Soft did fall the snow outside the ski lodge, inching up upon the windowsill, lit from within by the roaring fire. Around this fire sat Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, toasting marshmallows to enjoy later.
"I can't tell you how delightful it is to be here," said Jon. His silver hair was majestic in the flickering light. "Away from the cares and worries of the modern world, at a beautiful scenic retreat that allows us to truly appreciate the simpler things in life: delicious food, unspoiled nature...your company."
"Oh, you flatterer," sighed Stephen. In secret, though, he could not have been more pleased. It was all too rare that he was able to spend a quiet evening with the handsome, kind, and talented love of his life. "Would you prefer one bar of chocolate in your s'more, or two?"
Jon gazed deep into Stephen's chocolate-brown eyes. "Two."
And then, moved by their undying passion for each other, they tried to make s'mores and make out at the same time. Graham cracker crumbs and melted marshmallow got all over the floor.
"It's all right," said Jon soothingly, caressing his beloved, who was distressed to see the mess they had made. "We can always call the butler in to have it cleaned up...."
...hold on a second.
"I'm the butler?" exclaimed John out loud, staring at his computer screen. "I'm the butler?"
He went back to the top of the section, and this time read it carefully.
"And I don't sound anything like that, either!"
Fortunately, it wasn't long before the interlude with his fictional self ended, and the narrative returned to its tight focus on his boss and his boss's best friend, who also happened to be a brilliant comedian that John only wished he knew better. But John's relief was not to last. Within a few more short paragraphs, the focus grew even tighter. In a manner of speaking.
"Oh dear," murmured John, as he found himself unexpectedly absorbed in a vivid, explicit description of eroticism on levels he hadn't known were physically possible.
In fact...he had to scroll up and start rereading again, for purely fact-checking purposes, mind you...yes, that particular sequence couldn't be pulled off unless Colbert had at least three hands. Terrible proofreading. This author ought to have had someone look at that.
"What are you up to?"
John yelped and reflexively slammed his laptop shut.
"Whoa, okay, guess I won't ask," said Jon, standing in the door of John's office. "Just wanted to check and make sure there wasn't anything you needed from me."
"No! Of course not! Why would there be?"
"Good, because I'm going to be unavailable for at least half an hour. Carry on."
"Unavailable?" echoed John. Half an hour wasn't enough time to be ferried off to an appearance and back, but it seemed long for most calls. "What's the problem?"
"No problem." Jon smiled, an unnervingly mischievous smile, his blue eyes twinkling. "Stephen's just coming over."
Five minutes after Jon had left, when John's racing heart had had time to dial down out of panic mode, he thought back over those words with a start. It was at least once a week that Colbert would visit Stewart for lunch, or vice versa, and John had never thought anything of it...until now.
John tried to scroll farther, looked for a link to more, went back up to the header to find the story labeled (1/1). Apparently "...until now" was really the last line.
He closed the window in irritation and gathered up the script draft that had just finished printing. Oh well, it could have been worse. Ambiguous endings were an annoyance, but when you were about to leave for some face-to-face time with your boss, it was probably a mercy that you hadn't just read about your boss in unmentionable situations.
As John approached Jon's office, he heard some minor commotion inside.
Was the meeting before John's running long? If it was important, maybe he shouldn't interrupt. On the other hand, if they had lost track of time, a polite knock could be a reminder to wrap it up.
John crept up to the door, about to rap his knuckles against the frame. Instead he found himself pressing his ear against the surface, to take in the full effect of...groans, heavy breathing, the low thud of a couch or a desk being shaken...and a voice, unmistakably Jon's, crying out, "Oh, Stephen!"
"And I just walk away?" he demanded of the screen. "You had this whole setup that was perfect for me to finally get some action, and then cop out with the accidental-voyeurism thing? Where's my scene?"
It wasn't like it took much thought to write about Stewart and Colbert having a torrid secret sexual affair. All you had to do was take their actual open sexual affair and write it without the openness. Now, expanding it to a threesome with John Oliver, that would be creative!
...it would also be dreadfully embarrassing, of course. But that was not the point.
John was still stewing over it throughout the writers' meeting, so much so that Jon asked him to stay for a few minutes after. "You okay?" he asked. "You seemed a little off there, so I wanted to check in."
"I'm fine, honestly," insisted John. "Just some irritating thing I read on the Internet."
"Ah," said Jon, nodding wisely. "Conservative blog?"
"...Not exactly." At least, as far as he knew. Judging from the public record, half of this "slash fiction community" might be middle-aged closeted Republican men for all he knew.
John nearly jumped out of his skin.
"Yeah, that happens sometimes," said Jon, patting John on the shoulder, which normally would have been fine but right now was setting off all kinds of electric reactions he didn't want to think about. "You just have to accept that badfic exists, and scroll until you find the good stuff."
"You've read a lot of this?" stammered John, gobsmacked.
Jon shrugged. "Sure, why not? Some of them have given me and Stephen fabulous ideas."
Half of John wanted to crawl under a rock and never think about this again. It lost by a whisker to the other half: morbid curiosity. "So, um...would you happen to know if there are any good ones about me?"
A slow, pleased smile spread across Jon's face. He kept his hand on John's shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. "You want to come by tonight and let us help you look?"
He skimmed enough to confirm that yes, fictional Jon and fictional Stephen had seen the light and were pulling fictional him, then added the link to his phone's favorites and tapped out of the browser. It would be awkward to come out onstage with that sort of thing in the forefront of his mind.
Would it be intellectually dishonest to stick with the joke about being upset that slash writers were overlooking him? No, John decided, he might as well use it. Keeping the comedy moving was more important than worrying about details like whether a thing was true this instant, or had only been true as of half an hour ago.
"Mr. Oliver?" said a Late Night assistant. "We're ready for you on set."
"Right," said John, and followed her out.
This story is becoming entirely too recursive, he tapped into the comment box. I've lost track of the narrative thread completely, if there ever was one, and have been sapped of my ability to care about any of these characters. Except John Oliver, of course, but only because he's my favorite. Would you ever consider writing him in a more linear plot?
"You better be doing something pretty important there," remarked Stephen, leaning over John's shoulder so that his bare chest was plastered against John's equally naked back. "Otherwise I might start feeling neglected."
"I'm leaving a deep and thoughtful critique of the writing of a stranger on the Internet," John informed him. "I'll be done in a bit. Go cuddle your real boyfriend for a while."
"Fine, fine," sighed Stephen, and flopped back into Jon's waiting arms. "Hi there."
"Hey, babe," said Jon agreeably, patting his hair.
"Oh, so he's your first choice of 'real boyfriend'? You didn't even have to think about it?"
"Needy, needy," teased Stephen, but rolled over to cuddle with Jimmy instead.
John finally sent the review and tried to ease himself back into the tangle of limbs and covers. It was a big mattress, sure, but between the four of them, things did get a little cramped...
...and then Jimmy was prying himself out of Stephen's grip to get out of bed. "Just a minute," he said, fishing around in the pants on the floor for his own phone, which was ringing. "Gotta check my comment notifications."