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New York ComicCon 2016

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Colin rubbed at one eye and then took a sip of his water bottle, not really listening to what Tom and Gemma were telling him.

“Are you alright, Colin?” Gemma threw him a questioning look.

He smiled at her. “Sure. Just a bit jet-lagged.”

Tom turned to them. “Will you make it through the Facebook Q&A and the signing later?”

“Sure, don’t worry, even though that Facebook thing will be weird. People looking at us and we don’t see them.”

Gemma chuckled. “It’s not different from doing the show. We don’t see their immediate reactions either.”

“But we’re not doing the show live.”

As they were discussing that, a guest liaison or whatever the babysitters were called at this convention, showed up, introduced himself and guided them through the closed-off tunnels so they could reach the room where the Facebook-thing would take place.

Colin’s mind was miles away. Conventions weren’t his most favourite thing to do. He loved the excitement and all the positive energy everywhere, that was true, but he hated crowds, especially those that had come just to see him. One or two fans he could handle, more than three were a throng and needed to be avoided at all cost. On top of all that, conventions were too loud, too colourful, too much of everything. Usually, he got a few days to detox after events like this, but he was in the middle of shooting a movie and needed to get back to the set as quickly as possible.

If he were honest, all this wasn’t the real reason why he was a bit restless and absentminded. Tom had seen the huge poster for Humans in one of the halls and texted him that him and Eoin would meet up later and asked if he wanted to join them. The next text had been from Eoin, almost bullying him to agree and when he finally did, Eoin sent yet another text: Bradley is here, too.

Colin’s heart had done a funny little flip when he read it. It had been ages since he’d last seen Bradley. They texted occasionally, facetimed on birthdays and such but it had been months since they had been in the same place at the same time. Due to his tight schedule, he had missed Bradley when he had been in England for that charity cricket thing he did every year.

Bradley was here. The place was huge, there were what felt like millions of people, but one of them was Bradley and if everything went according to Eoin’s and Tom’s plan – and Colin had no doubt that they had planned this the moment they knew that everyone would be at the convention – he would see him again in a couple of hours.

The corridor they walked along was divided in the middle, so people didn’t collide, it was rather busy. Colin didn’t pay much attention to the folks walking on the other side. This area was closed to fans but he still liked to keep his head down.

“Colin!” A familiar voice called and Colin looked up. And up. And then up a bit more.

“Tom!” What a coincidence! The Black Sails people just passed by on the other side. They stopped for a moment. “Done with your Q&A?”

“Not yet. We have the signing first and then do the panel. And after that it’s you, Eoin, Brad and me and some serious drinks to celebrate old times, right?”

Colin nodded and then pointed at the backs of his co-stars. “Gotta go, see you later.”

As he quickened his steps to keep up to Gemma and Tom – why did everybody have to be named Tom?, it got confusing – Colin had a smile on his face and he scanned the oncoming people. He saw a few faces he knew from the movies or TV, but nobody he knew in person. And especially not the one he wanted to see. The thought alone was ridiculous. That he had run into one of Camelot’s trusted knights was pure coincidence and such an unlikely thing to happen that it was a moment to remember. He was sure that someone on Facebook or at the Q&A would mention Merlin, there was always that one person who couldn’t let go, so now he had a new story to tell.

They got through their Facebook Q&A and it was actually a lot more fun than Colin had thought it would be as they could pick the questions they would answer themselves. The panel was at the other side of the convention centre, so they were ushered through the hallways again. Now, that it had started, Colin decided to enjoy it to the fullest. It was so much different from press conferences and the contact with fans wasn’t that bad when at least a table separated them from him. So he answered questions, joked with his co-stars and actually had a rather good time.

When the hour was over, he took a deep breath as they left the stage.

“What’s next?” Gemma yawned as soon as they were behind the stage again. “Damn, this is more exhausting than I thought.”

Tom grinned. “Exhausting, but fun!”

“Are we done for today?” Colin started to get a bit nervous. When he was on stage, he could shove the thoughts of later tonight away. Even though they managed to not make it look like it, this was work and he was a professional. But now he couldn’t help it. He wanted to meet his old friends again, it was a rare thing that so many of them were in the same place at the same time with Eoin and Bradley being in the States most of the time and Tom living in South Africa now.

As they rounded the corner, Gemma nudged his side. “I think someone’s waiting for you.” She grinned. “See you in the morning.”

Colin looked over to where she was pointing and there he stood. A huge smile that was only stopped by his ears took over as Colin approached him. “Bradley!”