In Sickness, Health, and in the Duck Pond at Humboldt Park
Or: CTA: A Love Story
written by: quaxelrod
art by: quaxelrod
Pairings: Brendon/Spencer, Pete/Patrick, Andrew/Jack
Characters: ...all of them. Seriously.
written for the Bandom Secret!Married Fest
Prompt: Spencer has a perfectly good, sensible job. Brendon, his roommate, not so much. Brendon has no health insurance, which isn't that big of a deal until the day it is. Marrying him seemed like a good idea at the time.
Spencer still thinks that dragging Brendon to Chicago when he followed after Ryan was a good idea. Vegas is a wasteland, and watching Brendon half-assedly piss away the very last of his mission money on classes at UNLV and then not go to them because he couldn’t afford to skip work was driving both of them crazy.
So. Spencer and Ryan are at DePaul, and Spencer’s landed a part-time job at the Starbucks on the corner from campus, and Brendon’s got a sweet little gig at a music store down Chicago Ave - he mans the counter, but he also gives lessons (guitar, drums, accordion, whatever) to a few kids there. Ryan keeps pestering Brendon to apply for financial aid and be a student with them, but Brendon likes winding him up by insisting he’s holding out for Loyola. (“Y’know, Ryan. A real school.” “Fuck you and your face and your mother.” “Don’t pretend you didn’t apply to DePaul because of Pete Wentz, fanboy.”)
The three of them share a basement apartment on the side of Humboldt Park. It’s only a 2 bedroom, but they’ve got a couch and they rotate who has to sleep on it by month, and usually whoever’s supposed to be sleeping on it winds up crashing on the full bed in the bigger bedroom anyway. It works.
What doesn’t fucking work, in Spencer’s expert opinion, is how Brendon is still the total fucking dumbass he was back in Vegas, except now his dumbassery keeps translating into a propensity to get himself halfway killed. In the five months they’ve been in Chicago, Brendon:
1. developed a death rattle in his lungs that lasted all last winter. It made him sound like a frog and worried the shit out of Spencer, until he found out that Brendon was totally exacerbating an already bad situation by drinking a pot of coffee every day at the music store, and waiting until Spencer’d passed out at night and then hiding in the alley behind their place and discussing the Arcade Fire and 60s surf bands with Ryan, the two of them smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes every night. For one, the sin tax on those things was fucking unbelievable and that was money that could’ve been going towards rent or shoes. For two, Brendon sounded like he was in the last stages of consumption already and didn’t need the help of the cigarettes.
Ryan still grumbles about the epic fit Spencer threw in his direction.
2. got food poisoning from a sketch hot dog place somewhere in Wrigleyville. He’d eventually been fine, but Spencer didn’t much relish caretaking for the three days after, or how it happened smack in the middle of midterms, or his 2 am runs to Walgreens for ginger ale and crackers. Also Brendon is absolutely insufferable when he’s sick, and Spencer hadn’t really enjoyed how Ryan pulled an amazing disappearing act and left him to having to press cool washcloths to the back of Brendon’s neck while he was holding onto the toilet for dear life, and having to watch Aladdin on repeat for an entire 24 hours.
3. fucking got hit by a car biking back from doing inventory at the store at four in the morning. Again, he’d been fine eventually, but there was a span of mottled blue and purple bruises around one side of his rib cage that had scared the everloving shit out of Spencer. He’d actually made Brendon go to the emergency clinic up on North just to make sure his ribs weren’t broken, and had enforced it by threatening to call his own mom if Brendon didn’t cooperate. (It’s a little distressing, how Spencer’s mom is still Brendon’s favorite person in the universe. Distressing and unfair.)
4. fell the fuck into the duck pond in the park. In November.
Nobody’s really sure how that one happened. Apparently it had a lot to do with Van Vleet and Tomrad (two of Brendon’s coworkers) and a fuckton of bourbon. And the fact that they lived above a liquor store.
Anyway, so they didn’t know how it happened but they definitely knew how it ended: with Brendon huddled under a mountain of blankets in the kitchen with the heaters blasting on high and the oven turned on and open, being bitched out (again) by Spencer, who really sort of hated how this whole Chicago adventure was turning him into his mother.
“Your fucking lips are fucking blue,” Spencer screeched, even as he poured Brendon a cup of tea and put it in his hands and made sure his fingers were curled around it (Brendon still couldn’t feel them). “Blue, Brendon.”
And then he’d ranted about Brendon’s complete inability to take care of himself, even a little bit, even the little bit required to make sure all his limbs were still attached and that he wasn’t falling into duck ponds. Because Spencer’s biggest problem with all of this is that, yet again, Brendon is working totally without a safety net - the music store is awesome, but not the sort of place that offers its employees things like 401ks or, y’know, health insurance. Every day is basically Brendon Urie taking his life into his own hands the minute he steps out their door, and Brendon’s butterfingers re: his own stupid existence are going to give Spencer an ulcer.
“The next time you do something this stupid,” he fumed, as he dumped the requisite pack and a half of Sweet n Low in the tea for Brendon, “I’m fucking taking over. I’m going to drag your flat, sorry ass downtown and we’re getting married. And then I’m going to take you directly to the nearest hospital and make them put you in a fucking bubble and then, Brendon, I will roll you like a hamster onto the train and I will be happy. And I will be able to sleep for more than four hours without worrying about you managing to get yourself killed.”
“He’d probably try to roll the hamster ball down Michigan Avenue,” Ryan mused, stirring his own cup of tea thoughtfully.
Brendon stared at them both. “My ass isn’t flat,” he finally croaked.
Which informs their present circumstances: drunk as fuck somewhere between the Rainbo Club and Lorraine’s, celebrating the end of the semester and Spencer’s awesome Christmas present from Ryan and Brendon: a fake ID.
They’re just hammered, completely fucking gone, and Ryan has been waxing poetic about Rahm Emanuel and H. H. Holmes for the last fifteen minutes, and Spencer can’t feel his face (he isn’t sure whether it’s because of the stinging cold or because of the fourth Jack and Coke) and Brendon is talking enthusiastically and almost pornographically about how in a few minutes they are going to be eating all the french toast and bacon, fucking all of it, Spencer Smith, and Ryan’s beaming and shouting about LET’S BE LIKE THE UNICORN ON MY T-SHIRT: FUCKING INCREDIBLE, and Brendon’s joining in, making up a song about coffee, the glorious motherfucking bean, and for a brief, shining moment, Spencer’s life is like a fucking movie.
“ALL THE BACON, Smith!” Brendon shouts, shimmying across the street and making stupid come-hither motions with his hands as he waits for Spencer to catch up to him. Spencer hops up onto the sidewalk and he can see the sign for Lorraine’s just in the distance, flickering red neon at them, and then from beside him, Brendon does this ridiculous little two-step hop skip of joy.
And rolls his fucking ankle.
Which fucking figures. Brendon gives a little nervous yelp, and then looks over at Spencer and Ryan, all big eyes and but why would the world want to hurt me? written on his face, and then he topples over into the couple of inches of snow that have accumulated on the streets. Ryan’s still a drunk fucking mess, and Spencer’s still a little fuzzy around the edges, for all that Brendon’s horrified face managed to sober him up, so between the three of them they manage to get Brendon standing in just over five minutes. At least they’re not in the middle of the street.
Spencer’s already whipped out his phone to find the nearest emergency care place, but Brendon scoffs and hops a little, wincing as he pushes out of their arms and starts taking steps gingerly down the sidewalk. “It’s not that bad,” he says gamely, turning to beam at them. Spencer peers at him, and yeah, Brendon’s still pretty fucking trashed. “Onward!” Brendon shouts, pointing himself back towards Lorraine’s. Ryan cheers.
Spencer gapes at them both. “You’re joking, right?”
Brendon looks over his shoulder, and grins a little winsome grin. “I never joke about french toast and bacon, Smith the Fifth,” he says, mock-solemn. And he starts walking again, hop-skipping with Ryan down the sidewalk towards the diner, with Spencer staring anxiously at their backs.
He sighs, and follows.
The waitress at the diner falls prey to Brendon’s little boy lost routine, and immediately produces a bag of frozen french fries from the back somewhere for him to put on his ankle. The three of them occupy a table in the otherwise deserted room; Brendon and Spencer on one side, Brendon’s foot propped in the opposite chair, and Ryan opposite Spencer. Brendon beams hazily at everything and talks a mile a minute with the lady rebrewing the coffee, all about her night and the drunks she’s expecting later and her kid and her kid’s elementary school and how her kid wanted a DS for Christmas and how he’s over at a friend’s for a sleepover and was stoked about the possibility of playing Rock Band.
“Does he play an instrument?” Brendon asks immediately, eyes shining. Spencer groans into his coffee, and Ryan sips his, stoic in his longsuffering.
“Drums. Well, he wants to. I’m not about to get him any and get us evicted just in time for all the snow,” the waitress quips, smiling at them all like they’re her nephews, long-gone relatives visiting for a night. (It amazes Spencer, sometimes, how many people in Chicago want to take care of Brendon. Or Ryan. And, by proxy, him.)
Brendon beams at her, and then at Spencer, and nudges him with an elbow. “Drums!” he says, in case Spencer missed it. He turns back to her and explains. “Spence plays. I do too, um, a little.” He fiddles with the spoon in his coffee for a second, rolling his shoulders, and then gestures. “You could - okay. The music store across the street?” he says, pointing with the spoon haphazardly, “I work there. Bring him by, we’ve got drums. I give lessons. I owe you for the french fries, right?” he says, waving at where the bag of them is still curled around his ankle propped on the chair.
Spencer tucks into his eggs and tunes out the rest of the conversation. He’s heard basically the exact same exchange more than a few times before, and he doesn’t want to revisit his lecture on capitalism and how Brendon is Doing It Wrong. He works systematically through the food on his plate, and by the time he’s finished, Brendon almost is and Ryan’s been done and is silently working through the Times crossword he always has secreted somewhere on his person. The sky is getting lighter outside. Spencer’s pretty sure he has to be at work in four hours.
“Done, B?” he asks, flicking him on his shoulder to get his attention. Brendon turns and nods at him, immediately reaching to drain his coffee cup and shovel the last forkful of french toast into his mouth. Spencer rises and settles the bill, taking care of Ryan’s too since otherwise it’ll tack on another ten minutes to their departure time.
When Brendon stands, Spencer watches interestedly as his face goes a little white when he tries to put weight on his foot. Brendon puts on his game face, though, and cheerily says bye to the waitress (she’s bringing her kid in next Tuesday) and tromps out the door behind Spencer, both of them trailing behind Ryan, who wafted out the door and is lazily smoking a cigarette, leaning against the stoplight. “Feeling no pain?”
“No pain at all,” Brendon says, a little strained. Spencer glares at him, and then gestures and turns.
“Fucking liar,” Spencer mutters, as Brendon carefully climbs onto his back. “You’ve gotta stop doing stupid shit like this, or I’m going to have to go to a chiropractor,” he complains, as he starts to follow Ryan towards home.
“I don’t mean to,” Brendon says, a little sadly, his voice very near Spencer’s ear. “Thanks, Spence,” he murmurs, before he tucks his face into the side of his neck. His cheek is warm against Spencer’s skin.
Spencer peels himself out of bed way too few hours later and ignores the way his stomach rolls in protest. Beside him, Ryan grumbles a little, and beside Ryan, Brendon snores softly, his arm flung over his eyes. “‘kin cold,” Ryan mutters, and Spencer rolls his eyes and tucks the comforter up higher around his shoulders before he pads into the bathroom for a quick shower.
He almost misses the bus, skidding across a patch of ice and nearly faceplanting in front of the bus shelter as he gets in line to get on. He actually scores a seat, fucking sweet, and closes his eyes, leaning his head against the cool window and zoning out for the majority of his commute, his earbuds blaring a weird combination of Rush and Kanye and Take This To Your Grave. The Fullerton bus is late, of fucking course, so when he finally gets to his stop, he has to haul ass to his Starbucks, sliding into the door four minutes late, ducking his head to avoid Nate’s accusing stare. “I know, sorry, I know,” he says, as he rushes towards the back room, already peeling off his coat and scarves and grabbing his apron out of his bag.
Nate puts him on cold bar, as punishment. Spencer grits his teeth and smiles as tourists and freshmen (he hates his peers) come in and order frappuccinos. He supposes he looks pretty out of it, though, because Nate only gives him fifteen minutes of the silent treatment. As soon as there’s a lull in customers, Nate rounds on him and looks him over, pursing his lips up, epically judgey. “Long night?”
Spencer scowls. “Brendon tripped on the way to the diner and I’m pretty sure he broke his ankle,” he says shortly, leaving out the obvious we were all really drunk. To his credit, Nate winces, sucks his teeth, and hands Spencer an iced soy chai, and gestures for him to keep going. Spencer shrugs a shoulder, takes a sip of his drink - Nate remembered to put a shot of espresso in it, Nate is the best. “There wasn’t even any ice. He just fucking tripped over his own legs or something, I don’t even know.”
“Like a baby giraffe!” Nate says, breaking into a sudden smile that takes over half his face. He nods, rubs his chin thoughtfully. “Yeah, I can see it.”
“Only less graceful,” Spencer sighs. “And he won’t fucking go to a doctor, so that’s - “
“I’m not letting you out of closing tomorrow,” Nate interrupts, pointing a finger at him. “I’m still mad at you for bailing on me with Saporta just so you could give B his fucking baby aspirin or whatever for the last cold he caught.”
“Fuck off, Ruess, jesus,” Spencer says, outraged. “...And that wasn’t a cold, he had goddamn bronchitis.”
A customer slides through the door just then, putting pause to the conversation. Nate mouths baby aspirin at Spencer before pasting on an entirely fake smile and turning to take the girl’s order. He hands off her frappuccino cup with a flourish to Spencer, who glares daggers, but makes the damn thing and hands it off to her. He watches as the girl doesn’t look up from furiously texting on her phone as she tries to unwrap a straw. Fucking freshmen. “Have a great day!” Spencer says loudly, just to be an ass, as she heads towards the door.
“Oh my god, the baristas there are so rude,” Nate says in an undertone, standing beside him, wiping down the cold bar counters. “And they totally didn’t give me enough whipped cream on my caramel light frappe.”
“Or enough caramel sauce. Like, god, it’s already light, and I’m tipping you, I want all of the caramel sauce,” Spencer murmurs back, beginning to grin. “It’s not that difficult. It’s not like it’s a hard job. Just give me exactly what I want without me having to tell you.”
Nate chokes, and starts giggling. “You’re going to get us all fired, Smith. Go do dishes. I’ll yell if we need you.”
Spencer loves doing dishes. He doesn’t have to deal with fucking customers, and he can bang around in the sinks in the back and shove things in and out of the big Hobart dishwasher. It billows out steam every time he opens it, and his apron gets fucking soaked, and it’s basically the best. Plus whoever’s on their break tends to hide in the back room as well (except for the Ways, who mainline cigarettes out in the alley like they’re getting paid per drag), so there’s usually someone to talk to. Usually.
Patrick’s in the back, but he’s caught up in a bunch of computer shit, trying to sort out the schedule for next week and process the markout reports. He looks over at Spencer once or twice, but otherwise doesn’t remark, even when Spencer pulls out his ipod and starts singing along (badly) to Something Corporate. He even joins in a couple of times.
When Spencer’s winding down on the stack of dishes, Patrick shuffles some papers and stands, stretching. “So why’re you back here?” he asks Spencer, smiling crookedly. “How’d you piss Nate off?”
“I didn’t!” Spencer protests. “We were doing the frappuccino bitch voice.”
“Ah.” Patrick nods wisely. “That explains it. ...I’ve got you down for mostly closes next week, is that cool with you?”
Spencer nods. “Yeah. Um...yeah, if you wanted to schedule me as much as possible for the next couple of weeks, that’d be good,” he adds, cringing a little. “Brendon did something to his ankle. Doubt he’s going to be able to pull many lessons.”
“Shit,” Patrick hisses. “Did he break it?”
“Who the fuck knows, he won’t go to the doctor.”
“Well, what a dumbass,” Patrick says fondly. Spencer’s pretty sure Brendon is Patrick’s favorite customer, after they spent 20 minutes one night geeking out over the Beach Boys. “Pete’s like that too. Took him getting double pneumonia and almost losing his contract with the school, and me yelling at him every day for a couple of weeks, before he’d go.” He rolls his eyes. “I fucking pay for that insurance every paycheck, might as well get some use out of it, right?”
Spencer blinks, and then gives Patrick an uneasy smile, because suddenly he’s remembering a lot of yelling about hamster balls and bubbles and threatening Brendon with marriage. “Yeah. ...Yeah, totally.”
Patrick packs up and heads out, and Spencer finishes the rest of the dishes in silence. When he’s done, he comes back out into the cafe, and leans against the nearest register, biting on his bottom lip.
“What’s shakin’, bacon?” Nate asks, banging around on the espresso machine. Spencer worries some more at his lip for a few seconds, and then rolls his shoulders.
“So, like. Starbucks does the same benefits for same-sex couples, right?”
Nate raises an eyebrow at him, but nods. “Yuh-huh.”
“Is it, like.” Spencer fidgets, rearranging a stack of Starbucks cards hanging out on the register. “Do you have to wait for open enrollment to put them on your plan, or what?”
Nate abandons his attempt to clean the espresso wand, and begins to smirk at Spencer, leaning on his elbow against the counter. “Nope. You have forty-five days after the marriage to have them put on there.”
Spencer can feel his cheeks heating through. He presses his cold, still slightly pruney fingertips against his skin, and tries to figure out why he’s suddenly finding it kind of hard to breathe.
“Spence?” Nate asks him a handful of seconds later, still standing guard over at the espresso machine. “You want me to get your shift covered for tomorrow?”
Spencer sucks in a rattly breath, and nods.
He’s not really prepared for the squeak of glee Nate gives, or the tackling hug, but they help. Because jesus fuck, jesus fuck, his circumstances are perfect for this and it’s sound financial planning and everything, but he can’t get over the fact that when he gets off work, he’s going to go home and propose to one of his best friends.
It’s totally romantic. Totally.
Brendon’s still in bed when Spencer gets back, and he has epic bed hair and a hazy smile for him, up until Spencer tugs the blankets off the bed and inspects Brendon’s ankle.
It’s swollen up to the size of a grapefruit, and his toes are weird colors, and the whole thing is just really distressing. Brendon struggles and squawks and eventually manages to get Spencer to let go of the blankets so he can tug them back up over himself, but yeah, Brendon’s ankle is just unnatural and wrong. Spencer tells him as much.
“The swelling’s actually gone down a lot,” Brendon says, reaching new levels of unhelpful in his commentary. He seems to realize this, at Spencer’s expression, and lapses back into apologetic silence.
“Does it hurt? From one to ten.”
“Um...nah, not too bad. Maybe a three? Ryan gave me one of the pills he got off of Gabe, so, y’know. After the walls stopped melting, everything turned pretty nice,” Brendon jokes, giving Spencer a quick smile. Spencer can’t really return it.
Instead, he hops onto the bed and opens his bag, pulling out the papers Nate printed off for him in the back. He tosses them over onto Brendon’s chest, watching impassively as Brendon picks them up and squints. Spencer huffs and grabs Brendon’s glasses from the bedside table and hands them over.
He waits until he sees Brendon’s eyes go wide behind his glasses. “Yep,” he says lamely, as Brendon looks back up at him. “So, um. We could. I asked Nate about it, and then I called the Benefits hotline and they said yeah, and I called the - the court house, and they - “
Brendon interrupts him. “You - you really want to - “
“You keep getting hurt, B,” Spencer says, despairingly. “It’s just.” The next part is necessary, but it still hurts like a motherfucker, as much as it hurt when Spencer was rehearsing all of this on the bus back home. “It’s just a piece of paper. And it means you’ll be able to get real medicine and not the Gabe Saporta Special. And, y’know, we can just say ‘oops, our bad’ when you get rich and famous, and - “
“ - it’s better than sticking me in a hamster ball and rolling me down Michigan Avenue?” Brendon finishes for him, giving him a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. For a minute, they’re both quiet, hunched into themselves on the bed, looking at the papers between them. “Do you want to?” he asks, looking up at Spencer from under his lashes.
This is the dumbest thing I am ever going to do in my life, Spencer realizes suddenly. He tries for a smile, fails, and nods instead. “I want to help,” he says, gesturing towards Brendon’s ankle. “I can’t - it’s killing me, Bren. When this shit happens, and I can’t fix it, and I need to.”
“So get me some ibuprofen, don’t - “
“Brendon,” Spencer manages, past the lump lodged in his throat, his voice sounding weird and thick. “I can’t - just fucking look at your leg, it’s awful, and you fell in a pond and you keep getting sick and it’s my fucking fault you’re here in Chicago in the first place, fucking...living off of stale pastries and ramen, and I couldn’t fix it, any of it, until Patrick said about Pete today and it was like all of a sudden I had a way to fix everything, and make it okay again, and I need to so bad, I need - “
“Okay,” Brendon interrupts, reaching for his wrist and squeezing it. Spencer looks up, and Brendon gives him a weird little smile. “It’s okay, Spence. I get it.”
“Yeah,” Brendon pushes himself up a little on the bed, and waggles his eyebrows at Spencer, his smile turning warmer. “So. Gonna make an honest man of me?”
Spencer’s laugh surprises him, relief flooding warm and thick through him as he scoots closer on the bed, sprawling out and squeezing one of Brendon’s hands, tight. “Guess it’s about time, seeing as I stole you away to the big city.”
Brendon snorts, and drops his head back onto his pillow, still smiling. “Damn straight, Smith. I’m not some cheap floozy.”
“You’re very expensive, it’s true,” Spencer agrees, smiling as Brendon begins to laugh too. “I was thinking, um. We could do it tomorrow. I got my tips today, so I’ve got the cash for the license and everything. And Ryan has the day off so he can come down with us. If you - if you want.”
Brendon’s laughter trails off, and Spencer starts to get a little worried. But then Brendon’s hand squeezes his again, and he nods. “Sounds perfect.”
Spencer sighs, rueful, as he props himself up on one elbow to look Brendon over. “I know it kind of sucks, but - “
“Nah, actually,” Brendon interrupts him, again. “It’s good. It’ll be good, Spence.” He bites his lip, and smiles up at him. “Thanks.”
Spencer breathes, and flops down onto the bed again, pressing his cheek into Brendon’s shoulder, boneless with exhaustion now that he’s gotten through getting B to say okay. He still has a hold of one of Brendon’s hands, tucked up underneath his own chest somewhere, and he’s pretty sure Brendon’s petting his hair a little. So for the next little while, he drifts, finally certain that he and Brendon and Ryan are totally taken care of.
The next morning Spencer wakes up, and immediately thinks I’m getting married today. It’s a jarring thought, and for a few seconds, he feels sort of dizzy and really fucking nervous about it.
Then, of course, Ryan and Brendon come bounding in (well, Brendon bounds. Ryan kind of saunters in like he’s lost but doesn’t have any other place to be) and Brendon immediately crawls onto the tiny bed with him, poking him incessantly. “Hey, g’morning! My ankle’s almost human-sized again!”
“Congratulations on your ankle,” Spencer yawns, rubbing his eyes and tugging his pillow up over his head. “Still hurt?”
“Like a motherfucker,” Brendon tells him, sounding cheerful enough about it. “It’s cool. Ryan gave me coffee and a couple of Advil for it.” Spencer pulls his pillow away and looks over at Ryan, horrified. Ryan shrugs.
“He got to the coffee pot before I could say no,” he tells Spencer. “It’s not like I actually gave it to him. It wasn’t premeditated caffeination.”
“I appreciate that,” Spencer says dryly, putting the pillow back over his face. “Don’t let me keep you.”
“Noooo,” Brendon huffs, poking him again. “Downtown. Wedding shit. I told Ryan he could do your makeup.”
“It’s my face,” Spencer complains, muffled underneath his pillow. “I don’t want to look like a mime.”
“I was thinking about going more ICP, actually,” Ryan murmurs, annoyed.
“Brendon doesn’t decide what happens to my face.”
“In a few hours we will be as one, Smith. I can totally decide that. It’s legal.” And then Brendon digs his fingers into Spencer’s ribs, which, ow, so Spencer has no choice but to get up and knuckle-punch Brendon in the thigh.
Brendon squawks and pinches Spencer’s arm, hard, and then it devolves into a flurry of hair-pulling and slapping until Ryan wades in and threatens to punch Brendon’s ankle if they don’t fucking stop.
“Seriously, this is the worst affront to the institution of marriage since...Henry the Eighth,” Ryan grouses. “Spencer. Shower. Brendon, fucking settle down and show me what you’re wearing for the thing.”
Brendon bites his lip, and looks down at his t-shirt and jeans combination. “Um.”
Ryan’s stare turns shocked and angry. “No.”
“You are fucking marrying Spencer fucking Smith,” Ryan snaps, folding his arms tight around his chest. “You are. You will fucking well dress for the occasion.”
There’s a beat. Spencer feels his chest (already alternating between too tight and too loose for all his organs) squeeze dramatically, as he takes in the awkward, tense set of Ryan’s shoulders, the way his jaw is clenched. Ryan hadn’t reacted particularly badly to his and Brendon’s idea when they told him about it the night before, but there hadn’t been a plethora of mazel tovs from him either, and now Spencer’s starting to get why.
Brendon’s apparently come to the same conclusion Spencer has, and inches towards Ryan, looking apologetic. “Okay. Okay, Ryan. ...Wanna help?”
Ryan sighs, and nods. “I’m too afraid not to,” he says, not quite reaching the level of disdain Spencer knows he’s going for. “Otherwise you’ll just show up at the courthouse in a snuggie and sweatpants.”
Spence shoves the blankets off of himself and crawls out of bed, grabbing for his towel and wrapping an arm around Ryan’s shoulder and holding on for a bit. After a few seconds, he feels Ryan reach up to pat his back. “Best man,” he says, curling down to press his cheek to the top of Ryan’s head.
“Best everything,” Ryan counters, sounding snide, though his hand fists in the back of Spencer’s ratty t-shirt and he holds on tight for a while.
“M’just borrowing him for a little bit, Ryan,” Brendon pipes up from back on the bed. “That’s all.”
Spencer can feel Ryan sigh, long and quiet. “You are two of the biggest idiots on the planet,” he pronounces, before he lets go of Spencer and shoves him in the direction of the door. “Go shower. We’re getting lunch with Tom and Jon and Van Vleet and I intend to get ridiculously shitfaced.”
“No duck ponds,” Spencer immediately says, as he wanders out of his room, towards the bathroom.
Brendon’s something old is his glasses. His something new is the awesome pair of gloves Spencer and Ryan got him for Christmas. His something borrowed is a tweed blazer from Ryan, and his something blue is the old, soft Motion City Soundtrack shirt he stole from Spencer back when they were in Vegas, living in each other’s pockets and crashing each night on the futon in Brendon’s shitty studio apartment.
It’s bitter cold outside, but no new snow, and Spencer double- and triple-checks that he and Brendon have their IDs (the real ones) and pens and a notebook, just in case. Ryan chivvies them outside, and they all walk in relative quiet to the bus stop, Spencer watching Brendon carefully for any sign that his limp is getting worse.
They get the 65 down to the Blue Line, and Spencer makes sure Brendon and Ryan both have seats, hovering over them on the bus and sitting across the aisle on the train. The steps back down to the street prove to be kind of difficult, until Spencer offers to give Brendon a piggyback ride out of the station. His lungs threaten to explode after, and Ryan can’t quite hide how he’s sniggering behind his hand as he smokes and waits for Spencer to stop gasping in breaths once they’re back on the sidewalk.
“...Fuck...you,” Spencer wheezes, his cheeks still bright red. Beside him, Brendon fidgets worriedly.
“I told you I was too heavy!” he cries, rubbing his back. “What the fuck, I’m going to be a fucking widow.”
“Widower,” Ryan supplies helpfully.
“Going to...kill,” Spencer threatens, pointing a finger in Ryan’s direction. “Seriously.”
“I’m pretty sure I could outrun you,” Ryan says smoothly, reaching down to put out his cigarette on his boot heel before flicking the butt into the street. “Can we get this show on the road?”
“Seriously, are you okay?” Brendon asks Spencer, looking him over, concerned. “Want me to get you a drink? There’s a Dunkin Donuts, I could get you something.”
“No, I’m cool,” Spencer says, waving away the concern. “Just took me a minute.” He straightens up, and pushes his hair out of his face. “How about you? Y’good?”
Brendon nods, and gives him a game smile. “I’m awesome, Spencer Smith.”
“Good,” Spencer says, smiling back. His nerves are starting to crop back up, making it hard to swallow since his stomach’s in the way.
“Hurry the hell up, we’ve got things to do,” Ryan calls, from down at the crosswalk. Spencer rolls his eyes, but starts towards him, turning to make sure Brendon’s beside him. A few steps in, he feels Brendon’s hand sliding up against his own, their fingers tangling together, and Spencer bites his lip.
The Daley Center is kind of overwhelming, and for once, Spencer’s really glad he got Ryan to come with him on this errand - Ryan can navigate some motherfucking corridors, it’s like a weird sixth sense, and he somehow manages to parse the hallway and elevator directions, leading them unerringly to the right clerk’s office.
Ryan lounges in one of the office chairs, flipping boredly through a six-year-old copy of Nat Geo as Brendon and Spencer fill out paperwork and present their IDs. Spencer can feel Brendon vibrating from nerves beside him, and he reaches out to grab his wrist, his thumb and his index finger touching around it.
Finally, they’re hauled in front of a judge, Ryan sliding in behind them. They’ve opted for the no-frills ceremony, so aside from the three of them and the judge, the only other people in the room are another couple waiting for their turn.
Spencer’s been sort of operating under the assumption that this idea of his will always somehow remain abstract, so seeing Brendon about a foot in front of him, looking terrified and sort of gleeful as his eyes keep cutting away to the judge, is kind of a shock. His hands are as clammy as Spencer’s are, and he’s just beaming, and Spencer thinks, very clearly, oh shit.
“...as you both shall live?” the judge-lady asks, looking at Spencer expectantly. He stares back at her blankly for a second, before his brain kicks back in.
“Right, yeah, um.” He can hear Ryan snort behind him, and he ducks his head, trying to hide his smile. “Yeah, totally. I do.”
“Good job, Spence,” Brendon whispers to him, obviously trying not to laugh himself. Spencer smiles sweetly at him, and digs his fingernails into Brendon’s palms for a second, so that Brendon yelps out his own “I do.” It makes Spencer feel better. Less at sea, anyway.
For at least fifteen seconds, until he hears the judge say “you may kiss your spouse.” And seriously, Spencer really needs to reevaluate his life and his choices, because he’s pretty sure there’s no one else in the world who would forget that at the end of weddings, yeah, there’s traditionally a kiss involved.
His shock must show on his face a little, because Brendon’s kind of smirking up at him. And then B takes a tiny step forward, tilting his chin up, daring him, and Spencer thinks ohoho.
He forgets sometimes that Brendon is a tiny little fucker, so he’s kind of shocked again when his arm cinches tight around Brendon’s waist and he’s suddenly so close. Brendon’s eyes widen a little and Spencer’s perversely glad, even in the midst of feeling like he’s been smacked in the face by a two by four.
Brendon smells like aftershave, and his jaw is smooth against Spencer’s hand, and his lips are warm and a little chapped against Spencer’s mouth. He feels Brendon suck in a tiny breath, feels the way Brendon grips tight to his arm for balance, and Spencer shivers a little at how Brendon’s rubbing his shoulder gently.
It probably lasts all of five seconds. When Spencer pulls back, Brendon looks just as hazy as he feels. Spencer glances over at the judge, who gives him an indulgent sort of smile and gestures that the two of them are done. “Good luck, babies,” she tells them, patting Brendon on the back. “Take care of each other.”
“Yeah,” Spencer nods, still holding onto Brendon, the two of them still kind of clinging to each other, shocked at what they’ve done. “Yeah, that’s the plan.”
Behind him, Ryan pretends to throw up.