and set this cruise control for crash
by Sara

"I guess they failed to mention the fact that Brent had no idea this was going to happen. They called him over the phone and Ryan and Brendon did not have the courage to talk to Brent. Spencer was the one to inform Brent."
- from Blake Wilson's MySpace

Spencer made the phone call in the hallway, and every time they're asked about Brent after that, while Ryan earnestly explains that sometimes things just don't work out and it's nobody's fault and they're still the same band (which they're not), all Spencer can think of is cheap green carpeting, a spot on the wall, the sound of a couple fighting a few doors down. Ryan says, Jon's been really great, and Spencer remembers a maid at the other end of the hall, lowering his voice so she wouldn't overhear. Brendon says, we'll get new photos taken, we just haven't had time, and Spencer remembers sliding down the wall, how it was too cold in the hallway, how his hands were shaking.

Spencer says, it was the best thing for all of us, and he remembers Brent, on the other end of the line, saying: it'll be you next.


Ryan is in his room later, the one Spencer is stuck in alone now since they always get doubles and he always shares (shared) with Brent. Ryan was sleeping, and the door startled him awake; Spencer feels a wrench in his chest at Ryan's mussed hair and fluttering lashes, wide eyes.

Spencer throws his jacket off (onto the empty bed), and Ryan sits up, says quietly, grudgingly, thank you, and Spencer says, fuck you. Ryan's eyes widen, and Spencer's looking for words to follow that up, most of them four-lettered, when Ryan says, would that make you feel better?

And no, fuck, if anything's going to get them in bed together it's not going to be this, it's not going to be Ryan appeasing him, or whatever this is. He walks over to the bed, intending to tell Ryan that, but when he looks at Ryan he sees dark circles and exhaustion written all over him, he sees his best friend since they were thirteen (even if that hardly means anything anymore).

Ryan tugs him down onto the bed, says, Spence, I'm sorry, and if there's ever anyone who could sell a lie it's Ryan, Spencer knows that, because you never see it coming (Brent never saw it coming), we had to, Ryan says, for the band. Ryan's fingers are edging beneath Spencer's shirt, pulling at his belt loops, and Spencer closes his eyes, because if he can't see it then it's not happening. He can't feel Ryan sit up, can't feel Ryan's breath when he whispers in his ear, can't hear the crack in Ryan's voice when he says, Spencer, look at me, just. Can't.

It's all happened too fast for them, and this is one more thing Spencer isn't ready for. He feels Ryan's forehead pressed to his shoulder, feels his bangs brush the back of his neck, lips moving upward, and Spencer's still cold at the edges from nerves sending blood rushing in around his heart.

Spencer thinks, it's not like I don't know what you and Brendon have been doing, says: nothing. He's seen them emerge from dressing rooms, Ryan wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, Brendon lazy, smirking, seen Ryan sneak out of Brendon's hotel room once, when they all got singles, wobbling a little, murmuring writing, like Spencer couldn't put two and two together, like he hadn't noticed the way they just changed with each other, almost overnight. He remembers some of the first days out on tour, Brendon and Ryan shouting at each other, wound up from too much time in close quarters and the strain of too much, too fast. Remembers hiding out in his bunk with Brent, sheets tangled beneath them as they played cards, Go Fish, War, or poker, nothing bet.

He wonders if this is how Ryan fixes things now, and remembers a time when he would have been able to ask.

Spence, come on, Ryan says, muffled against his skin, and his breath makes Spencer shiver a little, makes him want. Too much tension, his fingers still tingling, coming back to feeling. Too much tension for weeks now, ever since Brendon and Ryan started spending more time together, Brendon whispering in Ryan's ear, fingers at Ryan's waist. He knew something was going on, but didn't know what, didn't want to know what. Wishes he still didn't know.

Ryan's hand slides down his arm, takes his hand, lifts it to his lips. Kisses his knuckles, and Spencer closes his eyes, thinks of Ryan sitting next to him in English, passing him notes with lyrics scribbled on the corners, thinks of sitting with him at lunch (with Brent), the two of them (the three of them) pledging to start a band someday, the first time he looked at Ryan and wanted, and never told anyone (except Brent), never thought anything would happen (swear not to tell, you have to swear).

You have the worst fucking timing of anyone in the world, Spencer doesn't say, and turns his head, feels Ryan's lips skim his jaw and meets them, soft against his. He raises a hand to touch Ryan's face, a reflex, and Ryan leans into his hand, opens for him, lets Spencer kiss him, takes Spencer's hand in his and murmurs, you're so cold, against his lips. Spencer feels hysteria rising and clamps down on it, kisses Ryan harder, twists around, leans in until Ryan falls back, his head hitting the pillow. Goosebumps spring up on Spencer's arms, and Ryan makes a concerned noise, runs his hands up and down them, his touch warm.

Spencer closes his eyes, keeps kissing him, holding himself over Ryan until Ryan presses his fingertips to Spencer's lower back, urging Spencer's body down onto his. Ryan's warm, hard, shifting beneath Spencer, getting one leg up and rubbing against him, making Spencer clutch at his hip and want, need this. Ryan gets a hand between them and undoes Spencer's pants, reaching in.

Spencer wants so desperately to be stronger than this, wants to not be stupid about his life and his career and his fucking sanity, but Ryan licks his lips, strokes his cock, says, fuck me, fuck me, and Spencer feels his heart constrict in his ribcage.

I've, Spencer starts, wanting to die already because Ryan knows this, he fucking knows Spencer hasn't done this before, and it's not fair of him to just ask these things of him, I've never, he says. Ryan just looks up at him, beautiful and wanting him, and it's not like Spencer's going to say no. History's shown that saying no to Ryan is just not a thing that Spencer does.

Ryan shifts under him, getting his shirt off and tugging Spencer's up, too, his breath hot against Spencer's ear when he whispers it's okay, it'll be okay, like there's any possible way that could be true, god, Spencer, like Spencer's all he needs in that second. Spencer thinks of a thousand reasons in a moment that they shouldn't do this, and it's the way that Ryan says his name, like he wants to fix him, like he wants him, that makes him realize they'll do it anyway.


Spencer made the phone call in the hallway, and he fucks Ryan in room 215 at the Grand in Anaheim, as the clock switches over to 1:06, citylights streaming through the open curtains as Ryan moves under him. Ryan's careful with him, guiding his hand down and moaning encouragingly when Spencer bites his lip and pushes one finger in, then two. He can't seem to take his eyes off of Ryan, can't look away from his face, mouth dropped open as Spencer works his fingers in and out of Ryan's ass, like if he looks away he'll wake up, he'll have imagined this.

Now, now, Ryan gasps, and Spencer palms his inner thighs, spreads him a little wider. He has a brief second of oh god, oh god, this is it, before he's pushing into Ryan slowly, and the feeling dissolves in the face of the heat, the tightness, the fact that it's Ryan he's fucking, Ryan who he's, god, been in love since they were kids. Ryan clutches at his arms, wraps his legs around Spencer's waist and thrusts back against him, taking Spencer deeper into his ass, and Spencer feels every single day of his eighteen years, every desperate minute.

Spencer fucks him, and for a few wild seconds it's not about Brent leaving, or making Spencer feel better, or Ryan wanting it for whatever messed up reason; it's just Spencer, losing his virginity to his best friend, and Spencer feels so much he can hardly breathe from the weight of it.

He tries to go slowly, tries to hold it together, but there's only so much he can take, and Ryan's looking at him like he has something to say, like he has a hundred things to say but no words. Ryan's always been good at veiling his feelings in verse, but every secret he's ever told to Spencer has been silent, a communication of touches, Ryan leaning against him at the end of practice, head on his shoulder, crawling into Spencer's bed a handful of times when he'd stayed over to avoid his own house. Spencer tries to read Ryan like he always has, sees lust in the red flush of his cheeks, need in the licked wet curve of his lips, want in his dark eyes, lowered lashes, and nothing else, nothing else. He runs his hands down Ryan's shoulders, pins his wrists to the bed and fucks him harder.

Ryan moans, and Spencer presses his thumbs to Ryan's pulse points, holding him down, watching his skin redden and fade back to pale. Ryan says, Spence, Spencer, please, and he's a ghost in this light, blue grey, angles softened, not nearly so sharp as Spencer thought he'd be before he touched him. He fucks Ryan like the deeper he gets the more he'll understand, but the closer he gets to orgasm the less he's able to think, and Ryan just gasps, thrusts up as best he can against Spencer's stomach, trying for friction.

It won't be long before Spencer's coming inside of Ryan, and that thought alone pushes Spencer closer. He releases Ryan's wrists, and Ryan doesn't move them, just keeps them against the mattress, fingers curling, knuckles brushing the headboard. Spencer takes his cock in hand, jerking him awkwardly for a moment before finding the angle, the rhythm, and then Ryan's moving with him, thrusting his hips back onto Spencer's cock.

Spence, Ryan gasps, and he's maybe said Spencer's name a thousand times, more, but never like he has tonight, like he's trying to say everything with it. Spencer just wishes he knew what everything was. He strokes Ryan's cock more roughly than he usually does himself, and Ryan's face goes slack as he moans, comes all over his stomach. The tightness becomes almost unbearable, and Spencer can't hold off any longer, doesn't have to.

Spencer, Ryan says, and it sounds like 'I love you'; he pushes in once more, gripping Ryan's thighs, and, you belong with us, Ryan whispers, arching up. For a second, Spencer almost believes him, and that's all it takes for him to come, crying out against Ryan's shoulder. He's shaking, a little, and Ryan holds him there for a moment, until Spencer eases out and Ryan tugs him back down to curl up against him.

He holds on tight as Ryan pulls the blankets up around them, and doesn't think about Brent, or Brendon, or anything at all.


Spencer fucked Ryan in room 215 at the Grand in Anaheim, and after he can't remember what color the walls were, or if he could hear traffic noises from the street, or if he'd packed his bags neatly or left clothes on the floor. Ryan smiles at him during practice, and he remembers the curve of Ryan's collarbone against his teeth, and tries to smile back. Ryan leans against him after a long day in the studio, and Spencer's fingers itch to curl in his hair, grip his upper arms, his wrists. Ryan says, remember that time back in high school... and the memories he brings up invariably don't involve Brent.

It never happens again. Spencer doesn't feel any better, but everything falls more or less back to normal.

Until Brendon and Ryan start having furtive conversations that stop when Spencer enters the room, and he sees one of their techs later, sitting at his drumset, sticks in hand.

Until Ryan pulls him close one day on the couch, kisses his forehead, murmurs, love you, Spence, and Spencer starts counting down the days.