid flap about for a bit longer. He’s not cruel, it’s just fun.

‘Oh really? That’s awesome. I mean, Jon and me were going to go down to this new bar that’s just opened down the street. Test the place out, y’know?’

‘Oh.’ Alex looks slightly disheartened, ‘Sounds fun. I’ll probably, uh, check it out at some point too. Yeah.’

Brendon smiles. ‘You could come with us if you want? I mean, it looks as though Spencer will be joining us anyway. He’ll probably be all over his new love interest so I’ll need somebody to keep me entertained.’ It was basically a double date. And he’d just told Alex so. He better take the fucking opportunity.

‘Yeah, that sounds great!’ Alex grin is otherworldly it stretches so far.

Relief flows through Brendon; it’s been a while since he got laid. Although usually he’s a ‘not until the third date kind of guy’ but the sooner the first date the sooner the third right? Besides, he could always make exceptions. It’s not like Alex is going to run off afterwards is it?

‘So, meet you there about 8pm, yeah?’ Brendon says and Alex replies with a swift nod. Just then Jon walks over and slips behind the counter. Alex sends one last grateful smile Brendon’s way and scuttles off into the backroom.

‘We need to have words.’ Jon says with narrow eyes but Brendon can see the smile still lingering on his lips. It’s a good day to be him.

- - -

So far Brendon has been doing a very good job of avoiding Jon’s entirely fake rage. He thinks that Jon just needs to vent his sexual frustration through violence because he is also not getting any.

‘Keeping yourself pure for Spencer?’ Brendon had called through his locked bedroom door while Jon pounded it with the heavy-duty pillow fight cushion. He had just growled and continued his assault on the only thing blocking him from sweet revenge.

But now Brendon is faced with an entirely new problem.


And he only realises this when he peers over his sunglasses at the figure stomping over to him so he doesn’t have the time or reflexes fast enough to make his hasty escape. All he can do is stand there and wait for the approaching wrath.

He stabs the pitchfork he had been using to de-root one of the many yellowing shrubs into the ground and leans his chin against it. In just a few moments Spencer stands in front of him, glaring down.

‘Why the hell didn’t you tell me?’ Spencer demands in an unusually high voice. Brendon would laugh under any other circumstances but Spencer’s death eyes give him a good reason not to.

‘Tell you what?’ Brendon asks innocently. And, honestly, he didn’t see what the big deal was. He’d basically set them both up with the guys of their dreams. They should be thanking him, not listing ways to kill him.

‘You fucking well know what!’ Spencer lets out an enraged sigh. ‘Why didn’t you tell me about Jon?’

‘Uh… well he’s a 5’7” hobo who’s obsessed with photography and pretends he can’t stand the smell of coffee but really-‘

‘Brendon.’ Spencer cuts him off in a strangely calm voice. ‘Why didn’t you tell me you knew Jon?’

‘Because I didn’t see it as any relevance.’ Brendon says simply with a shrug.

‘Oh, yeah. Well. It’s not. Yeah.’ Spencer says with a worried glance at Brendon like he’d suddenly given too much away. He grabs one of the pitchforks propped up against the stonewall and begins helping Brendon pry the dead plants from the ground.

‘So how come you’re helping us out?’ Brendon asks, keeping his eyes focused on the task at hand. He sees Spencer relax slightly at the change of subject.

‘Ryan doesn’t trust you guys without a guardian,’ Spencer answers with an adoring but amused chuckle.

‘Ryan?’ Brendon asks casually, gaze flickering to Spencer under the cover of his sunglasses.

Spencer tenses slightly under the realisation that he has, yet again, said too much. ‘Uh.’ He says and clears his throat before going back to work.

Brendon pauses in his work and looks Spencer over, taking in his rigid posture. ‘So is he the guy who owns the house?’ He asks.

Spencer freezes momentarily. ‘Uh. Yeah.’ Cough.

Brendon nods and turns back to the work.

They work in silence until Gerard comes dashing past them, closely followed by a water hose wielding Frank armed with a devious grin.

‘So is that the guy I saw?’ Brendon slots in absently with a neutral expression.

‘Uh, yeah. I guess. Probably. I mean, unless it was the, uh, maid but. You said it was a, um, a guy so probably, yeah, probably not. And it’s only him in the house. He. He doesn’t really have visitors so.’ Spencer replies, concentrating on pawing his pitchfork through the soil and disposing of any unearthed rocks with a flick of his wrist.

‘Why not?’

‘Because, it’s just. Well. He’s Ryan. He’s, yeah.’ Spencer finishes.

Brendon knows when a conversation has run dry, even if it is much to his dismay. Spencer seems to have so much to say about the guy, seems to want to say so much more, but he says so little. And what he did say only opened up a new wealth of questions eager to be aired. But for now, he knows to keep his mouth shut.

Ryan. It’s good to put a name to a face.

Spencer glances towards the house uneasily.

‘So are you coming Friday?’ Brendon asks.

‘What?’ Spencer says, snapping back to Brendon.

‘Oh, I, uh, I presumed Jon would ask you but…’

‘Oh no, no.’ Spencer interrupts, ‘Friday. The bar. Yeah.’ He lets out a small smile that barely hides the grin he really wants to show. But it’s Brendon. And Brendon knows Jon. So no.

‘Yeah.’ Spencer repeats and lets out a contented sigh.

- - -

‘So remember to hand your essays in before the end of term in order to get your best possible grade!’ Patrick finishes just before the bell sounds. ‘Have a good weekend!’ He calls but half of the class have already evacuated the room.

Brendon finishes packing his stuff up and Gabe waits patiently by his side.

‘You and Spence seem to be getting on well.’ He comments absently.

‘Uh, yeah, I guess.’ Brendon replies, confused, as he shrugs his jacket on and pulls his backpack up.

‘A little too well, if you get what I’m saying.’ Gabe grins cheekily and winks at Brendon who simply stares back in horror before bursting out laughing.

‘What? Oh god no! Jon would maim me!’ Brendon says, skipping down the steps as Gabe hurries after. It’s his turn to be confused.

‘Uh, what?’

‘Dude.’ Brendon says to him seriously. It had been so obvious to him so how had Gabe not seen how Jon and Spencer had been all over each other every time they’d met at Starbucks. Clearly, Gabe was not quite as quick as he had thought.

They stumble through the doorway, Gabe still protesting that he hadn’t missed anything, and come to a halt, eyes widening. Pete simply pushes past them with a hasty ‘Excuse me.’ And strides into the lecture hall.

‘Uh, Pete?’ Brendon asks.

At the sound of his friend’s voice Pete turns around and freezes as he takes in who he just passed.

‘We’re not going to the SAS today bro.’ Gabe adds with a slightly endearing smile.

‘Uh, yeah. I know. I just. Yeah.’ Pete says quickly, pointing behind him. ‘See you guys later yeah.’ He says before hurrying into the room.

Brendon turns to look at Gabe. ‘I seriously don’t even know.’ Gabe says and then starts dragging Brendon down the hall yelling, ‘so a little birdy told me you have a hot date. Tonight’s the night ey?’ He winks and suddenly Brendon doesn’t care that Pete’s acting weird because he’s going to get laid and it’s about fucking time.

- - -

The air is thick with smoke and the drinks keep coming. Brendon thinks he’s kind of missed this. The atmosphere is better than he remembered from old bars but he passes it off as the buzz of a shiny new toy. The place is well decorated and the bar is well stocked. A small stage crowds the corner and booths line the walls. It’s busy so most of those were already taken, leaving Brendon, Jon, Spencer and an unbelievably excited Alex stuck at a small round table. None of them seem to mind.

What Brendon does mind, however, is the fact the Spencer is basically hanging off Jon’s every word and the pair aren’t even trying to converse with himself and Alex who is looking at him with these big puppy dog eyes that practically beg for attention but Brendon’s not so sure if he wants to give it anymore.

Jon had already warned him to be careful. He knew about Alex’s crush and he knew how thoughtless Brendon could be sometimes. Jon was protective of his younger co-worker and Brendon felt slightly betrayed. It’s not like he’s going to break the kids heart or anything.

‘Hey guys, I’m going to take a leak.’ He says before disappearing into the crowd and heading towards the doors hidden by the stage labelled ‘Staff Only’ and ‘Toilets’, the latter of which he enters. Alex gives out a slightly dejected pout at being left with the completely oblivious lovebirds.

Brendon is just running his hands under the cold faucet of the shiny, new taps in the shiny, new bathroom when he hears slightly cracked talking echoing into the room. Somebody is talking into a microphone, most likely the one he spotted on the stage earlier on in the night.

He slides back into the main room just as a guitarist starts playing on stage accompanied by a tall skinny man on vocals. His hair is long and curly to his shoulders but his voice is strong. The melody is sweet and new and it captures Brendon.

Brendon remains frozen in place, listening to the beautiful sound, until the song comes to an end and only then does he snap back to reality.

The small crowd that has gathered around the performers erupts in applause and even wolf whistles, which Brendon traces back to Gabe. Gabe?

He surged forward and grabs the man by the arm, yanking him away from the crowd and into a dark corner. ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ He snarls, poking Gabe in the ribs harshly.

‘It’s a public building Bren,’ Gabe says with a sly smile.

‘I’m serious Gabe.’ Brendon spits back.

Gabe sighs. ‘I followed Pete. I wanted to know what the fuck he was up to but then I saw him come in here and I thought he was meeting you guys or something but you weren’t here and then I lost him so I sat down and had a few drinks with these guys. They were really awesome and then William said he had some business to take care of and then all of a sudden he was on stage singing and he was fucking good don’t you think? Like really-‘

‘Wait! Pete’s here?’ Brendon hisses, eyes widening slightly.

‘Uh yeah. Over there.’ Gabe says pointing over to an occupied booth. Brendon looks over to the table and they both do a double take after noticing who he’s sat with.

‘Stump?’ They squeal simultaneously.

Brendon wrenches himself away from Gabe with a new flow of anger-fuelled energy running straight through him. He heads straight over to the concealed pair and Gabe follows him after a momentary lapse in consciousness.

They’re half way over to the table when Gabe suddenly latches onto Brendon’s wrist and tugs him backwards, leaving them face-to-face. Brendon attempts to pull away but Gabe holds him steady, eyes warily searching the smaller boy’s face. All he saw was furious determination.

‘It’s not worth it Bren.’ Gabe finally says, purposefully drawing out the words to get the message across.

Shock crosses Brendon’s face followed by even brighter burning determination. ‘What do you mean it’s not fucking worth it? Our bitch of a best friend has been fucking our teacher behind our backs. Our fucking teacher Gabe! He’s had ample opportunity but the idiot just kept it to himself!’

Gabe’s fingers run calmingly over Brendon’s pulse, slowing his anger. ‘It’s not really our business.’

Brendon breathes a heavy sigh and his shoulders visibly sag. ‘I know,’ he says in a defeated tone, ‘but he should have… I mean… we’re his friends… he could… why didn’t he tell us?’

‘Bren. We can pounce him tomorrow when you can get a full sentence out of your mouth, okay?’ Gabe says with a relieved smile before cupping his arm over Brendon’s shoulders and redirecting him over to the bar.

‘Two beers my good man!’ Gabe calls to the bartender and turns back to his friend. ‘So how’s the date going?’

Horror crosses Brendon’s face as he remembers he left Alex almost 10 minutes ago. ‘Shit.’ He breathes.

The bartender pushes the drinks their way as Gabe glances over Brendon’s shoulder. ‘Speak of the devil.’ He mutters before clasping his drink, patting Brendon on the shoulder and sauntering back over to the crowded area by the stage, presumably to admire his new friend William.

A slightly worried looking Alex suddenly occupies the space in front of him. Brendon finds the softness in his eyes reassuring and finds himself giving the boy an easy smile. ‘Hey you.’ He says with a slight slur, more out of left over confusion from the events previous than the few drinks he had consumed so far.

‘Hey.’ Alex says warily, ‘Where’d you disappear to?’

‘Oh. I saw Gabe and he offered to buy me a drink because he knows I’m basically a hobo.’ Brendon replies, still smiling and gazing easily into Alex’s eyes. Brendon likes the kid. Maybe not in a romantic way but he was a nice and easy guy.

‘Oh cool.’ Alex says, eying up Brendon’s drink.

‘Oh hey,’ Brendon says, taking the hint, ‘Can we get another one of these?’ He calls to the bartender who gives him a nod before dipping below the counter.

‘So where’d you dump the happy couple?’ Brendon asks once Alex is sipping on a fresh beer.

‘Overly happy if you ask me,’ Alex replies with a chuckle. ‘They can barely keep their hands off each other. They’re not sucking face or anything though which is a good thing I guess.’ Brendon pretends not to notice the way Alex’s eyes drop to his lips momentarily. ‘But I think they said something about an empty booth.’

‘Right.’ Brendon says, a bit annoyed at their disregard for whom they actually came to this goddamn bar with. His eyes scan over the room, landing on one of the filled booths but it’s not Spencer and Jon he finds, rather Gabe and the guy previously strutting around on the stage. Mouths locked and hands roaming.

He jerks his gaze away. Everybody else seems to be getting some action and he’s stood here like a frigid monk. His suspicions aren’t helped when he does spot Spencer and Jon exchanging soft kisses. In fact he feels the anger from before rebuilding.

He’s not jealous. No. No way is he jealous. Brendon doesn’t need a relationship to be happy. He doesn’t need anybody to touch him and want him. He doesn’t need anybody to love or anybody to love him.

The final straw is when he once again sees Pete and Patrick all snuggled up together like there is nothing in the world they’d rather be doing. No place they’d rather be. It almost sickens Brendon. Normally he’d just get depressed but alcohol pushes him further into rage.

He downs his beer and turns his focus back to Alex, slamming the bottle down onto the counter and startling Alex. He throws a few bills next to it.

‘Let’s get the fuck out of here.’ Brendon says and Alex’s eyes widen slightly before Brendon grabs his arm and begins towing him hastily towards the door.

Brendon doesn’t see the way Alex’s eyes sparkle or the disappointment in Jon’s as he watches the two men leave. Brendon doesn’t hear Jon’s voice saying, ‘don’t do anything stupid. Don’t break the kid’s heart Bren.’

Brendon doesn’t feel anything until they’re back at his apartment attacking each other’s clothes, biting at each others lips ferociously. But still he doesn’t see the hope in Alex’s eyes or if he does, he chooses to ignore it.

But hey, Brendon’s getting laid. And it’s about time, right?

- - -

When Brendon awakes to the sound of soft breathing beside him he doesn’t think about what he’s done. Instead, he clenches his eyes harder together and wishes for the escape of sleep.

When it doesn’t come, he slips from his bed and pulls on a pair of discarded boxes, careful to avoid catching sight of the other side of his bed.

He walks out into the living room and notes that the door to Jon’s room is still open. This could mean one of two things: either Jon has already left or he never came back last night. And due to the lack of freshly brewed coffee waiting on the glass table, Brendon thinks it’s the latter.

He should be happy for Jon and Spencer. He is happy.

He finds his jeans strewn over the back of the sofa and pats down the pockets. He finds his phone and the display lights up signalling one new message.

Staying at Spencer’s.
You’re a prick.
Call me when you’ve got your shit together.

Part 2 >
Tags: imagine knowing me, pg-13, ryden
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