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Blood, Sex, and Dominated Love Slash

confusion is the strongest emotion [1/9]

Blood, Sex, and Dominated Love Slash

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confusion is the strongest emotion [1/9]

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ryan tyv
Title: Confusion is the Strongest Emotion.
Author: wearewonderland
Fandom: Panic! at the Disco.
Pairing: Ryden, Ryan/OMC, Brendon/OMC.
Rating: Mainly PG-13, but one sex scene, so R.

This is my NaNoWriMo fic, so it's just over 50,000 words total.

Summary: Set from January 2004 to April 2005. The story of Ryan and Brendon and coming to terms with what has to be. Chronicles Brendon from joining the band to getting kicked out of his parents house to his first experience with a boy.

A/N: I tried to stick as close to canon as possible.



Confusion is the Strongest Emotion
Part One: Can You Shine Through that Shadow You’re In?


It was early 2004, around January, when Brent mentioned this kid in his guitar class that might work for the band. And Ryan just kind of shrugged because he really hated meeting strangers and he didn’t like talking about the fact that Trevor had moved to fucking Montana and why couldn’t they just be a three-person band like Blink? Spencer looked at Ryan and frowned, but gave the same shrug because sounding excited would have just set his best friend off.

“Yeah, so. I’ll find out when he’s free then.” Brent said, sounding all awkward like he normally did. Ryan made a face at his retreating back.

“We do need a new guitarist.” Spencer pointed out, trying to keep his voice soft but not doing a very good job. Not overly loud, just not quiet either. “I mean, I miss Trevor too, dude, but we can’t just wait for him to come back from Montana.”

Ryan didn’t say anything. Nobody missed Trevor like he did, but there was no point in saying it. And he really didn’t want to go there and actually have to bring up the kissing and the awkward groping and the entirely inappropriate way for friends to say good-bye before one of them moves away. Being gay wasn’t the secret; Trevor was.

His secret. And he intended to keep it all to himself, like he never could with anything else.

“Can I stay over Friday?” Ryan asked.

Spencer nodded. “Let me ask Mom, but I don’t think she’ll care.”

And, just like that, Ryan-the clever master of disguising that pink elephant that’s just starting to take outline in the middle of the room-managed to make it all disappear. Or, perhaps, like most teenage boys, he just thought he was a lot more clever than he actually was. Either way, Spencer didn’t see the elephant.

*

“So, I’ll pick you up after practice.”

Brendon stuck his head back in the car. “No, Mom.” he reminded her. “I’m going to try out for that band after practice, remember?”

Grace Urie pursed her lips. It wasn’t that she was completely opposed to the idea, just mostly. But the combined joy of Brendon out of the house for a few extra hours to make his racket somewhere else and the possibility of him making a few real friends was enough for her to push her misgiving to the side, at least temporarily. “Do you need me to pick you up?”

“I’ll get a ride.” Brendon said, opening the back door to pull his guitar case out. “Brent’s mom.” he lied, before his mother could interject with one of her fifteen-minute long the dangers of teenagers and driving speeches. “I’ll be home by ten, don’t worry. Probably before that.”

His mother nodded and the teenager could almost see all the reservations bouncing around in her head like Mexican jumping beans. “Have fun,” was all she said though and Brendon slammed the door and ran up the steps to the building before she could change her mind. (Though he wouldn’t have put it past her to stomp into his class and voice them all right there if she did.)

“So your mom said it was okay, right?” Brent asked as soon as Brendon walked in the room, like he’d been waiting by the door for him. (Which, in reality, he had. But Brendon didn’t mind because it was such a nice change for someone to actually care about something he had to offer.)

“Yup.” He grinned, flashing his white teeth that were perfectly straight thanks to two years of braces. “Just have to be home by ten.”

“Practice usually doesn’t go past eight.” Brent told him, following the boy across the room. Brendon was half-listening as he set up his guitar. “But Ryan’ll probably want to pick your brain after.”

“That’s the one that was sleeping with your old guitarist, right?”

Brent nodded solemnly. “But don’t mention it because he doesn’t know we know.”

“Writers.” Brendon said with a slight eye roll and a scoff, but he squirmed inside because he really had no idea what he meant by it. Brent laughed though.

After class, Brent’s mom gave them a ride to practice and dropped them off at a house with a blue Sedan in the driveway. It was kind of crappy (the car, not the house) and it had a couple of band stickers on the back windshield, so Brendon assumed it didn’t belong to whoever owned the pretty nice house.

Brent went in without knocking. A drum kit, a microphone, a couple amps, and a guitar were already set up. The guitar in question was covered with stickers, mainly band stickers, and Brendon gave a mental shudder. He knew it was perfectly normal for people to decorate guitars. Even his guitar teacher did it, but he still couldn’t help but feel it was like raping an instrument. He thought it would be better not to start off practice with that sentiment, however.

There were two boys in the kitchen, one of them sitting on the counter and the other leaning against the wall. They both had cans of Mountain Dew. One of them was slightly chubby with a round face and backwards baseball cap. He said his name was Spencer. The other boy was so skinny it was kind of funny and he had black hair and plugs in his ears. He was Ryan, and if he hadn’t had this weird look on his face like something smelled bad, Brendon would have immediately been able to see why Trevor had been sleeping with him.

But Ryan did have that look, so Brendon’s first impression wasn’t quite as awestruck. (He actually thought the other boy was a little funny looking but, hey, he had a car so he was going to keep his mouth shut.)

“So, I guess you should play something.” Ryan said, nodding at the guitar case that was still in Brendon’s hands. “Just whatever first and then we’ll give you the sheet music.”

“Any requests?” Brendon asked jokingly as he went into the living room to hook his guitar up to one of the amps. Or not so jokingly maybe because he knew he had a rather eclectic music taste and teenagers were, for some reason he couldn’t comprehend, incredibly defensive about being forced to listen to music they didn’t like. And he didn’t want to start playing ‘Strawberry Fields’ or ‘Killer Queen’ just to see what other ridiculous faces Ryan could make.

Spencer opened his mouth, but Ryan’s words came out first. “Like alternative or something, maybe? We don’t really play anything slow, so something faster.”

Brendon held a pick in his teeth while he retuned his A string. “Third Eye Blind okay?” he asked, letting his fingers flutter back down over the neck of the guitar.

“I love Third Eye Blind.” Ryan told him. Not Ryan said, but Ryan told. And told him, not the room. And Brendon looked up at him in surprise for a moment and there was a softer look on that slightly awkward face. He didn’t notice the look Spencer gave Brent, something between thank God and what the fuck did we get ourselves into now.

So Brendon just played. “’Cause I feel you cross my mind in disarray, intoxicated ricochet.” He wasn't singing the words any louder than a whisper.

Ryan tapped out the beat in on his thighs with calloused fingertips and when it was done, he handed Brendon the sheet music for what was then-titled ‘Boys Will Be Boys’. After he played that, the three other boys filtered into a backroom to discuss him. Ryan refused to smile.

“So, he’s good.” Spencer said, almost hesitantly.

“I told you.” Brent returned with a slight defensiveness.

Ryan shrugged. “He’s pretty good. Not as good as Trevor.” The last part was a lie and he knew it. “So let’s just have him for a week to make sure we all get along and then we’ll figure it out, yeah?”

The other two agreed and Brendon tried not to let his smile get too big when they told him.

*

Brendon had never been in a band before and this became slightly, painfully obvious during his second practice. Or that could have just been his awkward personality. And after Ryan snapped at him for being too weird again, they decided to take a break. Brendon went to the bathroom and tried not to cry, but the tears just came. And then he snuck out the window and lit the last bit of the joint he had in his jacket pocket.

Ryan found him a few minutes later, just as Brendon was stubbing out the ember to put the roach in his pocket. He made a face at the smell that the younger boy was so used to. “Dude, are you smoking weed?” he asked.

Brendon’s voice was slightly subdued as he managed to mumble, “yeah”. Then, for some reason he would never be able to understand, he jerked his head up and stared Ryan straight in the eyes. “Why are you such a bitch?”

“Why are you so weird?” Ryan returned without hesitation.

The younger boy sighed and then he told the truth. “Because I don’t have any friends, so I can be.”

Ryan frowned and then bit his bottom lip, not entirely pleased with the response. “Yeah, well, you have some now. So just tone it down during practice, all right?” He put his arm around Brendon’s shoulders and started to walk them back inside. “And don’t smoke that shit out here again or I’ll kill you.”

*

A few weeks later it had gone without saying that Brendon was now a member of the band. And he was in a really good mood at practice that day, so that was probably why he started to sing back-up without being asked. In retrospect, it was probably rude to not mention it as a suggestion first, but no one had ever said such a thing. Except Pete maybe, once in a joking voice when they were all drinking.

They were working on ‘Nails for Breakfast’, which was Brendon’s favorite of the three full songs Ryan had finished all the music to. They played a lot of covers during practice. And then bits and pieces of songs Ryan hadn’t completed. But ‘Nails’ was definitely Brendon’s favorite. So when the chorus came, he just started singing, in a way that he thought was soft, but apparently wasn’t.

Ryan stopped playing guitar, stopped singing, and Brendon’s voice went for a few notes alone in the room and then he froze awkwardly, wincing. Spencer and Brent stopped playing and everyone just stared at him.

“S-Sorry.” Brendon stammered. They were going to yell at him, he knew it. And probably kick him out. It had only taken two practices to realize how particular Ryan was about his lyrics and then he’d just gone and sang them without permission and now he was going to get murdered. Death by too-skinny lyricist.

Ryan seemed to be thinking and then he gave Spencer a look that Brendon couldn’t decode. “Let’s try that one more time.” the singer said slowly. He looked at Brendon. “With you.” he added, to make sure the boy understood.

They sang the chorus again and then Ryan took his guitar off and set it on the floor, clearly thinking about something. Spencer had told Brendon once as a sort of joke that Ryan thought too loudly and now the boy was starting to understand what that meant. “So, like, Brendon’s the singer now.”

“I’m sorry!” the boy blurted out. “I didn’t mean to. It just . . . I’m sorry, I won’t do it again. We can just-”

“Dude, shut up.” Spencer interrupted. “What are you talking about?”

Ryan turned, caramel eyes unnerving and yet still soft, somehow. “I wasn’t being sarcastic.” And, secretly, Brendon thought that it was necessary to say because Ryan’s speaking voice was so ironic in itself that it was nearly impossible to tell. “Why didn’t you tell us you could sing?”

“You were looking for a guitarist, not a singer.” And then, wincing, because that sounded fucking narcissistic as shit and he totally hadn’t meant to, Brendon rushed to finish. “And I didn’t, like, I mean. I’m not that good.”

“Ha.” Ryan said dryly. “And I’m Tom DeLonge. You’re singing now. We’ll switch guitar parts.”

“A-Are you sure?” It seemed almost wrong, to sing Ryan’s words. Especially when Brendon knew, or at least was beginning to know, how much they meant to the other boy. What if he did it wrong? Then it would be murder by shitty teenage garage band.

“Definitely.” Ryan grinned, the first real smile Brendon had ever seen from him, which caused Spencer to give Brendon the most appreciative of looks and Brent looked slightly uncomfortable. “I think this calls for a celebration.” he announced to the room at large. “Let’s get food.”

Ryan dropped off Spencer and Brent first after they ate. Brendon lived the furthest away, even though it was only an extra fifteen minutes. “So, uh.” Ryan cleared his throat. “Can I crash at your place this Friday? I wouldn’t ask except Spencer’s, like, going to his grandma’s and I don’t really like hanging out with old people.”

Brendon didn’t say anything for a minute, letting it sink in. And then the silence got even more awkward. “I’ll have to ask my parents.” he said, trying to make it sound like this was totally normal. Which it was, but not for Brendon. He hadn’t had a friend stay over since he was eight. And he hadn’t really had any friends since he was in middle school, so the whole thing with Brent and Spencer and Ryan (especially Ryan) liking him was something he was still getting used to.

“Do you think it’ll be okay?” Ryan asked softly.

Brendon knew Ryan never wanted to go home, but he didn’t know why. And he never asked because that was rude and he had been raised to have incredibly good manners, which was probably another reason people thought he was weird. Who holds doors open for girls anymore? Just him it felt like sometimes. “Probably. I think my mom’s church group is meeting at my place this week, but they’re always in the living room and we can just hang out in mine.”

“You’re Mormon, right?”

“Well, my family is at least.” Brendon made a face at glanced at the window. Religion was not something he liked talking about, especially with people his age. Especially the ones who went to his church.

“Yeah, I hear that.” Ryan smiled at him as he pulled into the driveway. “You have my number, right?” Brendon nodded. “So just call me when you find out.”

Brendon wanted to point out that it was Tuesday and they had another practice on Thursday and he could just tell him then, but he didn’t. “Yeah, sure. See ya, Ry.”

“Bye, Bren.”

His parents both said it was fine for Ryan to sleep over and Brendon felt kind of guilty about lying to them that his homework was done, but he told himself (untruthfully) that he’d finish it before school. He couldn’t call Ryan to tell him though because the Urie children weren’t allowed to use the phone after nine on school nights.

“Maybe Ryan would like to go to seminary with you tomorrow?” Grace suggested as Brendon heated up a Hot Pocket in the microwave.

“I think he has to work.” Which could have been true, but just as well may not have been. Telling his parents that Ryan was an Atheist would have been more scandalous than telling them Ryan was gay. In fact, he’d already mentioned Ryan being gay and neither of them had batted an eyelash. But if Ryan didn’t believe in God? Brendon didn’t want to imagine it.

“He works at that punk store in the mall, right?” his mother asked. “That . . . Hot something or other?”

“Hot Topic.” he supplied. “Yeah.” The microwave beeped and he mentally swore when the oozing cheese burned his finger as he placed his dinner on a plate. “I’m going upstairs. ‘Night, Mom.”

“’Night, sweetheart.”

*

Brendon called Ryan after school to let him know it was okay, before he did his homework and his mom drove him to seminary. When he got home, he made sure his dirty magazines were even more securely hidden, that his sheets didn’t smell, and that there was no lotion in the nightstand.

The next day, Ryan picked Brendon up from school. He had said he would since Bishop Gormon got out two hours early that Friday. “You guys get out early a lot.” Brendon commented as he climbed in the car.

Ryan practically peeled out of the parking lot, jabbing at the radio to skip to the next song on his CD. “Yeah. And I get Good Friday off and the day after Easter. Catholic school has it’s perks, I guess.”

Easter was just a couple weeks away. Brendon knew this, not only because his family and all the nieces and nephews came down every year, but because his birthday was in April. “I turn seventeen just a couple days after Easter.” he said. “Like, three.”

“Cool.” Ryan grinned at him. “So what are you doing?”

“Going out to dinner Saturday. And a movie, probably.” Brendon rolled his eyes. “My family is so boring.”

Ryan didn’t say anything. His last three birthdays had consisted of a hundred dollar bill and nothing more. His mom didn’t even send cards anymore. “Well, I think we should kidnap you that Friday then. Have a real party.”

The younger boy giggled, but withered under Ryan’s gaze. “No offense!” He held up his hands in surrender. “It’s just, like, do you even know what a real party is?”

Ryan snorted. “Just because I don’t drink doesn’t mean I don’t know a good time, Urie. Besides there’s a free concert that weekend. We have fliers for it at work.” He pulled up to the McDonald’s drive-thru and rolled down his window. “So, what do you want?”

“Chocolate shake.” Brendon mumbled. He didn’t know what he wanted anymore.

*

Ryan and Brendon had to hold hands at the table when Boyd Urie said grace and the older kept tickling the younger’s wrist while Brendon fought not to laugh. They both inhaled their dinner and put the plates in the sink before running upstairs. “You have better calluses than me.” Ryan said as soon as they sank onto the bed. He took Brendon’s hand without hesitation to better inspect his fingertips. “How long have you been playing guitar again?”

“Since I was eight. So, like-”

“Nine years almost.” Ryan finished, voice slightly awed. “That’s amazing. And piano since you were five, right?”

Brendon nodded. His stomach was twisting slightly and his hands were getting clammy. He pulled away from Ryan to wipe his palm on his jeans.

“You can’t catch the gay, you know.” The older made a face, clearly annoyed.

Brendon looked up at him, slightly shocked. “No! That’s not. I was just . . . my hand was sweating. I don’t care that you’re gay.” he added, a little too loud and defensive. “Here.” He thrust his hand back at Ryan lamely and the teenager shoved it away, crossing his arms and staring at the floor. Brendon leaned his head back against the wall, squeezing his eyes shut. Ryan was the most difficult person on the face of the planet, he was certain and-even though he would never admit it-about as fragile as an origami swan.

“I’m not straight.” Brendon mumbled finally. “I’m not out, but I definitely don’t give a fuck if you’re gay.”

Ryan looked up, slowly, amber eyes inquisitive. “You’re gay?”

“I don’t know.” Brendon shrugged, an overexaggerated motion with too much arm movement. “Bi, probably. I don’t know.”

There was an awkwardness in the room now and Ryan cleared his throat entirely too slowly. “So, do you want to go for a drive or something?”

The younger boy shook his head. “Walk. I need a cigarette.”

There was a park just a few blocks from the Urie house and Ryan admitted, quietly and under his breath as Brendon lit his Pall Mall, that Trevor had been his first serious boyfriend. “So that’s why I was kind of, you know, a total dick to you at first. Sorry about that, by the way.” he added.

“I already knew.” He shrugged, putting the red lighter back into his hoodie pocket.

“How?” Ryan demanded, eyes widening in shock.

Brendon giggled and then felt bad and immediately threw his arms around the other boy in an awkward sort of hug. “Sorry.” he whispered. “It’s just . . . everyone knew.”

Ryan pulled away, scowling, shoving his hands into his pockets. “I didn’t tell anyone.”

“You’re about a transparent as Saran wrap, Ross. Sorry.”

“Oh, go fuck your guitar case, Urie.”
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