Michael's starting to crack round the edges.
He stands at the elevator, eyes glassy and distant, staring at the door, and Steve keeps silently saying, Go in, go in. The doors slide shut, and Steve hasn't stopped silently chatting, Michael, go, as he watches Michael drop into the chair.
Steve's straddling that line in people's heads, the one between the reality in front of them and the memory of what they just saw, so it takes him a heartbeat to fully step over, takes him seeing Michael's chest rise from one deep breath and then cave in with the same defeated slowness.
It almost seems like no one moves as he trots down the stairs. They're all caught in Michael's moment, holding their breaths.
"Sorry," Michael murmurs. "Let's shoot it again."
"Thought we might take a break," Steve proposes instead. "Before everyone stages a coup."
Michael's smile wavers, but it's there, breaking up that overly serious exterior that he's taken on for the role. Everyone else has a chuckle, tossing out their own quips, but what's most important is that the set is moving again, alive and warm.
"Come on," Steve says, and offers Michael an anchor to the real world. "I owe you a pint, don't I?"
Michael stares at the hand that he offers and then takes it with a firm squeeze. "I suppose you do."
He stands slowly, like he has to strip out of Brandon in inches. Or maybe like he's swimming out of Brandon's head. Possibly, Steve's trying to be too poetic about this. Curse of an artist's soul.
"What you did back there," Steve says, first thing before Michael has a chance, "was brilliant. Very powerful, very moving. I'm going to keep the scene."
"Are you?" Michael has a more genuine smile on his face now and accepts the tea that Steve offers with both hands. "So what did you see back there?"
"An honest moment."
Michael's smile cracks, the devastation reaching his eyes, and he quickly sets the cup down, chokes as he asks, "May I?"
Steve nods and motions to the floor. "Whatever makes you comfortable."
Michael drops to his knees, shoulders sagging, and Steve steps forward, so Michael's not left falling to the floor. It still takes Steve's hand on the back of Michael's neck before Michael accepts the support and relaxes against him, before the rest of the tension shakes out of him in a shudder.
"There we go, mate," Steve says, as easy as can be.
He pushes his fingers through Michael's hair and doesn't talk about the film at all. He has a lot of stories besides that one, stories that are a lot funnier, in fact, and as much a part of the human experience as anything else. It lets Michael be Michael for a bit, on his knees, doing everything right, and allows Steve to earn the trust that shines through Michael's face when he's finally able to stop laughing, wipes his eyes, looks at Steve and says, "Thank you."