There was something about murder, the passion behind it, that Ryan found incredibly sexy. He wrote about the intimacy of blood, slippery on skin, fingers pressing bruises into delicate flesh, thin over the bones of wrists, hips, jaws. He wrote about cold executions, the dead husks of men, soulless by some deep hurt, a betrayal of the all too fragile heart. He wrote about fury, mindless thrusts of a knife, the helpless shaking, the tears that followed, the stripped-down pain of losing control with consequences so irreversible, so gloriously final. And there was that moment, when eyes caught, that last flare of light, of life - burning brighter than it even had before just giving up - that was so powerful it was a rush just to write about, just to imagine in his mind.
In his head, Jon Walker could shoot a man between the eyes after sharing a pleasant meal. He could wipe his prints off a Glock, plant the weapon in a cold, unresisting hand. He could smile, could hug Brendon, pet Sassy, and he could slice a throat open, warm blood gurgling down his arm, in the next breath.
In his head, when Jon Walker inevitably found out what Ryan knew, what Ryan could say, there was a gun barrel hard in his ribs, a wide hand wrapped around his throat, squeezing, backing him up against his living room wall, silencing any scream, any fight Ryan had in him, and god.
Ryan shuddered, heel of his palm pressing into his hard dick. It was a little sick, how much that scenario scared him, how much it turned him on.
He made himself unlock his computer screen, pull up his latest word doc. The rough draft of Build God was almost three-fourths of the way done, and it was mainly all about Jon Walker.
Spencer had used the broom Joe’d given him exactly twice in the months since he’d moved in. Patrick and Pete were loud, but the first couple times he’d been sort of wary about actually banging on the ceiling. It seemed kind of rude. And then they woke him up at two AM with a blaring radio and what sounded like a herd of cats running around, and Spencer had knocked so hard he’d thought it might go right through the plaster.
When the screaming started, though, Spencer grabbed the broom and stalked upstairs to bang on their door, because some things just had to be addressed face to face.
“Are you killing a water buffalo up here?” Spencer demanded.
Pete blinked at him. “I was singing, dude.”
Spencer was not really surprised. “Don’t,” he said. “Please don’t sing ever again.”
“You can’t stop Patrick from singing,” Pete said petulantly.
“Was Patrick the one squeezing bloated cows?”
Pete looked kind of horrified. “No, man, Patrick sings like an angel.”
“Then Patrick can sing all the hell he wants.” Spencer jabbed Pete in the chest with the broom handle. “You get to shut up, or I’m stuffing this broom down your throat.”
“That’s harsh, dude,” Joe said, coming up behind him. “I think you’re abusing your broom-wielding privileges.”
Pete nodded. “He totally is.”
“First rule of broom-wielding,” Joe said.
Spencer stared at him blandly.
Joe stared back. His eyes were kind of glassy.
Finally, Spencer prompted, “Is what?”
“Is what what?” Joe scratched his scalp. “Dudes, have you seen Bob? I broke the lock thingy on my bedroom door, and he’s not answering his cell.”
Spencer pinched the bridge of his nose and muttered, “I seriously need to move.”
Spencer didn’t yelp but it was a close call. Brendon freaking jumped out of nowhere. “Christ.” He pressed a hand to his chest, heart hammering. “Brendon.”
“Hey.” Brendon grinned up at him. “Want to grab some dinner?”
Spencer bit his lip. Dinner with Brendon. Was that ever a bad idea. “I don’t think—”
“Please? Please, plea—”
“We can go wherever you want,” Brendon cut in, reaching out to grab Spencer’s arm, eyes big and pleading.
Spencer sighed. “You have no shame, right?”
“None at all, Spencer Smith,” Brendon said solemnly, “this is true.”
Spencer really didn’t want to get involved with Brendon, not on any level, because Brendon pushed his boundaries and Brendon had Jon, apparently, and Spencer had restraint, had reserve, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to get dangerously attached. That didn’t mean he wasn’t going to get his heart smashed. It just meant that, when he cracked, Brendon wouldn’t be able to tell.
Still. Brendon was really fucking hard to resist.
“Fine,” Spencer said. “Fine. Dinner.”
Brendon’s grin grew into a beam, his entire face lit up, and Jesus. Fuck, he was hot. A giant dork, yeah, but a really, really hot one. Damn it.
Ryan hardly ever left his apartment when he was writing – by the front door, at least – because he found the outside world broke his concentration, made him think in terms of reality, but he really wanted a cigarette. He didn’t actually smoke, but he was stuck on a scene and he was pretty sure having a cigarette would help, even if he just held it unlit between his fingers. He was just going to slip down to Rewind and bum one off Gerard.
He bundled up, because Spencer was constantly reminding him that it was winter outside, okay, and Ryan wasn’t entirely without common sense. Honestly. He layered a corduroy jacket over his t-shirt, a thick wool scarf wrapped around his neck, and then he stepped out into the hall, clicked his door shut, turned around and froze. Just fucking froze, heart in his throat.
Jon Walker froze, too. And then Jon smiled, scrubbed a hand over his hair and moved towards him.
“Hey,” he said, and Ryan tried to make his throat work, he totally did, but nothing came out of his mouth, not even a whimper. He backed up, heel hitting his door with a dull thump. They weren’t true, the things in his head, he knew that, he did, but what if. What if they were?
Jon cocked his head. “You okay?”
Ryan nodded. Kind of. He was sure his neck moved a little bit, at least. He gripped the ends of his scarf, knuckles white, and told himself to fucking breathe already, before he passed out.
“Dude, seriously, you’re not—are you breathing?” Jon stepped forward again, brow wrinkled and hands out.
“I’m.” Good, good, his vocal chords seemed to be functioning again. “I’m okay,” he managed, but that didn’t stop Jon from touching him, oh god.
Jon curled his hands around his arms, just above his wrists, and Ryan thought he could feel the heat from his fingers through the thick material of his coat, burning right into his skin.
“You’re not okay,” Jon said, tugging on his arms a little. “Come on, come inside and I’ll make you some tea, all right?”
Ryan started to shake his head, but Jon cut him off with, “Seriously, no arguing,” half-stern.
Ryan gave him a weak smile – maybe; he felt his lips twitch a little - and let Jon pull him across the hall into his apartment.
“Jonny Walker!” The door bounced off the wall as Pete burst inside.
Pete had really fucking awful timing. Jon had just gotten Ryan to take his coat off, stay a while. Ryan was gorgeous and kind of skittish, and his eyes were huge, slightly panicky, while he sat on the very edge of Jon’s couch, fingers gripped together on his lap. Jon was really, really curious about Ryan.
Jon sighed, said, “Hey, Pete.”
Ryan shot to his feet. “I’m just going to. Go,” he said, and before Jon could stop him he was sliding past Pete and out the door. He was a slippery-fast little guy.
“Good going, Pete.” Jon shook his head. “You let him escape.”
“Was that the elusive Ross?” Pete asked, half-awed, peeking out the still open door. Ross’s door echoed as it slammed shut. “How’d you manage to get him over here, dude?”
Jon shrugged. “Did you want something?”
“Heard you were back and I stopped by to say hi, seriously, do I need to want something to visit my favorite downstairs neighbor?”
Jon just stared at him.
Pete rolled his eyes. “Okay, fine, Patrick’s sort of homicidal or something.”
“Because you,” Jon prompted, waving a hand.
“Because my mom loved him, Walker. Like puppies and roses love,” he said, pulling his hoodie up over his head and then slumping down onto Jon’s couch. He scowled at his hands. “We’re, like, meant to be, and he thinks it’s some sort of elaborate joke.”
“Hey, this is just, you know, completely off-the-wall, I’m sure,” Jon said, taking a sip of his tea, lounging against the kitchen doorjamb, “but you could probably just tell him that you want to have his babies or whatever. Lay it all out on the table.”
“This is Patrick.” Pete scowled harder. “He’s supposed to know.”
Bob didn’t exactly have any days off – he was technically always on call - but after dodging calls from Joe all day Wednesday, he decided to leave his cell off and told Gerard to come get him if there were any emergencies. When he turned on his phone the next morning, he had five new voicemails. All from, unsurprisingly, Joe Trohman.
8:13 AM: “Hey, Bob, this is Joe, uh, you know that broken thing on my bedroom door I told you about? I kind of locked myself in, so, if you could maybe stop by sometime this morning.”
8:29 AM: “Bob, it’s me again, no rush, I managed to get the knob off, so go me.”
6:45 PM: “Dude, dude, there’s a.” He laughed. “There’s a hole in my door, dude, I can totally see into my bedroom. It’s, like, a peephole. Peephole. Can you just. I don’t know, maybe we need to spackle it?” He laughed again, harder. “Oh man, wait, wait, I just remembered. I need a knob. I can’t, like, lock my room or anything. For the sex. Shut up, Andy, I totally have sex. Your mom.”
7:15 PM: “So it’s just a minor burn, but that toaster is done, Bob, it totally attacked me with flames, and here I was, toasting up my bread all innocent-like. Andy, Andy, poke it with a stick, dude, don’t use your—”
11:45 PM: “Hi, so, emergency room fun. It totally wasn’t my fault, but I think we need to have the kitchen repainted.”
Bob pressed his fingers into his brow, right over his left eye, and seriously considered asking Gerard for a raise.
The best part about singeing a couple layers of skin off his hands was that Joe didn’t have to go to work for a few days. The worst part was that he couldn’t work the game controller without experiencing screaming pain. Andy looked pretty pissed about that, too.
“I told you I was sorry, stop glaring at me, dude,” Joe said. It wasn’t his fault Andy grabbed for the burning hot toaster, anyway. That was just plain stupid.
They were sitting side-by-side on the couch, moping. Watching—Joe cocked his head. “What is this?”
“Co-ed Call Girl,” Andy said.
“Huh.” While the name sounded tempting, he could have sworn— “Is that Tori Spelling?”
“Shut the fuck up, Joe,” Andy growled.
Joe shut the fuck up. If Andy wanted to watch Lifetime, Andy could totally watch Lifetime.
Spencer was hiding on his fire escape. He was wrapped up in a coat and a blanket, sitting on the cold metal and totally hiding from Brendon. Dinner had been a very obvious mistake, because it’d just made Brendon bouncier; more touchy-feely, god, and harder to resist.
Spencer jumped a little – what the hell was it with these people and their ninja ways? – and glanced up. Patrick was peering down at him. “Hey, Patrick.”
“Fresh air?” Patrick asked, and Spencer nodded. Fresh air, yeah. Patrick grinned and said, “Me, too.”
Spencer tugged his blanket more firmly around him. “Want to come down?”
Patrick grinned wider, then trundled down the steps with his own blanket and what looked like a giant metal thermos. He shook it back and forth. “Hot chocolate,” he said, settling down next to him, and suddenly Spencer’s day was looking up. Hot chocolate and pleasant company on a cold November day.
And then Ryan’s window slid up and Brendon climbed outside and said, “Oh, hey, cuddling! Can I get in on that?”
Spencer blinked at him. Crap. “Um.”
“Ryan said you were out here, but I didn’t know Patrick was, too.” He scooted over, grabbed at the ends of Spencer’s blanket. “Come on, Spence, share.”
Patrick laughed softly into Spencer’s ear as Brendon squirmed against his side, shoved his hands inside his coat, under the hem of his shirt, making him yelp and say, “Cold hands, cold hands.”
“I know,” Brendon breathed, ducking his head down to curl into Spencer’s neck.
“Shouldn’t you be hanging out with Jon while he’s here?” Patrick asked, clearly amused.
Brendon huffed, spreading his palms out on Spencer’s stomach and lower back, warming them up with Spencer’s skin. “He’s filling out reports. He hates paperwork, and he’s miserable and he couldn’t pay me enough to stick around while he’s being mean.”
Spencer shifted, belly tingling as Brendon’s fingers started petting him, Christ. And then his words hit and. Pay him? Jon paid him? “You get paid?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, not very much, since I live there and everything, but I cook, too. It’s.” Brendon shrugged against him. “It’s good, you know?”
Spencer absolutely did not know. Wow.
Patrick, however, reached around Spencer and squeezed Brendon’s shoulder. “It’s good, Brendon,” he said, smiling. “You’re fine.”
Spencer kind of felt like he was missing something, a giant something, but he didn’t want to ask.
“Okay,” Patrick said, unscrewing the top of the thermos, “who wants the first sip?”
Patrick was no longer mad at Pete. It was sort of pointless to stay angry with him, because Pete was Pete, and he was a massive dick most of the time, but he never really meant any harm.
Still, it was kind of hard to remember that when Pete woke him up in the middle of the night.
“Patrick,” he hissed, jostling Patrick’s leg.
“I’m sleeping,” Patrick said, but he blinked open his eyes and flopped over onto his back. His digital clock read 4:15 AM. He groaned. He had exactly two hours before he had to get up for work.
“Patrick,” Pete said again. He was standing at the bottom of the bed, shifting back and forth on his feet.
Patrick yawned. “What, Pete?”
Pete climbed onto the end of the mattress, caging Patrick’s calves with his knees. “Do you. Do you believe in angels?” he asked and great. Great, Pete wanted to get, what, philosophical?
“Do we have to talk about this now?” Patrick levered up on his elbows. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m.” Pete moved up the bed, clambering like a puppy, pushing Patrick back down flat and then hooking his fingers over the tops of his blankets. He scrambled under the covers and curled up, knees digging into Patrick’s side. “I’m fine,” he whispered once he was settled, forehead touching Patrick’s shoulder.
Patrick sighed. “Pete, you can’t.” He stopped, because Pete was breathing heavy, deliberate, like he did right after a bad dream or bad thoughts or something, anything, bad, and Pete could, then. He totally could.
Bob surveyed the damage, arms crossed over his chest. The wall was pretty black. “How?”
“The toaster’s ancient, dude. It just got stuck.” Joe was sitting at the kitchen table, hands stretched out. The bandages on his fingers were smudged with dirt, with who knew what. Food, maybe.
“I can’t decide if you’re really this accident prone or if you’re torturing me on purpose,” Bob said, shaking his head.
Joe scrubbed the back of his hand under his nose and yawned. “Andy enjoys your company,” he said.
Bob arched an eyebrow.
“Uh. I enjoy your company?”
Bob stared at him and Joe fidgeted, shifting in his seat, and he wouldn’t look Bob in the eyes. Interesting. “Okay.”
Joe nodded. “Yeah, so.”
Bob wasn’t sure what was going on there. He was getting some weird vibes off Joe.
“So are you trying to kill Joe with your brain? Because I’ve been working on that trick for years.”
“Andy.” Joe practically jumped out of the chair, waving Andy further into the room. “Andy, Bob’s here.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” Andy sent Bob a what-the-fuck? look, and yeah, Bob had no idea.
“I’ll paint this weekend,” Bob said, “but you’re replacing your own toaster.”
Gerard hunched over the front counter and spread out his paper, tucking a pencil over his ear, pinching another one in between his fingers. He pressed down hard, scent of graphite strong as the clean lines of a figure, a man, gradually appeared. He made his back curve, one leg slightly gnarled, so he’d limp when he walked, fingers bony over the end of a cane. His eyes were sharp, though, his mouth a dark, bitter slash.
Gerard froze, flicked his gaze up through his bangs and caught Frank’s smile. His breath stuttered. He hadn’t lost track of days, had he? “It’s Friday,” he said, and Frank grinned wider, flashing teeth.
“Heh, yeah, it is.” He laughed, and Gerard flushed bright red.
Fuck. “I’m not normally this much of an idiot,” Gerard said. He dropped his pencil, pressed it into the paper with the flat of his hand and straightened up.
“Good to know.” Frank pushed his hair back behind his ears, bobbed his head a little.
Gerard licked his lips. “Um. Can I help you with anything?”
“Ray said I could drop this off,” Frank said, hefting a pot up onto the counter. There was a plant in the pot, half dead and brown and fucking sorry-looking.
Gerard stared at it. “Thanks?”
Frank laughed again, more of a giggle, and his teeth bit into his lower lip. “Sorry, man, I rescued him from Ross last week.” He shrugged. “I think I actually made him worse.”
“It’s.” Gerard pinched a leaf and it fell off into his hand. “Oops.”
“Hey, careful. Attila’s been abused, dude.” He was still grinning, though, hands stuffed in his jacket pockets. He ducked his chin down into his wooly gray scarf and looked up at Gerard through his lashes.
Gerard leaned onto the counter. “Attila, huh?”
“A worthy name for a plant such as this.”
Frank blinked. “What?”
“It’s a jade plant,” Gerard said, smile blooming, and Frank blinked at him again, gaze dropping noticeably to his mouth.
“Um, okay,” Frank said. He leaned towards him, mittened hands braced on the edge of the counter. Mittens. He was wearing freaking mittens, black ones with little stars marching across the back, and how fucking adorable was that?
“Frank,” Gerard said.
“Would you maybe want to get coffee with me tomorrow?”
“I think that would be best,” Frank said, nodding, “seeing as how we’ve got a kid together now.”
“Ryan,” Spencer said, exasperated, “would you just come inside already? It’s freezing.”
“Is your door locked?” Ryan asked.
“What? Yes, seriously, get out or come in.” Spencer finally just grabbed Ryan’s arm, though, and dragged him inside, slamming the window shut behind him. Ryan was acting weirder than normal. “You’re acting weirder than normal.”
Spencer nodded. “Yeah, okay,” he said, because that made absolutely no sense at all.
“He’s trying to get me alone,” Ryan said, rubbing his hands together, as if he just figured out that it was fucking cold out, since it was winter time, and he just had Spencer’s window open for god knew how long before Spencer came home from work. He was getting used to finding Ryan on his sill, but that didn’t make it any less strange.
“Get you alone for what?” Spencer asked.
Ryan followed him into the kitchen. Spencer got out the hot chocolate mix and pulled the milk out of the fridge.
Ryan shrugged. “You’re gonna think I’m crazy.”
“I already think you’re crazy,” Spencer pointed out. There was very little Ryan could do to change that either way.
“Okay.” Ryan took a deep breath, eyes glued on the mugs Spencer had set out on the counter. “Okay, so, I think he wants to kill me.”
Spencer froze, spoon of little cocoa granules paused over the counter. Little dusty bits floated down to settle on the chipped formica in the quiet after that completely ridiculous pronouncement. Spencer had totally been wrong. Ryan was infinitely more deranged than Spencer had thought.
“Jon? Jon’s trying to kill you?” Spencer didn’t have a super impression of the guy, because he wanted into Brendon’s pants – he could totally admit that to himself – but he couldn’t actually see him going homicidal. “Are we talking about the same Jon here? Lives across the hall? Pays Brendon for sex?”
Ryan’s mouth dropped open.
Spencer rewound that last bit of speech in his head and winced. He hadn’t meant to say that out loud. Obviously.
“He pays Brendon for sex?” Ryan asked, incredulous. “Oh, this just got a hell of a lot worse.”
“Spencer,” Brendon declared, “is avoiding me.”
Jon looked up from cleaning his gun, pieces neatly arranged on the kitchen table, soft cloth smoothing over the barrel. “Yeah?”
Brendon dropped down in the seat across from him. “Totally.” He reached out and Jon smacked his hand.
“Guns are not toys,” Jon said, then grinned at him.
“Jon. Jon Walker,” Brendon whined, burying his head in his arms. His voice was muffled on, “What should I do, Jon? I’m heartbroken, I am.”
“Hey. Hey.” Jon waited until Brendon shifted, looked at him again, then he poked him in the forehead. “You, Brendon Urie, are awesome. If Spencer can’t see that, then he’s not worth it, okay?”
Brendon sighed, but his eyes looked lighter. “Yeah, okay.”
Okay, so, objectively. Objectively, Bob had a great ass. Joe could totally appreciate Bob’s ass without it being all weird and stuff.
“Gerard has to sign off on a new countertop,” Bob said, scrubbing at the kitchen wall with a flat brush and some soap. He had one knee up on a kitchen chair, elbow across the charred and scorched formica.
Joe scratched at his half-grown beard, under his chin and down his throat. “Okay,” he said, then sipped at his coffee. Seriously, Bob’s ass was pretty much perfect. It was a joy to look at that early in the morning.
Bob glanced over his shoulder at him. “You know you’re never getting your security deposit back, right?”
Joe shrugged. “Didn’t expect to.” He yawned, stretched and rubbed a palm over his chest. “I’m getting a shower, dude. Holler if you need me.”
“I think I’ll be okay,” Bob said dryly.
“Well, you know, whatever.” Joe yawned again, then stared down at his hands, wiggled his fingers, skin tight and sore. The bandages were already off, skin exposed to the air for maximum healing, but the tips of his fingers and the pad of his thumb on his right hand were still raw, which was kind of cool, because he was pretty sure he didn’t have any fingerprints left. If he ever decided on a life of crime he’d be set.
When he glanced up again, Bob was staring at him. “Hands okay?” Bob asked.
Joe swallowed hard. “Um.” Bob’s eyes were seriously hardcore. “Fine thanks.”
Bob nodded. “Sorry I missed your call,” he said, and he sounded sorry.
Like maybe he’d have, you know, driven them to the hospital if he’d known about it, instead of having Pete freak out and almost kill them all by sideswiping a bus. Which would have been nice.
“No problem, dude,” Joe said and flashed him a grin.
Brendon was very nearly a genius, this was true. “I’m very nearly a genius,” he said grandly. Gerard had actually asked Frank out, and it was all because of Brendon and his awesome introduction skills.
“That’s great,” Mikey said. “I want a grande. Black.”
Brendon bounced on the balls of his feet. “One grande black coffee, and one—”
“Hot chocolate,” Mikey cut in. “You’re not having coffee. If you have coffee, I might accidentally kill you.”
Brendon pouted, but Mikey did have a point.
Once they had their fine, delicious beverages in hand, they sat in the back of the coffee shop and Mikey buried his nose in a discarded National Enquirer.
Sassy was sitting pretty in Brendon’s dog satchel, propped up on his lap, and Brendon’s fingers twitched around his cardboard cup. And then he spotted Gerard through the large front window and kicked Mikey in the shin in his excitement.
“Hey.” Mikey frowned at him over the Pamela Anderson: Mermaid or hideous sea beast? headline.
“They’re here,” Brendon said. He clutched Mikey’s knee and shook his leg.
“Ease up there, Brendon,” Mikey said.
Brendon eased up, softening his grip but not letting go completely, because Brendon thought Gerard and Frank looked adorable together and it was all so awesome. They each got big cups of coffee or whatever and sat down in plushy seats near the window and Gerard looked a little nervous, fidgety, playing with the strands of hair that fell over his ears.
Frank tugged off his mittens – mittens! – and grinned and, “Oh my god, they’re so cute,” Brendon breathed.
Mikey didn’t say anything, but when Brendon glanced over at him he was grinning, too.
Ryan liked being in Spencer’s apartment. It was nice and clean and Jon Walker would probably never think to look for him there - and, look, look, it’s not like he really thought Jon was trying to kill him, okay? But the fact of the matter was that Jon had a gun. Jon had a very big gun, Ryan had seen it, and Ryan’s brain was really very good at blurring the line between reality and fiction. So Ryan was in Spencer’s apartment, hiding out from Jon Walker.
But since he was inside, and Spencer was inside – making pancakes for brunch, tucked away in the kitchen while Ryan sat patiently on the couch because he wasn’t allowed to help, since apparently his help wasn’t appreciated, and so what if he broke a few bowls? – he wasn’t sure who was knocking at the window.
“Get that, would you?” Spencer called out from the kitchen, like he was used to people knocking on his window. Which, okay, point.
Ryan moved warily towards the blinds, peeked through. The pane was fogged up. There was a big HI written backwards on it, and the tip of a bodiless finger was just finishing up the R in RECNEPS. Ryan flattened his hands on the glass and pushed up.
“Hi, hey, Sp—Ross,” Pete said, staring at him. “Look at you. Walker’s been trying to get a hold of you before he leaves town again.”
“I will slam this window on your fingers,” Ryan threatened.
“Hey, hey, I’m not going to say anything,” Pete said, slipping a leg over the sill and sliding down onto the couch. “It’s pretty lame to hide from Jon, though. It’s like hiding from puppies.”
“Puppies with guns,” Ryan muttered, shutting the window behind him.
Pete blinked at him. “I guess.”
“Hi, Pete,” Spencer said, ducking around the kitchen doorjamb.
“Was there a point to this visit?” Ryan cut in. Pete was an okay guy, but he tended to muddle Ryan’s thoughts. Ryan was writing. He needed Spencer’s steadfastness and bitchy calm, not Pete and his legendary mood swings. Hell, even Brendon was better, and Brendon had trouble sitting still.
“I’m on a scavenger hunt for Patrick,” Pete said. “Have you seen him anywhere?”
“Is it a scavenger hunt if you’re only looking for one thing?” Spencer asked, walking into the living room, wiping his hands on a kitchen towel.
Pete waved a dismissive hand. “Patrick’s missing, dude. And way to marginalize.”
“I saw him in the hall earlier,” Spencer offered with a shrug. “Said he was helping Ray man Rewind for the afternoon.”
“Rewind, awesome. That was my next stop.”
Pete liked Rewind because they had this entire huge display of Transformers and My Little Ponies and Care Bears and GI Joes that was constantly evolving due to the steady hand and dedication of one Ray Toro. When Pete bounced into the store, Ray was painstakingly enacting a Decepticon attack on Care-a-lot. Pete approved.
Patrick was at the front counter, flipping through a Sailor Moon manga – which Pete would torture him mercilessly about later, after he got a few important things straight. Jon Walker, Pete had found, was not always right, but he was hardly ever wrong.
“Patrick.” Pete drummed his fingers on the edge of the counter.
“Pete,” Patrick said without looking up.
“Patrick.” Pete took a deep breath. “Patrick, you are my one and only, no lie,” he said, projecting as much earnestness as he could into his voice.
Patrick still didn’t look up. “Okay.”
“No. No, seriously.” Pete grabbed his hand. “Stop being a jackass about this.”
“I’m.” Patrick pinned him with a narrow glare, face red. “I’m being a jackass?
Pete stared at Patrick, mouth set in a straight line. Finally, he asked, “How long have you known me?”
“Too long?” Patrick bit out harshly, but then his face immediately fell, guilt flashing in his eyes. “A while, Pete,” he amended, voice gentler. “Long enough to know when you’re being a complete asshole on purpose.”
“Apparently not.” Pete squeezed Patrick’s fingers. Hard.
“Pete—ow, stop it,” Patrick said, trying unsuccessfully to tug out of Pete’s hold.
“Listen to me,” Pete said. “Listen.” He let up a little on his grip, but didn’t let Patrick squirm away. “The truth is. The truth is I’m kind of in love with you.”
Patrick made some sort of sound in the back of his throat.
“I mean, I’m really, completely in love with you,” Pete said.
“You’re.” Patrick’s mouth opened and closed again, he rubbed the side of his free hand against his nose.
“I took you home to meet my mom. I flew you to Chicago, dude.” Pete grinned a little, pushing through his nervousness, threading his fingers with Patrick’s almost limp ones. “And you came with me, so. That has to mean something, right?”
“Pete,” Patrick said, drawn out, like when Pete used up all the toothpaste or ate all his cereal and put the box away empty.
Pete’s stomach clenched, dropped. “Hey, it’s.” He relaxed his fingers, tried to slip his hand away, but Patrick caught him, tugged him forward ‘til his belly was cutting into the glass, wrapping his other hand around Pete’s nape.
“I’m,” Patrick said, leaning in close, breath heating Pete’s lips, and Pete grinned.
He grinned, their mouths not quite meeting on a technicality, the fact that they were both too fucking short and the counter was too fucking wide. “Yeah,” Pete said. “That’s good.”
Bob could feel Joe staring, like an itch between his shoulder blades. He finished the layer of primer and straightened up, dropping the roller into the pan. He tugged a rag out of his back pocket, swiped at the rapidly drying smudges of white on his fingers.
“So,” he said, turning slowly around.
Joe was leaning up against the kitchen table. He’d pulled on a pair of sweats when he’d gotten out of the shower, and he had on the same Rubber Soul shirt Bob was pretty sure he’d been wearing for days. “Looks good,” Joe said.
“I’ve only got the primer on,” Bob said. He made sure to maintain complete eye contact as he moved towards him.
Joe cocked his head, expression suddenly wary. “Uh.”
“You’re really fucking annoying, Trohman,” Bob said matter-of-factly.
“I get that.” Joe bobbed his head. He looked a little like he wanted to back away, but he’d have to sidestep the table, and the kitchen was small. Bob was moving kind of slowly, but there really wasn’t any chance of Joe getting away. “Bob, what are you—?”
Bob was a deliberate guy. He didn’t do things he didn’t mean, but he wasn’t a big fan of curbing his impulses either, not if they were so well played out in his mind they were practically desires. Twelve hours out of every day, Bob was close to killing Joe. The remaining few waking moments, however, had lately consisted of a really fucking hot fantasy about a freshly showered Joe and his kitchen table. Opportunity, she was knocking.
Joe’s pants were conveniently loose at the waist, and Bob grinned, sharp, as his hands caught Joe’s hips, fingers slipping inside, teasing the skin where Joe was sporting absolutely no underwear at all.
“Hey, hey, this wasn’t.” Joe twitched forward when Bob’s thumbs slid down to dig into the juncture of his thighs, sweats pushed down to just over his groin. “Wasn’t what I had in mind,” he finished, breathy.
“Hmmm.” Bob leaned in, teeth just past gentle on his neck. Joe’s whole body jerked and Bob flicked his tongue over the blooming redness, a chuckle in his throat. “What did you have in mind then?” Bob asked.
Joe gripped his shoulders, hands clenching and unclenching. “Andy!” he blurted out. “You were supposed to be for.” He choked off on a groan as Bob bit his jaw, lips stinging on his stubble.
“You wanted me to fuck Andy?” Bob asked, amused.
“Andy fucks girls,” Andy said loudly. Bob looked over Joe’s shoulder at him as he opened the fridge, pulled out a carton of milk. Andy arched an eyebrow. “No offence, Bob. I’d do you if I liked dick.”
Bob nodded. “None taken.”
“It would be great if you could not do that in the kitchen, though.” Andy took a swig of milk.
“We could. I have a bedroom,” Joe said, kind of panting in Bob’s ear, which was undeniably awesome.
Bob was already pushing Joe out the door. “The one with the peephole?”
“The one with—oh, fuck you,” Joe said, but he was laughing.
“Ryan,” Jon said, and all the little hairs on the back of Ryan’s neck stood up. “You’re a hard man to pin down.”
“I.” Ryan pressed his eyes closed, took a deep breath, and then turned around, one hand still on his doorknob. He knew leaving Spencer’s by the front door had been a huge mistake.
“Can we talk inside?” Jon asked. He had huge, super kind brown eyes. Ryan didn’t know why his hands were shaking.
“Okay,” Ryan said, pushing his door open wider, because it was better than being dragged across the hall to Jon’s apartment.
“I just wanted to—wow. This place is a dump,” Jon said, looking around. He pinched a cardboard Chinese food container between his fingers and arched an eyebrow at Ryan.
“Um. Frank usually cleans up a little when he stops by,” Ryan said lamely. He just usually didn’t notice the clutter when he was writing.
Jon nodded. “I wanted to talk to you about Spencer, actually.”
Ryan’s swallowed thickly. “He’s. Why?”
“I just want to know about him, what he’s like.” Jon shrugged tightly. “Brendon’s got a pretty huge crush on him.”
“Oh, uh. Spencer’s awesome?” Ryan nodded. “I mean, yeah. Spencer’s great. He misses his mom and everything, so you know that’s. Kind of nice.”
Jon’s intense staring was making Ryan antsy. He backed away, took one huge step and miscalculated the amount of crap he had strewn about the floor. Stumbling, he hit the wall with his shoulder, jarring pain down his arm, and Jon reached out and touched him. He pressed him back until his footing was solid, then moved forward to look directly up into Ryan’s eyes.
Jon was really, really handsome that close. He had keen eyes, though, tracking Ryan’s every flinch, every halting breath, and oh god, Ryan was getting hard just looking at him, just feeling the heat from his hands on his shoulders. He tried to twist away, but Jon just clamped down harder, gaze dropping to Ryan’s slightly parted mouth, body shifting towards him, using his full body weight to keep Ryan in place.
Ryan cursed under his breath, squirmed, which just felt damn good, and Jon inhaled sharply.
“Ryan,” he growled, and Ryan blurted out, “Don’t kill me.”
“Kill—?” Jon froze, stared him. “Are you—are you—?” He pressed up against Ryan again, harder, and Ryan arched, he couldn’t help himself, and Jon groaned, eyes incredulous, surprised, like the sound was completely involuntary. “Are you kidding me?” he finally got out, but his voice was breathy, and Ryan could feel him along his thigh.
“Jon.” Ryan scrabbled for a grip, hands hooking over his forearms. “Jon.”
Jon leaned in, chin digging into Ryan’s shoulder. “I’m a U.S. Marshal,” Jon hissed in his ear.
Ryan’s eyes widened, brain instantly shifting gears. “That’s. Okay, that’s an awesome twist,” Ryan said. It was. It was the perfect curve ball for his book; an officer of the law. Ryan pushed at Jon, shimmied out of his hold and started for his desk, mind already flicking through scenes, and then he swiveled around and stalked back, cupped his hands around Jon’s face and drew him up into a kiss, tugged lightly on Jon’s lower lip with his teeth. “You don’t pay Brendon for sex, right?” he half-whispered when he pulled back.
“What?” Jon blinked at him fuzzily. “What?”
“Didn’t think so.”
“You know your brother and Brendon are stalking us,” Frank said, slipping his hand into Gerard’s as they left the coffee shop.
Gerard slanted him a grin. “They’re not very stealthy.”
“Sassafras was kind of loud,” Frank agreed.
Gerard’s thumb brushed over the back of Frank’s hand. He ducked his head, tops of his cheeks a little red. “Sorry about that,” he muttered.
Frank shook his head, laughed. “It’s fine. I mean, I’m used to Brendon by now.” He shrugged.
They stopped at the curb, at Frank’s car, and Frank was being nice and subdued. He was vibrating from the effort. He really kind of wanted to climb his way up Gerard’s body and wrap his arms around his face. He wasn’t sure if that would put Gerard off or not.
“So.” Gerard shifted on his feet.
Frank wondered what would happen if he pinched that sliver of skin on the back of Gerard’s wrist, bared by the too-short sleeves of his worn pea coat.
He wondered what would happen if he reached up and tugged on Gerard’s hair, hard, yanking him down to bite into his mouth. Because that sounded pretty fucking awesome to Frank.
“Want to do dinner next?” Frank asked. It was probably more acceptable, Frank thought, to attack your date after a nice dinner than in broad daylight on the corner of 6th and Market.
Gerard beamed at him. “Okay, yeah.”
Jon was good at intuitive leaps of logic. It was why he was such a great marshal, why he enjoyed his work so much. And it didn’t take very much thinking to realize that he had Spencer to thank for that paying Brendon for sex rumor. It made sense, in the way that Spencer was always so reserved with him, projecting these back-off vibes, the way that he avoided Brendon, but never out-and-out shoved him away.
Jon didn’t know where or how Spencer came up with that theory, but Brendon tended to give away little facts of his life, little pieces that would eventually add up to a whole if you were patient enough, because Brendon’s life was practically an open book, he embraced everyone so heartily, and he often forgot that there were things some people didn’t know, wouldn’t know, just from looking at him.
“I’m going to tell you a story,” Jon said as soon as Spencer opened his door.
“Uh. Okay.” Spencer nodded, crossing his arms over his chest, but he didn’t invite Jon inside.
“Okay, no, I’m not going to tell you a story,” Jon amended. He poked Spencer in the stomach. “Because even though Brendon wouldn’t mind me saying anything, it’s not my story to tell. So when Brendon gets home, I’m going to send him over here for a chat, all right?”
Spencer’s blue eyes were round, almost stunned. He nodded again.
“And you probably don’t want to mention that you thought I paid him for sex.”
Spencer had absolutely no idea what Brendon was going to tell him. No clue what would happen, unless Jon caved and told him about the paying for sex thing, in which case Spencer thought he’d probably get a kick in the balls.
He half-expected Brendon to just blurt everything out when Spencer let him into his apartment, too, but Brendon just watched him with his big brown eyes, mouth curled up in a tentatively happy smile. So. Jon apparently wanted Spencer to ask.
“Jon said, um. You wanted to talk to me?” Brendon asked.
“Yeah.” Spencer caught Brendon’s arm, urged him into the living room and onto the couch, sitting down next to him. “I just,” he floundered. “Tell me about yourself.”
Brendon’s eyes got even bigger. “Like, everything?”
“Whatever you want to tell me,” Spencer prompted, because he figured that was the best place to start.
“I’m. I’m starting college in the spring,” Brendon said. He threaded his fingers together on his lap. “Better late than never, right?”
Spencer nodded. He had no fucking clue how old Brendon was, but he figured he was maybe around his own age. “Not too late,” Spencer said carefully, and Brendon grinned at him, relaxed into the cushions.
“Well, you know, after Ray found me—”
Brendon blinked at him. “Um.” He rubbed his palms on his thighs. “Dude, I. I, like, ran away from home. I was living on the streets.” He said it lightly, like it was a joke, when it must have been anything but.
Spencer breathed, “Oh.”
“So.” Brendon shrugged. “Jon’s really awesome. I take care of his cat.”
“He has a cat, too?” slipped out before Spencer could stop it, which was a total tangent, but whatever. Brendon sort of lit up.
“Sass hates him. He’s really cool, though, plays fetch and everything.”
Things were starting to click in place for Spencer, and he nodded. Brendon was sweet. Brendon was Jon’s housekeeper. Or, like, housesitter. Animal caretaker.
Brendon was not dating Jon.
“Jon isn’t trying to kill Ryan, is he?”
“No?” Brendon laughed, hand hovering over his mouth. “No, oh, that’s seriously crazy.” He leaned into Spencer’s shoulder, tipped his head back and said in a hush, “Don’t say anything, but I think Jon likes Ryan. Wants to kiss him likes him.”
Spencer bit his lip, slid a hand over Brendon’s where it rested on his thigh, squeezed a little. “You think?” he asked, grinning.
“Yeah, and, okay, I’ve got another secret?” Brendon snuggled closer.
“Spencer,” Brendon said, hand curling in the front of Spencer’s t-shirt, just below the collar. “Spencer Smith, come down here.”
Spencer laughed, ducked his head, pushed his forehead against Brendon’s. “Yeah?”
Brendon nudged their noses together and something warm unfurled low in Spencer’s belly.
“I’ve got another secret,” Brendon repeated, right up against his lips, and Spencer said, “I think I know what it is.”
the first rule of broom-wielding: part two
Spark and Burn | 11000+ | PG-13 | Derek/Stiles witch hunters au A/N: this is ridiculous and fanciful and there is a completely PG rated bathing…
For anyone who missed it, here are my last couple tumblr prompts on AO3: What a Darling Summertime "So I think the Hales are werewolves," Stiles…
Forgot to post this here too!! I’ve Got A Sure Thing | +11000 word | PG-13 | Derek/Stiles I accidentally wrote mpreg. And…
Spark and Burn | 11000+ | PG-13 | Derek/Stiles witch hunters au A/N: this is ridiculous and fanciful and there is a completely PG rated bathing…
For anyone who missed it, here are my last couple tumblr prompts on AO3: What a Darling Summertime "So I think the Hales are werewolves," Stiles…
Forgot to post this here too!! I’ve Got A Sure Thing | +11000 word | PG-13 | Derek/Stiles I accidentally wrote mpreg. And…