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The South Could Be The Death Of Me

Title:  The South Could Be The Death Of Me
Author: GwenCarmichael
Pairing: Ryan/Brendon
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2760
Disclaimer: In the words of Gru from Despicable Me… "Any relation to persons living or dead is completely coincidental."
Summary: The ungodly heat drives everyone a little crazy.
Author's Note: I don't know about the rest of the world, but the ungodly heat in northeastern Wisconsin has driven me to write this fic.       

The South Could Be The Death Of Me
It was ungodly hot.

Brendon was almost 100% positive that he was about to melt into a puddle or spontaneously combust—whichever took the least amount of energy. This heat was going to be the death of him, and that was saying something—he was from Vegas, the middle of one big desert. The only difference was that the desert got cool at night; the south did not. Ever, it seemed.

Ryan had been bitching for days. He could be a real asshole when he wanted to be and a prima donna whenever he felt the urge, and it seemed that the heat had inspired both. He complained about everything, sniped at everyone, and picked fights with anyone stupid enough to take the bait.

Spencer was quiet. It seemed that his coping mechanism was to play dead and exert as little energy as possible, choosing not to move or speak unless absolutely necessary. He'd slump over any available surface and, for all intents and purposes, be dead to the world.

Jon… well, Jon didn't seem too different. He took Ryan's bait and let him yell at him every once in a while, hit on every girl he came across, and took pictures after he placed strange objects on Spencer's immobile body. Apparently, being from Chicago made him immune to the heat that killed Vegas boys

After a show, they all crawled back to the bus and collapsed in sweaty piles, trying to keep as much space between their heat-generating bodies as possible. No matter how many water bottles they poured over themselves, they never got any cooler. It was possible that the water boiled as soon as it made contact with their skin; it was equally possibly that the water evaporated in the air as soon as it left the plastic bottle.

"God, Spencer," Ryan growled. "Would it kill you to keep a steady beat through an entire song without rushing the final chorus?"

Spencer didn't even try to defend himself, just let his head sag even further back against the couch.

Frustrated, Ryan turned on Brendon. "Could you try to keep your clothes on? We designed those fucking ridiculous costumes for a reason."

"I'll try, Ry," Brendon mumbled, exhausted.

Desperately, Ryan tried a final target. "If Jon could just—"

"I can't, Ryan, not tonight," came Jon's voice from the far side of the living area. "It's too hot. We'll fight tomorrow."

Ryan slumped in his seat, dejected, just as the van moved onto the highway, allowing cool air to stream through the open windows. Brendon could have led the bus in a prayer of thanksgiving—if he still did that, and if it wouldn't have required so much energy. 

The guys lay sprawled behind the venue after soundcheck, hiding in the shade. It was cooler in the shade by about point two degrees, dropping the temperature down to only a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, by Brendon's calculation.


Ryan grunted.

"'I Write Sins Not Tragedies' was a good song."

Ryan rolled onto his side, sweaty hair sticking to his forehead, and Brendon reached out and brushed it aside. "It's awesome. Why?"

Brendon shrugged. "I was just thinking that if we die, it'd be okay that we had one great hit."

Just as Ryan smiled at him, Jon's voice drifted over from the other side of the tree. "We're not going to die."

"I think I might," Brendon countered. "South Carolina could be the death of me. Do they even know who we are here?"

"You'll live," Jon said firmly. "We'll get out of here and go to, like, northern Wisconsin or Michigan."

"I can't go there!" Ryan yelped. "Rednecks—hello? Do I look like redneck-friendly material?"

"Is this a trick question?" Brendon asked cautiously. "Like the time you asked if you were prison-bitch material?"

"Yes, everyone in prison would jump at the chance to tap your fine ass," Spencer grumbled groggily. "No, your attitude would drive them all insane so they'd kill you."

"Don't get sent to prison," Jon answered.

"Oh!" Brendon's light bulb went off. "Don't go into redneck territory?"

"Exactly." Ryan rolled onto his back, spread his arms in a Jesus Christ pose, and closed his eyes.

Brendon watched him breathe for a moment before rolling over again. 

Slowly dying behind the venues—seriously, did no one in the south have AC?—with bottles of water after soundchecks became a regular thing when the heat refused to let up.

Brendon came up with weird games for them to play, and as long as they didn't involve moving, the guys played along.

Still sure they were going to die, Brendon had them all say one reason why it would be okay to die right then. The answers were sweet or even funny… until they got to Ryan.

"We were nearly platinum before my dad died, and he knew it. He told me I would never amount to anything, and I can die tomorrow because I know the fact that I did was kicking him in the balls when he died."

For some reason, hearing Ryan say that, hearing the way he said it, made Brendon's heart hurt. 

"What's something you've always wanted to do but never did?"

Jon laughed and immediately answered, "Two girls, same time."

Spencer laughed. "Niagara Falls."

"Seriously?" Brendon arched his back and tipped his chin up so he could see Spencer behind him.

"Yup. Isn't is supposed to be the coolest thing ever? I want to know if it lives up to all the hype."

"Nice," Ryan praised. "How bout you, Bren?"

"I wanna fall in love," Brendon said quietly, "with someone who loves me back. No more of this unrequited shit all our songs are about."

Spencer and Jon laughed.

"Yeah, unrequited love sucks," Ryan said amiably, and they fell into comfortable silence.

"Hey, how bout you, Ry?" Jon asked.

Ryan shrugged. "I don't know."

"Come on," Jon teased. "No kinks you've been dying to try? Nothing you want to see?"

"I don't…" With a sigh, Ryan rolled over to Brendon, propped himself up on one arm, and pressed his lips to Brendon's in a gentle chaste kiss. "That," he said with a smile as he pulled back. "I wanted to do that but never did." He laid back down.

"What?" Jon asked. "You've always wanted to kiss B?"

Ryan shrugged. "You'll kiss anything that moves, and Spence and I had that phase in high school—"

"Which you promised never to mention again!" Spencer cried in a strangled voice.

"—so Bren was the only one I hadn't kissed yet. So I did."

No one questioned this, and Brendon couldn't help but bring his fingertips up to gently touch his lips where Ryan's had been a few moments before. 

"It's storming in New Orleans." Zack's voice was tinny coming from the speakerphone the band was gathered around, but they were all hanging off his every word.

"Our next show is there," Brendon stated, and Ryan was suddenly more excited than he'd been in ages.

"Seriously, Zack? Rain?! I bet it's cold there, sixty degrees; we're gonna need fucking jackets and—"

"You're not going."

Stunned horrified silence followed.

"W—what? What do you mean?"

"Management cancelled the show."

"You are management!"

"Take it up with Pete, okay?"

"Oh, I will." Ryan was livid now. "I will fucking call him right now and—"

"And you're staying in Alabama for three days."

"What?" Ryan's shriek made Brendon wince. "What the fuck, man?"

"The other option is Houston, and that's even hotter than—"

"That's desert heat; it's practically home. We can handle—"

"The hotel's already booked; you're staying for three days. Bitch at Pete. And don't kill each other.

When Brendon looked over, he couldn't tell if Ryan was going to cry or break something. 

They pulled up to the hotel and just sat looking at it. It was certainly better than the shitty motels they usually slept in but was in no way a five star. Maybe a generous two star, probably a one and a half.

Ryan looked like he was about to implode.

"I'll room with Ryan," Brendon said quickly and felt Spencer give him a one armed hug.

"Thank you," he whispered in Brendon's ear and kissed his temple before following Jon off the bus.

Brendon helped Ryan with his bags, let him pick which bed he wanted, and tried to keep him comfortable as they waited for Jon to call so they could go to the pool.

When Ryan's phone rang, he dove for it and answered before the first ring. He set it down a moment later and flatly said, "Pool's out of order, maintenance bullshit." He crawled into bed, flopping down on his belly and burying his face in the pillow. "I'm going to bed."

So he wouldn't make any noise and disturb Ryan, Brendon went to bed, too, and fought himself to stay still and silent.

The next day dawned hot and sticky. With the windows covered and the AC on full blast, Ryan and Brendon sat half-naked on the floor as they watched TV.

Just before lunch, the AC sputtered and died, and Ryan muffled his scream in a nearby pillow. No amount of banging or jimmying would coax the machine back to life.

Ryan called the front desk, and after a long hold and a lot of yelling, he threw his phone on the bed. "They're too busy to keep us from dying. I hate Pete Wentz. I fucking hate him!" When he stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door behind him, Brendon was pretty sure he was crying.

Ryan was lying facedown on his bed, waiting for death to take him, when he heard the door opened and turned over to see Brendon stagger in under the weight of several giant bags of ice. "Bren?"

Brendon smiled at him, his exhausted face breaking into a child's grin. "I got you something." He kicked the door shut behind him, just managing to keep from falling over.

Ryan scrambled to sit up. "You… for me?"

"Yup." Brendon's grin seemed permanent as he made his way into the bathroom and began filling the tub with cold water. The hotel room was shitty as fuck, but it had a great tub.

Ryan came in behind him. "How…? I asked to borrow money for a slushie yesterday, and you said you were broke."

Brendon shrugged. "I took my guitar and sang on the corner."

Ryan's eyes widened. "For four hours?"

Brendon shrugged again. "Not too many people out there."

Ryan just stared at him for a minute then quietly said, "You sat on a street corner for four hours in 120 degree heat to buy me ice?"

"Well, yeah."

Somehow, they were having a much more profound conversation than ice.

"But… I've been a bitch."

Brendon gave a small smile and shrugged. "You're still my Ryan."

That made Ryan smile, and it felt to him like his first real smile I months. "Always."

Brendon smiled back, then ripped open a bag of ice and dumped it in the tub. "Climb in."

Instead, Ryan took a step forward, studying him softly. "Bren," he whispered, gently brushing a lock of hair out of Brendon's face.


"Do you even know how perfect you are?" Without waiting for a response, Ryan leaned forward, closing his eyes and gently pressing his lips to Brendon's.

Brendon let his eyes flutter shut, not daring to move or breathe as the kiss went on and on. Ryan's mouth was soft and gentle on his, not demanding anything, just giving and sharing.

When he finally pulled back, Ryan reached for Brendon's hand. "Come in with me?"

"I got it for you. You don't have—"

"I want you to. Please?"

Brendon just nodded helplessly as they stripped down to their underwear and climbed in, Brendon's back to Ryan's chest. Brendon ripped open another bag of ice and poured it over them.

"Oh, God, Bren," Ryan whispered, head leaning back. "How are you so perfect?"

Not knowing what to say, Brendon allowed Ryan to pull him back against his chest.

"You're so perfect. So so perfect." Ryan gently ran his fingers through Brendon's hair, occasionally reaching for ice to trail down Brendon's neck and shoulders.

It felt amazing. It was wonderful to be cool for the first time in what seemed like weeks, but Brendon was pretty sure Ryan's presence was the best part of all.

He sighed through Ryan's gentle ministrations, loving the feel of Ryan against his skin. Eventually he came to notice something warm and hot pressing against the small of his back, and when he shifted, Ryan whimpered.

"Sorry," he whispered. "Bren, I'm sorry."

Brendon took a deep breath, but his voice still shook as he said, "It's okay."


"Yeah." His voice was barely audible when he admitted, "I liked it."

That seemed to catch Ryan off guard. "Yeah?"

In response, Brendon nudged back, shivering at Ryan's moan. Ryan settled his hand on Brendon's hip and gave a little thrust forward, unable to hold back a groan.

Stilling his hips, Ryan pulled Brendon against him more tightly, running fingers across his collarbone. "Oh, God, Bren," he whispered, kissing the side of his neck. "If it wasn't so hot, I'd—I'd like to fuck you. I'd love to fuck you."

Brendon gave a low groan and shuddered. "I'd—I'd like that."

"Would you let me, Bren?" Ryan whispered in his ear, voice deep and hoarse. "Would you let me love you like that?"

Brendon nodded furiously, hard at Ryan's words and touch, at the feel of his lips at the soft skin of his neck. "Yes. Yes, Ryan, please. I want you to. I want—"

"Shh." Ryan kissed his neck, on hand on his collarbone, the other in his hair. "It's okay. Oh, God, Bren, I want you so much. You can feel that, can't you?"

Brendon nodded, trying to calm down, and felt Ryan moving behind him.

"Move forward?"

Brendon did, and Ryan stretched for another bag of ice, dumping it over them. He could feel Brendon gasp as they lay back.

"I could fall asleep like this," Ryan murmured against Brendon's hair, feeing him nod. "Stay here with me?"

"I—I don't…"

"It's okay." Ryan felt his heart sink and told himself to stop being stupid. "You don't have to, if you don't want to."

"I do! I do want to. I just…" Brendon ducked his head. "If I can't stay still, I don't want to—"

"I don't care," Ryan said simply. "I don't care if you stay still. I just want you to stay."

Brendon relaxed against him. "Okay."

Ryan wrapped his arms around him, taking Brendon's hands in his and interlocking their fingers. "I've got you, Bren. I've got you."  And I'm never letting go. 

They fell asleep like that, tangled together in the ice filled tub, oblivious to the heat and humidity.

Brendon's phone rang around three in the morning but they didn't hear it. The same happened when Ryan's rang a couple seconds later.

Brendon awoke with a jump when thunder rumbled overhead, smiling as Ryan's arms tightened around him.

"I've got you, Bren," Ryan mumbled, still asleep. "Go back to sleep."

Brendon wriggled free of Ryan's grasp and turned to shake his shoulder. "Ryan? Ryan, wake up."

Ryan opened his eyes slowly, sleepily focusing on Brendon's face. "Bren?"

"Ry, it's storming."

Ryan's eyes widened. "I—Wh—Really?"

Brendon grinned, just as someone pounded on their door. "Bden! Ryan!"

"Get up you idiots; you're going to miss it!"

Scrambling from the tub, they hurried outside—and into the downpour.

Brendon whooped and ran to climb on Jon's back as Spencer tugged Ryan out of his amazed stupor.

The four of them ran and danced and screamed in the downpour like four idiots who had never seen rain before. The temperature change was instant and dramatic, and the boys couldn't stop themselves. Brendon caught Ryan's eyes across the parking lot and smiled as the world slowed down; the smile Ryan gave in return was the most beautiful thing Brendon had ever seen.

They didn't go back inside until the lightning got close and a lady from one of the hotel rooms shouted for them to get inside before they got themselves killed.

Ryan tossed Brendon a towel and continued drying his hair as Brendon peeled off his soaked underwear.


"Yeah?" Ryan focused hard on not looking at Brendon.

"It's not hot anymore."


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
You think it's hot in Wisconsin? Try living in central Texas. I'm going to Wisconsin on Wednesday to cool off!

But yes, it is so blasted hot this summer, and this portrays that perfectly. Also, I miss Rydon so bad, I don't think I've read any in a while. This was adorable. :D
Jul. 19th, 2011 04:12 am (UTC)
Funny you should pick Wednesday; that's going to be the hottest day this week! LOL

I'm so glad you like this! No one writes Rydon anymore, and that just depresses me :( Also, your user pic is adorable!

Thanks for reading and commenting! :D
Jul. 19th, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
Well, we won't get there until Thursday, but I'll take 95 over 106 any day.

I still write it sometimes, I've just been coerced into writing new Panic pairings by certain friends. And yeah, I think that's one of the only userpics that I've kept since I got into Panic.
Jul. 19th, 2011 06:15 am (UTC)
Ugh... very true!
Jul. 19th, 2011 05:20 am (UTC)
Heheh. "it's not hot anymore"
They're so gonna bang.
This was so cute! What Bren did for Ryro and just... god! I loved it! Perfect balance of sweet and hot! (hot in both meanings of the word. Haha)
Sequel? Pretty pretty please? Ohgod, pleeeeaase?!
Jul. 19th, 2011 06:16 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it! I was really going for a teen love kinda feel, really sweet, with the sex drive rushing in there :)

I was hoping someone would want a sequel! I thought that was a good ending for this section, and if anyone wanted a sequel, I could give it a go. :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 12:53 pm (UTC)
I really hope you do give it a go! :D
Jul. 19th, 2011 06:18 am (UTC)
I love you omg your argh perfection♥
Jul. 19th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
Poor boys! I hate being hot like that, and sleeping, it's impossible. Misery. A bath of ice sounds amazing. :) This was lovely!
Jul. 19th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
I agree... Thanks very much! :)
Jul. 20th, 2011 06:16 am (UTC)
Sequel sequel sequel!!!!

loved this btw
Jul. 20th, 2011 07:22 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'll see what I can do about that sequel... I may just leave this story short and sweet and write some smut seperately... we'll see! :D
Jul. 25th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
PERFECT ENDING. I loved this. great job. :') <3
Jul. 25th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
PERFECT ENDING. I loved this. great job. :') <3
Jul. 25th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :D
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )