“I think the new guy in my Complex Variables course is an alien,” said Brendon, slurping his soup noisily and nodding at the subject in question. Jon’s gaze followed his across the crowded cafeteria and landed on a scrawny guy just then sitting down opposite the man Jon recognised as Spencer Smith.
“Ryan Ross?” he said, mentally lining up the two names next to each other, then pointing at them and giggling. “Yeah, makes sense.”
His tone was genuine. This was firstly because he had when they first met realised that Brendon had no sense of sarcasm at all (“Oh, no, don’t mind me; just grab that doughnut right in front of my face,” Jon had said, to which he’d received the reply, “Thanks, dude—I just need so much sugar during these morning lectures—really nice of you,”) and secondly because it actually did make sense. Ryan was intelligent and efficient and appeared to have an eidetic memory, all qualities praised in would-be terrestrial visitors.
“How do you know his name?” Brendon asked, a shade suspiciously. Jon grinned at him.
“You know I have a good eye for faces. He’s in my Sustainable Development course, and in Man and Mechanics.”
Brendon frowned, distracted from the possible alien. “Why aren’t you taking Complex Variables with me, by the way?”
“Did that before my transfer already.”
“That, too? How many years did you do at your last college?”
“Oh, you know,” said Jon and smiled complacently. It was a skill of his that when he said things like that, people thought he'd answered their question.
“I’m going to conduct an alien investigation,” Brendon decided, returning to the more interesting subject of Ryan Ross. “See how he reacts to stuff in class, keep track of if he scratches a lot and stuff like that.”
“Scratches?” Jon said and scratched his hair.
“Yeah, like, he’s probably wearing a human skin for the first time. It might not fit, or feel uncomfortable or something.”
“That’s a very smart thought,” Jon said and moved on to scratch behind his right ear.
Alien Investigation, Day One.
Subject (RR) appeared confused when I sat down next to him and introduced myself. (Unused to human customs?) Unnecessarily long pause after I asked him his current whereabouts. Asked a couple of more questions during pause, so as not to make the blunder obvious and embarrassing. Subject still confused and somewhat shocked. Finally managed to get answers, if still hesitant. When asked if he wanted to consume his lunch with me, however, subject turned red (lacks complete control over bodily functions?) and refused to reply.
Obviously I have found a hole in their Human Interaction training. Will pursue this lead further.
“Hello,” said Brendon, sitting down next to Ryan in the library and depositing his books in front of him with a loud thump. “How's it going?”
“Good?” Ryan replied carefully, looking vaguely panicked. Where was Spencer when you needed him?
“I'm Brendon Urie, nice to meet you,” Brendon went on, grabbing Ryan's hand and shaking it. Ryan blinked.
“I know. You told me yesterday.”
“Yeah, I thought you might have forgotten, though. But you have my name stored somewhere, I guess? Do you have like a memory bank or something?”
“Uh, well, I have a memory.” Really, where was Spencer? “We all do. Right?”
“You all do, do you?” Brendon smiled smugly, looking shrewd.
“Do you have something in your eye?” asked Ryan.
“I'm looking shrewd,” Brendon informed. “It's a human expression that you may not be familiar with. I think we should date.”
It was Ryan's turn to ask “What?”, which he did, his voice going just a little bit squeaky. Brendon mentally noted down the discrepancy in tone as a sign of bugs in the programming.
“We should date, because I think you're cute,” he elaborated, making another note of Ryan's complete incapability to find an appropriate response. Obviously he'd managed to breach an area with this blitz attack—not foreseen and prepared for. Ah-ha! It wouldn't be long until he could expose Ryan as the alien he obviously was.
Alien Investigation, Day Four.
There is a great possibility in this. By acting out a courtship I will have opportunity to observe the subject at close quarters for long periods of time. He's going to give himself away sooner or later—he's already slipping up far more than he ought. Not a very successful alien.
This plan depends, however, on RR understanding the ritual of human courtship. As it is, he mostly seems confused. I think it might be a good idea to introduce him to the idea gently.
Ryan found Spencer sitting at a table in the library, engrossed in The Wall Street Journal. “Someone just anonymously sent me Wikipedia articles on courtship,” he informed.
“With comments. Here's a good one: Woo can also refer to a drink. Buying someone a Woo Woo cocktail can in fact be a good way to woo someone. Also, if you add orange juice to it you get Sex on the Beach. This last sentence is very funny for reasons we will discuss further on. You may want to look up the word double entendre in your memory bank as preliminary research.”
“That is truly trippy,” Spencer determined, not looking up from his paper. “You're still going to see him?”
Ryan coloured gently. “It's just lunch,” he said.
“Bring your tinfoil, the guy might be recruiting. I hear they value preparedness.”
“He's just kind of weird,” Ryan said defensively. “He's not, like, paranoid or delusional or anything.”
“Fuck you,” Ryan said lovingly and left.
“Not delusional,” Spencer said to the guy across from him. “The guy thinks Ryan is something not human and Ryan calls it kind of weird. I mean, What's-his-face—”
“—Brendon is cute and all, but he seems to be more than just weird. In fact, if I had to put money on who was not entirely human, I'd go for him.”
“But Brendon is entirely human,” said Jon Walker. “I'm sure of that.”
Spencer stared at him, exasperated. “Where are you from again?” he asked.
“Outer Space,” Jon replied.
“Chicago, huh?” Spencer said. “I feel your pain.”
“This is a movie theatre,” Brendon said, waving a hand at the same. “It's a place where humans go for dates. It's also a great place for sneakily making out. Do you know what making out is? Oh yeah, I sent you the article, right?”
“You did. It was creepy.”
“I suppose it sounds strange, when you're unused to it,” Brendon said thoughtfully. “It's pretty nice, though. Do you have the ticket? You need it to get in, you see.”
“I—” Ryan hesitated, sighed. “Yes, I do. Brendon, look, I—you know I'm not retarded or anything, right?”
“Of course I know that!” Brendon looked shocked at the implication, but followed up by saying, “I suppose only the most intelligent get chosen to go,” which was, in truth, not at all reassuring.
“Don't be coy.” Brendon pursed his lips reprovingly. “OK, so this next part is where we buy popcorn. Since I asked you out I will buy for us, but next time you should buy for me, all right? It's a gesture.”
“Sure,” Ryan replied, bewildered. “But you know, I could—”
“No, no, no. I want you to ease into it.”
Ryan suddenly thought it was easy to forgive Brendon a lot of his eccentricities when he smiled like that.
He didn't really know what Brendon meant by constantly referring to Ryan as “one of Them”, by telling him how to pay for his coffee with human money, by teaching him how to date through Wikipedia or by asking if the moon really was as dusty as it looked like in the pictures. He didn't really know if Brendon was entirely normal.
He did know that Brendon was the most interesting person he had ever met, and that he was crazy pretty (even if this also meant pretty crazy). He did know that he really wanted to kiss Brendon. He did know that they had been sort of dating for three weeks, and now Brendon had got them seats right at the back of a pretty shitty movie that'd probably have about ten other people watching it.
They were halfway through the movie, and Ryan was nervous as all fuck. Brendon had been laughing at the screen for the entire time, without making any move towards him at all. He was just starting to wonder if he'd got this whole thing wrong, when Brendon reached into his lap to take some more popcorn and said casually, eyes still fixed on the screen, “Now, this would be the part where one of us would kiss the other. It's kind of good form to wait until halfway through, right, because otherwise you make it kind of obvious that you only came to—”
Ryan twisted in his seat so quickly he dislodged the bucket of popcorn and leaned across Brendon, interrupting him with a quick kiss. Brendon didn't respond at first, and he was about to sink back into his seat—there to die of embarrassment, possibly—when Brendon leaned forward and kissed him. Ryan sighed with relief, bringing his hands up to Brendon's face and almost losing his balance in the process. There was some awkward shuffling, and Brendon accidentally elbowed him in the face once, trying to get his arm around his neck, but Ryan didn't actually care all that much because he was kissing Brendon.
“Part of your Human Interaction training has been really good,” Brendon said eventually, breathlessly, and Ryan groaned.
“Brendon, please—oh God, please, just stop talking.”
“It isn't as slimy as I thought it would be, either.”
Ryan kissed him again. It was basically the only way to get him to shut up.
It was a pretty good way, though.
Alien Investigation, Day Thirty.
Investigation taking interesting turn. Think I'd better stick close to Ryan, to monitor his behaviour in the best way possible. Learning new things every day.
Be a shame to waste the opportunity. Yeah.
“Did you know your friend is following my friend around all over the place with what looks suspiciously like hearts in his eyes?” Spencer asked.
Jon grinned at him. “He thinks he's conducting an investigation to expose Ryan as an alien.”
“He's dating him.”
“He's sort of creepily in love with Ryan, if you ask my opinion.”
“I know. I'm thinking that he'll probably figure that out himself, too. Eventually.”
Spencer shrugged and sat down next to Jon. “Brendon knows there's no such thing as extra-terrestrial visitors, right?” he asked. Brendon might be cute, but Spencer wasn't about to let Ryan date a lunatic.
“He's a smart dude,” Jon said, scratching his wrist.
It wasn't actually an answer to the question—but then, not a lot of what Jon said ever was.
Alien Investigation, Day One Hundred.
Ryan and I celebrated three months yesterday. It was totally romantic, although he may have teased me about aliens a little.
Of course Ryan isn't an alien. I never seriously believed it. I have recently realised, however, that the investigation of Ryan—which was a joke, okay—blinded me to who the alien at our college really is.
Ryan's friend Spencer has really shiny hair. Suspicious, right?