When Alan wanders into Stephen’s dressing room before the show, Stephen looks quite excited. Well, Stephen generally looks excited, Alan amends, but Stephen looks even more excited today.
“Is Emma going to tell that story about how you saved her Sense and Sensibility script, then?” Alan asks.
Stephen makes an indignant face. “I’ll have you know that that is a very good story.”
“Of course,” Alan soothes. “It has nothing to do with the fact that it makes you look like a genius with technology and a best friend to glamourous film stars.”
Stephen preens himself, although there’s a glint of humour in his eyes, as always, that tells Alan he’s deliberately trying it on at the moment. “I am a genius with technology and the best friend of glamourous film stars. No, wait, I am a glamourous film star.”
“In your dreams, dear,” Alan says, and prepares to waltz back out again. “You have fun with the makeup artist. I have to find food.”
Stephen’s eyebrow arches. “Do you now?”
“I do,” Alan says. “I intend to conquer all the competition and reign triumphant – despite your best attempts to stop me - and you can’t do that on an empty stomach.”
“I don’t try to stop you,” Stephen protests. “You stop yourself. Stop answering general ignorance questions with the obvious misapprehensions, and you’ll win more frequently.”
“I’ll have you know that I win more often than anyone else,” Alan informs him, “even though you stop me most of the time. Now there’s something Quite Interesting! And I’ll do it again tonight.”
Stephen laughs and leans back in his chair. There’s a calculating look in his eyes, a look that Alan has grown to love over the years. “A friendly wager?”
Alan gives him his best sceptical glare. “A friendly wager, when you control the points?”
Stephen holds up his hands. “I’ll leave it entirely to the elves. Your fate will be in your own hands.”
“What’s the wager, then?” Alan says, struggling not to laugh. Stephen has this effect on people – or at least on Alan, anyway – where it’s impossible not to be happy around him. “Loser dances around the studio proclaiming the winner to be a magnificent specimen of manhood?”
Stephen laughs, throwing his head back in his mirth, and it still makes Alan proud, somewhere deep inside, every time he makes Stephen laugh. “No!” He pulls himself under control, his lips still trembling from the after-shocks of his laughter. “I thought…perhaps a more intimate wager.”
His eyes have darkened, and in them Alan can see memories –
Alan on his knees, head bent to his task, Stephen’s hand in his hair, the heady taste of Stephen’s cock on his tongue, Stephen’s cultured voice and enormous vocabulary thrown by the by in favour of breathy moans and half-caught profanities, Stephen’s hand pulling at Alan’s hair and his voice soaring when he’s about to come, Alan looking up at him after and biting back a “Well, that was Quite Interesting, wasn’t it?” and instead pressing a kiss to the inside of his thigh.
Stephen on his knees, that national treasure of a mouth stretched obscenely around Alan’s cock, permission to touch given to Alan’s fingers as they trace Stephen’s face and lips and the bulge of Alan’s cock in Stephen’s mouth, Stephen’s eyes still managing to twinkle as they meet his, Stephen doing that thing with his tongue and his throat and making Alan shout, the burn of air in Alan’s lungs as he gasps for breath, the narrowing of the world to Stephen’s eyes and Stephen’s mouth and Stephen’s hands…
“Yes,” Alan says, swallowing hard, the memories still dancing behind his eyeballs – and Stephen is smiling, of course he is, he can always read Alan like a book, and heaven knows he reads enough of those – “that sounds like a wager I’d accept.”
“May the best man win,” Stephen says, eyes crinkling.
After all this time, Alan speaks moderately fluent Stephen-ese. That meant that Stephen considers himself to be the best man, and that he thinks that whatever the outcome of the wager is, he’ll be the winner.
Alan isn’t entirely sure that he’s wrong.
“May the best man win,” he agrees, and is rewarded by the full force of a Stephen Fry smile.
Alan loves this job.