what is love but a landlocked dove (silver_etoile) wrote,
what is love but a landlocked dove

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Life [Ryan/Brendon PG] Standalone

Title: The Complete Idiot's Guide To Life
Author: silver_etoile
Rating: PG
POV: Third
Pairing: Ryan/Brendon
Summary: When Jon got Brendon the second one, the rest of the band was ready to kill him
Disclaimer: I don't own Panic! or the Idiot's Guides used, but I do own the ones I made up
A/N: This was given as a writing prompt, the words being The Complete Idiot's Guide to Building Birdhouses, diet coke, and street signs. Given by silverdragon87


It all started with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Building Birdhouses, really. It wasn’t supposed to be a serious thing, but why Jon got it for him, they would never know ,and they would definitely never thank him for it. Jon said it was a joke, and it may have been funny when the first wrapping paper came off, but three months later when Brendon was still working on the birdhouse, hammering in nails at three in the morning, it wouldn’t be so funny.

That may have been the end of it too, had Jon not done it again. The rest of the band was about to kill him when Jon’s Christmas gift to Brendon was The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting. Spencer had naively suggested that maybe it wouldn’t so bad since it was only knitting. He wouldn’t say the same thing when he got a hand-knitted sweater, scarf, and socks for his next birthday.

Jon didn’t seem to see the problem, but when he got the third one for Brendon’s next birthday, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Conversational Sign Language, even he had to admit it was a bad idea.


Jon didn’t look up from his video game, concentrating hard on killing the aliens. He heard Ryan storming into the bus’ living room. Magazines littered the floor along with empty cans of diet coke and Red Bull, and they were kicked out of the way as Ryan came striding in.

"Jon!" Ryan said angrily, his hands on his hips, glaring down at him.

"Hmm?" Jon asked, never taking his eyes off the television, hitting the controller furiously. He could practically hear Ryan’s anger boiling over.

"Why did you give him that book?" Ryan demanded.

Jon shrugged vaguely, staring intently at the TV. "You said he needs to read more."

"I meant like Dickens or Austen or Tolstoy!" Ryan exclaimed. "Not The Complete Idiot’s Guide to being an Idiot!"

"They don’t make that one."

"Well, maybe you should write it since you’re the expert."

"Oh, ouch," Jon said, frowning for only a second as he lost a life. "Ryan, that was cruel."

Ryan rolled his eyes, frustrated when Jon’s eyes never wavered from the screen. "He won’t even talk anymore! How’s he supposed to sing?!"

Jon shrugged. "He’ll sign."


Jon sighed and paused the game. He turned to Ryan. "Alright, alright. Calm down, Ry. Don’t want you to have a heart attack or something. Then we might have to get Brendon The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Surgery."

"That’s not funny!" Ryan said, his hands balling into fists.

Jon chuckled. "It kind of is."

"No, it isn’t! He’s learned sign language and no one else knows it! How are we supposed to know what he’s saying?"

"Read the book," Jon suggested simply, turning his game back on. Ryan let out a scream of rage and stormed back to his bunk, leaving a chuckling Jon behind.

Ryan flopped down on his bed and stared at the dark ceiling for a few minutes, calming his breathing until he could think straight again. He took a breath and sighed, trying to come up with the most painful way for Jon Walker to die.

He was unsurprised when Brendon dropped down from the bunk above.

"Hey, Bren," he said tiredly, glancing at him. Instead of getting a reply as he would have liked, he got a bunch of hand movements that made absolutely no sense to him.

Growling to himself, he glared at Brendon’s hands. "Just fucking talk, will you?!"

Brendon signed something else, and Ryan huffed loudly. "If you’re not going to talk, go away!" He pulled the curtains shut, leaving Brendon silent outside.


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Conversational Sign Language should have been the last one, but Jon had a mind for annoying his bandmates, and Brendon seemed to like the books, so why should he deprive Brendon of something he liked that made him more well-rounded anyway? He shouldn’t. Jon didn’t think so either.


Ryan, on the other hand, had come up with the perfect plan to kill Jon, and it involved several flying monkeys with knives, but the only problem was where to find the monkeys. He had almost given up on his plan anyway since Jon had been good, and it had been several months since he’d had gotten Brendon an Idiot’s Guide. He’d almost forgiven him since Brendon had started talking again, and the book lay forgotten with the other two. The one good thing about Brendon’s short attention span was that it also applied to Jon’s crazy ideas.


It wasn’t any special day the day Ryan decided to repeal his decision not to kill Jon. It was just a day in the spring when they were still on tour. Jon sprung it on the group, and in that moment, Ryan decided flying monkeys were far too tame to kill Jon Walker.


The fourth book Jon deemed worthy of Brendon just happened to be The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ballroom Dancing. In the coming months, he may have slightly regretted this, but the looks on Spencer and Ryan’s face when he gave it to Brendon were enough to sustain him through the endless hours of waltz music on the bus.


“Dance with me, Ryan!” Brendon cried, waltzing alone to some sappy tune leaking through his iPod’s speakers.


Ryan looked up from his book, a disdainful look on his face. “No,” he said simply, looking back down. Jon smiled.


“Please?” Brendon pleaded, doing his best puppy-dog eyes. “I need a partner.”


“Ask Jon,” Ryan said, shooting a killer glance at Jon, who looked thoroughly amused.


“Oh, no, Ryan,” Jon declined graciously. “He asked the lady first.”


If looks could kill, Jon would certainly be dead, although not painfully enough for Ryan. Ryan remained resolutely on the couch, his eyes fixed on the book, even though he’d lost all concentration.


“Ryan,” Brendon whined, waltzing over to him, looking completely ridiculous with one arm around an invisible person as he swung around the tiny living room.


“No!” Ryan replied firmly, snapping his book shut and climbing off the couch, intending to go hide in his bed and finish the book.


He made it about three steps before Brendon grabbed him and pulled him into his arms, taking one hand in his and placing the other on his shoulder. In another circumstance, Ryan might enjoy being pressed against Brendon as they moved around the room, but the fact that it was the sixth time that day he’d heard that song and the fourth time Ryan had been forced him to dance with him, he lost all amusement in the activity.


Ryan was appalled and glared at Jon as they circled around him. Jon didn’t bother to hide his laughter now as they swung around the room, Ryan tripping over his own feet. He didn’t dance.


“Why am I the girl?” he asked grudgingly, squirming at Brendon’s hand on his waist.


“’Cause I’m the guy,” Brendon replied simply and Ryan rolled his eyes. Jon just laughed, and Ryan resolved to stab him with something the first chance he got, preferably something dull so it would take longer for him to die.


“I hate you, Jon Walker,” Ryan hissed as they passed him again.


Jon just smirked. “Maybe next time I’ll get you the Idiot’s Guide to Making Threats.”


Ryan was shaking with anger, and he pushed Brendon’s arms away from him, his fingers curling like he would like to wrap them around Jon’s throat. Brendon was still dancing, oblivious to it all, humming along with the music.


“If you get him another book, I swear to God I’ll kill you!” Ryan said angrily, rolling his eyes at Brendon, who continued to dance.


Jon just smirked as Ryan stormed off and Brendon waltzed over to him.


“Be my partner?” Brendon asked, holding out a hand.


Jon paused before talking the hand. “My pleasure.”




Ryan’s threat, it seemed, didn’t pack all the punch he’d meant it to and when Jon showed up at Christmas with a package for Brendon that looked suspiciously like a book, Ryan was chewing his lip the entire evening as they unwrapped gifts. Spencer was glad for nothing homemade this year from Brendon, and Ryan was just glad Brendon wasn’t dancing the samba around the Christmas tree.


When it came to Jon’s gift, Ryan could swear his grin was maniacal, and the squeal Brendon gave when he unwrapped it confirmed Ryan’s worst suspicions. Lying on the floor as Brendon hugged Jon tightly was the unmistakable cover with the little orange box and blue lettering, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Classical Mythology.


Some might say this wasn’t a horrible choice, and how could it possibly go wrong? Even Spencer had a comforting word to Ryan that maybe Jon was losing his touch. Ryan didn’t believe a word of it and when Brendon was quoting the Odyssey, neither would Spencer.


“Jon, do you know the story of Zeus and Europa?”




“What about Persephone and Hades?”




“And Echo?”




Ryan took a breath and glared at Jon. “Well, I do!”


“Good,” Jon said, spreading peanut butter on a piece of bread and screwing the top back on the jar. He put it away in his cupboard as Ryan fumed.


“Not good!” he exclaimed. “He never shuts up! It’s always ‘Zues did this and Hera punished the girl’ or ‘Aphrodite slept with some guy and killed him’ or ‘he was hero that had to do twelve tasks.’” Ryan glared at Jon who was spreading jam on a different piece of bread now, barely glancing up at Ryan.


“He’s expanding his education. I thought you would like that,” Jon said simply, but Ryan caught the hint of a smirk in his voice.


His eyes narrowed. “I would if he did it like a normal person and didn’t fixate on one thing. Does he even remember how to do sign language now? I bet not.”


Jon just shrugged, putting the jam back in the fridge, and putting the sandwich together. He took a bite and looked at Ryan, who was leaning against the table, looking annoyed, and staring at the doorway that led to Jon’s living room where Brendon was out there, quoting The Iliad.


He sighed and put his head in his hands. Jon patted him on the back and only earned himself a glare.


“On the bright side, he’ll forget all this in a month or two.”


“Yeah,” Ryan muttered, “when you buy him another fucking book.” He stood up straight and pointed his finger right at Jon’s nose. He may be a small person, but he could be intimidating when he wanted to. “You buy him another book, Jon, and I will fuck up your bass.”


Jon’s eyes widened and he gasped. “You wouldn’t!”


Ryan cocked an eyebrow. “You might want to get yourself The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guitar Repair while you’re out buying the next one for Brendon.”


Jon looked aghast and stared at Ryan, who didn’t budge. Neither blinked as they stared each other down.


“You wouldn’t dare,” Jon said challengingly.


“Try me,” Ryan replied, glaring back, his eyes narrowed.


“Ryan!” Brendon bounded into the room, his trusty book in his hands. He didn’t even notice the tense atmosphere in the room. “Did you know that things always come in threes? The first one is the worst one, the second is the medium, and the third is the right one?”


“Yeah, whatever, Brendon,” Ryan said dismissively, still holding Jon’s eyes.


Brendon sighed that Ryan wasn’t listening to him and grabbed his arm. “Like Odysseus, he met Calypso, and then Circe, and then he gets home to Penelope, his wife!”


“I don’t care, Brendon!” Ryan exclaimed, finally breaking his gaze with Jon to let out an exasperated sigh. Brendon looked confused. “I don’t care about Odysseus or Hercules. I don’t care that Achilles’ mother hid him away in a girls’ school to avoid the Trojan War! I don’t care that there are ten million human creation stories!”


Brendon looked slightly put-out as Ryan stormed away for what felt like the millionth time that year. He turned as Ryan swept past him and opened his mouth to say something, but it was too late as he heard the front door slam. He glanced down at his trusty book and sighed.


Jon moved over to him, slipping an arm around his shoulder. “Don’t worry, Brendon, I’ll find the right one.”


Brendon looked confused, but Jon just nodded.




Ryan’s new method for killing Jon was quite simple, really. When they went on tour next, he would accidentally push him off the bus while they were in motion, and the semi-trucks on the freeways would do the rest. Easy, clean, and perfectly capable of being done. Ryan was quite happy with it.


He was determined that Brendon would never get one of those books again, but one cannot control the actions of Jon Walker, and come Brendon’s birthday, Ryan was beginning to worry. Jon hadn’t bought Brendon another book since Christmas, and the Mythology was finally starting to wear off. If you mentioned watching Troy, Brendon would just shrug and say Brad Pitt was hot, but he’d rather watch him in Ocean’s Eleven.


They were on tour again after the second album’s release, and Brendon’s birthday was a loud affair, as most things were with Brendon. There were drinks, cake, ice cream, all things sugary, and presents. Most were normal, but Ryan worried when he didn’t see one from Jon until the last moment when Jon unearthed it from behind his back. The shape of the wrapping had Ryan’s stomach dropping as well as his champagne glass.


Sure enough, from the sparkly silver paper, another book emerged, and it did not make Ryan’s night. A copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Saving the Environment was in Brendon’s hands as he hugged Jon tightly once more.


Ryan and Spencer exchanged a hopeless glance and tried to enjoy the last free hours before the mania took hold.


“Alright, that’s it,” Ryan said, coming into the living room where Jon and Spencer were sitting on the couch, watching a movie. “Jon, you’ve gone too far!”


“All I did was give him a book,” Jon said complacently, turning up the volume on the TV. Spencer just shrugged.


“It’s turned him into a complete maniac!” Ryan exclaimed. “He’s scraping the metal off the walls saying that if we just conserve a little, we could have enough to remake every street sign in America!”


“He’s being conservative.” Jon shrugged.


Ryan stared at him.


“And not in the political way,” he added at Ryan’s blank expression.


Ryan roused himself from his disbelief at Jon’s apathy. “I’m going to call your mother, Jon.”


“What?” Jon said suddenly, sitting up. “What for?”


“For what you’ve been doing!”


“What are you going to tell her? I’ve been corrupting Brendon by encouraging him to read?” Jon smirked sarcastically, and Ryan just glared.


“You’re not encouraging him to read! You’re trying to annoy me!”


“Whoa,” Jon said, “calm down, Ryan. Take a chill pill. Go read the Idiot’s Guide to Controlling your Temper.”


Ryan merely fumed, his face turning red. Spencer thought for a second.


“That might actually be a real one,” he said, and Ryan exploded.


“Spencer!” he yelled, and Spencer jumped. “You’re not supposed to be on his side!”


“I’m not on a side!” Spencer replied fearfully, sinking into the couch. Beside him, Jon just rolled his eyes.


“Give it a rest, Ryan.” Jon said simply. “You might as well get used to it. What’s so bad about Brendon trying to save the world?”


“Because he’s only one person and giving him these ideas that one book can change the world is ridiculous,” Ryan said firmly. “You can’t change the world by yourself, and scraping paint off walls isn’t going to help!”


Ryan sunk into silent fuming as Brendon entered the room, his arms full to overflowing with empty cans. He sighed as he came into the living room and looked around at the mess of magazines and cans.


“You guys,” he said, “look how much recyclable stuff there is here. You know if we all just recycle one magazine, we can save a whole tree?”


Ryan rolled his eyes, but didn’t say anything as Brendon bent down and scooped the magazines into a pile and dumped the cans into a paper bag.  He tsk’d at the shape of the living room and went around cleaning up the cans and papers.


Jon watched him and turned back to Ryan. “See? How bad is this?”


Ryan just shook his head and said nothing, turning and heading for his bed. Brendon just frowned as he left.


“What’s wrong with Ryan?”


“Nothing,” Jon said simply, “he just doesn’t understand.”




The next book Jon got for Brendon, he gave to him in private away from Ryan and Spencer. Brendon was confused when he gave it to him for no particular reason and was even more confused when Jon told him what it was about.


“But, Jon, why—“


“Brendon,” Jon said seriously, putting his hand on his shoulder. “I know why you hang around Ryan so much, but there are some things that guide books can’t help. This, however, can help.”


Brendon just frowned and stared at the cover: The Idiot’s Guide to Breaking Bad Habits. He just shrugged and tucked it under his arm, thanking Jon all the same. Jon just smiled and patted him on the back, promising that this was the one.


“Jon, what did you do to Brendon?”


Jon looked up from his magazine at Ryan, who stood before him, frowning.


“What do you mean?”


“He’s been acting weird,” Ryan said. “He’s stopped drinking Red Bull and he doesn’t obsess anymore. What did you do?”


Jon raised an eyebrow. “Well, aren’t you glad he stopped those habits?”


“What?” Ryan asked.


Jon set down his magazine. “Look, Ryan, you like Brendon, we all know it, but with his super hyperness, how would you ever date him?” Jon shrugged. “You wouldn’t ‘cause we all know you. So aren’t you glad he got rid of them? You won’t have to worry about the Idiot’s Guides anymore, even if I do get him another one.”


Ryan just stared at him. “No,” he said after a minute. “You can’t take those away from Brendon. It’s his personality! Taking away the sugar and the obsessive nature just makes him Boring Brendon who works in Smoothie Hut and whose favorite flavor is vanilla.”


Jon looked at him for a second then laughed. Ryan just frowned.


“Maybe I should get you the Idiot’s Guide to Revealing your True Feelings,” Jon said. “You certainly aren’t going to do it without help. Have you ever told Brendon this?”


“No,” Ryan said as though it were obvious. “He knows.”


“Does he?”


Ryan opened his mouth to reply firmly yes, but stopped as he thought. “I don’t know,” he said after a second.


Jon shook his head and sighed. “Why don’t you go tell him?”


Ryan stared at Jon for a moment before moving back. “Fine, I will.”


“Good,” Jon murmured, smirking as he raised his magazine back to his face.


Ryan left the room, searching for Brendon and finding him in the kitchen, contemplating an apple or an orange.


“Hard choice,” Ryan commented, slipping up beside Brendon. Brendon glanced over at him and nodded.


“They’re both so different,” he said. “The apple is sweet and comes in different colors, always changing, but the orange is always the same. What would you pick?”


Ryan looked from the fruit to Brendon and bit his lip. He turned to Brendon, taking his face in his hands, despite Brendon’s look of surprise.


“The apple,” he said simply, pulling Brendon to him, and pressing a soft kiss to his lips.


Brendon was shocked, but when Ryan moved back, his mouth quirked into a smile. “Yeah?”


“Yeah,” Ryan said simply, turning back to the apple. “Sometimes it’s green and sometimes it’s red. It’s full of sugar but good for you too.” He glanced at Brendon and smiled. “Brendon, don’t change because of me. I like you how you are.”


“Really?” Brendon asked happily, and Ryan nodded, kissing him again.




“Oh, good, so I can stop reading that book now. It’s really boring.”


“What book?” Ryan asked curiously.


Brendon reached down behind the counter and pulled out his latest Idiot’s Guide. Ryan read the title, and his eyes widened.


“Oh, Jon,” he muttered mutinously, glaring back at the door to the living room.


Brendon laughed and grabbed Ryan’s arm before he could go storming off to kill Jon in one of the many ways he’d had planned for years now.


“He just wanted to help,” Brendon said simply, pouting, and Ryan couldn’t help the urge to kiss Brendon’s full lips. He sighed instead and sent Brendon a soft smile.


“I suppose, but if we ever find an Idiot’s Guide to Butting Out, I’m buying it for him.”


“I don’t think that exists,” Brendon said, laughing.


“Well, then I’ll write it and give it to him as a birthday gift.”


“Okay, sounds good,” Brendon said, wrapping his arms around Ryan and pulling him close. “But I’m glad he butted in.”


Ryan rolled his eyes against Brendon’s shoulder but had to admit he had a point. Instead of replying, he just wrapped his arms around Brendon’s neck and hugged him back.




A year passed without one sign of another infamous book from Jon as a present. They were mostly forgotten except for the entire shelf of Idiot’s Guides on the bookshelf at Brendon’s house. Ryan avoided looking at them when he came over, but since there were so many other ways to entertain himself with Brendon now, he didn’t have to.


They’d been dating for over a year when Christmas came around. They celebrated at Brendon’s house that year with the pre-assembled tree in the living room set up with old ornaments. The bookcase stood in the corner, half-hidden by presents and the tree, and Ryan was glad.


When Jon and Spencer arrived, they all settled around the tree, Brendon in-between Ryan’s legs as he tore into presents like an overly-excited five-year old. Ryan just ruffled his hair and kissed his neck as he held up a sweater Spencer’s mother had sent.


“It’ll look good on you,” Ryan said as Brendon laughed and set it aside. “And even better on the floor,” he whispered in Brendon’s ear. Brendon smirked, and Spencer covered his ears.


“Ew,” he said jokingly. “I don’t need to hear the details of your sordid bedroom escapades.”


Ryan rolled his eyes. “They’re not that sordid.”


“Not yet,” Jon piped up and reached into the pile of presents. “I got you guys a special gift this year.”


Ryan gave him an uneasy glance as he pulled a square package from the midst of the other gifts and handed it to Brendon.


“Oh no,” Ryan said as Brendon tore the wrapping and he caught sight of a familiar orange border. His eyes flicked to the bookshelf in the corner, hoping he might be able to stuff it in where Brendon might never find it.


Brendon tore off the wrapping paper and pulled out yet another book. Ryan took a moment to read the title and blushed. “Jon!”


Jon just smirked. “Thought you might like that for your collection and maybe Brendon won’t lose interest in this one after three months.”


Ryan’s eyes were wide as Brendon held up the book to show to Spencer, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Kama Sutra.  He tried to speak but had no words for Jon, who just smirked.


Brendon glanced back at him, a glint in his eyes. “I don’t think this one will fit on the shelf.”


“Where do you want to put it?” Ryan asked, waiting nervously.


“On the bedside table,” Brendon murmured, smirking up at Ryan.


Ryan stared for a second and then laughed, leaning down. “Fine, but I choose the first one.”


Brendon nodded. “Deal,” he said, and Ryan kissed him to the sounds of Spencer groaning and Jon laughing.


Later, Ryan decided that maybe Jon didn’t deserve to die after all, and he burned the list of Ways to Kill Jon Walker for good.





Tags: fanfiction, patd, ryden, slash
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