cyus: (Merlin)
[personal profile] cyus
Title: Stop Motion
Pairing: Merlin RPF, Bradley/Colin
Rating: R
Length: 4300
Summary: Colin's always been Colin, and Bradley's never not been wrapped up in him in every single way.
Notes: The beginning is a kinkmeme fill from months ago, the ending a commentfic. It made sense to wrap it all up into one neat thing.

The magic had bled out a little sometime after the first few takes when the changes to the lights set up took thirty minutes instead of ten and the frozen ground had started melting into mud around their boots. They'd all had an 'ah' for Pierrefonds on the drive in, orchestrated because they weren't actors for nothing, but when Bradley caught the third break of the day by himself in the dark shade of the castle, it managed foreboding better than romantic fairytale.

He stood, back pressed to the cold stones of the outer wall, and watched the crew prep the next scene. He'd already made a fool of himself with some of the French crew, relying on the vocabulary Katie had fed him. Wouldn't be making that mistake again, but they'd taken it with good humour and he'd swapped footie results with one of the guys, talking in hands and feet and laughs, and agreed to kick someone's arse at the kicker table later.

Pierrefonds threw the ragged shadow of its outline down the slope and across the first line of trees, the village low behind that. Bradley scuffed his toes at the outline of a bootprint, frozen in the ground. His fingers were red with cold around his mobile, thumb playing with the keys as he sent one of his mates something inconsequential like Francaise, language de Prince Arthur and got piss off mate sitting in rehearsals. done any frenchfucking yet? back a moment later.

He didn't do homesickness, because he did everything that distracted from it much too well.

Bradley wandered down the slope to the trailers when the crew signaled that it'd be another ten. It'd be enough time to take a piss without soiling his costume and have someone on his case for being an idiot. He pulled the coat tighter over the leather jacket they had Arthur wear and jogged down the hill, getting his blood pumping. He rounded one of the trailers, then stopped, and walked back to the gap between two trailers.

Colin, costar Colin who Bradley still hadn't figured out, not really, had one arm wrapped around his middle, coat zipped all the way up to his chin, and stood leaning against one of the trailers in a muddy patch, shifting up when his boots squelched forward a little. He looked up at Bradley, lips quirked.

"Hi," Bradley said. He stepped around a puddle and closer.

Colin nodded and said something like 'How's it going?' before he turned to look along the trailer and back to the castle, pivoting enough to give Bradley the shoulder, quite literally. He held a cigarette, thumb tapping to the filter as if he was listening to imaginary music, before he brought it to his mouth to suck on it, then blew the smoke into the cold air.

"Blimmin' cold, isn't it?" Bradley said, fingers clenched into fists in the pockets of his coat, shoulders drawn up.

Colin glanced up from the mud and the glimmer of his cigarette and looked along his shoulder at Bradley. "S'okay," he said, eyebrows crinkling a little, then took another drag.

Bradley craned his head for the crew milling about before he looked back towards Colin and stepped closer, squeezing between the trailers and trying valiantly not to mess with his costume. "So..." he said, leaning back against the off-white off-plastic of the trailer and then spent long moments watching Colin watching him while neither of them spoke.

Colin raised an eyebrow in question, tapped a thumb to his cigarette.

"Didn't know you smoked," Bradley said, engaging his brain into reverse, apparently.

"Hm." Colin said. His puffed up jacket crinkled when he curled his arm tighter around his waist, hand holding the cigarette shaking a bit, fingers red from cold.

"I told them over there that they should have found a castle in, I don't know, Hawaii. We could do a spot of surfing and I'd promise not to get their swords wet." Colin sucked on the cigarette, cheeks tight, smirk playing about his lips as he squelched a line into the mud with the edge of his boot. "They haven't even given me a sword yet. I mean, they have me in training with Andreas, but it's not the real thing, so..." Bradley trailed off.

Colin said something around the smoke he was blowing out but Bradley couldn't put the words together and gave a non-committal grunt in reply that he figured could mean anything, so he went with that instead of being tedious and asking Colin to repeat himself.

Shouts rang over from the crew as the sun was disappearing further behind the castle, darkening the area. People walked past on the other side of the trailer, but no one stopped to notice them hiding behind it. Bradley shuffled a bit closer to Colin to stay out of sight, coat dragging on the trailer wal, and cocked his head at Colin. They'd not talked that much outside the rehearsals at the studios. Colin had usually sat somewhere with his script or disappeared and Bradley had messed about with Angel and Katie.

"Tell me a joke," Bradley said eventually, pushing up on his toes before dropping down to his heels again, feeling the cold creep up his legs. "What does Colin Morgan think is funny?"

Colin gave a brief laugh, looked up at Bradley before he flicked the cigarette to the ground, stepping on it, an arm's length maybe from Bradley's toes.

"No really, there must be something you think is funny. Skaters crushing their nuts on railings, cats falling into cardboard boxes, your momma?" Bradley counted them out on his fingers before he pushed the hand back into his coat pocket. "What makes you crack up and piss yourself laughing?"

Someone from the crew called five minutes and their names, and Colin checked his mobile for the time or maybe texts, then pulled the pack of smokes from his pocket and fumbled to light another one with stiff fingers.

"You," he said, then took a drag from the cigarette as he stepped closer and exhaled smoke and breath just to the side of Bradley's face.

"Yeah, I'm hilarious," Bradley said, giving a laugh and reaching for self-deprecating as he let his head drop back to the trailer, staring up at the sky.

Colin smiled, eyebrow raised, and shrugged. He studied his cigarette glimming orange in the dusk and then brought the filter back to his lips, making the orange glow brighter for a moment, holding his breath, then exhaled. The smoke brushed over Bradley's face, tasting of tobacco. He wrinkled his nose, awkwardly reminded of the pack Keith had swiped from his Dad and that they'd smoked behind the shed when he'd been twelve or thirteen. He tried not to cough but did it anyway.

"Sorry," Colin muttered, eyes glittering with amusement, lips quirked.

"This your dirty little secret then?" Bradley asked. "I have to tell you, you'll ruin their image of sweet, little, innocent Colin when--"

"That I think you're funny?" Colin chuckled.

"That you smoke," Bradley replied, voice in don't be shitting me now, lad tone.

"Maybe?" Colin sucked on the cigarette, then aborted the gesture, pressed his lips tight as he pulled the cigarette from his lips and stepped closer to Bradley. He angled the cigarette until the filter rested against Bradley's lower lip, damp and a warm.

"I don't smoke," Bradley said. "Lung cancer. There's nothing funny about lung cancer, not even when my hilarious self is telling the story."

Colin didn't react much, only watched him, and Bradley opened his mouth after a moment, wet his lips with his tongue and Colin pushed the cigarette into his mouth. Bradley swiped his tongue over the filter, then gave a suck, held the smoke in his mouth for half a second maybe before he breathed out around the filter still resting between his lips. Colin's thumb brushed at the corner of Bradley's lips, along the curve of his lower lip. Bradley couldn't think of anything to do or say, so he just stood there, cigarette between his lips, until Colin smiled and took the cigarette back.

"I promised a mate I'd quit for Merlin." He glanced at Bradley, licked his lips, then took a drag and exhaled harshly into the evening air, leaving only the last puff to glance past Bradley's cheek. He chuckled to himself.

Bradley brushed the back of his hand over his mouth and smacked his lips, and trying to get his spit to wash the lingering taste away if not the curiosity of the thumb. "A bit shit with promises then, are you?" Bradley gestured towards the cigarette, and Colin looked at it, too, then up at Bradley, quizzical. It was driving Bradley round the bend that he couldn't read him. "You're supposed to laugh, Colin." He kicked his boot lightly at Colin's ankle. "You think I'm hilarious after all." Colin promptly began laughing, and Bradley joined in, if only because it was so absurd and weird.

The crew called time from where they'd set up filming and Colin grimaced at the cigarette but dropped it to the mud, watching it glim orange before going out, and he and Bradley shared a look over the death of it.

"Our secret?" Colin breathed, still standing too close to Bradley, his breath smelling of smoke.

Bradley didn't turn away, only glanced down at the fingers brushing at his coat. "The cigarettes? Doubt anyone cares, mate." He swallowed the lingering off-set feeling in his throat.

"Right, the cigarettes," Colin said as he stepped back, smiling in private amusement. "Wouldn't want to mess with my rep."

"Sweet and innocent Colin," Bradley said, nodding as he stepped ahead of Colin from their hide-out behind the trailers and stalked up the slope towards the filming crew, nodding at a few of the crew walking towards them.

"I don't think I'm going to quit," Colin said.

Bradley glanced at him, trying to read him, but the darkness was too dark right there, and so he shrugged, raising an eyebrow at Colin's chuckle, but Colin either didn't see or didn't want to elaborate and so they walked on, reaching the crew, and Colin became Merlin and Bradley tried to play at becoming Arthur, and well, they had magic to create on screen.

***

"I like this one," Colin said and pulled a face, enough to spill the salad down his front. Bradley fell off the bed, laughing. Colin tumbled after him, pressed him to the rug and gripped his chin. "I'm serious here, James. This is acting in-" He didn't get to finish.

The first night back in France and it bubbled in Colin's chest and under Bradley's lips and his hands. He'd been through his nervous smoke on the train and the furtive, whispering, sneaked, laughed-out-loud journey from his room to Bradley's.

Bradley looked at him, all eyes, all loyality, all Arthur and Colin kissed it away, into cocks and holes and sex and spit, until midnight had come and gone and filming tomorrow would dampen their spirits enough by the third delay to the set-up.

Colin liked to let Bradley think he watched him sleep. Truth be told, he couldn't bear to and had a smoke by the window instead. He decidedly wasn't watching. He decidedly wasn't thinking either that a few months apart had shifted something. The sheets were cold when he slipped in again. Bradley was as well.

***

Bradley was still in the car when the sun disappeared behind the hills and he trudged up the steps to the room, tiredness dragging at his limbs, feeling every single bit of the sweat and grime and godawful, pissing awful sinking feeling in his stomach that had been around since the night before, since they'd come back to France, and the first glow of everything all over again had broken into this.

The room was unlocked, of course, and stinking of stale sweat and sex from the morning.

"Lucky they didn't keep you, started pissing down at about four," Bradley said as he shrugged out of his jacket, toed off his trainers and sat on the edge of the bed, staring at Colin's spine.

"You're not going to break up with her?" Colin said, face blueish with the hue of the computer as he only bothered to turn his head enough to look at the door.

"I-" Bradley rubbed his thumb over his phone, Georgia's hearts in the texts. He didn't reply, took a shower, turned off the light and slipped into bed.

When Colin slipped in behind him, hand going for his cock and his arse, he opened easily, spread his legs for a fuck, the connection of sweat-slick skin if only to have the connection of something.

***

"The good thing is, it's got this- this edge, yeah?"

They were sitting on their bed, scripts for plays and films spread between them and Bradley was reading the woman Colin's character was dumping.

"Bringing out the roses, are you," Colin said, betting back to the scene. "Throwing building blocks like a toddler, crying for your mummy, who is crying for your mummy now?"

"Creepy," Bradley said, head cocked, and Colin squinted at him, tried to look into his brain, but Bradley only pushed the hair from his forehead and read the next line, expression set into a frown.

"Good creepy or bad creepy? The moment I'm spelling out that I'm chucking you to the gutter, don't you think you should've been gone already?" Colin marked the line in the script when Bradley's phone vibrated on the night stand and they both glanced at it and Colin didn't bother with the stupid, ever same argument they kept having. "We're not fucking tonight?" he asked when he gathered his scripts over the sound of plastic vibrating on glass and slipped off the bed.

"I'll let you know," Bradley said.

"Bringing out the roses, are you," Colin said in return and couldn't bring himself to return the smile when Bradley tried to crack it.

***

They'd gone back to quickies behind trailers when the tension had built too much. Colin laughed at a joke Bradley made and it seemed to click like old times for a moment, bit of sunshine and France, France spreading before them with their awkward, stupid francais and the kind of jokes you didn't make anymore when you were closer to 30 than to 20 and had forgotten about spiders in bathtubs.

Colin sent him a picture of some hilarious sign at one of the trailers.

Bradley forced a smilie in return. They had another two weeks before the final final wrap.

***

Now it's the bell and Colin's up from the chair, checking the clock on the mantle as he walks to get the door. Gone 6 and it's near dark outside. He runs through the security he's been insisting he doesn't need but someone was certain he couldn't do without, until the cctv image pops up on the screen.

The angle is awkward, the harsh light above the door painting deep lines that Colin knows aren't really there but it's Bradley, unmistakably, one arm stretched along the frame, looking over his shoulder uneasily and then up to the camera. He twists his eyebrows and gives a nod and a 'so, yeah?' with his face alone.

Colin presses the buzzer without much thought. He's still staring at the screen as it empties of Bradley and shows only the doorstep, then moves to open the door.

"Couldn't have done with fewer steps, Morgan?" Bradley calls from halfway up them, hands in the pockets of his jeans, hair hanging into his face as he jogs the last few and comes to stand in front of Colin.

"It's class."

"It's shite," Bradley retorts.

Colin smiles and shrugs. "First time you'd show taste."

They fall silent on the landing, standing close enough that Colin feels Bradley's breath on his neck, thinks he feels the heat of his body but that's probably rubbish. Bradley nods to the door.

"Right." Colin grins and steps aside, following Bradley in.

"Quiet." Bradley turns in the middle of the entry hall, looking about, until he comes to face Colin.

"Maddy's visiting family, I had to stay back for some meetings."

"Right." Bradley toes off his sneakers in the corner, flushing red when Colin chuckles and swatting at him.

"Wine? Beer? Water?" Colin pauses. "Anything?"

"Wouldn't say- no actually, I'm fine. Cheers, mate."

Bradley still moves the way he did when they were doing Merlin, solid build and nothing fey about him until he played it up for a laugh or was too drunk or too sleepy to check that he wasn't giving anything away.

"I thought you'd call ahead," Colin says as he moves around Bradley, shoves a few papers to the side on the desk, making a few notes, before he closes his laptop and settles on the sofa.

"I was in the area." Bradley is looking at the mantle, the row of trophies only there because Maddy loves writing out small labels. Heroin addict (again) and drugs, prostitution and mental - getting typecast?. Colin stows them away when Maddy's not around for a few weeks only to have her scowl and line them up one by one again.

Bradley traces his fingertips over golden hats, shrugs as he turns and toes the edge of the thick carpet underneath of the sofa area. "I wanted to say congratulations, for... that." He looks at Merlin, squints, his lips thin and his shoulders tense and Colin looks away before he catalogues all the ways in which this exceeds awkward. "You were good, so, congrats, yeah?"

Bradley tongue-tied and tense was one Colin's nearly forgotten over the other memories, and when he glances up Bradley's glancing at him and giving one of his sheepish boy smiles that look a little out of place on the 40-something face.

"Thanks," Colin says. "I didn't expect it, really, so yeah, yeah that was surprising. Good surprise just weird. Those things are always weird."

"Must be used to it."

"I guess," Colin replies and tries to cottonball the edge of bitterness in Bradley's voice with it.

"I would've called but I... I don't know... I don't have your number."

"Yeah." Colin looks at the hands in his lap, rubs his thumb over his wedding ring. "Must have forgotten with the... it changed and I must have..." He trails off, lying badly, and adds, "sorry," a little more heartfelt and quiet. He doesn't offer that he bought the straight-to-DVD medieval bloodfest flick that Bradley's done and hasn't watched it yet even though it's been two years.

"You looked good up there, Colin."

Bradley's looking right at him so Colin feels the arse until he looks up and looks back at him.

"Been lucky, haven't I? Who'd have thought that-" He breaks off. "I missed you," he says instead, speaking to the carpet again.

His phone goes off on the desk and they both look over and Colin ignores it. It's probably his agent, maybe Maddy but he can't right now.

"Same."

"Yeah."

Bradley settles on the arm of the sofa opposite Colin's, not even settling in it, just against it. The phone stops and it's back to the ticking of the clock on the mantle and the rattle of the fridge a few rooms down the hall. Bradley leans with his legs splayed, fingers picking at the inseam of his jeans, and Colin's spend hours kneeling between those legs, cock in his mouth or just dragging tongue and lips over every bit of Bradley's crotch, driving him made with the teasing and the whispers.

Colin rubs the back of his hand over his mouth and Bradley catches him mid-gesture, catches him mid-flush, as well, and Colin drops his hand, goes back to looking at the carpet.

"You deserve it, Cols." Colin looks up as Bradley nods at the trophies then gestures at the house. "All that."

They've never ended it. Colin's just stopped answering the calls, never losing a word about the nights in hotel rooms, mornings in cars and days crammed onto uncomfortable chairs or holed up in either of their flats, ignoring that a world outside existed.

"Should've called," Colin says. "Will call, I will. I promise."

"Yeah," Bradley huffs a laugh and taps his toes to the carpet. "Yeah, I'm not holding my breath. I just wanted to say congrats, and you deserve it and it was good to see you up there. You're looking good, mate." Bradley pushes up and spreads his arms a bit and Colin gets up as well. "That's all. I thought I'd tell you and I- I had to see you, but that's all. That's really... yeah."

Bradley shrugs and glances at the trophies again and walks around the sofas and back towards the door. He bends over to put on his sneakers, arse tight in the jeans, and yeah, Colin's looking, and then he straightens up again and catches Colin's eyes still fixed on his arse.

"I don't know..." what happened. Colin catches the lie before it's out and just shakes his head.

"You're happy," Bradley says, voice easy and smooth and he rubs a hand over his stubbly jaw. "I hope you're happy. You've got it all, Col. So, congrats."

"And you?" Colin asks as Bradley's already turned to the door.

Bradley looks over his shoulder. "You've had me." He shakes his head. "I'm not up for another round but... I'll be watching you, yeah? Keep watching you show them all what's what. Couldn't be prouder, mate." He opens the door and walks out, footfall receding on the stairs. He glances up at the CCTV as he passes through the doorway, stops for a moment to gesture to his heart and give that feeble wave to the camera and then turns and carries on.

The tick of the clock is loud in the house, resonating through the rooms. Colin stands leaned against the mantle and fingers the tag for the latest award, something else edgy and avantgarde and the right kind of character piece to impress the critics. playing the arsehole (again) says Maddy's tag. She probably has a point.
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November 2012

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