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When Brian woke up the next morning, he found the other bed empty, the sheets and comforter all in a ball. Nick and Amanda had probably gone to get the continental breakfast in the lobby, he realized, rolling onto his back and taking a deep breath, and it was probably just as well. He didn't think he could look at her, and he didn't really want to talk to him just yet. He had a lot to think about first.

For starters, Brian was always the type to give the offender the benefit of the doubt. An evil twin, stolen identity... the impossible options, and then, of course, there was the fact that none of the tweets had been made after they'd left on the road trip, since he'd gotten to know her. Perhaps, she had changed.

But some part of him couldn't help but think that people like that never change, they just hone their acting skills.

He wondered how much of what she'd told them was true, and imagined suckering into all the bullshit stories and how easily it must've been to get in. He pictured Nick, so vulnerable and upset about the news that day, falling for her perfectly measured charm. Had she gone behind the hotel on purpose with this end in mind, or had it been fate - Nick just happening to come out once she'd been there, the plot to seduce him for news developing after having met him...

Brian wondered how long until the fans found out he was dying.

A chill went through his body. He had never wanted the fans to know until he was gone. Once he was gone, let them know then. But he didn't want their tears and pity and good-bye letters. He didn't want the freak-outs and mob scenes and having to see the brokenness he would be leaving behind. Kevin had insisted that the fans were more mature than that, but Brian knew better. He could remember the devastation that had followed AJ's stint in rehab, how forlorn and dismal the fans had been. He didn't want to cause that again.

She probably had a story all ready to go to ship off. Maybe she already sent it. Maybe it was already on the website. Maybe they hadn't gone to breakfast at all, but she'd taken off and Nick had gone after her, not knowing why she'd left because he hadn't checked Pop Stuff yet. Or maybe he had and he was hiding the body.

Brian couldn't help but laugh at the mental image of Nick dumping a body in the back alley behind the hotel. That's not very Christianly, he thought accusingly as the image floated by. Neither is what she did, he amended.

Nick and Amanda came back in the room then, though. Nick was carrying a tray and laughing at something Amanda must've just said. Brian's eyes snapped shut and he quickly started breathing deeply, pretending to be asleep. He still didn't want to encounter them just yet.

Amanda came around the corner into the room first and peeked at Brian. He was still asleep. She turned to Nick and tucked a finger across her lips and shhhhhh-ed him. Nick pretended to be zipping, then locking his mouth and throwing the key. The action threw him off balance and he had to dive to catch the tray. He smiled sheepishly at Amanda, who stifled a laugh with her hand.

They sat down on the bed facing each other with the tray of french toast, sausages, orange juice, fruit salad and dry Cheerios between them on the bed. "He looks so peaceful," Amanda whispered.

"Yeah he does," Nick agreed, making a slurping noise on the straw in his orange juice.

Amanda sighed. She was still really worried about Brian for running off from the hospital, but she'd decided during the night, when she had woken up and laid in bed thinking for a little bit, that she was going to apologize to him for the argument, tell him she respected him for the courage it took to refuse the treatment options, and promise to keep the secret about the hospital for him as long as he needed her to.

"Are you excited for today?" Nick whispered.

"I get to fall from the sky," Amanda said, "Probably to my death. It sounds great," she joked.

Nick laughed, "Well, you'll be jumping out of an air plane technically. Hey, you can pretend you're like Charlie's Angels or something."

"I don't know anyone named Charlie."

"Nicky's angel," he said, laughing.

Amanda giggled as Nick kissed her nose and stuck a grape in her mouth. She picked up a grape and pretended she was going to do the same, but changed trajectory at the last second and stuck it in his nose. Nick cracked up, covered the other nostril, and blew. The grape went flying out of his nose and hit the floor, rolling under Brian's bed. They both dissolved into laughter.

"How is he sleeping through this?" Amanda wondered, wheezing slightly.

"A frickin' bomb could go off next to him," Nick explained. "We're all like that, except Kevin. You should see the buses on tour," he laughed, "It takes forever to wake us all up. The worst is Howie, though."

"He won't wake up?"

Nick's grin turned evil, "Yeah. No matter what you do to him. We always draw on him and balance shit on his face and stuff. It's great. This one time, he fell asleep on the couch in the back, right? So me and AJ wrote stuff all over his face about him being a dwarf and AJ drew a penis on his nose and stuff... and then Howie couldn't wash it off. It took like two days to fade, and he was mortified, because Howie's like super groomed and stuff..." Nick's face was scarlet from laughing.

Amanda was laughing, too, imagining Howie with a penis drawn on his nose.

Figuring they were being too loud now for him to continue the charade - and half scared Nick might get the idea to try it on Brian to demonstrate how funny it'd been, Brian feigned yawning and stretching to wake up. He was never a very good actor though, and he wasn't positive he was convincing enough with the motion.

"Hey Bri, you're awake," Nick called. He chucked a grape in Brian's direction. "You hungry, Frick? We kinda over shot the size of our stomachs, I think."

"Yeah, there's tons of food here," Amanda said.

Brian sat up slowly and shook his head, "Nah," he said in his best fake groggy voice. "Thanks for the offer, though," he said.

"Well, if you change your mind," Amanda smiled.

"If I change my mind I'll be sure to report to you," he answered pointedly. She didn't catch the emphasis, but Brian smirked because the sarcasm had made him feel better. He rolled off the bed, and disappeared into the bathroom.

Nick took another grape and looked at Amanda, smirking.

"Don't even think about it," she warned, holding up a hand to cover her nose.

Nick threw the grape at her and it landed perfectly, sliding down her shirt into her bra. She let out a shriek - the grape was chilled! - and squealed, getting up off the bed in a quick motion, while Nick cracked up and watched her shove her hand down her shirt to fetch it out.

When she got it out she lobbed it at his head and it bounced off his forehead lamely, landing back onto the tray. Nick was laughing so hard he bent over, his nose nearly touching the sheets. "That was great," he wheezed.

Brian could hear them goofing off from the bathroom. He leaned against the bathroom door, trying to remember the last time he'd heard Nick sounding so happy. He couldn't. Brian slid slowly to the floor and hugged his knees to his chest. How the hell was he going to break it to Nick that this woman he'd fallen in love with was actually just a mole?

Well, Brian thought with a chuckle, I could always just throw her out of the plane.
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