players only. takes place the day after Louis and Bradley are reunited.
Hanging up his cell phone with a trembling hand, Bradley crawls back under the covers of his bed and pulls them up over his head.
For just the second time in the entire filming of Merlin, he's called in sick to work. The first time was a case of food poisoning that'd taken out half the crew. This, though...he doesn't know what this is. He feels completely bloody awful. His head is pounding, like it's being held in a vise that's winching itself tighter and tighter. His stomach is heaving, and he's always been known as the iron man at the table, able to eat anything and feel fine.
Worst of all though is the bleak, heavy feeling. Like something is sitting on his chest, like there's nothing good in the world, like he's so tired that he won't be able to sleep. He knows there's nothing to it, rationally. But he can't imagine talking to Angel right now, or god forbid Colin, or even any of the other cast, who would batter him with questions and worry. Already there's been a knock on his door, which he'd ignored.
He wonders, vaguely, if something he'd eaten last night had made him sick. Memories of nibbling melon and bread from Louis's fingers trickle through his mind, and more memories follow. Louis, over a week ago, warning him of a hangover. Chemicals in his brain. Something. Grasping to it like a drowning man, he opens his phone again, and hits speed-dial six. Louis's number, that he said to call anytime.
Louis is going over the early reports on the new batch of trainees with Pierre when his phone - his personal cellphone - rings. He glances at the call display, sees that it's Bradley and holds up a hand to Pierre. ^I need to take this,^ he says, knowing Bradley's not exactly fond of phones and wouldn't disturb him without reason. "Bonjour," he answers, smiling, clearly happy to hear from the boy.
"Hey, Louis," Bradley says. His voice even *sounds* grey. "I wasn't sure...is it okay to call you when you're working?" He is hesitant, now that he hears Louis's cheerful voice, pleased to be speaking to him, he can tell, to reveal that he's called because he feels undefinably bad somehow.
"Of course. If I was doing something really important, I would have forwarded this phone to Marie," Louis says, frowning a little, concern already rearing its head at the sound of Bradley's voice. "I'm in a meeting with one of our... managers but it's okay. It's not pressing. Are you at work?"
"Nope. Called in sick," Bradley trails off, then bites the bullet. "You remember, you said something about a hangover, back the first time we got together? This doesn't feel like any hangover I've ever had though. I didn't, I thought maybe, I wasn't sure." Head aching fiercely, he rubs his temple with the heel of his free hand. "Maybe, I thought, you knew something that'd fix it?"
"What are the symptoms?" Louis asks, thinking about how hard they'd scened the night before, and his reluctance to let Bradley go back to the hotel when he knew he'd be alone. "Is it your head?"
"It *aches*," Bradley says, still rubbing at it, eyes closed as he hides from the light under the blankets again. Anything to ease the pounding. "And my stomach is all in knots. But I can't sleep. I thought, maybe food poisoning, but you sound like you're okay, and I just don't know what to do."
"I'll come and see you," Louis says, gesturing at the files in front of him and shaking his head at Pierre. Later, he mouths. "I can be there in about half an hour and we'll figure out."
"You don't have to!" Bradley protests, flailing an ineffective arm out of the blankets. "No, I just, I wanted to know if you knew what I should do, that's all, you don't have to leave work and come all the way here..." He trails off. Just saying the words, he realizes what he's craving Louis's presence like nothing else.
"Nonsense," Louis says firmly. "If you /are/ experiencing what I talked about, I'm the cure." He watches Pierre leave, knowing he'll not only have to reschedule but deal with the gossip mill later. "I'll be there soon." He ends the call, not giving Bradley the chance to object again.
Bradley blinks at his buzzing phone, not quite realizing Louis has even hung up on him for a long moment. Then he throws the phone across the room, suddenly and irrationally angry, and crawls back under his covers. He thinks, spitefully, that maybe he just won't let Louis in. See if he likes driving all the way back to his great big fancy office after being turned away cold. That'll teach him to hang up on people.
Louis grabs his jacket from the back of the door and slides it on, checking to make sure he hasn't left anything out on his desk that shouldn't be there. He checks his calendar, noting the meeting he has scheduled for later this afternoon and curses softly under his breath. Oh well, it can't be helped, and he knows every single board member would understand if he were to explain. Finally, certain he has everything, he heads out to the front desk where Marie's already watching for him.
"Reschedule Pierre for tomorrow, my board meeting whenever everyone can get together next, and have Richard make my rounds with the trainees," he says. "I'll be at Bradley's hotel and you can reach me on my cellphone, but I'd prefer not to be disturbed."
"Of course," Marie says, resisting the intense urge to pry. "For when tomorrow?"
Remembering what Bradley had said about his schedule, Louis responds with, "Noon. I may be in earlier but keep my calendar free until noon."
"Okay." Marie picks up the phone to start making calls.
"Merci," Louis says with a smile, receiving a small one in return.
Marie sighs softly, watching him go, torn between amusement and concern. "De rien."
It takes a little longer to get to Bradley's hotel than Louis had predicted, the traffic thicker at this time of day, but it's less than an hour before he's pulling into the parking lot. There's only one person at reception and they're already busy with someone else so he heads straight for Bradley's room, knocking softly on the door when he gets there, mindful of the boy's head.
Bradley has managed to get hold of a coffee and it's done a tiny bit to ease his headache. He's lying back in bed, staring unseeing at the television, which is showing some crap French gameshow that he doesn't understand. He hears the soft knock over the canned cheering, and groans, turning his face into the pillow.
"Go away," he calls, trying to keep his voice quiet, to keep from jarring his own ears. "Whatever it is I don't want any."
"It's me. Louis," he says, standing there, feeling like a fool in the hotel hallway, the maid giving him a look as she passes by with her cleaning cart.
Bradley stays silent for a long moment. Then another. He's just miserable enough that he genuinely ponders just sending Louis on his way, uninvited as he is, but he finally can't do it, and sighs. "Come in, then," he calls, voice more tired and dejected than he even realizes.
Louis looks wonderful, though, he realizes as soon as the door opens. Quiet, sure Louis, who can handle anything with that calm command he seems to so effortlessly possess. He finds himself smiling, just a little quirk of the corner of his mouth.
Louis closes the door softly behind him, his eyes taking a moment to adjust to the half-light of the room. "How are you feeling?" he asks, moving closer. "Any better?"
Bradley tips a single, speaking shoulder in half a noncommittal shrug. He watches Louis come into the room, sighs deeply, and turns off the telly as Louis moves to the bedside. He tips his head up so he doesn't have to take his eyes off the other man. "I'm beastly," he warns. "Absolutely horrid, no one should be around me right now. What did you mean by 'I'm the cure,' anyway?"
"I meant that if you're suffering from subdrop," Louis says, shrugging off his suit jacket and loosening his tie, "which is what we call the state I was describing to you, then having me be close," settling on the bed beside Bradley and pulling him in against his chest, despite his initial resistance, "should help."
"'Subdrop?'" Bradley asks, dubiously. It sounds like a made-up word. Like a gumdrop in a submarine. And yet, he can't hold in the deep, shuddering sigh he breathes out as soon as Louis's arms pull him close, ignoring his stiffening and trying to pull away. The minute he gives up and gives in, he can feel something loosen in his chest, and he turns his face, instinctively, into Louis's shoulder. Breathing him in. Even scrambling a little closer on the bed.
"Yes." Louis kisses the top of Bradley's head, holding him close and nodding to himself when he feels Bradley give in and relax against him. "It's called a drop because basically, you're experiencing a withdrawal from the chemicals your brain was producing during our scenes, from the high they produced, and from me as well."
Bradley chokes out a sound that might, generously, be called a laugh, into Louis's shoulder. "D'you know, back at the beginning, I was asking myself if you'd cast some kind of spell on me. Drugged me, you know, a potion or something, and I laughed at myself for that little flight of fancy." He lifts his face, then, his eyes wide and confused and the tiniest bit accusing. "It was *true?* I'm actually addicted to you. To what we do. And when I don't get it I'll feel like *this?*"
"No, not always," Louis says. "This... this was my error in judgement, and I'm sorry - I shouldn't have taken it for granted that you were staying last night." He pauses, exhaling softly, reaching up to brush the blond fringe from Bradley's eyes. "It depends on the intensity of the scene and how far down you go, but as a rule we should keep our harder scenes for when I'll be with you the next day, even if that only means you have a later call, or that you can at least stay over so I have a chance to see how you're doing in the morning and that you've come back up completely."
"Oh." Bradley puts his face back in Louis's shoulder, where it's dark and soft and warm. And smells of Louis. His headache is fading to a soft thudding pain, but his stomach is still clenched into knots. "So...so you're saying, it's just like going out for pints. If I--we--drink a lot, it's best to drink the water and take the paracetamol before sleeping. Prevention being the best cure, and all that?" He squirms closer still. "How can you prevent it?" He wants to know how last night would have gone. If he'd stayed.
"Well, we did some of the things - I had you eat, we got you some water, we sat together and talked after - all of that is called aftercare and you should never scene with someone who's unwilling to give that to you," Louis says. "But getting a good sleep and feeling connected with your dominant, that's part of it as well. And now that you know that's what this is, it'll be easier for you to come out of it. Same way as when you have a hangover, you're able to identify why you're feeling so horrid and drag yourself through whatever you need to until you can properly rest and get it out of your system."
"Yeah, I didn't sleep well," Bradley confesses. "Head was hurting and I was just restless, all over. It's a little better, now." His eyes are even closed, though he's nowhere near sleep. He can slowly feel his muscles unclench as Louis keeps touching him, the warm voice explaining things taking away the tang of fear of the unknown, which had been hanging over him. "And I didn't want to leave, when I drove home. Ugh. This is rotten. I don't suppose you could grab me the little bottle out of the bedside table?" It's got meds with codeine, which, now that he knows what's going on, he knows will help. He doesn't remember that his little lockbox is in the same drawer--opened and unlocked--until Louis has already opened it.
"Of course." Louis reaches into the nightstand and hands the Bradley the bottle, noting first that it's paracetamol with codeine, perfect for treating Bradley's headache. "Do you need some water?" he asks, before seeing Bradley already has a glass by the bed which he hands him as well, eyes falling on the lockbox inside the drawer as he goes to close it. "Have you used anything besides the book?"
Bradley takes two of the extra-strength pills, gulps the water, and puts his head back down. "The ring," he mumbles a little. "I tried it. It was...kind of funny, really, 'cause I was having trouble staying hard, believe it or not. *Me.* And so I tried that and it helped." The clothespins were what had finally gotten his cock up and straining, but he doesn't add that part. It's frankly still a little disturbing to think about. "I didn't want to try the clamps until you'd showed me how to adjust them. Those teeth. Very scary." He fake-shudders against Louis's chest. Already starting to edge towards feeling just a little more human.
"And the plug? You weren't tempted to try it?" Louis asks, picking it up. "It's slightly smaller than the one I had you wearing that night but not by much."
"I was," Bradley admits, watching Louis handle it. "I just hadn't quite got to it yet. We've been doing night shoots, and it just wasn't the same without you there, anyway."
Louis smiles, strangely pleased in hearing that. He puts the plug back in the box, telling himself that taking advantage of Bradley now, in this shape, would only compound the problem. "You said you were having problems staying hard?"
"Just the once," Bradley assures him hastily. He doesn't want Louis thinking he's got early onset erectile dysfunction or something; wouldn't THAT be a cock-up. Literally. "As soon as I used the clothespins everything worked fine." And wanking the morning before, he'd pinched and worked himself hard, thinking of Louis's return, which had gotten him off very nicely.
Louis's smile widens. "So you were craving the pain?"
Bradley hadn't thought of it quite like that. "I...I suppose, yes, I was," he realizes slowly. He glances up at Louis, sees his smile, and relaxes. Clearly this is not a bad thing. "I was," he admits more surely. "Everything felt sort of dull without it. Boring. All muffled."
That gets a soft laugh and a nod. "It's like that from the other end as well," Louis says. "The last time I tried to have vanilla sex... well, let us say that I had a completely different fantasy going on in my head at the time."
That gets a small grin from Bradley, and he relaxes yet further. His stomach has unknotted, now, and as the pain meds start to work, he finally feels less awful. "Good to know I'm not the only one," he jokes. "Before long you'll have me to where I won't be able to get a stiffie at all unless you've dug your fingernails in my cock."
"Speaking of which," Louis says, biting back a small groan at the thought. "How is your cock this morning?"
"A little sore," Bradley says, thinking about it. In his all-overishness this morning he hasn't really focused on any one area, and his headache had blanked out any other hurts from his attention. But his hole is burning a bit still, raw and tender, and his cock aches dully, like a bruise. "Achey. But good. I mean. Not in a bad way. Oh bollocks, you know what I mean."
"Yes, I do, but I still want to see," Louis says, motioning for Bradley to show him.
"Oh." Bradley flushes, slow and hot. Hesitantly, he moves far enough away to lift his hips, push his raggedy old track pants down around his thighs, push the blankets away to give Louis a look.
Even now, even in the middle of all this, Louis's eyes on him, almost clinical, have his blood pumping a little faster. His cock starting to fill, sluggishly, against his thigh.
"It looks good," Louis says, picking it up and inspecting a little more closely, fingers pushing the foreskin back from the head. Every movement done with purpose, knowing exactly the effect he's having on Bradley. "Have you used the washroom this morning?"
"Yes," Bradley breathes, watching Louis handle him, watching his cock lengthen and stiffen in Louis's hand. Something about that casually possessive way he's touching him, inspecting him, is ringing bells all over his brain. Like his cock is a nice toy, like it's nothing unusual to pull back the foreskin like that, examine the fold inside, the red mark that's still there from the clothespin. Maybe it's the endorphins again, maybe it's just the arousal, but he feels better than he has since waking up long before his alarm this morning. "It burned some. Nothing awful." He's sprawled back against the pillows, languid and boneless, slow heat creeping up his spine.
"Good. Otherwise I would have had to have you show me that too," Louis says with a wicked little smile, squeezing the head between his fingers.
"Oh!" Bradley's hips lurch forward just a bit at the sudden pressure, the pinch to the head of his cock. Not hard, but firm, enough to bring his whole system awake and tingling. His cock jumps and twitches in Louis's fingers, filling fast at the thought of Louis making him piss, watching, evaluating. Inspecting, again, so intimately. He remembers the book, talking of a boy presenting himself for his Master's inspection and how fascinating the idea had been, that someone could know him inside and out, touch him everywhere, everything open to his evaluation.
"Is this...is this part of the 'cure?'" he manages to get out, eyes on Louis's face. "It's working if so. As long as the crash isn't twice as hard after."
"It shouldn't be," Louis murmurs, switching to stroking Bradley, his own cock already filling, tightening his trousers. And the fact that Bradley's cock only hardens and his cheeks only flush at the thought of Louis watching him piss... Mon dieu - the boy'll be the death of him. "But it is a little - how do you say, hair of the dog," he finishes with a grin. "I'll be with you all day though. I had Marie clear my calendar."
"Really?" Bradley's voice sounds far too hopeful to himself, and he blinks a few times to clear his head. He can't quite believe how attached he's become, how quickly, and how much he already seems to need Louis around. "That...that's amazing. And hair of the dog, that's right. It makes sense. I thought I might die an hour ago and now I'm gagging for it again, maybe it really *is* some kind of magic, or something." He knows he's babbling, but the rush and tingle of Louis's eyes on him, hand on him, are just overwhelming.
Louis is stroking him now, and Bradley sighs a little, relaxing into the gentle pleasure of it. His thigh brushes the thick, solid length of Louis's cock behind his fly, though, and smiling a little, he rubs it there deliberately.
Louis groans, pushing his cock against Bradley's thigh as he continues to stroke him. But it's quickly not enough. "Get your pants off," he orders, "and let me move. I'd rather not go home with my trousers soiled," he says with a soft laugh, standing and unbuttoning his shirt first. "Do you keep any supplies here?" He has his own, always carries them with him, but he's curious.
"Condoms and lube. In the drawer," Bradley says, kicking out of his track pants and yanking his t-shirt over his head. He can still feel the headache lurking but it's far, far in the background, his arousal and excitement overcoming it. He feels so much better already. Watching Louis undress, he sprawls back on the bed, and slowly, deliberately bends his knees up. Putting his feet flat on the bedspread, pulling them up towards himself, letting his knees fall out until he's completely open, on display, for Louis. Cock, balls, hole, all feel the touch of the cooler air of the room, and he shudders.
"You are so beautiful," Louis murmurs, watching Bradley, eyes locked on him, visually caressing all that's on display, his plans changing in an instant. "I want you to prep yourself for me," he says, standing at the end of the bed, his cock already hard and starting to leak at the tip.
Bradley practically *glows* at the praise, balm to the jagged, rough edges of his psyche right now. He nods, never looking away from Louis's eyes, and reaches for the lube, just within arm's length.
Popping the cap, he slicks his fingers quickly and without ceremony, then rubs two fingertips back and forth across his fluttering hole a few times, relaxing the sore muscle there, easing his own way inside. When he does dip in, it's rough and quick, in to the second knuckle, spreading the fingers to scissor himself open as fast as he can.
He is hungry for the feeling of Louis inside him, imagines Louis's cock where his own fingers are now, and closes his eyes, a quiet little moan escaping his parted lips.
"What are you thinking?" Bradley tends to go quiet when he's under so Louis takes the opportunity to ask while he's still here, on the surface, with him. "With your fingers inside you, opening your hole for me..."
Bradley doesn't open his eyes, but Louis's question keeps him focused and aware. "I'm thinking of your cock," he answers honestly. "How it feels. How much better it feels than my fingers, and how sore I am from yesterday." Even his fingers are sparking shivers of pain, his abused muscles and skin inside protesting. "How you're watching me and you can see everything," he adds, more quietly. "How I can't scream no matter what you do, because we're in the hotel."
Louis nods and kneels on the bed, his cock jutting out in front of him, groaning softly at the words, at the sight of Bradley's fingers moving inside him. "Good boy. You can stop," he says, hissing in a soft breath, his cock throbbing roughly. "Put a condom on me."
Nodding shakily, Bradley opens his eyes, and sees Louis right there, *so* close. He tears open the condom package with quick, sure fingers, and rolls it down over Louis's cock, taking a moment to touch, stroke, and caress it. It's gorgeous, every solid inch, and he wants it.
Once the condom's on he lies back, hooks his hands under his knees, and raises his hips up. Offering. Knowing his hole is slick with lube, red from yesterday, stretched open.
His intention had been to have the boy ride him, but with Bradley offering himself up like that, looking so young, so beautiful, so vulnerable, Louis can't resist. He moves between his thighs, leaning forward to brace one hand against the wall above the bed, the other on his cock, rubbing the head over Bradley's hole. "Promise you won't scream?"
"Oh god," Bradley chokes out, as that blunt, hot head prods at him. "I...fuck, I don't know. I think so. Yes. I'll try." He lets go of one of his knees and puts his forearm across his mouth, ready to muffle any cries he might make.
"Good boy," Louis says again, teasing for a moment more before he slams his hips forward, burying his cock in Bradley's ass with that one sharp thrust.
The "good boy" is almost sweet, and soft, and then the shock of penetration, hard and fast and merciless, has Bradley arching up, shoulders pressed hard into the bed, mouth open as he gasps for air. It's like being fucked with a burning brand, the way Louis's cock scores into his body, the abraded skin protesting the stretch and give, and he bites at his own arm before giving it up and just panting hoarsely against his skin. He can see sparkles behind his eyelids and the strain to not cry out is harder than he thought it would be.
Louis curses beneath his breath, hips rocking gently, finding more room for his cock. He curses again then slowly pulls out, fucking just the tip into Bradley when he gets there, teasing them both.
"Nnnn..nnnnn!" Bradley moans into his arm, hips making yearning little circles, protesting the tease. His hole clenches greedily whenever Louis's cock dips in. His cock, sore and red as it is, is stiff against his own belly and he can't believe how fast he's gone from miserable to flying high, every nerve ending sparking pain and pleasure to him, his whole being awash in sensation.
Pushing deep, once, twice and again, Louis stills, touches his tongue to his upper lip, his head thrown back as he waits for the edge, suddenly right there, to recede. And then he's fucking Bradley in earnest, hips pumping, cock thrust deep again and again and again, harder and faster and harder still as the pleasure rushes through him.
It's absolutely furious, the pounding pace that Louis sets, and Bradley sets his teeth and closes his eyes and just hangs on. He's soaking in the pleasure, the closeness, the feeling of Louis inside him so hard and so deep that Bradley can nearly taste him. It's balm to everything that was hurting, and he's floating again, drifting down under. Strangely, nowhere close to orgasm; he almost feels too good to come, though deep down he wonders if that's a paradox. But he is just a vessel right now, eyes cracked open to watch Louis's face wracked with pleasure, the way he moves so smooth and hard.
Bradley can barely catch his breath, and nearly does scream when Louis cores into him even deeper than before with one long, angled thrust that curves his spine with its force. At the last moment he bites down on his arm again, whining low through his teeth and nose, desperately keeping the sounds inside.
It feels so good. And watching Bradley beneath him, biting at his own arm to keep from giving them away, only sharpens the pleasure. Louis holds out as long as he can, driving into Bradley with a force that makes his teeth ache, and then, orgasm approaching quickly, not to be deterred this time, he reaches down, gripping Bradley's cock and stroking him roughly in time to his thrusts. "I want you to come for me," he orders. "Now, before I do. Pull me over."
The rough words, the tight hand on his cock, jolt Bradley out of the haze of pleasure he's drifting in. He is snapped back to sharpness, feeling everything; the core-deep thrusts of Louis's cock, the pressure as he's bent up off the bed by the snaps of Louis's hips, the burn of friction and the jolting pleasure of his prostate and Louis's hand.
He widens his eyes, needing to see everything, all of this. Letting every muscle in his pelvis bear down, clench, and he's coming hard and fast, wrenched out of him as if on Louis's command. *Everything* goes tight, and whites out in a wash of blinding pleasure that has him crying out into his arm again, barely remembering to try to muffle the sound.
Those wide blue eyes, the give of his body, the clench of his hole, that cry, muffled only by skin - all of it conspires to shove Louis over the edge, his balls tightening, his cock jerking against that vise-like grip, a low ragged groan spilling from his lips as he's slammed into his own release, spurt after heavy spurt poured into the condom between them.
Exhausted, wrung out, trembling, Bradley can't keep his legs up anymore and lets them fall to the sides, as soon as Louis's orgasm trails off. He's sticky and sweaty, but he can't stop clinging to Louis's arm, can't stop looking at his face, like he's the focal center of everything in the room. He fights to catch his breath and watches the aftershocks shiver across Louis's face, as Bradley strokes his shoulders and chest with light fingers, just touching.
Louis drapes himself carefully over Bradley. Kisses him softly on the mouth and sucks gently at his lower lip before drawing back, his eyes locked on Bradley's face. "You are so beautiful," he whispers, smiling. "And such a good boy for me."
The words, the kiss, the closeness, they feel almost as good as the orgasm, Bradley realizes fuzzily. He also realizes he's smiling stupidly at Louis, following him with his mouth, wanting more kisses. Stealing them when he can duck close enough. He keeps stroking that warm, smooth, tanned skin, like his hands are as hungry as the rest of him.
"Feeling better?" Louis asks between soft kisses, groaning softly as Bradley's hands travel over him. He only wishes he didn't have to move; could stay here, like this, forever.
"Getting there," Bradley murmurs back, holding tight, trying to keep Louis from moving. He does not at all want to lose even a centimetre of skin contact with Louis, not if he can help it. He makes himself totally limp and dead weight, hanging his whole body around Louis's, trapping him where they lie.
Louis gives a soft laugh, collapsing completely on top of Bradley. "Intent on keeping me here, are you?"
"Not moving, not ever," Bradley nods seriously, clinging like a leech. "I'm too tired to think right now, but I'm fairly sure that when you got here, I started feeling better. So clearly you can't be allowed to leave. Ever. We'll just have to stay like this, I'm afraid." Even the warmth of Louis's softening cock inside him is somehow a comfort, despite the ache.
"Unfortunately, I'll have to move," Louis whispers, more than a little regretfully. "The condom?"
"Don't care," Bradley insists stubbornly, though he knows it's futile. Fighting his own instincts to hold on, he reluctantly unwinds his arms and leg from around Louis's limbs. Though he knows he's pouting, he does finally let go.
"Do you ever go without?" he asks curiously, watching Louis deal with the condom. "With boyfriends, I mean. Once you're tested and clean, it's fantastic. So intimate." He knows some men have absolute rules about condoms, and it's not a dealbreaker, but since Louis *did* call him "boyfriend," he thinks he has the right to at least ask.
The question gives Louis pause, and he sits down heavily on the side of the bed. "I haven't," he says. "Not in a very, very long time." Merde. Mostly because he's not monogamous and never will be. But even that isn't something he wants to discuss with Bradley right now. Not when going without is something he would agree to in a heartbeat if Bradley knew the truth and was okay with it. "But it's something we could talk about at some point."
"Yeah? Brilliant." It's not a "no," and that's good enough for Bradley. He loves barebacking, loves that feeling of skin on skin, the hot come inside him, but he knows that it's not for everyone. Some don't like the risk, some don't like the mess. He understands.
He props himself up on one hip and an arm, and loops the other over Louis's shoulder, palm flat over his heart. Pushing his face against the soft place where Louis's neck meets his shoulder, he presses light kisses on the skin there. Licking curiously here and there, tasting, still hungry for contact.
Bradley's response makes Louis smile. Everything's so simple with him. Not like with some of the other men he's known. "That feels good," he murmurs, relaxing, leaning back and letting Bradley touch him as he pleases.
"It does, yeah," Bradley agrees from his side. "You feel good. Everywhere." He presses close to Louis's back, letting his hand pet and stroke, rubbing his palm in circles over the pebbled little nipple. He trails his mouth down Louis's shoulder, tasting the point, the round muscle, then back up to his neck. He rubs his cheek along the back of Louis's neck, greedily indulging his cravings. Not even planning for this to go anywhere, he just wants to explore and touch and taste until he's satisfied.
Louis closes his eyes, letting himself sink into the touch. It feels so good, so relaxing, stress and tension draining from his body. "I don't suppose you could rub my back?" he asks, smiling over his shoulder.
Bradley lights up a little at the idea. "I absolutely could," he says eagerly, squirming around until he's properly situated, running his hands down Louis's shoulders, starting with gentle stroking before kneading more firmly.
He's indulging himself and pleasing Louis at the same time. The remnants of subspace are fairly vibrating with the pleasure of it, and feeling the knots of tension ease out of the muscles under his fingers is amazing. The heels of his hands are perfect for stroking down Louis's arms, and on either side of his spine, pressing tightness out of every inch.
He finally lets his hands wander up into Louis's hair, stroking the cool, shining strands through his fingers. Massaging gently with thumbs and fingertips, knowing from experience how many muscles hide there, holding aches and tension.
It feels incredible, better than Louis expected, and he moans softly, repeatedly, under Bradley's hands. And louder when he reaches his scalp. "So good," he murmurs, every last bit of tightness and strain melting away, bit by bit, touch by touch. "I should have you do this all the time," he says, only half-joking.
"Aces by me," Bradley agrees, his own eyes half-lidded now as the massage gentles down to petting again. He tugs a little at Louis's arm; he wants him lying down on the bed, so he can just crawl up as close as he can get and go back to sleep. The sleep he didn't get much of last night, and now seems unable to fight off.
Louis goes with the tug, stretching out in Bradley's bed, the feel of the mattress so different to his own, or those of any at Citadel. "This is a horrible bed," he informs him, laughing a little, feeling boneless enough that he expects he'll sleep anyway.
"I did warn you," Bradley points out, mouth curling in a smile as Louis stretches out, taking up three quarters of the available space. Bradley doesn't mind, and arranges himself around and on Louis, using him like the mattress itself, tucking himself in until his head is just where he wants it on Louis's shoulder, his leg between Louis's knees, sprawled out over him like a blanket. "I like it," he mumbles. "Fits great."
Louis opens his eyes to find himself at Bradley's hotel, the boy still curled around and on him, snoring softly. He shifts a little, carefully, not wanting to wake him. Gets a look at his watch. It's late morning now, almost noon, and they've been sleeping for a couple of hours. He shifts again, kissing the top of Bradley's head, his bladder complaining some, but he's determined to ignore it. He wouldn't disturb Bradley for the world.
Bradley's not exactly a light sleeper. In fact, he's been known to sleep through alarms, fire drills, all sorts of loud disturbances. But this situation is unique enough that when Louis stirs, he starts coming up from the depths of deep sleep, slowly creeping back towards consciousness. He's warm, he's comfortable. There are arms around him, and everything smells lovely. He sighs, deeply, stretches out one leg, and blinks his eyes open.
The light has totally changed in the room, and he can tell he's been sleeping for hours. He moves his head sluggishly to see the clock. Late indeed. Good thing he doesn't have to be anywhere. He pats Louis's chest blearily. Lovely chest. Lovely pillow.
"Should I take that to mean you're awake?" Louis says, amused at being patted.
"Mmph." Bradley lifts his head far enough to stare at Louis for a long moment. Louis, who is speaking. Bradley still feels rather hungover, to be honest; groggy and not-quite-all-there, but his headache has receded almost completely, and he no longer wants to throw up everywhere. He considers the question. "Yeah," he rasps out. Dry mouth. "Sort of."
"Water?" Louis offers Bradley the glass from nightstand. It's room temperature now, not the most appealing, but it'll save him from trying to unwrap himself from Bradley's arms and legs.
"Tnks," Bradley mumbles, taking the glass and gulping it down. Even tepid it's delicious and washes the leftover-nap taste out of his mouth. He yawns, and puts his head back down, still drowsy and not quite awake. "It's late," he says after a long quiet moment. "Did you say you can stay the entire day?"
Louis nods, kissing the top of Bradley's head. "If you want me to."
"It's suited me down to the ground so far," Bradley admits, as close as he'll come to begging "yes, yes please yes" and clinging like a baby monkey. "I suppose I'll catch hell for malingering tomorrow, calling in to have a day with my boyfriend in the room, but I don't care. I'll tell them you've nursing training or something, and came to wipe my fevered brow." He is, after all, an actor.
"Well, I do know first aid," Louis says, laughing and pulling Bradley in just that little bit closer. "Are you hungry? Would you like me to go and get us some food?"
"Not really," Bradley admits. He's not. "But I desperately need a wash and a piss. There's food in the hotel lobby, or the cafe and deli next door, if you're hungry? We generally eat in catering, so I don't have anything in the room for snacks."
"I think I'll check out the cafe, if you're okay for a few minutes?" Louis asks, stretching a little. "After I make use of your washroom." His bladder making its needs known again.
"It's in a bit of a tip," Bradley warns him. He hadn't been expecting company, after all. "I mean, nothing growing on the tiles or anything, but you might want to mind where you put your hands, on the sink." He thinks he recalls missing the basin when spitting after cleaning his teeth the night before. Can't be sure. "I'm fine, though, yeah, definitely go to the cafe. They have fantastic sandwiches."
Louis kisses Bradley's temple then eases out from under him. "I'm sure I've seen worse, but thank you for the warning," he says with a smile, running a hand through his hair and padding his way to the washroom, where yes, it is rather... messy. He uses the toilet though and washes up quickly, ignoring the state of things, and wondering what Bradley must think of his own place. "Your turn," he says, coming out.
"Cheers," Bradley smiles at him, sitting up and stretching, slow and carefully. His body still aches, but it's no longer making him want to curl up and die. Louis was right; he really is the cure. Shaking his head, he slides out of bed, ignoring his nakedness, and grabs his towel off the little drying rack at the window. "My life is getting stranger every day," he informs Louis. "If you'd told me two weeks ago that a man could be a hangover cure, I'd've laughed myself sick. But I do feel loads better."
"I'm glad," Louis says, pulling on his underwear and trousers. "But yes, there are a lot of things about kink that sound strange when you try to explain them." He smiles and pulls his shirt over his shoulders, slowly buttoning it, the tails left untucked, his gaze skimming over Bradley. He really does need to go to the cafe. Now. Before they end up back in bed.
Watching Louis dress is nearly as sexy as watching him *un*dress, and Bradley stares unabashedly, towel hanging forgotten in his hand. Especially when he finishes, looking all rumpled and delicious with his shirttails hanging out, not fastening his top buttons. "I'm going in the shower," Bradley says resolutely, finally tearing his gaze away. "And you need food. Right. Yes. Doing that now." He turns and marches into the washroom, immediately turning on the shower as hot as he can bear it.
Louis laughs, shaking his head, happy to know they're on the same page. He shoves his wallet in his back pocket and heads down to the cafe, leaving the hotel room door unlocked after a moment's hesitation since it was unlocked when he got there. The reception is empty now and the woman there gives him a look but he nods and smiles as if he belongs, exiting the hotel and heading next door to the small cafe and deli where he has them make up two ham and cheese sandwiches while he picks out two apple juices and two containers of chocolate mousse. He chats with the owner about the weather for a few minutes after paying and finally heads back to the room with a rather large brown paper bag tucked under his arm.
Bradley showers fast, scrubbing down hard, getting the remnants of the awful night off him. One thing this hotel does have is amazing water pressure, and he lets himself soak for a few long, luxurious moments, stretching a little, shaking out his arms, letting the heat soothe some of his aches away.
After drying off and pulling on clean boxers and a t-shirt, he even makes a few swipes at the mess in the washroom. Hangs up the towels and the hand towel, stacks the magazines, and wipes down the sink. It's not *clean* precisely, but it's a little more presentable. He can hear Louis moving around in the room outside, he's back, and Bradley grins and heads back to his side.
He raises an eyebrow at the food on the tiny table. It's quite a lot of food. "Hungry, were you?" he asks, drifting naturally to Louis's side.
Louis sets his sandwich down and leans back in his chair, wrapping one arm around Bradley's hips and pulling him closer. "I thought you might be hungry after all," he says, smiling up at him. "There's a sandwich and juice, chocolate mousse..."
Bradley leans into the embrace, letting Louis's arm and shoulder take some of his weight as he drapes himself across his shoulders, dropping a kiss on the crown of his head. "You do know I'm not *actually* a kid, right?" he says, amusement lacing his voice. "Mini-breakdown and naptime earlier notwithstanding, you don't have to bring me a midday snack."
"I know," Louis says, his smile turning slightly sheepish. He's not going to get into how there does tend to be an element of parent/child dynamic between dominant and sub. Not now. Not when he's already turned Bradley's world upside down in so many ways. "But it seemed strange, not to mention rude, to only bring back food for myself. You can always have it later," he offers, quickly adding, "If you want."
"I was just having you on," Bradley smiles into Louis's hair, drops another kiss, and then sprawls into the other chair, still grinning, absurdly pleased by Louis's thoughtfulness. "It actually does smell pretty fantastic. I'd've had a hard time keeping my stomach from growling, if you hadn't brought something back. Thank you." He reaches eagerly for the mousse. Now that he's feeling better, his stomach is reminding him that he'd never had breakfast.
"Dessert first?" Louis comments, raising an eyebrow.
"Always, when possible," Bradley nods firmly. "You never know when something might come up and interrupt, and if you haven't eaten your pudding, it might just go uneaten. What a shame THAT would be." He digs in with enthusiasm.
Louis laughs, finishing his sandwich before reaching for the other container of mousse. "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure," Bradley says, licking the last of his mousse off his little plastic spoon. It's chocolate and delicious and he can't believe he'd thought he wasn't hungry. He reaches for the other sandwich, watching Louis curiously. "Ask away."
"It's simple curiosity, nothing more," Louis prefaces, "but you asked about going without condoms, after testing, and said how much you like it." He pauses, cracking open his apple juice while he considers how to put this. "How many men have you been with that way?" he asks, deciding straightforward is the best route.
"None, recently," Bradley answers, turning his words over in his head. It's a very touchy subject these days, he knows. "I've not had a real relationship for ages now, and I wouldn't do it casually. I'm far too careful for that." He nibbles his sandwich, thinking. "Three. My only three *real* relationships, I suppose you'd call them. All at school or Uni. We were tested, it was kind of a nice commitment thing, you know?"
He does know. Louis has never done it, but he does get what it means, and the thought that Bradley's only done that with three other men, three men with whom he had real relationships, and now he's offering the same to Louis - well, he thinks he gets what that means as well. He smiles into his chocolate mousse, feeling surprisingly young and unjaded. "You make me smile," he says, even though he knows it's weird and rather out of nowhere.
That brings a beaming, bright smile to Bradley's face as well, and he ducks his head a little, cheeks pinking up. "That's...that's really good," he says haltingly, unsure of how best to reply to something that makes him feel so good. "Me too. You, I mean. I like spending time with you." It's simple, direct, and it's just the truth.
Louis smiles widens and he starts to say something else when his phone buzzes. He glances at the screen, sighing softly as he reads the text. ^Your father wants to know where you are. Why board meeting cancelled?^ "Just a moment," he says to Bradley, quickly texting back: ^Tell him personal. Will explain later.^ "My father," he explains, even though it was actually Marie and his father wouldn't know how to text if the fate of the world depended on it. "There was supposed to be a board meeting this afternoon."
Bradley's jaw drops a little and he stares at Louis. "You..a board meeting?" He can guess from the suits, the car, the office, the flat, that this isn't exactly some tiny mom-and-pop store that Louis is running, here, but more of a major corporation. Big money. And he'd come straight to Bradley when he'd called. He can't quite believe what he's hearing. "You blew off a board meeting, because, what, I had a hangover? That's...you're absolutely mad, you know that? I was feeling horridly guilty for calling in when I've only three scenes to shoot today." He can't help it, he grins, and leans over the table for a hard, quick, impulsive, grateful kiss. "I'm glad you did, though, mad or not," he murmurs against Louis's mouth.
Louis laughs. "It wasn't too important," he says, not wanting to be given more credit than is due. "It's easily rescheduled and my father will understand."
"Really?" Bradley cocks a skeptical eye at him. "In my experience sick boyfriends--" and he has to pause and savor the word, even now "--don't generally fly as good excuses with financial boards. But maybe your board is something different. And your father sounds pretty fantastic, if he really will understand."
"Well, they're not simply a financial board," Louis starts to explain, "and my father..." He shakes his head and laughs. "You'll have to meet him," he says simply, then points at Bradley's sandwich. "Eat up." Quickly changing the subject. "So... I suppose now that you've 'bunked off,'" his eyes sparkling, "we're stuck in your room all day, and tomorrow? Since you're not working until noon?"
"Pretty much." Bradley takes another bite of his sandwich, chews, swallows, and smiles. "What's the diagnosis, Dr. Garneau? Am I cured? Would you say I'm back in good fix, fit for anything?" He spreads his arms out, tilting his head invitingly. "I'll take some chaff from the guys when I go back to set, but I'm not stuck here, either, not since it's this late in the day. I might be malingering now, but I'll take full advantage."
"I think you look fantastic," Louis says, scrunching up his wrappers and tossing them back in the bag. "And in that case, put some clothes on, pack an overnight bag and grab your camera. We have some more countryside to see - before I take you back to my place and ravish you again."
"Oh no," Bradley moans dramatically, forgetting that not that long ago, he'd been moaning nearly as much and in genuine distress. "I cannot survive such torture...beautiful countryside, incredible wildlife, an unbelievably gorgeous man at my side, promises of ravishment...I just don't think I can go on." He puts a dramatic hand over his eyes. Then peeks through two of his fingers. "Seriously though, how many times *can* you ravish me before it just wears out?" he asks, partly teasing, partly curious.
"Which? My cock, your ass or the ravishing itself?" Louis asks, eyes twinkling with mirth.
"Any of the above!" Bradley laughs, uncovering his eyes and moving to get dressed. "My arse is killing me but I have to think you're doing that on purpose this point, since I've not been truly injured--or truly comfortable sitting down!--since I met you."
"All part of my master plan," Louis tells him, cleaning up the rest of their garbage and wiping the crumbs from the table into his hand.
"So there *is* a master plan," Bradley muses, stepping into his trainers after yanking on a clean pair of jeans. "I suspected as much. One of these days I'm going to discover you're secretly some sort of supervillain, that your mysterious job is running a vast organization. Or global super-*hero* more likely, since last I checked, supervillains aren't known for bringing people sandwiches and pudding when they're sick in bed. I could be wrong, of course." He twinkles a smile at Louis.
"That's me," Louis laughs, the vast organization part making him cringe internally. "Superman. Of course, that then makes you Lois Lane, yes?"
"I think, probably, Jimmy Olsen," Bradley says judiciously, pretending to think hard about it as he does up his laces, shoves a hand through his hair, and declares himself ready to go. "I haven't the legs for Lois. Plus, the whole plucky boy photographer bit." He brandishes his camera in illustration, before hanging the strap around his neck. "Either way it definitely suits you. Secret identity. Acres of money. Wait, no, that makes you Batman!" He grins at Louis.
"And you Robin?" Louis grins. "That works," he says, ruffling Bradley's hair.
Bradley wrinkles his nose at Louis. "Robin, much cooler than Jimmy Olsen, camera or not," he declares. Then sits down. "I seem to be a bit low-energy, still," he confesses to Louis. Not easily; he's proud of how fit he is, and of his stamina. But he seems to be so drained today. "Don't suppose we could see the sights from your car, instead of walking? I can't miss more work, and I'm still just, I dunno. Wiped out, a bit, I suppose."
Louis smiles, picks up Bradley's overnight bag and his suit jacket and offers his hand. "Of course. We'll take a drive with the top down and then head back to my place."
"Fantastic." Bradley shoots him a grateful look. Vaguely, in the back of his mind, he wonders at how he doesn't seem to need to keep up his normal manly-man, sport fan, tough-guy front with Louis, that he's cried in front of him and is now admitting to weakness, all without hesitation or real embarrassment. Like he knows that it's okay, with Louis, that he won't think less of him. But that's a thought for another day, when he's not so tired, and he follows Louis out to the sleek little car, putting it aside.
He does remember to send Angel and the director a text, though. Letting them know that he's better, that he's off for some air, but that he'll return soon. He just hopes he isn't raked too hard over the coals tomorrow, when shooting resumes.
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