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Title: The Holiday [14/?]
Author: [livejournal.com profile] sunsetmog
Fandom: Panic! at the Disco
Pairing: Brendon Urie / Spencer Smith
Rating: NC-17 overall.
Word count: 6,500 (this part)
Warnings (for this part): None
Notes: Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] hermette for the beta. Any remaining errors are my own. Exciting and random Google searches for the purposes of this chapter included: a) can badgers get TB (there's only so much farming information a girl can pick up from episodes of The Archers) and b) what do Americans call the durable surface material laid down on an area intended to sustain vehicular or foot traffic. The pub in this chapter is based on a real place, as is the valley and the lethal road up the side of a hill. And the wild horses. Any resemblance ends there. For [livejournal.com profile] ohohstarryeyed.

Further notes can be found in part one. Also posted here at AO3.

Accompanying mix available here.

Inspired by The Holiday. Sort of. Um.

Summary: In which it looks like snow, Avril Lavigne features rather more than Spencer would like, and Brendon has an unfortunate off-screen encounter with a bat.


Previously: [I] [II] [III] [IV] [V] [VI] [VII] [VIII] [IX] [X] [XI] [XII] [XIV].



Part Fourteen

They were more than a little bit late to Gareth's place.

By the time they finally arrived, Becca, Clare, and Griff were already trying to shove a drum kit into the back of what looked like the smallest car in existence, and Gareth was carrying guitars into the back of another one.

"Sorry we're late," Spencer lied, climbing out of the car and offering to help Gareth with a very battered and very old amp.

"You're here now," Gareth said with a grin. "Do either of you have any idea how to fit a drum kit into a Fiat Punto?"

"Um," Spencer said, and Brendon started to laugh.

An hour later they were unpacking into the school hall, the school crammed into a street just up from the main square, buffeted on all sides by rows of houses.They were setting up on a stage which Spencer suspected wasn't normally geared towards housing bands. None of the band had bought any tape with them to stick down any of the wires, so Gareth and Griff had launched a secret and dangerous mission to the art department to steal themselves some.

Becca leaned over and elbowed Spencer as he got busy setting up the drum kit. "Fiver says they take double the time they should," she said, and Clare caught her eye and laughed.

"Tom and Daniel reckoned they caught them snogging on the way to the pub last night. Gareth says they were late because they got asked for directions, but whatever. They're getting it on."

Brendon grinned. "Really? That's awesome."

Spencer couldn't contain his jealousy. He bent over the snare drum, adjusting the height and making sure the feet were splayed properly. The stand was so old that the set-up was stiff and unyielding. He was jealous of Griff and Gareth getting to start something real, something tangible, something they could tell their friends about—or not, as the case may be—but that could have a future. Spencer wanted a future with Brendon so badly he thought he might collapse under the weight of it,but the fact was, his job was working with Brendon, and he couldn't risk screwing that up by pushing for more if Brendon really didn't want it. Sometimes it felt like Brendon was as into this as he was, but other times it still felt like it really was just a vacation fling. Either way, Brendon was still calling it a fling, and Spencer needed to respect that. He did. Talking about maybe making this something more was something he needed to do carefully, when they were back home.

"Hey, Spence, isn't that awesome?"

"Yeah," Spencer said, swallowing. "Awesome."

Gareth and Griff took fifteen minutes to find a roll of tape, and when they came back, Gareth's shirt was untucked. Becca, Clare and Brendon exchanged amused looks.

Spencer busied himself with the mic stand.

"You seem like you know what you're doing," Becca said a while later, coming over with a can of Coke for Spencer. What he really wanted was a beer, but he supposed that was out of the question for a high school dance. He cracked open the can and took a long gulp.

"Yeah," he said, wiping his mouth.

"Do you play?" Becca asked.

Spencer felt guilty for what he and Brendon were hiding. He hated that they were lying about everything. He squared his shoulders. At least maybe they could be honest about this one thing. "I play drums," he said. "And Brendon plays everything. He's kind of a genius. We're in a band."

Brendon stopped what he was doing. "Spence."

Spencer looked at him. "He's a genius," he repeated, deliberately not looking away. "Plays everything. Seriously. Total fucking genius."

Brendon tilted his chin up, just a little, then back down again. "Spencer's learning to play the keyboards," he said and then he grinned, his eyes crinkling. Spencer let out a sigh of relief. "I'm teaching him."

Clare smiled. "That's really cute," she said. "Did you play together at your wedding reception? They're always doing that in films, it makes me cry. Like that bit in The Wedding Singer, on the plane."

Gareth rolled his eyes. "You cry at anything, you." He grinned at Brendon and Spencer. "You didn't tell me you were in a band. What kind of music do you play? Are you any good?"

"They're in Panic! at the Disco," Griff said, from behind Gareth. "Aren't you?"

Spencer could feel his cheeks flushing. "Um," he said.

"No they're not, don't be ridiculous," Clare said, and then she trailed off, as neither Brendon or Spencer told him he was wrong.

"How long have you known?" Spencer asked, instead.

"Since that first night," Griff said. He smiled lopsidedly, and Spencer was left wondering if that was the reason he'd been so quiet with them the whole time. "I used to fancy Pete Wentz."

"Who?" Gareth asked, frowning. He folded his arms.

"Lead singer of Fall Out Boy," Griff said. "Don't any more, though."

"Good," Gareth said, and then when Becca and Clare raised their eyebrows, he went bright red. "Shut up," he said, going even more red as Griff slid his hand into Gareth's. Gareth was as red as anyone could be, but he didn't look away from either Becca or Clare.

"Tom and Daniel saw you snogging," Clare said. "You're both really crap at keeping a secret." She wagged her finger at Brendon and Spencer. "You two, though. You're pretty good at it. Tell me a song that your band did, I'm crap at remembering songs."

"Um," Brendon said. "Nine in the Afternoon?" Then he hummed haven't you people ever heard of closing the god damn door, "I write sins not tragedies?"

"Oh, right," Clare said, although she didn't look that much like she was any clearer who they were. Spencer didn't know whether to be pleased about that, or not.

"Why didn't you say anything?" Spencer askedGriff, unable to help himself. "If you knew who we were, why didn't you say?"

Griff shrugged. His hand was still in Gareth's, and Spencer couldn't help but be jealous he got to do that for real. "I thought that you were keeping it secret on purpose. Maybe you didn't want the attention."

"Are you two famous, then?" Gareth asked, eyes wide. "Really?"

"Kind of. Maybe," Brendon said. He met Spencer's eye for a moment. "We're famous to like, a small section of people. Mostly Panic! fans."

"You were the support band for Blink-182," Griff said. "And you sang with Fall Out Boy."

"Um," Gareth said. "That sounds sort of famous, guys. I used to love Blink-182."

Spencer wrinkled his nose in embarrassment. "Sorry," he said. "It's just—" he hadn't really thought this through. Now that he'd admitted who they were, he'd put their whole lie in jeopardy. What if Gareth or Griff or Clare or Becca told someone that they'd met the guys from Panic!, and that they were married? That would be a story to some people. "We haven't told anyone. Not even our families."

Clare blinked. "Not even your families? You mean—you got married and they don't know?"

"Kind of," Brendon supplied. He slid his hand into Spencer's; it was hot and a little sticky. Spencer squeezed it, and held on.

His heart beat loud and uneasy in his chest. Oh fuck, he thought and felt like a total fraud, especially when everyone was looking at them with sympathy. They didn't need sympathy, they needed yelling at for lying to people who had been nothing but welcoming and friendly and nice to them. Spencer felt like the lowest of the low.

"They don't know that the two of you—" Becca started and waved a hand at the two of them.

"No," Brendon said kind of helplessly, glancing at Spencer. "I can categorically say that they have no clue."

"Guys, I'm so sorry," Gareth said. He looked really sorry for them. "And I don't really know much about your line of work, but are you going to tell anyone?"

They all looked so unhappy for them. Spencer squeezed Brendon's hand again. His heart was in his throat; of all the lies they'd told, this one, where they'd tried to tell the truth, was turning out to be the worst.

"No. I mean—" Brendon trailed off. "When we get back we're going to go back to the way things were. Just friends. Who live together." He wasn't looking at Spencer, and Spencer wasn't looking at him. Both of their hands were sweaty, but neither of them let go.

"We're really sorry," Becca said. "That must be awful."

"It's fine," Spencer said quickly. "It's all fine. We've had this vacation, it's okay."

None of them looked like they thought it was okay.

There was an awkward silence. Spencer couldn't figure out how to let go of Brendon's hand, and he had no idea how to look him in the face, and he really, really had no idea how to look any of the others in the eye after this. He'd really screwed things up.

Gareth swallowed. "Do you two want to go check to see if we've left anything in the car?" He held out the car keys, and Brendon took them, nodding.

It was an obvious excuse to let him and Brendon have some time to themselves, for which Spencer would have been grateful if it wasn't for the stupid lie they were stuck in the middle of. He managed an awkward half smile in Gareth's direction, and followed Brendon out into the hallway, his hand still in Brendon's.

"So," he said once they'd rounded the corner, as he took in how different this school was from the one he went to. There were no lockers in the hallways, for a start, and the halls were narrower and not as bright. Everything felt different, everything was strange, and he was on the verge of fucking everything up with the one person he really fucking needed to not fuck things up with. "Sorry? I didn't mean to, you know, let on we were in a band. I just—we're lying about everything. I wanted there to be something we weren't lying about. I'm sorry." He expected Brendon to pull away, and yell at him, but he didn't.

"Doesn't matter," Brendon said, and then he slid his arms around Spencer's neck and pressed a kiss to Spencer's neck. "It doesn't matter. We'll go back home, no one there knows where we went or that we had to pretend. No one will find out, it's okay. No one will believe we were having a fucking honeymoon in Wales, Spence. No one's going to find out."

For a split second, Spencer imagined everyone knowing they were having a honeymoon in Wales, and wanted it to be true. Fuck, everything was fucked up. He was putting everything on the line for the sake of this—a vacation fling the week before Christmas. "You're right," he said. "Anyway, I don't think they'll say anything. And who's going to believe it's true, anyway?"

"Nobody, that's who," Brendon said, his arms still around Spencer's shoulders. He didn't pull away.

"Right," Spencer said and let out a breath.

~*~

Gareth's band was really fucking awful, but they looked like they were having such a good time that neither Brendon nor Spencer could bring themselves to care too much. They did mostly covers, of songs like Wonderwall and I Believe in a Thing Called Love, which were—well, they weren't good, but they were at least enthusiastic, if possibly a little out of the reach of the crowd. They were playing to a mix of juniors and seniors, who mostly looked like they'd prefer a DJ that played Jason Derulo, but Spencer wasn't about to suggest that Gareth and the others change their set. They were all a little out of time, and a little out of key, and Gareth liked shouting into the mic and hoping for the best, but whatever, they were having a good time on stage. Spencer knew all about that. Brendon knew all about that.

Most of the kids were sneaking out to the parking lot and across the road to the pub, anyway.

This was way different from Spencer's high school.

Their set ended with a very loud—and not all that accurate—cover of AvrilLavigne's Complicated. "Huh," Brendon said, leaning over. "We should so cover this."

Spencer blinked. "Um," he said.

"Don't try and hide it, Spence," Brendon said. "I know you love the Lavigne."

"It's got a really, really shitty drum part," Spencer protested, but he knew he was going to end up backing down on this. Brendon's smile was too bright.

"Take off those preppy clothes," Brendon sang under his breath. He elbowed Spencer in the side and waggled his eyebrows.

"You look like a fool to me," Spencer shot back.

Brendon just leaned in and pressed a kiss to the corner of Spencer's mouth. "If you want, we can cover Sk8ter Boi instead."

"Thanks," Spencer said dryly, holding his hands above his head to clap as the final chords died away. The only other AvrilLavigne song he could think of at the moment was My Happy Ending, which he didn't want to devote too much attention to right now.

"The drum part's better," Brendon wheedled, clearly still talking about AvrilLavigne. Spencer's brain had moved onto other things.

"Marginally."

Brendon slid his hand into the small of Spencer's back. "I'll persuade you." His eyes gleamed, and Spencer could feel himself wavering. "You want to get out of here?"

Spencer glanced at the stage. "We have to help them pack up before the DJ's set."

"Bummer," Brendon said lightly. His eyes were bright. "Come on, they're finished."

Taking their set apart was a lot easier than setting it up, and apart from the way that every time they went out into the parking lot with an arm full of kit, they froze to death, within twenty minutes they were done.

"So," Spencer said, huddling inside his coat. It was so fucking cold. They sky was gray and heavy; Clare kept looking up and saying it looked like snow. "You were really fucking awesome, guys."

"You're a liar," Becca said, curling into his side and tucking her face into his coat. "But don't think we don't appreciate it."

"We're going to cover AvrilLavigne our next tour," Brendon said, coming outside with Gareth, who stopped in the doorway to talk to some girl in a prom dress. Brendon jogged over to where Spencer and the others were standing. Gareth and Brendon had drawn the short straw and had had to stay behind to pick up their trash under the direction of one of Gareth's old teachers. Spencer wasn't ashamed to say he'd run away. "It's going to be awesome."

"It isn't," Spencer complained, but Brendon wrapped his arms around him and Becca, and hugged them both.

"I talked my sister out of coming over and saying hi," Gareth said, coming over, his hands shoved into his pockets. He bumped elbows with Griff. "She borrowed your CDs once, you remember? She spilt Ribena on it. I thought she might know who you two were, or something. She's loud. If she recognized you, everyone would know within five minutes."

"I remember," Griff said grimly.

"She bought you a new CD," Gareth said. "After she'd saved up."

"Hmmm," Griff said.

"Thanks," Spencer said, giving in and hugging Brendon back. The less people that knew that Brendon and Spencer were married—or not—the better. The less chance their wedding—or lack of one—would turn up on the internet, the better. Everything was such a fucking mess.

"I think it's going to snow," Clare said again. "It's cold enough."

They all craned their necks to look up at the sky. Spencer wasn't sure what sky was supposed to look like that was about to snow, but he nodded in what he thought was a knowledgeable way.

"Right," Gareth said, clapping his hands together and blowing on them for warmth. "Who's up for the pub?"

"Which pub? I'm not going across the road, it'll be full of sixteen year olds." Becca said. "Tom and Daniel said they'd come and join us when they finished work anyway."

"Well," Griff said. "Creepy Valley?"

"Ohhhhh," Gareth said. "Good idea."

"It's miles away," Becca complained.

"Creepy valley, though," Clare said. "Come on. We can play dominoes."

"You're really selling it," Griff said dryly.

"You are going home in a couple of days," Gareth said. Brendon's hands tightened on Spencer's waist, just for a moment. "You can't really go home without going to Creepy Valley."

"Creepy Valley?" Brendon asked.

"It's not really called Creepy Valley," Gareth said. Spencer didn't say, duh. "It's just, well."

"It's a valley, and it's creepy?" Spencer supplied. He rubbed his hands over Brendon's arms in an effort to keep warm.

"Yep," Gareth agreed. "Got it in one."

Becca grinned. "It's only creepy because it's pitch black and there aren't any street lights. There's just a little lane winding its way through the bottom of the valley, and there are trees everywhere, and owls, and it's totally black."

"And there's the ghost stories," Clare supplied.

"Awesome," Brendon said. "Are they true?"

"Might be," Griff said. "It's a weird place. Pity you're not here for Hen Galen."

"Yeah!" Becca said. "They don't celebrate new year until the middle of January in the valley," she said. "I teach it to the kids in my class at school, but I don't know how much they take in other than the kids in the valley go house to house and get sweets. I think they're fairly sure it's just trick or treating, but better 'cos it's Welsh."

"How come they don't have new year in December, like everyone else?" Spencer asked. He pressed a kiss to the top of Brendon's head, just because he could.

"Ah, because they're special," Becca said. "When everyone else accepted the Gregorian calendar in the eighteenth century and lost eleven days, the valley thought, bugger that, and kept on with their old Julian calendar. Hence, Julian New Year in January."

Spencer suspected that he would have enjoyed history classes a lot more in school if they'd been taught by someone like Becca. "And there's a pub?"

"Well," Gareth said. "Kind of."

"It's Bessie's front room, really," Clare supplied. "She just has a barrel of beer in the back, she serves it through the hatch, and there are pictures of the Queen on the wall. She's great. Probably about a hundred and five, though."

Spencer imagined roaring fires and comfortable sofas and a little old lady surrounded by photographs of the queen. It was probably the most British thing he could imagine. "Let's go there," he said. He had his camera in the back of the car. He could take pictures. It couldn't be all that dark outside, the moon was pretty full.

"Agreed," Brendon said, voice muffled from where his mouth was pressed up against Spencer's coat. "So long as it's going to be warmer there, I vote yes."

"Great," Gareth said. "We'll leave the van here and pick it up later. We can all fit in the Punto, and you two can follow us."

"I'll go with them in case we get separated," Becca said. "I know how you drive."

Gareth made a face. "Liar," he said but he grinned. "Come on. Before the snow comes."

"You think it's going to snow?" Brendon asked, as they split up into two groups to get into the cars.

"Looks like it," Becca said. "God, it's cold. Come on, hurry up, let's get in."

The roads to Creepy Valley were seriously fucking tiny; they were the width of the car and no more, barely paved, a high ridge of grass down the middle of the track. High grass banks edged the roads on both sides, and if Spencer hadn't had Becca next to him in the car, Brendon behind him, he would have seriously considered turning back around, because it was pitch fucking black, and it felt a little like they were driving into the hillside, the trees arching above them like a tunnel. Spencer liked the life he had, okay; he didn't particularly want a starring role in Lord of the Rings: The Welsh Road to Mordor.

Ahead of them, Gareth's tail lights were the only lights, and they were getting further away because Spencer was taking the road at a snail's pace. The road widened after a while, and they turned onto something that was less like a track and more like an actual road. Occasionally they passed cottages, and patches of warm light filtered out from around the curtains. The road started to wind, and the valley flattened out, great banks of trees separated by a twisting river and occasional fields and woods.

It was really, really creepy.

And really cold.

"I think that's snow," Brendon said behind him, peering out the window. "Is it?"

"I think so," Becca agreed. "We'd better only stay for a couple; if you're staying near Dave and Mary's place, then the quickest way back is up the hill, and that's got an incline like a cliff face."

"You're driving back," Spencer said immediately, although he wasn't sure that trusting Brendon with dangerous driving was necessarily the best idea in the world.

"Awesome," Brendon said. "You think it'll snow enough for a snowball fight?"

"Hopefully," Becca said.

The road wound its way over tiny bridges over a meandering river and through villages with only a smattering of tiny cottages. Very occasionally, the villages came with a couple of streetlights, but for the most part, they were driving in the dark. Less like L.A., Spencer couldn't imagine.

"It's up here on the left," Becca said. "Look, Gareth's pulling in. Slow down, we'll see if there's somewhere to park. You might have to go up to the barn up ahead and turn around, you can probably pull up on the verge on the other side."

Spencer nodded and slowed down to a crawl.

"There's one," Becca said. "Behind that tractor."

Getting out of the car, Spencer looked up and down the road. This was not what Spencer imagined when he'd conjured up an image of a valley pub. Instead of a cozy farmhouse with log fires burning, it was just a house, set right on the road, painted white with a sign above the door. A single electric light hummed by the doorway, and three cars and a tractor were parked up by the side of the lane.

Brendon slid his hand into Spencer's. "How cool is this?" he asked. Spencer looped his camera around his neck and nodded, locking up the car and stuffing the keys into his pocket. He had considered leaving his coat in the car, but Becca had just laughed and told him to bring it with him. And no wonder, because when they got inside, the pub consisted of a single tiny room, whitewashed, with brown wooden benches around the edge and four little tables. A few extra chairs were scattered around, and on the walls, faded, browning pictures of the queen and a few other people hung above the benches. There was a pin board on one wall, too, with faded clippings attached. At one end of the room was a hatch through to the back room, and through it sat a woman in her fifties, already chatting to Gareth. There was a heater set up in the fireplace by the door.

"This is Elen," Gareth said, beckoning them closer. "This is Brendon, and this is Spencer. They're American. And married."

"Oh," Elen said and then she held her hand out for them to shake. "Not often we get Americans in these parts. And married ones too." She looked them up and down, but with interest rather than anything else. Not anything worse. Spencer couldn't help but think that they'd been lucky in people's reactions to their imaginary wedding.

"Where's Bessie tonight?" Griff asked, watching as Elen shook hands with Brendon and Spencer, and then went back to pouring them all beers from the barrel on the shelf.

"She'll be back later," Elen said. "You've got me for now. Beer for you, too? Or I've got—" she checked, "cola, lemonade, Orangina, and white wine."

"Beer, please," Brendon said.

"The same," Spencer nodded. He wanted to take pictures. The room was empty apart from them, and one old guy in the corner, who was asleep but still holding his newspaper. Spencer held up his camera and pointed at the pictures at the wall. "Do you mind?"

"Go ahead," Elen said. "Snap away."

"Is there a bathroom?" Brendon asked, taking hold of his glass of beer.

"There is," Elen said. "Back out the front door, and down the side there. The bulb's gone, so it's a bit dark. First door's the gents, next one the ladies."

"Okay," Brendon said, only sounding a little dubious. When he came back a few minutes later, he was pink-cheeked from the cold, and still zipping up his coat. He slid onto the bench next to Spencer, and whispered, "That was the scariest fucking thing I've ever done in my life. It's pitch black and you have to feel your way, and I think there's a bat in there. I jumped out of my fucking skin when it swooped."

"Suddenly I'm pretty sure I'll be waiting until we get home to go," Spencer said in an undertone. He grinned, nudging Brendon's beer towards him. "How cool is this place?"

"The coolest," Brendon agreed, taking a drink. "Did you take pictures?"

"All of them," Spencer said. "Apart from one of you. Let me take one of you."

Brendon agreed with a grin, and Spencer took the lens cap off his camera again, holding it up to his eye. Brendon tilted his chin up and rested it on his fingertips; the camera fucking loved him. Spencer fucking loved him. He took picture after picture as Brendon mugged for the camera.

"You should take one of all of us," Becca said. "Come on, shift up, Brendon. Take one of all of us."

"Brilliant idea," Gareth said. "You can email them to us when you're back home. Shove over, Griff. Get us all in."

Spencer stood up so he could get a better shot: Gareth, Griff, Becca, Clare, Brendon. They leaned into each other, Clare sliding her arms over Brendon and Becca's shoulders.

"Smile," Spencer said, and he swallowed against the catch in his throat, against the way his heart clenched when he thought about what he'd lose if he had to give this up. About how the fuck he was supposed to go back to the way things were when all he wanted was this.

He pressed the shutter.

~*~

They stayed far longer than they'd planned to, two drinks turning into three, into four. Brendon and Gareth gave up after two, switching to Coke instead, maintaining that they weren't going to drive these roads in this weather over the legal drinking limit. Spencer liked the way he could keep going, though, the beer sliding down easily. It got warmer, and he finally unzipped his coat and shrugged it off, leaning into Brendon's side as got comfortable.

Brendon slung his arm around Spencer's shoulders, and kept on talking to Griff. Griff had got a whole lot more talkative since he'd admitted that he knew who Brendon and Spencer were; Spencer didn't know whether that was a bad thing, or a good thing. He rested his cheek against Brendon's shoulder and listened in to Gareth and Becca arguing about politics instead. Spencer didn't have a clue about British politics, although he thought he could probably name the Prime Minister if he had to. Any more than that and he'd be scrabbling. Finishing high school by correspondence had its upsides, but he couldn't call his overall lack of general knowledge one of them. Spencer knew a lot about certain things, and he found the Wikipedia vortex as interesting as the next person, especially when he was stoned, but he wasn't all that great at anything particularly relevant. Instead he listened, feeling the hum of Brendon's voice as he touched his nose to Brendon's throat, listening to Becca and Gareth talk, and Clare talking to Elen in the corner.

He closed his eyes.

He woke up with a start, sitting up and saying "What—" really loudly, while everyone looked at him and laughed. "Shut up," he said, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Fuck, why didn't anyone wake me?" He blushed. He'd never fallen asleep in a bar before. "Brendon, why didn't you wake me?"

"Because you're cute when you're asleep," Brendon said, kind of evasively.

Spencer couldn't help but flush. Fuck, he didn't want this to end. He really, really didn't want this to end.

He slid his hand over Brendon's knee, and Brendon ducked his head, covering Spencer's hand with his own.

"Tom and Daniel say they're not coming 'cos of the snow," Clare said, holding her phone up and doing the dance of no signal. Brendon had once choreographed the moves to the dance of no signal, and had drunkenly instructed Spencer in the routine. They'd been stuck on the bus somewhere in the middle of nowhere, with no signal and no wifi and a ton of alcohol.

That had been a fucking awesome night. The hangover had been awful.

"How bad's the snow?" Spencer asked. He didn't know how long he'd been asleep, but he suspected that there were fresh drinks on the table. The guy in the corner with the newspaper had gone, so it was just them. He could hear the television in the room beyond the hatch.

"Bad enough that we should think about going," Gareth said, with a frown. "Come on, I don't want to get stuck pushing cars up that hill. Drink up."

Spencer kept his hand in Brendon's and didn't let go.

When they spilled outside into the lane, it couldn't have been more different to when they'd gone inside. Everything was bathed in a strangely luminescent glow, the snow making everything look like they'd stepped out onto a movie set, only a hundred times colder. Spencer's nose and cheeks were already freezing, even as he tugged on his gloves, Brendon plastered to his side. Snow hung from the trees, the branches weighed down by it all. Everything was eerily quiet; the only sound came from them as they stepped out into the street.

It was really, really fucking beautiful. Spencer wanted to take a hundred pictures. He was already uncapping his lens and holding up his camera to take shot after shot after shot as the snow still fell.

"Come on," Gareth said, after a couple of minutes. "It's coming down fast again, and we need to get to the main road if we don't want to get stuck. I reckon we've got about another ten minutes before we won't be able to get up the hill."

Spencer gave up taking pictures regretfully, hurrying back to the car. They were going to follow Gareth, Griff and Clare again, Becca travelling with them, and then they'd bundle Becca into the other car once they got near to where Brendon and Spencer would branch off to go back to the cottage.

Spencer climbed into the back seat, letting Becca take the front as Brendon cheerfully started the engine. "I have no fucking idea how to drive in snow," Brendon admitted, revving the engine. "Sorry if I kill you all."

"Apology accepted," Becca said. "Hey, no. Look, depress the clutch. It reduces the drag on the engine. And avoid high revs." She looked apologetic. "My mum and dad own a garage," she said. "I learnt from the best. I'm always dead popular at parties. Basically, Brendon, don't go too fast as you'll lose control, but don't go too slow either, as you'll lose your momentum. If you skid, take your foot off the pedal and steer. Don't rely on the brake."

"Got it," Brendon said. Spencer suspected Becca thought he hadn't, but he wasn't going to say anything. Brendon was safer than people gave him credit for. Spencer trusted him.

He trusted him even more when they set off carefully, the snow creaking beneath their tires as they rolled down the street.

When Gareth turned right off the lane and started off up the stupidly steep valley side, though, Spencer decided he wasn't going to trust him anymore. "We're going to die," he said loudly. "Gareth is trying to kill us."

"Shut up," Brendon said grimly. "Fuck, is Spencer right? Are we going to die?"

"It's just this one hill," Becca said, although she didn't look all that convinced that they were doing the right thing, going up this steep hill in the snow. Spencer couldn't even concentrate on how beautiful everything was in the snow, because all he could see was Gareth up above them, taking the hairpin bend at a snail's pace. "When we get to the top, it's mostly across the top."

"The top of what?" Spencer asked, but Becca didn't answer him.

"Careful," she said, to Brendon. "Swing that way, just a bit. That's right."

Going to die going to die going to die, Spencer thought, somewhat hysterically. He could see the hillside falling away to the right of him, leading steeply down to the back of the house they'd just been in. The road was single-car-width.

"What happens if we meet a car coming the other way?" he asked.

"That won't happen," Brendon said. "Shut up."

Spencer shut up. Brendon's knuckles were white on the steering wheel.

It was the longest five minutes of Spencer's life. When they got to the top, and back onto the flat road, Brendon brought the car to a stop. "Fuck," he said. Then he laughed, breathless. "You're driving next time."

"No," Spencer said. "Next time we sleep in the bar."

"I'm with you," Brendon agreed. Ahead of them, Gareth's tail lights were red as he slowed to a stop, waiting for them. Brendon squared his shoulders. "Okay, let's go."

The rest of the journey was uneventful in comparison. The lane wound its way across open countryside, the odd sheep huddled in the lee of a wall to avoid the snow.

"There are wild horses, sometimes," Becca told them, shifting in her seat. "We were driving back here last summer, can't remember why, and there was a giant fuck-off badger in the middle of the road. It just sat there and looked at us, so we sat there and looked back. It was huge."

"Wow," Spencer said, staring out the window at the endless hillsides, sloping away into the distance. "Never seen a badger."

"They're fierce," Becca said. "They're not cuddly at all, I've no idea why J.K. Rowling thought that they should be the face of Hufflepuff. I always thought Hufflepuff should be something less—I don't know. Less violent, and less scary. And possibly with less tuberculosis."

"Right," Spencer said. "Of course."

In the mirror, Brendon caught his eye and gave a ghost of a wink. It made Spencer feel warm deep down inside. He stared out of the window instead, and covered his mouth with the back of his hand to hide his smile.

It took a while to get back to the main road, which had been gritted, and then a while longer to get to where Brendon and Spencer needed to turn off to get to their cottage. Gareth pulled over by the side of the road, and climbed out of the car. Brendon pulled in behind him, and killed the engine.

"So," Becca said. "Is this it? I don't think we're going to see each other again, are we?"

Spencer's breath caught in his throat. Everything was coming to an end: the vacation, their new friendships, him and Brendon. He climbed out of the car instead of replying.

"That was great, right?" Gareth said, grinning and coming over.

"No, that was terrifying," Spencer said.

"My boyfriend has weird adrenaline issues," Griff said, coming over. "Hey," he said, when Gareth made a face and went red. "If Brendon and Spencer can get married, then I can man the fuck up and ask you out."

"Right on," Brendon said, but he didn't meet Spencer's eye. Spencer suspected he felt just as shitty about all of this as Spencer did. Spencer toed at the snow.

"Group hug," Clare said, stumbling over and wrapping her arms around Becca and Brendon's shoulders. "It's bloody freezing out here. You'll all freeze your knackers off if we stay out here much longer."

"That's Clare's polite way of saying she wants to go home," Becca added.

"We got that," Spencer said. There was a lot of hugging, and a lot of promises to keep in touch that Spencer wasn't sure he could keep, and then Gareth drew Spencer off to one side and gave him a hug.

"I think you and Brendon are brilliant," he said. "I mean it. Getting married when you can't tell your family, and when you're well known—being who you are. It's really brave. You're both really brave, and it's been a real pleasure. You're so fucking happy together."

Spencer couldn't breathe. "I really love him," he said, all of a sudden, apropos of nothing at all. He just knew that if he didn't say it here, now, to these people who'd seen them together, then he'd never get to say it. "I love him so much." He was drunk, he knew that, but it wasn't that—it was just that everything was coming to an end, and afterwards, when they got home, no one would ever know that it had happened.

"I know," Gareth said. "Anyone who looks at you knows." He clapped a hand to Spencer's shoulder, and looked back at the others. "You two should leave the car here and walk down the lane. It could be lethal down there now. May as well leave it up here and get it in the morning."

Brendon looked at Spencer. "Yeah?" he said, and Spencer nodded. Together they stood by the side of the road and waved as the others all drove off in Gareth's car, everyone waving madly.

"So," Brendon said, when the car was out of sight, and there was silence again, and nothing but the two of them and the snow.

"Yeah," Spencer said, and reached for Brendon's hand. He was taking every single moment of this that he could. "Let's go home."

~*~

Later, when they were wrapped up warm in bed with the covers pulled up around them like a cocoon, Spencer shifted so that he had his hand pressed to Brendon's stomach, under his shirt, and his nose pressed to the back of Brendon's neck.

He knew that Brendon wasn't asleep either, but neither of them moved.

Tomorrow, Spencer thought. Tomorrow's our last day.

[onward!]

There are 23 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
 
posted by [identity profile] mrsquizzical.livejournal.com at 01:31pm on 09/03/2012
<333 DDD: *sniiif*
ext_16050: (Default)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:48pm on 08/04/2012
<3333
 
posted by [identity profile] caffeine-fueled.livejournal.com at 01:54pm on 09/03/2012
EEEEEEEEEEI! Kind of incapable of words to better to express how I felt at the end. I eagerly await the next (and possibly last?) part.
ext_16050: (Default)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:49pm on 08/04/2012
So far it's looking like one more part, but you probably know me and my wordiness :D
 
posted by [identity profile] brittanyattard.livejournal.com at 03:52pm on 09/03/2012
I JUST CRIED. TEARS. MANLY TEARS.
TT_TT
ext_16050: (Panic - Bden & Spencer hearrrrrrts)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:49pm on 08/04/2012
Thank you for reading, bb! <33
 
posted by [identity profile] brittanyattard.livejournal.com at 01:19pm on 14/04/2012
Thank you for replying. You're my favourite.
 
posted by [identity profile] oaktree89.livejournal.com at 03:58pm on 09/03/2012
ext_16050: (Default)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:49pm on 08/04/2012
*hearts*
 
posted by [identity profile] cellophane_ria.livejournal.com at 04:38pm on 09/03/2012
Crying. Everything! Spencer! Badgers with TB! *sob* <3333
ext_16050: (Default)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:50pm on 08/04/2012
Thank you for reading, bb! <3
 
posted by [identity profile] gurrier.livejournal.com at 05:19pm on 09/03/2012
Love this story so much! I kinda want Spencer and Brendon to run away and become sheep farmers and settle down in Wales.
ext_16050: (Default)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:50pm on 08/04/2012
IT IS ALWAYS A SHEEP FARMING POSSIBILITY.
fleurrochard: A black and white picture of a little girl playing air-guitar and singing (Default)
posted by [personal profile] fleurrochard at 11:01pm on 09/03/2012
OMG - ALL THE HEARTS! ALL THE TEARS! YOU MAKE ME SO CONFUSED!

<3333333333333333!!!!!!!!!
ext_16050: (Default)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:50pm on 08/04/2012
<3333333333 !!! RIGHT BACK AT YOU.
 
posted by [identity profile] herewego15.livejournal.com at 01:30am on 10/03/2012
Such a great story! I really enjoy the pacing of it.

<3
ext_16050: (Default)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:51pm on 08/04/2012
Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying it. <3
 
posted by [identity profile] pixie_pan.livejournal.com at 03:06am on 13/03/2012
Waaaaaaaaaaailing!
ext_16050: (Default)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:51pm on 08/04/2012
*hearts and hearts* <33
 
posted by [identity profile] clairejw.livejournal.com at 03:13am on 13/03/2012
I am madly in love with this fic. I may or may not have squealed when I saw you'd posted the next part.
ext_16050: (Panic - Bden & Spencer hearrrrrrts)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 06:52pm on 08/04/2012
I'm so glad you're liking it, thank you! <3
 
posted by [identity profile] desert-neon.livejournal.com at 07:06am on 06/06/2012
Oh, poor Spencer.

I'm really glad I waited until this was done to read it, the angst would have killed me otherwise. :)
ext_16050: (Panic - Spence in pink)
posted by [identity profile] sunsetmog.livejournal.com at 09:50am on 12/06/2012
Hee, yes, the problem of WIPs :D

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