||[Dec. 31st, 2011|11:46 pm]
A slash comm for British panel shows
Title: Better [3/?]
Pairing: Jimmy Carr/Mark Lamarr
Disclaimer: Don't own. Never will. Never happened. Never will. *sob*
Summary: When they did see each other, there was always an awkward pause, a sort of hitch in their lives, where time skipped a few beats and they forgot what they were supposed to be doing.
They saw each other sometimes, just in passing. Eight years going by and both of them working in similar professions, it would have been hard to avoid each other. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, they were both far too stubborn for such childish things. If Jimmy steered clear of Radio Two's offices, no one thought much of it. And if Mark had the filming schedules of various Channel Four shows memorized, who was to know?
When they did see each other, there was always an awkward pause, a sort of hitch in their lives, where time skipped a few beats and they forgot what they were supposed to be doing. Then Jimmy would nod to Mark and mutter, "All right," and Mark would shrug and tilt his head and murmur, "Yeh," and they would go about their lives.
Jimmy kept moving forward, if not upward, and he was satisfied with his career, his girlfriend, and his life in general.
Mark kept moving about every which way, determined to do what made him happy, and moving on when his circumstances didn't live up to his expectations.
Whatever had happened between them in the past, they had left it far behind, only recalling it occasionally as an aberration, a fluke. What was done, was done, and no amount of reasoning or fretting or chain-smoking would change it.
It was with an odd, out-of-phase feeling, therefore, that Jimmy slid onto the barstool next to Mark at a little pub that neither of them frequented.
"Come here often," he queried unthinkingly. When Mark blinked at him, raising both eyebrows and lifting the corner of his mouth in a little smirk, Jimmy couldn't help himself.
He ducked his head and smiled.
When he glance up, Mark was staring into his whiskey as though it might reveal the secrets of the universe at any moment.
"Forty-two," he said lightly, waving his hand for the bartender and raising his own eyebrows when Mark snorted.
There was awkward silence, and then Mark asked after Karoline, which made Jimmy cringe a little. The news that they were no longer together seemed to go a long way towards thawing Mark out, though, and Jimmy didn't like to think of why that might be. He'd had a hard enough time reminding himself that whatever their thing had been, it wasn't about affection or love or any other foolish imaginings.
Soon they were talking the way they had eight years ago, when Mark had barged into his flat and his life and had staunchly refused to budge for even a moment. Jimmy hadn't thought much about him, had made a point of not thinking about him, but it was always there, niggling at him, seizing every chance sighting of Mark's name or face to slam into him and leave his world more than a little askew.
As they talked, Mark ended up facing Jimmy, elbow propped up on the bar and head propped up on his fist, his other hand swirling the ice round and round in his glass. Sharp, intelligent eyes analyzed him from behind wire-rimmed glasses, full lips quirked in a slight, soft smile. Even in his shirtsleeves, cuffs unbuttoned and rolled up to the elbow, untucked and rumpled, he managed to look poised and sophisticated, although Jimmy certainly knew better.
Jimmy faced Mark, as well, crossing his legs, and sometimes he'd accidentally-on-purpose let his toes bump against Mark's ankle, nudging a bit, just to see the flash of his grey eyes and hear the clink of the ice as his hand paused in its motions. He said outrageous things about bands he knew Mark liked, just to see his shoulders tense and his brow furrow as he bit out a snarky reply. And he made no efforts to hide his smile, because it made Mark glance away and lick his lips, and that was a wonderful sight, to be sure.
They had been chatting easily for some time when Mark tilted his head, cheek still resting against his fist, and gazed down at his empty glass contemplatively.
"I didn't forget."
"Sorry?" Jimmy frowned, mentally reviewing the topics they'd covered over the last few hours to try to work out Mark's meaning.
"What happened," his companion said softly, still not meeting Jimmy's eyes. "You said to forget about it, but I didn't."
Stomach full of something fluttery that was far too aggressive to be butterflies (bats, perhaps?), Jimmy looked down into his own glass. "Oh," he breathed questioningly, not sure he wanted any elaboration.
"At first I thought it was because I couldn't," Mark continued, either not noticing Jimmy's sudden awkwardness or not caring, "but after a while I figured out that I just didn't want to."
Not bats, either. Whatever was roiling in his gut, it was too warm and a little nauseating.
It wasn't as though Jimmy hadn't thought about that message. He thought about it a lot in the following weeks, and whenever he saw Mark, or heard his name (or his voice, and Karoline hated that he'd always had Radio Two on at midnight, but he didn't much care). He wondered sometimes what might have happened if he hadn't left the message. Or if he had left a different message, one asking for answers, an explanation, or at least another go-round.
But Jimmy was sensible, far too sensible for those sorts of fantasies, and he left the message because he knew it would do two things - reassure Mark that he was fine with what happened, and ensure that it would never, ever happen again.
But now Mark was saying, "-and I was sure you would have at least complained about being sexually assaulted, but-"
"Woah, wait, stop. Stop." Jimmy set his glass down and spun in his seat to face Mark fully. "'Sexually assaulted'? You honestly think you, you...forced me or something," he finished quietly, glancing around furtively.
Mark seemed to find his secretive attitude exasperating, even as he smiled - dare Jimmy think it - affectionately at him. He felt a bit of his unease melt away, but it was swiftly replaced by incredulity and not a little bit of anger.
"You do, don't you? You think you took advantage of me or something."
Setting his own glass down with a bit more force than was, perhaps, necessary, Mark rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, I didn't give you much of a choice, did I?"
"I seem to recall being in the perfect position to knee you in the groin and pointedly not doing so," Jimmy retaliated. "In fact, there were probably a number of things I could have done to make my unwillingness to be molested known. Like punch you. Or headbutt you. Or say 'no'. 'Stop'. 'Don't'."
Mark stared at him.
Jimmy stared back.
"Even so," the older man said gruffly, "I could have at least asked or something."
Unable to hold back a snort of laughter, Jimmy grinned at the sulking man. "Oh? And how would that have gone? 'Please, Mister Carr, sir, mayn't I have a bit of a crazed, lustful, animal hump against a wall? If it's not too much trouble.'"
Mark laughed, too, covering his face with one hand as though he was ashamed to be laughing at such a terrible impression of himself. It was terrible, too, but it was the kind of terrible people do on purpose, which made it all the more endearing. And Jimmy wanted to be endearing, because somewhere between the stomach full of molten ogodwhyme and the phrase 'sexually assaulted', he'd decided that eight years was a stupid amount of time to wait between one incredibly satisfying encounter and the next.
So, yes. He was flirting. More than a little. And Mark seemed to notice, because his smile was decidedly less friendly and more come-hither, and oh, look at that, he was caressing his empty tumbler quite suggestively. Really, Jimmy thought as he casually let his knee brush Mark's, did any man have the right to look so rough and so beautiful at the same time?
"I didn't mind it at all," he continued, leaning forward to prop his chin on his fist. "I might have even said something to that effect if you hadn't fled for dear life afterward. I thought maybe..." and he trailed off, not sure if now was the ideal time to go into his insecurities.
"Yeah," Mark prodded, tilting his head again. Did he know he looked like a confused kitten when he did that? Most likely not, Jimmy decided, and he probably wouldn't take well to being told so.
"I just thought that maybe it was a convenience thing," Jimmy finished, no longer smiling, but unable to look away like he wanted to. Mark had been brave enough to start this, and then continue it eight years after the fact. Jimmy could at least contribute.
"Convenience." Mark leaned back a bit, pushing his glasses up and crossing his arms. This, Jimmy knew, was not a good sign. It was classic defensive body language, designed to push people away. Getting pushed away wasn't on Jimmy's to-do list this evening, but he needed to finish what he started. He didn't want there to be any miscommunication this time.
So he signalled for another scotch and regarded Mark thoughtfully, fingertips drumming on the countertop. Mark regarded his dancing fingers just as thoughtfully, absentmindedly gnawing on his lower lip.
Jimmy's brain went hnng.
"You're a gorgeous man, you know that?"
Mark's eyes met his again, startled, and his lip slipped from between his teeth as his mouth hung open. "Sorry...what?"
Gesturing vaguely between them, Jimmy grinned self-deprecatingly. "You're gorgeous. Attractive. Much moreso than I am, hence my confusion back then. During our, uh...the...the thing." He cleared his throat, not liking the way Mark was staring at him in utter confusion. "I figured it was just that you were, y'know, lonely, and I obviously wasn't going to complain, what with my fawning over you like a fanboy, so...yeah."
Mark was tapping one finger against his bicep, chewing his lip once again. Jimmy waited uncomfortably.
"So, let me see if I've got this right," Mark began slowly, still staring at some point in space over Jimmy's shoulder. "I've spent eight years thinking you were just too nice to say anything about me almost raping you," and he was definitely ignoring Jimmy, or he would have seen the horrified and angry look he must have been sporting just then, "and you've spent eight years thinking I was using you for sex because it was convenient. And you left me a really cold message to the effect of 'I won't say anything about it if you stay far, far away from me', and we could have spent the last eight years having hot gay sex if we weren't such fucking twats about the whole thing and just talked about it."
Jimmy opened his mouth, then closed it again. He repeated this a few times before finding his voice and laughing weakly. "Yeah, that sounds about right."
"Great. Fine. Okay."
Mark stared at Jimmy.
Jimmy stared back.
"Want to go have hot gay sex now," Jimmy queried casually.
"Yes, please," Mark responded, fishing for his wallet and a cigarette. "Maybe we can get past the crazed, lustful, animal hump against the wall and get to the crazed, lustful, animal fuck in a bed this time."
"I'll see what I can do." Tugging his coat on, Jimmy gestured for Mark to go first, because of reasons that had nothing to do with chivalry and everything to do with Mark's arse.
It wasn't a perfect arrangement, he thought as he scooted over in the cab to make room for Mark, but it was definitely better than nothing.