Julian can’t stop thinking about Noel… with another man.


Characters: , ,

Pairing: ,

Genre: , ,




Length: words

Inveigle by SMelody

Tossing back the last mouthful of his whisky, Julian looked at the two figures at the bar with a scrutinising eye. He would be lying if he said he had never considered Noel’s sexuality. It was something that was whispered about wherever they went, often with fond humour but sometimes with barely disguised malice. It had even been tentatively broached in conversations between the two of them once or twice, when at least one of them was at the stage of unstoppable, alcohol-induced gabbling.

Yet Julian had never been faced by something like this: Noel consistently locking eyes with another man, someone Julian had never seen before. As the whisky spread a trail of heat down to his stomach, Julian surveyed the scene and imagined he could actually see the electric tension in the air between the two men; a fizzing blue crackle surrounding them like an aura. Though he knew he was being slightly ridiculous, Julian instinctively recognised that there was something different about this man – he was no skinny indie rat, nor a producer or executive Noel was inflicting with a carefully timed charm offensive. And the more he gazed at the pair, the more small facets of the picture he was studying fretted at his thoughts. For one, Noel didn’t appear as outlandish as normal, wearing a plain, albeit tight, pair of blue jeans Julian had never seen him in before and a rather inconspicuous t-shirt. He also fixated on the height and breadth of the other man, which tilted the picture in his mind, making it seem like the man was looming over Noel.

The muscles in Julian’s hand twitched around the muted coolness of the tumbler he was holding in mid-air. Suddenly self-conscious and annoyed with the ponderings swirling around in his whisky-sodden brain, he rose from his chair – too quickly for it to look anything but inelegant – and moved towards Noel.

He didn’t pick Mike’s staggering form up in the corner of his eye until they had collided, Mike’s lager slopping on to his shirt.

“Shit,” Julian mumbled as his hands went out to steady Mike. He readied an apology but before he could stammer it out Noel’s raised voice chimed in, focusing at least half the pub’s attention on Julian and Mike, who was dabbing at his shirt ineffectually with the corner of his jacket and still smiling goofily.

“Go home, you drunken tit!”

For a moment Julian thought Noel was addressing him and he flushed irately but then Mike flipped Noel off.

“Just ‘cause we’re not drinking cocktails designed for Paris fucking Hilton!”

Julian winced sympathetically for Mike as Noel quickly retorted: “Yeah sorry, I’d forgotten Fosters symbolised the heighth of masculinity, despite there being more alcohol in a mouthful of this,” Noel swished around the turquoise liquid in his glass, “than in a pint of that… anaemic kitten’s piss.”

Noel got the glint in his eyes that Julian knew meant he was pleased with something he’d said and there was a heavy beat as the two brothers faced each other down. But both then smiled almost simultaneously and Noel said quite placidly, “Want me to walk you home?”

Feeling slightly like he was intruding, Julian turned to walk back to the small group that had formed a circle round Rich during his attempt to win some kind of game on a brightly flashing machine in the corner. Then a new, rich timbre floated to his ears and he immediately looked back. The other man was saying something to Noel and Mike and jangling car keys. There was some kind of assent, which seemed to involve Noel threatening to pull Mike out by his hair (obviously, Julian thought, Noel reckoned Mike was too drunk or chicken to do the same back) and then they were gone.

Julian went to join in the shouts of encouragement to Rich and didn’t think much more about the stranger until a few days later when he came out of Wardrobe on to set, the new head-dress for Dennis tottering precariously, to almost trip over him.

Said stranger rose from his kneeling position quickly and offered Julian an apologetic smile.

“Sorry. Noel invited me to see… well, I couldn’t help trying to figure out what this is going to be.”

Looking in the direction the man gestured in, Julian’s gaze rested on a benignly grinning mask that looked like it had been fashioned out of a mirrorball, which was attached to a wig comprised of strips of brightly coloured fabric.

“It’s for the Moon in a disco-funk phase,” explained Julian, hoping he didn’t sound too derisive. Self-deprecation came naturally but any criticism of Boosh stuff was inevitably a criticism of Noel too, as the little man himself had often pointed out in any number of indignant rants.

The man smiled in a slightly bemused way and Julian noted the existence of several laughter-lines on a face that otherwise seemed relatively youthful. He would have said the man was about his own age, except for the quantity of delicately silvered hairs tucked behind his ears.

“I think I’ll have to watch the show to understand…” the stranger chuckled gently and made a broad sweep across the set with his arm, “any of this.”

Julian had little to say to this, in fact he just gave a staccato nod, and would have walked off, pleading a need to be elsewhere, if it was anyone else. But this man had roused an uncomfortable sort of curiosity in Julian that he wanted quenched.

“So,” and wasn’t that just the stupidest way to start a sentence you wanted to sound casual Julian thought, “how do you know Noel?”

“Oh, old family friend, I suppose.”

Not exactly the kind of answer Julian wanted. If anything, that flippant ‘I suppose’ made his curiosity sniff the air and gnash its razor-sharp teeth. But the second Julian opened his mouth to reply, Paul’s raised voice sounded from around the corner, calling for him.

And with an affable “nice to meet you” the man left Julian alone.

It was a general rule that serious conversations and the Fielding brothers did not go together. In fact, any serious conversation attempted with either of them rapidly descended into quizzical sarcastic ponderings, especially when the conversation happened to be between Noel and Julian.

Ever the optimist however (well he had his moments), Julian once again decided to employ his skill at casual interrogation. He lined up his shot on the pool table and feigned a look of concentration so he could work on his phrasing mentally.

‘So, Mike, I’ve seen that old friend of yours and Noel’s around the studio a couple of times now and was wondering…’ Damn that ‘so’ again.

Julian’s thoughts swirled round as Mike effortlessly potted two balls consecutively.

‘Who’s Noel out with tonight that he can’t join us here eh? Dee or that bloke that was at the Hind the other night?’ Better, he reckoned. Mike wasn’t to know that he knew that Dee was playing tonight.

“Julian,” Mike’s soft voice interrupted Julian’s thoughts, “either there’s something you want to ask me or my head’s just turned bright orange.”

With hindsight, Julian recognised that staring at Mike might not have been very inconspicuous. He sighed and took a long drink of his pint.

“Is there any reason why Noel hasn’t introduced me to that guy he keeps hanging around with?”

Julian thought he detected a knowing smirk on Mike’s face but almost immediately the younger man swooped down to take another shot. When he straightened back up though his expression was deadpan and all he said was: “Does Noel tell you everything?”

Julian shrugged. “I did hear about that guy he met in Camden who could recite the lyrics of every Rolling Stones record backwards at least five times.” Mike gave a conceding nod to this but didn’t reply. “I bumped into him in the studio a few days ago and he said he was an old family friend.”

“He did work with my dad for a bit.”

Julian had a vision of his head colliding with a brick wall.

“So what… he’s your god parent or something?”

Mike’s nose wrinkled in an absurdly cute way and then he burst out laughing.

“Christ!… No. What gave you that impression?”

“I don’t know!” Julian took his turn but the white went wide and careened into one of the sides with a muted thud. “Forget it.”

Mike calmly potted the black and then went to get them new drinks. After a moment’s hesitation however, he turned back to Julian, though didn’t meet his eyes.

“Look,” both watched as Mike’s fingers traced over the worn grooves in the table next to them, “he and Noel were close. You should talk to Noel.”

Talking to Noel, Julian reflected, was something easier said than done. Sure, you would get plenty of replies. Sometimes in fact, you would be hard pressed to be able to talk yourself. But you could never quite control just what exactly you ended up talking about.

“… and then some guys from the actual company turned up and he went all pale-like, thinking he was about to get sued but instead they offered him an advertising contract! Genius, right?” Julian hm-hmmed into his coffee. “Hey, we should write an episode where Old Gregg gets employed by the Baileys company.”

“What,” Julian broke in irately, “ ‘Drink Baileys and get a mangina’?”

“ ‘Xactly. People’d flock… or swim in schools I suppose… can you school, is that a verb?”

“Not the way you want it to be.”

“Huh.” Noel fidgeted on the sofa and then kicked the side of Julian’s armchair to get his attention. “You’re extra sullen today. Thinking about cold northern rain?”

“About Gregg actually.” Julian’s heartbeat quickened but he pressed his lips together in a straight line and waited for Noel’s reaction.

“Oh? Let me guess – you want to write him out of the next show ‘cause he freaks you out too much, that it?”

“Doesn’t he creep you out when you’re playing him?”

Noel shrugged and pulled his legs up onto the couch, tucking them underneath himself. “Only as much as some of the other characters we’ve both played… what are you drivin’ at?”

Faced with Noel’s bland confusion, Julian got up and started pacing erratically. “Well, I mean, where did he come from?”

Noel’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Seriously, what are you getting at?”

Julian stopped pacing and leant his head against the wall, closing his eyes. His legs felt shaky and he couldn’t begin to find the words to explain to Noel, or even to himself for that matter, what exactly was bothering him. How could he tell Noel that his sleep the preceding night had been broken by disjointed, feverish images of Noel pushed up against a door, laid down on a bed, kissed gently and fucked roughly… all by that man.

Julian almost groaned when the distinctive tones of Old Gregg crept towards his ears.

“Julian doesn’t like Old Gregg,” the sickeningly saccharine voice Noel managed to drag up from somewhere washed over Julian, “Old Gregg likes Julian. Old Gregg wants Julian to play his love games with him…”

Somehow, Julian hadn’t heard Noel moving. In fact, he had no idea Noel had risen from the couch until he felt warm hands sliding down his thighs.

“Noel! For fuck’s sake!”

Shaken, Julian pushed Noel aside none too gently and the younger man lost his balance and fell to the floor. Noel’s mouth opened to emit a small, surprised gasp and Julian shifted as a tickling guilt ran down his spine. Before he could apologise though, Noel laughed and laid back on the floor with his hands behind his head, looking Julian straight in the eye and smiling as if the man before him was some kind of amusing, brightly coloured bug caught under his magnifying glass. Julian tenaciously held onto the sense of annoyance that rose in him at this because it prevented him from focusing too much on how, in his current position, Noel looked like a sensual twenty-first century marble, his t-shirt wrapped sinuously around his chest and one leg brought up at the knee which manipulated his tight jeans in such a way that his crotch seemed tantalisingly emphasised.

Julian swallowed and admitted to himself that he was not in the right frame of mind to be in the same room as Noel. Skirting around the space that Noel was occupying on the floor, he grabbed his jacket from where it had been slung over the back of the armchair and mumbled something about needing to go.

Noel sat up and lost his look of amusement. “What? I thought we were gonna prepare for that meeting next week. We haven’t done any work outside shooting for ages.”

Bristling at the accusatory tone he thought he detected in those words, Julian spat back before he could stop himself: “Hey, I’ve been around you know, despite better things I could be doing – I’ve been willing to work, not fucking about with some guy behind my girlfriend’s back!”

Both of them flushed as the implication of Julian’s words set in.

A hard glint entered Noel’s eyes. “Jealous, Julian?” He didn’t smile and drew out the name with an almost obscene flick of his tongue. It couldn’t be taken as anything else but a direct challenge and Julian did the one thing he felt safe doing.

The door to Noel’s flat slammed loudly behind him.

A cold wind tore its way underneath Julian’s shirt and he pulled his jacket on as he walked, unwilling to stop even for a second.

He had almost reached the end of the street when Noel caught up with him, breathing heavily, the keys he was holding jangling softly.

“Ju? Please!” Julian kept walking. “Oh, for…” Noel grabbed one of his arms and swung him around.

A minute or so passed in silence; the two of them merely facing off, their breaths intermingling.

“I’m not sleeping with him,” said Noel, breaking the tense silence.

Julian nodded. “But you used to?” It seemed like a ridiculous question to be asking his best friend in a deserted street but for some reason Julian needed this confirmation.

“Yes!” Noel threw his arms out, exasperated, “and so fucking what Julian? What is this?”

Noel was frowning, Julian knew, and shivering in his thin t-shirt, but suddenly Julian couldn’t stop gazing into his friend’s deeply sparkling eyes. With a sinking feeling, he started to realise why he was acting the way he was.

“I just,” he cleared his throat and half turned from Noel to break the eye contact that was making him feel fainter with every passing moment, “I just didn’t know you actually… you know…”

“What?” Noel’s voice had a clipped tenseness that made Julian want to flinch. “Had slept with a guy before!? I don’t get it Julian. Hell, I thought you’d figured that out long ago; I thought it didn’t matter to you. What is this, some retreat to being the manly, homophobic northerner… with your strong heterosexual legs…”

Julian’s strange mixture of confused fear and anger started to lift at this point because Noel had gone into comedy mode and was doing an impression of ‘Manly Julian’ and his ‘Strong, Heterosexual Legs’ which made him look like a mincing llama.

Julian laughed, almost giddy with relief at the sheer normalcy of the display, and Noel grinned. “Come on you daft badger, let’s go back in, I’m freezing my knackers off out here.”

Julian felt almost numb as he followed Noel back into the flat. He watched the fluidity of his friend’s movements as Noel turned up the heating and stood on tiptoes to reach a bottle in a high cupboard as if Noel was a stranger to him; an unsettling and unknown entity.

Noticing what Noel had plonked down onto the coffee table brought him back though. “You hate scotch.”

Noel nodded as he placed a couple of tumblers with ice by the side of the bottle and poured out two generous measures. “True… it just seems like the time for it.” He handed Julian a glass and then sank back into the couch, starting to leaf through a magazine that had been lying on the table.

Julian struggled to remind himself that the conversation out in the street had actually taken place, rather than being some kind of warped daydream. “What are you doing?”

Noel didn’t look up from his magazine. “I’m avoiding watching you stare at me.”

Unable to refute that accusation, Julian said nothing and downed his scotch, immediately reaching out to pour himself another. He wondered if between getting old and suddenly having to cope with a side to Noel he’d not experienced before that he might turn into an alcoholic.

A while later, when the bright edges to Julian’s world were starting to dim and blur to a comfortable level, Noel’s magazine was deposited back onto the table. Noel got up and stretched and Julian watched unapologetically, knowing somehow that this was allowed. Noel moved round the sofa until he was standing behind Julian and rested his hands on Julian’s shoulders, moving them in a gentle motion that was half way between stroking and massaging. Julian let his head fall back against the sofa and his eyes slipped closed.

“Feeling calmer now?” Noel’s voice had a dulcet tone and Julian felt the brush of warm air against his ear. With a pulsing rush of expectation, and no small amount of dread, Julian waited for the soft, dry touch of another man’s lips on his skin.

Instead, Noel’s arms curled around his chest and Julian felt the silky texture of Noel’s hair as wisps of it stroked his cheek. Strangely touched, Julian covered one of Noel’s hands with his own and relaxed further into the beckoning plushness of the couch. This close affection was not unusual in their relationship and thus Julian felt some of the disconcerting effects of the day drifting away from him.

“Are you tipsy yet?” Julian could feel the mumbled vibration of Noel’s voice in the pliant muscles of his neck and shoulder.

“Mm. Maybe.”

Noel tilted his head so his eyes met Julian’s. “Too tipsy perhaps?” Noel’s eyes were glinting with an intense kind of playfulness and Julian found it hard to swallow as what he thought might be the implication of Noel’s words ricocheted around his brain. But he was slightly tipsy and in a sudden fit of impulsiveness he twisted his body round, took hold of Noel under his arms and pulled the younger man over the back of the sofa.

“Fuck!” Noel’s exclamation starting sounding surprised and ended in a breathless and delighted laugh. “You’re a mad bastard, you know that? I could’ve cracked my head open.”

Julian might have felt contrite if Noel wasn’t beaming like he had just been on a rollercoaster. Instead he offered a hand to help Noel up and then tugged with a little too much force, leaving Noel on his knees on the floor by Julian’s legs.

“Lost your balance, little man?” Julian casually spread his arms out across the back of the sofa and surveyed Noel with a superior smile.

“ ‘Little man?!’” Before Julian could prepare himself, Noel was on top of him and about to draw on his face with a marker pen he’d managed to conjure up from somewhere.

Julian’s hands shot out to grasp Noel’s wrists and they struggled against each other. Julian was the stronger but his dulled reactions and Noel’s feistiness made it a close battle. Eventually, Julian managed to pin Noel down and Noel yielded with a smile, the pen falling to the floor, forgotten. Julian drew in some deep breaths and as he did so his acutely intensified senses became aware of the compact litheness of Noel’s body beneath him. Noel was also breathing quickly – shallow breaths that made his chest rise and almost meet Julian’s – and his slightly widened eyes held a misted expression that Julian could not fathom. An errant lock of hair had fallen across his face in the struggle and Julian did not fight his compulsion to brush it back in place. Noel’s eyes flickered closed at the sweep of Julian’s fingertips across his forehead and he sighed softly. Julian’s eyes were drawn involuntarily to the inviting flesh of those parted lips and, banishing all conscious thought from his mind, he kissed Noel with a sincerity and tenderness with which he had never before dared. Noel tensed but, before Julian could even start to think of all the ways he could possibly explain himself, soft lips parted under his and then Noel’s hands were in his hair and they were kissing with a raw need that thrilled Julian to his bones.

Breaking for air, their gazes locked, communicating some kind of implicit understanding and Noel’s lips silently formed Julian’s name. Julian laid gentle, worshipping kisses on Noel’s defined cheekbones and nose and then, with a reckless possessiveness, he pulled on Noel’s hair to force the other to bare his neck and nipped at the soft skin revealed. The resulting moan Noel gave sped through Julian’s body like an almost physical jolt. Noel’s hands, which had been moving erratically up and down Julian’s sides, now slipped beneath his shirt and blunt fingernails, shorter than any woman’s he had even been with, left heated trails down Julian’s back. As Julian’s hands left Noel for a moment to quickly discard his own shirt, Julian knew the vivid brightness in Noel’s eyes was willing him on. He went to lean back over Noel but then Noel’s hands were on his chest, keeping him kneeling with Noel’s thighs trapped between his knees. There was a sneaky smile on Noel’s face and then he sat up too, with an arm round Julian’s lower back for support. A startled groan sounded, which Julian realised must have come from him, as Noel’s tongue was doing something ludicrously pleasurable to one of his nipples. Breathing rapidly, Julian tugged on Noel’s hair to pull him away. Noel leant back and his now glistening lips reformed into the cheeky grin of before. Entranced, Julian kissed those lips and then he tugged at the flimsy material of Noel’s top.

“Off. Now.”

“God, bossy much?” But the teasing note in Noel’s voice was belied by the ferocious haste which left his top flung to the floor.

Julian ran his hands over the pale, exposed flesh of Noel’s chest, pausing at the dusky nipples that rose to his touch and lingering over the hollows between lean muscles.

“You’re too skinny,” he whispered huskily.

Noel laughed suddenly and breathlessly and ducked his head to avoid Julian’s gaze.

“You’re not supposed to say something like that when someone’s half naked in front o-”

“You’re beautiful,” Julian’s voice cut in, “too skinny but beautiful.”

Noel glanced up at Julian from under the veil of his untidy fringe and reached up to stroke the fullness of Julian’s bottom lip with his thumb. The tingling sensation this produced was then soothed by the gentle touch of Noel’s lips and as Julian relaxed into instinct once more he was dimly aware of Noel’s fingertips skimming over the heated skin of his chest.

The sudden and firm pressure of Noel’s hand against the bulge in his jeans was so unexpected that Julian gasped. Reflexively, his hand shot down to close around Noel’s wrist but at the same moment the reeling, insistent pleasure of that touch hit him and instead of pulling Noel’s hand away Julian added his force to Noel’s and his hips twitched and bucked.

He gasped in a quick breath. “Fuck!”

“Mm-hmm.” Distracted by the rub of Noel’s hand, Julian struggled to work out if Noel meant anything by his velvety hum of assent. But then the new sound of the metallic button of his jeans being undone drove any such lingering thoughts from his mind. The clinking susurration of the zip seemed deafeningly loud in the quiet that was only otherwise broken by their accelerated breathing and then Noel’s hand was actually on his flesh and Julian thought he could purr with the forbidden pleasure of it all.

Noel’s touch was light and feathery and Julian ached for more, but overriding that was his desire to explore and claim every part of the body before him that was at once so familiar and so unknown. Pushing Noel’s hand away, Julian stood up and faced Noel. An indisputably voracious gaze looked up at him and then followed his movements down as Julian took off his jeans and tossed them aside. The next breath Noel drew in was noticeably shuddery and Julian watched as his friend absentmindedly worried at his lower lip with small, white teeth. Julian wasn’t sure he had ever known Noel to go so long without speaking before and the knowledge that he had the power to cause this reaction propelled his arousal to a new dizzying height.

This realisation filled Julian with the elated sense of confidence he had only ever felt previously on the stage, when he alone could elicit laughter from an audience of so many. This gave him the assurance needed to lead another man into his own bedroom, whilst clad only in underpants.

As soon as the back of Noel’s legs hit the foot of the bed and he had fallen down, Julian’s hands were at the fastenings of the obscenely tight trousers that Julian now discovered were not actually that difficult to pull off. No part of him had expected Noel to be wearing underwear – he knew him too well for that – but still Julian hesitated when he was presented with his friend naked and undeniably aroused.

At his look, Noel blushed and opened his mouth slightly and Julian knew he was about to say something facetious to cover up his embarrassment. Not wanting this, Julian moved more quickly; his knees hit the carpet with a muffled thud and then he licked the underside of Noel’s cock from base to head.

“Oh g-god, Julian!”

Julian allowed himself a small smile of triumph as Noel’s hands entangled themselves in his hair. Actually taking Noel’s cock into his mouth felt scientific at first as Julian figured out what he could do but then, as Noel’s moans and gasps increased in frequency and volume, Julian became aware once more of his own powerful arousal. His tongue moved more rapidly and Noel’s grip in his hair tightened spasmodically. Ever since recording ‘Sweet’ Julian had wondered what it would be like to experience Noel in the throes of orgasm but he had not anticipated that he would become quieter; that his moans would transform into tiny, almost desperate sounds caught in his throat that Julian could barely hear.

He also failed to anticipate what Noel was about to say.

“Julian… stop. I want…” Slowly, reluctantly, Julian pulled back and glanced at Noel quizzically. The younger man’s face was flushed and Noel was frowning with the effort to form a coherent phrase. “I need you.”

It was a rather oblique statement but Noel’s shaky search in the drawers beside his bed told Julian all he needed to know.

Julian had not experienced such a simultaneous lurch of fear and lust ever since his first adolescent fumblings. That act had been the start of a gratifying, if rather prosaic, relationship. This one, Julian recognised, could well be the end of a strange and unutterably important relationship that sometimes, annoyingly, seemed as vital to his existence as breathing… which was something Julian was not doing much of at that moment. He had no idea what would fall out of his mouth if Noel asked whether he wanted to do this.

Fortunately, Noel recognised this, or at least took the fact that Julian was still there as some kind of consent. He was close; undone and beautiful as he tore clumsily at the condom wrapper. Dreamily, Julian took it from Noel. His gaze stayed locked with Noel’s as he rolled it on and he was strangely reassured to note a similar trepidation colouring Noel’s lustful expression. But the touch of his own hand and the sight of Noel’s body, once forbidden, now spread out before him so invitingly, brought Julian’s desire forth so that it obscured all else.

He bent down to kiss Noel as his fingers trailed over hips that Noel raised obligingly and shifted a cushion under. Julian paused but then his fingers returned, now coated, to tease at Noel’s entrance. He wasn’t sure whether this was necessary but he found Noel tight despite his evident arousal. Noel gasped at the pressure of Julian’s fingers and briefly raised his hips from the cushion, his hands twisting in the mussed sheets. A red haze started to fill Julian’s mind and he forced himself to keep his movements slow.

“Enough,” Noel panted, “I’m gonna…”

Julian was not entirely convinced it was enough; was still reeling at the strangeness of it compared to women, but he couldn’t wait either and he lifted twitching slim hips up further and thrusted.

Almost immediately, Julian groaned and knew that his legs would have given out if he hadn’t been kneeling on the bed. It was a struggle to breathe and he couldn’t imagine what it felt like for Noel, whose eyes had slipped closed and was too still for Julian’s liking. Tentatively, he transferred one of his hands to Noel’s shaft. He wondered if Noel had not been expecting this because his eyes shot open and he moaned – a sudden sound, deep in his throat that made Julian’s body rock even before his mind had properly registered it. He started a steady rhythm and Noel pushed back strongly. Julian moved his other hand to clasp one of Noel’s as a kind of anchor as a ferocious lust built up within him and his body tried to possess Noel’s as deeply and as thoroughly as possible. Suddenly, Noel’s hand clenched tightly around Julian’s and his back arched leaving little but his shoulders touching the sheets. His lips moved as he came but Julian couldn’t hear what he said above the roar filling his head. He met Noel’s thrust with equal force and let his head fall back, revelling in that one moment of uncomplicated, animalistic bliss.

When he could next see and think clearly he was lying next to Noel on the bed, one arm resting on the still trembling muscles of Noel’s stomach. Noel’s eyes were closed once more and Julian felt insanely, guiltily glad, not feeling sure if he would ever be able to meet his friend’s gaze again. To distract himself, he discarded the condom with a detached distaste and then sat up in the bed, trying to feel numb as his world gradually spun out of control around him.

He jumped at the touch of Noel’s hand on his arm. Noel pulled at him and some kind of survival instinct in Julian’s mind went with him. Noel’s smile before he kissed Julian was beautiful and genuine, yet there was an intense brightness to his eyes that Julian might otherwise have taken as tears.

But Noel’s eyes were always bright, and his voice was steady as he whispered, “Go to sleep.”

Noel’s consciousness usually came sluggishly to him upon waking up, intermingling with his dreams as he stretched luxuriously, but this time he knew almost before he opened his eyes that Julian was already dressed and probably praying that Noel would stay asleep. A cold kind of emptiness tugged at Noel’s insides and he would have cocooned the covers around himself but he knew the movement would disturb Julian. He resigned himself to glimpsing through the open door into the dim light of the living room, watching the graceful curve of Julian’s back as he bent down to tug on his shoes.

When he heard the click of the front door being opened Noel turned away and let his mind replay the events of earlier, his thoughts resting particularly on the expression on Julian’s face after they kissed, letting Noel see deeper into him than he ever had before. That alone, Noel thought, was worth the worry over what might happen next. Julian was generally the more astute of the two, but this was something he just did not understand. Noel, however, knew that being openly together would destroy everything. They made the Boosh; they were the Boosh and like that world they had to be hidden. Hidden and magical.

So he said nothing as Julian left the flat furtively, just sighed and gently hugged a pillow to his chest.

+ posts