Rating: PG, may go up in later chapters.
Pairing: Treckgabe, Ryden, Peterick
POV: First person
Summary: He must have seen me looking out the window in the rear-view mirror, or maybe he just knew it was what I would be looking at.
"Welcome to the Windy City, kid."
Disclaimer: These are merely my own fangirlish musings, don't take them seriously. I don't own these guys, nor do I claim to, so take your lawsuits somewhere else. (The words themselves, however, are mine. Hands off.)
Author Notes: Came up with the idea earlier today and started working on it immediately. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Beta'd by the lovely heterophiliac.
"But I know I requested a single room," I insisted, fingers drumming impatiently on the reception desk. The secretary shot me an annoyed look.
"You've said that several times already," she said slowly, as if she were trying to keep things simple, "and I'm sorry for the mistake. But there's nothing I can do about it at the moment. Do you see the line behind you?" She gestured at the line that was growing behind me. All of them were high-school kids, like me. "This is the first day of term. I'm swamped. Some of the showers aren't working, someone slashed a kid's mattress as a prank and now I have to find another one before tonight. Do you understand me? Those are issues that need to be solved now. I'm sorry, but the fact that you probably accidentally checked the wrong box on your housing forms is going to have to take a backseat for a couple of weeks until we can free up another single."
"A couple of weeks?" I gasped, exasperated.
The secretary paused for a second, her fingers flying across the keyboard. "You said your last name was Ross, right? There. I filed a report. We'll get to you as soon as we can. But in the meantime," she shot a sideways glance over his shoulder at the increasingly impatient queue, "please get out of my line and go do something productive."
"But--" I whined, to no avail.
"Next," she said, and another boy stepped forward.
I reluctantly stepped out of line, making a point to grab a comment card off of the plastic rack on the desk. As I started walk away, I happened to hear the voice of the guy who had stepped into his place at the desk.
"Oh, hi, my name is Brendon Urie, and I think there was a mistake with my keys. You see, I'm in room 412, but I think these are the wrong keys. I tried them quite a few times, and they just wouldn't work."
I stopped dead. 412. That was my room. Well, not my room, I'd be out of it as soon as I could and into a private one. But curiosity got the best of me, and I turned to look over his shoulder. He had his head quirked to the side in a lost puppy dog kind of way, a ridiculous amount of luggage comparable to my own abandoned on the floor beside him. His hair was tousled, probably because it was windy outside, and even despite the fact that he had to have been standing in line for a good half an hour, a small smile curled up on one side of his full lips, as if he wasn't going to let anything bring him down. I tried to tell myself that he wasn't even that great looking, but I found myself incensed against my will with the kid.
The secretary paused for a moment, as if thinking. "412...412...Wait a second!" She turned her head in my direction. "Hey, you! You were in 412, weren't you?"
Her voice snapped me back to Earth. "Oh...yeah, yeah I am."
"I can't get you the right keys right this second," said the secretary, turning back to Brendon, "But I should be able to have them delivered to you at breakfast tomorrow." She started to scribble on a hot pink Post-It note. "Brendon Urie...Room 412...keys...All right then!" she looked up. "You're just going to have to keep an eye on him," she jerked a finger in my direction, and I couldn't help but feel that she must have hated me as much as I did her, "so he can let you in until you get your keys."
"All right, thanks," he said brightly. He bent down to sling a backpack over his shoulders, followed by a bulging duffel bag. Lastly, he picked up the handles of his two rolling suitcases, one in each hand, and stepped out of line, striding in my direction. "Hey," he said, smiling. He had a nice smile, but I refused to acknowledge this. Instead I deepened my own scowl, intent on remaining upset, though it was getting harder and harder with him smiling like that. "My name is Brendon."
"I heard," I said, leading the way to the nearest elevator, dragging my own luggage behind me.
"And you are?" he said brightly. I looked over my shoulder. He was still smiling.
"Ryan," I replied flatly. I was intent on sulking, and he was intent on making small talk. And I knew in that moment that I would be counting the days until I could swap rooms.
I woke to the soft nudge of one of the flight attendants. I blinked blearily a few times, at first not remembering where I was. "We've landed in Chicago," she said gently, and then it all came back. I straightened and murmured a thanks to her as she continued down the aisle, checking for other sleeping passengers.
I automatically ran my hands through my hair, attempting to make it not look like I'd spent the last two-and-a-half-hours sleeping on a plane, then stood up, having to bow my head a little bit. It was a tiny commuter plane, with low ceilings and cramped seats. Ryan was lucky, his parents hadn't waited until the last minute like mine and had gotten him a seat on a nicer plane. It was a wonder I had managed to get comfortable at all. Once I'd retrieved my carry-on from the overhead, I shuffled down the aisle toward the exit, slowly becoming more aware of my situation.
As soon as I made it into the concourse, I whipped out my cell phone, speed-dialing my best friend, Ryan. After a few rings, he picked up, gushing into the phone.
"William, where are you? I'm dying here!"
"Oh yes, I landed in Chicago safely, how about yourself?" I said casually. He sighed.
"I'm sorry I'm late. My plane got delayed. What's wrong?"
"Roommate? I thought you requested a single?"
"I did, but they screwed it up, and the evil witch lady at the housing office said they couldn't swap me for a few weeks."
"Ooh, tough break. Is he hot?"
"William, this is serious! And you know I'm not into that!"
"Sure, Ryan, whatever you have to tell yourself. But how bad can it be?"
"All he does is talk. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. And smile. It's like he's always happy. He's going to drive me crazy."
"Okay Ryan, so you have a friendly roommate. How horrible is that? You could have an axe murderer or something."
"At least if he were an axe murderer I would be dead by now!"
In the background I could hear someone knocking on a door. "Hey, Ryan, are you almost done in there? I want to unpack my product and stuff."
I stifled a giggle. Product? Ryan and his roommate would no doubt be bonding over hair care tips in no time. If I knew anything about Ryan, it was that he was a sucker for skin and hair care. "All right, Ryan, I'm at baggage claim now. I'll try and get there as fast as I can. Try not to give yourself an aneurysm, okay?"
I ended the call just as my luggage came my way on the conveyor belt, heaving it all off and away, I headed up to the pick-up area, where I immediately spotted my ride. It was the standard white-washed, tinted-windowed company car, but on the side was a black logo, a silhouette of a ballerina flanked by one of a figure striking a fainting pose and another playing a violin. The three figures were set at the center of a globe-ish border, with the words "The Ramen International School of Dance and Performing Arts At Chicago," in a ring around the outside. I smiled, practically skipping toward the van.
It had been Ryan's parents' idea to send him away to school for the year, but after I had done some digging I had decided to join him, not because my parents were forcing me to, like him, but because I wanted to.
As I approached, a guy who was leaning against the van pushed off, straightening up and offering me me a hand with my luggage. He had black hair and a wide smile, and didn't look like he could be any older than twenty or twenty-two. "You're William, I presume," he said brightly. I nodded and let him take one of my duffel bags. "At school, you'll be calling me Professor Wentz," he said as he led me around to the trunk, which he'd opened with the car's remote, "but for now, feel free to call me Pete."
He slammed it shut and gave me another one of those smiles, and I melted a little. Gross, I thought, Not another stupid schoolboy crush. I climbed into one of the back seats and he got into the driver's seat, turning the key in the ignition.
We wove through the traffic surrounding the airport, Pete casually flipping a taxi driver the bird as he cut us off, and I couldn't help but laugh. A few minutes later, we broke out onto the highway, and in the distance the Chicago skyline came into view, crisp and defined against the blue sky.
He must have seen me looking out the window in the rear view mirror, or maybe he just knew it was what I would be looking at.
"Welcome to the Windy City, kid."
My watch, which featured a cartoon-ish cobra on its face, read 2:17 as I hiked my bag up a little higher on my shoulders and I mounted the steps to the school, my rolling suitcase clunking heavily behind me with every step. Finally, I made it to the top, where several tables were set up by the doors. Other kids were milling around, dragging their own bags and catching up with friends they hadn't seen since before summer vacation. My eyes searched through the faces, some familiar and some not, until someone jumped on me from behind.
"Gabe!" she shrieked, almost taking me down. She hopped off my back, and I spun around to face her.
"Victoria!" I returned, giving her a greeting hug. We both took a second to look each other over. It had been all summer since we'd last seen each other. She was wearing a simple black sheath dress, a gray shrug draped over her shoulders because of the wind. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, a few free locks still lifting off her shoulders and blowing about her head. She reached out and tugged on the zipper of my plum hoodie.
"Nice color choice," she said.
"Thanks. Where's your stuff?"
"Sent it ahead, so all I have is my keytar," she turned a little to swing the soft instrument case around to her front, giving it a loving little pat before swinging it back to its place on her back.
"Good idea," I said, looking back at my bags.
"Come on, let's get your keys and stuff."
She walked with me to the line in front of the table marked: "K-S." While we waited, we started to catch up on the things we'd done that summer, though we'd IMed back and forth nearly every day. She and I had met in ninth grade, both of our first years at Ramen. It was kind of odd that we'd even met up in the first place, considering that we're in totally different programs, but on our first morning she had ended up sitting across from me at breakfast and we've spent every available moment together ever since.
Finally, I made it to the front of the line to get my keys.
"Name?" said the kid behind the table, a senior I recognized.
As he flipped through a box of folders, I let my eyes rove over the crowd once again. I waved at a few people, most of whom returned the favor before skipping up the stairs toward the doors. But it was a kid who was impatiently pacing before the doors that caught my eye.
He was shorter than I was, but thin as an anorexic railing. His dark hair was expertly styled, though beginning to bend to the will of the persistent winds of Chicago. His dark eyes were darting around the crowd, clearly looking for someone, from amidst his delicate features as he walked back and forth. After a few passes he turned on his heel and walked inside, as if he had decided to wait there instead. The back of him was just as cute as the front, his complete lack of an ass almost endearing.
"Here you go," said the senior, holding out a lanyard with a shiny silver room key dangling off of it and a black folder I knew held all of my student information. I tore my eyes away from the skinny kid's retreating figure.
"Thanks," I said, and then stepped out of line, walking with Victoria toward the doors.
"Seriously, Gabe," she said chidingly, nudging me playfully, "could you have been any more obviously checking that kid out?"
"It was that bad?"
"I thought your eyes were going to pop out of your head."
As we entered the school, I let my eyes sweep the familiar Atrium. To the left were a bunch of couches and chairs and coffee tables intended for the students' free time, as well as the entrance to the library. On the far left wall were a row of classroom doors, mostly used for the academic classes. On my right was the entrance to the auditorium, and straight ahead were the elevators and stair entrances. The ceiling was entirely covered in windows, much to the awe of the new students I saw gaping upward. I was home again.
"Well, come on now, Victoria," I said finally, leading the way to the elevators, "did you see him? He was cute. But not my type. I like 'em tall."
And that was when heaven on tight-jeaned legs came striding in front of me. I stopped dead, my eyes following. His hair was brown, falling in tousled, loose curls that had obviously been thrown around by the wind. His lips were curled into a smile, brown eyes dancing, clearly amused by something.
And then the skinny kid came tearing across the Atrium, practically throwing himself at the guy of my dreams, who dropped his suitcase handles and let the skinny kid toss himself into his arms.
"Oh, thank God, William!" he exclaimed. "I told him I was going out for some fresh air, so I could wait for you!"
He disentangled himself from William's long arms. "Oh, come on, Ryan. You're such a drama queen. Let's go meet this big bad roommate."
Ryan took one of his bags and they headed for the elevator. I slumped a little.
"Ooh, tough break," said Victoria from my side, laying a hand on my shoulder, "looks like the dreamboat's already got someone."
"I don't need a play-by-play, Vicky," I said, using the nickname she hated. She paused. Ordinarily she would have hit my upside the head in no time flat.
"I deserved that."