Category: Real Person Fic
Pairing: Noel Fielding/Julian Barratt
Length: 1-5k words
Notes: Angsty angsty angsty.
summary in short.
I apologise to the boys for my twisted imagination contorting their world and personal lives.
The Refuge by SilverFalcon
The wind picked up, a decisive chill to her change of attitude. Noel shivered, pulling his coat further around him, a bottle in a paper bag clutched firmly in the crook of his arm. Leaves scattered themselves at his feet, the wind picking them up and tossing them around at will. Noel’s frown deepened. A cold depressing day – the perfect reflection of his current mood. Scowling he kept walking. Half an hour previously, he’d simply begun walking. He didn’t know why and he hadn’t thought on it. He hadn’t known where he was going; he never really had an intentional destination these days. He simply showed up. Not that anyone ever turned him away. He was Noel Fielding. No one turned away Noel Fielding.
A woman hurried past, rugged up in a multitude of muted colours and rough fabrics. Noel felt her eyes on him; he waited, anticipating the moment of recognition and the inevitable greeting that would follow. He waited, but she remained silent and kept walking. Scowl back in place Noel resumed his pathetic pace, nowhere to be and all the time in the world to get there. Looking up he watched the woman hurry on down the path. She hadn’t said anything, but he knew she’d recognised him. They always did. Everywhere he went, what ever he was doing. Even now, dressed in the dullest outfit he owned there was no mistaking the hair, no mistaking the angular features so casually spread across every damn newspaper day in and day out. Two years ago he would have killed to be wearing a jacket like the one he was now. Two years ago the price tag would have killed him. But now, now when his life was centre spotlight it didn’t matter. The jacket was the blandest thing he owned, casual black with no detail. If his mother knew how much he’d paid for something so bland she’d have a heart attack.
Not that it mattered anymore. He’d given up everything he had for crap like the stupid jacket. Given up the relationships he once cherished for fame and a bank balance.
Anger ripped through him again and he kicked out at the leaves on the ground. Sending them up into a cascading wave, all earthbound. He should have reminded himself what forgetting would cost him, but he’d been too caught up in it. Too caught up in his own hype, his own brilliance, his own intention to forget what had happened, to remember all of it was bullshit. Remember he wasn’t brilliant; remember that he was where he was because of everyone else. Because of someone else.
He’d alienated himself. Pushed everyone away who really cared, replacing them with those only enjoying the ride. But worst of all he’d enjoyed it. He’d ignored his friends warnings, ignored their chastising, ignored their calls and their texts and their sad comments. Drowning them out with booze and parties and pushing them further away the more they tried to drag him back out of it.
He’d known they were trying to take care of him. But he didn’t really care. He simply replaced that knowledge with the lies of his new found ‘friends’. They were jealous, they were stupid, they had no lust for life. They couldn’t handle it. He could.
And he’d been stupid enough to listen. Stupid enough to push away everyone who once cared. Stupid enough to forget it couldn’t last.
He’d been idiotic to the final degree. Even when his parents stopped calling he’d kept going. One more party, one more drink after the other.
Leaving him one place to go.
But with no one to catch him.
The wind shrieked past, tugging Noel to move one bit faster. Reluctantly he let it pull him. It didn’t matter any more. Nothing really mattered these days. His head ached, his whole body was just so tired, so wasted that he wasn’t sure whether he was more alive than dead.
All he knew was that it was over, everything was over. It wasn’t worth the pain, or the resentment or the trouble. It was simply pointless.
Adjusting the bottle as it slipped a little, Noel glanced around. There wasn’t many people out today. The world was far too bleak. Too cold. Just the way he wanted it.
There was no one to notice, this time. No one to see, and no one to stop him.
The weather didn’t matter, but this weather seemed to help. The drab conditions made it easier. Easier to maintain his decision, easier to keep distractions muted.
Pulling his hat lower, he left the path. Wandering across the half dead grass to the bridge he stepped around the small barrier to stop cyclists falling in and wove himself down the small dirt pathway to the underside of the bridge. The water glistened black as it rippled through the small break between open pale grey sky.
No matter what had happened outside, this place hadn’t changed. There was a little more graffiti these days. A couple more declarations of love, coupled only by the pathetic scrawlings of names all signed with ‘was ere’. Their names were all under here. His, Julian’s, Sue’s, Dee’s. They’d all hidden under here before. All made their mark on the bridge’s underside. All forgotten what the bridge had once given them.
Once given him.
He’d remembered though. In the darkness, he’d remembered.
He’d remembered they’d forgotten.
And so he came. He came and he thought back and he knew he should try again.
So he did.
And here he was.
Back, once more.
Waiting for the moment he knew he could never turn back.
Just like before, waiting for the moment he knew it was over.
Dropping to his knees Noel let the tears roll down his cheeks as he crawled towards the edge. Propping himself up he dangled his feet over the side and picked up the bottle.
“Old friends.” He whispered bringing the bottle to his mouth. A salute.
He wasn’t sure who he was talking to, the bottle, the names dancing on the roof above him, or the darkness he was waiting to reconcile with.
All he knew was that the warmth of the liquid felt good as it seared through his system.
It felt good to go numb again.
When you were numb, the pain didn’t hurt.
And he was sick of being in pain.
Julian swore under his breath, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d run so much. It had to have been at least a decade. But then, he hadn’t ever needed to move so fast as he did right now.
“Julian! Your phone’s ringing.” Julia called,
“Who is it?” he called back from the adjoining room. The boys banging plastic on plastic at his feet while he casually strummed his guitar.
Julia was silent for a moment before coming into the room, mobile in hand.
“It’s a text. From Noel.”
Julian looked up.
“Really?” Ju frowned. It had been at least six months since they’d even acknowledged each other in the same room. The last time Noel had sent word direct to Ju had been at least a month before that.
“Pass it here.” He muttered reaching for the phone. Julia’s mouth twisted as she passed it to him.
‘Can we talk?’ was all it said.
‘No,’ he typed and pressed send.
“There. Problem solved.” He said with a satisfied smile up at Julia.
“Now, I think it’s time for icecream.”
”Yay!” the boys cried in unison.
That had been the last time he’d heard from Noel. Nothing else had ever come through. Two weeks later Mike had rung, Noel had disappeared. He’d tried to kill himself; the local paperboy had found him, the only person Noel had talked to for weeks. It would take a long time for the kid to forget finding his idol on the kitchen floor with his wrists slit and an empty bottle of Stoli beside him. The press had been kept quiet, just. Even so, Noel never returned any calls, no one had heard from him. No one knew where he’d gone.
He didn’t want to be found.
So life moved on.
That was until this morning.
A note slipped under the door.
The same words as before.
But this time the warning bells rang loud.
Julian, can we talk?
So he’d left Julia and found his way across town.
No one was there.
The flat half empty and eerily a bottle of Stoli lying empty on the kitchen floor.
At a sprint he’d fled down stairs.
“Noel Fielding. Have you seen him?” he panted to the woman in the front yard, hose in hand as she watered her petunias.
“Yeah, said he was going for a walk. Needed to think, said he needed a refuge.”
Needed a refuge. Julian repeated in his head.
“Thanks!” Julian called pelting off. Mind in a tangle but one thing shining through.
Noel was at the bridge.
Only problem was, would he be alive when Julian got there?
“Not this time Noel.” Julian muttered.
This time, he wouldn’t fail his old friend.
Not this time.
The clear liquid spilled down his throat in a warm haze, his vision slightly blurry. He didn’t know how long he’d been sitting here anymore. All he knew was that when he’d arrived, the bottle had been full. Now, it was less than half.
“Isol…ation.” He hiccupped. “All the, … things I’ll… never be. All the things… I’ll never see… all that was … left of … me.”
“You know that’s wrong.” Noel turned, more than half drunk, the world spun haphazardly. Julian spun into focus before blurring again.
“Ju.” He hiccupped half falling over.
“What’re you… doing here?”
Julian smiled grimly. Looking down on his old friend he shook his head.
“What on earth have you done to yourself, Noel?” he whispered.
Noel blinked heavily.
“Dunno, what… you … mean, Ju.” He mumbled. Eyes unfocussed.
“All this? These?” Julian muttered taking Noel’s wrists where his barely healed scars cut the otherwise clean skin in two.
“All of it.”
Noel’s focus slid away from Julian’s gaze. He mumbled something incoherently.
“t’s easier.” He mumbled back, slightly more literate.
“Easier?” Julian stared. “Why? How, Noel? How is all this easier?”
”You don’t ‘ave to worry ‘nymore.” He mumbled.
“Worry anymore? Noel, this gives us more reason to worry than ever. Do you even understand what you’re doing to yourself? What you’re doing to everyone else?” Julian waited, trying once again to capture Noel’s booze filled gaze.
“D’you ‘nderstand what you… did… to me?” Noel replied, his blue eyes eerily focussed for the moment it took for him to say those words. The moment it took to bring it all back up.
Julian fell silent. Trying hard to simply meet his old friend’s piercing stare.
“D’you, Ju?” he slurred.
“Noel.” Julian started, but where to go from there? What else could he say? What else should he say? There wasn’t much that would fit the situation.
“I know m’name Ju.” He mumbled, pulling his wrists from Julian’s grasp. He hadn’t been aware he still had his hands around his friend until they were gone. Julian gazed down at the ground.
“y’couldn’ say it back… then. Could you? Y’left, Ju. I told you, an you left.”
“I didn’t know what to say.”
“You didn’t… say… anyfing.” Noel muttered, struggling to his feet. Julian looked up. Noel was a mess, a windswept… crying, mess.
And it was all his fault.
It had all started because of him.
“You… you… looked, you looked at me, Ju. You looked at me and then you left.”
“Noel, I was, shocked.”
”You were scared, like you are now. Y’always scared Ju! Always.” Noel had reached his feet, black boots kicking up dirt as they struggled to remain flat on the ground.
“I told you, Ju, an you got scared. I scared you ‘way.” Noel said, his voice fading out to muffled sobs as he struggled not to cry.
Julian got to his feet; all he could do was watch. For close to two years he’d blocked it out. Blocked out the last night Noel had been Noel and the Mighty Boosh had been complete. Such a contrast to now, when Noel was a complete train wreck and they hadn’t spoken in months. Years. Noel had forced everyone away; no one had paid any thought to the idea that maybe Julian had first pushed Noel away.
Julian stared. He couldn’t help it.
“What?” Noel smirked, nerves obvious in his eyes and the way he held himself. Julian hadn’t seen Noel this nervous in years. But then, Noel hadn’t just kissed him with no previous scripting. When he was Noel and he was Julian. Sure they’d kissed before. But that was Vince and Howard. Or Old Gregg and Howard.
Never as Noel being… Noel had this happened before.
But the difference was those four little words that had echoed that stolen kiss.
“Ju? You gonna say anything?” Noel whispered.
I love you, Ju.
Four words to destroy everything.
“I’m sorry Noel.” Julian whispered, staring at his friend. Noel’s hair was unwashed and unstyled. He hadn’t done anything to his face today and the strain was obvious in the dark circles and tear marks. Noel was staring out at the black gleaming water in front of him.
“I love you, Ju.” Noel said again. It was in the same innocent tone it had been back then. An honest tone.
Julian stared. In his mind he was afraid of what would happen. Afraid of whether or not he should lie. Whether his answer really would be a lie.
Noel hung his head in the silence. It continued.
Then, Noel took a step. His legs reaching out towards the inky darkness further than Julian expected. Straight into open water. He took an age to fall. The water rippling outwards in dark ebony circles as he disappeared beneath it.
Panic gripped Julian’s heart like a vice.
“Noel!” he cried out. He waited. Waiting, hoping that Noel had the heart to break the surface. The will to take one more breath.
The seconds passed and he knew.
There was only one way Noel wanted to live.
He took a run up and facing the sloshing ripples, left the bank.
The water hit him like a thousand knives. Icy cold and harsh. Surrounding him, pulling him under.
Sending his air upwards and his body into grid lock.
Noel had planned it well.
Almost too well.
Pushing himself to the surface Julian drank the air long and deep before going back under. The water was dark and there was almost a song to it’s pull. Seeing was almost impossible. All he knew was that Noel was going further downwards than ever and he had to find him.
Kicking out he swam further. Reaching out with his arms and legs, eyes searching the darkness.
And then he saw it.
A swirl of black hair. His heart leapt. Kicking out he reached towards it. His numb fingers met icy flesh. Lungs screaming for air, he grasped as much of Noel as he could and lunged out, pushing for the surface. Breaking into the air his lungs screamed. The air biting his flesh, Noel’s limp weight dragging them both down. Using up precious energy to keep them both afloat.
Struggling his way to the edge he pushed Noel ahead of him. His friends eyes closed and skin eerily pale. Looking too much like a corpse for comfort.
Pulling him up onto the shore Julian lay him out, hands pressed over his heart, he pressed.
He repeated it again.
His own heart no longer beating.
All his focus on his friend in front of him.
And then Noel chose that moment to breathe.
Chose that moment to face the music.
Chose that moment to live.
Chose that moment to smile.
Chose that moment to cough up half the river.
Julian laughed; it was a sight for sore eyes.
“Jesus Christ Noel!” he gasped, falling back on his hands.
“Hey.” Noel whispered, tears still in his eyes, mingling with the water as he lay back. Exhausted. Exhausted, but alive.
“You never let me answer.” Julian whispered.
“Yeah?” Noel croaked, looking over.
“I love you too.” Julian smiled. Unsure right at that second whether it was truth or lie. Unsure whether he was ready for what he’d just got himself into.
But overly sure that those words were appropriate.
He loved Noel.
Just how much had yet to be tested.
After all, he’d never actually kissed Noel.
Just Vince, and Vince … knew how to kiss.