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Boeing 747

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Title: Boeing 747

Author: Demus
Pairing: Charlie Brooker/David Mitchell
Rating: R, for graphic language and sexxings
Words: 12735
Summary: Fill for the ‘pining’ prompt on the meme. A shoot in America calls Charlie away for two weeks- how will this affect his fragile non-relationship with David?

 

They've not been going out (and Charlie uses that phrase in the loosest possible sense, because it's entirely inaccurate for their situation, one in which there is fucking without talking and no contact in daylight) for very long when the Silver Screenwipe special comes up and he is told by the BBC, in characteristically humourless terms, that he's got to spend at least a fortnight filming in America. Al's excited - he likes filming in the States because it makes him feel like Quentin Tarantino, only with less hair and money - but Charlie is obscurely disappointed by the thought that he won't get to fuck or be fucked by David for over two weeks. Their arrangement (not 'relationship', it's not a relationship, there's not enough bullshit or mutual cookery for it to be a relationship) is terrifyingly fragile in its newness, crushingly, blindingly novel and he's not sure that taking a holiday from it won't induce David to come to his senses and find something attractive to stick his knob in.

He broaches the subject halfway through an enthusiastic bout of buggery, on the basis that he can always claim any quaver in his voice as manly lust rather than girly sentiment. The surprise throws David off his stride, which is both gratifying and petrifying, but the shift in angle that results is so unintentionally effective that Charlie rapidly loses all his higher brain functions and is reduced to a writhing, gibbering mess.

Later, wearily sweat-sticky and lying on his back next to David, Charlie is musing on whether he should do the usual thing (shower, refuse to meet David's eyes, write a date on a Post-it note, disappear into the night) when the younger man coughs and says, "So you're, er, going to America."

"Yeah."

"For an unspecified number of weeks which will definitely be greater than two."

"Er, yes. Annabel hasn't had time to finalise everything." The weird shifting noise, he realises, is the sound of David's hands fidgeting with the sheets.

"Right." David falls quiet. Charlie finds himself wishing that he knew him better so that he could divine his thoughts - sharing bodily fluids, alas, did not lead to instant telepathy, and to call David Mitchell 'guarded' would be comparable to describing Gordon Ramsey as 'a tad peevish'. The shifting sound stops. "I, er, I...I won't, er, have sex with anyone whilst you're gone," David says, eventually, and Charlie's heart simultaneously swells and withers in his chest.

"Thanks," he says, feebly, wondering how things got so serious between them. "I, er, won't...either."

David abruptly sits up, probably driven by the same unbearable itch of embarrassment and ineptitude that's tying Charlie's stomach into knots. "Good," he replies, cautiously. "That's...that's good. Obviously you don't have to, just because-"

"No, no, I want to, I just...We're, you know, I wasn't sure if...You know. Stuff." Christ. Could he possibly sound any less like a proper human being? David is nodding, just at the edge of his vision, and he risks a quick glance to ascertain that all is well and David doesn't look like he's committing to short-term celibacy against his better judgement (monogamy, commitment, argh, was that too close to a relationship?). The back of his head is unenlightening, however, and Charlie resigns himself to a life of perpetual uncertainty where David is concerned.

Still, he muses, as he makes his naked way to the grotty bathroom, listening to David potter about in the kitchen in a less naked fashion. Monogamy. That's better than a knife in the balls.

He doesn't know what date to write on the Post-it this time, and the idea of not writing anything at all is weirdly upsetting, so instead he scribbles a cartoon American flag being speared by a frog-faced stick figure version of himself. He tells himself that he doesn't want to stay and have an actual conversation or learn something about the real meaning of David's facial expressions, or steal tea from his mug.

Not even a little bit.

 

*

He's just sending his last tweet before boarding (@charltonbrooker: valium is fucking wonderful, maybe I should nurture an addiction?) when his phone makes an obnoxious noise at him and he answers the call before the sensible part of his brain, the bit that's been most affected by self-imposed doping, can protest. "H'lo?" he says, dreamily aware that he sounds exactly like the drug-addled twat he is.

"Um. Hello, Charlie. It's David."

The smile spreads across his face like milk diffusing into tea. "Hi," he says again, "I had valium." This fact is vitally important - he is well aware of the peculiar, distant tone of his voice and he doesn't want David to think he's smacked his head on something. Not that he's entirely certain that David would be worried. David probably would be worried, because he's a very nice man, but he wouldn't necessarily be worried in quite the way that Charlie would secretly like him to be, if he had to be worried at all. Which Charlie didn't want him to be. Obviously.

"Oh," David is saying, as Charlie puzzles through that complicated thought process. "You, er, you're not fretting about the flight, then?"

Al appears at his elbow, boarding pass brandished in a pointed manner, and gives him a significant look. "No, no, 'm not really capable of panic 't the moment," he assures David, hazily.

A cough comes from the other end of the line. "G- Good! That, er, that's good. I thought maybe...I mean, in your column, you've talked about your aversion to- to flying, and I...well, I..."

"S'okay," Charlie burbles, dimly aware that he should fill out his side of the conversation before David stammers his way into a statement he'll regret. Al pokes him and he waves a dismissive hand. "I've got t' go, s'boarding."

"Yes, yes, of course, sorry, I...Will you- I mean, don't feel you have to or anything, I know you're busy, but, er...When you get there, er- oh, never mind. Have a good trip, Charlie."

Charlie doesn't waste brain cells attempting to work out what David might have been trying to get at. Instead, he closes his eyes for a moment to picture him, wandering about his gross flat like a slippered ghost, head curiously tilted as he holds the phone to his ear, worrying at his lower lip, spare and thrust deep into a pocket so that he can pretend he's not nervously fidgeting. "I'll miss you," he says, before he can stop himself, and, as horrified as his dopey brain will allow him to be, he hurriedly hangs up before David can say anything.

Shit. Fucking valium. The lovely mental avatar of David inside his head looks at its phone, brow furrowed in confusion, and its lips curl into a tiny smile. He knows the real David has probably put his phone into his pocket with deliberate care, taking refuge in considered action whilst his mind shrieks its terror at the thought that another human feels sufficiently attached to him to make such a bold declaration. Charlie, in that moment, prefers imaginary David.

He boards the plane. The flight is long and the food is mundane, but he has imaginary David to keep his mind entertained.

 

*

 

The wonder drug is beginning to fade as the plane comes into land; not enough for Charlie's paranoid brain to torment itself with visceral images of fire, death and useless life jackets strangling the innocent, but enough for the blissful incompetent fuzz to have cleared a little at the edges. As the winged harbinger of death taxies to the terminal, and in direct violation of the Nazi stewards’ commands, he at least has the wherewithal to key a perfectly-spelled Twitter update into his gitty iPhone (@charltonbrooker: Los Angeles, sycophants! Don't you just hate me? I know I do). Al, ever-watchful, jabs him in the ribs and cackles at his yelp of protest.

As the weary business of disembarking begins in an orgy of quietly frustrated bumbling, he toys, briefly with the idea of phoning David, or at least sending him a direct message. Should constant updates be part of the thing, or will it be just another reason for the man to come to his senses? Talking about each other’s lives (indeed, talking itself) isn’t really part of the deal. He opts instead for a second tweet, knowing it will at least amuse the sycophants; @charltonbrooker: Oh, and someone tell @RealDMitchell that 'Whose Line' are asking, the panel show whore.

It's cryptic, but he can always pass it off as a private joke between friends, like the Tebbit/Hattersley thing. No one's allowed to know that they have sex. Only Charlie's mum, and she thinks it's a 'relationship'.

The rigmarole of customs and suitcase collection and pensioner-punching frustration distracts him from anxiously checking for replies until they reach the hotel. The nauseatingly pleasant staff usher him to his room as if he were a chocolate swan that shat nuggets of pure gold, which is just grating enough to make him want to kill everything that moved. Once free of them, he collapses onto the bed and fumbles for his phone, tired eyes scanning for- aha! @RealDMitchell: @charltonbrooker Excuse me, panel show whore? Courtesan, surely, you atrocious peasant. Tell them no, I'm polishing my tweed knickerbockers.

At that, an image of David’s thighs, pale in dim light as his trousers are shucked down, springs unbidden to Charlie’s exhausted mind skin; quivering with tension, the smooth give beneath his fingers as he slips a lubed hand between them, David’s cock pulsing as it fills his mouth, and he listens to the man above him breaking open with a harsh sob of breath, abandoning himself, finally, to pleasure as his hips arch off the bed and his legs spread…

Christ. He’s only been in the room fifteen seconds and he’s already started masturbating. Trying to ignore the mocking voice in his head that’s reminding him precisely how pathetic he is, he lets the daydream unfold as he fumbles his clothes out of the way and, for lack of anything better, licks his hand, salt-sweat and the ribbed texture of his palm serving only to inform the fantasy, and slides his hand over his cock with the reassuring familiarity of an old friend. Because you’re such a wanker, the voice jeers, as he strokes, curling his wrist into a twist at the head and tightening his fingers on the shaft, He’s probably asleep now, you sick bastard, and doesn’t that thought make you squirm, wanking over him when he’s asleep and defenceless, you disgusting approximation of humanity. Not that you’ve ever seen him sleep, no, you get the fuck out before he throws you out, fucking coward, you’ve always been a fucking-

Fantasy David groans, drawn-out and pornographic in stark contrast to actual David’s self-conscious gasps, drowning out the vicious snarl of Charlie’s inner monologue. Charlie hates and loves his mind. His hand speeds up.

Later, ferreting around for tissues in a satisfied, yet vaguely shamefaced, manner, Charlie catches himself musing on the thought of David’s sleeping face and tries to picture it, but it seems his intense pornography session has exhausted his imagination, because the images just don’t form. That probably shouldn’t make him feel quite as lonely as it does.

 

*

 

"Cut!"

Charlie sags, fumbling the Mickey Mouse gloves off as sweat prickles his brow and rolls down his cheeks, dragging make-up with it. He probably looks like a hideous Dali interpretation of Disney's beloved symbol. "Remind me why I wanted to do an animation section?" he whines, piteously.

Al, the deepening stress lines revealing how far behind they’re getting, offers a wry grin from behind their meagre equipment. "You're a closet masochist?"

"A closet masochist would be self-flagellating in a cupboard, not acting the dick in a Lidl Mickey Mouse costume. Get what we needed?"

The director's face twists with indecision, one eye half-closing, and he sucks air through his teeth in a way that makes Charlie twitch and want to throttle him with his oversized bow tie. "We've managed to catch up on yesterday's stuff and we're not far off being halfway through today's-"

Charlie winces. It’s already 3pm, the sun's unrelenting glare having tortured them all day until their pasty skeleton crew, rife with British vitamin D deficiency, resembled nothing so much as a cabal of shambling lobsters. If he has to do another 7 hours of pratting about, he’s going to expire in a humiliating puddle of his own fluids. Which will probably blow up the cameras. And then they’ll really be in the shit.

Luckily, years of working with Charlie has invested Al with an uncanny instinct for judging his limits. "Look," the director says, kindly, gesturing Lori over to study the footage. "We're done with this segment, why don't you take a couple of hours to cool off and snarl on the internet? We'll save the rest of the cartoon stuff for tomorrow- no more costumes today."

"…Can I give you a blowjob?”

“Fuck off, you gay twat. Get a shower and a nap, for Christ’s sake, and don’t wander into any alleyways looking like that, or you’ll be giving more than one blowjob today.”


*


Showers, Charlie decides, are the best invention since toast. After a glorious forty minutes spent under the spray, and a leisurely wank, he feels as close to human as he ever gets. Skin tingling, he flops down onto his bed, gloriously unencumbered by clothes. The hotel is a surprisingly nice affair for a BBC booking, light, airy and stuffed with tat that is naff without crossing the ‘I-will-stab-everyone’ threshold. Even the sight of his own hairy wobbling flesh and the knowledge that he has to go out again soon can’t detract from his mood.

Inevitably, as become its habit in the last week, his mind, devoid of distractions or immediate stress, strays to thoughts of David. It has become his wont of late, once the crew quits the bar for the night, to spend the meagre minutes before collapse browsing David’s Twitter, checking through texts and contemplating the man's phone number. Charlie’s got a phone card for international calls, a standard precautionary measure that his paranoia insists on, and it's already in a dog-eared state from the accumulated hours that Charlie has spent fiddling with it, playing restlessly with the corners and edges as he pictures David’s reaction to an impromptu call.

He’s fairly certain David wouldn’t appreciate the interruption. Convinced that David’s not moping about in a vaguely pathetic way like he is, given that they barely manage to be fuckbuddies (the word sends a queer frisson through Charlie’s body, tickling at the suggestive corners of his brain) without displaying more ineptitude than a one-legged man at an arsekicking contest.

He definitely shouldn’t call. Not now. Not ever. Not naked, sprawled on his back across the sheets. It’s got to be close to midnight at home, anyway, David’s probably already gone to bed- if he conforms to his conscientiously-constructed stereotype, anyway. The cantankerous, middle-class sod will be tucked up in bed wearing plaid pyjamas, maybe on his side with his left arm tucked under the pillow, daft hair flopping over dark-fringed eyelids and cresting the arch of his nose, snoring softly, utterly at peace…

Charlie’s fingers grope for his phone before he can think to stop them, extracting the phone card from where it’s slotted into the case, and they begin to type in the number.

This is a terrible, ball-shrivellingly awful idea.

He hopes David picks up.

Each chirp of the phone is like the squeaking of polystyrene blocks; they grate across his nerves with the same jaw-clenching, skin-shinking whine, measured increments of unbearable anticipation. Charlie's blood is throbbing through his body, flowing lazy and engorged, heavy in his veins as the last tingles of post-orgasm euphoria shiver into fresh arousal. He reaches to the cabinet beside the bed, delving inside with practised ease to withdraw the complimentary hand cream, popping the cap one-handed and clumsily squeezing some of the peach-smelling liquid onto his palm.

The cosy picture in his mind, the sight he's never seen but can imagine so clearly, alters as he lies there, the still form sliding into movement; an arm pushes back the sheets as David rolls upright with a groan, one hand coming up to cup his forehead as he reaches for the shrieking device on his bedside table, maybe knocking his touch-sensitive lamp with an elbow so he can squint, myopic in the sudden light, at the caller I.D. which will show only a foreign mystery num-

"If this is about my internet bills or a Caribbean holiday, you can fuck off."

Charlie's breath catches in his throat. The slight hiss of the international line adds a 1940s crackle to the weary threat, almost identical to the delightful whisper that accompanies the dialogue of all the best black-and-white films, lending his exhaustion a curiously romantic note. Tiredness brings a rasp to David's signature waspish tones, softening the words with something like a smoker's hoarseness, and it's a nicotine-thrill that lights along Charlie's nerves when he hears it, spicy with longing.

"Oh for fuck's-"

"No!" Charlie blurts out, suddenly aware that he's panting down the line like a pervert in a phone box, the shocking cold of his improvised lube jolting his synapses back into action. "Don't hang up! Sorry, sorry, it's me, it's-"

"Charlie?"

"Erm. Hi." Shit. What do I say now? 'Would you mind awfully if I jerked off whilst you rant at me for having woken you up?'

Over the deafening scrape of his own breathing, Charlie can hear the shift of David's incongruous satin sheets (sitting up, pulling the covers with him; it must be colder, the stupid bastard will have turned his heating off because 'it's summer and it should be off', no matter what the actual temperature is, stubborn twat), then the sound of him nervously clearing his throat.

"Look, er, please don't take this the, er, the wrong way but...Is there something- Why, why are you, er, calling?"

The question, fumbled like a shirt button as you're being pressed against a wall, smashes through Charlie's burgeoning arousal like the Hulk through sugar glass. Gaping stupidly at the ceiling, his whole body stilling in horror, he can't summon the wherewithal to vocalise a reply. Fuck. Fuck. Why did you call, why the bloody bastard hell did you think you could call? As if he wants to hear your diseased bollock of voice when he's trying to sleep, do you think you matter?

David's voice breaks into the howl of self-loathing. "Charlie? Are you still- Bugger. Er. I didn't mean-"

"No, no, it's fine," Charlie hastily cuts in. "Sorry, sorry, I didn't think, I- It's, it's been a long day and I'm heading out again in an hour and I just...I was- I was thinking about...y'know. You." And your cock. Inside me. But mainly just you.

The silence that greets him and his not-entirely-intended confession is not encouraging. Charlie spares a moment to wonder why, in the name of all that is non-existent and therefore holy, his mouth says things to David without his brain's input.

"Well, um. Um. Thank you," David says, after a long, tense moment. "I- er. Yes. I...hope it was in a....good way?"

The lubed hand was sticky against his thigh, having given up on his cock. Charlie had to smile. Bleakly. "You could say that. Did- Did I wake you?"

"...should I lie and say you didn't? Social convention, and all that."

That startles a laugh out of him. "Please don't feel obliged on my account," he retorts, weakly. "I've never been good at conventional."

He can hear the smile in David's next words. "I rather fancy that we are neither of us conventional people. Normal people are capable of holding grown-up conversations with their part- er, with their, their friends."

Too late. Too fucking late, he'd already started saying it, the 'p' word, the word that their thing was too young for, but why did it coil fresh heat in Charlie's blood? "Or, indeed, their partners," he replies, missing 'casual' by lightyears and ending up somewhere vaguely near 'desperate'.

"Those too," David says, his voice dropping from 'snippy banter' to something deeper, more earnest, something closer to his muffled moans than the everyday teasing cadence. "And conventional people don't, traditionally, call up other conventional people in the middle of the night to harass them."

Oh. Oh. So that's what he sounds like when he's trying to be seductive. Charlie's definitely a phone-pervert now. Why had they never tried this talking thing before?

"It's not harassment if you enjoy it."

"On the contrary, it is still an unwarranted, unsolicited approach, therefore in the English courts-"

"Oh, I'm in America, didn't you know?" Charlie interrupts, and his hand is moving on autopilot now, tracing a ticklish path back to his rapidly reawakening dick, rubbing over his stomach and sliding lower with torturous slowness. "Diff-erent laws over here," he adds, his voice catching on the first word.

David's breath hitches. "Charlie," he says, unsteadily, and Charlie berates himself for letting this glorious world of Mitchell's shaken-with-arousal voice pass him by. "I...Did you call me to- that is, so that we could, could..."

"Not intentionally," he replies, honesty being the best policy when a hand on your cock is likely to make you blurt out the truth regardless. "I- Jesus, you're going to mock the- the shit out of me for this."

"Go on."

It shouldn't be possibly for humiliated squirming to make his cock throb harder, swelling in his hand under slick, leisurely caresses. By rights, it should be withering into a grass frond at the very thought of saying, "Look, I- Crap. Don't, don't take this the wrong way, or feel trapped by it, or any of that emotional shit, yeah? I just...You know what I said when you phoned me? At the airport?"

"Er..."

"Well, it happened." Charlie's tipping his head back into the pillows to rest the elbow supporting the phone against the wall. He should probably put it on loudspeaker, but something in him baulks at the idea of this conversation clamouring in the air when it belongs, intimate, at his ear. His right hand speeds up, just a little.

Your plane crashed?

“You are such an arsehole.”

David’s response is a peppered, indignant squawk, as far removed from lascivious filthy talk as it’s possible to be, but it sparks against the unreasonable part of Charlie’s brain that makes him watch Would I Lie to You? and The Bubble on Youtube until the early hours of the morning, even when he knows a slight alteration of Post-it Note will bring the genuine article into his bed. “What? Why? Because I can’t remember the intimate details of a conversation we had a week ago? I hardly think that qualifies under the specifications for ‘arseholedom’.

“‘Arseholedom’ isn’t a word,” Charlie gasps, the sharp intonation of the younger man’s pedantry riding roughshod over him. “You’re going to make me- make me say it, aren’t you?”

What? Say what?” David is starting to sound genuinely panicky now, harsh consonants slamming into each other as pitch skyrockets into falsetto. “What am I making you say? Is this still meant to be a dirty conversation?

Charlie clamps down his throat muscles before they can release the cry that rises from his chest, rolling his palm over the bulbous head of his cock with the tiniest, filthiest squelching sounds, rotating his wrist to curl his fingers around sensitive, pulsing skin. “Fuck,” he swears, shakily, then, “Oh fuck, David, I fucking miss you, okay? Don’t- don’t be a dick about it.”

Charlie…” David says again, panic fading into something softer, more wondering, and God, Charlie can’t cope with his name in that man’s mouth. If they got round to having actual sex with dialogue, he was going to physically expire.

I…well, I…I, um. Your Post-it note is on the fridge.”

Charlie huffs a laugh. It’s a good thing David’s as much of an emotional black hole as he is. “I thought you always threw them away?” he asks, well aware that is not how it should ago, at least not according to his DVD collection, and that he shouldn’t be struggling quite so much to concentrate.

Robbie keeps giving it an odd look, it has to be said. Maybe he thinks I’ve been reading terrible American literature and decided to express my rage in pictorial form- oh hell, sorry, I’m rambling. I’m not very good at this, er, sex talking thing, er…”

“No, no, that’s great,” Charlie grunts, closing his eyes to focus on the rise and fall of David’s voice, the familiar grip-and-slide of his own fingers, the heady swell of arousal. “Hon- honestly, just keep, keep talking.”

“…You’re actually masturbating aren’t you? Christ, Charlie, you’re…Oh my.”

"Please," Charlie is saying, before he even knows he's going to speak, "Please, don't stop talking. I know it's weird, I know, I'm really sorry about the horrific mental images, but please-"

"Why on earth would they be horrific? Are you questioning the strength of my imagination?"

"No," he groans, stroking faster. "I w- wouldn't da-are."

He's not the only one out of breath now. David's breathing is heavier, a faint rasp compared to Charlie's asthmatic wheezing, but audible enough, and the picture unfolds in his mind, a pale, slightly chubby hand reluctantly sliding under the duvet, the tiny rise and fall of the sheets covering his crotch as he takes himself in hand, the slow, wet, wordless gape of his mouth... "David," he growls, roughly, and the man gasps. "You're jerking off to this, aren't you?"

"Just...following your example."

Charlie can't help the smirk, open-mouthed as he pants along with David. "Never would've- taken you for a sh-sheep."

"Baa."

"...do you kn-know how awkward that c-could've been, if I'd- uh- come just then?"

David's laugh is startling, the sudden, ringing cackle for which his fans go wild, and Charlie's cock is apparently just as much a sycophant as they are because it feels like his heart might be exploding with the effort to get blood to where it's needed; no man should be this hot on the other end of the phone, no man should be able to do this to you from across the sea. "Something to think about, then," comes the low purr, Charlie's never heard David speak like that before- Christ, he's so close, so close...

"You're not...turning me in, into a sheepsha- ah!-gger, Mitchell."

It is terribly ironic that his hand speeds up again at this moment, fingers clenched into a tight fist as his strokes change gear, becoming abrupt, furiously fast, and guaranteed to tip him over the edge. Perhaps it's David's chuckle that spurs him on, a comfortable, intimate sound, soothing hot chocolate where the cackle had been caustic lemon juice. His nerveless fingers are barely keeping hold of the phone, holding to his ear more by luck than design. "David," he says again, urgent and needing to hear him.

"You make me sound like a porn star," David replies, tightly, getting the hint for possibly the first time in his entire life. "I'm never going to be able to answer to my name again."

"Part of the service," Charlie blurts out, his brain cells burning up one by one as his hips rock up, driving himself into his pumping hand. "You'll- ah!- you'll be cons-const'n'ly hard from now on."

"When you're not around to take responsibility for it? Not bloody likely."

That was a groan. Definitely a groan. It feels oddly like a watershed moment. "You're man'ging now," he points out, his tongue slack against parted lips, and chokes off the last syllable as it threatens to elongate into a helpless moan.

"Only just," David tells him, and there's a catch in his voice that Charlie doesn't understand, except that it resonates with the sentiment he can't allow himself to contemplate, can't allow himself to look at or think about because all that they have is ashes; ashes and dust and muted grunts at midnight and the hot slip of skin and mouths and breath shared and stolen, desperate, awkward silences filled only with thoughts that are too big for Charlie's head, and he knows his confusion, feels it as keenly as a razorblade in that moment as David whispers, "I miss you too," and the world turns white.

He comes back to reality with sluggishness of awakening, to the shrill sound of David screeching at him. "Charlie? Charlie! I can hear you breathing, are you- Did you hit your head? Answer me, you twat, you can't be unconscious when I'm wanking over you!"

"M'here," he mumbles, dazedly, stroking his cock through the last, shuddering moments, his mind wiped clean, and the sound of his hoarse, sex-broken voice somehow conspires to be attractive in David's diseased brain, if the groan is anything to go by. "M'here, David, fuck, that was- think 'm dead. 'm I dead?"

"Fuck, don't turn me into a necrophiliac!"

"You're a disgusting corpse-grinder," Charlie says, with relish, bits of his brain gradually gluing themselves back together so he no longer sounds like a bad, Jonathan Ross-style imitation of Sylvester Stallone. He sprawls bonelessly on the massive mattress and listens to David's frantic respiration. Afterglow, the haze satiation, trips his tongue into ludicrous thoughts. "Mmph. David, I can hear you fucking your hand, is it good? Is it as good as my hand? My mouth? Bet it isn't."

"Charlie-"

"Yeah, you're thinking about me now, aren't you?"

"I was anyway, you pillock."

Charlie giggles. "Think about my hands," he says, dreamily. "Mine are bigger than yours, my fingers are longer, blunter at the ends-"

"Hairier."

"D'you want a shag or not?"

"Yes, yes, sorry, sorry..."

"All right then." Charlie pauses, his eyebrows drawing down as he thinks, distracted by David's soft little noises. "What was I saying?"

David's growl is presumably frustration, but Charlie's spaced-out state of mind presents him with the hilarious image of a Rottweiler wandering into David's bedroom and putting him off his stride. "Hands. Specifically your hands. Big and manly," the younger man says, terse and irritable.

"Big and manly and taking hold of you before you can object," Charlie muses, delving into the mire of memories and fantasies to dredge up a favourite. "We always fuck with the lights off, so you don't have to picture a gurning walrus face hovering over you; just think about hands, touching you in the darkness, leaving trails of that poncy vanilla lube all over your skin. I know you curl your lip, but a bit of mess suits you, Mitchell, especially when your hair's gone all wild against the pillow and-"

"Wait a minute- how do you know what my hair looks like? Have you suddenly developed night vision? The inconsistencies are making this scenario very difficult to get into."

"Shut up and wank."

He's always fancied David as the type to bend over for the right intonation, for all that they've contrived to switch the roles around in the pitifully short time they've been togeth- fucking. The half-muffled groan readily confirms his suspicions and he smirks, rolling onto his side to stare out of the window at the sun-drenched LA afternoon. "Oh," he murmurs, deep and throaty, and David lets out a sound not unlike a whimper. "Did I touch a nerve?"

"N- no-"

"Tsk, tsk. Lying over the phone? That's hardly in-keeping with your pristine public image, is it?"

David retorts, "Neither is- oh!- tumbling in the, the metaphorical straw with anoth- another man," but any meaning is lost in his stutter, the words tight, fractured by only the irrepressible gasps and exclamations. The control he has over his throat really is exceptional- Charlie can't help but wonder...

It's so easy, now, to let the words skitter out of his mouth, half-formed phrases alternatively soothing and sharp, driving a wedge into David's self-control. The clearing of post-orgasm mists does nothing to induce the cock-shrinking embarrassment of saying these things to another person. "You must be pumping like a hydraulic press now," he observes, gleefully. "Hardly dignified for an Antiques Roadshow fan. Too far gone to inject a little romance into it? You're so gentlemanly and slow when you're pushing your cock into my arse, doesn't your hand deserve the same respect?"

"Char- Ch- uh..." David's words trail into a heartfelt moan, guttural, indulgent and unrestrained as neither of them have ever been whilst in the same room, and Charlie finds himself sitting up, the world lurching to rights around him, clutching the phone to his ear to catch every pant and wheeze.

"There it is," he breathes, anticipation coiling in his belly. "That's what you've been thinking about, isn't it? Spreading my arsecheeks aside in the dark, thumbs sliding between to find what you're looking for, slick and oily and stretched by your fingers. You guide yourself with one hand, the other holding me still, then thrust in-"

"Charlie!"

Charlie grins, slumping back down with a satisfied sigh, enjoying David's choked cry. Phoning had been a most excellent idea.

He listens, contentedly, to the gradual, infinitesimal slowing of David's breaths until they reach a level that might pass for normal. "Still alive?"

"Ngh," David utters, causing him to grin like a loon and clutch the phone to his ear. "How did you do that? In all seriousness, how? I've never heard you...well, you know. Do you have some sort of psychosexual schizophrenia?"

Charlie shrugs, then mentally smacks himself for being a div. "I genuinely don't know," he says, cautiously. "I've not...I don't think I've ever...well, I've definitely never talked someone into orgasm."

"...Me neither. So much for reckless youth."

"Reckless? I saw you with your parents on Who Do You Think You Are?, Mitchell, if there were any wild oats in your household, you'd have fed them to the carriage horses."

David snorts, beginning to sound more like himself than a breathy idiot. "Yes and, as we all know, tweediness is genetic."

"David. Your grandfather wrote a grammar book."

"My great great grandfather, thank you very much, and besides-"

"So how do you explain the Soapbox, then?"

"I hardly think a scripted rant about punctuation-"

"Have you already cleaned up with your bedside tissues?"

The silence is self-explanatory. Charlie smirks. "Ponce," he says, without malice, and the thought hits him; how did he get to know David so well? All they do is have awkward sex in the dark on near enough a bi-weekly basis and occasionally encounter each other in shops by accident. When have they ever actually had a conversation before now that wasn't on a panel show?

David, meanwhile, is sniffing pointedly at him. "At least I'm not completely gross, unlike some slovenly TV morons I could mention."

Charlie wriggled, feeling the sheets ruck around his sweat-sticky skin, relishing the filthy, creeping cling. "I am vile," he chimes, happily.

"Yes. You are. I have never, in my entire life, engaged in anything so unashamedly debauched-"

"'Debauched'? Which century are you from again?"

"Oh, fuck you."

"Yeah, you wish. Actually, to be honest, I wish."

There is a pause and, in a tone softened with something like regret, David says, "That makes two of us."

Charlie's stomach twists, clutched by an emotion he is unwilling to put a name to, and he says, "Look, I- Shit, I'm keeping you up aren't I?"

"Oh. Er. I- I suppose you, er, you are...um."

And just like that, the comfortable simplicity of conversation was gone, shattered like a plate at a Greek meal, reality barging in to perform its usual trick of ballsing everything up. Because now David thinks Charlie wants to leave, and Charlie’s just going against his better instincts in order to be considerate, but the best move would be to backtrack and tell David that no, he doesn’t want to stop talking, he’d rather keep him on the end of the phone until he gets his flight back, but David has to get up for work, and Charlie has to leave to finish the day’s filming, but but but…

Life, Charlie decides, as he and David stammer through their goodbyes, leaving him sticky and alone in a hotel room big enough for a rugby team, is shit.

He wonders what it would be like to say those things to David face-to-face. It is a much less shit thing to think about.

 

*

In the mad blur of unending schedule fuck-uppery that followed, Charlie's three-hours-if-lucky sleep pattern didn't leave much breathing space for any activity that wasn't dropping unconscious once all bodily movement had ceased, so it comes as something of a surprise when his phone goes off and he has the luxury of actually taking the call without Al slapping it furiously from his hands. His eyes, red-raw and gritty, fail to adequately decipher the name that pops up in obnoxiously cheerful font, so he resigns himself to answering blind.

"'lo?"

"Are you alone?"

That, by rights, should be a scary question. Anyone who wants to know whether you have easy access to help/defendants/alternative targets is unlikely to need the information for a savoury purpose. This caller, however, whilst he possesses the token heavy breathing and anonymity, has one advantage over the casual rapist/murderer. He's got Charlie's cock hard-wired to respond to his urging.

"Of course I'm not fucking alone!" Charlie hisses, taking refuge in belligerent scorn before his testicles get the better of him. "I'm on set, you bloody idiot, where the hell else do you think I'd be at half-ten in the bastard morning, a pool party? I don't know if you've ever attempted to film an American special on no money and borrowed time, David-"

"Oh God!"

Charlie, flabbergasted, listens to that noise and, after a long silence, says, "...Did you just-"

"Mmm, yes I did, uh, anger suits you."

"Exactly how long were you jerking off before you called me?" An unfortunate grip, casually wandering past with a large metal thing, stops to raise a quizzical eyebrow at him and he waves the man away, turning his back and hunching in on himself like a tit, as if it's going to help. "Well?"

David seems to be struggling to regain his breath. "Quite, er, quite some time."

"And what, you thought you'd phone up and torment with your come-noises? Talk about the death of chivalry, fucking hell."

"Don't, please don't, my cock may fall off if I have to go again."

Pausing to digest this new information, Charlie finds his lips curling into a smirk without his permission before his brain can catch up with the advanced intuition of his libido. "You've imprinted on my voice," he says, smugly, his own dick stirring with an interest that exhaustion had, in the past few days, robbed it of.

"No," David insists, raspily, "An unsuccessful wank or two does not an imprint make."

"...How can you have an 'unsuccessful' wank?"

"B-By having all future hand-on-cock activity comple- uh-tely ruined by being unexpectedly woken up for a weird, over-the-ph-phone masturbation session more suited to a bad porno than real life."

Charlie bristles. "A bad porno?"

David cackles, low and wicked. "Oh shut up, you, mmm, know what I mean. Besides, you can't deny that you're fl-flattered. You'll be smugging around the place like a Daily Mail reader in, ah, Hitler's Berlin for the rest of the day."

Sex does wonderful things to David Mitchell's inhibitive neuroses, Charlie decides. He should have spent less time showering and more time lying on the man's bed, letting himself unlock that lascivious purr and letting it ooze, honey-slow, over his jangling nerves. He likes this David, this gently-laughing David of coarse witticisms and desperate, uncontrolled exclamations, this David who says Charlie's name like he's tasting chocolate for the first time, sliding warm and wet over the harsh 'ch' and dragging leisurely over the elongated vowels, this David who gives each word a blowjob as he says it.

"I wish I could see you right now," says Charlie's mouth, and Charlie immediately disowns it. "I mean-"

"It's not much to look at, I'm afraid. This, er, this pub toilet's probably seen far more attractive sexual encounters, and my shirt's-"

At which, Charlie's brain promptly joins his mouth in exile because David Mitchell, buttoned-up, middle-class David Mitchell just had a wank in a pub toilet and had to call Charlie to help finish himself off. "Shit," he says, shakily, and David's rambling cuts off.

"Charlie?"

"...what are you wearing?"

"Er, well, I, er-"

"BROOKER! GET OFF THE PHONE AND OVER HERE BEFORE I CRIPPLE YOU WITH THIS SPIKE!"

If there's anything guaranteed to kill an optimistic erection, it's the threat of a crippling. Charlie dithers long enough to say, "Shit, filming, I'll try and call but I'm not promising anything," and then thrusts the phone into his pocket and runs to the source of His Master's Voice, cursing it all the while.

"You just lost me a shag, you bastard!"

Al, exhaustion making him look more like a bald, bearded dishrag than a man, fixes him with a red-eyed glare. "I'm sure your Madam can arrange another escort," he says, dryly. "In the mean time, we really need to get this done today, no matter how many runners expire."

"He was in a pub toilet, Al," Charlie whines, but he acquiesces to stand still for the make-up lady to fuss and tut over his eyes and rummage for drops. "What happened to your heart, you fucker? You used to have one!"

"Yeah, and then the BBC ripped it out with their evil, cost-cutting ways. Stop thinking with your cock, man, whoever-the-fuck 'he' is, he'll still be in England when we get back," came the terse response. "Besides, if you're that desperate there are plenty of places in the city where you can find all manner of huge black men looking to bum a soft media liberal type."

Charlie grins, despite himself. "Is that your interpretation of the American dream?"

The director scowls at him. "No, it's your interpretation of the American dream, arsebandit."

"It's your mum's-"

"Charlie."

"Sorry."


*


The second week is over before Charlie knows it, time galloping merrily along like the highwayman thief that it is and wrenching the whole crew with it at a breakneck pace. At the end of each day, near-blind with tiredness and unable to drop off due to his absurd terror of oversleeping, Charlie collapses into bed, his burning skin cradled by cool sheets as he drifts into waking dreams of floppy hair and a quavering voice, dreams from which he jolts awake at the demonic wail of the alarm clock to tumble, mewling and stupid, to the cold tiles in advance of another horrible day.

Because that's exactly how TV works, he tells himself, scrubbing half-heartedly with the complimentary shower gel and bemoaning the failure even of his cock to enjoy mornings. Sometimes it helps to think of David, eight hours ahead and probably enjoying a mid-afternoon tea break, but sometimes it just makes him think of the curl of David's plump fingers around the cup, fingers that are dexterous and clever in the darkness, and Charlie curses his exhaustion-wilted dick once more, utterly disheartened by its inability even to find its fuckbuddy arousing.

The hours spent endlessly rehashing the script blur hopelessly into one as the cameras (a grand total of two) are positioned and re-positioned to make the most of the light, as the people at work grow greyer and thinner with each passing day until, out of the blue, they're all stood at the departure gate, bags dangling like an old dog's balls from lacklustre hands.

Charlie leans on Al and is leaned on in return, shoulders bumped against each other and heads tilted together, looking like ten-year-olds asleep on their feet at their dads' darts tournament. The rest of the crew slumps in similar puppyish tiredness, propped up on any available surface. Charlie, amazed that he's managed not to fall over or piss himself, necks his valium, ignoring the suspicious looks of the security guards, and wanders onto the plane in an insouciant haze, barely remembering to alert his creepy Twitter slaves of his imminent return. He hopes there are typos. Typos annoy them.

The plane is already taking off by the time he remembers that it might have been polite to call David.

Polite at first, anyway.

 

*

The sight of his own front door, peeling red paint always incongruous against dull brick, warms him in a way he would never admit to; London might a grey, drizzle-humid, smoggy tramp of a city compared to the glossy tat of L.A., but there's nothing like home to soothe agitated nerves. He fumbles his key in the lock, struggling to both balance his bags and combat the recalcitrant hinges, and heaves his weight against the wood, falling into his flat with all the grace of a seacow in a paddling pool.

Letters litter the carpet at his feet, mixed in with some optimistically-dispatched preview tapes, and he drags his suitcase over them with a weary grumble, slinging it as far into the hallway as a swing of his arm will allow and slamming the door shut with a grunt of satisfaction. His muscles hold a brief, intense discussion with his eyes to decide which aches more and, since the muscles win, he resigns himself to pandering to his slight OCD, bending down to scoop the letters up and trudge into the living room with them.

The sofa welcomes his arse with the same gusto as a sex-deprived prison inmate. He settles into it with a long sigh, tired but cursed by his stint on the valium to wakefulness, and flips idly through his post. It's a reassuringly dull lot- no death threats this week, despite an uncomplimentary column he'd submitted from the Land of the Free concerning the horrors of international travel, but one item catches his interest- slipped between the myriad bills and glossy leaflets for pizza delivery, clinging to a BT advertisement like a reluctant lemming, is the pale yellow flutter of a Post-it note. Scrawled across it, in the drunken spider handwriting of Britain's favourite grumpy young man, is the phrase, '8pm, my place?'

Charlie's heart clatters against his ribcage. There's no way of knowing when David pushed the thing through his door, no way of telling whether the offer still stands other than phoning him, but now that Charlie's in the same country, a tiny city hop-skip lying between them rather than the yawning gape of oceans, now the idea of talking to him is frightening, unknowable, more daunting than live TV. Tiredness drags him down with a tighter grip than gravity could ever have, but this is David Mitchell, seeking out his flat to push a fucking Post-it through the door, inviting him no less, asking him with all the restrained politeness of a good repressed British man. Non-attendance is not to be contemplated.

He hopes he has a nice shirt hanging up somewhere.

*

The taxi drops him at the corner, as requested, and he drops the last of the money in his wallet into the cabbie's grasping hand, ignoring the jangle of change. The shower and ensuing frantic dig through his meagre wardrobe served to wrestle him into something resembling wakefulness, but the long stretch of uncounted minutes between then and now has robbed him of that fleeting consciousness, leaving him the same bumbling wretch who'd staggered out of Heathrow in a haze of exhaustion. It shouldn't be possible for his feet to feel so heavy, clamping Simon Cowell's fortune in gold bullion to his thighs couldn't weigh him down this much, each step drags like the harrowing trudge through a peat bog, but David's flat is just around this bend, just up this flight of stairs, just at the other end of this buzzer...

It's seven minutes past eight. Mr Punctual has probably already resigned himself to not seeing Charlie tonight. Maybe he's already contemplating finding his own pleasure without Charlie, maybe he's-

The door opens. David smiles nervously at him, keys clutched in one unsteady hand, and Charlie tumbles into him without a second's thought, his aim vague at best, fastening his lips to David's cheek before finding his mouth.

David's hands attach themselves to Charlie's back in surprise, his lips parting in a gasp, and the older man licks inside with sloppy slowness, tangling a leaden tongue with David's. It's probably unfair of him to lean so much, Charlie ponders, as David stumbles backwards into the wall, the older man clinging to him like a particularly determined rapist barnacle. S'your fault for inviting me, he thinks, in the other man's direction, and he breaks away for air, not quite able to coordinate nose-breathing and snogging in his current state, leaning his forehead against David's and sharing his panted breaths, their equally-ridiculous elephant noses tickling against each other.

“Hi,” he says, dimly aware of how inadequate a greeting that is, and David moves his head, just slightly, in what can only be described as a nuzzle.

“Hi indeed,” the actor replies, his fingers warm where they rest, tentative still, on Charlie's back. “Is assault in my own doorway something I should get used to?”

The yawn is upon Charlie before he knows it, stretching his response into a bizarre, elongated perversion of sound. “Ma-aybe,” he utters, jaws gaping open against his will, and David chuckles, the sound vibrating through his chest.

“Are you actually capable of any further movement? You have me very well pinned.”

“Mm.” The edges of Charlie's vision are going fuzzy, tinted black with the shadow of his own closing eyelids, and he moves to bury his heavy head in David's shoulder, breathing in the clean, cotton-fresh scent of him. “S'rry,” he slurs, aware that being pounced and slept was not what David had in mind when he wrote his little note.

The arms around him close into a proper embrace, pulling him flush against the body that's been tormenting him nightly, a body that he's never taken the time to hold but that fits against him so nicely. “Don't,” David says, gently, his cheek sliding low to rub alongside Charlie’s as he ducks his head. “Don't apologise. At least we can't be awkward failures if you're asleep. Bed?”

Charlie wants to protest, he does, he wants to slide to his knees and show David just how much he appreciates being asked over, just how much he appreciates the alteration of their arrangement, but his eyes are closed and David's so warm, and maybe it's okay just to sleep here, just this once, just this once...

 

*

The shift of cotton, rustling over him as he stretches into consciousness, and the gurgle of his stomach reveals what woke him before his nose can; some beautiful, wonderful person, is frying bacon. Charlie moves to lie on his back, feeling the pitch and yield of a mattress he's only ever had sex on, and catches David's scent in the sheets, subtle beneath the salt-rich crackle of the bacon smell. It makes his stomach twist a second time, with an entirely different sort of hunger. A questing hand reveals that the other side of the bed is still warm, still a little dipped from David's weight, and an odd quiver flickers through him.

Throwing back the duvet, noting that the dressy shirt is now crumpled to buggery, he rolls to his feet, eschewing his jeans on the basis that David's had enough exposure to his pasty stick legs to not run screaming at the sight of them. He's halfway down the hall, unfamiliar in daylight, before he remembers that David has a flatmate who might be a little surprised by the sight of random trouserless man wandering through his home. Luckily, when he peeks his head around the kitchen door, the sight that meets him is the back of the trademark Etonian haircut topping a stripy pyjama-clad body. David appears to be poking the bacon around the pan, if the movements of his arm are anything to go by, and four buttered buns lie open on the worktop next to him, each sitting on its own fussy square of kitchen roll.

Charlie can't help grinning. It is comforting to know that the man is a cliché even in his own kitchen, though the sight of him in unbuttoned mode is doing peculiar things to Charlie's insides. Fluffy blue slippers should not be attractive. Especially if they contained naked feet.

The fat spits, eliciting a wince from the enterprising chef, and Charlie steels his nerves to approach, attempting to convince himself that the flutter in his stomach is hunger. The lino is startlingly cold beneath his bare feet, sharp in its chill, and he hisses through his teeth, causing David to glance over at him with a smile. “Does that help explain the slippers?” he says, by way of greeting.

“Their existence, yes, but not the peculiar choice of pissy-knickered granny chic,” Charlie responds, secretly gratified by the unconscious dip of David's eyes to his crotch. “You realise that I will happily mug you for breakfast, right?”

The actor's grin widens as he turns back to his task. “Of course you will, you're a savage. But you underestimate my combative skills with hot fat.”

“Hot fat is nothing to a man's need for bacon.”

“And how will you eat the bacon if your face is burned off?”

“...If it's that hot, you might want to check that you're not frying plastic explosives,” Charlie says, padding forwards to investigate. His mouth floods as he tucks himself alongside David, pressing close and noting the other man's incline towards him. He half-raises an arm, almost instinctively, but drops it before it can sling itself around David's waist - he's slept in the man''s bed, woken in his sheets, but the prospect of pulling him close is just too daunting. “Waitrose finest oak-smoked? I'm touched,” he says, sharply, to distract himself from the solid push of David's body.

David's ensuing laugh is tight, nervous, and he fumbles the spatula. “Not all of us live in Lidl, Brooker.”

“There's nothing wrong with meat from Lidl. Keeps your immune system on its toes,” he retorts, quashing the urge to wriggle with delight at their ability to hold an actual conversation without the comfort of the long-distance phoneline cushioning their inadequacies. “Besides, it genuinely doesn't matter if you burn the arse off it, nothing survives my cooking.”

“And where do you hide the bodies of your culinary victims?”

“Who said anything about hiding? Human stroganoff's a treat.”

The bacon fat is sizzling from beige to brown, pale pink darkening as the rashers begin to curl. David jabs him in the ribs with an elbow. “Don't be disgusting. Stroganoff is red meat, white meat belongs in casseroles. Pass a bun, will you?”

As Charlie reaches for the bread, a sneaky arm hooks around his waist, sliding low and intimate to rest over his hipbones. It's almost an embrace.

He has to try very hard not to flinch. Unexpected physical contact worries him, it always has, and it takes an inordinate amount of effort to relax into the touch, to bring his arm back and settle against David, like a tired dog sinking into a cushion. He is quite proud of his ability to relax, despite the nagging insistence in the back of his mind, growing louder with every passing heartbeat, that the cooker's going to explode because David is trapping me against it, or that the ceiling will cave in right there and I won't be able to get away because of that arm around me, oh God, what if the frying pan suddenly leaps off the hob, how will I get David to fuck me with my crushed-scrotum face melted off, what if what if what if...

The actor doesn't seem to notice. If he does, he has the good grace not to comment. Instead, he deftly scoops a few rashers into the open bun one-handed, flipping it closed with the spatula and stooping to grab it between his teeth.

Charlie's mouth instantly goes dry. That lean, that swift swoop followed by a display of oral dexterity, is precisely the action that has preceded every mouth-to-cock congress he has been privileged to experience with David Mitchell. He gapes, as slack-jawed and dumb as any strip club patron, whilst clever pink lips wrap around the sandwich, the muscles in David's neck and jaw flexing as he bites down, his eyes fluttering closed in unashamed pleasure as he rips his mouthful away with tiny savagery, straightening up and chewing with obvious satisfaction.

Oh Hell. He's giving me a food kink. Another jab in the side, this time from the embracing hand, alerts Charlie to David's impatience and he hastily transfers the bun to his free right hand and picks up the second. Before he can offer it to be filled, however, the moist brush of breath against his fingers alerts him in time to turn and see David bow his head to take a second bite, apparently oblivious to Charlie's silent appreciation.

The nigh-imperceptible tug is weirdly, impossibly erotic, something visceral lingering in David's single-mindedness, and Charlie's fingers tighten on the sandwich, pulling just enough to make David growl at him. Charlie's vaguely aware that his portion of bacon is starting to smoke its way to a charred demise, but he can't tear his eyes away, can't bring himself to move as David raises his head once more, munching contentedly. There's a crumb resting at the corner of his mouth, sitting just in the crease of his lip, and Charlie's bending to lick it away before he knows it, the second bun dropping disregarded from his grip.

David stills. He doesn't move to release Charlie but makes a noise through his mouthful, a muffled brr! of disapproval presumably directed at the journalist's presumptuous thievery, but Charlie isn't listening; he's focusing on taste of David's skin, salty beneath his tongue, and his fastens his lips to the curve of David's jaw, clinging despite the unceasing up-and-down jolt of the man's chewing, intent on exploring the creamy territory of his bare neck.

"Mmph mmrr ugh mm," David mumbles, inelegantly, and Charlie traces the bulge of the muscle with his tongue as he swallows to say, "No sex in the kitchen! Food first, shagging later."

"I beg to differ," Charlie mutters and inwardly groans at himself. You beg to differ, Brooker? Who do you think you are, Mr Darcy's repulsive older brother? He twists in David's grip, hesitantly sliding a hand up the embracing arm to grip the material over the younger man’s left shoulder, holding him still despite his protestations to map out the dip below his jaw.

David's head tilts, allowing him more access even as he snaps, "Well, it's nice to know you appreciate a romantic gesture - I was going to bring this to you in bed, you know, you looked like shit warmed over in a crematorium oven last night, I wasn't expecting you to turn into a bizarre breakfast rapist. Does this happen every time someone cooks bacon for you?"

"It certainly put Mum off her stride," Charlie quips, grinning at David's vocal disgust and shifting his weight to press closer to the man, rubbing himself deliberately against the unresisting body. "Why can't we screw in the kitchen? You've got Dettol, haven't you?"

The frying pan clatters as David fumbles to push it off the hot hob and Charlie's grin widens. He spares a moment to finally drop the half-eaten sandwich and switch off the offending ring, then returns to nuzzling down David's throat, marvelling at the newfound pleasure of seeing pale skin flush.

"But...breakfast," David manages to get out, even though he's now got both arms up to drag Charlie close, trapping himself against the worktop.

"There's always more bacon," the journalist assures him, tugging at the large plastic buttons holding David's pyjama top closed. "A good erection should never be wasted."

David stills, jaw setting like he wants to protest, but Charlie ignores him in favour of getting his hands on the curve of the younger man's naked stomach, enjoying the soft yield as warm skin hitches at his touch. He caresses up, fingers catching as they stroke dark chest hair the wrong way, and only has time to tease briefly around taut nipples before David sags, ceding the battle with a twitch of fingers where they rest on Charlie's back; his cock is definitely interested, a stiff, unruly outline against Charlie's calculated rubbing, and he rewards it with a slow, forceful thrust-and-slide that might cause friction burns in a lesser man.

His hands fill as David's chest heaves with a rapid intake of breath and Charlie unfastens his lips from a throbbing pulse-point to take David's mouth, delving inside without even the commonest courtesy to linger and taste, the tongue slack and submissive under his own as he explores the younger man's quiescent mouth.

In the dark, David Mitchell is a hasty, impatient kisser; in the morning, with daylight grumbling over him from between his kitchen blinds, cast into vulnerability and without the night to hide in, he is a cautious, submissive creature. Charlie resists the urge to compare him to small furry woodland things. Small furry woodland things are probably off-limits in the kitchen sex stakes anyway.

Instead, he curls his tongue over David’s, gentle and coaxing like he’s a seriously fucked-up incarnation of the Horse Whisperer, and struggles to keep his fingers in ‘grope’ rather than ‘grab’ mode. Dawdling is alien to their…fine, fuck it, to their relationship, their time together is sordid and swift and as silent as it is possible to be, urgent with the strange fear that if they linger the whole thing might come crashing down. At speed, there’s no time to think, to reflect, to really look, but two weeks away hasn’t shattered their odd little connection. If anything, it’s wiped a mucky, come-stained rag over the misted glass, led them blind and whipped away the blindfold to reveal…Well.

David’s head tilts infinitesimally, his lips slipping just a little too dry, catching on the older man’s, and he shifts, pulling at Charlie’s shirt in an insistent manner as his tongue finally, finally begins to move, tangling sluggish. It’s an unhurried kiss; almost leisurely but for the anxious quiver of tension that causes David’s hands to shiver as they draw Charlie’s shirt up and find bare skin.

The feel of those unseen fingers is jarringly familiar amidst the newer sensations and Charlie wriggles into the touch, wanting to feel every thrumming centimetre of David’s nervous fingertips; the squirming elicits a soft sound from the younger man’s throat, a moan that is all but swallowed by Charlie’s kiss as the journalist roughly slides his leg between David’s thigh and rubs against him like a cat in heat.

It should be embarrassing. It should be absolutely mortifying, this, to be necking like drunken teenagers at whatever-the-fuck o’clock in the morning, to be this hard and nowhere near naked. Maybe he just doesn’t have the blood to spare for blushing. If his cock had a voice (thank evolution it doesn’t, Charlie gets enough criticism from all of his other body parts), it would be whining helplessly at him to be let out like a dog trapped in a car in the middle of the Australian outback.

David’s cock seems to be feeling the same way, judging by the insistent hole it’s trying to poke in Charlie’s stomach. Charlie, his lips far too involved in kissing David senseless to suggest anything helpful, wonders whether the cooking oil is in reach.

Cooking oil seems to be the last thing on David's mind; his fingertips slip, almost accidentally, under the elasticated waistband of Charlie's boxers as the journalist's own fingers find hard nipples again, teasing light, ticklish circles over sensitive skin. David's mouth breaks from his with a ragged breath and his head tips forwards so that his brow rests on Charlie’s, the peculiar feel of his nose brushing against Charlie’s enough to jolt the older man’s eyes open.

Fuck. For all that he finds them beguiling, beautiful, irresistible, Charlie will also admit to being just a little bit scared of David's eyes, in much the same way that he’s secretly petrified of the gaping holes in a Cyberman’s face. They're too dark, too big, too romantic to make sense on this bitter cynic he beds (although he’s never been fucked by a Cyberman, he imagines the eye thing remains a constant). 

David Mitchell’s eyes are unreadable, always unreadable, they smack his mind wide awake, transfix him like a deer before a rifle, he can't think with that eerie gaze on him, not when plump hands are sliding down to clutch at his arse, not when his hands are full of David’s flesh and groping towards the epicentre... 

David’s eyes crease, suddenly, their corners wrinkling into concerned crow’s feet, and Charlie’s first wild thought is, Shit. He’s actually getting a proper look at me. He's finally noticed my face. Quick, distract him! 

Before he can tear himself free of the terrifying scrutiny, however, David's eyelids sink half-closed, hooded and heavy over sultry irises that would better suit the squalling princess in Disney's Aladdin. "You look shell-shocked," he says, the words moist as they rush over Charlie's lips, and the journalist blinks the last of the man’s peculiar hypnosis away to see the faint crow’s feet deepen with amusement.

"Shouldn't have stolen Jasmine's eyes, then, should you?" he retorts, the cryptic remark driving David's eyebrow up; he uses the confusion to lean in again, this time watching dark eyes shutter closed as their lips fumble together and slip clumsily into place, tongues and teeth and the scrunch of David's eyelids as he concentrates. Charlie finds the edge of pyjama bottoms as they grind awkwardly, his hands being crushed between them as the younger man hesitates- it’s sort of sweet, really, that hesitation, when in the darkness it’s all Charlie can do to hold on whilst David’s tongue mercilessly fucks his mouth. 

When his hand dips in to take the man’s cock, however, the lick of his tongue becomes hungry and Charlie happily relents to a determined onslaught, surrendering easily as the rock of David’s hips shudders into pointed, purposeful thrusts. Their rough, clumsy rubbing slows as Charlie winds his left arm around David’s generous waist and lets his right hand assume that familiar hold. His wrist is crooked at an angle that’s going to fucking smart later, but for the moment he resists the sneering of his own mind (can’t even wank him off properly, you creaky-jointed sack of shit, why not hide your face in his crotch, at least you won’t give him fucking nightmares) and loses himself in the swell of David’s cock, the slipslide of precum over ungainly flesh, the urgent stab of David’s tongue, the unsettling grind of his own dick against his hand.

Bugger off, he tells it, as sternly as he is able, but the hands on his arse have other ideas- David is seemingly intent on dragging Charlie through him at some point during the encounter if the possessive grip he has on the older man’s behind is anything to go by. Rather than slackening his grip to allow Charlie greater access to his unmentionable, David is rocking Charlie’s hips in time with his own, in time with the relentless swirl of his entangling tongue. 

He’s skittering deeper into his bolder night-time alter ego, led by the casual assumption he has always made that he can do with Charlie’s body what he wishes, and it is this realisation that drives Charlie to faster strokes, something to concentrate on as the revelation and lack of air blacken his vision, weaken his knees. 

Whatever his feelings were when he put the frying pan on, David’s going to fuck him. And he isn’t going to be nice about it.

This time it is Charlie that pulls away with a breath more like a whine, pressing against the finger that has found its way between his cheeks. “Oh f- fu- uck me,” he groans; two weeks of not being touched by David Mitchell is far too much to expect of any reasonable sodomite, and Charlie is anything but a reasonable sodomite. “David…”

There, again, just like on the phone, David’s name in his mouth and its owner pauses for breath, dark eyes falling open, cock pulsing in Charlie’s grip. The journalist smirks, wriggles his hips back once more to feel those fingers clench, digging into his skin and he groans the man’s name a second time, surreptitiously rotating his wrist to eke a wordless noise from David’s throat.

He hasn’t even been taken in hand and he’s panting like a sheepdog. “Want you. Inside me,” he says, staccato as his heaving chest demands. David’s hips jog against him, hard and urgent, and it takes all the will in the world to drag himself away, still working David’s cock with his right hand. He has to brace his left on the man’s chest to lever himself back, forcing his way out of clinging, groping hands.

“Charlie-“

He silences David with a squeeze, his attention zeroed in on the feel of hot, slippery skin beneath his fingertips, and compels his fingers to peel away, David’s whine of protest sharp in his ears; he turns, wincing at the now-coarse brush of cotton against his neglected dick, and reaches out to grip the edge of the kitchen table, bending easily at the waist to push his arse back, needy as a cat in heat, meeting David’s body with force enough to make his breathing stutter.

Hands grab at him, sudden and oh-so-welcome. He grunts as his hips are dragged back, forcing him to bend even further, breaking his body into more submissive angle. Blood roars in his ears, throbs heavy and engorged in his veins, aches in his cock. “Fuck me,” he says again, this time through gritted teeth, and the feeling of David not inside him has got to be the worst trial in the world. “Please,” he begs, “please…”

This isn’t how it goes between them. This isn’t how it works. They don’t get on to the actual buggery for some time- sometimes they never reach it- but Charlie’s body aches for David, shudders at his touch and spreads his legs as eagerly as any scarlet woman, the whisper of cloth when his boxers are removed is like the screech of nails down a serial killer’s mask, and his head lolls forwards on his weak, useless neck when fine-skinned hands find his cock. “David,” his mouth says again, revelling in the newfound freedom to plead and whimper and beg for the right touches…David’s not saying much, he realises, woozily, but the slow drip of cool oil onto overheated skin wipes the thought from his brain.

This, at least, he knows. He knows the first stumble of clumsy fingertips, knows the creep of David’s thumbs as they slide between and bare him to…to darkness, before, but now to light and the blank horror of David’s creepybeautiful eyes, but before Charlie can summon even the slightest urge to protest that man’s lingering, he is suddenly and firmly breached, hesitation snapping into decision as quickly as it always has, tentative caution cast aside for one knuckle, two knuckles, three knuckles deep inside and wriggling to stretch him, worming deeper and striking rough sparks, flint to the wanton give of Charlie’s flesh.

There’s no sound from his lips because he’s biting down on his arm as one finger becomes two, biting so hard that copper fills his mouth, and that should be pain he’s feeling but for the hand that fumbles under his belly to stroke his cock, driving him back onto the slow, filthy thrust of David’s fingers, and he’s so wound up now that the pretty pine table is going to need a hell of a waxing in a minute…

“JESUS CHRIST!”

The unholy shriek batters through the single-minded haze of ardour to lodge in Charlie’s ears, dumping the aural equivalent a bucket of ice over the cresting wave of his lust.

That’s not David’s voice, comes the thought, muzzy with confusion. He has no time to ponder it; the hand falls from his cock, jarring a cry from his lips, and then the blessed fingers inside him still and begin ease out, wrenching his attention back to the desperate struggle he’s having with his own body, orgasm receding like a hairline. Delicious, twitchy fullness gives way to a bereft horrible gape, he whimpers- somewhere a door slams- and David’s hand, sticky with lube, braces itself on his back, holding him down, holding him still as searing heat presses against him, pauses, waits-

Bastard, you bastard, waits for him to squirm in David’s hold to push himself back, groaning aloud and almost collapsing when the long, aching slide forces the man’s cock deep, deep inside.

“Think we…traumatised….Robbie,” David pants, tight through gritted teeth. It’s the first thing he’s said and it’s another man’s fucking name, so Charlie growls at him and clenches his inner muscles, happily losing his mind when David’s response is to thrust so hard he moves the table; oh, oh, full at last, stuffed full of dick and making a writhing mewling idiot of himself, lost in David’s moans, David’s breaths, David’s hands, David’s cock…

Neither of them last very long, in the end. And the pine is thoroughly ruined.

*

When he gets out of the shower, flushed pink and smelling of the soap David bewilderingly likes to buy instead of shower gel, David is sitting on the couch in his dressing gown, looking a great deal more respectable than he had when Charlie left him. He probably freshened up in the kitchen sink or something. Pity.

It is a pity, not just because debauchery suits David, oh no, but because now that propriety has returned, primly dressed and disapproving, unease has sidled back in as it always does, colouring the air between them with a slimy shade of awkwardness.

“I, er-“ Charlie begins, and David glances at him, his gaze skittering away like foal on ice.

“Yes,” he says, hastily. “Yes, you, er…er….”

“Probably should-“

“Yes.”

The silence is hideous. Charlie stares miserably at the borrowed socks on his feet, hating the yard that separates them. When there was an ocean and a considerable amount of landmass, things had been so much easier. Being allowed to depend on his imagination had almost made it perfect but for the crucial fact of the man’s absence. It had made so much sense, painting David’s face with blushes and smiles rather than that horrible, disappointed twist of lips, the avoidance of his gaze because he wants Charlie to leave, just leave because, because…

Because if I leave, he doesn’t have to deal with that yard, says Charlie’s brain, moving at a speed to which it is unaccustomed, and the revelation is so swift that Charlie’s not sure he can trust it…He shuffles his feet, hands dipping defensively into his pockets, and throws his entire life down on the tiny, microscopic chance that he might be right, that David might be exactly as fucked-up as he is.

“Or,” he says, very aware of the crash that the gauntlet makes, “I could stay and get those bacon sarnies you promised. And then maybe we could have some more sex in a different room. There might even be a conversation.”

David stills. Charlie wonders, for a long, desperate moment, if he should just fling himself out of the window to avoid having to listen to the inevitable rejection, but David’s lips are untwisting, unknotting into something that might be something akin to smile. “I resent the implication that I can be placated like a nineteen-fifties housewife, with sex and cooking,” he says, at last, wicked humour electric in his voice, and Charlie grins.

“Honey, I’m home!” he sings out, in as mocking an American accent as he can produce, and finds himself wondering if maybe, just maybe…