Status: This is a completed seven-part fic, I'll update once a day.

Apparitions and Other Everyday Abnormalities

Part Three

It’s been two weeks since I met Brendon, and I’m still trying to get used to his quirky-ness. Seriously, the kid is weird. He finds absolutely everything fascinating and he never announces his arrival; he just waits until I notice he’s there. He’s scared me more times than I’d like to admit, but he finds it amusing. It’s around three in the afternoon and I really want to make brownies, but the kitchen is empty. I sigh and grab my rarely-used car keys and my sunglasses. My car is nice; it’s a convertible and it’s red. I just like to stay home a lot, though.

I’m backing out of the driveway carefully, and then, “Hey!”

I nearly run into the mailbox, shrieking. Brendon is in the passenger seat smiling at me. “Jesus Christ!” I yell. “Can you stop doing that?”

“Sorry,” he says without sounding sorry at all. “Where are we going?”

“To the store to get food,” I answer, situating myself and continuing to back out onto the road.

“Oh,” he says. “What’s your favorite animal?” he asks, and I roll my eyes fondly. See? Weird. But in a completely good way.

“I don’t know,” I shrug. “Uh, koalas.”

“Mine are polar bears,” he says cheerfully.

“Polar bears are actually vicious,” I inform him. His smile doesn’t falter at all.

“But they’re cute,” he counters, and I chuckle a little.

“You’re something else,” I shake my head fondly.

“Oh my god, look at that tree, it’s so pretty,” Brendon exclaims, craning his head to look at the big cherry blossom tree we just passed. I laugh loudly this time.

“I can’t believe I ever thought you were a murderer.”

“Oh, I couldn’t ever be a murderer. I don’t like blood,” he says with a little shrug that says something like, 'what are you gonna do'.

“That’s the reason why you couldn’t be a murderer? ‘Cause you don’t like blood?” I laugh.

“Well, it seems like planning a murder takes a lot of concentration and I just don’t have that.”


“Do you really think I’m weird?” he asks with that head tilt.

“Yes,” I answer immediately. His face kind of falls, and he looks down.


“Hey, I mean. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I like how weird you are,” I grin. His lips twitch up a little.

“I like how normal you are,” he counters.

“Thanks, I think,” I glance over at him, and he’s looking shyly back at me.

“So what’s got you so happy?” he asks playfully.

“What do you mean?”

“Ryan, I can feel your emotions, remember? You’re really happy. Why?” he repeats. I frown a little. I didn’t really think I was any happier than usual.

“I dunno,” I shrug, and now we’re at the store, pulling into the parking lot.

We go in, and I have to remind myself that I have to be careful about talking to Brendon, otherwise people will think I’m some crazy person talking to myself. I go straight to the isle with all the baking stuff, and when I grab brownie mix, Brendon laughs.

“What?” I ask, a bit affronted.

“Aw, Ryan bakes. How sweet,” he giggles.

“That was the lamest joke ever,” I smile.

“But it made you smile,” he points out. I bite my lip to keep from smiling again and continue grabbing other stuff that I want.

“Does your mom just let you buy whatever you want?” he asks.

“Pretty much. I have a credit card that she gave me, because she’s usually gone when we run out of food, so as long as I don’t go overboard she doesn’t care.”

“You know, I’m glad you aren’t one of those spoiled rich kids. For someone who has a lot of money, you’re really kind of humble,” Brendon muses.

“I guess,” I mumble.

“Don’t be modest. I know you donate to charity every month. I heard you talking to your mom about it.”

“Whatever,” I murmur. “I just—we have the money, why not?”

“I think it’s really great that you care so much,” Brendon says seriously, bumping his shoulder with mine. I smile, bumping him back.

I grab a few more random things before going to pay for it. Brendon starts poking me and grabbing my side when I’m talking to the cashier, and every time I jump or swat at the ‘air’ she looks at me funny. I send Brendon a dirty look but he just laughs and keeps poking me. I pay for the stuff and quickly get out of there, going to the car and putting the bags in the back.

“You’re an ass,” I hiss at Brendon when we’re in the car. “Everyone is going to think I’m crazy if you keep doing stuff like that.”

“You’re cute when you’re angry,” he grins. I swallow and look away.

“Shut up,” I grumble.


“I miss eating,” Brendon says, eyeing my brownies with want.

“That’s too bad, because I make the best brownies,” I pat his back sympathetically.

“You are mean, Ryan Ross,” Brendon pouts. He has full lips, and they’re the most perfect lips I’ve ever seen. I’m instantly realizing that that pout is never going to be something that I’ll be able to resist. Okay, so I might have a tiny, tiny little crush on Brendon. Not even really a crush, I just think he’s perfect attractive, that’s all.

“Don’t pout,” I mumble, tearing my gaze away from his lips. He only pouts more, his lips pulling down. They look really, really soft. Goddammit Ryan, look away.

“Do you know I’ve never even kissed anyone?” Brendon says suddenly. I freeze. Did he catch me staring at his lips? And then, wait—he’s never kissed anyone?

“Never?” I repeat out loud. He shakes his head sadly. “But—but why?” I ask dubiously.

“I never had the chance,” he mutters. That’s kind of heartbreaking. I think that there is something wrong in my brain that makes me the most idiotic, impulsive motherfucker in the world because before I even know what I’m doing, I lean over and swiftly peck Brendon on the lips. I pull back, surprised at myself, and Brendon’s eyes are wide. My lips are tingling.

“There,” I shrug. “Now you have.”

“Thanks,” Brendon smiles softly. I tell myself I only did that because I felt bad for him.
Nothing more.


"So, I thought your mom said you had to go see that Spencer kid?” Brendon asks me. I shrug and sigh.

“Yeah, but she’s gone again on a last minute trip, so what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

“Oh, rebellious Ryan. Hot,” Brendon winks. I gnaw on my lip as I feel the heat on my cheeks.

“Shut up,” I mumble. He beams at me.

“You’re so cute when you blush like that,” he says softly. I meet his eyes, and I see that he’s being sincere this time, not joking around.

“Are you flirting with me?” I blurt out. I can’t help it. Brendon always does or says things in such a coy way that I can’t help but think he isn’t just being friendly. And I’ve been going crazy trying to figure out if he’s just being playful, or if he really is flirting.

“Yes,” he says simply, and my breath hitches.

“And um,” I swallow. “W-why is that?”

“Because you’re cute, and I like to flirt with cute boys.”

“Oh,” I say quietly, averting my gaze. So that’s all it is, then? It doesn’t mean anything?

“Hey, I didn’t mean that you’re just some boy I get to flirt with,” he says softly, smiling. Right, he can sense my moods, or whatever. “You’re just so nice, and sweet. And you care about things other than yourself. I really like hanging out with you. But, if you don’t want me to flirt with you anymore, I can stop. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop thinking things in my head, though,” he jokes, and I smile.

“I like you too,” I reply before realizing that he didn’t actually say that he liked me. But I don’t really know how much I can let myself mean that, because it can’t happen.

This is starting to get harder.


It’s weird, being back in Summerlin, walking down the street and seeing the houses and the scenery, all of it registering in the back of my mind as vaguely familiar. It’s even weirder to be walking up Spencer Smith’s driveway again. His house looks pretty much the same. Still pretty and kept-up, with the same perfect garden that his mom cherishes more than I think she loves her own kids. It’s nice; warm-looking. Spencer always did have a nice family. I was absolutely not jealous.

It’s two weeks after my mom told me to see him, but at least I’m doing it, right? I’m not exactly nervous, but I am feeling slightly uneasy. What if he doesn’t even remember me? Or what if he’s turned into a huge jerk and doesn’t even want to be friends again? The thoughts are running through my head frantically as I’m walking up to his door, taking a deep breath before knocking a couple of times. Only a few moments later, the door opens, revealing who I’m assuming can only be Spencer. But he looks completely different. For one, he’s not really chubby anymore. Still not nearly as skinny as me, but I don’t see any of the pudge that I’d grown to identify Spencer with when we were kids. But he has an easy smile on his face, and his eyes are as blue as ever.

“Hi…” he says almost questioningly. He doesn’t recognize me, obviously. I look completely different from when I was ten too.

“Hey, Spence.” He looks surprised and a little bit wary that not only do I know his name; I called him by his nickname. “Remember me?” I try. He raises his eyebrows and continues to stare at me blankly. Right, then.

“Ryan…?” I offer. It takes a moment, but I don’t miss the spark of recognition in his eyes before they widen, and he smiles again.

Ryan? Ryan Ross?” he asks. I nod. “Dude, I haven’t seen you in ages! What are you doing here?”

“We moved back, a couple streets over,” I reply. I try to smile, but I’m sure he can tell it’s forced. It’s not that I don’t want to be friends with him again. He’s awesome. Well, he was when we were little anyway. It’s just. This all makes me feel like I’m living my old life again, and that’s something I had to let go of a long time ago. In New York, I didn’t have childhood friends with warm homes and smiling mothers who baked apple pie; I had semi-nice kids that rode the subway with me after school and offered me joints. But this…it all feels so surreal. Spencer looks happy to see me. I only realize just now how much I’ve missed him. I was miserable for months when we moved away. Spencer was like my brother. But…what now? We can’t just pick up where we left off. It’s been six years. We’re both two different people now.

“Really? That’s awesome! Wait, will you be going back to Bishop Gorman?” Spencer and I both went to the same Catholic elementary school when we were younger, but I practically demanded that my mom enroll me in Palo Verde, the local public school, instead this year. Those Bishop Gorman freaks would have been the death of me.

“No, I told mom I wouldn’t go back to that hell hole, so she enrolled me in Palo Verde.” His face lights up.

“Me too! I told my mom the same thing right before freshman year. I was not about to go to a catholic high school, thanks.” I laugh a little and nod my agreement.

“Oh, come in! Man, I’ve missed you.” I hesitantly step inside and am instantly hit with an overwhelming scent of something sweet.

“I see your mom still makes pie like, every day,” I say and he laughs enthusiastically. I forgot how much being around Spencer can put you in a good mood. It’s kind of impossible not to cheer up just by being around him. He’s just so goddamn happy all the time. It’s contagious. Annoyingly contagious.

“Yeah, she’s pretty much exactly the same,” he sighs contentedly, and again, I’m hit with a pang of jealousy.

“Your dad home?” I ask. Suddenly, Spencer’s smile leaves his face. There’s just…nothing now. No emotion.

“Um. No, he’s. He, uh, he’s gone. He left about a year ago.”

“Oh,” I say softly. “Spence, I’m—” Shocked. “I’m sorry.” He just looks away and shrugs.

“It’s alright,” he says quietly, and I can tell that’s the end of that conversation.

“Hey, is Haley still around?” I ask suddenly, just now remembering the little dark-haired girl that Spencer and I used to be friends with. He blushes a little, looking embarrassed.

“Um, yeah. She’s—she’s actually my girlfriend now,” he says with a smile, all traces of lingering sadness long gone. That really doesn’t surprise me. He was always pining over her when we were kids.

“Oh, yeah? How long have you guys been together?” I ask, actually interested.

“Well, uh, four years as of my sixteenth birthday last month.”

“Holy shit, Spencer, four years? You’ve been together since you were twelve? Damn. So it’s like, serious then.” He nods in agreement, grinning stupidly.

“I really love her,” he sighs dreamily. I smile a little. It’s nice that he’s happy. At least someone is. And this means I’ll be seeing Haley if I start hanging out with Spencer again. She was always sort of like a sister to me. “What about you, huh?” he asks. I raise my eyebrows. “Got a girlfriend?”

“Um,” I start awkwardly. I hate this part. “No, I’ve never had a girlfriend,” I put extra emphasis on the ‘girl’ part, but he doesn’t catch on.

“What? Never? Why not?”

“Because I’m gay.” I decide to just tell him, no beating around the bush. It’s easier that way. Like a band-aid.

His eyes widen and he just kind of stares for a second. “Oh,” he breathes out. “Well, um. I was not expecting that,” he laughs a little. “But like, yeah, no. That’s totally cool.”

“Yeah?” I ask skeptically.

“Yeah, really,” he nods. “I’m cool with it. My friend Frank is gay, actually. I was just surprised is all.”

“Really? It’s surprising?” I think of Brendon, and how he had said he should have known, and I smile. Spencer laughs, more genuine this time.

“Well, I guess now that I think about it…” he jokes, and I punch his arm lightly. Maybe it won’t be so hard to just pick up where we left off after all.

“Alright then, do you have a boyfriend?” he asks.

“Um, no,” I say, probably sounding more depressed than I’d like. So I want a boyfriend, so what? I can’t even remember the last real relationship I’ve had.

“Anyone you like?” What is this, twenty questions?

“Nope,” I say. Nobody human anyway. I stop my thoughts suddenly, because what? I don’t like Brendon like that. I can’t. I’ve already thought about this. I should really stop talking to myself in my head. I mean, sure, he’s great and wonderful and amazing and beautiful and sweet, but the universe obviously hates me, because he’s absolutely perfect for me and I can’t have him. Okay, so maybe I like him a little. But that’s irrelevant.

“Oh, well maybe you’ll meet someone at school? We have an LGBT-straight alliance club. I’m in it!” he says proudly. I can’t help but smile.

“Cool, but I don’t think I’m the club-type person,” I smile sheepishly. “Brendon says I’m an introvert.” Then I freeze. Shit.

“Who’s Brendon?” he asks. Fuck. Dammit.

“Um. Um, he’s just a friend.” Spencer nods, but doesn’t seemed very convinced.

“You like him.”

“What? I do not!” I start to splutter a little bit, giving him a disbelieving look. He’s just laughing at my reaction.

“Dude, the way you’re acting just confirms my suspicions. You totally have a boy-crush on him,” he beams.

“No, no I don’t!” I whine pathetically.

“You don’t what?” comes a voice from behind me. I jump and let out an embarrassingly loud squeak as I turn to see Brendon standing there. My eyes go wide. Oh god, he’s going to make me look crazy in front of Spencer.

“Um…who are you?” Spencer asks cautiously. I’m confused until I see him looking straight at Brendon. Oh fuck, he can see him. How the hell can he see him? I don’t know if I like this. I look at Brendon, his face even more shocked than mine.

“You…you can see him? I whisper. Spencer looks at me like I’m insane.

“Um. Yes? Who is he?”

“Um. Brendon,” I say. His face contorts into the most confused expression I’ve ever seen.

“The kid we were just talking about? Dude, how did you get in my house?” Brendon is just standing there, looking overwhelmed. Then he sighs and rolls his eyes.

“Jesus, fuck. Ryan, I don’t know if I like this at all. God, now I have to explain all over again,” Brendon huffs in a bitchy tone with his hands on his hips. Spencer is looking a bit frightened.

“Ryan. Why is your friend in my house?” Spencer asks, sounding a little freaked out.

Brendon lets out a long, dramatic sigh. “I’m dead. I’m a ‘ghost.’ I live in the house Ryan just moved into, and Ryan is the first person who has ever been able to see me, and apparently, you’re the second, although I have no motherfucking idea why.” Brendon is obviously really frustrated, and for some reason I’m unsure of, I put a hand on his arm, which clearly calms him down, because he stops and looks at me curiously. Spencer suddenly starts laughing, and when I look at him, he looks disbelieving.

“Wow. Very funny. But seriously, why are you here?”

“Spence, he’s… he’s not kidding. He’s telling the truth. Seriously.” Spencer knows that I’ve never believed in anything paranormal. I’ve never been superstitious. I’m the most skeptical person in the world. He knows this. And he also knows when I’m being serious, which must be why he suddenly goes pale and looks like he’s going to be sick.

“W-what?” he whispers. “Ryan, you better be fucking with me, because I—”

“I’m not. This is real. Show him, Brendon,” I say. Brendon nods before disappearing and then reappearing behind Spencer, tapping his shoulder. Spencer shrieks. He starts shaking his head back and forth quickly, eyes wide.

“What the fuck?” he whispers. “Oh my…oh my god. You’re really. You’re.” Brendon just nods, and so do I. “Holy shit. I don’t… I don’t know if I think this is terrifying… or just cool as fuck.” It’s silent for a minute, but then I can’t hold in the laughter anymore. It’s just funny. This whole situation is. Brendon soon joins in, walking back over to me and slinging his arm around me. Spencer giggles a little, despite his nervousness, and then there’s a look of recognition on his face as he looks at Brendon and then over to me, eyes shining with excitement. “Wait a minute. Oh, no fucking way, Ross. I was right. I was totally right. Oh my god,” he says, and then he’s giggling again.

“What?” Brendon asks, amused. I just shake my head quickly, my cheeks hot.

“Nothing. Spencer is just mentally retarded.” Brendon’s eyes narrow, clearly not buying my explanation. But then he smiles and ruffles my hair, and just gives me this look. And, fuck. I told myself I wouldn’t do this. I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to feel this way. It isn’t fair. I’ve lived my whole life wishing I had someone like him, and now he’s here, but I can’t, and it’s not fucking fair. I swallow hard and force my eyes away from his. I’m making this into such a big deal. I’ve only known him for a few weeks after all. I feel like I’m going to cry. I can’t fucking cry in front of Brendon, god.

“Uh, Brendon?” Spencer says quietly. “Could I talk to Ryan for a minute alone, please?” Brendon nods and says he’ll be in my room, and then he’s gone. I shut my eyes and focus on breathing evenly.

“I’m sorry,” Spencer starts, shaking his head in a kind of lost way. “I didn’t know it was that serious.”

“It’s fine,” I whisper. “It’s just. It’s hard, you know? He’s dead. I can’t feel that way about him. It’ll only make it harder.”

“Ryan, you can’t just make your feelings go away.”

“Yeah, I know that. But what the fuck am I supposed to do? He’s dead, Spencer. Sure, I can touch him and stuff, but he isn’t alive. I’ve only known him for a few weeks, but it’s just like we have this… connection. I think it’s why I can see him. I have no idea why you can see him. But I feel like I’m falling for him so fast I can’t even keep up. It’s ridiculous. I barely know him. But I just. I want—” I stop. I don’t really know what else to say.

“Maybe there’s… maybe there’s something you can do. I mean, maybe you should go to one of those paranormal shops or some shit. Hey, don’t give me that look, I know it seems like a bunch of bullshit but well, you never believed in ghosts either, so there has to be truth to some of it.”

“Yeah, I guess. I’ll go this weekend or something. You can come if you want.”

“Sure. There’s gotta be something we can do.”

I really hope there is.