A Character Bleed story.
Jason and Colby fell in love on a movie set. Now that filming’s over, what comes next?
Jason’s excited to stay with Colby in London, and Colby wants him there. But Colby’s expensive flat holds ugly memories and old ghosts that he’s been avoiding. Now he’ll be forced to face them, but he’ll have Jason at his side.
Jason knows most of what Colby’s been through, so this isn’t a surprise but it hurts. And he wants to help. He wants to take apart all the walls and fixtures that remind Colby of the painful past. Fortunately, with some good friends and some determined home renovation, he can do exactly that so he and Colby can rebuild.
Colby waited two entire days before asking what was on Jason’s mind. He would’ve asked sooner, but he still felt a bit shaky. Better -- far better, vastly so, mountains of better -- but regaining balance.
The shuddery aftermath of a near-miss car-crash. The ebbing of a bruise, purple to yellow-brown. The knitting of bone back together, to borrow Jason’s metaphor.
He was all right, he thought. Or he would be. He got out flour, oats, cranberries, sesame seeds; he found yeast and milk and butter, and a bowl or two. Sunshine striped the pale granite of the countertops, gold against grey, next to his hands.
Jason hadn’t been subtle. No sex -- nothing even vaguely along those lines -- these last two days, though there’d been lots of cuddling and attentive kisses. Glancing at Colby, glancing at the shower. Looking up something on his phone, and then casually putting on a home-renovation show while they’d been washing dishes.
It’d just sounded interesting, Jason had said casually. Simply that. For now.
Colby thought it was probably a good idea. He was a bit surprised he himself hadn’t thought of it -- he’d bought new furniture, after all, after everything -- but somehow anything as drastic as renovating the flat honestly hadn’t occurred to him.
Of course, at the time, he’d been about to leave for the start of filming, and he hadn’t wanted to think about Liam ever again, and he hadn’t been letting himself feel much. Not letting anything crack open, behind the enthusiastic and upbeat public persona. No matter how cold his hands felt.
Jason wanted him to never have cold hands. Jason wanted him to reach out, so that those large strong fingers could enfold his. So that Jason could keep him warm.
He touched the sunlight on the countertop, thinking of warmth. He loved rain, but this was nice as well: clean brightness under his fingertips, lying there as if happy to be appreciated.
He gave his countertop a tiny pat, because he would like that, if he were a cuddly bit of sun-striped granite; and he smiled a little and set about conjuring up cranberry-oat bread, with sesame and flaxseed.
Jason came in from the small balcony while Colby’s hands were buried in shaggy dough, and said, “Sorry, that took longer than I thought. Susan had a whole list of late-night shows she wants to see me on, for interviews. Can I help?”
“Just grab that bowl, would you? Light oil -- perfect, thank you. Of course you’ll be marvelous doing press. You always are.”
Jason set down the oil. Blinked at him, a large perplexed foothill in worn jeans and a dark red Henley. “You’ve seen me do press before?”
“Er ... I might’ve watched some things. Promoting new John Kill installments, and such.” The dough had obligingly become a nice smooth ball; he tucked it into its bowl-bed. “About two hours, for that, I think ... you’re always so gracious. Praising your directors, co-stars, crew. Playing along with spy trivia questions or those how-well-do-you-know-your-castmates games. You’re such a good sport about it. I always liked that.”
Jason carried on gazing at him, and finally said, “I mean ... you have to have fun with it, right? Even if it’s not, like ... I mean, in Saint Nick Steel I ran around wearing a Santa hat that made me into a reincarnated spirit of Christmas that rescued kids. By punching bad guys. Or shooting them. Or something.”
“It’s certainly original.”
“Terrible. You mean terrible. But, like ... people still worked hard on it. Our cast, our crew…we made something, y’know? So of course I’m going to be a good sport about the press circus. For them, and for me, because it’s not like it wasn’t fun. So, yeah, I’ll say so.”
“And there’s definitely an audience for those sorts of stories, which, as it happens, includes me.” Colby looked around for cling film to cover the bowl; Jason held it out. “I like fantasy, and I like you running around in extremely tight shirts while protecting people.” Their eyes met, across dough and sunshine.
“Two hours,” Jason said, a question, an invitation, a joy.
“Plenty of time for you to kiss me in our kitchen?”