London, England, June 1974
“Mamma mia, here I go again! My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I've missed you. Yes, I've been broken-hearted, blue since the day we parted. Why, why did I ever let you go?” -Mamma Mia, ABBA
Brian had noticed Freddie seemed off ever since yesterday. It was just the two of them in the flat for the weekend; John had been invited to stay with Veronica’s family and Roger had gone home to visit his mum.
It wasn’t that Freddie seemed like he was ill; it was just that he’d gotten quiet. Brian often found him staring off into space. Honestly, he assumed it was Freddie’s anxiety acting up, it usually did when Freddie didn’t have anything to distract himself with, but when Brian suggested they head to the pub Freddie had vehemently shook his head.
Yeah, Brian thought. Definitely anxiety.
A little part of him wanted to ring Roger and ask him what to do; he always seemed to know how to help Freddie’s anxiety. But no, Freddie was his friend too, he could handle it.
Still, it was worrying when Freddie, his sweet, bubbly Freddie, barely spoke.
“Flat’s looking messy,” Brian said and indeed it was. There were take-away boxes everywhere, dirty plates and glasses piling up and all their beds were unmade. The floor was so grungy it made his nose wrinkle. They’d been lax ever since they got back from their tour. “Help me clean it?”
Freddie nodded, still not looking at him, seemingly barely hearing him. Sighing, Brian went in search of the cleaning supplies.
(Bloody good thing he did too, or he was willing to bet Freddie would have stayed quiet until his scent gave him away.)
Cleaning the living room and kitchen passed without incident. It wasn’t until Brian went to clean the bathroom that the world seemed to tilt on its axis.
“Fred, can you bring me the broom?” he called, as he emptied the waste-paper basket into a bin bag. He heard Freddie give a sharp, horrified gasp.
“Wait, Bri darling, I’ll clean in there!”
His shout and hurried footsteps startled Brian into dropping the bag, and the trash spilled out onto the floor-
And among the tissues, the empty toothpaste containers, make-up wipes and toilet rolls, was a pregnancy test.
It was positive.
For a moment, Brian quite forgot how to breathe. He could only stare at the test and think Oh my God, what the hell? before his stunned gaze slowly went to Freddie. His friend was standing in the doorway, eyes wide with terror; one hand covered his mouth as he took slow, deep breaths, like he was trying not to vomit. The other hand was pressed down on his stomach, his flat stomach that wasn’t going to stay flat for long.
It all clicked.
Freddie hadn’t brought anyone home, or stayed the night with anyone- how could he, when the world took one look at the mark on his neck and thought he was taken? There was, by all logic, only one person he could have slept with.
Brian and Deacy had both been away a month ago…
“So I wanna know, what's the name of the game? Does it mean anything to you? What's the name of the game? Can you feel it the way I do? Tell me please, ‘cause I have to know. I'm a curious child, beginning to grow.” -The Name of The Game, ABBA
Freddie wasn’t really sure what the trigger was. It just...Sort of happened.
Roger was his friend, Roger was his best friend. If there was ever a moment when Freddie thought Will we...? Are we going to...? What if...? it could be put down to the fake-dating confusing his instincts. The mixed scents were just causing some confusion. That was all.
But as they were dancing they ended up practically pressed flat against each other. Roger’s hands went to Freddie’s hips as they had a thousand times before. Nothing new, Freddie told himself. No biggie.
Except the way Roger was looking at him was new.
For a moment, time seemed to slow. For a moment that felt like an hour, they stared at each other, and Roger’s eyes flicked to Freddie’s mouth and- oh.
Roger’s thumb brushed over Freddie’s lips and the next thing Freddie knew, they were kissing.
He could blame it on the alcohol. They were both drunk, that was it.
(Though they weren’t that drunk at all, who was he kidding? Not himself, not really.)
“Let’s go home,” Roger said and Freddie nodded.
“I'm falling through the doors of the emergency room. Can anybody help me with these exit wounds? I don't know how much more love this heart can lose, and I'm dying, dying from these exit wounds. Wounds, when they're leaving, the scars you're keeping. Exit wounds. When they're leaving, the scars you're keeping.” -Exit Wounds, The Script
“He’s going to hate me,” Freddie sobbed and Brian’s heart just broke.
“No he won’t,” he said, hugging Freddie tighter. “He’d never hate you, Fred, never. ”
They’d long since moved to the sofa; as the whole story came pouring out, Freddie had burst into tears- so here they were, with a secret that seemed impossible to believe, and Freddie sobbing onto Brian’s shoulder.
He just couldn’t wrap his head around it. He hadn’t noticed anything different between them.
“Have...Have you talked about it?” he asked hesitantly, certain he already knew the answer- and sure enough, Freddie shook his head.
“You have to, Freddie.”
“I know,” Freddie mumbled, mopping at his eyes. “Sorry for the waterworks, darling.”
“Don’t be daft, I reckon you deserve a good cry.”
Freddie laughed weakly, but almost instantly drooped again.
“I don’t know what to do,” he said.
“If you want me to be here when you tell him,” Brian began, but Freddie was already shaking his head.
“I can do it,” Freddie said, but he didn’t sound so sure.
Brian got it. This...This changed everything. Sure, there’d been moments when he wondered, when he thought that they were maybe a bit too convincing...There had been times when he wondered if they’d get together after all, but- but he hadn’t really considered what would happen if they did.
But they weren’t together, were they? They’d had sex and then didn’t talk about it.
And now Freddie was pregnant and panicking.
It wasn’t exactly what Brian would call a relationship.
“My parents are going to kill me,” Freddie mumbled, tilting his head back and closing his eyes.
“...You’re keeping it then?” Brian asked gently.
Freddie shrugged, eyes still closed. “I...I don’t know. Maybe. I think so.” His hands went to his stomach, pressing down harder and harder, like he was trying to feel the baby out, like he was trying to find it. “I don’t know,” he repeated.
“We’ll be there whatever happens, you know that, right?” Brian tugged Freddie back against him, tucking Freddie under his arm. “It’ll be alright, Fred. This is Roger we’re talking about. He’d rather die than hurt you, you know that.”
That finally seemed to help; Freddie relaxed, sagging against him.
“Right,” he said. “It’s Roger.”
Which, of course, was when the front door slammed open and Roger came sauntering in.
“Hey,” he said brightly- but when he got a good look at them, when he saw the obvious tear tracks on Freddie’s cheeks, his smile vanished. “What’s wrong?” Just like that, he was on the sofa with them, on Freddie’s other side, grabbing Freddie’s hands. “Fred? What happened, are you okay?”
Freddie looked at Brian, and Brian took the hint.
“I’ll leave you to it,” he said, hauling himself to his feet. Before he left, he squeezed Freddie’s shoulder. “Call me if you need me,” he said and headed off to his room.
Just before he closed his door he heard Freddie say, “I have something to tell you.”
Please Rog, Brian thought- no, prayed. Please, for once, keep your cool.