The Mix Tape Means I Love You: gift for a [ profile] bandomstuffsit dropou

Dec. 28th, 2012 10:08 pm
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] bandomstuffsit
Title: The Mix Tape Means I Love You
Author: [ profile] romanticalgirl
Pairing(s): Dallon/Ian
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: No warnings apply
Word count: 4390
Summary: Dallon has to wonder at the real reason Ian’s leaving Panic.

Dallon gets the call late at night, waking him up from a sound sleep. It’s Ian, which means Dallon doesn’t have to actually process the conversation for a while, and he can actually take a few minutes to wake up. Even then, what Ian says doesn’t quite sink in, and Dallon has to stop him.

“Whoa. Wait. What?”

“What what? Which what?” Ian’s obviously stoned and probably annoying everyone on Twitter with stupid ‘your mom’ jokes and obscure guitar references.

“The first part.”

“I’m thinking about doing a Polar Bear Club thing in Russia?”

“No. The first part, Ian.”

“The first…um…oh. Oh. The leaving Panic thing?”

“The…Yeah, the leaving Panic thing. What the heck?”

Ian giggles, which he always does when he stoned and Dallon doesn’t curse. “Dude. Dude.”

Dallon sits up in bed and rubs his forehead, bringing his shoulders up until he hears and feels the pop of his spine. “No, not ‘dude’, Ian. Why are you leaving? What’s this about? Are you pissed off at us? I thought we were having a great time.”

“We are, Dal. Dude. I’m having the time of my life, but we all knew this was temporary.”

“We all knew it was starting as temporary and could maybe become something.” Dallon gets out of the bed, tugging the waistband of his boxers up as they start to slide down his ass. “I thought we were in this together.”

“We were. And are until after Russia. I’m going to do my own shit, Dal. It’s not like I’m leaving you guys for another band. I still love you best of all.” He laughs and Dallon has to close his eyes, which actually makes it worse. He can see Ian’s stupid face, his bright eyes, his mouth wide and smiling. “Ask Singer.”

“I just didn’t know you were leaving.”

“I’m telling you. I told Brendon and Spence. They’re cool with it. I promise they’re not going to take it out on you. I’m a drifter. I was born to walk alone.”

“You’re quoting Whitesnake at me?”

“I’m writhing around on the top of a car and wearing a leather skirt too.”

Dallon exhales sharply and tightens his grip on his phone to keep from throwing it across the room. “I gotta go.”


He cuts Ian off, punching the end button on the phone. He has to turn it off, because otherwise Ian will just call or, worse, he’ll call Brendon and Spencer and then they’ll call and be concerned and reassuring and right now Dallon doesn’t want to hear it. He doesn’t want to hear that he’s still welcome in the band. He doesn’t want to hear that they’ll be great. He doesn’t want to wish Ian the best. He wants to kick Ian’s ass.

He wants to beg him not to go.


The look Brendon gives him when he walks into the room lets him know that Ian did call him, but Dallon just sits down and pulls out his guitar before Brendon can say a word. Spencer’s sitting in the corner with a snare and his bass drum, tapping a rhythm on the metal edge with his eyes closed. Dallon’s not sure Ian’s going to show up, since it isn’t a rehearsal. It’s a planning and writing meeting, which is why Dallon’s hiding behind his beat up old guitar instead of his bass.

Brendon sips from his coffee cup and frowns in Spencer’s direction and, even though Spencer’s still got his eyes closed, the drumming stops. “You want to talk about it?” Brendon asks quietly.

“He’s leaving of his own accord, right?” Dallon ignores the hard ball in the center of his chest, the weight that makes it nearly impossible to breathe. “You guys aren’t kicking us out?”

“No!” Brendon laughs his surprise. “No. No way.”

“Then, no. I don’t want to talk. I want to work.” He taps the coffee table with his foot, causing Brendon’s notebook to shift, a few pages falling lazily to the side. “What do you have for me?”

He focuses on the music then, listening to Brendon’s lyrics. He offers a few suggestions, because it’s who he is, and he figures he doesn’t have anything to lose. Maybe they need someone like Ian to help him balance the dynamic, be a counterweight with him to the closeness Brendon and Spencer share after everything that’s happened.

The session goes well and they get a lot of work done despite Dallon fretting the entire time. He feels like he’s been hit by a truck, because being crazy is tiring, and he shakes his head when they talk about getting food. Brendon gives him another look and Dallon manages a smile.

“Rehearsal tomorrow, right?”

“Yeah.” Spencer jabs Brendon in the ribs, earning him a wince, but keeping him silent. “See you at eleven?”

“Sounds good.” Dallon shifts his grip on his guitar case and wishes it didn’t all feel so awkward. “Would it be easier if I left?”

“What? No. Fuck. No, dude.” Brendon shakes his head and strides over to him, wrapping Dallon up in a hug then stepping back. “We want you to stay. Both of you, but we get that Ian’s got his own thing going on in his head. This was fun for him, not...not more. Which is what we needed at the time. But we’re not...” He looks at Spencer for a moment. “We’d like you to stay, Dallon. Work with us on songs. Not...I don’t think we’re ready for more than that, but if that’s enough for you...”

“So you want me to put out, but you don’t want me to move in?” Dallon laughs, though it sounds a little more high-pitched than he’d like. “I’m not that kind of girl, Brendon Urie.”

“That’s not what I’ve heard.” Brendon laughs and leans forward, punching Dallon on the arm. “Dude. This is fun, right? You’re having a good time? Nothing about the three of us has changed.”

“Great, now you’ve got me in a threesome. My mother warned me about boys like you.” Dallon slumps back in his seat and blows out a breath. “I...can I...I think I have stuff I want to do – revisit some Brobecks stuff or something like that, but not, I don’t... But I don’t want to be...” He growls with frustration and turns, kicking the door. “Shit. Shoot. Shit.”

“Hey.” Brendon puts his hand on Dallon’s back, running it up and squeezing his shoulder. “You want to talk about this?”

“No.” He shakes his head, refusing to look back at either of them. “I want to stay with you guys.”

“Cool. When we’re doing stuff, you’re with us. When we’re not, you do your own thing. We’re cool with that, right, Spence?”

“Absolutely.” Dallon can feel Spencer as he comes over, grasping Dallon’s other shoulder. “We can’t give you a full commitment, we don’t expect one in return.”

“Yeah,” Brendon laughs. “It’s not a Temple marriage here. We’re totally okay with bigamy.”

Dallon snorts and rubs his eye with his fist. “Yeah, yeah. Kinky bastards.”

“Hey, don’t take Pete’s name in vain, dude.” Brendon squeezes Dallon’s shoulder again. “Now get out of here so we can go get food. You sure you don’t want to come along?”

“Actually, yeah. I think I will, if that’s cool?”

“No, after this heart-warming talk about being in our band, we’ve changed our minds and don’t want to eat with you.” Spencer deadpans. “Let’s go. I’m starved.”


Ian calls twice that night and Dallon ignores both calls. If it’s about rehearsal, he’ll call Brendon or Spencer, and if it’s about anything else, Dallon doesn’t want to know. He reads his book and plays with Garage Band for a while, glancing at his phone every now and then. He lasts three hours before he curses under his breath and calls Ian back.

“Dude.” Ian still sounds stoned. Or is stoned again. Or maybe it’s a trick of the phone. “You still pissed at me?”

“I’m not pissed.”

“You’re pissed.”

“I am not.”

“Okay.” Ian drops it and lets the silence settle between them. Dallon tinkers with the keyboard, making obnoxious sounds. “So I’m writing some stuff.”

“That’s great.”

“Dallon.” Ian sighs. “Look, it’s not about you guys. I love you guys.”

“I told you, it’s cool.” Dallon closes the computer and rubs his forehead. “Tell me about the new stuff.”

Ian starts talking, and Dallon gets up and heads to the bedroom. He kicks off his shoes and stretches out on the bed, closing his eyes and listening as Ian plays snippets for him, guitar thrumming over the phone. His fingers move over his stomach, tracing an underlining bass line against his t-shirt. When Ian stops playing and starts talking, Dallon’s hand keeps moving, sliding down to his waistband. He rubs his thumb over the button of his jeans and tilts his head back, parting his lips. He doesn’t do more than that, just listens and breathes.

“Hey, Dall?” Ian’s voice is soft, rough now from talking and singing.


“We okay?”

It takes him a moment to answer. “Honestly?”


“I don’t know. I feel like you’re walking away from something important, something good.” He shrugs even though Ian can’t see it. “And I guess I don’t get why. I mean, I know you want to do your own stuff, but...why can’t you do both?”

“I’ve been in a lot of bands, dude. It’s just time.” He sounds defensive, and Dallon sighs. “It’s just about me. Not anyone else.”

“It doesn’t feel that way. It feels like you’re abandoning us.”

“It’s not us, Dallon. It’s their band, and we’re just along for the ride.”

“And what’s wrong with the ride?”

“Nothing. Nothing, but it’s not ours, and it’s not mine. I love Brendon and Spencer. I love playing with them. I love touring. I just have to do this, okay? It’s not about anyone else.” He sighs softly. “I’m not leaving you guys high and dry. I’m going to do the Russia dates. And we’re still friends, Dallon.” There’s a pause, and it’s loaded with tension that Dallon can feel crackling along his spine. “Right?”

“Yeah. Yeah. Of course.” He laughs softly, even though it’s not funny at all. “Dude. Always.”


Practice is practice, and they work together with a kind of ease that should take years to perfect. Ian’s in a fantastic mood, and everything clicks. Afterward Shane and Zack sit down with them to discuss the logistics of the tour, what’s expected of them and what they can expect. Brendon and Ian are given Zack shit, but Dallon and Spencer both listen intently. Dallon’s actually pretty excited and more than a little nervous. It’s not exactly an opportunity he ever expected.

After the meeting breaks up, he hangs at the table, answering a few emails on his laptop and listening to Ian and Shane with half an ear where they’re talking in the corner. He loves the rise and fall of Ian’s voice, the cadence that seems to fall somewhere between manic teenager and 50 year smoker.

“Have you talked to him?”

“Yes.” Ian snaps the word, the shortness catching Dallon’s attention, though he’s careful not to raise his head and look.

“He has a right to know.”

“No, he doesn’t.” Ian’s voice drops lower, almost a hiss. Dallon focuses harder on his email, though he knows he’s typing gibberish just to keep his fingers moving.

“If he’s the reason, Ian…”

“Shane.” Ian stands up and shakes his head. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m going to go. I’ll call you tonight.” He leaves, definitely not looking in Dallon’s direction, barely waving when Dallon glances up and calls out a goodbye. After the door shuts behind him, Dallon looks over at Shane.

“Everything cool?”

“Yeah, except my cousin’s an idiot.” He shakes his head and finishes the rest of his bottled water, tossing the plastic into the recycling bin. “I mean, if you were having…I don’t know, issues with someone, wouldn’t you fucking talk about it? I mean, just get it out in the open instead of letting it get in the way?”

“Is Ian having a problem with someone in the band?”

“What? No. I didn’t say that. Why would you think that?”

Dallon nods. “Right. Sorry. Misunderstood.” He closes his laptop. “I’ll see you tomorrow, man.”

“Yeah. You too.” Shane waves, obviously distracted as he gathers his stuff. Dallon shoves his computer into his bag and slips out the door, leaning against the wall for a minute, trying to catch his breath. He pulls out his phone and runs his thumb over the screen, tempted to call Ian and call him out. Ian’s leaving Panic because of someone, and Dallon’s pretty sure that that someone is him.

He shakes his head roughly and shoves his phone back into his pocket. If he’s the reason, there’s nothing he can do about it now. Ian’s made up his mind, and if he wants to pretend everything’s fine, he can. Dallon’s spent a lifetime learning how to be perfect, how to let everything slide off his back. Putting on a show of friendship for another month is nothing compared to that.


Russia is a blur of snow and buildings and people. None of them really have time to themselves, and everything is orchestrated down to the last second. They have schedules and plans and events and it’s an amazing time. Dallon’s legs get cramped in the cars and by the time they hit the airport, they’re all ready to go home, even though Russia appears to have no intention of letting them leave.

Dallon ends up sprawled on the floor, his head on one of his bags. They’re sending each other Youtube links and quizzing each other on plots of TV shows from when they were kids. Ian always gets the Full House questions right, and Dallon’s got them all beat on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Brendon and Spencer keep trying to steer the questions toward cartoons until someone makes the mistake of bringing up the Ninja Turtles and Dallon owns them all.

Even that fails to pass enough time as departure time after departure time gets pushed back. Brendon takes refuge on his laptop, sending emails and surfing. Spencer’s buried under three coats and a garment bag asleep on the floor. Dallon leans against a wall, his eyes blurry and gritty whenever he remembers to blink. Ian drops down next to him, stretching his legs out. They seem even shorter next to Dallon’s.


“Hey.” Dallon drinks water then pours a little into his hand, rubbing his eyes with wet fingers. “I would kick a puppy for a bed.”

“No, you wouldn’t. You’re too much of a softie. You might tell a puppy to go away or something.” Ian turns his head, his hair rasping against the wall. “This was a good send-off.”

“You’re just saying that because we didn’t leave you in Siberia.”

“Well, yeah. That’s a bonus.” He digs at the small hole forming in the knee of his jeans, nail slipping between white threads. “You want to crash for a bit? I’ll take over sentry duty. You can blame me for the dick drawing on Spencer’s face. My hair makes a fuzzy pillow.”

“I’m good.”

“I wish you’d talk to me.”

“I do talk to you. I am talking to you.” Dallon shrugs. “We’re doing a whole talking thing.”

“No. You’re talking at me. You’re like a Barbie doll right now. Or a politician. All surface. Style over substance. You’re not style, Dal.”

“Wow. Thanks. I think.”

Ian blows out a breath that sends his hair dancing around his face. “What’d I do? I mean, you’re pissed I’m leaving? I mean, if you are, then just say it. Just get it out in the open and we’ll talk about it. Yell and scream that I’m a selfish dick. Whatever. C’mon.” He pokes Dallon hard in the ribs. “C’mon.”

“Stop it.”

“No. C’mon, Dallon. You’re all about not lying, about honest. C’mon. You pissed at me? Say it.”

“Stop it, Ian, I mean it.”

Ian pokes him again. “You’re being a hypocrite, Dallon. C’mon. Out with it.” He jabs him harder this time and Dallon turns, punching Ian hard in the stomach. Ian tries to suck in air, but he can’t quite manage it at first. Dallon stands up and walks away then walks back before Zack or any of the others can react.

Ian stares at him. “S-so much for that whole Christ-like turning the other cheek, huh?”

Dallon laughs roughly with no humor at all. “You’re the one lying, Ian. You’re leaving the band because of me.” When Ian doesn’t react, Dallon smirks and it feels like his entire face is pinched, his skin too tight. “Aren’t you?”

“It’s not what you think.”

“But I’m right. Aren’t I?” Dallon nods as the rest of the guys come over, sensing there’s something dangerous in the air, but Dallon’s done fighting. Ian can’t even look at him. “That’s what I thought.”


They don’t see each other after they get back. Dallon takes some time off before he goes back to work with Brendon and Spencer, and he does a lot of digging around in old Brobecks stuff, as well as some cartooning and drawing. He and Ian still text stupid jokes to each other and Dallon plays at being a troll, but they don’t really talk anymore.

Which is why it’s surprising when he gets a message from Ian telling Dallon to stop by when he’s in LA for his meeting with The Cartoon Network. He assumes Ian knows through their circle of friends.

It takes Dallon a couple of days to reply, and even after he pushes send, he’s not sure he’s doing the right thing. He still hasn’t figured out how an Ian-sized hole in his life can seem so large given that Ian himself is so small. Of course, Ian’s personality is about fifty times bigger than Ian himself.

Dallon’s meeting goes well, and he’s pretty happy when he gets to Ian’s place and knocks. Ian opens the door and drags Dallon into the room and into a hug. When he lets go, Dallon looks around the room, smiling a little at the line of guitars on the tour rack. Ian’s obsessions are always easy to identify. “Hey.”

“Welcome to the madhouse.” Ian sits cross-legged on the floor and Dallon sits on the futon, moving two notebooks and a slice of pizza. Ian’s got Garage Band open in a laptop as well as a keyboard program on another one, lyrics scrawled on paper that’s all over the room and his iPad has a series of chord progressions. He’s also shirtless and wearing a knit hat and pajama pants, his feet bare.

“You look like an inmate.”

“It’s all the fashion rage. Mentally challenged is the new black.” He picks up a old Fender guitar and settles it in his lap. “I’m surprised you agreed to come. I thought you were still pissed at me.”

“I wasn’t pissed.”

“You were totally pissed, D. Don’t pretend you weren’t.” Ian shrugs. “I get it. I was kind of a douche.”

“Kind of?”

“Ouch.” Ian plays a few notes and then sets the guitar aside. “It’s just that...I wasn’t really sure, you know? And then I thought I was, but how do you tell one of your best friends that you can’t hang out with them anymore?”

“Well, if you can’t hang out with them, I don’t think they’re really one of your best friends.”

“That’s not true.” Ian gets up and scratches his head through his cap, making it and his hair look like they’re sliding around loosely on his skull. “You are.”

“I don’t want to fight about this, Ian. You’re happy, right? You’ve got your own thing going from the looks of it. I’m doing great. It’s not a thing. We’re cool.” Dallon shrugs. “It’s not like we’re going to see much of each other anyway. I’ll be at home and you’ll be here, and I’ll be touring or you’ll be touring and we won’t be on the same tours.”

Ian’s staring at him, giving that strange look that doesn’t fit with the usual light in his eyes and smile on his face. It’s Ian when he’s playing guitar, lost in it and someplace else. It’s Ian seeing something that’s not in the room. “I thought you got it.”

“What?” Ian laughs then, a full-blown belly laugh that sounds relieved. Dallon’s more confused than ever. “What?!”

“I thought have no clue, do you, Dallon?”

“About what?” He’s pissed again now, irritated and frustrated and hurt. He’d come over to make peace, not to have Ian laughing at him. “What the heck, Ian?”

The ‘heck’ makes Ian laugh harder and Dallon pushes Ian out of his way and heads to the door. He doesn’t get far before Ian grabs hold of his wrist and tightens his fingers around it. He’s small, but he’s strong, his arms taut muscle and his fingers callused. Dallon can feel them rough against his pulse. “I left Panic because of you.”

“Yeah. That I know.” Dallon snaps.

“Not because I don’t...fuck.” Ian turns and shoves Dallon onto the futon, following him down. There’s a second where Dallon wonders where the slice of pizza is, but that gets driven from his mind when Ian’s mouth finds his, kissing him hot and hard and deep, tongue pushing past Dallon’s lips.

Dallon gasps and Ian moans, shifting his body so he can slide a knee between both of Dallon’s legs. After what seems like a lifetime, Ian pulls back, shifting so he’s kneeling on the futon, looking down at Dallon. His voice is rough and Dallon can hear the longing and frustration that feeds into it. “That’s why.”


“And you’re a nice guy, so you haven’t punched me yet, but I know that you...I know this isn’t something you think is cool, so...”


“And our friendship means a lot to me, so I figured it was better to get out of the situation before I did something stupid, like, I don’t know, threw you down on a futon and kissed you. So, yes, it was because of you, Dallon. Happy now?”

“You thought I wouldn’t want to be around you because you like me.”

“No. Jesus.” Ian rolls his eyes and starts to move off of him, but Dallon grabs him and doesn’t let go. “I thought you wouldn’t like the fact that I was in the next bunk jerking off while I thought about sucking your cock, okay?”

“You do that?” Dallon’s eyes widen and he tightens his grip. “Fantasize about me?”

“I didn’t realize humiliation was your thing, Dallon.” Ian’s voice is clipped now, tight and Dallon can see his muscles tightening in defense. “I’m just explaining why, okay? So just...”

“Say it again.”


“Please, Ian.” He rubs his thumbs over Ian’s pulses on his wrists, feeling them beat fast like butterfly wings. His voice doesn’t fit in his mouth, feels foreign. “Say it again.”

“Fuck you.”

“Ian.” Dallon says the word and both of them stop because it sounds like desperation. Like a synonym for need and want. It’s almost a whisper when he speaks again. “Say it again.”

Ian kisses him instead, closing the distance between them. It’s different this time, because it doesn’t take Dallon by surprise, and he kisses back. Their mouths move together like music, bass and guitar, beat and rhythm. Dallon’s hands settle tentatively on Ian’s hips and then tighten, tugging at his t-shirt until he has fists full of the material.

Ian keeps kissing him, changing every kiss so Dallon doesn’t know what to expect. He stops trying to anticipate and just gives himself over to it, letting the weight of Ian’s body settling against his ground him as his head swims with the slide of Ian’s tongue, the sharp cut of his teeth. He’s not sure how much time passes before Ian exhales shakily and lays against him, his head on Dallon’s shoulder and his breath hot on Dallon’s throat and jaw.


Dallon nods. Now that he can breathe and now that he’s not caught in the heat of Ian’s gaze, he can think. He can feel. His body is hot, but he’s shivering, and he can feel the pulse at the base of his cock, can feel how hard he is. He knows Ian can feel it too, because Ian’s dick is a weight on Dallon’s thigh. “Wow.”

He can feel Ian’s lashes brush his neck as Ian closes his eyes. “Are you freaking out?”

“Not yet.” Dallon unclenches his fists and slides a hand up Ian’s back. Touching isn’t weird. They’ve done enough of that on stage and in fewer clothes, but this is different. Intimate. It means something. “Maybe soon.”

“Don’t freak out. I’m not...I mean...” He sighs again and licks his lips, the tip of his tongue brushing Dallon’s throat. “I’m good with this. Right here. If you like this. I mean, I know you...I know it’s not. You don’t. You shouldn’t. Whatever. You have things. That...beliefs.”

“I like this.” Ian nods, but Dallon can still feel the tension in his spine, in his whole body. It’s a different tension, changing from need to uncertainty. “I never...” He brings his hand up and catches a fistful of Ian’s hair, lifting his head so Dallon can look at him. “I thought you hated me.”

“No. I don’t...definitely don’t hate you.”

“No.” Dallon shifts and feels Ian’s body tremble as he thrusts against Dallon’s thigh. “Ian, I don’t...” He tightens his grip when Ian opens his mouth, which works to stop him from speaking. “I don’t know. I don’t know what there is to figure out or how to do it. I don’t know what this means for...anything that I believe. But this feels right, so right now, I just want you to kiss me and we’ll figure it out later, okay?”

“So I can kiss you again?”

“Yeah,” Dallon smiles and the ache he’s had in his chest since Ian said he was leaving the band eases a little. “Yeah. You can kiss me.”

And Ian does.
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