Chuzzle!

May. 14th, 2010 07:25 am
maja_li: (Default)
[personal profile] maja_li
Title: Chuzzle!
Author: [livejournal.com profile] maja_li
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] shadecat
Pairing: Bradley/Colin
Rating: PGish
Warnings: Tooth-rotting fluff. And RPS… >.<
Word count: ~2500
Disclaimer: This is a ridiculous lie sprung from my ridiculous imagination and has nothing to do with the real lives of Bradley James or Colin Morgan.
Summary: Bradley is keeping a secret from Colin…what could it be? DUN DUN DUN.
A/N: Plot bunny that grabbed my ankle at like 2 am and would not let go. *headdesk* The game itself can be found here, but be forewarned: it's the reason I was up at 2 am in the first place :p Also: much thanks and love and ice cream to the brilliant [livejournal.com profile] shadecat for beta'ing this at insane o'clock in the morning! ^_^ *adores*



It starts one miserable, rainy afternoon, when filming has wrapped early because there's nothing to be done about the weather, and Colin has already learned his lines and read his email and even watched the video of that one interview that he's been avoiding and that Ruth has been pestering him about, and he's bored.

He doesn't realize it for a good hour or two, lying on his too-squashy hotel bed and flipping endlessly through French news and soaps and poorly dubbed comedies. It's an odd sensation, this blend of restlessness and lethargy, and it's become gratifyingly unfamiliar in the two years since he first picked up the script of Merlin. He's been too busy, too focused, all too aware of what's riding on this series (more careers than his own, for starters), or in his rare breaks too tired to be anything but relieved at having nothing to do. And the rest of the time—

—well, all right, the rest of the time, he's had too much Bradley James around to get bored with anything, ever. How could he, when Bradley's constantly dragging him off to play pranks on Angel, or tease Katie's latest mantoy (Bradley thinks this is an acceptable compound of "manwhore" and "boytoy"; Colin is skeptical), or pester Tony until he comes with them to shop for wine and cheese and the little preservative laced, juicebox-ish sixpacks that are the closest thing Bradley can have to milk without a fridge.

But Bradley has done none of these things today, and so Colin is bored. And because this is clearly Bradley's fault—Bradley having been the one engaging in ridiculous antics, thereby fatally atrophying Colin's ability to keep himself entertained with the French telly—Colin does something which at the time seems perfectly reasonable, but in retrospect will seem like a very poor idea.

He goes across the hall and knocks on Bradley's hotel room door. It's the same way he always knocks: two swift, half-hesitant raps followed by a pause to listen for any ensuing activity, then two more raps, only a little bit louder than the first in case he risks disturbing something important. Bradley always, always answers the door before Colin makes it to the pause, no matter how far away he must have been. He insists that it is an ability granted by his secret ninja skills, which Colin never contradicts to Bradley's face and privately puts down to Bradley being an unholy combination of Colin's stalker and his brain-twin.

So when Colin makes it through the pause without so much as a rustle from inside the room, he naturally assumes that Bradley isn't in. That's a bit odd, because Colin can't recall the last time Bradley went out for any length of time without trying to drag Colin along (if he was free) or texting him so often Colin felt he might as well have been dragged along (if it was one of those increasingly rare days when they had so many separate scenes that Bradley was done long before Colin). But Colin can accept it; Bradley is his creepy stalker, and not the other way around, no matter how many times Katie has caught him watching Bradley be golden and armored and beautiful in the fading light.

Colin frowns—those must be Katie's words, not his, he's sure of it—and starts to head back to his own room, trying to recall what boredom was like before Bradley and what he used to do about it, when hears The Sound. It's nothing that he would take normally take note of—just a cheerful sounding squeak, like the one a baby's toy might make—but it seems to come from inside Bradley's room.

But that would mean that Bradley is in after all, unless it's someone else in there, someone who feels comfortable enough to stay in Bradley's hotel room without him but isn't about to answer the door—

—which is a mental alleyway that Colin refuses to go down, and cuts off as neatly as a gardener pruning an unruly hedge. He does, however, go back and knock on Bradley's door again, daring to be just a little louder, a little more insistent. This time, there is a muffled thump, and the sound of Bradley swearing (limited, on pain of Katie, to words like "blithering" and "fragglemuffin" ever since he scolded Angel in the series one video diaries) before he calls through the door,

"Just a sec, Col!"

Colin blinks. Bradley hasn't ever asked him to wait—not that Colin minds, he doesn't expect Bradley to jump to his every whim, for God's sake—it's just that he's never done it. Not even the time he yanked the door open red-faced and panting, looking like Colin had just caught him in the middle of a particularly vigorous wank. Colin had felt obliged to point out that he had an older brother, really, he understood these things and if Bradley needed a minute…but Bradley wouldn’t hear a word of it.

Though, Colin reflects, that might have had more to do with Bradley not wanting to risk hearing stories of Neil wanking than anything else. He sighs and leans his head against the door—or tries to, rather, because as soon as he moves the door opens and Bradley is standing there on the threshold instead, and it's completely not Colin's fault that he yelps and topples into Bradley and sends both of them crashing to the floor in a tangle.

"Ow, Christ, Col," Bradley groans, rubbing his bruised rib with a hand that's now trapped between his and Colin's chests. Then he grins. "Aw, were you pining for me already? Trying to get a bit of that hugging action we missed at the end of—oof!"

Colin thinks it's obvious that Bradley didn't grow up with any brothers, because he has this tendency to assume that because Colin is slim and light-muscled (skinny, Colin had corrected, making a face for the interviewer, and Bradley had scowled and thumped him) that he's not a threat in close quarters. And he always forgets about the elbows.

They tussle for a moment, laughing and gasping, until it occurs to Colin that the door is still open and anyone could walk by and see two of them rolling around on the floor, like…like…

Hedge. Pruning. Right.

He manages to gasp out some variation of this despite Bradley's relentless attack—which has become more like tickling than wrestling, now, and when did that happen?—and Bradley freezes, and immediately rolls off Colin and onto his feet.

"Sorry, mate, I'll just—go take care of that…" he mutters, leaving Colin free to sit up and fix his shirt, looking around the room for some clue as to what had had Bradley so distracted in the first place. A flash of color catches his eyes: Bradley's laptop, perched innocently on the faux-wooden desk and open to a cheerful looking little game. Colin stands and wanders over, curious. In the center of the screen is a six-by-six grid of varicolored puffballs, which stare out at the world with enormous brown-and-blue googly eyes. Bradley's cursor is hovering over one of them; as Colin watches, it blinks, scowls, and then with an irritated squeak, shakes off the white arrow and sends it flying off to the edge of the screen.

Colin can't help himself. He laughs, delighted, and replaces the cursor on a larger puffball—the only one of its kind, taking up four times the space of the others. This one doesn't protest, though. It just looks at him mournfully, its gaze flicking longingly toward a half-full beaker icon on the other side of the grid. Colin is still trying to figure out what the point of the game is when he hears Bradley gasp.

"Bugger!" He turns to see Bradley scrambling toward him, looking more horrified than a silly computer game warrants. "Don't pay any attention to that, Colin, here, let me shut it down, why did you say came over, again?" Bradley babbles, making a grab for the laptop, but Colin stops him.

"How d'you play, then?" he asks, curious, and Bradley slumps.

"Er…well…"

"What? Is it some sort of porn game?" Colin waggles his eyebrows and leers. This humor isn't his, but he's learned it from Bradley over the months and, more importantly, learned when Bradley needs it. "Little puffballs rubbing up against each other, squeaking with pleasure, swelling up like that big, blue one in the corner until—"

"Argh!" Bradley laughs, burying his face in the crook of his elbow, and shoves at Colin with his free hand until Colin lets him at the laptop. "It's a puzzle game, see," he explains, using the cursor to grab rows and columns of puffballs and drag them across the screen. "You have to match up ones of the same color, and then—" Bradley drags two green puffballs over next to a third and releases the cursor. With a pop and a squeal, all three of them explode, raining down scraps of fur on the remaining puffballs. Their eyes fly into the beaker icon, which trills happily and fills a little more. Bradley clears his throat.

"When you've…er…exploded enough of them, the beaker gets filled and you get to advance to the next level." Bradley glances sideways at Colin, cautiously, as if he's expecting a negative reaction. Colin, though, can't stop grinning.

"That's brilliant!" he laughs, elbowing Bradley out of the way and clicking around happily. "Do you get more points if you explode more of them at once?" He grins at Bradley, expecting a thorough explanation—but Bradley is staring at him like he's about to ask if Colin's been replaced with a pod person (it wouldn't be the first time).

"You're not angry?" Bradley asks, still hesitant, and now Colin is very confused.

"Why would I be angry?" He cocks his head and grins. "Should I be? 'Cause now that you mention it, you were ignoring me for a bunch of—"

"No, not because of that!" Bradley flails, gesticulating wildly. "But…you're a veg! You get upset when people kill cute fluffy things because they are delicious, and they wish to eat them! And I have become addicted to a game where I kill cute fluffy things just because I can! It's…like…gratuitous cute-fluffy-things murder…" He trails off, as though he hadn't quite put it into those terms for himself before. "I thought it might upset you," Bradley finishes lamely.

Colin can't keep the grin from spreading over his face.

"Bradley James," he says sincerely, laying a hand on Bradley's shoulder. "That may be the most considerate thing anyone has ever done for me." Bradley glances up and finally, finally he smiles back at Colin.

"Yeah, well, you know. That's me," he says, familiar bluster quickly rising. "A proper English gentleman to the core, didn't you know? It's something they teach all us toothsome, blond, muscle-y types, for when we inevitably get cast as dashing war heroes. Or wealthy heirs in want of a wife. Or princes, princes are always classic—hey! What are you doing?"

Colin sticks his tongue out and returns to the game he's usurped. He's surprisingly quick at it, he finds, exploding puffballs in fours and fives, until—

"Noooo!" Bradley wails, as Colin finally pops the big, blue ball. "You killed the fat one! Why did you kill the fat one?"

"It was the only move left…"

"Lies!" Bradley folds his arms over his chest and pouts (glowers, he would say, or glares, but Colin knows that it's pouting, and Katie and Angel both agree with him, so there). "You get a medal if you make it through a whole game and spare all the fat ones! And I was on level eight, and you ruined it, Morgan. You owe me."

Bradley steps closer, unbending just a little, and there's something in his expression that makes Colin pause.

"What do I owe you, then?" The words tumble from his lips before he has chance to get at them with the pruning shears, but he can't wish them back. Not when they make Bradley come right into his personal space, which Bradley is always, always so careful of when they're off-set. Not when they make Bradley lick his lips, gaze flicking between Colin's eyes and his mouth.

"There is a fairly standard recompense, for princes," Bradley says to the dimple at the corner of Colin's cheek. "Payment. Restitution. Whatever."

"That's a big word, Bradley" Colin teases, falling back on lines from series two (Bradley's, not his, and what does that say? Colin doesn't feel like thinking about it now, though). "You sure you know what it means?"

"Yeah," Bradley says. "This."

Then his lips are on Colin's, chapped and clinging and perfect, and even though Bradley's mouth is still closed it's enough to make Colin suddenly lightheaded, clinging to Bradley's arms for support. Bradley pulls back after just a moment, or tries to—but the whole garden is running wild, now, and Colin has absolutely no choice about sliding one hand into Bradley's hair to hold him firmly in place. He wonders for a panicked half-second if Bradley is likely to object to that, and takes another half-second to decide that since Bradley kissed him first, it'd hardly be fair for him to object to Colin kissing back.

After that, things go a bit blurry in Colin's memory. Not that he doesn't remember it; quite the opposite. But it's all in flashes, things that he couldn't put into words even if he wanted to. If he had to choose one, though (and he does, later, because that's the sort of thing Bradley presses him about and because Colin is a terrible sap with an Irish love of drama and cliché) the word he would choose is:

Magic.

And the reason that it all seems like a terrible idea in retrospect? Well, that's simple. You see, Colin is an early riser by nature, on top of being one of those people who just gets more energetic after sex, and he's never had a problem making a morning call in his life.

But Bradley has been known to sleep through three different alarm clocks, two harried interns pounding on his door, and a bulldozer outside his window (in Bradley's defense, it was all in the same morning, which was a particularly awful one to begin with); and so Katie, who wouldn't trade her pseudo-brother for any other, and Angel, who claims it would be inconvenient to learn how to stage-kiss another Arthur at this point, have gotten into the habit of stopping by Bradley's room of a morning, just to make sure he hasn't passed out over his toothbrush or something.

So when Colin (who is awake and chipper, except for lazy morning sex, but Bradley will find that out later) instead of Bradley (who is still comatose, except for lazy morning sex, but Colin will find that out later) answers the door at half five in the morning—

Well. At least only half the crew has been betting on When Colin and Bradley Will Finally Sleep Together.

(The other half was convinced they already were.)

-fin-
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