Everything’s fantastic. At least, Jason thinks so. He and Colby are working together on a new movie and falling into bed together at night, a life full of stories and happy endings.
But it’s been a long night shoot. They’re both tired. And now Colby’s injured.
It isn’t serious, but Jason can’t help worrying ... especially when he discovers one more story from Colby’s childhood. He couldn’t protect Colby then, but he can now. He’ll spend the rest of the night making sure Colby feels safe and happy, and thoroughly loved. After all, he’s very good at making all of Colby’s fantasies come true ...
He held Colby’s arm in one hand. Scooped cooling salve, pale green, up with a finger. Stroked it over a scrape. Watched Colby’s eyes do their now-familiar small tightening, holding back a flinch. Probably trying not to worry him; Jason sighed internally and made his touch as careful as he could.
The day had been grueling, as expected. They’d been filming into the night, because Jill had wanted the specific light: dwindling away as Colby’s young and clever magician character got imprisoned and bound by iron and tortured, refusing to give up and lead the villains to Jason’s hero.
The chains and cuffs had been fake, of course. Hollywood movie-making magic. A vast distance from real iron.
But that didn’t mean they were soft or forgiving. They’d had hard edges, angled in spots, heavy, with no real padding. Colby’d had to struggle against them. He’d had to kneel while the villains shoved his hands to the floor and -- cautiously, weight judged for performance -- stepped upon them, pretending to shatter bones. The floor, and the impact, hadn’t been soft either.
The bruises and scrapes and cuts were all too real. Colby visibly winced the next time Jason spread salve across a clearly painful spot. “Ow. Sorry, sorry, I know you’re being careful, I’m not complaining.”
“Tell me if it’s hurting too much.” He tapped a finger over Colby’s forearm, finding an unbattered place. “And don’t apologize for it. Are you sure you don’t want me to get the medical people to check you out?”
“They did, right after. I know you know; you were there. It’s fine, it’s not -- ow -- serious. It’ll heal.”
“Might need some wrapping, though.” Jason eyed the bruises, the nicks. They shuffled purple and blue and pink and red across Colby’s skin, shame-faced. He didn’t like them existing, though he knew they weren’t anyone’s fault. “Just for tonight, to keep all this on. Not too tight.”
“Whatever you think works best,” Colby agreed. “You’d know better than I would, as far as stunts and injuries. Ow, oh, drat, that one hurts a bit more.”
That one was the worst, Jason judged: scraped raw, layers exposed, across Colby’s left wrist. The edge of that cuff had been both rough and sharp. And obviously his touch hadn’t been careful enough. “Shit. Sorry. Love you. Is the numbing part working, at all? It’s supposed to be, by now.”
“Oh yes,” Colby said, obligingly. “It’s already better. Thank you for doing this.”
Jason sighed. Out loud, this time.
“It’s true,” Colby protested. “I honestly do feel better. I’d tell you if not.” Hair tumbling past his shoulders in loose dark waves -- not a wig, but extensions, designed for fantastical mystical effect -- he was elfin and pretty and earnest, wearing Jason’s too-large shirt, serious about the honesty.
“I know you would. But I also want to know if it’s not better enough, okay?”
“Yes, of course. I’ll say so if it’s not working, I promise.”
“Okay, then. Just checking.” He tried to make every gesture as tender as possible. He tried to be as soothing as he could: a guardian bulk, not a threatening one. Hands offering care, not more hurt. Weight and breadth positioned harmlessly on the bed, no demands.
He knew Colby trusted him. He felt a small glow of pride that Colby did: enough to admit to being in pain, to wanting care. He loved Colby and would care for Colby with all his heart, all his strength, all his soul; not a question, not ever.
He still hated seeing Colby in pain. Always had, always would.