When Brendon wakes again, he knows they've taken off. He marvels that once again he slept through the actual lift-off, but the soundproofing system is apparently flawless. He stares at the ceiling in the dark, feeling much better about everything now that he's gotten some sleep. There is a soft knock on his door, and he pushes up on his elbows before saying, "Yeah?"
Can I come in? Spencer asks, and Brendon's breath catches at the unexpected message. It's as if Spencer knows he has a weakness for his thought-voice.
"Yeah," Brendon says, trying to figure out if he's still angry at Spencer or not.
He gestures for the lights to go up a little bit, and Spencer says, "Oh, I didn't wake you up, did I?"
"I was already awake," Brendon says, not looking Spencer in the eye.
"Oh. So, I guess I'm back to where we started, apologizing for some stupid comment I made."
Brendon sends a puzzled look at the comforter, hoping Spencer knows it's meant for him.
"I mean, not that this was the same. I really screwed up this time," Spencer admits, sitting in Brendon's desk chair next to the bed.
"Did you?" Brendon asks.
"Brendon," Spencer says, tone pleading. Brendon has to look at him then, though he hates how one look at Spencer's expression makes him want to forgive him anything. "I'm sorry," he says, and Brendon knows that he means it.
"You should have trusted me," Brendon says, looking away again and hunching over a bit.
"It's not you that I didn't trust," Spencer says, sounding miserable. "It's these strangers, Brendon, and you're just so trusting. I wanted to make sure you were being cautious."
Brendon shuts his eyes, taking a deep breath before he says, "No."
"You weren't making sure of anything," Brendon accuses, opening his eyes now. "You didn't ask me anything, you didn't even give me a chance to defend myself."
He sees Spencer's face contort, and he can already imagine Spencer slamming the door on his way out, and the days of miserable avoidance he'll have to put up with between now and their next stop. But then Spencer's features smooth out, and he says, "You're right."
"I am?" Brendon says, surprised.
"God, I'm so bad at this," Spencer mumbles, mostly to himself. "You're right, I didn't trust you. But it wasn't anything against you, it was just-- I'm your boss, and as your boss, it's my responsibility to make sure we get paid." His eyes plea with Brendon to understand, and he wants to, he really does.
"That doesn't explain why my boss didn't mention that there was a problem immediately after he found out what was up," Brendon points out.
Spencer's eyes slip closed, and he looks properly reprimanded. "That was my own fault. I let my emotions get in the way."
Brendon clinches his teeth. "Don't do that," he says, more of a plea than a command. "Don't talk about our relationship like it's an obstacle." He pulls his knees up to his body and wraps his arms around them, fighting the impulse to bury his head in his arms.
Spencer stares at him like he's been betrayed. Brendon, he says, and there's enough raw emotion that it makes Brendon's chest hurt.
"What?" he says out loud, refusing to willingly let Spencer hear his emotions so plainly.
"I thought you were avoiding me all day because I screwed up the night before," Spencer explains, staring at some point on the wall. Brendon tries to recall the night, which seems so long ago, but all he can remember is really amazing sex and then falling asleep with his usual paranoia. He doesn't see where Spencer could've caused the latter, or why the former would be a problem, so he waits. "I woke up and you were gone, and I don't know, my mind went into overdrive."
"You're an idiot," Brendon says, rolling his eyes and shifting so that he can cross his legs on the bed.
"When you called me, I was just grateful you weren't actually mad at me. It didn't even occur to me to... I don't know, reprimand you, or check with you about the money, until after, when I was talking to the captain, and then you were almost back."
"And then I messaged you and said there was a problem," Brendon remembers.
"Exactly," Spencer says softly.
Brendon tries to think of it from Spencer's point of view, and even though part of him wants to insist that Spencer should trust him, he kind of gets it. "I don't want to fight anymore," he finally says.
Spencer looks him in the eye, hopeful. "Me either," he says.
Brendon nods, as if it's been decided, but he still doesn't know where to go from here.
Spencer stands suddenly, and Brendon braces himself for Spencer to leave, telling himself it's for the best so they can both calm down. But then, after a moment of hesitation, Spencer leans one knee onto the bed, facing Brendon. He waits there, and Brendon finally stops waffling and opens his arms to pull Spencer in.
The hug is exactly what Brendon needed, and he fists his hands into the back of Spencer's shirt, not wanting to let go. Spencer clings just as fiercely, and Brendon takes a deep breath and counts his blessings.
At their next stop, Brendon and Spencer are all set to pick up some new cargo just a couple miles from the hub. Spencer makes a quick call to the seller to verify the details, and then they head out.
Shortly after leaving the hub, Spencer takes Brendon's hand. He's not much for PDA on the job, so Brendon knows it's something of a peace offering. Sure enough, Spencer follows it up with a message clarifying that he's not tagging along because he doesn't trust Brendon, but rather because he was asked to. Brendon squeezes his hand and says, Don't worry about it. I like spending time with you.
He smiles at Spencer to back up his statement, realizing that they so often rely on thought-speak now that he sometimes forgets to communicate normally. It's an amazing feeling, knowing that he can trust his biggest secret with Spencer.
They walk on in silence, and Brendon's mind wanders to trust and secrets. He thinks about Anjela and her advice on trust, recalling little moments like Jon using fake names for both of them on that dodgy delivery, and Ryan speaking up for him at the bank.
"Something's bothering you," Spencer observes out loud. Brendon blinks, snapping out of it, and turns to him. Spencer's mouth quirks into a small smile. "Wanna talk about it?"
Brendon looks down at their joined hands as they walk along, choosing not to answer right away. Spencer doesn't push it, which is nice. Eventually, Brendon takes a deep breath and says, I'm thinking about telling Jon and Ryan about what I can do. He lets the message carry his doubts, concerns, and slight hope, knowing that Spencer's skilled enough to read all of it.
Spencer doesn't respond for several minutes. Brendon can tell he's deep in thought, so he stays quiet and keeps to his own mind in the meantime. He starts to feel tired from walking so far, which reminds him how much time he hasn't been in the gym lately.
Eventually, Spencer speaks up, out loud this time. "I used to think I couldn't say anything about it, to anybody. But if you hadn't found out, I'd still be completely overwhelmed by the whole thing. I'd trust both of them with my life, so I guess... I mean, if you want to tell them, I'll tell them too."
Brendon smiles, relieved to have Spencer's support. They're nearing the rendezvous point for the pick-up, so Brendon quickly dismisses it, saying that he'll think about it for a while.
The warehouse seems oddly quiet as they open the door, and the reason why becomes rapidly apparent - there's no one here. More importantly, there's no cargo either.
"They did say 440, right?" Brendon asks, recalling the number on the door.
Spencer nods, looking perturbed. He pulls out his mobile device, mumbling about how they verified less than an hour ago. As he dials the client's number, Brendon glances around the empty space, a sudden wariness filling his mind. He barely hears Spencer's stern but professional rant, but he gathers the gist: The client's bailed. There is no pick-up.
Spencer hangs up, cursing loudly. "I mean, it doesn't even make sense. An hour ago everything was fine, and why wouldn't he have called? He didn't even sound sure of himself when I did call, and we've already been paid."
Brendon doesn't like the sound of that. "What did he sound like on the line? Was he, I dunno, nervous?" Brendon's eyes skim the periphery of the warehouse again. He can't shake the feeling that they're being watched.
"Yeah, I guess a little bit. Why, what are you thinking?"
Brendon feels for a moment like he can't breathe, but he only lets the feeling linger for a second before shaking it off. "Can we go?"
Spencer nods absently, scrolling through his device. "I just don't get--"
Spencer, Brendon interrupts, impatient. Can we please go?
Spencer seems surprised, which means some of Brendon's anxiety probably showed in his message. "Yeah, of course, let's go."
Brendon feels more paranoid than usual on the walk back to the ship. He does his best to tell Spencer, without speaking, that it's probably nothing, but he's just got a bad feeling that all of this is tied up with the Academy. He waits until they get back to the ship and into Spencer's room before he can relax, and even then the possibility stays in the back of his mind.
"They had almost tracked me down back home. It's not impossible to think they could figure out who I started working with. What if the whole thing was a trap?"
Hey, Spencer says, his tone soothing, you're safe now. He stretches out over Brendon, pressing kisses into his neck and sending these thoughts that are almost empty, but somehow still calming. Brendon was so proud when Spencer figured that one out - even he doesn't know how to do it.
"I just wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I put any of you in danger."
"We're fine," Spencer insists. "And I'll follow up with the captain. Make sure we never buy from this guy again, and find out if there's anything else we can learn from the sale."
"Thanks," Brendon says, but he still feels guilty. He tilts his head into Spencer's kiss, trying to lose himself in the feeling, but it doesn't quite work. His mind is still racing.
Are you having second thoughts about telling Jon and Ryan? Spencer asks.
Brendon shakes his head. "Kind of the opposite. If there is a danger, I want them to know the whole story." He bites at his lip. "I just..." He struggles with the words for a moment, but Spencer is patient. "I just don't want to do it while we're here, I think."
Spencer nods, making the decision for him. "We'll tell them while we're in transit, then. If you're sure you're ready."
"Definitely," Brendon says, already feeling better.
When Spencer bursts into the common area a few days later, Brendon doesn't know what to think.
"Brendon! Brendon, I am so sorry. Please say you'll forgive me, Brendon, please."
Spencer grabs onto his shoulders and looks at him imploringly, so that Brendon has to answer. "I don't--what did--?"
"I accidentally told Jon you were a telepath!" Spencer blurts before Brendon can finish, and it's then that Brendon realizes why Spencer is acting so strange.
"Spence, are you high?"
Spencer just stares at him, wide-eyed, so that it's all Brendon can do not to laugh. Finally, he says, "No, that would be awful, if your boss went around smoking up when he was supposed to be working."
He keeps glancing toward the kitchen, and finally Brendon can't take it anymore. He bursts out laughing, and Spencer just looks confused. "Are you hungry?"
"Starving," Spencer admits, pushing past Brendon into the kitchen.
Brendon lets himself think about what's going to happen next as Spencer puts a muffin in the microwave and then stares at it until the timer goes off. He doesn't really have any answers.
He watches Spencer sit down with his muffin, but then, to his surprise, Spencer only picks at it, looking guilty. "There's something else."
Brendon raises his eyebrows, taking in Spencer's ashamed look. It shouldn't be so endearing, but he can't imagine Spencer doing something really bad. A thought enters Brendon's mind, and he's suddenly sure he's got it right. "You made out with him."
"No!" Spencer says immediately, cheeks going red. "I mean, I didn't let-- He kissed me."
Brendon can picture it instantly, how Jon's lazy kisses would measure up against Spencer's meticulous ones, and he wishes more than anything that he'd been there to see it happen.
"I didn't let it go any further, I swear," Spencer continues, cutting into Brendon's fantasies. After a second, Brendon nods, apparently easing Spencer's conscience enough, since he goes on to devour his muffin.
It really doesn't matter to him that Spencer made out (or almost) with Jon. The fact that he wants to is actually awesome news, and he'll be sure to bring it up again later. But Jon knows now, and Brendon didn't get to be the one to tell him. And maybe he didn't believe Spencer, but one thing seems obvious: it's either tell them now or have them find out later in a less ideal situation. Brendon wants to deliver the message himself.
He goes to the wall panel to page the two of them upstairs. He figures if their boss is high and currently taking a lengthy snack break, they can probably finish their shifts later.
The first thing he notices is that Jon has definitely been making out with someone, but when Ryan trails in behind him, it becomes clear who that someone is.
"You guys probably think I'm the worst boss," Spencer says with a frown. Jon and Ryan see what he's eating, though, and go immediately for the cupboard.
"I'm pretty sure you're working under the wrong definition of 'worst'," Brendon says, earning him a smile from Ryan.
"Loosen up," Ryan tells Spencer, "it won't kill you."
"So what's with the family meeting?" Jon asks around a mouthful of muffin.
"I have an announcement," Brendon says, feeling wary. It's weird that Jon isn't looking at him any differently. Maybe Spencer was remembering it wrong. Still, he has to do it.
"Brendon, are you sure...?" Spencer says, and then hesitates. I didn't mean to force you to tell them.
"I'm doing this because I want to," Brendon says aloud, and then fixes them all with a serious look. "I'm a telepath."
Brendon's not sure if it's the drugs or what, but nobody has the reaction he expected. Ryan immediately looks at Spencer, who looks even guiltier now, and Jon is completely unfazed.
He watches Ryan and Spencer have a silent conversation as Jon plays with the hair at Ryan's nape and waits. Finally, Brendon's anxiety bubbles over, and he has to break the silence. "Isn't anyone going to say anything?"
"I'm a telepath too," Spencer says, "just... not as good as Brendon."
Brendon's pulse picks up, because it seems less like support now and more like painting a big target on both of them. But then Ryan nods at Spencer and says, "I'm a healer."
"Wait, what?" Brendon says, and he has to put down his drink.
"You remember your first delivery, with the bottle?" Spencer prompts.
"Healed you," Ryan says with a shrug.
"My turn now?" Jon says, and they all turn to him in unison. Brendon thinks he will always remember his smug grin as he meets Brendon's gaze and says, "I can see the future. Precognition, or whatever."
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Ryan says as Spencer mumbles, "Son of a bitch," both of them echoing Brendon's thoughts.
"Read my mind if you don't believe me," Jon challenges, raising his eyebrows.
Brendon shakes his head. "No. I never read anyone's mind unless I absolutely have to, and have their permission."
"Am I ever gonna win the lottery?" Ryan asks, smirking.
Jon rolls his eyes, but his smile stays. "It doesn't work like that. I can't control it, and the context always screws me up, but I've never had a vision that failed to come true."
"Wait, hang on," Spencer says. "But you can see the future."
Jon nods, looking amused.
"So does that mean you already knew about us?" he says, gesturing to Ryan and Brendon.
Jon shrugs, but his sheepish look gives them the answer.
"You jerk!" Ryan says with a disbelieving laugh, slugging him on the shoulder.
"It's not my fault! I only know what I see, and I've already seen everything that's happening right now. Trust me, it took some getting used to."
Brendon narrows his eyes, then tips over his bottle. Jon reaches out expertly to grab it before it hits the ground.
"No way," Spencer says incredulously, still a little affected by the pot, Brendon's sure.
After that, the whole thing becomes some twisted version of show and tell, but Brendon needs the proof. Even after he has it, he can't quite believe that his three best friends all have abilities, just like him. All this time, he's been surrounded by other specials, only these guys are so much better than anyone he'd met at school. Their abilities have made them cherish their friendships rather than view them as a means to an end.
"Brendon? You still with us?" Jon asks, cutting into his thought process. He slings an arm around him and favors him with an easy smile.
"Yeah," Brendon says, sure of that at least. He returns Jon's smile before turning to share it with everyone. "Always."
The next time Brendon smokes up with Jon, it's after one long conversation with Spencer and a whole lot of planning. He spends the first few minutes paranoid that Jon knows exactly what he's trying to do, but then he takes his first toke and stops worrying.
Jon starts musing on the mechanics of the ship, and Brendon gets caught up in the sound of his voice for a while. When he remembers his plan, it seems so simple to just hold on to the joint, wait for Jon's noise of protest, and then let him shotgun the hit off him.
Jon's mouth fits against his nicely, and it doesn't take long for things to escalate into making out. The joint drops from his fingers as he reaches out to pull Jon closer, which he realizes distantly is a big change from the first time they did this. When Jon hums against Brendon's mouth, it's like it vibrates through his entire body.
I've been thinking about this, Brendon says, pushing the thought forward complete with implications of what exactly he's been thinking about.
Jon's breath hitches. "What about Spencer?"
"Did I just catch the clairvoyant off-guard?" Brendon says with a smirk, and Jon bites his lip to keep from laughing. "Spencer knows about this. It was his idea."
"Oh," Jon says, eyes widening minutely. When Brendon leans in this time, Jon meets him halfway and quickly deepens the kiss, tongue curling against Brendon's and a slow hum escaping from his mouth. When he pulls back, he looks like he's up to something. "Does this mean you're allowed to share details about your sex life now?"
Brendon's lips curve into a wicked smile. "I can do you one better," he says, and sends Jon an image that makes his breath catch in his throat.
"That's a nice trick," Jon says, his lips curving upward. He curls his arm around Brendon's neck and draws him closer, his body warm against Brendon's as they make out lazily.
Jon suddenly makes a disgruntled noise into Brendon's mouth, and when he pulls back, he's cringing. Brendon's hand goes immediately to his temple - he knows from headaches - and presses down hoping to ease the pressure.
"Fuck," Jon says with feeling, reaching up to grab Brendon's wrist. He doesn't pull his hand away, though, just keeps a hold of Brendon. Brendon swallows thickly and keeps moving his fingers in a circular pattern, fairly sure it's helping.
He watches Jon's eyes darting back and forth beneath his eyelids and has a feeling he knows what's going on. The way Jon's mouth is hanging open, though, is so inviting... He's tempted to lean in and take his mind off the vision. And then, as suddenly as it started, Jon's eyes pop open and his gaze is clear. Clear, full of want, and fixed on Brendon. "Did..." Brendon licks his lips. "Did you just have a vision?"
"You mean you didn't watch?"
"No, I--" Brendon stops and tries to remember how to form sentences. With Jon looking at him so intently, it's kind of hard to think. "I won't do that unless you give me permission."
Jon squeezes his wrist where he's still got his fingers wrapped around it. "This was permission."
"Oh. Well excuse me for not knowing wrist-squeezing translated to 'read my mind,'" he says with a laugh, but it sounds a little manic. "I'll do better next time."
Jon's eyes are fixed on Brendon's lips, and it doesn't escape Brendon's notice. Especially not when he mutters, "fuck," and pulls Brendon's wrist down and toward him until Brendon follows with it, and then Jon is kissing him with much more intent than before. Brendon is already half hard from everything that just happened, and he can't help but wish Spencer had given him permission to do more.
"Stop, we can't--" Brendon starts, pulling back reluctantly, his breath coming fast. He tilts his forehead against Jon's and counts up from 32 in binary. He flips 0's and 1's in his head until he feels like he's regained some control. "I have a question."
"The answer is probably yes," Jon answers, voice rough. It hits Brendon twice as hard because it's Jon, and Jon never gets worked up over anything.
"Have you ever had a vision about me?"
"A sexy one?"
Brendon swallows, struggling to phrase his next question. "The one you just had... was it like that?"
Jon laughs like there's a joke Brendon missed. "You might say that."
Brendon sits up straight, a thought occurring to him suddenly.
"That was three questions."
"I have one more."
Jon inclines his head, inviting him to ask. "One more."
"Is it, uh." Brendon cuts himself off, taking the time to think about his question. He knows that Jon won't divulge the details of his visions if he believes they'll change someone's mind about something. It's frustrating, but Brendon usually understands. This time, though, he wants to know. "Is it possible you've had a vision that involves all of us? Like, together, not just..." He trails off, unsure how to phrase it.
Jon takes pity on him and answers anyway. "It's possible I just had one."
Brendon's mouth goes dry. "Oh."
"Yeah," Jon says, a bit breathless.
Much to Brendon's chagrin, Spencer isn't in the mood for much of anything that night. He's in a horrible mood, as things with Ryan apparently didn't go so well. Brendon frowns exaggeratedly, hating to see Spencer unhappy, and puts his first and foremost efforts into making him smile.
It takes a lot of kissing and some strategic tickling, but Brendon is finally able to earn a smile from Spencer. Feeling victorious, he settles back on his elbows so he can see Spencer properly and asks, "So what happened?"
Spencer sighs, pulling a pillow to his chest and fiddling with the cloth around the edge. "He pissed me off is what happened. Everything was going as planned at first - I had my head in his lap and we were shooting the shit about the old days. There was definite flirtation going on, but when I went to kiss him..."
He trails off, and Brendon frowns, not understanding. "He pushed you away?"
"He didn't even let me get close enough to push away," Spencer says, his eyebrows drawing together. "And then he accused me of only coming to him because things weren't going well with you."
Brendon barks out a disbelieving laugh. "I hope you told him it was my idea to begin with."
Spencer shakes his head, accidentally tearing the cloth on the pillow in his frustration. "I didn't get a chance. By the time I'd finished saying that you and I were fine, he'd gone on to accuse me of pushing him aside, and pretty soon we were both too angry to have a reasonable discussion. I came over here and slammed the door."
Spencer tosses the pillow aside, accidentally turning the lights up in the process. Brendon quickly gestures them back down and moves into Spencer's space, eager to make him feel better again. "How about I tell you about a little scenario Jon shared with me earlier?"
Spencer steadies Brendon's arms as he settles into place so that he's straddling Spencer. He arches an eyebrow and asks, "What kind of scenario?"
Brendon pushes an image into Spencer's mind that makes him gasp and arch into Brendon. "Yeah," Brendon breathes, remembering his own reaction.
"But, all four of us...?"
"I think it's time I shared my afternoon adventures," Brendon says with a leer, and Spencer smiles again.
After Brendon's conversation with Spencer, there are nearly two weeks before their next stop. It's plenty of time to piece together a plan, complete with Jon's help, but it gets more and more frustrating when Ryan seems to be distancing himself from all of them.
Brendon knows this is only going to work if they do it on-planet. They have to give Ryan the opportunity to leave, if he really wants to, and let him know that they want him - in public, in private, always.
It's a long delivery. Ryan's in a bad mood and Spencer's caught it. Jon and Brendon try to soothe their respective boyfriends' tempers with some success, but it's still not an ideal trip. Brendon starts to feel nervous about their plan as the delivery part starts to wrap up, and even Spencer's attempt to calm him down mentally doesn't help.
And then Ryan tries to go straight back to the ship. He's pretty dead set on it, actually, until Spencer offers a metaphorical olive branch to their whole not-quite-argument and convinces him to have one drink.
They have that one drink, or well, they've started a drink a piece before Spencer gets up from his seat beside Brendon to move to the other side of the booth, squishing Ryan between himself and Jon.
"What are you doing, Spence?" Ryan asks, sounding tired as Brendon hits some controls on their table to give them some privacy.
"Just trying to break the monotony," Spencer quips, looking nonchalant.
"Okay, so I have to tell you guys about this story Tom told me," Jon says, and launches into another of his crazy anecdotes. Pretty soon, they're all laughing, and Jon concludes, "Needless to say they wouldn't let them back in the control room after that."
"Oh man, that reminds me... Do you remember the first time we went up in a ship?" Spencer asks, bumping elbows with Ryan. "Ryan's uncle had a small cruiser on loan, and he let us see the control room. We couldn't have been older than 13..."
Ryan smiles, eyes distant. "You thought you'd figured out how to fly it."
"We'd always talked about traveling," Spencer defends, smiling wide. "I figured I'd hit the jackpot. Just a few more times sneaking on board to test things out, and we had our ticket out!"
"No way," Brendon laughs, starting to understand. "You guys were gonna take off with your uncle's ship?"
"Loaner ship," Ryan reminds him.
"We got so far as starting up the engine in the middle of the night before we got caught out," Spencer explains, his laugh dissolving into something more serious as he remembers.
"We were gonna run away together," Ryan says around a smile, his focus completely on Spencer.
Brendon can feel the tension in the air as their eyes meet, and it's even better than they planned when Spencer moves in, capturing Ryan's lips with his own. It's everything the first attempt hadn't been, from what Spencer had told Brendon - confident and unwilling to accept arguments. Even better, Brendon gets to watch this one. He sees the moment Ryan's shock wears off and he starts reciprocating, tilting his head just so and taking control of the kiss in the way that only Ryan can.
"Wow," Jon finally says, a bit breathless, expressing Brendon's exact thoughts. As Spencer pulls back, he shares a long look with Ryan before they both shift their gaze to their left. "Jon," Ryan says, looking wrecked.
Jon gives him his typical easygoing smile and says, "You two look so good together."
Brendon can't see, which he wishes he'd thought of while they were planning this, but he knows that Jon and Spencer each have a hand sitting on each of Ryan's thighs right now.
Ryan, he says, cautiously. Ryan looks up at him suddenly, as if he forgot Brendon was there. Brendon smiles winningly. Do you like this? Would you like us to keep going?
He reaches his hand across the table toward Ryan, giving Ryan a reason to be looking at him. Ryan stares at his hand for a moment, the smallest of smiles tugging at his lips. "Did you guys plan this?"
"He's onto us," Jon says in a fake panic.
"Shut down everything," Spencer says, leaning away from Ryan.
Brendon thrills when Ryan holds Spencer in place, and the feeling doubles when Ryan then reaches out and takes his offered hand. "Yes, keep going."
They all turn their gaze on Brendon, and he can't help but feel self-conscious. Why does he have to be the one to say it?
"Um, well, there's only so much we can do at the bar..." No, wait. That implies something more vulgar than what he meant to say. "Not that that's all we're trying to--I mean." He feels like an idiot.
He feels Spencer's mind inside his, sending out his trademark blank thoughts, something like white noise, but they're comforting. He turns Ryan's focus on himself and cuts in for Brendon. "We want to date you. And each other."
"The four of us," Jon concludes.
"Exclusively," Brendon says for good measure. Jon nods at him.
"--too good to be true?" Brendon tries, going for optimism.
Ryan smirks. "I was going to say 'impractical'. None of our beds will hold four people."
"I like where your head's at," Brendon says even as Spencer gears up for his defense.
"We can take turns in pairs for a week or so. We're due to visit Earth in a few weeks, and I've already found a place near our stop where we can order a new bed." Ryan turns to him, a smile playing on his lips. He doesn't have to say anything, and Brendon has a feeling Spencer doesn't have to read his mind either. Spencer ducks his head and murmurs, "Wishful thinking."
"We've all talked about it," Jon explains, "and we all definitely wanna do it. But we're only game if you are."
Ryan doesn't answer at first, taking in each of them in turn. He looks unsure, and it's making Brendon anxious.
Eventually, Spencer sighs. "Don't even bother trying to say you're not up for this, Ryan Ross, because I will read your mind if I have to."
That startles a laugh out of Ryan, loosening something in Brendon's chest.
"It's not that I don't want it, because I do," Ryan finally says, and as far as Brendon's concerned, that's the end of the conversation. Still, Ryan continues, "It's just... what happens if one of us gets bored? Or finds someone else? How does a breakup even work with four people?"
Jon shrugs. "We don't know."
"That's what being in a relationship is all about, though," Brendon muses. "Taking the risk."
Ryan stares back at him, hard, for several long seconds. Brendon meets his gaze and waits until finally, a smile slides onto Ryan's face. "Yeah, okay. Let's do it."
Spencer and Jon give a celebratory whoop and high-five over Ryan's head. Ryan ducks his head and squeezes Brendon's hand where he's still holding it on the table.
"So, Brendon. Since you were so eager to get us out of here... Did you have something in mind?"
"Well," Brendon says, licking his lips, "now that you mention it..." He looks to Spencer and Jon for approval, then focuses his mind entirely on Ryan.
Much as I'd love to have you all to myself tonight, I think you and Spencer have a few things left to work out. Ryan flicks his eyes to Spencer for a second, looking nervous but not opposed, and this confirms Brendon's suspicion. Spencer notices the look, but instead of saying anything, he tilts his head down and starts placing kisses along Ryan's neck.
"Good ideas?" Jon says, a bit impatiently, and Brendon knows how he feels. He wishes Jon were over here to give him kisses, or vice versa.
"Still working out the details," Brendon says, eyes glued to Jon's mouth.
We can take turns using Jon's bed. It's the biggest anyway. But if you get Spencer, I get Jon. I've been wanting to blow him ever since he wore those jeans he got on IS7.
He says all of this to Ryan, but his gaze stays on Jon the whole time. By the end of it, both Ryan and Jon are squirming in their seats. Brendon shifts to look back at Ryan, concluding, And otherwise, you'll have Spencer all to yourself, for as long as we can spare him. But we get to watch.
He imagines what they'll look like together, Spencer's hands on Ryan's hips as he thrusts into him. He forms as strong a mental image as he can, biting his lip and focusing, and then he sends it to Ryan.
There's no obvious reaction, not to a typical passer-by, but Brendon hears Ryan mumble something under his breath, and then Ryan squeezes Brendon's hand so hard Brendon considers letting go.
Yeah? I thought you might like that. Spencer is sucking on Ryan's neck enthusiastically, his hand moving up Ryan's thigh, and then Brendon can practically feel Spencer in Ryan's mind, though he doesn't hear what is said. Ryan's eyes immediately snap to Brendon's lips.
You want my mouth? Jon can prepare you while I suck you. I can get off just from that. Is that what you want?
Tell me. Tell us.
Ryan turns to Jon, kissing him thoroughly. "Want you to get me ready so Spencer can fuck me."
Jon nods, mouth slightly open.
"What about Brendon?" Spencer asks.
"I'll keep Brendon's mouth occupied," Ryan says, smirking, "at least until it's Jon's turn."
Brendon smiles. "Does this mean we can go back to the ship now?"
"Fuck," Ryan breathes, burying his face in Spencer's shoulder. "Give me a minute."
You really got to him, Spencer says, sounding impressed. You gotta do that to me sometime.
If anyone sees them leaving the bar, they probably assume they're drunk off their asses, and maybe they'd be right, but it's not from alcohol. Brendon feels a different sort of high as they all make their way back to the ship, joking and laughing to keep from doing something stupid in public in the meantime.
Brendon's not sure if Spencer said something to him privately, but as soon as they step into the elevator to go up to their quarters, Ryan pins Spencer against the wall and kisses him within an inch of his life. Jon makes an appreciative noise and then places his hand on Brendon's arm, pulling him in for a kiss of his own. It's just as languid and thorough as Jon's kisses always are, except this time Jon's hands find their way into Brendon's back pockets, and when the elevator dings Jon merely guides them out by walking Brendon backwards.
"Hold that thought," Jon tells him in a low murmur before moving ahead to let them all into his room.
"You cleaned up," Spencer says as he takes in the room, clearly impressed.
"Don't sound so surprised," Jon retorts, moving into his space to take over when Ryan left off. Spencer smiles into the kiss, and Brendon watches as his tongue sweeps forward into Jon's mouth.
"We're never gonna get anything done at this rate," Ryan complains, approaching Brendon out of nowhere and getting to work on his buttons as his kiss turns Brendon's brain to mush. Brendon takes the hint, guiding him back toward the bed and taking over with the undressing until he gets his hand on Ryan's dick and then his mouth takes over and it doesn't occur to him that Jon and Spencer are watching until Spencer is in his mind, saying, God, Brendon, I could watch you two all day.
By the time Spencer pulls him away from Ryan, Brendon is achingly hard from taking in Ryan's wanton sounds and the movement of his hips, and they both make noises of loss as they get pulled from one another.
The feeling doesn't last long as Spencer pulls Brendon off the bed and wraps his hand firmly around his cock as he kisses him fiercely, licking the taste of Ryan from his mouth.
They pull back and rest their foreheads against each other for a second, both catching their breath, but soon Jon and Ryan distract them once more.
Brendon curses under his breath as he watches Jon's fingers fucking in and out of Ryan and Jon's mouth latched onto Ryan's neck, exactly where Spencer had focused his attention back at the bar.
"He's super sensitive on his neck," Spencer whispers, tone reverent.
Brendon shifts his gaze back to Spencer, his expression saying exactly what Brendon's thinking: We're actually doing this. I can't believe we're actually doing this.
They quickly help each other out of the rest of their clothes, just in time for Ryan to call for Spencer in a breathless tone.
It's all a happy blur as Spencer moves in and then pushes his way slowly into Ryan, the two of them so clearly lost in each other. Brendon only gets pulled away from the scene as Jon wraps his arms around him from behind, his arousal obvious against Brendon's back.
"I was promised something to do with your mouth," Jon says quietly as Brendon turns in his arms.
"Only if you want it, Jon Walker," Brendon says, letting his eyes travel up and down to take in the sight of Jon's now naked body.
Jon smiles. "I had a vision of you a couple of weeks before you showed up on our ship. It was of you going down on me while Spencer and Ryan fucked on the bed." He traces his thumb across Brendon’s lower lip. "I was getting off to the thought of your mouth before we even met."
"Jesus fuck," Brendon murmurs, hips stuttering against Jon's. "You've had that one on your mind this whole time?"
"Something to look forward to," Jon says, corner of his mouth tilted up.
"Well let's see about making it come true," Brendon says, backing him up against the wall and kissing his way down his body.
A million things flit through his mind as he sucks and licks, including the thought of past!Jon experiencing all of this as his first impression of Brendon. The world is weird.
He doesn't dwell on it for long, Jon's fingers winding into his hair as he loses that well-crafted control he always seems to have. The sounds of Ryan and Spencer getting off overwhelm him for a moment, and then Jon is murmuring something that can only be a warning. He moves his hands to the back of Jon's calves, urging him on and swallowing as much as he can as Jon comes.
There are appreciative things being said all around as Brendon pulls off, but all he can think is that if he doesn't get off soon, he's going to explode. Jon is two steps ahead of him though, leading him to the bed where Ryan and Spencer have made room as best they can. Jon takes his cock in hand and then licks from root to tip, pulling an incomprehensible word from Brendon's mouth. And then Ryan is there, kissing Brendon again, and there are hands on his chest that can only belong to Spencer, and with all these stimuli Brendon can't even think where to focus. He can feel his control slipping as his orgasm builds, and his vision blanks out as he comes.
"Whoa," he finally says after he's had a few seconds to catch his breath.
"Yeah," Ryan agrees.
They're all awkwardly squeezed onto the bed, and Brendon knows they can't sleep like this. Pretty soon they're gonna have to split up, at least for the night, otherwise there are going to be some pretty powerful aches in the morning. But for now, he still has points of contact with all three of them, and he lays content until someone chooses to speak up.
One morning, Brendon wakes up with an arm slung around his waist and it takes him a minute to figure out whose it is. When he recognizes the bony elbow of one Ryan Ross, he takes advantage of the unexpected cuddling, slowly rolling over and burrowing closer to Ryan.
Ryan's arm twitches, and then his eyes slide open a fraction. "G' back to slee'," he mumbles unhappily, pulling Brendon in even closer so that their bodies fit together and then shutting his eyes firmly.
Brendon sees no reason to argue, and the next time he opens his eyes, he's alone. A quick evaluation on the wall panel tells Brendon they're still a week from their next stop on Earth, which is five days behind schedule.
When he wanders out to the kitchen and announces this, everyone makes disgruntled noises.
"Cabin fever," Jon whines, shaking his device - either because he's playing a game and that's part of it, or because he's that frustrated. Possibly both.
Spencer passes by and catches Brendon around the waist, pulling him in for a quick but thorough kiss. "Morning."
"We've gotta get that bed," Ryan says. "Last night was the only night I will ever voluntarily carry Brendon anywhere, I don't care whose turn it is to sleep in Jon's bed."
"Is that what happened?" Brendon asks, smiling cheekily. That explains a lot.
"We have no work left to do," Jon points out as Brendon heads over to the cabinets, pulling down whatever looks edible and promising. "What are we supposed to do for a week? Not that I don't love you guys, but I'll go crazy if I have to stay within these walls the whole time."
"Space walk?" Brendon suggests. A quick look over his shoulder shows Ryan blanching and Spencer looking wary, but Jon's eyes light up.
"Just please be careful," Spencer cuts in. "It's still not 100% guaranteed safe, and the captain wouldn't be too happy if he found out we lost half our cargo crew because they were bored."
Jon stands behind Spencer's chair and rubs at his shoulders in reassurance. "We'll be careful," he murmurs, leaning down to press a kiss on the back of Spencer's neck.
The space walk is great - Brendon's been looking for an excuse to do one for ages - but once it's over, he's all the more aware of their confinement. They all do their best to keep themselves occupied in the intervening days, but something snaps in them when they find out on t-minus three days that it's actually going to be t-minus four.
"Okay, everybody calm down," Spencer says over top of Brendon, who is threatening to find out how to get to the top deck and give the captain a piece of his mind. "I'll go talk to him. I'm sure there's a reason."
Jon grumbles after him that it better be a good one, and they go back to their ridiculous card game while they wait. Brendon thinks the game's ridiculous, anyway, because there's no logic involved, and he's losing horribly.
Brendon's already out of the game by the time Spencer gets back, and his expression is unreadable. "Good news and bad news," he says.
"What's the bad news?" Ryan asks with a sigh.
"It's probably gonna be five days 'til we land."
They all groan loudly, but Spencer doesn't seem too disheartened, so Brendon prompts, "The good news?"
"Once we do get in port and finish our transfer, he's agreed to extend our time on planet by two days," Spencer says. "We'll be touching down in England, but he says we can borrow the cruiser and go spend the time wherever we want."
Jon and Ryan immediately react excitedly to this news, but Brendon doesn't share the sentiment. It's not like he can go visit Zack and his other friends from the bar, and even being in the country could be dangerous. Jon is already planning the trip for them, promising an amazing home-cooked meal from his mother, but then Spencer interrupts him, his eyes intent on Brendon.
"What is it?" Spencer asks, his tone soft. He settles in next to Brendon on the couch, his hand over Brendon's knee.
Brendon takes in a deep breath and says, "Maybe I'll sit this one out. You know, keep an eye on the ship."
Jon and Ryan immediately start arguing, but Spencer knows more than they do, and he keeps his solemn gaze on Brendon. "You won't be in any danger with us."
That shuts the two of them up pretty quickly, and they sink down on the couch. "Danger?"
"Why would you be in danger?"
Brendon lets out the breath he'd been holding, no less nervous than he'd been a second ago, but at least now he's got the comforting touch and attention of all his boys.
"I guess it's time I told you all the whole story of where I learned about my abilities."
He takes a deep breath and starts from the beginning. "When I was ten..."
"Would you please calm down?" They've been on the cruiser for fifteen minutes and already Ryan's snapping at him.
"Sorry," Brendon says, keeping his eyes on the path in front of him. "I'm just really... exervous." A pause. "Excited and nervous? Yeah?"
Spencer scoffs. "Can you please just focus on navigating?"
"You're the one that agreed to let him drive," Jon says, making his way up to the seat next to Brendon. When he leans in, Brendon welcomes the kiss for a moment before returning his attention to the controls. It's really not hard to navigate, not for him anyway, but he still wants to make sure he doesn't screw up. They'd never let him live it down.
"How much longer before you can put it on autopilot?" Spencer asks, clearly nervous.
"I find your lack of faith disturbing, Spencer Smith."
"Shouldn't be long," Jon answers for him, always the peacemaker.
If anything, he gets even more nervous once he's done with the flying part. He can't believe that they're going back to Chicago. He can't believe that the guys actually planned a way to get Brendon there without raising any questions. Mostly he can't believe that he has people in his life that care enough to do all this.
"And you're sure we're not gonna get caught?" Brendon asks Jon for at least the third time.
"I told you, Brendon. I'm never 100% sure, but I've seen us flying back on the cruiser, and nobody seemed scared or harmed or otherwise unhappy."
"Okay," Brendon says, taking a deep breath.
"Stop worrying," Ryan says, swatting him on the back of the head and then leaning down to brush a kiss just behind his ear.
"Mixed signals, Ross," Brendon shouts as Ryan passes into the backroom, probably to make more tea. Ryan flips him off without looking back.
The landing is even more fun than taking off had been, and he does it without making anyone feel nervous, himself included, so it's a double success.
"Okay, so your face is going to swell up," Ryan explains, and Brendon tries not to eye the air gun in his hand too much. "And it's important that you not talk, no matter how much you want to."
Brendon nods. "Got it."
"If you need to say anything to us, just do it mentally," Spencer says.
Brendon rolls his eyes. "We've been through this a dozen times."
"And if you need a response that isn't out loud," Spencer continues over him, "I will of course be the one to give it to you."
Brendon waits, then raises his eyebrows. "Anything else?"
"Just try to behave," Ryan says with an eyeroll. "I'll heal you when we get to the bar."
"You'd better," Brendon says, and that along with his whimper as Ryan gives him the shot are the last things he says for a while.
A couple miles of walking and one bathroom make-out session with Ryan later, Brendon is back to normal again. "I'm still not convinced that kissing helps you focus," Brendon quips. "I think it's just an excuse."
"One I won't be making in the near future, not with you," Ryan retorts, backing off.
Brendon knows he doesn't mean it, and to prove his point, he grabs Ryan's belt loops and pulls him in for another, better kiss. "So, you've been pissy with me for nearly a week," Brendon argues.
Ryan stares back at him blankly, but he doesn't deny it. When Brendon just raises his eyebrows, he finally says, "I didn't think you'd noticed."
Brendon settles his hands more firmly on Ryan's hips, frowning. "I always notice."
Ryan shrugs dismissively, and Brendon thinks he'd probably back away if he wasn't being held in place. "I'll get over it."
"Or you could tell me what the problem is."
"It's not a big deal."
"I could just read your mind."
"But you won't. It's against your code of ethics or whatever."
"I make special exceptions for particularly stubborn boyfriends."
"Fine," Ryan says, rolling his eyes. "The other night, when you fell asleep in Jon's bed. You didn't want to come with me. You wanted to stay with Jon and Spencer."
Brendon racks his brain, but all he can remember is some pretty great fooling around, and then waking up the next morning with Ryan.
"I told you it wasn't a big deal," Ryan says, crossing his arms.
"Hey, no," Brendon says, reaching up to uncross them. He gets one arm free, which he figures is good enough. "Dude, I don't even remember, but I'm willing to bet that I was just tired and too lazy to leave the bed."
"I had to drag you back to your room."
"Again, lazy." There's a moment where Ryan looks unsure, and Brendon seizes it. "I love sleeping next to you. It's one of the few times I get to see you relaxed and touch you at the same time."
The other arm comes down, and Brendon starts to feel victorious, but then they're interrupted by a knock on the door, and then Spencer comes in before they can respond. "What's taking so long?"
"Nothing, we're coming," Ryan says. He pulls Brendon in and kisses him, slow and calculated, before pulling back and leaving the bathroom without a word. Spencer sends Brendon a confused look, but Brendon just shrugs.
He walks out to the bar just in time for Zack to show up for his shift, and everything comes rushing back. He shouts excitedly at Zack as a 3-second warning before he barrels into him with a hug. Their group is welcomed by the entire staff, and the first round is given to them on the house. The next few hours pass in a happy blur of alcohol and catching up. Even Bossman is happy to see them.
"You've changed," Zack tells Brendon after the guys disappear onto the dance floor. "For the better."
"Nah, I'm still the same guy," Brendon says, holding up his drink. "Same guy who can't hold his liquor."
Zack laughs. "Can't argue with that. Hey, I have to ask, are you four...?"
Zack nods. "Good."
"You're clearly crazy about all of them. It'd be a disaster if you had to choose."
Brendon stares at them on the dance floor, each of them acting ridiculous in their own way, and Zack's right. He's crazy about them.
"I'm just glad you're happy, buddy," Zack says, clapping him on the shoulder. "Now get out there before I push you."
They stay late into the night, dancing for a while and then coming back to the bar to swap stories, and Brendon's so exhausted by the time they get back to the cruiser that he doesn't even complain that they each have single beds.
The next day is somewhat restless - he can't leave the cruiser unless he wants to swell up and stay silent again, which wasn't particularly fun - but once Jon gets back from visiting his family, they head back toward their ship eagerly, with the promise of a new bed waiting for them.