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Throwing Down the Gauntlet

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"Kissing on film is always completely crap," David said. "Nobody actually kisses like that - that whole thing with the elaborate mouthing and moaning and desperation. Because kissing's never as good as they make it out to be. It's just a prelude to the more interesting stuff."

"I can't believe how unromantic you are!" Charlie said, voice slipping upwards in indignation. "Go on, then. Demonstrate what kissing is actually like in your sad, love-free little world."

"Who with?" David asked. "Kissing does involve two people, you know."

"Snog Charlie," Rufus suggested.

A whoop of something from the audience and Charlie could feel himself starting to blush.

"No!" David said, at the exact moment Charlie said, "Um..."

David looked at Charlie.

Charlie looked at David.

"Go on, then," Rufus said.

"I said, no!" David sounded more indignant than horrified.

Charlie shrugged. "Well, if you're that certain your kissing skills won't stand up to scrutiny..."

"I'm not saying that!" David said. "I'm saying that I'm not going to kiss you for the entertainment of this lot."

"You fucking coward!" Charlie said. "You're just scared of discovering that you're a crap kisser and you've been doing it wrong all your life."

"Are you seriously saying that your sexual experience is sufficiently vast that you can stun me into thinking kissing's better than sex?"

"Yes!" Charlie said. "Well, no. Not better than sex. But worth making time for in your busy schedule."

"Okay," David said, and stood up. "I accept your ridiculous challenge." He adjusted the battery pack for his microphone, making it more secure, before walking to Charlie's desk and leaning over it, hands resting on the lower ledge. "Tell me more about this earth thing called kissing."

And Charlie hadn't actually expected it to get this far. Bloody typical of David, really. Always confounding expectations.

"If you're going to wimp out," David said, "I take that as an admission that you agree with me."

Charlie... lunged. It wasn't dignified and it wasn't seductive but it did, at least, end with his mouth on David's. And then there was the terrifying moment of trying to remember what happened next.

But David shifted position slightly, and his mouth opened and, oh, yeah, it really was instinctive. Instinctive to run his fingers up through David's hair and cup the back of his skull. Instinctive to lean in that little bit closer, at a slightly sharper angle. Instinctive to breathe in deeply at the tiny, muffled moan David let out.

Less instinctive to listen to the voice in his ear shouting, "Brooker, you fuckwit! We can't broadcast this!"

Oh, yeah. This was actually supposed to be a television programme.

Which was why there was a studio full of people cheering and clapping.


He wasn't sure which of them broke the kiss first but then they were staring at each other, faces only a few inches apart, and David cleared his throat.

"Okay," David said. "I accept your point."