Had we but world enough, and time…

Unashamed romance. Julian and Noel and a hotel sofa. Cuddling and more.


Characters: ,





Length: words

Notes: RPS, romance and hinted sexiness! PG-13 for a bit of swearing.

Had we but world enough, and time… by yoyomonkey

Julian stretched out on the sofa until his feet hit the armrest. This was a fairly nice hotel, one of the better ones they’d stayed in on this tour. And there were plenty to compare it to. How many dates had they done now? He couldn’t remember. Too many. He was knackered beyond belief, and feeling old and world-weary.

Take now, for example. He was supposed to be bashing out some ideas for the film—everyday work didn’t stop just because they were on tour—but had ended up napping instead. He could, of course, have moved over to the bed, but all the time he was on the sofa he could kid himself that he was still working. Which he clearly wasn’t, as right now he was laying on his side using a jacket as a pillow, drifting in and out of a hazy kind of sleep. Dreams clamoured for admission to to his subconscious. Miles Davis wanted his autograph, and Charlie Mingus was trying to get him to pose for photo, or his mate would never believe it was true….

Julian was even more deeply in this state an hour later when he heard a tentative knocking at the hotel door. He started awake, and then closed his eyes again. They’ll go away, whoever it is, was his last waking thought before sleep reclaimed him.

On the other side of the door, Noel knocked again, waited for a reply, then, when one wasn’t forthcoming, swore softly under his breath and fumbled in his pocket for the spare key Julian had given him. He was faintly surprised when he found it; he’d managed to lose everything else the night before. Including his own door key, his phone and a wristband that Dee had bought for him in Germany. She was going to be seriously pissed off.

He opened the door slowly.


He stepped into the room, automatically looking over towards the bathroom. Last time he’d just walked in to one of Julian’s rooms unannounced, Julian had been walking out of the shower completely naked, blushed bright red, called him an arse and told him to fuck off, all panicky. Obviously not a popular move, and Noel wasn’t about to repeat it.

Noel was halfway across the room before he noticed Julian stretched out on the sofa, his back flush against the supporting cushions. He smiled to himself, then knelt down on the floor at the end of the sofa, and brought his face down until his lips were inches from Julian’s ear.


No response.

Noel sat back on his heels and studied the older man’s face. He looked tired, even in sleep, but leaner and younger than had done before they had started touring. He had a day’s growth of stubble on his chin, which suited him in Noel’s opinion, and his hair, which was getting long, was falling into his eyes. Noel affectionately brushed the few stray locks back from Julian’s forehead, then jumped when he spoke.

“Noel. Get up on the sofa, or piss off and leave me to sleep.”

Noel obeyed. Scrambling up onto the sofa, he wriggled until his back was pressed flush against Julian’s front, kicking off his boots as he did so.

“I thought you were already asleep”, he said, slightly breathlessly.

“I was” Julian murmured his words into Noel’s hair, his breath warming the back of his neck. Noel closed his eyes.

“Oh. Well, sorry, its just that I was going to the…”

“It doesn’t matter. Shut up now, though. I’m shattered.”

“Ok. Night then.”


Noel snuggled a bit closer to Julian, then let his mind wander. He was tired, more tired than he was prepared to admit to out loud. Tired meant old, didn’t it? He visualised himself, greying, dozing in front of a fire in a rocking chair, a big tartan blanket tucked in around his knees. No. No thanks. He wasn’t prepared to give up the partying just yet, he was having too much fun. He liked the crowds, the adulation, the late nights, it was just….well. There were times when he wanted to just have a break from it all, even for a few hours. Times like now. And Julian was familiar and comfortable and smelled good, warm and masculine. Old leather and hotel shampoo, and something uniquely Julian underneath that. He drifted lazily into sleep.

Hours later, Julian awoke with a jump. Where was he? He scanned the unfamiliar room with sleep-fugged panic, as his brain slowly registered the unfamiliar weight against his chest. Oh. Noel. Hotel room. Tour. His mind cleared.

His right arm was numbed and aching from being clamped between his body and Noel’s, so he draped it comfortably over the slight dip of Noel’s waist and pulled him closer. Noel mumbled something and ran his fingers lightly over Julian’s hand, before lapsing back into sleep.

Julian gently worked his fingertips a few centimetres under the hem of Noel’s T-shirt and stroked the satin skin of his hip. He never questioned why physical closeness was so important in their relationship, never let himself. The thought of behaving like this with any other man made him wrinkle his nose with faint distaste. However, with Noel, it felt completely natural. And, well, the truth was, he adored him, and enjoyed these moments of knowing that he could be something to Noel that no-one else was. Not the screaming girls, not NME, not Russel Brand, not even Dee. They were close in an unexplainable way, kindred spirits. Soulmates. There wasn’t anything… well, anything sexual about it, not really.

Yet Julian could not shake the feeling that sometimes Noel held something back from him, that there was something he wasn’t saying. There had been occasions when, slightly drunk, they had been locked in an embrace, bodies pressed together tightly. Julian would be smiling down at Noel, giddy from the drink and pulsing at Noel’s obvious mutual delight in the moment. He would look into Noel’s eyes and see the same love he felt reflected there just for a moment, before Noel would drop his lashes and make some excuse to leave. The next time he spoke to him, Noel’s eyes would be blank, shuttered against him.

Julian tried to ignore it. After all, what was a look? He could be misreading the whole situation, or worse—projecting his own emotions onto Noel. Anyway. He wasn’t going to think about it now, not when Noel was a warm weight against his chest, and his face was buried in his mop of black hair.

Julian slipped his hand further under Noel’s T-shirt and began to trace words with his fingertips on his sleep-warmed skin. The names of old acquaintances, crappy pubs they had performed in years earlier, myriad characters they had invented together, in Julian’s imagination they all spread like ink over Noel’s stomach. Noel shivered slightly under his caress, then awoke.

“Mmmm.” He sighed happily at the pleasing sensation of skin-on-skin.

Julian smiled into Noel’s hair.


“Morning. Jesus, what time is it?”

“Um. Its about…” Julian made a half-hearted attempt at reaching for his phone on the table near his head, then gave up and slumped back down. “… I don’t care”

“Me neither.”

They laid in comfortable silence for a few minutes, before Noel shifted restlessly.

“You don’t have to stop touching me just because I’m awake, you know.”


“No. Do whatever you were doing just now. It was… nice.”

“Fine.” Julian slid his hand under Noel’s T-shirt once more, gently brushed his flat stomach with the heel of his hand and continued the stroking motion. He listened with a degree of satisfaction to Noel’s little sighs of enjoyment, and, encouraged, worked his hand up a few more centimetres, playing his fingers gently across the slightly too-protruding ribs. Oh, this was good. Good to be warm and snuggled together on this threadbare sofa and good to have Noel’s full and undivided attention, and not feel like he was going to leave in search of more stimulating company at any moment. Julian felt his heart fill up. This man knew him better than anyone, saw the world in the same light. He bent his head and pressed his lips softly against Noel’s neck.

Julian felt Noel stiffen in his arms, then freeze. He groaned inwardly. Barratt, you stupid fucking idiot, why did you do that? He was appalled at what he had just done, but the truth was, it hadn’t felt weird. Quite the opposite. But clearly Noel was about to freak out—he was as still as death in front of him, not even breathing it seemed. Then Noel turned, and lay facing Julian, his breathing suddenly shallow. Julian did not want to meet his gaze. He knew the drill. The blankness, the lame excuses, and finally, the quick exit. He stared at a point below Noel’s chin.

“Julian. Look at me.” Noel placed one hand gently on the back of Julian’s head and forced him to look into his eyes.

Julian looked.

Noel’s eyes were clear, slightly fearful, but above all, open and honest. They stared for a minute, as if seeing each other for the first time.

Slowly, painstakingly, achingly slowly, Noel brought his face closer and closer to Julian’s. He paused for a moment, as if indecisive, then gently pressed their lips together. They stayed like that for a moment, Noel’s hand still entwined in Julian’s hair, just breathing softly into each other’s mouths. Time froze.

Then, they were kissing. Just like that. It seemed incredible, but there it was. Julian couldn’t quite believe how well their bodies seemed to fit together, and how hungry they were for each other. Noel wrapped his arms around Julian’s neck, pulling him closer, and Julian slipped his tongue into Noel’s mouth, reveling in the taste of him. Cigarettes and cherry cola bottles. He worked his hand under Noel’s T-shirt, realising with a jolt that he done the same not so long before. He didn’t remember it seeming so damned erotic, but then, context changes everything. He didn’t remember Noel reacting in quite this way before, either.

Wordlessly, Julian pulled Noel’s T-shirt over his head and threw it on the floor. Then he sat up and discarded his own T-shirt, sending it to join Noel’s in the forlorn heap by the bed. He paused to take in the sight of Noel laying bare-chested on the sofa beneath him. He was so pretty, pale as ivory in the midwinter light slanting through the window, his hair shockingly dark against his skin. His eyes were huge and full of desire, but he was shaking, whether with fear or something else Julian couldn’t tell. He stroked Noel’s cheek tenderly.

“You ok?”


Julian sighed. “Freaking out?”

Noel wriggled nervously. “Um… yeah…” he stopped, unable to find the words. He was longing for Julian to touch him again, but scared shitless and unable to articulate any of this.

“Me too.”

Julian laid back down, facing Noel.

“You know, “ Julian began, stroking the sharp line of Noel’s jaw, “I’m fucking terrified, but I really, really want to… want something… want you…” He took a deep breath. “I want you. I love you.”

Julian couldn’t really remember what he had just said—his mind was hazy with desire. But it must have been ok, because suddenly Noel seemed to have melted in his arms, and was kissing him wetly, passionately, and his hands were sliding down his chest, his stomach, and then lower…

“Wait” he panted breathlessly, divested himself of his last vestiges of clothing and lay back down on the sofa. Noel paused for a moment, then followed suit, stripping off his jeans and pants and tossing them to the floor. He made as if to continue, running his hand down Julian’s chest, but Julian pulled him down so that he was laying on top of him instead. They were mouth-to mouth, chest-to-chest and hip-to-hip. Their mouths sought each other again desperately, as if seeking reassurance that this was real, and it was ok..

The couple in the room next door started to bicker loudly, but neither of them noticed, lost as they were in a world where no one existed but the two of them. In a dreamlike state they moved together, saying nothing but whispered endearments, lost in sensation. Finally they slept.

The wintery morning was just beginning to cast a cold gray light into the room when they finally awoke, and Julian shivered in the chill air. Noel coughed quietly and began to scrabble on the floor for his T-shirt with one hand. He pulled it over his head, the faced Julian nervously.

Reality started to make her presence known. Julian was suddenly uncomfortably aware of his own state of undress. He cleared his throat. He picked at a thread that had worked its way loose from the sofa cushion. Finally he spoke.

“I meant it, you know, when I said I loved you.”

Noel sighed with relief and fixed his eyes on the ceiling. A smile played at the corners of his mouth. It was ok.

“I know.”

And he did know. They knew each other inside out. They were still soulmates, still kindred spirits. Noel snuggled into Julian’s arms in comfortable silence, then yawned like a cat. There was really nothing more to be said.

End Notes: My first fic, so feedback appreciated! x