"They're not even gay!" Max looked up at me, slamming his laptop shut.
"You don't know that," I told him. "Maybe they're good at hiding it."
"Ethan, they hide absolutely nothing! Look at him—" he flipped his laptop open again, waited for the page to reload, and then shoved it in my face. "There isn't one picture of Ryan Ross out there without Brendon Urie's fucking arms around him! They don't hide shit, Ethan! But they're not even gay, I can tell. Can't you?"
"Uh, Max, I think you need to stop eating those poprocks. They make you kinda crazy. And what the hell? Are you like a Ryan Ross fangirl now?"
He glared at me. "I'm just collecting photos of my favorite bands," he said coolly.
"Urie's in the band. Why can't you just have a picture of them both?"
"Because I—you're missing the point."
I sat on the arm of the sofa beside him. "And the point would be…?"
"The point," Max stressed, "is that they've got about a million fangirls because they're all gay with each other, but they aren't even gay. They're… tainting the name of homosexuality."
I raised my eyebrows. "Because you just haven't tainted it enough. Face it, Max, you're just jealous because Urie gets to touch your precious little Ryro, and you're just sitting there with a big fat crush on him."
"That is… that is not true."
"Max, it's okay," I said, smirking. "Everyone likes Ryan Ross at one point in their lives."
"I don't like Ryan Ross. I admire his talent and I respect the fact that he wears too much makeup."
"He didn't on that one interview," I pointed out.
"Oh, I know, didn't he look—" Max glared at me again. "You're trying to get me to admit I like Ryan Ross."
"Oh, Max, you don't have to admit anything. It's written across your face. And all your notebooks, come to think on it."
"Fine, I have a minor celebrity crush on Ryan Ross."
"Well done, Max. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem."
He snorted. "Why's it a problem? Millions of people have minor celebrity crushes on Ryan Ross."
I shifted a little where I was sitting. "I don't know. It's just, you know, if you spend too much time pining after a guy who, first of all, you'll never meet, and second of all, isn't even gay," I continued mockingly, "then you'll miss out on an actual relationship because you're not thinking about what's going on in your life. You'll be too obsessed with someone else's."
Max's eyes softened. "I guess so."
"You guess so," I repeated. "Are you agreeing with me?"
"It happens on occasion."
I laughed. "It does."
"How'd you know you were gay?"
I took a breath in, and looked at the ceiling as if the answer was written somewhere up there. "I decided I liked someone."
"It was a long time ago."
"That's so not an answer, Ethan," Max reprimanded. "Omigosh," he then squealed. Yes, squealed. Like an actual fangirl. This was seriously a little worrying, even if it wasn't one of the most amusing things I'd seen in a while. "Have you heard the alternative version of 'Behind the Sea'? I want to die listening to that voice, honestly. It's like… it's like chocolate wrapped in silk covered in bunny rabbits wearing a top hat."
"The bunnies are wearing top hats or Ross is wearing a top hat?"
"Ross, of course." He paused to think. "Actually, top hats are more Brendon's thing. Ryan can wear a bowler hat or something."
"Glad to see you've thought this through," I said dryly.
"Just listen to it! You'll want to like… bathe in that voice. You'll want to make love to that voice, Ethan. I'm not joking. He's amazing. I mean, I totally still think that Brendon should be the lead singer, because I like it better when Ryan's the cool, quiet one with the guitar, you know? But once in awhile… I love him."
"And to think, five minutes ago you didn't even like him," I said airily.
"You know I'm right."
Max sighed, giving me an amused little smile. "But Ethan. You're always right."
I smiled a little, rolling my eyes. "You're such a suck up."
"And you're preaching to the choir." He hit clicked 'play' on the computer screen, letting 'Behind the Sea' (the alternative version, of course) sound from out of his laptop's speakers.
After about thirty seconds of this song, I said, "Shit. Yeah, I totally want to make love to that voice."
"Are you being sarcastic?"
"No. Shit, that's… maybe you're right to love him." I shook my head. "That whole chocolate-silk-bunnies thing is fucking right on."
Max smirked. "I knew you'd love him."
"Max, I've always loved Ryan Ross."
"Huh. Would've thought you'd have different taste."
"I dunno." The song ended and he set his laptop on the coffee table in front of him. "So who turned you gay, Ethan?"
"No joke? Well, that's good to know that you didn't discover you were gay when you fell in love with a girl."
"Sarcasm is my water, Ethan, my oxygen. I can't help it."
"You're such a freak."
"That's what they tell me." He paused. "Do you think Ryan Ross's life was kind of suckish?"
"Suckish like how? He's got maybe the most beautiful girlfriend on the planet, if you've noticed. And, of course, the voice. And he's probably slept in the same room as Brendon Urie. The man, Max, is a god. And did I mention the beautiful girlfriend?"
"Ugh, don't even bring up Keltie. Blonde. How typical."
"Hey, what's wrong with being blonde?"
"Shut up, blondie, I was talking. My point was, suckish like his dad was an alcoholic and then he died."
"I see. Yeah. That's kind of suckish."
"He wrote songs for that man."
"I should've known," I said, shaking my head. "That boy's got 'daddy complex' written all over him."
"You'd have a daddy complex too, if your dad was like that."
"Like what, Max? You've never met the man. He might've been a good person."
Max frowned. "I don't care if he's fucking Santa Claus. If Ryan had such issues with him, then I don't like him."
"He's dead, Max. You're not supposed to talk badly about dead people."
"I don't give a shit. What if your dad was an alcoholic?" Max asked. I pressed my lips together. When I didn't say anything, Max looked up at me, his eyebrows raised. "Well, if he is, or was, or whatever, I'm not apologizing for being insensitive. You should've told me."
"He's dead, too, Max," I said.
"I'm still not apologizing."
"You're kind of an asshole, you know that?"
"Yeah. I'll apologize for that, but nothing else." Max bit his lip. He looked away from me, and then back up at me again. "So was he?"
"Yeah. Hated faggots, too."
"Your sympathy astounds me, Max."
"But you're not apologizing for my dad."
"Uh-uh. Just for me." He pulled me off of the arm of the couch so that I was sitting beside him on the cushions. "Look, I… I don't like apologizing."
We sat in silence for a little while. Then, finally, Max said, "You know, I don't think I even like Ryan Ross that much."
"I still want to die listening to his voice."
"But I think you're right. About liking someone I actually know. I should probably do that."
He looked at me again, his dark eyes reflecting nervousness back at me. "Hey, Ethan?"
"Have you ever liked me?"
"Sure, Max. You're like my best friend, even if you are an asshole."
Max rolled his eyes. "You know that isn't what I meant."
"Yeah, well. You should learn to be more specific."
"Have you ever wanted to kiss me, Ethan?" He was so, so close now. I could feel his breath on my face, smelling like strawberry poprocks because hey, you can't live on sarcasm alone. You have to have poprocks, too.
"Only every minute," I finally whispered. "Every minute for the past four years."
Max swallowed. "I'm sorry about that."
And then he leaned forward just two inches, and he kissed me. His hands pressed my shoulders to the armrest behind me, and he practically crawled on top of me. His knees were on either side of my hips, and with one hand still pressed to my shoulder, he cupped the other one around the back of my neck, holding my head steady. He pulled away, then, but leaned his forehead against mine, his breath coming in little pants against my face.
"Max? Why'd you do that?"
"I felt bad for making you wait."
"Yeah. I know, it was a little sudden and everything, but I mean, not even considering how long I made you wait, I think I made myself wait much too long as well."
"What I mean is… I'm sorry for being all Ryro-obsessed."
"And I'm sorry for saying shit about alcoholism."
"That's okay, too."
"And I'm sorry for not doing that sooner."
"I think I need more groveling on that one."
He laughed, then kissed me again, quickly. "Accept it now?"
Again, he kissed me, this time making it last longer. Then he pressed his cheek against mine, whispering in my ear, "Am I forgiven now?"
He pulled back, grinning. He hopped off of me before sitting beside me again. "I'm sorry," he said again. "You know, for being an asshole."
"For someone who doesn't like apologizing, you're sure doing it a lot."
Max gave a little half-smile. "You make me want to apologize. I don't like hurting you."
"Good to know." I said, amused. "I'll keep that in mind."
"I know you will, Ethan. You keep everything in mind." He pulled me into his arms, leaning me against his chest. "You're cuter than Ryan Ross, you know."
I mock-gaped at him. "I didn't know that was possible."
"Shut up," he commanded. I grinned, but he couldn't see it because he was pressing my head against his chest. He ran his fingers through my hair over and over again. "You're so full of yourself, you know. You think you can just say shit and I'm going to like you anyway."
"That's not being full of myself. That's just knowing you."
I felt his chest shake with his laughter. "Arrogant."
"But you love me."
"Yeah. But you love me, too."
Max tightened his arms around me. "Yeah." We sat there for the longest time, Max occasionally singing softly. "And boy, did they have fun… behind the sea…"
"Shut up." He kissed the top of my head. "Didn't I already say I liked you better?"
"Well, I implied it."
"That, you did, Max."
"Go to sleep, Ethan."
"Then stop talking." I paused. "Sing again."
"Mmhmm. I could die listening to your voice, too."
He rubbed my arms lightly, and continued with his song, his voice a little choked. I smirked, knowing that I'd gotten to him. Well, you can't like someone for four years without knowing at least some of the chinks in their armor. "The men all played along to marching drums… and boy, did they have fun… behind the sea…"
A/N: Sorry about the Ryan Ross obsession. Bits of me always come out in my writing, you know. And really, how on earth could I not ever write a story full of Ryan Ross allusions? Well, anyhow. Obviously was listening to Panic at the Disco songs while writing this, especially Behind the Sea, the alternative version. It's really amazing. I swear to you, Max's chocolate-silk-bunny analogy for how Ryan Ross's voice sounds is spot on. He's amazing, Ryan Ross is. Not to be a fangirl or anything. The album version of the song is good, too, by the way. Much more Brendon, which is always good. But the alternative version is just like… wow.
Anyway, I'm sorry about that whole Ryan Ross thing, again. It's not my fault. He was the inspiration for this piece, I couldn't just cut him out of it. So, tell me what you think. Reviews, baby. Thanks for reading.