Median



Disclaimer: I made the whole thing up. And if you found it by googling your own name or that of someone you know personally? For god's sake, hit the damn back button. That's what it's there for.

Notes: Written for bandombigbang 2009. Sort of. It was originally inspired by a prompt from Airin in, oh, 2007 maybe? That 5,000ish-word story I planned to write you? I finally got around to it, dude. Here you go. (Thus, it is also known as The Accidental Epic.)

embracepassion is one of my absolute very favorites, not least because she sat through many, many train rides and read many, many emails in which I rambled a lot about this. She is a fabulous cheerleader. <3

Also muchas, muchas gracias to shihadchick for multiple betas and riverlight for taking time out of her travels in Sweden to help me out. I love you both and I really wish you weren't on other sides of the world from me!



Jon first learned about the Kinsey scale when he was about seventeen. And if zero is completely heterosexual, and six is completely homosexual? Jon Walker is a three. So very much a three.

He likes women. Loves women, actually. They're so soft and pretty and, yeah, he's kind of a sucker for high heels and short skirts. He loves long hair and painted nails and, oh man, boobs. Seriously, breasts are nothing short of amazingly, incredibly awesome.

He doesn't think it's particularly chauvinistic of him to enjoy occasionally being the big, strong man around a woman. He doesn't ever treat a girl like she's weak or anything (because he knows that most women aren't, just like he knows that some men are), but sometimes it's kind of nice to be called in to kill a spider or lift something heavy.

He loves sex with girls and driving them crazy with his hands, his mouth, his dick. He likes to go down on women, which apparently some guys don't. He doesn't understand how anyone could not like it: the way it makes them arch underneath him and grab his hair, and the way their thighs shake and they're dripping wet, and the way they cry out when they come. It's just so fucking good.

Yeah. Jon really, really loves women.

He also really, really loves men. Their bodies, their muscles, their strength. Jon loves it when guys take the lead and shove him into a wall to kiss him or blow him or fuck him.

And, speaking of fucking, their cocks. While more domineering women aren't really his type, Jon knows that when it comes to guys, he's a total bottom. He loves getting fucked; he's never actually fucked a guy. He can't think of anything better than a big, thick cock stretching him, filling him. Except maybe his own buried deep in a girl's cunt. Or, better yet, both at once. (Sadly, it's never happened in real life. But he clings to the hope that it will someday. It's his favorite jerk-off fantasy. It pretty much guarantees quick results, which is a plus when it comes to touring and living on a bus.)

It's actually possible that Jon just really enjoys sex.

So basically, when Jon joined Panic! at the Disco, he knew that if he fucked up his big chance at being in a band, it wouldn't be because he was attracted to one of his bandmates. (Thanks for that lesson, Tom and Bill, in how best to screw over your band.) But Panic were kind of the furthest thing from his type that he could get. Everything was fine. Golden.

===

It's such a cliche: Everything was fine. Until. Until one day. One morning, when Jon got off a plane in Las Vegas, Nevada for some quality band-bonding time and did a double-take when he spotted the bandmates picking him up. There was Ryan, tall and skinny in skinnier jeans and an old hoodie. And then there was Spencer. Spencer Fucking Smith. Looking all kinds of grown up and, well, manly.

Thinking about it later, Jon knew that it had happened fairly gradually, as such things do. Spencer had begun hitting that last growth spurt before Jon went back to Chicago. And it wasn't like he didn't know Spencer could grow facial hair or anything. But, Christ, who knew he'd fill out so well or look that damn good if he stopped shaving for a couple weeks.

After a brief, stunned moment, Jon managed to walk forward again, helped along, no doubt, by that obnoxious ten-year-old who'd been three rows up knocking into him. Ryan and Spencer were arguing about something and missed his whole embarrassing jaw-drop thing, thank god. As he got closer, he heard Spencer's, "Fuck you," and Ryan's answering, "No, fuck you."

"Ryan, why didn't you tell me?" Jon asked to get their attention.

"Tell you what?"

"That Spencer Smith is actually a boy?" Jon stood with wide eyes that weren't completely an exaggeration.

Ryan laughed. Spencer said, "Your mom is actually a boy," while his face turned just the slightest bit pink.

Jon smirked as he gave Ryan a bro-hug. He turned to Spencer to do the same, but Spencer just raised his eyebrows and said, "Fuck off, Walker. We're not friends anymore."

Jon staggered back, clutching his chest. "That hurts, Spence."

Spencer rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah. You'll get over it. You got bags or anything?"

"Nah, just this," Jon gestured towards his carry-on and backpack.

"Awesome. We should go before that group over there gets courageous."

Ryan glanced over at the group of six preteen girls looking like they really, really wanted to come over and get stories for their next MySpace posts. "Oh god," he whispered, sounding horrified. "They've got cameras! I look like shit! Let's go!" He rushed them out of there and to Spencer's car.

===

Jon was in trouble. Big trouble. Despite Spencer's declarations regarding the demise of their friendship, Jon was still staying at Spencer's house.

Which meant he got to see Spencer all the time. In the morning over coffee and Pop-Tarts, when he was in his boxers and an old, worn t-shirt. When he was playing with the dogs outside. In the afternoon when Spencer was lazing around on the couch and "just flipping channels, Jon, seriously. Not watching Dr. Phil, I swear." After a shower, when Spencer was still wet and covered only by a towel slung low on his hips, showing off his drummer arms and shoulders and back and that chest hair Jon swears grew overnight or he totally would have noticed it before (if he'd actually been looking).

And he didn't even have work to distract him. This trip was just supposed to be some bonding and relaxing and "getting to know each other as people again" time (according to Ryan). After their adventures in the wilderness and scrapping an entire album, they had all taken a break from work and from each other. Jon went back to Chicago for a couple of weeks, and then had come to Vegas for about two weeks to hang out.

Then he was going back to Chicago to spend some more time with his family and his friends, and finally coming back again when they could book a rehearsal space and studio time.

But yeah. Big, big trouble. That was what he told Tom when he called. Thankfully Spencer was at his parents' for dinner. Jon had been invited of course, but he really, really needed a break from Spencer. He went with the oldie-but-goodie fake headache.

"Tom, seriously, man. I don't know what the fuck to do."

Tom was quiet for a moment. "Jon... I'm probably the wrong person to talk to about this. You know I'm just going to tell you not to go anywhere near him. It'll fuck everything up, and you got a good thing going with that band. Don't lose it."

"Shit. Yeah, I know. You're right." Deep breath. "You're right. And anyway, it's just a crush or whatever. It'll go away. It'll be fine. Completely, totally fine."

"Right." Tom wasn't buying that shit. But, hell, neither was Jon.

Jon took another deep breath. "Okay. So, hey, one more thing I need advice on."

"What's that?" Tom sounded relieved about the change in subject.

"How do I get rid of the perpetual boner I've got every time we're in the same damn room?" Jon practically shouted into the phone.

Tom hung up. Which was fair.

===

"I was thinking I might go stay with Brendon for a couple days," Jon said nonchalantly over coffee the next morning.

Spencer looked surprised and then a little hurt. "Oh. Um. Okay."

"I mean, I've been here for a few days now. I don't want to, you know, overstay my welcome or anything."

Spencer glared. "Not really possible, Walker. Just... Whatever. I mean, go if you want, but you could stay."

Jon took a sip of coffee. "I didn't mean to offend you or anything," Jon said a little awkwardly.

"No, you didn't. I'm just...tired or something, I guess. I don't know." Spencer stood up and put his mug in the sink. He stretched his arms up over his head and his t-shirt rode up just enough to tease Jon. "I'm gonna go take a shower."

Jon waited until he left the kitchen to drop his head to the table and groan. Why did Spencer have to just announce shit like that? Especially after showing just a tiny bit of skin. Jon really did not need that mental image, thank you very much.

Jon banged his head on the table a couple more times for good measure and then got up and poured himself another cup of coffee before heading back upstairs. He figured he might as well go back up to the guest room and jerk off. For the second time that morning (he'd always had very vivid dreams).

Stupid Spencer.

===

Ryan's latest hobby was cooking, and he decided to make dinner for his band. Jon and Spencer headed over to Ryan's, beer and take-out menus (just in case!) in hand. Brendon was bringing dessert, which he promised would also be homemade. (Jon, Ryan, and Spencer had a bet on the number of marshmallows involved.)

After a surprisingly delicious dinner, when Jon and Brendon were stuck doing the dishes, Brendon leaned over to Jon and said, "You guys haven't done it yet, have you?"

"Who hasn't done what?" Jon asked as he handed over another plate.

Brendon gave Jon a knowing look. "You and Spencer? The red hot monkey horizontal tango?" he asked in a very "duh" tone.

The pot Jon had been scrubbing at slipped from his grip and he splashed water all over the counter. "The what?" he sputtered.

"I'll take that as a no. But dude. Come on. You've been, like, slipping surreptitious glances at Spencer since you got to Vegas. And he's been giving you surreptitious glances for years or something."

Okay, what? What the fuck was that shit?

"The only reason you know what 'surreptitious' means is because you have to sing it all the time," he muttered in an admittedly weak effort to distract Brendon.

"The point is, Jon my boy, that I do know what it means. What I don't know is when you're going to put poor Spencer out of his misery and just hit that already."

Jon coughed. "Could you just...not?" His face had to be bright red, he could feel it.

Brendon shrugged. He was quiet for a moment, but when Jon wrung out the sponge and shut off the water, he turned to look him in the eye. "You did know that, right? About Spencer's big gay crush on you?" His tone was much quieter and more serious, even if his words weren't. Jon opened his mouth to try to answer, but he couldn't seem to say anything. He just looked down. "You didn't? Seriously? Damn, I really thought..." He paused. "So, uh, I probably shouldn't have said that. I made the whole thing up! All of it! Even the surreptitious glances thing. I swear."

Jon looked back up and met Brendon's eyes. "Brendon..." was as far as Jon got before they heard Ryan's voice in the hallway. Spencer's reply sounded much closer to the kitchen than Jon felt comfortable with. He looked at Brendon and gave a weak attempt at a smile in answer to Brendon's grimace of apology.

Spencer walked in, Ryan a few steps behind him. Ryan went to the refrigerator, pulled out another beer and handed it over to Spencer. He took another and gestured toward Jon and Brendon. Jon took one, popped off the cap, and took a good, long drink.

Spencer was looking from Jon to Brendon and back again. "What's going on?" he asked quietly.

"Nothing," Jon said quickly. "I was just trying to find out who won the marshmallow bet, so we should have dessert now."

Brendon raised his eyebrows. "Marshmallow bet?" Jon grinned.

"Yeah, Bren. We always make bets on the amount of marshmallows when you bring dessert," Ryan informed him.

Brendon narrowed his eyes. "Is this some sort of Mormon stereotype thing? 'Cause if it is, then I'm feeling very oppressed and harassed."

Ryan rolled his eyes. He grabbed the covered dish that contained dessert and said, "I'm pretty sure you'll get over it," as he headed for the living room. "Grab some plates or whatever we need."

Brendon did and followed him. Jon glanced over at Spencer, and when Spence met his eyes, Jon quickly looked at the floor. "We should..." he said and gestured towards the doorway.

Spencer hesitated, but all he said was, "Yeah," and he walked out of the room. Jon took a deep breath and followed. Yeah, Spencer had heard at least part of that conversation with Brendon.

===

Brendon hadn't been drinking, so even though Ryan's house was within walking distance of Spencer's, he dropped Jon and Spencer off later that night. Spencer was almost out of the car, when Brendon said, "Jon. I'm really sorry about before. I didn't mean to be all up in your business and I--"

Jon cut him off. "It's fine, Bren. Promise." He smiled to prove he meant it. "Don't worry about it." Brendon smiled back and nodded.

Jon stood on the porch and watched Brendon's car disappear down the street, and then he went inside. Spencer had turned on the hall light, but when Jon went into the living room, it was dark. Spencer was sitting on one end of the couch, head back and eyes closed.

Jon sat down on the other side. He glanced around for the remote, but it was on the end table next to Spencer. He just sat and waited for Spencer to say whatever it was that he was clearly trying to convince himself to say. He could tell that there was something.

They'd been sitting there for a few minutes when Spencer said, without even opening his eyes, "What was Brendon apologizing for?"

Jon just said, "Nothing."

But Spencer was clearly having none of that. He turned his head and opened one eye to glare dubiously at Jon. "It was just something he said when we were washing dishes, that's all. No big deal. I wasn't even upset about it."

"Ah," was all Spencer said. They were quiet for a few more minutes. Just when Jon was considering getting up and going to bed, Spencer spoke again. "What did he say?"

"Hmm?" Jon hadn't been expecting Spencer to talk again.

"Brendon. What did he say that he felt like he had to apologize for?"

"It was nothing, Spence. He just... It was nothing. Really."

Spencer still had his eyes closed, still wasn't looking at Jon. Which meant that a.) Spencer was uncomfortable, and b.) that Jon could look all he wanted. And he did.

Jon looked at Spencer's hair and imagined his hands pulling it as Spencer sucked him off. He looked at Spencer's mouth and wanted to kiss it. He could see himself leaving a trail of wet kisses down Spencer's throat, leaving a mark just below Spencer's collarbone, where it could be hidden or seen easily. Jon's imagination kept going down, over Spencer's body, and right into the gutter. Jon thought of licking Spencer's nipples and leaving another trail of kisses down his stomach. And then Spencer would flip them over, settle Jon so that he was half-sitting with pillows under his head, and kneel over him. Spencer would slowly guide his cock into Jon's mouth, but he wouldn't be gentle about it. He'd go slow, but he'd just keep going until Jon had no choice but to deep throat him.

Jon nearly moaned out loud just thinking about it. He had to shift around just a little to accommodate his erection. His mouth was watering, he wanted to taste Spencer so bad.

"Was it about me and you?"

Spencer's voice shocked Jon right out of his daydream. "Huh? What?"

Spencer was looking at Jon now. "Whatever Brendon said to you. Was it about me and you?"

Jon was still trying to get the images out of his head. He was distracted. His defenses were down. Before he knew it, he said, "Yeah, it was."

Spencer nodded. "Okay... So... What do you want to do about it?" he asked slowly.

Jon was really glad that his brain-to-mouth filter was starting to kick in and he did not say, "You should fuck me right now, right here, on this couch."

Instead, he just lamely said, "What do you mean?"

Spencer shrugged. "We can pretend Brendon never said anything and that this entire house isn't full of sexual tension. Or we can fuck and get it out of our systems," he said matter-of-factly.

Jon really, really liked the sound of Option 2. A lot.

But it was Spencer. Jon had been telling himself no since the airport. Like Tom had said, Jon had a good thing going with his band. Even more than he wanted Spencer, he wanted to keep his band. And he couldn't help hearing Brendon's voice in his head: "Spencer's big gay crush on you." The way Brendon had said it, in that serious voice, told Jon that it was more than just sex that Spencer wanted. And Jon... Well, Jon kind of just wanted sex. He didn't really want a relationship at the moment, and he knew that one with Spencer could never be casual.

He said quietly, "I don't think it's a good idea, Spence."

"Why not? I mean, we've been dancing around this since you got here, Jon. You can't deny that. I'm not blind; I've seen you looking. We're adults. We want each other. I don't see why it has to be that big of a deal."

"Because, Spence." Jon stood up and started pacing. "Because of the band. I am not fucking that up. Things would get all awkward."

"Things won't get awkward if we don't let them get awkward," Spencer said pointedly. "We want each other, we fuck, we get over it. It wouldn't be more than that."

Jon was starting to have trouble coming up with coherent counter-arguments. He just knew he had to say no. He could remember exactly why he had to later. He took a deep breath and said, "No. It's not a good idea. I'm going to go to go upstairs to your guest room now and go to bed. And, no offense, but I'm going to lock the door." He paused on the third step, turned back, and added, "Maybe you should lock yours, too."

Spencer gave Jon a positively wicked smile. "Yeah, no. I think I might just leave it open all night. Who knows, you might have nightmares and need to be comforted in the middle of the night."

Jon rolled his eyes. "Doubtful, Smith. Very doubtful."

===

Two months ago, Jon would have said that Spencer was made of pure awesomeness. Two days ago, Jon would have said he was made of pure hotness. But two minutes ago, Jon discovered that Spencer Smith was actually made of pure evil.

Jon had gotten up first and was just sitting down at the table with a cup of coffee when Spencer came into the kitchen, yawning. Jon stared as Spencer grabbed a mug and headed right for the coffee maker.

"Morning," he greeted Jon. He poured his coffee, went to the fridge for milk, and didn't seem to notice that Jon was sitting at the kitchen table and practically drooling.

Spencer just stood at the counter in nothing but indecently tight black boxer briefs and sipped his coffee like he wasn't the hottest, sexiest, most evil man that Jon had ever seen. "So what are you up to today?" Spencer asked casually.

"Um. What?" Jon was never at his most eloquent before his second cup of coffee, but he just could not think with Spencer standing there.

Spencer gave him an amused smile. "I said, what are you up to today?"

"Oh. Um." Jon tried to think. "I don't... Um. I don't know? Actually, I have to go upstairs now." Jon didn't even pause for more coffee. He got up and practically ran up the stairs, as best he could with a hard-on, anyway.

He slipped into the bathroom, slammed the door behind him. He leaned back on it, and lasted about two seconds before he shoved his pants down and put his hand on his cock. He jerked himself quickly, and when he came, he banged his head back against the door and couldn't quite keep in a (probably rather embarrassing) noise.

As he stood trying to catch his breath, he could have sworn he heard footsteps walking away from the bathroom, but was sure it was just his imagination.

===

The next night, they decided to watch all three original Star Wars movies. Jon called both Brendon and Ryan, hoping for chaperones, but Brendon had a birthday party for his brother and Keltie had just gotten in the day before, so it was just Jon and Spencer. But it would be fine. By the time Jon had gotten up enough courage to go back downstairs the day before, Spencer was dressed and acted perfectly normal the rest of the day. And then that morning, he had showered and dressed before he even went downstairs for coffee. Just in case, though, Jon sat on the couch, curled into the corner, as far away from where Spencer sat on the armchair as he could get without being in another room.

The first movie went just fine. Spencer stayed where he was, Jon stayed where he was. But then, just as Jon was getting comfortable, it was Fuck the Empire, Evil Spencer Strikes Back. He got up to put the next DVD in, and then went to the kitchen. He brought back two beers, handed one to Jon, and sat down on the other side of the couch, not nearly as far or as close as Jon would have liked.

They were only partway through the movie when Spencer shifted around and lay on the couch with his head in Jon's lap. "This okay?" he asked as he glanced up at Jon.

Jon glared. "I hate you."

Evil Spencer gave him an innocent, angelic smile. "Shh, just watch the movie. It'll be fine." And then he settled in on Jon's lap to do just that. Which meant Jon was going to spend the rest of the night trying to tamp down his erection because Spencer's head was right there. And his hand was resting on Jon's knee, his thumb rubbing lightly back and forth.

Jon tried to watch the movie. He really did. But if he had never seen it before, he would have had no idea what it was about. There was a short--too short, in Jon's opinion--reprieve when the second movie ended and Spencer got up to switch the DVDs. But once the next movie started, Spencer was right back, head in Jon's lap, hand on his knee.

About twenty minutes in, Jon was having a tough time keeping still. Even the prospect of the Ewoks couldn't distract him and those little dudes were pretty awesome. He really just wanted Spencer to turn around and put his mouth on his dick. That would be amazing. If Spencer would just turn over, slowly unbutton Jon's jeans and pull out his cock and take it into his mouth... Jon cleared his throat and shifted just a little under Spencer.

"You okay?" Spencer turned his head to look at Jon.

Jon looked at him in disbelief for a moment. "No, Spence!"

"Oh." Spencer pushed himself up a bit on his elbows. "What's wrong?" That did, thankfully, get his head off of Jon's lap. But it also put his mouth within kissing range.

"Spencer..." Jon ground out. He put his head back and closed his eyes. "What are you doing to me?"

Jon opened his eyes and watched Spencer sit up and kneel on the couch, his knees digging into Jon's thigh a little. He grabbed the remote and turned off the movie before he said, "Jon, I'm not doing anything to you. That's kind of the point."

"Spence, it's such a bad idea. Seriously. It could fuck up everything. You saw what happened with Tom and Bill."

Spencer rolled his eyes. "That's because they were stupid about it. Bill got all jealous and started sleeping around, which made Tom jealous, and they're both emotionally retarded people who couldn't just talk to each other. We've never had that problem, right? Besides, it'd just be...a thing. Not even a thing. Just, you know, whatever. We fuck a few times, and then you go back to Chicago next week."

"Would that really be it, though?" Jon asked quietly.

"Yes! Jon. I want you. You want me. We're both consenting adults who would have safe sex. It'd just be a good time, just for fun. Friends with benefits. There's no reason that it would have to be more than that."

Jon took a deep breath. He was so close. So close to taking Spencer at his word, ignoring everything that Brendon told him, ignoring everything that Jon didn't ever think about. "I just... I can't lose you guys, Spence. Panic's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I can't lose it."

"You won't, I promise. It'll be fine. We won't let it be anything else but fine, okay?" Spencer whispered as he leaned in close. His lips brushed over Jon's lightly, it was barely a kiss, but if Jon had any fight left in him, it disappeared at that first touch.

Spencer shifted until he was kneeling over Jon, one knee on each side. His hands were on Jon's cheeks, holding his head in place exactly where he wanted it. Jon's hands slid up under Spencer's shirt. Spencer broke the kiss to pull his own and then Jon's shirt off. Jon's hands got caught up, and Spencer just grabbed his wrists and held them above Jon's head. Jon couldn't help the moan and the way his hips jerked up at the way Spencer was holding him down. Spencer pulled back just a little. "Like that, huh?" he asked with a smile.

Jon just nodded and leaned forward to catch Spencer's lips again. Spencer's hands slid down Jon's arms and Jon shivered. He managed to pull the shirt off his hands and drop it somewhere. Spencer kept right on going, running his hands over Jon's chest and then unbuttoning and unzipping his jeans. Spencer climbed down until he was on the floor, between Jon's legs. He pulled Jon's jeans and Jon lifted his hips for Spence to pull them off.

Apparently Evil Spencer was not just into seducing Jon, he was also all about teasing. He licked and nipped and kissed Jon's thighs, his stomach, his hips, avoiding his cock altogether. "Spence, please," Jon gasped. Spencer smiled up at him and then ducked his head and licked a stripe up the underside of Jon's dick and over the slit. He paused and smiled at Jon again, just to let Jon know he was doing it all on purpose.

Jon let out a whine and pushed his hips up, telling Spencer what he wanted without words. Spencer narrowed his eyes and put his hands on Jon's hips and shoved Jon down. He held on so tight, kept Jon so still, that Jon knew he'd have bruises later. The thought of that just turned Jon on even more.

And then, thank fucking god, and then Spencer took Jon in his mouth. Jon knew he wasn't going to last long at all. Spencer squeezed Jon's ass and hips tighter and pulled him up, and then pushed him back down, and then he did it again. And that was so hot, Spencer controlling every second of Jon fucking his mouth. (Jon fucking loved sex with strong guys.)

Jon felt it building up inside him, knew he was only seconds from coming. He tugged at Spencer's hair a little, but Spencer just pushed Jon's cock further down his own throat, and that was enough. Jon came, harder and, fuck, louder than he had in a long time. He was pretty sure his throat would be a little raw later, especially if Spencer let him go down on him too.

Spencer swallowed and eased off of Jon's dick. Jon collapsed back on the couch, but he grabbed Spencer's arm and pulled enough for Spence to get the hint and climb back over Jon and kiss him. Jon ran his hands up and down Spencer's sides before reaching down and unbuttoning Spencer's jeans. He pulled back from Spencer's mouth to ask, "D'you want me to...?"

Spencer shook his head. "Won't last. Just. Hand. Please," he breathed. He was right. Jon jacked him three or four times and then he was coming, all over Jon's chest.

He dropped his head to Jon's shoulder, breathing heavy and loud. He ran his fingers over Jon's chest and then brought his hand up to Jon's mouth. Jon looked over and kept eye contact while he opened his mouth and sucked Spencer's fingers in and licked them clean. "Jesus," Spencer whispered as he pulled out his fingers and leaned over to replace them with his tongue.

After a few minutes, or maybe hours, Spencer leaned back and said, "Bed?"

Jon looked down at the mess on himself and said, "Shower."

Spencer smirked. "Yeah, okay. Shower, then bed."

Jon nodded. "Sounds like a plan."

"Going to sleep alone with the door locked tonight?" Spencer asked as they walked up the stairs.

"Fuck you," was Jon's brilliant, cutting comeback.

"Mmm, something tells me you'd rather I fuck you."

Jon's mouth went a little dry at the suggestion. All he managed to say was, "Um."

===

There were a couple of things Jon knew about Spencer. Stuff he'd noticed right away and stuff he'd picked up after all that time spent on buses with no personal space. While Jon had known these things before, he never would have considered the impact on his sex life.

One: Spencer was pretty good at reading people and figuring out what they wanted, sometimes even when they didn't know.

Jon figured it came from years of interpreting Ryan. But, for Jon, it meant that Spencer had already figured out that he didn't really want to be in charge during sex.

For instance, their second time was a few hours after the first. They had showered and collapsed in Spencer's bed, sated and sleepy. Until Spencer had woken Jon up before dawn with his mouth around Jon's cock. Jon was just waking up and realizing that it was, in fact, not the best wet dream he'd ever had, but real life, when Spencer was pushing Jon's legs a little further apart and slipping a finger behind his balls. He'd barely gotten in a fingertip when Jon came. Spencer swallowed and crawled up over Jon and kissed him. Jon had enough presence of mind to reach down and wrap his fist around Spencer's cock.

He only stroked a couple of times before Spencer was pushing up off of him and crawling up further. He kneeled up, over Jon's face and Jon eagerly took Spencer in his mouth. Spencer didn't seem to be in much of a hurry and his thrusts were shallow. Jon gripped the backs of Spence's thighs as he slowly sucked at Spencer's pace. He couldn't help arching up a bit, trying to get more of Spencer, and trying not to whine when he didn't get it right away. Spencer backed off a little, gave Jon only the head of his cock, as he looked down at him with a wicked smile on his face. Jon did the best he could to glare back. It was kind of tough to pout with his mouth so full, though.

But then Spence pushed forward and kept pushing, slowly but deliberately, stopping only when he hit the back of Jon's throat. Jon's eyes slid shut and he moaned around Spencer. Spencer inhaled quick and deep and began to really fuck Jon's mouth, harder and faster. Jon could tell when Spence was getting close and he kept his hands on Spencer's ass, pulling him close and not letting him pull out. Spencer came down his throat and Jon had to admit he liked it.

Spencer shifted back and dropped to Jon's chest. He buried his face in the pillow, just above Jon's shoulder. "Fuck, Jon," he murmured.

Jon couldn't help wrapping his arms around Spencer and giving him a little squeeze. "Yeah," he said, his voice raw and used. He could feel a smile touch his lips. "Yeah."

Two: Spencer didn't like interruptions.

Two days later, Jon still couldn't get enough of Spencer. Spencer showed no signs of slowing down either. They were on Spencer's bed in the middle of the afternoon. Jon was on his back with a pillow under his hips, legs spread wide. Spencer was kneeling in front of him, working a slicked-up finger inside him. Jon was about to ask for another, when his phone started ringing on the nightstand.

"Ignore it," Spencer said.

Jon nodded. But instead of a beep for a message, it rang again. Spencer's hand stilled, but stayed where it was. Jon stretched and grabbed it, worried for a quick second that it could be an emergency. "It's Tom. He'll keep calling," Jon said as the phone started ringing for the third time.

"Then I guess you better answer it and talk to him," Spencer told him as he pushed his finger deeper into Jon.

Jon tried his best to not sound breathless as he said, "Hey."

"Hey. Thought I'd see how things were going with you and your boy out there."

"Things are fine," Jon said through gritted teeth. He accidentally let out a small, "Ah!" as Spencer added a second finger.

"What are you-- Are you jerking off, Walker? That's sick man, why'd you answer the damn phone?"

"'M not jerking off, and you would have kept calling." Spencer was adding a third finger, stretching Jon further. Jon bit his lip to keep from making any other awkward noises.

"Then what the fuck are you doing?" Tom paused and Jon couldn't say anything. Spencer had just wrapped his hand around Jon's dick. "Are you fucking him, Jon?" Jon couldn't help the way his hips twitched when Tom figured it out. There was maybe a small possibility that Jon liked the idea of being watched. "Jesus Christ! What the fuck did I tell you? And why the fuck am I still on the phone with you?" Tom shouted.

"Don't know," Jon said in a rush.

Tom hung up. Which was fair.

Jon hung up the phone and dropped it on the floor. "Fuck, Spence! That was--oh god!--that was just mean!"

Spencer shrugged as he continued to use both hands to drive Jon absolutely insane. "I was in the middle of something. I don't like to stop what I'm doing. And don't think I didn't notice how excited you were when Tom guessed that we were fucking. I could hear him. Are you a little bit of an exhibitionist, Jon? Hmmm?" Spencer leaned forward to steal a quick kiss.

"No?" Jon answered breathlessly.

"So the thought of getting caught doesn't turn you on?" Spencer asked as he pulled his fingers away from Jon's ass and cock. He reached for the condom sitting on the blanket next to him.

"Uh-uh, oh fuck!" Jon answered Spencer's question as Spencer thrust deep into Jon with barely a warning.

"I think you're lying to me, Jon," Spencer said, his voice getting breathier. "I think you like to imagine people watching you. I think you want someone to walk through that door right now."

Jon was limited to incoherent noises by then. Spencer's hand was back around Jon's dick, jerking him hard and quick to match the rhythm he set. "You do, don't you? Should I call Ryan and Brendon later? Tell them to come over? And just coincidentally happen to be fucking you on the couch when they let themselves in?"

Jon met Spencer's thrusts, shoved his hips up and back hard. His hands were gripping Spencer's ass, trying to hold him closer, to bring him in deeper. Spencer's cock hit his prostate one more time and Jon came, head back and mouth open but silent.

Spencer fucked him harder, saying, "Fuck, Jon. You're so fucking hot like this. Fucking... Want to-- AH!" And then he stiffened, one, two deep thrusts and he wasn't silent when he came. He let out a noise that Jon was pretty sure was supposed to be his name.

Spencer collapsed over him, biting Jon's shoulder lightly. After a minute, he moved, pulled out and rolled off of Jon. He took a deep breath and then got up to get rid of the condom. He disappeared into the bathroom and came back with a warm washcloth. He wiped off the mess on Jon's stomach, then his own. He tossed it on the floor and then laid back down on his stomach, head pillowed on his hands and looked at Jon.

Spencer was wearing a satisfied, almost smug smile.

"What?" Jon asked suspiciously. He had the distinct impression Spencer was laughing at him.

"Nothing." Jon raised his eyebrow at that. Spencer shrugged. "I like knowing things about you, Jon Walker."

Jon considered that. "See? I knew us fucking was a bad idea," he said, but he couldn't even keep the smile away to finish the sentence.

"Shut up," Spencer answered. "You're having fun."

"Yeah, I am."

"And you're a ridiculous exhibitionist!"

Jon shoved at Spencer's shoulder. "Shut up! I am not!"

"You so are! I'm definitely telling."

Jon groaned. "Please, whatever happens, do not let Brendon find out."

Spencer laughed. "Why not?"

"Because you know how he is. When he finds out he has something in common with someone, he gets all excited and wants to talk about it all the time,"Jon said.

Spencer laughed more. "Oh my god, that's so true!"

"I know!" Jon's stomach rumbled, changing the subject for him. "Spencer Smith, you need to feed me."

"I need to feed you? Maybe you need to feed me."

"Oh, please. I gave you my ass, Smith. That deserves at least dinner."

"Ugh. Fine. We haven't seen Ryan and Brendon in a day and a half. They might think we're dead. Should we tell them to meet us at Port o' Subs?"

"Sure," Jon agreed as he got up. He stretched his arms over his head and said, "I'm going to go take a shower." Spencer stood up and Jon gave him a quick kiss before heading into the bathroom.

Three: Spencer liked to give everything he had to a performance.

Jon was lying on the floor of the living room, taking pictures and playing with the dogs. Spencer came in from the kitchen and laughed at him. "What?" Jon demanded. "I can't help it if your dogs want to be rock stars, too."

Spencer sat down with them and took over the playing part to leave Jon to the picture-taking part. For the most part, Spencer ignored Jon and his camera, but every so often, Jon caught him looking directly at him. He looked like he was considering something, was getting more and more distracted with each picture Jon took.

"You know what we should do?" Spencer finally said.

"What?" Jon asked between shots.

"You should take pictures of me."

Jon was confused. "I'm taking pictures of you right now." Jon lowered his camera. "Wait. Are you afraid the puppies are prettier than you? Are you jealous of your dogs, Spence? Because I'm telling you right now, you should be. They're awesome. You know, for dogs."

"Shut up. No, I mean, you should take pictures of me. Like, you know. Naked pictures."

Maybe Jon should have seen that coming. But he definitely didn't. "Oh. Um." It would be really nice if Jon could say anything else ever in front of Spencer. "I...I could do that."

"Yeah?" Spencer finally met Jon's eyes. He was smiling a little. "Cool. When do you want to do it?"

Jon thought for a second and looked out the window. "Well, if we start now, we'll get some good light. We can take more tomorrow, too."

Spencer nodded. "Okay. So should I..."

"Let's start in your room. Why don't you go up? I want to get my other camera," Jon told him, getting into 'professional' mode. Jon followed Spencer upstairs, but veered off to the guest room, where a lot of his stuff still was. He figured it would be a good idea to use his 35mm camera rather than a digital. He could develop them himself, and there was probably less chance of a Wentz that way.

Jon walked into the bedroom still loading a roll of film. Spencer was sitting on the edge of the bed, naked, and looking a little bit nervous. Jon got the camera ready and then stood in front of Spencer. He bent over to kiss his forehead. "Relax. Or it'll show in the pictures."

Spencer rolled his eyes, but he looked up at Jon with a smile. Jon couldn't help but lean down to kiss him properly. Spencer kissed him back, but before it got too intense, he pushed Jon away, laughing. "No! You're gonna get me all hard and I don't want them to be porno pictures!"

Jon said, "Aw, man! I wanted the hot, slutty pictures!"

"Well... Maybe a few," Spence said with a dirty smile.

Jon wiggled his eyebrows. "Okay, so first, I think you should come stand over here, in the doorway." Jon pointed and then started positioning Spencer how he wanted him. "Right and then look over here." Spencer followed his finger and looked down.

Jon stepped back a few paces and started snapping pictures. Even if Jon hadn't been there for most of them, he would know that Spencer had done more than a few photo shoots in his life. Once Jon had gotten him to smile and gotten him over those initial nerves, Spencer was completely professional. Jon pointed and positioned and posed him all over the room and Spencer was mostly quiet and good at following instructions.

Once Jon had gotten through his ideas, Spencer had a few of his own. Apparently he'd been lying when he said he didn't want porno pictures. Jon had been going for a more artsy, nude photo-type thing. For example, Jon made the bed before he asked Spencer to pose on it, sitting nicely on the comforter. Spencer, on the other hand, put the bed back into its disheveled state before laying down on his right side, head propped on his right arm, legs arranged to hide his dick. The look he gave the camera was smoldering. That was the only word Jon had for it.

After that, he rolled onto his back, his arms up, hands holding onto the bottom of the headboard, back slightly arched, one leg up and bent at the knee. His head was back, just a little, and he had a peaceful expression on his face. His eyes were closed and he had just a hint of a smile on his lips.

Jon snapped a few more pictures before he couldn't help but whisper, "Jesus, Spence."

Spencer opened his eyes and leaned back on his elbows to look at Jon. "Hmm?"

Jon cleared his throat. "Nothing." Jon put the camera back up between him and Spencer, trying hard to put back that barrier between artist and subject. Though if he was being honest with himself, he would admit that he wasn't sure which one was which anymore.

Spencer gave him a sexy, knowing smile and said, "You sure?"

Jon continued working. He moved around the room, trying out different angles. Spencer's eyes followed him ruthlessly. Spencer was clearly playing it up for the camera at that point, even allowing himself to slowly get hard.

For the last picture Jon managed to take, he was kneeling at the foot of the bed, blankets spilling off of it. Spencer was crawling over towards him with a look that Jon would never, ever forget, whether or not the pictures even turned out okay.

Spencer reached over and took the camera. He leaned back to place it on the nightstand and then he reached forward and put his hands on Jon's shoulders.

He pushed Jon down as he kissed him. And, man, Spencer had some moves. If Jon had tried that whole sexy, climbing-off-the-bed-while-kissing thing, he'd have fallen over and knocked them both unconscious. Spencer, though. Spencer was kissing Jon from the bed one second, and on top, lining his cock up with Jon's the next.

Spencer whispered as he nipped at Jon's ear, "You should take your clothes off. I wanna fuck you." Jon nodded as his hips thrust up at the thought. Spencer put his mouth back to Jon's and kissed him, hot and wet, but short. Before Jon could really get into it, Spence was gone to get lube and a condom.

Jon stood up and was out of his clothes before Spencer had even opened the nightstand drawer. He got up onto the bed. He waited, kneeling, as Spencer opened a new box of condoms. Spence turned around, supplies in hand, and gave him a questioning look. All Jon said was, "Rugburn."

Spencer laughed a little and knelt in front of him. He put his arms around Jon's neck and kissed him again, still quick and hot as hell. This time it was Jon who pulled away first. He knew what he wanted, so he turned around and settled on his hands and knees in front of Spencer. He heard Spencer's "Fuuuuuck" as he grabbed Jon's hips, fingers already clutching tight enough to leave bruises.

Then Spencer did that thing, where he knows what people want before they know themselves. Jon was waiting, wanted Spencer's fingers, needed something inside him. But before he could even ask, he felt Spencer's beard, Spencer's lips, Spencer's tongue.

Jon let out a surprised, "OH!" and dropped down so that his head was resting on his arms on the mattress. He tried not to push himself back into Spence's face, he didn't want Spencer to stop, but Christ, it was hard to keep still. Especially when Spencer reached around and wrapped his hand around Jon's cock. And, oh god, if he kept that up, it would all be over way too soon.

"Spence... Fuck, Spencer. Fuck me. Please," Jon said breathlessly. Spencer squeezed the base of Jon's cock as he pushed his tongue into Jon even further. "Jesus motherfu--Ah!" Jon couldn't get out any other words, just noises.

Spencer lifted his head and Jon heard him opening the lube. He'd barely put two fingers into Jon, barely stretched him at all, before Jon was telling him to, "Fucking fuck me, Spence! 'M ready! Christ!" He knew he could stand to be a little more prepared, but he was hoping that the burn and that hurt-so-good pain of Spencer's dick would bring him back from the edge and give him a little more stamina. As it was, he almost came just from the sound of the condom wrapper as Spence opened it.

It did burn a bit when Spencer entered him, pushing steadily until he was all the way in, until Jon felt Spencer's thighs lined up with his own. Spencer stopped, and for a minute the only sound in the room was their harsh and heavy breathing.

Jon felt Spencer slide out, almost unbearably slow, driving him crazy. He pushed in slow and steady again, but when he paused, he let out a quiet, "Jon. Fuck."

"Spence, please," was all Jon could reply. He felt Spencer lean forward and press his mouth to Jon's neck. That was sweet and all, but Jon really, really needed to be fucked. He pushed his hips back, not all that gently, trying to fuck himself on Spencer's cock.

He felt a breath of laughter on his neck and shivered when Spencer sat back up and the cool air hit his back. But the important part was that Spencer listened to him. After a couple of quick, hard thrusts, Spencer's cock hit Jon's prostate. A few more and Jon was coming, without a hand anywhere near his dick.

He managed, thanks mostly to Spencer's grip on his hips, to stay up on his hands and knees. He loved that feeling, when he'd already come, and Spencer was getting closer, holding Jon up and basically just using him to get himself off. It was incredibly hot, and made Jon a bit disappointed that there was no way he'd be able to go again anytime soon.

Spencer came and they both collapsed onto the bed. Spencer stayed, still inside and on top of Jon, for a minute or two while they both tried to catch their breath. Just when Jon was about to maybe complain that Spencer was too fucking heavy, he felt Spencer pull out. He must have dealt with the condom quickly because he was back in a second, draping himself over Jon's body. Jon hummed and said, "Hi."

His face was turned toward Spencer's; they were inches apart. "Hi," Spencer said back in the same fucked-out tone. Spencer was quiet for a few more minutes, but when Jon thought he might have been asleep, he said, "I wish all photo shoots ended like that."

Jon laughed and closed his eyes.

===

The four of them hung out the night before Jon was due back in Chicago. Pizza and some random movie Ryan Netflixed. "At least there aren't any subtitles," Brendon pointed out when Spencer started complaining.

Brendon dropped to the floor and Ryan stretched out on the loveseat, which left the couch for Jon and Spencer. Jon sat at one end and instead of taking the other, Spencer flopped down and put his head on Jon's lap. "This okay?" he asked with a knowing smile.

Jon glared. "I hate you." He flicked Spencer's head to make his point.

Spencer simply said, "Yeah, you keep saying that. And yet, you've been fucking me every chance you get." Jon's eyes went wide and Spencer bit his lip when he realized that there were two other people in the room when he'd said that. Spencer cleared his throat and said, "Um..."

Ryan just said drolly, "Please. Even Brendon saw that coming."

"Hey!" Brendon cried out. "I resent that! And anyway, it's kind of hypocritical coming from the most unobservant guy ever!"

"I'm the second-most unobservant guy. First prize goes to you."

"Yeah, whatever," Brendon said, crossing his arms. "Can we just watch the damn movie now, please?" Ryan shot him a smug "I win" smile and hit play on the remote.

Jon looked over and met Brendon's eyes when the movie started. He gave him a grateful smile. Brendon winked and turned back to the tv.

Jon decided not to think about anything, to just enjoy the company of his best friends. He was flying back to Chicago the next morning and he'd be there for at least four or five weeks. He was excited about that. He definitely missed his family, his cats, and his city.

But that was hours away and at the moment, he had Brendon and Ryan and Spencer, a surprisingly-good-for-being-anywhere-outside-Chicago pizza, and a weird-but-okay movie. He wasn't going to worry about stupid shit like the way he'd panicked just a little bit at Spencer's slip and Ryan's reaction. That would be stupid, and Jon Walker was not stupid.

No matter what his bandmates or Tom Conrad may have said in the past.

===

By the time Jon had been back in Chicago for two weeks, he'd done his "rounds," hanging out with everyone and catching up on the family stuff. TAI was on break too, so he'd been spending some time with those guys.

Jon, Butcher, and Chiz went to a bar one night, and Jon possibly drank a little more than he'd planned. They ran into a group of girls Butcher knew and the seven of them got a table and a few pitchers. Jon and Butcher shared tales of the "good ol' days" of the Chicago scene.

The girl next to Jon was pretty hot, and when she put her hand on his knee, he gave her a little smile. They did the careful game of one-up flirting (she shifted a little closer, he put his hand on her knee, she uncrossed her legs and spread them just a little, he slid his hand higher up her thigh) until she got up, gave him a knowing grin, and went towards the bathrooms.

Jon was right behind her. There was a short line for the ladies' room, so Jon took a quick look in the men's room and pulled her in after him. There was a guy washing his hands and leaving, but he just smirked at them as they went right into a stall.

She leaned back against the wall, grabbed Jon's shirt, and pulled him in to kiss her. Jon put his hands on her waist and his thigh in between hers and couldn't stop himself from thrusting forward a bit as he opened his mouth to her tongue. She let out a little noise and her hips shifted forward to rub against his thigh. Jon kept his mouth on hers as he reached down and undid the button and zipper of her jeans. She pulled them down a little, giving him easier access, and he ran his fingers over the barely-there scrap of fabric she was wearing as underwear. He couldn't help but moan as he felt just how hot and wet she was already.

He pushed her panties aside and slipped a finger inside her. She immediately started fucking herself on his hand and god, that was fucking hot. Another finger inside her and he pushed his palm up to give her something to rub against.

She'd stopped kissing him, was just breathing hot and heavy against his mouth. He shifted a little and mouthed and licked down her neck. She was making small, ridiculously hot noises as she continued to thrust against his hand. When he pulled back a little to look at her face, her eyes were closed and she was biting her lip, head back against the wall. He slid his other hand up under her shirt, and shifted her bra out of the way. She gasped when he rubbed his thumb over her nipple. He pulled the other cup down too, and leaned down to lick. Boobs were seriously just fucking amazing, he thought as he sucked her nipple through his teeth.

She ground down hard against his hand and he felt her contracting around his fingers. He pushed up and rubbed his palm faster against her. She let out a loud, "Oh! Fuck!" as she came harder. He kept his hand still for a minute as she shuddered and collapsed against him. He held onto her for a moment and then shifted her panties back in place and zipped up her jeans. She adjusted her bra and pulled her shirt down.

"Jesus, fuck, that was..." she said breathlessly.

Jon knew it was a little obnoxious, but he also knew that his smile was incredibly smug. He couldn't help it. "Yeah?"

She nodded with a satisfied smile. She slid her hand down his chest and cupped his cock through his jeans. He was so fucking hard, so fucking horny.

And that, of course, was when they heard the door creak open and Michael's Australian accent. "JWalk, you in here? Savannah's friends are looking for her."

"Yeah, okay," Jon said, hoping his voice wasn't too rough. The door slammed shut as Michael apparently left.

"Oh, shit," she--Savannah--said. "We're supposed to be somewhere by twelve." She squeezed his dick a little. "I can make them wait, though."

"You sure?"

She grinned as she pushed him around so that he was the one leaning back against the wall. Then she unzipped his jeans and slid them and his boxers down a little. "Yeah," she said as she dropped to her knees.

She didn't waste any time, just went straight for his cock and took it in her mouth. She sucked hard, using her hand to do the rest. Jon clenched his hands at his side to keep from grabbing her hair. She was good; he was definitely not going to last long.

She ran her tongue up the length of his dick and flicked it over the head of his cock before tonguing the slit a little. When she slid back down, to touch her lips to her hand, he knew he was going to come. He warned her, but she let him come in her mouth. God, he loved that.

Jon stood, leaning heavily on the wall, head back and eyes closed. He heard her spit into the toilet and then flush it. He tucked himself back in and zipped and buttoned his jeans back up. "Goddamn," he said breathlessly.

She stood up and smiled. "Good," she said. Jon nodded and then put his hand on the back of her head to pull her in for a quick kiss. "Now I've really gotta go," she told him. She didn't offer her number, and he didn't ask, but she did say, "Maybe I'll run into you again sometime, Jon Walker," with a sexy smile.

He couldn't help but smile back. "Maybe."

She turned and left. He didn't move until he heard the bathroom door shut behind her. Then he locked the stall door again and leaned back against it. He blew out a breath. Oh man. Women. They were so different from Spencer.

He froze for a second. They were different from guys. Not just Spencer. Right. Because Jon wasn't having sex with Spencer anymore. He had just gotten used to the frequent fucking and missed that part of it. That was all. He just missed cock.

Right. Yeah.

===

Jon was sleeping it off the next morning, when his cell phone began playing "Genie in a Bottle." Fucking Ryan. Jon had forgotten he'd given the band their own "ironic" ringtone. He was really, really not a morning person, so he just let it go. But it started ringing again, actually sounding more insistent. So he rolled over and felt around the nightstand for it.

"Mmm?" was all he got out. It was way too early for words.

"Answer your fucking door, douchebag," Spencer said irritably.

"Huh?" Jon was not exactly at his best before coffee. Spencer knew this. So why the fuck was he calling?

"Open. Your goddamn. Front. Door. You dumbass," Spencer said slowly.

Jon could just barely hear knocking. Oh. Apparently there was someone at the door. He hung up the phone without saying anything else to Spencer and dragged himself out of bed and through the apartment. He was yawning and scratching his head as he opened the door.

Spencer raised his eyebrow as he gave Jon a once-over. It was then that Jon realized he was wearing a pair of boxer briefs. And nothing else. After that, he realized that it was Spencer who'd been banging on the door.

"What the fuck?" Jon asked. He really needed to be more awake for this.

"Hello to you too," Spencer said. "Are you going to let me in?"

"Oh. Right," Jon said as he stepped back, opening the door wider. Spencer dropped his duffle bag on the floor next to the door and then leaned down to pet Clover, who'd come to see what the fuss was about. "What are you doing here?"

Spencer shrugged. "Just wanted to get out of Vegas for a bit, I guess."

"Oh. Okay." Jon really had no idea what was going on, but he did know that Spencer was lying. "You go make the coffee," he said, pointing to the kitchen. "I'm going to go get dressed." He went to his bedroom and grabbed a pair of jeans on the floor. A quick sniff revealed that they smelled like bar, and were thus the ones he'd worn last night, so he grabbed a clean pair from his dresser and a white t-shirt. There was already a faint smell of coffee in the air when he went back to the living room. At least he'd taken a shower before he passed out so he didn't smell like bar.

"So..." Spencer started.

Jon held up a hand. "Coffee first. It's too fucking early for this shit, dude."

"It's one o'clock."

"Oh. Really?" Jon looked at the clock on the wall. It was indeed a few minutes after one. "Huh. Well, I'm not awake yet."

"I can see that. Out late getting lucky last night?" Spencer gave him a teasing smirk.

Jon felt his face heating up. He had absolutely no reason to, but he felt a little guilty. "Um," was all he said.

Spencer's eyes widened and then his expression was blank. "Oh. Oh. Um. Shit, is there someone here?"

"No! No. There was just. There was this girl at the bar last night. I went out with the Butcher and Chiz. And. Yeah. We didn't even go home together."

Jon hadn't realized how much Spencer had tensed up until he relaxed a little. "A girl, huh?" His voice wasn't quite back to the teasing tone he was obviously striving for, but he sounded a little looser.

"Yeah. She was kinda hot. She, you know, let me know she was interested."

Spencer cut Jon off. "I think the coffee's ready." He jumped up from the chair he'd been sitting on and practically ran to the kitchen. Jon waited a moment, and then followed him. Spencer had gotten mugs out and put them on the counter, but he had his phone out and was sending a text.

"Everything okay?" Jon asked.

Spencer looked up and gave him a quick smile. "Fine. Just Ryan. You know how he is."

Which explained nothing, but Jon just said, "Okay," and let it go. Something was definitely up with Spencer. The first clue, of course, was showing up on Jon's doorstep unannounced and uninvited. Not that he was unwelcome. Because he was welcome. Very, very welcome. But the whole thing was just weird.

Jon poured himself a cup of coffee and went back to sit on the couch. Spencer was right behind him and took the other end. Jon sat sideways with his feet up on the couch. "So what's up, man?" Jon dug his toes into Spencer's thighs a little.

Spencer just shrugged. "Don't really want to talk about it."

Jon nodded. "Okay." He took a sip of coffee. "How are Ryan and Brendon?"

Spencer rolled his eyes. "They're Ryan and Brendon. Keltie managed to get Ryan's cable and internet turned back on pretty quickly. And Brendon has decided he's in love with Shane."

"Uh, hasn't Brendon always been in love with Shane?" Jon asked.

Spencer laughed. "Well, yeah. But now he's apparently admitting it out loud. And he has decided that Shane must be seduced."

"Oh, I see. Well, I'm sure that will be complicated and take much convincing on Brendon's part," Jon said with a laugh. They had all noticed the sparks between Brendon and Shane. (All except Brendon and Shane, anyway.)

"God. I know, right? They're ridiculous." Spencer took a sip of coffee and then put it on the table next to him.

They both fell quiet. Beneath the easiness of silence between friends, there was a growing tension that Jon didn't bother to define as anything other than sexual. But it was all supposed to stop when Jon left for Chicago. That was the deal. Just some fun. A temporary friends with benefits situation.

But Spencer was right there, right next to him. Jon could see him, smell him, feel the heat of his body. It was probably because he was there that Jon was forced to admit that he'd maybe missed Spencer, even though he'd only left Vegas two weeks earlier. But who could blame him? It had been the best sex of his life.

Jon reached over to put his now-empty coffee mug on the coffee table. He caught the glance Spencer had been giving him, or, more accurately, had been giving his crotch, and felt himself harden a bit. "Hey, Spence?"

Spencer looked quickly up, his face flushing a little. "Yeah?"

"You want to see my room?"

"That is a terrible, terrible line, Walker," Spencer said, but he was already getting up. He grabbed Jon's hand to pull him up off the couch. "Lucky for you, I'm easy."

Jon grinned as he led the way.

===

When Jon woke up the next morning, he was in bed alone. For a minute, he thought maybe he had dreamed Spencer coming to visit him. And then he caught a whiff of fresh coffee. That was worth throwing the covers off for.

Spencer was sitting on the couch, talking on the phone. He made a face and rolled his eyes when he saw Jon. "Yes, of course," he said to whoever he was talking to. "No! I wouldn't do that. Mom. Mo-- Ma! I have to go. Yes, I know, Mother. Thank you. Yeah, okay. I love you, too. Bye."

Spencer closed his eyes and let out a frustrated noise. "Oh my god, she drives me crazy!"

Jon laughed. "I know the feeling, man. What's up this time?"

Spencer sighed. "Nothing. She just worries too much." He took a sip of his coffee. "Anyway. What are you doing today? I don't want to fuck up any plans you have; I can entertain myself."

"Umm. Oh, is today Saturday?" Spencer nodded with a smile that meant he was totally laughing at Jon for not knowing the days of the week. "Then I have my cousin's kid's birthday party later. You're welcome to come along if you want. There'll be lots of Disney princesses and pink sparkles and shit. You know you want to," Jon tried to entice Spencer, even though he knew Spencer wouldn't go. Not that Jon could blame him. He loved his family a lot, but he really just wasn't in the mood. Possibly because he could think of lots of other things to do. Things that involved lube, condoms, a bed, and Spencer.

Spencer looked thoughtful for a second. "If I go, will you take me to that pizza place after?"

"The one that we went to with TAI that time? Sure. But, dude, you really don't have to go. I don't even want to go."

Spencer shrugged. "Your family's pretty cool. Besides, if I go, you might have an excuse to get out of there earlier and then we can get pizza and then we can come back here and you can get on your knees for me."

"Oh, is that how this is going to work? You go with me so I owe you and pay you in sexual favors?"

"Yeah, pretty much. But I'll make it worth your while," he said with a wink. The wicked smile Spencer gave Jon said that he would definitely keep that promise.

===

It turned out that Jon's family kind of loved Spencer. Possibly more than they loved Jon. (Which, by the way, not cool.)

His parents and his brothers had all met his band a few times before, but it was always the three of them. They'd never spent time with anyone individually. But Spencer was polite and charming and everyone loved him. He played with the kids and talked to Jon's grandparents and laughed at Jon's dad's jokes. It was like he was trying to win them over or something, which was a little ridiculous considering they already liked Jon's band. But, well, Jon wasn't going to pretend he understood Spencer, even after all this time.

Jon was sitting at a picnic table, waiting for his brother to come back with another beer for him. He saw Spencer over by the swingset, pushing one of Jon's little cousins on a swing. Spencer caught him looking and smiled over at him, one of those truly happy, bright, could-bring-about-world-peace-if-patented Spencer Smith smiles. Jon was sort of blindsided. He smiled back because it was the only thing he could do.

"Does he make you happy?"

"Huh?" Jon hadn't noticed his mother approaching, but everyone knew that Mama Walker had ninja skills.

She sat down next to him. "Does he make you happy?"

"What are you talking about? You know the band makes me happy."

She leaned into him and bumped his shoulder. "Come on, Jonny. I'm talking about the way you two were just smiling at each other."

Jon really didn't want to believe that his mother was going where she seemed to be. "What? Mom, I don't know what you think, but--"

She gave him a look. "Jon. I've known for years that you would be just as happy with a man in your life as you would with a woman."

Jon sputtered. "But-- I... What? I don't-- How?"

His mom laughed at him. "When you were fifteen, you had hearts in your eyes over Joey Turner the same way you'd had over Melissa Hartson the year before. I always thought you two would have made an adorable couple: Joey and Jonny," she said with a teasing smile.

"Mom!" Jon was a little bit completely mortified. He dropped his head down onto his arms on the picnic table. Then he had a thought and looked up to make sure his brothers or his dad (or Spencer) hadn't heard that and could make fun of him.

Truth be told, Joey had actually been Jon's first guy kiss. It hadn't gone any further than that, though. They were both fifteen and still a little scared about being even remotely "gay."

"So you've known since then?" he asked.

Jon's mom leaned in and dropped a kiss on top of his head. "Yes, honey, I've known for a while. I've had some time to get used to the idea of a son-in-law."

Before Jon could come up with a polite, appropriate way to tell his mom that Spencer was not going to be her fucking son-in-law, he was just fucking her son, she said, "Jon, you do know I love you, right?"

Jon would have denied it, but he may possibly have leaned into his mom and felt a warm rush of love for his family. "Yeah, Ma, I know. I love you, too."

"Good. I just want my baby to be happy. Spencer is a good guy, Jon. If you think he can make you happy, then..."

Jon nodded, considering what she was saying. "I... I don't know, Mom. I don't think I want a relationship. I'm not ready."

"That's fair," she said. "But you did bring him to meet your family--"

Jon cut her off. "Mom, he just showed up the other day needing to get out of Vegas. I didn't want to just leave him for the day. He just came along to keep me company," he protested.

She smiled softly at him. "I know, sweetie. But have you noticed that he hasn't talked to you for five minutes since you got here? And that he's trying really hard to impress your family?"

Jon shrugged. "I... I don't know," he mumbled.

"I just want you to be happy. And you have to work with Spencer and live in close quarters with him most of the year. And most importantly, he's your friend. So maybe you should think about it and let him know what's going on in your head."

Jon nodded. Then he sighed, kissed his mom on the cheek, and said, "Am I done being the daughter you never had now? I want to go drink some beer and talk about sports with Dad and Bill and Uncle Dan now. At least they don't make me talk about my feelings and shit."

His mom pretended to be shocked. "Jonathan! I taught you better than that. Watch your fucking language," she admonished him.

He smiled and told her, "I learned from the best, Ma."

She rolled her eyes at him and shooed him away.

===

Jon did get to spend time with the men of his family, but he still had trouble forgetting what his mom had said. Jon had been pretty quiet on the way to the pizza place, but Spencer didn't even try to talk over the silence. It wasn't until they sat down and were halfway through the pizza Jon had promised, that Spencer finally called him on it. Jon really, really hadn't meant to ignore Spencer, but he just kept thinking about the stuff his mom had been pointing out.

And then Spencer was snapping his fingers in Jon's face. "Jon."

Jon shook himself out of his trance. "Hmm?" He looked down and realized he was holding a slice of pizza. He thought he should maybe do something with it, so he took a bite.

"What's with you, man? You've been weird since we left your cousin's."

"Oh. Sorry, it's nothing. Just some stuff my mom said to me," he said distractedly.

Just because he was Spencer, the first question was, "Is everything okay with your family? Is something wrong?"

"Everything's fine." Jon kind of wanted to yell at Spencer a little for being considerate and asking about his family and being all nice and shit. If Spencer had ignored it or just went on talking about himself or something, Jon could say, "See? He totally doesn't care about my family! He's not into me at all."

To avoid thinking about it more, Jon changed the conversation. "I saw you got cornered by Aunt Mary. What was she talking about?" Jon smirked because he knew that his great-Aunt Mary only talked about church, knitting, and old Westerns.

Spencer gave him an innocent look. "We were talking about the stock market and the current state of the economy."

Jon laughed. "Right. Sure you were."

Spencer smiled back and said, "Okay, fine so we talked about Rio Grande, which she watched last night while knitting a blanket for Mrs. Corrales from church, who's having a baby next month. Aunt Mary used purple and green yarn because she felt they were much more gender neutral, and the Corraleses don't know if they're having a boy or girl."

Jon laughed because Spencer sounded exactly like Aunt Mary. "I am so sorry, man. We should have worked out a signal so I would have known to save you."

Spencer waved him off. "It was fine. I was just really glad I'd seen Rio Grande with my grandfather once, or else I would have needed saving." He smiled again. "Your family's pretty awesome, Walker."

Jon tried not to show his immediate reaction, which was along the lines of, "Oh, fuck, please don't say that. Please don't let my mom have been right." Instead, he just said, "Yeah," and went back to his pizza.

They were quiet again all the way back to Jon's place. Jon tossed his keys on the coffee table and plopped down on the couch. "Ugh. So full." Spencer didn't sit, just stood between the couch and the front door. Jon looked up at him. "If you grab the remote before you sit down, we can watch tv."

Spencer was looking at the floor, arms crossed over his chest. He was silent for another minute and then he looked up and said, "Jon, look. If... If you don't want me to be here, you just need to say so."

Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck. There was no way in hell Jon was ready for this conversation.

"Spence... Spencer, I do want you..." Jon's words sounded hollow even to him.

Spencer gave a small, bitter smile. "But."

"I just." Jon leaned forward, rested his elbows on his knees, and dropped his face into his hands. "I. I don't know, Spence. I just...don't know," he finished quietly.

When Spencer didn't respond, Jon looked up. After a moment, Spencer met his eyes. "You want me to go?" he asked quietly.

Jon didn't know what to say. Because, no, he didn't want Spencer to go. But it was becoming even more apparent that Spencer wanted what Jon didn't.

"Jon?" Spencer said.

"No, Spence. I don't want you to go..."

"But...?"

Jon sighed. "But it might be best."

Spencer let out a big sigh as he ran his hand through his hair. "Okay," was all he said before going into Jon's room to get his stuff. Jon didn't move from the couch.

===

Two days after the party, after Spencer walked out, after Jon pushed him out, Jon's mom called him. He answered the phone because she wouldn't keep calling, she'd just stop by.

"How's Spencer?" she asked almost immediately. "What have you two been up to?"

"Spencer left, Mom," he said quietly.

"Oh, honey. Did you have a fight? Are you okay?"

"No, we didn't fight. I'm fine." Jon tried to sound fine. "I'm good."

"Okay," she said. "Actually, I was calling to ask you a favor."

"What?" Jon asked cautiously. He and his brothers all knew to never agree to a favor without knowing what it was. You could end up rearranging furniture (all in all, really not so bad) or taking Aunt Mary grocery shopping (which would take up your entire day and all of your sanity).

"Relax, it's nothing bad. Dad's gone out with Uncle Nick and I was hoping you'd come have dinner with me. Keep me company."

"Well, I don't know. That depends." They both knew that was a lie; he was already looking for his keys. Jon was kind of having a bad week. So what if he was 22 and wanted a hug from his mom?

Besides, truth be told, he was his mom's baby and he was a little bit of a mama's boy. He'd accepted it long ago.

"Oh?"

"Yeah. What are you having?"

She laughed. "Well, I'm not cooking, that's for damn sure. We can order pizza or Chinese or something."

"No home-cooked meal?" Jon whined. He heaved an exaggerated sigh. "Fine. I'll be there soon." He hung up the phone and put on his shoes. He checked that there was enough food for the cats and headed out. God, he was pathetic. He was excited to go hang out with his mom.

Yup. Total mama's boy.

===

"All right, Jon. Tell me what happened."

Jon sighed. He hadn't been expecting to get out of it, but as the night went on and she didn't ask, Jon thought that maybe he might. Turned out, she was just plying him with delicious Chinese food and now really good coffee. (Mama Walker was a ninja with interrogation skills.)

"I don't know, Mom," Jon said.

"When did he leave?" she asked.

"After the party on Saturday. We went out for pizza after, and then when we got back to my place, he said he could go and then I said it might be best." Jon put his coffee down on the end table next to him and brought his legs up on the couch, hugging his knees to his chest.

His mom was quiet for a moment. "Jon, the other day you said you're not ready for a relationship."

"Right," Jon agreed.

"There's obviously nothing wrong with that, but I'm curious as to why," she said.

Jon sighed again. Why did she always ask hard questions? "I don't even really know," he said. "I just... I'm only 22. And I don't..." Jon trailed off, not even sure what he wanted to say.

"You don't want to be tied down yet?" his mom guessed.

"No, it's not even that, really. I guess I just don't want to make such a big decision that could potentially go horribly wrong and screw up the rest of my life. Not yet, anyway."

His mom sighed. "Is this about your brother?"

"No!" Jon said, perhaps a little too quickly.

"Just because Bill was married and divorced by the time he was old enough to get into bars doesn't mean that you shouldn't be in a relationship. Sure, there are plenty of reasons not to get into one, but there will always be reasons not to. It doesn't matter how old you are or what point you're at in your life, someone could always hurt you.

"And you are young, and there is the Mom-part of me that wants to tell you that you're my baby and you're way too young to get involved seriously with someone. But most of all, I want you to be happy. And, sweetie, the way you look when you talk about him says so much. And the way he looked at you while he was here tells me that he is head over heels for you."

Jon was quiet as he considered all of that. If he was being honest with himself, his brother's whirlwind experience with love and romance and marriage had made an impact, apparently a bigger one than he had even realized. And if he was really being honest with himself, he'd known for a while that starting a relationship with Spencer would be a big deal. A very big deal. He could maybe admit that it wasn't that he didn't feel ready for a relationship, but that he didn't feel ready for a relationship with Spencer. It was all just overwhelming: the uncertainty, the sex, the feelings... And, oh yeah, that little thing where they were in a very successful band together.

"Aren't you going to mention the part about the band, and how if it all goes wrong, I could fuck that up for good?" Jon asked.

His mom sighed. "Honestly, Jon? I'm not really quite sure what to say about the part."

"Helpful, Mom. Thanks."

She laughed. "Well, yes, you could get into a relationship with Spencer and it could all go horribly wrong and you could have to leave the band. Or, there's a possibility that you don't get involved, and then there's just a bunch of unresolved tension between the two of you which could cause tension in the band and that could make you have to leave. Or trying to write and record this album could make you all crazy and the band could break up. We're back to the part where there are a million things that could go wrong. But if it went right...

"Anyway, just keep in mind that your dear, old mother is a big romantic who loves a good love story. And I suppose I just can't help but consider the possibility that you could have everything you want. You're my son, Jon. So that's what I want for you," she finished and reached over to run her hand over his head.

"I know, Mom. Thanks," Jon said quietly. "I love you."

"I love you too, honey."

===

Spencer had left six days ago. Not even a whole week. Jon was going to see him in another two weeks. So it was stupid to miss him. He didn't really miss Ryan and Brendon as much. Besides, it was pretty much his own fault that Spencer was even gone. He would have stayed if Jon wasn't such an ass.

Jon had spent the majority of those six days alone with his thoughts and his cats. The more Jon thought about the things he had refused to think about before, the more he realized just how much he missed Spencer. And the more he thought about that, the more he realized what an idiot he was. Just sex? Really?

Jon had failed to take into account that Spencer was pretty much his favorite member of the band (even though he tried not to show it). He enjoyed spending time with Spencer. He had really liked staying at Spencer's house, and while the sex was amazingly, incredibly, mind-blowingly awesome, Jon liked how he and Spencer could still sit and watch tv together and make fun of each other and talk like they always had. But then they could touch and, well, cuddle (and, god, wasn't there a less...girly word for that shit?) too and it wasn't weird. Spencer liked to swoop in for stealth kisses, and sometimes it didn't even turn into sex. Sometimes it was just a quick peck on the lips and Jon liked that. It was comfortable and new at the same time. It was exciting and fun.

Jon was... Okay, Jon was a little bit in love. Or, you know. A lot. Yeah. Maybe a lot in love.

===

"'Sup?" was how Tom answered the phone.

"I'm in love, Tommy," Jon said with a big smile. "In fucking love."

Tom was silent for a minute. "With Spencer?"

"Yeah." Jon was successful in keeping the ridiculously happy sigh from slipping out. Not so much with the big-ass romantic smile though. He was really glad Tom wasn't there to make fun of him. There was a reason he had decided to tell him over the phone.

"Jon."

"Yeah?" He was still sort of daydreaming about Spencer's smile.

"I'm happy for you. I really am."

Tom's tone pulled Jon back to the conversation. "But...?"

"But... It's just... You know how I feel about relationships with band members."

"Tom. Are you worried about me?" Jon teased.

"Fuck you. Of course I'm worried about you, jerkface. It's not like you can take care of yourself."

"Yes, I can. Asshole." Jon hesitated before he said, "Look, I'm not you and Spencer's not William, okay? I think it's gonna be okay."

Tom was quiet. "Yeah, okay. Just, if it gets fucked up, you're going to be the one who has to go. You know that, right? They won't get rid of him."

"I know," Jon said softly. That was the biggest reason he was unsure about trying to start something serious with Spencer. He fucking loved his band. "But I don't know if I can, you know, not."

Tom sighed. "I get that." And then he seemed to be done with the warnings. "Because you're in looooove." Tom finally sounded like he was smiling, which made Jon start smiling again.

"Yeah, I kind of am." Jon accidentally let out the most embarrassing fucking giggle that had ever left his mouth.

"Aww, Jonny, you're so fucking cute!" Tom said in a high-pitched, girly voice.

"Fuck you. I'm awesome," Jon told him.

"Yeah, yeah. Wanna get food later?" Tom asked, changing the subject.

"Sure. Gimme a call."

"All right. Later."

===

Jon unfortunately spent the next two weeks running through all kinds of scenarios in his head. They included, in no particular order:

  • the one where he told Spencer he loved him and Spencer laughed in his face.

  • the one where he told Spencer he loved him and Spencer coldly told him he didn't want him anymore, that he was so over him.

  • the one where they were all happy in love but Brendon and Ryan were too worried about fucking up the band that Spencer and Jon wouldn't be able to stay together.

  • the one where they lived happily ever after. (Surprisingly, that one didn't come up very often.)

  • the one where they got together, there was lots of fantastic sex, and then Spencer realized what a jackass Jon really was and dumped him.

  • the one where they got together, there was lots of fantastic sex, and then Spencer realized what a jackass Jon really was and dumped him. And kicked him out of the band.

  • the one where Spencer told Jon he loved him, he really did, but he was totally straight and he'd really just been experimenting with Jon and he didn't mind, right? Wasn't that what friends were for or something?

  • the one where they came out and people hated their band and it was all Jon's fault that he ruined their careers, because clearly, he would be the one who couldn't hide his feelings for Spencer and would kiss him in public or something.

    By the time Jon's plane landed in Vegas, he'd made up and changed his mind approximately 847 times about whether or not to tell Spencer how he felt.

    ===

    "What are you doing here?" Jon asked when he got off the plane and saw that Brendon was the one waiting for him.

    "Oh, yeah, it's nice to see you too, Jon! Why, yes, I'm doing just fine, thanks for asking! Of course you missed me, for I am awesome," Brendon said with pointed fake enthusiasm.

    Jon ducked his head. "Sorry, man. How are you, for real?" he asked.

    "I'm good," Brendon said with his usual big grin. He hugged Jon tight, obviously excited to see him.

    "Good. But seriously, what are you doing here? You hate driving to airports," Jon reminded him. There was definitely a reason Ryan or Spencer always picked him up at the airport. It had to do with Brendon's white-knuckled hands on the steering wheel and the expletives he often yelled at the cabs and buses and cars trying to pick up or drop off passengers.

    Brendon put his arm around Jon and started walking towards baggage claim. "Well, yeah. But Ryan had to take Hobo to get groomed and Spencer... Let's just say Spencer nominated me to pick you up."

    "Ahh," Jon said. "I'm not exactly surprised."

    "Yeeeeah," Brendon said, drawing out the word. "Anyway, we're meeting Ryan for lunch. We have some things to discuss."

    "Oh. I'm not going to like this, am I?" Jon asked.

    "It depends. If you give the right answers to our deep and profound questions, then I think you'll be just fine."

    "And if I don't?" Jon asked warily.

    "If you don't, then we might have to stop on the way back to bury your body in the middle of the desert," Brendon happily informed him.

    "Excellent."

    ===

    Ryan was already waiting for them at Port o' Subs (where else? Jon thought). Once Jon and Brendon got food and joined him, Ryan gave Jon a calm smile. "Hi Jon," was all he said.

    "Hey Ryan. How's it going?"

    "Not so good."

    Brendon jumped in with, "So, Jon. You know how Spencer ran away to Chicago because he missed your stupid face so much he couldn't function? And then he came home, like, two days later?"

    "Um, yes?" Jon said and then, "Wait, really?" as he registered the part about Spencer missing him that much.

    "What did you do to break him? Because, let me tell you, he has not been fun to be around since then," Brendon said.

    "Seriously. He's been awful. His mom called me to complain about him and find out what was wrong with him," Ryan said. "But I didn't really know what to tell her since he refuses to talk to us. But we know you will talk. What the hell did you do to him?" Ryan asked.

    "Um. I don't know?" Jon tried.

    "Yeah, I don't believe you," Brendon said. "You need to fix him, Jon. Seriously. He's driving us all crazy and I think it might possibly be worse with you here. I don't know how we're going to write this fucking album." Brendon stopped sounding blithe and started sounding really worried.

    "And after the debacle that was the Cabin of Crazy, we really need to get our shit together. I don't think we'll be able to scrap another album. Pete likes us, the label likes us, but I'm pretty sure even they've got their limits," Ryan said.

    Jon took a deep breath. And then another one. "Well, here's the thing. I was kind of a dumbass when Spencer came to Chicago," Jon started. Brendon and Ryan both made noises of agreement. "But, um, after he left, I sort of...thought about some stuff..." Jon trailed off.

    "And?" Ryan prompted.

    "And I'm kind of in love with him. A lot more than kind of, actually," Jon said in a rush. "But if you guys think I'll fuck up the band if I do something about it, just say so. Because I really, really, really don't want to fuck up the band. I can't," he added a little desperately. "The band is way more important."

    Ryan smiled. "That's debatable, but I've been thinking about it a lot. Brendon and I have talked about it at length," Brendon rolled his eyes and nodded. Ryan ignored him and continued, "and I've already mentioned this to Spence. This is what I think: I will be fucking pissed if you two ruin my band." He paused, as if he was letting that settle in Jon's mind. "But this is your band and Spencer's band as much as it is mine or Brendon's and I know that you would both do anything to keep it together. Anything." The look that Ryan gave him clearly said that would be an order if it was necessary.

    Jon nodded his assent. "Absolutely."

    "Good. Now, that said, you have to fix this. There is no way we can write anything like this. If you and Spencer don't figure your shit out, you will ruin our band."

    "So what do you want me to do?" Jon asked slowly.

    "Whatever it takes," Ryan said.

    Jon had been hoping for something a little more specific, like written instructions and maybe a script. He turned to look at Brendon hopefully.

    "Oh, hell no," Brendon said. "I am not telling you what to do. You already know I give bad advice."

    "True," Jon replied. Brendon had been the one to tell Jon that of course it would be hilarious to hide Spencer's shoes and Ryan's scarves somewhere in the venue. And then accidentally forget all about them. Apparently the "But we were really drunk!" excuse just didn't cut it when they had to turn around two hours into the trip. Oops.

    Jon sat and thought while Brendon and Ryan finished their sandwiches. He picked at his own, but he just wasn't hungry.

    Ryan had a point: there was absolutely no way they would be able to write an album with his and Spencer's relationship the way it was. He hadn't heard from Spencer since Chicago, and if there was one thing Spencer did well besides drum, it was hold a grudge. Jon had no idea what Spencer was thinking about him, but at that point, he figured the best he'd get would be the silent treatment; the worst, thinly-veiled hostility.

    Brendon interrupted his thoughts. "Jon."

    Jon looked up. "Yeah?"

    "What do you want to happen? If it all went your way, how would it go?" Brendon gave bad advice, but he asked good questions.

    Jon knew that one. "You'd drop me off at Spencer's, I'd tell him I love him, and he'd say he loves me too, and then he'd fuck me through the mattress."

    Ryan made a face. "Ugh. Could you not say shit like that? He's practically my brother. I really don't need the dirty details as to what goes on in his bedroom."

    Brendon leaned forward, his eyes laughing. "But I do! The dirtier, the better! So, Jon, you're a bottom, huh? I kind of thought so," he said eagerly. "Oh! Or do you guys switch it up every now and then? I always thought Spencer would be a good lay. He is, isn't he?" he added.

    Jon blushed even as he started laughing at Brendon's very "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" expression. Ryan punched Brendon's arm and said, "I hate you."

    "Dude, you fucking love me. Don't fight it. It's not worth it. I always win in the end," Brendon said matter-of-factly. Ryan rolled his eyes, but didn't deny it.

    "I think I need to see him first, you know? I've got to try to see how he's feeling and stuff. He might not even talk to me at all," Jon said.

    Ryan was already pulling out his phone. "We'll go get coffee," he said as he waited for Spencer to pick up. "Spence. Meet us at Starbucks. Yes. I don't know. Leave now." He didn't bother with saying good-bye, just hung up the phone.

    "Oh, and by the way, Ross and I both don't have room for guests. Looks like you're staying with Spencer," Brendon told Jon as they headed out to cross the street to Starbucks.

    Jon couldn't completely hide his first reaction, which was fear. But he just swallowed and said okay. He wanted to stay there, but he wasn't sure how that'd go over. "Uh, does Spencer know that?"

    Ryan and Brendon looked at each other instead of Jon. Ryan cleared his throat. "Not exactly."

    Brendon said, "Don't worry, I'll take care of getting your stuff from my car to his while we're at Starbucks. It'll be fine."

    Before Jon could ask anything else (along the lines of "Oh, shit, you guys are just going to completely leave me at Starbucks with him, aren't you? I hate you."), they were inside and Ryan was pushing him and telling him to find a table.

    Jon snagged two small tables and put them together. He sat down and when he looked up, he saw Spencer walk in. Fortunately, he went right up to Ryan and Brendon to order himself a coffee. Jon took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. He watched Spencer smile at a joke Brendon made, and knew two things instantly: he was in love, and he was scared completely fucking shitless. If Spencer rejected him...

    Jon may have had all those ridiculous scenes in his head on the plane ride to Vegas, but the thought of real rejection pretty much knocked the wind out of him entirely. He couldn't even consider the possibility without panicking.

    Spencer sat down first so that he didn't have to sit next to or across from Jon. Brendon sat down facing Jon and handed over the coffee he'd gotten for him. Jon took it and sipped gratefully, mostly so he didn't have to say anything. No one else seemed too inclined to break the silence either, until there was a little commotion under the table and Spencer jumped and then glared at Ryan while leaning down to rub his leg. Spence still took the hint though. "So, uh, how was the flight and all?" he asked Jon without actually looking at him.

    And Jon... Well, Jon had just regressed to a 14-year-old girl talking to the captain of the football team. "Oh. Um. Fine. It was fine," he managed to say without too much trouble, and he could live with the stuttering and stammering. It was the ridiculous goofy smile that he couldn't get rid of and the red cheeks and the ducking of his head that all humiliated him. But Spencer! He was just right there! Even if he wouldn't look at Jon, which was probably for the best, actually.

    Brendon, though, oh man, Brendon was trying to disguise a laughing fit with a cough. He laughed so hard that it turned into an actual coughing fit, and between Spencer patting him on the back, Ryan just laughing, and Jon jumping up to get a glass of water, the tension sort of just disappeared.

    When Brendon had settled down, Ryan asked about their practice space. That was Spencer's cue to get out his planner. (Jon--in all his freshman-girl glory--thought it was absolutely adorable, the way that Spencer was such a responsible, anal adult sometimes. Jon had issues.) "Okay, the space is booked for some of the next couple of weeks, so here's when we have it." Spencer waited for Ryan to pull out a pen and grab a napkin and for Brendon to pull out his iPhone. He looked at Jon pointedly.

    Jon shrugged. "What? It's not like I'm not going to be with one of you all the time."

    Spencer shrugged at that and rattled off dates and times. He looked up at Brendon and said, "You are sending that to Shane too, right?"

    Brendon glared and said testily, "Yes, I'm sending it to Shane too. Asshole." If Brendon didn't send it to Shane for him to put it on the calendar that lived on their refrigerator, the rest of the band would spend a lot of time waiting for Brendon to show up. It annoyed Brendon sometimes when the rest of them acted like he couldn't be trusted, but, well, sometimes he couldn't be trusted.

    After the scheduling, they started talking about the album. Ryan had some lyrics started and Brendon surprised them by saying he had some, too. About five minutes into the conversation, Brendon's phone rang.

    "Oh, hey Shane. What's up?" Brendon answered. "What? Hold on, I can't hear you. Bad reception." He got up and went outside. Jon noticed Spencer looking ever so slightly suspicious. Jon glanced at his phone and saw that he had five bars. He had a sinking feeling that he knew what was going on.

    He knew for sure when Ryan said, "I have to, uh...yeah. You two make nice while I'm gone." And, yeah, Brendon and Ryan were out of there.

    Shit.

    Spencer's back was to the front door. He sighed and looked at Jon. "They're not coming back, are they?"

    Jon saw them talking for a minute before they got into their own cars and left. "Yeah, no. They just left."

    "Right." Spencer looked a little uncomfortable. He cleared his throat. "So..."

    Jon was pretty uncomfortable himself. He sipped his coffee. "So." He took another sip. "So," he said again. "Since we're here, we should maybe talk?" Jon was a believer in the "Rip the Band-Aid Off on the Count of Three" philosophy.

    Spencer sighed and played with the napkin on the table in front of him. He didn't look up at Jon. "Probably." They were both quiet again, and then Spencer looked up and said, "You can start."

    "Yeah, okay. I just." Jon took a deep breath. One. Two. Three. "I just feel like we should clear some stuff up, okay?" Spencer nodded. He didn't look too impressed with Jon.

    Jon cleared his throat and kept his eyes on the table, like the conversation would be that much easier if he told it to the fake wood. "After you left Chicago, I thought a lot, about a lot of stuff. And the thing is, Spence, I missed you a whole hell of a lot. I was miserable. Even Dylan and Clover started to avoid me." Jon paused and when he looked up back up, Spencer was looking at him. Their eyes met but Spencer looked away before Jon could try to figure out what he was thinking.

    "And I talked to my mom," Jon started again. Spencer snorted. "Fuck you! Like you're not a mama's boy?"

    Spencer smirked and said, "Whatever, Walker. I love my mom, but you're on like a whole other level, dude." Spencer was smiling a little, but it didn't reach his eyes.

    "Fuck you," Jon said again. "Do you want to hear this or not?"

    Spencer shrugged like he really didn't, but knew he didn't have a choice.

    "Like I was saying, I talked to my mom, and she maybe made a few good points. She kind of helped me realize some stuff. Like the fact that I can be really dumb sometimes. And basically, what it comes down to is," he paused to take a deep breath, "is that I'm a little bit crazy about you, Spencer. Hell, I am completely in love with you."

    Jon glanced up to gauge Spencer's reaction, but the look on Spencer's face didn't really give anything away, which was just unhelpful. Jon needed something to work with, even if it was amusement or disgust or annoyance. "Spence?" he said quietly.

    "What do you want me to say, Jon?" Spencer answered after a minute.

    That frustrated Jon. He felt the mood changing and he suddenly preferred the awkward, weird atmosphere. "I don't know! Something. Do you want to do something about this? Do you hate me? Is this going to ruin the band? Just something. Whatever you feel. I don't know."

    "Well, it's not exactly a surprise," Spencer admitted. "I mean, I didn't know for sure, but I kind of thought that you felt that way." He paused, but before Jon could react, he said, "I'm not really sure what you think this will change, though."

    Jon couldn't help the look of disbelief. "Everything?" Jon tried. "I... Spence, I love you. I think we should be dating, not just fucking. That whole 'friends with benefits' thing is bullshit with us. There are feelings. I hate sounding like a fifteen-year-old girl, but Spencer, I want you to fucking be my boyfriend, okay? I don't think I can spell it out better than that."

    Spencer rolled his eyes. Jon took a deep breath and convinced himself that punching Spencer in the face would not help his cause. "Look. Jon. It won't happen, okay? I mean, I am obviously attracted to you and we're really fucking good in bed. But it won't be more than that."

    Jon closed his eyes and took a moment to figure out what the hell he could say or do to make Spencer agree with him, and then he gave up. "Spencer. What do I have to do to convince you that I love you?" he asked.

    "Jon, that's not the issue. I believe you. I really do. And I know Brendon told you before, so you've known all along that I've got feelings for you, too."

    Jon couldn't keep in the frustrated groan that interrupted Spencer. "Then what's the problem? How is this even turning into a fight?"

    "Jon, the only thing that's changed is that you actually admit you have feelings for me now. That's it. Everything else is the same. The reasons that we didn't get together were before, they still exist." Jon selfishly took a little bit of comfort that Spencer's speech made him look sad.

    "But it is different, Spence! That's what I'm trying to tell you! I want it to be different." Jon was feeling desperate.

    Spencer gave him a small, sad smile as he said, "Then I guess that's the part that I don't believe." Spencer sighed. "Look, those reasons you had a couple of weeks ago? Those were valid and rational. They make sense. If we're not both ready for something serious, and with us it would be, you know it would, then it's not going to work. Not to mention all the ways it could fuck up the band. But now you're expecting me to just toss all those concerns--that you raised--out the window? I can't, okay? And I have no reason to think that you have already either. I get that you missed me. I missed the hell out of you. But that's not a good enough reason to ignore everything else."

    "Spencer," Jon tried again. "I didn't just miss you, okay? It's not--"

    Spencer cut him off with a look and said, "Jon."

    Jon let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He stared at his coffee cup. "Fine," he finally said. He was just going to have to find a way to prove to Spencer that he meant what he said.

    ===

    "I'm, uh, gonna go lay down for bit. Take a nap," Jon said to Spencer when they got back to the house. It was the first thing either of them had said since leaving Starbucks.

    "Yeah, okay," Spencer said. "Guest room's all ready for you, unless you want to stay in mine. Whatever works for you."

    Jon just nodded and then headed up the stairs. He wanted to stay in Spencer's room, he really did, but Operation Make Spencer Be Jon's Boyfriend (trademarked on the way back from Starbucks) wouldn't let him. Having sex with Spencer would just lead to falling back into the same pattern they had before, and Jon didn't want that. Sex this time would be more than just friends-with-benefits if it killed him.

    At least, that's what he told himself as he dropped his bag on the floor and flopped on the bed. He wasn't even really tired, he just thought that he and Spencer both needed a bit of time to think about their earlier discussion.

    And Jon had to start plotting. At least he didn't have to convince Spencer to fall in love with him. Operation Make Spencer Be Jon's Boyfriend, step one: check.

    Step two. Jon considered his options. He could follow Spencer around looking at him adoringly with puppy eyes until Spencer was so irritated and annoyed he just agreed to get Jon to stop. (Though to be honest, Jon probably would be staring adoringly at Spencer every chance he got. Just, not on purpose.) Well, that was an option, anyway.

    Or could play hard to get and ignore Spencer, make Spencer chase him. He sort of already knew that would backfire though.

    Jon sighed as he tried to think of a few more options. His life would be so much easier if he could just be Spencer's boyfriend. Jon was a good boyfriend! Spencer would totally love him. Jon was always sweet and thoughtful to the people he dated. He was a total dork and loved making romantic gestures. Not that he would treat Spencer like a girl or anything; Jon just liked to make people happy and make them feel loved.

    Jon shot up and jumped off the bed. That was it! He would just pretend he was Spencer's boyfriend until Spencer saw how awesome he was and made it official. Jon grinned and, since he was alone in the room, did a short little victory dance worthy of Brendon. He hopped back up on the bed and laid on his stomach, hugging the pillow under his head. Time for the real plotting to begin.

    ===

    During his plotting and planning, Jon accidentally fell asleep. He woke up about an hour later, and went to the bathroom. He heard the tv on, so he went downstairs. Spencer was in the kitchen, getting some chips and salsa. He glanced up and asked, "Want some?"

    "Sure," Jon replied with a smile. He walked up behind Spencer, wrapped his arms around his waist, and hugged Spencer tight. He rubbed his cheek against Spencer's t-shirt (he'd maybe spent a little too much time with his cats before they started avoiding him) and sighed happily. He was still sleepy and it was really good to be snuggled up to Spencer like that.

    "Um. Hi?" Spencer didn't move to encourage Jon, but he didn't discourage him either, so Jon took it as a win.

    "Hi," Jon said. Spencer awkwardly patted Jon's hand and Jon squeezed tight again and pulled back.

    Jon reached in front of Spencer to grab a tortilla chip while Spence was clearly still distracted and giving Jon that 'you're freaking me out' face. Jon just grinned at him, grabbed two beers from the fridge, and headed for the living room. Spencer came in a couple of minutes later with the plate of chips and bowl of salsa. He pulled the coffee table closer so they could both reach the food and picked up the remote. "What do you want to watch?" Spencer asked.

    Jon shrugged. "Whatever." Spencer flipped around and found Die Hard playing on one of the hundreds of movie channels he got.

    They watched in silence for a while, and Jon may have gone for chips at the same time as Spencer and maybe purposely brushed their hands together. After the second time, Spencer looked at Jon with narrowed eyes. "What?" Jon said in his best innocent voice with his best innocent wide eyes.

    "You're being weird," Spencer said suspiciously.

    "How am I being weird?"

    "You know how. What the hell?"

    Honesty was the best policy, right? "The truth is, Spencer Smith, that you did not convince me at Starbucks. I still think you should be my boyfriend. And I still think that somewhere not-so-deep-down, you agree with me. So until you tell me that you really, really don't want me and can make me really, really believe you, I plan to prove to you that I am an awesome boyfriend," Jon said definitively.

    "Uh-huh," Spencer said slowly. He looked kind of skeptical though. Then thoughtful, and finally hopeful. "Does this mean we still get to have sex?"

    "Nope," Jon said cheerfully. "I am a gentleman, Spencer. I would never want to take advantage of you like that. You should really just be glad that I'm not going to save you for marriage. Just a relationship," he added.

    Spencer blinked at him. "You suck," he said before turning back to the tv.

    "Nope, not yet," Jon said with a smile. < p/> Spencer didn't shoot him down entirely. That was all Jon needed for the moment.

    ===

    At Spencer's subtle urging (e.g., asking over and over if it was), Jon decided that making out was not banned with the sex. Which was how, two days later, Jon was under Spencer on the living room floor, and was remembering how much he liked Spencer's mouth.

    Jon dragged his lips over Spencer's cheek and down his neck. When he bit a little and started sucking hard, Spencer groaned. "Jon," he breathed out. "Jon, can I tell you I want a relationship now?" he asked and Jon could hear the smile in his voice.

    That had the same effect as being doused by a bucket of ice water. Jon stilled and dropped his head to the floor and closed his eyes.

    "What?" Spencer asked. "What's wrong?"

    Jon pushed Spencer off of him and sat up. He looked at the floor while he said, "It's not about sex, Spencer. That's what I'm trying to tell you. And it's...it's not a joke, okay?" He didn't wait for an answer, just stood up and went upstairs. He shut the guest bedroom door behind him and laid down. He didn't even feel like jerking off. He just covered his face and let out a frustrated groan.

    Stupid Spencer.

    ===

    Thankfully, whatever tensions and weirdness that existed between Jon and Spencer didn't seem to impede the writing process. The band was making some really good progress with a bunch of songs. Spencer was able to accept or ignore Jon's little attempts to treat him a bit more special than Ryan or Brendon. For the most part, Ryan and Brendon just smiled indulgently or rolled their eyes at Jon's attention to Spencer. Jon tried to make sure he didn't do anything that could be too much, but he liked making sure he got Spencer's coffee just the way he liked it or suggested Spencer's favorite Chinese food for dinner. It was nothing he wouldn't have done for any other person he dated.

    One afternoon, after they'd all spent a morning arguing over a simple phrase (Ryan wanted it one way, Spencer wanted it another, Brendon thought they should just get rid of it entirely, and Jon mostly agreed with Ryan), they split up for lunch to cool off a bit. Jon decided to stay back at the practice space, and just told Ryan to bring him some tacos.

    Jon stayed and went to sit on the bench out front and smoke and think. He was thinking about how this time around was so much better than the cabin and how much he loved his band and their music. He absolutely wouldn't trade his life for anything.

    Ryan had apparently just hit the Del Taco drive-thru because he was back just as Jon was finishing his first cigarette. Ryan sat down next to him and silently split up the food.

    When Ryan finished his first taco, he turned to Jon and said, "Thanks. For, you know, backing me up today. I mean, I know, like, you didn't..." he trailed off like he was trying to figure out what came next.

    Jon was quiet for a minute. His first instinct was to be insulted by Ryan insinuating that he would have agreed with Spencer just because he was Spencer. But after a couple of years, he'd learned to read between some of Ryan's lines. It sounded like Ryan's way of saying, "It would have been easier to agree with Spence for Operation Make Spencer Be Jon's Boyfriend, but you didn't and I never thought you'd be one of those guys who lose their balls in a relationship, but I really appreciate the confirmation anyway."

    "I told you I don't want to fuck up the band. I meant it. Anyway, I'm in love, Ry, not deaf. Your way sounds better than Spencer's," Jon finally said with a shrug.

    "Yeah, it really does," Ryan said with a smile. He waved a hand and added, "He knows it too. He capitulated after hearing it a fourth time, but he hates to be wrong, so he's just being stubborn."

    Jon laughed. Yeah, that just about summed up Spence. "Then why did you keep pushing him?"

    Ryan smirked. "Mostly, it's kind of just habit at this point. I've been doing it since we were kids," he said with a laugh. "You have to admit it's fun when he's turning purple and shit because he thinks I'm just not listening to him."

    Jon laughed again. "It really is," he agreed. "Just, uh, don't tell him that? I feel like it would set me back a step in Operation Make Spencer Be Jon's Boyfriend."

    Ryan stared at Jon. "Oh my god. Operation Make Spencer Be Jon's Boyfriend? Seriously, Jon? Seriously? Wow. That is lame!" Ryan just laughed as Jon felt his face heat up.

    "Shut up," he muttered.

    "So fucking lame!"

    "What's lame?" Brendon asked as he walked up.

    "Nothing," Jon said.

    "Jon!" Ryan said between giggles (he was totally fucking giggling). "Jon! Operation Make Spencer Be Jon's Boyfriend!"

    Brendon laughed too, but he did seem to be laughing more at the way that Ryan was wiping tears from his eyes and practically falling off the bench than at Jon's humiliation.

    "I hate you both," Jon said with a glare. He looked up across the parking lot and said, "And if you could not say anything about this Spencer, I'd really appreciate it. Which means, Ryan, shut the fuck up now because he's--Hey, Spence! How was your lunch? What did you have?"

    Spencer ignored him. "Is he okay?" he asked, pointing at Ryan, who just laughed harder.

    Jon jumped up. "Yeah, he's fine. We were mocking Brendon." He put his arm around Spencer and started walking him back to the building. "So, Spence, I can't remember, what did we decide to do for that one song? The apple orchard one, the second chorus? Can you come show me?"

    If one thing could distract Spencer, it was sex. But if two things could distract him, the other was drumming, bass lines, and beats. And Jon had no problem exploiting that to save face.

    ===

    The third week of writing and rehearsing ended with a two a.m. trip to IHOP. Their waiter was pretty hot actually, and flirted with Brendon the whole night.

    Or so Jon thought. They had asked for separate checks and Jon's was the one that came back with a phone number. He double-checked the order, and yeah, it was his. And there was no way to mistake the wink the guy gave him when Jon looked up. Sure, Jon had been nice to the guy, he always tried to be nice to servers and stuff; working at Starbucks had taught him a lot. But yeah. Jon didn't randomly get phone numbers like that. At least, not without a good bit of work on his part.

    After paying at the register, Jon put the check (with some dude's number what the hell?) in his pocket. It felt rude to just throw it away where the waiter (Jon didn't even get his name, for fuck's sake!) could see him. He waited until they were outside to do it, while Brendon laughed at Jon's obliviousness and red face. Ryan laughed at Jon's protests that he "didn't know! And what the fuck, he'd been flirting with Brendon the entire time!" Spencer just had an uncomfortable smile on his face.

    "No, really, JWalk, he was totally into you!" Brendon told him as they all settled in Ryan's car, Jon and Spencer in the back.

    "Well, he wasn't my type anyway. He's not--" Jon cut himself off before he said Spencer's name. "Anyway. Fuck off, all of you!"

    Ryan drove them all back to the practice space, where Brendon and Spencer had left their cars. On the drive back to Spencer's house, Spencer turned to Jon and said, "Actually, he sort of was your type."

    "No, he wasn't." He had been actually, and if Jon hadn't been all about Spencer, he maybe would have called. Or. Well. That was a lie. He was kind of a pussy when it came to that sort of thing. "And it doesn't matter anyway," Jon said. "It's not like I would have ever called, even if I wasn't stupidly in love with you."

    "Mmm," was Spencer's only comment, but Jon was watching close enough to see the small smile Spencer obviously tried to hide.

    ===

    Jon kept doing little things for Spencer. He got up early and brought Spencer breakfast in bed. (And that had been totally worth it for the coffee-flavored kiss he'd gotten. Damn, Spencer knew what he was doing when it came to kissing.) He bought Spencer's favorite snacks at the grocery store. He did Spencer's laundry, for fuck's sake. (Though he really needed other ways to prove to Spencer that there would definitely be benefits to living with Jon; he hated doing laundry.) He cuddled with Spencer when they were on the couch watching tv. He made sure to pay extra-close attention so that he could give Spencer long hugs and massages when he was tired from playing or stressed from writing.

    Jon went to Spencer's parents' with him for dinner and completely and totally charmed the entire Smith family. He knew they'd liked him before as a member of the band, but Jon was pretty sure he really won them over that night. It was like Jon's family party in Chicago in reverse. He laughed at and added to the girls' embarrassing Spencer stories. He asked their parents about work and even listened and asked questions. Jon was good with parents. He was that friend that always made parents say, "Why can't you be more like Jon?" to their kids. Jon didn't really understand it, but he'd made it work to his advantage more than once.

    He had been helping clear the table and caught Mrs. Smith alone in the kitchen. He was nervous as all hell, but forced himself to say, "Mrs. Smith?" because he knew that once he started, he'd have to finish.

    "Oh, honey, call me Ginger. Mrs. Smith just makes me feel old," she said with a smile.

    "Oh, um. Okay then. Ginger, I, uh, just wanted to just tell you. That I--I'm sort of in love with your son," he said in a rush, slurring the words together. "And that I'm, um, trying to convince him to, well...um, date me."

    Jon glanced up from the floor and Ginger smiled at him again, her eyes warm. "Well, you certainly don't need my permission for that, but if you want my blessing, you've got it. I'll admit I wasn't too sure about you when Spencer came back from Chicago, but after watching the two of you, I think it's pretty obvious how you feel about him. And the fact that we're even having this conversation right now proves to me that you're serious. I like you, Jon, and I think you'd be good for him. And if there's one thing I know, it's my children. Spencer loves you too. But good lord, that boy is just like his father: stubborn to the core."

    Jon snorted. "Yes, yes he is."

    "Guessing by the way you said you're trying to convince him, he's giving you a hard time?" Ginger asked.

    Jon nodded. "You could say that. Though it's really mostly my fault. I sort of screwed up big time before. Believe me when I say I definitely deserve it."

    "Well, don't let him punish you for too long. Sometimes he just digs his heels in and gets so used to it that after a while, he doesn't even know why anymore."

    Jon nodded again. That was definitely an accurate way to sum it up. He gave Ginger a small smile. "He's worth it, though. He's amazing."

    Ginger laughed and pulled him into a hug. "I knew I liked you," she said.

    ===

    "Jon?"

    "Yeah, Spence?" Jon was putting the leftovers that Ginger had sent home with them into the fridge. Spencer was leaning on the doorway between the living room and the kitchen.

    "What did you say to my mom?" Spencer asked suspiciously.

    "What do you mean?" Jon knew exactly what he meant.

    "You know." Spencer crossed his arms. "What did you say to her? She was being weird when we left and it was about you."

    "Hmm," Jon pretended to think. "Oh, it was probably that thing about how awesome her son is and how I'm completely in love with him and want him to date me." He gave Spencer a bright smile.

    Spencer, on the other hand, just sort of sputtered. "You. You--what? I can't even-- I... You can't--" Spencer took a deep breath and straightened up. "You know what? I'm going to the garage to bang the shit out of my drums for a little while, okay? You should maybe go upstairs or somewhere far, far away for now."

    Jon watched Spencer go with a little smile on his face. He was starting to get him, he could tell. And he really hoped it wouldn't take too much longer. Jon was ready. He wanted to be Spencer's and he wanted Spencer to be his.

    ===

    Their first day of writing and rehearsing in the studio instead of the practice space deserved a bit of celebration. And since they were already at The Palms...

    Jon was hanging out at a craps table watching Brendon lose money. Spencer had texted them to say Ryan wanted to go home and he was going to take him. Jon hung around so he could take Brendon home. He was a bit bored just watching the game (he had run out of cash a little while ago), so he decided to wander around a bit. Casinos were fantastic places to people-watch and Jon just wished he had a camera.

    He'd only gotten about three steps from the table when he was approached by the pretty redhead he'd noticed earlier. She'd been standing near them at the table and had watched them, but Jon was fairly certain she didn't actually know who they were.

    "What's the hurry?" she asked, putting her hand on his arm.

    She was gorgeous, and not long ago, back Before Spencer, Jon would have already been imagining the best ways to get her out of her ridiculously tight jeans. As it was, he just said politely, "Oh, nothing. Just heading to some other tables," and subtly stepped out of her reach.

    She stopped touching him, but stepped a bit closer. "Want to get a drink?"

    "Sorry, that's not a good idea. I'm seeing someone. Kind of."

    She smiled. "'Kind of' doesn't sound too serious."

    "It is to me," he said with a shrug. She took it gracefully, smiled again and told him to have a good night. Jon wished her the same and turned around to head in the opposite direction, didn't even watch her go.

    He almost ran right into Spencer, which was confusing. "Oh! Hey, Spence. Wait, I thought you were taking Ryan home..."

    Spencer just looked at Jon for a few more seconds before saying distractedly, "No, he decided he wanted to hang out at the bar instead. I was coming to see if you and Brendon wanted to join us." He looked at Jon like he was inspecting him.

    "What?" Jon asked. Spencer was hard to read sometimes.

    "Jon." Spencer cleared his throat. "Jon, I think we should get a room."

    That didn't help clear up anything in Jon's head. "Why? You live fifteen minutes away. I haven't had anything to drink in a few hours. I can drive us home."

    "No," Spencer said. He smiled at Jon, amused, as he grabbed Jon's arm and pulled him out of the middle of the floor. They were practically hidden in the corner by a huge flowering plant of some kind. It was a pretty plant, but Jon stopped caring when Spencer cupped his face in his hands and leaned in to kiss him. It was one of those kisses that Spencer was so good at, the ones that completely and totally stole Jon's breath away. Spencer just kept going, his tongue playing with Jon's as Spence pushed him up against the wall and Jon felt Spencer's hard cock on his thigh.

    Spencer pulled back a little and said, "Jon. We should really get a room."

    Spencer was still nipping at Jon's lips, which made it a little tougher to say, "No, but Spence..." And that was as far as Jon got before groaning because Spencer ran his hand down Jon's stomach and rubbed Jon's dick through his jeans. Jon was panting against Spencer's mouth.

    But this time, Spencer pulled back far enough to look Jon in the eyes. "Yes. Okay? Yes, Jon."

    "You're sure?" Jon asked.

    "Yes. Now can we please go get a room?"

    Jon didn't bother with an answer, just pulled Spencer along behind him as he headed out of the casino and into the hotel lobby. In an effort to be at least a little discreet, Spencer went to book the room while Jon waited by the elevators and texted Ryan and Brendon with "omsbjb success see u tmrw"

    Spencer practically ran over and handed Jon a room key as an elevator door dinged behind them. There were two other couples in the elevator, so Jon and Spencer stayed on opposite sides of it. They were the first ones off on the fifth floor and Spencer grabbed Jon's hand to pull him along down the hallway. Jon couldn't stop smiling and Spencer couldn't stop touching while Jon tried to get the door open. It took a couple of tries, but he got it eventually.

    Spencer was taking Jon's shirt off before the door even slammed shut behind them. Jon went right for Spencer's belt, and leaned in to kiss Spencer after letting him pull off his own shirt. And then somehow they made it without clothes to the very inviting king-size bed. (Jon was a little fuzzy on the details of that part. It just sort of happened.)

    Jon was straddled over Spencer, leaning down to kiss him as he ground his hips down and causing them both to moan as their cocks moved against each other. "Wanna fuck you," Spencer said against Jon's mouth.

    Jon's hips jerked down again at the thought. "Fuck, yes." They shifted until Spencer was on top of Jon.

    And then Spencer stilled and pulled back a little. Jon gave a little whine at Spencer's mouth just up and disappearing. "Do you have a condom?" Spencer asked.

    Jon closed his eyes. "Fuuuuck," he said, for an entirely different reason. "No. You?"

    Spencer shook his head. "I forgot to put another in my wallet after that time in the..."

    "Yeah." Jon smiled a bit at the memory of them fucking in a dressing room at the mall. "Shit. I thought you were going to take more work, Spence. I wasn't expecting you to cave to my masculine wiles so soon."

    "Use a phrase like 'masculine wiles' again and I might change my mind. And it's your fault anyway. How did I know you'd say the perfect thing tonight?"

    "How about you tell me what the perfect thing was so I can say it all the time, but do it later, after I suck you off. Yes?" Jon asked hopefully.

    Spencer countered with, "How about you suck me off while I suck you off?"

    "Hell yes," Jon said as he climbed off of Spencer and shifted around. 69-ing was actually something they hadn't done before and now that they were about to, Jon had no idea why they hadn't.

    He took Spencer's hard cock in his mouth and moaned around it when he felt the wet heat of Spencer close around him. It wasn't long before they fell into a hard, quick, complementary rhythm. They followed each others' leads, Spencer taking Jon in further when Jon did it to him, Jon sucking harder when Spencer did.

    Jon was distracted when he felt Spencer put two fingers in his mouth along with Jon's dick. His head stilled, but he tried to remember to keep sucking as Spencer slid those two fingers over and behind Jon's balls and into him. Once Spencer hit the right spot, it was all over. Spencer kept his fingers moving and his other hand was holding Jon's hip nice and tight. Jon thrust probably too hard into Spencer's throat. Spencer's cock slipped from his mouth. He gripped Spencer's thighs hard and let out a loud sound that tried and failed to be Spencer's name.

    Spencer swallowed around him, but didn't give Jon too long to recover. He thrust his hips in Jon's face, reminding him that even if he had come, Spencer hadn't. Jon wrapped a tight fist around Spence's dick and licked the head. Spencer moaned and tried to thrust forward more as Jon tongued his slit and then pushed his lips down to his fist.

    Spencer always got louder when he got close. He said Jon's name and variations of "Jesus, fuck, Jon, fucking--" interspersed with moans and gasps. Jon loved to listen to him. Loved it when he could make Spencer lose control like that, loved that it was his name Spencer was saying in that rough, breathless, sexy voice.

    When Spence started getting louder, Jon pulled off and jacked him. He closed his eyes and let Spence come all over his face. As soon as he could, Spencer shifted around and leaned in to wipe and lick the come off of Jon's face and to press little kisses over Jon's forehead, his cheeks, his jaw. "Jon," he whispered. "Jesus Christ, Jon, that was so hot. So fucking hot. Only next time, we're doing that where I can look down and see you."

    Jon smiled. "Yeah, okay." He rolled onto his back and pulled Spencer on top of him. "Love you," he whispered in between kisses.

    Feeling Spencer's weight pressing him into the mattress and hearing Spencer say, "Love you, too," in return was better than anything Jon had ever experienced.

    ===

    A quick glance at the alarm clock on the nightstand next to Spencer told Jon that it was 4:47 am, which was just ridiculous. He got up to take a piss and when he lay back down, Spencer's eyes were open and he was smiling at Jon. "Hi," he whispered.

    Jon smiled back. "Hi. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up."

    "It's okay."

    Spencer leaned in and gave Jon a little kiss. Jon shifted closer and took Spencer's hand under the covers, lacing their fingers together. They lay there, facing each other, bodies close, and smiling like idiots. They were quiet for a moment or two, and when Jon realized that neither of them were going to fall back asleep right away, he sort of just blurted out, "Why?" He really hadn't meant to ask right then, thinking the talk could at least wait until morning. But he needed to know. Mostly he needed to know because whatever it was he had said, he needed to say it all the time, because he wasn't about to lose Spencer when he'd finally gotten him.

    Spencer took a deep breath. "Because of that girl."

    "What girl?" Jon didn't remember a girl.

    Spencer rolled his eyes. "The one in the casino? Asked you to get a drink? The hot one?"

    "Oh! Right. Her. She was pretty hot."

    "Yeah, she was," Spencer said quietly. "And you turned her down. You thought I wasn't even there and you turned her down."

    Jon was confused. "Well, yeah, obviously. I mean, she had nothing on you. I told you Spence, I love you. I want you. I want us to be together, be dating, be boyfriends, be going steady, whatever the fuck you want to call it. You can pick, I don't care. Whatever you want." Jon wished he could come up with a better way of saying it, but he couldn't. His brain still wasn't quite right from the mind-blowing (no pun intended) sex.

    Spencer looked down at their clasped hands between them, avoiding eye contact. "Remember when I got to Chicago? You told me you'd fucked a girl the night before."

    Oh. Yeah, Jon remembered that. He didn't remember the girl's name, but he definitely remembered that really brief look of disappointment and hurt on Spencer's face when he found out. "Spence, I was trying so hard to not be in love with you. It was, like, a way for me to prove to myself that it was just sex with us. It was stupid. I'm sorry. Nothing like that will ever happen again."

    Spencer put his hand up to Jon's face, brushed his thumb over Jon's temple. "Yeah, I know. It's okay. I mean, it's not like I had any right to be upset about it. It was supposed to be just sex with us."

    "It never was, though," Jon admitted. "We fucked that up from the start."

    Spencer laughed. "Yeah, we really, really did." He tilted Jon's face up a little and leaned forward for a soft, lingering kiss.

    And then Jon remembered something else. "Hey! What about that guy? The waiter from IHOP or whatever? I turned him down and that was ages ago. How come we didn't have really awesome sex then?"

    "You knew that if you wanted dick, all you had to do was walk down the hall to my bedroom," Spencer said with a shrug. "I just figured you didn't want it. I wouldn't be able to handle you having one-night stands with girls if we were, you know, together or whatever. But then, like I said, you thought I was gone, not even in the casino. Brendon wasn't paying any attention whatsoever, Ryan was supposed to be gone too, so how would I have ever known? But I overheard your conversation and finally realized that maybe...maybe I just have to trust you." Spencer smiled. "Besides, I really needed to fucking get laid," he said, almost as an afterthought.

    "For the record, all I really wanted was the sex. Everything else was foreplay."

    Spencer laughed. "Right. Well, at least if you start messing around with girls, I'll know. You can't lie for shit."

    Jon grinned. "This is true." His smile softened as he said, "I love you, Spence. You can trust me. I promise."

    "I know," Spencer said quietly. "I do. I always have, really. I just...got scared."

    "Yeah. Me too." Jon yawned. "Can we go back to sleep now? I'm tired."

    That made Spencer yawn too and he tried to say, "Yeah."

    "I'm happy," was the last thing Jon whispered before his eyes fell shut.

    "Me too," was the last thing he heard.

    ===





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