[identity profile] indybaggins.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] wl_fanfiction
Author: Indy Baggins
Title: If Roses are meant to be red…
Pairing: Greg/Ryan
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Sixteen years after they met, Greg realizes he’s never let himself want anything quite as much as he wanted Ryan.
Author’s comments: This was my NaNoWriMo novel for 2006. The story of Greg and Ryan has for me, at its core, always been a love story. Needy, fucked up love, sure, but love none the less. And this is my attempt at telling their story, from the moment Greg met Ryan until the moment he let him go.

Beta-duty is done by Clay, for which she deserves many roses *smiles*

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six




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“The all-American tall boy, Ryan Stiles…” As always, Greg zoned out after Ryan was introduced, instead looking at the audience, eyeing Clive, getting ready for the next game.

Ryan was mostly paired with Colin that evening, and he watched them as closely as he could, trying to figure out what had happened between them in the past year, but both Ryan and Colin seemed incredibly professional, not letting any of their previous unease around each other seep through. Instead, they were off again, filling out each others sentences, cracking each other up, and he knew that the one thing that seemed to transcend anything personal for the two of them was the stage. A shared passion, and it was in the dedication to it that they seemed to have found each other again.

He got to play a few games with Ryan too, and was glad to feel that their old routine seemed to be back; they walked synchronised, talked, laughed, touched and hugged, and he could feel Clive looking at them with something of a pleased expression in his eyes.

After the taping, as always, they went to a bar. It was Clive who had picked this time around, and the atmosphere was quiet, the occasional drunk by the bar, but the booths were nice, and the drinks too.

Ryan took a seat next to him, and they sat close, in a sort of comfortable way he had come to associate with Ryan, never too close to crowd you, always close enough to reach out and touch.

He was talking to Tony, asking him something about the Wilshire Comedy Festival, when he overheard Colin ask Clive “So why did you quit law to go into comedy? It seems a little… unusual.” Greg completely ignored his conversation with Tony and looked up, sure of the answer but curious as to what Clive would say. Clive locked eyes with him, briefly, seemed to be looking for words but not finding them.

So Greg spoke up, casually “It’s because he was tired of being a closet-case Colin. Getting crushes on opposing council gets old after a while”.

Colin opened his mouth and looked from the one to the other, not quite sure what to believe. Richard was smiling, not taken aback in the least, Tony was outright laughing, probably more because he supported the profanity that any reality behind it. Ryan looked away, and then the moment passed, Colin going over to the tale of how he had wanted to become a biologist or something. Greg looked at Ryan, who had noted what had just happened, and had guessed by the slight blush on Clive’s cheeks a lot more than the answer to Colin’s question. He seemed faintly surprised, but not much, his eyes momentarily widening and then he was getting up, taking the pack of cigarettes from on the table with him.

Greg didn’t scramble up, thinking he’d give him a head start, but then eventually he did go outside, to find Ryan leaning against a wall, smoking. He leaned next to him, and then lit a cigarette of his own. After a bit, Ryan turned, and said “Clive?” an amused confirmation in his voice.

Greg just shrugged. So what. After a moment he clearly said “a couple times, yeah” and Ryan nodded. He wasn’t going to make excuses for screwing Clive, and Ryan seemed to know that.

Deciding to turn the tables, he asked “Colin?” and he could see Ryan struggle, biting down and reformulating words. “Colin… Colin is not…” Greg stepped closer, breaking up whatever Ryan was trying to formulate, making him look at him. After a moment, Ryan spoke again, his expression guarded “He left. Went back to Canada.”

“I know,” Greg replied, a prompt for him to speak on, but Ryan didn’t, and then, before it became too painful, he quickly admitted to having slept with Richard once too, a couple years ago after a failed audition for them both. It made Ryan laugh, and then he laughed too, and stubbed his cigarette against the wall.

When they went back inside both Colin and Clive looked up a little too fast not to have been waiting for their return, and it amused him too.

They got back to their hotel room rather early, and Ryan let him undress him, with slow and soft movements. It was the first time he could recall they’d drawn it out like this, drawn it out until they were both standing naked in a half-dark room, looking at each other, running fingers over shoulders and arms and cheeks and he knew he was blushing under Ryan’s gaze but he didn’t care too much.

When they moved up into a kiss it was almost like a first one again, soft and tender but with a rapid fall into sensual this time, their naked bodies aligning, the thrill pure and real.

Ryan let him take him that night, and he did his best to draw it out into something incredible, something that drove him to the edge of emotional when he looked at Ryan, something that made their eyes lock when they moved together.

It was he who held Ryan when they were silent again, when they were spent, but he knew Ryan wasn’t sleeping, neither were, staring, eyes wide open, into the dark.

It could have been uneasy between them, he thought, preset, but it wasn’t, instead it crushed him inside and when he held on to Ryan harder, pressed him closer, he felt his embrace returned.



Even if he had once thought they were being discreet, it was completely ruined when Tony knocked on their door the next morning and it was Ryan who opened it, dressed in nothing but a towel, and Greg sleepily yelled from the bed “who the fuck is it?”

Tony was a great guy, but never one to shut up, and by noon everyone knew they had spent the night together. Greg found himself not caring, and Ryan didn’t seem to either, so when they walked through the hotel lobby and, in passing the producers, he grasped Ryan’s hand, pulled him closer and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek, it was just to piss them of and to make Ryan smile, not because he actually had wanted to. Not at all.

They went into the city, ‘effectively avoiding Colin,’ Greg thought, but he was too busy enjoying being there with Ryan to really give it any more thought. They both had seen the major sights of London already, he a lot more than Ryan, so they ended up just wandering again, through the parks, the streets, taking the subway (“the tube,” Greg corrected him) to a random stop. And in truth, he had never enjoyed London quite as much as in that fashion, with Ryan, without any sort of plan.

They walked around in the “Queen’s Gardens” (as pointed out by Ryan, there were many, many puns on that one), and he noted that, after New York, he had a hard time being in a park with Ryan without wanting to push him to a tree and do ungodly things to him. When he told him as much, Ryan laughed and asked “why don’t you?”

Twenty minutes later they emerged from the woods, Ryan straightening his clothes, Greg fishing for an ivy leaf that had gotten caught in his hair. He decided he really, really liked parks.

They walked on to browse at an crowded outdoors antique market, stopped a moment to listen to a jazz-player (he took Ryan’s hand, briefly), and then stopped at a bridge to look over at the Thames.

“You like living here?” Ryan asked, eyes on the outline of the city.

“I do…” he smiled, looking at the people crossing the street, the cars on the left side, the occasional string of conversation they could pick up…

“You’re not coming back to San Francisco?” There was a real, important question underlying that remark, and Greg tried his best not to hear it. “No… there’s more work here… Plus, Jen… She likes it here”

“Hmm,” Ryan nodded, and they looked over the water, seeing the sun’s reflection on it. “Yeah,” he said, following Ryan’s eyes to the reflection of them both, leaning on the railing, in the water.

Soon after they took a cab back to the studios, and when they arrived Greg felt like they had been in a different world, for just a while at least. Colin was waiting for them again, and so was Mike, booming out as soon as he saw them “Greg, my boy!” and wrapping him in a bear hug. Colin was genuinely grinning at the sight and Greg, from somewhere in Mike’s arms, found himself returning the grin.

Where the first two taping were always exciting and new, and the last one a blast, everything in between was on the edge of normal, a quickly-formed habit. Greg found that tonight’s cast was among his favourite combinations. He adored Mike, had known him for a long time, and he was comfortable and fun to play off to. Colin added a little softness and insanity, Ryan structure and the occasional hug, and when he was sparring with Clive that evening he was also smiling, broadly.

Near the end of the taping, he noted a difference though. Ryan didn’t look much at him, at first he had thought it was because he was tired, because his thoughts were elsewhere, but when he followed his gaze he was intently focusing on Colin. Colin didn’t seem to know it, returning his looks with a kind smile of his own, but Greg did.

In a vague part of his mind he had been looking forward to more sex that night, maybe the same soul-shattering sex they had had the night before, or, more comfortably, maybe a quickie in one of London’s alleys, with Ryan panting warm and hot in his ear and the thrill of being caught.

When Ryan cornered him right after the taping and said he was going to go somewhere with Colin, he had pretended not to care one way or another and said “sure,” actually certain he didn’t really care. Colin stopped him in the hallway soon after, looking troubled, maybe to tell him that it wouldn’t end up in sex, that he had nothing to worry about, but when he stopped him from saying anything, he surprised himself by lashing out, saying “Colin, don’t fucking start apologising before you’ve done anything, go screw him first and then come back here with a sorry, okay?” Colin just blinked, but seemed to have gotten the message as Greg walked away, closing his dressing room door behind him.

He took his cigarettes, lighting one right away and headed out, already hidden in the shadows as he saw Ryan and Colin leave the building, talking in low tones to each other, smiling and touching each other in that caring, familiar way they had on the stage. He saw them leave with something of uncertainty inside of him, wondering whether they would sleep together, wondering if he wanted them to or not.




---



He pulls up along the beach and he knows he’s there, he’s finally there, and he can hardly grasp it.

He sees it all again now, maybe too desperately, the both of them standing in the rain, the sea nearby, and so was love right then, so was something real and wonderful between them they could have had, if they hadn’t gone on to fuck it up, time and time again. He sees now how they continuously tried to ruin and destroy what was between them, when they had never tried to even create it in the first place, and he thinks it funny that all he ever had hoped for was a one-night stand and he got something too large for either of them to handle.

They never stopped to do much more than feel and even that was repressed in anger and sex and smokes and whatever they could get away with, because love would have been a too pure concept for whatever fucked up thing they had between them, and lust didn’t do it either, maybe need would have been the word, but obviously it wasn’t all that either because he survived, he got around without Ryan, he was still there, breathing, walking when Ryan…

In truth, Ryan had left years ago, but lines of permitable affection still tended to blur, and they still fell back on what could be between them, and they had never been perfect but he had never felt anything as close to it either.

And he had always wanted, wanted Ryan so fucking much, and now he’s willing to see that, willing to see that Ryan probably did too, that two people just couldn’t be as touched as they were and not refer to it as something undying, something earth-shattering. But they never admitted to it, not even when they were yelling at each other on a beach in the fucking pouring rain, not even when the sand was everywhere, wet, and cold and they could have changed their entire world in that moment but they didn’t, they didn’t and suddenly he’s crying for the past and the future and what they never had, and especially for what they did have, every moment too real again, too perfect, too painful.

He doesn’t remember getting out of the car, he’s just suddenly on his knees in the wet sand, pounding on it, beating away at his anger, and he’s crying hot tears, the wind stinging his eyes, his breath hitching, his chest breaking, he swears he can feel it and he goes dangerously close to the edge, wishing himself over it now, swearing the whole world away until there’s nothing left but Ryan, only Ryan, and he gets lost, lost in Ryan’s eyes, lost until he’s remembering again, strings of tiny flashes and memories of tainted and perfect things between them.

When everything comes back into focus it’s quiet, cold, and he’s still on the beach, still in the day and he wishes he was one of those people who could escape if they wanted to but he’s never been that, always the one to feel every slither of the pain, to burn away with the memory of every part of it.

---


Eventually he went to a bar with Mike and Tony that night, entered in some dare of who could drink who under the table, and in the end he was so drunk it took both Mike and a hastily called Clive to get him back into his hotel room and into bed. He slept, or dosed for a couple hours, and when he woke up it was to crawl to the bathroom and throw up in the toilet, multiple times.

Near morning it was Clive again who came by, with aspirin, water and a wet towel, and more sympathy than he cared to deal with. Greg questioned him, knowing he wouldn’t lie, and when Clive told him that he hadn’t seen Ryan but that Colin had come back to his room, it did nothing but to make him feel more conflicted. In a way, he had wanted Ryan to sleep with Colin. He understood where it would have come from, and knew how to deal with that. And they would have gotten over it easily, at one point Ryan would have needed something from Colin he couldn’t give, and they would have had sex again, gravitated towards each other. He knew, because it was what he would have done. It was familiar.

But they had just a couple days left and he didn’t feel like he could go back to daily life again, not without knowing that… whatever they had wasn’t... real. Not when Ryan said things that started with “I wish” when they lay curled up together late at night. Not when they could have sex that felt fucking intimate, soul-tearing. Not when it was… that.

He looked away from Clive and uttered a small “fuck,” letting his hand limply hit the white-tiled bathroom floor. He wanted to say something, about how life was fucked up now, how he couldn’t take it anymore, but instead he just swore again, looking at Clive,”fuck.” Clive sat down next to him then, on the floor, in the bathroom smelling of sweat and puke, and held him, briefly, and maybe it was because he felt too bad to fight over anything, or maybe because he had needed it, Greg let him.

Once the pills took hold, he felt better, and Clive made him take a shower, saying “you positively stink Greg, do us all a favour” but insisted he kept the door open, just in case, adding “you don’t look too good”. He did, finding a certain solace in the hot running water (the image of Ryan in there with him, just a day ago, too fresh, too real) and when he came out, he found Clive asleep on his bed, snoring softly.

He lay down next to him, not too close, and closed his eyes too, willing his pounding headache away. Eventually he must have fallen asleep again, because when he woke it was because someone was knocking on the door, and Clive was getting up to open it.

He kept his eyes closed, not wanting to face anyone yet. He heard murmurs, not what was actually said, and there was the sound of the door closing, a movement in the mattress, and a large, bony hand touching his shoulder, and he was mentally choosing between “fuck off” and “God Ryan, can’t a man have a hang-over around here?” but ended up not saying anything at all. As he (carefully, god his head hurt) opened his eyes, he looked into Ryan’s, a Ryan who was looking uncharacteristically serious, and he avoided his gaze.

They kept it up for while, not talking. Ryan moved to sit on the couch. Greg noted it was sunny outside, and could hear the vague noise of a TV playing in the room next door. He swallowed a couple times, wondering what had happened to the bottle of water Clive had brought. Eventually, deciding to stay on a course where he had experience with, he stated “you’re wondering whether I fucked Clive.” But Ryan, eyeing him for a moment, lit a cigarette, the smoke tantalisingly curling towards the ceiling, and said “No.”

“Oh,” he said, mentally cursing, and held out his hand for Ryan to throw him the lighter. He lit a cigarette of his own, finding comfort in the familiar smell and feel of it between his lips. He took a drag, and then asked “you don’t care?”

Ryan looked him over then, a quick flash of eyes, unconsciously playing with the cigarette between his fingers, and said “I do.” And after a pause, a pained look in his eyes “You know I didn’t fuck Colin, if that’s...”

Greg stopped him, his need for the truth greater than he thought, and asked “you love him though, why don’t you… make up, whatever.”

Ryan looked torn, obviously struggling with the answer, but as he looked at Greg, perhaps seeing that the answer wouldn’t matter, not really, smiled, a small, sad smile and said “I do. But he left.”

“He still wants you.” He knew he was stating the obvious, but he needed to let Ryan know he could screw Colin, if he absolutely needed to. That he was more scared of the case scenario where he didn’t, and they had to start considering the why of neither of them being very inclined to find happiness anywhere else.

Ryan was intently smoking his cigarette, seemingly thinking something he might not want, and when he spoke it was soft, his face closed, unreadable. “I want you.”

Greg felt his breath hitch, and nodded then, uncertainly “ok.”

“It’s not…” Ryan stated, obviously serious, obviously feeling as torn as he was.

“Don’t care,” Greg said as he calmly moved towards Ryan, to straddle him on the small faded pink hotel couch.

Ryan looked away, sad for a moment more, and then smiled, saying “thought you had a hang-over.”

Greg smirked, feeling the consistent pounding in his head all too clearly, and said “yes, make it go away.” So Ryan kissed him, hungrily, his hands gripping in his hair, and he moaned, ready to fall into a tragedy or a disaster or whatever he and Ryan had, because it was the single most amazing addiction he had ever had.




Chapter Eight...




mood: worried

January 2016

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