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Bandslash fic: Found Days [1/2]

Found Days | PG-13 | 13,000+
Brendon/Jon | band AU
download the soundtrack

Brendon has a habit of handling Pete the same way he handles his twelve-year-old daughter.

A/N: So it seems like each time I finish an AU I say that it’s my favorite world to play in, but seriously, this is totally my favorite world to play in for reals. It’s a future fic in a world where all the bands are the same except Panic, and Brendon and Jon both have kids. I kind of love it a lot. I even made art! Massive thank yous to insunshine, for beta’ing this even though she didn’t feel well *hugs* This is not actually kid fic. It’s about Beach Dog.




front cover of the album Found Days by Beach Dog

PART ONE

July 2020

Brendon has a habit of handling Pete the same way he handles his twelve-year-old daughter.

“Come on,” Pete says. “They’re Patrick approved, Urie, I don’t know a better endorsement than that.”

Brendon wrinkles his nose at Spencer, who’s sitting across the room behind his drum kit. Spencer grins at him, and he still has the most fantastic grin Brendon’s ever seen. “It’s not how we work,” Brendon tells Pete. He tries to be firm, and resists the urge to say because I said so. Lissa always takes that as the first sign of weakness.

Pete sighs. “Look. Look, it’s been over two years since Find Your Own Way dropped, dude, and you’ve got, what, like, three songs?”

“Three awesome songs.” Brendon’s been emailing Wheeler about scheduling recording times, and Greta’s making happy noises over the demo he’d sent her, so they don’t need freaking lyricists.

“I’m not arguing that.” Brendon can hear Pete’s smile. His smarmy, smug smile; the one he flashes when he knows he’s going to get his way. “Just meet with them. Smith knows Ross. He said he’s looking forward to playing with him, it’ll be perfect.”

Brendon narrows his gaze, tightens his fingers around the cell. “Spencer’s a dirty whore traitor.”

“Hey,” Spencer says. He thumps the kick-drum.

Brendon jabs a finger at him. “Dirty. Whore. Traitor.”

“Great,” Pete says. “Walker and Ross’ll be there Tuesday.”

“We didn’t—Pete—”

“Hey, hey, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. Just try it, okay?”

The sad thing – the truly, epically pathetic thing – is that Brendon sucks at handling Pete, and he’s not really all that much better at handling his twelve-year-old daughter. This is exactly how Lissa ended up with a nose ring.

Pete hangs up before Brendon can put up more of a fuss. He presses the top of the cell into his chin. “Spencer,” he says.

“I just said I knew him,” Spencer says. He rolls his eyes. “Brainstorming can’t hurt, though.”

Brendon nods slowly. “Uh huh, that’s how it starts, Spencer Smith. And then we’ve got a whole album of showy pop tunes and the only collaborations we can get are the Backstreet Boys, right, or maybe Jesse McCartney.”

“You love pop.”

“I love pop. I don’t want to sing it. Although, okay,” he flips his cell onto his duffle, “I could work with BSB.” He snaps his fingers. “Maybe that handsome woman song, dude—”

“The one that’s basically got one line written?”

“One completely and totally genius line,” Brendon says. He picks up his guitar and absently strums out the melody, but sings about Spencer being a massive douche instead.

Spencer chucks a drumstick at him.

Brendon flattens his hand over the strings and sticks his tongue out. If he were closer, he’d knuckle Spence in the ribs.

This is, more or less, how their writing sessions have progressed over the past four months, ever since they ended their hiatus. Spencer might have a point. There’s no way in hell Brendon’s ever telling Pete that, though.

*

Brendon really thinks it’s all Zack’s fault. “This is all your fault,” he tells Zack.

“Someone has to be the man in this family,” Lissa says, and Brendon points at her and says, “Stop talking. Oh my god, stop talking.”

Lissa widens her eyes and lets her lips fall into a pout, but it doesn’t work on Brendon, no way, because Brendon totally patented that expression years and years ago. Brendon is fucking immune.

He glares at Zack and flails his hands a little. “You! You let her.” He flails some more, and Zack just crosses his arms over his chest and arches an eyebrow, because Zack is pretty much the coolest guy Brendon knows. Brendon makes an embarrassing noise that he totally refuses to acknowledge and drops his head down on the countertop, total face plant. It doesn’t even hurt, for real. “Ow,” he says, softly.

“It’ll grow back?” Lissa offers tentatively, and Brendon feels a small hand on his arm.

“That’s so not the point,” Brendon says, voice muffled. So his daughter shaved most of her hair off – her gorgeous Urie hair, and she’s totally going to regret that once it starts growing back in, and she has to deal with the fucking cowlicks of doom – but mainly it would be super cool if Lissa and Zack could at least pretend that Brendon’s the dad here. That he has some kind of control.

He sighs and turns a little so he can catch Lissa around her waist, drag her close. “I loved your hair,” he says into her neck.

She pats his back. “I know, Dad,” she says, and Brendon knows, knows so hard, that she’s rolling her eyes at him, which is totally Spencer’s influence.

Brendon says, “You suck.”

“Zack made macaroni and cheese,” Lissa says, and Brendon immediately brightens, because Zack totally got that mac and cheese recipe from his mom, and it’s kind of the most delicious comfort food ever.

“Zack’s my hero,” Brendon says. He pulls back, and Lissa’s grinning at him, and Brendon can almost pretend there isn’t some sort of dead weasel on her head. Maybe if he squints, and holds up his thumb.

Lissa slaps at his hand and Zack grunts, and it sounds suspiciously like a laugh, but when Brendon narrows another glare at him he’s stone-faced, even though his cheeks are disturbingly rosy.

Brendon can’t catch a break. Seriously, they just gang up on him. He puts up with a lot of shit for his family.

*

Brendon’s perched on the end of a lounger and he waves Kit into the house when he shouts across the yard, “Hi, Mr. Urie,” soccer ball tucked under his arm. “Can Lissa come out and play?”

Kit Walker is three and a half feet of awesome.

Kit Walker’s the new kid across the street, and he’s super polite and grins a lot and is completely and hilariously in love with Lissa. Brendon thinks his mom’s pretty great, too. He’d totally be all over that if he was at all interested in ladies anymore. The women of the world wept brokenly the day Brendon Urie and his fantastic ass came out, it’s true.

“Go for it, little man,” Brendon says. He tells Spencer, “Kit Walker’s totally going to marry into the family,” and he’s one hundred percent serious. He’s pretty sure that’d be the best thing ever.

“Kit Walker’s eight,” Spencer says.

“Kit Walker can take Lissa to prom,” Brendon says.

Spencer blinks. “Kit Walker’s eight, dude, and Lissa’s got a long way ‘til prom.” He looks a little green. Brendon sympathizes, because he’s pretty sure he’d prayed for Lissa to stay frozen in time back when she was six and still Brendon’s sweet baby girl.

Brendon lazily drags the bow across his fiddle, then launches into the chorus of Slow Down Stop. He hums Travis’s slow slow slow, arm sweeping smoothly.

They’re in Brendon’s backyard, because they’ve been through Spencer’s basement, Spencer’s garage, Brendon’s basement, Brendon’s living room, and they’re still stuck. He wants to rhyme folded with Tudor, and Spencer wants to punch him in the face. Brendon’s backyard at least has a pool.

“I want to sing about summer,” Brendon says, arms dropping.

“We’re not writing a song about your pool.” Spencer’s got one drumstick and a tambourine in his lap. Spencer totally hates the tambourine, but they’d wisely decided not to set up his kit outside, since the last time Spencer complained for weeks about it being buggy. “Also, you shouldn’t be allowed to have a kid, Jesus, what the hell happened to—”

“Zack let her,” Brendon says, just as Lissa calls out, “Uncle Spence!” from the back door.

Spencer waves and says to Brendon, “Zack’s finally been compromised. A mohawk?”

Brendon shakes his head. “I think he just lets her do these things to torture me. It’ll grow back, at least.” Zack has always been able to tell Lissa no when it’s important. It’s one of the reasons he’s worked out so well.

“We’re going over to Kit’s,” Lissa says, and Brendon says, “Hold his hand crossing the street,” and Lissa rolls her eyes.

“There’s no traffic, Dad,” she says, and Brendon goes into What Would Zack Do mode and tells Kit, “Hold her hand,” because Kit’s staring up at Lissa with freaking stars in his eyes, and he’d probably hold her hand for forever if he could. At some point, Brendon’s sure that’s going to get creepy, like when either of them are actually old enough to date.

“Anyway,” Brendon says. “Anyway, summertime means the viola, the triangle, maybe some hand bells.”

Spencer stares at him. “I’m not playing hand bells.”

“You’re right, you’re right.” Brendon nods. “That’s more, like, dead winter, ice castles, Christmas and shit. How about the xylophone?”

Spencer chucks his drumstick at his head. “I hate you.”

Brendon sighs and drops back on the lounger, stares up at the blue, blue sky. “When’s the dynamic duo getting here?”

“Tomorrow,” Spencer says. “Nine fifteen, my house, don’t be late, Urie, or I’ll kick your ass.”

“I won’t,” Brendon says, because he’s actually looking forward to it now. Over the past thirteen years, Beach Dog has put out six critically acclaimed albums, and one commercial flop – their first, Softly, an instrumental lullaby album for Lissa, performed with half of The Hush Sound before they were Hushies. It’s Brendon’s favorite, and oddly enough the indie EP that had originally caught Pete Wentz’s attention, even though the re-release on Decaydance had barely caused a ripple – and Brendon hesitates to say he’s out of ideas, but there’s some sort of block in his brain, and not even a two year long hiatus has helped.

“Gerard called,” Spencer says, suddenly looming over Brendon. “They want to do the cure for death song, so long as we don’t call it Cure For Death.”

Brendon grins. “Sweet.”

*

Brendon’s first impression of Jon Walker is that he’d be really awesome to cuddle with. He’s got close-cropped hair and a neatly trimmed beard and a smile that lights up his entire face. He’s wearing a v-neck tee with the collar stretched and he has actual boy stamped all over those nicely loose jeans, which is a novelty, since Brendon and Spencer both still squeeze into girls’ pants, despite being in their mid thirties. He’s waiting for Lissa to notice and call him on being totally embarrassing, sort of like she does whenever he says awesome or cool out loud, but until that day he’s gonna rock his capris and tight, tight slacks.

His first impression of Ryan Ross is that he might actually cut him if he got too close. And not, like, out of spite, but just because his bones are made of jagged glass or swords or something. He’s got a thing for scarves, too, even though it’s July in the desert. Brendon thinks maybe he’s skinnier than Bill Beckett. It’s slightly off-putting.

Spencer shakes Ryan’s hand and they both grin sheepishly, and Brendon remembers Spencer saying they knew each other, even though he didn’t say from where.

Jon keeps his hands in his pockets, and Brendon resists the urge to bounce him into a full-body hug. He thinks it’s a little early on in their relationship for that. Brendon can totally be reserved when he wants to be.

Brendon shoves one hand in his front pocket and rocks back on his heels, giving a little wave with the other. “Hi,” he says. “Great to meet you.”

Jon bobs his head, still smiling. “Ditto.”

Ryan turns creepy huge eyes on him. He licks his lips and looks hungry, and Brendon has a split-second of sheer terror before he says, “Holy Places is one of my favorite albums ever. It’s genius, the way you used James Hetfield for Walk On, John Coltrane,” and Ryan does not look like a fanboy at all, so Brendon blinks, startled.

“Uh. Thanks?”

Jon laughs and says, “We’re both fans, seriously.”

Brendon feels his cheeks heat a little. It’s kind of embarrassing. He rubs his face with his palms and grins. “Okay, well, um. I was thinking, like, an album about summer?” He ignores the glare Spencer’s aiming at the side of his head, because he’s not going to sing about his pool, Spencer Smith. Brendon is not that lame, no matter what Lissa says.

Ross flicks the end of a scarf over his shoulder. “What do you have so far?”

They’re in Spencer’s basement. It’s their starting off point when they’re in writing mode, even if they end up in, like, Brendon’s mom’s attic – although that’s only happened once, and they’d scared the crap out of her, and so, while the yelling had been kind of hilarious, they’re basically banned from turning up unannounced at the Urie household.

Jon and Ryan both showed up with guitars, which is great, since Brendon only has two guitars, a bass, a banjo, two fiddles, a trumpet, a French horn, maracas and a spinet packed into the soundproofed room. He leaves most of his weirder instruments at his own house.

Brendon breaks out his favorite acoustic and plays them the tentatively titled Steal My War. “We’ve got AAR for that one,” he says when he’s done singing, and he’s still feeling that fucking blush, because Ryan is staring at him and Jon’s already got his own guitar out, feeling out the notes for himself, grinning, and it’s kind of awesome.

Spencer settles behind his kit and they churn out the half a song they have for the Hushies, and then Cure For Death – which is totally going to end up being Cure For Death, fuck Gerard, now that he’s gotten that into his head. They play the music they’ve got for Handsome Woman. At some point they order food and Brendon flips open his notebook, giving them bits and pieces of their half-assed efforts over the past several months. When Ryan starts making suggestions and Jon ducks down by himself in a corner of the room, bent over his guitar, well. It’s comfortable. Brendon finally feels like they’re getting something done.

And then Ryan ruins it by being an asshole.

“You have to sing it lower or it won’t work,” Ryan says, hands on his hips. It’s the fiftieth fucking time he’s said that, and Brendon can’t fucking go any lower.

“And who the fuck do you suggest we get to sing it, then?” Brendon asks, because, Jesus Christ, it’s not like their pool of singers are, like, fucking basses.

Ryan actually stamps his foot. “What the fuck, anyone can—”

“He means softer, dude,” Jon cuts in smoothly.

Brendon flaps his hand. “And he couldn’t fucking say softer?” He doesn’t really say it harshly, though, because he’s wound up, yeah, but he’s also really fucking tired, which means—“Shit.”

He glances at Spencer, and Spencer rolls his eyes. “Zack called while you were arguing about tenses. They’re having dinner without you. And ice cream.”

Brendon wrinkles his nose. He hates missing out on ice cream.

There’s a thump and a snap and Jon’s giving them a little grin, shrugging as he hefts his guitar case. “I should get going anyway.”

“Okay.” Brendon nods jerkily, and he doesn’t know why he suddenly feels awkward. It’s totally weird.

“I’m staying with Spence and Haley,” Ryan says, flicking his hair back off his face.

Brendon’s eyebrows arch up, but Spencer just glares at him. Whatever. Brendon resists planting his thumb and forefinger on his forehead, but he still mouths, “Loser,” at him, because Spencer is such a loser, not telling him anything at all about his old buddy Ross. Haven’t they known each other since fucking high school? Haven’t they struggled through the Brent Fiasco together, as well as the great Band of Alexes Disaster of oh nine?

Spencer cocks his hip and smirks.

Brendon ignores his blatant assholery and checks his watch. It’s just after seven. If he hustles, he can maybe still make it home for dessert.

*

Brendon feels a little stupid when he steps outside to get his paper and sees Jon across the street, doing the exact same thing. And then he shakes it off, because what the hell, Walker’s a totally common name, and this is just a huge coincidence – there’s no reason Brendon should have known.

Brendon grins, gripping the plastic wrapper of the circular – he doesn’t actually get the news except on Sundays for the comics – and asks, “Relations?”

“Ex-wife,” Jon says. He rubs the back of his neck, dipping his head.

“Oh, hey, I guess that means Kit only gets half his awesome from his mom,” Brendon says, and then he kind of wants to punch himself in the throat, because what the fucking fuck, how lame can he possibly be?

Jon laughs, though. “No way, that’s all Cass.” He leans against the mailbox, and Brendon tucks his hands under his armpits and crosses the street. If Jon’s divorce is this amiable, Brendon’s totally going to get some flirting in.

“So. Confession?” Jon says when Brendon bounces up onto the curb next to him. “I kind of knew you lived here. Kit pretty much talks about Lissa nonstop.”

Brendon nods. “He’s in love. I’m already planning the wedding, dude. I’m thinking a Southern belle theme, you know, when Lissa no longer looks like she’s in a Cure cover band.”

“Dad,” Lissa yells on cue, and Brendon glances over his shoulder to see her hanging out of the front door. “Tell Kit we’re gonna be late. Why’re you still in your pjs? You didn’t forget, did you?”

Brendon totally forgot. No worries, though. A quick change and he’ll be ready to roll, and Spencer’s probably had this on his calendar for weeks, because Spencer’s a planning fool, so it’s not like he’ll be skipping out on practice.

Kit tears out of the house seconds later and jumps off the front stoop with this enormous duffle, decked out in his pink Indian Princesses shirt, and Jon, to his credit, just blinks.

Brendon leans towards him and whispers, “It’s okay. He’s not actually the only boy.” While traditionally for father-daughter bonding, there are enough unconventional families in the area that their local troop of Indian Princesses has a total of three boys and one scary-ass grandmother.

“But—”

Brendon pats Jon’s shoulder. “We’re spending the day at the Family Fun Spot. Water slides and go-carts, Jon Walker. Wanna come?”

*

Zack’s the responsible one, which is why Brendon blows fifty bucks on a tube of SPF 45, two pairs of sunglasses and a ginormous beach towel at the Family Fun Spot shop. Zack has a whole day-trip regimen, and Brendon’s sure Zack lectured him on this before they left the house, but Brendon sometimes tunes Zack out when he’s lecturing. He is totally not going to tell Zack this.

“Harry Potter?” Lissa says, nose wrinkling as Brendon spreads out his awesome new towel.

“Harry Potter’s cool,” Jon says. He’s sprawled out on a lounge chair by the lazy river, huge, white-framed sunglasses perched on the end of his nose.

Lissa rolls her eyes. Brendon knows Lissa secretly thinks Harry Potter is awesome, but for some reason she’s started denying her pure Wizard love. Brendon’s not saying anything, but he thinks it has something to do with last winter, and the day she came home from school without her beloved Hufflepuff scarf.

“Go on,” Brendon says, waving Lissa off.

Kit’s hovering behind her, dancing on the balls of his feet. Even though they’d arrived en masse, the rest of the Indian Princesses had taken off for the giant tube slide already, and only a few of the dads are lingering around Brendon and Jon. Lissa gets along all right with the girls – and boys – but they don’t really interact very much. In the month since Kit’s arrival, it’s been Kit-and-Lissa, and then everyone else.

Brendon sighs and sinks down onto his chair as they run off. It kind of hurts to see Lissa so out of touch with her peers. It’s, like, some sort of Urie curse, he’s sure. He’d never fit in too well himself until he’d met Brent and Spencer.

“I can see why he likes her,” Jon says.

Brendon grins over at him. “Yeah, because you don’t live with her.” Brendon loves his daughter, but Lissa is and always has been a total terror. He thinks it’s worse with Zack around encouraging her, but he can’t be sure, seeing as how he’d snagged Zack right off the tour circuit when she’d been a teeny tiny baby. Head of Beach Dog festival security or baby nanny – Brendon suspects it’d been kind of an easy choice for the big guy to make.

Jon snorts, and Brendon belatedly realizes maybe that was a tactless thing to say, since Jon doesn’t even live in the same state as Kit, but he doesn’t say anything. Just sort of grimaces to himself and laments about how Jon probably thinks he’s a total moron.

“So all this relaxing shit is fun,” Jon says eventually, “but I’m pretty sure that twenty foot drop is calling my name.”

Brendon grins. “I can totally hear it too, Jon Walker. It’s calling you a pussy.”

Jon pushes his shades up on top of his head and shines his amazingly happy brown eyes on Brendon, and Brendon gets a giddy bubbly feeling in his gut, because Brendon is totally a fifteen-year-old girl.

“That sounds like a challenge, Urie,” Jon says.

“Slide races?” Brendon’s already on his feet.

“You’re so on.”

*

“Jon Walker is a bronzed god,” Brendon says, walking into Spencer’s kitchen the next morning. “If only my pasty skin could shine so.”

“So this is embarrassing,” Ryan deadpans from the breakfast counter.

Jon bites his lip and ducks his head and Brendon just grins, because Brendon Urie does not shirk on bets, and Jon won their go-cart race by a full lap, no matter the fact that he’s a dirty rotten cheater.

Brendon claps his hands. “How do you boys feel about making beautiful music together?”

Jon honest-to-god giggles into his coffee.

*

Lissa has approximately three hundred and fifty things going on during the summer, because Zack is a firm believer in keeping active. She’s got soccer and Indian Princesses, she’s got water ballet, guitar and piano lessons – she’d refused to let Brendon teach her, and Brendon is totally not bitter about that at all – and she’s got day and weekend trips with the community center – horseback riding, camping, cook-outs, tubing, the zoo.

And she’s got two weeks before school starts with her mom in LA.

“You’ve got your phone,” Brendon says.

Lissa holds up her sparkly pink cell and says, “Duh.”

Brendon shifts anxiously on his feet. Zack helped her pack, so it’s not like he’s really worried she’s forgotten anything. He just hates when she goes away. “Okay,” he says. “Okay, be good for your mom.”

“I will, Dad, come on, I’ve gotta go.” She darts a look over her shoulder.

The UA employee escorting her to the gate smiles at Brendon, but looks phenomenally bored.

Brendon sweeps Lissa into a hug. “Call me when you land,” he says, then slips her a five and makes meaningful eyebrow waggles.

She rolls her eyes. “I know how to tip, Dad, geez,” she whispers, shoving the money in her shorts pocket.

Brendon almost ruffles her hair, but figures his hand’ll just get stuck. He’s half-hoping Audrey will do something to make her look a little more presentable before school, even though Brendon suspects Lissa gets all her crazy genes from her – Zack thinks he’s delusional and takes great joy in bringing up what he calls the Unfortunate Tattooing Incidents during his teen years, but what the fuck ever, Zack, Brendon’s piano keys and flowers rock.

Lissa grabs his arm and jumps up on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek, and then Brendon watches forlornly as she’s swallowed up by the crowd around the security checkpoint.

He tugs his cell out of his tight front pocket and dials Audrey. “She’s off,” he says into her voicemail, because they rarely talk these days, and he’s pretty sure she screens his calls. Zack contacts her about all the important stuff. “LAX, four fifteen, um, one checked bag. Make sure she calls me.” It’s happened before, where they get caught up in whatever they do and Lissa ends up calling him in, like, the middle of the night, because Brendon is totally a trusting dad and he isn’t going to hound her when she doesn’t immediately check in, even though she should totally always immediately check in.

When he gets home, Kit’s sitting hunched over on Brendon’s front stoop, looking miserable. It’s a strange mood on him.

Brendon settles down next to him, elbows on his thighs, hands clasped between his knees. He sighs.

Kit kicks out a foot, scuffing his sneaker on the concrete. “This sucks,” he says.

“Totally.” Brendon bumps their shoulders together. “Wanna order a pizza and drown our sorrows in pop and Twizzlers?”

Kit smiles a little, looking up at Brendon from under his bangs. “I’ll get my dad.”

*

Jon Walker is the most amazing man to hang out with. He’s completely and totally relaxing, and Brendon hardly fidgets at all through 3 Ninjas, except he’s dying to try out a high kick, so he’s actually probably fidgeting a whole lot.

“You’d pull a groin muscle, man,” Jon says, and Brendon mentally adds telepathy to the list of Jon’s many awesome qualities.

Brendon pouts, though, and says, “I’m not that old.”

Jon just arches an eyebrow at him. He’s slumped down on the couch, a coke can balanced on his stomach. Kit’s on the floor, bracketed by Jon’s legs and leaning halfway towards the screen, completely enamored. Brendon understands. The movie’s pretty cool.

Brendon’s leg bounces, because he’s thinking about the cake Zack left him. Zack always leaves him a cake when Lissa visits her mom. It’s chocolate, with cool whip icing, and he thinks maybe Zack crushed some Oreos on top. He hasn’t given it a decent perusal yet, ‘cause he’s not sure he wants to share. The Walkers are awesome and all, but this cake has to comfort him in his time of need. He’s already given up his Twizzlers and Sour Patch Kids.

Jon reaches over and presses a hand onto Brendon’s knee, and Brendon instantly stills. It’s actually kind of weird.

“Dude,” Jon says. “We can leave?”

“No, no.” Brendon shakes his head. “No, I’m.” He’s such a fucking spaz. He needs to, like, seriously consider giving up sugar. He lets out a noisy breath. “I’m totally keyed up,” he says in a rush, and he thinks he has to be imagining the way Jon’s eyes darken, because the next second Jon blinks and his mouth quirks with humor and Jon just says, “No kidding.”

Kit twists around and looks up at them. “Can we swim?”

Brendon tilts his head and calculates approximately how long it’s been since they polished off the last of the candy, thinks it’s been at least a half hour, and nods. “Sure, okay. Jon?”

Jon shrugs. Jon shrugs a lot, actually, and that might have bothered Brendon on anybody else – it’s sort of passive-aggressive, right, when you use it that much – but Jon just seems to use it as a generic lets-roll-with-it gesture, and Brendon thinks that’s cool.

“We’ll get our suits,” Jon says, getting to his feet, pressing one hand on the top of Kit’s head. “Let’s go, kiddo.”

Kit grins the biggest grin ever up at his dad and grabs his hand, using it to pull himself up, and Brendon can tell Kit pretty much adores Jon, and that’s nice to see. Lissa and Audrey love each other, but they’re not that close, really, and Brendon suspects Lissa takes after him a little too much for Audrey’s comfort. He knows he used to bug the shit out of her when they’d been dating.

Brendon spends fifteen minutes contemplating which shorts to wear, so by the time he’s got his Patrick the starfish ones on, Jon and Kit are already in the pool; he can hear them splashing before he even slides open the back door. He takes a running leap and does a cannonball into the deep end.

Jon has a strong back. Brendon wants to rub it or rub up against it or something. He feels a little weird thinking these thoughts while Jon’s tossing Kit around in the pool, but seriously. That’s one hell of a back, possibly nicer than Spencer’s even, and Spencer has a classy back, all broad and shit.

Brendon hits Jon in the head with a wet noodle.

Jon lunges for him, and Brendon can’t get away fast enough, and Jon ends up half on top of him, an elbow bent on one shoulder, other arm snaking around Brendon’s chest, and Brendon sinks like a stone.

Jon’s laughing when he splutters back out of the water.

Kit is too, and Brendon wags a finger at him and says, “You better watch yourself, mini Walker. I’m totally like an eel.”

“An eel,” Jon echoes, mouth twitching.

Brendon is totally offended. Brendon was practically born underwater. He can hold his breath for forever, seriously. He slips under again and skims along the concrete bottom. The chlorine stings his eyes and he’ll be mainlining Visine later, but it’s worth it to be able to grab Jon’s ankles and yank him off his feet.

“You realize this is war now,” Jon says when they both break surface again, panting. His hair is plastered to his forehead.

Brendon grins. “Bring it.”

*

“I’m in love with Jon.”

“Three weeks ago you were in love with Jorge the mailman,” Spencer says, making stern faces at his laptop screen. It’s Spencer’s bill paying day, so they’re in Spencer’s office, because Spencer is an anal freak.

Brendon nods. Jorge totally rocks the summer uniform. But he’s no Jon Walker. “This is the real deal, Spence. We had water wars. He quoted Spaceballs, and then we watched Bring It On, and he totally knows all the words to Mickey.”

Spencer shifts and gives him the stink eye. “Bren.”

Brendon says, “He’s just really fun,” leaning forward to rest his elbows on Spencer’s desk, cupping his chin in his hands. He doesn’t have the best dating history, though, so he kind of understands Spencer’s concern.

Spencer smiles a little. “Won’t that make Kit and Lissa’s union sort of incestuous?”

Brendon giggles. “That shouldn’t be funny.”

Spencer rolls his eyes, but he’s still grinning, even when he turns back to his computer. “Okay.”

Spencer is Brendon’s best friend. They’ve been best friends since senior year of high school, when Spencer transferred into Palo Verde and the only kid he knew was Brent. They’ve been best friends since Beach Dog’s early days, back when Beach Dog was a Blink-182 cover band and still had four members. Trevor was easy to forget, but Brent was the loss that’d stung. Still stings a little, because they’d been close, the three of them, only Brent hadn’t actually believed in Beach Dog, not really.

When Brendon had written Walk On, John Coltrane and said he’d wanted Metallica to perform it with them, well, Brent had sort of laughed in his face and told him good luck. Spencer had nodded and gotten on the phone to track down James Hetfield’s manager. So Spencer is Brendon’s best friend, and Brendon can’t see that changing anytime soon. Except there’s still the small matter of Ryan Ross.

“So what’s the deal with you and Ross?” Brendon asks.

Spencer shrugs. “Nothing.”

“Spence, come on. Old friends? You never mentioned him before.” Brendon gives him his best pout, and Spencer arches an eyebrow without looking away from his screen.

“Not a big deal,” Spencer says. “He’s a little older. We lived near each other growing up, went to the same school, but then he moved away for college. Chicago.” He glances over at Brendon. “Where he met Jon.”

Brendon rubs a thumb along the edge of the wooden desk, bites his lip. “I’m just curious. I mean—”

“Oh my god, Brendon.” Spencer slaps his hand down over Brendon’s. “You’re not being replaced, Jesus Christ, I still love you best.”

“Of course you love me best,” Brendon says, nodding, because he totally never doubted that, for real. “I’m awesome.”

“Dork.”

“Loser.”

“Leave before I kill you,” Spencer says.

Brendon hops to his feet, grinning. “Yes sir.”

*

Brendon likes having Jon and Ryan with them, he honestly does – Jon seriously gets cooler every single day – but right around the time Lissa gets back from her mom’s, he starts getting an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Walker and Ross are a pretty slick duo in the music industry. After Pete had foisted them on Beach Dog, Brendon had looked them up, and they’ve got album credits out the ass. Even Toro had brought them in for a sticky part on their fifth album, and Toro and Gerard are notoriously touchy and protective about their songs.

So the problem now, as Brendon sees it, is not that they’re being helped by them, but that they’re writing an entire album with them, and after over a month Brendon’s starting to lose that yay-we’re-getting-stuff-done feeling, and gaining an uncomfortably awkward we’re-wasting-time one. That isn’t exactly accurate, because he knows the songs they’re writing are amazing, but. It’s just that this is starting to feel like a Walker-Ross-Urie-Smith album, which is, like, completely not what Beach Dog is about.

“This is great,” Brendon says when they finally get the refrain on the wax pond song down, when they finally agree, “but we can’t use it.” He flicks a look towards Spencer, and Spencer has his lips pursed, but Brendon’s pretty sure he gets it, knows why.

Ryan, though, makes a choked sound and whips his guitar strap over his head, then disappears upstairs. There’s a stunned silence. Brendon’s not sure if he expected that reaction or not, but Ryan’s been pretty volatile over the past few weeks, arguing fiercely over words and notes.

“It’s not.” Brendon flounders, feeling suddenly helpless, and Jon’s frowning at him, a shade of hurt in his eyes. Brendon glances at Spencer again, but Spencer shakes his head, looking almost as lost, spots of color high on his cheeks.

Jon says, “Hey, it’s okay,” even though he sounds confused, even though his knuckles are white, fingers tight around the neck of the bass he’s been using.

And it’s so obviously not okay, not really. Brendon doesn’t know what to do, how to explain, but he figures he needs to find Ryan first. He retreats from Jon’s hang-dog expression and hurries up the steps out of the basement.

Ryan’s making a sandwich in the kitchen. He’s got what looks like a good half of Spencer’s fridge spread out all over the counter. Haley might kill him, but Brendon isn’t going to mention that.

Butter knives can totally do some damage, so Brendon keeps a safe distance and says, “Hey.”

Ryan’s back tenses. He tilts his head, giving Brendon half a profile. “You’re an ass,” he says eventually.

“No, look.” Brendon spreads his hands, takes a deep breath. “Look, Beach Dog is me and Spencer, right—” Ryan’s shoulders twitch into an even straighter, tighter line, and that’s not what Brendon meant. He steps closer, like Ryan might bolt. “Beach Dog is me and Spence. It’s getting awesome bands to, like, sing backup, duet, jam with us, play something outside their comfort zone,” sometimes he’s still amazed that actually happens, “and you—Ryan, I don’t think I can—”

He’s totally fucking this up, he knows this. Fuck.

“This song is ours—yours, Ryan,” he finally says, and it comes out more exasperated than he’d wanted it to. “It’s not mine. I can’t sing it, and I can’t give it to, like, fucking Justin Pierre or, or Jesse Lacey, dude.”

Ryan turns a little towards him, frowning. He’s no longer holding a knife, so Brendon counts that as a small win. “I’m not a performer. What are you saying?”

“I’m saying we trash these songs—”

All of them?” There’s a moment where Brendon thinks maybe Ryan’s going to cry, and then his face falls blank. “What the fuck.”

“We set them aside,” Brendon amends, then says slowly, “Pete wants us to put out a Beach Dog album. I want to put out a Beach Dog album.” He fucking loves Beach Dog. He loves the concept, the country-wide festivals, even though they’re few and far between and a bitch to schedule. But he’s kind of having the time of his life right now, with just the four of them. “And then I want to do whatever the hell it is we’re doing together.”

*

Brendon has no idea what Ryan says to Jon. Both of them kind of close down after Brendon’s announcement, which is totally unprofessional and whatever, rude, but Brendon can see where they’re coming from. They maybe think they’ve been wasting their valuable time, but they haven’t been, they totally haven’t been—Brendon just can’t get that through Ryan’s abnormally thick skull.

Spencer calls Brendon the next day and says, “They’re leaving. Well, Ryan’s leaving, Jon’s staying an extra week for Kit or something, but then they’re.” He pauses, then says a little quieter, “Bren, talk to Jon.”

“Is Ryan—”

“Ryan,” Spencer wavers, “gets it. Kind of.”

Brendon’s apparently a little cowardly, because he doesn’t actually want to go talk to Jon. Or, rather, he really, really wants to go see Jon, but he doesn’t want it to be weird, and he doesn’t want Jon to give him sad eyes or something, and he maybe wants to hug Jon and, like, curl into him and maybe kiss his stupid face. He sighs. “I’ll talk to him.”

“Today.”

“Yes, today, Spence, I promise.” He tangles his fingers in the hem of his shirt. Today Zack has them gardening, it says so on Brendon’s giant kitchen calendar. So maybe not today. “Okay, so maybe not today,” he says.

“Bren—”

“Zack will totally kick my ass if I don’t weed!” Brendon says defensively.

“You’re serious,” Spencer deadpans, and Brendon thinks he’s been spending way too much time with Ryan. Maybe it’s a good thing he’s leaving.

Brendon is three seconds away from whining, he can feel it.

“I will kick your ass if you don’t walk across the street and talk to Jon right now,” Spencer says, and then he hangs up, like he just expects Brendon to do exactly what he’s told, the fuck.

Brendon harrumphs. He turns his cell off with a vicious finger jab.

He wastes a half hour changing out of his pajamas, then wastes another fifteen minutes with Lissa, perched on the couch arm, watching cartoons. He doesn’t actually move until Zack walks into the room and stares him down. Brendon suspects Spencer called him.

“Fine,” Brendon says, “geez.”

Brendon takes his sweet old time crossing the street and ambles up the path towards the Walker front door because he knows Zack is watching him from a window, and Brendon is immature and proud of it. He’s doing what he’s told, but he doesn’t have to like it.

And then he thinks about Jon, and Jon’s mouth and the way he has the very slightest of lisps when he says certain things, and Brendon’s grinning when Kit opens the door at his knock.

“Don’t you ask who it is?” Brendon asks, because that’s totally one of the rules Zack’s drilled into both his and Lissa’s heads. Crazy stalkers and kidnappers and creepy dudes that tie you up in basements are a complete possibility.

Kit blinks up at him. “Um. Who is it?”

“Not now, smart ass,” Brendon says, then cuffs his head lightly. “Your dad home?”

“In the kitchen with Mom,” Kit says, then tugs on the shank of hair falling over his eyes and asks, “Can I, um, is Lissa busy?”

“She’s watching cartoons.” He nudges him out the door. “Go on, I’ll tell your mom where you are.”

“Cool, thanks, Mr. Urie,” Kit says, because he’s so polite and, like, darling. Seriously, he’s Jon in miniature, down to the adorable little flip-flops he’s sporting.

Brendon shakes his head and steps further into the house. He’s only been in there twice before, but he’s pretty sure he remembers where the kitchen is, towards the back on the right, and he almost calls out Jon’s name.

He almost does, but he doesn’t, and afterwards he’s not sure if it would’ve been better if he had. He clutches the jamb, hangs just outside in the hallway, and Cassie’s got her hands in Jon’s hair, and Jon’s cradling her face between his palms, and their heads are so close, noses touching, skin flushed, and Brendon just.

He goes kind of numb. It’s unexpected, to feel that rush of nothing.

He forgets what he’s supposed to say. He’s not sure his throat would work anyway, so he backs away before they can notice him and retraces his steps to the front door, down the stoop and across the street.

Zack takes one look at his face and frowns, but doesn’t say anything. Kit’s camped out on the floor in front of the den TV, and Brendon’s upset, yeah, but he’s still responsible, and after gulping down a glass of water he very carefully dials Jon’s number.

He says, “Kit’s over here,” when Jon gives him a breathless hi. “I told him I’d let you know.”

“Thanks, hey, um. So about—”

“Spence and I, we,” Brendon blurts out. “We want you guys back, you know that right?”

There’s a pause. Then Jon says, “Yeah. Yeah, we know.”

“There’s something—we have something, the four of us, and I don’t.” Brendon digs a palm into his eye socket, feeling dumb, because god, maybe this, like, happens all the time for Jon and Ryan, right? Maybe they aren’t anything special.

“Brendon,” Jon starts, slow and deliberate, and Brendon doesn’t want to hear it, doesn’t want to hear whatever Jon’s going to say about anything, not yet.

The numbness is steadily giving way to this burn in his belly, and Brendon clenches his fingers around his cell. “I have to go,” Brendon says.

Jon sucks in a breath, asks, “Are you—are you okay?” and Brendon bites his lip to keep down a hysterical giggle, because what the fuck.

Brendon needs to get over himself. Jon’s awesome, and Brendon has a harmless little crush, but like. He maybe still needs some time here.

“I’m fine,” Brendon says. Peachy keen, yep.

“Sure? You sound a little. Off.”

Brendon says, “No, I’m good,” forcing a smile onto his face even though Jon can’t see it, probably can’t even hear it in his voice, and Zack, watching him from the doorway, has gone from frowning to scowling, expression on the edge of is-there-someone-you-need-killed. Zack’s kind of Brendon’s favorite. Brendon’s smile turns a little real.

“Seriously, Jon,” he insists. “Everything’s cool.”

*

It’s actually easier after Jon and Ryan leave. Something clicks, and Spencer and Brendon finish half a dozen more songs within a month. They’ve even got some bands in mind – Brendon still totally wants to get BSB for Handsome Woman, seriously, he can see Spencer and his little fanboy self wavering – but it’s not. It’s just not as fun anymore.

Spencer says, “So I should call Pete.”

Brendon drops his head in his hands, because he really isn’t sure he wants this part of his life to end. Even when they’d been on hiatus, there hadn’t been any doubt about coming back to this. “I wanna sing Found Days with Greta,” he says.

Spencer nods. “Yeah.”

“And I want Eagles of Death Metal for the nameless piano ballad. We maybe need a harpsichord.”

“I’ll ask Patrick,” Spencer says. He puts a hand on Brendon’s back, rubs circles low and soothing.

Brendon kind of feels like crying. “God, this is stupid.” He swipes a hand over his face, gives a choked laugh.

“It’s not. It’s not stupid,” Spencer says softly, and Brendon knows Spencer’s just as broken up about this as he is. It’s been their entire life. They’ve got months of recording, then months ‘til they tour, but even just thinking about it all ending makes something squeeze tight around Brendon’s heart.

Brendon sniffs, reaches back to catch Spencer’s hand and tug him into a hug, back to front. “The festival’s gonna fucking rock.”

Spencer’s chin digs into the top of Brendon’s head. “Best ever.”

part two

Comments

( 10 robots have taken off their pants — Take off your pants )
earth_is_a_star
Aug. 3rd, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
I. I maybe need Kit Walker to be a real person. So I can, I dunno, marry him? That tells me you're really awesome, but I don't know what it says about me...
skoosiepants
Aug. 6th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
Kit! Everyone seems to love that little scamp :)
whoyouinvent
Aug. 5th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
once i *got* the whole concept of beach dog, i realised how brilliant this whole thing is.
also, it totally needs to exist - for the festivals alone!
this is awesome, on to continue reading!
skoosiepants
Aug. 6th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
Oh, if only Beach Dog were real, it would be so so awesome. thanks, hon!
mrsquizzical
Aug. 5th, 2008 11:42 am (UTC)
loving this so much! it sort of dawned on me how the band works and how they all fit together and then i was pretty much just grinning my way through it all.

the dialogue is fantastically real and brendon's voice is adorable.

also, kit walker? should exist. he's awesome.
skoosiepants
Aug. 6th, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
thank you! Kit Walker is close to my favorite :)
uqangela
Sep. 19th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
I'm still reading it but I just got to this part:

Jon Walker is the most amazing man to hang out with. He’s completely and totally relaxing, and Brendon hardly fidgets at all through 3 Ninjas...

and I just want to shriek out, THREE NINJAS!! I LOVE those movies - I have them on DVD and loved watching them when I was a child! Rocky, Colt and Tumtum!

Yes, you utterly rock so hard for including them in your fic. *squee*
skoosiepants
Sep. 20th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
*laughs* I'm a big fan of 3 Ninjas! that was such a fun movie :)
liebe_neu
Apr. 5th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
I loved this so, so very much. Just like everything else of yours. You kind of win (and by kind of, I obviously mean the exact opposite definition) because I felt bad for BEACH DOG! Not Ryan, or Jon, or whatever, but BEACH DOG. An unexisting band, and I was, like, teary for Brendon and Spencer. I totally posted (flailed, spazzed, whatever) about it and the sequels on my lj. xD
skoosiepants
Aug. 15th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
uh, it looks like I never responded to this? and oh my god, I'm sooooooo sorry, I open these on my phone and then sometimes they get lost, and I feel horrible about it! thank you so much for your comment, though! I'm really glad you like this world :)
( 10 robots have taken off their pants — Take off your pants )

....

Stiles gets four weeks leave, and he plans on spending all of it with his dad. On Earth. He tells Lydia this, and Lydia just continues to be pale and quiet at him. He never thought he’d actually miss all the verbal abuse she always heaps on him, it’s kind of pathetic.

He sighs, slumps down in the seat next to her bed.

He kicks at the metal leg of her bed until one of the nurses gives him a dirty look.

Other than Scott, Lydia is his best friend. They make really poor decisions together, they fight a lot, sometimes Stiles literally cannot stand Lydia’s face, but they’ve been stuck together for nearly five years - Stiles knows more about Lydia than he’s ever cared to know about another person, this friendship is not going to go away.

Unless Lydia dies or something.

Stiles swallows hard and rubs at his eyes.

He’s going to go on vacation, and when he comes back, Lydia will be fine.

- Show You What All That Howl Is For

....







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panic - pants to match ver. 3
skoosiepants
master of karate and friendship
pants to match

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