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31 October 2010 @ 11:55 am
In any Event, Mitchell and Webb - Remain Indoors (PG-13)  
Title: In any Event
Author: valderys
Fandom: That Mitchell and Webb Look, specifically the ‘Remain Indoors’ series of sketches
Pairing: Host/Peter
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2,394
Notes: Written because they were so sweet together in the final ‘Remain Indoors’ sketch, I didn’t want to leave it there. Angsty fluff, I think. I haven’t tried for funny – I leave that to Mitchell and Webb :)
Summary: There’s two people left at the End of the World – and they’re not Adam and Eve.

“What’s your name?” asked Peter.

His hand was warm and dry in his own, and the Host could feel the scratch of a makeshift bandage around Peter’s first two fingers. It was funny - he didn’t remember seeing it before, he wondered vaguely if it had happened when They had infiltrated. Before They had all died. He tried not to put pressure on those fingers anyway, in case they were broken, although Peter didn’t seem to notice.

“I don’t know,” said the Host, because it didn’t matter now. He’d forgotten his name - he rather thought people he’d once cared about had screamed it during the Event, and he wasn’t allowed to think about the Event, and so he had forgotten. He had wanted to keep up appearances for the Quiz Broadcast, but that didn’t matter any more either. The lights on the boxes had gone out. For the last time. The Host wasn’t even sure what they did. He thought they were called cameras, but that didn’t help.

“What shall I call you?” asked Peter again. It seemed to bother him.

“Whatever you want.”

There was a pause. Peter stared at the ceiling - or his eyes pointed that way anyway. They’d never see anything again. The emergency lights reflected in his sunglasses.

“Can I call you Bill?”

Bill. It was a strong sounding name. And it was short. The Host thought he might be able to remember a short name. He liked it. It was kind of Peter to give him a name.

“It’s not just Sheila who is kind,” he said, “I think you are too.”

He watched Peter smile. It was a nice one, there was nothing forced about Peter’s smile, not like Sheila’s permanent grimace. Not like the rictus of a face in death, muscles drawing back from the teeth. This was just a nice happy smile. Peter had a little gap between his teeth, Bill noticed. His hair was sticking up at the back. It was sort of ginger-ish, sort of blond. It looked soft.

He reached out his other hand, before pausing. “I’m going to touch you, Peter,” he said. Just in case. Then he did. He ran his hand through Peter’s hair, dislodging plaster dust and debris. He flattened down the hair that was sticking up. Peter made a little breathy sound that wasn’t quite a moan, and his hand clutched at Bill’s. He still didn’t seem to care about his broken fingers. Maybe they weren’t broken, Bill decided, maybe they were just scraped, or bruised. Or burnt perhaps.

Peter’s hair was soft. Bill wanted to stroke it again.

“Are we alone?” Peter asked, after another comfortable minute. Bill had been looking at his suit, at his tie. It had been brown once, but it was almost too dirty to tell now. It had been a good suit once - Armani, he thought. He didn’t know how he knew that. He didn’t know what it meant.

“I think so,” said Bill, “I think all the soldiers died fighting Them.”

“Oh.” Peter didn’t look all that bothered, he looked... content. Bill hoped that wasn’t a prelude to a screaming fit - he didn’t think the resources for voltage-calming were available any more, not without the soldiers.

Bill looked down at his own suit, and was ashamed. It didn’t fit him any more. He’d lost so much weight that it would have hung loosely on his body if he’d let it. But he had a secret. It gave him an idea.

“Come on,” he said, “I have a surprise for you.”

Peter moved his head so he was almost facing Bill, and his mouth was twitching, his bottom lip wobbling.

“Please,” he said, “I don’t want any more surprises. They hurt.”

Bill could have kicked himself. Of course, surprises hurt. What had he been thinking?

“It’s not that kind of surprise,” he said, gently. “I think... I hope... you’ll like this one.”


Bill tugged on Peter’s hand, getting him to turn around and shuffle after him. He was very careful to make sure that Peter didn’t fall over any debris, or the bodies of Them. There was a sweetish, over-ripe smell in the corridors that made Bill’s mouth water.

“Can we eat Them?” Peter asked, sniffing a little, and Bill thought about it for a moment.

Then Peter licked his lips as Bill watched, and he found he wanted to touch him again. So Bill paused and let the fingers of his other arm rise up to hover over Peter’s oblivious mouth - all full of teeth and tongue and warmth. He wanted that suddenly, so badly. The material of his suit was flapping in tatters on that side, and as he paused there, hovering, one scrap of the fabric brushed Peter’s chin. Peter flinched, howled, and let go of Bill’s hand as he frantically backed away. Even when Peter fell over one of Them, and lay whimpering on the floor, Bill couldn’t move. He felt so bereft. His hand felt so empty and cold.

Bill took a deep breath. He should never have let himself touch Peter without permission. It was an unforgivable breach of trust. There were memories that gibbered on the edge of his mind, things he didn’t want to concentrate on - that he didn’t have to think about when he was presenting the Quiz Broadcast. When he was with Sheila, and Peter, and even Unknown Male 282, everything was fine again. For just a second Bill allowed himself to imagine what life would be like without any of them... and the phantoms swooped, as the room went dark and cold. His heart was thumping so loudly, it was all he could hear, but he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move. There was screaming in the darkness, and crunching noises, and red knives that would flay his mind apart...

There was a hand on his arm, with fingers that painted his skin with actual human warmth. Bill took a shaky breath through a throat gone abruptly sore. He didn’t want to know who had been screaming, but it was gone now. He didn’t have to think about it any more.

“Bill?” said Peter, softly, “It’s alright. We don’t have to eat Them. Not if you don’t want to.” He sounded forlorn, but he was smiling, or trying to.

Bill opened his mouth to explain, and then shut it again. He felt suddenly very tired.

“Come on,” he said, at last, and slid Peter’s hand into his own again, where it belonged.

They went to the Office. Apart from the Studio, it was the only other place that Bill felt safe. Ever since the Event he had been shuffled between the Office and the Studio by soldiers, but now that the soldiers were all dead, he had to make his own way. He was quite proud of himself. The Office had a copy of the Regulations on the wall (Blessed Be the Regulations), and a flag, and a sand-bag, and a rock. All the latest modern conveniences, but more than that - it was home.

He led Peter over to the sand-bag, and he made Peter touch it, so he knew what it was, and then he sat him down behind it. Peter made admiring noises, even before he realised there was an actual blanket behind Bill’s sand-bag. Bill felt so proud, his chest was near to bursting, and as he watched Peter sit down and make himself at home, he had a funny flip-flopping feeling in his stomach - which wasn’t hunger, because he knew the difference.

Even now he hadn’t let Peter go. It was awkward to sit down while holding hands, but they had managed it. Greatly daring, Bill stroked his finger against the side of Peter’s wrist, and Peter swung his head towards him.

“I want to show you something,” said Bill, almost whispering, although he supposed it didn’t need to be a secret any more.

He shuffled over on his knees, watching Peter cock his head at the sound.

“I’m going to guide your hand now.”


Bill bit his lip, maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe he should just tell Peter? But he’d spent so long hiding things, he wasn’t sure he even had words any more.

He took both of Peter’s hands in his - a wonderful feeling in itself - and drew them towards him. Bill realised his breathing had sped up a little and that even as he brought Peter’s hands beneath his jacket into its warm depths, he was shivering in anticipation, goosebumps chasing themselves across his skin.

It seemed as though Peter felt something too. There was a hint of pink creeping up his neck, and his lips were shiny and damp. Bill wanted to taste, he really did, he wanted to nose into the collar of Peter’s suit and just inhale - but he held himself still. Professional. He could still do that.

Then Peter made a small gasping noise, and Bill froze.

“Is that newspaper?” Peter asked in hushed, reverent tones.

“And cardboard,” said Bill, “For insulation. I’m never cold. Not any more. And it’s also to disguise... here, feel.”

He pulled Peter’s hands further into the warm darkness. They were almost hugging now, and Bill had to hold himself completely still in order to fulfil his own promise to not touch Peter again without permission.

“Oh Bill...” Peter’s voice was wondering, “Is it really…?” He stopped, overcome.

Bill was grinning, he knew Peter would like it.

“Yes, that’s right. Go on - get it out. I don’t mind.”

Peter’s hands were shaking now, and Bill tried not to flinch - he was a little ticklish, but Peter’s inexpert fumbling was so delicious, and the contact so rare, that he would put up with something a thousand times worse. Skin hungry, that was the phrase. He wasn’t sure why it came to mind though - he wasn’t one of Them.

Slowly, Peter drew out what Bill kept hidden between the newspapers and the cardboard. He watched as Peter ran his fingers over the folds and corners, searching for a way in, pleased he could provide such pleasure.

“Here, let me,” he said, because he could see Peter’s hands were shaking. He guided him to the rip-off sealant tab, and helped him pull.

The food parcel opened with a noise like a sigh. Foil packets and small tins and tiny jars tumbled out onto their shared lap. Bill sifted through them and opened a tin of pâté, rolling back the metal lid. The smell was so delicious that Bill’s mouth instantly began to water. He put his finger in and lifted a round shining brown titbit of meat to his mouth, before hesitating at the last second. He was being greedy.

His voice almost steady, he said, “Peter? I’m going to touch your mouth now,” and reached forward.

His finger nudged at Peter’s lower lip, and it was as soft as his hair had been. Bill held his breath as he smeared a tiny amount of pâté at the corner of his mouth, because Peter almost seemed to be dazed, as though he was catatonic, or voltage-calmed. Perhaps actual real food was too much for him? Perhaps Bill had got it wrong, and it wasn’t a nice surprise, after all?

Then with a tiny sob, Peter darted his tongue out and licked at the pâté, once, twice. Like a cat used to lick at cream. He licked at Bill’s finger then too, his pink tongue hot as a furnace, lapping at him until Bill could barely take it, the shiver running up and down his back, and pooling in his groin.

They went a little mad then, insane just for a small while. Packets were torn open, and powders smeared. Sachets of soup were rubbed into the skin, Bill licked coffee powder from Peter’s wrist, while he shivered and shook at the sensation. Emergency bottles were opened and drunk from, water spilling from mouths too overwhelmed to swallow. Peter began laughing, and Bill wondered if he’d ever be able to stop. Eventually, it was too much, and all they could do was lie there, sated, bellies distended with such rich bounty, and stare at each other in a stupor. Well, Bill stared – Peter’s sunglasses had fallen off and he was looking through him instead. It struck Bill that the milky film of his eyes matched the creamy paleness of his skin, and that both were unutterably beautiful.

Bill was sleepy now. He heaved a sigh, and watched as Peter blinked lazily at him. He wriggled his toes, still in their socks, where they were pressed up against Peter’s shin, just to watch him smile. Then he felt along the blanket until he could reach Peter’s hand again – whose fingers were now deliciously sticky. It over-balanced him though, and Bill ended up collapsed alongside Peter instead, with puffs of his sweet biscuit-smelling breath caressing his face. It seemed the most natural thing in the world to sling an arm around his middle and pull him closer.

Peter snuggled in. Two were better for warmth, Bill thought, it was only sensible. His blanket wasn’t that big. Then he noticed something, and however much he tried to ignore it, he found he couldn’t. It was impossible. He stared, then looked away, then looked back again. It was irritating. In fact, it was so frustrating that he knew he had to do something about it.

“Peter,” he said, his voice much deeper and more hoarse, “I’m going to touch you now.”

“Ok,” said Peter, his breath hitching.

And Bill leaned forward, hovering over his mouth, anticipating, their breath mingling, his mouth watering… Before darting hurriedly in and licking a stripe up Peter’s stubbled cheek. The wonderful sweetness of jam spread across his tongue. Bliss.

Then Bill lay his head down on his soft blanket, with Peter warm in the curve of his arm, and found himself content. There was a lock of Peter’s hair that was slightly tickling him, so Bill pushed his nose deeper, nuzzling the fragile skin behind Peter’s ear. His lips were just brushing the shell of it, when he whispered, teasing but true, “That wasn’t my only food parcel, you know.”

Just to feel Peter shiver in his arms, unable to suppress his moans.
prochytesprochytes on November 1st, 2010 10:06 am (UTC)
I do not know the continuity at all, but this is great. It does a splendid job of being both sweet and, every now and again, (literally) ghoulish: the repeated suggestions of cannibalism, for example.
Valderys: Mitchell and Webbvalderys on November 1st, 2010 11:42 am (UTC)
Yes, that was somewhat the intention - although no worse than the actual sketches (in fact better, they'd forgotten what water was in those :) Thank you, dear!
Anastasia Beaverhausen: Merlin: ham and jam and spam a lot!a_shadow_there on November 1st, 2010 11:28 am (UTC)
So, this is completely awesome. Oddly tender and kinda beautiful and well-written. I quite loved it :)
Valderys: Mitchell and Webbvalderys on November 1st, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
That's very kind of you. I was trying to illustrate how the two of them together will stop the both of them going mad, but one alone... Not so much.
smarter than a speeding bullettronella on November 1st, 2010 11:36 am (UTC)
Aw, I love this. Apocalyptic and cute at the same time! :D
Valderys: Mitchell and Webbvalderys on November 1st, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
Yep - it did occur to me that I could request this particular pairing for the apocalyptothon except that I expect no-one would have heard of them except me! :)
Gummo Bergman's "Silent Strawberries": David Mitchell - the sound of my own voimarginaliana on November 1st, 2010 11:41 am (UTC)
Wow... this is fantastic. I love how sweet it is on the surface but then underneath it's truly creepy. *shivers*
Valderys: Mitchell and Webbvalderys on November 1st, 2010 11:52 am (UTC)
Oh yes, that was exactly what I was going for! I want them to be happy, but I know they're not going to be - not in the long term. They can't be - there isn't a long term... Aww.
(Deleted comment)
Valderys: Mitchell and Webbvalderys on November 1st, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
I love these sketches - they're a proper little story if you follow them through. They're here, if you're interested. I thought it was quite appropriate to post this on Halloween!
ignisophis on November 1st, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC)
Eep! Am really creeped out now - but in an "awwww!" kinda way ;)
Valderys: Mitchell and Webbvalderys on November 1st, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
Excellent - just what I was aiming at! *rubs hands in satisfaction*
smirnoffmule on November 1st, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, hon, I love you more than words for doing this. These are my favourite sketches, and you've hit the mood absolutely perfectly.
Valderys: Mitchell and Webbvalderys on November 1st, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC)
They're my favourite too, together with the primitive tribe that live in the garden centre (which I might write for too sometime :) I even steered away from the real angst - but I thought that wouldn't quite be in keeping with the original sketches...
Gempopaloula!: mitchellgemjam on November 1st, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
This pretty much blew me away. Just, the part where he gave him a name and he was so pleased to be given it, that just broke me, but it was beautiful too, and it really set the tone for this whole fic. Wonderful ♥
Valderys: Mitchell and Webbvalderys on November 2nd, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
Thank you! I feel a bit of a cheat with the name thing - I basically couldn't face writing the whole fic while calling him the Host, so I made Peter give him a name. But it does work, I think, because it is the kind of thing that they might do... :)
iamcrazyodoiamcrazyodo on November 2nd, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)
No words I have will make justice to how much I love this fic. It's perfectly IC when thinking of the sketch. How you managed to keep this somehow sweet, human element despite the creepiness is simply perfect. It has retained that poignant feeling one gets when one realises they simply have no future, but despite everything, they have one another/need another to keep them from going completely insane.
Valderys: Mitchell and Webbvalderys on November 2nd, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
I have simply terrifying amounts of ideas for these two - I'd like them to go off and find the surface and learn to grow food, and live as well as they can for a long time. But I also have a horrible scenario in my head whereby one of them is dying of something unpleasant and the other one feeds them both the last of the food parcels, only he's poisoned it because he can't bear to be left alone...
caladriacaladria on June 9th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
here via smirnoffmule

This is awesome. It kind of takes the mood of that last sketch, leaving them there holding hands, and it turns it into a complete fic and god, I love these two so much.