Julian's giving up smoking...


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Length: words

Notes: Betaed by the lovely plain_jane08

Patches by crowson75

Julian was fidgeting again. He’d been cranky, tired and grumbly; complained of feeling ill, hungry, bored, off-colour, spotty, scabby and achy. The man who was capable of lying and sleeping in the same spot all day was wriggly and annoying. Did he not know that this was Noel’s job? And to make matters worse, he was sucking a lolly. He had his tongue out and was rubbing the red shiny blob against it making it glisten. Then his lips would smooth over the shiny head and he would suck it until his cheeks hollowed. Julian didn’t do lollies. He shouldn’t do them either. Noel did lollies. He was the sugar monkey. He was also the oral tempter. He was the one who would suck bananas just to see if Julian had to adjust his trousers. That was his job; to be confusing and sexy and annoying and high maintenance in a really cute way.

Unable to resist, Noel stretched his leg over the side of the seat he occupied on the tour bus and kicked Julian’s foot. “Stop,” he said, pulling the fur collar of his coat around his neck. “You’re making me nervous.”

“Nothing makes you nervous.” Julian shot Noel a look that could have melted snow. “Not like humphun humphin humph.” The last few words had been lost around the lolly and bit of a grump on.

“Lots of things make me nervous, Jules,” Noel replied. He lifted his sunglasses and squinted at Julian as if the sun shone out of his ears. “You know they do. You accuse me of jumping around like a budgie and talking too much when I’m nervous. That’s how I normally handle nervous. You normally handle it by being completely bastard silent, punctuated by becoming friendly with the toilet. You do not normally do fidgeting and lolly-eating and whinging. Not unless you’ve shi…”

“Fuck off,” Julian growled. “Just because you’re having a wonderful day full of sunshine and roses, some of us are having a harder time.”

“With what?” Noel asked, reaching over to Julian’s seat and nicking his lolly. He shoving it in his gob and winked.

Julian’s eyes opened wide. Then wider. Noel didn’t realise they were that colour normally. Not unless… Noel slunk down onto his seat and put his head between his knees just as Julian landed beside him.

“Give me my lolly,” Julian shrieked, pulling at Noel’s shoulders. “You can’t do this to me!”

“What the fuck?” Dave’s voice reached them as he made his way from his bunk further up the bus. “C’mon big guy, calm down yeah?”

Noel could feel Julian’s hands being prized from his shoulders. As soon as he was able to sit up again, he pulled the lolly from his mouth and waved it in the air like a white flag. Julian snatched it from his grasp and let Noel go. By the time Noel had sat up again, Julian was back on the other side of the bus. Dave was stood between their seats, just in case he was needed to break anything up. Julian was staring at his lolly as if it might be dangerous.

“I haven’t got germs or anything,” Noel said softly.

Julian looked at him and blushed just a little.

“I’m sorry,” Noel said, reaching across to put his hand on Julian’s knee. Julian covered Noel’s fingers with his own. “Bad today, yeah?” Noel asked.

Julian didn’t reply. He just pushed up the sleeve of his jumper.

“I thought you were only supposed to wear one?” The question had come out of Noel’s mouth before he knew he’d said it.

“It’s a bad day,” Julian said in a voice as thick and dark as tar. He threw the half-sucked lolly down the bus. He didn’t even smile when it stuck firmly to the front window of the bus.

“Seriously mate,” Dave interrupted. “There was a bloke on ‘House’ who wore lots of patches and it made him go all…”

It must have been the look Julian gave him that made Dave stop talking. Noel leaned down and rifled through his Gladstone bag. He held up four lollies.

“I’ll give a lolly for each one you take off,” Noel offered. “And a spare to replace the one I nicked.”

Julian sighed. Then he stood and walked over to Noel’s seat, motioning for him to budge up. He laid his arm, spotted with tobacco patches, across Noel’s lap.

“You do it,” he whispered. “I know the rest of you don’t understand.”

“Not again,” Dave said under his breath marching back down the bus to his bunk. Noel watched him go, then pulled off the first patch and handed Julian a lolly. He smiled at his friend.

“I understand you’re feeling grotty and you want a fag,” he replied, peeling off another patch. He gave Julian another lolly. “I’ll be your fag and Dave can be your grotty.”

Julian smiled and then winced. The patch Noel was just removing was stuck to some of the hairs on his arm.

“Sorry,” Noel said, nuzzling Julian’s shoulder with his head. “I’ll leave one on.” He passed Julian another lolly and smoothed the one remaining patch down patting it firmly. “You’ll be okay with just one, I promise. You feel okay?”

Julian rested his head against Noel’s shoulder. “‘M thirsty,” he said. “They make you thirsty.”

Noel took the hint and handed over his half-drunk bottle of water. He watched Julian take a long drink and pulled the arm of Julian’s jumper down to cover his arm. Julian nodded at Noel guiltily.

“Sorry,” he said, turning so his legs took up most of the floor space.

“You get this on one condition,” Noel said, waving the fourth lolly in Julian’s face.

“Oh fuck,” Julian whimpered. “Does there have to be a condition?”

“Just one,” Noel replied with a grin.

“Okay,” Julian huffed as Noel reached into his bag again. He looked puzzled as Noel retrieved yet another lolly.

“It’s time, Mr Barratt,” Noel said with mock seriousness, passing Julian a lolly. “For a suck off!”

“Suck my what?” Julian replied, looking alarmed.

“Whoever can make the other have to go and have a wank first, is the winner!” Noel told him with what he hoped was an innocent looking grin.

“You suck,” Julian said, with a smile. For the first time that day, the smile reached his eyes and they sparkled with something other than annoyance.

“Better believe it, Barratt baby,” Noel said with a wink. He unwrapped his lolly. “Ready?”

Julian unwrapped his lolly and sat poised. He looked like a man who had, for a moment, forgotten about fags and patches. Damn, Noel thought, sometimes I really am good. Julian looked at him and raised an eyebrow and his lolly.

“Ready when you are.”

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