bootson: (PatD- Pyro!SpencerR2G)
[personal profile] bootson
Title: Public Opinion
Fandom: Bandom (Panic! at the Disco)
Pairing: Brendon/Spencer (fake Brendon/Dallon and Ian/Spencer)
Summary: Ian and Spencer bet Brendon and Dallon can’t convince people they’re a couple outside of shows and vice versa. They all lose.
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None
Word Count: ~4000
Disclaimer: I know nothing. I deal in lies.
Author’s Notes: This is for [livejournal.com profile] patdla190’s prompt at Pretend Dating Fesitival.



Touring had taught Spencer a lot of things over the years. Most were useful (always order more drum heads than you think you’ll ever need), some were situational (don’t get involved when anyone in Cobra Starship was drinking and had a plan, especially if those plans involved Nate, Vicky-T, and the roof of a bus), and a few were a weird combination of both. The last type was full of the things Spencer usually forgot until it was too late and should probably write on a white board to wear around his neck whenever he drank so he wouldn’t let Brendon and Ian talk him into stupid things.

The main Important-but-easily-Forgotten tour trick was: When Zack started cackling, you ran. This was the only situation in which it was appropriate to take Vicky-T and Nate up on their roof hopping, scotch fueled insanity. That is how important this tip was.

Still, Spencer was a little tipsy; Brendon and Ian were both worse; Dallon was MIA somewhere, probably talking to his wife. It all meant a hysterical Zack was too much temptation to pass up.

“What?” Ian started, sitting up straighter and weirdly focused. “What’s funny? Is it about me?”

Spencer snorted. “Dude, everything’s not always about you.”

“Only because it’s always about me,” Brendon giggled and slouched over against Spencer’s shoulder, nearly upending his beer bottle in Spencer’s lap.

Catching the bottle, Spencer passed it to Ian because he was less likely to crawl all over Spencer and pour it on him. He tugged Brendon’s hair. “Don’t get cocky.”

Zack sat back and turned the laptop around. “No, seriously, this time the little fucker’s right. The internet is losing its shit over Brendon and Dallon.”

Brendon cheered, making grabby hands toward Zack, who wisely kept his laptop to himself.

Spencer groaned and whined “Tell me there isn’t a name smash. If this gets as bad as Circus, I’m going to punch someone.”

“Looks like they’re going on about what Breezy thinks. And Sarah, but mostly Breezy.”

“Sarah doesn’t care,” Brendon waved a hand around. “We’re in a friends-zone phase thing right now, anyway.”

Spencer dropped his arm and started to comment on it. Sarah and Brendon weren’t really the on-and-off type. They were either on or they were only friends; Spencer hardly ever got either of them to define it.

“Breezy thinks it’s hilarious,” Dallon told them, grinning as he threw himself onto the sofa on Brendon’s other side. At least it kept Spencer from saying anything. “Stage gay kills her; she thinks it’s the greatest thing ever.”

“Only because it is,” Brendon nodded. He flailed a hand out at Dallon, who only weakly batted back until Brendon lost interest. “They go totally batshit insane over it. Eat out of the palm of our hands every time I grope Dallon. It’s awesome.”

Spencer rolled his eyes and gulped down the rest of his tepid beer. He knew all the signs of Brendon about to start bragging. He dropped his arm down around Brendon’s shoulders long enough to get Brendon to start up with his stealth cuddling before trying to cover his mouth.

“Psh,” Dallon grinned. “All I have to do is lick a pick and they’re screaming for me.”

“We work less and get more,” Ian threw in from his place wedged into the corner, what the fuck. “They love us beeeeetter.”

Brendon bit Spencer’s hand instead of licking it, which startled Spencer into letting him go. “What the hell. Did you bite me? Since when do you jump straight to biting?”

Predictably, Brendon ignored him, telling Ian instead “lies.” He struggled up into an actual sitting position, mostly with an assist from Dallon. “They’re more into me and Dallon. They think we’re fucking.”

“Stage gay,” Zack pointed out. “Most of them don’t actually think that, Bren.”

“No one would buy you as a real couple, anyway,” Spencer added, ever so helpfully. He really should have kept his mouth shut because Brendon turned to look at him and Dallon leaned around Brendon to do the same.

“Challenge accepted!” They declared and highfived. Brendon missed and Dallon ruffled his hair just because Dallon did that. They had maybe been watching too much How I Met Your Mother. Barney was starting to become Brendon’s role model; Spencer should maybe have put a stop to that sooner.

“What challenge? Is there a challenge? Is there a bet? I want in on this!” Ian was rambling and crawling out to look at them all.

“Couples challenge,” Zack suggested. “You and Spencer against Brendon and Dallon. See who’s more plausible.”

“I hate you,” Spencer told him, with feeling. Zack just beamed since the other three had already latched onto it, discussing terms.

*

They stopped off at a truck stop at the asscrack of dawn because Brendon was whining about pancakes and Spencer could totally go for some bacon. Seriously, when was the last time he had bacon?

“You are way too obsessed with bacon,” Ian pointed out as he rubbed at his eyes and stumbled along through the parking lot.

“Spencer and bacon have a long sordid past,” Brendon explained.

When Dallon reached the smudged glass doors, he turned to look at them. “Show time, gentlemen. Bring your A game. Brendon and I so have this.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Spencer rolled his eyes, but threw an arm around Ian as Dallon led Brendon in by the wrist.

The waitress looked to be about 19 and bored out of her mind if the worn novel in front of her was any indication; there were only a few weary, exhausted looking tuckers in the place, both sitting at opposing ends of the counter. The waitress waved them to a booth, dropped off four glasses of water and took their drink orders before wandering away to talk to Zack, their driver, and a few techs that had come in. It left them to look over their greasy menus in peace.

“It’s probably a good thing it’s 3 a.m. if we’re doing this now,” Spencer grumbled. It was mostly for show. He was ignoring his own menu in favor of leaning heavily into Spencer’s shoulder to point out random things while Ian smiled at him.

Brendon and Dallon were running a similar scam except that Dallon was playing with Brendon’s hair while Brendon rested his head on Dallon’s shoulder. Spencer tried not to be annoyed with how dopey Brendon looked; Brendon did his best acting when he was campy.

Yawning, Brendon leaned his head back against Dallon’s arm and the back of the faded green seat.

Never one to let an opportunity pass him by, Spencer unrolled his flatware and used his water-spotted spoon to fish out a couple pieces of ice. Dallon and Ian were both still studying the meal combinations when Spencer pulled the spoon back and flicked the melty pieces at Brendon.

Brendon whined and cracked his eyes open when the ice made contact with his chest. “Mean, Spencer Smith.”

Spencer shrugged and reached for his water with the arm closest to Ian. As soon as he lifted the glass, a tiny balled up piece of napkin hit him squarely in the middle of his forehead. Brendon did victory arms while Spencer considered spitting water at him.

“Don’t do it,” Dallon warned. “I’m not getting wet all because he’s an asshole.”

“That’s what she said!” Ian threw out, way too enthusiastically. He’d been trying to land that joke for a week but kept getting the context wrong.

Dallon scowled. “I walked right into that.”

“Yes, sir, you absolutely did. It was awesome.” Ian looked imploringly at Spencer. Spencer shrugged and focused on flicking water out of his tilted glass toward Brendon, who was busy making a napkin shield using Spencer’s stolen napkin.

The waitress came back and clinked soda glasses all around. As she dropped four straws on the table, Spencer noted that her nametag read Amanda. “Have you guys decided? We’re out of grape jelly, just to put that out there.”

“As long as there’s bacon, we’re good,” Spencer promised, giving her his best grin.

Brendon snickered. “Might as well fry it all up. Keep him in a food coma for the rest of the week.”

“Like you’re not going to ask if they can put chocolate chips in the pancakes. It’s not even on the menu,” Spencer countered.

Amanda raised her eyebrows and laughed. “I can get you double the bacon with whatever you order. And if you ask really nicely, I can probably find some chocolate chips to keep your boyfriend happy, too.”

Spencer wanted to be indignant that Brendon and Dallon had won before they’d even ordered, but Amanda was looking at him with a smile and mischievous eyes.

“Um,” Spencer spluttered for a second. “Thanks. That would be great.”

Dallon and Ian were nearly in convulsions from laughing, but Brendon played it cool and ordered. Spencer followed, then Ian and Dallon. By the time she was gone, Dallon was practically crying.

“So who does that point go to?”

Ian raised his hand. “Us. The bet carefully says that we bet you guys would not be seen as a couple. You guys bet we wouldn’t.”

“That’s vaguer than it should be,” Dallon frowned and probably started planning on asking Zack as soon as they got back to the bus.

Spencer chose to go back sipping his Coke and kicking Brendon under the table just to make him glare and try to climb the table to hit Spencer in the face.

*

They hadn’t had much success with the bet. No one really mentioned anything, even within earshot of Zack, who usually ended up somewhere away from the main group. There had been a few off-hand comments, but nothing they could have actually counted for points.

Then Brendon practically broke his ankle because he wasn’t actually a gymnast, even though he played well at it sometimes, and Spencer maybe became a little bit of a mother hen. He couldn’t help it, though. He’d seen Brendon’s foot, okay? Ian couldn’t look at it without gagging and Dallon developed some sort of weird sympathy limp between the time Brendon got back to the mic and when he was loaded into the ambulance.

Spencer didn’t mean to get in the way, but Brendon was hurt. He shouldn’t be walking and he refused to let anyone actually carry him out the back entrance to meet the ambulance. Spencer scowled at him and refused to listen to anything Brendon said.

Instead, Spencer hunched over and wrapped an arm around Brendon’s waist. He catalogued every uneven hitch in Brendon’s breathing and made random, soft, nothing noises in return.

“I’m fine, Spence,” Brendon bit out, shaking a little now that the adrenaline seemed to be dying down.

“Shut up,” Spencer snapped. He held back until one of the techs got to door open, then helped Brendon hobble out. “Listen to the doctors, okay?”

Brendon made the effort to roll his eyes but was wincing too much for it to work. When the EMTs wheeled the gurney over, Spencer tried not to glare at them. They looked like perfectly capable people, but Spencer still had trouble letting go of Brendon.

“Sir, we need to get him into the ambulance,” one of the men told him. Which, sure, that made sense but wasn’t really helping much. “I swear we do this all the time, okay?” He sounded frustrated, and Spencer could sympathize.

Spencer took a breath and tried to keep from snapping. He was only partially successful. “Okay, I get that. But, look, can I just… I’ll get out of your way when he’s on the thing, okay?”

The EMT huffed a little and put the brakes for the gurney down. His partner came up on Brendon’s other side to give him an extra boost. When they got Brendon settled, Spencer was maybe gripping his arm a little too tight; Brendon didn’t seem to mind.

“Spence, seriously, I’m fine.” Brendon’s smile was more real now that he was sitting down. “Zack and I are going to go sit in an ER for a few hours then I’ll come hit you with my crutches, okay?”

The image of Brendon tiny and on crutches wasn’t actually a calming mental image. Spencer nodded and reached out to push Brendon’s hair off his forehead. “Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I’ll go… Do something. Text me with the damage.”

Brendon sort of rubbed his head up into Spencer’s hand. “Okay. I’ll make Zack call as soon as I get x-rays, okay?”

Then Dallon was there, throwing an arm around Spencer’s shoulders and tugging him over to where Ian was hovering. “Come on, Smith. We’ll play Halo or something until they’re back.”

Ian was yawning, but he nodded. “Or watch bad cable versions of whatever’s on Spike. Then we’ll taunt Brendon with our fun.”

Zack was laughing with Brendon and snapping pictures on his phone while the EMTs got everything situated.

The EMTs started moving Brendon and Spencer gave a half-assed wave. Brendon disappeared inside, biting his lip at how the movement jostled his foot.

“Seriously, kid,” the first EMT called out to Spencer. “Your boy’s in good hands. We’ll get him back to you so you can do all the comforting you want in no time.”

“Yeah, yeah. Thanks,” Spencer tried to grin and thought he managed.

“Protective boyfriend you’ve got,” the EMT told Brendon just before the ambulance doors closed behind him.

Spencer was too preoccupied with Ian and Dallon chattering at him to even acknowledge it.

*

Life went on and they were mostly too busy to worry about their bet. It popped up again when they were magically ahead of schedule, a little road weary, and making Zack’s life miserable with improvised Zombieland reenactments in the back lounge that spilled over all the way to the kitchenette.

They found a rest area with a scenic overlook of the mountains in Pennsylvania or somewhere, and Zack turned them loose for half an hour. Spencer was pretty sure he heard Zack strongly suggesting that Brendon and Ian do laps around the picnic area.

Spencer grabbed his camera and went to take some shots of the view. When he was done with that, fifteen or so minutes later, he followed the sound of Ian’s giggling and Brendon’s ridiculous baby-talk voice to a picnic table over on the dog walk side of the rest area.

Dallon was leaning on Brendon, arms wrapped loosely around his shoulders from behind, while Brendon chattered at a middle-aged woman about her white and sable papillon.

Brendon leaned toward the table where the dog was sitting, Dallon leaning with him. The dog sniffed at Brendon then licked his fingers in approval. Brendon laughed and scratched at its ears.

“I looks like Gizmo,” Ian pointed out.

The woman smiled at him and laughed a bit. “That’s what my grandson named her. I was trying to name her Ingrid.”

“Like Bergman?” Brendon’s eyes lit up when he looked at her and Spencer chuckled as he stopped to lean a hand on Ian’s shoulder and watch.

“Exactly,” the woman nodded. “Casablanca has been my favorite movie since as far back as I remember.”

Brendon was practically bouncing by this point. “I have a Jack Russell named Bogart. I thought it would make him all suave.”

“It didn’t work,” Spencer laughs. “I think he rebelled. Though it makes sense if we want to go with the catch phrase.”

“My dog does not bogart attention.” Brendon turned, dislodging Dallon and crossing his arms to pout. “He gets it with his natural charisma.”

Spencer refused to be outdone. “And his loud mouth. I’m surprised Penny gets any attention at all with Bogart around.”

Brendon wrinkled his nose and shoved at the arm Spencer was resting on Ian. Spencer nearly fell but managed to grab Brendon’s forearm instead. They crashed into each other, but they stayed upright. Brendon was laughing so it wasn’t nearly as catastrophic as it could have been.

The woman’s phone started playing a country song that made Spencer want to gag, but she was nice so he contained himself. She looked at it and got to her feet. “It’s been nice talking to you boys,” she grinned at them and laughed just as her ringtone stopped. “Don’t go getting into silly arguments over your dogs. They’re good practice for when you two decide you want children some day.”

“Oh, well, I mean, that’s probably not going to happen,” Brendon told her, earnest and a little coy. “We travel a lot. It’s hard enough managing dogs so. I probably won’t be thinking about kids any time soon.”

The woman waved him off with a shake of her frosted blond hair. Squeezing Spencer’s arm as she passed, she stage whispered “you make sure that man of yours stops being so closed-minded about starting your family, dear. Keep him in line.”

Brendon stopped giving Gizmo goodbye scritches to look up at them with wide eyes.

For lack of anything better to do, Spencer swallowed and promised her he’d do his best. She patted his arm again and gave Gizmo a gentle tug, already pressing buttons on her phone.

“Well, this is getting interesting,” Ian pointed out.

Dallon hummed his agreement and watched Spencer a little too closely. Spencer took a stealth picture of Gizmo to text to Victoria; it was the easiest thing he could think of to do. Brendon tackled Dallon and demanded a piggy back ride to the bus.

*

Something about the woman at the outlook had resonated with Spencer. It was all fine and dandy when random waitresses at truck stops or kids at McDonald’s were saying things about Spencer and Brendon being a couple. It was something else when EMTs thought Spencer was a concerned significant other that needed to be reassured. Still yet, someone thinking they shared a dog and were eventually planning a family was something beyond all that.

Spencer didn’t know how to deal with it, so he mostly didn’t. He hid out in his bunk a lot, called home, aimlessly browsed Tumblr to try to figure out what it actually was. He definitely didn’t think about all the cooing noises women made over Brendon and him, didn’t acknowledge the side comments Ryan and Hayley had always made about Brendon and Spencer’s weird codependence.

Mostly, he was doing okay. If Ian didn’t start sitting in seats that forced Brendon and Spencer together and Dallon didn’t keep giving Spencer these looks, it probably would have been easier.

“You could talk to him about it, you know,” Dallon pointed out over Multigrain Cheerios one morning.

Spencer shook his head and breathed in the scent of his coffee. “Dallon…”

“No, hear me out.” Dallon was mostly chewing and the words came out muffled and soft. He swallowed and continued. “Everyone already thinks it. You don’t even try. Ian climbs you and people think he’s your baby brother. I full on grope Brendon’s ass and everyone just thinks I’m some weird third-wheel.”

“He’s my best friend. That’s all that is.” Spencer tried to ignore the way his chest tightened a little, this band around his chest constricting just enough to make breathing suck.

“Just talk to him, maybe,” Dallon shrugged. He shoved up from the table and slurped at his milk. “Breezy agrees with me, by the way. Public opinion, Spence. We can’t all be wrong.”

Then he was gone and Spencer’s coffee was cool enough to be annoying. Stupid, fucking public with its stupid, fucking opinions.

*

“So,” Brendon started, ambling into the dressing room. “I’m thinking we need to call this bitch. It’s almost Summerfest and I want to know who’s getting naked.”

Zack chuckled and threw a french fry at Brendon. “I think the universe won.”

“Who says you get to decide?” Ian asked, hamming up the pout. Clearly, Brendon had been a bad influence on him.

“Brendon did,” Zack said. “Brendon declared me Fake Couple Commissioner. Dallon said I was the new FCC. Spencer told them it was stupid. I think you were passed out in Dallon’s bunk.”

Ian tilted his head and conceded. “You are maybe right.”

“All right then!” Spencer was actually sort of interested in this. Zack always got really intense and particular over bets; no one really knew what all Zack was counting.

“Okay so. Here’s the issue, right?” Zack had this maniacal gleam in his eye that made Spencer nervous. “You all lost.”

There was about thirty seconds of silence then everyone, Spencer included, were talking over each other.

“Dude, how the hell do you even… someone had to win.”

“If someone said Brendon and Spencer would get all the cutest couple comments, someone would have won.” Zack waved a piece of paper at them but Spencer couldn’t actually read it. “That person would have been me, by the way. I’ve seen this shit for years. It’s sort of blatantly fucking obvious, but whatever. You all lost. Summerfest is going to be fucking hilarious. Try not to get arrested.”

With that, Zack cackled in that creepy-ass way he had and stalked out of the dressing room to go scare small children or see how far along Foxy’s set was, which was close enough to the same thing.

Spencer glared at the door for a second before he felt eyes on him. Brendon was sort of shyly staring, looking through his eyelashes in this half-coy, half-contemplative way.

“Well, then,” Dallon nodded and shoved up. “I’m just going to…”

“Help me find pizza,” Ian threw in and hopped to his feet. “I seriously need, like, fifteen slices before we go on.”

Dallon groaned. “The last time you ate pizza before we went on, you puked on fun.’s keyboardist.

“I told you, it was the pineapple,” Ian protested as Dallon followed him into the hall and pulled the door shut.

The air was suddenly weirdly thick with some sort of tension Spencer didn’t recognize, not with Brendon. “Um. About this bet…”

“They’re right,” Brendon told him. “Everyone always thinks we’re together.”

Spencer shrugged. “Yeah. I mean, they always did. Remember how Bill kept telling us not to be a Behind the Music special?”

Brendon laughed. “He texted me that last week.”

“Beckett never changes.” Spencer slouched a little more into the lumpy sofa and watched, wary, as Brendon picked at a loose string on his shirt.

“Ever think they might be right?” His voice was quiet, serious. It made Spencer’s stomach bottom out.

“I… Brendon…”

Brendon shoved out of the folding chair he’d taken up residence on and crossed the room. He kicked at Spencer’s feet until there was enough room for Brendon to stand between Spencer’s knees.

“I think they’re right.” He sounded so earnest that Spencer didn’t know what to do with himself.

He settled for doing what he always did and just ignoring everything in favor of doing something. So what if that something happened to be practically jumping out of his seat to pull Brendon’s lips against his?

Brendon didn’t seem to mind if the rough press of his lips and harsh exhale were anything to go by. Gripping Spencer’s shirt tightly, Brendon parted his lips just a little, just enough. Something in Spencer’s brain whited out and he forgot about everything that wasn’t Brendon’s mouth on his, his hands in Brendon’s hair, and the hold Brendon had on Spencer’s shirt.

Until Ian’s whistling and Dallon’s slow claps broke through, anyway. Brendon huffed a laugh into the kiss and Spencer couldn’t help but sort of giggle right along. Somewhere, Zack was cackling and didn’t even know why.

End
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