Today was not a good day. It was a day full of an agonizing lack of energy and constant events full of annoyance for Bradley. Really, he didn't know what else to expect when Colin, Katie, Angel or the knights weren't there. There was no one to amuse him!
Where were they all? Stuck in France still, of course. Bradley had had to arrive two days earlier on set in order to film a few scenes with just himself and Rachel Digby-- a boring and frankly somewhat creepy bird they had hired to play a princess from a bordering kingdom that Morgana had sent to seduce Arthur or something. So, he had come early with this Rachel girl, and a few other cast members, but there had been a huge storm in London and the others hadn’t been able to leave. So now Bradley was stuck... Here... With no one to amuse him! Didn’t the producers understand how dangerous that was?
"Bradley, as much as you think otherwise, we weren't actually hired to amuse you," Colin laughed huskily over the phone. Well, not huskily, but... okay, who was Bradley kidding? His laugh was husky, and gorgeous and-- "Besides, all of us are actually stuck here-- we're not ditching you for no reason."
"Can't you just take a cab or something? I'll pay for it!" Bradley whinged, aware that while the rest of them were stuck, he was really only talking about Colin coming over as soon as possible. He wondered if Colin noticed. Then again, the Irish Idiot (as Bradley was fond of calling him) hadn’t noticed that Bradley was kind of epically in love with him. In the not-bromance-but-actually-romance kind of way. It was alarming, actually, but Bradley didn’t think about too often.
"If that were possible, I would totally have taken you up on that offer," Colin sighed. "Aren’t you having fun with Rachel? I thought she seemed nice."
"She's creepy," Bradley whispered into his mobile, looking around in case the actress was nearby. "She asked me if I would prove that I didn’t have any tattoos because she read somewhere online that I did!"
Colin had the audacity to laugh again. Huskily. "She’s trying to flirt-- don’t be an arse."
"I don’t wanna flirt! Can’t you just come over somehow?! Where are your rainbows and unicorns, you leprechaun?"
"Bradley.” Colin was slowly approaching his ‘I-can’t-believe-I’m-friends-with-you’ stage. “Just chill. Have a Buffy marathon or actually, I don’t know, do your job and learn some lines, and time will fly by."
Bradley whined a bit more but Col was having none of it. Jerkface. Bradley soon got called back on set and he hung up without saying goodbye because he really was a pissy little girl just like Katie and Angel always complained-- the hussies.
Turns out, he really shouldn't have hung up on his BFF like that.
Bradley heard the news the next morning, when he stumbled downstairs to look for some breakfast in the hotel lobby and found the whole team standing around, anxiously calling people and jostling each other. Some of the makeup girls and extras were crying, which was actually what caught Bradley’s attention.
“What’s going on?” Bradley asked through a bite full of cornflakes, because it was Colin’s favorite breakfast and he missed Colin like hell. How did he usually survive the hiatuses without Colin and the rest of the cast? His life was so centered around them now.
“Bradley!” Jenny, one of the makeup girls noticed him standing there. “Oh... it’s, um... it’s Colin.”
The spoon fell out of his hand and back into the bowl with a loud clang, causing everyone else to look over at him. “It’s Colin what? What’s wrong with him?”
“He apparently was coming over in a cab, and the cab was in an accident because of the storm, it was raining really hard and the car crashed... I don’t know why he started coming early, we told them all we could wait as long as needed--”
“Fuck, what--” Bradley dropped the bowl back onto the counter as his heart seized and his vision blurred. He could practically hear the car wheels squealing against the pavement. “What are you--”
They all came over and started crowding him, trying to reassure him.
“He’s okay! He’s, um, he was admitted in the hospital about an hour out--”
“Katie and Angel went up and got him when they realized he had somehow snuck away! He’s fine!”
“Just a few scratches and a bit of a hurt wrist, but he’s all right!”
Bradley felt his breathing go shallow and he closed his eyes, leaning against the counter stiffly for a moment. “He’s okay though? I mean, he’s talking and he’s-- he’s alive right?”
“Yes! He’s fine, don’t worry dear,” Jenny said, hugging him and steering him towards the door. “We can all go out and see him. The storm is pretty much over now and we’ll get everyone in and out of the hospital and come back here. You can come with us, of course. We know how close you and Colin are--”
She kept talking as she led him back to his own hotel room and he realized that she was freaked out as well-- everyone loved Colin.
Once they got to the hospital, Bradley began feeling his fingers and toes again; they were no longer frozen with shock but he still couldn’t quite breathe correctly. He needed to know if Colin was okay, if he was still able to laugh that amazing laugh and sing dorky songs with Bradley and swear like a sailor. Bradley wanted to watch him dance to Beyonce with Katie and Angel and play ping pong with Eoin and Rupert. He wanted to watch as Colin cried during Titanic and laughed his arse off at anything that Bradley did.
He just wanted Colin.
They got into the waiting room, where they spotted a bit more of the crew and cast and Angel waved him over and spoke softly. “Bradley, he’s in that room... you can go in and see him. He woke up a while ago, but he’s fine.”
Katie and Angel were huddled together and staring at him. “Are you two okay?” He asked, looking at Angel’s worried face and Katie’s cheeks, pink from the cold.
“We’re fine... Colin was being an idiot, as usual when it comes to you,” Katie said, rolling her eyes.
Bradley frowned and his heart stuttered when he realized that Colin really was going to come early, in the middle of a rainstorm, just for him. He felt sick to his stomach, and it must’ve shown on his face because Katie suddenly leaned over and smacked him on the arm.
“Will you please finally tell him?” She said, pushing her glasses up her nose and glaring at him.
“Tell who what?” Bradley asked, rubbing at his arm because damn that bitch could do some damage!
“Tell Colin you’re in love with him, duh!” Angel said, also glaring at him.
“Shut up,” Katie whisper-shrieked at him. She did that really well. “You’re wearing the shirt for him, aren’t you?”
Bradley looked down and realized he had subconsciously put on the lame, girly t-shirt that Colin had got him for last Christmas along with a set of fluffy pajamas. It was pink and had a picture of Sylvester and Tweety bird and it said “A Good BFF is hard to find” because Colin loved that Bradley called him his BFF all the time. Even though Bradley felt like a huge dork, it was worth it to see Colin smile every time he wore the shirt.
“So what if I’m wearing the shirt? That doesn’t mean I’m in love with him!” Bradley said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see him.”
He stormed the rest of the way over to Colin’s door, taking a deep breath before quietly opening the door and peeking inside.
The blinds were half-turned, allowing some light into the room and Bradley zeroed in on the bed, where Colin was sitting, flicking through what looked suspiciously like the Merlin script. He looked up as Bradley came inside and Bradley felt his stomach twist like he was going to throw up.
Colin smiled at him, and his blue, blue, eyes lit up but there were tiny little scratches on his forehead and down his arms as if someone had come at him with a switchblade, or, Bradley swallowed thickly, a thousand shards of glass from a car windshield.
“Hey there,” Colin said, and his voice was the same as Bradley remembered it, so that was good at least. Bradley came over and stood near his bedside, feeling a bit like a small child who was really scared to touch Colin in case he hurt him more. “You look worse than me and that’s sayin’ somethin’, Bradley.”
Bradley bit his lip to try not to cry like a baby at Colin’s words. “I’m-- Why are you so stupid?” Bradley blinked. Well, that’s not what he meant to say. Why was his mouth never in line with his brain? Ever? “You could’ve-- what if something had happened to you?”
Colin sighed his usual sigh and he closed the book in front him--ha! So it had been the script, the little overachiever-- and he patted the space near his knee. Bradley stared at him for a moment before cautiously sitting down at the edge of the bed, looking down at Colin’s hands, where they were gently resting in his lap.
“I’m fine, Bradley. The scratches look worse than they actually are. The doctors say there was no damage and the taxi driver is fine too.” His hands folded on his lap and his skin looked so pale against the white hospital sheets it made Bradley want to hold them. “Bradley? You okay?”
Bradley looked up and into Colin’s face-- his best friend’s stupidly awesome pixie-like face-- and just stared at him. “No. I’m not okay. I thought-- I thought...” Bradley huffed, unable to speak.
“Thought what? That I’d died or something?” Bradley sucked in a breath at Colin’s words. “You can’t get rid of me that easy, englishman.”
“It was just scary,” Bradley admitted, his voice sounding all soft for some reason and his heart thudding hard in his chest. “I just kept thinking that I hadn’t said bye to you on the phone and I’ve heard of all these stories where someone loses someone and they never got to say bye and it hurt and I was thinking that you couldn’t be the Merlin to my Arthur anymore and we’d have to cancel the show and I’d let the fans kill me because it’d be my fault you were dead and--”
“Bradley!” Colin stopped him, reaching out to put a hand on Bradley’s wrist. “Calm down, nutter. I’m fine, see?” He waved his other hand and grinned impishly and Bradley’s heart squeezed a little. “No real damage. I wouldn’t let the fangirls kill you anyway. I’d come back and haunt you and they’d all leave you alone.”
Bradley took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down. No need to be such a girl about it, he’s fine, Bradley! He told himself and tried to joke back with his friend. “Ah! You’d be a fiendish leprechaun ghoul!”
“With an excellent bellow. Ghouls must be able to bellow quite loudly.”
Bradley smiled at Colin and Colin grinned back and then looked downwards. “Bradley, are you wearing the shirt? Yes!”
He reached over to move Bradley’s jacket and saw the shirt, smiling widely. Bradley felt himself go all red. “I, er, didn’t actually mean to put it on or anything. I was just... I missed you, mate.”
Colin smiled at him and leaned back against his pillows, and Bradley realized his hand was back on Bradley’s wrist. “I missed you too. I wanted to surprise you by getting up there early and rescuing you from Rachel, since you said she was creepy, but I guess that didn’t work out as well as I’d planned.”
He shook his head. “You Irish idiot. That was a horrid plan. But, thanks.” Bradley sighed. “I guess your heart was in the right place. As usual.”
“Yeah,” Colin said, so softly that Bradley almost didn’t hear him, biting his lip. “It was with you.”
“What?” Bradley asked, looking up at Colin.
“I just... I mean, it was on set,” Colin said quickly, and Bradley was amazed to see he was blushing. “You know I love the set of Merlin. Besides. Where would Arthur be without Merlin anyway?”
Bradley grinned. “Nowhere. Just like Bradley without Colin. It’s a dark scary world for co-dependents like Arthur and I.”
Colin laughed, huskily again goddamn it. “Well, Merlin and I wouldn’t be in such a good place either.”
And Bradley really really wanted to tell Colin, just then and there, that he loved him and he didn’t want to just be Best Friends Forever anymore, he in fact wanted to be Boy Friends Forever, but that didn’t happen because A) Bradley really wasn’t as brave as Arthur and B) a bunch of people started to knock and open Colin’s door, coming in to see if he was okay.
Colin squeezed Bradley’s wrist lightly before letting go and smiling his fake-smile at everyone else (and yes, Bradley knew the differences between Colin’s real smiles and fake ones, he was his BFF after all) and Bradley stood up and stepped away from Colin’s bed.
He stared at Colin for a moment longer before walking out of the room, shaking his head at both Katie and Angel who were looking at him hopefully.
“You are a massive idiot, you know that?” Katie said, sprawling onto the bed next to him as Bradley lay on his stomach, reading through a footie mag. “Really. You’re worse than Arthur sometimes and that’s saying something.”
“Stop demeaning both I and my lovely character, Katherine. Be gone, you foul wench!” Bradley attempted to push her off his bed but she just hooked her arm through his and remained clinging like a five year old.
“Call me that again and I will knee you in the groin, Bradders,” she warned. He considered whinging for a bit because he hated that nickname and she knew it but she started talking again. “Besides, Angel agrees with me and we all know Angel’s the smartest of all of us.”
“I don’t know about that,” Angel piped up from the corner of Bradley’s hotel room, where she was painting her toenails at his desk. “I still think my IQ is severely lowered from all the oxygen-restricting corsets they have me wear on set.”
“But you look so lovely in them,” Bradley remarked, flipping another page and checking out Beckham’s advertisement for some new shoe. Mmm, Beckham. Bradley fondly remembered first figuring out he was bisexual as a teen all because of his closeted desire to have Beckham teach him some not-so-footie-like moves. “They make your boobs more important than anything else that’s happening on screen, also giving Merlin ample time to use his magic behind Arthur’s back.”
He felt a nail file hit him squarely in the head and he snickered into his magazine. “Shut up about my boobs, Bradley, you’re just jealous.”
“Can we get back on topic?” Katie said in her ‘I-can’t-believe-I’m-friends-with-you’ voice (was she secretly working on it with Colin? He’d have to find out). “We need to discuss how much of an idiot you are.”
“Don’t we discuss this every other hour of the day?” Bradley sighed, tossing his mag to the side. “And speaking of idiots, where are Colin and Eoin? They said they’d be back with the beer in like ten minutes. It’s been way past.”
“They’ll probably be here in a bit, which gives me only a few minutes to instill in you the confidence needed to tell Colin the truth!” Katie said, pinching his arse. Bradley did not squeal, no matter what the hussies said, and turned around.
“Well! You just need to tell him!”
“Really Bradley, it’s getting ridiculous,” Angel said, finishing up with her nails and coming over to sit next to him. “Even Eoin knows and he’s not exactly the brightest star in the sky, if you know what I mean.”
“Eoin knows?!” Bradley whisper-shrieked.
“You’re not as good as whisper-shrieking as I am, you know,” Katie said matter-of-factly. “Also, yes, Eoin knows and I’m almost 75% sure he’s telling Colin about it now, and the 25% of mis-information comes from his hair doing odd flippy things while he was talking to me earlier.”
“Wait, he’s WHAT?!” Bradley sat up. “Why is he telling Colin?!”
“Maybe because you won’t?” Angel said, poking Bradley. “I don’t think he’s actually telling him, but he’s probably telling Colin to tell you how he feels.”
“What do you mean how Colin feels? Does Colin feel things? I thought pixies don’t feel things.”
“Shut up about him being a pixie!” Katie said, swatting him.
“But he is! He’s an Irish pixie with pixie features and pixie ears and--”
“Who’s a pixie?” Eoin asked, coming in through the cracked-open hotel door with a case of beer in one hand and holding the door open for Colin in the other.
“Erm, no one,” Bradley said thickly, sitting up and accepting a thuggish slap on the back from Eoin and a quiet, happy smile from Colin.
“Got us some beer and a pack of playin’ cards. How ‘bout some strip pocker, ladies?” Eoin grinned wolfishly at Angel and Katie, who both took turns swatting at him.
“Ow! oh! Okay, fine, rummy it is then!”
Grinning, Colin sat across from Bradley in their little circle and they all took a few gulps of beer. Except Bradley, who decided that being drunk around Colin while everyone else was plotting against him was probably not the best of ideas. Let the rest of them get drunk without him.
“Colin, I dare you to kiss--”
Oh dear God please no, not me, Bradley thought as Angel giggled and pointed at Colin.
“When did this turn into a game of truth or dare?” Bradley asked aloud, since he was the only one actually completely sober enough to ask.
“Since Eoin dared Angel and I to kiss? For the millionth time?” Katie said, drinking her way through another bottle of beer.
Eoin sighed happily, staring at them. “I love watching two hot girls make out.”
“We know,” Colin laughed and did an adorable little flop.
Angel hiccupped and looked up. “Now, Colin, I dare you to kiss... KATIE!”
Bradley let out a sigh. He didn’t know if he was relieved that it wasn’t him, or anxious about his two friends making out in front of him. He should probably cut in now. When did he become the voice of reason in this group?! Oh, when he hadn’t consumed any alcohol of course.
“Um, I’m not sure if--” Bradley started but Katie cut him with an “OKAY!” and practically jumped on Colin to attach her lips to his and Bradley was caught in a strange fascination-- it was probably because of all of Katie’s hair, half blocking her face and Colin’s eyes fluttering shut and his cheekbones in the dim light of their hotel room and-- fuck. Bradley may have been sober, but he felt like throwing up.
“Whoa!” Colin let go and laughed dorkily in Katie’s face, his accent deepening and causing Bradley’s jeans to tighten. “I think I just felt your tongue stud, you slag! I thought you left that out during shooting!”
Katie laughed her full-on drunk laugh and rested her head on Colin’s shoulder and Eoin scooted closer, obviously to have a look at said stud. “Colin, I had no idea you were such a good kisser, mate! If you ever get tired of dicks, I am here for you, darling.”
“I’m about to throw up,” Bradley groaned.
“But you haven’t had anything to drink!” Eoin protested, trying to put a beer bottle in his hands for the fifteenth time. “The other knights aren’t here mate, you gotta drink up with me.”
“No, you should all take this party to another room, actually,” Bradley sighed, sitting up from where he was lounging at the foot of his bed. “I wanna sleep.”
“What?” Katie pouted, sitting up. “But Bradders, we just started having fun!”
“DON’T CALL ME THAT!” Bradley shouted and then realized he was shouting and blushed furiously. “I mean... don’t call me that, you foul wench.”
Katie rolled her eyes. “You can’t be jealous of me, Bradley. He likes cock, and I unfortunately do not have one.”
“Who’s jealous?” Colin asked, looking up, his eyes much sharper than they had been mere moments ago.
“Bradley! Bradley’s so jealous because he wants you!” Angel cheered like she was five years old. Bradley sighed and stood up, stretching his back.
“No really, I’m going to sleep.” He lightly kicked Eoin’s thigh. “Go to Eoin’s room and get drunk. Drink lots of water.”
Eoin pouted but stood up and dragged Angel up too. “Come on ladies, let’s go do some body shots!”
“I’m no good at those,” Angel said, frowning.
Katie stood up and wrapped her arm around Angel’s shoulders. “I’ll teach you how to do it right, darling. Colin and Bradley are not invited because they only like cocks.”
Bradley really thought Katie just liked saying these words when drunk because she thought she could get away with it.
“Byeeeee!” Colin waved happily and continued to lounge on the floor, leaning against the wall and staring up at the ceiling. “I’ve never kissed someone with a tongue stud in. It felt like--”
Bradley erupted; the stress of the night and the last few fucking years of his life getting to him. “Yeah, you like kissing her so much, Morgan, why don’t you go make Irish babies together, be all pale and beautiful and leave me the fuck alone?!”
He stormed into his bathroom and locked the door behind him, closing his eyes and leaning against the door.
From Bradley’s estimation inside the bathroom, it took quite a few moments and several clumsy thuds and curse words for Colin to come over to the door and knock on it.
“Colin, seriously mate, just go back to your own room. We’re in no fit state to talk right now.” Bradley sighed as he opened the door and came out. “I was just being weird and--oomph!”
Out of nowhere, Colin jumped on him, his whole body landing awkwardly into Bradley’s arms and Bradley dangerously spin-wheeled his own arms for a moment before holding Colin and feeling his back press against the bathroom door.
“Shut up, you blithering fuck and listen to me for once in your life.”
And Colin did not sound like Drunk Colin. Not at all. Bradley knew Drunk Colin. And this was not him. Bradley’s mind flashed back and he realized Colin actually hadn’t drunk as much as Bradley thought he had.
“You are utterly ridiculous, you know that?” Colin said, his face angry as he pressed his hands to the door, framing Bradley’s head. Bradley felt a flash of both fear and arousal-- Colin could be scary when he got all dramatic and angry like this. The taint of alcohol was heady on his breath as he stood close and whispered against Bradley’s face. “We have been chasing each other’s tails for years like dogs, and I’m sick of this silly little dance we’ve got going on. I thought you were finally going to say something at the hospital, but no, again, you were silent. I’m not supposed to be the strong loud one here, James! That’s supposed to be you! Eoin was right-- he said if I wanted you, I had to make the first move. So you know what? This, this is my move. Your turn, Bradley. Make it count.”
Colin pulled off him and backed away, his mouth an angry line and Bradley’s chest went tight, something strong and heavy pressing down on him, knocking the breath out of his lungs.
“Well?” Colin asked, and for a long moment, they both just stood there, staring at each other, then Colin snorted and started to turn away. Just as he took a step towards the door, Bradley’s brain screamed at him and he lurched forward, fingers curling around Colin’s wrist.
“I don’t-- I’ve never...” Bradley tried to say and then just stopped. He was never that good at words anyway.
Pulling Colin’s arm closer, he wrapped his other hand around Colin’s jaw and pulled him in for a kiss. A long, drawn-out, slightly sloppy and kind of awkward kiss that was hands down the best thing Bradley had ever done in this life.
Colin messily pulled back, his hands now clutching Bradley’s shirt, and stared at him, eyes wild and lips slick. “Good move, BFF.”
“Can we change that to Boy Friends Forever?” Bradley whispered, feeling high and sluggish as Colin threaded his fingers through his hair softly and smiled against his lips.
“Yeah; we’ll get t-shirts and everything.”