Upstairs Downstairs

The tour is on and stair-races break the monotony.


Characters: ,






Length: words

Notes: Warnings: Mansecks and mischief. This is inspired by the sighting of Noel & Julian having stair races.

Betaed by the very patientplain_jane08

The staircase races started in Edinburgh. Didn’t everything?

All tours should start at the Edinburgh festival, they had agreed on that. This was where they had realised that they had something.

Starting the tour here also meant that night after night of boring hotels began. Beginning as he meant to go along, Julian searched Noel out. Family and friends surrounded them; the only place that offered any peace was the stairwell.

Noel had only just reached his room, not yet taken off his coat, before he got the text from Julian.

“Stairwell. Two minutes. J.”

The fire door to the staircase had barely closed before Noel was enclosed in a crushing hug.

“Here we go again,” Julian whispered. The fuzzy wool of Julian’s cardigan tickled Noel’s nose and he smiled. He felt his friend’s hand between his shoulder blades pulling him into the hug, his chin resting on his shoulder.

“It’s gonna be great,” he replied, knowing that Julian needed the reassurance. He hugged back tightly, closing his eyes and enjoying the embrace.

“It’s going to be a long tour,” Julian whispered back. “We up to this?”

“Course we are,” Noel said, blinking his eyes open again. The hotel stairwell was a grim place with concrete floors and a chipped, painted handrail stretching upwards. They were in hiding; a moment of peace before they went back to being comedy pop stars, or whatever the fuck they were. It was clearly the place that guests shouldn’t go. Most people used the lifts. Most grown-ups didn’t have races…

“Race ya?” Noel pulled away from Julian and nodded towards the stairs. “Bit of pre-show training?”

Julian grinned. “Do you have any idea how much tearing around I normally do at home?”

“I take it from that you think you should win then?” Noel winked. “Old man.”

“Fuck off, skinny white boy,” Julian nudged Noel. “As if your fey southern arse could get up those steps before me!”

“On a count of three, then.” Noel crouched, ready for the off. “One…”

Julian was rolling up his sleeves and lining up alongside him.


Noel put his arm out to stop Julian from running before time. Julian held his arm out too, his palm resting against Noel’s stomach.


Both men tried and failed to hold the other one back and get a head start. That worked rather better for Julian, who dragged himself out of Noel’s clutches using the handrail. He had a longer stride than Noel, and he reached the first floor quite a few steps ahead. Noel realised that much as he loved his green leather coat, skin-tight black jeans and silver boots, they didn’t make up the outfit of an athlete. Julian’s desert boots and ‘slinky trews’ were, by far, the more winning combo. Noel sat down, panting and feeling rather cheated on the top step. Julian bounced around him, then sat by his side, resting his hand on Noel’s knee.

“You’ll win next time,” Julian smiled. “You’re a fucking awful loser.”

Noel crumpled and leaned against Julian. The closeness was worth losing for.

They’d been on the road for a week, and were in Dublin before they realised that, though lift races weren’t so much fun, they were less tiring. Noel and Julian were in one lift, heading up to their rooms on the top floor. Mike, Dave and Rich were in the other lift; the race was on. Of course, there were two races going on here.

It all started earlier. A girl, who had been at the show, had slipped Noel an E afterwards. He was as cuddly and hyper as normal after the gig, and clearly didn’t think twice about taking it. When she wandered off, Julian was willing to have Noel snuggle up with him on the sofa in the dressing room. That continued in the bus back to the hotel. By the time they got there, Noel had his coat over their laps, attempting to hide the fact that he had his hand in Julian’s trousers. Walking through reception, Julian hid behind him, whilst Noel was hiding his own sizeable erection with his coat. It wasn’t dreadfully surprising that the others had decided to take the other lift.

What was true though, that even going up to the sixth floor, praying that the lift wouldn’t stop, there wasn’t enough time. Their lift won the race. That was useful considering the fact that when the doors finally opened onto the deserted sixth floor, Noel had his trousers and Julian round his knees. With an energy that Noel really shouldn’t have had, he dragged them both into his room before the second lift’s doors opened. Once inside, neither man made it past the door for sometime. Julian had been pushed back against the wood as soon as he made it through, Noel in his arms and their lips and tongues together.

Julian might have remembered that he had started the tour telling himself that he wasn’t going to give in to all this hedonism this time around. But he didn’t. He didn’t remember when Noel was naked, rubbing himself against Julian’s clothes, his lips against the curve of his neck. He didn’t remember when Noel ran his tongue across the palm of Julian’s hand to see what it tasted like. Julian’s memory left the building when Noel pushed him down on the bed and started to undress him. He did think about stopping Noel when felt his erection push against his navel. In fact, Julian did pause him. It just turned out that the only reason was to squirt some baby lotion (why did Noel keep baby lotion by the bed..? Who cared, it was good that he did) between them. Julian certainly didn’t think of anything other than the shivers running through his body as he pinned his friend beneath him, his cock thrusting against Noel’s. And when the younger man gripped Julian’s backside and bought them closer, Julian had decided that hedonism and touring were partners, and that it was impossible to have one without the other. When he came all over the dark hairs peppering Noel’s stomach, Julian stopped thinking altogether. He lay back and let Noel straddle his face, angling his cock against Julian’s tongue as he stroked himself to completion. And if Julian was coherent long enough to wonder whether he wanted to swallow the combination of baby lotion and spunk that landed on his tongue, he disregarded it when Noel’s lips met his.

In fact, the only really rational thought Julian had that evening, was that Noel’s skin was burning against his. Then, Julian worried and made Noel have a glass of water and a shower. He was so insistent on the latter, that he stood with him under the pounding spray. By that time, of course, Noel’s slender, pale arms were around his neck, and all Julian wondered then was if water would ever taste as good again as it did when he was lapping it from his best friend’s skin.

Noel rather liked York. He had, of course, demanded that everyone climb up to the castle singing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’. Given the amount of rain they’d had recently, it was easier said than done. No one looked too pleased when they arrived back at the hotel looking rather more like mud men than members of Mud. Even still, there was something decadent and lovely about having a bath in the middle of the day, strolling leisurely to sound check and then drinking hot chocolate in the bar.

By the time Noel got on stage, the only thing he was in danger of having to climb was the phenomenal amount of sugar making him buzz. It was probably typical that the crash after the show was worse than normal. He didn’t feel like stair or lift races after that.

When the Boosh emerged from the Grand old Opera House of York, they were surrounded. Julian had legged it long before Noel finished signing autographs and smiling for pictures. He was pulling himself away from the last few stragglers when he got the text message.

“Stairwell? J.”

He texted Julian back as he walked to the bus.

“Bus, 2 seconds? N.”

His phone vibrated the response as he climbed the steps into the bus.

“I’ll be in my bunk.”

Liverpool. That meant it was time for Rich to point out that sometimes being in the Boosh was like being in ‘A Hard Days Night’, again. Julian looked at Noel and wondered if the Beatles ever looked this ragged. Then Noel looked back at him; clearly wondering something entirely different.

Noel’s expression said something. In some ways, Julian wanted to tell that expression to go take a flying leap, until he noticed the dark circles around Noel’s eyes. He was tired too; they both were. They were only a month into the tour and they were knackered already. Julian looked up at the rather lovely staircase that curved like an eel into the reception area. At least it had carpet and, within a few feet, they would be out of sight of receptionists and businessmen. He wondered if he minded businessmen seeing two middle-aged blokes giggling like kids. He decided he didn’t at roughly the same time as he felt himself nod.

This was closely followed by him hearing himself say, “On a count of three?”

Noel grinned. His expression cemented them here and now, together. Julian smiled and breathed in. He tried not to sneeze as the scent of over-perfumed cleaning materials wafted downstairs. His nose twitched and Noel grinned a little wider.

“I’ll count ‘cos you two’ll cheat.” Mike walked over and sat at the foot of the stairs, shaking his head. “‘Specially Noel.”

Julian flinched a little. He couldn’t even give in disgracefully without it being witnessed. Noel nudged his elbow and pointed up the stairs to where Dave was waving.

“Second floor landing?” Dave suggested. “Give you both a fair chance?”

Julian nodded slowly. He’d felt less sleepy without the audience. It was all a bit formal now. Noel’s nod to Dave was a little bit sleepy too, though Julian knew that the audience would change him. Noel plus audience equalled love. Then Dave was legging it upwards, and Noel was shaking his hand with mock sincerity. Julian heard one of the receptionists giggle behind him.

“Ready?” Mike said, deigning to stand for the countdown. Julian gave a sharp nod and looked up the stairs. Had someone added extra since he last looked? “On your marks…” Mike interrupted.

The thought, ‘What the hell are marks?’ fluttered peacefully through Julian’s head. Then he adopted the I-am-about-to-run-like-buggery pose.

“Go!” Mike shouted.

Unless he was mistaken, that exclamation was followed by the sound of a dropped briefcase. No time to look now. Julian focussed on the task head, grabbing the wide, ornate handrail as he charged upward. As the view of reception was left behind, the staircase narrowed. Julian felt Noel beside him, their elbows nudging. Noel was quicker on his feet, but Julian’s height meant he could take two or three stairs in one stride.

“Run fatboy, run!” Rich screamed from below. The audience in reception was now his.

“Old man more like,” Noel grunted beside him, edging just ahead as they swept round the curve of the landing and started on the second flight of steps.

“Short-arse,” Julian replied, taking three steps as one this time. He was powering off each step, though his thighs were trembling with the effort. A few short steps, then he took another three steps in one stride. He was breathless now and getting clumsy. He stumbled off balance as he hit the third step, pushing Noel against the wall. The slippery bastard squeezed past anyway. He dashed ahead, though grabbed Julian’s hand on the way past, pulling him straight again. Nothing else to do, and too few steps to make up any time, Julian threw himself towards the landing. On his way towards the top step, he saw Noel’s silver boots flash past his face. Dave, who had been waving a paper napkin, declared Noel the winner, as Julian’s face reached carpet level. He watched Noel begin a victory dance, his silver boots glinting in the light.

It was around this time that Julian realised he couldn’t breathe. He spluttered, pulling himself up and realised that he’d winded himself in the process of diving for the line. He collapsed back down onto his belly. Noel’s boots stopped dancing, and the man himself leaned over Julian.

“Awright Ju?” Noel crouched down, his huge blue eyes visible beneath black hair. When Julian didn’t respond, he saw Noel’s eyes dart over him, looking for reasons why. Julian nodded weakly, beginning to panic. He thumped the carpet with his fist, trying to push his ribs off the stairs. He hoped that his body would remember to breathe soon, as he was sure he couldn’t remember how. But the more he panicked, the more his lungs refused to let the air go, and he was left sucking in more and more oxygen. His chest started to hurt and he felt tears spring to his eyes. He closed them quickly, trying to relax his body into breathing again.

Julian felt two pairs of hands clamp around his wrists before he was pulled onto the landing and turned. The recovery position? ‘What?’ he wanted to ask but all he did was take in more air. Why was this… like this? Was he going blue? This would be a really crap way to die, he realised. Then he wondered if that was a bit melodramatic. The dark behind his eyelids got a little darker.

He didn’t feel the first blow, just the joyful exhalation of air. He wheezed as he took in a gulping breath. That made him cough, but that was okay because it was still breathing. Another exhale and inhale. He paused, trying to get some control over his gasping breaths. Julian felt the second blow at the centre of his back, punching the air out of his lungs. He waved his hand rather feebly and rolled onto his back. He lifted one hand. Couldn’t move the other. He didn’t care right now – he just enjoyed air going in and out of his lungs. Lots of air.

After a few moments, Julian realised that his dive to not-quite-victory was supposed to be funny and rather winning. The fact that he’d been left rolling around gasping for breath like a huge, landed, corduroy pike, was… embarrassing. On the plus side, he could breathe fairly normally now, and that was probably worth a little bit of humiliation. He wondered if he could make himself pass out so he wouldn’t have to face his friends.

“Ju?” said a quiet, worried voice.

Julian opened his eyes. He could see a little bit of Dave, who was looking worried in a fairly amused way. But most of his vision was taken up by Noel’s face. He was so close Julian could his breath against his lips, just as he’d felt his name whisper across them seconds before. He wondered if suggesting the kiss of life was a little off the menu.

“Are you going to lie here all day?” Noel asked quietly; a little too quietly for the bravado it was meant to show. The thought was a good one, though. It was business as usual and Julian clung on like it was rubber ring in a cold ocean.

“You nearly killed me,” he choked out.

“You almost killed yourself,” Noel told him, standing. He realised that Noel was still holding his hand as he started dragging Julian to his feet. Dave grabbed his other hand and they steadied him.

“That was a daft lunge old man,” Dave said, shaking his head. “You alright?”

Julian nodded. Noel stood by his side and began rubbing his chest. Julian winced.

“That hurt,” he admitted. Noel’s hand dropped, quickly. “The smacking my ribs against the stairs, I mean.” Noel nodded, his face full of compassion.

“Tell you what,” Dave added, brushing bits of carpet lint from his knees. “If you get bruises, we’ll tell people that you got them whilst Noel was fucking you on the stairs. It’ll be a lot less embarrassing.”

Julian tried to ignore the expression on Noel’s face. It wasn’t the expression that started all this though. This wasn’t fun and games and stair-races. This one said that the idea of fucking Julian on the stairs wasn’t dreadfully displeasing. Julian’s dick agreed. Then the look changed. It seemed a bit worried about Julian’s bruises. Julian’s ribs agreed.

“Fancy a bit of a lie down?” Noel suggested. Julian figured his own expression did the talking when Noel took his hand.


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