Title: Something's Gotta Give
Word Count: 2,030
Summary: Secret Santa gift for Rycolfan on prompt: Colin, fed up with Ryan never calling and determined to see more of him, contacts Greg, who arranges for Colin to take Chip's place in the Whose Live tour while Chip's filming Nashville.
A/N: Dear Rycol, I was all set to deliver you some nice angst and sex, and then one day before deadline my comp crashed, together with my notes - which I needed, 'cause angst and sex are not my usual playground and I was fiddling with it like you wouldn't believe. So I quickly borrowed a laptop and wrote a different fic in my more usual style, for time was of the essence. Angst and hotness will happen next time! Many thanks to Clay for her understanding and patience! Unbetaed.
And here is the soundtrack song :)
Colin Mochrie had a headache.
The reason of his headache was laying on the table, smart, sleek and silent. It was mainly the last part which was getting on Colin's nerves something fierce.
He shifted in his chair, fingers drumming. It's been a week since Ryan last called. Not that he minded, of course. Ryan wasn't his husband, after all, to report to him every evening. But still.
Colin took another bite of his lunch and chewed thoughtfully, musing about freedom. He was all for it. Always has been. If some people didn't want to call more often, hey, fair enough! Independence. Yes.
The flat was quiet.
Colin poked the phone with his fork and dismissed a sudden, startlingly pleasing mental image of smashing it with a brick. Maybe if he went out and left the phone here on the table? He could see a movie, go for a walk. He'd bet it would ring if Colin wasn't there to take the call.
Colin rolled his eyes, wondering when exactly did he turn into a thirteen years old girl.
He looked at the phone.
The phone looked back at him, silent and black.
Colin stood up and went to the kitchen. Sounds of water running, clanging of the kettle and cupboards opening and closing ended up with a loud BANG of a cup against the counter. Colin strode out of the kitchen with determined look, his ears ringing angrily, unlike the bloody phone.
He grabbed it and dialed a number.
Ryan Stiles had a headache.
He swallowed an aspirin and tried to concentrate on his problem.
He seriously suspected he was getting mushy, which wouldn't do. He had a tendency to get kinda romantic under normal circumstances, but this was bordering on ridiculous. He got it bad.
The whole situation with Col was getting out of hand fast. Not that Ryan actually did anything yet, thank fuck. He barely even called the man lately, just to avoid blurting out something unfortunate and ruining the most important relationship of his life in the process.
But the way things were going, there was bound to be a sugar candy flavored eruption soon, unless he got himself in check.
So, he did what people traditionally do, when faced with an insolvable life problem. He seeked an advice of a wise man.
"Kittens McTavish," said Greg Proops, scratching his head. "Ryan, broheim. This is intense."
The trailer looked like an explosion in a Hallmark valentine factory. Pots of flowers crowded the horizontal surfaces, mixed with plush animals and boxes of chocolate. There was a couple of boxes of shoes marked 'Edward Green'. Greg picked one pair and examined it with an expert eye. He gave a low whistle.
"So, all these things you bought him last month?"
"But you didn't send them."
"'Cause you don't want to scare him off."
"Yeah. You know how he is."
"Well," said Greg, putting the shoes back in the box reluctantly, "You have a point. Don't let him see this then, is my advice. The only thing missing is a creep-shrine with Col's picture on it."
There was a short, uncomfortable silence. Greg blinked. "You didn't."
Ryan closed his eyes for a moment. Then he opened a drawer of his desk and pulled out a photo of smiling Colin in a silver frame. The frame was in shape of two swans, with their beaks touching. The silhouette of their necks formed a heart. It was hideous.
"I can't help it," said Ryan. "It's like having a nervous breakdown. I start with one thing and then I keep on adding others, trying to even things out," he waved his hands in the air despondently, "next thing I know, a sort of red mist descends and then it all just kinda gets out of hand."
"I still don't get why don't you just call him, man."
"I can't," Ryan repeated, morosely. He sat down on a chair, which made a horrible tortured noise. He reached under himself and flung away a teddy bear with heart-shaped nose. It bounced on the floor, squeaking. "You don't know the state I'm in. Halfway to madhouse. Prone to start babbling about soulmates and shit, and then I won't see the bastard for dust. Do you know, the other day, I've... I've..."
"What," said Greg with growing horror.
"I wrote him a poem, dude."
Both men shivered.
"Well," said Greg eventually, "If you get these uncontrollable urges for romantic gestures, maybe you could balance them out with tough talk."
"How do you mean?"
"Simple, my dear child," said Greg. "You've seen noire movies, right? So, get the private dick lines into the conversation next time you see the man. 'This is a rotten town, with a lot of rotten people in it.' That kind of stuff. 'Reminds me of the first woman who ever slapped my face.' 'She's as shifty as smoke but I love her.' 'If ever a man needed killing, it's that no-good, putrid piece of trash over there.' Write it down. Why aren't you writing it down?"
"I'm not calling Col a no-good, putrid piece of trash! He'd punch me."
"Not Col! Other people. Act tough around him, you'll get away with oozing hearts and flowers out of your ears at him. That's balance."
"Ah. Alright, then."
"Good. Also, when you introduce a pal, don't just say 'This is John.' Say: 'This is John. We go back.'"
"We go back?"
"No, not just back. Back. Laden with meaning, it implies rough times. Old fights. Rugged. Testosterone soaked."
"Shut up. Toughen up your talk is my advice. And get rid of all this crap. Keep the shoes, though. And now," he added, grabbed Ryan by the arm and opened the door, "we are going to get drunk. Kapish?"
"I hear ya, man."
When Ryan stumbled back into his trailer, it was morning. The space was cleared up from the tat; courtesy of the producer, whom they called from the pub to ask for a favor. He checked the small wardrobe. The boxes of shoes were stacked neatly at the bottom. Good.
"Rugged," announced Ryan and sat heavily on the bed, swinging his legs up on the covers. He leaned back against the headboard. After a few seconds of rest, he waved his fist at the universe. "Manly!" he said.
"Woof!" replied a small voice.
Ryan snapped to attention so fast that his head spinned. What the flaming heck? He steadied himself with both hands on the bed and looked around.
In the middle of the only table in the trailer was a cardboard box, which was most definitely not his. "Gwumf," it sneezed.
Ryan stood up and gingerly approached the box. It had a row of round holes punched in the lid and a delivery card tucked under one of the flaps.
Oh Christ. He had completely forgotten about that.
Greg Proops had a headache.
Shortly before his talk with Ryan and subsequent binge, Colin called. They had a bit of a chat, after which Greg arranged a slight change of cast in the Whose Live tour, reeling Colin in while Chip was gone filming Nashville. Ryan was informed and enthusiastic, the environment de-mushified, toughened up talk ready to bail out any dangerous sentiment.
So far, so good.
One problem was that Col was coming later today already. The other problem was alternately wagging its tail, gazing at him starry-eyed from a few inches distance and trying to stick its wet nose into his weed pocket.
"A labradoodle puppy," said Greg. "Now that's mushy."
"I thought I might try to foist it on my folks tonight," sighed Ryan. "They're coming to see the show. But I called my mother and she won't have it."
"I see," said Greg. "Say, would you have an aspirin?"
"Here ya go."
"Thanks. You know, maybe we could try the toughening up technique here as well."
"If you want to teach a dog to quote The Big Sleep, buddy, I wanna smoke what you just had. Seriously. Gimme."
"No, no Ry. Hear me out."
Ryan eventually ran out of aspirin. While it was bound to happen sooner or later, right now he would, if not kill, then slightly maim for some.
Colin arrived too late for anything more than a greeting with the guys and a short, albeit extremely stimulating snog in the trailer. So far, Ryan managed to hold himself fairly back. No three word sentences. No attempts to hold hands. But now the show was over, they were flooded by a barrage of fans and Col was constantly lingering close nearby, his eyes burning and mouth beautiful as sin. Ryan was preventively throwing out as many hardboiled quotes as he could remember and Colin was starting to look at him funny. Ryan's head was throbbing with tension, brain foggy with adrenalin from the stage, freshly re-awakened sex hormones, simultaneous attempts not to get a hard on near his family and God, they were coming here and making conversation and Colin was still hovering by his elbow. The implications of introducing one's lover to one's parents fired a new salve of pain through his neurons and he winced.
„And this is my mother," Ryan said. „We go back," he added, unable to stop himself in spite of a distinct feeling that this wasn't what Greg had in mind.
"I can imagine," said Colin politely. "How do you do, madam."
"Pleased to meet you. So, Colin. Ryan told us so much about you."
"He's as shifty as smoke," said Ryan, his own voice ringing unnaturally loud in his ears, "but I love him, goddammit!"
The moment they stepped inside the trailer, Colin had Ryan slammed against the door, teeth scraping his Adam's apple, knowing fingers rubbing against the long line of his cock, and things would be processing very nicely indeed, if a small fluffy projectile didn't suddenly bounce against Colin's ankle and explode in a mini-twister of deliriously joyful yapping.
Several minutes later, the confusion lessened and passions abated. From Col's position, sitting as he was practically glued to Ryan's side, was clear that the latter was a temporary state; but for now, he was happy to tickle the puppy on the belly and encourage its hysterical enthusiasm. "Who's the little doggy? Who's the little puppy fou-fou? Yes you are! Yes you are! And what are we called? What are we called? Whose name are we proudly bearing?" Colin caught the collar gently between his fingers and looked at the obviously freshly written name. He blinked.
There was a pause, during which Ryan dedicated a bitter thought to Greg Proops and his ideas about balance.
"All right, shamus," said Colin eventually. He put the puppy on the floor, straightened up and grabbed Ryan's hand. "Let's have a dose of straight talk."
Greg felt fantastic.
It was a beautiful morning. The birds were singing and he wasn't out to hear the goddamn things. The nature was happening elsewhere, as God intended when She created civilization, while Greg was enjoying a gorgeous cup of cappuccino indoors in his fluffy dressing gown. He just finished his first shooter of the day and contemplated which delicious starchy dish from the take-out menu he should order, when his door opened and inside stumbled Ryan Stiles, obviously shagged within an inch of his life and grinning like a Cheshire cat.
"Welkies!" cried Greg. "Wanna light one up?"
"No, thank you," said Ryan and sprawled on the sofa, still smirking. "I'm neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I don't care who knows it."
"The first three parts I'm all for, the last part sounds ghastly. I'll pass. So." Greg made himself even more comfortable, even though it took some effort. You can hardly improve perfection. "Did the irresistible force move an old immovable object last night?"
"You could say that."
"I ordered you some shoes."
"Oh, Ry. You know how to please a girl."
"You betcha. Oh, and Greg?"
"Next time you have an advice for me... remember..."
"Dead men are heavier than broken hearts? "
"You're the smartest man in the world, Greg."
"You know it, kitten."