Title: Night Be Dark For All Of Me
Word Count: 3110
Summary: Brendon likes wearing dresses. That's okay, right?
Notes: This story contains cross-dressing and was also written for the embarrassment square for hc_bingo Brendon centric but Ryan also features.
Huge thanks to sperrywink for the read over.
Brendon sets the bag on his bed, and then ignores it for the next four hours.
He eats dinner curled up on his couch, a plate on his lap, a magazine held in one hand. He's skimming the articles while picking through his sandwich, seeds sliding down his fingers as he eats each individual slice of tomato. Finally he sets the plate aside, over half the sandwich remaining.
He looks over at the bag once, anticipation prickling as he imagines the contents. But he won't look -- not yet -- it's not time.
The magazine loses his attention and Brendon drops it to the floor. He picks at his thumbnail, wincing as he peels back a strip of nail and skin. Frowning, Brendon holds out his hands. His nails are short, filed square and straight. He imagines them painted; vamp red or glossy black, maybe a pale pink for the day. Right now they're bare, clean except for that one line of blood. Brendon exhales and puts his thumb in his mouth, probing the sore spot with his tongue. It's still too early, but already the light is changing and Brendon thinks, soon.
Impatient, Brendon folds forward, reaching for his toes and enjoying the stretch of his spine. There's a patch of dry skin on his heel and he runs his thumb over the arch of his foot, seeing if he can make himself laugh. He can't, and Brendon abruptly straightens. It's still not time but he can't wait any longer.
He's planned this for days, the one night without work or practice. Spencer, Brent and Ryan think he's visiting family and no one else will call. Brendon's got hours to get ready, the whole night if he wants.
Approaching the bag is like Christmas morning, excitement and need and a desire to rip apart paper. Brendon resists those urges. This is too important for impatience and change takes time, it always does, and Brendon's not about to hurry. He sits, knees together and bare feet flat on the floor, riding the rush of finally as he takes hold of the zip and pulls.
The bag opens and Brendon reaches inside, knowing the contents by touch. A small pile of clothes, a pair of shoes, smaller bags pushed down at the side. Brendon takes out the dress first. It's made of some kind of slippery material, the skirt flared and straps spaghetti thin. Brendon drapes them over his hand, enjoying the contrast of the red material against his skin. Carefully, he lies the dress on his bed and reaches back in the bag, feeling for lace. He'd bought the matching bra and panties from Victoria's Secret, red-faced and tripping over stories about a gift for his girlfriend. The assistant had smiled as she'd taken his money. Eventually Brendon had forced a smile in reply.
Underwear laid out next to the dress, Brendon wraps his fingers around the straps of his shoes. They're high, the heels thin and pointed. Brendon brushes off a speck of dirt off a pristine sole and puts the shoes on the floor. There's only a few things left now, his make-up kit with its mixture of products, half empty mascara from his mom's bedroom, an eye liner pencil and a quad of shadow. Blush and foundation and some kind of green cream Brendon's been afraid to try out. Then, finally one last bag, made of brown paper, its sides are crumpled with use. Brendon holds it in his hands and takes a deep breath.
He stands, his back to the bed. The apartment is quiet, peaceful, as Brendon takes off his clothes. His jeans kicked to one side, his t-shirt pulled off and thrown onto the couch, each movement is hurried as Brendon sheds his old self. Naked, he thinks of himself as a music sheet without notes and Brendon turns, ready to create this new song.
Once Brendon had bought stockings and suspenders, sheer hose and a lacy black garter. He'd seen them in catalogues, would click through multiple pages as he stared at straps and clips against skin. The stockings always looked beautiful, classic, and he imagined his own legs, how they'd look magically longer, his thighs soft and framed by lace. In reality the garter had itched and he put his fingers through the hose and after that first time he's never tried again. Which is okay. Brendon's nothing but adaptable and now he loves the swish of his dress against bare skin.
Brendon picks up the panties, they're tiny, black, a bow attached to one side. Brendon bends and lifts one foot, sliding the panties over his ankle, does the same for the other. He pulls them up, past his knees and thighs, practice making it easy to tuck in his dick so it's nestled safe and secure. There's a mirror propped against the wall and Brendon looks over his shoulder. It's another part of the transformation, this watching himself change and he loves to note the curve of his ass, the dip of his lower back. Brendon smiles, something small and private, he knows vanity is wrong but he can't help the reaction, not when he loves how he looks.
A last look and Brendon picks up the bra. It's slightly padded, a bow nestled between the cups. He leaves it fastened as he pulls the bra over his head. It's not the right technique but he's never mastered the art of fastening the hooks behind his back, or opening them, no matter how often he practised. It's easier this way and he pulls the band around his rib cage, arranging the bra until it appears he's got the slightest swell of breasts. When he was younger Brendon had tried stuffing the cups, had stood in the bathroom, scraps of toilet paper littering the floor as he posed in his sister's stolen bra. But not now, when he knows what he has is enough.
Underwear adjusted, tugged, pulled into place, Brendon takes hold of the dress. He slips it over his head and it settles over his body, the fabric sliding against skin. The straps are snug against his shoulders, the bodice fitted against his chest and he can't resist a twirl, watching as the skirt flairs out before dropping, settling above his knees. Again Brendon looks toward the mirror, enjoying what he sees, but he only allows himself a glimpse before sitting primly on the edge of the bed and reaches for a small mirror on the bedside table, one of the straps slipping slightly off his shoulder. Holding the mirror in one hand he opens a tube of mascara with his teeth, placing the tube on his pillow. A practised sweep and he coats his lashes, first one eye then the next. Blinks as he sets the mascara aside and smiles wide, brushing blusher on the apples of his cheeks, then lipstick, dark red and glossy. Brendon takes the longest with that, the colour unforgiving to any mistake.
Now it's finishing touches only, Brendon swaps make-up for accessories and empties the final bag. He's got bangles and thin bracelets, clip-on earrings and necklaces that land on the covers tangled together. Considering, he selects a red bangle, squeezing it over his hand. A necklace, one with a silver heart that rests just above the neckline of his dress, a thin bejewelled band that he uses to slick back his hair. Finally all that's left is his shoes. Brendon stands and places his feet into each one. As always at first he's off balance, his calf muscles protesting and his body throw forward as he takes those first few stuttering steps. That doesn't last long, soon Brendon's walking easy, his steps fluid, confident as he circles the room. That circuit ends at the big mirror and Brendon stops then, looking at his own reflection. He doesn't look like himself, he looks pretty, confident, peaceful. Most of all he looks happy.
Opening his laptop, Brendon crouches, heels against his ass as he scrolls through his music. He selects one of his favourite play-lists, setting it off as he stands. Momentarily he remains still, then he's moving, swaying to the beat of the song. This is what Brendon does on these nights. He likes to dance and move and sing, his heels clicking against the floor, his dress brushing against his legs as he shimmies. Sometimes the dancing gets wilder, Brendon laughing as he kicks his legs and gyrates, catching glimpses of himself in any available reflective surface, red-cheeked and his hair escaping the band. Tonight he keeps it sedate, he's in the mood for gentle, becoming lost in the music as day turns to night.
It's fully dark when Brendon finally stops moving. Despite the dark it's muggy and sweat darkens Brendon's dress at the back as he stands close to the window. It appears deserted outside, the street empty of people and suddenly all Brendon wants is to get out. He wants to hear his heels click against the sidewalk, feel the night warm air against his bare arms. It's not a new feeling, and usually Brendon tempers it down. Tonight though, tonight he feels brave, tempted by the quiet and before he can even think he's walking, pushing open his front door. It feels thrilling to be standing in the hallway, freeing, and Brendon locks up, slipping the key in his bra.
Brendon takes a few steps to the stairwell, hands on the banister as he looks down to the foyer. It's still quiet, no voices and he's grinning as he takes the first stair.
Less than a minute and he's next to the mailboxes, noticing that as always, the one for his apartment is empty. Seconds and he's at the main door. Brendon looks through the glass and then pushes it open, the skirt of his dress gusting up, caught by the slight breeze. Brendon starts to laugh as he goes outside, walks away from the building and then spins in a tight circle. He tilts back his head and looks up at the stars, his exposed back goose-bumping as he takes more steps forward. Exhilarated at the sense of freedom.
"Fucking hell, look at that!"
The shout comes from over the road. Heart pounding Brendon turns and sees a group who've appeared around the end of the block. They're dressed in hoodies and baggy pants, both women and men alike. They're looking at him and laughing, whispering to themselves and Brendon catches snatches of words. man, faggot, freak. He starts to edge back, to the safety of inside.
"Freak." A girl with tied back hair, her mouth twisted into a sneer spits out the word. The whole group have stopped moving, united in derision. Brendon keeps his arms close to his side and takes another step back. He shouldn't have come outside, he should have known better.
"Fucking faggot, people like you make me sick." One of the group strides forward and pulls back his arm. Brendon prepares to run -- he's too slow. A half-eaten burger hits him full in the chest, relish spraying over his arm as the bun slides down to the ground. He turns, starting to run for the door when he's hit again, something impacting against his back, his neck. Brendon staggers, his left shoe twisting underneath him and he stumbles forward, his arms outstretched as he overbalances and collapses to his knees.
"Pervert, stay inside next time."
A giant cup of soda comes flying across the road. On impact it explodes, liquid spilling from the crumpled cup and pooling around Brendon's knees. He can't seem to move, stays frozen in place as the gang leaves a last barrage of insults. Brendon hears every one, takes them in as he stares at his own reflection in the near-by door. At his soaked and stained dress, the band in his hair that's slipping down, his face splattered with relish. He looks stupid, pathetic, and shame burns painfully bright.
It's the sound of more footsteps that finally gets him moving. Hooking his fingers under the straps of his shoes he tears them off his feet, one then the other, the shoes left lying on the ground. Knees and hands throbbing, he straightens, making no attempt to save the bejewelled band as it slides free.
Brendon squeezes shut his eyes, fighting for control, the night taking nightmarish proportions.
"Are you okay?"
Ryan's feet appear in Brendon's line of vision, scuffed sandals, Ryan's toenails painted orange. Brendon focuses on them so he doesn't have to look up and see the disgust in Ryan's expression.
"Do you need a hand up? I can phone Spencer."
Ryan moves a step closer, the edge of his sandals against the hem of Brendon's dress.
"I'm okay," Brendon says, and even to his own ears he sounds unsure. He swallows, says again, "I'm fine."
To prove that Brendon gets to his feet, says nothing when a chewed up burger drops to the ground. He keeps his head dipped. "I'm going back inside. I have soda, if you want."
What Brendon wants is for Ryan to go home. He shouldn't be here, he's supposed to be off with his friends, not watching when all Brendon wants is to strip off these clothes and push them aside. Brendon walks for the door, he doesn't look back, Ryan will either follow or he won't. He goes inside and there's no sound of Ryan. It figures and Brendon takes the stairs two at a time. Approaching his door he pulls the key out of his bra, metal scraping against metal as he fumbles with the lock. A third try and Brendon forces himself to still, to breathe deep before trying again. He doesn't look behind him, he knows Ryan isn't coming, he doesn't need the visual confirmation.
Finally he gets the key in the lock. Opening the door Brendon hurries inside and immediately heads for the window. He intends to drop down the blanket he uses as a curtain, but then stops when the door opens again.
"You left these." Ryan's holding the shoes by the straps, the band over one wrist. They look wrong in his hands, like Brendon's two worlds are colliding. He reaches out, taking the shoes.
Ryan nods and Brendon watches as he looks around, expression deadpan as he takes in the rest of the apartment. Brendon wishes he could hide the stuff on his bed, the tubes of make-up and mirror, the jewellery that spills across his pillow. They're all things that he loves, but right now all he wants is them gone.
"Do you do this often?" Ryan's looking directly at Brendon now, and for the first time Brendon looks back, words caught in his throat when Ryan adds. "Get dressed up like this, I mean."
"I'm..." His head aching, Brendon trails off. He crosses his arms across his chest, chin up as he says, "I'm not gay."
Ryan blinks, looking confused. "I never said you were."
Which is true, but Brendon's heard it before, snide comments and pious lectures about the sins of homosexuality and how men must never desire the role of woman. Which is stupid, because Brendon doesn't want to be a woman.
"I just." Brendon knows he doesn't have to justify this to Ryan, but he wants to, and he tries to think what to say. How he just likes the way it feels. How he just likes to step outside of himself every so often. How he just doesn't understand why it's seen as so wrong. In the end he settles for, "I just like it."
"Okay. Ryan hasn't got the answer to his question but he doesn't seem concerned as he makes for the kitchen. "We need to soak your dress before the stain sets."
Brendon follows, despite feeling like he's fallen into some world where nothing makes sense. "You know how to do that?"
Ryan turns on the faucet, his hand under the stream of water. "No, but Ginger did it once, when Spencer squirted me with hot sauce."
"Oh." It's all Brendon can think to say. It's all he can manage to say when inside he's a mess of emotions.
"You need to take that off." The sink is half full of water now and Ryan indicates Brendon's dress.
Brendon doesn't move. He already feels raw, allowing Ryan to see his bra and panties is another huge risk, because a dress is one thing, underwear is another.
"I'll turn around if you want," Ryan says. He sounds long-suffering but he's already beginning to turn.
"No." The decision is abrupt but Brendon's always trusted Ryan, that can't change now. He takes hold on the hem of his dress, pulling it over his head. When it's crumpled in his hands he puts it in the water, pushing it below the surface. "How long do we leave it?" There's no reply and Brendon grips the edge of the counter with one hand, needing the support as he sees that Ryan's pulled in on himself, clearly ill at ease. "Ryan?"
"Sorry," Ryan says. "It's just. I don't even know if I'm supposed to say anything. But they look good."
Brendon grips the counter harder, relief striking hard as he says, "I got them from Victoria's Secret. They had a sale."
Ryan reaches out and brushes his hand over the bow on Brendon's hip. "You should go shower. I'll finish up here."
"Thanks," Brendon says, and while he desperately needs to be clean, what he wants most is to get under the spray and pretend tonight never happened. "For everything."
"I'm only washing your dress," Ryan says, and then he's stepping forward, unexpectedly pulling Brendon into a tight hug. "They were assholes, Brendon. You know that, right?"
Brendon shrugs. He knows they saw him and thought he was a freak, that they thought it was okay to throw things and make him feel small. He presses his face against Ryan's shoulder. "They called me a freak."
"They're morons." Ryan's hand are against Brendon's bare back, his fingers digging in and he holds him close. "And you didn't look like a freak. You looked happy, and pretty."
"I looked pretty?" Brendon can't help smiling. "That's pedestrian for you."
"It applies," Ryan says, and squeezes Brendon hard. "Go shower, you smell like ketchup."
"Going." Brendon breaks the hug about to head for the bathroom, but before he moves away Ryan clears his throat.
"Next time. If you call me I'll help with your make-up."
Brendon doesn't smile this time. Instead he looks at Ryan directly and says, "Sure."
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