Written 7/30/07. 2115 words.
I know, my titles are so creative. This fic was supposed to be about their changing relationship through the years - Spencer starts out hating Brendon and eventually falls in love with him - but I never got past the (very) early days.
The first time Spencer meets Brendon Urie, he hates him instantly. Brendon is loud, brash and never stops moving.
Spencer is all set to say, “I don’t think this guy is right for our band” to Ryan after practice when Ryan asks Brendon if he can sing.
“I guess so,” Brendon says doubtfully. “I mean, I’m not, like, lead singer material or anything, but I think I have a decent voice.” He bites his lip.
“What songs do you know?” Ryan asks.
“I could sing Third Eye Blind,” Brendon offers. Ryan nods, playing the opening notes to “Deep Inside of You.”
The second Brendon opens his mouth, Spencer forgets that he’s supposed to be playing. In disbelief, he stares at Brendon, who has miraculously stilled. “Friends say I’ll change, I don’t listen, ‘cause I live to be deep inside of you,” Brendon sings. Spencer glances at Ryan and Brent. As usual, Brent looks bored and slightly distracted, but Ryan’s a different story. Though he wears his usual look of intense concentration, never missing a note, Spencer knows Ryan is just as amazed and dumbstruck by Brendon’s voice as he is. You can’t be best friends with someone for that long and not be able to tell these things.
Brendon stops abruptly and looks around at them, taking the moment of shocked silence as something negative. “See? I told you I’m not that great a singer,” he says.
“Are you insane?” Spencer asks. It’s the first thing he’s said to Brendon, other than, “Hi, I’m Spencer,” and “So, you go to school with Brent, huh?”
Brendon blinks in confusion.
“Seriously,” Spencer says. “Anyone who tells you you can’t sing is out of their mind. You’re, like, the definition of lead singer material.”
Brendon bounces on the balls of his feet. “Really? Are you serious? Because I’ve only sung for a few friends before, and they all said I was all right, not great, you know, but we’re always teasing each other like that, so I didn’t...”
Spencer tunes him out. Ryan notices and comes over to him after a minute.
“Hey,” he says quietly. “What do you think?”
“I don’t like him,” Spencer replies. “But there’s no way we can turn him down, not with a voice like that.”
Ryan nods. “We’d be crazy.”
“Exactly,” Spencer says. They look at Brent, who appears to be deep in conversation with Brendon. Brendon is doing most of the talking, of course. Spencer catches Brent’s eye, and Brent nods, just barely.
Spencer looks at Ryan.
“Brendon?” Ryan interrupts. “We’d like you to be our lead singer.”
Brendon gapes at him for a moment before bounding over excitedly.
Spencer wishes Brendon had a terrible voice so that they could just say no way and be done with it. But he can pretend to like the guy, he tells himself. After all, it’s for the good of the band.
The second time Spencer meets Brendon Urie is at practice a week later. Brendon is half an hour later and arrives completely winded.
“Sorry,” he says between gasps for breath. “I had to come up with a good enough lie for my parents, and then they interrogated me forever.” He rolls his eyes, and Spencer can’t help but be sympathetic. (Parents: the bane of teenagers’ existence since the dawn of time.)
“They strict?” Brent asks, barely looking up.
“Sort of. They’re Mormon.” Brendon puts his things down and scratches his nose.
Ryan says, “Don’t worry about it. My dad thinks this is a total waste of time. We’ll cover for you.”
Brendon smiles gratefully at him.
Spencer thinks, Okay, yeah, we get it, can we get on with it already? After all, Brendon’s already half an hour late. They can stand around and chat later.
But instead of getting his guitar out, Brendon says, “So, I was thinking – Brent said you guys mostly just do covers, but I’d like to write some songs ourselves.”
“Thank you!” Ryan is elated. “I’ve been saying that to these guys, but –”
“– But it would be nice if we could get a good, solid set together so we’re prepared to play first,” Spencer says. He and Ryan have had this argument so many times he can recite it in his sleep.
“That makes no sense,” Brendon says. “If we start writing our own songs, then we can start playing them, maybe even play a few gigs eventually.”
Spencer ignores Ryan’s “That’s what I’ve been saying!”. “We’re nowhere near good enough to think about that yet.” This kid thinks he can just come in and take over the group? Unbelievable.
“Why don’t we ask Brent?” Brendon suggests. They all look over at Brent, who shrugs. “Whatever.” Nothing new there.
“Can we just rehearse, please?” Spencer says through gritted teeth, not really asking. “We’re wasting time right now, and Ryan needs to be home soon.”
Brendon looks like he wants to argue, but he sees Spencer’s face and says, “Fine,” taking out his guitar.
A few days later, Ryan is acting shifty and won’t meet Spencer’s eyes. “Okay, what’s going on?” Spencer finally asks. “And don’t say ‘nothing.’”
“But there really is –”
“Come on, Ryan.”
“Okay, fine,” Ryan mumbles. “Brendon and I are writing a song.”
“What?” That was not at all what he was expecting, and he feels stupidly betrayed. Ryan’s supposed to be his best friend.
“Well, you didn’t want to, so...” Ryan shrugs, not looking at him.
“It’s fine,” Spencer snaps.
“We weren’t going to write the drum part,” Ryan says, a peace offering. “We were gonna give it to you at that point.”
“We’re not ready,” Spencer forces out, but even as he says it, he knows he’s not going to win this one. Not anymore.
At that moment, Spencer couldn’t hate Brendon more if he tried.
The thing is, though, Ryan and Brendon are really good songwriters. Spencer still can’t be around Brendon for too long without wanting to strangle him, but he has to admit that adding him to the band was definitely the right choice. The kid knows music.
They have a name, now – Panic! at the Disco – and a demo, and Ryan’s going to put their songs online (“As soon as I’m done with midterms”). It’s still weird to Spencer that his best friend is in college, for god’s sake. He can’t wait to graduate and get out of here, but Ryan doesn’t seem that happy. (Of course, he’s not actually out of here, so.)
And then one day at practice, Ryan says, “So hey, you know how I put those demos online a while ago?”
They all nod.
“I’ve been talking to Pete Wentz about them and he wants to come watch us practice sometime soon.” Ryan says this nonchalantly, like he wants them all to think it’s not a big deal, but he’s practically buzzing with excitement, which is so rare for him it’s impossible not to notice.
Spencer says, “When does he want to come?”
“I don’t know... next week?” Ryan says, asking it as though any of them are going to say no, as though he’d even care if they did.
Brendon sits down silently, his face whiter by the second. He looks like he’s going to puke all over the place.
It’s the first time Spencer’s seen him less than confident to the point of cocky and way too energetic for his own good (or Spencer’s, whatever). Spencer has a sudden burst of sympathy for this guy he’s never liked. Brendon seems almost more human in this moment, and Spencer feels for him. The thought of someone in a real band, someone Ryan’s idolized for years, coming to watch them play is, frankly, terrifying. But they’re ready. This is why they’re doing this, why they’re in a band, and they’re ready.
Brent blinks at Ryan a few times in confusion. “Why?”
Ryan turns to Brent, opening his mouth and closing it like a fish. “Because he might want to sign us.” The ‘dumbass’ is implied in his tone.
“Sign us to what?’
“Well.” Ryan pauses, glances at Spencer as though he has some answers that might help. Spencer shrugs and Ryan says, “He doesn’t have a label, exactly, but he’s thinking about it, and if nothing else, he can strongly recommend us to their label.”
“So we’d be, what, like, a real band?”
“We are a real band, Brent,” Ryan snaps.
Brent swallows and looks at his shoes. Finally, he says, “Look, I forgot, but I have to go home early today. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”
“Be here early tomorrow, then,” Ryan tell him, not bothering to check with Spencer that that’s okay. “We really need to sound good for Pete.”
“Fine, yeah,” Brent mumbles. He packs up his bass at lightening speed, and then he’s gone.
Spencer wants to ask Ryan, since when are he and Pete Wentz on a first-name basis, and why hasn’t he told Spencer all of this before, but Ryan says, “I really need some water,” and disappears, presumably to the kitchen, leaving Spencer alone with Brendon.
They glance at each other. Brendon’s still ridiculously pale. “You okay?” Spencer asks.
“This is really big,” Brendon says. “Everything’s going to change.”
“Not necessarily. He could hate us, you know.”
Brendon gives him a look. “Spencer,” he says, “We’re ready. You know we are.”
“Yeah, I do.” For a long moment, they just sit there and listen to each other breathe. Spencer imagines this not working out. He can see Ryan’s excitement and determination crumbling to dust, Ryan closing off from all of them and pretending that music isn’t all he’s ever wanted since he knew he could, the rest of them trying to keep it together, even if the band really is just all for fun for real now. It would suck – a lot – but life would go on.
“I’ve never sung for anyone before,” Brendon says, interrupting Spencer’s highly depressing train of thought.
“We don’t count?”
“No, of course you guys do, but I mean... you know.”
“Yeah,” Spencer says, not bothering to hide his surprise. Somehow, he can’t imagine Brendon being afraid of anything, much less something that comes as naturally to him as singing does. “That doesn’t matter, though. You’ll be great. You know that.” He says this matter-of-factly; it’s not praise for the sake of comfort but truth.
“You really think that?” Brendon stares at him, looking maybe a little confused.
“It’s true, isn’t it?”
“I always sort of thought you hated me or something.”
Well, that’s not awkward or anything. “I –”
“So your grandma says it’s fine if we’re here early tomorrow,” Ryan says, coming back with a glass of water. Thank god for small favors.
“Cool,” Brendon says, glancing at Spencer as he gets up. “See you then.”
“Bye,” Ryan says. Spencer nods at him, and then it’s just the two of them, Ryan and Spencer, and if they weren’t in his grandma’s basement surrounded by instruments, it could be anytime, any random day of their lives for the past [number] years.
“Everything’s gonna change, Spence,” Ryan’s saying, echoing Brendon’s earlier words, and much as Spencer wants to be realistic about this whole thing, he can’t help feeling like Ryan could be right.
“Maybe,” he allows.
“Maybe,” Ryan repeats, smiling harder than Spencer’s ever seen him smile before.
Spencer wants to tell him not to get his hopes up, but he can’t do it. Not when Ryan’s face looks like that. And after all, it could happen, unlikely as it is.
The next thing Spencer knows, they’re on tour. It’s a whirlwind, everything that happens next, and some days he wakes up having to remind himself where he is and why. It’s exciting, terrifying and unbelievable all at once, and he knows they all feel it, even if Ryan pretends to be blase and Brent just seems bored all the time, when he’s not silently freaking out.
On the road, Spencer winds up spending a lot of time with Brendon, who turns out to be pretty good company.