The Heart Rate of a Mouse

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Fanfiction
Title: The Heart Rate of a Mouse
Author(s): arctic_grey (Anna Green)
Date(s): 2009-12-06 - 2011-11-30
Length: 513,000 words; 3 Volumes
Genre: slash, AU
Fandom: Panic! at the Disco
External Links: The Heart Rate of a Mouse masterpost, Archived version AO3

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The Heart Rate of a Mouse is an epic-length Ryan/Brendon fic set in the 1970s, in an AU where Ryan is an famous musician. It is written in the first person from Ryan's point of view and was posted in installments as a WIP on LiveJournal. The fic was backdated and reposted on AO3 by the author in 2017. It is considered by many to be a fandom classic for both Ryden and P!atD fans.

In 2013 the Anna Green began selling a print version of the series through Lulu: Book FAQ: beggarsnotes, Archived version

In 2018 Green said that she would be revising the work into an original fiction series, but since there are no official plans to publish it yet, the fic will remain available in its current form for the foreseeable future.[1] As of March 25, 2019, the rewrite is officially on hiatus. [2]

Synopsis

Vol.1: Over the Tracks: "In the summer of 1974, Ryan Ross embarks on an exhausting tour in support of his band’s breakthrough album, struggling to live up to the pressure and expectations of sudden fame. As he juggles his dissolving band, lying best friend and fleeting girls, he heads down a dangerous and self-destructive road, letting himself want the one person he can’t let himself have."

In Over the Tracks, Ryan is the leader and singer of the band The Followers, which also consists of his best friend Spencer Smith, Joe Trohman, and Brent Wilson. As they prepare to embark on a national tour Ryan meets Brendon Urie, the new roadie joining for the tour. Brendon is gay, which causes conflict. Pete Wentz is the band's manager. Ryan's girlfriend is Jac Vanek, based on Ryan's RL ex. William Beckett, Andy Hurley, and Zack Hall are roadies on the tour. Jon Walker is the leader of a band touring with The Followers. Audrey Kitching, based on Brendon's RL ex, is a groupie.

Elements of characters' backstories in the fic are reminiscent of real life. Ryan has a bad relationship with his alcoholic father and was childhood friends with Spencer before they started making music. Brendon was raised Mormon and left his family and the lifestyle.

Vol.2: Wolves vs. Hearts: "A new band, a new city, a new lover – Ryan can dust himself off and start again, but the god-like status that his former band’s tragic end has given him isn’t as easy to shake off. As he should be focusing on making a comeback with his new band, he runs into the one person he hasn’t been able to forget. Brendon’s new relationship leaves Ryan with a bitter taste in his mouth as he realises that his feelings for Brendon have not waned. Instead of wooing his own girlfriend, Ryan goes after Brendon, convinced that this, too, he can get right the second time around."

In Wolves vs. Hearts, Ryan forms the new band Ryan Ross & The Whiskeys with Jon Walker, Gabe Saporta, and Patrick Stump. Vicky T is Ryan's new manager. Ryan's new girlfriend is dancer Keltie Colleen, based on Ryan's RL ex. Brendon is dating photographer Shane Valdez, based on Brendon's RL former friend and roommate. Other characters include musician Greta Salpeter and Andy Mrotek. There is some Gabe/Ryan.

Vol.3: A Kingdom by the Sea: "In November 1978, over a year has passed since music icon Ryan Ross announced that he was retiring from the public eye and quitting the world of music. He is far from being forgotten, however, as his musical influence can be heard on the radio everyday when Brendon, the frontman of His Side, starts singing. Brendon was, after all, famously discovered by Ross. But even as His Side is on the radio and touring state after state, Ryan hasn’t been seen. And Ryan likes it that way, really. It’s what he wants: to forget and be forgotten. Until, one day, someone starts digging up his past, forcing him to come face to face with everything he’s trying to run away from.

In Wolves vs. Hearts, Ryan meets Sisky, a longtime fan of Ryan's music who wants to be his biographer. Brendon leads the new band His Side which consists of Jon Walker, Dallon Weekes, Bob Bryar, and Ian Crawford. Mike Carden is the band's manager. There is some Brendon/Dallon.

Additional Content

Most additional content can be found on The Heart Rate of a Mouse (Masterpost) on Anna Green's fanfiction LiveJournal. An FAQ was posted in 2011: THROAM FAQ: beggarsnotes, Archived version

Anna Green later reposted an FAQ on her tumblr: (retrieved September 2017)

Reception

The Heart Rate of a Mouse is considered a fandom classic, especially for Ryan Ross and Ryden fans, and its popularity has grown and endured through the history of PATD and Ryden fandom. Because it was not uploaded on AO3 until 2017, it is impossible to know how many hits it accumulated in previous years.

Some fans have gotten THROAM-inspired tattoos[3], edited a Wikipedia page to include part of THROAM's plot[4], and added THROAM references and quotes to the Chelsea Hotel's graffiti-covered plaques and walls.[5] Anna Green, author of THROAM, has responded to and/or reblogged all of those instances (see previous citations). See the The Heart Rate of a Mouse and THROAM Tumblr tags for recent posts about THROAM. There is a tag for The Heart Rate of a Mouse Series - Anna Green on AO3.

The opening lines of the fic, "I should never be trusted to drive a vehicle of any kind; not because I am a lousy driver, but because I tighten my grip of the wheel with every passing truck." and, "Crash. Bang. Smoke." are well-recognized. There are various memes related to the series among THROAM fans.

There are multiple blogs dedicated specifically to THROAM and the THROAM versions of the real people in the fics[6][7], and readers often say they care about the THROAM characterizations and the fandom surrounding it more than Bandom. [citation needed]

On Goodreads, THROAM has been rated 4.85 out of 5 (173 votes) and has 19 reviews.[8]

In June 2018, Anna Green warned fans that someone unaffiliated with her was selling print copies of the series.[9]

Fourth Wall

Due to the popularity of the work, the fourth wall between the fic and the many people who appear in it has been broken multiple times. It has been mentioned on twitter by Dallon Weekes, Jon Walker, Vicky T, and others.[10] Vicky T and Keltie (Ryan's ex-girlfriend, a significant character in V2) are said to have read the fic.

In December 2015, a fan tweeted to Dallon Weekes, "have you ever read The Heart Rate of a Mouse". Dallon replied: "No. I hear throam Dallon is a real A-hole though."[11] (THROAM readers have noted that Dallon is actually portrayed sympathetically in the fic)

In January 2018, Jon Walker tweeted, "...what is Throam?",[12] presumably having seen Panic fans referencing it on social media. The tweet recevied 1.2k replies. In March 2018, Vicky T tweeted, "The heart rate of a mouse ... 😈"[13]

In August 2019, a fan commented on the Instagram of The Dead End Kids Club a band Z Berg and Ryan are both in, "The reason z wasn't in throam is because she wrote throam."[14] The account replied, presumably from Z, "fuck I gotta read this Shit now".

It is widely assumed that Brendon and Ryan are both aware of what THROAM is, due to the frequent mentions of THROAM on social media, often intentionally addressed to official accounts. Fans have made comments on Brendon's livestreams about the fic, but he has not acknowledged them as he did with the Milk Fic.

Anna Green has asked that fans of THROAM respect the fourth wall and has expressed frustration over fans who publicize RPF.[15][16]

[...]

Let’s talk about the fourth wall and breaching it, and how lately people have gone out of their way to harass people with fics that feature their fictionalised forms.

So let me say this first: it’s not about THROAM. My god, it is completely not “ooh keep THROAM secret” or “oh Anna has asked to keep it ~secret.” IDGAF if it’s secret! Of course it’s not! It’s online - you google it and it’s there! I’m not trying to hide the fic (and if I really wanted to hide it, I’d take the entire fic down. Simple).

This is what this is about: fanfic is for fans. Fan content is for fans. It is not for show runners or canon authors or any real people who were fictionalised for a story. Throwing fanfic into the faces of any of these people is rude and inconsiderate. It’s someone ringing your doorbell going “hey you don’t know me but here’s a picture I drew of you/your characters sucking cock and/or an explicit story on you/your characters sucking cock” and you’re stood there going “who the fuck are you and how did you find out where I live?”

I cannot believe that people do not realise how incredibly rude it is to breach the fourth wall. It’s not about just one story, it’s about ANY story. Look into this – look into the long list of instances where actors have been shown compromising fanart, look into fanfic being read to actors in Comic Cons, where people then laugh and mock fandom expressions of creativity. Realise how this is used to humiliate and belittle people who engage in fandoms, and especially female-dominated fandom spaces.

[...][17]

Theories

Fans of THROAM alleged at multiple points that lyrics from post-split Panic songs referenced THROAM, or that Ryan and Brendon's interactions in real life mirror THROAM. The people who genuinely believe this are usually Ryden tinhats.

This article or section needs expansion.

Warnings Controversy

In early 2018, the warnings for the series stated:

Warnings: good ol' sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. Some mild violence, some het sex. Infidelity. Vol.3 contains discussion on statutory rape. That's all I can think of, really.[18].

In 2018, readers began to seriously discussing whether or not the book included a rape scene. The scene in question was at the end of Volume 2: Wolves vs. Hearts - III, in Chapter 7: Love, Imagined (archived original version). In order to strike a last blow to destroy Brendon and Shane's relationship, Ryan encourages Shane to get drunk and high and then has sex with him, all while Shane is struggling with the realization that Brendon has been lying and cheating on him, but is unaware that it was with Ryan. It was pointed out that if Shane would not have had sex with Ryan while sober, this makes Ryan's manipulation rape.

Anna Green initially responded that she did not consider the scene rape. She blocked a number of fans on Twitter. Points used to argue that it was not rape where the fact that Ryan also got drunk and high, questions of exactly how inebriated either party was, the fact that Shane was already attracted to Ryan, and that Ryan's actions were intentionally morally questionable or horrifying.

Some readers wanted Anna to edit the warning for the series to include rape, or at least dub-con. Others asked for Anna to rewrite the scene because they felt that, although Ryan's actions in the series are often amoral or clearly wrong, rape was crossing a line that made him irredeemable as a protagonist and view-point character.

Twitter user rosscoloredboy, who had been blocked by Anna[19], posted a Twitter poll, asking "If you purposefully get someone drunk and high with the intention of taking advantage of them (sex) because you know they’d never oblige when sober, is that rape?[20]" The tweet circulated beyond THROAM readers and PATD fandom, gaining over 1,200 votes. 99% of responders voted "Yes, that's rape." rosscoloredboy added:

This has so many votes and I wasn’t expecting it to circulate the way that it did but I’m grateful. I’m referring to a scene in a very popular fanfiction written by someone who would vote no and has blocked me for asking for it to have a trigger warning for future readers.

Attraction =/= consent. The character was so inebriated, he wouldn’t be able to make a proper decision whatsoever. And the scene is from the first person point of view of the rapist. How the fuck would he know what the other person actually wants? It’s rape.

If the characters were sober, the sex wouldn’t have happened. Character A knew this and got character B fucked up enough to take advantage of him. It’s rape.

Anna Green eventually posted her own poll[21] with the caption:

OKAY! Let's settle this: does Ryan rape Shane in Volume 2? If you can/are willing, do revisit the scene, read it, and then answer below. (How timely for this week's news...) I will take action depending on people's views. Grazie!

Replies:

Nope, because they were both high and it was an impulse fuck to get back at Brendon and because Shane was lonely. It was made to shock the viewers and to question Ryan's morals and who he is as a character.[22]
I don’t think it’s rape because Ryan didn’t force Shane to do anything and it’s obvious Shane went to Ryan’s room with the intention to have sex, he admitted to wanting it ever since they first met. You also wrote that Shane was willing probably bc he wanted to get over Brendon Shane intoxicated himself and so did Ryan. I think because they both wanted to do it to hurt Brendon, but the only way they’d be able to follow through is if they were drunk/high[23]
I voted no but it is kind of off putting that I genuinely had to think about it, I feel like if you have to put a lot of thought into whether or not its rape its probably rape[24]
The scene is ambiguous. S worships Ryan and may have said yes sober (though this fact may be too subtly drawn). R proves he is against non-consensual sex acts in other scenes; he is also a product of his environment, which combines alcohol, drugs, and sex without thinking.[25]
I said no, but I’m definitely questioning it. I mean Shane got himself drunk and Ryan didn’t think of the idea to do anything until afterwards, which he THEN presented the weed. But Shane seemed pretty willing, with or without the weed[26]

The poll received almost 500 votes. 38% of responders voted "Yes," it was rape, and 62% voted "No," it was not.

Anna then posted a second poll, asking:

Follow up poll: is the scene in question still rape if Shane is sober throughout and gives verbal consent?[27]

The responses were 7% "Yes, still rape," 91% "No, no rape," and 2% "Other (please comment)"

Replies:

That's literally the definition of consensual sex so no, it's not rape. Aside from the drugging, you did make it clear that Shane was attracted to Ryan and later said that even Brendon knew Shane wanted into Ryan's pants, but the drugs make it so it can't be consensual.[28]
I legit feel like they both wanted it and for different reasons. The scene is pivotal and broke my heart. I think it helps him become who he is in Volume 3. Don't change a thing. 😘[29]

After the poll ended, Anna concluded:

Morning! Feel free to keep voting but just to say I will edit the scene today to make/keep Shane sober - will let you know once done.

The story will keep the following tws: dub-con, discussion of date rape.

I'm adding also: ppl having sex when intoxicated.[30]
To explain the new tw, people engage in sexual activities throughout the volumes while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, from all band members to Ry, Bren, etc. This tw aims to warn off people who view any such activity as rape.

The scene was rewritten so that Ryan still drinks and smokes, but Shane turns down Ryan's offers of alcohol and weed and is sober when they have sex, as well as giving verbal consent. The warnings for the series were changed to be much more detailed, and included "dubious consent, mentions of underage sex, off-screen date rape/dub-con and discussion of it."[31]

Anna wrote a follow-up post on Tumblr on September 29, Always in Bismarck. She began, " I wanted to address the rape controversy, as it can probably be officially called now, and which I intend to finish off with this post." In the post, she apologized that she had been "stubborn in putting a label of rape on something that I knew from my own intentions had been a consensual (and mutually manipulative) encounter," and that the people she had blocked had "approached mewith abuse and anger." The post discusses the frequency of sex while intoxicated in the series, saying ,"In the last few days I have been told repeatedly that sex while intoxicated is always rape. I simply do not agree with this, and my reason for that comes from my own sex life and sexual experiences - others have had different, perhaps traumatic experiences, and I am not diminishing their lived experiences in any way. Sex while intoxicated absolutely can be rape - I agree completely. "

Inspired Fanworks

References

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20190105080810/https://twitter.com/pineconepickers/status/1019308798115278848
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20190722235334/https://finleighsaid.tumblr.com/post/183704017569/venice-venice-venice
  3. annawuke: "@finleighsaid here’s both of ours"
  4. vicesplusvirtues: "SHIT GUYS IM FUCKING DYING LAUGHING AT THIS"
  5. strandedindelirium: "I was in NYC last week so of course I had to visit the Chelsea Hotel."
  6. theheartrateofryanross
  7. incorrectthroam
  8. The Heart Rate of a Mouse by Anna Green, Archived version
  9. archived, see "THROAM Books"
  10. citations needed
  11. @dallonweekes, DEC 2015
  12. iamjonwalker, 31 Jan 2018
  13. vickyt, 25 Mar 2018.
  14. "instagram user rattyboydarren just made a fatal error" by wordsunraveled, Aug 3, 2019
  15. Jan 31, 2018 (after Jon Walker's tweet) - "Oh, god. FOURTH WALL, PEOPLE. FOURTH. WALL. Please respect it / stick to it. Thank you. xx"
  16. Aug 25, 2019 - "RANDOM THOUGHT: When did it become a fan's responsibility to prevent content creators/celebrities from seeing fan content and breaking the fourth wall?"
  17. Choice by finleighsaid (Anna Green), August 7, 2019
  18. http://web.archive.org/web/20180228000155/http://beggarsnotes.livejournal.com/55360.html on WBM, archived February 2018
  19. 27 Sep 2018
  20. [https://twitter.com/rosscoloredboy/status/1045376307708792834 11:15 AM - 27 Sep 2018
  21. 28 Sep 2018
  22. 28 Sep 2018 by whodoyoulxve
  23. 28 Sep 2018 by houseoftrench
  24. 28 Sep 2018 by probablysylvia
  25. 28 Sep 2018 by LARsTeaches
  26. 28 Sep 2018 by panicbrendcn
  27. 2:49 PM - 28 Sep 2018
  28. 28 Sep 2018 by ryseaman
  29. 29 Sep 2018 by bruinswolf
  30. 12:15 AM - 29 Sep 2018
  31. The Heart Rate of a Mouse [Masterpost], retrieved June 2019