Fandom: Panic! at the Disco
Word Count: 2381
Disclaimer: I do not know these people, this never happened, I am making no money off of anything.
A/N: Based off of these three pictures, but mostly the last one. For forcedmovement, in exchange for amazing Panic! cupcakes! Betaed by pressdbtwnpages.
Okay, let’s start here: Ryan is holding a koala.
Ryan and Jon and Spencer are all holding koalas.
There is a photographer and a zookeeper and a koala for him, too, and Brendon kind of wants to run away and hide somewhere. Preferably somewhere far away from koalas, but also far away from nosy best friends who will ask nosy questions.
Instead, he kind of shuffles from one foot to the other, attempting to look like he's totally fine and dandy, and says, “How long is this going to take?”
“Fifteen minutes,” the photographer says without looking up.
Brendon blanches, which hopefully no one sees. Fifteen minutes. With koalas, staring accusingly at him with their little beady eyes and sharp claws. “I’m, uh, going to use the bathroom,” he says quickly and darts off.
Ryan’s koala is weird. Like, it’s a koala, and they’re sort of weird anyway, but this one is, like. Clingy. And stuff. Also, it’s tiny. Okay, Spencer’s isn’t that much bigger, but Ryan gets the sense that the zookeeper saw them and went, “Guess I’d better get the baby koalas.”
Jon, on the other hand, gets a normal-sized koala, and how unfair is that? It’s not like he’s bigger than the rest of them, really.
Ryan looks down at his koala. It's hugging him, and it's so cute and cuddly. He kind of loves it. It looks up at him with wide eyes, and he smiles for the camera, delighted.
At the end of the photo shoot, Jon and Spencer give their koalas back to the zookeeper. Ryan tries to do the same, but his koala just clings tighter.
"Where's Brendon?" Jon asks.
Spencer says, "I think he went to the bathroom."
"Yeah, like a million years ago."
"Uh, guys?" Ryan interrupts. "I kind of have a problem."
Brendon locks himself in the first stall, breathing heavily, and stares at his watch. 3:24. Okay. He can do this. He'll just tell the others he got food poisoning or something.
As his breathing returns to normal, Brendon remembers this one morning when he was six. It was some ridiculous hour of the morning when the sun was just barely over the horizon and everyone who wasn't a small, energetic child was fast asleep. He was downstairs, watching this show on the Discovery channel (it was the only thing on that wasn't totally boring). The camera zoomed in on a koala face, and Brendon shrieked. It had these beady little eyes that looked intensely dangerous and long, sharp claws. He fumbled for the remote and shut the TV off, running back upstairs as fast as his legs would carry him and diving under the covers.
But it was no use. The koalas were coming to get him, he was sure of it.
Now he paces (okay, not exactly paces – more like two steps one way, two steps back the other way, but who really cares about semantics right now?), until, three minutes later, he is totally bored. He sits on the closed toilet and sighs.
Five minutes later, he's counted all the tiles on the floor – the ones he can see, anyway. There are fifty-three, including the ones behind the toilet. He bounces up and down on the balls of his feet a little, and then decides to do some vocal exercises.
As he is attempting a high note, the door opens and Brendon stops on a squeak, hoping the guy didn't hear him singing in a public bathroom. After a minute, he lets out his breath. Okay then, there's gotta be something else to do. Only four minutes left! He unties and reties his shoelaces a couple of times, twiddles his thumbs for the hell of it, and taps out a rhythm with his fingertips on the closed stall door. Two minutes. The stall next to him flushes, and then comes the sound of running water. The door opens again. One minute. He should probably go before they start getting suspicious. He unlocks the stall door and takes a deep breath. He can do this. He'll only have to see the koalas for a minute. He can do this.
He keeps telling that to himself as he walks back, but really, he's not so sure.
As Jon walks over to Ryan, the zookeeper turns to Spencer and asks, "Weren't there four of you?"
Ryan doesn't hear what Spencer says, because the koala is making some kind of squeaking noise at him. "This keeps getting weirder," he mumbles. Jon comes up behind him and rests his head in the hollow between Ryan's shoulder and neck. "Hi, koala," he says.
The koala makes an angry sound and slashes at him with its paw. Jon jumps back just in time. "Whoa," he says, "Possessive much?"
"What's up, koala?" Ryan says gently. "That's Jon. He's nice. Really."
Brendon chooses that moment to return from wherever. "Can we go now?"
"Sure, if you can get this koala off me," Ryan says. Brendon's eyes grow wide. He looks at Ryan, at the koala, and then back at Ryan. At this point, the koala is clinging so hard that Ryan doesn't have to hold it anymore.
"Whoa, dude, that is messed up," Brendon breathes.
"That's what I'm saying," Ryan says, getting irritated. "Is anyone going to help me or are we just going to stand around talking about how weird this is some more? Because I'd kind of like to get out of here sometime, ever."
Brendon shakes his head a little and steps back. "Yeah, we should, um, do that," he says.
Ryan looks down. The koala stares up at him with big, round eyes. It looks almost… content. "Koala," he says, smiling slightly in spite of himself, "Let go!" This seems to have the adverse effect intended; it curls into him like a cat without letting go at all.
Brendon backs away from Ryan. Thankfully, the other two koalas are gone. Spencer grabs his arm and says, "Dude, where have you been? We don't have time for your picture now."
"Aw, that sucks," Brendon says, feigning disappointment, but he can tell Spencer doesn't believe him.
"Next time," Spencer says, obviously willing to let it drop for now. "What's going on with Ryan?"
"His koala won't let go of him."
Spencer smirks. "Seriously?"
"Seriously," Brendon confirms, glancing back at Ryan. He feels fidgety and kind of like he might squirm out of his own skin. Between Ryan's koala not being gone yet and Spencer getting dangerously close to asking the wrong question, things are not exactly going as he'd hoped.
Spencer says, "We should go help him, then."
"Right," Brendon says. "Uh, why don't you go. I'll just. Um. Help from over here."
Spencer narrows his eyes. "What's wrong with you?"
"You're acting really weird. Even for you. What's going on?"
Brendon takes a deep breath. This is it, then. He's about to be laughed off the face of the earth. Might as well just get it over with. "I'mkindofscaredofkoalas," he mumbles, looking at his feet.
"I said, I'm. Kind. Of. Scared. Of. Koalas," Brendon repeats through clenched teeth, glancing up at Spencer's face. Spencer is biting his bottom lip, obviously trying not to laugh. "Don't tell Ryan and Jon," Brendon adds sternly.
Spencer nods slightly, his cheeks turning red from holding in giggles.
Ryan calls out, "What are you doing over there, watching pebbles decompose? I have a clingy koala!”
At that, Spencer can't hold it in anymore. He laughs until he is gasping for breath.
Ryan says, "God, Brendon, what did you do to him?" Brendon just shakes his head, staring uncomfortably at the ground.
The zookeeper, a plump, pleasant woman who looks about Brendon’s mother’s age, walks back over to them. “What seems to be the problem?”
“Ryan’s koala won’t let go,” Jon explains.
“Okay, Ryan. I’m Suzanne. Now, what have you tried?”
“Tried?” Ryan looks bewildered. “It’s clinging to me!”
“All right, guys, I’m going to need your help,” Suzanne says. “I’d like one of you to try tickling it.”
Spencer raises an eyebrow. “Tickling it?” He looks at Ryan, who shrugs at him, so he walks over.
He’s about ten feet away when the koala growls.
“That’s strange,” Suzanne says.
Spencer takes a step back.
“I’ll do it,” Suzanne offers. Spencer nods.
Suzanne walks over to Ryan, talking soothingly to the growling koala the whole time. “Good boy... that’s it, that’s a nice koala... okay, easy does it...”
Brendon wonders how, exactly, they’d gotten into this predicament. He turns away.
“Ow!” Suzanne shouts. “He bit me!”
“Did you tickle him?” Brendon asks, not turning back around.
“A little bit. It didn’t do anything.” She sighs. “I guess we’ll just have to think of something else.”
Brendon thinks just leaving Ryan and going back to the bus would be a good idea, but he knows the glares he’ll get if he suggests this (not to mention the hissy fit Ryan would throw later), so he keeps his mouth shut.
“Perhaps we should try reintroducing him to the other koalas,” Suzanne says. “He appears to be in love with your friend –” This is directed at Spencer and Jon, both of whom promptly burst out laughing. “– so perhaps it would help to bring him to some females in heat. That way, hopefully, he might be attracted to one of them. Problem solved!”
“Good idea,” Brendon says. “I’ll just wait here.” Spencer, of course, understands why he doesn’t want to come, and Ryan’s too preoccupied to notice or care, but Jon gives him a quizzical look as he walks away. Brendon knows he’ll have some explaining to do later, but at this point that’s all right. He doesn’t dread it nearly as much as he dreads facing female koalas in heat. Just the thought of it makes him shudder.
After what feels like a very long time, Spencer, Jon, Suzanne, Ryan and Ryan’s koala return. As they get closer, Brendon realizes that Ryan and his koala are dripping wet and Ryan is glowering at everyone, even Brendon.
Suzanne starts, “Well, the koala didn’t respond to any of the other koalas –”
“We started with the girls, but then we thought maybe it liked guys,” Jon says. Spencer nods, looking very much like he’s trying not to laugh. Ryan glowers more. “But that didn’t work either,” Jon continues. “So Spencer had the bright idea of sneaking up behind it, grabbing and pulling –”
“Which was a far better idea than anything you came up with,” Spencer interjects indignantly.
“– And didn’t work, regardless –”
“– It just tightened its grip,” Ryan states pointedly, glaring at Spencer.
Spencer says, “So then we walked over to the big cats.”
“We were trying to scare it,” Jon adds.
“As you can see, it continued to cling,” Ryan grumbles.
“So Suzanne thought we should try spraying it with water, to freak it out.”
“But all that did was get it wet.”
“Not to mention, get me wet.”
To say that Ryan looks unhappy at this point is a huge understatement. He looks bitchy, glum and very much like this is the last place in the world he wants to be.
“So what do we do now?” Brendon asks.
Suzanne shrugs. “I’m out of ideas, boys.”
“We could wait until it falls asleep and then try grabbing it and yanking again,” Spencer suggests.
“Won’t that take a while?” Jon asks.
Suzanne says, “Koalas normally sleep about twenty hours a day, so perhaps it wouldn’t be that long.”
“Forget it,” Ryan says. “I want this thing off me now.”
“We could just leave,” Brendon suggests. “It’s gotta fall out of love with him eventually, and then we’ll come back and get him.”
Jon blinks. Spencer stares at him incredulously. Ryan glares daggers.
Simultaneously, they yell, “NO.”
Brendon puts his hands up in defense. “Okay, okay, it was just a suggestion. Forget I said anything.” He sits back down glumly, resting his head in his hands and deliberately not looking at Ryan or the dreaded koala.
Jon says slowly, “We could try feeding it.” Everyone looks at him. “Get it more interested in food and then gently pry it off Ryan.”
Ryan shrugs. “Worth a shot.”
Suzanne says, “Not a bad idea. I’ll go get some eucalyptus leaves.” Brendon stands off to the side awkwardly, watching Jon and Spencer trying to talk to the koala and Ryan, respectively. Suzanne returns a minute later with leaves in her hand, which she offers to Jon. Taking a few, he cautiously walks over to Ryan and holds them out to the koala, who sniffs them and begins to eat.
While Jon's doing that, Spencer sneaks around to Ryan’s other side. He gently tugs at the koala. It makes a low, unhappy noise at the back of its throat, but allows itself to be pried out of Ryan’s arms. Spencer hands it to Suzanne.
“Good going,” she says. “Thanks.”
“Thank you,” Ryan says, relieved.
“I’d shake your hands,” she says, gesturing to the koala, “but –”
“You know, I think we should really get going,” Ryan says. Brendon nods emphatically.
“Yeah, you should change,” Spencer says to Ryan.
“Bye, and thanks again,” Jon calls over his shoulder to Suzanne as they leave.
“Hey, Ryan, I guess you don’t compare to food,” Spencer says, starting to laugh again.
Jon says, “Poor Ryan.” Ryan looks grateful to have someone sympathetic to his plight, until Jon adds, “I’m sure interspecies marriage will be legal soon enough, though. But then, would you move to the zoo or would he come on tour?”
Brendon walks over to Ryan, clinging tightly to his arm. “Oh, Ryan,” he croons. “I loooooooove you... just not as much as I love to eat.”
“I’m glad you all think you’re so funny,” Ryan grumbles. Then he looks at Brendon, who hasn’t let go of his arm yet. “Where were you that whole time, anyway?”
Brendon stops smiling and lets go to stand up straight. They are just about at the bus at this point. Spencer nudges him. He looks at Spencer, who nods reassuringly, almost imperceptibly. Brendon swallows. Moment of truth.
“There’s something I haven’t told you guys,” he begins.