Pairing: David Mitchell/Charlie Brooker
Word Count: 4,189
Notes: Written for the brookerfic anon meme from the prompt 'trapped-in-a-bunker fic with boardgames'.
Summary: What can two men do locked in Jonathan Ross' panic room with only someone's stupid crush and a Scrabble set to keep them company?
"This is your fault," snarled Charlie, pacing across their luxurious 20 by 10 feet of space and looking like he was just about preventing himself from punching the wall. "Karma is sitting somewhere and laughing at us. Giggling into her fucking cocoa, I bet. Laughing her socks off, or leg-warmers, I bet karma is poncy enough to wear leg-warmers when she's shitting all over people's lives!"
David stared at him from the sofa, blinking slightly. "Karma's dress sense aside - how precisely is it my fault? You were the one that went 'ooh, shiny red button, I wonder what it does if I push it?'" He made his voice go ridiculously high-pitched, which was quite high given his natural register wasn't precisely deep. He watched in satisfaction as Charlie winced.
"What was that sketch of yours, last series?” Charlie shot back, “Some post-apocalyptic gameshow rubbish? 'Remain Indoors!' What is this anyway - method acting? Is there any such thing as ‘the Method’ when it comes to sketches? Oh fuck - are you writing this all down for regurgitation later. Laughing about it with Rob, sniggering as you hunch over the laptop. Reminding yourselves how good old Charlie fell for the joke and pressed the bloody button for the Panic Room…"
"You're talking about yourself in the third person. Should I be worried?"
Charlie's mouth snapped shut and he stopped pacing, instead standing stock still in the centre of the room, hands clenched into fists. He was silent, and David found that was more worrying than all the ranting in the world. David was used to Charlie's rants. He enjoyed them for the most part, the same way he thought Charlie probably enjoyed his. Maybe. Possibly. Oh, the insecurities of comedy...
David got up, a tinge of real concern prompting his action. "You're shaking!" he said, surprise getting the better of his discretion, and was rewarded with the filthiest look in the world. Oddly, it made him feel better.
"Not everyone wears their neuroses on their sleeves like you, David," Charlie growled, vibrating like a particularly highly tuned harp string. "I happen to be - only a little, mind - claustrophobic."
"Would it help if I told you we were actually on the second floor?" David tried, and got a jerk of the head, meaning that at least Charlie was less worryingly frozen.
"Claustrophobia is the fear of being trapped, not just of being underground or in enclosed spaces, which is what most people believe," he said, tightly, "What's the matter? Your QI muscles getting flabby there?"
"Yes, that's it. I get us - excuse me, you get us trapped in Jonathan Ross' panic room, and it's all because I want to test my general knowledge, that's right, well done."
Charlie's fingers were starting to twitch, which David decided was a good sign, even if it did mean that Charlie probably wanted to strangle him. But he got that a lot, so it counted as a win, really, in the grand scheme of things.
"Look, let's distract you," he tried instead, and looked around, desperately hoping for inspiration, "Look, here's a game of Scrabble." David picked up the box, and a stream of plastic letters fell out. "Fuck. Now look what you made me do." He knelt down to pick them up again.
Charlie groaned then, and David looked up. He became uncomfortably aware that he was kneeling at Charlie's feet and looking up at him through his lashes. If they weren't two blokes who were a bit matey with each other, then it could appear a bit compromising. Maybe. Or was David being overly sensitive? His nose was a bit close to Charlie’s crotch, he supposed.
Then Charlie grabbed at David's shoulder like it was a lifeline, and squeezed it hard. His pupils were blown wide, David noted. Were they before? It was the claustrophobia, of course it was. Nothing else. People didn't fancy David, not in the general way of things, and certainly not when they were friends already. He met almost-strangers in the pub and then drunkenly lunged at them. That was his thing. Everyone knew it. Anyway, no-one as misanthropic as Charlie could possibly find David anything other than an embarrassment in the romance department. What was he thinking? There was no romance.
Charlie's fingers felt like they were kneading David's shoulder, and then he leant on him, heavily, to help him down to David's level. His knees clicked. Should David be finding such an obvious sign of ordinary frailty so endearing? They were staring into each other's eyes. How come David had never noticed that Charlie's eyes had tiny flecks of gold? It could have been a beautiful moment, in somebody else's world, except then David shifted slightly, and knelt on a scrabble piece.
"Ow! Shit, fuck, buggering arse!" He was crippled for life. He'd never walk again. Sabotaged by the letter 'W'.
Charlie's lips twitched. And how come David was even looking at his mouth? Then Charlie was laughing, full on body-shaking chuckles, like he couldn't stop, like it was the funniest thing in the world. David might have felt indignant - so much for his biting wit and cutting satire, maybe he should just fling a pie next time, obviously it had the same comedic value - except that his own mouth seemed to be betraying him in an upwards direction, and Charlie's great huh-huh-huh's meant that he was leaning even more heavily on David's shoulder. He smelt nice. Sort of spicy. David had always thought he might smell more acidic or bitter, although that was a cliché and he knew it. But he'd thought about it. Which meant nothing.
David wasn't gay. Even if Rob did laugh like a hyena when he talked about the women he fancied. He wasn't ga...
Charlie's hands were big and warm brushing his neck, the slight dryness of the skin creating a delicious friction, and even when Charlie continued, dragging his cheek with its stubble along David's own, David didn't pull away. He could have done. He probably in fact should have done, but somehow he chose not to, and even when Charlie's mouth hovered over his, uncertain at the very last second, asking some kind of permission, David didn't say no. He leant forward himself, utterly daring, and pressed their mouths together. Which meant he couldn't back out of it now, David decided, in a daze, because that wouldn't be fair, and pretended he couldn't hear Rob's hysterical laughter in his mind.
His hands found themselves resting under Charlie's jacket, warm against his shirt, against the slightly thickened flesh there. I should make him come walking with me, David thought, that would sort him out. And then nearly panicked again at the automatic assumption of domesticity. Luckily, he was panicking silently, and when Charlie moved his hands up into his hair, David found himself groaning into Charlie’s mouth without even realising he was doing it. Maybe he should have tried something like that all along – be too panicked about other stuff to over-think anything? But then he’d just be panicking about the panicking… That way lay madness. Or a sketch. Maybe it made a difference that he wasn’t drunk as was usual in these situations?
Meanwhile the kiss continued, a little bit hot, and a lot wonderful. When they parted, long seconds later, David was left staring into his friend’s eyes at far too close a distance, and he expected it to be awkward. That was something that was invariably certain at the end of such a kiss. He was slightly surprised to find out that it wasn’t. Mentally, he shrugged. So things were weird, not awkward, wasn’t that as bad?
Charlie’s forehead was doing that crinkling thing it did sometimes, before shouting, or laughing. David wasn’t sure which one he dreaded more.
“Bloody hell, if you wanted to snog the life out of me, you didn’t have to get us both trapped,” said Charlie, at last, his eyes wide.
The unfairness of this nearly choked David, after all his anxiety, and he pushed himself violently away. Or tried to, as he made to scramble away over the Scrabble pieces – which in itself was so stupid it made him want to cry - he realised that Charlie had grabbed his hands and was holding him there.
“Ok, no jokes about this stuff, got it,” Charlie smiled then, a bit entreating. It looked strange on a face made for smugness. “Although I hope you’ll relent by the time we get to the sex – because sex is so inherently funny that I may not be able to help myself.”
“What?” David asked, “What?”
Charlie was looking at him oddly. “Umm. I didn’t read the situation wrong, did I? You did bring us in here for ‘oh, whoops, panic room’s locked us in, whatever shall we do, let’s shag’ sex, didn’t you? It’s why I pushed the button. I thought I was helping.”
David stared at him, feeling out of his depth in a world in which that might be true, but the challenge in Charlie’s eyes was familiar, at least and he responded to it. Ritual humiliation, David thought, of course, I can cope with that.
“I don’t know, Charlie. Are you really claustrophobic, or was that ‘oh, whoops, let’s fuck David over and scare him witless, that’ll be hilarious’. I find it so hard to tell the difference.”
Charlie still hadn’t let go of his hands, which was peculiar, but David was resisting tearing them away like some kind of affronted maiden. Which he wasn’t. A maiden, that is.
Charlie swallowed, his adam’s apple bobbing, David watched it, fascinated. “You had to remind me about that. The things people will do for a shag, it’s crazy, really.”
“There’s no shagging going on at all! None! Whatsoever!”
David couldn’t believe how quickly things had turned themselves around. His lips were still tingling from Charlie’s five o’clock shadow. There was an awkward silence.
“Look,” said Charlie, “I’m sorry if I got the wrong end of the stick. Why else does a hypothetical someone tap another someone on the shoulder at a party and whisper ‘Let’s go look at the panic room, it’ll be a laugh?’”
David stared at him. “People who want to look at a panic room, you moron. Does everything equate to sex in your mind? It’s a miracle you’ve not been locked up for inappropriate relations with, oh – trees!”
Things were becoming more relaxed, even though they were still kneeling on the floor. Charlie was still holding his hands, but David could handle insults, he felt much safer, more sure of himself. He even felt confident enough to raise a sarcastic eyebrow.
“It’s not everything that just anyone says that equates to sex in my mind,” Charlie offered, “Just…”
You. That was the implication. David stared at Charlie in utter disbelief, before finding himself fascinated by a different impossible thing. There was a bloom of colour curling itself around Charlie’s neck, pinking further the already ruddy skin. It was almost beautiful in a funny sort of way.
“Yeah, well. Cheers for letting me make a huge arse of myself, anyway,” said Charlie, finally letting go of David’s hands, only to rub at his neck, at the hot skin there.
“No,” said David, slowly, still processing all this new information, “Thank you.”
It was Charlie’s turn to stare at him as though he had gone a little bit demented, but David meant it. Weird, obsessive and backhanded it certainly was, but there was a compliment in there. He thought there was. He hadn’t precisely had a lot of admirers over the years. Having said that, he hadn’t had many creepy stalkers either, and right now Charlie could fall into either category.
“So what do we do now?” Charlie asked, “How long until this frankly disappointing room releases us?”
David shrugged. “How do I know? The mechanisms of sex-getaway panic rooms are a little outside of my experience – possibly until Jonathan or Jane notices and lets us out?”
“Christ, I hadn’t followed that thought through – do you reckon they use it themselves for… You know.”
Charlie wrinkled his nose, fully as though his brilliant idea actually being hijacked by the owners of the house was anathema to him. It made David smile, in spite of himself, and then the last few sentences caught up with him.
“What do you mean – disappointing?” he demanded, unreasonably put out by the implication of not putting out.
“Enough! Let it go!” Charlie seemed exasperated now, which just seemed unfair to David. “Look, I fancy the pants off you, I made a move, I was shot down, end of story. Let’s just get on with our lives.”
There was silence again. Then David meekly got to his feet, hovered uncertainly, and then offered a hand to Charlie. There were a couple of yawning seconds when he thought Charlie wouldn’t take it, but then his large hand closed around David’s more pale and skinny one, and he got pulled to his feet. They went to sit on the sofa, the wisdom of trying to pack away the Scrabble tiles again having been considered and rejected, at least by David, and presumably also by Charlie. They sat there for some time.
“How long will the party be going on for?” David asked, after a while, miserable with the quiet, where before there might have been banter, or word games, or good old fashioned sarcasm. He hadn’t meant to but he’d fucked everything up. Which just proved he could fuck anything up, even things that he didn’t know about. He liked Charlie. He had from the first time they’d met. He hated losing another friend over a drunken lunge. All right, not his, for once, and not drunken, but the principle was the same. Anyway, he liked Charlie. He was man enough to admit it. Probably. Why the hell had he been so over sensitive? They could have been having sex right now. David caught his breath at the image.
Charlie glanced at him sidelong, but David pretended not to see, he felt too warm, and to his mortification, rather suspected it might be his turn to blush.
"We could be here for hours," said Charlie, slowly. "Things were just getting going."
"Oh god," said David, knowing that his blush was spreading, and unable to do a single thing about it.
"Why? Is that going to be a problem for you, Mitchell?"
“No, why should it be? Of course, I can handle being trapped for hours in a small room with an uncomfortable silence and a raging case of social paranoia, none better. I’m a professional, in actual fact. If social awkwardness was a category at the Olympics, I’d be there fighting off David Brent and Phil the Greek, just watch me.”
If he hadn’t just got a certain proportion of his nerves out in a mini-rant, David rather thought he might be close to hyperventilating right now.
Charlie snorted. “So what you’re saying is that you need to be distracted from the situation.”
“Please don’t tell me we’re back to boardgames!”
Charlie shifted on the sofa, until he was suddenly a lot closer. “No, I just thought that you need distracting from your hang-ups, and I need to be distracted from my claustrophobia – which I think I’m handling pretty well, as it happens, but every little helps. I just thought… Look, do you find me actually repulsive, or something? Because otherwise I’d really, really like to suck your cock right now.”
David glanced sideways at Charlie completely speechless again, because the crazy bastard always managed to do this to him. Was this reasonable? Was this in any way socially acceptable behaviour? Again, David didn’t think so, but who was he to judge?
Charlie grimaced, his cheeks folding apologetically up into his face. “I know, you’re thinking this sad bastard is just pushing in where he’s not wanted, but it’s not every day a situation like this one comes along, and you can always shut your eyes if I’m really offensive to the eye, fair enough. And I think, well, who doesn’t enjoy a blow-job? Otherwise I wouldn’t ask. This time. Like I didn’t last time.” He took a deep breath, a rattling one, as though he was dragging it up from some deep place within. “This is me asking, David. Which I should have done, oh, Christ, I’ve lost count of the number of times. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but please. Alright? Please.”
It was the second please that did it. That made David believe him. He didn't understand why, or how, because frankly it all still seemed a bit unlikely, but he couldn't deny the fragile look in Charlie's eyes. A 'gotcha' Game for a Laugh type scenario did cross his mind, but it wasn't really Charlie's style. He was more likely to spit right in your face than go for humiliation afterwards. David liked that about him.
"I... I…" he stammered, hating his own indecision.
"Fine," said Charlie, and seemed to slump. For the solid bloke that he was, he managed to get a lot smaller somehow. And David hated that.
"Yes, then," he managed at last, voice strangled, because the alternatives were so much worse. Long lonely stretches of time opening up before his eyes, mutual unbearable awkwardness, the loss of a friend... Without even the benefit of all that sex first.
David wasn't an expert, but he had an inkling Charlie wouldn’t ask a third time.
Now he wasn't a blushing virgin, for fuck's sake, but David did assume that they'd dance round the subject a bit more, after all this. That there'd be some banter, a kind of verbal run-up. A getting used to the idea that he'd agreed. That they were doing this. He might have expected all of these things, but what he actually got was an ear-splitting grin breaking out across Charlie's face, and the man immediately falling to his knees, eeling his way the last few inches across the carpet, and pushing David's knees apart.
David sucked in a shocked hiss of air, his hands lifting and hovering and not quite landing anywhere, because he couldn't quite work out where to put them. Charlie seemed to have no such qualms though, he was so solidly, undeniably there, broad between David's thighs, deftly undoing David's belt. He was even licking his lips. It wasn't quite porn star material, but it worked quite well for David, perhaps even surprisingly so. When Charlie brushed against him, the material of his trousers slid against his cock just enough, and David hissed again, long and low, throwing his head back. He brought it down again quickly to watch Charlie through slitted eyes. He didn't want to miss a second of this, marvellous and slightly surreal as it was.
Charlie folded away the sides of David's flies like he was peeling a particularly delicious banana, and David had to close his eyes briefly as he thought of that, the cliché and general naffness of the metaphor so appalling, it almost had him halfway to giving up, to rescinding his agreement. Then Charlie parted his boxers and reached in, his big blunt fingers touching David's cock at last, and all coherent thought went out of the window. It had been so long.
David found his hands had landed in Charlie's hair without his volition, and that he was tugging in great handfuls, desperate for more of those rough touches, the scrape of Charlie's thumb, the drag of his hot palm. Charlie was wincing slightly, David thought, but pleased-looking, almost drunk with it, his cheeks flushing, his eyes bright. Charlie's trousers looked tight too, uncomfortably so. It filled David with a heady confidence, with a strange sense of rightness, knowing he was the cause of that, no-one else, no other agenda possible, not here, locked together away from the world. When Charlie bent down and nuzzled David's cock, before finally taking the head into his mouth, David didn't shout out from the shock, like he might have done, he only groaned long and low, and tightened his grip on Charlie's hair. Charlie jumped slightly but he kept sucking, a maddening slow pressure, before popping his lips off and running his tongue along the slit, over and over again. It was enough to drive David mad.
Charlie's big hands were splayed over David's thighs, holding them down, or he might have tried thrusting up into that aggravating, wonderful mouth. It was about time Charlie put it to some good use, after all, and it was hardly less filthy than its usual pursuits.
"Fuck," David panted, coherently, "Fuck, Charlie."
He couldn’t hold on, it was impossible, Charlie must know that, surely? “I’m going to…”
He didn’t have time for performance anxiety - which was enough to give him it, if he hadn’t already managed gibbering paranoia - before he was coming in long ecstatic pulses right down Charlie’s throat, who had shown no signs of wanting to remove himself for the crucial seconds. He kept sucking gently until David was completely spent, then pulled off and tucked him back in and away. Then while David was still lying in a wrecked and sweaty heap, Charlie heaved himself upright using David's knee for balance before collapsing next to him. He looked smug, David thought. But that was fair.
Absently, while his body was still swimming in all those lovely endorphins, David wondered what was it with Charlie constantly grabbing him for balance? He did it all the time, was always doing it, touching his knee, holding his arm, grabbing his shoulder. He'd been doing it for months… oh. Oh. David closed his eyes briefly at his own blindness, before turning to look at Charlie again. He looked rather like a large disreputable cat with anger management issues, who has nevertheless managed to get the cream. It made David want to smile. Rather more disturbingly, there was still a tell-tale bulge in Charlie's trousers.
"So. Umm. Thank you?" David tried. "Do you want me to...? Shall I...?" He gestured unmistakably, flushing still further.
"You don't have to," said Charlie, his voice deeper than usual, "It was just a distraction, remember? I'm sufficiently distracted, believe me."
There was a dent between Charlie's brows that hadn't been there before. Like it was going to grow up to be a frown. It made David feel anxious, fluttery. Like he'd fucked something else up.
"But that's not how these things go," he insisted, "It may have been a while, but I..."
"And you don't have to fucking thank me, either!"
And just as easily as that they were back to glaring at each other. Like they were on some sort of stupid emotional rollercoaster, with rules David didn't understand. Which was terribly familiar, since all his relationships seemed to end up that way, but really in this case David did think he was right to be annoyed. For fuck's sake, this was Charlie. He didn't know what he'd been expecting, but not this kind of manipulative bullshit. It wasn't fair, and he was sick of it.
He leaned across and jabbed his finger into Charlie's chest. "Now listen here. No, I don't have to thank you, but I'm the kind of person who's been trained to be polite from birth. Even when being marched to the firing squad I would probably be apologising to my captors, and you know it. And while this doesn't actually count as high up in my personal hells as being executed would be, it's beginning to come pretty damn close. And no, I don't have to suck your cock in reciprocation, but I'm going to do it anyway, because that's the kind of man I am, and you're going to like it, Charlie Brooker, because if you don't, I'm likely to cut that same cock off and ram it down your throat. But not before I suck it."
They were so close they were staring into each other's eyes, so David could see when it started. He became aware at the same time that he had practically pushed himself into Charlie's embrace. His elbow was in Charlie's solar plexus. His groin was terribly close to Charlie's. They were practically on top of one another. Charlie's breath was coming fast, and his lip was curling up into a smile as David came to a halt.
"Really?" said Charlie, his voice huskier than ever, a laugh in his voice.
"Really," said David, marvelling at many things, himself, Charlie's reaction. The thought that maybe he should have tried this years ago.
"Well, alright then," said Charlie, and laid back and closed his eyes.
David reached determinably for Charlie's belt. He glanced up at Charlie, to see him peering at him with one eye open, slyly admiring, like David was the best, most delicious thing he'd ever seen. So David poked him hard, to remind him who was boss here.
"I fucking love Scrabble," said Charlie, in satisfaction, before David shut him up with something more than a kiss.