Non-explicit sexual scene
This is a 100% not real
It starts off as a game, a way to have fun on set, but then Bradley just has to go and read more into it.
Written for jacklemmon for her donation at help_haiti. Sorry it took me so long. I hope you like this, and I hope I did your prompt justice. Title, again, comes from the Elbow song 'Starlings'.
Colin's head--Merlin's, Bradley reminds himself--falls against Bradley's--Arthur's--knees, and he lets out a faint snore, his hands still clutching Bradley's half-pulled-off boots. Bradley looks down at Colin in fake annoyance, rolling his eyes in that exasperated way of Arthur's at the sight of Colin feigning sleep on Bradley's knee, his mouth slack and his ridiculous haircut falling across his forehead. He's never seen Colin asleep before (or pretending to be asleep); Bradley's always been the first to fall asleep when they spend their evenings together watching DVDs and eating all the food they can order from room service. That's why they always hang out in Bradley's room after filming, so Colin can just slip out when Bradley falls asleep (apart from that time when they woke up to find that they were spooning, but they don't mention that).
Colin looks so peaceful when he sleeps, and Bradley can finally see what everyone's talking about when they call Colin sweet and innocent. Normally Bradley just sees the mischievous glint in those blue eyes, and a ridiculously wide sly grin spread across his face when they're planning their next prank on Angel (Katie is far too scary to even contemplate pranking).
Those hairs that are falling across Colin's forehead are really annoying, Bradley decides as he lightly shoves Colin's shoulder in an attempt to wake him up. Colin stirs slightly, but still doesn't 'wake up', and Bradley growls "Merlin," in annoyance. Colin stirs again, even more hair falling out of place, and Bradley goes to push it back without even thinking, really; carding his fingers through the dark, wavy locks, stubbornly ignoring the thought that actually, this feels quite nice, Colin's hair between his fingers and his head heavy on Bradley's knee.
"Cut!" the director, Webb, yells. "Bradley, what are you doing? That's not in the script." Colin lifts his head from Bradley's knee, and Bradley tries to focus on Webb instead of how his knee suddenly feels really cold without Colin's head there anymore. His eyes flicker to Colin, who's smiling at him the way he does when they're taping stuff to Angel's door.
"Er," Bradley says.
"Stop playing around, Bradley. Let's start the scene again." Webb turns to the lighting guys and starts talking at them in a rushed techno-babble that Bradley will never hope to understand. He looks to Colin, and Colin's still smiling as he slowly stands up, wincing as his knees seize up after too long spent kneeling on the floor. Scenes of Colin on his knees in front of Bradley flash through his head, and where the hell did they come from? He shakes his head and catches Colin's eye, frowning at him when he sees the smile is gone from Colin's face. Instead, he's watching him with an expression that Bradley can't explain, but then he grins his mischievous grin again and winks, winks, before turning away to talk to the first AD.
It's not like it was a suggestive wink, Bradley tells himself. It was more a isn't-this-fun-pissing-around-on-set-ann
They're filming a scene where Merlin is arguing with Arthur and he has to get right up in his face. They have to stare each other down, which is never a good thing for Bradley and Colin. One of them will always end up cracking up, which will make the other laugh as well.
Bradley manages to keep a straight face on the second take, and on the third he's schooled his expression to show how angry Arthur is, his jaw clenched and his eyes narrowed. Colin's mirroring his expression, his cheeks flushed red, but then his face softens and he smiles gently. Bradley frowns at him, and then Colin reaches out to stroke Bradley's cheek lightly, his fingers tracing the line of his cheekbone so softly that Bradley can hardly feel them. Then Colin pulls his hand away and snorts with laughter, turning away and laughing harder as Webb shouts at them. Bradley laughs too, an obviously forced sound, but his cheek burns from where Colin touched him, and he fights the urge to reach up and touch the spot where Colin's long, elegant fingers had been just a moment ago.
After that it become a game for them, a way to pass the time. They'll take it in turns to do something--an arm around a waist, fingers brushing against a back of a hand, shoulders bumping, a squeeze to a nape of a neck, and even once Colin dropped a kiss to Bradley's temple--all things that Webb notices and yells 'Cut' at. It's their new version of pranking, and Bradley much prefers it to taping notes to Angel's door or ordering early wake-up calls for Tony on his day off, as he gets to touch Colin--and God, doesn't he sound pathetic.
Webb finally loses his last shred of patience on the fifth day of them doing this. They've had a lot of scenes to film together, but then Webb changes around the filming schedule and now Bradley's filming with everyone but Colin. As an added punishment, Webb makes it so that one of them's always filming at night while the other's filming during the day, or near enough. A week of this and they, in a rare moment spent together, decide to apologize to Webb, promising not to fuck around on set again. He agrees to let them film together again.
Colin wakes Bradley up with a pillow to his face--giving Colin a spare key was a bad idea--and then he tugs the covers off of Bradley, dumping them unceremoniously on the floor.
"Hey!" Bradley protests. "I was sleeping!"
"It's ten o'clock," Colin says, looking like he's about to grab Bradley's ankles and start pulling.
Colin rolls his eyes. "So, it's time to get up."
"It's our day off." Bradley shivers, the hotel air-con turned down just a bit too low to warrant him lying there in boxers, an old t-shirt, and not much else.
"Exactly. We're going out."
"Where?" Bradley sits up, scratching absent-mindedly at his stomach.
Bradley snorts. "And you call me the child."
Colin shrugs. "Get up," he says, chucking the pillow that was in his hands at Bradley. Bradley bats it away.
"Infant," he mutters as he gets out of the now cold bed and pads into the bathroom, shutting the door on Colin. He can't hide the smile on his face, though.
When Bradley first met Colin, he thought he was weird. Well, he still thinks that now, but he thought more so then. Colin barely spoke to him for the first month or so--he was painfully shy, and still is around some people--but now that Bradley's brought Colin out of his shell he can barely get him to stop talking, about everything, really, from the latest indie band he's uploaded to his iPod to his theories in Arthur and Merlin (he thinks they secretly want to shag each other).
People don't believe Bradley when he says that Colin isn't as sweet and innocent as he seems. They say Bradley is just jealous. Bradley thinks Colin's got them all fooled with his goofy charms. He also thinks that sometimes he is fooled by Colin's charms. But then he'll shake his head, tell himself not to be stupid, and shove Colin's shoulder, just for good measure.
On Colin's first day off in what seems like forever Bradley gets his revenge by banging on Colin's door at six in the morning. Bradley had yesterday off as well, so he's not bothered about missing out on a morning of sleep.
After a good five minutes of alternating between hitting the door and shouting out for Colin, Colin opens the door, his hair sticking up every which way, wearing only a pair of boxers and an over-sized sweatshirt. Bradley tries not to look at Colin's skinny legs as he barges past him into the room.
"Bradley, it's six o'clock," Colin groans, shutting the door as Bradley settles himself in the middle of Colin's bed. The covers are still warm, and it's hard not to burrow under them.
Bradley shrugs. "Think of it as revenge."
Colin wanders closer to the bed, running a hand through his hair, messing it up even more. "I woke you up at ten!"
"With a pillow!"
Colin sits down on the bed next to Bradley. "And your method was so much nicer." Bradley laughs and pushes Colin's arm. Colin shifts and moves under the covers, pulling them over his head and kicking at Bradley.
"Well, I'm going back to sleep," Colin says. Bradley grabs his ankle.
"Aww, don't be boring, Colin." Colin kicks him again.
"Bradley, either shut up, or leave." Bradley laughs, shrugs, and then stands up, pulling back the covers of the unslept-on side of the bed and climbing in. Colin rolls onto his back and frowns at him. "What are you doing?"
Bradley presses his cold toes to Colin's thighs, cackling manically when Colin hisses. "Shutting up," he says innocently. Colin sighs.
"Keep to your own side," he says.
When Bradley wakes up three hours later Colin is pressed up to him, his back pressed against Bradley's chest. Bradley can feel the curve of Colin's spine, and his arse is pressed to Bradley's groin. Bradley's cock twitches and he reluctantly slides out of bed--he's still on his side, mind--and slips out of the room. He thinks he heard Colin groan as he left, but he probably imagined it.
When filming finishes and they get back to London, Colin disappears for awhile. He does this everytime, so Bradley's not worried. Colin's naturally a bit of a loner; he likes his space and time to himself, so after weeks of having no privacy he likes to shut himself away. Bradley gives him a week before he goes round to Colin's flat with a case of Colin's favourite beer and a Chinese take-away with only vegetarian dishes. He doesn't mind not having any meat--he's not sure how good the quality of the meat is at the Chinese take-away, anyway.
Colin doesn't answer the door, so it's a good thing that Bradley knows where the spare key is. Again, he's not worried, because this is what Colin always does. It's like they've got a routine planned out--Bradley will wait a week then go to Colin's with beer and a take-away. Last year it was Indian.
"Colin?" Bradley calls out as he enters the flat, even though he knows he won't get a reply. He walks to the small kitchen and dumps the food and the beer on the counter before heading to Colin's bedroom, calling out for him again. This time he gets a loud groan. Just as normal. He shoulders the half-open door fully open. The room is dark, lit only by the orange glow of the street lights filtering in through a small gap in the curtains. Colin's just a lump under the bed covers, and Bradley walks over to him, prodding him. As far as he knows, Colin spends his days in bed and his nights watching those weird films that he likes, and it's nearly seven, so it's about time Colin got up. Colin grunts as Bradley pokes him again, harder this time, and then Bradley drags the covers off Colin, chucking them across the cluttered room.
"Come on, Colin," he says. Colin groans and sits up, glaring at Bradley. Bradley grabs his wrist and tugs him upright before frog-marching him towards the bathroom. "Shower," he says. "I'll get dinner set out."
Ten minutes later a freshly showered Colin wanders into the kitchen, absently running his hands through his wet hair, wearing a large t-shirt that sticks slightly to his still damp chest. Bradley hands him a plate, a knife and fork, and a beer before pushing him in the direction of the living room, where he's got all the various food containers spread out on the rug. He gets his own plate, cutlery, and beer and follows Colin through, settling himself down on the floor and picking at the nearest dish.
"So, you ready to see people again?" Bradley teases, loading his plate up with food. Colin rolls his eyes.
"No." Bradley snorts.
"You're such a loner, Colin." Colin shrugs and smiles.
"Not with you around. It's impossible to be alone when you're my friend."
"I do try," Bradley says, and Colin flicks a baby sweetcorn at him. Bradley waggles his eyebrows and lifts his beer bottle to his lips, letting the cool liquid slide slowly past his lips and down his throat. He glances to Colin, finds him watching him closely, and he grins as he lowers the bottle and licks his lips. "Hey--pass me the spring rolls." Colin blinks several times, then flushes and looks down at the floor as he passes Bradley the container. Bradley would be lying if he said his stomach didn't flip a little over that.
Honestly, it just sort of...sneaks up on him one day. It doesn't hit him, there's just a kind of slow realisation. No punch to the gut, but more a 'Oh' when he's watching the way that Colin's neck curves when he's pouring over a book. He's just admiring the soft, pale skin and the way the the dark tendrils of her curl at his nape when he thinks: Oh, I love him.
He's never been in love before; sure, he thought he was in love with a girl called Lucy when he was sixteen, but then she broke it off when she left for America, and after a few weeks of moping around the house he realised he didn't actually love her. He moved on pretty soon after that, to a girl named Caitlin.
But this is different. It's Colin, and it's different. Really, though, it had been a long time coming.
The more Bradley falls for Colin, the more he convinces himself that Colin's madly in love with him. Then he tells himself that he's being stupid. Then he'll go and catch Colin watching him, or Colin's hand will rest on his shoulder just a second too long, and he'll get his hopes up, all over again.
Bradley is curled up in one of the chairs in the lobby of the latest hotel they're at, for another convention. The lobby is filled with fans, but a large potted plant blocks him from view. He leans his head back against the chair; he's got a headache that's a dull throbbing at the front of his skull. He just wants to go home and curl up on the sofa with lots of blankets and watch Match of the Day. Bradley hates having to work weekends sometimes.
Colin interrupts his train of thought by dropping down in the chair next to Bradley, silently handing him a fresh bottle of water, which Bradley sips from gratefully.
"How did you find me?" Bradley says when his mouth isn't so dry anymore. He had thought he was pretty well hidden, considering. Colin shrugs and pulls his iPod from his jeans pocket.
"You want a headphone?" he asks. Bradley shakes his head, and Colin only slips one earbud in so he can still talk to Bradley, even though it's clear Bradley doesn't feel like talking.
"How long till we can go home?" Bradley says a couple of minutes later.
"Not long," Colin promises. Then he makes a face like he's just remembered something, something important, and shoves his hand into his pocket, digging around a little before pulling it back out with a triumphant look on his face. He flattens his palm and holds it out to Bradley; Bradley looks at it to see two little white pills resting on it. He looks back up at Colin. "Painkillers," Colin says. "Thought you might need them."
"I love you," Bradley says jokingly as he takes the pills from Colin and throws them into his mouth, swallowing them with a large gulp of water. Colin laughs, but it's got a forced edge to it.
Bradley is the one who makes sure they all see each other. Angel and Katie often meet up, just the two of them, but if it wasn't for Bradley, the girls probably wouldn't see the others, and Colin probably wouldn't see anybody. Bradley likes to think of himself as the glue that holds the group together, as corny as that sounds, but when he said that to Katie once, she didn't stop laughing for ten minutes straight. He just keeps it to himself, now.
The hum of the background chatter in the restaurant is oddly comforting to Bradley as he squirms in the hard chair; Colin has left to take a call on his mobile and Angel and Katie are looking at him suspiciously after they saw the way he looked when Colin left the table. Is he really that obvious?
Colin returns before Angel and Katie can say anything, and he's full of apologies as he tells them he has to leave. He leans down and kisses Angel on the cheek, then Katie, and for a second he hovers by Bradley as if he's going to kiss him on the cheek, or something, but then he coughs awkwardly and says, "See you, then."
As soon as he's gone Katie smiles wickedly, and Angel says, "You like him," dragging out the 'i' sound in like.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Bradley says, looking away. Katie snorts. Bradley glares at her. "Fine," he says. "I don't want to talk about it." Katie pouts, but Angel's look softens, and that's even worse. He doesn't want their sympathy, just because he's painfully in love with his co-worker/best friend. He almost tells them that, but then he decides he has to leave instead, as fast as he can. Colin is outside the restaurant, waiting for a taxi, apparently, and he can feel Colin's confused stare on the back of his neck as he hurries to the nearest tube station.
One night, Bradley's friends from Before He Got Famous decide that he needs a night out on the boozer to 'cheer him up', as they said. Tom had come over to watch the England vs Argentina football match with him, and Bradley hadn't been in a great mood, to say the least.
"Cheer up, mate, it might never happen," Tom had said at half-time when England were two goals up, handing him a beer.
"That's what I'm worried about," Bradley had muttered, taking a long pull from the beer.
Tom had frowned. "Girl trouble?" Bradley had grunted.
So now, a week later, Tom and Lucas are man-handling him out of the door and down his block of flat's stairs to where Dave and Johnny are waiting for them in a taxi. They shove him in to a chorus of "Bradley! Long time, no see!", and the reply of "That's because he's too busy spending time with his fancy actor friends, right, Bradley?"
Once he gets a couple of drinks in him he actually starts to enjoy himself. He realises how much he missed his friend's company, and the simple lads-looking-to-get-drunk-and-or-laid feel to the night. There's no constant analysing of everything Colin does and says (yes, he is that pathetic, it seems), and he can get absolutely off his face without worrying about confessing anything to Colin. Which he does (the getting drunk part).
It doesn't take long for a group of girls--very attractive girls--to recognise him.
"You're Prince Arthur!" a leggy blonde slurs.
"I am indeed," Bradley replies, also slurring slightly.
"Will you show us your sword?" a curvy brunette giggles. The rest of them throw their heads back and cackle.
Bradley stands up straight. "For you," he says mock-seriously, "anything." Then he winks. They all laugh again, and the brunette blushes slightly before smiling, tossing her curly hair back over her shoulders.
He talks to the girls for a while, but then his friends decide they want to leave for another club, and by that time Bradley's actually drunk enough to dance, right in the middle of the packed dance floor. A tall man with dark, messy hair comes up to him, and he looks sort-of like Colin, if he squints, and they dance together, grinding their hips together, and Bradley's cock is hard, rubbing against the fabric of his boxers in a way that's almost too painful, and the man drags him off to the grotty bathroom, shoving him into a stall and pressing him back against the door, lowering to his knees and fumbling with his belt buckle before Bradley really knows what's happening. Then his mouth is hot around Bradley's cock and Bradley twists his fingers in the dark hair that's sort-of like Colin's. He never gets the man's name, but he doesn't seem to mind when Bradley calls him Colin when he comes. The man calls out someone else's name as Bradley returns the favour.
"Talk to me," Katie says, stood on Bradley's doorstep, laden down with bags of PG Tips and chocolate.
And he does.
The sound of his front door slamming jerks Bradley from his sleep on the sofa, and one part of his mind--the sensible part--screams at him to get up and investigate. The other part--the part that's miserable and feels sorry for itself--tells him it's nothing, and he should go back to sleep. That part wins out, because he's badly hungover from going on a pub crawl with his friend Anthony last night. He covers his face with his hand in an attempt to block out the light that floods into the room when the lounge door opens and Colin walks in. He can tell by the way he walks.
Colin walks over to the sofa and crouches down by it, reaching out and shaking Bradley's arm. Bradley groans and waves his arm about wildly, trying to push Colin away, his eyes still screwed tightly shut. Colin grabs Bradley's wrist and laughs softly.
"Hungover?" he says. Bradley tries to nod, but it hurts his head and he groans again. "Aww, poor Bradley," Colin laughs, and Bradley sticks up his index and middle fingers to swear at him. Colin tsks and strokes his thumb briefly over Bradley's pulse point and drops his wrist. Bradley cracks an eye open and meets Colin's eyes. He's closer than Bradley thought, and it would be so easy to close the gap between their lips. And the way Colin's looking at him--his eyes half-closed and his lips slightly parted, a soft expression playing in those deep blue eyes--suggests that Colin wouldn't mind so much.
Bradley opens his other eye and shifts a little bit, propping himself up with his elbow. He halves the gap between them and waits, Colin's breath is warm on his lips as he closes the rest of the gap, his soft lips tentative and unsure. Bradley snakes a hand around the back of Colin's neck and pulls him closer, sighing into Colin's mouth. Colin reaches up to stroke his still cold from outside fingers along Bradley's cheek, and then pulls back, breaking the kiss with a small smile on his face.
"Tea?" he asks, and Bradley had forgotten how hungover and shitty he feels, but now a cup of tea sounds like heaven.
"You're a godsend," Bradley tells Colin, and Colin laughs.
"I know," he says as he walks off towards the kitchen. Bradley stretches out on the sofa, working out the kinks in his back before getting up and joining Colin in the kitchen, crowding him against the counter and kissing his neck as he fills the kettle with water.